Panasonic Gh4

Nov 102014
 

As the deals keep coming in I will post them. Target posted the 2014 Black friday ad, and they will have deals on GoPros, Canon DSLR bundles and Nikon DSLR bundles.  Target will be open and ready for business at 6PM on Thanksgiving. The GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition and GoPro Hero3 White Edition are doorbuster deals, meaning you have to buy them quick before they go out of stock.

  • GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition + a $50 gift card for $250
  • GoPro Hero3 White Edition + a $50 gift card for $199

Definitely get the Hero3+, it’s a much better deal. Normally it sells for $300, so you are getting $50 off, plus another $50 worth via the gift card. If you have a REDcard, that’s another 5% off on top bringing your purchase price down to $237.50. The GoPro Hero3 White Edition is not a great deal because it normally retails for $200. So essentially you are only getting the $50 gift card as extra.

Also for sale is the following Nikon bundle:

  • Nikon D3200
  • Nikon DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II Lens
  • Nikon DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED Lens
  • Nikon Bag

Costing you $497. Normally this bundle will run you $550, so you save $50 (~$75 if you use a Target REDcard). Bot really a stellar deal if you ask me. A much better deal is the following Canon bundle:

  • Canon EOS Rebel T5
  • Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
  • Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Lens
  • 8GB SD Card + Bag

Costing you $449. This is a much better deal considering this bundle would normally cost you $600. If you don’t like Target’s Black Friday deal, you can jump on some early savings: Canon is running a mail in rebate promotion until November 22.  Click here to view Canon’s mail in rebate deals.

T3i Ad

Although Target’s Canon deal is nice, I would skip the Target offer and buy an imported (does not carry the 1 year warranty) Canon T3i from Abe’s of Maine. The body only costs $420 and it’s a better camera than the Canon T5. I would also skip the Canon EF-S 18-55mm and the Canon EF 75-300mm because neither of those lenses are extraordinarily good. Instead I would get a Canon 24mm STM and a used Canon 55-250 IS. The STM is a brand new lens that retails for $150, and the 50-250 is Canon’s best cheap telephoto zoom lens. It has image stabilization which is extremely important for telephoto lenses.

An imported Canon T5i + 24mm STM + used 55-250IS will cost you about $720. That’s almost $300 dollars more than the Target bundle, but trust me when I say this: you, or whoever will be using this gear will be very happy that you spent the extra money and got a better DSLR, and extremely sharp prime lens, and a much more capable telephoto zoom lens. Oh, and don’t forget the amazingly popular Canon 40mm STM, it only costs $150 after the Canon mail in rebate.

40mm

Oct 302014
 

Last year, the deals were not so hot. Here is my 2013 Black Friday post discussing all the best camera deals I found. Yeah, so… last year was… yuk. And it seems like the deals get worse and worse each year. Here is my advice for  Black Friday 2014: expect the deals to suck.  If you go in with this mindset, you  won’t be disappointed. Anyway, here are some tips:

Know Which Stores May Have Potential Black Friday Deals

Well, any store that sells electronics has the potential to have Black Friday deals on DSLRs. Here are the top vendors (listed by my personal preference) that I would be looking at: B&H, Rakuten, BarrowLenses, Adorama, Ebay, Amazon, Fry’s, Walmart, gearshop.dpreview.com, Target. If this group of stores does not have the deals you are looking for, then most likely whatever deals you are looking for do not exist. B&H (no tax for CA residents) and Rakuten are nice because they usually have the lowest prices on camera equipment. gearshop.dpreview.com was once offering a $50 off $100 deal. Basically you could have gotten the Canon 50mm 1.8 for about $60 shipped, or the Canon 40mm 2.8 for $110 shipped. Target offers you 5% off  and free shipping via REDCard, so if they ever offer a good deal it is sweetened with REDcard.

Know What the Market Prices Are

Canon has “sales” year round. Get $10 off, get 10% off, get a $100 mail in rebate etc… On refurbished items they have like a two week cycle. Two weeks of promotions, two weeks of regular pricing, two weeks of promotion, then another two weeks of regular pricing. Here are some recent sales prices Canon had on lenses:

 These prices are considered decent prices for brand new Canon lenses. So if Canon busted out these prices during the 2014 Black Friday, I would feel neutral. I’m really hoping for a deal that would allow me to snag a Canon 35mm f2 IS USM for $500.

Maybe Buy Used or… Don’t Buy Stuff On Black Friday?

Are you desperate to upgrade your T3i to a T5i? Well, in my opinion a T5i doesn’t offer much more for the dollar. Maybe wait till 2015 and see what the rumored T6i brings. I heard it may have a mirrorless design. The Canon 5D and 6D lines are due for upgrades, and we still have not seen the rumored 50mm and 35mm L series primes that are set to be announced/released some time in 2014 or 2015. The biggest deals happen when new gear is released. The old gear gets slashed in price. Or, if you really need to satisfy an itch, buy used.  The last 5 lenses I have purchased were all used.

 Anyway, this is my favorite time of year. I’ll definitely be posting more stuff before Black Friday. Maybe BlackMagic will slash the price of the Pocket Cinema Camera by 50% again. Bummer, I missed that one. Here’s to hoping for a Black Friday $400 BlackMagic Pocket Cinema.

Jul 172014
 

Disclaimer: if you know what you are getting into, and you understand the shortcomings of the BMPCC, then it is a great camera. But if you think that using this camera is headache free, read on:

I present to you the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC): a poor lcd screen, awful battery life, the worst in camera mic I have ever heard, bad moire (rolling shutter), aliasing, poor low light performance, and a clunky menu system. Oh, and great video quality..

The amazing $1,000 camera that might drive you crazy!

The amazing $500 camera that might drive you crazy!

This was supposed to be an amazing camera, but it is not a fun body to work with. I know, “$500 dollars” you say. It certainly is a better deal than it was a week ago.  But please don’t buy it if the BMPCC will be your first camera. I’d only recommend buying it as a backup to your main body. It does produce amazing picture quality in well lit situations. When you take your time and utilize the camera’s strengths, you will get the best video quality than can be had for under $1,500. Not shabby for a $500 camera. But… it takes a lot of work and patience to get a nice looking final results.

You Need a Lot of Patience to Use The BMPCC

  1. You need a tripod, the BMPCC sports a 2.88x crop factor, meaning most of your lenses will appear to be very zoomed in.
  2. Image Stabilization will only work properly with MFT lenses.
  3. To get Image Stabilization with Canon lenses, you need to buy a Metabones Speed Booster.
  4. To get a shorter focal length out of your lenses and faster f/ratios you will nee a Metabones Speed Booster.
  5. You will need spare batteries since the battery life is shit.
  6. You don’t want to pan you shots too fast because of the awful rolling shutter.
  7. There is lots of noise at high ISO, so keep your ISO low and light your scenes well. The BMPCC is not a low light camera (like the Sony a7s)
  8. The audio is maybe the worst in camera audio on the market. If you want audio, you HAVE to use an external mic or recorder.
  9. You will spend lots of time navigating the clunky non intuitive menu.
  10. Once you have your footage, you must spend lots of time editing it (I hope you have a solid computer).

Who Should Buy The BMPCC

After completing these 10 steps you should have some amazing footage. I really mean it, the BMPCC puts up beautiful footage. If you are a camera geek, or want to dip your toes in prosumer/professional filmmaking than buy the BMPCC. Buy it, shoot videos, edit the videos, upload everything to Vimeo and have a blast. If you are not a diehard camera person you will give up on this camera. Maybe wait for all the people who purchase it right now to resell it on eBay for $250 in a few months (they should have read this article).

The Future of BMPCC, Replacement on the Horizon?

BlackMagic always has something up their sleeves. No doubt they feel pressure form the GH4 and a7s. Slashing the price of the BMPCC by 50% is crazy – It tells me they want to move on. I have never seen a 2nd generation camera from BlackMagic, usually its just a whole new body. So do I expect a BlackMagic Pocket replacement? Yes. But it won’t be called the BLack Magic Pocket mkII or second generation. I think it will be called something completely different, and it will be in a different form factor. And it will be bigger. And it will cost $1,000 and be a better competitor to the GH4.  And it will not hit shelves this year. But don’t take my word for it, I’m just speculating.

Apr 282014
 

Canon Lenses are for Sale this April and May

Here are some of the more popular lenses Canon has for sale:

Me? I’d go for the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM. It is 25% off, and a much better lens than the Canon 50mm 1.8. Totally worth the extra $40. And if you have a taste for more expensive lenses, the L series lenses are on sale as well, (but you need to mail in a rebate):

I’d go for the 100mm. It’s fast, is extremely sharp, and has great IS. It’s a great lens for video and stills. If you have a crop sensor, it may be a bit too zoomed for every day video use and so you might be better off with a 50mm (for video). Anyway, there are way more lenses for sale, just checkout B&H or Amazon.

Apr 242014
 

MagicLanternffmpeg

I’m all about Magic Lantern. The coders of Magic Lantern have created lots of opportunities for Canon video shooters. You can shoot RAW on a tiny little T2i for crying out loud! Now there is more good news; MLV files will be supported by FFmpeg. What is so awesome about MLV being supported by FFmpeg? Lets find out.

FFmpeg is best described as an open source project that can be used by programmers to create media related software. Maybe the most famous FFmpeg software you have heard of is VLC Media Player. You can see a list of programs that use FFmpeg here. Now all the programs that use FFmpeg can incorporate MLV support into their software. MLV files are basically the “uncompressed RAW” video files you can get out of your DSLR when you shoot in RAW mode. How cool would it be to play MLV files in VLC Media Player?

This is great news for the Magic Lantern community. It means lots of video based programs will have MLV support resulting in more excitement about Magic Lantern as well as a push towards RAW video. Right now there is a 4K craze going on. I hope that in a few years we will be watching 4K footage that is RAW on our TVs and computers. Not just 4K over-compressed 8 bit footage… To learn more about Magic Lantern and FFmpeg check out Magic Lantern’s official forum.

Apr 102014
 

Letus AnamorphX 1.8x ($????): Man this thing looks like it will surely be expensive. I’m guessing just a tad above $2,000. But maybe we will get lucky and will go for the same price as the original Letus AnamorphX ($1700). Either way I am happy that more anamorphic are being produced. Considering this is great glass with tons of features and an aesthetically nice looking picture, I don’t mind the high price.

Not much new stuff to report, so check out this awesome discussion about 4K featuring some of my favorite people (Vincent LaForet and Philip Bloom):

What Did Canon Announce for NAB 2014?

Nothing really. The announced some very expensive lenses a week ago though. The Cine-Servo CN7x17 KAS S and HJ18ex7.6B will run you $30,000 if I recall correctly so I can’t say I’m very interested. But hopefully we will see some new consumer lenses from Canon by the end of 2014, as well as maybe a new DSLR (7D mkII???) and who knows… maybe Canon will announce that they plan to get into the 4K DSLR game?

Best of NAB 2014

There was a lot of cool stuff. Attendance was over 100,000 people. And it’s always sad to see the show come to an end because if you are into DSLR gear and technology NAB is the Super Bowl of broadcasting technology. The coolest stuff consisted of:

  • BlackMagic coming out with a full fledged professional camera system that features a 10 inc LCD.
  • The Letus 3 axis gimbals (I loved the GoPro gimbal as well)
  • A couple new Atomos video capture devices, bringing ProRes 4:2:2 to the masses with the $300 Ninja Star
Apr 092014
 

All the big stuff has been announced on Day 1, but here are some things that you may have missed:

Panasonic GH4 ($1700): This little camera looks like a DSLR (MFT), shoots 4K, and has won Videomaker’s Best of NAB 2014 award. What does this award mean? Nothing. I just wanted to pimp the GH4 a bit more because it is the most amazing thing you can buy (preorder) for $1700.

Manfrotto KLYP ($112): This is a small case/rig/thing with an LED panel that attaches to your iPhone 5. So basically you can look like a total jackass when you whip out your phone and it has an LED light panel attached to it. At least your selfies will look pro!

Sound Devices 970 64‑Track Dante And MADI Audio Recorder ($4,495): The price of this 64 track audio recorder seems insanely reasonable. First of all, you are professional gear (Sound Devices is used in Hollywood films and in recordings studios by Pop stars, etc…). Secondly, you get 64 tracks. Not bad considering a small SD field recorder can ran you $1,000+.

Zacuto Gratical LT OLED EVF and Zacuto Gratical HD OLED EVF ($????): Both are electronic OLED viewfinders. They have a range of built in diopters from -1 to +4 ensuring that you see the image sharply. I must say, having one of these things would be awesome because they come with all the sexy stuff needed for feeling like a pro; waveform, vectorscope, histogram, etc… Unfortunately Zacuto charges a lot for its high quality gear (I’m not complaining, it’s just out of my price range). The LT model sports 3.3M dots (1024×768), while the HD model ups the resolution to 1280×1024 (5.5M dots). Best viewfinders for indie shooters? I think yes. I’m guessing maybe $899 for the LT and $1099 for the HD model.

Apr 082014
 

Not much to announce so I’ll just post additional stuff from Day 1

Small HD DP7 Pro Series ($1,400+): Small HD produces very popular field monitors. The DP4 is a crowd favorite. The DP7 Pro basically allows you to color grade your shot in the field using your monitor. Cool.. but is color grading in the field really a necessary feature?

Adobe Light Room Mobile ($??): If grading footage on your field monitor was not enough, now you can edit photos in Light Room on your phone or tablet. Woohoo! Who does professional editing on a tablet?

Letus GoPro Stabilizer ($???): This might be one of the coolest things I have seen from NAB thus far. From the looks of it I would much rather buy a Letus GoPro gimbal than the Luuv.

DaVinci Resolve 11 ($1000): I don’t use Resolve (I’m not a f$%ing pro, so I don’t need pro gear or software! Read strait from the horses mouth: Official Details

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