Hasselblad X1D: Bold, Beautiful, Flawed, Fixable (Episode 3, "The X1D Has Me Thinking")

I think the Hasselblad X1D is the most important Hasselblad since the company launched the 500 C back in 1957, and in fact the most important medium format camera of the last 60 years, period. In this video, I tell you exactly why; where it stands at the moment, and what it needs to be successful.

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Fujinon MK 50-135 T2.9 on Sony a6300 with Zacuto Scissors: Killer Combo

Along with its wider brother (MK 18-55 T2.9), Fujinon's 50-135 T2.9 cine zoom has just gorgeous image quality -- especially when paired with Sony's little a6300. The key is to truly lock the lens down on such a small body, and for that Zacuto's Scissors is fantastic: it locks the lens in place on your rail system by literally screwing into the lens itself, so you don't get flexing in either direction. If you have a Sony e-mount camera, you'll want to take a look at this pair. You may also want to look at the rig I used to hold it all together, the Sachtler Ace Baseplate; SmallRig 15 carbon fiber rods; Really Right Stuff L-bracket; and the edelkrone FocusOne.

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Sony FS5 RAW Upgrade: A Conversation with -- and footage by -- Doug Jensen

Doug Jensen has been a cameraman and DP for over 30 years, which makes him an expert -- and still younger than me. His video tutorials on Sony FS7 and FS5 are required viewing in my book if you're even thinking about purchasing either one. It was with this background that I reached out to Doug (we'd communicated by email and spoken a couple of times over the phone) to see if he'd be interested in having a conversation about Sony's new FS5 RAW Upgrade. A month later, Doug and I finally met in person at Maine Media Workshops just as he was finishing a class he teaches in cinematography.

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Hasselblad X1D: Is This the Camera that Will Save Hasselblad?

Just six months ago I wondered if Hasselblad -- among other beloved photography brands -- would "...fade, like old photographs, into the sands of time." Fast forward to April of this year, when Hasselblad announced a brand new H6D in 50 and 100mp versions, coupled with the best software interface in a camera I've ever seen -- and an eye-watering price of $32,995 for the 100mp model, body only. Now Hasselblad as announced another new camera, the X1D at $8,995 (body only). While the X1D has the same sensor and user interface as the H6D-50c, it is roughly one third the price and less than half the weight. What does this mean for photographers -- and for Hasselblad?

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Another Nail in the Coffin of Entry-level/Budget Enthusiast DSLRs? Sony RX10 Mark III Takes On the Sony a6300 with Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8

I didn't think I'd like this camera: I'd chosen to buy Sony's RX100 Mk IV last year when I faced the choice. But then I returned that camera when I realized it didn't have enough reach and I didn't like futzing with the pop-up viewfinder (I loved everything else).  Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when an RX10 Mark III loaner showed up on my doorstep, in the middle of my on-going love affair with the Sony a6300 and a just-arrived Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 - a true rock 'n roll combo. So I did the obvious - I pitted them against each other during a family portrait shoot. I’ll cut straight to the chase: the Sony RX10 Mk III is so good – and so close to an a6300 with the already-legendary Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 - that if you can’t get amazing photos with it, the problem is…ahem…do you see it coming… YOU (or, in my case, me). Even bigger: the RX10 Mark III may be another nail in the coffin of entry level/budget enthusiast DSLRs.

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Sony’s FS5 is the Best Get-It-Right, NO FUTZING AROUND Interchangeable Lens Video Camera for the Money Out There Today. Here’s Why.

Those of you who know me will remember that I’ve drooled over the Sony a7S II and again over the a7R II, yet my favorite camera these days is Sony’s a6300. I put it in my bag as I headed to Oaks, PA last month, part of a team covering a Bernie Sanders event (this is not a political post, don’t worry). I got some great footage with it. But the camera I chose as my primary was Sony’s FS5 with their Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS lens. Here’s why. 

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Back to the Future: Blackmagic Design’s New Micro Studio 4K is a Mashup of their Studio Camera 4K, a GoPro Hero and the Legendary Hasselblad 500C – and an Indication of Where Cameras Should Go Next

Blackmagic sent me their brand new Micro Studio 4K camera but at first I didn’t know what to make of it.  Clearly, it’s aimed at work-a-day pros capturing high-end live events (like, for example, Elton John’s “All the Hits” world tour [link]). Which has nothing to do with me. I was about to send it back with a simple “I’m not the right person to review this -- for Chrissake, they’ve got a guy with a freakin’ soldering iron in the brochure to take advantage of a programmable port  -- when I realized I was looking at a new branch of an older evolutionary tree: the modular camera system. Heck, I can write about THAT.

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Leica Partners with Chinese Smartphone Manufacturer Huawei

Last July I published the eBook "Apple's iPhone: The Next Video Revolution" on Amazon. It's still a great resource (yeah, of course I'd think so) if you want to understand why smartphones are shaking up the imaging business and why they're going to get even bigger. Still, with news coming from Zeiss and now Leica about entering the smartphone space,  I feel a need for an update.

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Sony a7R II + Wooden Quick Cage = FS5?

Well, not quite: the a7R II [B&H|Amazonoffers neither the 10-bit 4:2:2 HD nor 120 fps slow motion on offer with the FS5. But attach the exceptionally minimalist yet strong and clever Wooden Quick Cage for Small DSLRs to the a7R II, and you have a superior low light, hybrid video/stills platform to which you can mount just about anything.

I contacted Wooden after discovering that my favorite hybrid, Sony’s a6000 [B&H|Amazon], suffered from flex when working with a follow focus and a geared cine lens. There are many cages out there, but I’d seen the Wooden Quick Cage for Small DSLRs [B&H|Amazon] before and its diminutive, spare design seemed ideally suited to the a6000.

Unfortunately, nothing could help the a6000’s flex except some additional engineering by Sony, and it appears Sony may have done just that by strengthening the lens mount in the a6300. We’ll see.

But I’d also just finished a review of the a6300 [B&H|Amazon]  after returning from Sony’s global press event, and even compared the little guy to its big brother the a7R II and even bigger brother the FS5. You can check out that review here.

Bottom line? If the a6300 is ultimately about price, the a7R II is about that 42mp BSI sensor, and the FS5 is about being a pure – rather than hybrid -- video platform.

That’s where Wooden’s Quick Cage comes in: when you mount it to the a7R II, all of a sudden you’ve got a hybrid which is just as robust a platform for hanging on batteries, monitors, mics and more – even as you can quickly detach it and go hand-held for video or stills, superior to the FS5 when shooting in low light or needing to shoot stills.


Even so, the FS5 is a superior video machine for 1080p with 10-bit 4:2:2 output (via SDI only, not HDMI!), 120fps, built in XLR... you get the idea.


The Quick Cage for Small DSLRs itself costs $399 – eminently reasonable – but is very modular and expandable. Wooden offers kits beginning at $789 running all the way up to the Pro Kit at $2,225. The Pro kit begins with the Quick Cage and adds a quick release NATO handle, a pair of rods, an XLR adapter allowing a pair of XLR mics to feed directly into the a7R II’s mic jack, an EVF/LCD mount, a dovetail clamp, battery slide, and other bits and bobs to truly challenge the FS5 as a platform.


Only one, really.

In order to allow the rear LCD to swivel up, I had to remove the small, adjustable block designed to prevent the camera body from swiveling around the ¼” 20 thread by locking it in place from th rear.  I wish Wooden would create custom blocks the way Really Right Stuff does (in this case, for the front of the body), because torque can result in a camera moving off axis.


Other than that, the Wooden Quick Cage for Small DSLR is a surprisingly affordable and rock solid way to handle even the most complicated set-up. They offer cages for a variety of cameras including Panasonic, Blackmagic, ARRI, and more.  Visit their site to learn more.


Is the Sony FS7 the Last Camera You'll Ever Need? A Five-Part Series

This series is the biggest hands-on evaluation of gear I’ve ever done with the most advanced gear I’ve ever used. I know it is incomplete, limited, and wrong – I just don’t which, where. But this also made it the perfect Three Blind Men and An Elephant project. It allowed me to see the FS7 from many different angles and thus get a little closer to some kind of objective truth not just about one camera, but the entire endeavor of filmmaking. Heads up: there is a TON of video and images in each episode, so stick with them!

But it wasn’t just the FS7 that we tested. The good folks at Zacuto, Atomos, Veydra, and CAME-TV lent us gear to fully kit it out as it was intended, with fascinating results:

·      Zacuto Recoil Rig for the FS7 and Gratical-X OLED EVF

·      Atomos Ninja Assassin 7” HDMI Monitor/4K Recorder

·      Veydra Mini-Primes in Sony E-Mount

·      CAME-TV Wireless Follow Focus Controller

Here’s a top level recap by episode, but I encourage you to visit planet5D where my original series was first published.

Episode 1: "Built Like a Tank" - I find out how tough the FS7 is when the entire setup crashes to the floor

Episode 2: "Brilliant Footage at the Cost of Ergonomics" - the footage looks amazing, but the menus and physical handling are tough for someone coming from the DSLR/ILC world.

Episode 3: "First Footage" - Did I say it looks amazing? I believe I did. But do I really need it? Want it, absolutely. But...

Episode 4: "Enter the Ninja Assassin and the Gratical X" - We respect the Gratical X and love the Ninja.

Episode 5: "The Answer" - We go a little nuts and compare 1080p footage shot with the Veydras on a Sony a6000, 4K footage shot on an iPhone 6s Plus -- and 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 footage shot on the FS7 -- to help get to a final verdict.

You can read the rest of this post on planet5D, where it was originally published.

source: http://blog.planet5d.com/2015/12/is-the-sony-fs7-the-last-camera-youll-ever-need-episode-5-the-answer/