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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Everything You Wanted To Know About Lens Diffusion

A quite extensinve test off all the Tiffen diffusion filters - as in about 6 types X 4-6 grades, low con, IRD and combo filters.Check it out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How To Add An AF Confirm Chip To Your Manual EF Canon Mount Lens

A great tutorial on how to an an AF Confirmation chip onto an EF lens mount that doesn't have one. In this video I actually add it onto the popular Rokinon Cine 50 lens. The Rokinon EF mount requires a shim which I also show how to make. Its pretty easy and should take about 20 minutes or so your first time while I got the video down to 8 minutes showing and explaing everything. This includes how to align the AF chip by eye without aid of an alignment tool - you really don't need it when you see how simple it is.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Rokinon CIne 24mm T1.5 Review

Another lens review :) ! Interesting lens for sure - check it out.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Jupiter 9 Vs Rokinon Cine 85 - Which Is Better ?

A new lens shoot out comparing two well known and popluar lenses - the Rokinon Cine 85 t1.5 and the classic Jupiter 9 85 f2. Which is better ? what are their differences or similarities ? watch the review where I shot the same setups on the same camera. Sorry no lens charts but instead real world shooting situations like a back lit by the sun shot to see how these lenses each handle flare. Some interesting results as always.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Canon Cine 50mm Quick Test

So I got some time with some Canon cine glass. The quick review and summary is rather short. The handling and mechinics are great. Even shooting w/o a follow focus you can easily rack focus. In the small LCD VF the image was quite contrasty and made focusing easy. This is all as you would expect. What did I not like ? besides the price ? Well wide open performance was less than stellar. In many respects I've seen $100-$200 lenses do as well. I saw the typical softness and glow of vintage glass, although not as heavy. It seemed like a EF 50 1.4 in a new housing despite its T1.3 marking. I'd expect for the price better performance wide open. 

Stop it down to T2 and most of the haze goes away and at 2.8 its what you would expect - very contrasty and sharp. It also seemed like this lens was a bit cooler in color reproduction, certainly over the OM 50 1.4 that I actually own. The OM 50 has thorium glass so it tends to go warm with age unless you leave it out in sunlight for a day or two to let the UV clear it. Its much like having a warming filter in place which isn't a bad thing for people shooting. However comparing the Canon to my Rokinon's it still seemed a little bit cooler. 

The really nice part of this lens is the 11 blade apeture making for more mellow and smooth bokeh. The image below came from the OM 50 1.4. It actually made those nice 8 point stars without a filter. I've never seen the lens do that before with things like street lights. I was probably at about 2.8 I think.... but in the dark running around maybe the iris got spun down to 16 or 22 which would make sense for it to make those stars. 


Some lively bokeh from the OM 50 1.4 and why I love this lens so much, especially since I've declicked it. The flare really added to this image and made it much more interesting to me. I don't think the canon cine would of been as interesting an image for this shot. 


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Scratch Lab Gets Official Licensed ProRes Endcoding For PC

 Big news today. Apple FINALLY relented and officially licensed ProRes encoding to a Windows PC Product. Lighting finally struck ! However given that Scratch Lab is a pricey $6k to own, $995/year subscription I'm sure it didn't come cheap. However when you look at all the cameras, recorders like the Ninja Blade and Sound Devices 240 ect that all have ProRes recording, you had to of been wondering when it would happen. I think perhaps the final nail was that there is a FFmpeg lib that does ProRes encoding on the PC. Given that it was only a matter of time before a developer wrote code to directly feed FFmpeg a video stream to encode as ProRes Apple must of finally saw the light : You can't stop the tide so you better ride it. Hopefully this NAB will bring some other announcements of other companies also finally getting ProRes licenses for their products like Adobe CC on PC. 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Slates -

As much as working on RR tracks is obviously dangerous, its typically smaller everyday things that can get you. Tall stands that aren’t leveled carrying a large light, not having proper grounding, rigging even small lights w/o safeties.

Some of the several scary things I’ve seen, here are a few :

rigged 650 over actor using maffer to attach to fire escape. during tightening, maffer cracked completely in half. the day before it has been used to rig a 1K overhead. thankfully it broke during rigging and no harm. it was one of those black econo manfrotto ones. I tossed the other one I had and replaced it with the better more expensive spun casting ones. that was 20 years ago

in studio grid, I saw 1K fresnel pop its front open due to vibration from HVAC on roof. it hadn’t of been closed properly after bulb change. barn doors came out. barn doors where safetied, no harm done.

watched producer mess around with some rental lights they brought into studio. didn’t want to hire me as gaffer because they were cheap. while messing with light on grid, guy dropped barn doors out of light ( not safetied ) and put huge dent in to lid of bosendorfer piano underneath. expensive repair ! way cheaper for a couple days of my time.

had client let me go for last day of multi day shoot. they would handle teardown themselves. they toppled a hi boy stand with 5 way header on top. 1 2K, 4 1K’s rigged on this. my rig was safe, it was piled with sand bags. they lifted stand leg to slide cable out from underneath. those where 5 new lights, destroyed. thankfully no one hurt. would of been way cheaper to of kept me on for tear down day…

its these sorts of things that will get you that the inexperienced don’t take very seriously.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sarah Jones

You know I harp about safety a lot. I've posted about some stupid ass things I've seen. Then there is the loss of 27 year old Sarah on the Greg Allman bio pic on the first day of shooting. By all bits it seems the producers knew of the risks but didn't take them as seriously as they should of. Multiple levels of human failure. They didn't have clearance from CSX to be on the tracks, they didn't set up spotters on their own with radios. Violations of saftey they prove to be criminal. Maybe the producers get man slaughter charges and do time in jail.

Who cares, that will not bring her back. Even on smaller productions I've seen some really stupid ass stuff done. STOP ! really think here. You may get lucky once, but luck is not how we live. We live by doing things safely, by using our brains. Not by taking stupid chances. So next time a PA becomes grip does something dangerous, instruct them on the right way to do it. Next time they do the same, simply fire them. There is only one way to deal with people who don't take production safety serisouly, get rid of them. Having people who don't observe safe work procedures will only make for problems in the end and NOT speed production. I've worked on a few industrial safety videos over the last few years and learned a few things. Look twice, think twice, steel toes,  hard hats, spotters, sand bags, grounding. Things it LIVE by.

I have personally seen a couple of close calls where serious harm could of happened but didn't. Safety isn't a joke, is a way of staying alive. Its unspeakable that this young woman lost her life because they were simply stealing a shot thinking they were safe without really being so.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

DaVinci Resole 10 Beta 3 Released and Other Stuff

BMD continues to work on getting Resolve V10 into shape. They released Beta3 recently. The new features in V10 are pretty huge and one of the areas of much improvement is the timeline editor. Its basically moving along into being a fully qualified NLE.One of the big improvements here is a basic titler. Useful for not just labeling a grading pass but all the usual basic titling jobs. They added more options for burning in info for TC burns. Greatly expanded audio support. OpenFX plugin support including temporal filters. The full version adds motion blur and motion tab. With all these benifits there is also increased demands on the GPU and VRAM. They now recommend 2gb for HD and 4gb for 4K. If you are a serious Resolve user you are probably already there and might even have a multi GPU setup. If not, well, GPU upgrade time is here again. Thankfully thats generally a far cheaper option than a full system upgrade.

In other news I've just been heavily loaded with work. The new syndicated radio show goes live mon morning and I'm still working on the last bits of the studio build out. Always a few more things to tweak out and make better or more reliable. Profanity kill switch is my project today. I'm also now doing sound mix for a TV series every week and have had a decent amount of freelance work coming in. So my chances to post stuff like I normally do have been really limited. I still haven't edited the last scene in the short I shot a few weeks ago. It looks great, good story, great acting I just need to finish it and get it out there !.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vivitar 20mm F 3.8 Prime Lens Review

Yet another great lens. Not quite vintage as it was made in the 70's using "computer aided design" and features some nice modern things like super close focus and compact design. Give that wide angle primes are few and far between, and often quite pricey this is a nice gem to find. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rokinon 8mm

I got this tasty shot of the guitarist from Chicago playing EAA 2013 this year using the Rokinon 8mm cine. I must of been 18" from the stage edge. I love this lens for what it can do when used right. As always, right tool for the job. 

EAA is being an interesting proving ground for a new mic in my collection as well. Plan to do a side by side test over the next few days which I think will provide some interesting results.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dedicated To All Those Editors Out There

I needed a laugh today. I'll pass it on. Now get back to work !

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rokinon 8mm

Here is a shot from the Rokinon Cine 8mm I got a week ago. Tasty lens I'm just starting to get to know. More once I get back from a location shoot this week.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Vitec’s Litepanels Wins LED Patent Case Over Movie, TV Lighting

This is bad... really bad. I mean how stupid were the judge(s) in this case to ignore all the prior art that was ( surely ) presented ? Vote with your money and tell Vitec group you will no buy any products from any of its companies until they back off.  had better info than news week. Litepanels has made pretty crappy products for the price so I guess the only way they can try to make money given real competition in the marketplace is to license their bad patent. It may take years to invalidate their patent as it should be for simply being based on prior art.

Quote : " Of the fourteen (14) companies named in the complaint, all of the major manufacturers have taken the professional route and chosen to license its intellectual property to continue manufacturing LED lighting products for sale in the United States. The overwhelming adoption of licensing will ensure that the marketplace for LED lighting products remains as diverse, robust and competitive as ever. In fact, the licensing agreements now allow these companies to build on top of Litepanels’ technology to create even more innovative products going forward."

You can tell them what you think on their facebook page here. Wonder why they don't have any contact info on their website... don't most companies publish this so customers or perspective ones can contact them ? wonder why....

If that isn't a bunch of crap I don't know what is. I'm grabbing a couple more LED lites today while I still can.

I'm working on location this week using several LED lights actually. None are made by litepanels thankfully. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rokinon Cine 8mm and 14mm Are Here

Rokinon CIne 8mm and Cine 14mm

Just got a couple new toys in here last week. All for an up coming shoot where I think they will work really well for some of the B roll I need to shoot on this job. So I'll be doing a review on them soon once I've had enough hands on time and gotten some good samples together. I did do a review of the 14mm stills version of the lens a while ago and so far my quick test confirm its the same lens optically with the cine style gears added on.

I also got a few minor fixes and updates done on the site too like adding some missing reviews to the sidebar. The problem is once you do enough of them you start to loose track smiley ! Ok back to work for me right now.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Moment Of Silence Today

In light of the mass shooting in CT today and the mass slashing in China, no official post today that I had been planning. I have been working on several projects including a redesign of this site I was ready to let folks have a peak at today. Instead I'm going to let that sit and probably roll it out over the weekend. If you see this site acting weird, its because of the update. I know some small changes have rippled onto the live site... however its really not that important. Instead let us consider our own good fortunes as many other people on 2 sides of the planet grieve for the horrors done today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Takumar 50 1.4 Tests & Review : Updated

pentax takumar ashi 50 1.4 1965


click for full size image

I keep turning up these really great lenses some how. Found again locally here, I turned up a classic Pentax Asahii Takumar 50 1.4 made sometime in 1966 based on lens markings. If you feed it some backlight it makes simply gorgeous lens flares as above. Yet it still has lots of sharpness and a cool diffused glow wide open. Its a great people shooting lens when you need that look which modern glass just isn't going to give you. Ok, you can get a (black) Pro Mist or Soft FX filteror any number of other diffusers onto your lens but its not the same look. If you want that classic vintage 60's look its as simple and easy as just USING a lens made in that period.

The shot below is the same location, one day later,  taken aimed slightly more to the left from the same spot.  Again plenty of sharpness from this old lens even fairly wide open. We are of course talking about the original 5K still images. In 1920X1080 video they of course  look great.  On the top image I did only some very minor adjustments in the raw settings to pull in the clouds in the sky. The rest of the image is how it came from the camera

winter snow pentax takumar 50 1.4 60D

click for full size image

pentax takumar asahi 50 1.4 1.8

One thing you may notice about a lot of Takumar lenses is the gold color of the front elements. That color does in fact effect the image. You can certainly balance it out with a custom WB setting, but for some types  of shooting consider it a fulltime 81A or B warming filter. Its nowhere near an 85 in terms of effect. If you look thru the optical viewfinder and then look up you can also see the warming effect. My guess is that at some point when most folks were shooting B&W this was somewhat like a yellow contrast boosting filter, but a bit more subtle. Probably for color they figured at least for prints you could easily enough print it out with filtration or just enjoy the warmer tones. What I did find is that shooting with the 60D in RAW, sometimes I did very much get that warm tone as above. Other times the camera picked up on the warmness and white balanced a bit cooler to compensate. I actually have back to back shots with minor lighting changes of the same thing where I can see the camera rebalance the RAW images. When looking through everything later, I can say I almost always preferred the warmer shots which had more character. So the color rendition of these lenses is not a bad thing unless you are trying to do the opposite of what this lens wants to give you ... in which case just change lenses ! 



click for full size image


In the portrait above of my wonderful partner Sharon the warm tones and flare made a cold winter day look far warmer in 1960 something that it looks like ! I did do a couple little changes to the image, mainly in taking down the saturation of the blue scarf a bit, pulling the highlights down in the RAW image and thats about it. I could certainly of used the image straight from the camera with equally nice results.

One more image. This one is actually stitched together from 3 verticals because I couldn't get enough space to shoot it horizontally. This puts the "original" at about 9K res. 

click for full size image


This is a lens made when a lens WAS a lens. Its all metal no fooling around with plastic. Its got some heft to it to be sure. It has smooth focusing all these years later as proof of its quality construction. Is there a down side ? yes the stupid backwards focus direction. This completely throws me as I've learned to know which way to turn a lens based on how it looks to get focus. Its not quite the end of the word since the look of this lens is so nice, but it is a big downside you'll just have to deal with for all its goodness. 


Overall this is a very nice lens with some very interesting characteristics that you will either love or hate. I probably depends far more on the image you want to create, the style, period, texture. The more vintage glass I get, at least primes anyway, I find they have tons more resolution than the film stocks of their day ever had. They still made nice sharp images on modern sensors never dreamed about 40 something years ago.

So someday I'm going to get all these 50mm lenses together for a shoot out. In particular I'd like to pair in a new 50mm or two and repeat the vintage lens shoot out with matched lenses. Meanwhile I keep my eyes open for other glass like this whenever it happens to turn up. Thoughts folks ?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Lens Flare ? Tell Me What This Lens is

Care to tell me what lens I have in front of the sensor ? Hint : its new to me, its a cult classic ! 

As much as I had thought I'd had a lens with interesting flares in the Meyer Optik 50 this one beats it, and its a FAR more well know name. Can't wait to try some daylight shots and video with it. 

I actually picked up a small pile of M42 mount vintage glass this weekend... this one and one other are the stand outs. The other being a very wide angle full frame lens with another name I've liked, Vivitar... made in this case by Kiron ! The other two are equally interesting and I can't wait to try them out - all 400mm of it !

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

T1 Anamoprhic Lenses Announced From Hawk

Hawk probably isn't a name most people think of when it comes to lenses, especially outside of the EU. However they have been around for 20 years making all sorts of quaility cine lenses. Now they have pretty much gone and out done every one with a set of Anamorphic T1 ( as in F1.0 ) super speed primes. Its an impressive set of  glass : 17.5, 21, 25, 32, 40, 50, 65, 90, 120 mm all at an amazing T1.0 speed. They offer very nice optical performance down to about T1.4 and then get a little more wild looking at T1.0 because of the super thin DoF. Price ? well none and I think you know if you have to ask... they aren't for you. Rental item for sure. Of course my wondering.. why not also a set of non-anamorphic super speed glass because that would be a real crowd pleaser. Who knows... probably with all the other lens makers they wouldn't of stood out enough to going anamorphic put them into a spot in the market that isn't occupied. Looks like a winner for those wanting to shoot in the format. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't Piss On Your Clients

Sony doesn't get it, but we all knew that, right ? Ok, we thought with the F5 and F55 they got it, until higher MSRP's leaked out today. No, back to the bad old days with reckless abandon that we are still stupid enough to pay 5-10X what a camera is worth. So just to compound this are a new series of ads for their NEX line... basically pissing on dslr users. I guess whoever got these ads approved didn't even know that Sony makes dslr's too... Not funny, offensive. Go and offend your potential customers...



Sony Quietly Releases 10.8 ML Compatible XDcam Browser & Drivers

For several flavors of Sony media, XDcam and NXcam you've been stuck to use those formats with 10.8 Mountain Lion. Finally Sony has an update HERE. 

Whats included ? Quote from the Sony Site 




XDCAM Browser’ has been renamed ‘Content Browser’ as it will consolidate XDCAM, NXCAM and the forthcoming RAW formats on the new F5/F55. It looks just like XDCAM Browser and more or less works the same way. It also has Mountain Lion support. It’s not on the XDCAM download site yet but it is on the SCS site. Please log on to link for XDCAM Browser with ML support.


FTP Connection to XDCAM Station (XDS v2.0)
Remote control improvement on XDCAM Station (XDS v2.0)
Archive Clip / ClipList to ODS-D55U through Content Manager application
ClipList export to AAF file* *Advanced Pack (optional) is required

This single app also replaces all these separate apps

XDCAM Browser
Content Management Utility
XDCAM Transfer (for Apple FCP)
XDCAM EX Clip Browser
PDZ-1 (XDCAM Proxy Browsing Software)
PDZ-VX10 (XDCAM Viewer)


Friday, September 14, 2012

Rokinon 35 T1.5 Samples

I'm working on a real review but for now, here are some quick images I took with the lens. Some are stills at 3200 / 6400 ISO, others are from 1080 video at 640 and 1600.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Canon Surprise - C100 for $8k

canon C100

An interesting suprise today : The C100. A somewhat stripped down version of the C300. The body is a bit smaller, most of the C300 features are there. They even left the internal ND filters in, but here comes the but - they changed the internal codec to AVCHD 24mbit. Whats not known is if the HDMI out is clean and you can record to an external box in ProRes. While this is a good move by Canon to have a lower priced body, its still over priced. No RAW, EF mount only ( no PL ). However it does have LOG which is good, and is supposed to have improved highlight handling. Bottom line is I'm sure its makes very nice pix, but if you look at the FS100 and FS700 both for less, even with EF adapters this is a bit short for the price. I think they should of priced this at about $5K to be competitive. Canon can of course always do so somewhere along the line, but they are protecting the C300, at least for now. You'll remember that Sony with the F3 had LOG recording as a $2K initial option, then they dropped the price, then they included it on all new cameras for free as I had predicted to keep the camera more competitive. Interesting times !

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Warranty Service On My Rokinon 35 1.4

A few months back I did a review on this lens. In that review I had noted it had something shaking around. While a few flights, many thousands of miles of driving later it seems looser. I contacted Rokinon and they said send it in for repair, thats not normal. If this is the case I'd wish some one had would have said something. Let me ask you then, "Does your 35 1.4 have something shaking inside ?" I"m sending it out tomorrow and we'll see how long it takes for them to turn it around. 

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Talent Not Tools... Olympics Shot on iPhone by Dan Chung

Good tools help, but it won't make you great. To prove that Dan Chung shot the London Olympics with an iPhone plus a few helper lenses for wide angle and long lens close ups. Here is a look at his work over several days and plenty of great quality shots.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vintage VS New Lens Shoot Out !

YES ! This is a first of its kind lens shoot out pairing 2 new lenses against 3 vintage lenses. Lens charts, real world shots, different apertures, different lighting. This is a really comprehensive set of tests that just get right into it in making side by side comparisons of all this glass. 

In this shoot out I've got :

Rokinon 35 1.4

Tamron 17-50 2.8


Vivitar 28 1.9

Vivitar 24 2

Kiron 28 2


Friday, June 22, 2012

Survived The Week

Another shot I took during my shoot this week in Pearl Harbor. One of the vets looking out from the church on Naval base there. 

Being gone for a long exciting intense week, I"ve been slow with posts, but I have a few tasty things in the works. I spent a lot of the week shooting with a Rokion 14mm 2.8 on my 60D, along with a AF100 using a Nikkor 14-24 2.8 and even a HPX500.

Let me get thru the weekend and get some stuff done and I'll be back to the usual posts.

Below is Jeff from Ch2 Green Bay getting all Samurai with my boom pole !

Friday, June 08, 2012

SpeedGrade CS6.0.1 Is Live Today

A huge number of bug fixes went into this release. Read about everything here on Adobe's blog. Update via the built in updater. One note : no 3rd party video output support yet. I guess building the Transmit API and code into SG is a big project.

New Rokinon CINE 8mm f3.8 Lens Shipping


Shipping now is the new cine style Rokinon 8mm F3.8. The iris is decliked, both focus and iris have gearing on them and the markings are sidways for more traditional operation.

180 Deg view with APS-C sensors means you had better watch your feet aren't in the shot ! Very much the GoPro look finally for large sensor cameras. Yes they have had a "normal" version. I find this pretty exciting because it hopefully it hints at Rokinon doing this across the other lenses in the line.

Rokinon 8mm Ultra Wide Angle f/3.5 Fisheye Lens for Canon EF Mount

Rokinon 8mm Ultra Wide Angle f/3.5 Fisheye Lens for Nikon w/Focus Confirm Chip

sponsor links do provide this site with a small commission... so we always appreciate it if you use them :) !


Thursday, May 31, 2012

AJA Has CS6 Drivers

AJA has drivers at last released for CS6 ! Available HERE.  The last major video I/O card vendor has them out. All things considered, having working drivers for you card within a few weeks of CS6's release is VERY welcome. A big thank you to all third party video card makers for getting your drivers updated and out for CS6.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An Old NAB Theme : If you have to ask....

More pre NAB news. Fujinon has a 19-90 T 2.9 ZOOM lens in PL mount. Its got a conventional handgrip with zoom control. It covers the full APS-C / S35 image area. How many folks have been wanting some glass like this ? Lots. To bad that all those people who want and need this lens still will be. MSRP is $38,000 !... um right. Anyone involved with ENG / Doc style shooting isn't going to be using this lens unless its a rental... and even then it will be a pricey rental. Knock of zero off the price and then we have a conversation. Painfully over priced. Where as the dslr revolution brought increbile images for low cost, clearly there has been tries at going back to the very expensive model of gear over the last 6 months. I think I know how people are voting....

Friday, March 09, 2012

ENG Lens on a DSLR ? Sure !

I must admit, I've handled a few ENG video camera lenses off the camera and always thought how cool it would be to have a small camera that fit on the back which was next to nothing. While folks have played around with this idea before, especially with M 4/3's cameras, no one I've seen has gotten it all together like this. The lens it mounted to the body with an adapter and the zoom is powered up and working !

ENG B4 lens on dslr gh2


You can find a B4 to M 4/3's adapters  on eBay, but getting everything else working is another story. Anthony Burokas got it working. Check out his full article here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Canon 5D Special At B&H With This Link $1999! UPDATED

I generally don't do this but this deal is really too good to pass up. This just dropped again today by $40 - Get a 5D new body only for $1999 ! available thru my link here. You can't get this deal via normal B&H site search. LINK HERE or click on the image. If you are interested in getting a 5D this is a great deal and if you click on the links here, I will make a tiny small commission which goes to help keep this site running. 



And what would be better then some vintage glass ?

Coming up is a vintage lens shoot out where I'll be comparing several vintage 24 and 28mm lenses. If anyone has a new or vintage lens they want to lens me for the test, let me know.

24 28mm lens f2 2.8 tokina vintage vivitar kiron

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm given her all I've got Captain !

I was shooting some small product shots today. Objects were palm sized to little finger sized.  I can't show you the actual shots, but I can share how I got them.

My wide shots started with a Olympus OM 50 1.4. It focuses to about 1 ft from the lens front which is great. However I needed to fill the frame a little better.

I did what you are NOT supposed to do, used a 1.4X converter to get to about 70mm.  Ya Ya Ya the photo pixel peepers will tell you that you should not be using an extender for anything shorter then about 100mm but I'm over it. The Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter is a great optical performer and so is the OM 50 1.4 which I was shooting at 2.0-4.  I could of grabbed the Tamron 70-200 2.8 which focuses pretty close and added the extension tube, but I was shooting at F2.0 - 2.8 most of the time which would of been out of range for the 70-200.  

This setup was perfect for some shots, but I needed closer still. What to do ? extension tube time ! My pretty close shots used the extension tube between the 60D body and 1.4x Kenko extender. 


kenko 1.4x extender extension tube OM 50 1.4


For even closer shots, I used the  31mm extension tube.


kenko 1.4x entender 31mm automatic extension tube

Now dig what I'm using as a light block for the matte box which has a .9 ND 81EF in it - A cokin mounting ring ! One of the lens rings on the matte box is the exact same size as the cokin P filter holder's outer diameter. I went to eBay and for around $20 or $25 bought a complete set of mount rings from 49mm to 82mm. I can leave one ring in the matte box and use the cokin holders on my lenses. They are cheap enough you can have one per lens, or pick up a set like I did.

Monday, August 08, 2011

This Week : New Panasonic Cameras Announced

I updated the Matrox MAX encoder review video with some screen shots of the encodes. I also have a couple more video reviews shot and I'm working them. 


Panasonic announced yet another new camera. Call this Son of HVX-200 finally done right.

MSRP is $5995. Not bad.

1/3" Chips, ok for palmcorder format after all this is a video camera.

SDI out, HDMI out, very nice !

records AVChd 10bit 4:2:2, great !

20bit video DSP. amazing to have in a camera of this size and price. should make for super clean images

1080p30, 1080i60, 720p60 are the max FPS rates AND 50/25hz frames rates are in there too so its a universal camera. Thank you!

Timecode I/O ! well its about freaking time ! probably the number one most requested feature on these small cameras. 

P2  cards ??? Alternate Model AG-160 does use SD cards. It looks like Panasonic aimed this model towards users of varicams and 300 series cameras using P2. This is the B or C cam for quick B roll shooting or just getting an extra shot while the big camera is the main shot.  The AG160 model uses SD cards and appears to be otherwise identical including mention of timecode support. The AG-160 has a MSRP of $4795 which is a bit nicer and more inline. Even if you have a P2 camera, do you want to buy another couple P2 cards ? probably not. 

I think the AG160 will be the hit camera while this camera will probably do pretty well out there as a B cam to the larger 300 series cameras of you have lots of extra P2 cards.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

60D Firmware Update to V1.10

Canon released a firmware update for the 60D. Its available here.


Firmware Version 1.1.0 incorporates the following fixes and improvements.
1. Fixes a phenomenon where the wireless built-in flash settings are reset to defaults when the battery is removed from the camera.
2. Fixes an intermittent phenomenon where image-rotation information is not recognized correctly when shooting with the camera in the vertical position depending on the timing of the shutter release.

Firmware Version 1.1.0 is for cameras with firmware up to Version 1.0.9. If the camera's firmware is already Version 1.1.0, it is not necessary to update the firmware.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Nikon Glass On Your iPhone ? Sure !

Really want to use you nikons ( or adapted lenses ) on your iPhone ? sure you do. You can't wait ! and for only $250 its done !

Photojojo now sells in their online store

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coming Up

Now that things have calmed down a little with work I'm back to be working on some new video reviews. i'm trying to get my hands on a FS100 and we'll see how that goes.  I'll also take a look at some Tamron glass as an alternative to EOS glass.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Final Cut Pro X Screen Shots Leaked - Color Correction

So far for me, FCP went out to the curb about a year ago because of its various failings and limitations. One of them was color correction. Now it looks like maybe apple gets it. Dig these - secodaries that look a lot like what you had to buy colorista II to get. Don't get me wrong, Colorista II and Looks from Red Giant rules for in NLE CC work. However, both are slow - as in while their OGL rendering can get you chunky playback at 1/2 res and maybe 1/2 frame rate, I'm guessing FCP X's CC will be full res and full frame rate. Apple has had to get their butts kickec with Prem Pro's CUDA hardware acceleration, so I'm sure they have been working on it the same way. FCP has had hardware acceleration using the GPU for several generations, but maybe apple will take it to a new level.

FCP X secondary color correction


To see more, the shots can be found on Flickr

What does this  mean ? Apple is feeding the PR mania machine and that we'll see a release in the next week or so, on or before June 21.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Canon adding Thunderbolt To Their Cameras

Canon announced that they are adding ThunderBolt interface to their cameras. This will be the new firewire to be sure. Added to a dslr, it probably won't make a difference because the speed limitation is the storage media itself, not the interface. Its also dismal that apple's FW ports are sub spec on the last couple generations of product. If you have ever used a FW cable over 12 or 15ft, that just doesn't work on intel machines. The old G4 laptops and G5 towers easily worked with 35 ft or longer cables. Thunderbolt should lead to super long fiber optic cables some day, but we'll see how long the copper cables will work.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Second Image

Shot this morning, temp 5F.
Second Image on 100 year old lens

Monday, December 13, 2010

Awakening : First Image

My first image from my ______ . This image came through a nearly 100 year old lens sending light to my 60D. I"m not telling more until I can do a shoot with this thing. No disappointments I hope from that. Fair warning though that its been 14deg F in the sun here the last day or two so I'm not sure what I'll be able to shoot. The very first shot I took is up. its dark and moody. I think this is like watching a camera fire up for the first time and makes an image. The difference is, this thing hasn't made a recorded image in 50 to maybe 80 years Can't wait to get this into some sunlight
first ultra vintage lens example

100 year old ultra vintage lens on 60D from Steve Oakley on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Ultra Vintage Lens

Well the week isn't over yet. I like old glass, it just has a look, and the price is usually right, although some times its outrageous. Now the ultimate ultra vintage  lens coming soon.  Here is a tease of what I'm hoping to put up this week if it all works "just perfect" :).  I'm making a few parts to fit it all together starting with a 15mm support bracket, some bits from ebay that arrived yesterday, and... well you'll just have to wait a bit, but it will be cool !
kodak boucsh & lomb ultra vintage lens
Image shot on OM / Zuiko 50 1.4 + extension tubes

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vivitar 35-105 Lens Re-Review : Video Now

I wasn't happy with the tests I ran on the lens a few months ago, mainly due to the Lee resin filter I had on. This time I went and redid the same tests, and used a new Schneider 4X4 ND .9 EF81. I should have it up some time this week. 
I also checked out the 60D's 720p60 mode as well.. video is now up !

Vivitar 35-105mm F3.5 Lens Test2 + 60D 720p60 from Steve Oakley on Vimeo.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vivitar 400mm 5.6 Lens Review & Video : UPDATED

Review of a Classic Lens, the Vivitar 400mm f5.6 With Video

vivitar 400mm 5.6 lens front closeup
Once upon a time, only pro's could afford long fast glass. Serious amateurs though craved for long lenses too, but could only afford a fraction of what serious pro's would pay. Enter the slower speed long lenses. With 400 ASA film, you could certainly get great shots, with grain, while the pro's got the same shots on 100 ASA film. These days reasonably priced longer f2.8 lenses are common due to advances in glass making and manufacturing. This has left a lot of these old and slower lenses collecting dust, or selling for very cheap.
Here are some shots from the lens:

Vivitar ( Tokina ) 400mm f5.6 Lens Test from Steve Oakley on Vimeo.

vivitar 400mm f5.6 llens wide
f5.6 would hardly get most people's interest these days. However, if you take a look at the really long glass from Canon and Nikon, like say their 600mm lens, its a 5.6 to at a hefty $6k price. Now I'm not going to pretend here, those lenses are ultra sharp, use LD glass, and the best focus motors around. They are for serious still shooters. Video however doesn't require the same level of ultra sharp thats shooting stills does. In fact a somewhat softer lens can help reduce or eliminate moire and stair stepping seen  dslr video. Autofocus is a non issue as well for video.
Taking into consideration that the APS-C sensor has a 1.6X crop factor, that really turns a 400mm lens into 640mm, still at a now very respectable f5.6. The APS-C sensor also is using the sweet spot of the lens in the center. Any CA or vingeting in the corners of a full frame sensor are generally not an issue with APS-C.
With those thoughts in mind, lets check this one out. There are  plenty of odd brand lenses out there, but I've found most older vivitar glass to be good. While I'd be a little cautious about real off brand glass if you couldn't try it out first, this one seemed interesting. 
Its serial number indicated that Tokina actually made it. That was one big plus for starters. Next it was multicoated. Any lens that isn't is going to have flare and lose contrast. Unless you are really going for a retro look, make sure its multicoated. 
The lens I got looks like it came out of the factory box practically. Its not uncommon to find super clean glass like this when its one thats off most people's radar. After all, who'd want a big heavy made of metal 180deg focus turn manual lens thats on the slow side ?
WHile this lens is made in several different mounts, I got this one with an OM mount. A cheap adapter for OM->EOS and I was off and running.
First, the iris ring is different. Its marked and operates in both direction. The center is 5.6 and you can turn it left OR right to stop it down. I suspect that one way was for stopped down shooting, the other was auto iris mode where the camera closed the iris down when it shot a frame off. My lens may of had a minor mod so it stops the lens down in both directions. It doesn't bother me since it only goes to f22.
This thing is heavy. Forget any idea of hanging this on the body without support. If you are shooting bare bones, use the built in tripod collar. If you are on rods, you need to have a lens support for sure. I'd highly recommend that your lens support have a strap on it that loops over the lens to lock it into place or the weight of the lens could very easily twist things sideways during handling. This lens demands respect for good handling.
The focus ring is slightly stiff, or perhaps what I would call firm. That's a perfectly good feel for a long lens where its easy to knock it out of focus. Its got a nice long 180 deg focus rotation. A minor downside is that it only focuses to 13ft / 4m. If you need to get closer, consider an extension tube or two. The focus is also in the normal direction for video / film glass.
vivitar 400 5.6 iris ring close up


At first f5.6 might seem to be a problem limiting this lens to sunny day work only. We'll talk about that shortly.  Consider how with a long lens like this DoF is  very shallow to start with. I'm often at F8 or F11 when I can. Here are some quick numbers on DoF so you can see what I mean. 
400mm F8 @ 13ft, DoF 1"
400mm F8 @ 20ft, DOF 3" 
400mm F8 @ 40ft, DoF 1' 2"
13 ft will let you fill 50-70% of the frame with a cat's head.
20 ft is a head and shoulders shot, a very tight one.
At 40ft, you are shooting a waist up shot of some one or a bit less. 1' is just enough to hold focus on them so that their body is sharp. Your background will drop out quite nicely. 
400mm F8 100ft 7' 8"
This will get you a full body shot, with just a little bit of play room. You'll still have shallow enough DoF even in bright sunlight, but with some safety margin here.
vivitar 400mm 5.6 depth of field lens mark
So that F5.6 really isn't the limitation it seems to be. Considering that you can go to ISO 1250 on the 60D / 7D / 1D / 5D you can start to approach some lower light situations that would of not been possible 25 years ago with ISO 400 speed film, even pushed one stop to 800. This isn't a shoot under  dim streets lights lens ( unless you can live with ISO 2400 ) but it can work in bright city areas, or places where you 'd be lighting to F5.6 or F8 anyway. 
Also know you need a real tripod and head to work with a long lens like this. My Vinten 6 works ok, but a manfrotto 500 series head will never be smooth enough. With a long lens like this, even small movements translate to big image changes, so pan and tilts need to be slow and controlled. Fast pans will bring rolling shutter effects into maximum effect, for better or worse. WInd will also be something to deal with as well.
Of course I'm saving the best part for last, the price. You can pick these lenses up for around $100 or sometimes less because no one wants them. That, for now makes them a steal. 
Next, I want to find a good 1.4X converter to add in for 560mm ( 900mm APS-C to full frame equivalent ) at a modest F8. Sounds like fun !

Monday, September 20, 2010

First Shoot on The Vivitar 35-105 2.5

I just did a real shoot with this lens

About 1/3 of what was shot was done on this lens. It was great. Its the prefect interview shooting lens because its got some fast long end, yet its still a zoom, and ridiculously affordable. 
Along with this lens, I also put the Vivitar 28 1.9 to work on a few shots, and the Tamron 17-50 2.8 came in handy on some shots where I needed a wider view. 
I had the camera on a slider for a bunch of shots. I marked start, end and middle focus points and the lens ran fine making nice in focus images. This is now my stays on the camera lens for basic shooting !

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is the 1976 Vintage Vivitar 35-105 3.5 a Mini Primo ? UPDATED

Vivitar35-105 3.5 This bargain lens looks impressive. Its got a big front element, solid metal construction, constant iris, and the perfect range for a lot of the work I do. Is it a little slow at 3.5 ? maybe, but thats really only a 1/2 stop from 2.8. I'm generally working with a light level of about F4 @ 200 for sit down interviews so this easily fits into the comfort range for me. Lets go further, this lens has an internal zoom ! Thats right, the length of the lens does not change when...

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