How Mirrorless Cameras Are Changing the Game for Photojournalists

How Mirrorless Cameras Are Changing the Game for Photojournalists

One of the best features of mirrorless cameras is their ability to shoot totally silently thanks to the lack of a mechanical mirror. That feature turned out to be a great boon to a photojournalist at the recent Democratic debate, allowing him to shoot in a position where others couldn’t.

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A Guide to Putting Together Your First Lighting Kit

A Guide to Putting Together Your First Lighting Kit

When you are new to artificial lighting, the veritable plethora of terms, modifiers, prices, and more can be a bit overwhelming and paralyzing when you are attempting to put together your first kit. This helpful video will give you all the guidance you need to put together your first lighting kit and be up and shooting in no time.

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Canon C200 price drop

Canon has dropped the prices on their C200 and C200B digital cinema cameras by $1000 USD. Here are the new prices: Canon EOS C200 Cinema Camera (EF-Mount) $6499 USD Canon EOS C200B Cinema Camera with Accessory Kit (EF-Mount) $6499 USD Canon EOS C200B Cinema Camera (Body Only) (EF-Mount) $4999 USD Canon Cinema EOS C200 with … Continued

The post Canon C200 price drop appeared first on Newsshooter.

Firmware update for Panasonic S1/S1R improves image stabilization and AF performance

Panasonic is releasing a firmware update for its Lumix DC-S1 and S1R full-frame mirrorless cameras, which will be available on July 9th. The new firmware (version 1.1) addresses the following:

Improved image stabilization performance: Panasonic claims that with firmware v1.1, the in-body IS system will reduce shake by an additional 1/2-stop, for a total of 6 stops with non-stabilized lenses and 6.5 stops with Dual IS-compatible glass.

Improved AF performance: Panasonic claims that tracking performance live view display will be improved, and new AF-on options have been added.

  • Tracking performance during video recording has been improved
  • Live view display during autofocusing is now ‘easier to see’
  • A new AF-ON: Near Shift biases toward close subjects, while Far Shift does the opposite

Two smaller changes: An ‘activate’ option has been added to the S1, for entering the key for the optional DMW-SFU2 video feature update. ‘Operational stability’ when using XQD cards should also be improved on both the S1 and S1R.

The firmware will be available for download on Panasonic’s website on the 9th.


On the same day, firmware updates will be made available for six Micro Four Thirds cameras: the Lumix GH5, GH5S, G9, G90/G91/G95, G80/G81/G85 and GX9.

The new firmware addresses various things across those cameras, but the one thing they have in common is adding support for smooth aperture control during video capture when using the Panasonic Leica 10-25mm F1.7 lens. Users can also toggle the aperture ring between ‘smooth’ and 1/3EV. The minor camera-specific changes can be found in the press release below.

Press Release

Panasonic Releases Firmware Update Programs for the LUMIX S1R, S1, GH5, GH5S, G9, G90/G91/G95, G80/G81/G85 and GX9

Newark, NJ (July 1, 2019) – Panasonic has announced that the company will release the firmware update programs for the LUMIX Digital Single Lens Mirrorless cameras to enhance the functions and usability. All programs will be available at LUMIX Global Customer Support website https://av.jpn.support.panasonic.com/support/global/cs/dsc/ at UTC 1:00 on July 9, 2019.

The cameras and the programs to be updated are as follows:

Full-frame Mirrorless Camera

LUMIX S1R Firmware Version 1.1

1. Improved performance of the Body Image Stabilizer

  • The correction performance of the Body Image Stabilizer has been improved from a maximum of 5.5 stops to a maximum of 6.0 stops.*1
  • The correction performance of the Dual I.S.2 has been improved from 6.0 stops to 6.5 stops.*2

*1 Based on the CIPA standard [Yaw/Pitch direction: focusing distance f=50mm, when S-X50 is used.]

*2 Based on the CIPA standard [Yaw/Pitch direction: focusing distance f=105mm, when S-R24105 is used.]

Based on the CIPA standard [Yaw/Pitch direction: focusing distance f=200mm, when S-R70200 is used.]

2. Improved AF performance

  • [AF-ON: Near Shift] and [AF-ON: Far Shift] functions have been added. [AF-ON: Near Shift] preferably focuses on a subject nearby while [AF-ON: Far Shift] preferably focuses on a subject far away.
  • The tracking performance when using [Tracking] AF mode in video recording has been improved.
  • Live view display during auto focusing is now easier to see.

3. Improved operational stability

  • Operational stability when using an XQD memory card has been improved.

LUMIX S1 Firmware Version 1.1

1. Improved performance of the Body Image Stabilizer

  • The correction performance of the Body Image Stabilizer has been improved from a maximum of 5.5 stops to a maximum of 6.0 stops.*1
  • The correction performance of the Dual I.S.2 has been improved from 6.0 stops to 6.5 stops.*2

*1 Based on the CIPA standard [Yaw/Pitch direction: focusing distance f=50mm, when S-X50 is used.]

*2 Based on the CIPA standard [Yaw/Pitch direction: focusing distance f=105mm, when S-R24105 is used.]

Based on the CIPA standard [Yaw/Pitch direction: focusing distance f=200mm, when S-R70200 is used.]

2. Improved AF performance

  • [AF-ON: Near Shift] and [AF-ON: Far Shift] functions have been added. [AF-ON: Near Shift] preferably focuses on a subject nearby while [AF-ON: Far Shift] preferably focuses on a subject far away.
  • The tracking performance when using [Tracking] AF mode in video recording has been improved.
  • Live view display during auto focusing is now easier to see.

3. Function Enhancement with Upgrade Software Key DMW-SFU2

An [Activate] function has been added which enables the use of extended functions using the Upgrade Software Key DMW-SFU2. The following functions will be added by activating the Upgrade Software Key.

  • The video recording modes [MOV]

4K

60p/50p*

4:2:0

8bit

LongGOP

150Mbps

LPCM

30p/25p*

4:2:2

10bit

LongGOP

150Mbps

LPCM

24p

4:2:2

10bit

LongGOP

100Mbps

LPCM

FHD

60p/50p*

4:2:2

10bit

LongGOP

100Mbps

LPCM

30p/25p*

4:2:2

10bit

LongGOP

100Mbps

LPCM

* PAL area only.

・HDMI 4K60p/50p* 4:2:2 10bit output

* PAL area only.

・V-Log will be added in Photo Style.

・The [V-Log View Assist] function will be added, which enables viewing the V-Log file with LUT(Look Up Table) when recording video in V-Log.

・The [Read LUT File] function will be added, which allows users to install and apply their favorite LUT.

・A WFM (Waveform Monitor) display function.

・A [Luminance Level] adjustment function that complies with 10-bit.

・An [XLR Mic Adaptor Setting] function that enables high-res sound recording using the XLR Microphone Adapter DMW-XLR1 (sold separately).*

* MOV only

4. Improved operational stability

  • Operational stability when using an XQD memory card has been improved.

Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless Cameras

GH5 Firmware Version 2.5

1. Improved compatibility with the Panasonic LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 ASPH. (H-X1025) digital interchangeable lens.

  • Smooth aperture control is available during video recording.
  • [Aperture Ring Increment] has been added with which users can choose the control method of the aperture ring from [SMOOTH] or [1/3EV] in photo shooting.

2. Improved compatibility with the Panasonic Remote Shutter DMW-RS2.

  • The video REC switch on the Remote Shutter can be disabled in the camera’s custom menu.

GH5S Firmware Version 1.3

1. Improved compatibility with the Panasonic LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 ASPH. (H-X1025) digital interchangeable lens.

  • Smooth aperture control is available during video recording.
  • [Aperture Ring Increment] has been added with which users can choose the control method of the aperture ring from [SMOOTH] or [1/3EV] in photo shooting.

2. Improved compatibility with the Panasonic Remote Shutter DMW-RS2.

  • The video REC switch on the Remote Shutter can be disabled in the camera’s custom menu.

G9 Firmware Version 1.3

1. Improved compatibility with the Panasonic LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 ASPH. (H-X1025) digital interchangeable lens.

  • Smooth aperture control is available during video recording.
  • [Aperture Ring Increment] has been added with which users can choose the control method of the aperture ring from [SMOOTH] or [1/3EV] in photo shooting.

2. Improved compatibility with the Panasonic Remote Shutter DMW-RS2.

  • The video REC switch on the Remote Shutter can be disabled in the camera’s custom menu.

G90/G91/G95 Firmware Version 1.3

1. Improved compatibility with the Panasonic LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 ASPH. (H-X1025) digital interchangeable lens.

  • Smooth aperture control is available during video recording.
  • [Aperture Ring Increment] has been added with which users can choose the control method of the aperture ring from [SMOOTH] or [1/3EV] in photo shooting.

2. Improved compatibility with the Panasonic Battery Grip DMW-BGG1.

  • The Fn button on the Battery Grip can be customized in the camera’s custom menu.

G80/G81/G85 Firmware Version 1.3

1. Improved compatibility with the Panasonic LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 ASPH. (H-X1025) digital interchangeable lens.

  • Smooth aperture control is available during video recording.
  • [Aperture Ring Increment] has been added with which users can choose the control method of the aperture ring from [SMOOTH] or [1/3EV] in photo shooting.

2. Improved compatibility with the Panasonic Remote Shutter DMW-RS2.

  • The video REC switch on the Remote Shutter can be disabled in the camera’s custom menu.

GX9 Firmware Version 1.3

Improved compatibility with the Panasonic LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 ASPH. (H-X1025) digital interchangeable lens.

  • Smooth aperture control is available during video recording.
  • [Aperture Ring Increment] has been added with which users can choose the control method of the aperture ring from [SMOOTH] or [1/3EV] in photo shooting.

Five Amazing Filmmaking Items You Can Buy for $60 or Less

Five Amazing Filmmaking Items You Can Buy for $60 or Less

With photography and videographing trying to assault your bank account at every turn, it’s nice to know there are some brilliant purchases you can make without the pain of the financial hit!

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Review: RØDE Procaster dynamic cardioid studio microphone with WS2

This is my review of the US$229 RØDE Procaster dynamic cardioid studio microphone, which RØDE sent to me together with the RØDECaster Pro. Because there has been so much to cover with the multifaceted RØDECaster Pro mixer/recorder (as indicated in my prior articles), I am only now getting to reviewing the Procaster microphone itself with the WS2 windscreen. However, all of the in-studio recordings I have made for the past few episodes of my BeyondPodcasting and CapicúaFM shows have been done with the Procaster for my voice (not for the remote guests). Ahead you’ll find more information, photos, comments and a recording.

About the WS2 windscreen and why I used it

The RØDE Procaster microphone (AmazonB&H) is best used with a WS2 windscreen (shown above) to avoid plosives (i.e. pops). I base this assertion based upon other Procaster reviews I have heard, and my initial use of the Procaster in BeyondPodcasting episode 12. That day, I was very anxious to record the first coverage about the RØDECaster Pro together with Memo Sauceda and Rafael Pereira, so I recorded that particular episode with the Procaster microphone without the WS2 (which hadn’t arrived yet). I was as careful as possible to address the Procaster at a 45-degree angle, but still got some plosives which I later reduced using RX 6 software.

The only exception I have ever discovered to this rule was the legendary Australian radio presenter, television personality, disc jockey and voice-over artist Ken Sparkes (1940-2016, may he rest in peace). In the above video, he managed to do what no one else I know has been able (make a popless recording from the naked Procaster), including all of the countless Procaster reviews I have watched and heard in two different languages so far.

It’s always best to prevent plosives before they even hit the microphone, both to save time in post and to cover situations when need you to broadcast live on online radio, online TV, Hangouts, Skype, Zoom or a webinar.

I also find the Procaster “dressed” with the WS2 (shown above) to be as visually pleasing as a US$399 Shure SM7B with one of its two included windscreens (shown below, AmazonB&H), at a fraction of the price.

Above, the Shure SM7B with its thicker windscreen installed.

The RØDE Procaster currently costs US$229 (AmazonB&H) + ≈US$20 for the WS2 windscreen = US$249 total.

I know that some people would prefer to use a dedicated pop filter instead of the WS2 windscreen, which also prevents pops. If that is what you prefer, the best one I’m aware of for the Procaster is the BSW RE320POP (currently US$59 from BSW).

The BSW RE320POP costs almost 3 times the price of the WS2. Both the RE320POP and the RØDE WS2 prevent pops very well. I say that based upon personal experience with the WS2 and reviews I have heard with the RE320POP. Why do I call the RE320POP the “best” among dedicated pop filters for the Procaster microphone? Because among dedicated pop filters, I strongly prefer the type like the BSW RE320POP (or like the one RØDE provides that attaches onto the NT1 or on the NT-USB) which are in a fixed position. I dislike the ones that use a gooseneck which (in my experience) tend to slip away from the desired position after a very short time, causing either stress for the operator (to readjust it constantly) or lack of effectiveness. Those pop filters that use a gooseneck also have a tendency to block the face of the person speaking and prevent her/him from seeing an interviewee clearly. I recognize that there may be a very slight loss of high frequencies with some windscreens, but if there is, I can’t really hear the difference and all of the issues covered above issues are infinitely much more important to me.

Practical observations with the Procaster microphone

Output level:

Do to the Procaster’s relatively low output level (-56 dB at 1 kHz), which is typical with most dynamic microphones, you may need a pre-preamplifier like the Simply Sound SS-1 (illustrated above, reviewed here), CloudLifter or FetHead, depending upon the quality and strength of your connected preamp. Fortunately, I find that is not necessary with the preamps in the RØDECaster Pro mixer/recorder (covered in several articles, B&H).

Excellent side rejection:

Several sources, including our friend Ray Ortega, have stated that the RØDE Procaster mic is better at side rejection than the Shure SM7B (even though the both are rated as having a standard cardioid pickup pattern). Notwithstanding, Ray prefers the SM7B for other reasons, as he states in this episode of his Podcasters’ Studio and its episode notes. While we’re comparing these two microphones, I will mention that the dynamic Shure SM7B is rated as having an output level of -59 db, with is 3dB lower than the RØDE Procaster. The SM7B is also a favorite of our friend Bandrew of Podcastage, our friend Rob Greenlee (now of Libsyn) and The Jimmy Dore Show (comedy and political commentary). Fortunately, there is no problem combining an SM7B with a Procaster in a single conversation, as Rob Greenlee and I proved in the recent BeyondPodcasting episode 13, when Rob was still working for VoxNext/Spreaker. The Procaster is made in Australia. The SM7B is now made in México, and I have never tried one to date. I was born in the US, but —so far— have made more audio recordings in Castilian than in English.

Weight:

The RØDE Procaster is quite heavy at 745 grams (1.64 pounds), so if you want to use it with a flexible boom as I do, you must be sure that it can handle that much weight. Fortunately, the Heil PL2T boom (AmazonB&H) I use handles it fine, since it’s rated to support mics weighing up to 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds).

Do you need a shockmount with the Procaster?
I received the Procaster with its standard clip, which is working fine. Fortunately, I have not had any issues with shock or the need for the optional shockmount. However, if you live where there are frequent tremors or you tend to bang the table excessively, RØDE offers the optional PSM1 shockmount (B&H).

The Procaster sound


Above is my test recording of the Procaster, in addition to the past few episodes of CapicúaFM and BeyondPodcasting, which you’ll find at the end of this article. This is a 48 kHz WAV file, so listen using unmetered bandwidth to save money. Starting at 1:29, I disabled the RØDECaster Pro’s gate, low cut (high pass) filter and noise gate, so you can hear how the microphone sounds by itself.

Even though the reverb is fortunately very low when using the Procaster in my untreated room, below is the same recording after being processed with a mild treatment with the CrumplePop EchoRemover plugin I recently reviewed.

Conclusions

In its price range, I am extremely happy with the sound and build quality of the RØDE Procaster microphone (AmazonB&H) together with the WS2. I also love how it looks physically for a radio/TV studio environment. It should be on your short list if you are looking for high-end dynamic vocal microphones and want the best bang for the buck.

(Re-)Subscribe for upcoming articles, reviews, radio shows, books and seminars/webinars

Stand by for upcoming articles, reviews, and books. Sign up to my free mailing list by clicking here. If you previously subscribed to my bulletins and no longer receive them, you must re-subscribe due to new compliance to GDPR. Most of my current books are at books.AllanTepper.com, and my personal website is AllanTepper.com. Also visit radio.AllanTepper.com.

Si deseas suscribirte (o volver a suscribirte) a mi lista en castellano, visita aquí. Si prefieres, puedes suscribirte a ambas listas (castellano e inglés).

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FTC disclosure

No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units, including RØDE. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur , BeyondPodcasting CapicúaFM or TuRadioGlobalprograms, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own. Allan Tépper is not liable for misuse or misunderstanding of information he shares.

Copyright and use of this article

The articles contained in the TecnoTur channel in ProVideo Coalitionmagazine are copyright Allan Tépper/TecnoTur LLC, except where otherwise attributed. Unauthorized use is prohibited without prior approval, except for short quotes which link back to this page, which are encouraged!

The post Review: RØDE Procaster dynamic cardioid studio microphone with WS2 appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

If You Want to Take Your Photography Full-Time, You Need to Aim for the Tipping Point

If You Want to Take Your Photography Full-Time, You Need to Aim for the Tipping Point

There is often a lot of talk of “taking the leap” to full-time photography. It might be a cliché, but it does feel as if you have to throw yourself into the partially unknown to have any chance. But whether you’re winding up to jump, or you’ve landed on the other side and are wondering what’s next, you can benefit from the Tipping Point.

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The Importance of Patience and Curiosity as a Photographer

The Importance of Patience and Curiosity as a Photographer

We live in a culture where we expect instant results and gratification, and sometimes, that attitude can transfer to our photography workflow. That’s not always a good thing, though. This great video discusses the importance of patience and curiosity as a photographer and how it can improve your images.

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Helpful Tips for Landscape Photography at Longer Focal Lengths

Helpful Tips for Landscape Photography at Longer Focal Lengths

When you think of landscape photography, you probably think of wide angle lenses for the majority of shots, but there’s more to life than just shorter focal lengths. This helpful video will give you some great tips for creating landscape images with longer focal length lenses.

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Alternative Processing Film: A Third Approach

Alternative Processing Film: A Third Approach

In part of three of making prints of my shoot with Cognito, I made a kallitype from a film scan. A kallitype is an iron-based contact printing solution that yields a wonderful tonality that, in my opinion, can only be found in analogue printing. Here’s a quick overview of the process and some thoughts on why you should venture out and try something different!

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Capture One Tips: Three Beginner Tips for a Faster and More Efficient Workflow

Capture One Tips: Three Beginner Tips for a Faster and More Efficient Workflow

Capture One is one of those programs that, once learned, is hard to do without, but due to the common experience of learning post-processing software within an Adobe ecosystem, anything different like Capture One can appear less intuitive or more challenging, even if it isn’t.

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Pulitzer-Winning Photographer Discusses Capturing Tragedy

Pulitzer-Winning Photographer Discusses Capturing Tragedy

There’s no doubt that photojournalism is an incredibly difficult profession full of a range of challenges for the photographer. This excellent and fascinating video sits down with a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist as he discusses how he captures tragedy in a respectful yet powerful way.

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Uwe Moebus of Hasselblad – “We have learnt that we should launch products when they are fully developed”

Uwe Moebus, Hasselblad’s head of sales for Europe and MD of Germany. Photograph by Damien Demolder.

It has been interesting watching Hasselblad’s fortunes over the last couple of decades. When I began writing about cameras the V system wasn’t called the V system, and the company’s medium format film bodies were very popular with high-end amateurs as well as with professional photographers. I suspect that even in those days it was amateurs that contributed the majority of Hasselblad’s income, and the company was revered for quality, craftsmanship and very high standards. It seems Hasselblad is aiming to recapture that valuable amateur market once again and the X1D II 50C is the camera the company hopes will bring droves of non-professionals back to its door. The company’s product catalogue has been dominated by very high priced digital medium format models for quite a period of time, which has kept the majority of non-professionals away.

During the launch event for the X1D II 50C in London I got to speak to Hasselblad’s head of sales for Europe and MD of Germany, Uwe Moebus, to ask him how this relatively low-cost model came about and to find out what Hasselblad aims to achieve in the future.

‘We have learnt that we should launch products when they are ready and fully developed’

I asked Moebus what the company has learnt since the launch of the original X1D, and how that learning has been implemented in this new model and the way the company operates. ‘We have learnt that we should launch products when they are ready and fully developed for the market. We have also learnt a lot from our customers over last three years about what should be improved and we tried to bring this into the new camera.

Start-up time was an issue from the beginning – this is improved now – frame rate needed to be improved – everybody wants faster frame rates, though this is difficult with medium format because of the amount of data – and some people weren’t happy with the previous viewfinder. These things were okay in the first camera, but now they are much better and enhanced in this mark II version.’

Attracting amateurs again

We chat about how it had been some time since Hasselblad had dealt with the amateur market when the X1D came out and how things had changed since the days the film bodies were at their height. ‘Everybody thinks that the V system Hasselblad were only for professionals. The camera was about £5000 at the time, and actually almost two thirds of users were amateurs. So, working in this market is not so new to us. But in between, when medium format went digital, things became so much more sophisticated, complicated and expensive that our whole market turned around to the point that over 90% was professional. The number of cameras we made dropped a lot and the price went up a lot – and we had a much smaller customer base.’

‘There are fewer professional photographers and it is getting harder for professionals to make money’

‘Now though we will be turning that situation back again. There are fewer professional photographers and it is getting harder and harder for professionals to make decent money. So Hasselblad needed to look to the future and ask if those customers would continue to use expensive medium format cameras, or would they look at full frame cameras? We decided that ‘no’ many wouldn’t continue to spend on high priced medium format systems and that we needed to take a different route. We will continue to develop our H system, which is very high-end and for pros, but the new X1D will open a new market for us. Maybe we can go back to [how things were in] the 80s and have a lot of amateur customers.’

‘The purpose of this new model and its lower price is to broaden our market, to put the company on solid ground. We can do this by having more products: this X series, the H series, having a new V series with the CFV attached and the new 907X – this will allow us to develop our position in the market. Looking back ten years we only had the H system. Now though we can attract a new customer group. £5500 is still a lot of money but it is a lot less than these cameras used to be, and you can have a camera and a lens for below £10,000. This is a much bigger market for us.’

New electronics

The main changes in the new body are centered around performance and speed of operation, all of which have been achieved using a new faster processor and a whole new electronics system. Moebus wouldn’t say exactly how much faster the new processor is, but it has cut start-up time almost in half, has produced reduced shutter lag and black-out time between frames. It can also run the 60fps EVF while also adding 30% to the maximum frame rate – though 2fps to 2.7fps doesn’t sound all that impressive until you think of the data that is being moved. To cope with this new processor the camera has had a complete electronic make-over inside with an entirely redesigned system.

The new processor also helps the auto focus run more quickly, speeding up acquisition and tracking. Moebus said the system only has to read the area of the sensor beneath the AF points rather than reading from the whole sensor, so it is efficient and operates quickly.

‘We have further optimized the power management and the heat management systems’

‘New firmware also helps to run the camera more efficiently’, says Moebus, ‘and new systems are used to deal with the heat. We fixed the firmware in the original X1D to change the way the camera was always running all its systems all of the time, so that then only systems that were needed would be on while they were in use. The same is true in the X1D II but we have further optimized the power management and the heat management systems to make the camera work even better.’

The body is almost exactly the same on the outside other than the slightly remoulded grip and the much bigger rear screen, and it uses the same materials in its construction.

Evolution, but the same camera

I asked Moebus why this model is called a mark II and not X2D, for example. ‘There is more to come’ he joked. ‘This is an evolution of the original camera. There are some significant changes but it still looks like an X1D. It is not a completely new camera, which is why it has the same name.’ He wouldn’t be drawn on what would have to change to make it a revolution and thus completely new camera, rather than an evolution. I tried!

Hasselblad was never tempted to use a higher resolution sensor in this model, according to Moebus. ‘This camera was designed to have a 50MP sensor, and we were clear on this from the start. The X1D is a portable tool that captures high end images while maintaining is size and low weight to make it the most compact medium format camera on the market. The sensor we have used in the X1D II 50C is exactly the same one as is used in the original model.’

I was surprised at first that Hasselblad has placed so much emphasis on being able to record JPEG images – and that were was so much demand for more JPEG options. Moebus tells me that many Hasselblad users want to be able to shoot JPEGs and not have to spend time processing them afterwards. ‘Most professionals need raw data of course, but there is a market that requires JPEG only, so we have included the ability to shoot one file type or the other, or both at the same time. With the more accessible price of the camera we expect more amateurs to use it, and some of them just want to produce wonderful images straight from the camera. The X1D II 50C immediately delivers very nice JPEGs.’

I suppose that Fujifilm has also gone to some lengths to cater for the JPEG market in its medium format bodies, but it does too in the X series models. I was just curious that anyone would pay for a Hasselblad X1D and lenses and then record JPEGs, but having just seen the photo staff from luxury department store Harrods at the press briefing it clicked for me that I might not be their typical customer. Like Leica, Hasselblad has many wealthy fans who want a nice looking camera for their holiday snaps. Nothing wrong with that I suppose.

Cost reduction

Even though the X1D II 50C costs a good deal more than the average amateur camera, its price is significantly lower than the launch price of Mk I version – and the price of the Mk I version the day before the Mk II was announced. So, how was this price arrived at?

‘We have optimized production processes and our supply chain’ explains Moebus. ‘When we began making the X1D we were buying in lower quantities, but now we are buying more and in bulk. Buying more brings the unit cost down, so now we can make an even better camera for a lower price. These changes have not come about suddenly because the Mk II is an easier camera to make, but as a progressive journey since the beginning of the X1D.’

‘The whole organization has had to migrate to a situation where we are making many more products’

Hasselblad was caught out by the demand for the X1D and really struggled at first to produce enough units to meet its orders. Since then though the company has boosted its production line, its manufacturing processes and assembly to deal with much larger volumes than it had expected. ‘This hasn’t happened in a split second’ says Moebus ‘but the whole organization has had to migrate to a situation where we are making many more products. We had to do this without dropping quality as that would undermine the company and the brand. At Hasselblad image quality is everything. Everyone wants a fantastic picture. If you sacrifice this you aren’t going the right way. It was a stretch, but now we can make better cameras at a lower price.’

‘We are now in a position to be able to meet demand for the X1D II 50C. We are assuming it will be a popular camera, because of the features and the price, so we are prepared. We employed more people to meet demand for the Mk I so we are already in a good position. We will also be able to make the 907X and CFV II 50C on the same premises and cope with demand when the time comes. We are used to making digital backs, as we have been doing so since the merger with Imacon and also for the H system. The CFV II isn’t a new challenge for us to make, so we will be able to cope. The 907X is a nice slim camera with some mechanics and electronic connectors. We will be able to make an appropriate amount to feed the market. That shouldn’t be too complicated.’

Moebus isn’t prepared to discuss the price of the CFV II 50C or the 907X unfortunately, and argues that the original CFV wasn’t expensive – it was $15,000! We might hope though that with efficiencies in production and supply chain the cost of the CFV II 50C might synchronize with the drop we’ve seen in the X1D II 50C.

Moebus points out that the 907X camera and the CFV II 50C will have a whole system waiting for them once they are launched. ‘Often manufacturers have only a few lenses when a new camera system is introduced but the 907X already has nine native X lenses, and will also be able to work with H, V and XPan lenses – we have a complete line-up.’

Half an eye on the competition

We’d already discussed how Hasselblad reduced costs in the making of the X1D II 50C, but I wanted to know if the camera’s new lower price was a response to Fujifilm’s activities with its GFX series. ‘We are both in the medium format mirrorless market, so of course we look at what other people are doing in the same field. Primarily though we are looking at ourselves and thinking about what we need to bring to the market. We aren’t interested in copying and we don’t strive to make cameras that match others. That’s why the X1D is the way it is. The current price of the X1D II 50C reflects that we wanted to make the camera accessible to a larger audience, not because of Fujifilm’s pricing.’

‘We will listen to our current customers’

Hasselblad has been quite good at offering trade-in programs to encourage its H system users to move up the ladder to the newest equipment, but Moebus says there are no similar programs in place for the X series. But, he says ‘We will listen to our current customers’ meaning perhaps that if there is enough demand the company might consider it. The issue for some is that the new body costs less than the original did the day before the launch of the upgrade, so if you’d bought the original model the week before you might feel a bit annoyed. Moebus said the company was aware that this might be an issue, but that the most important thing was to make the new model accessible.

The best lens ever

After speaking to Moebus I was able to chat to other technical staff about the new 35-75mm F3.5-4.5 zoom lens. Hasselblad claims it is the best lens the company has ever made, so I asked what it was in particular that made it so. The answer it seems is MTF. Charts were produced that show the lens to perform to the sort of standard you’d expect from a prime lens – and much better in many cases.

Comparing the MTF at various focal lengths with the prime versions the company makes it is clear to see, in theory at least, that the 35-75mm will provide a prime-lens experience for those who don’t need super-wide maximum apertures. Even at the long end though the maximum F4.5 aperture is comparable to moderate telephoto lenses from past medium format systems – though with the X1D’s smaller sensor the ability to achieve differential focus will be a little more limited.

On its own the lens seems very expensive, but taken in the context that it really could replace three or four prime lenses it might begin to sound like a very good deal. In full frame terms the angles of view offered by the zoom are those we’d expect from a 28-60mm, so it encompasses 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 60mm lenses. Our only quality measure at the moment is just the manufacturer-provided MTF of course. How that and the other characteristics will translate into real life image quality we will have to wait and see.

Forward to go backwards

This clutch of product announcements from Hasselblad creates a very positive air around the company and its future. Even with the original X1D the company seemed in a much more precarious position as the shock at the size of the order book generated so many issues of its own. But the company survived that and has grown, and now seems on a much better footing – production is sorted out, buying can be done in more efficient volumes and Hasselblad is geared up for meeting its new enlarged market with popular products that more people can enjoy. Are the good old days back I wonder? Perhaps not just quite, but things are looking rosy for the future.

Three Common Photography and Videography Business Mistakes

Three Common Photography and Videography Business Mistakes

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10 Great Movies That Are Difficult To Follow

Cloud Atlas

Many films are difficult to understand or require analysis on their themes, intentions, and overall meaning. We are constantly figuring out the director’s point of view or their drive behind making the film. However, some films are just difficult to follow. We can get lost in the narrative, the rhythm or pacing of the film, or simply lose the logic in following the story.

There is a clear distinction between not following the film and not understanding it. In this list, films dive into surrealism, highly original terms, and experimental context that are difficult to follow. Therefore, here are 10 great films in that realm.

 

1. Mr. Arkadin (1953) – Orson Welles

Mr. Arkadin (1955)

A film that was so notoriously made through several backers and cutters that no one really knows what version Welles himself intended. There’s the European cut, the Corinth version, the retitled Confidential Report, and so on. All of this strongly blended reality and fiction behind the camera and in front as a reporter is hired to discover the past of Gregory Arkadin, played by Welles himself.

The film begins in Wellesian fashion with stark black-and-white imagery with a mood being established that is shrouded in mystery and tragedy.  As the opening sequence ends, we are almost as lost as Arkadin himself as he claims he doesn’t know his past or Robert Arden’s Stratten, who is hired to investigate. From that point on, we dive into flashbacks that may or may not have taken place. Then we jump forward in time to present day – or did we actually go deeper into the past?

With many versions, it’s still difficult to follow what was actually going on. On the contrary, it’s hard to not enjoy Welles having fun with his character and narrative, the Spanish setting, and Dutch angles on Welles’ expanding face.

Each frame is a visual treat and since the sound quality wasn’t the greatest, we rely on that. Therefore, when Welles self-exiled and became a truly independent filmmaker, he had to get inventive to maintain our attention. He did so by constantly throwing us in a loop that we still try to follow from beginning to end. But it’s still an enjoyable puzzle.

 

2. Upstream Color (2013) – Shane Carruth

Upstream-Color-628x348-628x348

It’s not a surprise that second feature from Carruth after his success of “Primer” can be a little hard to follow. So much is happening at once that this film requires several viewings. Yes, the interpretations and meanings behind it are always in discussion, but simply trying to follow Carruth’s vision can be overwhelming.

From the opening scenes to the end, there are an average of 15 cuts per minute, so our mind, eyes, and attention are constantly getting refocused. The sound design, score, and cinematography add to the complexities of the narrative and what is actually going on with the characters.

We ask ourselves, who are these people? What’s with the bug? What’s with the pigs and the farmer who transiently appears all over? What’s with the flowers? With Walden? The overlapping memories? Many of these questions are more present with subsequent viewings.

Carruth doesn’t let the audience rest for a second, but not for us to allow for interpretation or wonder where the story will be going. We get this elliptical information thrown at us and we simply must keep up. Quite a lot occurs in nature, human life, and scale in this 94-minute film. It is essential to watch it several times to figure out what’s going on, and you will still wonder about and discover new things.

 

3. Kaos (1984) – Paolo and Vittorio Taviani

Literally translating into ‘chaos’ from the Taviani brothers but in their subtle, nuanced ways. They know how to capture the chaos and anarchy in a beautiful way that creeps into you long after the credits have rolled.

The film is broken into five independent stories surrounding the coast of Sicily: a mother favoring her two long-gone children over her present one; a wife replacing her missing husband every night; a man fixing an olive oil jar; farmers trying to bury one of their own; and an epilogue.

These five stories play out with minimum dialogue, wide lush cinematography, and a mise-en-scene where nothing goes to waste in the pure Italian landscape and cityscape. The film can be seen as more of a meditation, because we are following many characters and stories thus it is hard to connect the dots.

The Taviana brothers simply drop us into the lives of these people with no explanation. We are forced to determine where they are, where they have been, and where they are going. Why? Because their sense of framing and storytelling doesn’t draw a punch and must demand our attention.

If not, yes, you will enjoy beautiful photography and a classical score, but without knowing the characters’ intentions, what’s the point? Thus, a beautiful film, but it needs to be seen more than once to truly know what’s going on.

 

4. Japon (2002) – Carlos Reygadas

Almost any film from Reygadas could be on this list, but it’s his directorial debut that is the hardest to follow. Maybe it’s because he was forming his craft and attention in how to tell the story of his obsessions through cinema.

A man goes through a crisis and decides to end his own life in the county, away from his city. Once there, he experiences love with an elderly woman. It sounds straightforward, but what plays out is a metaphysical exploration of what is occurring in one’s man consciousness in his final days. Through beautiful 16mm footage with the accompaniment of Bach’s music, we are transported between lyrical poetry and the stark reality of this man.

But when it comes to love, one can get confused. He falls in love with an elderly woman and we receive no explanation amidst the visual poetry. What happened? Where did his thirst for life come from? Reygadas challenges us to follow scenes that shocked audiences with nudity and even animals having sex.

The film was a starting point for Reygadas’ confusing narratives, but it’s “Japon” that demands our attention so we can truly know what occurs before our eyes.

 

5. Performance (1970) – Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg

Performance (1970)

Acting as co-directors with Cammell writing the script and Roeg behind the camera, we get a dual threat, much like James Fox and Mick Jagger in the film. What begins as a straightforward East London low-level criminality with a distinct style soon goes off the rails in the second act of the film. We are thrust into an apartment in a surrealist yet grounded film of transition in 1970.

Jagger is introduced and Fox seems to take a switch in persona. We really don’t know what occurs between the characters, regarding who is pretending to be whom, the menage a trois, and the inner psychosis of the two men. To add to the narrative, the elliptical, almost dreamlike jump cutting of the film with claustrophobic framing builds constant tension and confusion. Eventually the story of Fox in the beginning begins to emerge with Jagger’s character, even with him performing songs from The Rolling Stones.

We must be along for the ride in this film as Roeg discovers his cinematic style, Jagger discovers himself as an actor, the performances of the film discover themselves, and we discover what is actually happening.