The Gimbal Game – Smooth As Silk

It’s always been time for smoother, tracking shots. Handheld with image stabilization is cool, although not for most things.
I have been on the hunt for a right solution for a one-man operation for years.

I’ve bought them, and sold them.

Back when I started Photoinduced in 2005, it was a Steadicam as first choice. Incredibly expensive. Then GlideCam came out with an alternative, with vest. Only about $1800. The HD cameras were big and heavy so you needed a bigger rig. Then the Steadicam JR for smaller vid cameras. Glidecam also has the smaller, non vest version as well, which is big, and a huge pain to balance. For me, anyway.

Slowly the market came around to the advance of smaller 4K cameras, with high end pro capabilities.
Balancing nightmares, to forearm strength gaining, to back issues.
Gimbals were coming, but not all the way there. Worked great with my GoPro, but a real camera?
Finally, we are now in a place where you can get that smooth tracking shot you want! The combinations of the 3 axis gimbal, and 4K camera combo has advanced to a place where that smooth move can be achieved with much less aggravation.
Now, to be sure, using that tool for a shot has to be dealt with judiciously. Like a drone shot, you need to use sparingly. Unless you are doing a Blair Witch reboot.
Before I jumped into any system now, I do a ton of research, and hands on checking.
The current viable tools for me to consider were the DJI Ronin-S, just released, and the Zhiyun Crane 2.
Similar on payloads (7-8 lbs), features, both limited on camera systems to take full advantage of features, tripod base to ease balancing, well built, solid units.

After all of the vids, posts, and discussions I went with the Zhiyun Crane 2 (please note, before you buy, new news at the end of this post)
product shot”

my rig ( Fuji X-H1, 18-55 zoom lens, Dual Mini Grip, Atomos Blade):

.
Simplest reasons? Weight (lighter than the DJI by more than 1 lb.), focus motor to uses all lenses, and thinner grip.
Cost was comparable, Zhiyun a little less expensive.
When you figure out how much time and how nimble you want to be while operating, weight is huge.
2.76 LB for Crane 2, 4.1 LBs for Ronin-S. % wise, that is a big diff.
Also it uses a Manfrotto quick release base plate, which moves it into my gear eco system perfectly. Go from gimbal to tripod easily.
There is a follow focus motor that allows me to not only do follow focus, but rack the zoom, without rebalancing!

This was a $130 add-on, now included. They had to include, so non-Canon cameras could be used for follow focus or zoom.
Not there on the Ronin.
Now, the Ronin-S has moved the roll motor so it sits below the LCD, so you get a clear view. Nice touch. Although I use a side monitor.

For right now, the Zhiyun Crane 2 is the clear winner for me. I did add a grip handle for some more balance, and adding a monitor/mic.
Actually, re-purposed an older Atomos monitor that was sitting in its case and it has been a huge help.
My current video cameras of choice are the Fuji X-H1, and a Canon video camera, XF-15.
When the Nikon Z7 comes in for full review, I’ll be using the Crane 2 for that cameras video.

And the cost.
Figure that either of the gimbals mentioned will be about $650-$700.
The truth for me is a piece of gear that you will use.
The Zhiyun case is good, although not a hard enough case. That will be changed to something like a Pelican or a ThinkTank Video case
The DJI has their signature dense foam, which is good for packing , but not for real world use.

*OK, here is the new news: Zhiyun is introducing a few new gimbals in the coming weeks!

New form factor, follow focus built-in, and a bunch more.
No details on avail or cost.
Sooooooo… if you are not in a hurry, you can wait. Although, the Crane 2 is a solid choice and prices will come down. And it’s here now!

Yes, I did buy this crane. When I spend my dough, I want to make sure it’s the right thing. Your mileage may vary.

Fuji X-T3 – Follow Up To A Leader

The summer is over, and the new products are coming on strong!

Today, Fujifilm announced their latest addition to the line-up, the X-T3.

full disclosure I am in the FujiFilm system and have been with them since the 100T, XT-1, X-T2, and X-H1.
Lotta love for this system.



Is this new body a revelation? Nope.
Is it better than the X-T2? slightly. 26mp vs 24 mp. Yes, a new gen sensor.
Is it better that the X-H1? not in my opinion. Smaller, yes.
If you want IBIS and a better video option, stick with the X-H1. (just wish X-H1 had a headphone jack without adding the grip! OK, the added batteries help with video)
It does have mic AND headphone jacks on board
If you have not been in the Fuji system and have been considering joining , this is a perfect way to jump in.

Here is a full comparative chart of X-T3, X-T2, and X-H1

One thing you may want to do with this, or any new system, is to rent before buying. I always feel that it is a commitment, especially if you are investing in new glass.
This is where companies like Nikon, and now Canon had some right thinking: make an adaptor so that the shooter can use the lenses they already own.
Honestly, if I’m shooting video with a mirrorless, the X-H1 has been doing great. About to review the Zhiyun Crane 2 using it.
If I know I’m shooting stills only, street probably, the X-T2 is the current body of choice.
Will I buy the X-T3? probably not.
BUT….
I have had a great experience with the FujiFilm line-up, and would recco putting one in your hands to see if it feels right to you.
Should be less that $1600. Avail for pre-order now.

Much more coming! new bags, Smartphone camera tools, cameras, video tools!
Oh, and some major photo exhibits!

Remember-yes, we discuss tools, and we also want to make sure we are all aware of the images we make.

Canon Reveals Their Mirrorless System!


With about a week between them, Canon and Nikon are back in the race.
Or has Sony already won?
It’s Canon’s turn now with the EOS R mirrorless.
So what’s different? Continue Reading »

Nikon Z7 : Straight Outta Camera

here are some images taken right from the card, no post work, no cropping. Yes, converted to jpg for posting.
Please Note: all images were captured on a pre-production model.
Did not have much time to learn and customize the camera, so these are pretty raw. This first one has the top people of Nikon and one of the ambassadors.

On Left: Bo Kajiwara, President & Chief Executive Officer, Nikon Inc.
In Middle: Masashi Oka, Representative Director, Senior Executive Vice President & CFO, Nikon Corporation
On Right: Sandro Miller, Nikon US Ambassador, Master of the art
Nikon Z7 ISO:8000, 1/200sec @ f/4.5, 35mm


Linsey Addario, photojournalist, Nikon Ambassador
Nikon Z7 ISO:8000, 1/200sec @ f/4.5, 35mm


Cocktail Bartender
Nikon Z7 ISO:1000, 1/500sec @ f/4.5, 35mm


I did do some video shooting with a music video ambassador as the guide, but will need to shoot my own for a true look.
His workflow settings were damn good, and you need to make sure you have the once you are comfortable with.


Nikon Z7 ISO: 500, 1/500th sec, F/7.1, 500mm lens

Nikon Mirrorless – They’re Real, And They’re Spectacular!





It’s true.
After a loong time of teasing, Nikon has entered the mirrorless market with not one, but 2 models. Full Frame!
45.7 MP and 24.5 MP (above photos are all Z7 model)
Before getting into some of the specs, let’s talk about some of the Nikon legacy that you need to know with these cameras:
Your DSLR batteries will work! Not sure yet about the battery life, as most mirrorless cams use more juice (EVF and whatnot)
look like a familiar shape?
There is an adaptor, available timing as the Z7 model, so you can use your F-Mount lenses! That alone is massive. About $250.

with a lens:

Image stabilization? BUILT IN! I’m curious to see how that affects the older F mount lenses.
Silent operation? you bet!
There is a dial and an LCD info screen up top, as you can see

Have now learned to hate having to go into menus, for fast operation, and this is a help. Customization of buttons will most likely be the order of the day.
Yes, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
External mics can be used AND you can use headphones on the body
Autofocus is Hybrid phase-detection/contrast AF with AF assist

How much you ask?

The Z7, avail Sept 27, will be comparable in price to the D850 at about $3400, the Z6, avail late Nov. will be about $2000. Both prices body only.
Remember: If you are a Nikon user, you already have the glass and the batteries!
One thing that must be mentioned: Nikon has decided to go all in on XQD media cards. Yep, one slot and new cards.
Word is hat there will be some updates that will allow for CF Express cards as well.
That will be an investment, although they are the faster cards that SD.

there you! a first look at the camera(s) There are 2 models with a primary diff being MP

Once this camera is on our hands, we’ll give you a better assessment.
Nikon, you did good!

the official word:
NIKON INTRODUCES THE NEW NIKON Z MOUNT SYSTEM, AND RELEASES TWO FULL-FRAME MIRRORLESS CAMERAS: THE NIKON Z 7 AND NIKON Z 6

MELVILLE, NY (AUGUST 23, 2018 AT 1:01 A.M. EDT) – Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce the release of the full-frame (Nikon FX–format) Nikon Z 7 and Nikon Z 6 mirrorless cameras, as well as NIKKOR Z lenses, featuring a new, larger-diameter mount to enable the next generation of ultimate optical performance.

The new Nikon Z mount system is comprised of mirrorless cameras and compatible NIKKOR Z lenses and accessories. This system has been realized through the pursuit of a new dimension in optical performance. It has inherited Nikon’s tradition of quality, superior imaging technology, intuitive operability and high reliability, all innovated from its digital SLR cameras.

At the heart of the Z mount system is the new, larger-diameter mount, which unlocks further possibilities of lens design. The Z mount system will offer a variety of high-performance lenses, including the fastest lens in Nikon history, with f/0.951. Additionally, the new mount adapter will enable compatibility with NIKKOR F mount lenses, adding to the range of choices for photographers.

Z 7, Z 6 Product Overview
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with a new backside illumination Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with built-in focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels, and the latest image-processing engine, EXPEED 6.

The high-resolution Z 7 has 45.7 effective megapixels, and supports a standard sensitivity range of ISO 64–25600. In combination with NIKKOR Z lenses, the camera achieves an outstanding level of sharpness and detail, all the way to the edges of the image.

The versatile Z 6 is an all-purpose FX-format camera with 24.5 effective megapixels, and supports the wide sensitivity range of ISO 100–51200. With superior performance at high ISO sensitivities and full-frame 4K UHD video capture with full pixel readout, the Z 6 responds to a variety of needs, such as shooting in dimly lit environments and high-quality movie recording.

Primary Features of the Z 7 and Z 6
1. Equipped with a new backside illumination Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with a new backside illumination, Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels, and the latest image-processing engine, EXPEED 6. The Z 7 has 45.7 effective megapixels, and supports ISO 64–25600 range of standard sensitivities (reduction to the equivalent of ISO 32 and expansion to the equivalent of ISO 102400 is also possible). The Z 6 has an effective pixel count of 24.5 megapixels, and supports a broad range of standard sensitivities, from ISO 100–51200 (additional reduction to the equivalent of ISO 50 and expansion to the equivalent of ISO 204800).

2. A fast and accurate hybrid AF system with focus points covering approximately 90% of the imaging area
The Z 7 has 493 focus points2 and the Z 6 has 273 focus points2, enabling broad coverage of approximately 90% of the imaging area both horizontally and vertically. This hybrid AF system uses an algorithm optimized for the FX-format sensor, to automatically switches between focal-plane phase-detection AF and contrast-detect AF when focusing to achieve focus. Newly-designed NIKKOR Z lenses take full advantage of this system, providing faster, quieter and with increased AF accuracy than previously possible for both still images and videos.

3. The new EXPEED 6 image-processing engine for sharp and clear imaging, and new functions that support creativity
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with the new EXPEED 6 image-processing engine. Employing the superior resolving power of NIKKOR Z and NIKKOR F mount lenses, subjects are rendered more sharply than ever before. Noise is also effectively reduced.

Additionally, a mid-range sharpening option has been added to Picture Control sharpness parameters. This option, along with existing sharpening and clarity parameters, allows users to make various textures within the screen sharper or softer, for both still images and video3. The cameras also offer 20 options of Creative Picture Control, supporting creative imaging expression. The effect level is adjustable from 0 to 100.

4. An electronic viewfinder that utilizes Nikon’s superior optical and image-processing technologies to offer a clear and natural view
The electronic viewfinder adopted for the Z 7 and Z 6 is comfortable and easy to use, comparable to optical viewfinders. Both cameras are equipped with an electronic viewfinder for which an approximately 3690k-dot OLED panel has been adopted. The electronic viewfinder has frame coverage and magnification of approximately 100% and 0.8×, respectively, as well as an approximately 37.0° diagonal viewing angle. It draws on Nikon’s superior optical technologies and image-processing technologies, ensuring a clear and comfortable view, with reduced aberration and minimum eyestrain, even during extended shoots. Furthermore, a fluorine coat that effectively repels dirt has been applied to the eyepiece protection window. In addition, the menu can be displayed in the electronic viewfinder, allowing users to quickly view and adjust a variety of shooting settings, including ISO sensitivity, AF-area mode, and Picture Control, all while looking through the viewfinder.

5. An ergonomic design unique to Nikon that enables intuitive and familiar operation
The Z 7 and Z 6 have inherited the superior operability that Nikon has cultivated over the years through its development of cameras. The bodies are compact, while boasting a firm grip that is easy to hold, and the sub-selector and buttons such as AF-ON, ISO, and exposure compensation are all placed so that they can be operated swiftly and easily. Additionally, a display panel has been placed on the top plate of the camera, where information about settings can be displayed, similar to high-end digital SLR camera models.

6. Video functions such as 10-bit N-Log that enables wide dynamic range, and timecoding that respond to professional needs
The Z 7 and Z 6 support recording of not only full-frame 4K UHD (3840 × 2160)/30p movies using the FX-based video format, but also Full-HD/120p movies. Sharper 4K UHD movies are made possible, using the full-pixel readout4. Additionally, Active D-Lighting, electronic vibration reduction, and focus peaking can be used with 4K UHD and Full-HD movie recording. Nikon’s original N-Log color profile can also be used with 10-bit5 HDMI output. The N-Log setting utilizes extensive color depth and twelve-stop, 1,300% dynamic range to record a wealth of tone information from highlights and shadows for more effective color grading. Timecode support makes synchronizing video and sound from multiple devices easier. Additionally, the control ring built into NIKKOR Z lenses can be used to quietly and smoothly adjust settings such as aperture and exposure compensation.

7. Nikon’s first in-camera vibration reduction with approx. 5.0-stop7 effectiveness
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with in-camera vibration reduction (VR). The VR unit provides compensation for movement along five axes. The effects of vibration reduction are equivalent to a shutter speed up to approximately 5.0 stops6. This function can also be used effectively with NIKKOR F lenses, including those not equipped with a VR function, with the Mount Adapter FTZ (sold separately)8.

8. Other features
• Same level of strength and durability, as well as dust- and drip- resistance, as the Nikon D850, offered in a compact body
• A 3.2-in., approximately 2100k-dot touch-sensitive LCD monitor, with a tilting mechanism
• Silent photography function eliminates shake and noise caused by shutter release,
• Peaking stack image function9 enables confirmation of the area in focus after shooting using focus shift, which is convenient for focus stacking10
• High-speed continuous shooting (extended)11 at approximately 9 fps (Z 7) and 12 fps (Z 6) captures fast motion
• Interval timer photography that makes 8K (Z 7) time-lapse movie creation10 possible
• An extended low-light metering range12 allows users to easily capture scenes such as the transition from sunset to starry night sky, using aperture-priority auto exposure
• Built-in Wi-Fi® for direct connection to a smart device using SnapBridge
• Built-in Wi-Fi® makes the transfer of images and movies to a computer possible
• Support for existing digital SLR camera accessories such as the EN-EL15/a/b batteries, WT-7/A/B/C Wireless Transmitter (available separately) for transferring images and movies at high speed over a wired or wireless LAN, and radio-controlled/optical controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting, which makes flexible multi-flash photography possible

Development of the MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack
The MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack that is currently in development will hold two EN-EL15b, effectively increasing the number of shots possible and/or movie recording time by approximately 1.8×. It will provide the same level of dust and drip resistance as the Z 7 and Z 6, and will support USB charging using the EH-7P Charging AC Adapter. Information regarding the release of this product will be announced at a later date.

Price and Availability
The Nikon Z 7 will be available September 27 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $3399.95* for the body-only configuration, or for $3999.95* SRP as a kit with the new NIKKOR Z 24-70 f/4 S lens. The Nikon Z 6 will be available in late November for the $1995.95* SRP for the body only configuration, or for the $2,599.95* SRP with the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens kit. For more information on these and other Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

Instagram

Upcoming Events

  • CES
  • January 8-11, 2019
  • Las Vegas, NV

Is there an event we should know about?
Let us know on twitter.

Current Exhibitions

  • Annenberg Space for Photography
  • PHOTO ARK
    One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals
  • OCT 13, 2018 – JAN 13, 2019
  • 2000 Avenue of the Stars, #10
  • Century City, CA. 90067
  • Tel: 213.403.3000
  • Getty Center
  • LA #Unshuttered
  • Through Jan 20th, 2019
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA. 90049
  • Tel: 310-440-7300
  • Howard Greenberg Gallery
  • VIVIAN MAIER: THE COLOR WORK
  • Nove 14,2018- Jan 5, 2019
  • 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
  • New York,NY 10022
  • Tel: 212-334-0100
  • Peter Fetterman Gallery
  • TOUJOURS PARIS-Through the Eyes of the French Humanist Movement
  • October 27, 2018 – February 23, 2019
  • 2525 Michigan Avenue Gallery A1
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • 90404
  • Phone: 310.453.6463

Is there an exhibition we’re missing? Let us know on twitter.

Like what we’re posting?
Join us on Flickr.