Vantage, “the hawk guys”, presented a new set of spherical primes at Camerimage that really caused some stir among cinematographers, mainly because of their incredible maximum aperture of T1! This is a first for PL-glass as Master Primes are T1.3 and Cooke 5s’s open up at T1.4. They come in a set of nine lenses starting at 17.5mm, then 21, 25, 32, 40, 50, 65, 90 and finally 120mm. All are said to be close focusing. From F2 on, these lenses should look a lot like their more conservative counterparts of other companies, but wide open is going to make all the difference.
What will they look like wide open? I’m expecting (and this aligns perfectly with what Vantage are saying themselves) them to have really low contrast, of course ultra shallow depth of field, lots of vignetting, flare and coma. Most of these are generally considered optical flaws, but one thing is for sure: if shot wide open, the Vantage T1 primes are going to have some character! It’s a reaction to lots of people talking about modern glass being “too clinical” and in former times lens choice really had way more impact on the final picture than it does today. I’m really looking forward to having more aesthetical choices when it comes to lenses and these are going to really help if you want to opt for a certain look.
Vantage is even going to offer a special version (marked with the red ring on the right) with some optical elements uncoated, to further lower contrast and add more flare. They won’t be cheap, but if they can deliver a look that is not only unique, but also pleasing to most people’s eyes (and I bet they can, as these are the guys making the anamorphic Hawk lenses), then these are going to be a winner.
Jon Fauer has a great article about them on his Film and Digital Times and this is where I’ve taken the images from that can be seen above. Another article with some more information can be found on ProVideoCoalition.com.
I’ve now used the Sony NEX-6 digital rangefinder camera with the 16-50mm pancake zoom for four weeks every single day while travelling Uruguay and a little bit of Argentina. I want to show some images I’ve shot there and point out a few findings I’ve made in the following, but to make this absolutely clear: this is not made for pixel peeping. Every picture got the camera-raw-treatment in terms of a basic contrast adjustment, some pictures have been cropped and others have been converted to black & white. Every pictures was taken in raw and converted with Adobe camera raw, no automatic lens correction or manual lens correction was applied. So please take all this with a grain of salt, these pictures only represent what I was able to do with the camera and not what the camera is capable of doing in other settings or other people’s hands. It’s about usability and results, not about numbers and pixels.
The captured dynamic range seems impressing to me, not particularly in this image (with raised contrast), but overall. Raw versability is great, just what I’m used to from other raw formats, mainly Canon Raw as I’m a 5DM3 shooter most of the time.
The new SEL-P1650 pancake zoom shows some real distortion on the wide end when used without automatic correction. This almost feels fisheye-like.
Another example of the 16mm setting. Of course this can easily be corrected in post or automatically in camera when shooting jpegs, but it’s nonetheless there and can even add to some images. Photography is not about clinical perfection in my opinion, if it works, it works, even if it’s some kind of distortion or aberration (not saying it works for this picture, though).
I really liked the viewfinder, not only in direct sunlight but in almost every shooting situation. Resolution is great and while there is some shuttering in low light, it’s working really good most of the time. Of course it feels very different than looking directly through the lens. It took me some time to get used to it, but after four weeks of EVF-usage it felt equally strange to look through the 5D’s optical finder again. What’s great is: I can use the NEX-6’s EVF without glasses, even with my faulty vision, as it’s just a screen really close to my eye. This comes in handy from time to time while wearing glasses, mainly cause you can’t really use the EVF with glasses, as you won’t see the whole screen.
Something to dream about during the cold german winter. I’ve had no problems using really short shutter times, but of course had to pre-focus. Autofocus is snappy, but not that snappy. It’s no DSLR and you sometimes have to adjust to the flaws of the AF-system, but hands-down: you can. Most of the time it just works and even features some things such as automatic face recognition that can really come in handy. I’ve really struggled before I gave it a try but honestly: automatic face recognition is great for photographing people.
Well it’s not that easy talking about lowlight capabilites with a 3.5-5.6 standard zoom. The shot above has been taken while dusk with ISO3200 and yes, there is some noise in it. Of course there is. The Sony NEX-6 is no full-frame 5DMarkIII, but the 16mp sensor shows some impressive results if considered how slow the lens is. I’ll definitely put some faster glass on the body really soon and I’m really confident this is a great street shooter for almost every lighting condition with the right lens.
Buenos Aires at dusk, another low light example.
In Uruguay, every car that would still move is still being driven, no excuses!
I have absolutely no idea what happened here. I think it is a raw conversion problem, but I haven’t yet figured out how to solve it or to retain the undamaged picture. We made some basic data checks while travelling with Sony’s own raw converter and didn’t stumble upon something like this, so I’m confident a solution can be found.
Talking about problems. In this case, the vignette in the corners really bothers me. This is no light falloff, this is just a too small image circle for the sensor. The needed crop isn’t too big, but you’ll loose the widest angle the lens is supposed to offer. Not too great, to be honest.
The other thing really obvious in this image are the dust speckles visible against the sky. Of course, some dust can invade every camera, above all every interchangeable lens camera, but I had only one lens with me and didn’t change it, but almost once in a week I had visible dust on the sensor. Remember, the NEX-6 has no mirror, so everything that comes past the mount is directly on the sensor. Not good, you’ll better get some real sensor cleaning skills, fast!
The shape of the iris blades produce very prominent star-shapes. Not ugly, though, but it’s there, so you have to like it. The lens flares and ghosts are not too pretty, for my taste, mainly cause there are only some unconnected parts spread across the image and not one continuous flare.
The times, they are a’ changing.
Enough of the bad stuff, here’s what I like and what matters most: The Sony NEX-6 makes an excellent street shooter and travel companion and really transfered the rangefinder essence to the digital age. It’s cheap, light, has great IQ and one of the fastest AF-systems for any mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, a great EVF and enough physical buttons and dials to get going. It’s a little small for my already small hands, but I’m going to add a leather ready-case anyway that is going to add some thickness to the grip. It almost never gets in the way, it just works. It’s not without fault or even perfect, but I really liked it anyway. Most of the problems that I have been talking about are about the lens anyway and the pancake is what is is: a standard zoom. I’m really thrilled to add some serious glass to the tiny body and see what it can do then. And, most important, it makes me want to go out and shoot.
That’s all that came to my mind for this little real-world-review, but please, if there are any questions that you want to have answered, post them in the comments or something and I’ll do my very best to answer them. I’m sure I have missed tons of stuff, but maybe it’s helpfull for some people anyways. Any comments are highly welcome!
I’m back from Uruguay and Argentina and really enjoyed the trip! I’m gonna write a short piece on the experience shooting only with the new Sony NEX-6 with SEL1650 OSS pancake zoom later, when I’ve finished catching up with lots of mails, both electronic ones as well as physical. As for every trip: this part sucks!
Self portrait with dog.
So I’m leaving for Uruguay and Argentina today and am going to bring my brand new Sony NEX 6 digital rangefinder. The camera arrived thursday and I am extremely pleased with the little thing. It is well-built with an all-metal body yet incredibly light-weight. The new pancake zoom looks amazing and even sports image stabilization. I’ve made some first tests in low light and ISO 3200 looks great and is easily de-noisable. In case it really gets too dark, there’s a small popup-flash that can, with some finger acrobatics, even be bounced from the ceiling. I’ll post an in-depth review when I’ll be back on December 1st. Have a nice November (or Movember?) and see you soon!
Sony NEX6L with Sony SEL-P1650
Sony’s upcoming F5 & F55 leaked today, offering 4K internal recording with the 4K recording module that docks directly on the body without any cables needed. The F55 ships with the 4K module and offers the better sensor with global shutter, a first for a digital cinema camera. The 4K module offers 16 bit raw recording as well as 4K 300mbit/s 4:2:2 in a new XAVX codec as well as different 1080p options in 50 and 100 mbit/s. Both can do highspeed, with the F55 offering more frames per second, namely up to 240 in 4K. Sony’s saying these bad boys should capture 14 stops of dynamic range and the same huge color space of the F65.
(picture taken from www.provideocoalition.com)
Both cameras are very modular and the control layout seems to somewhat resemble Arri’s Alexa, but also heavily borrows from RED. There are several viewfinders available in both LCD and OLED-flavours and they even added a totally new set of glass with metal housing and T2.0. Everything looks pretty solid and well thought-out to my eyes, but of course there are still lots of questions being asked.
As for the price, the F5 will sell for $15.000 (I don’t know what this will exactly get you, I’d bet just the body) and the F55 will go for a mere $25.000 (with the 4K module, as I understand).
Andrew Reid from EosHD took a great in-depth view at the available information as usual, so I’d recommend to check out his site for those of you that would like to know more.
Morgen lädt die Initiative Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft des Bundes in Stuttgart zur ganztägigen Veranstaltung “Kreativ arbeiten. Mit Perspektiven!”. Die Vorträge lesen sich sehr interessant für alle, die mit den typischen Problemen der freischaffenden oder selbständigen Arbeit zu kämpfen haben. Kosten tut es nichts. Ich werd auf jeden Fall da sein!
(Decided to post this in german, as it’s a german meeting taking place in Stuttgart, so it shouldn’t be too interesting for those of you that can’t speak german. hope you don’t mind.)
There’s a great article over at AbelCine covering the soon-to-come Aaton Delta Penelope digital 35mm camera. There’s plenty of useful information in it plus some downloadable DNG files to test for yourself.
While there are shitloads of misused consumer cameras pouring out every single day, the market for professionel motion picture cameras has been a little on the lazy side recently. Aaton had long been talking about entering the market with a digital mag for their Penelope camera, but now they came up with a complete camera package.
There are lots of really innovative features and if they actually work, that would be absolutely great. These include an innovative shutter system eliminating the need for strong ND filters (and their inherent IR polution) but still delivering a true ISO range of 100 to 800 ISO. This does not mean the shutter angle is changed, they are rather effectively reducing the amount of light that passes the shutter during the open part of the rotating shutter. You can find a picture and explanation in the article on AbelCine’s blog.
There are other really interesting features built in the camera, such as a slightly moving sensor over time to increase temporal resolution. It’s said to double the resolution of the 3.5K sensor to a virtual 7K. We’ll see how good that works, but 3.5K ain’t such a bad starting point either.
I’m also really looking forward to the camera as it seems to be a well thought out product ergonomics wise. It’s the typical Aaton-style cat-on-a-shoulder and just looks like a professional camera without the need for mutated rigs and kits. I hope it delivers IQ-wise and features a picture that can finally challenge the Alexa’s when it comes to highlight roll-off and dynamic range. A first batch of test units is about to roll out later this year with first full batches for NAB next year.
I’ve updated my portfolio site and added two films I’ve shot for the Audi Urban Future Award. The award centers around future urban mobility and the films portray architecture firms and their concepts. The films I’ve shot are featuring Howeler + Yoon Architecutre in Boston, Massachussets and Urban Think Tank (Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner) and their concept for Sao Paulo.
Follow the link below to get to the project presentation in my portfolio:
There also is a website dedicated to the award alone and it’s full of information about the award, the teams and the regions. There is a total of five films and all of them are really interesting. The other films, that I haven’t shot myself, are about Mumbai, Shenzhen and Istanbul. You can find the AUFI website here.
Both films are shot on the Canon Eos 5D Mark III in it’s simplest configuartion (mostly just the body, a lens and a tripod), as portability was king with lots of travel involved. No special picture profile was used, just dialed down contrast, saturation and sharpness as usual.
Fuji will stop making film used for motion pictures as of Spring 2013. They made this decision due to a drastic cut in demand. This is of course linked to digitalization, but it is also said to be due to a spike in film prices in july (says Japanese news agency Kyodo).
AGFA is also said to be no longer producing film (information taken from the cinematography mailinglist).
Things are happening real quick at the moment, not only for camera releases.
Today, Sony made their expected pre-Photokina announcement. They had some really interesting stuff up their sleeves. I’m gonna give a real quick overview of their new gear, as, to be honest, I’m getting a bit tired of so-called “Game Changer”-cameras being released every second day. What game shall that be, that’s changing so often but really does stay the same since 100 years or so?
Sony RX1 - Full Frame, fixed 35mm F2 Zeiss lens for about $2800. What??? This is really one-of-a-kind, but at the same time sounds strange to me. This is one hell of a camera, but the fixed 35mm lens won’t satisfy professional photographers as their only body. It’s kind of a cutting edge niche product, but at the same time, apart from the way bigger M9-P, the only mirrorless full frame camera to date. My guess is Sony had really big problems with lens design for a full frame sensor so close to the mount, as the angular inciding light at the sensor’s edges has always been a problem for digital sensors. We’ll see, maybe a interchangeable lens successor is coming some time that justifies the fat price tag. Maybe one with a viewfinder as well. Sony has it right with the viewfinders on the NEX-6 and 7, why not with the RX1?
NEX-VG900, again full frame, again very strange product. It’s a consumer product that can be bought starting November for $3,300 with the adaptor, which you’ll definitely need, as there are no E-Mount full frame lenses to date. I’m not sure what to think of that one, let’s see when first footage apears.
Sony a99. Full Frame, 24mp, Translucent Mirror with electronic viewfinder and highly optimised for video with new continous autofocus modes and great audio features, such as battery-grip-integrated XLR-ports. It also has some nice firmware tricks such as peaking. Oh and I almost forgot, it’s Sony’s flagship fullframe PHOTO camera, too. I think it’s great to see some competition, cause as much as I like my 5D Mark III, Canon is a bit on the lazy side when it comes to innovations at the moment.
Sony NEX-6, cheaper NEX-7, APS-C interchangeable lens camera that can be had for $999 with the neat new 16-50 pancake zoom. And did I mention it has a viewfinder, too? That really looks like an affordable, extremely capable travel and street photography package. The only thing that worries me is, that it’s gonna be obsolete tommorow, when the next better and cheaper camera comes out.
Fuji X-E1, exactly the same situation is happening at Fuji’s. After they released their hyped X-Pro1 for $1799, they are now releasing a cheaper, smaller, lighter, EVF-only version called the X-E1, effectively rendering the X-Pro1 obsolete. It has the same sensor and is thus going to give you the same pictures as the X-Pro1. The only thing you won’t have is that dual viewfinder. Costs $999 body only.
Good old EPIC, but wait, what does it say above the mount? Monochrome. The latest trend seems to be monochrome versions of existing cameras. Leica were the first with the Leica M Monochrome and apart from the Epic M Monochrome there also is the Ikonoskop A-Cam DII panchromatic. These cameras are highly specialized tools for black and white only films and will deliver extremely sensitive sensors (base ISO 2000 for the Epic Monochrome) and incredible resolution. Fincher is said to be currently shooting on these Epics.
That’s it for my brief overview. Lots of new stuff and Photokina hasn’t even started.
I took all pictures from dpreview.com, where you can read all the press releases and first hand-ons.