RED is finally bringing a prosumer class camera to bear and it looks like the release is imminent. While certainly not cheap at nearly $5,000 for the “lens and brain kit”, it certainly makes for a compelling alternative to the Canon 5D MK2. The aesthetics on the RED cameras (founded by Oakley’s Jim Jannard) are a little to reminiscent of those MP3 goggles Dog The Bounty Hunter wears but there’s no denying the quality of the output.
All the of RED stuff might as well be vaporware to me, I know it must exist somewhere but I’ve never seen it in person or even heard of anyone owning or using one of their cameras. Here’s a video of someone actually holding (apparently not using though) a Scarlet. I really like the screen configuration. Does anyone around here own or use a RED? Does it live up to the hype? Do you get free MP3 goggles with it?
Polaroid hinted at a potential rebirth for instant photography today with this teaser sent to Engadget. Looks intriguing; the slot at the front is just enough to get me lusting after this. Will be really interesting to see if they can recapture some of their former glory with a new instant camera. But in this day and age of 8MP camera phones I wonder if the thrill of the instant physical copy might be lost on most. How ever would you Facebook it!!?
I’m personally hoping for some nice balance of tempered throw-back aesthetics with a healthy dose of new features. From the vague image they’ve provided, it’s looking pretty clean. But knowing how they roll now, I’d be surprised if they really pull it off.
This “brand new”, supposedly made for NASA, Hasselblad MKWE can be yours for around $34K if you win this auction. It apparently comes as new in the original packaging. I love the concept of new-old stock; something about the idea of a product sitting undisturbed for decades in the original packaging is pretty cool. I have seen some classic synthesizers still sealed in the original box come up here and there on ebay, I even once saw a Rhodes piano, in the box, still unassembled. But none of those really compares to this beauty. The hardest part about getting this would be deciding whether to even use it or to preserve it in some sort of airtight viewing cube.
If you’re looking for a high end compact camera, the newly announced Nikon P7000 may just fit the bill. I’ve found myself leaving the full size SLR behind more and more lately so I’ve been thinking of filling the gap with something a bit more portable without sacrificing much in picture quality.
You can pick one up later this month for around $500. Plenty more info and specs over here.
It always seems that when something great goes away, we don’t realize how great it actually was until its nearly gone. Film is that thing. Although I wouldn’t say film is gone, it certainly has been on its way out. I know I’ve personally taken it for granted, but when I see cameras like this or the return of the Polaroid, it makes me want to experiment.
This camera by Steven Monteau is called the Guillotine / Adidas Camera and was intended for use shooting ultra-wide action sequences on 120 film. The effect that the three images as one create is really beautiful.
The way the camera works is by sliding the long angular strip that acts at your shutter quickly once to expose the film. The body is built out of cardboard and utilizes two winding knobs to wind the spool. I’m quite curious though whether or not there are stops so you know how far you’re winding the spool or if you have to guess.
Gizmodo has an interesting piece up about a top-secret digital version of the now discontinued Nikon Nikonos waterproof camera that was developed for use by Navy SEALs.
This Nikonos was a total mystery. A secret that not many people knew about until recently. In fact, its existence was repeatedly denied by the manufacturer, even after the US Navy published this photo, showing a member of SEAL Team One equipped with one and the following caption:
980608-N-3236B-003 NAVAL AIR BASE CORONADO, California (June 8, 1998) — Navy SEALs attached to SEAL Team One, Naval Air Base Coronado, CA, conducts training using the Nikon/Kodak DCS 425 underwater digital camera which can send real time digital images to decision makers, and an LPI LPD tracking device uses brevity codes to send both mission status and precise longitude/latitude. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer Mate 2nd Class Ted Banks. (RELEASED)
Pretty interesting stuff and kind of odd to see the branding intact on the model used by the SEALs. The Gizmodo article makes a good point that it’s a shame the consumer version was discontinued; even if you don’t do underwater photography, it would make for an excellent no hassle all weather setup. More info and links can be found in the original article.
Apparently there’s a pretty good used market for these; all you aspiring SEALs can start planning your beach assaults with a nice rig like this. I’d like to see a digital model, but aesthetically I’m still partial to the original 35mm version:
I did it. I am now a very proud owner of the Canon 5DMKII. It took months (years) of deliberation (pretty much since Scott wrote this article) and I finally pulled the trigger. I know the rumors are swirling about Mark IIIs and the etc, but once I heard about the upcoming 24fps firmware update I decided it was time. No more waiting. I’ve been shooting on a Nikon D40 since I started school and it was definitely time for an upgrade. (Though I still love the SB 600 flash — took the photo above)
As soon as I pulled it out of the box I was in awe. People say that Canons feel cheaper due to the construction materials, but I disagree. This thing feels like it could level a small village if thrown at the proper angle. Pair the body with the kit lens (24-105) and you have one serious piece of machinery. I purchased through Adorama because they seemed to have the best package deal. Just about everyone sells the body for $2499 at the moment; Adorama throws in a shoulder bag and a 16GB card. (Update: Or at least they used to…it must have been a temporary special price because now that package is listed higher. Keep an eye out in case it comes around again.)
My shots so far have been decent. Honestly I’ve only had it for a few days and have yet to really take it for a photography spin. I’ve mainly been experimenting with the HD video feature (a large part of why I bought the camera). After numerous videos of my shoes and other random subjects I decided to test it out in a music video scenario. Nothing crazy, just a acoustic performance like I usually do on Youtube (till now I’ve been shooting on an embarrassingly old MiniDV camcorder that is almost twice the size of the Canon). You can view the result here.
An unexpected issue with the completion of that video was the post-production file format mess. Apparently Canon had no interest in making things easy on us (although that looks like it will change this month). I ended up following the steps outlined here on Vincent Laforet’s blog with great success. I imported to the desktop, converted H.264 to Apple Prores (tanked my drive space), imported to Final Cut, sent to Color and back, exported using Quicktime H.64 compression, then uploaded to Youtube. Kind of a long roundabout process, but things went smoothly. As is true for the still shots as well, you immediately notice how much more control you have over the image in editing mode. Edits that used to crunch up image quality or produce unwanted noise no longer do so at all. The picture is so clean that you can tweak away to your heart’s content without ever losing the integrity of the image.
As I said, I’m just getting my feet wet with this thing and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it once I field test it a lot more. I’ll be going to Japan in May and am looking at that trip as a great opportunity to take thousands and thousands of pictures and crash my hard drive with absurd amounts of footage. As I continue to experiment with this wonderful object I’ll put together a more complete review. In the meantime, for my sake, cross your fingers Canon *doesn’t* come out with any shiny new cameras anytime soon.
We’ve written before about photographiclighting. Another lighting arena that I’ve recently explored is continuous lighting for video. As I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I jumped into this, I decided to start with a basic kit set up, and then go from there. I had researched enough to know that I would need at least three lights, but I was fuzzy on just about every other detail. I ended up going with the Smith Victor K84 Photoflood Kit. (Four lights: two A80 flood lights and two, smaller A5s.)
Now to this point, the kit has satisfied my requirements. I haven’t felt like I needed any additional lights on my projects and everything is lit well and looks (more) professional. That said, I have learned a lot in the process about what not to do.
First, these lights get unimaginably hot when they’re on for an extended period of time (more than 5 minutes). I use them in an enclosed room without a lot of ventilation and it can become unbearable really quickly. If you are interviewing someone, or performing under these lights, you need to either get things done fast, or have some way of cooling down your room. I broke a sweat just snapping the above picture, and they had only been on for 10 minutes.
Second, despite the benefits of using continuous lighting for photography (no camera syncing necessary, always see where you’re lighting etc), this kit is not powerful enough to really work in this regard. Unless the lights are right up on your subject, you’ll have to adjust the shutter speed significantly to get satisfactory results. It’s also impossible to get good portrait shots, mainly because your iris gets smaller as it gets used to the continuous amount of light; doesn’t look as cool as strobe. It works for some photo things, but I am mainly attempting to use this kit for lighting video. So far the footage has required a significant amount of color correction to make things look natural. The kit is a tungsten set up, which burns yellow/orange, and that is the color of the footage upon capture. Luckily I’ve been working a lot with Color and have been able to work around this.
The biggest positive to the kit is that it’s cheap (relatively). It helps to know some basic lighting strategy (three point etc), but the kit really doesn’t require much know-how to get up and running. It is a great starter kit and I feel like I have a much better idea of what I need, now that I have fumbled my way around with this one. Of course it will be a while before I can afford a real set up, but in the mean time I am having a good time experimenting and making mistakes. This probably wasn’t the kit of me at the end of the day, but it sure beats lighting things with assorted desk lamps and flash lights.