Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Death knell for the DSLR? Canon introduces full frame mirrorless EOS R (with video)




It's here - this morning, Canon formally announced the new EOS R line of full frame mirrorless cameras and lenses.  It is somehow fitting that this release took place a decade after the Photokina 2008 introduction of the world's first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, the groundbreaking Panasonic DMC-G1.

With Sony full frame mirrorless cameras outselling Nikon and Canon DSLRs, it was only a matter of time before the two biggest DSLR makers in the world saw the handwriting on the wall.


First Nikon - and now Canon have each introduced a full frame mirrorless 4K camera line and are now contenders for the 'best mirrorless camera' title.


And so, the ten year battle between reflex mirrors and electronic viewfinders is essentially over and the electrons seem to have won.


We'll have to see how this plays out in the marketplace, but my guess is that it will hard to find a full frame DSLR on the show floor at Photokina 2028.


As a still camera, the EOS R is a good value for money - its 30.3MP sensor gives it higher resolution than the comparably priced Sony A7 III and Nikon Z6.  And dual pixel AF will give it an advantage over Sony and Nikon. That said, at HCR what we really care about is video.


Video Performance


Although we were underwhelmed by the EOS R's leaked video specs (please see our previous post), the image quality from early sample videos seems to be very good.  The production values are high (much higher than the production value in the recent samples from the BMPCC 4K) and the dynamic range looks as good as a high-priced Canon Cinema EOS 4K camcorder (on YouTube and Vimeo, at least).


The first sample was shot at 4K (8-bit internal) by Devin "Supertramp" Graham with new Canon RF glass, as seen in the video and behind-the-scenes below:





The second sample was shot by Canon Ambassador Nicolai Brix.  It is 10-bit 1080p output to an Atomos recorder.  According to this morning's press release from Atomos, the EOS R's 4K 10-bit output is fully compatible with their new Ninja V recorder monitor.



Although Canon claims that the EOS R system is a "complement" to their full frame DSLRs, my guess is that this camera will very quickly outsell the 5D Mark IV and 5DS.

We have to hand it to Canon - they have come to the party late and with an under-spec'd camera (no 1080/120p slow motion, no IBIS, 1.7x 4K crop) - but Canon color, fast autofocus and compatibility with EF lenses will cause a lot of EOS shooters who were tempted to jump ship to either stay with Canon or perhaps even come home from Sony and Panasonic.

Well played, Canon - well played.

If you'd like to pre-order the Ninja V, please click on the links here in the text or the display at the bottom of the page.

It won't cost you anything extra, and will help keep these posts coming.

Sadly, the EOS R is not yet available for pre-order, but if you want to learn more from Adorama, click on the banners at the top and bottom of the page.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Leaked! Spec sheet for Canon EOS R full frame mirrorless



Image courtesy of Nokishita Camera

Japanese site Nokishita Camera has posted a set of alleged specs and pics of the soon-to-be-announced Canon EOS R full frame mirrorless.

Looks like it will be a full frame 30.3MP still camera with 5,655 focus points and a maximum burst rate of 110 fps.

That said, although we're a hybrid still photo/video blog here at HCR, anyone who has spent any time following us knows that our primary interest is video - so here's our take on the video specs for this camera:

The Good:
  • Codec is MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (ALL-I and IPB up to 480mbps) - no more memory hungry MJPEG
  • UHD on a full frame Canon mirrorless 
  • Dual pixel AF at all resolutions
  • Some websites are reporting a fully articulated LCD (!)

The Not-so-good:
  • Still limited to 29 minutes, 59 seconds of continuous recording
  • No DCI 4K
  • No 10-bit (internal or external)
  • No in-body stabilization
  • 60 fps slow motion limited to 1080p resolution (no 4K/60p)
  • 120 fps slow motion limited to 720p resolution (no 1080/120p)
  • A single (SD) card slot
Video section of the spec sheet below (click on image to expand):


 

To be honest, I'm not really impressed.  If these specs are accurate, this looks like another 8-bit camera that fixes the 5D Mark IV's most egregious problems but isn't much of a technology leap.

The new Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras, with their 10-bit N-LOG output, will be highly competitive with this camera - and if Panasonic finally enters the full-frame fight later this month with a 10-bit internal camera, 2019 will be a great year for 4K full frame video.

If, after seeing the EOS R's specs, you've decided to go ahead and pre-order the Nikon Z6 or Z7, please click on one of the links above or the display ads at the bottom of this post.

It won't cost you anything extra and will help keep these posts coming.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

First official videos from the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema: Picture 1 regular
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - $1295


In the four months since the BMPCC 4K's introduction at NAB 2018, the biggest question surrounding this camera has been "will the image quality meet the high expectations set by the amazing specs?"

Over the past few days, filmmakers Mark Wyatt, John Brawley, Andreas Neumann, Peter Nearhos and Areia Creations and Sitipong Kongtong - have released several official and unofficial sample videos that go a long way towards answering that question.

'Mountain', 'Zoo',  'Bubble Gum' and 'Dreamcatcher' were shot in RAW, while the rest were shot in ProRes, so we get to see both codecs in action. 

Here are all of the samples released to date (please watch at 2160p and your monitor's highest resolution):




































'Zoo', 'Bubble Gum' and 'Dreamcatcher' are downloadable from their Vimeo pages, and the official Blackmagic videos are downloadable directly from Blackmagic Design so you can test grade them yourself.

Some have observed that these images could have been produced with a GH5/GH5s or an A7 III. Perhaps so, it's hard to say with YouTube/Vimeo compression.

But the GH5, GH5s and A7 III all cost more than $1300 (in some cases, a lot more), so I'm sticking with my BMPCC 4K pre-order - and can't wait to get my hands on this camera.

If, after seeing these samples, you'd like to pre-order the camera from Adorama, please click here or on the images at the top and bottom of this post. 

It won't cost you anything extra, Adorama won't charge your card until the camera ships and it will help to keep these blog posts coming.

Thanks for supporting the Hybrid Camera Revolution!






Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Atomos announces 10-bit full frame compatibility between Nikon Z6/Z7 and Ninja V

Photo of Z 6
Nikon Z6 full frame mirrorless camera with FTZ adapter and Nikkor lens

Like many photographers/videographers, I have quite a few Nikkor lenses (plus old Nikon film and digital still camera bodies) on the shelf.  Although I have never been tempted to buy a Nikon DSLR for video, I have adapted my Nikkors to small sensor mirrorless cameras and gotten very nice results with manual focus and aperture.

That said, I have wished for many years that Nikon would produce a modern full frame mirrorless camera that was fully compatible with my Nikon system lenses.

Now, with yesterday's official announcement of the new Nikon Z6 and Z7 full frame mirrorless cameras, Nikon has come through.  For video shooters, Nikon has finally delivered a full frame camera with no pixel-binning, 4K/30p, 1080/120p and LOG.


Ninja-V

Atomos Ninja V 5" 4K monitor/recorder

Even better, Atomos has just announced that their new Ninja V 5" 4K monitor/recorder is fully compatible with the 10-bit output of these new cameras.  From the Atomos press release:

Today, the holy grail of video on mirrorless cameras has been unveiled: the new Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 mirrorless cameras output a full-frame 10-bit 4K N-Log signal which the new Atomos Ninja V 4K HDR monitor/recorder can record and display in HDR. This combination raises the bar for filmmakers and photographers shooting video everywhere.

The Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 have state-of-the-art sensors that output pristine 4K images over HDMI, ready for conversion to HDR by Atomos. The Atomos Ninja V records the output to production-ready 10-bit Apple ProRes or Avid DNx formats.

Atomos is proud to be the first to support Nikon Log, Apple ProRes recording and HDR monitoring from the Z series cameras. The tiny Ninja V 5-inch device is the perfect partner for these full-frame mirrorless cameras, making the setup ideal for weddings, corporate, news, documentary, nature films or b-roll for Hollywood productions.

First full-frame 4k 10-bit mirrorless recording
Until now, full-frame mirrorless 4K video has been limited to 8-bit. With the Nikon and Ninja V combination you can capture more shades of color for maximum flexibility in post-production. Get footage like never before, with better looking skin tones and smooth gradients in skies. This means the combination perfectly meets the specifications for true HDR delivery.

New Nikon N-Log fully supported by Atomos with automated set up.
The Z 6 and Z 7 offer the new Nikon N-Log gamma, a brand-new Log gamma designed by Nikon to get the most out of the cameras’ sensors and wide dynamic range. Atomos are the first to resolve N-Log to HDR on their devices and our engineers have developed specific presets for it. Setup is automatic the moment you plug the Ninja V into the cameras thanks to advanced communication between camera and monitor. The Ninja V can show a massive 10+ stops of dynamic range on-screen, to allow users to make accurate exposure and color decisions. The recorder can receive timecode and be triggered directly from the cameras.

The Ninja V advantage
The Ninja V has a sleek 1” thick aluminum body, crafted for maximum durability, and weighs only 11oz. The high brightness 1000nit display allows it to be viewed in daylight and used to display HDR images. The screen is color accurate and can be calibrated to maintain its accuracy over time. The Ninja V records onto industry standard SATA SSD drives, including the new AtomX SSD Mini series of smaller form factor drives. As a result, these drives are more affordable than proprietary media. Footage recorded onto the Ninja V can be instantly played back in REC.709 or HDR on the device itself, or to a TV. Metadata is embedded into the HDMI output to allow correct display of HDR on compatible monitors and televisions. The Ninja V has a modular expansion slot to allow future upgrades to its feature set.

A new full-frame era begins
Atomos CEO Jeromy Young said: “It’s fantastic to push technology barriers with our friends at Nikon. Combining the new Nikon and our Ninja V HDR monitor/recorder gives filmmakers exactly what they have been asking for – a compact full-frame 4K 10-bit recording system at an amazing price point. To be able to offer users the next level of performance with our Ninja V and Nikon is what our company is truly about!”

So, for about the same price as a small sensor GH5 or an 8-bit Sony A7 III with a decent lens, you can now buy a Nikon Z6 body with the FTZ adapter plus a $695 Ninja V and record 10-bit full frame LOG with Nikon system glass.

This is a very big deal.

But these cameras are not perfect.

Sadly, Nikon has limited their brand new mirrorless cameras to a single QFD card slot - and they chose a Sony-style tilt screen instead of the fully articulated LCD from their own APS-C cameras.

And we'll have to see how fast the adapter is with Nikon legacy lenses - but if the FTZ can match the performance of the EF-M to EF adapter for Canon mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7 should be able to get past their minor design flaws - and tap into an enormous market of shooters with a significant investment in Nikkors.

What do you think?  Please let me know in the comments.







Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, April 15, 2018

BMPCC 4K & BMPCC side-by-side! Hands-on & interview w Blackmagic Design President Dan May


With only a half day on the ground at NAB 2018, I was very fortunate to be able to schedule this on-camera interview with Blackmagic Design President Dan May right before I had to leave for the airport.

I brought my five year old BMPCC along to compare to the new camera because I wanted to hold both in my hands and compare them.  Sure, I could have gone to Camerasize, but I wanted to actually see the two cameras side-by-side to determine differences in grip, weight and balance and ergonomics.



Although the new BMPCC 4K is larger - it shares much of the original camera's DNA


Surprisingly, as different as these cameras look, there were some clear similarities between them:
First is the micro 4/3 lens mount.  Although the BMPCC 4K's sensor is larger, Blackmagic put the same lens mount on the camera - which will save upgraders a lot of money. 
Second, neither camera has a viewfinder and both have fixed LCDs.  This is common to all BM cameras - and to most higher end cinema cameras - but it is striking for a camera whose competitors all have viewfinders - and many of which have tilting or fully articulated LCDs. 
Third, both cameras have a 1/4"-20 socket where most consumer cameras have a hot shoe mount.  Again, this makes sense for a pure cinema camera that doesn't need an external flash.
But all of that is superficial - what is really important is on the inside. With the BMPCC 4K, Blackmagic appears to have fixed almost every one of the original camera's shortcomings.  By now, everyone has read the specs list - increased resolution and higher frame rates; longer battery life; improved audio with phantom power; a larger, brighter LCD; yada, yada.

What the spec sheet can't tell you is that this is an extremely well built camera.  The pre-production cameras at the show were heavier than the carbon fiber production model will be, but they were still solidly put together and felt like they could stand up to the rigors of operating in the field.

This is just a sense I got from handling the camera - we will have to see how tough it really is once can get out hands on the production model. 

If anything here has helped you to make a buying decision, please click on the links above or the display ads below or in the margins. It won't cost you anything extra, and will help to keep these posts coming.

And please follow HCR here, on G+, on YouTube on Vimeo and on Twitter for the latest news on micro-budget video and cinema.




Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Suiting up for NAB 2018 interviews!



Today, I'll be at the Atomos and Blackmagic booths to talk Ninja 5 and BMPCC 4K - also planning to tag up with Sony on the FS5 II and to stop by Apple (ProRes RAW) and see the latest from Canon, Panasonic, JVC and Fuji in person.

If there are any specific questions you want me to ask, please let me know soonest in the comments section below or over on reddit at /u/HybridCamRev - I'm leaving the show floor at 3pm to catch my flight home.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Is the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K a GH5s killer?

New $1295 Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - pre-order at Adorama
With its full 4/3 sensor, dual native ISO up to 25,600, internal 12-bit losslessly compressed RAW & 10-bit ProRes recording up to full 4096x2160 DCI 4K/60p, dual card slots with CFast2.0, mini-XLR microphone input with phantom, 5" touch screen, recording to a simple external USB-C drive, free copy of DaVinci Resolve Studio and $1295 price, the new Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) introduced at NAB 2018 today is a formidable competitor for the sub-$2000 still/video hybrid cameras from Fuji, Panasonic and Sony.

Although Panasonic gives its customers 10-bit color space, Fuji and Sony cameras are limited to amateur 8-bit color - and none of them can record RAW.

Neither can these cameras record to a simple external drive (unless you buy an expensive recorder) - and they don't have XLR jacks with phantom power.

The BMPCC 4K is not a perfect camera - it lacks an articulated LCD and in-body stabilization, but with the $1000+ you'll save over the price of the GH5s, you can afford a $199 5"1080p external monitor and a $749 Zhiyun Crane 2 gimbal.

With this setup, you'll get a stabilized 4K/60p 12-bit RAW image with a max 25,600 ISO for less than the price of the 10-bit Panasonic.

Amazingly, this little camera conforms to Netflix standards for 4K production and to the Digital Cinema Initiative's Digital Cinema System Specification - so it is ideal for just about every shooter -all the way from vloggers to wedding videographers to independent filmmakers and broadcast media producers.

More to follow as soon as we have sample video!

You can pre-order the camera for September 2018 delivery from Adorama here.