Wednesday, July 31, 2013

First Shipment of Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Left Factory on July 24th!

Hat tip to Olivia over at Oliviatech for the great find.  Here is an informative video (candid?) with a marketing rep from Blackmagic Design.  Shot at the "Day with Blackmagic" event in Burbank on July 25th:

Pretty much in line with what we heard from Blackmagic UK via Andrew at eoshd and parsed in my earlier post.  But the specifics of the shipment date for the Pocket are new.  The first cameras left the factory on July 24th, and, according to this rep, were supposed to be in the reseller channel early this week.

Should be real soon now.

If you haven't pre-ordered your Pocket Cinema Camera or 4K Production Camera yet, please click on the links and get on the list at Adorama.

That way, you too can hang on every word uttered by anyone wearing a Blackmagic logo on their shirt.

If the Pocket Cinema Camera doesn't start shipping by next week, the Blackmagic reps at the August 8th New York event should probably wear body armor.

If you're tired of waiting, or you need to shoot RAW 2.5K right now, the 'classic' Blackmagic Cinema Camera is in stock at Amazon right now in both MFT and EF mounts.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chromecast! Part II

I got my Chromecast from Amazon yesterday - and, for me, it lives up to the exclamation mark in the title.  I was one of the poor souls who took a chance on two of Logitech's ill fated Revue Google TV boxes.  Worse, I invested a couple of hundred bucks in the Logitech Vid cameras that went with them.

Logitech no longer supports the Revue (their CEO publicly called it a "big mistake" and has recently issued a notice that Logitech Vid calling will "no longer be available."

But for $35, I was willing to take another chance on a Google solution for bridging the gap between the 'net and my TV set - and it was worth it.  Plug it into the wall and your HDMI port, and it sets up in a few minutes over your wi-fi network with an app on your smartphone or tablet (the Chromecast app is available at the Google Play store right now, and should be available at the Apple app store soon).

Until then, folks with iPhones and iPads can set it up and stream from their Mac/PC/Chrome laptops with the Google Cast extension (available now from the Chrome Web Store).

It is fully integrated with Google Play (of course), Netflix and YouTube, and Pandora support should be coming soon.  All of these services are seamless via laptop, tablet or phone.

Other services are only  'castable from laptops running Chrome right now. I am 'casting TuneIn radio from my laptop to my TV while I'm blogging, and have streamed Pandora, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu (video services are choppy, but watchable).

The most awesome thing about this is the freedom from cables and set-top boxes with custom remotes.  No more looking for laptops with HDMI outputs, no more cables, no more VGA to HDMI converters.

I just moved and dreaded getting behind the TVs to figure out all of the cables for getting the Revues up and running again.  Now I can sell them.

Of course, Google needed to price this reasonably to get all of the folks who had been burned by Google TV or the Nexus Q to try again - and I'm glad they did, I would not have taken the plunge it if it was another $99 box.

At $35, however, I can recommend Chromecast without reservation - Netflix offer or no Netflix offer.

I'm only sorry I didn't order two - now I have to get on the waiting list for my second one.  But I'm used to waiting for hot new products from Google (and Panasonic - and Blackmagic).

You can get on the list here - or by clicking on the image below.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Waiting for the new Blackmagic Cameras - a perspective

It's been interesting, and a little entertaining, to read the comment sections on posts and fora discussing the delay in the ship dates for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema and Production Cameras.  For those who missed it, here is the official statement from Blackmagic (via Andrew Reid at eoshd):

"Blackmagic Design is making significant progress in production of the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Production Camera 4K. Full production manufacturing is underway on the Pocket Cinema Camera with first production units in final testing. This is inline with our initial expectations of the end of July and means the camera will start to ship in quantity during August. There are several weeks of work to do on Production Camera 4K before this will enter full production manufacturing, however we expect to ship the first quantities of this model before the end of August."

Andrew added this update later:

"We do our best to show off new products at shows like NAB and provide realistic dates these products will come to market. But a lot goes into getting products such as the new cameras to the stage where we’re completely happy with them and can put them into full production. The good news is that we’re pretty much on the schedule we said we’d be on. We said July for both cameras and we’re really not far behind that."
  "The Pocket Cinema Camera is now in full production. We have the final units in test now and expect it to be a matter of days or, at worst, a week or two before we’re ready to shift the camera out to customers. We’re in full product manufacture with the camera and there are no issues with it whatsoever. We have a considerable number of orders for the camera so it will take a period of time to fulfill all these orders."
As someone who has a Pocket Cinema Camera on pre-order, this does not concern me in the least.  Compared to the gap between promised and actual delivery dates for the RED Scarlet, Digital Bolex, Panasonic G6 (promised last month and just now arriving in quantity in North America) - and my months long waits for the Panasonic GH2 and GH3 - a few days is nothing.

The wait for the Production Camera is a little more substantial, and if I had a paying 4K gig in August I'd planned to use the camera on, I would certainly be a little frustrated.

But let's keep things in perspective.  A few days' wait for the Pocket Camera and a month for the Production Camera is nothing compared to the gap between promised and actual delivery dates for many other camera manufacturers, most notably RED, Panasonic and Digital Bolex.

Panasonic's challenges in getting product to market in North America are legend.  And it's happening again with the new G6, which was promised in June, but is just now (late July) arriving in quantity in North America - at a $50 markup from list.  What's up with that?

And then there's RED.  Does anyone remember the promise of "3K for $3K"?  I do.  I also remember the year+ later rollout of the Scarlet, which is a great camera, but not a $3000 camera by any stretch of the imagination.

I won't pile on the Digital Bolex folks, whom I admire, but there is clearly a huge gap between promise and reality with this camera.

And outside of the camera world, has anyone tried to get a new iOS or Nexus phone or tablet on the rollout date?

All of that said, Blackmagic is a real company with real products and a track record of delivering them (eventually).  All the talk about "deception" and that a delay on the new cameras will "bring down the company" is a little over the top, in my view.

For those who can wait a few weeks, and still need to get on the pre-order list, you can get the $995 Pocket Cinema Camera here, and the Production Camera bundled with handles for $3995 here.

For those who need 2.5K RAW now, you can get the original EF mount Cinema Camera from Amazon - and the MFT mount BMCC with handles from Adorama for $2995.

And a little reminder of what the "old" 2.5K RAW camera can do (Trip to Mexico, from Andrew Julian on Vimeo):

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The ASUS dock saved my Nexus 7 from being traded in for an iPad Mini

Here is my review of the $28 ASUS Docking Station for the Nexus 7originally submitted at Adorama (with a little editing for the blog).  If you have a Google Asus Nexus 7, especially one with a dodgy USB port, this is a must buy.

Does what it's supposed to do
By Hybrid Camera Revolution from Terra on 7/25/2013

5out of 5
Pros: Stable, Clever, Well designed
Cons: Inflexible (Landscape mode only - no Portrait)
Best Uses: Recharging, Content Consumption
Describe Yourself: Value Oriented
Primary use: Personal
Computer Platform: Linux
This item saved my Nexus 7 from being replaced with an iPad Mini. The flimsy ASUS USB port was bent and almost unusable for charging the device. For the last few days, I "wiggled" the adapter to get a charge - and sometimes it would short out and shut the tablet off. Grrr.
For me, the dock's ability to charge through the pogo pins is a Godsend. Now, charging is a joy instead of a nightmare, and it looks pretty darned good sitting on the desk too.

And for everyone complaining about the lack of an AC adapter - please use the AC adapter that came with your Nexus 7! (sorry for shouting).  Why do you need two? Thank you.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Google does it again - failed their way to success.  After the failures of Google TV and the Nexus Q, Google went back to the drawing board and figured it out. A $35 stick that comes with 3 free months of Netflix and plugs into the HDMI port on your TV and streams content from your PC, iPad, Nexus tablet, iPhone or Android phone.  You don't have to learn a new operating system, you don't need a network of wires behind your TV, you don't need to figure out Network Encryption Keys.

At this price, it's a no-brainer.  As one of the commenters says below the video embedded above, "It's getting harder and harder to be an Apple fanboy."

To quote Will Smith in Men In Black, "I've got to get me one of these!"

Order yours now by clicking here, or on the image below:

Sony RX100 Marked Down to $552

This is the camera that David Pogue at the New York Times called "the best pocket camera ever made".  Now that the RX100 II has been released, we're starting to see sale prices on the original model .  Right now, you can get an RX100 bundle - with a 16GB SDHC card, two batteries, an external charger and a carrying case for $552 with free shipping at 6th Ave via eBay.

This is a good deal for this camera, which still lists for $648 at Amazon and Adorama.

The RX100 is a great little 20MP still camera - and a very capable video camera too.  Here are a couple of examples from one of our sponsors, Vimeo:

This one was shot 80% with the RX100 and 20% with a Canon 5D and features Ellie Goulding's new track, Burn:

As of this post, 58 had been sold and "more than 10" were available.  If you want one at this price, you should jump on this eBay listing now.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Amazing New Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Footage

Another sign that the camera is about to ship.  Shot in lovely Auckland, New Zealand by Captain Hook and his partner at  "A Couple of Night Owls".  Shot at 220mbps in ProRes422.  Sadly, no CinemaDNG RAW examples yet.

Still, the dynamic range is awesome - and it still floors me that a camera this size can record and process this much data in real time.

For those of you who have pre-ordered this camera, I recommend you read Hook's notes on the shoot and then wade through the comments section for lots of great technical information on your new camera. 

I learned from the comments, for example, the Pocket Cinema Camera has no ability to delete clips in camera.  No big deal, but it's nice to know.

Hook also details the reasoning behind his choice of ISO settings and a few other tips that make reading through the comments worthwhile - so please head over to Vimeo and take a look.

For those of you who haven't yet pre-ordered this $995 "wonder camera", please get in line at Adorama by using this link.  It costs the same as going directly to Adorama, you'll be supporting the blog, and they won't charge your card until it ships - which should be 'real soon now'.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Ship Date Imminent?

As everyone who has pre-ordered a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera knows, Blackmagic Design's promised ship date for this eagerly anticipated camera was "sometime in July".  Well, according to this post on Instagram, it looks like Blackmagic is on track to fulfill that promise.

B&H appears to be hands-on with the camera, and expects it to be available on July 25th.  In addition, it is reported that cameras are starting to trickle out to Canadian dealers  - and accessory manufacturer Wooden Camera has posted four great hands-on videos showing Wooden Camera accessories on the BPCC.

The first of these videos reminds me of many of the reasons I look forward to shooting with this camera (in addition to the promise of ProRes 422 and CinemaDNG RAW):

 - Unbelievably compact size  - 220mbps ProRes 422 video in a camera the size of a point and shoot

- Standard SDXC cards (e.g., the $67 Sandisk Extreme 64GB SDXC) - no expensive SSDs or even CFs

- 1/4"-20 mounting screws on the top and bottom of the camera

- Standard Nikon EN-EL20 internal batteries - and uninterruptible power using the internal battery as a backup for hot swapping external batteries.

The cages and rails shown in the Wooden Camera videos are a little over the top for my shooting style - but I have ordered a $25 Wooden Camera hot shoe to mount mics or lights on top of the camera, plus a $50 Cavision Loupe with a $6 3.5" rubber adapter to turn the LCD into a viewfinder.
Combined with my $22 Rainbowimaging pistol grip (with trigger), I am hoping to turn the BPCC into a "Super 8" style cinema camera. 
I'll let you know how it turns out!
If you're not already on the list, you can pre-order the $995 Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera from Adorama here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Happy 75th Birthday to the Man of Steel!

This is not just a hybrid camera blog.  I loved movies and comics long before I picked up a camera.

I grew up reading Superman comics. In my early childhood, comics were 12 cents, but that was a lot of money, so we went to the corner drugstore and read them on the rack.

My store didn't carry Marvel (too new and avant-garde), so I was a hard-core DC guy. So when the first modern Superman movie came out in 1977, even though I was "too grown up for comics" - I was one of the first in line.

Fast forward to 2013 and the release of Man of Steel - not first in line this time, but the first good Superman movie in about 35 years is definitely worth the price of admission.

You will find in-depth reviews and even psychoanalysis elsewhere, but for those who haven't seen it, it is a fresh look at the legend.

No, it is not 100% faithful to the Superman "canon", but it works.

If you're a Superman fan, and didn't get a chance to see this movie in the theater, see it on a $25 DVD/Blu-Ray set (when available) - and while you wait for your pre-order to ship, you can get your 75th anniversary memorabilia from the Warner Brothers' Store.

And for those who must know what cameras were used to shoot Man of Steel, the answer is: Arri 235, Arri 435 and Panaflex Millenium.

As of this post, you can pick up a used Arri 235 for $11,000 or a used Arri 435 for $29,500 on eBay and start shooting your own superhero epic.

So - contrary to one of my earlier rants, film is not quite dead - yet.

Happy 75th, big guy .

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

SALE - Sony NEX-7 w Kit Lens $1029 @ DigitalRev

With the rumored imminent release of the "NEX-9" - it looks like we're starting to see discounts on the Sony NEX-7.  This was a breakthrough hybrid still/video camera when it was released - the first APS-C mirrorless camera with a built-in EVF and Sony's three wheel "Tri-Navi" system - far superior to the menu-based controls of the NEX-3 and NEX-5 series.

The NEX-7 is still generating buzz - Trey Ratcliff over at the great travel photography site Stuck in Customs recently published a provocative post called "Hello Sony. Goodbye Nikon. The Story of Why I am Switching from Nikon to Sony"  In the piece, Trey, a long-time Nikon shooter, explains why the NEX-7 is now his only travel camera:

"...the NEX-7 is the best for my kind of photography. I'm using it exclusively now and will be in the immediate future until something better comes along..."

And now that the price has come down, the NEX-7 is starting to become a much better value for money.  You can get a 24.3MP NEX-7 with the 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens for $1029 at DigitalRev right now - a couple of hundred dollars less than the same camera will cost you at Amazon, Adorama or Sunset Electronics via eBay.

Here is Kai's review of the NEX-7 from January of last year:

There are only a few left at this price, so get 'em while they're hot!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July - Panasonic GH3 for $1049 at Samy's via Amazon!

Whether it's an Independence Day Sale or a markdown to compete with pre-orders for the $1199 Canon EOS 70D -  the flagship Panasonic DMC-GH3 has been marked down to $1049 at Samy's and $1069 at Amazon direct.

With all the recent talk about the 70D, it is useful to remember that the GH3 still has several real advantages over the $1199 Canon:

  • Splashproof metal, magnesium alloy body
  • 1080/60p
  • 50mbps and 72mbps video recording
  • Headphone jack

And, if you already have the GH3, and need an offset loupe that works with your shoulder rig, Varavon's Swivel LCD viewfinder loupe is now available on eBay for $214

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

NEW Canon 70D - Great Premiere Video - "Handmade"

Canon's new autofocus system, upgraded DIGIC 5+ processor and built-in wifi make this new camera a worthy entrant to the hybrid still/video market.  For Rebel shooters with a significant investment in Canon glass, but who can't afford a 5D Mark III, this camera may be the perfect upgrade.

Here is what it can do (in the hands of cinematographer Noboyuki Yanagibashi):

And here is the "making of" - narrated by Yanagibashi-san himself:
Very impressive performance, and I expect Canon to sell a lot of them.  If you're ready to upgrade to the best crop sensor Canon for video, and you don't need a headphone jack or 1080/60p, you can pre-order your new 70D body for $1199 at Amazon or Adorama.

And, for the latest 70D videos, please subscribe to my new Canon EOS 70D group on Vimeo.