Burbank, 17 May: HDR Seminar @ AbelCine

[Update Tuesday morning: sold out; no more spaces left.] HDR involves fundamental changes in how we think about exposing, grading, and delivering images, yet we’re still in the dark about best practices and practical considerations. AbelCine in Burbank will shed some light on the topic Tuesday, as will Deluxe in NYC on Wednesday.

HDR Seminar hero image
Image courtesy AbelCine

Tuesday, 17 May at 6:30pm in Burbank CA, AbelCine and colorist Dado Valentic present an hour-long seminar, The Merits of the New High Dynamic Range, followed by hands-on with HDR-oriented gear.

This evening event will consist of a one hour seminar that takes a look at the HDR production chain, followed by a Q&A. You will see first hand the content and what it takes to create and deliver a production in HDR. Once you glance at an HDR TV screen you won’t need any convincing – images look better, fresher, and more exciting! If 3D was interesting for its novelty and 4K advantages were not visible to all, it is clear to see that HDR is in a category of it’s own. The only question is, how long will it take before ‘Premium’ becomes the norm?

Manufacturers such as Canon, Sony, Atomos, SmallHD and others will be on hand with some of their newest products so that attendees can get a closer look at how HDR can affect their workflow, both on-set and in post.

Event Schedule

6:30 – 7:00pm Check-in. Manufacturers will be set up on the showroom floor with their gear. (Food & drink will be served.)
7:00 – 8:00pm HDR Seminar
8:00 – 8:30pm Hands on time with gear in the showroom.


1. What is HDR?
2. What is UHD Premium?
3. UHD in production chain
4. Technical Guide: HDR standards
5. Dolby Vision
6. SMPTE ST2084
8. Conclusion

Details and registration online. You do need to sign up; space is somewhat limited [and it’s sold out as of Tuesday morning]… and AbelCine needs to know how much food & drink to serve!

The Usual Disclaimer: Nobody paid me to to publicize this event and there’s no material connection between me and AbelCine or Dado Valentic. And as I’m over two hours away as the CRJ700 flies, I can’t even drop by just to partake of the food & drink, either. So if you’re going, have a pastry for me.

The best REAL DSLRs for video in 2016

nest real DSLRS for video 2016

Some say it was by mistake, but the truth is that Canon created the trend of using DSLRs for video. The launch of the EOS 5D MK II, in 2008, changed the landscape and allowed more and more people to start exploring with moving images. In 2016, the list of DSLRs able to shoot video continues to grow. Here is a compilation of some of the best.

While the market offers nowadays multiple other options, for many users DSLRs are still the way to go, so it makes sense to compile a listing of the REAL DSLRS available in the market. This new list continues a first one I did for Pro Video Coalition in 2014, and which can still be used if you’re looking for a second-hand DSLR for video. But this new listing points to some of the newest models and choices available for those who are searching for options in a market segment some consider is a dying breed. The continuous update of models suggests they may be wrong…

Before we go ahead, though, its maybe a good idea to correct some misunderstandings and, from my point of view, wrong ideas people have about DSLRs in general and the reasons why people by one system instead of another. Consistency may be a good reason for that choice. That’s something that is still found under some brand names coming from the photographic market and missing in others. A good recent example is Samsung, that entered the market some years ago, first in photography and in association with Pentax, declaring they were going to be number one in a couple of years. Then they were going to be number one in a segment of photography, then another, and another again, and more recently, they simply quit the market. Customers that bought into the system are now left without a forward path and need to start looking in a new direction. Another example, although not video related, is the modular system from Ricoh. Not to speak about all those who bought Lytro cameras, following the excitement of magazines and websites that wrote the days of classical photography were gone and we did not need to focus any longer. Yes… we still do. I am glad it is so!

nest real DSLRS for video 2016
The market is filled with multiple promises that never turn into something real and viable. Investing in systems that go nowhere means throwing money out of the window

Although some people suggest that DSLRs as video cameras are going to be a thing of the past, the truth is that DSLRs are here to stay, as many photographers still prefer to use them in their photography, and by extension in their video. For many photographers, video became an extension of their work, and if they keep doing both, it probably makes sense to use a DSLR. Because of that dual function, it also makes sense, when writing about DSLRs, to refer their functionalities both for photography and video, as usually those using them – a lot of people, and a growing segment of the market, it seems – use the cameras both for stills and video. Finally, as is my case, although we can carry multiple cameras, many times the ideal solution is to have one camera that does both things, so you have to carry less gear round. My own experience as led me to search for such a solution, so I can just wander around with a single camera that will do both things. When I absolutely need it, I will carry one or more extra bodies.

Buying into a system is something photographers have done for years, and although some do change from one brand to another, many stay within the same system all their life. This means a huge investment in lenses and other accessories, that can’t simply be thrown out every time a new camera from another brand comes to the market. For a photographer transitioning into video but still keeping a foot in each area, it probably makes sense to find solutions within the brand used, as they are usually available. While I understand that someone starting from the ground may look at the options from the Mirrorless systems available, someone that has been using DSLRs all their life may well want to keep using them. Unless there are very specific reasons not to do so.

nest real DSLRS for video 2016

So, this list is for those who want to use DSLRs. This said, there is one important question to answer: what is a DSLR? I’ve to go back to this question because I keep seeing cameras from the mirrorless universe and others referred as DSLRs, what is plain wrong. So, I do think it is time to state that a digital single-lens reflex camera (also called a digital SLR or DSLR) is a digital camera combining the optics and the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera with a digital sensor. This means that such a camera is different from all the others, as the light that travels through the lens to a mirror reaches also an optical viewfinder, offering a real and clean image of the subject. When the shutter is activated the mirror goes up and the light reaches the sensor. That’s what a TRUE original SLR is!

best real DSLRS for video 2016
Although they look like DSLRs, Sony cameras are SLTs. They keep the external shape but the way the image travels inside the camera to the viewfinder is different.

If we leave aside names like Leica, which cater for a small segment of the market, there are only three real DSLR brands in the market today: Canon, Nikon and Pentax. Sony has stopped doing DSLRs in August 2010, and created what they call SLT, or single-lens translucent. Although similar in appearance to a DSLR, these cameras a fixed semi-reflective mirror, a technology Canon used in their SLR Pellix cameras in the sixties of last century but dropped after using in in some early EOS film cameras. Sony, which uses electronic viewfinders, also uses the acronym ILC – Interchangeable-Lens Cameras as an umbrella to all their cameras with… interchangeable lenses.

Sony is not the only camera maker to create models that are similar in appearance to REAL DSLRs. Browsing around the web one finds terms like “DSLR form-factor” or “DSLR-like” referring to models from Panasonic, Olympus, Samsung and others. Although most of those models have no optical viewfinder and rely on LCD screens or electronic viewfinders that, although having evolved from the stage of CCTV camera monitors, still do not compete with the clean image of a REAL optical viewfinder, people tend to call them DSLR, simply because many of them look like… DSLR. What, in fact, they are not! So please, if you feel tempted to comment on this article and mention models from the mirrorless world as a viable choice for this list, please have a look at the title: The best DSLRs for video in 2016.

best real DSLRS for video 2016
Olympus wanted to eliminate the hump where the pentaprism is, but all their mirrorless now look like DSLR… with the regular hump. Go figure it…

This list of the best DSLRs for video in 2016 covers both the video and some photographic aspects of the cameras presented, as I do think it makes sense to present each model as a whole, considering buyers will probably be buying a photography tool first but also want to explore the video aspects. This makes complete sense to me and, again, from my experience: I am a photographer that also does some video. For me a DSLR makes absolute sense, the video segment is there as another creative – and professional – option I want to explore. I find many people with similar needs in the real world!

This list, which may be a starting point for your own explorations, picks the most important elements for video as described by the camera makers, and when possible links to articles that will provide you about more information on each model. I left out the entry level models, which although offering video, do not offer the best AF solutions when it comes to DSLRs. It should also be noted that Pentax is present with less models, as their offer in terms of video is, obviously, less exciting than what Nikon and Canon offer. So, without further ado, let us present a list of – some – of the available and most recent DSLRs for video:

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

For filmmakers and photographers looking to do more than still photography alone with a DSLR camera and EF lenses, the EOS-1D X Mark II camera offers high resolution DCI 4K video at frame rates up-to-60p, with smooth movie recording to an in-camera CFast 2.0 memory card. An additional card slot supports standard CF memory cards up to UDMA 7. The built-in headphone jack supports real-time audio monitoring. Two additional EOS ‘firsts’ include 4K Frame Grab and 120p Full HD recording. The camera’s 4K Frame Grab function allows users to isolate a frame from recorded 4K video and create an 8.8 megapixel still JPEG image in-camera. When combined with the EOS-1D X Mark II’s high-sensitivity full-frame CMOS sensor, the new camera’s ability to record Full HD video at frame rates up to 120p will allow videographers to produce high quality slow motion video even in extremely low light.

To make video shooting even more intuitive, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera’s touchscreen LCD allows videographers to select the camera’s AF point before and during video recording with Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which provides responsive, accurate and quiet camcorder-like video autofocus to DSLRs.

The introduction of Dual Pixel AF in this model, along with a touch-screen LCD, points to what may be a Canon decision for their next models in the EOS X and EOS XX series, while the EOS XXX family uses the less sophisticated Hybrid CMOS AF III. This also indicates that Canon will continue to develop the Dual Pixel AF as a viable autofocus system for video with DSLRs. Something that makes the EOS-1D X Mark II and the EOS 80D, which are examples of the new and future generations, quite different from previous models from Canon.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The 5D Mark III, launched in March 2012, is still the reference for many when it comes to DSLRs used in film making, but its reign may well be about to end, as the introduction of Dual Pixel AF in modern cameras from Canon is changing the whole landscape. Expect a EOS 5D Mark IV, rumored to have dual Pixel AF and touchscreen to be available soon.

A full frame camera, with a 22.3 MP sensor and Full HD (1080p at 30fps) the EOS 5D Mark III builds on the reputation of the EOS 5D Mark II, with a range of new features introduced following feedback received from photographers to provide even better Full HD video performance. As well as offering the depth-of-field control loved by video professionals, the new full-frame sensor combines with the vast processing power of DIGIC 5+ to improve image quality by virtually eradicating the presence of moire, false colour and other artefacts. The addition of a movie mode switch and a recording button also offers greater usability, enabling videographers to begin shooting immediately when movie mode is engaged.

Additional movie functions include manual exposure control and an enhanced range of high bit-rate video compression options, with intraframe (ALL-I) and interframe (IPB) methods both supported. Variable frame rates range from 24fps to 60fps, and the addition of SMPTE timecode support provides greater editing flexibility and easier integration into multi-camera shoots. Users can also check and adjust audio during recording via the camera’s Quick Control screen and a headphone socket enables sound level monitoring both during and after shooting. Enhanced processing power provided by DIGIC 5+ also makes it possible to conveniently trim the length of recorded movies in-camera.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Launched at the end of 2014, the EOS 7D Mark II camera offers users the ability to shoot in 1080p Full HD or 720p HD video up to 60p enabling slow-motion capture at full resolution in either ALL-I or IPB codecs with optional embedded time code. Users can also choose between .MOV and .MP4 recording formats for maximum flexibility. The EOS 7D Mark II camera’s mini HDMI port can be used to record uncompressed Full HD video to external recorders.

Canon’s Stepping Motor (STM) lenses, such as the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, significantly reduce focus motor noise, letting the EOS 7D Mark II camera’s built-in microphone capture clear audio of the scene being shot without picking up unwanted noise from the lens. The EOS 7D Mark II camera also features a stereo microphone port and outputs stereo audio via the camera’s mini-HDMI port. The EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR camera is equipped with a headphone jack for real-time audio monitoring, as well as a silent control feature that allows users to adjust audio levels during recordings.

The recent launch of the EOS 80D, makes it difficult, for a photographer that also wants to use video, to choose between the EOS 7D Mark II and the EOS 80D. The touchscreen LCD on the EOS 80D, along with the Dual Pixel AF, make it a better choice for video, a constant reference on all the reviews available about the new camera, which is a video-centric DSLR.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Canon EOS 80D

The EOS 80D is the new video-centric camera from Canon and it takes the promises of the EOS 70D to a new level, with a faster Dual Pixel AF system that now works both for video and stills. It does not offer 4K, but allows users to shoot in 1080p Full HD video up to 60 fps, compared to 30 fps in the Canon EOS 70D, in MP4 format and in either ALL-I or IPB compression modes with optional embedded time code. For expanded creativity, the Canon EOS 80D DSLR camera features HDR movie and Time-Lapse movie modes and Movie creative filters like fantasy, old movie, memory, dramatic monochrome and miniature. Movie Servo AF custom settings allow users to speed up or slow down focusing speeds, enhancing creativity and artistic expression. For added flexibility, the Canon EOS 80D digital SLR camera also features a built-in headphone jack, a built-in stereo microphone with manual audio level adjustment, and an additional stereo microphone jack.

Some will miss the HDMI out and other features that video shooters like to have around, and photographers will also miss some of the AF option present in the EOS 7D Mark II and, probably for marketing reason, not present here, but the initial reaction to the EOS 80D, from multiple sources, points this as one of the best DSLRs Canon launched in recent times, both for photography and video.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Canon EOS 70D

Launched in July 2013, the 20.2 MP APS-C sensor EOS 70D allows photographers to create high quality movies with ease. Full HD (1920 x 1080p) resolution video can be captured with a choice of selectable frame rates, including 30, 25 or 24fps, and 60 and 50fps at 720p, and a range of compression options for post-editing and sharing. Thanks to new Dual Pixel CMOS AF, Movie Servo AF mode tracks subjects as they move, or even as shots are recomposed, ensuring they’re always in focus. Alternatively, users can select different focus areas over 80 per cent of the frame simply by tapping the touch-screen, even when recording – ensuring that movies stay sharp and clear if a subject moves or the user changes the composition of a shot.

Videographers can also enjoy stereo sound using the internal microphone, or enhance audio with the built-in external microphone input terminal. Full control over settings such as aperture and ISO is also possible within manual mode, giving users greater freedom as their skills develop.

The EOS 70D is at the moment the most accessible solution if you want a camera with Dual Pixel AF. Its price is dropping now that the EOS 80D entered the market.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Canon EOS Rebel T6s / EOS 760D

The EOS Rebel T6s is one of two models launched by Canon in 2015, the second being the Rebel T6i (or EOS 750D). I pick here the EOS Rebel T6s because it offers an extra LCD top panel that allows users to better control the camera. The EOS Rebel T6s camera features Canon’s new Hybrid CMOS AF III image sensor-embedded autofocus system, which allows for high levels of speed and accuracy when capturing Full HD video or high-resolution photos in Live View… although not as fast or precise as the Dual Pixel AF system. The camera offers high-speed continuous shooting up to five frames-per-second (fps), has a 19-point all cross-type AF system, as well as focus area selection modes.

The EOS Rebel T6s camera feature EOS Movie mode, which captures Full HD 1080p resolution video up to 30 fps in MP4 format, for high quality shooting and easy movie sharing on select social networking sites. Manual exposure control, digital zoom and an external stereo microphone jack are provided for advanced users using the EOS Rebel T6s.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Nikon D5

The D5 supports movie creation in 4K, which offers a resolution higher than HD or full-HD movies, an indispensable feature for professionals involved in film-making and video content creation. High-resolution 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)/30p, 25p, 24p movies can be recorded to a memory card inserted in the camera, or, with simultaneous HDMI output, they can be displayed on an external monitor or recorded as uncompressed video to an external recorder. With support for the maximum standard sensitivity of ISO 102400, as well as even higher sensitivity settings up to Hi 5 (equivalent to ISO 3280000), even movies recorded at these high sensitivities will exhibit superior picture quality, says Nikon in the information provided. 4K UHD time-lapse movies can also be generated in-camera.

The camera has a caveat: a limit of the 4K recording time, which only extends to 3 minutes, contrary to the 30 minutes of the Nikon D500. Apparently Nikon will have a firmware update by June 2016 that changes this, transforming the D5 in a real option for Nikon users that want to use the D5 for video. This, obviously, if you need 4K!

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Nikon D810

Presented in July 2014, the D810 is the full-frame DSLR that cinematographers, camera operators and multimedia photographers using the Nikon have elected since its arrival. It probably even managed to lure some others to choose the Nikon D810 as their video camera. The Full Frame 36.3MP sensor offers proven and remarkable image quality and dynamic range to 1080p videos recorded at 60/50/30/25/24p uncompressed to an external device like the Atomos Ninja-2, compressed to an internal CF/SD card or both simultaneously. But there is more: you can move between dark and light scenes without any iris or frame-rate adjustments thanks to ISO Auto Adjust and also smoothly change a shot’s depth of field with power iris control.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Nikon D750

Launched in September 2014, the D750 is Nikon’s first FX-format D-SLR with a tilting Vari-Angle LCD, with robust construction to meet the needs of working in the field. The precision 3.2-inch, 1,229K dot screen tilts to accommodate shooting overhead, at waist level and is ideal for shooting photos or HD video on a tripod. For those serious about using a DSLR for video, the Nikon D750 delivers the same level of functionality found in the Nikon D810, with the maximum amount of manual control that’s essential for production applications.

The camera can capture video in Full HD 1920×1080 resolution at 60/30/24p and gives videographers and multimedia artists full manual control, including aperture adjustment. Like the D810, the Power Aperture feature provides smooth transitions while adjusting the aperture during recording, and in manual mode, users can control shutter speed and ISO.

The D750’s compact size and affordability will make it a welcome addition to any production environment, as will its FX and DX-format crop modes that make it a snap to adjust the focal range without swapping lenses. Implementing another indispensable feature on-set, footage can be recorded to the dual SD memory card slots, or simultaneously output to an external recorder or monitor via HDMI for a variety of applications. Camera operators also enjoy features such as headphone and microphone jacks, Zebra stripes to spot overexposed areas, as well as the ability to select frequency ranges for the internal stereo microphone. For time lapse, the camera utilizes Exposure Smoothing, a great feature that creates balanced exposure transitions between frames when using the time lapse or intervalometer feature.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Nikon D500

Just like the D5, the D500 has the ability to capture 4K UHD video at up to 30p (3840×2160), as well as Full HD (1080p) video at a variety of frame rates. Ready for any production, the camera sports a host of pro video features derived from the D810, including uncompressed HDMI output and Picture Controls, but adds even more great features. These pro-level creative video features include the ability to create 4K time-lapse movies in-camera, Auto ISO smoothing to provide fluid transitions in exposure during recording, and the capability to record 4K UHD video to the card and output to HDMI simultaneously. When capturing 1080p Full HD content, the camera also has a new 3-axis electronic VR feature that can be activated regardless of the lens being used. Challenging video exposures are no problem for the D500, as it also adds in Active D-Lighting to Full HD video to balance exposure values within a scene to help prevent blown-out highlights.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Nikon D7200

The Nikon D7200 inherits many of the high-end video capabilities of Nikon’s latest full frame DSLRs, the Nikon D810 and Nikon D750. Ready to capture top-quality HD video at a moment’s notice, users can take advantage of a robust video feature set that allows videographers to record uncompressed and compressed Full HD 1080 footage at 30/25/24p and 1080 at 60/50p in 1.3x Crop Mode. Additionally, Auto ISO sensitivity is now available in manual mode, helping create smooth exposure transitions without changing shutter speed or aperture, while “zebra stripes” highlight display is available to confirm exposure. Video controls are available through a dedicated movie menu for quick access, while aspiring videographers can also utilize a built-in stereo microphone with 20 step adjustments to record smooth DSLR audio. The D7200 is also the first Nikon DX-format DSLR to feature a built-in Time Lapse Mode with exposure smoothing, making capturing a beautiful sunset time-lapse easier than ever.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Pentax K-1

The Pentax K-1 appears in this listing but it really should not be considered as a choice if you’re after a DSLR for video. It’s specifications, which follow previous models from Pentax, are acceptable when it comes to video images, but this is not a camera to compete with the offer from both Canon and Nikon. Ricoh does not even bother to mention video on the official press-release. This camera is mostly a photographer’s tool, and according to recent reviews a fantastic tool at that, so video, while present, is just for those moments when you need some moving images. But don’t expect anything special.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Pentax K-S2

Presented as the world’s smallest dustproof, weather-resistant digital SLR camera with a variable-angle LCD monitor, wireless LAN and NFC functions, available in multiple colours, the Pentax K-S2, from 2015, offers Full HD movie (1920 x 1080 pixels; 30/25/24 frame rate) in the H.264 recording format, along with stereo sound. It even provides advanced movie functions, such as a 4K Interval Movie mode that connects still images recorded at a certain interval to create a single movie file, and a Star Stream mode to fade in and out the traces of stars to recorded movies.

This APS-C model with a 20 megapixel CMOS sensor also features a LCD monitor with a variable-angle design for the first time in a PENTAX digital SLR camera, an interesting option for photographers and video shooters.

best real DSLRS for video 2016

Pentax K-3 II

The Pentax K-3 II, launched in 2015 has an evolution of the K-3 from 2013, captures Full HD movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels; 60i/30p frame rate) in the H.264 recording format. It also comes equipped with a stereo mic terminal for external microphone connection and a headphone terminal. The user can even adjust the audio recording level manually and monitor sound pressure levels during microphone recording. In addition to a host of distinctive visual effects available for movie recording, the K-3 II also provides the interval movie mode, which captures a series of 4K-resolution movie clips at a fixed interval.

While the K-3 II is not exciting in terms of video, it represents, photographically, a major leap forward for Pentax, introducing features as Pixel Shift Resolution System, which is also a feature of the new K-1. A photographic tool, the camera has an APS-C-size CMOS image sensor with approximately 24.35 effective megapixels; an AA-filter-free design for high-resolution image reproduction; a high-performance 27-point AF system; high-speed continuous shooting at approximately 8.3 images per second; and a dependable dustproof, weather-resistant construction.

A footnote

A final note for this compilation of DSLR cameras: with new models to be launched this year, in time for Photokina, the landscape for this segment of the market may, again, change. Still, not much has changed, and that’s one of the reasons why some models from the previous compilation make it to this one, as they continue to represent viable options, especially if you’re on a budget. But due to the recent introduction, especially by Canon and Nikon, of models that extend the options available in terms of video, it makes complete sense to update the listing of best REAL DSLRs for video. What’s done now! Enjoy!

NYC, 18 May: HDR in camera & post @ Deluxe

[Update: registration info] Sometimes it’s worth the hassle to live in New York. Next Wednesday, May 18th, Panasonic and Deluxe host a 3-hour event showing off the DVX200, Varicam LT, and Varicam 35; screening HDR footage; and discussing HDR (high dynamic range) post and production.

Panavised Varicam 35
A Panavised Varicam 35 at NAB 2016

Details from Panasonic’s Gregger Jones:

Please join us with Deluxe at 218 W 18th on the 12th floor on May 18.

This is a hands-on event of three Panasonic 4K Cine Cameras: the AG-DVX200 4K Camera, VariCam 35 4K Camera and the newly launched VariCam LT 4K Camera! This event includes HDR experts from Deluxe and technical experts from Panasonic to discuss HDR in Camera and Post, including, comparison of functions, production workflows (4K, HDR, & other), and how each affects your bottom line. See footage, and hands on the cameras and more. Register and learn about HDR, Deluxe and Panasonic VariCam.

The event is from 5:00-8:00pm on Wednesday, 18 May at Deluxe, 218 West 18th St in New York. Check in on the 12th floor; the event is on the 13th floor penthouse / roof deck — which almost sounds worth the trip by itself. The forecast calls for a chance of rain in the morning, ending by mid-day, with mid-60s temperatures by evening, so it looks like it’ll be quite pleasant. Dang, I wish I could be in NYC on the 18th.

Deluxe invitation 4K HDR Cine cameras

If you decide to attend, please contact Panasonic’s Jeffrey Lawson ([email protected] or 201-427-0610) to so he can plan to have enough food and drink.

The Usual Disclaimer: Nobody paid me to to publicize this event and there’s no material connection between me and Panasonic and/or Deluxe. I’m over 2,400 miles away (3,900 kilometers or 2,304,000 Smoots) so I won’t even be able to freeload off the light food and drink.

A 3-in-1 microphone for Canon DSLRs

Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1

Designed to complement the movie quality of the EOS range, the Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1 is a versatile microphone that can be used to capture a range of subjects with better sound quality than the built-in microphone usually present in DSLRs.

According to Canon, the DM-E1 is a compact stereo directional microphone providing exceptional performance for when high-quality sound matters just as much as the visuals. The design of this new model is similar to the DM-E100 used with Vixia camcorders from Canon. Although smaller, this new unit will cost you more, as the suggested price for the DM-E1 is $249.99 against $189.95 for the DM-E100.

Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1

I’ve tried to get one unit from Canon, for testing, as I am curious about this alternative, but the price tag might be a reason for some to look elsewhere. Still, if what Canon says is true – and I’ve no reason to think otherwise – the DM-E1 may be a good asset to have around if you do video with your DSLR. Canon indicates that the microphone, with a classic shotgun design, features “three directional sound pick-up modes, the DM-E1 provides the ability to adjust the microphone to capture in three different directional patterns. The monaural shotgun mode is best suited for capturing a sound source directly in front of the camera, such as a presenter or reporter, providing some isolation from other sounds from within their environment. Switching to the 90 and 120 degree modes provides stereo sound for sources that are spread over wider areas, such as an orchestra in a concert hall.”

If your creativity brings you outside, the microphone also comes with a Wind Screen to help keep wind noise to a minimum. Canon says that whether you’re looking to create your masterpiece movie, record a concert or simply capture the sights and sounds of nature, the Directional Microphone DM-E1 pairs wonderfully with a Canon EOS digital camera to help you achieve phenomenal audio for your video.

Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1

If this really is a “one size fits all” in terms of microphones for DSLRs – or at least a microphone suitable for multiple subjects – then the price tag may just be alright. From my recent experiences with the EOS 80D and the EOS 5DS R cameras from Canon, I found that the built-in microphones do behave better than in earlier models (also depending on where you use them), but nothing compares, yet, to a good external microphone.

Another interesting aspect of the DM-E1 is the in-built shock mount, which elevates the microphone away from the camera body, meaning noise from camera operations and lens zoom are effectively reduced, whilst wind noise is avoided thanks to the windshield. With a 50Hz to 16kHz sound frequency range pick-up, the microphone can capture a wide tonal range, while the 66dB S/N ratio and -42db sensitivity means users have a sensitive microphone with minimal distortion.

Perfectly compact, with 1.57 x 3.31 x 5.12 in. (that’s 40.0 x 84.0 x 130.0mm) and a weight close to 3.88 oz. / 110g for the main body only, the Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1 is one of the smallest and lightest microphones of its kind, making it ideal for those on the move. A single CR2032 Lithium battery makes it come to life.

Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1

The unit can be used with a wide range of compatible Canon EOS cameras offering a 3.5mm audio jack connection. Canon mentions only two models that are not compatible: EOS-1D Mark IV and EOS 550D which are not recommended as they do not feature manual volume control.

The in-built shock mount ensures noise from camera operations and lens zoom are effectively reduced, whilst wind noise is avoided thanks to the windshield. With a 50Hz to 16kHz sound frequency range pick-up, the microphone can capture a wide tonal range, while the 66dB S/N ratio and -42db sensitivity means users have a sensitive microphone with minimal distortion.

A macro lens with light, for video and photography

Canon EF-M 28MM f/3.5 MACRO IS STM

The new Canon EF-M 28MM f/3.5 MACRO IS STM is not just the first macro lens for their EF-M lens system, it is also the first macro offering light, provided by a group of LEDs. Good for both photography and video.

Photographers used to macro know well the problems faced in some situations: either your shadow casts over the subect or the amount of light present is not enough for a proper exposure with the depth of field you need. There are multiple solutions for these problems, from ring lights used around the lens to external flashes or LED panels carried with the camera and lenses. Now Canon has created a new solution that may weill suit those looking for a portable lighting solution for macro.

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In fact, photographers looking for a compact, lightweight (just 130g) macro lens should look no further than the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens, the first Canon Macro lens specifically designed for the EOS M Camera System. This lens has another particular aspect that, I believe, many will want to see in other lenses from Canon: it features a pair of built-in miniature Macro Lite electronic flash units that illuminate close-up subjects as needed, helping to freeze movement, enhance color accuracy and provide a better sense of depth and dimension. Two curved flash units surround the front element of the lens, with the ability to illuminate both simultaneously, or one at a time. Users are also able to adjust the brightness of the Macro Lites between “bright” and “dim” settings.

The dedicated Macro Lite allows you to bring the lens as close as you need without compromising on light. Used to illuminate small objects up close, it can be controlled by a switch, letting you change the lighting intensity and direction on one or both sides of the Macro Lite, allowing you to create dramatic lighting, while the design reduces shadows cast by both the camera and lens. For photos that show the sparkle of jewellery or the intricate texture of fabric for a fashion blog post, or even close-up portraiture, the lens might be a portable solutions to explore.

Canon EF-M 28MM f/3.5 MACRO IS STM

There is another interesting aspect to this new lens that, again, photographers would very much like to see implemented in other models. The standard focusing range of the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens extends from infinity to life-size (1 time). Additionally, a Super Macro Mode allows shooting at even higher magnifications up to 1.2 times. This feature allows you to capture smaller details that really make your subjects stand out against the background. The lens has the ability to focus on subjects as close as 13mm.

When it comes to image stabilization, this lens uses the same Hybrid IS, already found on Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, which helps reduce camera shake for, suas Canon, “enjoyable handheld photography.” A stepping motor (lead screw-type STM) helps provide smooth and quiet focusing operation when taking photos, and near-silence when shooting videos, a feature that may well interest videographers involved with the world of little things.

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Built around one UD lens and two aspherical lenses, to help deliver outstanding image quality at all distance settings by reducing chromatic and spherical aberrations, the the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens offers an angle of view similar to a 45mm standard lens (35mm equivalent) providing flexible image capture of various subjects and scenes at macro distances and beyond.

To help users take full advantage of the AF speed capable, when shooting movies on an EOS M3 or EOS M10 with the EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM, a firmware update will be released at the end of May. Canon’s EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens is scheduled to be available through authorized Canon dealers in June for an estimated retail price of $299.99.

Faster strobe: Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT

With flash being one key element for many photographers when it comes to creativity, Canon is rapidly updating their radio triggered flash system with the Speedlite 600EX II-RT unit, compatible wit most EOS cameras.

The new Speedlite 600EX II-RT flash is the most powerful unit in the EOS system, offering a maximum guide number of 197 ft./60m at ISO 100, along with a zook flash head which covers a focal length range from 20 to 200mm, making it an – even more – interesting option for those using flash with long lenses.

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT

Furthermore, the new Speedlite 600EX II-RT improves flash firing – something that never seems to be enough for many users. According to information from Canon, the new flash, which replaces the Speedlite 600EX-RT, improves continuous flash firing by approximately 1.1 to 1.5 times when using AA batteries and up to two times when adding the new optional Compact Battery Pack CP-E4N. This is, obviously, based on Canon’s standards, as compared to the Speedlite 600EX-RT, meaning that your mileage may vary, depending on a number of factors, especially with AA batteries, where type and brand used may influence final results.

The new flash works both with radio and optical transmission with compatible Canon Spedlites, offering users the possibility to work along with older flashes or, if they can justify the investment of money, a radio system, offering greater functional range when using flash. Once you try radio, I guess you’ll hardly go back to the old ways… optical, I mean!

The new flash works as expected, meaning it allows for multiple flash system support, with control of up to five groups of compatible Canon Speedlites. A dust- and water-resistant body for reliable operation in harsh environments mans that you an take your portable sun almost anywhere.

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT

In terms of control the flash offers flash-readiness indicator on the display panel, simplified button and dial operation and variable manual flash output, and an illuminated dot matrix LCD panel for enhanced display information, including flash mode and usable distance ranges plus C.Fn (Custom Function) and P.Fn (Personal Function) settings.

When it comes to accessories, Canon introduces new, specially designed accessories supplied include a built-in bounce adapter, plus SCF-E3 hard-type color filter sets, and a soft case. The new Compact Battery Pack CP-E4N is available as an optional accessory for improved continuous flash firing and more flashes per charge, states the company.

The Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT electronic flash unit is scheduled to be available through authorized Canon dealers in June 2016 for an estimated retail price of $579.99.

4.6K URSA Mini Used on Aaron Carter Music Video “Fool’s Gold”

The Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K was used to shoot the music video for Aaron Carter’s new single “Fool’s Gold.” My thoughts? Does it have to be a Aaron Carter music video? Just kidding. I love seeing Blackmagic cameras adopted for a shoot when less than a year ago a more expensive camera system may have been used instead. This is a great example of how Blackmagic has challenged the camera market. They love to put cinematic tools in shooters hands without costing customers an arm an a leg. In many ways Blackmagic could be responsible for driving the market in the direction they want, which I think is good news for us.
Fool's Gold

“Fool’s Gold”

Fool's GoldThe video was Co-directed by Aaron Carter and Jon Asher, a platinum-selling songwriter and visual creative. Apparently, one of the main reasons the duo went with the 4.6K URSA Mini was for it’s clean and cinematic look. “Early on in preproduction, we decided that the video needed a really cinematic look to compliment the striking imagery. Using whites and blacks against pops of gold really enhanced the gold theme of the song, and we needed a camera that could capture it all and deliver a vivid look,” said Asher.
15 stops of dynamic range and filmic color science found in the 4.6K sensor help to deliver on Carter and Asher’s vision. The duo also made use of in-camera frame guides to shoot in 2.40 aspect ratio to help push the cinematic look further. Like many music videos, Carter and Asher shot much of the performance at half speed, or 48fps, while the track played back at twice the speed. In post, since the camera project speed was 23.98, the duo could immediately see the slow motion effect.
Fool's Gold

Finished In DaVinci Resolve

Colorist Rober Crosby processed the raw DNG files off the 4.6K URSA Mini within DaVinci Resolve. “The URSA Mini 4.6K has an organic feel that so many cameras are striving to achieve, and with the 15 stops of latitude, it made the grade quicker and more efficient,” said Colorist Robert Crosby. “We didn’t have to worry so much about things blowing out when pushing the white backdrops, and we still saw a lot of detail in the black body paint in front of the black backdrops. You instantly notice that there is so much room to work with.” When creating a more desaturated look in the bedroom scene, Crosby still wanted the gold on the sheets to pop, so he used the qualifier on the gold sheets to boost saturation. Then he desaturated everything outside of the gold using Resolve’s Hue vs. Saturation Curves tab. “I also really love Resolve’s 3D tracker,” added Crosby. “We used tracking on the bedroom shots just to brighten Aaron’s face a bit. And now with the 3D aspect of the tracker, it looks like the light is following him, instead of just a circle that moves in the general vicinity”
Fool's Gold
Edge Focus helped nail macro shots
Fool's Gold
15 Stops of dynamic range helped the deep blacks retain detail

Helium Cine iPhone Cage Kickstarter Nearly Funded

Brandon Hoe of Helium Cine kicked off a Kickstarter campaign for their iPhone chassis, or camera cage if you will. The idea is to help the iPhone become a more user-friendly camera for shooters. Think adding top-lights, grips, and better microphones. Plus, the Helium Core case will allow you to mount a variety of lenses quickly. To me, this seems like a great piece of gear to help you make an iPhone become more of a professional camera.

April 26th Helium Cine kicked off their crowd funding. Now, they are just shy of their $30,000 goal. Why should you help Helium Cine out? Brandon, the designer, helped launch six different Lenovo notebooks before he left the corporate world and heading out on his own. If Lenovo believed in Brandon to get their products to the market I think we can too.

Helium Cage Details

  • Use different lenses for different compositions and to enable different looks (love Moment lenses? The Helium Core accommodates Moment’s lens mounting plate)
  • Add a flash to illuminate subjects better
  • Mount on a tripod for stability (vertically or horizontally)
  • Carry around your neck for quick access (with a lanyard or strap)
  • Swap lenses for different shot types (the Moondog Labs anamorphic adapter shines with the Helium Core)
  • Add Video lights on camera or add a microphone for scratch audio
  • Mount creatively – on a gimbal, drone, car mount, articulating arm, Fig Rig, slider, jib, shoulder rig, motorcycle, helmet – the possibilities are numerous
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum holds up to abuse better than plastic
  • Fits into your pocket, camera bag, backpack or handbag because of its slender profile

Helium Core Cage

Helium Core Cage

A digest of last week’s photo and video news – Week 19

news digest week 18

A digest of last week’s news is a selection of some of the news from week 18 from 2016 related to the worlds of photography and video, covering multiple topics, always rounded up with a reading suggestion.

news digest week 18

Canon patent for an anamorphic lens

Canon filled an optical patent for a new lens to join their Cinema EOS family. The new 37.5-100mm f/3.3 lens is an anamorphic lens, a special type of lens that affects how images get projected onto the camera sensor. Anamorphic lenses were primarily created so that a wider range of aspect ratios could fit within a standard film frame, but since then, cinematographers have become accustomed to their unique look. The patent for the new lens was published by Egami – as usual. To know more about anamorphic lens read the article at Red.

news digest week 18

Iridient Developer 3.1 launched

Iridient Digital launched the version 3.1 of Iridient Developer, a powerful RAW image conversion application designed and optimized specifically for Mac OS X. Iridient Developer gives advanced photographers total control over their digital photographs, yet still provides easy drag and drop batch conversion and access to basic adjustments for the casual user. Iridient Developer supports RAW image formats from over 620 digital camera models. If you’re a Mac user – no Windows version… yet – there is a demo version to download.

news digest week 18

Samyang goes autofocus

Samyang Optics announced the long-awaited launch of two autofocus lenses: 14mm F2.8 and 50mm F1.4 lenses for Sony E mount Mirrorless cameras with full frame sensor size. According to Samyang press-release, the new 14mm and 50mm are the widest and brightest lenses in their class and offer superb quality images to photographers. This launching expands the boundaries of Samyang Optics photo lens line-up from manual focus only, to now include autofocus lenses.

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Canon vs Nikon vs Pentax vs Sony

The Camera Store TV published a new video with a real world test of the 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses from four different brands. The new Sony GM 24-70mm, Pentax 24-70 DFA and Nikkor 24-70 VR, and the old but still outstanding Canon 24-70mm II. Watch the video, shot at Crowsnest Pass, to discover what photographer Jeremy Fokkens thinks of the quartet of lenses. And a little more about the area and the people living there. That’s the real world.

news digest week 18

Food for Instagrammers

Or better, Food Photography for Instagrammers, now that we’ve grabbed your attention. It’s a free eBook from Rocky Nook, with over 20 pages and a lot of tips and tricks for instagrammers, bloggers, and aspiring food photographers. The essential tips to create mouthwatering food photos every time are there: how to frame, using colour, best focusing practices and much more. and if you feel that’s not enough, you can get the whole book, Corinna Gissemann’s Food Photography: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Appetizing Images!

The First Annual LA Post Fest is May 14, 2016


If you’re in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 14 then join other filmmakers and post-production aficionados at the first ever LA Post Fest. PVC’s own Woody Woodhall and the Los Angeles Post Production Group was part of the creative team behind this video editing and post-production competition. The contest is closed for this year but the screening event hasn’t happened yet.

PVC readers can use the code PVC16 for a 1/2 off discount (tickets would only be $5.00). Use the code when you buy tickets for the event. And starting thinking about how you’ll enter into the next LA Post Fest.

LA Post Fest

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Post production filmmaking launches out of the edit bay and into the spotlight at the debut of L.A. Post Fest, the first of its kind international film festival devoted to the creative and technical process of post production.

Created by the Los Angeles Post Production Group, the first annual L.A. Post Fest will be held on Saturday, May 14th, 2016 at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica at 2:00 p.m. This event is the culmination of an innovative video editing competition, “Create Your Story in Post.” Competitors were asked to use creative, technical skills and storytelling abilities to successfully complete their own version of the sci-fi 4K short film, Protocol.

May’s inaugural festival will screen the 5 winning short films and award prize packages totaling almost $30,000. These talented winners include an ex-Army Special Forces service member, a Cal State Fullerton film student and a father of three.

  • Best Film, Best Editing – Misha Tenenbaum
  • Best Use of Music & Sound Effects – Aaron Phares
  • Best Visual Effects, Most Creative – Daniel Cota
  • Official Selection – Taylor Moore
  • Official Selection – Johann Martinez

“The submitted films were really wonderful,” elaborated Festival Founder, Woody Woodhall. “Each filmmaker took the challenge to heart and made really interesting choices to create their own version of the story.”

Each competitor was given the same script for a short sci-fi thriller, green screen footage, additional digital assets including music from Sony Creative Software, space stills and footage from European Southern Observatory and sound effects from PremiumBeat.

According to Woodhall, submissions poured in from across the globe from as far away as Aus- tralia, Chile, Saudi Arabia and Europe. The end result was very gratifying.

“Having never done anything quite like this before, we didn’t know what to expect. Once the films started coming back, we were thrilled with the imaginative vision and technical achievements these filmmakers crafted from our raw materials. The challenge did exactly what we envisioned,” explained Woodhall who is excited to share the films with the community.

This event is open to the general public. Tickets for L.A. Post Fest are $10 and available on Eventbrite at https://lapostfest2016tickets.eventbrite.com

L.A. Post Fest is presented and produced by the Los Angeles Post Production Group (LAPPG).

About The Los Angeles Post Production Group

LAPPG is an organization for those with an interest in digital filmmaking and the post production process. The group was founded in 2008 and hosts monthly meetings with the industry’s leading experts, professionals and companies. It is a thriving, creative and supportive networking com- munity for members in Los Angeles and around the world. The group is expanding their reach with educational, networking and career-enhancing opportunities through the event platform “LAPPG Presents” and the launch of L.A. Post Fest, an innovative editing competition highlighting the creative impact post production has on filmmaking. Visit their website at www.lappg.com.