full screen background image

Blog

October 27, 2015

Tech Tuesday: NASA Broadcasts 4K Video Stream!

On Oct. 11, 2015, NASA made history by being the first public entity to broadcast 4k video from the International Space Station!

 

This is huge! When government entities adopt broadcast technology’s, typically that means that new standards will follow and there is soon be industry wide adoption.

 

The Wild West of Video

4k video has been the Wild West of video for years with no set standards or distribution i.e. multiple formats like UHD and Sony True 4k.  Also, with manufacturers like RED and Blackmagic pushing resolutions beyond 4k, most production houses, news agencies and private organization have been hesitant to adopt 4k in fear that it will quickly be obsolete. However, the 4k market has received a bit of a boost with Youtube offering 4k streaming video and most camera manufacturers offering affordable options.

 

Now, with NASA offering 4k streaming, I believe that viewer can expect to see a wave of new 4k content coming to their screen.

October 20, 2015

Tech Tuesday: Sony Shakes Up The Photo World With A New Camera Update!

Sony RX1R II

Sony RX1R II

It is not often that a camera maker releases a new camera that surprises everyone, however, last week when Sony announced their new RX1R II, they stunned us all. Sony has always been on the cutting edge of technology, and they show it off with this update of the RX1. Though it has a fixed lens, it is far from your average “point and shoot” type of camera. Boasting the same 42.4MP full frame sensor as the a7R II, photographers will be able to crop photos without losing detail, and with the panoramic mode, they can still take breath-taking, wide angle landscapes.

RX1RII sample - Geisha

RX1RII sample - forest

 

Professional Quality In A Smaller Body

We have all seen cameras boasting more and more megapixels over the years, but without increasing sensor size, it really created larger files with the same amount of detail. With the same full-frame sensor as the Sony a7R II, the RX1R II gets the increased resolution with all the detail.

RX1RII sample - candies

 

Speaking of detail…

 

Control Over Sharpness

In the past, camera makers have offered their popular camera models with a option to have the anti-aliasing (AA) filter removed i.e the Nikon D800 & 800E. The reason is removing the AA filter allows for the sharpest image possible. However, this does introduce unsightly moire especially on objects with very fine detail such as clothing.

Sony RX1RII Variable AntiAliasing Filter

 

Utilizing a liquid crystal coating vs. a fixed screen, Sony has created a Variable Anti-Aliasing filter, by providing an electrical charge to the coating to activate the filter on demand.  While Pentax had a similar feature on their K-3, this is the world’s first variable anti-aliasing filter allowing user to select whether they want maximum sharpness, no moire or a balance between the two.

RX1RII variable antialiasing filter

 

Get Your VF And Use It To

Compact cameras have always had a difficulty with viewfinders. They were either completely useless or made the camera more bulky such as the Nikon V1. On the flipside, not having a viewfinder made it difficult to compose an image off the LCD in bright sun and also forced you to hold the camera away from your body where it was unstable. The new Sony RX1R II addresses this issue with a retractable XGA OLED Tru-Finder.

Sony RX1R II viewfinder

 

Constantly Innovating

In the end, the RX1R II is great example of why I like Sony. They continually innovate and push the limits of technology, and though they are on the higher price range, they deliver products that are meticulously thought out and brilliantly crafted. I believe that the Sony RX1X II will be a great camera for commercial and enthusiasts alike.

 

 

October 13, 2015

Tech Tuesday: DJI Osmo – Reimagine Movement

DJI Osmo

Courtesy of DJI

Bringing Steady Shots To Home Movies

Recently, I highlighted DJI in an article about their new Inspire 1 lineup, and, when a company keeps upping the game in affordable video stabilizers, I am impressed. As a videographer, I love it when companies release new tools for me to get more inventive shots, and with the new DJI Osmo, I believe that any creative filmmaker can get a nice, steady shot for their production.

 

 

Re-imagining The Wheel

The idea of a small camera on a handheld 3-axis gimbal is not new. In fact, Feiyu came out with one well over a year ago. But what DJI has done is added their own camera, Zenmuse x3, and allowed for users to pan and tilt independently. This allows the operator to have greater control over the camera and create a more refined shot.

 

 

Now, I’m not going to lie. After looking at the Omso’s video samples, I feel that the X3 camera doesn’t really produce that great of an image. Much like a cell phone, it does a good job, but not as great as they tout. The compression creates noticeable macro-blocking, especially with movement. With DJI’s X5R, you could have a professional level product, but straight out of the box, it is more for the amateur filmmaker.

 

Three DJI Zenmuse cameras

Zenmuse X3, X5 and X5R camera lineup | Courtesy of DJI

 

An Exciting Addition

Overall, with its ability to take panoramic and time-lapse shots along with its fully integrated controls, I think that the Osmo is a nice piece of equipment right out of the box. In addition, DJI has announced a lineup of supports and mounts to expand its capabilities. I am excited that DJI has thought this one through and released a solid product.

 

DJI Osmo

October 6, 2015

Tech Tuesday: New GoPro Hero+ vs Hero4 Session

GoPro Hero4 SessionThe King of Action Cameras

There is no denying that GoPro has for a long time cornered the market on action cameras and that their name has even become synonymous with the wide-angle, “point-of-view” shot. Of course, in a market that has quickly become over saturated, there are plenty of competitors like Sony, Contour and Drift that make cheaper (and arguably better) video cameras, but GoPro’s long lineage, constant innovation, superb marketing and industry wide adoption maintains their stronghold. Now with their release of the Hero+ and Hero4 Session in their 2015 lineup, GoPro attempts to broaden their appeal to everyone in the market. So, which is better: the Hero+ or the Hero4 Session?

 

GoPro Hero4 Session

Hero4 Session: Small & Simple

Aimed at people who want an action camera with a smaller foot print, the Hero4 Session is 50% smaller and 40% lighter than the standard Hero. This is due to its completely redesigned waterproof body:

Two surfers dive under a wave

HERO4 Session is rugged and waterproof to 33’ (10m), eliminating the need for a separate housing. Its convenient, ready-to-go design makes it easy to get out the door quickly to capture and enjoy your session.

 

Also, they simplified the cameras operation with a single button press.

 

A single press of the shutter button powers on the camera and begins capturing video or Time Lapse photos automatically. A second press of the shutter button stops recording and powers off the camera. It’s that simple.

Female climber uses GoPro Hero4 Session

 

Though it doesn’t have 4k video like its series counterparts, it still packs a pretty good punch with 1080p60 video and 8MP still photos, however, so does the cost at ~$300. Not bad for video professionals, but this price puts it outside of the amateur budget.

 

GoPro Hero+

Hero+: Affordable With WiFi

Placed right in the middle of GoPro’s Hero lineup, the Hero+ is $100 less than the Hero4 Session and has the same 8MP stills and 1080p60 video specs. And unlike the entry model Hero, it has the same WiFi connectivity as the Session. The most notable difference is that iconic Hero body, which is not inherently rugged or waterproof. For this, you’ll have to use the supplied housing, which in my opinion, is perfectly fine for almost any user: amateur or professional.

Skydiver with a GoPro Hero+

 

Professional videographers may miss the Session’s Protune™, dual mic and subtle picture adjustments, but as someone who has used these cameras extensively, I really don’t think that these are huge selling points for an action camera.

 

Snowboarder on the mountain

The Best Action Camera for You

Ultimately, your needs and budget will determine which camera is best for you, and with six cameras in GoPro’s lineup, you may find the others to be a better fit. If you want an action camera with a small foot print and customizable picture options, than the Hero4 Session is a great camera for you. However, if all you want is a camera you can stick most anywhere to get a creative angle, than get yourself the Hero+ and use the $100 you saved for some nice mounts.

 

Surfer girls take Selfie

Happy shooting!

 

* All photos are courtesy of GoPro and their affiliates.