Posts tagged with ‘cameras’

The Better-Than-Starter Video Kit →

For all those who have Q’d us about where to start with gear, here’s an excellent set of tools recommended by the Director of Digital Media at Columbia J-School.

duylinhtu:

My video students at Columbia Journalism School are trained on the Canon C100.  It is a great camera, but the $5K+ price tag makes it impossible for most to purchase one for themselves.  Also, that figure does not include microphones, tripods, and other accessories necessary to produce professional-quality video.

With some compromises in ergonomics and picture quality, the list of gear below should be an affordable alternative for any video student or recent grad.  This gear will give you high-quality visuals, clean sound, and reliable stabilization.  I hesitate to call this a starter kit, as you can shoot a feature documentary with this set up.

Camera:  The conventional wisdom with video gear is to invest in lenses and peripherals.  These items will last you years, while cameras get updated and replaced constantly.  I still recommend DSLRs for video journalists starting out.  They are cheap.  Their sensors are big, the low-light performance is fantastic, and they double as great stills cameras (ironically, an often overlooked benefit).  I have years of experience with Canon gear, so I recommend their products.  But Sony, Panasonic, and others all offer up great solutions.  Shop around.  This is a great time to buy.

I recommend two entry-level DSLRs to my students.  The Canon T5i w/ EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 w/  EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens.  The T5i has a flip-out screen, but the SL1 is smaller.  In terms of image quality, they are the same.  My SL1 is so small that I can comfortably carry it with me everywhere I go.

If you can afford it, I recommend getting the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens.  This is my go-to lens for all my documentary work.  It is pricey, but it is a great investment.  You will grow with this lens.  If you do purchase the 24-105, be sure to get the Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR Camera (Body Only) or Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR Camera (Body Only) to save some money.

Do not forget to buy some extra batteries for your shoots.  You can go for the more expensive Canon option or save some money going with a third-party brand.  And be sure to get protective filters for your lenses:  the Tiffen 58mm UV Protector Filter for the kit lens or the Tiffen 77mm UV Protector Filter for the 24-105 lens.

Audio:  The most important part of producing great video is getting great audio.  Audio gear can be very expensive and there are many options on the market.  But the gear below was specifically designed to work with DSLRs.  This set up will transform your DSLR into a fully-functioning video camera:  

Your mics go into the DR-60D and then that signal is fed into the camera.  Or, when you really want to just go small and stealth, the Rode VideoMic Pro can plug directly into your DSLR (as pictured above).  Also, the Tascam DR-60D can be used alone as a great field audio recorder.

My most expensive audio recommendation is the Sony ECM-77B - Lavalier Microphone.  This is the microphone I use for all my interviews.  It plugs directly into the DR-60D.  There are much cheaper lav mics available, but IMHO, the low audio quality is not worth the savings.

Support:  You need a good tripod and monopod to get steady shots.  Tripods go from super cheap to insanely expensive.  I recommend spending a little more now for gear that will last you years.  I always shoot with the Manfrotto Fluid Monopod with 500 Series Head and Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Head & 755XB Tripod.  They are not the cheapest options, but you will have them for years.

Accessories:  Be sure to get enough memory cards for your shoots.  And invest in the Pelican 0915 Memory Card Case to store your precious footage.

I hope this list helps.

Happy shooting,

Duy

How Far We’ve Come: Some Old-Timey Digital Cameras

1975 (top): Kodak creates the world’s first digital camera. Resolution is .01 megapixels. That’s 100x100 pixels for those keeping track at home.

1991 (left): Nikon body meets Kodak digital sensors in the Kodak Digital Camera System. Resolution’s now up to 1524x 1012 pixels. Price tag starts at $20,000 (approximately $33,700 when adjusted for inflation). 

1997 and 2000 (right): Sony releases two cameras. The one on the left shoots at .3 megapixels (640x480) and saves to a 3.5” floppy disc. The one on the right shoots at 1.92 megapixels (1600x1200) and saves to mini CD-R discs.

Images: Looking back at 35 years of the digital camera, via Macworld. Select to embiggen.

Monkey Cam
Via

Monkey Cam

Via

flavorpill:

The World’s Strangest Cameras

FJP: And to think I was in the market for a newfangled SLR — Michael.

flavorpill:

The World’s Strangest Cameras

FJP: And to think I was in the market for a newfangled SLR — Michael.

The BBC Approves this Camera
Via the British Journal of Photography:

Canon has today announced that its Cinema EOS C300 camera “has met the standards the BBC requires from cameras tested to the EBU recommendation EBU R118.”
The approval allows both internal and external BBC production teams to use the EOS C300 “for the production of a variety of programmes to be broadcast on the BBC’s range of HD channels.”

In a separate article the BJP writes about the camera’s technical details and how it was created.

The BBC Approves this Camera

Via the British Journal of Photography:

Canon has today announced that its Cinema EOS C300 camera “has met the standards the BBC requires from cameras tested to the EBU recommendation EBU R118.”

The approval allows both internal and external BBC production teams to use the EOS C300 “for the production of a variety of programmes to be broadcast on the BBC’s range of HD channels.”

In a separate article the BJP writes about the camera’s technical details and how it was created.

Carl Zeiss’ New Super Wide Angle Lens
Via the British Journal of Photography

The lens is composed of 15 glass elements in 12 groups, including two aspheric lenses, has a minimum focussing distance of 25cm, and uses anti-reflective coating a “special light absorbing paint” to reduce stray light aberrations and reflections.

Works with Canon and Nikon cameras.

Carl Zeiss’ New Super Wide Angle Lens

Via the British Journal of Photography

The lens is composed of 15 glass elements in 12 groups, including two aspheric lenses, has a minimum focussing distance of 25cm, and uses anti-reflective coating a “special light absorbing paint” to reduce stray light aberrations and reflections.

Works with Canon and Nikon cameras.

photojojo:

The year was 1981, and Pentax had just manufactured their 10 millionth SLR.

To celebrate, they made 300 18 carat gold plated and brown leather Pentax LX that came with a matching gold and leather f/1.2 50mm lens. 

(It even came with white silk gloves for when you wanted to hold it!)

The 18 Carat Gold and Leather Pentax LX

via leilockheart 

FJP: Covet — Michael.

CES 2012: A Gallery of Camera and Lens Guts
CES gives us a look into the electronic entrails of some new gear. The above image is of the Panasonic Lumix GX1.
Check out other camera and lens innards at Popular Photography.

CES 2012: A Gallery of Camera and Lens Guts

CES gives us a look into the electronic entrails of some new gear. The above image is of the Panasonic Lumix GX1.

Check out other camera and lens innards at Popular Photography.

MIT’s New Camera Takes One Trillion Frames Per Second

As Andreas Velten, a postdoctoral associate at the MIT Media Lab, puts it, “It takes a very fast picture.”

Via MIT News:

MIT researchers have created a new imaging system that can acquire visual data at a rate of one trillion exposures per second. That’s fast enough to produce a slow-motion video of a burst of light traveling the length of a one-liter bottle, bouncing off the cap and reflecting back to the bottle’s bottom…

…The trillion-frame-per-second imaging system, which the researchers have presented both at the Optical Society’s Computational Optical Sensing and Imaging conference and at Siggraph, is a spinoff of another Camera Culture project, a camera that can see around corners. That camera works by bouncing light off a reflective surface — say, the wall opposite a doorway — and measuring the time it takes different photons to return. But while both systems use ultrashort bursts of laser light and streak cameras, the arrangement of their other optical components and their reconstruction algorithms are tailored to their disparate tasks.

Click through to learn what the camera is and isn’t, and if you’re particularly geeky, how it actually works.

H/T: ExtremeTech.

Focus? That’s so Old School

Wired talks with two professional photographers about their positive experiences using Lytro’s new light field cameras. Unlike traditional digital cameras, Lytro’s lenses capture the entire light field instead of a single plane.

The upshot, as Lytro explains it:

Since you’ll capture the color, intensity, and direction of all the light, you can experience the first major light field capability - focusing after the fact. Focus and re-focus, anywhere in the picture. You can refocus your pictures at anytime, after the fact.

And focusing after the fact, means no auto-focus motor. No auto-focus motor means no shutter delay.

And no shutter delay means, in theory, no missing your shot.

Lytro’s wording is important here: you can experience the first major light field capability. 

In his interview with Wired, photographer Stephen Boxall thinks the technology could eventually be integrated into 3D movies.

3D images could be rendered in real-time to an audience, and the audience’s eyes could be tracked using motion-sensing and facial recognition technology to determine where each person is looking at the film onscreen.

“Now you are able to look around the head of your favorite movie star to see what’s happening behind them whilst having the scene refocus wherever you look,” Boxall says. 

Lytro explains its science here. An image gallery is here. The cameras are scheduled for release in early 2012 with prices ranging from $399-$499.

Image: Jason Bradley, See Lions Soaking in the Sun via Lytro. Select the image to play with its focusing.

Cameras!
Image: A 95-year-old photographer with his cameras, a submission to National Geographic’s current $10,000 photo contest via The Atlantic.

Cameras!

Image: A 95-year-old photographer with his cameras, a submission to National Geographic’s current $10,000 photo contest via The Atlantic.

Throw This Camera

Jonas Pfeil and a team of designers created what they’re calling the Throwable Panoramic Ball. Created as a thesis project at Technische Universitat in Berlin, the camera is equipped with 36 fixed-focus 2 megapixel mobile phone cameras encased in a squishy ball.

Via Pfeil’s Web site:

The camera is thrown into the air and captures an image at the highest point of flight - when it is hardly moving. The camera takes full spherical panoramas, requires no preparation and images are taken instantaneously. It can capture scenes with many moving objects without producing ghosting artifacts and creates unique images…

…Our camera contains an accelerometer which we use to measure launch acceleration. Integration lets us predict rise time to the highest point, where we trigger the exposure. After catching the ball camera, pictures are downloaded in seconds using USB and automatically shown in our spherical panoramic viewer. This lets users interactively explore a full representation of the captured environment.

Looks great but it’s not yet for sale. Instead, the team is looking for partners and/or investors to bring it to market.

photojojo:

A clever way to save dough, the DSLR Bank is an incredibly realistic looking camera replica. Use it to save dinero or use it as a prop for shoots!
The DSLR Bank

Keep rolling those pennies until you can afford the real thing.

photojojo:

A clever way to save dough, the DSLR Bank is an incredibly realistic looking camera replica. Use it to save dinero or use it as a prop for shoots!

The DSLR Bank

Keep rolling those pennies until you can afford the real thing.

Leica porn, anyone?