Thursday, April 26, 2018

UNDERWATER DRONES-Powervision takes the lead with POWER DOLPHIN

Well you may ask yourself "Why would  I need an underwater drone?" Well sit back because the number of reasons are growing! Whether you simply enjoy watersports, underwater photography, professional videography, scientific research etc...oh yeah and how about even sportfishing?! The latter of which seems to be the most popular reason to purchase one!

Powervision came out early in the game with the first consumer and prosumer type product, the POWERRay and the newly announced tetherless POWER Dolphin both supporting their Fishfinder module, basically UNDERWATER SONAR, WOW!!

As a user of their products I can tell you they have been put to the test in the best and worse of conditions including keeping up with Great White juvenile sharks for our current and upcoming televised shows. You can check out some of the footage here.

On the scientific research side of things both products fit the bill for underwater research and mapping capability at a low cost point of entry. 


Image result for fujinon 20-120 reviewFujinon showed there new 20-120mm lens at NAB and it's performance was spectacular. It's predecessor, the Cabrio 19-90mm  sold for up to $35K and this lens is on special for $13.5K which is an amazing price for such a high quality servo enabled cinema lens. It doesn't quite measure up to the 19-90 as it is rated at T-3.5, so not quite as quick but the newer cameras more than makeup for this with their impressive ISO and low light performance capabilities. So we can overlook this a bit...
* T3.5 to T22 aperture with 9 iris blades for attractive bokeh
* Detachable, ENG-style, digital drive unit with zoom rocker switch
* Industry standard 0.8 film MOD gears for focus, zoom, and iris control
* Power & data/control connections to the camera via connectors in rear of the lens.
* 16-bit encoding supports sharing LDS and /i Technology lens data with the camera
* The barrel markings in metric or imperial measurements are switchable in the field
* Luminous barrel markings make it easier to read measurements
* 200° focus barrel rotation and 120° zoom rotation
* No shims are required to adjust the flange focal distance
* Macro focus function available

If you are thinking of using this on something like the new SONY Venice or other Full size sensors then YES you will get some vignetting at the wider end of the spectrum. 

Want to stretch this lens capability even more! Add the new DUCLOS 2.0 x PL extender to boost the lens up to a 40mm to 240mm.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SONY A9 amazing for photographers but currently no picture style for the 4K video. Firmware may be coming!

Well SONY is to be congratulated on an amazing action camera with features that will keep the competition on their toes to keep up. At 24megapixel along with a staggering 20 shots per second you will not be missing the action! So photographers this is a must have camera!

For videographers well it's quite a different story for now.
If you're thinking B camera well think again because without picture styles it's going to be a tough day in the field to get the look feel and style you're after and more importantly in post trying to match up the video beyond REC 709 specs with other cameras.

Bottomline there are simply are no cine-like, log type, gamma flexible type settings on this model. One has to wonder why not, especially at a 4500.00 price tag, by far the most expensive Alpha series camera from Sony. It's cousins like the A7R II heck even the A6500 ($1200.00) have "Picture Style" feature.

Will Sony have a firmware upgrade? Thats the $65 million dollar question as no one at Sony has  responded to the many forums and articles posing the same question. Are the A9's electronics even capable of supporting "Picture Style.".

Don't get me wrong here as Sony is an amazing company with state of the art, bleeding edge technology! The question: Is that enough to keep a truly PROFESSIONAL camera like the A9 flying off the shelves of their dealers minus this IMPORTANT FEATURE? Time will tell but for now we'll have to sit and wait and hope that Sony steps forward to it's dedicated professional customer base to shed some light on the subject!

UPDATE PICTURE STYLE:S-LOG may be on the near horizon !
According to B&H QA forum Anthony from Sony responded that while it will not have Pro Res 422 support they will be adding LOG in a future firmware upgrade. So the good news is that YES it does have the electronics to support this feature!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

GREAT WHITES incursions on Santa Barbara County beaches increases.

For the last 2 weeks we have been monitoring juvenile White Shark activity along the Santa Barbara County coastline and specifically from Carpinteria beaches on up to Goleta beaches. You can view a brief video sequence by clicking here.

In one day alone we spotted 6-8 Great Whites sharks heading towards Loons. On two of the monitoring days we spotted juvenile whites less than 20ft. from the shoreline and in the lineup. At the same time three separate surf camps participants were in the water. We quickly evacuated all kids in the water at Santa Claus/ Padaro Lane twice during the week 7/9-7/15. The sharks made no aggressive moves as they ventured closer and closer to shore and were observe consistently in the 11am to 1pm timeframe over the course of 5 days. They always seem to come from the east along and headed up the coast. At one time 6-8 were observed near Loons. They appear to be looking for Rays and Grunion, both abundant right now. All were in the 5-7ft range and a couple around 10-12ft +. So mostly juvenile. The 2 recent attacks within 24 hours may be their testing their hunting skills for bigger game as they could be changing from juvenile into the young adult phase and luckily failing in their attacks.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


What is focus breathing?
Change in focal length (magnification etc.) as your focal distance changes... that change is called focus breathing

Simply stated it is a phenomenon seen in video and most common on a rack focus where the image appears to breath as focus is being applied and is exaggerated through the use of Zoom lenses.. In other words the size of the image varies during the focusing from one object to another. This makes for undesireable imaging in your video. Is their a workaround with zoom lenses? Not really and this brings us to the issue of using adapters and 3rd party lenses deployed on another manufacturers camera body.

The new SONY A9 is a fantastic camera but throw a metabones adapter and Canon EF L Glass ZOOM lenses on it and be prepared to deal with the breathing issue. Place the equivalent SONY zoom on the A9, A7 etc. and the problem is pretty much non-existent. So if you are considering switching from one camera manufacturer to another and are counting on utilizing your expensive existing lens collection through adapters, be prepared as you will need to think twice when it comes to shooting video.

The best solution here of course is to use primes but if your existing lens collection for example consists of Telephotos, zooms like 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, etc. lenses then you really need to re-evaluate your decision to switch cameras and again this strictly applies to video on a DSLR, mirrored or mirrorless.


The focal length is the distance between a hypothetical single-element lens and a sensor required to reproduce a given magnification of image. This is unrelated to the distance from the sensor to the flange. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

SONY A9 vs Canon Mark 5D MarkIV, + link to Sony A9 manual

OK well we got our hands on a NEW Sony A9 and after being an avid Canon Photographer and user well it looks like the SONY A9 is the clear winner here.
First off here's the LINK to the Sony A9 Manual.

My first photgraphic camera was the CANON AE1, then the 10D all the way up the Canon chain to
the C300 and as of late the 5D Mark IV. Lets remember Canon pioneered the entire DSLR video market and I was on board from using it to train and to shoot video for documentaries and feature films, it was mindblowing! So Canon did dominate the space for quite sometime but it seems they are not keeping up with the competition. The innovative video side of the house really shifted to the C line of Canon cameras and they took their eye off the ball for the current DSLR and Mirrorless marketspace. The slide seemed to have started with the 5D Mark III which had noticeably softer images and a lower dynamic range than many of its competitors. Along comes the Mark IV with the 4K feature apparently to even the playing field but major issues with that feature. The 4K image is cropped!! So be ready to do the math on your lens focal length and matching up shots. The worse one is the ridiculous size of the media files (500mb/sec) along with the expensive FLASH Cards required to capture 4K. If you want a video camera that competes with what's out there then I personally do not believe the Mark IV is for you. Even the dynamic range was disappointing leaving very little detail in the shadows compared to even a Sony 6300.

So for the first time in over 45 years of shooting with Canon I have switched to the Sony A9. I still use all my Canon glass and it works great with the Metabones EF to E mount adapter. So for those of you on the fence like I was well it may be time to switch. I still have my Mark II as I just found myself unable to part with Canon 100%, yep ok an emotional, nostalgic decision I guess but I do still like the ergonomics of the Canon over the Sony. One note you can spend a rather high price tag of 129.00 for a grip accessory for the A9 for a bigger more natural handheld feeling.


The Multi Battery Adapter Kit is a 4 battery DC supply IS NOT AN AC POWER SUPPLY TO POWER YOUR A9. It is strictly an extended running time for your A9.Bottomline if you need to run your camera all day with no ACA power available then this is the product for you. Bewarethough while it says RAPID CHARGER it actually take 8 hours to charge all 4 batteries when NOT in use as it charges sequentially and NOT all 4 at once.
 Come on SONY 398.00 this should supply power direct from AC to the camera same as you do for all your video camerasWhat is SONY thinking here?? 

XLR adapters-598.00 and 698.00 both come with mics...Why? Would be nice to reduce the price substantially and NOT include the Sony mic. Juice Box and Beachtek will be happy as it really shouldn't compete with their offerings not at that price point.


Thursday, May 11, 2017


The DSLR market changed the way we looked at video cameras in the field forever. The days of "Hey it just takes photographs" are pretty much over for those of you using Gorilla tactics to get your video footage, right...right! Seems that every camera shoots video these days and high quality to boot. 

So whats the next revolution in the DSLR camera space, why SERVO BASED zooms at a cheaper entry price! Take the latest ground breaker, Canons new Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO Cinema Zoom Lens. with a retail price tag at 5225.00 is it time to re-think your prime lens collection? Well not quite yet after all too many situations still require a FAST lens in the F2.8 or lower range even with the outrageous ISO capabilities of todays cameras. So what gap does this fill? MANY. Cinematic shot techniques have now entered the house! Look Fujinon's Cabrio lenses are insanely great CINE lenses but at a price tag of 30000 plus its clearly out of reach for the bulk of indie filmmakers.

Here's the catch though, this will only auto focus with CANON CineCameras like the C100, 300 etc. Would be interesting to know if this EF lens will work with EF adapters on higher end video cameras like Sony's F55, FS7, FS5...As soon as we get one in we will update with that info. 


Well as filmmakers this is the time of year to check out the latest and greatest innovations in our field. This years NAB in Las Vegas was no let down in that arena as we saw some incredible product announcements from Audio to Cameras to Lenses to Lighting to Wireless Video Transmission and more.

CINEGEAR is definitely one of the best venues to interact with vendors and get your hands on new gear without wrestling your way through the tens of thousands at NAB. Sure its a good sized crowd but we've found over the years of covering the event that it's no problem getting your questions answered quickly.

The event is well staffed by exhibitors and organized by category of gear which makes it very efficient when searching for the gear you had in mind. We'll be there again and hope to cover as much as we can and what a setting, on the lot of Paramount studios! See you there and stay tuned for our daily reports from the show!

For information on attending CINEGEAR 2017 click HERE
or paste this into your browser:

Thursday, April 27, 2017


   Not to long ago we were fortunate enough to be loaned CP.2 Primes from ZEISS for an important documentary shoot about the Deepwater Horizon disaster. DSLR's were new on the scene and ZEISS was right there from the beginning to provide the best glass in that arena. Now enter the new CP.3 with a versatile field changeable mount, be it ARRI PL, SONY E-Mount, CANON EF and more!

The new eXtended Data Technology (XD),  offers information about the lens’s distortion and shading characteristics and are monitored and shared in real-time!

XD enables crew members on set, with the ability to monitor lens settings in real-time, complete with pre-vis modified images and included search functions and data wrangling. In post, the XD data helps with everything, including fine-tuning, editing, color grading, visual effects, virtual and augmented reality, multi-cam live productions, and projection or 3-D imaging. So in our opinion if you want to bypass obsolescence then the XD enable CP.3 primes are the way to go. 
  • Covers Full-Frame Format
  • ARRI PL Mount
  • T2.1 to T22 Aperture Range
  • Geared Focus and Iris Control Rings
  • Clickless Iris Ring
  • 14-Blade Iris
  • Classic Zeiss Image Rendering
  • Improved Ergonomics Over Last-Gen CP.2
  • New Lens Coatings for Reduced Flaring
  • Lens Scale Marked in Feet or Meters 

STANDBY as we are hoping to get a set of these primes and shoot test footage on a Canon 5D Mark IV, SONY Fs5 and F55 cameras! So be sure to check back with us shortly.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Servo Control for DSLR Lenses ZOOM IRIS FOCUS like an ENG camera!

OK so here at OTW we shoot a lot of LIVE Performances and the big dilemma is always pinning down the LONG LENS rig for Close ups from the last row near the back of the venue. We usually get stuck with an expensive and lower resolution camera mainly a 1080i or 1080P capable camera using a B4 type lens. An even more expensive solution involves aSony B4 adapter for one of our F55 cameras. 

So in looking for a more economical method we began our search for a DSLR based solution. We have a CANON 5D Mark III and Mark IV (4K) cameras with several varieties of Canon EF L glass telephoto lenses like 70-200, 100-400 with 1.4 and 2x extenders. so with focal lengths in the 100-800mm range we had what we needed on the camera/lens side. So now we had to nail down the ENG/Servo type solution...what is available to solve this problem? Well we did some deep digging around and found these products:

From Alister Chapman - FOCUS, IRIS and ZOOM CONTROL !
"So here’s a little something I have been working on. This was born out of necessity and the reality of shooting 4K ENG style with a large sensor camera. Like many I needed a zoom lens with a good zoom range. 10x zoom was my minimum. While you can get some very nice PL zoom lenses, for example the Fujinon Cabrio 19-90mm this is only a 4.7x zoom. There are higher ratio zooms like the beautiful Angenieux 24 to 290, but this is a massive lens requiring a massive tripod and not at all suitable for ENG or handheld shooting. Sony F3 and F5/F55 users do have the option of the Sony SCL-Z18X140 which is an 18mm to 240mm servo zoom. It’s a good lens, not fast (f3.5 – f6.3) but useful, but quite a lot of money for such slow lens that is clearly based on DSLR optics. So, what about a DSLR lens? Well that’s what I started to look at, there’s plenty of choice, including the Tamron 18-270 a nice and useful 15x zoom range (just be aware that the Tamron’s focus back to front compared to most broadcast and film lenses). There are also the Canon and Sigma 18-250mm lenses."  
So as of this date the product is still unavailable! To read more click here .


The Control Grip was inspired by Zacuto’s Next Generation Recoil shoulder mounted rigs that place your camera over or behind your shoulder for perfect balance and comfort. This more traditional style of rig pushes focus, monitoring, and camera control further forward, creating a lighter and shorter rig. The Control Grip is a comfortable handgrip that offers the operator the ability to start and stop the camera, has three programmable camera function buttons, and a joystick for full menu operation on most cameras. Add the optional Z-Motor for a rocker servo zoom and iris control that uses only two cables, no control boxes, and has a self powered battery that lasts all day. The Control Grip is the most user friendly camera/lens control system on the market.

Rachel at Zacuto and we will get a close look at their control grip and see  the full set of features of this new product scheduled to ship this Summer!  Most of you are familiar with the high quality of Zacuto products and how they stand behind them. We have tested many of their products in the field including when they sent us DSLR support gear during our filming of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and I have to say I was very impressed with their products back then as well as today. So more to come after NAB..


So we did find one company shipping a product and remarkably for under $400.00. The MOVO MFF400 Premium motorized follow focus and zoom control video shoulder rig! You can check them out HERE. They even have a lower cost product and both are available on A Movo unit is on the way for testing and we'll let you know how it goes.

There actually were several solutions out there but most of them no longer ship similar product? One has to ask why and we can only assume that either:
A. These products were too early for market
B. Product demand is minimal ?? Seems hard to believe especially now with so many DSLR cameras being put to work!

Here's a few of them and a youtube link to product info on most of them:

TURRET "Zoom" for DSLR

Viztool HandiZoom
Eurocrane DSLR Zoom/Focus Remote System.
Several are of the DIY category using parts from Arduino, Celestron and other sources so if you're handy it's probably worth checking out and building your own solution.