Two weeks ago we were impressed when the new ultra-compact DJI Mavic Pro was announced. As a drone enthusiast of course I had to get my hands on this new tech and compare it to the DJI Phantom 4 and Inspire 1. Here is our DJI Mavic Pro review where we look at image quality in particular. If you are interested in our free DJI Mavic Pro LUTs, you can download those here. DJI Mavic Pro Review – Image Quality Several early Mavic Pro review videos currently circle the web, where testers claim that the Mavic Pro image is much softer than previous drone generations. In light of the already limited 4K quality of drones like the Phantom 4 or Inspire 1, this claim made little sense, so we set out to get our hands on our own early DJI Mavic Pro review sample to check and here is our observation. DJI Mavic Pro Camera It seems like most reviewers out there were not aware that the DJI Mavic has a built-in “tap autofocus” system, like the Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R cameras for DJI Osmo and DJI Inspire 1. If you forget to autofocus, your image will eventually be out of focus. And if you compare this out of focus image to other drone footage, of course it will be softer. So after a tap autofocus and after aligning the image of the DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Phantom 4 and DJI Inspire 1 (Zenmuse X3) I concluded that the image of all three cameras is very similar in quality. 600% crops of 4K images For HD productions the image quality of the DJI Mavic is acceptable. If you use a LUT, like our free cinema5D instaLUT for Mavic, or any other grading process, it is possible to get a nice image from the DJI Mavic Pro, just like I showed you in my Mastering Drone Footage series. On the other hand, the image of all these drones is far inferior to other cameras or the DJI Inspire 1 RAW for that matter. (Check out our detailed comparison here: LINK) Unfortunately the data rate on the DJI Mavic is still 60 Mbps, just like on the Phantom 4 and Inspire 1 and for anyone who is a bit more serious about filmmaking 60 Mbps is hardly enough. Again, for HD productions the image will be mostly fine, but if you aim higher or would like to crop into an image the quality could be better. Considering the small size and intelligent sensor technology built into the Mavic (read all about Mavic’s high tech here), this drone is still an impressive piece of technology that will be very useful on any smaller documentary style production where weight and size is an issue. DJI Mavic Pro Review – Pro’s & Con’s Here is my summary of pro’s and con’s for the DJI Mavic Pro: PRO’s ultra-compact and lightweight ergonomic and foldable remote 27 minute flight time stability, easy to fly intelligent flight modes and sensors 4K image comparable to Phantom 4 & Inspire 1 65 km / h, fast speed CON’s Same low bitrate as previous drones Low dynamic range as previous drones Vertical angle of camera is limited Tap Autofocus is a source for errors In conclusion this is the best compact drone money can buy right now. If you want higher quality get a DJI Inspire 1 RAW. Otherwise, the DJI Mavic Pro is highly recommended. If you are interested in our free DJI Mavic Pro LUTs, you can download those here. We hope you liked our DJI Mavic Pro Review and comparison to Phantom 4 and Inspire 1. If you have any thoughts on the matter let us know in the comments. Song by: Art-List.ioRead more
Samyang has been quite busy lately. Among other mostly photo-related lens announcements, they have just unveiled the newest addition to their cinema lens line-up: the Xeen 16mm T2.6. The Xeen 16mm T2.6 Cine Lens Samyang keeps adding lenses to their current Xeen cinema lens line-up, with their newest addition just unveiled at this year’s Photokina. Sitting in between the 14mm T3.1 and the 24mm T1.5, the new Xeen 16mm T2.6 could become your new favourite wide angle lens. Due to its faster aperture, it might also prove to be much more versatile than the 14mm T3.1 option. Samyang’s Jeon Min, Shin claims that the decision behind introducing a model with these specs is that the former wide angle option, the Xeen 14mm T3.1, may be just a little bit too wide (and more importantly, too slow) for most cinematographic needs. This newest addition brings the whole Xeen range of lenses up to a grand total of 7 primes to choose from: 14mm T3.1 16mm T2.6 24mm T1.5 35mm T1.5 50mm T1.5 85mm T1.5 135mm T2.2. Maybe we’ll even see some more focal lengths to choose from in the future? At this rate of development, this might just be the case. the Xeen 14mm T3.1 , maybe the new 16mm T2.6 is the better option? The Xeen range of cine lenses are improved versions of Samyang’s previous line of VDSLR lenses for cine use, but are enhanced in a variety of ways, such as with newly formulated coatings, a stronger housing and shared aperture and focus gear position. It’s worth mentioning that in the case of this particular lens, it also improves upon its cheaper VDSLR-line version by covering a full-frame imager, rather than being Super35mm-only like its earlier counterpart. Pricing and availability The new Xeen 16mm lens will be available at the end of this year, and will be the same price as other Xeen cine primes at around $2,495. Just as all the others, the Xeen 16mm prime will be available in various mount options, such as Canon EF, PL, MFT, Sony E and Nikon F.Read more
Canon introduce their first servo powered Cine Zoom Lens at NAB 2016. Larry Thorpe tells us all about the new Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO. Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO Just as a quick reminder, the freshly announced Canon zoom 18-80mm lens features things like S35 (and APS-C) coverage, a constant T4.4 (f/4) aperture and a very competitive price tag of just over $5,000. Here are the hard facts again (read all about it in our recent article): 18-80 mm zoom range, 4.4x ratio Maximum aperture: T4.4, equivalent to f/4.0 No ramping of aperture throughout zoom range Close focus MOD: 0.5 m Optical image stabilization: On/Off and three levels of stabilization Iris: Auto/Manual Auto Focus / Manual Focus Power through lens mount or connector Filter thread: 77 mm threads for screw-in front filters Front outside diameter: 84 mm Weight: 2.6 lb / 1.2 kg Length: 7.2” / 182.3 mm Iris: 9 blades Servo handgrip: detachable with one screw Back focus adjustment under rear barrel Covers 31.4 mm image diagonal 20-pin connector for lens control and metadata: EIAJ RC5320A TYPE4 (5.5 mm diameter) Issues with the Canon Zoom 18-80mm T4.4 lens When we played with the lens, we noticed something quite odd. There were actually no hard stops on the focus ring, as you might expect from a traditional photo lens. Video shooters and cinematographers alike will have a more difficult time controlling focus, especially when using focusing tools like follow focus systems or wireless solutions. An odd decision from Canon since the lens is clearly positioned as a professional tool for (indie-) filmmakers, particularly at that price point—and one of the most annoying things when dealing with photo lenses for a video shoot is the lack of hard stops on the focus ring. The lack of hard stops probably justifies the very competitive price tag of the lens, but it feels like a slack tradeoff to me. What do you think about this issue? Dealbreaker or worth overlooking for the price tag? We will make sure to review of this new Canon Zoom Lens soon. Stay tuned for our updates.Read more
A couple of days ago I tried to figure out the inner workings of the newly announced Edelkrone Jib Plus. Now, at NAB 2016, Seb met with Edelkrone’s CEO Kadir Köymen to find out how (and if) it actually works – and it does indeed! How the Edelkrone Jib Plus works As Kadir walks us through the inner workings of the different modules of the Jib Plus, it becomes very clear that first and foremost a lot of programming went into this device. The real magic happens inside the sensor module with sits between the tripod and your jib arm of choice. The module senses the movement of your given jib whether it is panning or tilting (or both, of course) and feeds the computer within to do its calculations. The system needs to see the target of choice from at least two different perspectives manually, then it triangulates the information and calculates a smooth curve for each and every in-between point in space. Some serious reverse kinematic calculations are going on! With only two points in space, the system will learn to point the camera at the given target no matter where you swing the jib manually. The best thing is that you can put the system on any jib, it will do all the tracking and focusing for you. You just need to operate the jib as you like and the camera will follow your target and holds it in frame. Focus probably will need more than two points; you teach the system as you go to refocus manually via the controller module. The resulting focus curve is being used for all stored targets shot with that same lens. So basically, we’re talking about an automatic target tracking system for jibs. According to Kadir, it is long going project—and it is almost finished. Please note, it’s still in a pretty advanced prototype state, but it will be ready in three months from now. Pricing of the Jib Plus The pricing has not been decided as of yet, but it definitely won’t be under $1,000 (or $2,000, even) as Kadir only smiles and says “I don’t know.” We have to wait a little longer, I assume. It’s really nice to see how a company can be so innovative and fresh like Edelkrone. Kadir tells us this is because they think differently: We don’t concentrate on the products, we just concentrate on the problems. All-in-all it sounds like a neat approach to come up with fresh and innovative products. Chapeau! Learn all about the new Jib Plus in our previous article and on the Edelkrone website.Read more
Lytro has announced its second plenoptic camera, bringing light field technology into a much more user friendly package. The Lytro Illum sports a 1″ sensor, 30-250mm equivalent constant aperture f/2.0 lens, and a 4″ touchscreen. Light field or plenoptic cameras are fascinating. They capture 4D light information using a micro lens array, enabling you to alter framing and focus after a shot has been taken. Despite being around for a while, this technology caused a stir around two years ago, when Lytro announced the Lytro Light Field Camera, one of the first consumer plenoptic cameras to be released. Although labelled a consumer camera, the aesthetics left a little to be desired; it was essentially box with a lens on the front (not that we’re not used to seeing this form factor in many motion picture cameras nowadays!). Whilst the technology left most speechless with it’s potential, it was clear that the Lytro Light Field Camera would not be the plenoptic camera; we were looking at a mark 1 here. The Lytro Illum shows much more potential, for starters it actually looks like a camera. The lens carries the same specification as the previous, an equivalent 30-250mm with a constant aperture of f/2.0. This time however we find a 1″ sensor hiding behind the glass; a much more desirable platform for photography than a sensor size similar to that of a smartphone (the previous Lytro camera had a 1/3″ sensor). We also have a 4″ articulating touchscreen LCD, with a resolution of 800×480. If plenoptic cameras were measured in megapixels, it would output around 5 megapixels. But in light field terms it produces 40 megarays of angular resolution, nearly 4 times that of its predecessor. The Illum shoots to SD cards, supports USB 3.0, and is constructed with a magnesium alloy body; it will carry a price tag of around $1500. Never seen what a light field camera can do? Just check out this example Still new technology in the consumer field, and perhaps still years away from any link with motion picture. But this is amazing technology. It can truly change the way you view images online. It offers a new form of interaction, creates another dimension. I can see this working great with product imagery. But in the filmmaking world, it will be relevant where ever critical focus is in play. Imagine filming a tele focal tracking shot, and applying the focus in post so that it’s 100% spot on. Or even utilizing it in a completely different manner; allowing the audience to shift the focal plane whilst watching your film to unlock a new dimension to your plot, adding depth to your story.Read more
You might have heard or experienced the issue yourself: Some wide angle lenses can’t be focused to infinity on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. This issue has now been addressed, but the solution won’t make current owners happy. Blackmagic has been looking into the issue last month when it was reported. See a sample on one of the affected lenses (Tokina 11-16mm) below.Read more
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