At Photokina, we stumbled across a very odd-looking lens, a quite unusual macro: the 24mm Relay Lens by Chinese brand Laowa (Venus Optics). These lenses are also known as snorkel lenses due to their unusual shape: a long tube with a tiny opening at the end. Let’s take a closer look. With normal Macro lenses, one sometimes runs into the problem of having camera or lens shadows all over your subject, which is why I usually prefer using a 100mm Macro over a 50mm Macro. The wider the lens, the bigger this problem of course, as a wider field of view means a bigger chance of capturing unwanted shadows. Not only that, but it is also physically often very hard to get close enough to your subject with a normal sized macro lens. The Laowa 24mm Macro Relay Lens / Snorkel Lens In come these snorkel lenses, which are niche lenses with very special purposes. For example, dip it underwater without destroying your camera, or get that otherwise impossible shot inside an anthill or small cave. When checking out the lens at the Laowa booth at Photokina, I tried it out at their setup of small plastic soldiers, and the images you can capture are really quite unique. Imagine this on a stabilized rig, doing fast-paced miniature “action cam” between the figures, and you could really achieve quite a unique-looking video. I tried it and you can see a short shot of me doing that in the video above. At f/16, this is of course nothing that can be used under bad lighting. It’s only logical that it’s slow because of the tiny opening and the long tube. Nevertheless, there’s a very shallow depth of field because of the fact that it’s a macro. The Laowa 24mm Macro Relay lens will be available in early 2017, with pricing yet to be determined. From their past offerings, we can expect the price to be quite competitive. Thanks for Stefan Haselgruber for helping out with filming on this video.Read more
As part of our aim to strengthen the connection between us and our readers, we decided to give our talented audience out there a stage to express themselves and share their success stories in our weekly TALENT FEATURE. We hope that with time, these guest posts will become a source of inspiration to our colleagues wherever they are. If you are interested in participating, please upload your video to our VIDEOLOG and follow the rest of the submission process by reading the information here. (Intro by Johnnie Behiri) What’s up? Our names are Michael Priestley and Christian O’Keefe, two filmmakers based in Long Beach, CA. Go Beach, baby. Together, we’ve developed a very run-and-gun style of production with a fascination with working within tight budgetary restraints. Why do for thousands of dollars what we can accomplish for free with a little experimentation? Although we’re not limited to this style of filmmaking, it has taught us to be creative, meticulous, and above all else, smart with how we go about all that we do. This August we dropped our music video for Put it in the Past by Long Beach’s own neo-soul duo, Soular System. Using a variety of household items and some tools from the garage, we put together this completely practical, spacey piece, all for the cost of a black bed sheet from Target. Name: Michael Priestley and Christian O’Keefe Age: 44 if you add us together Currently based in: Long Beach, CA Language(s) spoken: English Occupation: Writer / Director / DP / Creators of music videos for songs occasionally titled Put it in the Past by bands that are sometimes called Soular System. How did you get started in our industry? Michael watched 27 hours of The Simpsons a day as a little boy, and Christian would film middle schoolers trying to kick flip. Then, we were randomly assigned as partners in an editing class at Cal State, Long Beach. Now, here we are. Current assignments: We are between projects at the moment, working on scripts and concepts for the coming months! What types of productions do you mostly shoot? We mostly do short, narrative work. Put it in the Past is actually the first music video we have worked on together. Christian has done a few others before, but for the most part, we work on short films with Christian as DP, and Michael as Director. This project has definitely stimulated our interest in music video work, so we are hoping to co-direct more in the future. What is your dream assignment / job in our industry and what are you really passionate about? Michael wants to write and direct independent films, and Christian is really into that thing that you point at actors and then you can see them for like hundreds of years as if that moment is still happening in the form of twenty-something different pictures per second. We are passionate about projects like Put it in the Past, where we are given freedom to try new things and to experiment with different techniques. It’s also a huge bonus when we get to work with such talented musicians and friends. In the work that you are presenting us, now that it is done, what would you have done differently throughout the production? We’ve talked about that a lot since we released this project. The responses have been mainly positive across the board, but you always catch the little things in your work where you say “maybe if this,” or “maybe if that.” But from concept on paper to final export, this is far and away our greatest translation of an initial vision to picture. And for that, whether or not we might change things in that original, written concept if we were to make it again, we would say we couldn’t be happier with the final product. One of our favorite parts in the song is right after the first chorus. At that point, we cut to a black and white image of Anthony Lynn, the singer, in darkness without any space imagery. It’s our favorite moment in the video, and we wish we’d thought up one more instance of something with that immediacy toward the end. What current camera, lenses and sound equipment do you use: Panasonic GH4 with an SD card and battery stuffed inside it for optimal functionality. Our lenses, or glass as we’ve heard them called before, are a set of Canon FD 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm with a ZY Optics Speed Booster. No sound equipment was touched during the making of this music video. What’s is your favorite light equipment and why did you choose that kit over other solutions: Our “favorite” piece of lighting equipment, which just so happened to be used on this project, is a grocery bag full of janky work lights we bought at Home Depot a while back. We chose this kit over other solutions because, as John Cassavetes or Roland Emmerich once famously said, “We din’t gotta pay nothin’ for dems”. But, in all seriousness, we had a $0 budget on this. We did the best we could with what we had under the restraints of a garage, more or less. All of the space imagery was done practically using a cloud tank: just dust and cleaning products and food on a sheet of glass, which we cut ourselves on. Remember not to cut yourself on glass. It’s pretty sharp. That setup was lit from the side using a flashlight we pulled off the handlebars of a bike. Though we feel we might have been able to go above and beyond what we did if we had some more money, we definitely don’t think the video reflects the barebones way in which it was made. Do you use drones/gimbals in your productions? If so, what is the most effective why you’ve found to deploy them? We mostly prefer working with shoulder mounts, but Christian has operated a DJI Ronin in the past. They’re heavy, especially with a RED camera and anamorphic lenses. Best to have a few people on set who you would feel comfortable handing it over to, if you find yourself having to do a few takes too many. What editing systems do you use? Premiere and Resolve. Premiere on account of the fact that we’ve heard it’s the premiere editing software, and Resolve because something about its name suggests it’ll find solutions to our problems. Also, that Da Vinci dude was pretty good at doing art stuff. In the parts where Tom Kendall Hughes, the drummer/producer of the duo in the dope sunglasses, is flickering to the beat of the song, we used two cameras at identical angles on each side of a room, 180 degrees opposite each other. In post, we reversed one of the shots to match both sides of him as he moved, which gives a super cool, abstract look at body movements and all that jazz. And no matter how helpful a specific editing software may be, there is no way to get around the tediousness of cutting back and forth perfectly between those two shots. How much of your work do you shoot in Log and what is your preferred way of colour correcting? We don’t really shoot in Log at all. But, we color with Resolve and sometimes Crayolas. How frequently are you traveling and do you have any tips when it comes to packing your gear? We don’t do a whole lot of traveling for our productions, but for the small amount that we have, we find that convenience is king. In a run-and-gun situation, the best setup is the one that you can use quickly and effectively before the sun goes down. Or before the cops come and write you trespassing tickets. If you want to learn more about Michael and Christian’s, creative’s work, head over to their dedicated Vimeo page. Participate in our initiative: share your talent and creative work by following these steps.Read more
Zeiss has teamed up with Fellowes Brands to announce an intriguing new product line at CES. The duo utilizes Fellowes Brands pedigree of smartphone photography technology and Zeiss’ wealth of lens manufacturing history to bring an iPhone lens trio. Pictured is the existing Exolens accessory mount by Fellowes Brands. It provides a solid platform to mount an additional iPhone lens, as well as a 1.4″ thread on the bottom for further mounting. Zeiss have provided the optics to make up 3 new lenses for the iPhone 6; a wide, tele, and macro zoom lens. “The first three lenses – wide-angle, telephoto and macro – are scheduled to be launched in late Q2 2016. The wide-angle and telephoto lenses offer excellent image performance with outstanding edge-to-edge contrast. The macro lens features a zoom function – unique for accessory lenses of this type – for flexible image composition. The new lenses can be used on the Apple® iPhone® with customized mounting brackets.” All lenses utilize Zeiss’ trademark T* coating for anti-reflection. It also “minimizes reflections at the glass-to-air surfaces and improves the transmission of light.” The Zeiss Mutar Exo-Lens Wide is a 0.6x lens adaptor that will increase your iPhone field of view by 40%. The Zeiss Mutar Exo-Lens Tele is a 2.0x lens adaptor that will double your iPhone field of view. The Zeiss Vario-Proxar Exo-Lens Macro is interesting: “It is currently also the only accessory lens for mobile phones to offer a continuous zoom function, permitting the full-frame capture of objects with diameters of between three and twelve centimeters. An optionally attachable and semi-transparent diffuser serves as a spacer, allowing light to shine evenly on the object to be photographed and enabling convenient focusing, even with a short object distance and shallow depth of field.” The iPhone lens trio for the 6/6 Plus will look to ship Q2 this year. Here are some images Zeiss released taken with the set of iPhone lens, check here for more.Read more
Samyang / Rokinon has announced another lens to its affordable manual focus lens line. The 100mm Macro will become available immanently in both Standard and Cine form, the latter sporting a de-clicked aperture, lens gears and T stop value. These family of lenses are known as the many-brands, Bower, Vivitar, Rokinon, Walimex and first and foremost Samyang to name a few are companies to share the same spec of lenses, only the name changes. Rokinon and Samyang seem to share new lens releases, with the rest following suit shortly after. In typical many-brand fashion, the lens spec replicates that of Canons L Series line; 100mm Macro f/2.8 (or T3.1 on the Cine version). The 100mm Macro is built up of 15 glass elements in 12 groups, it has a 9 round-bladed aperture diaphragm and viewing angle of 24.8° on full-frame. Yes, this lens is compatible on both full frame and APS-C cameras. As expected for a dedicated macro lens, the Maximum Reproduction Ratio is 1:1. Speaking on the Cine version, as per all Rokinon/Samyang cine lenses, the 100mm Macro has a de-clicked aperture ring, permanent lens gear for follow focus/aperture units and a T stop rating. Unlike other true cine lenses, Rokinon/Samyang retain the same physical shape and size of their respective stills versions. The 100mm Macro T3.1 is therefore the same as the 100mm Macro f/2.8 at 1.58 lbs (720 g) and Approx. 2.85 x 4.85″ (72.5 x 123.1 mm) in dimension. This means that Rokinons Cine lenses are a small and compact as they can be (great for shooters using small cameras setups), but do change in length therefore not optimised for seamless mattebox setups. Unbeknown to some however, both lens gears are designed to match up throughout the line, providing consistency when switching out focal lengths but keeping your follow focus unit unchanged. As with any Rokinon/Samyang Lens, the Rokinon 100mm Macro offers a huge price saving over the Canon L series counterpart. The big differentiator (as per usual) being the lack of auto focus. The difference is perhaps at it’s most critical in this comparison. At a 1:1 ratio pinpoint focus for photography is often very reliant on autofocus; you have no option for it here if you’re a dabbler of both video and photo, or are a fan of the recent influx of video-able auto focus systems now available in video cameras. The 100mm Macro is a very effective focal length. As an owner of the Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8 IS L I can vouch for its broad use outside of dedicated macro work. Due to 1:1 magnification ratio, and close minimum focus distance, it can operate as a compact close range tele focal length lens; achieving angles a 70-200mm would very much struggle with due to it’s longer minimum focal length and/or larger physical size. Available in Canon EF, Sony E, Nikon F, Fuji, MFT, Pentax, Sony A, and Samsung mount, the Rokinon 100mm Macro T3.1 and standard F/2.8 version can be pre-ordered now, full release expected mid April.Read more
We’ve seen a few motorized modules trickle out over the last few months from Edelkrone. We first saw the Target and Wizard modules, providing us with dynamic motion and real time motion control respectively. Edelkrones latest motorized offering is the called the Craft, a motorized module for timelapse and stop motion photography.Read more
by Jared Abrams | 6th November 2009
100mm Macro Canon has released the new Hybrid IS system in the 100mm macro T2.8 L series lens.The 100mm T2.8 with a close focus of 0.99ft/0.3m and up to 4-stops of compensation, all thanks to the new IS system. â€œ This is the first lens on the market to incorporate Canon’s new Hybrid Image Stabilization Technology. Hybrid IS effectively compensates for both angular and shift camera shake during close-up shooting.â€ More.Read more
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