G-Technology has expanded their ev Drive line-up, doubling its maximum capacity to 2TB. The highly versatile Evolution Series drives can be used as a stand alone rugged USB 3 portable hard drive or plugged into a Shuttle for quick offload and duplication. The G-Drive ev has been around for some time, with G-Technology gradually increasing their specification list and compatibility with the rest of the hard drives in their Evolution range. Their latest release is the 2TB G-Drive ev. This will be available in hard disk form only, with SSD versions currently still capping out at 1TB. It’s almost identical to the 1TB version, except for being just a few millimetres thicker and therefore not compatible with their ATC casing. As a standalone drive, the G-Drive ev is a rugged USB 3.0 portable hard drive. It has a drop rate of 1.5 metres (1.2 metres without removable bumper) and a transfer rate of up to 136MB/s, or 425MB/s for the SSD version. Remove the bumper and it becomes a pre-caddied drive for G-Technology’s G-Dock ev or G-Speed Shuttles. This saves the hassle of additional cables and caddies, giving your portable drive instant access to your desktop system through the SATA connection point on the G-Drive ev. For me, the bottleneck of the G-Drive ev system as a portable drive solution has always been capacity. With data per project quickly expanding with the likes of 4K acquisition, a set of 1TB portable hard drives as backup seems a little… measly. I own 4 G-Drive ev’s as my on-site backups. What was once two independent cloned systems that I can use separately on back to back jobs is more frequently becoming 2 x 1TB hard drives with 2 backups per job. The addition of a 2TB G-Drive ev is nice, without the need for going with a desktop system, or the ev 220 that requires two USB ports (which is faster, as it’s essentially two 1TB drives striped together as a Raid-0). Keep an eye out for more new ev products from G-Technology in the fall. It’s certainly an interesting line up, with the new G-Speed Shuttles and perhaps more importantly their expansion into disk readers. We’ve already seen the RED mag ev reader and prototypes of an Atomos caddy version, with more rumoured to be just around the corner.Read more
The Leica X-U (Typ 113) is the German Manufacturer’s first foray into the market for rugged, outdoor compact cameras—and they’re hoping it makes a splash, as the camera is waterproof up to 15m. Shockproof, dustproof, waterproof, and anti-slip; the Typ 113 allows shooters to capture HD footage; whatever the weather and whatever the terrain. Leica X-U (Typ 113) Specs APS-C (23.6 x 15.7mm) CMOS sensor (16MP) 23mm Leica Summilux f/1.7 lens ASPH (35mm equivalent) 11-point autofocus ISO range: Automatic, ISO 100-ISO 12500 MP4 recording, 1080p @ 30fps, 720p @ 30fps Stereo microphone, mono speaker 3”, 920k dot, LCD rear screen Supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards Double locking system for battery compartment/memory card slot USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/second) Weight: 635g Dimensions: 140 x 79 x 88mm Rugged Design Features The Leica XU (Typ 113) was designed and manufactured in Germany, with the help of Audi design. The camera’s body is coated with an anti-slip rubber while the front element is covered by a UW protective glass filter. It has been built to withstand water, dust, and shock. Waterproof to 15m for up to 60 minutes (IP68-compliant) Shockproof to falls from 1.2m (MIL-STD 810G, Method52-compliant) Dustproof TPE armoring Leica X-U (Typ 113) Conclusion Effectively, not much has changed from the Leica X (Type 113). The most notable differences are the integrated flash above the lens (which I am fairly sure was Audi Design’s idea!), a few subtle changes to the controls that are aimed at improving underwater workflow, and the body’s TPE coating. Oh, and the fact that you might get to witness it survive a shoot while submerged. Of course, there are far cheaper alternatives to be considered, if you’re not expecting to come across too many underwater shoots and are willing to make a few sacrifices and spec tradeoffs. The Ricoh WG-5 comes with GPS and costs around 10% of the price of the Leica. Meanwhile, the Nikon COOLPIX AW130 offers 1080p @ 30fps, 25fps, 60fps, and 50fps. The AW130 also comes with HDMI D and Micro USB connectivity, both of which the Leica is lacking. This camera again comes in at under $300, meaning that if your only concern is whether your camera is waterproof or not for a particular shoot, your money might just be spent better elsewhere. Otherwise, it seems like a fairly decent offering for filmmakers who need a compact camera that can go practically anywhere with them—as long as they don’t mind the typical Leica price tag. As is often the case, there are far cheaper alternatives to be considered; and there’s not that much of a leap in quality. The Leica X-U (Typ 113) is available now for $2,950, and if you want to make sure your camera doesn’t swim away, Leica also offers a floating carry strap for the camera at $95. Videos courtesy of TallyHo! | Vimeo | WebsiteRead more
It’s 2015 and it seems like you can’t play with the cool kids anymore if you haven’t built your own camera drone or gimbal and started your own Kickstarter project. Here we go, in come two new multicopter projects looking for crowd funding. The first of them is the Aexo, which encapsulates the rotors in something that looks like a pizza box, protecting it against crashing within an instant when touching anything like a tree, rock, or … human. The other one is called Sprite and looks like a flying … tube. Or something. It’s a completely different concept which is kind of refreshing, but let’s try and take a closer look at both ideas. Aexo tries to solve a real problem when flying drones – you actually need to have flying skills before you start, otherwise it can get messy. Rotors are sharp and move fast, so you want to stay away from them. Also, when they touch anything, they will most likely crash and destroy the drone. Aexo seems like it’s doing a good job at protecting itself against things and staying air bound, however their claim that it’s safer to fly close to humans with that thing is a dangerous, if not idiotic statement. I doubt that the Aexo would cause less pain if it crashes into your head. The guys from Aexo offer various versions of the concept, even the bare protector kit itself, in which you can your DJI Phantom (1-3) drone. They also offer models which include the drone, different models for different payloads. Aexo is on track of reaching its modest crowdfunding goal soon on Kickstarter. Sprite is a totally different concept but also claims that ruggedness and portability is one of its biggest features. It looks like a flying you-know-what and has two rotors. It is definitely portable as you can put it into your backpack and off you go. It also looks quite rigid. However, judging from the very brief glimpses of footage that we get from their Kickstarter promo video, the footage unfortunately doesn’t look particularly stable … unsurprising considering that it has only one primary rotor (with a smaller stabilizing motor below), it’s definitely more affected by wind than other solutions. Sprite comes with its camera built-in and is about to reach its much higher funding goal on Kickstarter very soon.Read more
G-Technology has announced a new line of rugged hard drives for extreme in-the-field use. The G-Drive ev RaW and G-Drive ev ATC USB/Thunderbolt are three new drives that boast weather proofing, shock resistance and compatibly with the current Evolution series G-Dock. We’ll start with the G-Drive ev RaW. The hard drive takes an existing G-Tech ev design, increases shock resistance and reduces weight by 35%. The hard drive on its own can withstand a drop up to 1.2M, add the rugged bumper and that increases to 1.5M. The G-Tech Evolution series (or ev) is clever, appreciating the need for both portability in the field use and reliable fast in studio editing. The heart of the system is the G-Dock ev; a thunderbolt docking station that accepts two G-Drive ev drives in a selection of raid levels. The G-Drive ev drives themselves work via USB 3 in the field, and SATA with the G-Dock to unlock Thunderbolt speeds. The new G-Drive ev RaW is compatible with this system; it can be used as a stand-alone rugged drive or stripped down to slot into the G-Dock. Second up is the G-Drive ev ATC. This line adds further protection to your hard drive. Adding a tethered USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt cable (depending on which model you choose) these drives can withstand a drop of up to 2M. They can also float in water, and take a 1M drop into water holding resistance of up to 30 seconds. Like the G-Drive ev RaW, the G-Drive ev ATC are also compatible with the current G-Dock. G-Technology have a strong presence in the filmmaking industry, and quite rightly so by looking at this independent failure rate test for commonly used hard drives (G-Tech use HGST drives), I’m surprised product like these haven’t turned up sooner, it’s great to see them now entering the rugged market. The drives will be available soon, I’ll update this article with links to purchase when they do. Disclaimer: G-Technology is one of the prime sponsors of our ON THE COUCH talk show series.Read more
LaCie has released a re-vamp to its popular Rugged line. The portable hard drives now provide up to 2TB of storage, with a convenient permanent Thunderbolt cable. The LaCie Rugged hard drive has been quite popular with filmmakers, offering storage for in-the-field media backup. There’s been a few flavours of the line over the years; a fairly un-changed cosmetic design with variants of capacity and peripherals. Now, they’ve redesigned the Rugged with a new in-built Thunderbolt cable, which wraps around the edge of the hard drive and tucks into a supplied cover. Just like the previous, the new Rugged also includes a USB 3.0 port for further connectivity (which is naturally down compatible with USB 2.0). The Rugged is available with both an SSD and spinning disk drive, the former up to 500GB and the latter in 1TB and newly released 2TB form. The drives boast Thunderbolt speeds of up to 387 MB/s. Speaking from experience, this is only available on the SSD version; the spinning disk caps the speed of the product. Therefore the speed of Thunderbolt transfers on the 1TB and 2TB versions are of no real difference to that of USB 3.0. LaCie on the durability of the Rugged: “It’s MIL-compliant, which means that data is protected even during accidental drops of up to two meters (6.6 feet). During transit, connect the removable cover to provide IP 54-level protection against dust and water. Whether the LaCie Rugged takes a jarring bicycle ride or gets splashed by a mud puddle, you stay confident that your data is still accessible. The SSD version goes a step further for the ultimate in resilience against vibration and shock. Both versions are tough enough to be shipped for reliable delivery to clients or partners. Included software even protects your files from prying eyes with AES 256-bit encryption.” Speaking of reliability, it’s worth reading reports by online backup vendor Blackblaze on the failure rate of industry drives. for reference, LaCie utilize Seagate drives, which actually came in last place in the Blazblaze report. All Ruggeds ship with a replacement end cap (in case the original gets lost) and USB 3.0 cable. Both spinning disk models are available now from B&H, I’ll update this article upon release of the SSD version. 1TB LaCie Rugged from B&H. 2TB LaCie Rugged from B&H.Read more
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