Canon introduced their first servo-driven Cine Zoom Lens with autofocus at NAB 2016. But the new Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 compact servo zoom comes with an odd trait for a cine lens: it has no focusing hard stops. Here is Canon’s response. No Hard Stops on Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO The new 18-80mm is a very welcome lens for documentary style, large sensor shooters. Just like the newly announced Sony 18-110mm lens, it has a lightweight design, super35 (and APS-C) coverage, features autofocus and servo zoom functionality with a price tag of just over $5,000. We first noticed the missing hard stops when we took the lens for a spin at NAB 2016. The lens has a gear ring for focusing with a follow focus or remote focus, but the lack of hard stops is reminiscent of traditional Canon photo lenses. Video shooters and cinematographers alike will have a more difficult time controlling focus, especially when using focusing tools. According to the response from Mr Yuya Suzuki we got at IBC this year (see video above), in order to achieve the much applauded Dual Autofocus functionality they had to incorporate soft stops on the lens. The lens is clearly positioned as a professional tool for (indie) filmmakers and marketed as a cine lens, so the missing hard stops will probably leave some questions open. On the other hand, follow focuses are rarely used by single operator shooters, and this might just be the perfect lens for those looking to equip a Canon C300 Mark II documentary style. The lack of hard stops might justify the competitive price tag of the Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 lens, but could be a tradeoff that some are not willing to accept. What do you think about this issue? Dealbreaker, or worth overlooking for the Dual AF functionality?Read more
ARRI Master Grips give you fingertip control of camera functions and servo zooming for handheld and shoulder mount filming. As cameras and setups get more and more compact, the need for external controls for settings and recording gets larger. The Master Grips combine cinema style hand grips with documentary style tools such as a zoom rocker, focus dial, recording and iris control. The hand grips are made of magnesium and are ergonomically designed to minimise accidental adjustment of the settings, which can be custom set: Full control of iris, focus, zoom. Adjustable motor speed and zoom response and motor limit. Control for compatible servo zoom ENG and EF lenses. For tripod based setups like for live events, the grips can also be used on pan-tilt arms as a remote focus and zooming, including multi-cam setups using the AMIRA Multicam mode. The user interface for the settings is via two multi-lingual touchscreen LCD displays, and by physical buttons which provide a digital status readout. There are a wide range of compatible accessories including handgrip extenders, pan arm adapters and rod mounting adapter for the AMIRA, just to name a few. The Arri Master Grips will be available to purchase from CVP, and for more information visit Arri’s PCA Website.Read more
So, firmware version 3 is imminent for the Sony FS7 (end of January) and one of the big features that will be included is Center Scan mode. There are many advantages of this feature. In this article, I will be running through the benefits that the FS5/FS7 B4 mount ENG lens combo will bring to the table—making it a viable solution for many filmmakers. AbelCine’s recent article on combining the Sony FS5 with an x17 B4 lens piqued my interest. Many have anticipated this feature for the Sony FS7. It is a feature that has made its way down from the more expensive F55 and F5. I wanted to clear the air on exactly how it works, as many are not sure on the mathematics. What is a B4 Lens? Those coming from a stills or video DSLR background may not have come across a B4 lens before—a lens format that was most popular in a time when equipment lasted longer than a moderately sized gobstopper. B4 lenses are designed for a 2/3″ sensor, much smaller than a typical super35mm format. There are so many B4 lens options, the smaller sensor—when compared to super35mm—made long zoom lenses much more accessible. Factor in the concept of time, since B4 zoom lenses have been around for a while, and you can pick them up fairly cheaply (relatively speaking). A moderate zoom, perhaps the modern day shooter’s version of a 70-200mm, would be around an x20 B4 lens. That would be the equivalent of 650mm or so on super35mm. Add to that a doubler, which a lot of these good zoom lenses have, plus servo zoom capabilities and you can see the appeal of such a conversion. What is Center Scan Mode? Center Scan—yes, the Brit inside me cringed, as we spell it centre—is the key to making B4 lenses compatible. Both the Fs7 and Fs5 are 4K cameras and to output 1080 or 2K (in the FS7s case), the camera downscales its 4K capture into its respective lower resolution (1080 or 2K). Rather than downscale a 4K image, in Center Scan Mode the correct resolution is simply taken out of the centre of the sensor. From around 1.08 minutes in, the video below gives a good visualization of Center Scan. Please note that this video is for the purpose of the Sony F5 and F55, so the lack of 2K on the FS5 or 4K pixel count will alter slightly for the Fs7 and FS5, but the overall principle is the same. Center Scan Mode crops into the sensor, giving us a more zoomed-in portion of the image by 2x times. This is great for extending the reach of our lenses, as the above video continues to explain, or we can harness that crop differently by attaching lenses designed for a smaller image circle: the B4 format. How Does The Adaption Work? Google>eBay>B4 to E Mount Adaptor> Buy>Done, right? Almost. Yes, there are many physical adaptors out there, but there is more to this adaption than simply making two mounts compatible. Firstly, there is a discrepancy between the image circle of 2/3″ and the end result of Center Scan Mode on the Sony Fs5 & Sony FS7. Center Scan Mode on both cameras converts the image to a Super 16 crop. Looking back at the diagram we shared earlier in the article, we can see that Super 16 (S16) is a bit bigger than 2/3″. A good adaptor will convert this discrepancy, enhancing the image circle of the 2/3″ lens to a super 16 format. Not only this, but we have to consider the change of format in sensor technology. The 2/3″ format almost exclusively relies on 3 chip cameras, the same way large sensor technology relies on single sensor cameras. The expectation of a B4 lens is therefore that light will pass through a beam splitter on the camera side; a good B4 to E-Mount adapter will correct for the lack of a beam splitter on a single sensor super35mm camera. MFT services make an adaptor that does just this. The principles have been around for some time for the F5 and F55 cameras, but an E-mount package has become available more recently for the Sony FS5 and FS7. How Do You Power A B4 Lens? In case you weren’t aware, B4 lenses with servo zooms require power in order to fully operate. On a 2/3″ camera, this is usually via a connection built into the lens mount of the body. A port of this kind is seldom required on a super35mm camera. There are a few options out there; most will convert the lens lanc cable to familiar P-tap or Hirose. The Cameo Lanc Cable is a very interesting solution, however. It splits in two on the camera side. One power (Hirose or P-tap) and the other a 3.5mm connector to plug into the camera. This enables start/stop via the lens that is always found on the grip; offering another handy feature of the ergonomically pleasing ENG lens format. If you’re not already powering your camera via V-lock or the FS7 Extension Unit, here are two solutions that get my recommendation, which will work directly with the Cameo Lanc Cable: Sony BPU-60T. These work on both FS5 and FS7 and simply offer up a 4-pin Hirose connection on the battery, in addition to powering the camera. Hawkswood Bloc. These are good if you don’t want to invest in new batteries and/or want to power other accessories like a wireless transmitter. They come in a variety of battery options, including Canon BP and Sony BP and NP-F. Sony FS7 B4 Combo Works Without Center Scan Mode We have an old B4 zoom lens and we’ve attached our MFT adaptor on it. This combo will now send a super 16mm sized image onto our lovely FS7 4K sensor. Without any Center Scan Mode enabled, we get this: So we’re just waiting around twiddling our thumbs until Sony enable Center Scan Mode in the next firmware update, right? Well actually, many setups will work already. As I mentioned earlier in the article, it’s common for a B4 zoom lens to have a built-in extender—many of which with x2 magnification. An extender like this will do the same thing Center Scan Mode does, crops into the image to eliminate the vignette. However, doing the crop optically will expose the blemishes of the lens and also lose light. Center Scan Mode simply utilizes a smaller portion of the sensor. In theory, it will yield much better results (although it would be nice to see the difference in good light between a stellar performing lens with an x2 extender, versus a more readily affordable zoom lens and Center Scan Mode). Sony FS5 B4 Combo Already Available Despite being the more affordable camera body, the Sony FS5 already has complete support for B4 lenses. As it is a newer camera body, Center Scan Mode is already available. Check out the AbelCine video below where they mount an x17 servo zoom B4 lens to the FS5. Note that with the addition of an x2 extender, with Center Scan Mode enabled, you can make further use of the optical x2 extender by getting even more range from your lens. Sony FS7 firmware 3.0 should be available by the end of the month, and with Center Scan Mode it will become a very powerful tool. B4 lenses have such a long reach in comparison to stills lenses, add to that servo zoom and parfocal optics (ie. focus does not change when you zoom) and you have a very versatile setup in your arsenal. Wildlife and Live Event filmmakers will benefit highly from this setup, now operators can benefit from all the comforts of an ENG style servo zoom lens, with all the fantastic new features a super35mm 4K camera like the Sony FS7 or FS5 can offer. Rather exciting, isn’t it?Read more
Zacuto recently posted the above video with Panasonic representative Matt Frazer and Zacutos own Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegn to bring us an insight into the Panasonic GH4. For those who have been avidly following news of Panasonics latest 4K offering, not a lot will surprise you. However interestingly Steve Weiss from Zacuto hints at a new product, which could be huge.Read more
The NewsShooter team has brought to light one of Sony’s latest E mount lenses whilst in attendance at the 2013 Inter BEE show. The Lens is an 18-105mm servo zoom lens with OSS image stabilization, auto focus and a constant aperture of f/4. It’s feature most of us aren’t used to having at present, a servo zoom for the large sensor format. Yet it’s not the first time we’ve had this opportunity, Sony also have a 18-200mm E-mount servo zoom lens (released over a year ago). However I speak from experience when I say with a variable aperture of f/3.5-6.3, it’s a fairly disappointing lens for video work. The 18-105mm f/4 OSS has potential though, the constant aperture makes it much more appealing. Whilst a servo zoom is not something you will regularly require from a large sensor camera (if at all for some) it’s a great tool to have in your arsenal for certain types of work. This feature alone can often rule out a C100/C300 hire over a Sony PMW200 or Canon XF305, particular for live events. With a maximum focal length of 105mm, this particular lens falls a little short in throw for conference work, but from the above video there’s reason to suggest that Sony will continue to invest in this lens format. It would be great to see a similar spec’ed lens in the 400-500mm region. The lens is E-mount, therefore will work with the FS100/FS700. This is another key feature added to Sony’s list which Canon counterparts don’t come close to. It’s just a shame the Sony FS100/700 have such poor ergonomics as the spec list is off the chart compared to the C100/C300. In addition to servo zoom the FS700 also has fullHD overcrank, super slowmo, 4K output with recorder, full frame speedboosted capture with adaptor. Whilst the Canon Cinema line is much, much better for user operation (which is a huge selling point) and better internal recording on the C300, it would be great to see Canon ticking just one of these options off the list. What’s more, the Sony cameras are both cheaper. Back to the lens, it utilizes a fly-by-wire focus wheel, and by the looks of it uses Sony’s current touch sensitive technology where the faster/slower you rotate the barrel, the faster/slower the focus engages. Due to this variability there are no focus markings on the lens. Whilst it yields smooth focus operation, I’m personally not a huge fan of this technology. It makes it very hard to get to know your lens through consistency and in-turn operate your focus efficiently; nothing beats good old mechanical manual focus. The video takes a quick glance at the auto focus, and from what’s presented it looks fairly decent. Further examples/testing of the production version of the lenses will confirm just how effective it is. The 18-200mm f/4 OSS is currently available for pre-order, at a very competitive price of $598.00 via/NewsShooterRead more
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