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  1. #1 Phil's NAB Journal 2019 
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    The seasons have turned and the White Walkers are invading Westeros, wait. Lemme start over. Once again NAB has invaded the rather peaceful convention filled city of Las Vegas with humans and motion picture technology. As per tradition I'd like to share some interesting things I saw at the show as well as some POV as to what the heck is going on is Westeros, erm.... our Industry.




    NAB 2019 Industry Trends

    In short, this year had some clear standout themes. On the capture side, manufacturers must have seen the memo, because every digital cinema camera are all 4K or 4K+ resolution. In fact, the only HD cameras that could be spotted anywhere were broadcast cameras, which makes sense due to some of those slower gears moving. However, there was a massive presence of 4K and even 8K broadcast cameras.

    Back to digital cinema cameras. Another clear trend is every major manufacturer is now offering some sort of larger format sensor option in their ecosystems, sans Panasonic, but they are coming to the party eventually. This happened last year really, but the ripple effect has now exploded into a literal ton of new optics for VistaVision and Large Format cameras with just a spattering of new Super 35mm lenses around the show floor. We've got more lenses coming down the pipe soon too and the price tiers are notably spread apart. More on glass below.

    On the lighter side of things, the RGB pandemic has infected every light at the show it seems. Which is a good thing as several companies do this pretty damn nicely. I don't even know how many RGB-style panels were at the show. Some systems are well thought out, some are fairly cheaply made, which is part of the treasure hunting at NAB.

    There is one emerging trend I need to touch on, 8K. Blackmagic Design went to extreme (pun intended) lengths to let broadcasters know that they have an entire hardware ecosystem ready for 8K production. There were broadcast and even Micro Four Thirds 8K cameras on the floor. Even Sony pealed the curtains off their 8K CLED Cinema Display to showcase what is possible with their 8K broadcast camera.


    RED @ NAB



    Once again RED has gone covert and is much more focused on Cine Gear 2019 (and also collab to through the best party yet again with B&H and Atomos). However, some of what's been going on is on the show floor and of course the cameras are nearly everywhere. Jarred recently mentioned a process of refinement. The new Ranger was on hand for people to experience as well as all the other DSMC2 bodies. I got my first look at Ranger just before the show for about a week and also have spoken to a few people on the rental side of the game and where/why this body works for them. In short, having a full production camera without modularity makes their lives a heck of lot easier in the shop, which is predictable for the daily needs of a rental facility. I've mentioned elsewhere that any DSMC2 body with the Production Module is about 90% there compared to Ranger, while still maintaining modularity for flexible rigging.

    In RED's demo booth was a scene inspired by the bar in Mindhunters lit in a very dim way, which provided a nice playground for the low light features of Gemini to shine. And making use of the format size, it was rigged with an Atlas Orion Anamorphic lens.

    Dan from RED was going over the latest post production enhancements with the latest builds of Nvidia's GPU Decode tech, which has now evolved into an even more powerful form. There were a couple laptops with 2080 RTX GPUs at the show handling my 8K footage on them rather well. Specifically 8K FF 12:1 and 8K WS 5:1 if I'm not mistaken.

    RED likely has found themselves in a good position at the moment as all of their models compete rather nicely with what's currently available from other manufacturers, certainly on a price to performance ratio when it comes to the professional cameras.


    The Other Camera Manufacturers

    Outside of ARRI's new 4.5K Mini LF, not much in the new camera department. Perhaps the Blackmagic Design 4.6K G2 though it was announced ahead of the show as well. However, it is interesting to hear ARRI's strategy moving forward by announcing they are making a 4K Super 35mm camera targeted for a 2020 release date. Perhaps some insight on that. I would bet a Valyrian Sword that will be a slightly higher than 4K resolution sensor and I'd likely bet a dragon egg that a likely 6K+ resolution larger format sensor based on that design would be on the map as well. In the mean time ARRI has a camera that is closer to DSMC2 bodies in size with the Mini LF 4.5K, still heavier for sure and a bit larger. The biggest difference between the full LF and Mini LF comes down to frame rates really, then the obvious power, features, and rigging differences.

    Sony still on 6K with Venice, new Panasonic stuff just not here yet. Canon still on the C700 FF, however it was odd their Super 35mm 8K wasn't at the show considering they dropped a new video with the latest developments on the sensor not long ago.

    One notable thing was Z-cam announcing 6K and 8K tiny box cameras, neither of which were at the show, but I can see those being useful for suction cupping to a window or whatever somewhere. Sharp's 8K MFT camera was there, but it's pretty early days. No menus really at all, but it does record and has basic functionality. Also, later this year through we'll likely get two or three new announcements on the smaller camera front in this realm.
    Last edited by Phil Holland; 04-14-2019 at 02:38 AM.
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  2. #2  
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    Lenses EVERYWHERE

    I'm not kidding. I kept tripping on them everywhere I stepped. Big inhale, there's a lot to cover, for brevity's sake, I'll keep in short and sweet. I'll hit the major players first, but there's actually a couple sets of glass I haven't had in front of my camera on this list, so if you've got further questions hit me up.


    Zeiss



    The big Z's roadmap continues to move forward in fleshing out the Supremes on the wider and longer sides with the 21mm and 135mm T1.5. Also on show was an integrated live 3D object tracked and mapped to the XD lens data in realtime. There's obviously broadcast potential here, but alarmingly useful in on set visualization. The Supremes now are a 21-135mm T1.5 set of glass once the new stuff starts shipping. The rest of the lenses should be out end of 2020 if all goes to plan.

    Also, though I can't confirm anything, it would be worth noting Nokishita has leaked an image of a 100mm f/1.4 Otus Prime. This is the same 100mm previously leaked, but if it comes from Nokishita it's coming from official press images that have been released and they are obviously not adhering to any embargo. What I can say is Zeiss has it's handful with the Supreme project, but Otus was/is indeed receiving a couple more focal lengths that I know of.


    Tokina



    Tokina is bringing a bit of flare to the Vista Primes with the Vista One Series. These are a limited edition set that got a lot of buzz at the show featuring a unique dark gray body. In short, it's a single coated front element that produces a cooler more flarey-flare. They are sold only as a set and a the first run of 50 sold at the show. I've seen these under development for the last year and they are indeed adding a bit of jazz to a rock and roll set of glass. They maintain their unique character up until about T5-ish and then things start to clean up more and more. Sort of how that works.

    Expect to see images from the upcoming/not at NAB/but coming soon 135mm T1.5 Vista Prime shortly bringing the prime set to a 18-135mm T1.5. Also on show was their new 50-135mm T2.9, which falls into the compact Super 35mm zoom category and compliments the 11-20mm T2.9 with the same style of body.

    ** update first 50 sets of the Vista One Primes have sold, which is the first batch that goes out August through end of November to rental houses and dealers. Inquire with dealers if you are after them, there's likely a few sets to grab there.


    Sigma



    Sort of right at this very second Sigma is now shipping or shortly shipping the new 28, 40, and 105mm for their Cine set. For those of you with keen eyes, you know I got to work with these recently. All 3 are nice additions to the set which provides a T1.5 set of primes from 20-105mm, which is impressive at this price point. The 28mm in particular doesn't breathe while focusing, though the set is a bit inconsistent in that way. The 40mm and 105mm are actually pretty banging when it comes to image quality. Sigma's got some more stuff coming down the pipe too, but too early to reveal that just yet. All of these new lenses cover RED Monstro 8K VV.


    Fujinon



    A moderately poorly kept secret as we got closer to the show, but team green has stepped into the designed-for-VistaVision zooms with the Premista 28-100mm T2.9 and 80-250mm T2.9. I got to look at the only functioning prototype of the 28-100 T2.9 before NAB and it's a pretty new look for Fujinon. A bit more modern than the Premieres obviously, but likely a lens you'll see used much more in a narrative capacity due to it's zero breathing and fairly pretty bokeh. Note the 80-250 maintains a T2.9 light transmission and dips to a T3.5 beyond 200mm. These are shipping in August and come in around 8.3lbs a lens, shorter zooms and still reasonably compact/lightweight. Not the cheapest glass, but surprisingly more impressive than I expected.


    Canon



    Similar to Tokina, Canon is looking to add a bit of unique spin to the look of their CN-E Primes. Though rather subtle in look, the it pretty much cleans up stopped down a stop or two, they are indeed slightly different. Yet they are the same glass fundementally. What is notable is Canon is now actually making PL mounts on these. Regular CN-Es will still be sold btw and if you want a PL mount on the OG glass, Duclos Lenses has that modification available.


    Laowa



    Laowa has a couple interesting things coming up. If you follow my instagram you saw an early look, but they are now making PL mount optics for VistaVision and Super 35mm. For VV, notably the 12mm T2.9 Zero D PL, which is really freaking wide on this format. The rather oddly named OOOM 25-100mm T2.9 zoom is for Super 35mm and is coming in at a shockingly low price point. Expect more PL glass down the line from these guys.


    Leitz



    Very literally one of the only sets of glass out there I haven't been able to put in front of my camera, but hope too soo, are the new Leitz T1.8 Primes for VistaVision. They are larger than you'd expect, but their image quality is rumored to be rather special. 18, 21, 25, 29, 35, 40, 50, 65, 75, 100, and 135mm at T1.8 with a 200mm at T2.

    Commited to VistaVision as a format they are complementing this set of primes with two matched zooms. A 25-75 T2.8 and 55-125 T2.8. All of these lenses are 114mm FOD, similar to Tokina prime set. Even more interesting is that they are now making Macrolux 114mm diopters in .5, 1, and 2 strengths.

    I want to congratulate Leitz on this effort as it's a rather complete solution for VistaVision and it shows. If you recall, the Summilux-Cs were/arm my favorite Super 35mm primes and that has led to various productions like the Marvel films focusing on these optics. I suspect for the high end, this is going to once again transpire if these are what they are sound like they are. They are noted to have minimal breathing, low distortion, and no visible chromatic aberrations even at maximum aperture. Can't wait to use them on the right project.


    Atlas Lens Co.



    Continuing the journey with the Orion Anamorphic Primes, Atlas had the prototype 25mm T2 on hand. I played with it for a moment and it holds a face well at close focus, impressive for a 2X ana wide like this. Once done, that brings the set to 25, 32, 40, 50, 65, 80, and 100mm – a nice fleshed out set for feature and commercial use. Also on hand is their 1.2X expander which allows for full height coverage on the larger format sensor. Expanders such as this are generally pretty high quality due to the optics simplicity, I think that equates to about a stop of a loss of light, which is not bad if needing to tap into the higher resolution and format sizes on these larger sensors. The Atlas remains one of the better entry level anamorphic sets at a very reasonable price point.


    Caldwell



    I've seen both sets of glass a few times here in LA as they've been developed, but there are new/old spherical and anamorphic sets of glass being released by Caldwell. First up is the Neo Baltars and Neo Super Baltars. These are essentially identical to the original Bausch and Lomb designs, but obviously a bit more available than the original models in much more modern housings. These are Super 35mm primes for each set, but they should cover VV from 40mm and up on the Baltars, and 75mm up on the Supers.

    Also available from Caldwell are the Chameleon Anamorphics, which have a rather familiar look to the Panavision G-Series Anamorphics w/ a 1.79X squeeze. These can be configured for Super 35mm and VistaVision.
    Last edited by Phil Holland; 04-15-2019 at 03:49 PM.
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  3. #3  
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    Cooke



    A couple interesting things coming from Cooke this year. They have fleshed out their S7 VistaVision primes with an 18mm T2 ultrawide. Also, they've come up with a unique SF (Special Flare) coating for their 1.8X Full Frame Anamorphic Primes. It's a bit of a cooler flare that certainly has a more Panavision vibe to it, but it's still very much a unique look.


    Spirit Lab



    Actually in their own booth this year is Spirit Lab with their compact primes called “Pure First”. They are mostly T1.5 with the set bookended by T2.2, 15-135mm primes. These are a bit more on the funky side and have visible aberrations, but they are small and cover mostly up to a 52mm image circle. Interesting set of glass, I have some concerns on the 15mm's bokeh and whatever is happening with it's aspherical element, but otherwise a unique look in the sea of optics with generous coverage.


    Blackwing7

    Not at NAB, but certainly announced and I will be taking a look at these relatively soon. Designed for VistaVision these are all T1.9 primes with a rather 7 theme going with focal lengths of 27,37,47,57,107, and 137mm. What is interesting is they are available in 3 tuned/detuned versus with unique focus roll-off, flare, and anti-reflective coatings. The S (Straight Standard), are a medium focus roll-off with medium flare, the T (Transient Middle) feature a heavy roll-off with medium flare, and X (Expressive Extreme) have a heavy roll-off and high flare. The basic concept is controlling contrast and flare as well as tuning the optics all the ways to the extremes that feature only a low frequency resolving power outside of center field rolling to the edges. Pretty interesting concept for a series of a primes and certainly a theme. Much more on these later.


    Angenieux



    Angenieux has gone back and retackled the classic 12X 24-290 with newer and flatter optics as well as adding an Interchangeable Rear Optics (IRO) module. This is basically an expander tuned to the zoom and coverage you desire. This manifests in an Optimo Ultra 12X.24-290 T2.8 for Super 35mm, 26-320 T3.1 for “U” 35mm (what I call S35+ like Gemini and Alexa Open Gate), and 36-435mm T4.2 for FF/VV. A big lens with a renown range and flexibility for rental houses handling multiple formats camera systems.

    P+S Technik



    Yet another take on large format anamorphic with the Technovision Classic 1.5X primes and also coming are two zooms. These are T1.5 40, 50, 75, 100, and 135mm primes and the two zooms coming in at 40-70mm and 70-200mm T3.2. 1.5X works well with the 16x9 format, if you have familarity with the ISCO 1.5X you get the general idea, but actually in a usable fast set of primes.

    Optical Miscellany

    There's more glass and even more coming down the pipe shortly, but also notable this year would be the Foton Optics M1 25-300mm T2.8 for Super 35mm and coming in at a rather insane price for this focal range. Xelmus Anamorphic is coming and was not on the show floor, there's also more anamorphic glass coming in the future that hasn't raised it's head to see daylight yet. There was a neato EF Lens Turret for E-Mount on the floor, but it's rather large and well, rod support/follow focus is not really possible, but for doc work it's pretty cool. More stuff coming by Cine Gear and NAB next year.


    Lighting

    Zero chance I can cover all the lighting technology at NAB (about 40x the amount compared to lenses this year), but the theme generally was RGB at a whole lot of price points, mostly in 3x1, 2x1, and 1x1 form factors. I'll cover a couple I like here and actually use, but my advice is to test out whatever lighting you will purchase. Saving a buck isn't always the best way to go if you are using your lights all year long and there's some wild variety in what “good light” is versus everything else.

    Lightpanels



    After the success of the Gemini 2X1, the next logical step would be to saw one in half and create a Gemini 1X1 and that's exactly what they did. In fact, if you saw my camera test I dropped, you've seen a 1X1 in action already. General same output of a an ARRI Skypanel S30-C, but in RGBW. It draws 200W at max power, can be used with an addon battery plate, and features DMX. Expect a DOP Choice Snapbag for this shortly.


    Hive



    Now that the Wasp 100-C and Hornet 200-C are out in the wild, Hive has gone smaller and bigger with the Bumble Bee 25-C and the big boy Super Hornet 575-C. The Bumble Bee is essentially a puck light with a nifty integrated bayonet plastic fresnel lens, which is clever. The Super Hornet is a whole lot more light and does indeed work a bit different than the rest of the series as you are required to use a ballast and that's where the controls are. This makes this series a whole family and one of the few hard source RGB lights out there worth using.


    Aputure



    I'm blown away by their efforts in a lot of directions, but they have clearly been slowly working on a full RGB ecosystem for a while. I was able to see a lot of this stuff early on and it's all a good amount of value for the output. First is an update to the 300d with the 300d II which features 20% more output and a new ballast with batter plate built in with built in SFX. This also complements their new Fresnel 2X Attachment which is a much appreciated new design. There is also a new Spotlight Leko Mount and new Lantern diffuser coming.

    Back to the RGB stuff, or in this case the WRGB 300. This is their take on an RGB panel and it's got a separate breakout control box. I dig it, but the box design could use some love. To flesh out their family of RGB products they are making a standard Edison bulb (think Aputure's version of a Philip's Hue) that also has a built in battery. Also, to compliment their battery powered puck panels is the new RGB AL-MC which are not only tiny and feature quick charge, but also come in a cordless charging hard case w/ up to 12X lights and these are way less than you'd think they'd cost. To emphasize how much effort they've put in on the RGB front Aputure has a new Sig Mesh integration with their IOS/Android app coming soon, so you can power and control a whole lot of these wirelessly. It's really a noticeable effort and I'd expect even a hard light RGB solution from them in a year or so.


    Lowel



    Checking in on Lowel we can see some of their bread and butter lights that have been a standard in the industry for years getting some RGB updates. This includes the TotaLED and various other units in single and bi-color varieties. They have a few other lights being made behind the scenes right now that will be out in the near future that will be very useful for a location production lighting kit as that's sort of their speciality with the compact theme of all of their lighting gear.
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  4. #4  
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    Odds and Ends

    NAB is a big show and there's a lot to digest. Somehow I found time to dart around between speaking engagements and take it all in. Yep, new BMD Resolve. Yep, Adobe CC has a whole bunch of new stuff, Content Aware Fill for motion rocks so hard and saves a hell of a lot of time. Oddly didn't see too much new stuff in the world of camera movement, I suspect gimbals hit their apex. There was a vest to take the weight of a shoulder rig off your shoulder, but similar has been done in the past. It's a clean solution though.



    On the topic of shoulder rigs, Wooden camera has redesigned theirs into two different types. Both are lightweight and based around a dovetail system. One has more articulated arms that can extend compared to the simple model. There's a nice little rubber bumper bit on the bottom the shoulder pad so you can rest the whole rig on the cart or ground easily. Nice touch. They also have a friction based rota-pola adapter coming to their recently released Zip Box Pro. That's certainly a prototype, but it's coming. Ryan showed me a couple more things coming down the pipe that certainly are lighter weight than before. More by Cine Gear.



    Back to camera movement, as always I visit my friend Mike of Dana Dolly and things have evolved for the better. I played a role in suggesting this as I use my Dana Dollies often. Now every new Dana Dolly features convenient hand grips which makes taking it out of the case, moving the dolly (especially overhead), and moving the slider platform much easier. Also, the H-frame Dana Dolly Lite was a born out of my need for any sort of weight saving for a gig that required rather specific weight limits. Both are now available. Also to note, Dana Dolly now has tripod adapters to go right into a ball head, which makes working in nature a lot easier. A couple of Manfrotto 536 legs is a lightweight and flexible setup.


    Teradek and SmallHD



    Teradek will be leading the way for a while when it comes to zero delay 4K wireless video. I saw this early, early on the 1.5 second delay has vanished. What we are left with is the literal best wireless transceiver system that supports both 4K and HD signals. The actual quality is better even than any HD system and the 4K stream has broadcast interest. More range, better image quality, and more stability. It transmits 4:2:2 HDR up to 750 or 1500 (depending on model) feet up going out to up to 6 receivers. This doesn't effect RED's current DSMC2 bodies (well DXL however), but this is something to eyeball for next gen or if you are investing in a wireless system today.

    SmallHD and Teradek are working hard on integration. We've seen the wireless follow focus stuff, but now we are looking at direct camera control via a touch screen. This will be coming to the RED ecosystem shortly, but it's rather amazing as your AC can actually sit comfy pulling focus in their lawn chair and get into the camera settings.

    Beyond that there is SmallHD integration coming for specific use cases. One of my favorites, and this really effects me, is the HUD for the Shotover Aerial Gimbals. This cleans up the clutter of what's on screen and helps me focus on the key points and the image. It's a nice touch.


    Monitoring and Displays. On and Off Set as well as Exhibition



    With that said, display tech is back in the forefront yet again. There's a lot of cool stuff coming in the way of 4K and 8K production displays like the ones seen by Swit and Sharp here. Swit has a whole lineup of different sizes of UHD 4K and one DCI 4K production monitor with an auto calibration feature. The Sharp 8K Monitor is a 32” prototype and is absolutely stunning. I hope this comes to market quickly as it's relevant for some of us. I am currently using the 32” UHD 8K Dell and it's also very good and exists today. Also on my mind, is possible integration of PC monitors that support HDR into a calibrated color workflow now that the OS can support it. Asus has their newest ProArt displays at the show and at 1000 nit w/ a proper 10-bit panel that supports DolbyVision, it's a rather lovely image. They also had their about to ship portable OLED UHD 4K 21.6” screen, which is an interesting concept. I use portable monitors for my field workstation, but haven't really though of adding OLED into the mix until now. There's lots of new displays from Atomos and SmallHD, mostly on the smaller side this year, but I'd expect big things coming soon as next year things get rather real.

    Lastly, Sony indeed had their 8K CLED screen on show and it was absolutely stunning to see real 8K content on there this year. Pretty much only relevant to the stuff they shot with their 8K broadcast camera, but the content holds and is really impressive. They took a page out of RED's book and went to the drag races, but also had some really great footage from an orchestra and a few other things. Though expensive, I have little doubt that this currently the best cinema display out there. It does require a rather controlled environment and lighting scenario, but when all those boxes are check, it's spooky good.


    Big Thank Yous

    Somehow it feels like NAB compresses an entire month into a week with all of the events, presentations, parties, dinners, and way too late conversations about filmmaking. But I absolutely love it. Thanks to RED, B&H, Sigma, Tokina, Duclos Lenses, ShotOver, Zeiss, Philip Grossman, RedShark, Gary Adcock, SmallHD, and many others for having me or exhibiting my work. Some of my footage could also be seen in a few other places specifically where computers, storage,and display tech was involved. NAB is much about leading edge of motion picture technology and I'm fortunate to dabble in those dark arts.

    I made a warm and fuzzy Instagram post about NAB being about people, and it truly is. We're drawn to the tech via passion or profession, but so much of this show for me is the many faces in front and behind the scenes. Relationships that are years old now and have only strengthened as our industry moves forward and warp speed. Hope to catch you all at Cine Gear 2019 or whenever lightning strikes again. As per tradition, my favorite outro shot of the Genies lining up to tear down the show.

    Last edited by Phil Holland; 04-14-2019 at 02:43 AM.
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  5. #5  
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    Phil, thank you for the great report.
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    Thank you Phil. I've ordered one of the new Titon batteries from Anton Bauer. They're so close to the Dionic (10A vs 12A) I can't tell why they present a battery so similar to the one they already have.
    Those Hive are so teeeemptin. Which 2/3 light kit do you recommend? :) Many thanks!!!
    p.s. Did you spot the new microchargers from bebob? I can't find anything online.
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  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Holland View Post
    [...]


    Tokina



    Tokina is bringing a bit of flare to the Vista Primes with the Vista One Series. These are a limited edition set that got a lot of buzz at the show featuring a unique dark gray body. In short, it's a single coated front element that produces a cooler more flarey-flare. They are sold only as a set and a the first run of 50 sold at the show. I've seen these under development for the last year and they are indeed adding a bit of jazz to a rock and roll set of glass. They maintain their unique character up until about T5-ish and then things start to clean up more and more. Sort of how that works.

    Expect to see images from the upcoming/not at NAB/but coming soon 135mm T1.5 Vista Prime shortly bringing the prime set to a 18-135mm T1.5. Also on show was their new 50-135mm T2.9, which falls into the compact Super 35mm zoom category and compliments the 11-20mm T2.9 with the same style of body.
    Interesting question: if Tokina expands the 18-105mm set of Vista Primes to 18-135mm, will existing Vista ONE sets have an expansion option?
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    The 575 Hive is great news. I had a chat with a different manufacturer 3 weeks ago about the ideal form factor and output and mentioned the Profoto 400w HMI as the form/size I would love as a LED. Light enough to reverse mount overhead in a parabolic softbox, at least the output of a Joker 400 and all controls in a ballast to operate if high up and keep the head size reasonable. Hive have done the exact light I wished for.
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    For those of us who could not get to Vegas this year..... your work and reporting is very much appreciated Phil!
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    Senior Member David Collard's Avatar
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    Thank you the report Phil.
    Begrudgingly, I have set aside a bowl of dragon shell stew for you.
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