BeachTek DXA-Connect Review – Coming This Week

It just arrived today and looks every bit as good as I had expected. The hot shoe mount is also excellent (the entire DXA-Connect exudes a reassuring feel of solid construction) and despite this heft, poses no problem when mounting to the 5D Mark II or the EOS-M. I dare say the same applies to most all Canon DSLRs. Look for a complete review this week – subscribe if you wish to get an email update when the review is posted. -Kurt “Man with the 5D” One production sample of…

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Repairing the Canon EF 35-80mm f/4-5.6, DIY style

While waiting for the replacement gear for the 18-55mm, I thought I’d post a complete teardown and rebuild of the first-generation Canon EF 35-80mm f/4-5.6: WARNING: By viewing and/or following this guide, you accept full responsibility for any malfunctions or damage that may be caused to your lens in the course of any service you may attempt to perform on it. Following this guide will void your warranty. Note that though this video covers the original v1 lens, the II and III models contain virtually identical internal designs and disassemble…

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Telephotos for DSLR Video: Old vs. New

I’m often asked by DSLR videomakers – “What’s a good older telephoto zoom for someone on a budget?” The answer is simple: None of them. It has nothing to do with zooms not being cinematic (they can be just as cinematic as any other lens, but zoom technique is another story), but more with the manner in which a given lens operates. Our latest video examines this subject in detail:   Kurt – “Man with the 5D”

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Manfrotto MVH502A Fluid Head – Long-Term Review with Video

Manfrotto’s MVH502A and its flat-bottom cousin, the MVH502AH, are amongst Manfrotto’s latest fluid tripod head designs. The model is no longer new, having been released earlier this year (2013), but I thought that it would be best to review them only after experiencing their reliability in the field over the past 7 months. While it is true that Manfrotto’s prosumer fluid heads are generally very much on par with their professional broadcast cousins – given their relative affordability to Sachtlers and Vintens – the MVH502A/AH are not a part of…

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Choosing follow focus gear rings

The cine-zation of DSLR cameras have created a need to add 0.8 pitch follow focus gears to standard photography lenses. Many such gears exist on the market; however, not all are created equal – a fact that is not immediately apparent until you’ve already experimented with a few. The prevalent types of follow focus gears available to the prosumer cinematrographer today come in three different variants: Left: Plastic, adjustable diameter gear ring with friction lock and lever Center: Rubberized, adjustable diameter gear ring with tooth lock Right: Fixed outside-diameter ring…

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CMOS Rolling Shutter Removal – Plugin Shootout!

I’m getting away with whip pans like these. Or just about, anyway. That said, I’m not going to bore you with an explanation of what rolling shutter is. Chances are that – before you reached this blog – you already went through the torture of a few hundred posts and videos of everyone else demonstrating rolling shutter – without the slightest suggestion of a good CMOS skew and jello removal tool. You can relax now, for I’m going to show you a comparison between the five filters that are available…

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Graduated ND filters for bright skies

Ed. note: This was published in 2013 when the DSLR craze was in full force and sensors with excellent dynamic range weren’t as common as they are now.¬† If you’ve ever shot a video with a bright sky in the top of your shot and dark foliage below, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the problems of exposing an image for such a situation – and it usually winds up with your clouds blown out to bright white in order not to underexpose the rest. Since it is difficult – and often impossible…

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Aperture Flicker: Why you should have a manual aperture zoom lens…

…and why electronic, variable aperture zoom lenses are a poor choice for DSLR filmmaking: Aperture flicker is a phenomenon of zoom lenses with variable apertures at the open end. For the purposes of this explanation, let us consider the following Canon EF 28-135mm zoom lens – it will run open as low as f/3.5 when at 28mm, but will close to f/5.6 when the focal length increases to 135mm. As the lens has an electrically controlled aperture built into the body, the lens will automatically stop down from f/3.5 to…

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