Random news. Industry stuff. One little review.

We're celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversary today. 
Of course, I give Belinda all the credit for our success.

I have some quick and easy advice for any of our younger readers who may be contemplating matrimony. This is advice that has worked very well for me...   Always marry someone who is smarter than you. You'll never regret it!  Now, on to photography and video. 

A real world hybrid story: This past Saturday I was shooting with two cameras that would easily fall into the hybrid category; the Nikon D810 and the Olympus EM5.2. I used them both, simultaneously, to record an interview with the very famous, original "DreamGirl", Jennifer Holliday. 
We set up a wonderful lighting design for the video interview and once the interviews were complete used the same lighting and cameras to make a series of photographs. (currently embargoed but coming soon...).  The ability to either grab the Olympus from its tripod, go to photo mode and enable I.S. then shoot, or to stand behind the big tripod and switch the Nikon into its photo mode and shoot, without making any changes to the lighting, pose or comp was very powerful. 

With custom white balances in place on both cameras the footage and the photographs are able to be used in one project; intercut in video or side by side in print and on the web, without calling attention to the different cameras or formats. In the space of five minutes we had 75 very good, still "keeper" to send to the client. And because of the difference in the cameras and the way they were handled there are different looks to the frames. One set more formal and the other set looser and more candid.

When you consider that in times past we would have done the still work and then packed up and walked away to allow the video crew their time with the talent you just have to be enthused about being able to switch back and forth in seconds. 

Even after the talent was through being interviewed and through posing for me I still kept the smaller camera in my hand with a microphone in the hot shoe for more shooting opportunities. The camera didn't go back in the bag until the talent left the building.

NAB Show announcements I'm waiting for: There are rumors that Panasonic has something big up their sleeves that will be announced at the NAB show (National Association of Broadcasters) that's happening this week. Here's what I'm waiting for:  Rumors suggest that Panasonic will be rolling out a disruptive new camera. I'm thinking it's a new model of the GH4 that will feature raw output to an external digital recorder but some people are thinking it's a new, interchangeable 4K video camera that will better the video performance of the GH4 and provide more usable interfaces for video work (XLR inputs, true S-Log, etc.) and still be under $5,000. A shot across the bow of the Sony FS-7.

I'm really hoping that Sony will show a revised RX10 that keeps all the good stuff (the lens, focus peaking, etc.) while adding in camera 4K video. If it does come out and it does hit the same initial price point as the original RX10 I'd stand in line like an Apple Fanboy to get my hands on one. 

It probably won't happen at this show but I would love to see Nikon wade in and rock the video boat by challenging Canon in the C100 space with a dedicated video camera that takes the Nikon lenses and incorporates their color science. But I think we'll really have to wait until they bring out a conventional DSLR with 4K before they move on toward a dedicated video version.

Taking the pulse of my friends who shoot with Canon: I have a close friend who is pragmatic and smarter than me by a long shot, especially when it comes to high end architectural photography. We've talked many times about his wish that he could easily put his four Canon tilt shift lenses on a Nikon D810 but he remains a Canon 5D mk3 shooter. For him the glass is more important than the sensor. When he really wants to pull out all the stops and needs more dynamic range he opens up the Pelican case and drags out the Leica S2 medium format kit and some incredible Leica glass. 

So I asked him, "what's next?" He gave me a sideways look and said, "The new Canon 50 megapixel camera, of course." His response to the dynamic range question is that so much control of dynamic range is in the lighting and careful placement of tones. In addition, since most of his subject's don't move it's easy for him to shoot bracketed frames and blend them in post production. His take on Nikon versus Canon for architectural shooters is that the performance of the 17mm and 24mm Canon T/S lenses is so superior that they trump just about any advantage of the higher res Nikon body. 

He also pointed out that the Canon 5D mk3 has been a rock solid performer for him for over three years. No focus issues, no "left side, right side issues, no weird shadow issues and no oily sensors." His final point was that early on the clients everywhere were blown away by the performance of the original 5D and the newer cameras basically doubled the performance of that camera. In the end the new cameras from Canon, unless they shoot themselves in their own feet, will keep the serious users of some specialty lenses loyal to the mark. And really, just about anything over 36 megapixels should be in the territory of highly diminishing advantages.  A switcher? I think not. 

A realization that, at least in video, the DX format cameras are the Goldilocks tools. While the color and sharpness of the video files from the Nikon D810 are satisfying the real reason that people are interested in shooting motion with full frame cameras is to get the narrow depth of field that's the visual hallmark of the bigger sensors. But many people (myself included?) are finding that the narrow depth of field is a double edged sword and it's easy to get burned by the narrow depth of field when a subject is moving around, close to camera and when shooting with longer lenses. 

The DX format offers a bit more depth of field and in many cases a more usable tool for "on the go" shooting. It's nice when stuff stays in the zone of good focus. It's bad when stuff goes soft. That's especially true on cameras that don't provide focusing tools that are usable when actually shooting. 

As the APS-C format cameras like the Nikon D7200 and the Canon 7D.2 get better and better video tools and codecs we'll probably see more and more cinematographers and videographers pick them up and start using them as everyday shooting tools more often than they choose the full frame cameras. Most already understand that the difference in imaging potential is less meaningful than delivering a watchable product. And being in focus is a large part of watchability. 

That's all I've got for right now. I've downloaded the 25+ gigabytes of video from this weekend onto a little HP hard drive and I'm off to deliver it to the editors. 

then I've got some down time in which to go out and shoot for myself. Now where did I put my Olympus EM5.2? 


Tim Arruda said...

Kirk and Belinda, I'd just like to congratulate you on your 30th anniversary. That is quite the accomplishment. My wife and I will be celebrating our 24th anniversary shortly. And Kirk, I agree about marrying someone smarter than you. My wife is in the latter stages of a PhD program in nursing. :)

G Gudmundsson said...

I read your article to my wife, word by word.

She said: Always? Does that mean that he has been married many times?

Anonymous said...


"Always marry someone who is smarter than you"

No truer words were ever spoken ( or written).

True in so many ways. (I married a lawyer- God help me).


HF said...

"A realization that, at least in video, the DX format cameras are the Goldilocks tools". Why not stopping down a little and increase ISO (no problem with full frame sensors)? We additionally use the sweet spot of the lenses, too (F4-F5.6). I prefer the larger shooting envelope of the larger format.

Anonymous said...

"Always marry someone who is smarter than you"

What about the smart ones who have to marry the dumb ones? According to this 50% will get screwed.

And btw, congratulations to the both of you, dear Kirk!