September 2016 Newsletter ATP
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Panasonic GH5, Samsung Galaxy Note 7, Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 III…
Goodness me! The kids are finally back at school, summer is (kind of) over and things seem to be slowing down a touch but not for long. This has given me just enough time to formulate a newsletter so apologies for the delay. I sincerely hope to make them more often soon with lots more tutorials!
Note: Hitting our one millionth view on our YouTube Channel has motivated me to release many more video tutorials and reviews soon so please stay with us.
Anyway, since the last newsletter, I have been doing some incredible and varied work with:
It seems that as soon as I complete one job, another 3 or 4 enquiries come in and that is how it has been all summer. Where to start?
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
I have to start with the release of the Canon 5D Mark IV don’t I? After all, I have waited over 4 years for this camera ever since the 5D Mark III was released. The Canon EOS Mark III, even though it was a superb camera, didn’t quite meet my "upgrade" needs from the Mark II. I simply bought another Mark II and waited (im)patiently for the Mark IV.
You may have noticed that when the full specs were released, the internet went crazy. People were ranting and raving about how poor the video specs were with regards to codecs, file sizes, frame rates and so on. All the while forgetting that this is a stills camera first and foremost.
I even fell for this myself for a while and started to wonder if this really is the camera I sold one of my Mark II’s for in anticipation last year?
I held off buying other hybrid cameras such as the Sony A7S II or A7R II and truly hoped for a "super hybrid" camera.
Whilst the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV didn’t meet my high expectations with regards to video, it did make upgrading from the 5D Mark II a very easy decision. I have subsequently got one on pre-order.
You can read more about my thoughts on this camera below but here is my quick take on the video side of things. After downloading and playing with some RAW stills, I have no doubt that the stills photography side of the Mark IV is absolutely superb in all aspects:
Video Grumbles on the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
MJPEG Codec (500mbps)
This is an old, dated codec that gives no compression to video files at all meaning that they are going to be huge. However, because each image is a full still image with no pixel binning or line skipping, you are able to pull wonderful, crisp 8mp stills from 30 frames per second footage.
This is like having an EOS 20D that shoots 30 frames per second.
No 4K HDMI Output
Being able to output the video file directly from the sensor to an external monitor gives incredibly accurate, sharp and detailed footage that allows greater scope when editing. Canon have not allowed this at 4K but have allowed it for the 1080p HD video. I am hoping that they release a firmware update at some point to allow this for 4K. That will bypass the huge MJPEG codec and give me Pro Res which is better for editing.
No Peaking at the Zebras
Peaking is a method of highlighting areas of the frame that are in focus making obtaining sharp footage a breeze. Canon have left it out but have given us a touch screen with touch focus so it is swings and roundabouts.
Zebras are stripes that appear on the screen when highlight clipping starts to appear. No biggie if you simply use the light meter, Canon’s highlight alert and your brain.
As well as the above, there are slow frame rates and a couple of other grumbles. All in all though, Canon have finally got round to adding 4K footage to the 5D range. For me, I will use the camera as a stills camera that also shoots the occasional 4K clip for weddings and stock video.
Here is a more in-depth look: Canon 5D Mark IV…
So, I couldn’t resist and ended up buying the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV but am I happy? More on why I bought it here: Why I bought the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
Aerial Video and Photography
Since qualifying as a licensed UAV pilot just over a year ago, the work has literally not stopped coming in. If you are toying with the idea of getting into aerial photography or video (or both), I can absolutely recommend that you get stuck in.
The work I have done has been so varied I never know what is coming next. Everything from looking for a lost dog to working with Pinewood Studios on a TV series. Here is a short, draft video from a shoot I am currently working on where I use a combination of ground and aerial video…
With this in mind, I am thinking of holding a two day video/aerial photo/video course in the UK as well as some other courses over the winter. Keep reading our newsletters and Facebook page for future details.
Things seem to have moved fast in the aerial video world. Shooting 4K video and anything around 16mp stills or higher is the norm these days. However, DJI earlier in the year, released the X5R gimbal and camera set up for the Inspire 1 drone.
This allows the photographer to shoot not only RAW stills but RAW 4K video footage which is incredible (and which produces huge, lossless file sizes). You can read more about this great camera set up here: DJI X5r Camera and Gimbal for Inspire 1
Update 2018: I am now the proud owner of the amazing DJI X5R camera. I bought it to help film a documentary for Netflix and it is incredible!
External Monitor for the Panasonic GH4
When using the Panasonic GH4 on a gimbal such as the DJI Ronin M (review coming soon), I found it virtually impossible to see the rear screen of the camera for monitoring. So, rather than fork out for a dedicated external monitor, I decided to try the iPad Mini 4. I already use this for the Inspire 1 drone so I know it works. I used it with a cheap bracket from Amazon.
You can see more on this here: Using the iPad Mini 4 as External Monitor for GH4
Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 III Superzoom 20MP, 4K Camera
If you are looking for an all-round, take anywhere, high quality camera, the Sony DSC-RX10 III may be just what you need.
It has an incredible (35mm equivalent) 24-600mm zoom. This new Sony shoots not only 4K video, but HD video at "super-slow-motion" giving frame rates of up to 960 frames per second! However, the image quality suffers a bit the faster you go but what a great bridge camera.
Other features include:
More info here: Sony RX10 III Bridge Camera
DJI X5 Adapter for the Osmo Stabiliser
When I upgraded the Inspire1 drone’s camera earlier in the year, I hoped it would be able to be used on the DJI Osmo hand held stabilising system. Some third party manufacturers created a "workaround" bracket but that meant shaving parts of the Osmo. No thanks.
DJI eventually released the official X5 adapter and I bought it right away. This means I can now land the Inspire 1 after a shoot and swap out the camera/gimbal onto the Osmo. I have since used this set up on many projects including one to be shown on TV later this year.
More info here: DJI X5 Osmo Adapter
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 - The Exploding Edition
Just my flipping luck!
I wait years to upgrade my phone and just when I find the perfect upgrade for me (and order it with new contract) the thing goes and blows up. This happened to 35 people whilst charging which led to an immediate halt in sales and a total recall.
I have already bought a case, screen protectors and charging cables too! I feel I must now wait until Samsung sort this problem out and not be tempted by the (rather bland looking, better-to-wait-til-2017-for-the-10-year-anniversary-edition) iPhone 7.
The Galaxy Note 7 itself, without the exploding issue, is actually a superb camera phone. It is a "no brainer" upgrade from my aging Samsung Galaxy S4. I plan(ned) to use this as a phone (durr), a great business tool and a high resolution, bright and superb screen for the Inspire 1 and Osmo all in one.
Oh well, I can wait but if you want to read up more on this Smartphone, you can do so here: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Smartphone
Edit: I ended up getting the Samsung Galaxy S7 which is pretty much the same as the Note 7 except for having a smaller screen and no S Pen.
Panasonic Lumix GH5
As you may be aware, I am a big fan of the Panasonic GH4. Mainly for video although it also produces pretty good stills. When coupled with a Metabones Speedbooster, Canon L lenses and an Atomos Ninja Flame external monitor/recorder, the 4K video files from this set up are incredible. The 10-bit, Pro Res HQ 4:2:2 4K video is just about broadcast quality.
To get that 10 bit 4K quality, I need an external recorder for the GH4. The GH5 however, is said to record 10 bit 4K video internally to dual SD cards which is a huge upgrade. It is also rumoured to shoot 6K video at 30fps, 4K video at up to 60fps and 1080p at 120fps or more.
It may well get a few of the latest features such as those in the 5D Mark IV. Therefore, if you have been thinking about getting the GH4 or maybe one of the Sony DSLR/Hybrid video cameras (such as the Alpha A7S II), it may be worth waiting to see what the Panasonic GH5 has to offer when it is announced hopefully this month.
These are some of the rumoured specs:
It’s already in my shopping cart...
So there you go. Hopefully a few things to get you excited, angry or at least thinking about where to go with your photography next. As I said earlier, I hope to get a lot more photo, video and processing tutorials out in the future. Even if that means backing off on some of my field work.
For now though, grab whatever camera you have and get out there. Maybe buy a reasonably priced accessory (like an ND filter for long daytime exposures or a polariser filter for deep, rich colours etc) and motivate yourself to go out and make the most of the coming autumnal (or Spring depending on which side of the planet you are on) season!