Monthly Archives: August 2011

A Few Hours with the Canon 50mm 1.8

What a nice little lens. For (currently) $107 the Canon 50mm f1.8 is a MUST have. Sure it’s made of plastic, as light as paper, and would not stand abuse, but for $107 why not?

Here’s a slideshow of some of the pictures I took today.

Almost DSLR (free) iPhone App

So I spent some time looking for a free iPhone app with manual video controls (exposure & focus mostly). Searching on google or the app store did not find me many results, but what I did find was the Almost DSLR app. There is a paid version, but if you want it for free you only have to deal with a banner ad, which does not appear in your final video/photo, and it asking you to buy it every so often. Not a bad deal.

It does not have FULL manual controls, but you tap to focus, double tap to set exposure and you can set it to lock the focus and exposure which is pretty much all I wanted. It is very helpful if you are filming something and do not want the exposure to change as it often does in the stock camera app. This does the same thing for pictures as well, which I find less useful because you only taking a picture so locking focus is not AS important, but it could still come in handy. The app also features a timer, so thats a plus.

This app would be helpful to those who only have one nice camera and are making videos that they want to show the camera in, or maybe show them operating the camera (like I did in my recent IGUS Slider video). Or it could be helpful to someone who just wants to make better videos with their iPhone. With a lot of light the iPhone does put out a decent picture (for a phone). Be sure to pick up an iPhone tripod mount also, to create steady shots as the app does not include stabilization, but it’s free so you can’t complain. I ordered this tripod mount/tripod (more for the mount) which Amazon says will be here Thursday (thanks Irene for making deliveries slower) along with a new lens, and a DSLR flycam, so many reviews to come shortly!

I’m also working on a FCP 7 basic Training series for RTN, which will be up mid September.

Another Budget Slider throws it’s hat in the ring.

Emm from CheesyCam posts about another budget slider option. It is the 360VM video slider. This option is different, however, because it offers an installed pulley. This would allow very easy slides and it makes it very easy to motorize. I am going to add a pulley to my IGUS slider eventually, but who knows how or when.

Sony A77 Hands on review

Here is a hands on review of the A77 by TechRadar. It is a multiple page review complete with sample images.

It has very good thoughts about the EVF although it does make it clear that the 12fps burst shooting will not be useful in certain situations.

Great read, check it out!

Sony announces new line of cameras

This is Big news for DSLR filmmakers…and I mean BIG! The A77 has been rumored for quite some time and will easily compete with the 7D. What I am more excited for is the A65 which is the T3i/60D competitor. I kind of wish I did not buy my 60D and waited for this guy. Check out there whole line of new cameras (much emphasis on the NEX line) with this video:


Here is a video on the A77 with a brand new 2.8 Kit lens:


And here is a video that goes over the specs and differences between the A77 and A65:

Okay, so one of the majors features of the A77 and A65 is the TMT (translucent mirror technology). This means it is not an optical viewfinder, but an electronic one (EVF). In the past the A55 had this same technology, but was not great because it used LCD in the viewfinder. From these videos, it seems that OLED has made the difference and made these very comparable with optical viewfinders. The A77 shoots an amazing 12fps, and the A65 shoots at 10fps (which is still almost twice what the 60D does). Even if the EVF is not quite the same as an optical viewfinder, having constant autofocus could be very helpful, the autofocus is very fast too. Plus, I’m guessing you can shoot video while looking though the viewfinder. This means ALOT, especally if this EVF is comparable to the optical viewfinders. Oh, did I mention that it does 60FPS at a full 1080p? AWESOME! We’ll have to wait and see when it ships in October, but I’m excited anyway. (I’d buy one if I had the money). We’ll also have to see some real world performance in low light.

It will also be interesting to see what Canon’s new line will offer with a rumored new 5DMII on the way as well as a new 7D. Although I don’t think they will be able to compete from a video perspective unless they adapt to a new technology like TMT. (which stinks because I’ve invested into Canon’s line and may want to switch).

IGUS Slider Review & Footage

So after finally catching up on my entire life, I had time to edit together the slider footage I took quite some time ago. I used FCPX also to start learning it.


Some of the shots are a little be shaky because I was the only one operating the camera so I was simultaneously sliding and panning or focusing. Even these shots though came out very acceptable in my opinion.

IGUS vs. Opteka

I had and returned the Opteka 47″ Slider. The slider itself was not bad, but I just don’t think it could handle the weight of my camera. Thanks to info from Oliviatech I found the ready to go IGUS. The purchased the IGUS W1080-B. This version comes with pre-tapped holes which is great, although I did add some washers to the end so that it would not slide off. The IGUS slider is about double the width that the Opteka was. This distributes the weight of the camera more evenly and allows for a much smoother slide. There was no comparison, the sliding was much easier and more consistent with the IGUS over the Opteka. The IGUS is a bit shorter at just over 3 ft, but 3 ft is plenty of length. The 47″ was actually very difficult to maneuver, and needed more than one tripod to use. I used the IGUS with just one tripod for all of the tests using some techniques described at CheesyCam. I do, however, miss the feet that went on the Opteka they were a very nice addition. Although CheesyCam points to a DIY Solutions for this. Another plus about the IGUS is that it comes with a very tiny allen wrench to adjust the tension.

Number & Letters

There are a few different IGUS models for sale on amazon. It can be confusing as to what is what, and why some are more expensive. They all start with a W, the numbers following dictate the Width of the slider. The 1040 is 2.9″ the 1080 is 4.2″ and the 16 is 4.1.” Now wait a second, the 16 is the most expensive, but thinner than the 1080. The 16 offers 16mm bearings (the size of the rail is slides on) where the other two offer 10mm bearings. The letters at the end stand for what it comes with (is it pre drilled, hand clamp, etc.) A= nothing, just the slider. B=Pre-drilled/tapped. C= no holes, but a hand clamp to adjust tension. All of this information can be found at their website, but it is confusing on amazon.


Everybody who can afford a Konova slider has one. This is the next step down in sliders and I think it is the best of its price range. I eventually want to add a pulley system to this to get very smooth slides. Compared to the Opteka Slider this is a no brainer, much more stable for larger cameras. I have not used any of the other ones on the market, but all of the ones in a close price range are friction based sliders except for the Juiced Link slider. The Juiced Link slider is new and looked pretty interesting. I do not think that it is as practical as the IGUS though because you cannot easily mount to a tripod.