I’m just back from the UK after speaking at the Canon Pro Solutions Expo in London. It was really great to meet those who managed to attend and good to catch up with some old friends, too. I finally met the very talented shooter Danfung Dennis and got to see a bit more of his upcoming documentary from Afghanistan – it’s looking seriously good.
The main attraction at the Canon show was of course the 1DmkIV; I managed to have a pretty good look at the camera’s video functions and in the next day or two should have more for you.
I met F-Stop academy’s Den Lennie at the show; he showed me the company’s latest 5DmkII and 7D training DVDs. For me, these plug a huge hole for anyone wanting to learn about how to shoot pro video with these cams. Previously you’ve had to spend a long time scouring the net for all the answers – now you can learn what took me months just by sitting down with F-Stops classes which lay everything out in a simple way.
I also have some new toys to test. First up are a duo of Panasonic Micro 4/3rds HD capable cameras – the Lumix GH-1 and GF-1. The GH-1 can shoot 1080p and 720p with full control and a mic input, while the smaller GF-1 is only 720p, but has a much cuter form factor. These are much smaller than the or and can still take an interesting variety of lenses. Both cameras shoot AVCHD but have a relatively low bit rate – not sure how that’s going to work out but I plan a more comprehensive review at some point in the future.
Next up is the new Thinktankphoto Airport Takeoff rolling camera bag that converts quickly into a backpack. I’ve loved Thinktank bags since they came out a few years ago and use their rollers, backpacks and pouches frequently, but I always thought the lack of a backpack/roller was a serious omission. Now they’ve taken my favourite backpack and added wheels and a handle – great stuff. It will carry my full 5DmkII video kit including two bodies, and 300mm lens and my Macbook Pro. Again I’ll be giving this one a thorough working out and will report back. If your in the UK and can’t wait for a full review then you can head over to Snapperstuff to pick one up now.
Gadget three is the new 5DmkII fitting camera armour. I’ve been waiting for this one as the original 5D armor made famous by Vincent Laforet to disguise the 5DmkII during filming of ‘Reverie’ doesn’t fit the MKII well. The new version is a snug fit and gives a really chunky rubber bumper around much of the camera’s body. Whilst it’s a little cumbersome to leave it on the whole time I will put it on the camera for really rough environments or during remote control shoots where the camera is left in a vulnerable position like a soccer goal mouth.
Gadget four is the Litepanels MicroPro LED light – no time to play with this at all yet so no firm opinion; I’m assuming it’s a better, more powerful version of the little Litepanels LPmicro – which I love – but again I’ll report later.
Lastly, I’ve picked up a lovely Manfrotto video monopod from Bogen imaging. The 561BHDV (who makes up these catchy names??) . It’s a monopod with added fluid head and little pop out feet at the base to give extra stability and some smoother panning motion. I tested it a few days ago and found that with wide to moderate length lenses it was very easy to get stable shots. The little feet were easy to use and although you can’t stand the monopod up on them alone they do make the base feel more rooted to the ground and stop it from slipping around. I also tried attaching my Redrockmicro rig to the it and used the handgrips for extra stability; this worked really well. My only gripe is that it’s quite heavy and would benefit from a carbon fibre rather than aluminium leg, although I guess that would push the price up. I think this monopod will be going with me in future unless I’m close to my airline weight limit, when I might switch to a carbon fibre one instead.
Anyway, enough new toys. Hopefully back to some serious shooting this week.