By site editor Dan Chung:
With just a few shopping days left until Christmas here are a few gift ideas that you may want to request from your loved ones – or just treat yourself to.
The Thinktank Retrospective lens changer 3
People sometimes complain to me that you miss too many shots while changing lenses when DSLR or large sensor camera shooting. If your lenses are packed away in a Peli case or a backpack then I would agree. The solution is to have your lenses right in front of you the whole time. Simple and yet elegant, the Thinktank lens changer has three large pockets that can each take a 70-200mm f2.8 sized lens or two smaller lenses stacked one on top of the other. You can get it in a retro canvas material that is quite discreet and doesn’t look like camera luggage – great for news shooters wanting to keep a low profile. I usually pack mine with a wide zoom, standard zoom and tele zoom and a 35 or 50mm prime lens. I often keep the bag on the whole time while shooting and it takes a matter of seconds to flip it open and whip out the lens I need. There are other lens holsters on the market but I find this the best for speed and ease of use. Find out more here.
We recently took a look at the Genustech Eclispe Fader ND and found it to be of excellent quality and value. A simple way to get between two and around eight stops of neutral density, it will allow you to shoot video at wide apertures even in broad daylight. It also has uses for time-lapse photography, where it can be used to give extremely long exposures for creative effects. In my experience it scores well in sharpness and has little colour shift. If you are using an inferior Fader ND filter then this Christmas might be the perfect time to upgrade your image. Check out the Genustech website for more information.
The Kessler Kwik release adapters are core to my DSLR shooting setup. They are well-made quick release plates that allow for really rapid and secure mounting of cameras to tripods, monopods, sliders or jibs. Moving a camera from tripod to handheld to a slider takes a matter of seconds – there’s no time in the way I work for messing arounf. I have several Kessler plates on my DSLRs and Canon C300. The other great thing is that they are compatible with the Arca Swiss and Really Right Stuff quick release systems that are popular in the photographic world. Find out more about them here.
Still the industry standard LCD magnifier for DSLRs and now the new Canon C100. If you shoot DSLR video and you haven’t got around to getting one of these then maybe it’s time to pen a polite note to Father Christmas. New mounting frames are available to allow you to use the Z-finder with the Nikon D800 and Canon 5D mkIII. The Jr model is currently on special offer with $100 US off the price. I’m still amazed when I see DSLR users struggling to shoot handheld video using just the rear LCD screen of the camera; a good loupe makes a huge difference and aids stability too because you can push the camera to your eye. Find out more here.
I’ve tried all sorts of cables, but I have yet to find a better full size HDMI to full size HDMI cable than this one. The cable itself is beautifully thin and flexible and the connectors are low profile – classic Apple design simplicity. All for $19 US on the Apple webstore. If you need a mini-HDMI cable for your DSLR then you can either use an Apple cable with an adapter or look at Zacuto’s excellent mini-HDMI to HDMI cable.
Half inch rails lens gears
If you want an inexpensive lens gear solution then look no further than these zip tie focus gears from Half Inch Rails. These 0.8 mod pitch gears come in different sizes and are attached to lens barrels using zip ties – they are inexpensive enough to be left on each lens you own permanently. They work with almost any standard follow focus. You can check them out here.
This simple accessory allows DSLR users to attach multiple cold shoe accessories to the top of a camera. Usually this might be a shotgun mic, radio mic and LED light. Unlike some other brackets I have tried this simple cube is much smaller and much more secure. It is made of metal and should stand up to the rigours of professional use. The Uni-Cube will set you back $49.99 from the DM Accessories webstore.
If you are looking for a simple way to mount accessories to your rig, this may be just the solution you are looking for. The Jag35 quick release rail block V2 is nicely made out of aluminium. It’s small and simple, yet quick to put on and take off from standard 15mm rods. Accessories attach via standard 1/4-20 threads and I’ve found it great to be able to add, remove or relocate mics, audio recorders or LED lights in a hurry. It can be ordered here.
This little accessory is one of my favourites. It is a simple gear driven zoom lever that can give you wonderfully smooth zooms – far better than I can do by hand. To use it you will need a 15mm rod mount system for your camera and a lens gear or Cine zoom with 0.8 mod pitch gears. You can also use it for focus on short throw lenses such as Canon and Nikon AF models, or use it to change aperture on a cine lens. Check it out here.
Cineroid L10C LED light
Our last gift idea is the diminutive L10C LED light from Korean company Cineroid. We reviewed it earlier in the year and found that is packs quite a punch for its size and price. Since then it has found a regular place in my kit bag and in a push you can use a couple to form a simple interview lighting setup. More info on the Cineroid website.