It’s been a really huge week for product announcements, releases, and developments in the camera world, so I wanted to do a quick roundup here for anyone that hasn’t been able to keep up. I’ll start things off by highlighting a new lens by Rokinon, that I have personally been waiting for ages to get my hands on.
Rokinon 50mm T1.5 Cine Lens
The Rokinon cinema lenses have been some of my favorite pieces of affordable glass for some time now. I regularly shoot with their 24mm, 35mm, and 85mm lenses (and they also have some wider options as well including a 12mm and 16mm), however they have been sorely lacking a much needed 50mm lens. Without the 50mm focal length covered, Rokinon could never truly offer a full lens package, since the 50mm focal length is of course one of the most important and most utilized focal lengths in cinematography. That said, after a very long wait Rokinon has finally announced the 50mm T1.5 cine lens which is supposed to be available by September 15th for $549. I don’t doubt that this lens will be huge for filmmakers, and will certainly help to boost Rokinon sales – not just with this particular lens, but with their others as well now that you can buy a full cinema kit. Now that they have the 50mm in place, what I would love to see next is an even longer telephoto lens than their current 85mm offering… Possibly a 105mm or a 135mm T1.5, but that’s just wishful thinking for now.
Sony F5 Hack
I always get excited to hear about a good camera hack, especially when it’s as powerful as the most recent hack for the Sony F5 which effectively allows the camera to shoot 4K internally! Up until now if you wanted to shoot 4K with an F5 you would have needed to purchase a proprietary R5 recorder which costs $5500. This prevented many people from investing in the F5 since the additional cost is quite significant (especially when you consider the camera body already costs $16,500), not to mention the more expensive F55 ($29,000) can shoot 4K internally and doesn’t require the external recorder. So this new hack in many ways will make the F5 a more direct competitor to it’s bigger brother – the F55. Yes, the F55 still has some advantages such as a global shutter and higher frame rates, but it now has one less significant advantage over the F5 to help justify a price tag that is close to double that of the F5. The best part is that the hack itself can be implemented very easily on the F5. All it requires is that a .txt file containing the camera preferences is altered to allow for 4K resolution recording, meaning current F5 owners will be able to hack their cameras very easily. Click here to learn more about it from Paul Ream, who explains the ins and outs of it in his podcast.
4k Arri Amira
The Sony F5 isn’t the only camera to get 4K capability this month as Arri just announced a new firmware that will give a 4K (UHD) recording option to their Amira camera. Although up until now no Arri camera has been able to shoot 4K, that hasn’t prevented them from becoming the go-to digital cinema cameras for higher budget digital productions. This is likely because the 2.8K or even 1080p images from the Alexa or Amira are arguably more pleasing to the eye than those from RED, Sony, or other manufacturers that offer 4K or 5K resolution in their cameras… That said, with the innovations and adoption of more 4K technology (monitoring, delivery methods, etc.) Arri undoubtably must have been feeling some pressure to jump on the 4K bandwagon, which is exactly what just happened. The new software update that will soon be available for the Amira will deliver a UHD image by up-sampling the 3.4K sensor to 3.8K, which means there will be some internal processing involved to get a 4K image from a sensor that is 3.4K. Some DPs are certainly on the fence as to whether or not this will yield the best results (as opposed to using a true 4K sensor), but with Arri’s track record I am confident that the 4K image off this camera will be incredible. The software update should be available by the end of this year.
EF to MFT Metabones SpeedBooster
I have personally been waiting for this product for ages, and it goes without saying that so many others have been in the same boat. Metabones SpeedBoosters for those of you that don’t know, are fantastic lens adapters that make lenses faster and wider when using them on crop sensor cameras. Up until now, Metabones hasn’t offered an EF to Micro Four Thirds version of the SpeedBooster, and as such anyone that wanted to use their Canon lenses on their GH4 or most other MFT cameras have been out of luck. A Nikon – MFT version has been available for some time now and is quite popular, and there is a pre-existing MFT version that specifically works with the MFT Blackmagic Pocket Camera, but until now there has been no solution for a generic EF to MFT adapter which so many of us have been waiting for. Over the last year as MFT cameras like the GH4 have become more and more appealing to filmmakers, the demand for a proper EF – MFT lens adapter became huge, which surely means that MetaBones will be taking many, many orders on this product… Not only because of it’s unique ability to make lenses faster and wider, but also because it provides live lens control, and allows you to change your iris and use electronic/auto focus. This in itself is a huge achievement as up until this point products like the RedRock livelens adapter were the only solutions for adapting EF lenses to MFT bodies, and they were not ideal as they required an additional power source.
Project Greenlight & Other Developments
On a more personal note, I also wanted to announce that my short film “The Mechanic” just made it through the first round of Project Greenlight! It’s very exciting and I will certainly share any and all progress that is made throughout future rounds of the competition. For now though, if anyone wants to watch the original short film submission you can do so here:
And finally, this past week I added to my personal camera arsenal by purchasing a RED SCARLET package, which I will be renting out locally here in Los Angeles. For any of the readers of this site that are local to LA, be sure to let me know if you are looking to rent this camera and I will get you the best rate possible. The camera can be rented on it’s own or with a full kit including all accessories, lenses, and support.
I am also thrilled to see that my Guide For Capturing Cinematic Images With Your DSLR has continued to provide the readers of this site with an excellent resource for shooting more filmic images. To learn more about it click here!
That’s about all for now! Check back later in the week for updates on my ongoing feature film project and more.
Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!