Nikon D3100

•August 19, 2010 • 1 Comment

Nikon is set to release the D3100, an APS-C sensor-sized DSLR that shoots 1080p 24fps for a retail of $699 (includes the AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR image stabilization lens). What makes it even more appealing is that Nikon has finally gotten rid of the crappy mjpeg codec in favor of an h.264 based-one. Another plus is the continuous autofocus for those who have been wanting that feature.

This is the T2i’s nemesis…maybe.

The fact that it’s going to hit at $200 less means Canon will have to do some serious thinking if they don’t want to lose out on potential T2i sales. Cons would be that the Nikon does not shoot 1080 30p like the T2i. (I’m always at 24p, so no big whup for me I guess. Buuuut…I like that the option is there though.) Frame rates of 720 24/25/30p will be available but NO 60p it looks like. Hmm, dealbreaker for some would want to shoot slow motion. Pro goes to the T2i for that option.

Now some may balk at the Nikon’s 14.2 megapixels vs. the Canon’s 18, but this may be a positive for the Nikon as the lesser pixel density should allow for better low-light capability. (Huge plus if it works well for them.)

Check out more of the specs here. Pre-order here.

Very close Nikon. The game just got even more interesting.

Lenses

•August 6, 2010 • 2 Comments

Good lenses can be pricey. Especially if you want to make sure you’re capturing the best picture with your HDSLR.  It’s a good idea though to have some lenses in your stand-by arsenal. (or have at least one good stand-by and rent others which I’ll cover later.)  I did some research and came up with three that I needed to have at all times for my T2i.  Now these weren’t hella cheap, but they weren’t wicked expensive either (for lenses that is.)  The great thing is that with the price of the camera not being something in the multiple thousands compared to some high-end camcorders, you have more money to spend on lenses and essential accessories to outfit it.

I highly recommend getting lenses that have a 2.8 f-stop or faster (with some exceptions) especially if you know you’ll be shooting a lot of low-light work. Plus more shallow Depth of Field is achievable with a faster lens if that’s the look you’re going for. Slower F-stops mean deep focus and less light going through the lens to the sensor. (This is from what I understand; please feel free to correct me on this.)

Also keep in mind that lenses made for full-frame cameras will be changed for the aps-c sensor the camera has unless the lenses are made specially for the sensor. It’s a 1.6x crop-format meaning a 50mm lens becomes an 80mm on the camera (50 x 1.6)

Sigma 30mm 1.4 EX DC

For a prime:

I have s Sigma 30mm 1.4  EX DC HSM Lens which becomes a 48mm (very close to 50mm which is good enough for me)  1.4 means I’m going to get some nice, clean pictures in low light without having to pump the iso up (adding noise to the picture) if a decent light source is not available. Wide open it can become so shallow that your subjects moving off their points can be become immediately out of focus. Play around with it. Prices are pretty much around $430 even on ebay.

Taken with the Sigma 30mm 1.4



Tamron 17-50mm

For a zoom:

A Tamron 17mm-50mm 2.8 SP XR lens  (aps-c sized)  Great lens! This is my walk around lens when I’m taking stills and I love the quality that I’ve gotten from it. I found a used one in excellent condition on e-bay. Around $335 plus shipping. People are recommending to get it with Vibration Compensation (VC) to minimize hand-held shake. Those are usually more expensive (an additional $250 depending new or used) I didn’t get it because: A) Obviously I wanted to save some money B.) Some research I’ve seen shows that the lens is not as sharp as the non-VC for some reason. C.) my other lenses don’t have it so what’s the big deal if this one doesn’t?  The camera is going to be on a stabilizer anyway.
UPDATE: Brand new 17mm-50mm lenses with VC for sale on ebay for $485. Seller rating pretty decent. Link.

Taken with Tamron 17-50mm


Update: Here’s video of the VC in action for the curious. Hmm, not bad.

Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

Wide Angle:

Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 AT-X Pro DX also for aps-c sensors. This sucker is wide and at 2.8 it’s going to be great for low-light.  It’s pretty popular and apparently hard to get for a decent price. If you can find one for or below $600, I’d snatch it. Otherwise you may ending spending more, quite possibly over $700.

Taken with the Tokina 11-16mm 2.8



Can’t afford all of these? No problemo.  Check out BorrowLenses.com and rent what you need for your projects.  Make sure you plan ahead though as some lenses could be rented out if you wait too long.  I’d say at least have one stand-by lens in your arsenal like the Tamron so you can shoot whenever.  The kit lens has about the same zoom range, but much slower than the Tamron’s 2.8.

That’s it for now. Sorry the spacing sucks between paragraphs and pics. Still learning my way around wordpress and haven’t nailed that aspect yet.

Addendum: Here’s video of both the Sigma and Tokina in action. Check this post to see more of the Sigma, Kit Lens, Tamron, and other lenses in use for video. Props go to Robin Schmidt for shooting this.

Indie Film shot on Canon 5D

•August 5, 2010 • 1 Comment

I was in Orlando last month helping out a fellow indie-filmmaker by the name of DM Pelley. He was shooting his take of an asian action horror extreme flick called Super Death Kill on the Canon 5D MKII. (On the very super cheap!)

I was blown away with how much little light the 5D needed and how much more epic the full-frame sensor made the picture look. I helped by playing a duck/shark crazy nazi-fighter. (the only way I can described it.) Check out the pics below (Taken with my T2i btw.)

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There’s quite a few pics so give it a bit to load.

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T2i Short Hostile Destination

•August 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A short I found shot with the T2i. Here’s the original post.

I can’t seem to embed it so just click on the link. dvxfest=http://www.dvxfest.com/mirror/west2010/entries/Hostile_Destination-Michael_Anthony_Horrigan.mov

Here is the VFX breakdown.

Meike ViewFinder

•August 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

One of the neat accessories I’ve acquired is the LCDVF knock-off that I heard about on cheesycam.com.  I’ve seen and used the real LCDVF and this one is pretty much dead-on accurate. I’m waiting for my glass-protector I ordered to mount the VF’s magnet straight to it.

My pics of the viewfinder were featured on cheesy. Check out the article: http://cheesycam.com/lcdvf-replicas-real-deal/

Bookmark the site. Great reviews for anything cheap and DIY for HDSLRS and Camcorders. Oh and here’s the link to buy the VF.

Still here part 2!

•August 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Ok, so I’ve had the T2i for quite some time now. Gave up on amazon and finally ordered the complete kit on newegg for $50 less than it normally goes.  I’ll go into some of the accessories I’ve acquired as well. For now, crappy iphone pics!

The Most Amazing T2i/550D footage so far

•June 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Shot by Philip Bloom at the Salton Sea Beach.

Kit used for the camera: 1 32gb Kingston card, 1 16gb Transcend card, a manfrotto tripod, Kessler Crane Pocket Dolly Traveller, Manfrotto 701 HDV head, Canon 100m F2.8L MACRO, 50mm F1.2L, 70-200 F2.8L IS, Tokina 11-16 F2.8, Zacuto Z-Finder and some fader NDS/ Vari NDS.

Check out his blog for more info. http://philipbloom.net/2010/03/20/saltonsea/