This is a catalog of the equipment in my current photography and film kit. Some of pieces have been with me for years others were more recent additions. Each piece was purchased to provide a needed capability or meet the requirements of a particular type of project.
The list will adapt with time to changing needs and technical advances and I will post my observations, experiences and example footages or images.
Gear is available for rent with or without me locally with proof of insurance. Contact me to discuss your project.
Sony Ex1 HD Video Camera mounted on Letus Elite Rod System with the Letus Elite DOF Adaptor
Description from Sony:
The Sony PMW-EX1 is a flash-memory based high definition camcorder capable of a variety of frame rates and resolutions using Sony's new XDCAM-EX intraframe codec. The Exmor 1/2" CMOS sensors used in the PMW-EX1 provide unprecedented levels of image clarity previously unavailable in the prosumer market. Sony's sophisticated SxS Pro memory cards add a unique dimension to almost any production.
XDCAM EX is a variant of Sony's popular XDCAM HD codec, which has become a benchmark for affordable non-linear professional acquisition. Through the use of flash-based memory, the PMW-EX1 can take advantage of variable bit rate (VBR) recording. VBR technology intelligently employs less or more image compression to different portions of the footage dependant on which areas need additional bandwidth. The end result is higher quality video with a reduced amount of compression artifacts when compared to more antiquated constant bit rate (CBR) methods.
The EX1 is now several years old it is Sony's first camera to record to solid state S by S cards. It has been replaced by the EX1r in the Sony line up that has the same form factor , 1/2 inch sensors, and XDCam Codec. For me the EX1 has largely been replaced by the Sony FS family (see below) with their Super 35mm sensor, better low light capabilities, lighter weight modular design and interchangeable lens system. Still the EX1 particularly when it is paired with DOF adaptor produces stunning image quality and if you are working on a budget they can be purchased on Ebay at a very attractive price.
form factor is classic ENG with a 14x Fujinon HD lens
As pictured I have mounted a Letus Direct Elite DOF adaptor to the front element of the lens this lets me mount canon FD and EF lens for that shallow depth of field film look that everyone loves.
From manufacture website:
Letus 35 Extreme - The industry's new leader in light efficiency with only 1/2 stop of light loss! The new standard for the Indie Film makers. The technology, quality, and price of the new Letus35 Extreme cannot be beat. If you are looking for the BEST and most affordable 35mm lens adapter, you have just found it.
Letus35 Extreme Features:
New prism technology with proprietary Image Orientation Correction technology (IOC). This adapter "flips" the image upright
Highest optical grade achromatic lens (custom-made for this specific adapter)
New and improved Ground Glass element
Beautiful film-look bokeh
Custom condenser specially tailored for this adapter to get the best possible
Best edge-to-edge sharpness in the industry
Stunningly beautiful image colors
Anodized black finish
Casing milled from solid aluminum
ent vibration system that will not interfer
Alignment is a breeze with the new and improved 72mm, 77mm, or 82mm ring design
Description from Sony website
The NEX-FS100UK is an interchangeable lens camcorder featuring a Super 35mm sensor equivalent in size to Super35mm film like that used in the PMW-F3. Developed specifically as a digital motion camcorder it is capable of producing footage with shallow depth of field similar to that of a film camera and capture with high image fidelity.
What's not to like, the super 35mm sensor, modular design, the e-mount that gives you an almost unlimited number of lens options, well it does have a little bit of a plasticly feel. The buttons are hard to work by touch, and the monitor screen has its limits. The image that comes out of that super 35 mm sensor is, well, beautiful and in the end that's what counts.
The 18-200mm kit lens that comes with the camera is useable but not great. I am currently using Canon lens with the Metabones lens adaptor that lets the camera and lens talk.
Canon 16-35mm f2.8 Series 2 lens
Description from Canon Website:The EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM is a high performance, water-resistant, and ultra wide-angle Canon L-series lens. It has been specifically designed for improved edge-to-edge image quality that will meet the strict requirements of professional and high-end amateur photographers. It features 3 high-precision aspherical lens elements, each of a different type: ground, replica and GMo for even better image quality than the original EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM. The circular aperture produces a beautiful and natural background blur when shooting at wider apertures. Other features include internal focusing, a ring type USM (Ultra Sonic Motor), and new AF algorithms for fast and quiet autofocusing.
This is the go to lens for landscapes when shooting stills and wide shot using the Sony FS100u or the Sony Ex1 when using the Letus Elite DOF adaptor. Mounted on the Letus DOF Adaptor you are limited to shooting wide open (f2.8) so you will lose control of your depth of field. Adding a Variable Neutral Density Filter when shooting with Letus Elite DOF will give you control over exposure.
Canon 70-200mm f2.8
Short Description From Canon Website:
Improving upon one of the most celebrated lenses in the Canon EF line is no easy feat, but Canon has done just that. The all-new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM increases the speed, performance and optical quality of the EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM while maintaining all of the characteristics that have made it a legend for professionals and advanced amateurs alike. The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM features one fluorite and five UD elements for increased optical quality and reduced chromatic aberration. It has a minimum focusing distance of 1.2m/3.9 ft. at all zoom settings, which is useful for photographers in smaller spaces trying to get closer to a subject. It features a next-generation Optical Image Stabilizer, providing up to 4 stops of correction at all focal lengths. And as with all L-series lenses, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is dust- and moisture-resistant and designed for use in the challenging environments typical of rigorous professional use.
I use the 70-200mm in almost too many situations to mention. It is the go to lens when ever I need to reach out for a tight shot and not crowd the subject. I find myself using this lens on almost every outing. It is light weight, Fast in low light at f2.8, quick to focus, and captures very fine detail. Take a moment, if you will, to click on the Ring Bill Gull below and check out the detail in the feathers and eye of the larger image.
Canon 85mm f1.2L II USM
Description from Canon Website:
Retaining the impressive optical performance and large aperture of the original EF 85mm f/1.2L USM, this new medium telephoto lens uses a Ring-type USM, high-speed CPU and optimized algorithms to achieve an autofocus speed approximately 1.8x faster than the original. The high-speed AF and circular aperture create a shallow depth-of-field that brings attention to the subject and blurs the background, which is ideal for portraits and weddings. The floating optical system, which includes an aspherical lens element, suppresses aberrations and ensures excellent imaging performance.
Huge, Heavy, expensive lens. and it will not focus closer than .95 meter
at f1.2 -f2 the depth of field is so shallow. How shallow is it? well if a subjects eye is in focus the ear will be soft.
Auto focusing at near wide open is slow. the lens will hunt almost constantly. Manual focus is slow and awkward.
Softball size, weights as much as a 70-200 telephoto lens
Despite all the negatives associated with this lens I absolutely love it. The images it produces are what lives beyond stunning.
For portraits and head shots the results are professionally lovely, if you are shooting interview footage for a min-documentary or need beautiful bloke this lens will do the work.
Image quality amazing, spectacular, a dream great for portraits, and in interviews where you don't want to be in the subjects face.
Name of the game is shallow depth of field at f1.2… and I mean hairs breath shallow.
Ziess 50mm f1.4 manual focus lens
Description from Ziess website: The focal length of the Planar T* 1,4/50 is equal to the perspective of the human eye. Its fast aperture and exceptional compactness are its outstanding features. This lens produces pleasing portrait style quality at the widest aperture and sharpens considerably beyond f/4 for any general purpose application.
The Ziess 50 is a beauty of a lens. It is small light weight, lightning fast and sharp from edge to edge. It is a great portrait lens with a perspective that is indistinguishable from the human eye. Because it is so small and light it is an ideal lens to pair with a Canon 5d Mark ii on a Merlin Steadicam. The combination balances and flies on the steadicam better than any other combination that I have tested.
Canon 20mm f2.8, 100mm f2.8, 50mm f2.8 macro lens
I purchased these lens in 1975. There were great lens then and now. The Canon F1 that I purchased at the time has long since been retired but the lens life have just begun.
Fader 77mm Variable Neutral Density Filter
With one single filter, you can change to a different density by simply rotating it. Lens caps and filters can be attached at the front of this Fader ND.
Description from Fader website
Must have addition to any kit particularly if your shooting HD video with DSLRs in lighting conditions that you have little or no control over
Fader ND filter allows you to adjust neutral density freely from ND2 to ND400, providing 2 to 8 stops added density. Perfect for creating a slow shutter speed.
Create a slow shutter speed under heavy sun light Allows the use of a large aperture under bright settings Easier to control Flash output Offers 2 to 8 stops added density No need to carry a bunch of Filters for shooting. One filter gives you the range from ND2 to ND400.
The Steadicam Merlin offers light, agile, and seamless shooting for today's videographer. Ultra-light and ultra-compact, the Merlin allows you to keep up with the action more easily than ever. Designed by Garrett Brown, the inventor of the original Steadicam JR, the Merlin is the next generation hand held Steadicam system. The Steadicam Merlin is designed to give you smooth, dynamic shots. Take a closer look at its functions.
This stabilization system is about half the weight and four times as stable as the JR. Yet, it can move almost as smoothly as the big $60,000 rigs used in Hollywood. The Merlin let's you "fly" wherever the scene takes you -- up and down steps, indoors and outside, through crowds -- almost anywhere, with precise, elegant control and ease. Its quick release mount lets you instantly swap camera connections between your Merlin and any tripod. Merlin's design significantly reduces fatigue. It's so lightweight, it weighs less than a can of soda. With a compact DV, balanced and ready to go, the Merlin weighs about two pounds. Its rigid construction permits longer focal lengths than ever imaginable with a hand-held stabilizer. Merlin's unique dual extended weight system greatly increases inertial stability. And its counterbalancing weight can be precisely adjusted to balance cameras from 0.5 to five pounds. The new patent-pending "Folding-Caliper" hinge allows instant fold-up, perfect for shoulder-mounted shooting, and just as quickly, returns precisely for hand-held camera work. Whether you're an independent camera professional or running the corporate AV department; a wedding and event videographer or real estate agent; enthusiast or film student, the Steadicam Merlin is right for you.
Vinten Vision Blue Tripod and Fluid Head
Description From Vinten Web Site:
The award winning Vision blue is designed to provide professional support for the extremely high performance of today's lightweight camcorders and DSLRs accessorised for video.Incorporating the original award winning Vinten Perfect Balance technology, Vision blue balances payloads between 2.1 - 5 kg / 4.6 - 11 lbs with a low centre of gravity of around 55 mm. This ensures that it can genuinely balance the smaller, lightly accessorised cameras that are so common today.In addition the head features genuine Vision LF drag technology for silky smooth movement and precise framing, and a high contrast blue LED illuminated levelling bubble for quick, accurate set up in all lighting situations.
Vision blue offers true Vinten Vision performance, ensuring for the very first time that operators of the smallest professional cameras can work without creative compromise. Ideal for lightweight, low profile professional cameras Infinitely adjustable Perfect Balance Infinitely adjustable LF drag system Standard long slot Vision AS camera plate with 1/4 " screw and pin assembly
Manfrotto Tripod and 3966 fluid head