Manfrotto Now Distributing Genus DSLR Cinematography Gear

Manfrotto just announced that it will serve as the exclusive US distributor for Genus matte boxes, bar systems, sunshades, viewfinders and shoulder mounts geared toward the DSLR cinematographer.

“I am thrilled with this agreement,” said Wayne Schulman, video sales and product manager for Manfrotto Distribution, US. “I view this as a strategic partnership between Genus and Manfrotto/Vitec group to provide the videographer and photographer with a complete camera support system of the highest quality while also offering the most value. Genus’ current product line, which includes a DSLR/Video shoulder mount, follow focus systems and matte box systems along with other interesting accessories for HD video and DSLR’s, is extensive and is a perfect match for Manfrotto Distribution. I am also excited about the future products from Genus which we will have the opportunity to bring to market over the next several months.”

It looks like B&H is already stocking a full line of Genus gear, which you can browse here.

Zacuto Z-Finder Review

If you’ve got any interest in using a DSLR as a serious video camera, chances are that you’ve heard of the Zacuto Z-Finder.  As I have been learning the ropes of shooting video on the 5D Mark II, I’ve found the Z-Finder to be an indispensable piece of equipment for mobile operation of the camera.

Read the rest of the review at Tech Tilt: Zacuto Z-Finder Review.

Canon Patent Looks to Speed Up Live View and Video Autofocus

One of the most crippling features in many DSLR cameras (like the Canon Rebel T2i above) is the poor autofocus performance in both live view and video modes.  While mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic GH1 and Samsung NX10 do a decent job of using contrast-detection AF methods, DSLR manufacturers like Canon and Nikon have done a poor job in making it work.  Sony, to its credit, has implemented an effective live view design with fast autofocus by placing a secondary live view sensor in the viewfinder, which allows the standard phase difference AF sensor to function normally.  But, still, it’s not a true “live view” of what the sensor will produce. Plus, Sony’s design won’t work with video.

Of course, most pros and serious amateurs understand the benefit and efficiency of using the fast, phase difference AF method that results from using the viewfinder.  However, that doesn’t stop entry-level and enthusiast photographers from complaining about the poor live view and lack of video autofocus in their sub-$1000 DSLRs.  Additionally, there are certainly situations where an accurate and quick live view or video autofocus mode are desired among photographers of all skill levels and backgrounds.

Canon may very well have the answer: Put the fast, phase difference AF sensors in pixels on the main image sensor.

[Read more…]

Firmware Friday: Sony NEX Goes 3D; Panasonic ZS5, ZS6, ZR3, TS2, FP3

Camera Firmware Update

Below you will find this week’s firmware updates.  Hit the manufacturer website links for more details and download instructions for the firmware.

Sony NEX-3 / NEX-5 firmware version .02 – “3D Sweep Panorama function has been added; Improvement of ‘normal’ 2D Sweep Panorama shooting; Decreased power drain when the camera is switched off; Quicker start-up in low-light conditions.” [Sony website]

Panasonic ZS5 / ZS6 / ZR3 / TS2 firmware version 1.1 – “Optimization of Light amount for INON external flash(S-2000/D-2000/Z-240)” [Panasonic website]

Pansonic FP3 firmware version 1.1 – “Improved reaction speed of the touch operation. Improved speed of the image forwarding at the time of the reproduction.” [Panasonic website]