Prior to 2018, there always seemed to be a leading brand that dominated a specific film gear category—mirrorless cameras, Sony; gimbals, Zhiyun; drones, DJI—but things have changed and we’re finally seeing other brands catch up.
This year has been an interesting one especially since competing brands have finally made a bold move to ditch the old, and attempt to level with those that have been long innovating. And even better news is that several dominant brands known to innovatively lead are either collaborating with other prominent
component makers, or making their products more affordable to the everyday creator. Here, we take a look at all the goodies released for film production.
Let’s begin with the long known grandmaster of full frame mirrorless cameras, Sony. At this point in time, even Nikon and Canon have realized that mirrorless technology is the way to go. Compared to DSLRs, mirrorless cameras have the advantage of being more compact, lighter, and generally more advantageous for video shooting. Why? Because mirrorless cameras provide shooters with instant feedback and relevant information—zebra stripes; live previews from the viewfinder or LCD, and a live histogram. Yes, DSLRs have the ability of showing you a histogram after you’ve taken a photo, and some may even allow you to preview it in live mode via the LCD, but at this time of writing, there isn’t a single DSLR that can show you a live histogram in the camera’s viewfinder while you’re tweaking those settings. Added to this is the advantage of better low light focusing—and manual focusing in general—since the photographer or videographer can use live focus peaking and focus point magnification to better feature the subject at focus. Sony has been a long champion of that, and this year, they’ve released the revolutionary and significantly affordable A7III. What followed was competing brands own take on mirrorless technology.
This year, Sony has released the A7III. Despite being a lot cheaper than most big-boy cameras, and also despite Sony calling it a “basic camera,” it’s far from the normal definition of basic. For impressive full-frame image quality, they’ve packed the camera with their newly developed full-frame 24.2 MP back illuminated Exmor R CMOS Image Sensor. With it comes increased sensitivity, even in low light, impressive resolution, and the spectacular 15 stops of dynamic range. Advances in autofocus speed and performance have all been made care of the camera’s 693 phase-detection AF points which covers 93 percent of the entire image area.
Nikon Z7 and Z6
As mentioned, this year has been an interesting one since Nikon, along with Canon, have finally penetrated the full-frame mirrorless camera category as well. This year, Nikon has released two full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z7 and the Z6. Both cameras feature the brand’s new backside illumination FX-format CMOS sensor with focal-plane phase-detection AF Pixels as well as EXPEED 6, the brand’s latest image-processing engine. With the new sensor and engine come better sharpness, better performance in lowlight, and improved pixel readout. This means being able to preserve all those details even in dimly lit environments. And perhaps one of the biggest changes as well is that these two cameras will be using Nikon’s new Z mount system for better optical performance. Nikon’s F mount has been around since 1959, so the announcement comes of as not only innovative, but historic as well.
Canon EOS R
Last but certainly not the least is Canon who has also joined in on the full-frame mirrorless arena with its all new EOS R system. Built from the ground up, the new camera boasts new technology that’s only aptly due. Like Nikon, Canon’s switch to the realm of mirrorless has prompted an adoption of a new mounting system, the RF mount. The new mount is said to enable even better flexibility in lens design. Coupled with a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor that’s equipped with 30.3 million effective pixels and Canon’s latest DIGIC 8 image processor, the EOS R is one heck of a contender. Added to this is the camera’s ability to autofocus in just as little as 0.05 seconds, a record breaker in camera autofocus technology.
Probably the most popular gimbal in the market right now is the DJI Ronin-S, and its fame is there for a reason. Whether a seasonal freelancer or an independent filmmaker, the Ronin-S provides content creators with the ability to capture fleeting and spontaneous moments with preserved clarity and smoothness. Ergonomically and modularly designed, the gimbal features optimized stabilization, an all-in-one control system, and flexible portability—perfect for on-the-go video shooters.
Zhiyun Crane 3 LAB
Teased, but not yet released is the Zhiyun Crane 3. Prior to the DJI’s Ronin-S, the Crane 2 has sat as king in the throne of gimbals. Now, its sequel is almost here. Featuring a daring redesign, the gimbal now features a rear grip instead of a vertical grip underneath the gimbal. Housed in the rear grip are the batteries, and on its exterior, the built in zoom rocker and rotating dial for the iris control
DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom
Perhaps one of the most exciting releases yet are DJI’s newest flagship consumer drones. The Mavic 2 comes in two variations, the Pro and the Zoom version. In collaboration with the renowned and classic camera brand, Hasselblad, the Mavic 2 Pro now sports the camera brand’s L1D-20c Camera for exceptional image quality. Coupled with the 20 MP 1-inch CMOS Sensor, and 10-bit technology, the Mavic 2 Pro is one that prioritizes deeper pixels, dynamic range, and vivid yet accurate color reproduction. The Mavic 2 Zoom edition, on the other hands, features amazing 4x lossless zoom full HD capabilities for that perfect dolly shot.
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE October 2018 Issue.
Words by Gerry Gaviola
Art by Ronel Bautista