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  • Sony A7R II vs A7R – What Are the Differences?

    Sony has just announced a new flagship Alpha Series camera, the A7R II, but how does it differ from its predecessor? We’ve outlined some of the key differences between the A7R II and the A7R.

    Design
    At a glance, there are some obvious physical differences between the A7R II and the A7R. Firstly, there’s the repositioned shutter button that has been moved from the camera’s top plate to sit closer to where the user’s index finger is likely to fall.

    A7R_A7RII_Image_01

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The grip itself also looks ergonomically refined with a slightly more pronounced profile and a comfortable-looking contour for your supporting finger to rest on. The second notable difference is the finish of the camera. The magnesium-alloy body of the Sony A7R II appears to be sporting a speckled paint finish, giving it a tougher, more serious and professional look. The mode dial has been given a rugged makeover: it is now chunkier with a deep-knurled texture and features a locking mechanism.
    Overall, the new Sony A7R II, based on its looks alone, should handle more like a DSLR, but with the advantage of being more compact and portable.

    Specs
    The standout feature of the A7R II is its 42.4 MP backside-illuminated full-frame sensor, a world first. The Sony A7R grabbed headlines with its 36.4 MP sensor, so it’s impressive to see that statistic surpassed in such a short space of time. The Sony A7R II is the CSC world’s response to Canon’s EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R releases, and will make choosing between the two systems even tougher. Additionally, according to Sony, the backside-illuminated structure of the A7R II has a more efficient circuit design, which should see its sensor output data 3.5x faster than the original A7R.
    Borrowing the 5-axis image stabilisation from the Sony A7 II, the A7R II has a distinct edge over its predecessor, which has no IS built into it whatsoever. Both cameras carry similar native ISO sensitivity ranges, with the A7R capable of ISO 50 – 25,600 compared to the A7R II’s ISO 100 – 25600 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102,400). But, because of the inclusion of a sophisticated IS system, we’d expect the newer model to perform significantly better in low-light situations.

     
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    The A7R II’s 42.4 MP sensor uses a gapless on-chip lens design and has anti-reflective coating to increase light collection efficiency, which should help to combat noise
    A7R_A7RII_Image_04

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Now that Sony has incorporated a comprehensive hybrid focusing system in to the new A7R II, there appears to be a significant gap in class between the focusing capabilities of both cameras. The original A7R has a 25-point contrast-detection autofocus array, which is fast and accurate, but the newly announced A7R II has a hybrid system utilising 399 phase-detection points, as well as 25 contrast-detection points. The A7R II also uses an advanced motion-detection algorithm, enabling 5fps continuous shooting with tracking AF, improved from the A7R’s 4fps. Sony claims that the new A7R II should deliver a focusing response up to 40% faster than the original model.

    Video

     

    A7R_A7RII_Image_03

     

     

     

     

     

    The new Sony A7R II is capable of 4K video recording in-camera, where as the A7R is only capable of full HD video recording. Even the Sony A7S was only capable of 4K via a clean HDMI out feed to an external recorder, so the new camera adds a notable first to the Alpha line-up. There really isn’t much point in comparing like-for-like video capabilities when it comes to these cameras as the A7R II is in another league.

    Early Verdict
    On paper, Sony has done a great job building on what was already a fantastic camera in the Sony A7R. Comparing the two, the new model appears to be stronger in every critical area, from physical design to specifications and features. With its impressive resolution and professional-level video capabilities, the new Sony A7R II looks like it should be a solid all-round performer. We can’t wait to get our hands on one.

  • New broadcast lenses announced at Polecam’s booth

    Toshiba’s IK-4KH minicam alongside the new Fujinon TF4XA-1 prime HD lens will be amongst the equipment on display at Polecam’s booth at the Excel arena.

    Also on display will be the new Fujinon XT17SX4 with 17x zoom lens drive and control unit.

    The Antelope Pico high-speed, ultra-motion minicam with its dedicated FishFace underwater covering and new lens drive will likewise be revealed.

    Polecam have said that the Pico minicam is able to produce stunning ultra-slow-motion footage in high definition and up to 350fps too. It can also be mounted on a Polecam to give ultra-slow motion first person view shots above and below the water.

    Managing director Graeme Chapman stated: “With the range of exciting new large sensor video and DSLR cameras that can now be used on Polecam, as well as the great new HD and 4K minicams, you have a very exciting single-operator lightweight and easily transportable crane system that will add production value to any production.

    “Polecam’s success keeps on growing, with many owner operators now around the world.

    “We expect to see many of them turning up too, as most of our new features can be added as upgrades to earlier rigs.”

    Be sure to visit the rest of our site and see the gallery of Broadcast Lenses we have to offer.

    3D Broadcast offers professional, impartial and unbiased advice to help you make the right choice in acquisition, post-production and media distribution solutions.

    With an ever growing international client base including freelancers, educational establishments, independent production companies, major corporations and broadcasters, 3D Broadcast is able to source and supply Broadcast lenses from major manufactures that include Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Ikegami, Blackmagic and Vitec group as well as many others.

    It is our aim to offer a complete service for your broadcast lenses, at competitive prices and above all to offer you a pleasant and pleasurable experience when dealing with us and your equipment.

  • Blackmagic Camera 2.0 is available to download

    Blackmagic Camera 2.0 is available to download now from the Blackmagic Design web site at the following link;

    DOWNLOAD

    This software update adds new features to Blackmagic URSA cameras including recording ProRes 444 at 60 fps in Ultra HD and 80 fps in HD.

    What's new in Blackmagic Camera Utility 2.0

    Blackmagic URSA
    • Adds support for Apple ProRes 444 recording in 4K and HD
    Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K
    • Performance improvements for optical fiber output
    Blackmagic Studio Camera
    • Fixes an issue where the overlays settings are not remembered after turning off camera
    Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
    • Fixes an issue where dropped frames are occurring during ProRes LT and Proxy recording
    Blackmagic Cinema Camera
    • Performance enhancements and improvements
    Blackmagic Production Camera 4K
    • No changes

     

    Minimum system requirements for Mac OS X
    • Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
    • Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks or later
    • A suitable USB 2.0 port
    • Thunderbolt port for UltraScope and Media Express when using Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Blackmagic Production Camera 4K
    Minimum system requirements for Windows
    • Microsoft Windows 8 64-bit
    • Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
    • A suitable USB 2.0 port
    • A suitable Thunderbolt port when using Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Blackmagic Production Camera 4K
    Installing Blackmagic Camera Utility
    Before installing the software, we recommend that you run "Uninstall Camera Utility" first.

    After loading the software on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF or MFT, you may notice a slight flickering on the built-in LCD screen. This is normal and expected behaviour. The flickering will go away after a few minutes of operation.

    The Blackmagic Camera Installer package installs:
    • Blackmagic Camera Utility
    • Blackmagic Media Express
    • Blackmagic UltraScope
    • Blackmagic Disk Speed Test
    Additional Information
    Some applications may use third party code under license. For details please refer to the included "Third Party Licenses.rtf" document.

  • Free firmware upgrade for Panasonic AJ-PX270 Camera‏

    Free firmware upgrade expands news and production applications for Panasonic AJ-PX270 P2HD handheld

    Panasonic has announced a free firmware upgrade for its popular AJ-PX270 P2HD handheld that incorporates a new codec (AVC-Intra Class200), full HD streaming and automatic content transfer, and new recording formats, all enhancing production and remote newsgathering.

    The addition of the high-quality AVC-Intra Class200 codec* (10bit, 4:2:2, bitrate approx 200Mbps) enables visually lossless recording at twice the bit rate of AVC-Intra Class100, delivering studio master quality for recording network-level programming and archiving.

    Rob Tarrant, European Product Manager at Panasonic said, “AVC-Intra Class200 is ideal for field capture of content for film-outs; the higher recording quality greatly enhances colour correction processes, as well as green screen and compositing applications. With the additional AVC-Intra Class200 recording, the PX270 delivers the highest quality recording available in a handheld professional camcorder.”

    Network functionality is also bolstered with newly-added streaming, facilitating full HD output (wired, wireless**, 4G/LTE network***) during recording****. The implication for news gathering is that a breaking news event can be streamed to a broadcast station while acquisition is in progress in the field.

    In addition, Panasonic has added the “Rec during Uploading” function to the AJ-PX270 to allow automatic transfer of recorded contents to an FTP server, which means that recording is possible even while video content is being uploaded.

    The firmware also supports a new iPad based P2 Remote Operation Panel (ROP) application, which enables wireless control of the PX270 camera settings (such as picture quality, zoom, focus and rec/stop operation) using an iPad. The P2 ROP App will be available free of charge at the Apple App Store.

    The firmware upgrade supplements the AJ-PX270’s already extensive recording formats with the addition of 1080/30p, 25p, 24p and native 1080 24PsF HD-SDI output, expanding production uses such as external recording and monitoring, as well as 720/30p, 25p, 24p, improving web production efficiencies. The upgrade also activates proxy editing on a web browser.

    These upgrades are available for downloading effective today at the Panasonic service support website, http://eww.pass.panasonic.co.jp/pro-av/support/content/download/EN/ep2main/soft/upgpx270_e.htm.

  • Panasonic DMC-GH4 Version 2.0 Firmware update

    GH4 Firmware Ver 2.0

    1. [4K PHOTO] mode is added which records 4K video exclusively for capturing a frame to save as a photo.
      • Settings can be adjusted as below when entering this mode.
        - Rec Format : MP4
        - Rec Quality : 4K 30p, 100Mbps (System Frequency 59.94Hz), 4K 25p, 100Mbps (System Frequency 50.00Hz)
        - Luminance Level:0-255
      • In addition to 16:9 aspect, 4:3 / 3:2 / 1:1 can be selected.
      • Exif information is embedded to the captured image from the 4K video.
      • Marking function is available enables marker setting on the designated point while recording video and users can jump to the markers when playing back the video to capture the frame they want.
      • Loop Recording function is added, with which the camera keeps on recording video while deleting the old footage automatically.
    2. 4K 23.98p, 100Mbps mode is added in MP4 video recording.
    3. The upper limit of the ISO sensitivity can be set in the menu of ISO sensitivity setting and emission amount of flash light can be adjusted in the menu of exposure compensation.
    4. Focusing performance of 1-area AF in video recording is improved.
    5. Tracking performance of tracking AF when used with the interchangeable lens H-FS14140 is improved.
    6. Remote shooting via USB tethering is available by using PC software "USB Tether" supplied by Promote Systems.

    *For more information on Promote Systems, please visit http://www.promotesystems.com

    Ver 1.1

    • Improvement of stability for REC/PAUSE operation

    Click here for the latest Firmware and Software

  • Sony CineAlta Firmware updates

    Version 5 firmware is now available to download on the Sony PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 product pages!

    Download here now

  • Should you Hire or Buy your Broadcasting Equipment?

    If you need professional broadcasting equipment for your filming project then you have a few choices to make before filming can begin. Firstly, you need to decide what sort of broadcasting equipment you need to complete the job to the highest standard your budget will allow. So you need to consider the type of camera, sound equipment, lighting kits, mixers, batteries, microphones, camera supports and software that will be suitable. This will largely depend on the scale of the project and whether it is studio based or needs to be mobile.

    Once you have put together the right kit list of broadcasting equipment (and seek professional help with this step if you are unsure), you need to source the items. And the biggest decision at this stage will be whether you are going to buy the equipment or hire it. Most broadcasting equipment suppliers will offer the choice to buy or hire and there will also usually be the option to purchase second hand or reconditioned items at a fraction of their original price.

    Benefits of hiring broadcasting equipment

    If you only need the gear for a one off project, or this is your first time filming, then it may be more sensible to consider hiring. Maybe you have a promotional video to film for your company or are looking to strengthen your online presence with video content. In these cases, hiring can be a great way to get to grips with professional broadcasting equipment and deciding whether it would be a worthwhile investment to buy for future projects.

    It is worth noting, however, that many broadcasting equipment suppliers will only hire out cameras to companies or businesses. So if you are an individual freelancer, purchasing may be a more sensible option.

    Advantages of buying

    But if you are looking for a more long term investment, maybe for a media company that produces a lot of online content, a broadcasting organization or for a film and media department at a school or college, then it will usually make more financial sense to buy the majority of your broadcasting equipment. You could then always hire extra items that are only needed occasionally or add to your kit by purchasing more items over time and when budgets permit.

    When you buy your broadcasting equipment you are not subject to any rental time limits, late penalties, or the hassle of returning kit to the supplier.  You can use it how you like and when you like and suppliers can deliver quickly and directly to you. Finance options are also available to help spread out the costs.

    One word of advice though, especially if you are thinking of purchasing a lot of broadcasting equipment, is to ensure you have people who are trained to use the kit. This will ensure the very best results.

    But whether you decide to buy or rent your broadcasting equipment, if you are unsure what kit you need, always speak to an expert supplier for guidance first.

  • Blackmagic Design updates Resolve, Desktop Video and Videohub software

    Blackmagic is rolling out a number of updates:

    Videohub 6.1 includes:

    Support for Smart Videohub 40 x 40

    Desktop Video 10.3.2 includes:

    Adds support for output of 2160p60 Ultra HD via HDMI on DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G

    General performance and stability improvements for all models

    DaVinci Resolve 11.1.3 includes:

    Improved Media and Edit page playback performance

    Improved tracker stability

    Improved render stability for long renders

    Improved trace intensity for scopes

    Added Rocket-X support for Monochrome clips

    General performance and stability improvements

    All downloads are available now.

  • Why a Broadcast Camera is now an Essential Piece of Business Kit

    We’ve all heard about award winning movies being shot with no budget in someone’s bedroom, or internet video sensations being filmed on just a smart phone, but the truth is, to make a video fit for broadcasting, whether for television or the internet, you simply can’t beat recording with a broadcast camera.

    These days, it seems that every business is trying to imbed corporate videos into their website, or producing their own TV channel on You Tube or Vimeo. But the results can be a mixed bag. Whilst there is no denying that a great quality video can do wonders to shift a product, raise brand awareness or create a loyal customer base, this really only works if you produce high quality, well shot videos.

    So how can you ensure your video beats the competition?

    Well the most important thing you need to film a high quality, professional video is high quality, professional recording equipment. And that means investing in a broadcast camera. But remember that the key word here is investment. A broadcast camera will pay dividends in the long run and provide you with the glossy film quality product that your business needs.  You can choose to buy or rent a broadcast camera, but if your long term plan is to film many business videos and set up your own TV channel, then it is worth buying the equipment and making sure someone is trained to use it.

    An entry level broadcast camera really isn’t as expensive as you might think. And the great news is that the technology is now available to everyone, so the opportunity to make high quality, innovative videos is there for businesses to utilise. So what are you waiting for?

    In a previous blog entry we looked at some simple advice to help you film your own video and ensure that it stands out from the crowd. And really the first thing you need to do is investigate which broadcast camera is right for your business, taking into account budget and functionality. There are many different types of broadcast camera on the market, so decide what features are important to your work, such as connectivity options, outputs, weight and whether you will predominantly use your broadcast camera in the studio or out in the field. You’ll also need to consider professional sound equipment and editing software in order to get the most from your camera and make the most professional video possible.

    But a broadcast camera isn’t just essential kit for making corporate videos and promoting your business online, schools, colleges and all kinds of educational establishments also need to use broadcast cameras for teaching and extracurricular activities every day. And of course, in the booming creative media industries, filming and editing is of paramount importance, so you really can’t afford to be without a broadcast camera.

  • New PTZ line-up from Panasonic

    Panasonic launches two new PTZ cameras

    AW-HE40

    Panasonic's new AW-HE40 a new remote camera with a range of features that make it ideal for the lecture, conference and leisure market. Featuring a newly developed 1/2.3-type MOS sensor and a Digital Signal Processor, for high sensitivity and high resolution, the AW-HE40 allows simple set up and operation.

    Key features:

    In addition to a 30x optical zoom, the camera features an additional digital zoom, meaning it’s possible to achieve a 40x zoom, while maintaining high resolution thanks to Super Resolution technology.
    The camera’s ‘night mode’ makes it possible to capture images in low light conditions, and the AW-HE40 can be set to switch to night mode automatically depending on surrounding light levels.
    Power can be supplied via LAN cable and, because it is not necessary to install a power supply or even a local AC outlet, installation costs can be significantly reduced.
    Panasonic Product Marketing Manager, Markus Naegele said, “This new remote camera shines in a variety of applications thanks to its high performance zoom, wide angle view and outstanding colour reproduction. It’s very easy to install thanks a single cable Power over Ethernet connection, while you can control the camera remotely from a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone.”

    The quiet in operation pan-tilt camera, has a pan range of ±175 ° and can move through 90° in a second, for fast control.

    AW-HE130-web

    AW-HE130

    The new AW-HE130, a pan/tilt/zoom camera incorporates recently-developed high-sensitivity, low-noise 1/3” 3-MOS imagers that produce stunning pictures, even in low light conditions. Revolutionary new features include Power over Ethernet+ (POE+) for easier integration, and multi-stream transmission of H.264 HD video and audio (up- to 1080/60p at 25Mbps).

    New features in the HE130 are:

    3G-SDI output up to 1080/60p; plus HD/SD-SDI, HDMI, and SD composite
    Stereo mic/line-level inputs for embedded and streaming audio
    Night Mode for hi-res, near IR video acquisition (using an optional IR-illuminator in the 900nm range)
    Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S)
    IP-Live Preview for remote control and management of up to 16 cameras via a browser
    F1.6 20X zoom lens
    With an exceptional signal to noise ratio of 60dB (F8/2000lx, minimum illumination, 2.0 lx), 1000 TV lines of resolution, and such advanced features as 12-axis color correction and Panasonic’s exclusive DRS (Dynamic Range Stretch) and Hybrid Digital Noise Reduction, the HE130 continues to set performance standards for integrated pan-tilt cameras. The HE130 includes the same new three 2.4 megapixel MOS imagers and Digital Signal Processor (DSP) used in Panasonic’s latest broadcast camcorders.

    Control

    RS-422 serial compatible with controllers designed for use with previous generations of Panasonic remote camera systems
    Direct and Web-based IP remote control
    Direct IP or serial control is possible using Panasonic’s AW-RP50N and AW-RP120, plus systems from Crestron, AMX and Winnov
    Built-in Web-server enables secure control, live preview, and setup from browser-equipped PCs

    Streaming Video

    Streaming output is available from the HE130 in several forms and formats, and at a wide range of transmission speeds. For remote production and video acquisition, four simultaneous streams are available in either H.264 or JPEG. Video resolutions of up to 1080/60p are available at rates of up to 25Mbps. For IP-Live remote monitoring and control, up to 16 cameras may be viewed simultaneously in a single Browser window, with extensive on-screen camera controls available when a single camera is selected for viewing.

    Other useful new features include:

    Native 24p and 30p output for teleproduction3
    iPro™ support for synergy with Panasonic’s high-end security systems
    Digital access authentication
    MAC/Android support for web monitoring
    Colour adjustment by colour temperature
    VISCA remote control support
    The HE130’s optical zoom lens covers an extended range of shooting situations, from wide-angle to ultra-telephoto, with 35mm equivalents of 32.1 mm at the wide-angle end to 642.5 mm at the telephoto. The built-in remote-controllable four-position ND filter (clear, 1/8, 1/64, IR thru) facilitates flexible exposure control in brightly lit shooting situations.

    The camera’s integrated pan-tilt head covers a wide range of motion, with a pan of ±175° and a tilt of –30° to 210°.

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