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Review: DitoGear Omni Slider Servo Part 1 of 3

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DitoGear Omni Slider Servo Review
Part 1 of 3
First look and basic feature tests

screen_omni_boxAfter owning and using a lower cost motion control system I was looking to upgrade to a one that had a greater degree of controllability, repeatability and accuracy while not requiring a degree in computer science or physics to understand and operate it.

For the last few weeks I’ve had a chance to play with (err test ;-) the newest addition to the DitoGear line of motion control sliders, the “OmniSlider Servo”.

I first learned about DitoGear and the OmniSlider as I checked the credits after watching the incredible “The Chapel” and “Steel Life” and found that Patryk Kyzny and Robert Paluch, the creators of those movies were also the founders and driving force behind DitoGear. ‘nuff said…I had to check this out.

One of the first things you notice when you see the DitoGear Omni slider is it’s sleek elegance and high degree of fit and finish. From its brushed aluminum extruded rail to it’s stylishly designed accessory pieces it seems like something that could have come from the design shop at Apple.

And much like the toys from Cupertino, that sleek design houses an easy to use, versatile and surprisingly powerful creativity tool.

Continue Reading →

Quick look: Movie Mode Trigger for Nikons (ok…Canons too ;-)

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One of the (very few ;-) things I don’t like about my Nikon D7000’s is the fact that there has been no start/stop remote trigger or release for the “Movie Mode” button which meant my hand was leaving the handle and my eye was leaving the viewfinder every time I wanted to “cut” in camera. Canon shooters, with their masses, haven’t had this problem. There are plenty of companies that have stepped up to provide optical, electronic and mechanical solutions for them. But we die-hard Nikon shooters have had to do without and hope that it will be addressed in the next release.

Today I got a peek at a prototype of a simple solution to the problem. Continue Reading →

quick look at a small wonder…the smallHD Dp4 EVF

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20110728_smallhd_dp4-2_015It’s no secret that I love my smallHD Dp6 monitor…for the last year it’s made my HDslr shooting so much more efficient that I couldn’t find many situations where I wouldn’t use it. For those few times (action, sports) I had my Zacuto Z-finder Pro3 to fall back on. Granted the Z-finder magnification of the cameras LCD screen image quality was nowhere near the Dp6’s and it had none of the other features that I’ve become so dependent on (focus assist, false colors etc) but it still did an admirable job with it’s ease of daylight viewing and the added contact point stability that the it gave me while shooting with a shoulder rig.

Well smallHD has just changed the game for me with the release of their new monitor/EVF (Electronic View Finder) the Dp4. Now, not only do I have the smallHD image quality and features coupled with the advantages of a loupe style viewfinder, but I also have a monitor with a bright crisp image that has twice the real estate of my cameras LCD for those times when I when I need to quickly share what I’ve shot. Continue Reading →

HDslr gear on a budget: indiGo Jib review (part 2)

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Longer lengths and Outside:

Back in part one of the review/test of the indiGo I mentioned having to pay more attention at its longer lengths to achieve fluid movements…After playing with it a bit more I find myself needing to humbly retract that statement.

20110608_indigo_hoh_stills_068-editMuch to my delight this jib seems to get easier to use and floats/controls even more effortlessly at it’s 7 & 8’ extensions. Now this could just be my growing familiarity with it, but I now find myself easily directing/guiding it exactly where I want it with just a few fingers. This is nice. Continue Reading →

HDslr Gear on a Budget: CobraCrane “Backpacker” Jib…

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CobraCrane Backpacker

When I put out the call for lower priced, travel friendly Jibs (camera cranes) to review for this series I received notes from manufacturers of an assortment of Jibs that were anything but “travel friendly”, a few that blurred the line, and one that was specifically built for the task, The CobraCrane USA “Backpacker”.

I spoke with Rene Kropf, CEO of NetMarket, the US Cobra Crane USA distributor, about a few different compact jibs in their lineup and with his help and advice decided that the “Backpacker” with it’s low cost, size, portability and unique feature set, should be the one I would test and review.

20110602_backpacker1_001When the package arrived it was so compact and light I thought something must be missing…until I opened the box. The uniqueness of the single bar telescoping design with a cable driven “manual tilt” that could fit into such a small package immediately peaked my interest. Could this 13 lb featherweight jib actually handle the 6.5 lbs of camera gear that the specs called out and add enough movement to my shots to be worthwhile?

Well let’s see… Continue Reading →

Review: Cinevates Atlas FLT

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Atlas FLT:

The Cinevate Pegasus Carbon LTS sold me on rod type Linear Tracking Systems (aka: Sliders). The versatility and adaptability of a break down “component” system just happens to work really well for my style of travel packing and shooting. But while I’m waiting for my ultimate lust slider (the Cinevate Atlas 30 DSLR AT with motor/controller ;-) I thought I’d test a few “all-in-one” systems to see if I couldn’t immediately fill my smaller movement needs.

With this in mind I’ve recently been playing with (photographer speak for testing ;-) a few different brands and models of sliders including the Cinevate Atlas 10. It’s ruggedness, versatility and silky smooth slides made it easy to see why it’s Cinevates most popular product. But as great as it is, I still found myself looking for a lighter, more “packable” slider as the 10 was just a little too well made (read: beefy) for me.

20110530_atlas_flt_stills_005While down at NAB this year I mentioned this to Dennis Woods, the CEO of Cinevate, and he immediately lit up with that little grin of his and led me over to their latest product, a scaled down version of the Atlas 10 called the Atlas FLT. Continue Reading →

Glidecam HD2000 setup videos

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For the past few months I’ve been a new Glidecam user looking for info and self-training assistance on the HD2000 system. Scouring the web led to very few useful sources of information so I decided to take matters into my own hands by corralling Tom Howie Glidecams VP of Sales and Marketing at NAB this year. Continue Reading →

HDslr Gear on a Budget: indiGo Jib from indiSystems (part 1)

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Always trying to give myself more visual and creative options I knew I needed to add a small portable, travel friendly Jib to my kit. After lots of research I’m torn between the Kessler Crane Pocket Jib, the EZFX Jr Jib and waiting for the Cinevate offering (sure to be great but not available till September) so I thought it might be worthwhile to see if I would be ok with a less full featured version while I figured out what functionality I really needed and would actually use before committing to one of the “Pro” models above.

The big question for me was, are these “budget” alternatives to “Pro” level HDslr accessories at all useful or are they so inexpensively (ok…cheaply ;-) built that they serve little purpose other than to frustrate the user. Will buying a less expensive version allow a shooter to get an idea of whether he/she will actually use the gear on shoots and then justify moving up to Pro quality? Are they functional enough to emulate the “real” version with some added effort and a bit of compromise? Over the next few weeks/months I’ll be testing and reviewing not only Jibs, but Sliders, Rigs and other “budget” accessories in an attempt to answer these questions for myself and hopefully other “convergence” or “crossover” shooters out there struggling with the same decisions.

But a travel friendly location Jib is next on my personal shopping list so let’s start there… Continue Reading →

It’s a small(HD) world after all…

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20110405_pegasus_overhead_010For years as a professional still photographer I’ve found myself peering at and through many different types of devices in an attempt to accurately frame my shots. From 35mm camera viewfinders to medium format “action” finders and the upside down and backwards ground glass of a 4×5, it seems like I’ve spent countless hours squinting or contorting into awkward positions just to see what I’m trying to shoot.

Never has this crucial part of the image making process been as pleasant and productive as it has been since I acquired my smallHD Dp6 monitor. Continue Reading →

Rigging for Travel: One-Bag Convergence

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Originally published in PhotoMedia Magazine CURRENT ISSUE, GREAT GEAR, SPRING 2011 — BY RIC KASNOFF ON APRIL 3, 2011 AT 7:11 PM

20101122_karin_japan_185Not all that long ago, flying with camera gear to a location for a shoot was fairly painless and could even be considered fun most of the time. Flash a business card or a photo organization membership card, and you were easily able to skirt the baggage limits. Slip the curbside baggage handler a $20 bill, and you could get all the bags you wanted on for free. Sadly, those days have disappeared with the advent of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), baggage fees and oversold flights. Continue Reading →

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