Category Archive: News

Sekonic L-308DC Digi Cine Mate – The DSLR Filmmaker’s choice

Sekonic recently released their new L-308DC Digi Cine Mate light meter which conforms not only to the needs of Photographers as one would expect from this legendary light meter manufacturer but the new offering also caters for filmmakers working with HDSLR cameras.

The delightfully compact light meter offers “Three ways to meter”

HD Cine Mode: Perfect for today’s DSLR videographers.
Make exposure readings and control light using shutter speeds and frame rates and get aperture settings with one-tenth stop accuracy.

Cine Mode: Designed for digital cinematography. Select from the most useful frame rates and shutter angles for exposure control with one-tenth stop accuracy. Lux and foot-candle readout enables quick set up of lights.

Photo Mode: Full control for traditional still-image photographers. Shutter-priority display of a full range of ambient and flash functions including Cord and Cordless flash measurement as well as ambient EV measurement.

The unit also offers “Three ways to measure light”
The Lumisphere provides incident light readings for nearly foolproof exposure readings and enables lighting that scene before the talent arrives.

The Lumidisc is perfect for lighting green screens, adjusting ratios and taking lux and foot-candle measurements.

Reflected light readings enable measuring the brightness of subject tones, gray cards, light sources or window light.

Adtionally, the L-308DC Digi Cine Mate allows for Calibration Compensation, whereby the device can be adjusted to film or digital camera sensors or matching the unit to other handheld meters.

Three Custom Settings tune meter operations and displays to fit your camera and metering requirements.

and its new Illuminance Measurement system measures Lux (lx) and foot-candle (fc) modes, which are especially useful for cinematography which requires precise control of light source brightness.

Focus on Imaging 2011 – Pre register now

Running from 6 – 9 MARCH 2011 at the BIRMINGHAM NEC, Focus on Imaging is the event of the year for professional photographers and enthusiastic amateurs alike.

FOCUS ON IMAGING is Europe’s biggest annual imaging show, covering all your needs from image capture through to output and beyond. Whether you are a professional image maker or processor, a buyer of image making equipment or materials, a manufacturer or distributor of products or a keen hobbyist, a visit to FOCUS ON IMAGING is a must.” –

Register for your badge at the official website. Entry is free for imaging professionals (trade) and £8 for non trade when pre-registered. Alternatively it’s possible to pay on the door at the higher rate of £10. Either way, you are supplied with a badge which allows admission on one or all of the four day event.

Doors are open from 10am – 6pm Sunday, Monday & Tuesday. 10am – 5pm Wednesday


Following hot on the heels of its incredibly successful VIDEOMIC, RØDE Microphones have this week launched the much anticipated Rode VideoMic Pro Compact Shotgun Microphone which boasts a more compact footprint than its predecessor, with the anti-shock mechanism now integrated into the unit.

The unit comprises a forward facing Compact Shotgun Microphone, with a very similar frequency response to the original VIDEOMIC but with upgraded shenanigans so it sounds a lot better.

One major (and by some, very welcome) change is its reduced overall length due to the anti-shock integration. Although I’m a massive fan of the original, it was prone to wobble somewhat and the new design directly addresses this matter head-on by incorporating the operating electronics into a rear-mounted body which now sits neatly behind the camera hot-shoe.

It’s a very compact design and a very sexy one at that, but it does lack some of the ‘presence’ of the original’s exo-skeletal structure. It also comes with a much more elegant cable solution (not that we really objected to the original coil-spring design).

We’ll be getting our hands on one in a few weeks to review but in the meantime, here’s a link to the product page on their Flash-heavy site (smartphone users beware)

X-iting news from Handy FILMTOOLS

Today, Handy FILMTOOLS released a teaser trailer showcasing their new BaseX

It looks fantastic and we’d love to get our hands on one to try out and review!

Raindance ‘Jump on the DSLR bandwagon’.

This week, Raindance announced a new addition to their annual line-up of ’99 minute film school schools’.

The welcome inclusion is their 99 MINUTE DSLR SCHOOL, taught by Den Lennie of F-Stop Academy repute.

To accompany this inclusion, they have created a page offering some useful tips to new DLSR shooters.

It’s a small addition to their site but is another important example of the DSLR’s impact on the greater filmmaking community.

New Nikon D3100. So near and yet…

Just announced is Nikon’s new HDSLR offering, the D3100 which, on the surface, seems to be Nikon’s answer to Canon’s highly acclamed EOS 550d. However, when we dig under the surface, we have to wonder if Nikon really understand the High Definition DSLR market at all…

Finally Nikon have released a DSLR camera capable of recording video at 1080p, a massive step up from their previous best of 720p. However, the D3100 only offers frame size/rates of 1920 × 1080, 24 fps; 1280 × 720, 30 fps, frankly a peculiar choice of sizes and speeds.

If you’re in the US and are looking to shoot native NTCS, you must accept the lesser ‘HD Ready’ resolution but you can go ‘Full HD’ at 24fps. Fine if you’re after the coveted ‘film look’ and live in the US but in Europe’s PAL/SECAM world of 25fps, this just doesn’t help at all. Anyone wishing to broadcast anywhere other than online will need to conform their output to 25fps, introducing an unnecessary and unwelcome recompression point into their workflow.

Also questionable is the inclusion of auto-focus while shooting (to be confirmed). HDSLRs are widely regarded as digital ‘film’ cameras, not Camcorders. As such, there’s little or no use for continuous AF during shooting and I can’t help but wonder of Nikon have completely missed the boat on this one. Look out for a new wave of focus scanning which I for one was glad to have left to the world of home movies.

We’re hoping to get our hands on a D3100 in the near future and we’ll provide a hands-on review as soon as possible.

Dedicated Reviews Site In Development

We’ve been discussing that we want to start bringing your reviews of the latest (H)DSLR gear which we intend to test in real world simulations, following industry methodologies.

In order to provide you with a One-Stop-Shop solution with reviews, buyers guides and product news, we are in the process of developing a new, dedicated web site for this purpose which we aim to have up and running in the next few days.

Pop over to and bookmark us.

In the meantime, if there are any specific products you feel we should be putting through their paces for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll make the necessary arrangements.

Pimp my HDSLR!

We love putting crazy things in front of our 550d and building things to support it (see below)…

e.g. 1: We needed a matte box in a hurry, so we threw one together from some aluminium we had in the store room.

e.g. 2: Then we mounted it on a rig we made from some steel tubing, steel plate and an old tripod!

…but we’ve realised that some (read most) of the madcap workarounds we have come up with over the last 6 months or so are not exactly repeatable so there’s little/no point in reviewing them for you.

So! (takes a very deep breath)… Over the coming months we are planning a huge run of product testing. Everything from follow focuses through eyepieces to full rigs and dollies/cranes. If you can attach it to an HDSLR (or attach an HDSLR to it), we want to review it it.

Some of the more popular pieces of kit we already own and have used to death (which will make reviewing it easy) whilst other stuff has yet to pass through our hands. In order to be as fair as we can to as many suppliers as possible, we’ll be contacting many of the key manufacturers and/or suppliers and asking if they’d be so kind as to send us what they consider to be their most HDSLR friendly products. Then, with as complete a balance of items as possible, we’ll bolt them on and run a series of comparative tests to find out how they hold up.

Some of the tests will be measurable and we’ll show you direct comparisons of data whilst others will be subjective, reflecting our view of how well the item fits into a practical workflow. Since we have no affiliations with any suppliers, we’re free to be as brutal as need be and we’ve no qualms about tearing a sub-standard item to shreds, just as we’re happy to pile heaps of praise upon those items which stand out from the crowd.

Rating guide
All of our tests will result in an overall rating (1-5) with a breakdown reflecting performance against each of the following criteria:

Ease of use: When you’re on a busy set, will it slow you down?
Build quality: Is it robust enough to meet the needs of a demanding shoot?
Functionality: Does it make shooting easier or is it just a gimmick?
Sex appeal: Does it have that ‘wow’ factor?
Value for money: Is it worth breaking the bank for?

Overall Rating

Bloody awful, keep your cash in your pocket.

Well, that was a bit of a let down.

It does what it says it will do… no more, no less.

Better than OK. Still not great, but pretty darned close.

How did we manage without it? Stop reading this and go buy one!

It’s going to take a little time to convince people that we won’t be harsh for the sake of it and that it’ll be in their interests to send us some equipment to test. Then we need to devise and run the tests.

Luckily, we’re passionate about our HDSLRs and can’t wait to get stuck in!

Watch this space…