The best of the best: Canon, Redrockmicro, Letus, Westcott, Blackmagic Design, Lectrosonics and Veydra lenses win Newsshooter’s NAB 2015 Best in Show awards

By site editor Dan Chung:

NAB 2015: News Shooter Awards from Teradek on Vimeo.

Okay, NAB always has a lot to offer. But this really was an outstanding year for new equipment. The Newsshooter team members, drawn from across the worldwide broadcast industry, faced some tough choices as we cast our votes for what we considered the stand out products of the show. Democracy has spoken and these are the items that triumphed in the categories of best new camera, best pro video camera accessory, best DSLR camera accessory, best optical, best audio product, best lighting product and most innovative product.

The winners were:

Best New Camera – Canon C300 mkII
Despite stiff competition from new cameras from Blackmagic Design, RED and Panasonic the award in this category went to the mark II version of the C300.

Best Pro Video Camera Accessory – Letus Helix magnesium brushless gimbals
Brushless gimbals were the most wanted accessory of the Newsshooter crew this year and there were plenty on show at NAB. The new DJI Ronin M looked promising and the Freefly Mimic system was impressive – but it was the easy handling and lightweight construction of the newest versions of the Letus Helix that our team awarded. Indeed several of the team actually ordered them at the show.

Best New DSLR Camera Accessory – Blackmagic Video Assist
The compact Blackmagic Design Full HD monitor and recorder was the accessory the Newsshooter team thought would most interest the DSLR shooter on a budget. It has both HDMI and SDI inputs and can record HD Prores files to a SD card.

Best New Optical Product – The Veydra Mini Primes
Many real world shooters are now opting to go for Micro 4/3 sensor cameras like the Panasonic GH4 and Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera. The Veydra lens lineup is now an almost complete lineup of beautifully constructed cinema lenses costing far less than something with a similar build for a larger sensor. Cine lenses are often out of the reach of most real world shooters; the reasonable price and excellent image of the Veydras clinched this award.

Best Audio Product – Lectrosonics SSM wireless transmitter
The wireless microphone is an essential part of any news shooter’s kit. Many use Lectrosonics daily. Concealing a transmitter on your subject can be tricky and there is nothing worse than an ill-placed radio mic to ruin your shot. Enter the new Lectrosonics SSM. It is so tiny you could hide it almost anywhere. To shrink it to this size, Lectrosonics has had to use a rechargeable lithium ion battery instead of the usual AAA batteries. It pairs with all the current Lectrosonics receivers and will be available as soon as it gets FCC certification.

Best Lighting Product – Wescott DP kit, c47 portable Scrim Jim Cine kit and Book Light kit
There were several contenders for this award: the Litepanels Calibre LED lighting kit, the Cineo Matchbox remote phosphor light and the new ARRI Skypanel were all considered. In the end, it wasn’t a light that won at all. Instead, the team voted for the new portable c47 scrim kits from Wescott. The neat part of these kits is the tubular construction that allows large frames to be broken down for travel – a great innovation for the working news shooter.

Most Innovative Product – The Redrockmicro Halo
The Teradek Live:Air Ipad based live switcher system and latest version of the Andra focus tracking system were both in contention, but in the end Redrockmicro won through with its Halo system. The innovative focus system can detect moving subjects and keep them in focus without you having to attach tags or markers onto the subject. An tablet based interface allows you to decide what should be in focus. Impressive stuff.

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Posted on April 18th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: NAB show | Permalink | Comments (3)

Mitakon full frame 85mm f1.2 lens for $799 US

By technical editor Matt Allard:


Zhongyi optics who you may better know for their Mitakon range of lenses have announced their new 85mm f1.2 lens in Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony FE mount. The lens will cover a full frame sensor, has 270 degrees of focus rotation and will retail for $799 US. It will be interesting to see how well this lens performs against other 85mm f1.2 lenses on the market.


Mitakon have previously released fast lenses such as the Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 and Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 PRO version which both retailed for under $1000 US.

Focal Length 85mm
Max. Aperture 1.2
Min. Aperture 16
Aperture Blades 11
Angle of view 29 degrees
Format Compatibility Full-frame
Elements/Groups 9 elements in 6 groups (2pcs of Extra-low Disperson glasses & 4pcs High refractive index glasses)
Min. Focus Distance 1 m
Filter Thread 77mm
Net Weight 921 g
Mounts Canon EF / Nikon F / Sony FE (Sony A & Pentax K mounts will be available later this year)

This from Zhongyi Optics:
Shenyang China, Apr 17, 2015 – The Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 85mm f/1.2 is a ultra- fast portrait lens that delivers unbelievable optical performance. A maximum aperture of f/1.2 makes it extremely convenient for shooting without flash in low light conditions. Designed for the use with full frame cameras, the large aperture also provides fine control over depth of field for fascinating portrait photography. The truly circular aperture creates a shallow depth-of-field that establish a sharp contrast on the subject & backgound, which is critical for portraits. The lens incorporates 9 elements in 6 groups with 2 pieces of Extra- low Dispersion elements & 4 pieces of High Refractive Index elements. This helps in reducing aberrations and maintaining excellent sharpness even at the maximum f/1.2. . Manual focus design and a click-less, silent aperture ring promote smooth handling and are especially well-suited to video applications. The lens is built in metallic enclosure with additional protective process and finest finishing, which gives extra durability and aesthetic.

Below are some sample images, you can find more at the Zhongyi website.

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Posted on April 19th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Lenses | Permalink | Comments (0)

NAB 2015: A combination dolly and equipment cart from Matthews

By contributing editor Chuck Fadely

Veteran documentary DP Bill Kerrigan, who is based in Montreal, needed to lighten his load when working with his single assistant.  Carrying multiple cartloads of different-height stands for a variety of sliders was frustrating him.  So he invented the KerriKart – a combination equipment cart and dolly / slider. In the video above, Bill tells us all the things he uses his cart for.

Matthews Studio Equipment is putting it into production and they were showing it off at NAB 2015.  The cart has four pneumatic wheels, telescoping light stands at each corner, and a heavy-duty dolly track that can support the heaviest of cameras. You can put up a monitor and even lighting and just move from one shot to the next by rolling your whole setup.

The price hasn’t been set as they’re still working on the final version, and it can be built up with a variety of standard Matthews grip gear.  Kerrigan says it breaks down in five minutes and fits in his minivan.

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Posted on April 19th, 2015 by Chuck Fadely | Category: Camera support systems, SIiders | Permalink | Comments (0)

NAB 2015: Travelling light? Cineroid shows v-plate battery adapter that uses four Sony NP-F batteries + new super bright LED panel

Guest post by China editor CY Xu:

At NAB Korean company Cineroid were showing a gadget that is going to be of interest to many traveling news shooters. Their new multi-functional battery plate uses four Sony NP-F type batteries as an alternative way to power V-lock cameras and lights. This could potentially help many news and documentary shooters who face problems flying with traditional V-lock batteries – with some airlines and governments now restricting the number of brick batteries and the capacities that can be carried. Smaller NP-F batteries normally get through security checks with fewer problems.

The adapter also has a D-tap and USB output. It can charge attached NP-F batteries on a regular V-lock charger directly via an AC adapter overnight. The innovative design also has two 1/4 20 holes on the plate providing more mounting options if you want to attach it to a rig or stand.

The company also updated their LED light lineup with a bigger and stronger panel. The new light is bi-colour and features 30 steps of brightness adjustment. Cineroid claims the Colour rendering Index (CRI) varies from 92 to 95 depending on the colour temperate chosen. They also provide multiple power solutions and mounting options for AC, V-mount and Anton Bauer type batteries.

The battery plate will be available next month at $249, and the LED panel is priced around $1,300, also available next month.

Cineroid hasn’t yet released full details of these new products, but keep an eye on their website for more information if you are interested.

Posted on April 19th, 2015 by CY Xu | Category: Batteries, LED lights, NAB show | Permalink | Comments (0)

NAB 2015: Flowcine 2 Axis Puppeteer

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Newssooter NAB 2015: Flowcine 2 Axis Puppeteer from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Flowcine were showing a more advanced version of their Puppeteer system that features a 2nd axis. The second axis is used to eliminate errors in both the roll and tilt axis, providing a smoother ride for your gimbal. It is designed to perform fluently with out disturbing motion and vibrations.

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The Puppeteer comes in two versions, the one axis, and the two axis version. The one axis system helps the user tilt their rig without effort, almost at the centre of gravity, getting rid of the string force you’d normaly get with the Easyrig – gimbal set-up. You mount the Puppeteer on top of your gimbal, adjust the balance so it’s centered, and hook it up on your Easyrig. The Puppeteer ships with a smaller steel hook that replaces the original Easyrig hook. This is to save vertical space, so you can go higher with the rig.

The 2 axis version will be available soon.

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Posted on April 19th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Camera stabilsation systems, Camera support systems | Permalink | Comments (0)

NAB 2015: Easyrig Vario 5 for cameras from 11-38lbs

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Newsshooter NAB 2015: Easy RigNAB 2015: Easyrig Vario 5- covers cameras from 11-38lbs from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Easyrig were showing their latest addition to the Easyrig lineup, the Vario 5. It’s a flexible solution built to handle various camera setups with a load capacity of 5-17 kg (11-38 lbs). This makes it a good solution for camera operators who own a variety of different sized cameras.


This from Easyrig:
During our past five years of development we experimented with many options including rebuilding the current gas shock absorber, mounting an assist spring in tandem with the shock absorber, regulating the high pressure gas through an adjustable valve and finally incorporating a dual chamber piston. All of these trials led us to the perfected system that is now the new “Vario 5”.
The “Vario 5″ shares the same proven technology as the Cinema 3 with the addition of our world wide Patent Pending adjustable tension system. The key to the “Vario 5″ is the new internal adjustment arm that allows for changes in the power of the system. It’s simple, consistent, and reliable.
Another key element in the success of the new “Vario 5” is the integration of SKF ball bearings and Lesjofors gas shock absorbers. These noted Swedish companies have been producing world class components since 1907.


The Easyrig “Vario 5″ has been time tested in different climates, terrains and conditions spanning three different continents. Read about the results from our test cameraman on the Easyrig homepage under Vario.

The Easyrig Vario 5 can be ordered with several different vest options:
2.5 single shoulder vest
Cinema 3 double shoulder vest
The new added support “Gimbal Rig” vest.
You can also order your Easyrig Vario 5 with three different arm options:
Standard arm
130 mm (5in) extended adjustable arm
230 mm (9in) extended adjustable arm

Posted on April 19th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Camera stabilsation systems, Camera support systems | Permalink | Comments (0)

NAB 2015: Aladdin Flex lights

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Newsshooter NAB 2015: Aladdin Flex lights from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

We first saw the Aladdin Flex lights at IBC last year. The product has undergone a lot of changes since then and there is now a bi-colour version, larger sizes and a clever dimmer and battery plate solution available.

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A dimmer unit can have a v-lock or Anton Bauer battery plate attached to the back of it that offers an all-in-one solution for controlling and powering the light.

The Flex lights can be used in the harshest of conditions and are water resistant, making them ideal for news and documentary shooters out in the field.

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Posted on April 18th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: LED lights, NAB show | Permalink | Comments (0)

NAB 2015: Fotodiox Blackmagic BMPCC, Panasonic GH4, Samsung NX1 and GoPro Cage Solutions

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Newsshooter NAB 2015: Fotodiox Sony a7S, Panasonic GH4, Samsung NX1 and GoPro Cage Solutions from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Fotodiox had some prototype camera cage solutions on display on their booth at NAB. A range of solutions was available for cameras such as the Blackmagic BMPCC, Panasonic GH4, Samsung NX1 and GoPro. All the cages are minimalist in design and allow for easy access to the controls, with lots of mounting points for adding accessories.

The Blackmagic BMPCC cage will be available very shortly for $325 US. The GH4 and NX1 pricing and availability will be announced soon.

Posted on April 18th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Camera support systems, NAB show, Panasonic GH4, Samsung NX1, Sony a7S | Permalink | Comments (2)

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