Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sigma 60mm long portrait lens

Both lenses used here are designed for a larger sensor than in the cameras pictured:


The Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN used on the Olympus E-M5 II (left) is designed for mirrorless cameras with an APS-C sized sensor, e.g., Sony E, where it becomes equivalent to 90mm, a classic portrait lens. However, it also comes with a Micro Four Thirds mount, where it becomes a 120mm equivalent lens, i.e., a long portrait lens.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Get GH4 V-Log profile for free

Some fans have been angered by the news that Panasonic would charge people to use the new V-Log profile on the Lumix GH4. This is an video profile that allows for higher dynamic range than usual.

However, with a simple trick, you can get this profile for free. Here is how:

  1. Make sure you have the Firmware 2.3 installed.Get it here.
    It seems Panasonic have closed the download, but you can try this alternative source.
  2. Turn on the camera, and enable the Wifi mode. This turns on the blue light on the top of the camera.
  3. Connect the camera to your smartphone with the Panasonic app.
  4. Set the camera in a video mode, e.g., by setting the mode dial to the creative video mode:
  5. Open the Panasonic Image App on your smartphone. Go to the "Remote operation" function:
  6. Inside the Remote operation, tap the "Q.MENU" item:
  7. Tap the first option, "Photo Style":
  8. Select V-Log L:
  9. Look at your camera: It now has the V-Log L mode:
  10. Save this mode for later use. Push the "Menu" button on the camera, and go to "Cust.Set Mem." to store it as one of the custom functions (C1, C2, C3-1, C3-2 or C3-3):

And that is it! Now you can test out the V-Log L mode for free, and see if you think it will improve your videos.

If you want to use the V-Log V profile for several different video modes, e.g., 4k and 1080p, then repeat this process for each mode. For example, start off with 4K before starting the Panasonic App to retrieve the V-Log L profile, and you will get a 4K V-Log L profile that you can save as one of the custom functions.

Note that successfully using the V-Log L profile requires skillful postprocessing in a program like Adobe Premiere Pro. Without this video grading, the V-Log L video will just look flat with boring colours.

Anyone who is not familiar with video grading are better off using the normal video modes. So V-Log L is not a miracle cure that makes your videos look fantastic. Rather, it enables competent users to get the most out of the video stream later.

The GoPro cameras have a similar feature called "ProTune". This creates a video file which is more flat, with less sharpness and less colour saturation. Here is what they write about this mode:

What this means for the every-day user is that Protune footage requires more editing to get that traditional GoPro look. That’s great if you want to spend more time editing your footage to put your own unique spin on it, but if you want to do simple editing and already like the GoPro look and feel that you’re used to, we'd recommend leaving Protune turned off.

Essentially: If you don't know what you are doing, don't use ProTune. Panasonic could say the same about V-Log, and in a way, they do, by charging an extra cost for it.

A new 2.4 firmware is coming on September 17th, which will disable using the V-Log L profile without purchasing it. Also, newer upgrades of the Panasonic Image App will also disable this.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Olympus E-M5 Mark II sensor shift demo

All Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras have had in-body image stabilization (IBIS), however, it was not until the Olympus E-M5 Mark II that this feature became truly useful also for stabilizing video recording. To illustrate how it works, I have mounted the Lumix GH4 facing into the E-M5 II using the Leica 45mm f/2.8 macro lens, both mounted to a dual camera bracket:


Before actually starting the recording, I put some transparent plastic around the lens, between the cameras, to make the lightning more even. Here is the outcome, in an animated GIF: