First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Lens

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robedge

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First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Lens

PostSat Jan 04, 2020 2:56 am

Some comments after a few days of use ...

I’ve mostly used rangefinder and large format cameras and every time that I pick up the Blackmagic I look for a viewfinder. My Leica M 240 has live view, but I haven’t used it much, and the Blackmagic version is taking some getting used to. The quality of the view in daylight, or rather lack of it, has me thinking about bringing along the dark cloth that I use for 4x5 and 8x10. A decent dark cloth works like a Superman cape, with Velcro to affix it around your neck. It may actually be a solution for what I now call the “Blackmagic sometimes view”.

I have discovered that my 63 year old Leica rangefinder with 35mm lens is quite a bit lighter and more compact than a Pocket 4K and the Fujinon, which weigh in at about 1.8 kilos (4lbs) and measure 30cm (12”) from the back of the camera to the front of the Fujinon lens hood. After a couple of days of using the Pocket 4K I can no longer say that I’m using it handheld with a straight face. My monopod is proving its worth, and yeah, I won’t be abandoning the MFT adapter for my Leica primes.

When it comes to figuring out exposure, I’m afraid that I’m in the dark ages, which means that I use a handheld light meter. Using cameras that are completely mechanical, and a Mamiya 7II, which has the most eccentric metering ever devised, will do that to you, as will discovering incident light metering. I am trying to learn how to use the Pocket 4K’s interactive approach to exposure, at least when I can see what’s on the screen. Another argument for my Superman cape.

When it comes to focusing, I really, really miss seeing two images resolve into one. I could use some assurance that I can trust the camera when it tells me that I’m in focus. In the meantime, I’m about to make an apparent depth of field chart for the Fujinon at various focal lengths. I suspect that zone focusing is going to have its place.

Apart from those niggles, it’s going swimmingly :) I’m pretty sure that the camera is capable of good results, even if I’m not, and the lens is turning out to be something of an education.

Cheers
Last edited by robedge on Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 04, 2020 3:55 am

Exposure is made easier by turning on False Colour. I have the first programmable button set to False Colour so I can toggle it On and Off. You can read the manual but nothing beats the experience of just using it and trying variations to see what you like.

In other words faces don’t have to be pink or green, you’ll still get good results with skin shooting BRAW with some shades of grey. You’ll even be able to use blue at times but please avoid purple unless you want an area to be very dark in post.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 04, 2020 4:32 am

rick.lang wrote:Exposure is made easier by turning on False Colour. I have the first programmable button set to False Colour so I can toggle it On and Off. You can read the manual but nothing beats the experience of just using it and trying variations to see what you like.

In other words faces don’t have to be pink or green, you’ll still get good results with skin shooting BRAW with some shades of grey. You’ll even be able to use blue at times but please avoid purple unless you want an area to be very dark in post.


Thanks. Like you, I currently have False Colour as the first function button toggle. Where sensible, I want an incident reading. It saves a lot of time. In some situations, I’ll use spot reflective readings. When those are needed, it often means that there’s a need for a few readings and some averaging. If I find that the Pocket 4K is telling me things that I don’t know from my handheld meter, I’ll start reevaluating my approach. If I find that it isn’t telling me anything new, I’ll just turn off its metering function. Will save time and battery life.

One of the things that I like a lot about a handheld meter, in addition to incident mode, is that for a given reading it gives me all of my exposure options right on the screen. I can change a variable and get an immediate update. It can also calculate averages quickly. For me, these are big timesavers. Equally importantly, I’m used to a handheld meter and it works for me :)
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 04, 2020 4:58 am

Well that’s a good habit to have. It’s likely more precise at measuring different levels. False Colour is a very fast take to determine exposure though as you can vary your camera’s exposure and immediately see the differences in False Colour for all areas of the frame.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 04, 2020 5:21 am

rick.lang wrote:Well that’s a good habit to have.


It wasn’t a choice. A relative gave me an M3 and some lenses and the only options were Sunny 16 and a handheld meter. Then I started shooting large format, where screwing up exposure gets very expensive very quickly. Right now, 8x10 colour film costs just under US$20 a sheet, never mind processing and, for some people, professional drum scanning:)

As you have suggested, I’m checking out False Colour. I just don’t want to reinvent the wheel.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 04, 2020 4:45 pm

robedge wrote:Some comments after a few days of use ...

I’ve mostly used rangefinder and large format cameras and every time that I pick up the Blackmagic I look for a viewfinder.


You can of course get a viewfinder for the camera, but it's another "thing" you have to mount and power.

Many people opt for a high brightness / High NIT screen and mount that on top. You then use the BMD screen as a "menu" screen and frame using the other monitor.

Don't forget that it can also be controlled by bluetooth, there are some good apps for it.

robedge wrote:I have discovered that my 63 year old Leica rangefinder with 35mm lens is quite a bit lighter and more compact than a Pocket 4K and the Fujinon, which weigh in at about 1.8 kilos (4lbs) and measure 30cm (12”) from the back of the camera to the front of the Fujinon lens hood.


That's mostly down to the lens you went for I'm afraid. The P4K with an M mount lens wouldn't be that different to an M3 :-)

The Olympus 12-100 IS is a good alternative, it's native 4/3 and has mechanical hard stops for a good manual focus alternative, though it's F4. There's also the 12-40 F2.8 which is much smaller and a stop faster but no IS.


robedge wrote: After a couple of days of using the Pocket 4K I can no longer say that I’m using it handheld with a straight face. My monopod is proving its worth, and yeah, I won’t be abandoning the MFT adapter for my Leica primes.


A lot of people add a video / tilt head to their monopods for the video style shooting to be better accommodated..

robedge wrote:When it comes to figuring out exposure, I’m afraid that I’m in the dark ages, which means that I use a handheld light meter. Using cameras that are completely mechanical, and a Mamiya 7II, which has the most eccentric metering ever devised, will do that to you, as will discovering incident light metering. I am trying to learn how to use the Pocket 4K’s interactive approach to exposure, at least when I can see what’s on the screen. Another argument for my Superman cape.


The GOOD thing about using false colour is that no matter how bright the ambient conditions, you can always see what's clipping and where the midtones and blacks are. A good rule for me is to have skin tones (caucasian) in the greens and slightly pink every now and then and for darker tone skins just turning green.

I find that rating it at ISO400 works well for RAW or ProRes.


robedge wrote:When it comes to focusing, I really, really miss seeing two images resolve into one. I could use some assurance that I can trust the camera when it tells me that I’m in focus.


Have you discovered the "focus peaking" function ? It makes edges and contrast sizzle on the monitor when they're sharp. You can change the colour and control the intensity. Sometimes it doesn't work as well in very low light / low contrast, ironically, when you need it most.

Don't forget you can also double tap the screen, even while recording to zoom to focus. You can can also move the area around and then tap to pop back out.

Good luck.

I suspect you'll want to come back for some help once you get into post to get the most out of this camera.

Like a leica M, you have to earn the images. They don't just auto happen. But once you get to know the process and the steps, you can get much more satisfying images in the end.

JB
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 04, 2020 7:58 pm

John Brawley wrote:Like a leica M, you have to earn the images. They don't just auto happen.


Hi John,

It’s very kind of you to address the substantive questions despite my somewhat tongue in cheek post. You’ve given me excellent advice that I’ll be taking onboard, and it’s helpful to know that you have a good degree of confidence in the camera’s focus peaking.

I should mention that I also appreciated your 2017 blog post on the Panavision/Lee neutral density filters. Although the Fujinon’s lens hood is telling me to purchase screw-on filters and be done with it, I’m seriously considering the Lee system. I tried out their new Lee100 holder yesterday, and I think that it would work well while keeping the package reasonably compact.

Cheers
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Jan 05, 2020 12:16 am

John Brawley wrote:A lot of people add a video / tilt head to their monopods for the video style shooting to be better accommodated...


Further to John Brawley’s point, I can confirm that the Pocket 4K and Fujinon lens balance well on Manfrotto’s MVH500 video head. If there’s a desire to smoothly pan or tilt the camera/lens, I agree, having tried it, that this Manfrotto head can improve monopod performance.

Manfrotto makes flat base and 75mm half ball versions of this head. Because I have a leveling base instead of a standard top plate on my tripod anyway, I have the flat base version.* This means that the MVH500 head can be mounted directly on my monopod without an intermediate adapter, which I see as a significant advantage of the flat base version for monopod use. Also, note that the Manfrotto MVH502 head would add 800g (1.7lb) of weight over the MVH500 with, I suspect, no improvement in performance for this camera and lens combination.

I might also mention that Fujinon’s version of the MK 18-55mm lens for its X-mount cameras, unlike the MFT version, comes with a tripod collar and foot. This makes it possible to balance the camera and lens closer to their fulcrum. For me, this is attractive. I’ll be contacting Fujinon this week to see whether I can obtain these, which do not appear to be for sale separately by retailers.

* This being a video forum, the idea of a leveling base may be unfamiliar. I use one for my still cameras, and intend to use it with this camera when I don’t need pan or tilt. It lets me fix a camera directly to my tripod (no messing around with a ball head, geared head or indeed video head), while making it easy to level the camera with up to about 15° of tilt. It replaces my tripod’s flat top plate. Several companies make leveling bases, but here’s a picture of the one that I happen to use: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1286949-REG/gitzo_gslvls_leveling_base_for.html
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Jan 06, 2020 10:15 pm

Here are a couple of phone snaps of the Pocket 4K and Fujinon lens with the Lee100 filter holder. I was able to pick up a 100mmx100mm Lee linear polariser and Lee/Panavision ProGlass IRND 3-stop second hand. The holder rotates for use with square polarisers and graduated ND filters. It's also possible to use round polarisers with this holder, whether made by Lee or others. The holder takes up to three square filters plus, if desired, a round polariser.

The tradeoff is that the Fujinon's lens hood, which is designed for compatibility with screw-on filters, can't be used with the Lee holder. I intend to use the Lee system with large format lenses as well, and I want to be able to use graduated filters, which made the decision easier for me. Lee does make a lens hood for the holder if I decide that I need it. I should note that Lee filters are expensive in Canada and the U.S. It helps to have another source and/or purchase second hand.

In the photos, the camera is mounted on a video head (Manfrotto MVH500) and carbon fibre monopod (Gitzo GM4542). When convenient, I'll dispense with the video head and mount the camera directly to the monopod. That reduces weight by 900g (2lbs) and means one less thing to go wrong.

As explained in the previous post, I plan to ask Fujinon for the lens collar and foot that ship with the version of this lens for Fujinon X-mount cameras. I have not made any decision about a 15mm rods plus lens support approach.

Happy to try to answer any questions about this setup.

EDIT: Added a couple of sentences.

lee100-side.jpeg
lee100-side.jpeg (554.28 KiB) Viewed 7887 times



lee100-angled.jpeg
lee100-angled.jpeg (383.46 KiB) Viewed 7871 times
Last edited by robedge on Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:28 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Jan 06, 2020 11:17 pm

Takes some getting used to seeing that lens and camera without a cage and rods! Great if it works for you.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 07, 2020 12:05 am

rick.lang wrote:Takes some getting used to seeing that lens and camera without a cage and rods!


Ha! I’m not opposed to a cage, I just don’t have a use for one at the moment. I figure that the 1/4”-20 on the top of the camera must be strong enough to support pencil mikes, whether alone in mono or as a pair in stereo ORTF, which is the only thing that I want to add right now. Because I use a separate sound recorder, I don’t even have a need to route cable into the camera.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Jan 08, 2020 4:07 am

Speaking of 82mm neutral density filters...

In case anyone’s looking for some, this evening B&H sent me an e-mail saying that the price of B+W XS-Pro 2-stop ND filters in 82mm has dropped from US$140 to $99. Don’t know why; that’s a pretty big drop, but B&H is not saying that it’s a temporary sale. Unfortunately, the 3-stop and 6-stop remain at $179.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Jan 08, 2020 4:24 am

robedge wrote:
rick.lang wrote:Takes some getting used to seeing that lens and camera without a cage and rods!


Ha! I’m not opposed to a cage, I just don’t have a use for one at the moment. I figure that the 1/4”-20 on the top of the camera must be strong enough to support pencil mikes, whether alone in mono or as a pair in stereo ORTF, which is the only thing that I want to add right now. Because I use a separate sound recorder, I don’t even have a need to route cable into the camera.


Rob, in that situation, I wouldn’t mount the ORTF mics on the camera, they could be close by but on a mic stand. I did that in my recent music video with the pair of Line Audio Design CM-4 mics. Just one more precaution to avoid picking up unwanted sound.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Jan 08, 2020 4:52 am

rick.lang wrote:
robedge wrote:Rob, in that situation, I wouldn’t mount the ORTF mics on the camera, they could be close by but on a mic stand. I did that in my recent music video with the pair of Line Audio Design CM-4 mics. Just one more precaution to avoid picking up unwanted sound.


Hi,

I should explain this. I’m not talking about using mikes on the camera to record dialogue, or musicians for a music video.

I make video recordings when I record sound effects or ambient sound for later use, something that I’ve been doing for some time for reasons completely unrelated to video. I mount the mike or mikes, and an iPhone, on a stereo bar. The phone, currently an iPhone 11, records the video, normally at 720p or 1080p just to keep storage down. The video itself is useful as a record of the circumstances of the recording, but not otherwise.

I plan to mount a mike (or two) on the Pocket 4K while shooting B-roll in ambient circumstances to find out whether I can use the sound as well as the image directly. As an example, I need to shoot a fair bit of New York street and subway footage. From my perspective, the only issue is whether the mike/mikes pick up noise generated from the camera and, if so, whether it is or isn’t at frequencies that I can deal with easily in iZotope RX and Logic. This is not a question that should turn on whether I’m recording mono or stereo ORTF.

However, if you’ve run into problems with mikes picking up noise from the camera itself (as distinct from rig or lens movement), I’d greatly appreciate learning about your experience. This has a big bearing on how much I have to separate, or not, ambient sound and image recording.

Cheers
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Jan 08, 2020 5:23 am

Rob, as I said it was just a precaution to avoid unwanted sound. Having the mics on a separate stand helps remove the chance of any sound from handling a camera or from within the camera. What you’re doing is interesting though to keep a visual record of the audio recording. Post processing the sound with RX 7 will let you know if there’s any issue to correct. Even if it’s unwanted audio generated by the mic itself. Carry on!
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Jan 08, 2020 5:40 am

rick.lang wrote:Having the mics on a separate stand helps remove the chance of any sound from handling a camera or from within the camera.


Yes, but on New York sidewalks and on subway platforms it’s also illegal, not to mention that putting up a stand in a NY subway car, or even on a platform during busy times of the day, is liable to get one lynched. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been talking about using a monopod and don’t want to look like the Borg when I’m out filming :)

What I need to know is whether my mikes pick up any self-noise from the camera, and if so at what frequencies. I’m not anticipating a problem, but I’m testing specifically for this on Monday.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostWed Jan 08, 2020 5:54 am

Ah, thanks for the additional information! Good luck.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Jan 09, 2020 3:33 pm

Here’s a photo of the lens support that Fujinon ships with the Fujinon X-mount version of the MK 18-55mm and 50-135mm lenses. This is a common approach in still photography in which a camera and long lens are mounted on a tripod or monopod at the lens, which places the mount close to the camera/lens fulcrum. With a long plate and a riser for the camera, it’s also possible to provide support to both the camera and the lens.

MKX50-135 copy.JPG
MKX50-135 copy.JPG (119.88 KiB) Viewed 7515 times
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Jan 09, 2020 8:33 pm

How are you liking the glass? I've been contemplating that lens as it's parfocal, but was cautious because the MFT mount is an aftermarket addition. It really does seem that they are expecting users to go with a cage/rod/lens support setup. I'm sure it's fine, but seeing that cantilevered set up with the plate almost past the lock is giving me the heebie-jeebies :lol:
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Jan 09, 2020 9:38 pm

Hi,

I am very happy with the lens.

On your stability questions...

Fujinon sells the lens in Sony E mount, MFT mount and now Fujinon X mount. None of them is after market.

On the Manfrotto MVH500AH, the camera and lens balance when the plate is half way along the head. I don’t think that that is a risk to the camera. I’m in the process of acquiring the foot pictured two posts above, which would move the balance point closer to the fulcrum, just to try it out.

I think that a cage is pointless unless one is using an accessory that needs to be attached to a cage. Otherwise, it’s a cage in search of a function, more bulk and dead weight. That said, Blackmagic’s position is that if one wants to use a top handle, the handle should be attached to a cage because the 1/4”-20 on the top of the camera won’t handle the stress.

The remaining question is whether the Pocket 4K MFT lens mount is strong enough for the lens. I don’t think that there’s an issue if the camera and lens are handheld, or mounted directly to a monopod (no video head), because in that case one hand is supporting the camera and one is supporting the lens.

The question is whether there’s an issue when the camera is mounted on a tripod or monopod with video head. I’m undecided about this. Anecdotally, none of the footage and photos that I’ve seen of people using the Pocket 4K or Fuji X-T3 with this lens includes rods and lens support. This includes Philip Bloom’s Blackmagic videos/photos for Fujinon, Fujinon promotional videos and independent X-T3 videos. However, note as a caveat to X-T3 footage that the X-T3 body is magnesium.

I am probably going to acquire a base plate and rods and see how it goes. They are needed for follow focus anyway, although I don’t have an immediate need for that. I’m about to receive Zacuto’s interesting, but outrageously expensive, lens support for this lens because Zacuto has sold me a demo for a very reasonable price. A base plate and rods will probably follow. At the moment, I’m considering Sachtler’s Ace Base Plate. I’m also fairly persuaded that Bright Tangerine’s Drumstix rods are worth the money. For this camera/lens, I’d get 9”. Bright Tangerine’s next shorter rods, 6”, are not long enough. If using a matte box instead of screw-in filters or the Lee system, the camera/lens would need 12” rods.

Hope that helps.
Last edited by robedge on Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Jan 09, 2020 9:56 pm

This is the Zacuto support for the Fujinon MK lenses referred to in the above post:



Note that SmallRig also makes a support specifically for this lens. It sells for just under US$50.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Jan 09, 2020 10:22 pm

robedge wrote:Hi,

I am very happy with the lens.

On your stability questions...

Fujinon sells the lens in Sony E mount, MFT mount and now Fujinon X mount. None of them is after market.

I’m about to receive Zacuto’s interesting, but outrageously expensive, lens support for this lens because Zacuto has sold me a demo for a very reasonable price.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for the Zacuto info. If you don't mind a single point support, SmallRig has a support for the lens that's quite a bit cheaper, but I'm guessing you've already seen that.

I was basing the "3rd party" MFT remark off of Bloom's video here:
from April and what MTF Services did a couple of years ago. Perhaps Fuji is doing that now in house? I do know that you can buy them off the usual places, but not many rental houses have the MFT version. Lensrentals is the only one I found for that matter.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Jan 09, 2020 10:33 pm

30FromNowhere wrote:Thanks for the Zacuto info. If you don't mind a single point support, SmallRig has a support for the lens that's quite a bit cheaper, but I'm guessing you've already seen that.

I was basing the "3rd party" MFT remark off of Bloom's video here:
from April and what MTF Services did a couple of years ago. Perhaps Fuji is doing that now in house? I do know that you can buy them off the usual places, but not many rental houses have the MFT version. Lensrentals is the only one I found for that matter.


Hi, yes I said in my post, just below the Zacuto video, that SmallRig makes a support for just under US$50. I was aware of that when I purchased the Zacuto demo and I’m happy with the price that I paid. As of yesterday, Zacuto had another one on eBay. If anyone’s interested, make them an offer :)

If Bloom is talking about an after market mount in that video, it’s because he made the video before Fujinon started selling the lens for MFT and X mount as well as Sony E mount. If you check on B&H or Duclos you’ll see that all three mounts are available, all made by Fujinon.

The only difference is that support for the Sony and MFT mount lenses is handled by Fujinon’s broadcasting division and support for the X mount lenses is handled by Fujinon’s camera/electronic imaging division. I found this out while tracking down the X mount foot. By the way, the Fujinon New Jersey support person that I dealt with was extremely helpful, and the photo five posts up came from Fujinon in Japan via its New Jersey office.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Jan 10, 2020 12:52 am

There is an awful lot to be said for using the Fujinon lens with screw-on filters. I tried a B+W XS-Pro 2-stop ND today (B+W #802). No vignetting, works perfectly with the Fujinon’s lens hood, no contraption at the end of the lens :)

A few things to note. B+W’s XS-Pro filters are thinner than its F-Pro filters, in part to better accommodate wide angle lenses. Also, I only have the 2-stop so I was unable to try stacking. A few days ago, the price of the 2-stop dropped, at B&H at least, from US$140 to $99, but the price of the 3-stop and 6-stop remain high at $180 each.

There is also this interesting statement in a B&H “field test” article on the MK lenses:

“The [filter threads] are 82mm in diameter, a very standard diameter for round screw-in filters. ... Since I was going to be keeping my setup lightweight during my shooting day, I opted to use my screw-in filter. One problem: my Tiffen Variable IRND filter is only 77mm in diameter. Fortunately, there is enough space between the filter threads and the front element to use a step-down ring without causing any vignetting.”

Full article here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/vi ... oom-lenses
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 11, 2020 3:18 am

Some further conclusions as a result of shooting today...

This is rather individual and technical, but may be of interest to people who are thinking of using this camera and lens together.

I like using the camera/lens both handheld and mounted directly to my monopod without the Manfrotto MVH500 between the monopod top plate and the camera/lens. I’m not worried about the strength of the camera’s MFT mount because in both cases I mostly have one hand on the camera and one on the lens. I am quite resistant to using more accessories than I really need to.

The one thing that I’m uncomfortable about is that the camera has a 1/4” female thread on the bottom rather than 3/8”. I’m looking forward to obtaining the lens foot shown in the photo seven posts up. It appears from the photo that the lens foot will take a 3/8” tripod or monopod stud, which would make it possible to use the 3/8” end of my reversible monopod stud. It’s also pretty much a certainty that it can be used with an Arca Swiss base clamp on a 3/8” stud and quick release plate (see below). Using the lens foot would also result in good camera/lens balance without messing around with a video head.

I’m also looking at Arca-Swiss clamps and quick release plates with a view to bypassing the Manfrotto system. An Arca Swiss base clamp and quick release may also address my concern about the camera’s 1/4” bottom thread. The Kessler Crane Kwik Release system, which can be used outside Kessler’s product range, looks promising. I’m going to B&H on Sunday to look at it, and also at Sachtler’s Ace Base Plate and whatever other base plates B&H’s video department has on hand.

I also set up the camera today with a Schoeps MK2 (omnidirectional) mike mounted on the camera’s top 1/4”-20, with the cable going to a MixPre-3. This is for B-roll with ambient sound. Very simple to set up. Potentially trickier, I plan this weekend to see what happens when I mount a 30cm (12”) Grace Design Space Bar for stereo ORTF recording. In both cases I use small (4” diameter) ball-shaped windscreens made by a French company that are compact and light but very effective. Not talking about a Rycote Zeppelin/Windjammer :)

I am comfortable with both screw-in filters and the Lee System and happy that I have not gone the matte box route. So far, I don’t see a need for a cage.

If anyone’s interested, I’ll post some photos showing these setups.
Last edited by robedge on Sat Jan 11, 2020 5:44 am, edited 4 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Lens

PostSat Jan 11, 2020 3:51 am

Rob, you’re doing a fine job assembling you systems to suit your goals. Sure I would love to see your photos. I also can mount a pair of small mics in ORTF but to my top handle.
Last edited by rick.lang on Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 11, 2020 4:28 am

rick.lang wrote:Rob, you’re ping a fine job assembling you systems to suit your goals. Sure I would love to see your photos. I also can mount a pair of small mics in ORTF but to my top handle.


Man, I like the lens, but I had no idea what I was getting into :)

When I set up an 8x10 camera, I just screw it straight onto the leveling base of my tripod. In smaller formats, my whole experience is with prime lenses. Messing with an 18-55mm ciné zoom lens that’s 21cm (8”) long and that has to be balanced with a camera, in particular a camera of apparently iffy structural strength, is a whole other world.

As you know, you don’t need a 30cm bar to set up ORTF. If I can make the Grace Design bar work, great; otherwise I have a Vark bar, which is shorter and specifically for ORTF recording.

The advantage of the Grace Design bar is that it’s a pleasure to work with and can be used in some cases, albeit limited ones, for AB Spaced. I also have the longer 66cm Grace Design bar that is ideal for AB Spaced, but I don’t see mounting it on the camera.

Cheers
Last edited by robedge on Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 11, 2020 8:47 pm

The one thing that concerned me about the Lee System is the cost of the filters, which in Canada and the U.S. is quite high, although there is at least one reasonably priced European source. However, in the last week I’ve acquired used copies of the 2, 3 and 4 stop Lee/Panavision ProGlass IRND filters, plus a Lee linear polariser and 2-stop Medium Graduated ND, at reasonable prices. Four different vendors. Either I’ve lucked out or Lee filters are more readily available than I assumed.

Now all I need is Lee’s 6-stop ND and B+W’s XS-Pro 3 and 6-stop NDs (already have the 2-stop) to be set for both the Lee System and screw-in filters.

Might be worth noting that Lee says that its Medium Graduated Filters, on Micro Four Thirds, are the equivalent of Soft Graduated on full frame cameras. Similarly, Hard is the same as Medium, etc. So what I’ve got should be equivalent to a Soft 2-stop. I want to experiment with this before contemplating any others.

I also want to mention counterfeiting. It’s important to purchase B+W filters, new or used, from a trusted source because there is counterfeiting going on. This counterfeiting apparently includes Amazon as vendor because Amazon is, or at least was, commingling inventory. Schneider, which owns B+W, has info on the problem on its web site, and there’s a fair bit of on-line discussion.

In the case of Lee, the problem is probably rare if it’s an issue at all. One thing to be aware of is that Lee has used more than one typeface on its ProGlass filters, so typeface difference does not by itself indicate a problem. If purchasing used, it’s worth doing an image search and checking photos of the filters on the sites of major vendors. The typeface variations are apparent in the photos.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSun Jan 12, 2020 9:37 pm

Good discussion today with staff in B&H’s Pro Video department. Knowing that I was prepared to purchase a base plate and rods for lens support, I was told to stop worrying about whether the Pocket 4K MFT mount is strong enough to support the Fujinon MK 18-55mm lens. They don’t think that this is an issue.

Now even keener to try out the Fujinon lens foot discussed earlier, which it should be possible to use to affix and balance the camera/lens on a monopod or tripod close to their fulcrum.

I did quickly compare Sachtler’s Ace Base Plate and Wooden Camera’s Unified Base Plate, both of which B&H has set up on demo video cameras. The Sachtler is a decidedly more elegant design. Wooden Camera seems to prefer a very “industrial/LEGO” look, and with its add-ons looks like it may be the more expensive option. Didn’t see SmallRig’s universal base plate because B&H doesn’t have one on display.

Also checked out Kessler’s Kwik Release Receiver clamp for Arca Swiss camera plates. Seems very solid and well made, and Kessler’s matching 3.5” Arca Swiss camera plate would be a good fit for the Pocket 4K. Prices for similar hardware by Arca Swiss itself, Kirk and Really Right Stuff are comparable, which helped allay my initial sticker shock. However, the Kessler clamp is larger than I really need. I could save some money, and a couple of ounces (not much), by going with a smaller clamp.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 5:54 am

The last piece of this puzzle is mounting mikes on the camera to record monaural or stereo (ORTF) ambient sound. Tested this today and I’m comfortable using both a Grace Designs bar (30cm/12”) and a Vark Audio bar (13cm/5”) screwed to the camera’s 1/4”-20.

The Vark bar is lighter (shorter and made from Delrin), but I’m not worried about the Grace bar. One thing that I like about both is that they give better clearance from the camera than affixing a mike directly to the 1/4”-20. The Grace bar also gives me a fair bit of control over mike placement.

Where it makes sense, I also see using these bars or a single mike mounted on a short tripod (15cm/6” legs) off the camera. This tripod fits in a coat pocket.

I’m using a Sound Devices MixPre-3, which is compact and light, as a recorder.

Here’s a photo of the Grace bar: https://gracedesign.com/product/sb-30-3 ... e-bar-kit/

And here’s the venerable and much less expensive Vark: https://id33157.securedata.net/varkaudi ... ucts_id=85

I’ll try to post some photos in the next day or two.
Last edited by robedge on Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:18 am, edited 3 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 6:00 am

Of the two, only the Grace bar will support ORTF placement, right?
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 6:02 am

rick.lang wrote:Of the two, only the Grace bar will support ORTF placement, right?


The Vark is widely used for ORTF. It was designed for coincident recording and allows one to place the mikes at different heights. It’s very simple and relatively inexpensive, but it gets the job done.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 11:46 am

robedge wrote:Where it makes sense, I also see using these bars or a single mike mounted on a short tripod (15cm/6” legs) off the camera.


With your fantastic mics there's not much point considering alternatives, but I will note that after trying ORTF and other stereo configurations (e.g., AB with omnis) in the field while shooting video, I ultimately decided that an M/S rig would give me the most flexibility, portability, and ease of setup. I put together a little rig with a Sennheiser MKH 8050 and an Ambient Emesser mounted on top; it all fits in one of Rycote's smallest blimps; see photos below. I keep this rig set up in the blimp and everything (blimp, MixPre, and all my video equipment except tripods) fits into a carry-on backpack.

The top-of-the-line variation on this would be Schoeps CCM4 and CCM8 in a Cinela Zephyx, but that's beyond my budget. ;)

What I like about M/S is that I can use it for interviews (using the "mid" mic channel only) as well as for ambient recordings; the MixPre has M/S settings and you can use one of the knobs to adjust the stereo width. I am usually happy with the recorded stereo mix but I have the ISO channels as well in case I want to do my own M/S decode in post.

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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 1:56 pm

Brad Hurley wrote: I ultimately decided that an M/S rig would give me the most flexibility, portability, and ease of setup.


As you know, most location sound recordists who are recording both dialogue and ambience have made the same decision. I use what I do because I got involved in recording sound outside of video, where ORTF is more common, and I'm used to it. I should rent a figure of eight mike and try M/S out sometime. I'm curious to know if you've tried mounting your blimp/M/S mikes on the camera's 1/4"-20 or on your camera's cage.

I'm mounting my mono mike or ORTF mikes on the camera with these wind protectors, shown here with and without fur. They are 10cm/4" in diameter. I'm not using shock mounts, just the mike(s) and wind protection, because vibration isn’t an issue. I'll upload a photo or two later today or tomorrow to show what it looks like.

leo.jpeg
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leo-fur.jpeg
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Last edited by robedge on Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 2:04 pm

robedge wrote:I'm curious to know if you've tried mounting your blimp/M/S mikes on the camera's 1/4"-20 or on your camera's cage.


The problem in my case is that my camera (a Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera) has a fan, and in quiet situations the mic can pick up the fan noise. So I keep my mic rig on a separate tripod or microphone stand to maximize distance from the camera (and to get the mics closer to whatever I'm recording). Shouldn't be a problem outdoors, but indoors in a quiet reverberant room I've picked up fan noise from the camera even with the mic rig placed 5-6 feet away.

You mentioned a similar concern with your Pocket 4k; have you tested yet to see if fan noise is an issue with sensitive camera-mounted mics?
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 14, 2020 2:36 pm

Hi Brad,

This setup is for outdoors. One of the things that I like about the Grace Design bar is that I can place my mike(s) a bit away from the camera vent. Next step is to record with this setup, open the file in iZotope RX and see if the mike(s) are picking up any noise from the camera. If so, the question is whether it’s audible/easy to remove.

Plan B is liberal use of the pocket tripod that I referred to six posts up. Plan C is recording sound separately/independently. Re Plan C, mounting my iPhone on the stereo bar along with the mike(s), and using the phone to record video while recording sound, gives me a visual reference that will make it easier to match sound to footage recorded with the Pocket 4K. Having used the phone to make a video record of sound recordings quite a lot, I know that the phone doesn’t generate anything that mikes pick up.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostThu Jan 16, 2020 9:00 pm

I did a sound recording test today that suggests that fan noise from the camera is not an issue when recording outdoors. However, it was a brief test and I need to do a longer one. Also, I don’t know whether fan activity depends on temperature, and whether I might get different results on a hot summer day, but so far so good.

Here is a phone snap of a Schoeps microphone mounted on the camera on a Grace Design (30cm/12”) stereo bar. The way that I plan to use this setup, I don’t think that I need to use shock mounts, but it remains necessary to avoid cable noise. For this, tape/cable ties can come in handy. The windscreens that I’m using are 10cm/4” diameter spheres called Léonards. There are two photos of these windscreens, without and with fur, three posts up. They are light and very effective up to fairly strong medium wind. I would not mount a Rycote Windjammer on the camera. The setup in the photo, with one or two mikes, is fine, but I think that using a zeppelin/windjammer is just asking for trouble. In the wind conditions in which a windjammer is needed, it would amount to putting a sail on the camera :)

The Grace Design stereo bar has a 5/8” female receiver, which is the music standard in Canada and the U.S. (3/8” elsewhere), and the camera’s top receiver is 1/4” female.

B&H sells a fastener made by Camvate that is intended for this kind of connection (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... _4_20.html ). So far, I’ve just used what I have on hand. I threaded a 5/8” to 1/4” reducing bushing into the stereo bar, and threaded a 1/4” male to 1/4” male adapter into the top of the camera. A thin 5/8” jam nut (looks like a washer), threaded onto the reducing bushing, makes it possible to screw the stereo bar onto the 1/4” adapter so that the bar is parallel to the camera body, rather than at an arbitrary angle dictated by the length of the adapter’s thread.

In the photo, the Schoeps mike is on a short mount. The tall mount on the right can be used for stereo recording when there's a need to have two mikes close together and overlapped. I also have a 66cm/24” Grace bar, which is for AB Spaced stereo recording. In AB, the mikes are usually about 40cm/16" or more apart. I don’t believe that the long bar is too heavy for the camera, but I doubt, as a practical matter, that I’ll use it with this setup.

Tomorrow I'll post a photo showing the more compact and much less expensive (US$70) Vark Audio bar on the camera.

In the photo, the Fujinon lens is set up with its included lens hood, which works with screw-in filters.

I just noticed that when I took this photo I had a 5/8" to 1/4" adapter screwed onto the tall mount on the right. I use that adapter to mount a smartphone to make a video record of sound recordings. I use a Quad Lock case from Australia on the phone, which basically turns the whole phone case into a phone clamp. That is not what I’m trying to do here, but if there's interest I’ll post a photo of that setup too.

IMG_0276.jpg
IMG_0276.jpg (296.91 KiB) Viewed 6873 times
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Jan 17, 2020 4:29 pm

Further to the last paragraph in the above post...

Here are front and rear phone snaps of what I use to make a video record of a standard off-the-camera ambient or sound effect recording. Obviously, this setup can also be used to make a video with a smartphone instead of a dedicated camera:

1. Grace Design stereo bar
2. iPhone 11 Pro Max in a Quad Lock phone case with Quad Lock tripod mount
3. Schoeps mike (or two) with Léonard wind protection
4. Audio recorder (usually a Sound Devices MixPre-3)

The Grace bar can be mounted on a tripod, monopod or, as here, a pocket tripod. With the legs collapsed, the pocket tripod can be used handheld. For AB stereo, I substitute Grace’s 66cm/24” bar.

People who are using recent phones with ultra wide lenses (~13mm equivalent) are running into problems with these lenses catching gimbal arms and microphones in their field of view. The Grace bars provide enough offset to avoid this problem.

I prefer the Quad Lock case/tripod mount to smartphone clamps with jaws. I’ve used both, and I think that the Quad Lock is more secure. For good reason, the Quad Lock system is popular with cyclists.

The Gitzo Mini Traveler tripod in these photos is very well built and can be used with or without the ball-head. If you come across it for less than its rather high MSRP of US$200, it’s good value. At MSRP, there are good options for quite a bit less. The legs are 14.5cm/5.75”. Length with legs collapsed plus ball-head is 22.2cm/8.7”.

Not directly relevant but perhaps interesting to some... Using iZotope RX to compare the phone’s audio and Schoeps/MixPre audio on recordings with a good deal of dynamic range (soft to loud), it’s clear that Apple has built a lot of dynamic range compression into the phone’s audio recorder. This is just an observation, not a criticism - this helps prevent clipping; indeed, there may be a digital limiter built into the phone.


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Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 18, 2020 4:52 pm

Thought I’d get these photos done before it starts snowing this afternoon :)

Here are phone snaps of a Schoeps mike mounted on the camera on a Vark Audio stereo bar and directly using a standard Schoeps mike clip (part SG 20).

These place the mike closer than the Grace bar (two posts above) to the camera's vent. I have not yet tested these placements for fan noise. Note that the Vark bar, like the Grace, has mounts at different heights for recording stereo with two mikes that are close together. At US$70, it is much cheaper than the Grace, but less flexible. In the U.S., the Vark has been a standard bit of kit for a long time and I imagine that a high percentage of sound recordists have one. It isn’t fancy, but it’s quite capable of getting the job done.

I explain what fasteners/adapters I'm using two posts up.

Quite apart from the question of camera/fan noise, I’m not keen on how close the mike/windscreen are to the Fujinon lens when mounted directly (photo #3), although this placement would be OK, if fan noise isn’t an issue, with most of my primes (see signature).

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Last edited by robedge on Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostSat Jan 18, 2020 8:20 pm

The delightful lady who delivers my mail braved the snow this afternoon (more than a couple of millimeters and New York grinds to a halt) to deliver a B+W XS-Pro Käsemann Circular Polariser.

Stacking it with the 2-stop ND (B+W #802), I can now confirm that the Fujinon lens will take two XS-Pro filters without vignetting.

As much as I like the Lee Filters system, using the Fujinon with its own hood and screw-in filters is pretty attractive.

Still on the lookout for the 3-stop and 6-stop XS-Pro ND filters for something less than the crazy current retail price of US$180 each :)
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Jan 20, 2020 3:40 am

Thanks for sharing those setups, I find those helpful for thinking about some issues I've had trying to use a mic on my Small Rig cage with less than optimal results. Especially since I'm always using a Rycote blimp. I use a cage because I've dropped my camera before when "urban exploring" in quasi-legal circumstances, but that Grace bar looks more useful for attaching a mic, that's for sure. The Vark, too. Is the Grace that much sturdier? Nice to see that both of these could accommodate something more complex for future sound ideas I have. Since I have a pair of LOM Usi Pro microphones on preorder.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Jan 20, 2020 6:50 am

robedge wrote:The delightful lady who delivers my mail braved the snow this afternoon (more than a couple of millimeters and New York grinds to a halt) to deliver a B+W XS-Pro Käsemann Circular Polariser.

Maybe this filter will work out for you, but I noticed a problem with it, particularly when it was not adjusted properly. Since then I have been avoiding using it. I have now obtained a Hoya IR cut filter. That may have been the cause of my trouble.

Look at image 6 of 7 here for my results:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=96042&p=532771&hilit=XS+Pro+Kaesemann+High#p532771
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Jan 20, 2020 1:30 pm

dondidnod wrote:
robedge wrote:The delightful lady who delivers my mail braved the snow this afternoon (more than a couple of millimeters and New York grinds to a halt) to deliver a B+W XS-Pro Käsemann Circular Polariser.

Maybe this filter will work out for you, but I noticed a problem with it, particularly when it was not adjusted properly. Since then I have been avoiding using it. I have now obtained a Hoya IR cut filter. That may have been the cause of my trouble.

Look at image 6 of 7 here for my results:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=96042&p=532771&hilit=XS+Pro+Kaesemann+High#p532771


Hi,

The point of my post is that the Fujinon 18-55mm will take stacked XS-Pro filters without vignetting.

I see in your linked thread that you’ve had focus and colour problems with both B+W and Hoya circular polarisers. I’ve never used the Hoya, which is extremely expensive, but I know that it is highly regarded by landscape photographers. I’ve used B+W XS-Pro filters on a Leica M240 and a Sony RX0 without problem. I’m aware of the IR concern (it was a big issue, spawning countless posts on the internet, when Leica released its first digital camera, the M8), but would be surprised if IR is an issue with a filter that reduces light by 1-1.5 stops. However, I’ll be on the lookout. In any event, as discussed earlier in this thread, I also have a Lee linear polariser.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostMon Jan 20, 2020 3:13 pm

Chris Leutger wrote:Thanks for sharing those setups, I find those helpful for thinking about some issues I've had trying to use a mic on my Small Rig cage with less than optimal results. Especially since I'm always using a Rycote blimp. I use a cage because I've dropped my camera before when "urban exploring" in quasi-legal circumstances, but that Grace bar looks more useful for attaching a mic, that's for sure. The Vark, too. Is the Grace that much sturdier? Nice to see that both of these could accommodate something more complex for future sound ideas I have. Since I have a pair of LOM Usi Pro microphones on preorder.


Hi Chris,

I didn’t know that LOM is offering a new mike. You have me intrigued and I’m now thinking about ordering one. I first learned of LOM when Toronto musician and YouTuber Andrew Huang, who often uses found sound to make music, used LOM’s electromagnetic receiver to make one of his videos. Interesting products.

The Vark Audio bar, which is made from Delrin and brass, is pretty much indestructible. You can toss it in a backpack without the slightest concern. The Grace bar is a pleasure to use, and is very well made, but it has a fair number of parts. It is inherently fussier because it is more versatile. The Grace, unlike the Vark, can be used for AB stereo recording with the 66cm/24” bar. If I recall, there’s also a one meter bar. The round clamp that you see in the centre in the photos is used to hold all of the Grace bars. It makes it possible to set the angle of the bars, and therefore of the mikes, in relation to the sound source. With the Grace bar, one can also place mikes further from the Pocket 4K vent.*

Reading your post and your posts on another current thread, it occurs to me that you might be interested in Chris Watson’s work. Perhaps you’re already familiar with him. If not, Watson is a UK sound recordist and sound designer who is probably best known for his work with Sir David Attenborough and as a founding member of Cabaret Voltaire.

Watson’s web site is at https://chriswatson.net This video - The Sound of Story: Chris Watson - is a good introduction to his approach to sound recording and sound design. From 16:00, he talks about an interesting commission - creating a soundtrack for London’s National Gallery to accompany John Constable’s 1826 painting The Cornfield. I learned a lot from this talk and think that it’s a nice demonstration of how sound design is done.

Lighthouse Arts, “The Sound of Story: Chris Watson”:




Also, here’s Geoff Manchester’s walkthrough of SonicCouture’s sample library based on Watson recordings. SonicCouture’s YouTube channel has its own video on this library, plus a two part interview with Watson. Manchester, like Huang, is a Toronto musician/composer, but he’s pretty focused on film scoring. If his voice is familiar, it’s because he makes/narrates iZotope’s product and training videos.

Geoff Manchester, “Let’s play Haunted Spaces from SonicCouture”:



If you want to hear a subject-specific recording, one example is a 2013 BBC Radio 4 programme on Watson’s sound portrait of Newcastle train station: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03c45hq

Cheers

* I should emphasise that Grace’s system is at the high end of the market and that there are a number of less expensive alternatives. Its basic packages (SB-30 and SB-66), in what is a modular system with many options, come with two short mounts and one tall mount. If you want to use all three mounts at once, you have to order two additional parts. These parts - E404 and E405 - can be seen in the user manual that is downloadable from Grace’s web site. The additional charge for these parts is US$23.

Using three mounts, one can mount a smartphone as well as two microphones (see photos six posts up). It is also possible to mount a reasonably light camera and lens on the bar (using the two short mounts and a cheeseplate) plus a mike. This idea is similar in concept to the bridge mount that Grace offers to mount a third mike in the centre of its bars, but makes it possible to mount a camera.

If ordering a base package plus additional parts, it makes sense to order directly from Grace in Colorado rather than from a reseller. Finally, I should note that Grace offers a choice of 5/8” thread (Canada/U.S. music standard) and 3/8” (everywhere else).
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 21, 2020 4:14 am

Funny that you mention Chris Watson. I was a big Cabaret Voltaire fan in the 80's and when I was doing my field recording research was amused to see him in that scene. (Just as amusing to me to see Graeme Revell from industrial outfit, SPK, go on to major soundtrack work over the years.) Thanks for the links, I'll check out the videos. It's always helpful to think about what I could be doing to push the video work beyond...the simple confines of "field documentary" or something by using more complex sound design.

I don't think the Usi Pro is a new mike. I think it's just a new preorder for an existing product since that's how they sell these things. I got a single Ucho from them a few years ago which I haven't used much but was thinking that I would interested to work with a stereo pair. Hence the need for some sort of bar attachment. I saw the cost on the Grace and it didn't seem crazy expensive for something that is, as you say, "a pleasure to use." I actually think it's worth it to pay for something that fits that category. Too often the cheap route is so unpleasant that you don't use it. I'll check out the user manual to see what I think would work for me. But the Vark might be a cheap way to start.

Thanks for the info, I appreciate it!
Last edited by Chris Leutger on Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 21, 2020 4:19 pm

Chris Leutger wrote:I was a big Cabaret Voltaire fan in the 80's and when I was doing my field recording research was amused to see [Chris Watson] in that scene. (Just as amusing to me to see Graeme Revell from industrial outfit, SPK, go on to major soundtrack work over the years.)


Add Bernie Krause to the list :) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Krause
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostTue Jan 21, 2020 11:11 pm

robedge wrote:Add Bernie Krause to the list :) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Krause


Hahahah! I have George Harrison's Electronic Sound record and B&K's Nonesuch Guide...that's awesome. I'll have to check it out.


By the way, the Grace bar comes across as a good deal when you see the price of the Schoeps...
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Jan 24, 2020 5:33 am

I’m going to preface this post by saying that last night I watched Walk Run Cha-Cha, a delightful little film that is up for an Academy Award this year. Came across a photo of the cinematographer, Shana Hagan, at work, camera on her shoulder. No rods, no follow focus, no matte box. Just a lens hood like the one that the Fujinon comes with.

That said, I’ll be posting photos later today or tomorrow that show the Pocket 4K and the Fujinon lens with:

Sachtler’s Ace Base Plate
I decided that I want a quick release clamp. That is essentially what the Ace Base Plate is, and it comes with a quick release camera plate. It also includes a part that can be used to prevent the camera from twisting right and left on the plate, which with this camera and lens is an issue/annoyance.

The Sachtler camera plate is a bit longer than Manfrotto’s 500PL plate, but otherwise very similar. The Sachtler plate seems to work fine on my Manfrotto MVH500AH video head. More on this nine posts down.

I have pretty much given up on the idea of going fully Arca Swiss. It can be done, but it involves adding adapters, which, not wanting to emulate Rube Goldberg, I’m not keen on, and it could wind up being expensive. For example, it’s possible to replace the whole top of a Manfrotto 500 series video head to make it Arca Swiss, but doing so costs as much as an MVH500 head.

Bright Tangerine Titanium Drumstix Rods, 15mm
The Ace Base Plate can take two 15mm rods. The Ace/BT fit is very snug, which is good (see below about rigidity).

The Bright Tangerine rods are expensive as rods go, but I’m satisfied that they are worth the money (relatively speaking). Light (45g/1.6oz each), rigid, not a hint of flex. What about carbon fiber, which is apparently very popular? I’ve sailed a good number of boats with carbon fiber masts (which are rods), and there are issues with the material. I’ve even had a 40’ carbon fiber mast shear in 10 knots of wind. Led to first-hand experience with Great Britain’s wonderful RNLI :) It’s not a material that I want to use for this application.

I purchased 9” rods, but with a matte box, which I’m not using, this lens would require 12” rods.

There’s an unanticipated, welcome benefit. The rods make it easy to put the camera down without worrying about the lens. Hey, it makes a difference.

Zacuto Scissors Lens Support for Fujinon MK Lenses
Made for these lenses. The design is unorthodox, as can be seen in the video linked in this post above: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=105319&p=588092#p583518

So far, happy with the product. Doesn’t get in the way of the lens controls or when using the camera handheld. However, I would not be in a hurry to pay full retail (I didn’t).

I’ve been told, and believe, that this camera and lens do not need lens support. However, the combination of the base plate, rods and support noticeably increases rigidity/reduces flex. This can only be good if the camera is on a tripod and I’m changing focus (pulling focus) or focal length (zooming) in the course of a shot.

Why not Wooden Camera, Zacuto, SmallRig?
The equivalent with Wooden Camera or Zacuto requires more pieces to purchase and connect, and would have cost more. I like the fact that Sachtler’s Ace Base Plate is an integrated whole rather than modular, and that it has more mass.

I have heard pros and cons about SmallRig. I was concerned about fit, such as rod/base plate fit as mentioned above. My understanding is that SmallRig precision has improved, but I didn’t want to spend time finding out or having to exchange an out-of-spec part.

None of these companies offer an equivalent to Bright Tangerine’s Drumstix rods, and Wooden Camera’s rods (aluminum) are the same price.

As mentioned, photos coming up. Delighted to respond to any questions.

P.S. The New York Times has uploaded Walk Run Cha-Cha to YouTube as part of its Op-Doc series. Can also be watched on the Times’s site, where there’s an accompanying article.
Last edited by robedge on Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:07 am, edited 7 times in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Jan 24, 2020 11:33 am

Hi Rob,
I’m glad I went through you post. I have too the BMPCC 4K and both MK lenses.
I have struggled finding a practical setup, especially for the lens support. I looked at the Zacuto Scissor but with no adjustable leg length, I thought it was not workable for me, so I went to the traditional lens support, the V shape, from Smallrig. It works but not ideal, I think.
Then I just read from you about the Sachtler base plate with the adjustable height, so it looks perfect for the Zacuto scissor. The camera can be adjusted to the right position to match with it. I’m looking forward for your picture.
For ND, I use two 82mm ND from Kenko(Zeta ND 4 & 8), they are great, and can be stacked.
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Re: First Impressions: Blackmagic 4K + Fujinon MK 18-55mm Le

PostFri Jan 24, 2020 5:31 pm

I'm curious about pictures. I have a Angenieux 15-150mm that I've used on my Pocket 2K before but my current setup doesn't support it well enough. Sounds like this might be a way for me to use that lens.
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