I’ve not had a chance to put my hands on this one, but looks pretty attractive for the price. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a less expensive rig that includes follow focus and a matte box. Looks pretty good in the photos. Read more about the Fotodiox WonderRig Elite.
Steadicam stabilizers have been used in motion picture production since 1975. When small DV cameras emerged, a number of handheld stabilizers emerged. I’ve seen more than a few DIY camera stabilizers over the past few years. I think it all started with one very similar to this one.
The primary difference here, is most every commercial stabilizer uses a gimbal and a roller bearing. A gimbal is basically like a universal joint in a car’s drive train, allowing connected shafts to pivot in any direction. The roller bearing allows rotation around the vertical axis.
This is one of the few than closely matches the design of a popular commercial unit. I’m tempted to build one myself. I’d love to hear from anyone that builds one of these for themselves.
I decided to have a go at my own slider design. Not original, just a lot of borrowed ideas from other makers out there. I went with metal conduit over PVC for the rails, as I preferred the strength to weight ratio. Not mentioned in the video is the fact that I added a piece of 3/16th x 2 poplar clamped and glued as reinforcement for the lengthwise piece. This is only necessary for mounting it on a tripod. Not really necessary if you just want to place it on a floor or table.
I ran across a video on Youtube, in response to a question as to why you should use a UV filter, and more importantly why they range so much in price. The video was an excerpt from a podcast on DSLRs. I was curious to hear their answer, and after ten minutes, the speaker did little more than tell a long story about how a UV filter saved his expensive lens after his camera took a dive into the mud. The final answer offered was not to spend over $30 for a UV filter.
I found this annoying on a couple of levels. First of all, the author said nothing about what a UV filter does. Nor did he address why UV filters can range from $10 to well over $200. Perhaps the author does not even know himself. Yes, many photographers and videographers keep a UV filter on their camera to protect their costly lens from damage. Generally a good idea, and there is (usually) nothing wrong with this.
The primary purpose of a UV filter is to (wait for it…) filter UV rays. Not only those emitted by the sun, but by fluorescent, and some other types of lamps too. Even though UV itself is not visible, the result is a slight blue cast over the image. Blue skies appear with a light haze when shot without a UV filter. The degree of this effect depends on the lens and the camera used of course.
I learned the value of a quality UV filter some years ago. I was getting some terrible lens flare in an outdoor shoot. Much worse than I had ever dealt with before. I finally realized the one thing that had changed. I had added a cheap UV filter to my camera. The internal reflection caused by the poor quality filter were caused greatly exaggerated lens flare. Removing it solved the problem.
I soon learned that there is a good reason for the cost differences in UV filters. Cheap filters usually have a single coating on the outside. High quality filters are coated both in and out. This reduces internal reflection, and prevents lens flares. The quality of the coating does vary, and is extremely important. Cheap coatings can be difficult to clean among other things. The quality of the glass is also very important. Cheap filters have thicker glass. Necessary, because the glass is a lower quality. High quality filters have thinner glass, and is of a much higher optical clarity. Finally, it’s the coating that performs the function of blocking the UV rays. Not surprisingly, cheap filters will actually block little or no UV rays.
So, you spent $900 on your new prime lens, and you’re going to put $20 worth of glass in front of it? I’d suggest investing a little more. You don’t necessarily have to spend over $200 on a new Heliopan UV filter, but a cheap UV filter should be thought of as little more than a second lens cap.
When looking to replace my dying Epson, I needed disc printing capabilities on a new printer just as I had on my old R320 Sylus Photo. It was a pretty good printer, but I place a high workload demand on devices that are really intended for consumer use. I still got my money’s worth more or less.
I decided to pull the trigger on an HP this time. I already own a multi fuction HP Laserjet, and it’s been a real workhorse. Nice aesthetics, and an impression of above average construction quality. A nice touch is the disc printing tray has a little storage slot right in the printer. In short, print quality is quite good on both discs and photo paper. Maybe a hair below the quality of the Epson, but very close. It is definitely much faster with better document quality.
What could be better? Well, let me tell you. While the hardware is better than expected, the software is terrible. I was stunned to find out you can only print to discs using HP templates. You cannot use your own designs. You cannot change the inner and outer diameter, change the alignment, or do much more than change small areas of text or photo inserts. The software seems intrusive and overly dumbed down. I finally discovered a third party ap that solved the problem. Unfortunately, I’m out another $30.
Bottom line is that it’s a good printer, but if you expect to print custom DVDs and CDs, you should add $30 to the price.