Tutorials and Gear Reviews

Here are some videos that I created to share what I have learned about some of the gear I use professionally. I also give my opinions on some newer gear coming out.

Sony PXW-Z90V/HXR-NX80 Video Camcorder

In a previous blog I wrote about the Canon Xf400/405. Well Sony also has a couple of similar brand offerings – the Sony PXW-Z90V and HXR-NX80. Both are pro video cameras and similar to the Canon one comes with SDI out and the other does not. The prices are $2799.00 and $2299.00. Let’s talk about some of the things that stick out about this video camera:

1. 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor and BIONZ Processor

Sounds fancy, don’t it? A 1 inch sensor is going to help achieve shallow depth of field and also provide some nice low light performance in this camera. From personal experience, I know that Sony has a knack for making camera that perform in low light, so I know this newer technology will probably do even better than the 1 inch sensor in the PXW-X70.

2. Shoots 4k @ 30P internally to an SD card

3. Highspeed Auto Focus system

This newer focus system uses a cross between phase detection and contrast detection to maintain focus. This should really help you track fast moving subjects.

4. Small compact form factor with pro features

This camera has all the pro features you need to shoot professional video sound with customizable buttons and a detachable audio handle with two XLR inputs for capturing great audio from pro microphones.

5. Fixed Lens with a long zoom range and built in IS

6. S-Log

The Sony is capable in shooting in Log mode for those who like more freedom with color grading!

The lens is capable of zooming 12x and in HD mode can be extended to 24x without a loss of image quality. It can also be extended 18x in 4k mode. The moral of the storyy is that you have all the reach you need.

 How does it stack up against the Canon XF400/405?

All in all this is a solid set of offerings from Sony that is almost identical the Canon cameras. Canon has them beat on being able to shoot 4k at 60P and having a bigger zoom range, but Sony shoots in S-log and has a cheaper price tag. Either way, I can’t wait to see how well these cameras perform in event shooting.

Canon XF400/405

The Canon XF400/405 is coming out! Hooray! Hooray! Yes I am excited about this video camcorder. I will say that I am pretty impressed by the specs. Here are some of the main ones that interest me:

1. 1-inch sensor and a DIGIC DV 6 Dual Processor

Now there have been many cameras coming out with 1 inch sensors. There have been several pocket cameras and video cameras from the likes of Canon, Sony, and Panasonic to name a few. Many will agree that the results have been pretty good. This particular camera has an added improvement – the Digic DV 6 Dual Processor.

Now some may think, well so what? Big deal…but it is! This is not just a DIGIC 6, it’s a dual Digic 6! What does that mean? Well that remains to be seen, but I know that two is better than one. I’m sure it will provide better low light performance and also some better dynamic range.

2. Shoots 4k @ 60P

It also shoots 4k at 60p internally to a SD card. Not much more to say than that. Many cameras cannot do that internally.

3. Dual Pixel AF

Also keep in mind that this camcorder is using the Dual Pixel AF technology to get you accurate auto focusing. I’ve used this auto focus in the Canon 70d and the Canon C100 and I was and continue to be very impressed. I honestly haven’t seen an auto-focusing system that works better.

4. It’s a true video camera not a DSLR or Mirroless Camera

Another thing I like about this camera, is the fact that it is a self-contained unit. It’s not a stills camera that is being used as a video camera where the manufactures are insuring that it takes great pictures and good video. There are pro video features that ensure you are quickly getting the shot while also capturing professional audio. There are ND filters, there’s an audio handle with 2 XLR inputs, and there are two SD card slots, so you can ensure you have a backup of your video at all times. And there is a fixed lens…

5. Fixed Lens with a long zoom range and built in IS

Did I mention that this fixed lens is also a 15x zoom, and is capable of being extended to 30x zoom while still maintaining image quality. I have cameras with interchangeable lenses and I do enjoy the creative freedom that it provides, but in some situations, being able to have a nice set of glass that is permanently attached that provides a wide to close range is comforting. It ensures that you are always ready for the shot. Oh and there is also 5-axis image stabilization built in.


All of these things make this a really interesting camcorder if you are an event shooter or you shoot corporate videos. I am very interested in getting my hands on this camera and putting it through some testing in the real world. Now I only mentioned some of the major features that matter most to me, but believe me there is much more. I touch on some of this in the video below.

by: Michael W. Turner

Time Lapsing with the Yi 4k action Camera

The Yi 4k Action Camera has many different settings. In this video, I talk about some of the do’s and don’ts of creating time lapse videos in general, and the advantages and disadvantages of using time lapse video mode as opposed to the time lapse photo mode. You should be aware that if you auto white balance when trying to film daytime – evening time lapses you may run into issues with the color temperature suddenly jumping around. If you you shoot time lapse photos you can shoot 12 mega-pixel pictures that you can re-frame later are use to add fake slides to your shots. This is a little harder to do time lapse video made, but certainly not impossible. Watch the video for some additional nuggets of information.

Yi 4k Action Cam – Best Image Quality Settings

The Yi 4k action camera is a great value action camera packed with features, but it wasn’t too lng ago that I ran into some issues. I was shooting some footage from a wedding and when I sat down to edit, I noticed that all the footage was very poor quality. I wound up not using any of it. In this video, I discuss ways to get the best image quality out of the Yi 4k Action camera. I talk about shooting modes like 1080p, 2k, and 4k. I also discuss other features of the camera the contribute to maximizing image quality such as image stabilization, cleaning the lens, metering, and sharpness. If you are having issues with image quality or want to maximize your camera’s performance, give it a watch!

If you are trying to figure out what adapter to use to connect canon EF/EF-S lenses to the JVC GY-LS300, please watch this video. I discuss 3 adapters, the Commlite, Metabones, and Kipon.

Here’s a follow up to the previous video that addresses some focusing issues with Kipon AF adapter.


The Provista 18 vs VT-350 Tripod

Neweer Tripod Leveler

Davis & Sanford FM 18 Head Removal

Rode Video Mic Fix

Magnus VT 350 Tripod Post Review

Sigma 28-70mm f2.8 vs Sigma 17-70mm f2.8- 4