More Tests On The Way

shark-s1-sliderFollowing up on my field tests of the Leica Nocticron and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN, I’m currently in the process of shooting with the Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95. Even at a distance of a few feet, shooting at f/2-f/2.8, the depth of field is razor thin, so, of the lenses I own, it’s going to be one of the more challenging to work with. The Nokton’s sweet spot is from f/2.8-f/4, so I may switch out my Hoya NDX8 for the Tiffen .6 or bump the ISO up to 400. Things are usually pretty slow around here until the weekend, so hopefully, I can post a clip come Sunday evening or so. I’ve been toying with the idea of testing out all 12 lenses in my collection, we’ll see. Meanwhile, I promised a review of the iFootage Shark Slider S1, which will be replacing my Edelkrone Slider Plus Small, so I’ll be using that for all of my tests as well. Not only is the Shark much longer than the Small, but because it has a flywheel mechanism, it is much easier to get smooth shots. I took it out this morning, along with the iFootage Wild Bull T7 tripod, quite a lot to lug around in the heat. But once on location, setting up the slider is a breeze, and I found the only limitation was my Weifeng tripod head, which has been leaking sticky goo now for a while. I’ll probably start looking for a replacement head in January, when I return from another trip to Malaysia. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to locate a single shop in Vietnam that carries professional fluid heads, so it looks like I’ll have to order from B&H, which means dealing with customs.

Zhiyun Crane Jitter Problem Addressed

zhiyun-assistant-appIn previous posts, I wrote that my gimbal was experiencing serious shake, even after the stabilizer had been properly balanced and calibrated. This effectively meant that I was without a camera for the whole of my two-week trip to George Town and Langkawi, Malaysia. Every single clip was ruined with jitter issues, which I posted the other week. This afternoon, I received an email from Rose Tang at the Zhiyun Tech Service department,  informing me of a new feature in the Zhiyun Assistant app, which is enabled with firmware update v1.52. If you scroll to the bottom of the Stabilizer Settings menu, you can choose between three motor strengths: weak, medium and strong. As I understand it, weak is for camera/lens combinations weighing under 500 grams, medium is for combinations up to 1,200 grams or so, and strong is for systems weighing up to 1,700 or 1,800 grams. As soon as I received the email, I went ahead and connected the app to my gimbal and selected ‘medium’, since I was experiencing shake when shooting with my Lumix GH4 and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN, a very lightweight lens. You can see the results in the clip below, taken from my apartment window. There is still some shake from my unsteady hands, and a little jitter is visible if you look in the corners of the image, but I think this is a small improvement. As I’ve said before, for static shots, a gimbal is no replacement for a good tripod. I will be going to Penang again in ten days, so this is a godsend. Once again, a huge ‘thank you!’ to Rose, who has always responded to my enquiries, and in this case, even wrote me after I’d stopped emailing for a while.

Update: After looking at this post, Rose emailed again to say there is still a 90% possibility that the jitter is caused by incorrect mounting, and asked me to send a video showing how I mount the camera to the stabilizer. Frustrating, because I’ve been going through so much turmoil to get the gimbal to work, but encouraging, because apparently the gimbal should be able to hold the camera rock-steady, even for locked-off shots. Stay tuned!