I’ve been using the Sirui N1004 travel tripod for the last 5 years and it has been a great tripod that’s stood up to a lot of abuse in multiple countries. The Sirui N1004 even came with me to NAB this year. But after all this time, the N1004 has started to show it’s age. The foam grip is starting to come apart, legs are starting to flop around, and the aluminum isn’t as light as some carbon fiber options which led me to check out the Mefoto globetrotter I came across at NAB.
The Mefoto globetrotter is about 2.5 inches shorter than my old Sirui N1004 and ruffly 1 1/2 pounds lighter. At the same time, the Mefoto globetrotter manages to stretch a few inches higher than the N1004. That said, the Mefoto globetrotter is almost double the price so what does that $399 price tag get you?
First, the reduced weight of the Mefoto globetrotter includes a pretty decent ball head with an Arca style Quick Release Plate. The globetrotter also manages to support up to 26.5 pounds yet still manages to fold into a 16-inch form factor.
The included ball head provides easy to use controls and allows you to twist, tilt, and rotate in whatever direction you like. The design also allows you to invert the tripod head for low angle shots.
Build quality is also top notch. The leg twist locks are very beefy and operate very smoothly on the Mefoto globetrotter. The legs also have a little more friction and tend to stay in place when you adjust them and the carbon fiber feels a bit more solid than my old Sirui N1004.
Both the Sirui N1004 and the Mefoto globetrotter can be converted into a monopod, however, the Mefoto gives you an extra 14 inches of height compared to the N1004. The thickness of Mefoto’s carbon fiber legs also seems to make a noticeable difference in stability.
Does the difference between the Sirui N1004 and the Mefoto globetrotter warrant a $180 price difference? I would say it depends on what you need. As a shooter who travels almost every month, for me, the upgrade is worth it. However, if you only travel, hike, or fly occasionally, the Sirui N1004 provides a far better value.
Will I replace my Sirui N1004 with the Mefoto globetrotter? Right now it is up in the air, but I’ll be spending a lot of time with the globetrotter over the next few weeks. We’ll see which one I end up keeping.
Want a focal reducer (a.k.a speed booster) for your Panasonic GH4 as well as a wireless follow focus and camera control system? Meet the Aputure DEC LensRegain which is basically an upgraded version of the original Aputure DEC with a Metabones speed booster style .75x focal reducer built in.
Image quality of the a Aputure DEC LensRegain looks top notch and the ability to control focus and record start/stop options on the Panasonic GH4 is pretty handy. To top that off, at a price of $600, it’s about $50 less than a Metabones .71x speed booster.
Overall the Aputure DEC LensRegain is a pretty attractive option for M43 shooters.
27Apr Edelkrone Standplus
Edelkrone is one of those companies that is always attempting to reinvent established products, and the Standplus is no exception. Basically, they’ve taken the design of their FlexTilt head and applied the concept to a full-size tripod. The result is this accordion style studio stand on wheels.
First of all, I don’t think the Standplus is intended to replace a traditional tripod for anything other than studio work on flat surfaces. Second, the position is held in place by springs tension and friction, so don’t expect it to support huge cameras.
I was able to play with the Standplus at NAB 2016. It takes a little bit of force to change positions and when I asked about weight capacity, the gentleman at the booth said, “Maybe 15 pounds or maybe more”. After that, he told me the Standplus was in the testing phase and that Edelkrone would have more information when it was ready for release.
A few people have been asking about weight. I picked this up on the showroom floor and my calibrated arm measured between 10 and 20 pounds. Which is to say it felt just about as heavy as a 503hdv head on a set of heavy duty legs.
No word yet on pricing or release dates, but I’ll keep an eye out for it.
The Lume Cube is an interesting concept. It provides a self-powered ultra compact high-intensity 6000k light source that fits in the palm of your hand. On top of that, the Lume Cube is waterproof, rechargeable and has the ability to be controlled by your cell phone via Bluetooth. Sounds like a Ginsu knife advertizement.
The Lume Cube is obviously not the solution for every shooting environment, but the size and control make it an interesting option for action cam work, fill lighting, and more. Sometimes you just need a little bit of light, but you don’t want to carry a bunch of large LED panels around and 3 or 4 of these strategically mounted around a room via friction arm could give you a lot of options.
CRI is around 85, and 6000k isn’t quite ideal, but still, Bluetooth control of multiple lights sounds pretty attractive. At $79 for a single Lume Cube, the only other competitors I’ve seen are the Manfrotto Lumie 8, Ikan iLED, and the Aladdin Eyelight. None of these are waterproof or Bluetooth controlled, and all of them are much wider and less compact. On the other hand, the Manfrotto sports a CRI of 92 and a 5200k output, the Aladdin has a CRI of 95, and the Ikan is only $49.
Still, I might have to get my hands on a couple of these Lume Cubes for testing. I’m glad to see that these mini lights are starting to become popular.
I haven’t seen a whole lot of news on the new Sony URX-P03D 2 channel UHF wireless system, maybe that’s because there is no word yet on shipping dates and pricing, or maybe it is because no one can remember the catchy name. Either way, this is an interesting little system.
Basically, the Sony URX-P03D is a two channel receiver that also allows you to mix an extra lav mic into the stream. They’ve managed to squeeze all of that into the form factor of a Sony UWP UHF system.
As of right now, the Sony URX-P03D is only listed on Sony’s international sites, and I haven’t seen any kind of big press release. This one is kind of flying under the radar. If I find out any more information on this interesting UHF system, I’ll let you know.
Update: Pricing appears to be $999 for the receiver only, so a single receiver will set you back as much as two full Sony UWP kits which makes the URX far less interesting. Thanks to AndersM for finding the link!
If you’ve been a DSLR or Mirrorless shooter for any length of time, camera cages are a way of life. Over the years, I’ve wondered between huge bulky 15mm rail setups and shoulder mount rigs, but in the last 5 years or so I’ve settled into a minimalist approach to camera rigs. That’s why Smallrig has started to dominate my camera mounting kit.
I could use something crazy like the Varavon Zeus that literally dominates the camera frame with giant handles and mounting options. However, while a huge rig gives you a lot of options for mounting, sometimes you need to take a step back and think about what you really need to mount on your camera and how you plan to use it. Do you need more than 3 cold shoe mounts? Are 3 handles the right number or can you live with one? Do you really need a set of 15mm rails in order to survive? Do you want to carry around an extra 5 to 10 pounds of weight all day? Would you want to spend more money on mounting your camera then the camera itself? If you answered no to those questions, the $68 Sony A7s II cage from Smallrig might be the one for you.
First of all, I like to keep the right side of my Sony a7s II clean and free from obstruction. The a7s II comes with a very nice hand grip, especially when compared to the original a7s, and all of your camera controls are on that side of the camera so why cover it up? The Smallrig cage works perfectly with this concept, leaving the right side of your camera open and clear.
I also don’t want my camera to be able to float or spin inside of its mount. So Smallrig has designed the a7s II cage with tabbed wings and a rubber grip that presses up against your camera and keeps it held in place.
From the base design of the Smallrig Sony a7s II cage, I’ve only made a few upgrades. First, I like to have a handle opposite the body grip for handheld shooting. With that in mind, I’ve attached the $43 Smallrig V7 handle via a $18 10cm nato rail. On top of that handle, I have a single cold shoe adapter which gives me a total of two cold shoe mounts on the handle.
Just make sure you mount your 4cm nato rail in the correct position. I’ve been shooting with the Sony k1m-xlr audio adapter so I needed to place the nato rail in a spot that allowed me to balance the camera, yet stay out of the way of the k1m’s smart hot shoe adapter.
- Smallrig Sony A7s II cage $68
- Smallrig V7 handle $43
- 10cm nato rail $18
- 4cm nato rail $16
- Cold shoe adapter $9
So to recap, that’s just under $160 for a rig that will get you through around 80% of your shots and it requires almost zero setup. This Smallrig configuration leaves you with a total of up to 3 cold shoe mounts if you use one of these or two if you don’t. The layout also balances nicely with a monopod attached to the rig and it is actually the configuration I received so many questions about at NAB this year.
Devin and I were able to carry this around in one hand on the showroom floor, shooting a bit of B-Roll or the occasional booth interview without slowing us down or getting in the way of the constant crowds and congestion at NAB.
While this Smallrig configuration doesn’t solve every problem out there, it likely meet most’s needs (mine included) for far less than some of the other options out there.
2 Sachtler Ace M tripods and 1 Litepanels Caliber Kit
3 winners and $2,355 value!
2 winners will receive a Sachtler Ace M Tripod (Value $680)
1 winner will receive a Litepanels Caliber Kit (Value $995)
Visit the giveaway page for more info
You’ll have until April 29 at 9pm CDT to share on social media and every person who signs up via your unique link earns you 10 additional entries!
Lilliput is a company I haven’t really thought about in the last few years. They were one of the first to make an affordable 7 inch field monitor with a whopping 1024×600 resolution for under $200. Since then most of their monitors have been derivatives of the same concept. However at NAB this week, Devin and I saw the new Lilliput Q7 and Q5 field monitors and we were pretty impressed with the new design.
These two new panels feature a rather nice looking 1920×1080 screen resolution with a very a sharp IPS display. The design and build have gotten a lot better with the Q7 and Q5 field monitors vs the previous generation lilliput monitors, but they still haven’t caught up to the design and build of the higher end SmallHD 501 and 701 line. That said you can currently pick the Lilliput Q7 for $580 and we should see the Lilliput Q5 for sale in the next few months with an estimated price of $475 (according to lilliput’s booth reps).
Remember that Saramonic dual channel receiver lav kit I reviewed a few months back? First of all, Saramonic has fixed the channel mixing issue. You can now isolate the two transmitters by sending the signal to the left and right channel of your camera’s input. Which means for $399 you can buy a very decent dual channel 2 lav kit with a receiver that’s the size of a transmitter pack. Second I wanted to point out that if you’ve already bought the UWMIC10 base kit (1 transmitter and 1 receiver for $269) you can now buy a second transmitter for $129.
Devin and I used this kit throughout NAB this year and it worked great. At $399 for a dual channel wireless kit, Saramonic has one of the best value to price options on the market period and now that they’ve fixed my main gripe about the receiver unit (channel mixing), this kit is now my top pick for budget filmmakers and pretty much any filmmaker really. I’m not getting rid of my Sennheiser g3 sets but with two channels in such a small package the Saramonic dual channel system is now my run and gun favorite. I was really impressed with audio quality of the kit mics and even more impressed with how it held up throughout one of the most saturated UHF locations you could be in (NAB 2016). Great stuff!