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Swimming with sound: The Sound Shark

1504 Sound Shark ProjHalf of what we do as media producers is record audio. The other half of course is video. Quite a few of us forget about that and sometimes something comes along that helps us record better audio. One of the most popular things to do when recording with a small mirrorless or HDSLR's is to mount a short shotgun microphone on top of the camera. Most shotgun microphones are to be used vertically not horizontally like when they're mounted on a camera. The microphone does not do the best rejection and does not give you the best audio in front of the camera.

The makers of the Sound Shark have made a product that tries to solve this problem. The Sound Shark is a parabolic microphone using a small lavaliere in the dish. They Call it the “Zoom Lens” of Audio. It extends the range of audio that can be recorded, up to 30 feet. They are using proven technology that is used every day to record sound at a distance, such as football games and the professional sports. The basic unit with out microphone is $400.

Watch the review to see the Sound Shark in action.

Watch the video to see the Sound Shark in action.

E-M5 Mark II does News

1503 Irrigation FloatI have taken the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark 5 to do news reports for the local radio station's YouTube channel.

Most of the time the camera has behaved well. One occasion there was some moire, but minor. My bigger complaint with this camera is that the camera locks all the controls once you push the record button. The control wheels do nothing. The viewfinder does not change to the LCD when I take my eye away from it. If you are using the rear swivel LCD, one item (aperture, shutter, exposure compensation, ISO, audio volume) at a time can be changed on the touch screen. You can refocus auto focus lenses by pushing the viewfinder button. This is not very intuitive and rather awkward. (I prefer my GH4 as all I have the do to refocus is half way push the big record button.) Since I have the battery grip I can monitor audio but that must be removed to replace a battery in the camera.

On the plus side, the camera is small and light weight. The viewfinder and LCD are very sharp with a hight number of pixels with a very good refresh rate. The image stabilizer is amazing. The auto white balance is great outside and good inside. It is nice knowing that the camera is weather sealed here in the Pacific Northwest.

Overall a great stills camera and a good video camera.

Here two reports shot with the camera and edited in FCPX.

Olympus E-M5 II Interview with Ray Acevedo

OM-D E-M5 II
OM-D E-M5 II

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Last Saturday while I was at the Kenmore Camera Anniversary Sale I had a chance to talk to Ray Acevedo from Olympus Imaging about the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II micro-fourthirds camera. I like so much that I bought one.

Flickr Set.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Arrival

OMD UnBoxingSaturday was the Kenmore Camera Anniversary Sale. Olympus was on hand with the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. As turns out, they supplied Kenmore with some of the first cameras in the country. The official release date I was told was Feb. 27th. I bought one after putting it through it's paces in the store. I took it home with me and opened the box and this is what I found.

Flickr Set.

The Lumix 35-100mm F2.8 is Updated

Sorry for being away for so long. I had a very busy fall.

GH2 with X 35-100mm

GH2 with X 35-100mm

A new important firmware update is available today from Panasonic. It address a problem that has had many owners unhappy. Some have returned the lens. I like my lens, but have noticed the micro-jitters people are complaining about. I even tested another lens at Kenmore Camera.

The new firmware update for the Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm F2.8 O.I.S lens improves the stability of O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilizer) in Motion Picture recording. An important update when using Panasonic DMC-GH3 and the 4K video recording DMC-GH4 mirrorless models. 

Details are at Panasonic support page.

The Panasonic H-HS35100 35-100mm f/2.8 lens has construction including 18 elements / 13 groups of optical elements crafted from Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion (UED) and Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass, and uses Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating to minimize internal reflections and flare.

My verdict: A definite improvement. I have not used this lens as much as would have liked but now I will use it more.

Silverdale Whaling Days Fireworks.

4K Fireworks

4K Fireworks

Here we go again. More fireworks shot with the Lumix GH4. This time the fireworks were shot in 4K and edited with Final Cut Pro X at 1080p Full HD. The lens used was the New Lumix 14-140mm at f5.6. The ISO was 1600 and the shutter speed was at 60th of a second. The sound was recorded with the built-in microphone in the camera.

Editing was done FCPX we had no trouble dealing with the 4K video. Audio was offset a little because light arrives before sound at a distance.

The image above is a frame grab from the 4K. I just love being able to pull a high resolution still from a movie. Here is the video.

2014 Neighborhood Fireworks at 96fps

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 4.27.51 PMOver the Forth of July here in these United States there are lots of fireworks celebrating our Independence Day. I decided to take the Lumix GH4 out and shoot some of our local fireworks at 96 frames a second. One of the nice new features of the GH4 is the ability to shoot slow motion in the camera. That way when I play it back it plays in slow motion. I set the iso of the camera at 1600. I used the new Lumix 14-140mm lens. I am real happy with the results. I hope you enjoy them.

GH4 Firmware Update

Panasonic has released a firmware update for the GH4. The improvement is: 1. Improved the reliability of video recording performance. It was issued today, 2014/07/01.

Also the lustrous Leica G 42.5mm f1.2 Nocticron got an update as well. The lens is know as to Panasonic as the H-NS043. The improvements are: 1. Improved the motion picture quality under high sensitivity in use with GH4.

For those of you who have a Lumix GM1 there is an update as well. The improvements are: 1. Connection problem with Apple iOS devices via Wi-Fi is fixed.

The update can be found here: http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/download/fts/index.html

The GH4 Users Report Part 1

The Lumix GH4 has become a very popular camera. Most of this is because of the 4K video feature at a reasonable price point. Some other bloggers are discovering the joys of using these 21st Century cameras that I have already known. Here in Part 1 of my user review I will explain some of the reasons why I like this camera.

GH4 & GH3

GH4 & GH3

Even though they are very similar in many ways, the Lumix GH4 is a major improvement over the Lumix GH3. As regular readers of this blog will know I am a great fan of the GH3. For Panasonic to improve the camera is quite an accomplishment because the GH3 was already a great camera. The new camera would have to be considerably better for me to like it a lot more. It is. They look the same except for a small detail, locking mode dial. Inside Panasonic has changed the camera considerably. Because of this, I find it hard to pick up the GH3 anymore because of the GH4. Here are some of the reasons why.

The viewfinder is miles better than its predecessor in the GH3. Not only is it sharper but it is easier to see without the edge Rainbow colors of the old viewfinder. I just don't like looking at the GH3’s viewfinder anymore. They even improved the eyecup. It is now softer and more comfortable. With the extra pixels in the viewfinder the image is a lot clearer. Sporting a new sensor with a faster read out, the image quality has improved in both stills and video. This faster sensor has improved the viewfinder as well. This is the first electronic viewfinder that I find looks almost like an optical view finder because of the faster readout and higher pixel count that adds to the clarity of the image.

One thing that I have wiped about the GH series is the swivel LCD. Swivel LCDs were put on videocameras many years ago and I have always liked them. I am glad that Panasonic put them on all of the GH series cameras. They have improved over the years. By adding more pixels Panasonic has improved the clarity of the swivel LCD on the back of the new camera is much better than its predecessor. So much so that I could now use it as an auxiliary viewfinder with my HoodLoupe. Still there on the LCD is the wonderful touch control that worked so well on the GH3. I have always liked the touch focus.

The new locking mode dial is very convenient in that when you push it down it locks the dial. Leave it up and the dial spins freely. This is a better arrangement than having to hold the button down to turn the dial like I'm some other cameras. I like being able to lock the mode to movie shooting.

It is wonderful that the improvements that came with the GH3 are still there. Having dedicated buttons for white balance, ISO asked and exposure compensation is great. I use them all the time. Having so many other function buttons is great too. I have always liked cameras with two Control wheels. One for aperture control, the other for shutter speed.

In Part 2 of my user review I will write about the improvements on the inside of the camera.

Shot with the GH4.