Friday, September 19, 2008

Kata CC-195 video bag

The purchase of the Panasonic AG-HMC70U has meant the purchase of one more expensive item: a new camera bag. Turns out that the bag I have which is quite a bit bigger than the Sony HDR-FX1 I usually schlep around, isn’t big enough to hold the Panasonic. And – all things considered – it’s a big bag! So I had to get an even bigger one.

A trip to a local camera store revealed a wealth of bag possibilities; though it turned out most of them were camera bags. I could pull out the dividers on some of the larger ones, but it seemed like you’re paying a lot for that padding. Even for the few straight video camera bags, it was obvious there was no cheap solution.

I ended up focused (pun?) on a range of bags made by Kata. I hadn’t heard of them before; turns out they are owned by Bogen.

They have a website that let’s you find bags based on cameras, and their selector recommended the: CCC-10-A ( about $240 street) for the AG-HMC70U. Interestingly, I managed to try the CC-195 at the store (about $150), and the camera fits in there quite comfortably (if the camera was any wider or taller, it wouldn’t.)

After dithering around, I ended up getting the CC-195 because it was cheaper, and really, it was all I need (The CCC-10-A looks to be a huge bag too!)

Kata CC-195 with top open -
the top hinges on the left edge (not shown)

The CC-195 definitely feels like it will protect the camera, and do it’s job. It’s still BIG, but I can live with it.

Frankly, I don’t love the way the top works; it has two zippers that run across the top, and pulling the zipper is a bit awkward (particularly over the handle of the bag.) This means you have this long piece of material to deal with when the bag is opened, and it also makes putting the camera in a little more awkward as the top isn’t quite as wide as the bag itself. My other bag opens more traditionally, bending on the long back seam, rather than the short end seam.

I’ve also seen some complaints from other users about the plastic fasteners for the strap. I don’t use bag straps all that much; but I do sometimes, and the thought of the clip breaking is rather sobering. I think the fault is not the plastic hook, but the fact that the plastic hook is connected to a rotating plastic ring. Points for avoiding tangles, but I think this plastic ring compromises strength (the strap on my other bag also has plastic hooks, but there’s no rotating ring; the hook has a belt clip that the belt runs through.)

Plastic Clip

More on Canon 5D Mark II video

Norwegian Broadcasting's technology site, NRKBeta, got their hands on some video clips from the Canon 5D Mark II and are very positive about what they see.

  • Look better than HDV (25 mbit/s MPEG2) vs the 5DMkII 40 m/bit H.264
  • Canon says IS-Lense image stabilization is active.
  • You can shoot stills during video, but there will be a break in the video.

Meanwhile, on the Rob Galbraith site, it notes that clip length is actually half an hour, or a 4GB movie, but the amount of footage you can cram into 4GB depends on the subject matter. In testing this translated to 12 minutes.

Other details:

  • You can capture at 1920 x 1280 or 640 x 480.
  • Canon is moving from Motion JPEG to MPEG4 on all it’s PowerShots.
  • The stereo-in is a 3.5mm jack. Levels are adjusted automatically (no manual override) and there is wind noise suppression applied automatically (and cannot be adjusted or turned off.)
  • White Balance can be set before recording, or Auto WB will adjust during recording.
  • Shutter speed is set automatically (1/30 to 1/125).
  • Much shallower focus is possible compared to smaller-sensor HD cameras.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Canon 5D Mark II news

While it's supposed to be out in November, there are already reports of high demand for this camera, which may mean you won't get one until the new year if you wait too long to order. Worse yet, it might take a while for the price to go any lower than the list $2,699.99.

Meanwhile, the SlashGear site has some links to video shot using the camera. I really like those fish-eye shots.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This SLR does bigger movies

Only a couple of weeks after Nikon announced the D-90, with it's ability to capture 720p movie clips, along comes Canon with their 5D Mark II a 21MP camera offering 1080p 1,920 x 1,080 video capture at 30fps (with a maximum clip length of 12 minutes.) The clips are QuickTime files, H.264; 38.6 Mbits/sec. Wow!

The camera also has a mic input, while the D-90 only had a small built-in microphone (no word on whether it's stereo or mono.) EDIT: reportedly the audio is 16-bit PCM at 44KHz and stereo is supported with external mics.

I'm intrigued by this camera because a) it's a Canon mount, b) the video capture could be interesting and sometimes useful, and c) it has a full frame sensor. It's list price is $2,600; more than the D-90, (which is not full frame) but less than the original 5D list price (which is now selling for about $2,400.)

If I hadn't just bought the Panasonic, I'd jump out and get one of these; and yeah, I know it isn't practical as a primary video camera, but I think it could be really useful for special effects with wide-angle lenses. Oh, and a wicked-awesome SLR!!