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The Week In Cameras

Latest News About the Tools We Use by Michael Murie

Sony Responds to RED, Blackmagic Fix and Avid Continues to Decline

Two weeks ago RED announced that they were suing Sony for patent infringement for technology used in Sony’s PMW-F5, PMW-F55, and F65 cameras. Last week Sony posted a response on their Pro video website. First noting that the F65 has been commercially available for over a year, and that the F5/F55 were announced in October, they go on to say:

Sony has now had an opportunity to study Red’s complaint and the asserted patents, and categorically denies Red’s allegations. Sony intends to defend itself vigorously in the Red lawsuit. Sony looks forward to prevailing in court, thus vindicating the Sony engineers who developed Sony’s quality digital cinema cameras.

Sony: Showcase


New F5 & F55 Firmware release Ver. 1.03
The PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 have only just started shipping and Sony has already released a firmware update, Ver 1.03:

This firmware is not part of a scheduled release. It is an interim release to provide immediate correction to the “black edge on highlights” issue reported by some users. This issue rarely occurs with Ver. 1.02 only when shooting with S-Log2 or HyperGamma selected; it is not present in RAW or Standard Gamma recordings.

Sony: Community


Blackmagic Cinema Camera Infinity Focus Problem
Back in August of last year, a user reported issues with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and some lenses not being able to focus to infinity. It was suggested that there might be an issue with the flange distance of the mount being incorrectly calibrated.

Of course, then Blackmagic ran into production problems, and the camera wasn’t really finding its way into many users hands. That has changed over the last couple of months, and with more users has come more reports of problems with different lenses. One user, Philip Mortimer, reported on the Blackmagic forum:

My manual focus EF mount lenses from Zeiss and Voigtlander with a hard infinity stop cannot focus to infinity on either BMCC. My Nikon mount manual focus lenses cannot focus to infinity on the BMCC when used with a high quality Rayqual adapter, but do focus to infinity when used with a cheap eBay adapter. My Canon autofocus lenses all focus past infinity by design, and can all achieve infinity focus on the BMCC.

Blackmagic Forum: Flange distance issue

This week Kristian Lam from Blackmagic Design posted that they have found the cause – and a solution to – the problem.

When checked against a collimated cine lens, we expect the Blackmagic Cinema Camera to get accurate focus according to the witness marks on the lens. For example, at focus chart placed 6 ft from the camera sensor plane will be in focus when the witness mark on the lens is at 6 ft.

When I tried the same collimated lens on some 5Ds, 7Ds and even a C300, the witness marks fall short of the expected distance which indicates to me that there’s some fair amount of tolerances built into the Canon cameras to cater for still lenses where the tolerances are not as critical as cine lenses.

To address this, we need to put in the same allowances. We have tested this with some of the cameras from customers reporting this and it works.If you think you’re encountering this issue, please contact your local Blackmagic Design support office and we’ll sort you out.

Blackmagic Forum: Flange distance issue – Kristian Lam

The good news is that a solution exists, and future cameras will have the fix. The bad news is that if you have a camera and are experiencing the problem, you will have to send in the camera to get it recalibrated.


Avid postpones Fourth-quarter earnings report due to “accounting problem”
The Academy Awards should have been a good night for Avid; Argo was edited on Avid, and all five nominees for Film Editing were also edited on Avid. But on Monday Avid announced that it was postponing its fourth quarter earnings report due to “accounting problems.” They have not said when they will announce their results.

This news comes less than a month after chief executive Gary Greenfield was replaced by Louis Hernandez, but it’s hardly news that Avid has been having problems. Avid hasn’t reported a profit since 2005, and has been hemorrhaging employees – and market share – for most of that time.

Avid is well established in Hollywood film production and broadcast news editing, but has found it difficult to expand into other segments as it has watched its rivals – Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro – become more sophisticated. In the mid-2000s Avid spent about $460 million to acquire Pinnacle and another $200 million to acquire M-Audio in an attempt to enter the consumer market. Last year they abandoned the consumer market – including an iPad “Avid Free DV” application – and sold off those assets for about $17 million.

The stock is currently trading under $7, having steadily declined from $22 two years ago. Avid Technology delays earnings report


Film is not dead yet!
The day after the Oscars Kodak sent out a press release pointing out that the Best Picture winner, Argo had been shot on Kodak film (on several different film stocks too). The release went on to say, “In the 85-year history of the awards, no Oscar®-winning Best Picture has ever been made without motion picture film technology.”

Six of the nine Beat Picture nominees were shot on film (Argo, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Les Miserables).

Kodak: Feature Films on Kodak Dominate Academy Awards® Independent Spirit Award Winners also have Kodak Moment

ARRI: Exposing Argo

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