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review: Profoto A1 flash

Profoto has a very strong reputation in the industry for making gear that are reliable, easy to use, powerful, and, well … looks really good. When Profoto entered the market a few years ago with the portable Profoto B1 flash (affiliate), and then the Profoto B2 flash (affiliate), it was inevitable then that at some point they would make a grand entrance with a speedlight. With this review of the Profoto A1 flash (affiliate), I wanted to show more how I would use it, than just cover the specs of the flash.

I met up with Anastasiya to record this review video, but it ended up being partly a tutorial video as well. In the studio we go over how I would use this in a simple way as an on-camera bounce flash – and used properly, the results can be surprisingly  good. We then went out on location and used the Profoto A1 as a trigger for the B1 unit, as well as using the Profoto A1 as a single off-camera flash.

The results look really good – as they should when you use flash with careful consideration. That’s to be expected. What you can also expect with the Profoto A1 is an elegant lighting device. The designers really put a lot of thought into this speedlight.

You can pre-order the Profoto A1 through these affiliate links:
– Profoto A1 flash for Canon  (B&H)
– Profoto A1 flash for Nikon  (B&H)


Profoto A1 speedlight

Features of the Profoto A1 flash

Before we list the specifications (in a very dry way lower down in this review), I want to go over a few things that stood out for me with this flash:

  • The A1 has a neat system with how you can magnetically attach modifiers and gels. No need to strap things down – everything just smoothly clips into position.
  • There is also a clip-on white bounce card, and if you reverse the white bounce card to have the black side in front, you have a flag. For those of you who regularly follow the Tangents blog, you will immediately recognize how to use this flag on the flash – just like you would the Black Foamie Thing. The Profoto A1 just looks a lot more elegant.
  • The modeling light on the Profoto A1 changes zoom angle as you zoom the flash head!  So you can immediately see how much of your scene will be covered by how you zoom the flash head. Again, an elegant implementation.
  • The way that Profoto implements TTL and Manual flash by interlocking it, is beautiful. You can do a test shot in TTL, and if the exposure looks good, you just lock it as a manual exposure. This is a handy time-saver on a stressful shoot.
  • No need for AA batteries. The Profoto A1 has a proprietary battery that clips onto the front of the flash.
  • I have used the Profoto A1 on several weddings now, and what also impressed me is how fast the flash recycles, even when fired at full power. The battery really keeps up. The spec sheet has the recycling time as 0.05 to 1.2 Sec. That 1.2 seconds recycle time is really fast for a full dump.
  • The power rating for the flash is given as 76 Ws, instead of the usual Guide Number rating given for speedlights. In testing the flash in the studio, I’d say the Profoto A1 flash is about 1/2 stop brighter than the equivalent Nikon or Canon speedlights. Not a massive difference, but it does mean the A1 delivers a respectable output for a flash of this kind.
  • Profoto hasn’t mentioned yet which range the flash’s radio signal has, but in the video you can see that I specifically shot with a 300mm lens to get full-length photos of Anastasiya – this gave me a really long working distance, and there were no misfires!  Of course, Sport photographers would work over longer distances, but for my needs (weddings & portraits), the Profoto offers more than I need in terms of signal range.



Using the Profoto A1 for on-camera bounce flash

With this photo (as shown in the video), we had the black flag on the Profoto A1 to control how the light from the flash spilled. Working close enough to a surface we can bounce the flash off … and with careful posing, we can get short lighting! This looks like studio quality lighting from an on-camera flash.

This topic is covered thoroughly in the articles linked here: Black Foamie Thing

This technique is also discussed in depth in my book, On-Camera Flash  (revised edition)


Camera settings & photo gear used in this part of the video


On-Camera Flash Photography

On-Camera Flash Photography – revised edition

This book is explains a cohesive and thorough approach to getting the best from your on-camera speedlight.

Particular care was taken to present it all with a logical flow that will help any photographer attain a better understanding of flash photography.

You can either purchase a copy via Amazon USA and Amazon UK, or can be ordered through Barnes & Nobles and other bookstores. The book is also available on the Apple iBook Store, as well as Amazon Kindle. Also check out the Amazon Kindle store.

Learn more about how the cover image was shot.



Using the Profoto A1 as a remote trigger, or as an off-camera flash

With this sequence of photos shot out on location (as shown in the video), I used the Profoto A1 initially as a trigger to fire the Profoto B1 flash. Then I reverted to using the Profoto A1 flash as the off-camera flash, triggered by a Profoto Air-TTL trigger. This makes the Profoto A1 more versatile than just being a speedlight. It doubles as a trigger for your other Profoto lights!

The lens that I used in this section is the remarkable Nikon 300mm f/4E VR  (B&H / Amazon). It is compact – less than 6″ long, and is light-weight. Combine this with the lens’ stabilization, and you have a long focal length lens that is very hand-holdable … and razor sharp!


Camera settings & photo gear used in this part of the video



Using the Profoto A1 in high-speed sync mode

There really is nothing to using the Profoto A1 flash in high-speed flash sync mode. With the Nikon, you simply ramp up the shutter speed to where you need it to be. Remember, that with all flashes, there is some loss of power when you go into HSS mode. This is discussed in my book, Off-Camera Flash, as well as the tutorial here on the Tangents blog:  High-speed flash sync (HSS)

During this part of the photo session, I used the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG (affiliate) at f/1.4 for that specific shallow depth-of-field wide open. This then pushed the shutter speed up to 1/640 which is well into HSS territory. Because I worked with the flash fairly close to Anastasiya, I could get away with using the speedlight outside, while bounced into a small umbrella. If I had worked in stronger light conditions, I would’ve used bare off-camera flash.


Camera settings & photo gear used in this part of the video


Off-Camera Flash Photography

Off-Camera Flash Photography

With this book, I wanted the material in the book to flow as a truly accessible introduction to off-camera flash. The techniques here are within the reach of everyone.

As always, the aim was for those aha! moments when things become clear and just makes sense. And then, hopefully, inspire the readers of the book to see how easily off-camera flash lighting can expand our photographic repertoire.

You can either purchase a copy via Amazon USA or Amazon UK. The book is available on the Apple iBook Store, and Amazon Kindle.


Profoto A1 specifications

  • Built-In AirTTL, Use On or Off Camera
  • Recycling: 0.05 to 1.2 Sec
  • Li-Ion Battery: 350 Full Power Flashes
  • High Speed Sync, LED Modeling Light
  • 9 Stop Power Range, 76 Ws Output
  • Weighs 1.2 lb Including Battery
  • Optional Wireless TTL with Air Remote
  • Includes Bounce Card, Dome Diffuser
  • Also includes Wide Lens, Flash Stand, USB Cable



It is clear that I am impressed with the Profoto A1. It does come with a high price though – about double the equivalent speedlights from the camera makers. However, it fits so seamlessly into the Profoto ecosystem, that I do think there will be a strong demand for this well-designed unit.

You can pre-order the Profoto A1 through these affiliate links:
– Profoto A1 flash for Canon  (B&H)
– Profoto A1 flash for Nikon  (B&H)


Related articles


The post review: Profoto A1 flash appeared first on Tangents.

Fuji 56mm f/1.2 R

Lens review: Fuji XF 56mm f/1.2 R

For any photographer moving from zooms to using primes as well, with a strong interest in portraits, the 85mm lens is your best choice. If you’re a fan of Fuji, then the equivalent focal length would be the 56mm optic. And if you’re a fan of Fuji, then you will already know that their lenses are razor-sharp. To test the Fuji XF 56mm f/1.2 R (B&H / Amazon), I photographed one of my favorite models, Anastasiya, using the flood of light from the billboards in Times Square. While not a thorough lens review of the Fuji XF 56mm f/1.2 R, I did use this lens in a way that matches a way I often shoot – using higher ISO settings, and using the camera hand-held. If the results look great with these limitations, then I am sure the lens will perform even better when used with a more rigorous technique.

The camera I used is the little Fuji X-T20 (B&H / Amazon), a great travel camera when you don’t want to carry around a larger camera. The 56mm lens actually felt good on this small camera, and not front-heavy or out of proportion.

For this test, I only shot at f/1.2 with the idea that if you buy this lens, it is to be used mostly wide open like that.  So we will look briefly at the sharpness and the bokeh.


Here is the 100% crop from that frame. Keep in mind that this was shot hand-held, and that there could’ve been flare from all the lights. Even with those limitations, I love the amount of detail that is visible in her eyelashes. If it looks this good at f/1.2 then it will improve if you stop down just a little bit already.



The bokeh of the Fuji XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens

Using this lens at the widest aperture, the depth-of-field will be supremely shallow, giving your photographs a specific look. Now, keep in mind that smooth bokeh and shallow DoF are not quite the same thing – Bokeh vs shallow depth-of-field (DoF). Some lenses have a wiry or harsh look to the background, even when used wide open.  The Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 come to mind. It has a really busy bokeh.

Here are a few examples where you can see how smooth the bokeh is from the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 lens. In this photo below, the two people in the background become a pastel wash of colors! There are no hard or double edges to elements in the background.

So that you have an idea of where we shot – this is an iPhone photo of the scene in Times Square. It’s very busy with so many people and colors, but with a lens like this, it all melts away.


Another example of how you can get a pretty decent portrait with an interesting or complementary background, when you blur it all out. This was shot against the glass door of one of the buildings. The iPhone photo below will give you an exact idea of where we were.

In this way you can melt away the background with an 85mm portrait lens at wide aperture … or in this case, the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 lens.


Out of focus high-lights are pleasantly oval, without much of that crazy swirl you’d get with some of the vintage lenses.


A straight-forward portrait, where the wide aperture lets the background pleasantly blur.


This photo (and the one at the top) was shot against the overhang of the McD’s on 42nd Street – a familiar sight to any visitor to Times Square. The mild compression of the short telephoto lens was enough to capture just that part of the overhang as a striking background for a few portraits there.



if you are expanding your arsenal of Fuji lenses, the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 R (B&H / Amazon) should be high on your list of must-have lenses. Hopefully the few examples shown here are convincing enough of how easy it is to get striking portraits, especially with a wide aperture.


Related articles


The post Lens review: Fuji XF 56mm f/1.2 R appeared first on Tangents.

Last lap. Ben's back at school, hitting the books and having fun. This is a photo of him from his grade school years hacking away at an old Mac laptop. He's having an after school snack of grapefruit and blue cheese. 

Time goes so fast. If you still have young ones at home don't ever put the camera away. Shoot even the most mundane stuff. You'll love it later. Believe me.
I forgot to use the "ultimate" camera on my job....

I got up early, drank coffee and drove north yesterday morning. I left the house way too early for an appointment at 9 a.m. but you'll have to give me a little slack since the never-ending road construction on Loop One/Mopac can be a mercurial bitch. One day you breeze on to your destination and the next you sit motionless in the fast lane, starting at the tail lights and listening to someone droning away on NPR. Yesterday was a miraculous day for me on Loop One. At 7:45 a.m. the traffic never slowed down between Westlake Hills and Round Rock. I made the trip in 25 minutes. Which left me about an hour to cool my heels at a local Starbucks before walking into the lobby of a long time client. Thank goodness I brought a book!

My assignment was to photograph the CEO of this local/national/global tech company with a giant prop. Alone and surrounded by a group of about 25 happy, enthusiastic employees. The shoot took place in the lobby and while I shot stills the in-house video team (supplemented by a freelance sound person and a second camera operator) would capture video and then, after the CEO exited, would go in for some interviews with some of the employees. I needed to provide a bit of direction for the group but after getting the individual CEO shot and the group shot I could chill out and just grab some candid shots of the event.

I brought the Panasonic cameras for the event. I was a little concerned (but not much) that the client would not be happy to see me shooting with a smaller sensor, lower resolution camera since everything I read on the web about professional photography would have one believe that clients routinely demand particular cameras or camera types, that these cameras reflect the current state of the art, and that clients understand the difference --- and I read way too much on the web.

I have worked with the head of this particular company's video department for well over 20 years. We run into each other at major events and shows and sometimes, just at the office. He asked me what I was shooting with and I told him. "Those are really cool!" he said. "But don't send us big files. This is all going to end up on social media."  

We were on location early. The video guys were setting up two different cameras; one getting a wide shot and one with a shoulder-hefted rig with which he would roam around. The sound guy had his "belly bag" full of Sound Devices goodies and a nice shotgun microphone on a pole. After we figured out our angles and our working choreography I decided to add a light to the mix. I put that new Neewer 300 w/s flash on a stand and bounced it off a wall directly behind the camera position to create a nice, broad fill. The light I used is the one with lithium ion battery pack so no extension cords/power cables were needed. I didn't have to spend time taping down the cords. Progress! The flash also has its own dedicated trigger so that's nice too.

Once we got set we had time to kill and, as normally happens, we stood around and talked shop. Since the video department head has nice equipment budgets and works all over the world I assumed that they were producing everything at the very highest technical levels possible. I imagined 4K capture for all video and buckets of SSD drives with which to record everything in 12 bit 4:4:4:4. I asked about their equipment expecting to feel like a rank amateur.

In fact, neither of their video cameras were necessarily anything to write home about. One was an inexpensive Black Magic camera and the other an older Sony ENG camera. No Arri Alexa, no Sony F55, no Red camera, etc. A wide cinema prime (Sigma) on one camera and an EOS zoom lens on the other. No external monitors, no gingerbread. And, not a light anywhere.

I asked if they were shooting in 4K and they looked at me funny. Turns out the only time they venture into 4K is when they are working with green screen and need high definition for masking. They shoot mostly in 1080p. Why? Because nearly everything they shoot is destined to go straight to the web via their own website or one of the social media sites. Everything seems to end up over at YouTube which mostly just crunches the hell out of everything via compression.

After the event I went home to post process the files and get them sent off quickly. Usually I shoot raw and then work on the files a bit. The client emphasized the need for speedy delivery so I shot raw+big Jpegs. I pulled in the Jpegs and they looked really good. I selected about three dozen shots and uploaded them, making enhancements only to the files containing the CEO (I knew they'd get the most use....). I had the files uploaded within 20 minutes of hitting the front door of the studio. The clients gave me thumbs up on everything.

But this all seems antithetical to what we learn on the web. What I read always leads me to believe that everyone else out there is getting demands from their clients to use and deliver files from the biggest and most expensive state of the art cameras around. As though the clients are tapping their feet and thinking, "OMG! Are we still using those ancient Nikon D810s? When is my photographer going to get his hands on the D850?!!!. We might believe that clients are demanding that everything be sent to them as 16 bit Tiff files and that each file be retouched in Byzantine detail before they see them. But this rarely seems to be the case --- in the real world.

In the video markets we photographers seem to believe that the way forward is to offer the highest performance codecs we can afford to create. Take the biggest files we can hammer through a GH5 and send them to an external recorder so we can upgrade them to huge Pro Res files before delivering terabytes of programming to clients who may have only wanted a nice little piece to put up on Instagram. The community of new arrivals to video presume that every shot is done with V-Log (S-Log, C-Log) and that every frame will be color graded to the nth degree. (That's the way I've been thinking about it...).

There may be some parts to the overall equation of corporate production to which we are not always privy. The client's need for speed being one of them. Everything we shot yesterday will be edited and presented as a very small part of an "all hands" meeting presentation that will be broadcast to 100,000+ employees via the web. The video will be a minuscule part of the overall presentation. But it will need to be slim and right sized to work on monitors and connections all over the place. Not big and bloated and hypothetically perfect.

At the end of the session yesterday the video operators pulled out their memory cards and quickly transferred the files to a thumb drive which they handed off to the client's video director. No big fuss.

Were all eyes on me? Hardly. Were the clients or the videographers carefully inspecting and passing judgement on my choice of gear? Not for a second. Did we all deliver right sized media for our client's needs? You bet.

The world of our work is changing quickly and the days of producing work for giant print graphics are fading away. If we keep focusing on the wrong targets we'll probably miss the right ones by a long distance. Much as we'd mostly like to concentrate on getting our work printed on double-truck spreads in magazines or seeing our video work on huge movie screens the reality is that the work we do for clients is very much headed in different directions. We're aiming at UHD monitors or projectors as being the high end use of video currently but, honestly, the vast majority of uses are still 1080p and smaller. The work we're mostly doing is much more transient than ever before so storage is less anxiety provoking. The "sell by" dates are quicker and few of the projects will be re-visited a year from now. And, across the board, the production time frames we're being handed are continually shrinking.

If we look in the rear view mirror we can feel that we MUST have the biggest and the best for all engagements. In fact, the biggest and the best might be an impediment to speed, flexibility and fluid action. If we look at where media and content are headed we can see that everything is changing and most of it is moving in a direction that's vastly different than the print orientation shared by most established photographers. Clients may be way ahead of us here.

The final thing I was thinking about as I sat in front of the monitor watching the progress of my images uploading was about how we business people allocate our assets and how it affects our bottom line. I have friends who firmly believe that they must have the world's best gear in order to compete. They routinely seek out the "best" cameras and the "ultimate" lenses to shoot with. This made sense when everyone's aim point was the lushly printed page and the state of "best" wasn't all that great (think the first two or three generations of video camera bodies...) but does it still make sense when the majority of the targets for our work will blind and obfuscate any differences in image quality between any of the modern cameras, across formats?

In a time when fees and budgets are under constant attack and are, in fact, lower when adjusted for inflation than any time in our careers, can we continue to justify the brutal expenses of "the best" when good, solid gear will get the job done just as well or better?

My client's video producer could probably requisition just about any cool video gear he feels he needs. He might be able to outfit his crews with $50,000 Arri Alexas. He might be able to pony up for sets of Leica cinema lenses. But he doesn't. Why? Perhaps he knows that good enough works great and that saving the corporation cash means more value added to his 401K. Maybe we freelancers would be smart to follow those instincts. After all, isn't it really our talent we're selling?
The Age of the Image. By Stephen Apkon

I was rummaging through the shelves of books about cinematography at our local, independent bookstore, BOOKPEOPLE, when I came across this book. It was published in 2013 so it's not exactly cutting edge topical but it's an important book to read for all the people who say, "I have no interest whatsoever in video..." 

The book is a well researched romp through the changing history of language, communication, symbology and understanding. It traces the paths from the embrace of the written word as a primary method of communication and shows how quickly, thoroughly and globally we are moving from the written word to the language of motion pictures. The author makes a convincing point that, in the near future, to be truly literate will mean understanding the grammar and language of video; both how to decode it and how to create it. 

Toward the end of the book are examples of current educational theory about communication and the embrace of moving images on all manner of screen. In the chapters leading up to that are some general explanations about how to make better video programming. Also, how and why a good video can trump the printing word for global dissemitnation of ideas, memes and, of course, brand messaging. 

After reading the book I grabbed my inexpensive G85 with the kit zoom, put an ND filter on the front of the lens and headed out to practice shooting interesting scenes. The book inspires one to look beyond conventional wisdom, to stop looking in the rear view mirror of technology, and to think more inclusively about communication and not just one's favorite or most comfortable media. 

I recommend that everyone give it a read. Ask your library to get a copy, drop by your local independent bookstore for a copy, or buy one from the link below....

(This book was purchased with my own funds and was not sent to me by the borrower or the author. No one asked me to write this short review).

Every year (except one) in the last nine years I have been hired to photographically document a very unique corporate conference that takes place here in Austin. It's unique because attendance is by invitation only, it's closed to the press and the public, and it's pure sophisticated social+economic content. The invited attendees come from banking, investment, demographic research and governmental agencies. The speakers include billionaires, thought leaders and best selling authors. The subject matter involves finance,  new investment paradigms, demographic trends, global financial trends and new industry creation. The actual content is protected by NDA.

But none of that is really important here. What I want to talk about is how I photographed the show this year, or, more to the point, what cameras I used this year. 

I opted to use two Panasonic GH5s and two Olympus lenses; the 12-100mm f4.0 Pro and the 40-150mm f2.8 Pro. This year I was able to forego bringing along a wider assortment of lenses because the two Olympus lenses covered every thing I needed, from wide stage shots to tight shots of speakers on stage. The robust image stabilization supplied by the 12-100mm (in lens) and the GH5 for the 40-150mm (in camera) meant that this was the first year I could drop any tripod or monopod from the gear inventory and not miss it in some situation or another. 

The system checked all the right boxes for the way I photograph these kinds of conferences. The conference doesn't want me to use flash in during panels or speeches. The system needs to be good enough to operate at ISO 800 or higher without issues so that flash is always unnecessary during "main tent" sessions. Since the show is fairly intimate, with only 250 attendees, and since I work fairly close to the stage, the camera needs to be very quiet or altogether silent. Since I move around a bit during presentations the cameras have to be light and mobile. Distilling down to 2 mirrorless bodies and two lenses is a major plus. 

So far I've done previous shows for this client with: 4/3 Olympus cameras, Nikon APS-C cameras, Nikon FF cameras, Canon FF cameras, Olympus m4/3 cameras, Panasonic GH4 cameras, Sony FE cameras, Sony RX10 cameras and now the Panasonic GH5s. With each system (except the RX10s) I tried to source the smallest number of lenses to cover wide shots of the main ballroom in which the conference was held all the way down to tight head shots of the speakers on stage. In terms of convenience the RX10iii was without peer. But it took tight control to stay right in the small zone of best compromise where subject motion didn't become an issue but neither did noise in the image files. Sometimes I was successful and sometimes not. Underexposed high ISO one inch sensor files can get a bit ugly in post. 

Overall the Sony A7Rii had the best image quality to date but was not my favorite for handling and daylong comfortable operation. The lowest image quality came from the earliest cameras; the 12 megapixel e-3 and e-5 Olympus 4/3 cameras. The worst fit for conferences came from cameras like the Canon 5Dii the Nikon D750 and D700. These were far too loud for any situation which called for a discreet, quiet approach, even when wrapped with neoprene. The shutters and mirrors, even in quiet modes, were just too loud to allow me to sit in the audience and work. This routinely limited the number and kind of shots I could take.

Last year I split the show between the A7rii and the RX10iii. My primary lens on the A7Rii was the 70-200mm f4.0 G series lens. I also used a battery grip on the bottom of the A7Rii to provide longer battery life. The combination became uncomfortable to hold and use during a full eight hours of on again, off again handheld photography. In addition, the A7Rii and A7ii electronic viewfinders didn't track as closely, in terms of color and exposure, as I hoped they would with my studio computer. Finally, it was burdensome to use them in their raw modes because of the enormous size of the resulting files; even with the 24 megapixel A7ii. The 42 megapixel file sizes of the A7Rii pushed me to use that camera as a Jpeg-centric tool since we ended up with nearly 3,400 files by the end of last year's show. 

The RX10iii was very convenient and easy to work with over the course of a long day but the files sat right on the edge of the pass/fail edge of image quality in dim situations at ISO 800+. 

 I decided to test the GH5 in the conference arena by using two of them at this show. I'd done a series of tests leading up to the show so I was pretty confident that they would be adequate to the task. I also knew from testing that the two lenses I chose would be very sharp. They would not be the weak link in the imaging chain. (That would be me....). 

The GH5 checked all the right boxes for me. The EVF finder is the best I've owned so far. The camera's shutter is quiet enough to use in its mechanical setting with EFC but has a full-on silent setting if needed. The battery life, with review turned off, was excellent. I shot all day yesterday with one battery in each camera and no need to change. Yes, all day on location with the original two batteries. 

The image in the EVF tracked the reality of my calibrated computer screen much better than any previous camera I've used and the 12 bit raw files are small enough to allow me to shoot (for the first time) the entire show in a raw file format which allowed for much tighter color correction in post. I was able to use zebras to consistently get bright exposures without blowing out caucasian skin which also helped keep noise to a minimum. This year the stage set consisted of white leather couches and a center white desk so I had ample targets, in changing light, from which to set custom white balances. I maintained three custom white balances in three saved banks and was able to move through those presets quickly as the light on the stage cycled.

Having the right color balance and the right exposure means minimal noise in these cameras at ISO 800. Getting it right in camera meant I had less need to boost shadows in post, which is what usually makes noise rears its ugly head. 

A quick note about iPhone software for the GH5 camera. One of the speakers pulled me aside before he went on stage and requested that I get some great shots of him on stage and also asked if I could send them to his company's marketing team by end of day for use on social media. I assured him we could do that and then downloaded the Lumix phone app. It took me about ten minutes to set up a wi-fi network between the camera and phone (while continuing to photograph) and after that I started grabbing selected frames of the guy speaking and transferring them to the phone. When I knew I had a dozen good shots (all Jpegs) I sent them via e-mail to the exec's e-mail address and the e-mail address he'd given me for his social media team. The social media people had the images ready for upload before the speaker left the stage. They were just waiting for final approval as the behind-the-curtain production crew retrieved his lav microphone and body pack. 

Okay, so there are some phone apps that might be useful....

But let's get down to the stars of this particular documentation exercise: The Olympus Pro lenses. I'll go out on a limb here and say that I think the 40-150mm f2.8 Pro lens is the sharpest lens I've ever shot with from any maker, including Leica. I shot with it only at its wide open aperture setting and was amazed at the sharpness, contrast and detail in the final files. It may be that full frame cameras have advantages with their sensors but these lenses go a long way toward equalizing the playing field. The 40-150 is easy to handhold, the manual focus system (with hard stops at close focus and infinity) is elegant, and the performance in the final files is stunning. I'm in love. 

The second lens is one I've already gushed over. It's the 12-100mm f4.0 Pro. While I'll always wish every lens was one stop faster the lens is so nice to use that I know I'll get over that mental block. I was able to shoot about 80 % of the material over the last three days with this lens since it covers such a wide range and does so very well. 

This system is the best compromise across all the systems I've used for this kind of event and stage work. I can hardly wait to use it at the next theater dress rehearsal shoot. The lenses are just right in terms of range and (especially with the 40-150mm) speed. The camera is very surefooted when it comes to the S-AF focusing that I normally use and the handling of the body and body+lens is perfect. 

We get our first big video trial for a client on Tues. but the tests I've already done in studio have been so exemplary where video is involved that I have not doubts about the technical tour de force kit we'll have on hand for our CEO interview. The only thing I worry about now are my own skills at interviewing and operating all the moving parts correctly. 

Photo below: During the last panel discussion on the first full day of the program the show producers send out a selection of beers to all the attendees and all the panelists. We drink a toast before the last panel begins. Sometimes they change up the tradition and waiters come out with Champagne. It's a very civilized show indeed. 

This show, done at an Omni Hotel resort property here in Austin, Texas also gets high marks for routinely providing the very best food. I gained at least a pound this week. Thankfully we've had some killer workouts at the pool. I think I lost most of the extra weight at this mornings 1.5 hour sprint fest...

Abstract: A dynamic, 3-D scene and hundreds of sources—a talk with a theatrical lighting designer

Photo © Lucas Krech

Today in Lighting 103, a little side trip. Fair warning: we are taking a bit of a deep dive. For some of you this will make your eyes glaze over. But for others, it'll be a very cool look into the way live performance lighting designers think with respect to color.

No worries; we'll be back in the center of the bell curve in the next installment.

A Chat with Lucas Krech

New York-based Lucas Krech is a lighting designer who works with operas, dances, plays and performance pieces. He is also is a photographer, which is how we originally intersected via Twitter.

A ways back, I wrote to him to find out a little more about how people approach the process of lighting live performances. What I got back was basically a firehose/brain dump that gave me a fascinating look into how he thinks. Read more »
I love to show finished projects. I worked with Rona Ebert who is the in-house design director at Zach Theatre on this assignment. We met before the shoot to brainstorm and plan and it paid off with dozens of photographs of this talented couple that the theater will be using leading up to, and throughout the run of the show.

I really like the way this ended up. In any professional photography job the client pretty much takes things like able camera operation and lighting competence as unspoken, required basics. You wouldn't be in their facility working with paid talent if they didn't assume you had those things managed. The things that keep you on their team are your ability to collaborate with the talent (and the creative team)  to get good expressions, gesture and presence.

Just as a technical reminder, I shot this job with a Panasonic GH5 and the Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 Pro lens. I used a couple of cheap speed lights on the white muslin background, a monolight to the right of the frame in a huge white umbrella as my main light, and a second mini-monolight, at half the relative power, over to the left of the frame, in an even bigger umbrella. I used one tiny speed light to light the talent from the back. That light was used directly and was dialed down to about 1/16th power. It's just the barest twinkle of backlight....

As most loyal readers probably know I think of wide angle and ultra wide angle lenses as an afterthought. But when shooting commercial work there are often requests to, "get the whole lab, from side to side, in the shot." Or, "Can you get this entire group in the shot from about 10 feet away?" Or, "Let's shoot this scene from inside the car/truck/plane/boat." And in those situations client retention does call for some focal length flexibility. In my full frame Canon days my widest lens was the 20mm f2.8 and I used it whenever I needed to do architecture. With the full frame Sonys I try to make everything fit into the 24mm wide end of the 24-70mm zoom but use the Rokinon 14mm when I know I'll have time to spend correcting its massive distortion...(a lens profile in Lightroom is a big help). 

So now that I've dived into the Panasonic cameras and am putting together what I think will be a video centric imaging system I've decided not to dance around the need for some wide angle coverage and to buy a lens that simplifies that kind of photography. There were really two choices: the Olympus 7-14mm Pro series lens and the Panasonic/Leica 8-18mm. I chose the Panasonic/Leica for three reasons (of which only two are cogent and only one is a deal maker....). First off I liked the industrial design of the lens. It looks cool. Don't discount cool looks entirely. Design is, by nature, somewhat sneaky in that it makes a certain statement. The Panasonic/Leica says, "Well integrated with the camera." 

My second reason for buying it is my theory that while Olympus and Panasonic cameras will read each other's lens firmware maybe Panasonic camera has some special sauce sprinkled in that allows it to optimize the wide performance of the lens just a little bit more. And finally, most importantly, I can stick a 67mm variable neutral density filter right on the front of the lens while the Olympus requires a whole new, fumbly apparatus with which to use filters at all. 

I didn't want to wait until the 30 day return privilege at Precision Camera passed me by to check out the lens performance so after a meeting about a video project with my favorite producer/director I headed downtown to shoot random wide shots of random stuff. I also stopped by Whole Foods to pick up a couple of Lemon Hazelnut Scones (LHS) for afternoon tea with my favorite art director/designer and to have some sushi for lunch. 

I came home and put four dozen files into Lightroom and looked as them dispassionately. The lens is sharp, the software correction works well. There's no discernible loss of sharpness in the corners at f5.6 (which is a good f-stop at which to shoot wide images) and the lens resolves nice detail even at the widest setting. In short, the lens is perfect for the limited use it will probably see on my cameras. But it's good to have it in the bag for those "just in case" moments. Not what I would consider a sexy lens but one which will round out the image capabilities of the Panasonic package. 

It's fun to mix and match. I've been playing around with the Panasonic GH5 cameras for a week or so and have found the Olympus Pro series lenses I bought to be amazingly sharp. Same with the Panasonic 8-18mm lens, but I felt the need to fill in with some speed in the portrait/short tele area of my lens kit for these cameras. Having already dropped kilo dollars on the basics for the system I was reticent to drop more cash on something stop gap (saving up for the Nocticron...) so I rummaged around in one of the equipment drawers and found my Zeiss 50. I just happened to have an adapter to mount it onto m4:3rds cameras and in moments we were all hooked up and on our way. 

Early on I decided that I'd like to try shooting the lens close to its maximum aperture because that's where I thought I'd get the most use out of it on real shoots --- as the lens to grab when I need an extra stop of light, or a little less depth of field, when shooting available light. I pretty much stuck to f2.0 and f2.8 and enabled the GH5's automatic shutter selection. This would allow the camera to switch to the high speed, electronic shutter when the light levels maxed out the mechanical shutter's 1/8,000th. 

Most of the sunlit shots sent the camera into electronic shutter territory. The one just below, shot at f2.0 required 1/32,000th of a second exposure. I hardly worried about subject movement with this shot.... But what I was interested to see was the lens performance on a sensor much smaller than the original 35mm frame for which this lens was originally designed. 

I was pleased....

The camera and lens handled each other beautifully. 

It's always all about the big, spot main light. For this portrait of a very accomplished theatrical talent I used a large softbox over to the right side of the frame. I realized though that getting the light in as close as I wanted it (approximately the same distance to subject as the diagonal measure of the light itself...) I would risk burning out his left shoulder. I used a Westcott FastFrame with a two stop net between the bottom, rear quarter of the softbox and his shoulder, feathering it so it would not cause an obvious drop in overall exposure. This allowed me to get the soft transition across his face and not worry about over lighting my subject on the main light side. I used a 50 inch, round, pop-up diffuser on the shadow side as passive fill and one light, dialed way down, on the background to bring it up just a hair.

The frame is cropped down from a 3:2 aspect ratio. I used a Sony A7Rii and an FE 85mm f1.8 to make the image. The camera was set to uncompressed Raw.

The main light is the Neewer Vision 4 battery powered monolight and the background light is the Godox AD200 using the standard reflector with its front diffuser.

If you don't like the expression on this image (I do...) then I have 519 others to choose from. Across four wardrobe changes.

Leslie as the evil queen in a Zach Theatre production of 
"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" for kids.

My friend, James, and I have views about camera noise performance that seem to sit on opposite sides of some spectrum of visual aesthetics. You have to beat me over the head with noise in a photograph before I protest. If I can't see noise in a file at the resolution at which I'll be using the file it just doesn't exist for me. In early days of digital the noise always consisted of color splotches and random color crap but now everyone's camera seems to deliver a nicer (to me) monochrome, film grain-like noise that effectively mimics film grain from black and white films overlaying a color file. James, on the other hand, seems to have a severe allergy nearly as strong as a deadly peanut allergy to the presence of moving noise in the shadow areas of video files; and by extension, still image files. He's usually on the search for a video camera (or still camera) that's more or less devoid of noise. 

I'm pretty happy with the general control of noise I get out of one inch sensor cameras and most micro four thirds cameras; as long as the detail and color are there. 

We've lately been having coffee and sharing resources about the GH5 camera since we are both interested in it. My interest bleeds over from video and into the photo realm. He would use the camera strictly for video production. I think the high ISO noise presented by my Sony RX10iii or Panasonic FZ2500 is quite acceptable for most productions. James considers cameras like the Sony FS-7 or A7Rii to be the more appropriate tools with which to create un-noisy video files. 

I wanted to see if I was in the self-delusion mode (happens from time to time) about the amount of noise in GH5 files at various settings so I did what I usually write about here at VSL. I took the camera out on an assignment and tested it in the kind of situation I find myself in from time to time.

I was at the Zach Theatre campus to shoot a children's play in their small, theater-in-the-round stage. It's a theater that seats about 140 people. The walls are painted black as is the high, high ceiling. Since all the productions in this auditorium are presented in the round there is no effective front fill for the lighting. It all comes from catwalks high above the stage. This means that every face has bright highlights and unfilled shadows. There is very little fill from any direction. This small auditorium will also be the last one updated to use new LED lights. The lights currently hanging from the rafters are ancient tungsten spots and floods. This means that when they are filtered heavily you can only get so much power down onto my subjects. 

While the lighting looks dramatic and fun for audiences it's not often optimal for camera work. In the film years we routinely dragged in huge amounts of flash and set up the scenes we wanted to capture and lit for them. We tried to match the "feel" of the theatrical lighting but with all the proper ratios, and an ample amount, to make slow film emulsions happy. We don't do that now. There's no time or budget to get too fancy now. 

With all this in mind I dragged a Panasonic GH5 and an Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 to shoot a dress rehearsal of the play ( without an audience; thankfully). When we got rolling I realized that my base exposure/working exposure was going to settle in at 1/125th of a second (needed to have even a chance of freezing motion) at f4.0 (my widest available f-stop) at ISO 3200. Several of the parameters are fixed. I couldn't drop below 1/125th without having too many images blurred by subject movement. I couldn't shooter at a faster aperture than f4.0 because the lens I brought doesn't have a wider aperture setting. I couldn't change the lighting. That left ISO. I started out at 1600, which I consider to be safe for the GH5 sensor. I migrated to 3200 to keep the shutter speed up.

I shot for an hour and tried a number of strategies but in the end it all boils down to the fact that sensors of various sizes and generations have various noise limits. The noise generated is also dependent on the subject matter and lighting. Even, well filled light situations seem to yield less noise while low key, unfilled lighting situations tend to pump up noise. Nailing exposure is a big help. If you have to push up the exposure in post you invariably push up the parts of the image that are most subject to noise generation. Over use of the shadow slider in Lightroom or PhotoShop will affect the noise in shadow pretty profoundly.

Here are my personal takeaways from my shoot/test yesterday: I am okay with most of the noise I saw in the files; given how the files will be used. I would not want to go above 3200 ISO in low key situations with the m4:3 sensors, even the latest 20 megapixel versions, if I could prevent it. The noise reduction controls in both programs can be very effective but take experience and trial and error to get right. The camera's implementation of noise reduction is better for generating large numbers of nicely less noisy files than trying to batch a "one size fits all" setting in post. There is a caveat to letting the Jpeg engine do your de-noising; the default NR setting in the standard profile at ISO 3200 is too aggressive and blurs too much fine detail. I back off one or two notches in the parameter settings now. 

Even in situations with ample light you can run into noise issues if you are basically underexposed. Camera meters tend to compulsively protect highlights and they do so by pulling overall exposures down by anywhere from 2/3rds stop to a full stop. Sometimes even more. Recovery costs noise. 

Finally, if you read the information about the GH5's "improvements" over previous models you'll find that the new types of noise reduction use formulas to decide whether an area in a frame is detailed or flat and the camera applies different kinds and amounts in each area. There isn't such a thing, in camera, as uniform noise reduction. Which means that sometimes the camera gets it just right and sometimes it leaves you with the question: "Dear God Camera! What were you thinking???"

My noise abatement solution for the next dark show in the all black theater? Bring fast primes! I probably could have done a good job covering the show with two lenses: the Panasonic 15mm f1.7 and the Panasonic 42.5 mm f1.2. Maybe I'd toss a 25mm f1.7 in as well. I think all of them could be used wide open which would get me either two stops more of shutter speed or the ability to shoot at ISO 800. 

It's all part of my continuing experiment with photography...

Lighting styles in wedding photography

Two interesting questions came up in the Tangents FB group – both posted by Matthew Ciscart, one of the regulars: The first question was whether a client had ever asked for a specific lighting? Such, hard light, soft light, natural, or ocf?  The other question was whether any of the photographers had a specific go-to style of using lighting. That one thing they do. My reply to this, relating it to lighting styles in wedding photography, was I haven’t had a client ask for any specific lighting.

However, I do believe my website shows a consistent style. Therefore, when they book me, they do indirectly ask for that. So I need to be consistent in the look I give them, even if I use a variety of lighting sources and types. Similarly, I don’t think I have one specific way of using lighting. But for all the variety, the images need to mesh as a combination, without anything jarring about the specific lighting or look.

With that in mind, I would like to show these 6 images from the portrait session of a wedding – time that I had with the bride and groom – and show that even with a diversity in lighting that was used, these and all the other images, are still part of a coherent style. Of course, it has more to do than just the lighting – other things come into play as well – framing, composition and posing, as well as the post-processing. Still, just looking at the lighting and the color and skin tones – there is a consistency in the style.


This image and the one below are connected in that they both have the same camera settings, and were taken in more or less the same spot. In the image below, I let the sun flare out and this created a more ethereal look with muted contrast. It was just a small shift in position, I switched the flash off, and the resulting image looks congruent with the previous sequence (of which the photo above is one.)

In the image above, taken before the flared image, I took care to not have any flare from the late afternoon sun. But since this photo is more a portrait than the flared photo (which is all about the mood), I used off-camera lighting to show detail. I used the Profoto B1 flash (affiliate), with a white shoot-through umbrella, but at these camera settings, any speedlight with an umbrella would’ve given similar results.

Note the high ISO and wide aperture – this is so that the background exposure looks natural. Of course, the shallow depth-of-field helps defocus the background.

How much was added flash? I don’t quite know – it’s just enough. I let the Profoto give me an initial TTL exposure, and then locked it as a manual flash exposure for consistency. The pressure is on, there is no time to walk through the flash-to-ambient ratios in a technical way, so I will happily rely on the technology.

So there it is then – two photos, taken in the same scenario, but with a different approach to either, to give me variety in the final selection.



These two photos share the similarity of both having off-camera flash to make the colors and skin tones pop. In the photo above, the off-camera flash setup was behind the bushes, to camera left. This way I could light the couple, without lighting the foliage nearly as much. (In other words, the lighting is on the other side of the shrubbery.)

With the photo below, it was a similar line of thought – I didn’t want to over-light the flowers which were closer to me. My position was lower down on the grass bank so that I could make the flowers part of the composition. This was also so that I could lose much of the brick paving, which would have been a boring element in the photograph’s composition.

With the photo below, some back-lighting would have been ideal, but the families were already gathering for the family photos, so I had to move quickly – no time to set up a 2nd light behind her.


Direction & Quality Of Light

Direction & Quality of Light

I wanted to distill the essence of what we, as photographers, work with – light! Before we can truly grasp on-camera flash and off-camera flash, and really, any kind of photography, we have to be aware of the direction and quality of light. We need to observe the light that we have, and then decide how best to use it, or enhance it.

With this book, I try my best to share those “aha!” moments with you, and I do believe this book can make a difference to your photography.

The book is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK, or can be ordered through Barnes & Nobles and other bookstores. The book is also available on the Apple iBook Store, as well as Amazon Kindle.


I was asked to take photos of the bride where they would be seated on the chair on the raised platform in the reception room. Since there was already somewhat enough light from the house lights, I wanted to just clean it all up with some bounce flash. The ceiling was high and uneven, and not white. Even then, I had enough light from the bounce flash to provide flattering light on her face. I bounced the flash up and behind me. No need for my usual BFT since there was no need to flag my flash. Also, note that I had no diffuser or white cup or some kind of plastic on my flash. Just the bare flash bounced up, and behind me. Simple. It works.

Finally, the photograph shown at the start of the article. In the room where the bride was getting ready, the huge mirror at the dresser had these light panels on every side. Beautiful soft light if you pose your subject into the light. It took careful note of how the light fell on her, to make sure the light was flattering. Using available light, or any other light source, for that matter, isn’t just an arbitrary decision. It is always best done with specific intent.



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Video tutorials to help you with flash photography

If you like learning by seeing best, then these video tutorials will help you with understanding flash photography techniques and concepts. While not quite hands-on, this is as close as we can get to personal instruction. Check out these and other video tutorials and online photography workshops.

The post Lighting styles in wedding photography appeared first on Tangents.

Sasha will be co-starring in "Singing in the Rain."

It's best to break in new cameras a step at a time. Here's how we do it in VSL World: Upon taking possession of a new camera model I put the battery on the charger and then sit down in a comfortable chair and read the full, online manual to get up to speed on all the features I know I will use. After manual reading and battery charging I put a lens on the front and head downtown to my favorite stomping grounds and get used to physically handling the camera. I shoot stuff and review. I use all the buttons that control the stuff I use all the time. This might happen between two and ten times before I'm ready to commit using the new gear on a project. 

When I feel comfortable with the camera I tend to use it in the studio for simple headshots to start out. It's such a controllable atmosphere and there's well known gear waiting in the wings if I happen to hit a snag. It also give me an opportunity to work with controlled lighting and to see just how good the files can be when shot at their native ISO and lit well. Then I drag all the files into Lightroom and try to find out where the points of pain might be in the files themselves. Is there a consistent color cast? How does the camera file handle deep shadows? How much highlight recovery is there, actually? Is the lens correction playing with a full deck?

Once I go past this I'm ready to take the camera with me to paying shoots for commercial clients. 

As you may have read I've recently been acquiring some good lenses for my Panasonic GH5 cameras (yes, I bought a second one...) and today (and tomorrow) presented good opportunities to slam a lot of frames through one of the machines and to see just how well it works. 

Today's project was a marketing assignment to shoot two dancers on white to use in marketing and promotion for Zach Theatre's upcoming production of "Singing in the Rain." 

So much experimenting. First of all we lit the set with nothing but battery powered lights. Lights spanning three different brands. The main light was provided by the Neewer 300 w/s monolight powered by its big lithium ion battery, aimed into a 72 inch, white umbrella. The fill was the Godox AD200 with a bare tube head and a wide angle diffuser aimed into a 77 inch, white umbrella. I used a couple of Godox camera speedlights on the background and a small, manual flash as a kicker positioned on the opposite side of the talent from the main light. 

The two big flashes were set to one quarter power, the background flashes at 1/16th power and the kicker also at 1/16th. The exposure was f8.0 at 1/125th of a second, ISO 400. Action frozen, talent fully in focus even when moving. 

I shot 500+ images and the flashes were happy to come along for the ride. No shut downs, no heat warnings. I have great images of the couple leaping through the air that are crisply frozen. The raw files are very malleable in Lightroom and the resolution works. The cameras are a blast to shoot with and nailed focus in spite of the fact that I wasn't using modeling lights but was depending entirely on the high ceiling florescent fixtures for all my focusing and composing illumination. Modeling lights can be helpful but one would think that after shooting these kinds of assignments for 28 years (give or take a few months) I should pretty well know where to put the lights. 

While the camera is great to shoot with, focuses quickly and generates pleasing files some of the credit must go to the lens. The 12-100mm f4.0 Pro Olympus lens is the sharpest zoom lens I've ever used on micro 4:3rds and the wide focal length range means I needed only one lens for the entire afternoon. 


Panasonic GH5 with Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 lens.

There are some parameters I need in my selection of tools if I am to feel comfortable offering video services to clients now. Those would include: a range of great codecs, solid 4K performance, unlimited recording time, solid battery performance, an easy to use audio interface, a selection of really good lenses, and well implemented image stabilization. Even before the recently announced firmware upgrade (v2.0) the GH5 system checked all those things off the list. In fact, it's the only hybrid (stills and video) camera I've found at any price to have everything I want for video production and a complete complement of photographic abilities as well. The only feature the camera lacks is an extremely high resolution mode. 

My immersion into the system has been gradual. As one insightful wag wrote, when I bought the Panasonic FZ2500, (and I paraphrase) "this (the FZ2500) will be the gateway drug into the GH5 system." And, to a certain extent, that is true. In concert with the Atomos Ninja Flame the FZ2500 allowed the use of 10 bit, 4:2:2 performance in 4K video. My recent experiences using the system to shoot green screen were eye-opening for me. The FZ also helped me get used to the color science of the Panasonic system.

After several very successful still shoots and much video testing with my first GH5 (using the Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 Pro lens) I felt ready to flesh out a cohesive video system around the GH5 camera body. I am certain that its advanced video features make it a good choice for the next two years without worries of technical obsolescence.

With the system in place I am confident that I can provide clients with sharp, clean video and audio that is on par with the technical deliverables of all mainstream video platforms commonly used for corporate and other commercial video uses. With the update to firmware 2.0 in the Fall we'll also add the ability to create files at 400 MB/s that will rival top systems. 

Here's what I've put together in order to provide my clients with great content and superior technical quality: 

Two GH5 camera bodies. Having two identical allows me to set up and shoot interviews from two angles/magnifications, to provide more editing options in interviews. On a fast moving project it allows me to use a second camera operator who will provide matching footage so we can two different scenes concurrently. The second camera always buys peace of mind on client shoots. If one camera goes down we have an identical back up. 

Leica/Panasonic 8-18mm wide angle zoom lens. I've always shied away from extreme wide angles but I'm finding more and more uses for focal lengths wider than the 24mm equivalent when shooting architecture (interior and exterior) as well as in cramped labs and clean rooms. The 8-18mm is extremely sharp, and, in conjunction with the in-camera corrections, doesn't exhibit much geometric distortion. The front of the lens has a familiar, 67mm filter ring which makes it easy to use polarizers and variable neutral density filters. The longer end of the lens gets into my comfort zone for everyday shooting. It's a nice overlap with the 12-100mm f4.0 lens.

Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 Pro zoom lens. This lens is insanely sharp and perfect for those times when I have to travel light, work fast and move around with the camera off tripod. The 24-200mm equivalent focal range all falls into my compositional comfort zones. The manual focus feature, with hard stops for close focus and infinity, is a desirable addition for anyone shooting video production. The only thing lacking, which can be useful in some situations, would be a power zoom... This is the lens I keep on the camera most often for interviews and general work. In dark interiors I wish it was one stop faster but I've never wished for it to be sharper...

Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 Pro zoom lens. I added this lens almost exclusively for shooting live theater at Zach Theatre (and perhaps the Lyric Theater in OKC and the Alley Theater in Houston....). With its fast and perfectly usable f2.8 and a focal length range that is equivalent of 80-300mm on a 35mm camera I can sit mid-house and grab endless shots that range from tight, one person compositions to small groups and ensembles. Being able to do so with the lens wide open at all focal lengths is a great thing. It's something I've done extensively with the Sony RX10 iii and the Panasonic FZ2500. If I need to go longer I can pick up a 1.4X extender which would get me to the equivalent of 420mm with an f-stop of f4.0. 

25mm f1.7. It's a reflex. Get a system and add the basic "normal" lens. Useful when smaller camera profiles are appreciated and, used wide open, a decent way to get more light on the sensor. 

While these are the primary lenses I'll be using for most commercial engagements I do find that the lure of my collection of Olympus Pen FT prime lenses also sways me to look to m4:3 cameras for video production use. They are a nice adjunct to the modern lenses, provide wider apertures and have a distinctive look. 

For convenience (and because the price is so much more reasonable than Sony's) I am also adding the GH5 Microphone adapter, the DMW-XLR1, to make audio easier when I am shooting solo. It fits into the hot shoe and has gotten good marks from all the reviewers I've read.

Everything else I need for the video I want to do is already resident in the studio. We've got all manner of cool lights, lots of light stands and C-Stands, endless modifiers, digital video recorders, meters, and cases. 

My aim is to provide "no excuses" video to good clients who value my particular "small footprint" approach to producing their work. We'll see if it's a market that's profitable. 

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