24mm Lens vs. Garage Floor by matt wolfe [cc]

First time playing, and I didn't know what numbers to pick, so I 'quick pick'ed them all.

First time playing, and I didn't know what numbers to pick, so I 'quick pick'ed them all.

So the Powerball is at like $660 million dollars. So I took a road trip and bought some lottery tickets.

It was a fun time with my bandmate, Wendy. We had both never played the lottery, and figured the cost of a meal was ample enough of an expenditure to place betting on something so statistically impossible we could only equate buying the lottery tickets as pure entertainment anyway.

However, it was getting back to the house where things got interesting.

As I stepped out of the car and put my camera bag on, I heard a thud, a crack - and I knew what happened. Something had fallen out of my bag. What was it? My 24mm f1.4L lens was laying on the ground, tiny speckles of glass shimmered in the light, and there was a big gaping hole in the lens.

An almost Zen-like cloud descended on my brain: "I'm not attached to my lens. It's my favorite lens, but it's just one more thing."

I sighed, picked it up, wondering at the big hole...


But that's also when I realized, "Hey, wait a minute. The lens is fine. That's the lens filter that smashed up, and as long as those glass shards didn't scratch the front lens element, we should be back in business!!!"

And, after using a rubber band to get a better handle on the now death grip clutch of the Tiffen 77mm UV filter hammered into the front of my lens, I unscrewed the filter, used a lens brush to try to knock free the small glass particles still on the front lens element, plugged it into my camera, and it still worked.

$2,000 lens saved by $20 filter.

I'll take that any day I can get it.

For the record, I'm pretty meticulous (perhaps "anal" is a better word) about keeping my gear in good shape, but I never thought I would have needed a lens filter to save my lens.

Thank you, Tiffen!

Review: Polaroid Optics Variable ND Filter vs. LightCraft Workshop Fader ND Mark 2 by matt wolfe [cc]

So I have been told that a Variable ND filter is a must for recording video, especially in event situations (like weddings), or anytime your preference is a run-and-gun style of shooting; where you have no control over lighting. And since your shutter speed is usually fixed, your preference for aperture is generally set, leaving really only a small window with ISO - a variable ND filter just makes things so convenient. At least, more convenient than using set ND filters.

After using a variable ND filter, I definitely agree that they are a must have - though they do come with their drawbacks.

Currently I own the Polaroid Optics Variable ND Filter and the LightCraft Workshop Fader ND Mark 2. The former runs around $55, depending on what size, and the latter runs around $129, also depending on what size you get.

Here are some test shots with them to help point out the drawbacks.

Images using a Canon 5DmkIII, 70-200mm f2.8 at the 200mm range 

(Click on images to open a lightbox to view better)

Image with no ND filter

Image with Fader ND Mark 2

Polaroid Optics Variable ND filter

Notice the striations in the bokeh in the Polaroid VND image, especially in the yellow marigolds. Also, you can see how the contrast flattens with the VND filter in place, as compared with the original image.

Image without ND filter, enlarged for detail

Fader ND Mark 2, enlarged image for detail

Polaroid Variable ND filter, enlarged image

Here you can notice the lessening of detail when a VND is used, though this is more apparent when pushed to maximum zoom in zoom lenses. The plant images have been enlarged to show both the striation drawback and detail loss.

Images using the 24mm f1.4 with the 5DmkIII

Shot with Canon 5DmkIII and 24mm f1.4L, no VND

Using the LightCraft Workshop Fader ND Mark 2, set to "MAX" setting on the filter

Using the Polaroid Optics VND, set to "MAX" setting on the filter

Lastly, you notice a distinct, almost "X" pattern that developes near the maximum setting of the VND, as regards exposure. Instead of the clean exposure across the image, some areas are darkened more so. You can begin to see the "X" pattern starting around the mid range of the two filters.

However, once again, the LightCraft Workshop filter does a better job than the cheaper Polaroid Optics filter.

PLEASE NOTE that neither of the two VND's are weather-sealed. Meaning small, or fine, dust particles may enter between the two rotating glass elements. So if you are shooting in a desert, or a very dusty place, bear this in mind.

Overall, I still think the VND filter is a necessity for the videomaker, even a set of standard ND filters. It is as simple as having the tools necessary to shoot in various settings.

I'll revisit this when/if I get a more expensive VND filter.

For video comparisons, 90% of my videos currently use the filters. If you think a video comparison would help you out better than just the above image samples, let me know and I'll see what I can put together.

Making of WHAT I... by matt wolfe [cc]

So I think I've finally been able to complete my COLOR TEST PROJECT. This is the third generation of the idea, and I think it's finally finished and I can stop going back to it.

Of course with my ever favorite KK in it. The coloring process can be see here below:

All footage was shot on the Canon 7D with a 24mm f1.4L USM lens.

Edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, first color process was in Redgiant Softeware's Magic Bullet Colorista Free 1.0, and the second color process with some FX was done with Digieffects Aged Film.

I shoot only in Technicolor Cinestyle, but the majority of the footage was not shot using it since I hadn't yet adopted the Technicolor Cinestyle at the time, but I highly recommend that picture profile.