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The Lens

Lens, Camera, Video, Lighting and Drone Rentals

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September 2016

Coming Soon: DJI Mavic Pro Drone

5 months ago 409 Views

Hot off the success of their Phantom and Inspire1 series, DJI has announced a new addition to their drone line, the Mavic Pro. What makes the DJI Mavic Pro Drone so special? It is able to fold down for travel and transport to a mere 7.8" x 3.26" x 3.26" and weighs in at only 1.64lbs. Despite it's size, it can fly at up to 40MPH when in Sport mode, similar to that found in the DJI Phantom 4. The brand new controller is small enough to fit in your pocket and if you don't want to bother with the controller you can completely control the drone with your smartphone using virtual joysticks! Lets take a look at some of the key features this drone has to offer!

True 4K Quality

The Mavic has done away with electronic image stabilization in the camera to give you true 4K image quality! Instead, they have built the smallest 3-axis high, precision gimbal that DJI has ever made. All 3-axis's are equipped with a brushless motor to give you smooth great looking footage without being affected by the movement of the DJI Mavic Pro Drone. The camera featured on the drone is equipped with a 1/2.3 inch sensor with the ability to record DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 24fps, UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 24, 25, & 30fps, 1080 at 96fps and can take 12mp stills.

Safer & Smarter

The DJI Mavic Pro Drone is a safer and smarter drone. The drone comes equipped with dual IMU Senors which acquire the angle, speed and acceleration of Mavic and dual compasses which provides its ability to navigate. If one sensor goes out the other sensor kicks in ensuring safe and proper flight reliability. The Mavic takes full advantage of collecting data about the environment around it through FlightAutonomy which uses 5 cameras, dual-band satellite positioning (GPS and GLONASS), 2 ultrasonic rangefinders, redundant sensors, and 24 specialized computing cores. This technology examines the 3D space around it and takes photos to create a 3D map to let it know the location of everything surrounding it. Having forward and downward sensors active, the DJI Mavic Pro Drone can fly with complete stability indoors or out. The onboard ultrasonic system also gathers height information to keep the Mavic leveled while flying over changing terrain.

Dynamic Control Options

The DJI Mavic Pro Drone comes with a newly designed touch screen enabled control that is small enough to fit in your pocket. The Mavic utilizes OcuSync transmission system opposed to the commonly used WiFi transmission system. Utilizing the new system gives the Mavic the ability to stream 720p video at a maximum distance of 4.3 miles and 1080p video in short range mode. The new DJI Mavic Pro Drone also has several different flight modes including a new tap to fly mode which enables users to simply tap the screen where you would like the drone to fly without using the joysticks. Not to worry if you forget your controller at home. You can use your smart phone through wifi and still have access to all the great features and fly with on screen virtual joy stick.

The Mavic is essentially a breakthrough drone! Everyone is excited about the power behind this 4K drone. This drone can truly serve the purpose to any beginner looking to try a drone out or the professional looking to take his or her project to the next level! If you want to get a little more in depth, check out the video below. Reservations being accepted now on the new DJI Mavic Pro Drone!

Coming Soon: GoPro HERO5 and GoPro Karma Drone

5 months ago 502 Views

GoPro had some big announcements last week with some new additions to their lineup. First up is the follow-up to the GoPro HERO4 Black, the new Hero5 Black. GoPro has made some significant changes over the HERO4, the biggest being a completely re-designed rubberized body that can be taken underwater up to 33' without the need of a housing. There will be a new housing for depths lower than 33'. If you have a plethora of GoPro mounts like the ones we rent in our GoPro Ultimate Package - fear not! The camera will also include a frame that is compatible with all existing GoPro 3 mounting accessories.

The HERO5 is also the first GoPro camera to feature image stabilization, which is a huge plus for an action camera. One caveat of the image stabilization is only available for still photos and Full HD video, but is unavailable for 4K shooting. The camera can be controlled and adjusted with the new built-in touch screen, or via voice command. Yes, you heard that right - you can start or stop recording just by telling the camera!

The sensor has been slightly upgraded to feature a little better low-light, as well as the addition of raw and wide dynamic range capture. For video, you can record 4K at up to 30fps, 1080p up to 120fps, and 720p at up to 240fps. The Narrow, Wide, and SuperView field of view modes return along with a new Linear mode that captures a wide view while reducing the fisheye distortion of the lens.

The GoPro Hero 5 is expected towards the end of October and is available for pre-order now.

After a year of teasing, GoPro also unveiled Karma - its first foray into the world of drones. The Karma looks to be a very small and lightweight quadcopter that can be folded up for easy transport. The Karma integrates fully with the new GoPro HERO5, but will also have a cage that is compatible with the GoPro HERO4. The Karma's controller has a unique clamshell design that has an integrated live view touch screen. You can also link a mobile device and have a second operator control the camera settings via the new GoPro Passenger app, while the pilot focuses on flying.

Like most modern drones, Karma connects to GPS and features auto take-off and landing features. It also has some interesting automatic functionality including Auto Shot Paths, Drone Selfies, Cable Cam, and Orbit mode. You can also remove the gimbal from the Karma and attach it to the Karma Grip, turning it into a handheld gimbal. The Karma Grip has full control of the camera and can be combined with existing GoPro mounts for some creative applications.

The GoPro Karma & Karma Grip Package will be available towards the end of November and is available for pre-order now.

Manual vs Electronic Stabilization

5 months ago 282 Views

Manual vs Electronic Stabilization

One of the most common questions asked when getting into video is whether you should choose manual or electronic stabilization? What's better? What are the pros and cons for each? Should I use both? Lets take a good look into both of these options and weigh out the differences to help you make the best decision on the route you'd like to take!

Manual Stabilizer Examples

Glidecam HD 2000

  • Designed for compact, low profile cameras weighing from 2 to 6 pounds. What makes Glidecams different from an electronic stabilizer is that you play a huge part in physically controlling your stabilization and how it looks. The Glidecam HD 2000 is stabilized by a three axis free floating gimbal that is attached to a handle that you control. This gives you the ability to move your handle in all different directions without affecting the movement of the gimbal. This also allows you to run and make sudden movements without creating undesirable motions. You control the post that can freely rotate 360 degrees with your opposite hand, giving you the ability to control your pan and tilt at whatever speed you desire. The Glidecam HD 2000 can also flip upside down in an inverted mode to catch those nice low angle shots. It also features a 1/4" mounting hole at the base to mount an LCD Monitor. It also features a no-tool design. The downside of the Glidecam HD 2000 is the weight strain on your arm muscle and wrist after long periods of use, but luckily there is a solution for that, by simply using the Glidecam Arm Brace. The brace distributes the weight of the entire system over your whole forearm, the system becomes an extension of your body for smooth and natural shooting.

Redrock DSLR Deluxe Cinema V2

  • Shoulder Rigs are considered the king when it comes to manual stabilization. The Redrock DSLR Deluxe Cinema V2 for example is compatible with most DSLR cameras such as the Canon 5D Mark III. A shoulder rig does not give you the greatest stabilization but it's a significant improvement to handheld shooting. One of the greatest strengths of the shoulder rig is it's ability to carry optional external attachments like LitePanels MicroPro hotshoe LED Light, Field Monitor Marshall HDMI 7 inch LCD, Redrock Matte Box, Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Microphone Kit. You have so many possibilities in terms of building up your rig and making it your own. Rigs work great for event shooting since you can pack all your gear on the rig and start shooting.

Electronic Stabilizer Examples

Lets look at a few electronic stabilizer examples!

DJI Ronin-M Video Gimbal

  • The Ronin has taken the electronic stabilizing market by force. Suitable for most camera types and configurations up to 8lbs, the DJI Ronin-M Video Gimbal features a 3-axis brushless gimbal computerized motor that works to stabilize the roll, tilt, and pan of the camera! What makes this different from the traditional manual stabilizer is you don't control the pan and tilt manually. You control this by the movement of your hands. This allows you to take more focus off of controlling the pan and tilt and more focus on the art of the video. The DJI Ronin-M Video Gimbal can also get a bit heavy after long continuous usage, but luckily there is a solution for that with the Easyrig Cinema Vario 5 Camera Support System, which will allow you to easily use this system for hours without having to worry about putting it down too often. There is no room for an external monitor, but you can use the DJI Ronin-M Monitor Bracket, which attaches right onto the arms and gives you the option to mount an external monitor like Small HD 502 Field Monitor. This gimbal is great for smooth moving shots and nice sweeping shots from different angles.

DJI Osmo X3 Gimbal and Camera

  • This all in one electronic stabilizer is a run and gun shooters dream come true. One of the main strengths of this gimbal is that it's light weight and can be controlled all from one hand. This specific handheld gimbal already features the Zemuse X3 Camera with a 1/2.3" CMOS sensor that features full DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) video recording at 24 or 25p. You can also use the same type of all in one stabilization setup with your own camera by using the ikan DS1 Beholder Gimbal & Grip Kit. This stabilizer features different modes to help you achieve different shots and also has a joystick on the handle to give you manual control over the pan and tilt axis. This DJI Osmo X3 Gimbal and Camera works alongside with your smartphone and also features a smartphone holder, so you can live view and operate the features and setting of the camera right from your smartphone. If you are worried about mounting decent external audio there is a perfect solution with the Rode VideoMicro & Osmo Quick Release.

So which is better for you? The real answer is not whether electronic or manual is better for you, but which product suits your needs the best. Each one might have its own benefits in certain situations. It's good to try out all of the products that seem to fit your needs since you might choose one or multiple. They all serve a purpose and a great way to start is to try it for yourself and find which fits your production needs the best.

Introduction to Neutral-Density Filters

5 months ago 296 Views

Introduction to ND Filters

Neutral-density filters (also referred to as ND Filters), are an extremely useful tool for photographers and videographers. Surprisingly, many photo/video users have heard of them, but may not fully understand exactly what they're for. In this post, we're going to discuss exactly what an ND filter is and some practical uses for them.

What is a Neutral-Density Filter?

An ND filter is a filter that is grey and neutral in color and reduces the amount of light coming into the lens. The amount of light reduced varies depending on the intensity of the filter used, which is usually measured in full f-stop increments. Different manufacturers have different notations for ND filters, which can sometimes cause confusion when trying to compare. The two most popular notations are the "ND.number" and "NDnumber" - here is a breakdown of how the two compare.

As you can see - for every f-stop, the ND.number rating increases by a factor of 0.3, while the NDnumber rating doubles.

Types of ND Filters

There are a few different types of ND filters. The first and most common are full ND filters. These would cover the entire frame and reduce the light evenly throughout. These can come in screw in types like the 77mm ND Filter 0.6 or square filters for use in matte boxes like the Redrock Micro Filter Set. Some professional video/cinema cameras like the Sony FS7 & Canon C100 Mark II also have their own internal ND Filters that cover the sensor.

Next would be a graduated or split ND - where half of the filter has the ND effect, and the bottom half is clear. This is extremely useful for bright landscapes where you can't evenly expose the entire scene without losing highlight details. Like the full ND filters, these also come in screw-in or square type.

Last is a variable ND filter. These filters allow you to adjust the degree of the ND effect and eliminate the need for carrying multiple ND filters or stacking lower intensities. For example, our SLR Magic Variable ND Filter can provide ND adjustments from 2 to 6 stops.

Uses for ND Filters

One of the most common uses for ND filters is being able to shoot at wider apertures in bright situations. Sometimes even at the lowest ISO and highest shutter speed (between 1/4000 - 1/8000 sec depending on your camera), it's not possible to shoot at wide apertures without dramatically over-exposing the shot. This is especially useful for video users, who are limited by their shutter speed/frame rate combination.

Nikon D750, AF-S 85mm f/1.4G

The same also applies for trying to shoot with a flash outside and achieving the flash sync speed (between 1/160 - 1/250 sec). The above picture was shot with a D750, which has a flash sync speed of 1/200 sec. Without an ND filter in this scenario, the maximum aperture you could shoot with would be f/4. Adding a 3-stop ND, we are able to get down to f/1.4 and still be able to incorporate a flash into the shot.

Another common use would be lowering your shutter speed in bright conditions. This is particularly useful for removing the visibility moving subjects in a scene (like a crowded street) or adding a little bit of motion blur to a scene. A perfect example is with water.

Nikon D750, AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED N

In the above sample, the shot on the left does not have an ND filter. This results in a high shutter speed, which freezes the fountain and even the ripples in the pond. The shot on the right however, we added the SLR Magic Variable ND Filter at the maximum setting. You can see now that the water from the fountain looks like it's flowing and the ripples in the pond are much smoother. You can use strong ND filters in landscape situations to create very interesting effects.

That wraps up our intro to neutral density filters. If you're ready to start exploring the power of ND filters, you can find them available for rent on our Filters Section.

ikan DS1 Beholder Overview

5 months ago 571 Views

We've recently added a brand new video gimbal, the ikan DS1 Beholder Gimbal. It's a 3-Axis gyro stabilizer able to support large DSLR cameras in the range of 1.5-3.7lbs, such as the Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 7D Mark II, Panasonic GH4, & the Sony A7s II. This gimbal is powered by 3 x 2600mAh rechargeable batteries, for a total run-time of 2-3 hours of continuous usage. It also features a 5-way joystick on the handle of the gimbal that offers complete control over the Tilt/Pan axis making it one of the most versatile gimbals to hit the market.

3/8"-16 Thread Mount

The thread mount is located at the bottom of the gimbal as seen in the picture above and is great for mounting the gimbal onto equipment like a Video Monopod and Fluid Head 500 to achieve beautiful jib like shots! You can also use it with Kessler Cineslider 5ft and get a perfect pan/tilt using the 5-way joystick featured on the gimbal handle, or you could use the Handle extension that comes with the gimbal when you rent it from The Lens Depot.

USB Power Options

Having USB power built right into your gimbal adds more variety to the options you have when operating the gimbal. A great way to utilize the USB power option located on the gimbal handle would be to grab a Panasonic GH4 Camera, then using the Panasonic Image App on your smart phone your phone can be used as a live view monitor (with various control options) without worrying about draining your phones battery.

Operating Modes

Follow Mode: follows hand movements, joystick can control up and down, and panning movements.

Lock Made: lock camera onto subject, joystick can control up and down, and panning movements.

Inverted Mode: The gimbal can be operated upside down to achieve low to the ground shots.

Briefcase Mode: Briefcase mode allows you to hold and operate the gimbal at a horizontal angle.

The Ikan DS1 Beholder is a great tool for any videographer that will give you a ton of different options going into your next shoot. For any shooter that is looking for something a little different, lighter, and isn't looking to run a heavy camera and lens setup the Ikan DS1 Beholder will definitely give you a new way to maneuver through your next shoot. The Ikan DS1 Beholder is available to rent now!

Images provided courtesy of ikan Corporation.

New Arrivals: September 2016

5 months ago 281 Views

Since the beginning of September, we've added a few new items to our inventory. In case you've missed some of them, we've put together a handy rundown of a few of our latest and upcoming arrivals.

Ikan DS1 Beholder

Gimbals and other stabilizers have become extremely popular with videographers. The new Ikan DS1 Beholder is an easy to use gimbal aimed specifically at the Mirrorless and DSLR shooters, supporting capacities of 1.5 to 3.7lbs. For shooters that are looking for something a little smaller and lower-profile than a DJI Ronin-M, this is definitely a nice alternative. The Ikan DS1 Beholder is available to rent now

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV & BG-E20

Canon's highly anticipated EOS 5D Mark IV has arrived. Highlight features include an all-new 30.4 megapixel sensor, Dual Pixel AF in live-view, and DCI 4K video capture at up to 30p. This camera just arrived on Friday and is already available to rent now! Lucky for existing 5D Mark III users, the camera uses the same media (CF & SD cards) and batteries (LP-E6N). We also have the brand new battery grip, the BG-E20 available for pre-order.

More Additions to the Osmo Family

DJI has been rapidly expanding their Osmo lineup and we've added some of their latest offerings. First up is the DJI Osmo X5 Handwheel. This allows precise control of the focus, aperture, and zoom for the Osmo X5 Pro and X5 RAW (at this time it is not compatible with any other Osmo units). The DJI Osmo X5 Handwheel is available to rent now.

Next is the Osmo+ Gimbal & Camera. This uses the same camera as the recently released Inspire1 Z3 and brings zoom capability to the Osmo. This is expected towards the end of the month and is available for pre-order.

Last is an interesting addition to the Osmo family, the Osmo Mobile Gimbal. This is an interesting addition that will add the power of the Osmo platform to just about any smartphone camera. This is also expected at the end of the month and is available for pre-order.

Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS

One of the most popular telephoto focal length/aperture combinations finally comes to Sony! The Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS joins Sony's G Master series of lenses for the E-Mount system. This lens is ideally-suited for handheld shooting of distant and fast-moving subjects, but it also works great for portraits. Best of all, this lens is available to rent now.

That rounds up some of our latest editions. With the fall approaching, there is bound to be more new equipment just around the corner so stay tuned for more new arrivals. We also love your feedback! If there's something you'd like to see us add, send us an e-mail and let us know!

Unboxing: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

5 months ago 283 Views

The wait is finally over! The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has arrived! We did a quick unboxing video when the cameras arrived, you can check it out below.

The Canon 5D Mark IV is available to rent starting today! You can rent it here.

Customer Spotlight: Doug Jackson

6 months ago 1221 Views

We have a number of talented and interesting customers all across the country and we think it’s time to shine a spotlight on them. Every month we will be spotlighting a customer and ask them to share their special talents and experiences in the photography and video world. This month we talk to Doug Jackson from Orlando, FL.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

My name is Doug Jackson, I’m a full time photographer here in Orlando, FL. After moving here in 2010, I went to school for both photography and film.

How did you get into photography and/or video?

More than anything, photography was a sort of companion for me while I was in the military. When we weren’t training, I often traveled alone - and I think carrying a camera gave me a sense of purpose, a reason to stop and appreciate the things around me.

Where are you located?

I have a home office in Orlando, in Colonialtown to be specific.

What are some of your favorite hobbies/interests outside of photography?

I enjoy skydiving, reading, and listening to music.

What is your favorite thing about being a photographer/videographer?

Photography has never felt like work, honestly. Of course all of the planning and long hours can be exhausting but actually clicking the shutter or creating the light - it’s never felt like work to me, and I’m so grateful for that.

What is your least favorite thing about being a photographer/videographer?

Doing what you love can be exhausting, you’re sort of “all in” emotionally and otherwise. It can be tough when things don’t go well since it seems like so much is at stake. Sometimes you have to let it be just a business.

What is your current favorite piece of rental equipment?

The Kino Flo 4 Foot Bank 2 Light Kit, all day.

If you were going to a deserted island and could only bring one camera & lens – what would it be?

Oh easy. I would take my Fuji 6x9 rangefinder. It doesn’t need batteries to operate and if I’m deserted I would want to die with a medium format camera.

Where can people follow you or find your work online? (website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube etc.)

My website, is a great place to see my work. You can also find me on Instagram @jacksondwhit if you want something more up to date

Last, and most importantly – what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

It's a tough call between green tea or vanilla bean.


Thank you Doug for taking the time to participate in our Customer Spotlight Series! We hope you enjoyed it. We've included some of Doug's work below: