Being at NAB is a bit like being trapped in a giant shopping mall filled with your favorite stuff It's amazing, then overwhelming, a tad depressing, and finally pretty exhausting.But totally worth it! This year felt a bit of a toned down compared to previous editions with no major camera announcements or miracle products (gimbals! 3D rigs! gopro clones!). Instead the show was full of improvements on previous products and a ton of drones. Seriously do you see this thing?
With the bar set high, here are a few of our favorite products at NAB this year.
(Semi) - Affordable Super 35 Servo Zooms
Canon and Fuji both announced mid range cinema zooms for the budget conscious. The Fuji PL 20-120mm T3.5 Cabrio lists around $18,000, so no this isn't affordable in the sense that a iPhone is affordable but in the cinema zoom world $18,000 is a very competitive price. The lens offers a great range and T3.5 is plenty fast in today's world of ISO infinity cameras.
Canon also announced a new zoom, the CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 L IS KAS S. The 18-80 is coming in at the crazy low price of $5500, which for a lot of DSLR style shooters is actually within reach. Unlike the Cabrio, the 18-80 doesn't ship with a zoom rocker, but an optional one can be purchased for a TBA price of "about $500". Compared to the Fuji, the Canon is slower, shorter on the tele end, but wider on the wide end. The difference between 80mm and 120mm is enormous, but in some ways so is the gap between 18mm and 20mm. The Canon also ships with autofocus support and image stabilization. Although for some reason (well outside of driving folks to buy Cinema EOS cameras) the Canon is only shipping in EF mount. Annoying for folks with Sony cameras who want to use PL mount.
Edelkrone Continues To Do Whatever It Wants
Edelkrone is a company I've been following for a long time, having ordered one of the original Pocket Rigs back when everything shipped from Turkey. This NAB, Edelkrone unveiled a few new products, all of which continue the companies design aesthetic of making products that look like alien spacecraft. The thing I was the most curious about was the Slider One a truly pocketable dolly which they had previously announced, but was new to me.
I've had a few sliders and while I love the production value that you get from using one I find that I'm often leaving it at home due to weight or the hassle of setting it up. For a small camera like a GH4 or A7s, the Slider One looked like a great piece of gear to throw into your gear bag and forget about it. Set up is crazy easy and once it's up you have about a six inch travel distance. In practice this felt like just enough, although I could easily go for an 8 or 10 inch model. Edelkrone was also showing off this is bizarre tripod competitor, the "StandPlus".
I couldn't get a firm price from the folks at Edelkrone other than "way less than a grand" and "competitive with other tripods". So depending on the price this could be an interesting alternative to low cost tripods, although I thought it was fairly bulky folded up. Edelkrone seem to be really thinking outside the box in terms of ergonomics and design, which makes their products always at the very least, interesting.
Black Magic Shows Some Restraint
We really, really, really love us some Black Magic. We use the ATEM switcher, the very useful Teranex, a plethora of their HDMI-SDI converters and the Pocket Cinema Camera. Our live rig is entirely built around Black Magic products and the new Black Magic Duplicator looks to give us a new way to distribute live content.
The sales rep mentioned handing out (or selling if you're more of Jeb! supporter than a Sanders person) SD cards after concerts or sporting events. We quickly saw the use in a political context of rapidly distributing remarks at the conclusion of an event. The Duplicator is a great example of Black Magic's innovative try anything approach. Although I'm not sure why Black Magic doesn't include 3:2 pull down in the Video Assist, a product I would immediately buy from my C100 if it did. C'mon!!
Handheld Gimbals Are The Future
Handheld gimbals were everywhere this year. Having used both the DJI Osmo with X3 camera and the Came TV handheld gimbal I'm pretty much ready to ditch my Defy G2. Right now the products don't quite feel ready for prime time, but I find the ease of use, protability and light weight design much preferable to the larger Movi rigs. I'm especially interested in the Osmo with the X5 camera, but the pricing of the X5 is bananas. At $1600 the camera costs more than a GH4 and at $5,000 the X5 Raw is in strictly rental only territory. I'm ready to for these products to fully arrive, but at this years NAB that arrival didn't seem imminent. I think from a purely pragmatic standpoints, the handheld gimbals are the closest thing to turning your camera into a floating orb that I've ever experienced. I love David Fincher style camera moves and I think once these gimbals get their kinks worked out they'll bring that kind of camera motion out of the realm of technocranes and down to DIY.
So that was our trip to NAB. Check back in a year when I am once again overwhelmed by all of the things and continuously surprised at how excited some folks can get for a free branded water bottle.