Tag Archives: DJI

Aivascope PRO 1.5x Anamorphic Lens test, quick update

(vimeo)

OK, so it’s been awhile. It’s been a weird year of ups and downs and I just don’t even know where to begin.

So, let’s begin with the Aivascope Pro 1.5x single focus anamorphic adapter. After asking nicely, Valdas of Aivascope graciously lent me one of the test copies of his new lens. I was excited to give it a try and looking forward to shooting as much as I could with it. Well, first came the rainiest early summer I can ever remember. Then, I got sick. Really sick. I was in doctor’s offices and hospitals in and out most of the summer. Instead of having the lens for a month, I had it for 3 and only shot with it 2 days or so. Both were really tough in the heat and I really shouldn’t have been out shooting in my condition, but I had to do something with it. It was driving me crazy.

I did two days in Chinatown with a similar rig. On the first day I tried the Voightlander 40mm f/1.4 lens. I had everything rigged on the Ronin-S the best I could and it did a decent job. I had fun filming but I had several issues keeping the rig stable because of the weird design of the Aivascope Pro and lack of a place to support the lens. But the BIGGEST issue was that the Aivascope Pro does NOT like fast apertures at infinity. You get really bad blooming and CA in the highlights.

You can see how bad the highlights are. This is at f/1.4
Same lens, a bit later, at f/2

It looked fine at closer focus, though. I was unhappy with the stability of my rig as well, so I waited until I felt decent and the weather was good to try again. This time I decided to use the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 as the taking lens. I also got the dual handles from SmallRig for the Ronin-S. This combo fixed 100% of my issues from the first shoot. Everything was sharp, clean, and stable. The only downside is that at f/2.8 with this modern lens is that everything looks a bit sterile. I threw in a few shots from the first day so I could have a bit more bokeh in the edit.It flared about the same on pretty much every lens I tried with it, but some lights randomly make it flare, some don’t.

Unfortunately things didn’t go well after the second day shoot and I never got around to editing this until now. I kinda wish I shot more, but hey. I’m happy with what I have. It’s better than nothing.

My final thoughts on the Aivascope Pro are this: It’s clean, it’s heavy, and it does what it says it does. It is NOT an Iscorama replacement. It is a completely different lens altogether. My main issues with the lens are the weight and the lack of a good place for support on the lens itself. It’s almost as heavy as the Bolex 16/32 with the FVD-16A on it. The only place you can support the lens is on the rear thread clamp. I tried to work around this on my rig by putting my follow focus under the lens on the focus gear. That helped a lot on the Ronin.

Speaking of the Ronin-S, it did a fantastic job. I am very happy with it’s performance and heavy rigs. Just balance, calibrate, and it’s always ready to go.

If I could afford to keep it I would definitely do so. It’s an excellent tool with it’s own look and strengths. But I’ve had a Bolex 16/32 1.5x for over a year and I barely use it, so it just didn’t seem like a smart buy for now.

Tech specs:
Panasonic GH5
4K UHD 60fps 4K, CINE-D
Converted to 24fps
Sigma ART 30mm f/2.8 MFT lens
Voightlander 40mm f/1.4 Leica M mount
Aivascope PRO 1.5x Anamorphic
DJI Ronin-S gimbal
IKAN Live Air Wireless Follow Focus

Filmed in Yokohama Chinatown, Japan.
Music is: Pick Up the Phone by Equalibrum

JSD Labs: DJI Mavic Air, iPhone 7 Plus, and Cherry Blossoms in Japan

A few weeks ago I finally got my own drone. The Mavic Air came out at the right time and had the right specs for my needs, so I picked one up. I have flown drones plenty of times in Japan, either rentals or client’s drones, but this is the first one I have owned.  It’s a different experience flying something that you personally have something invested in. One wrong move and it could be gone. So I haven’t done anything crazy with it.

Drones are banned in Tokyo, which is a shame. I have been working in Tokyo a lot recently and I haven’t been able to take it with me. Luckily, I live in Yokohama. With the exception of military bases, airports, events, and densely populated areas, it’s OK to fly here. I have been practicing in local parks, which were fine for gaining my bearings with it, but I can’t do too much crazy or intense flying. In sport mode the drone can cross a baseball field in seconds. With so many tall buildings and hills it’s easy for the Mavic to get out of sight really quickly. I plan to take it out to the beach when it warms up a bit more, but then I have the other fun issue of it being over water. I didn’t get it as a toy, it’s for filming only. Losing it would hurt my production values and wallet.

Overall it is a VERY solid drone. It packs up so tiny. My only issue is that it’s size doesn’t inspire confidence sometimes and can make it hard to see at a distance. I haven’t had any issues with connection or flying badly. But then again, I haven’t tried to push it at all. I only have two batteries right now, as my budget for film making is currently done. I had to sell a bunch of stuff to get this and something else, which I will be writing about very soon. I do want to fly it more often and try it out on some big projects, so I will invest in it a bit more when I can.

As for the video, I didn’t do much as far as settings other than changing some of the settings to be more film-like. Everything else was auto. I will try some manual camera settings on my next shoot. I also got a CPL to try. I hope to get some NDs for it in the future too. I brought my Zhiyun Smooth II iPhone gimbal to see what I could get with a super portable setup. I tried to go full manual in the Mavis app, so some of the shots didn’t match very well. If I went full manual on the Mavic too I think I could get them to match better. I also wanted to try a video with zero slow-motion. As much as I like the look it can be a crutch sometimes. I also had a hard time getting the colors the way I wanted, so I kinda give up and am posting it as the best I could. I really, really need to practice that more. Overall it’s just a test video of sorts. I have been flying since I got it, but just simple stuff that I post on Instagram.

The location for the shoot was fantastic. I had never been to this park before. I came upon it by chance when I went out to practice flying early one morning. The park I wanted to use had a baseball game (at 7:30 AM!) and I just wandered around looking for places to fly for like an hour. The only issue with the park is that it’s kinda far from everything. But it was so perfect for practice… very few people, good scenery, open spaces, perfect cherry blossoms.

I’ll have some more Mavic videos soon, but they’ll most likely be part of other projects. If I can, I’ll do a good beach video at the same place I did the iPhone 7 Plus anamorphic video.

Hopefully content will start flowing more regularly from now on too.