News

Golden girl: the 24-karat wonders of Lina Iris Viktor

This British-Liberian artist uses gold, black and little else to create mesmerising works that draw on age-old techniques

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Categories: News

Metabones' Devil's Speed Booster turns Pentax Q cameras into ‘monster low-light machines’

DP Review News - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 17:20

Metabones—the company known for its lens adapters and focal reducing Speed Boosters—has released a new Speed Booster that ought to have Pentax Q users salivating a bit. It's called the Q666 0.5x 'Devils Speed Booster', because it allows Pentax Q owners to mount Nikon F and G lenses and produce a working aperture of f/0.666 when a lens with an f/1.2 aperture is used wide open.

The booster has a magnification of 0.5x and produces a 2.8x crop factor when used with the Q and Q10, and a 2.3x factor with the Q7 and Q-S1.

Metabones has used six elements in four groups inside this new Speed Booster, and has incorporated what it calls a ‘long-throw clickless aperture ring’ for G lenses that has eight marked positions. The adapter is compatible with all Nikkor and Nikon-mount lenses except the Nikkor 2.1cm f/4 and the 20mm f/2.8 AI-S.

The idea for the adapter was launched in August, but this is the first version to emerge. Metabones promises one for Pentax K mount lenses as well.

The Metabones Nikon G to Pentax Q Speed Booster Q666 0.50x costs $490. For more information, visit the Metabones website.

Press Release

Metabones Devil's Speed Booster Q666 0.50x

Caldwell Photographic Inc. and Metabones® is pleased to announce the Speed Booster Q666, a.k.a. “The Devil’s Speed Booster”, exclusively for Pentax Q series cameras. With its 0.5x magnification and world-record f/0.666 maximum speed it is crazy wicked fast. So make a deal with the devil today and turn your Pentax Q with its back-illuminated sensor into a monster low-light machine unlike anything ever seen in photography. Attach an f/1.2 lens and stop down a little to see how Stanley Kubrick made do with f/0.7 for filming those famous candle-lit scenes in “Barry Lyndon”. Or open up all the way to f/0.666 and probe the darkness in a way that no photographer has ever been able to do until now.

With an advanced 6-element optical design, the Q666 packs lots of optical horsepower in a small package. Sharpness is excellent even at f/0.666, and is downright superb if you stop down to f/1.0. Distortion is very low, with a maximum value of, naturally, 0.666%. And thanks to the back-illuminated sensor used in Pentax Q cameras, the full f/0.666 maximum aperture can be utilized with minimal pixel vignetting effects commonly seen in other cameras used with high-speed lenses.

Figures 2 through 4 below show MTF at 10, 20, and 40 lp/mm as a function of image height for output apertures of f/0.666, f/1.0, and f/2.01. At f/0.666 (i.e., with an f/1.2 master lens) the MTF is high near the axis, and only falls off gradually toward the corners. As the aperture is reduced to f/1.0 and then f/2.0 the MTF becomes very high and more even across the field. Figure 5 shows that there is less than 1 stop of corner illumination falloff even at f/0.666. And guess what - there is no vignetting at all after the output aperture reaches f/1.82. Figure 6 shows that rectilinear distortion added by the Speed Booster Q666 is negligible at less than 0.666%.

Like all Metabones Speed Boosters, the Speed Booster Q666 is optimized to fully account for the camera’s filter stack located near the sensor surface. This is especially critical at the record-setting f/0.666 aperture now possible with the Q666. As a result, an enormous range of optics, from vintage film lenses to the latest digital designs, will function flawlessly when adapted to any Pentax Q camera. Planned lens mounts for the Speed Booster Q666 include a Pentax-K version and a Nikon F/G version with the most advanced Nikon G aperture adjustment mechanism in the industry.

The Speed Booster Q666 will be available starting in Aug 2017 from the Metabones website (http://www.metabones.com/products/details/MB_SPNFG-Q-BM1) and its worldwide dealer network for US $489.00, plus shipping and applicable taxes and duties.

Categories: News

Adobe just made it way easier to import Lightroom collections into Adobe Portfolio

DP Review News - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:58

Adobe has announced that Portfolio, its online website publishing service for CC customers, has a new integration with Lightroom that lets users import their collections and add photos to their website with next-to-no effort.

As of this new update, a users' Lightroom content will simply show up within Portfolio's 'Manage Content' section under the 'Integrations' tab. From there, users are able to choose any of their Lightroom Collections to import to a Page on Portfolio. When added to the website, Adobe says the full Collection appears as a new Page with a photo grid, which you can then customize by removing images and/or rearranging the grid. Other elements, such as text and videos, can also be added to the page.

Finally, Adobe also says that Portfolio will now automatically import new Behance projects to new Pages within a chosen gallery—assuming the user chooses a default import gallery and has their Adobe ID associated with a Behance account.

Imported content is tagged with either a Lightroom or Behance badge in the Manage Content section to show where it was imported from.

To learn more about these new features or give them a try for yourself, head over to the Adobe Creative Cloud blog or download the latest version of Portfolio and give Lightroom import a shot for yourself.

Categories: News

EyeEm now lets you collect multiple model releases at once over text message

DP Review News - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:40
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If you license images of people, you know how much of a pain it can be to gather the appropriate model releases. For every photo, you need a new release, even if you're uploading 20 photos of the same person from the same photo shoot. Well, no longer. EyeEm just introduced a multi-release feature that lets you handle multiple releases at once; what's more, you can do it all over text message.

The feature is very straightforward, as EyeEm shows in this short demo video:

It's a 5-step process.

  • Step 1: Log on to EyeEm on the web, open the notifications pane, and go to To Dos.
  • Step 2: Click “Releases for multiple photos"
  • Step 3: Select all photos that show the same person
  • Step 4: Click next and fill out the model’s name
  • Step 5: Click next and share the link with your model through your favorite messaging app—SMS, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, and more are all available.

That's it. The model can select only the photos they want to release, and once they've signed you will receive a confirmation email.

This might seem like a small feature, but if you're a prolific stock photographer, generating multiple releases this easily removes a serious pain point. Plus, these releases can be used on other platforms as well, including Getty, Adobe, Alamy, and others.

To learn more about the feature or give the EyeEm app a go for yourself, head over to the EyeEm Blog by clicking here.

Categories: News

Van-derlust: on the road across North America – in pictures

Foster Huntingdon spent three years travelling across North America after quitting his job in New York. His book, Van Life, captures the lives of others living the alternative American dream, and showcases the best photos crowdsourced from his Tumblr account #vanlife, and features hundreds of unique vehicles in stunning landscapes. Van Life: Your Home on the Road is published by Little, Brown in the UK and Black Dog and Leventhal in the US

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Categories: News

Samyang unveils 35mm F1.4 autofocus lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless

DP Review News - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:00

Samyang has officially unveiled its fourth autofocus lens for Sony FE mount cameras: the long-rumored Samyang AF 35mm F1.4 FE. The new 35mm joins Samyang's three other AF lenses—the AF 14mm f/2.8 FE, AF 35mm f/2.8 FE and AF 50mm f/1.4 FE—and offers Sony full-frame mirrorless shooters yet another affordable (and fast) prime to shoot with.

As with all previous Samyang autofocus FE lenses, the company claims that they offer exceptional image quality across the whole image field. We're itching to put this claim to the test, as Sony's own FE 35/1.4 lens had enough copy-to-copy variation to make it hard to get a good one, as well as onion ring bokeh and a lot of longitudinal CA. On a 42MP sensor anyway.

This particular lens features 11 lens elements in 9 groups, including 2 aspherical lenses and 2 high-refractive lenses. At its core is a 9 (circular) blade aperture that opens up all the way to F1.4, and a Linear Super Sonic Motor promises "fast, precise and quiet autofocus performance."

The lens is scheduled to ship in November at a suggested retail price of £600 and €650, which should put US pricing around $750. To learn more about the new lens, head over to the Samyang website.

Press Release

Samyang Announces the Fourth Autofocus Lens – AF 35mm F1.4 FE

October 10th, 2017, Seoul, South Korea – Global optics brand, Samyang Optics (http://www.samyanglensglobal.com) is pleased to announce the release of their fourth autofocus lens: AF 35mm F1.4 FE. The bright F1.4 aperture and absolute resolution turn every moment into artwork. This lens now expands Samyang’s autofocus lens line-up to four which includes three existing autofocus lenses, AF 14mm F2.8 FE, AF 35mm F2.8 FE and AF 50mm F1.4 FE.

Aim High, Create Artwork

This new AF 35mm F1.4 FE works in harmony with full frame mirrorless cameras in Sony E mount such as Sony α7 or α9 series. It is designed to appeal to enthusiasts and professionals who are ready to take the next step up in photography. It is the excellent companion to create artworks from everyday moments, while the tiny AF 35mm F2.8 FE released in June of this year is the perfect partner for everyday photographers.

High Performance beyond Expectation

Absolute resolution across the entire image field is the key feature of Samyang AF 35mm F1.4 FE. The lens includes 11 elements in 9 groups and features 2 aspherical lenses and 2 high-refractive lenses, plus Ultra Multi Coating. The optical design minimises various aberrations and unnecessary light dispersion to deliver outstanding resolution. Fast, precise and quiet autofocus performance meets Samyang’s exceptional optical technology to capture any moments clearly. The bright F1.4 secures fast shutter speed and creates shallow depth of focus images in wide-standard angle of view. The new 35mm F1.4 lens is ideal for professional photography including low-light events, landscapes and portraits with expressive characteristics.

Available from November 2017

Samyang AF 35mm F1.4 FE, a lens for photographers aiming high in photography, will be available globally from November and will carry a suggested retail price of EUR 649.

To celebrate launching, Samyang Optics will hold various consumer events on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/samyanglensglobal) and Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/samyanglensglobal). For more information on product, visit Samyang Optics official website (http://www.samyanglensglobal.com/).

Categories: News

Yashica launches Y35 digiFilm camera that uses digital 'film' cartriges

DP Review News - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 15:35

After a number of teasers over the past few weeks, Yashica has finally launched its 'unprecedented camera' on Kickstarter: meet the Y35 digiFilm camera. The description page does not offer an awful lot of technical detail, but it looks like the Y35 is relatively simple digital camera in a retro-style body that comes with a unique feature: interchangeable digital 'film' cartridges that Yashica calls digiFilm.

The camera doesn't actually save any images on the digiFilm (it has an SD-card slot for that) but instead ISO, color and digital filter settings are controlled by inserting a digiFilm cartridges. How's that for a gimmick?

To start with, Y35 users will be able to choose from an ISO1600 High Speed digiFilm for grainy images and shooting fast moving subjects, an ISO 400 Black & White digiFilm, an ISO 200 Ultra Fine digiFilm, and a ISO 200 "6 x 6" cartridge that makes the camera capture square images.

Given most settings are adjusted by inserting a digiFilm cartridge, the camera body itself doesn't offer a great deal of control. There's only a "winder" to set the camera up for the next capture, and a shutter speed dial. The rest of the specifications are in line with quite basic digital cameras: images are captured on a 1/3.2-inch 14MP sensor and the lens comes with a 35mm equivalent focal length and F2.8 aperture.

You can reserve an early bird Yashica Y35 digiFilm special for $124 on the Kickstarter page. This will get you the Yashica Y35 camera and the ISO 200 Ultra Fine digiFilm, plus a Yashica digiFilm post card. The package for $142 includes an additional digiFilm of your choice. Delivery is planned for April 2018, assuming the camera gets funded.

Yashica Y35 Specifications:
  • 1/3.2-inch 14MP CMOS sensor
  • Built-in viewfinder
  • F2.8 aperture
  • 35mm equivalent focal length
  • 1m minimum focusing distance
  • 5 selectable steps shutter speeds 1s, 1/30s, 1/60s, 1/250s, 1/500s
  • SD card storage (wifi card compatible)
  • Micro USB connectivity for data transfers
  • Tripod mount
  • Power supply via 2 x AA batteries
Categories: News

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV sample gallery updated

DP Review News - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 14:00

Where better to take a 24-600mm equivalent superzoom than on a trip to the mountains? With a zoom range ideal for travel, our Sony RX10 IV review unit headed north to Whistler, BC almost as soon as it arrived. Take a look at our expanded sample gallery.

See our updated Sony RX10 IV gallery

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Categories: News

Human Nature by Lucas Foglia review – into the wild

Man’s impact on the planet is revealed in Foglia’s dramatic portraits of people interacting with the natural world

“I grew up on a small farm, 30 miles east of New York City,” writes Lucas Foglia in his short introduction to Human Nature. “Growing our food and bartering, my family felt shielded from the strip malls and suburbs around us... In 2012, Hurricane Sandy flooded out fields and blew down the oldest trees in the woods. On the news, scientists linked the storm to climate change caused by human activity. I realised that if humans are changing the weather, then there is no place on Earth unaltered by people.”

In this context, Foglia’s choice of title is an interesting one. Is he suggesting that human nature is essentially destructive? Or that nature itself is now shaped by human agency, whether it’s the melting polar icecaps or America’s last remaining protected wildernesses? His book provides few clear answers, but lots of clues. As in his two previous publications, A Natural Order (2012) and Frontcountry (2014), Foglia’s portraits occupy that tricky, slightly heightened hinterland between documentary and staging. (He studied at Yale, where one of his tutors was Gregory Crewdson, the master of grand-scale cinematic fabrication.)

Related: Into the ice: humans get closer to nature – in pictures

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Categories: News

Into the ice: humans get closer to nature – in pictures

From log trails to lava houses, from mud baths to melting glaciers, US photographer Lucas Foglia explores our relationship with the natural world. In his new book Human Nature, he has captured off-grid families, climate scientists at work, and a hotel over-run with greenery

• Read Sean O’Hagan’s review of Lucas Foglia’s Human Nature

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Categories: News

The Control Room app lets you control Lightroom from your smartphone

DP Review News - Mon, 09/10/2017 - 21:35

Need to spice up your Lightroom editing experience on the desktop? No need to wait for whatever Adobe has waiting for us at AdobeMAX, you can try out the Control Room app instead. Available for both Android and iOS, the app lets you control all of your Lightroom sliders (and more) from your smartphone, allowing you to lean back and edit the photos on your desktop without touching a mouse or keyboard.

The app was created by software engineer and photographer Aaron Vizzini, who only recently decided to share his creation with the general public.

Using Control Room, you can both edit and manage (rate, flag, create rapid collections) your photos using your smartphone as the control pane. Any changes you make on your device will update in real time on the computer through a companion plugin. It's exactly as seamless as it sounds:

Whether or not this will actually help speed up your Lightroom workflow is entirely dependent on you, but the idea, at least, is pretty neat. To learn more about Control Room or get the $4 app for yourself, head over to the iTunes App Store or Google Play, and then visit the Control Room website to download that plugin as well.

Categories: News

Google shares high-resolution Pixel 2 sample photos

DP Review News - Mon, 09/10/2017 - 21:06
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As with the original Pixel handsets, Google is stressing the quality of its Pixel 2 phone's 12MP camera, calling it the "world's highest rated smartphone camera" thanks to its DxOMark score of 98. The smartphone doesn't start shipping to buyers until November 15th, but ahead of that the company has shared a gallery of unedited images and videos taken with the handset.

The gallery was shared on Saturday by Google employee Issac Reynolds, who explained that the content includes two videos that were edited to demonstrate the camera's video stabilization through a side-by-side comparison. In addition, Reynolds says that the only equipment used in these shots, the Pixel 2 aside, were hand grips and, in certain instances, handheld reflectors.

Anyone can view and download the gallery's content for analysis using third-party software. As recently reported, Google will allow Pixel 2 owners to upload unlimited full-resolution videos and photos to Google Photos for free until 2020. Once that date arrives, and assuming the regular 15GB threshold is reached, Pixel owners will need to pay for additional storage or continue using free backups at a lower quality compressed resolution.

Categories: News

Google's unlimited full-res photo storage for Pixel 2 owners ends in 2020

DP Review News - Mon, 09/10/2017 - 19:55

Google is offering Pixel 2 buyers a special perk that allows them to store an unlimited number of full-resolution photos and videos through Google Photos, but it comes with a catch. Fine print listed at the bottom of Google's Pixel 2 product page notes that the free unlimited full-res storage is only available until 2020; at that point, the handsets will revert to Google Photos' typical 'high-quality' unlimited storage option.

'High-quality' is the term Google uses to denote a 1080p video resolution and 16MP image resolution.

Google Photos allows any user to upload an unlimited number of photos and videos at up to this high-quality threshold; anything that exceeds it is compressed when uploaded and that compressed version is stored. The Pixel 2 will sidestep this restriction, but only for a couple years.

Non-Pixel phone users can upload full-resolution videos and images for free up to a 15GB threshold. Once that threshold is reached—or, for Pixel 2 owners, once 2020 arrives—additional storage space can be purchased starting at $2/month (depending on location).

Categories: News

Video: Why the Profoto A1 is a 'gamechanger' for wedding photographers

DP Review News - Mon, 09/10/2017 - 17:20

Daniel Inskeep and Rachel Gulotta of popular photography YouTube channel Mango Street Lab recently got to test out the Profoto A1—an ultra-high-end $1,000 speedlight that Profoto is calling "the world's smallest studio flash." The flash has raised a lot of eyebrows with that steep price tag, but as they explain in their short 'review' of the A1, Daniel and Rachel believe this is a 'gamechanger' for wedding photographers.

Why is that exactly? Because while it might look like a speedlight, it offers a combination of power, simplicity, and reliability that has the duo tossing their Canon speedlights in the bin.

Their adulation for these flashes really comes down to three main advantages:

1. Simplicity and Ease of Use – The menus are easy to navigate and syncing multiple flashes is a cinch.

2. Built-in Air Remote – No need to purchase a separate air remote, just use the A1 on your camera to control all of your other Profoto lights.

3. Fast Recycle Time – The duo's favorite feature by far, this ensures that they don't miss key shots, even when they're running on only a partial charge.

Check out the video to hear their thoughts on this light, and share your own in the comments down below. Are you considering the Profoto A1? Are the advantages worth the price tag? And if they're not, what would you recommend instead?

Categories: News

Manfrotto unveils Element Carbon entry-level carbon fibre tripod range

DP Review News - Mon, 09/10/2017 - 15:27

Popular tripod and accessory maker Manfrotto has just revealed a new range of entry-level carbon fibre tripods that it hopes will attract photographers looking for good quality gear at a slightly more affordable price. The two new Element Carbon tripods are aimed at travel photographers and come in two sizes with payload recommendations of 4kg/8.82lb and 8kg/17.64lb.

The three-position carbon fibre legs feature twist locks, and the larger of the two has a detachable leg that can be fitted to the centre column to form a full-sized monopod. The ball-and-socket heads that come with the legs are made from aluminum and use an Arca-style quick release plate.

The maximum height of the Manfrotto Element Carbon tripods is 143cm/56.3in for the small version and 164cm/64.57in for the large one, and they weigh 1050g/2.3lb and 1400g/3.08lb, respectively. The new tripods will be priced at £175 and £200—US pricing has yet to be released. For more information, visit the Manfrotto website.

Press Release

INTRODUCING THE NEW MANFROTTO ELEMENT CARBON

Fast Setup. Perfect shot.

  • Smart traveller tripods for photographers who want to learn, experiment and travel free
  • Lightweight on your shoulders, stable on the ground.
  • Essential design ensures instant set up for an enjoyable shooting experience

Manfrotto, world leader in the photography, imaging equipment and accessories industry, presents Manfrotto Element Carbon. The Manfrotto Element Carbon tripods are the perfect fit for travel photographers who are just starting out and enthusiasts.

The two new Element Carbon traveller tripods are reliable, lightweight and easy to carry. Both feature a compact and sturdy carbon fibre construction that makes them strong but still very portable. The three leg-angle positions mean they are highly versatile so they are perfect for experimenting with all kinds of creative shots. The twist lock mechanism enables photographers to get into the right position fast, in a few, easy moves, while the aluminum ball head is designed to deliver the fast movement when framing and a firm lock for setting equipment up exactly as you need it. The ball head mounts an Arca-type quick release plate with a 1/4"-20 camera screw on top that ensures equipment is balanced even when using zoom lenses.

In addition, the Element Traveller Carbon Big Tripod features a detachable leg that, when removed and attached to the centre column, becomes a full size lightweight monopod.

The Element Carbon Tripods have a payload of 4kg on the small tripod, and 8kg on the big tripod and feature a branded Manfrotto bag, an additional set of spike feet (big tripod only) and an Allen key to fix and tighten your gear.

The Element Carbon Tripods are available from £174.95.

For more information, please visit www.manfrotto.co.uk

Categories: News

Monday's top photos: plus-size fashion and Che Guevara

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights from around the world, including a Nairobi catwalk and a Cuban commemoration

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Categories: News

Our Restless Earth: photography competition winners 2017 – in pictures

The Geological Society of London has announced the 12 winners of its photography competition. The chosen images represent the dynamic processes which have shaped the UK and Ireland over its tectonic history, from ancient volcanic activity to ice age glaciers. The pictures will feature in a free exhibition at the Geological Society to mark Earth Science Week, 7-15 October.

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Categories: News

Urban exposure: the world's most striking city architecture photographs

From a wavy waterfront chapel in Cape Town to a giant light-soaked gym in China … here are the highlights of the shortlist for Arcaid’s 2017 architectural photograph of the year

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Categories: News

Hemsby Rock'n'Roll Weekender – in pictures

Fans of rock’n’roll, rockabilly, rockin’ blues and Americana gather at Seacroft Holiday Village in Hemsby, Norfolk, to dress up in period clothing and relive the 1950s

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Categories: News

Gudsen Moza Air gimbal review

DP Review News - Sun, 08/10/2017 - 14:00
Gudsen Moza Air
$599, ($798 for the thumb controller kit)
www.Gudsen.com

There are whole lot of things about shooting video that are difficult, such as getting to grips with the specific terminology, mastering audio, understanding input/output files types and finding your way around new software. All of this stuff can be learned, but what I struggle with most, and which just wrecks most of the videos I shoot, is just holding the camera steady. This beats me even when I’m standing still, but it destroys every beautiful or dramatic scene I encounter if I have to so much as pan across a view let alone actually move my feet as well. I can achieve smooth motion sometimes, but with such a degree of concentration that everything else goes out of the window. In short, I find this aspect of shooting movies almost impossible to overcome.

The Moza Air is designed for compact system cameras and small to medium sized DSLRs

I guess I’m not entirely alone here, as there are now quite a number of mid-sized gimbals designed to help videographers achieve smooth footage when they are moving with a handheld camera. The Zhiyun Crane has been a popular option for some time, but newer on the scene is the Gudsen Moza Air.

Gudsen had mostly produced gimbals for small devices and mobile phones, but has recently moved into support for larger, heavier cameras. The Moza Air is designed for compact system cameras and small to medium sized DSLRs with a maximum payload of 5.5lbs/2.5kg – a restriction which actually only really excludes top-end professional models.

Specification

The Gudsen Moza Air is motorized gimbal platform-on-handle designed to create smooth motion and steadier stationary views for videographers. It is made from aluminum tubing and weighs 2.4lb/1.1kg when it is all put together and the batteries are loaded. The large camera platform offers two cut-out runners and two sizes of threaded screws, as well as plenty of room to shift cameras backwards and forwards to find a balance. There is less side-to-side space than front-to-back though, with the maximum gap between the camera retaining screw and the right hand arm being 3 7/8in/97mm. This isn’t necessarily an issue when it comes to actually fitting a camera in that space, so much as for attaching cables to ports on the right hand side of the camera.

The platform allows continuous 360° yaw, tilt and roll movements, all of which can be controlled via the joy stick on the main handle. Built-in Bluetooth 4.0 allows these actions to be controlled remotely via a separate thumb controller too, and users can take charge of settings and motion via the Moza Air app. Further connections come in the form of a micro USB port for connection to camera remote control sockets.

Three 3.7V lithium ion batteries drop into the handle to power the device and Gudsen claims their 2000mAh capacity will drive the gimbal for between four and eight hours. The dramatic discrepancy between the battery life figures is a function of the range of weights the gimbal can accommodate as well as the differences in power required to hold a camera in the normal position and at some contorted angle.

Handling

The Moza Air comes very nicely packaged in a hard case with a range of accessories. I’m not entirely sure what is in the standard kit, as I received two kits each with different accompaniments. The basic setup includes the main handle with the gimbal as well as the battery compartment and the thumb controller. Also in the box is a set of handlebars is that allow the device to be used with two hands while a second person deals with the head movements via the thumb controller.

A set of cables allows you to connect the handle to certain compatible cameras for stop/start recording controls and there’s a support bracket for heavy lenses. In one package I got a mini-tripod that attaches to the threaded base of the handle. This is very useful for getting the camera balanced and can also be used to extend the handle for an even greater field of motion.

Once the gimbal is assembled you have to balance the camera in the main cradle. It’s important to get the kit as well balanced as possible before switching the gimbal on so that you get the maximum out of the movements possible and so that you don’t use more power than you need to. Getting the balance right can be time consuming especially the first time you have to balance a kit. You have to remember to get the camera exactly was you want to use it first as well, as even taking the lens cap off, or flipping out the camera’s screen, will upset the balance.

Having a tripod, mini or not, with you is a good idea for when the kit needs to be altered.

Switching lenses during a shoot means taking a break to rebalance the gimbal, which is difficult to do in the field if there is nowhere level to position it – so picking a non-extending zoom makes life a bit easier. Having a tripod, mini or not, with you is a good idea for when the kit needs to be altered. Using in-camera levels is handy for ensuring the camera is perfectly balanced, if your camera has them.

The Moza Air makes leveling reasonably easy by having arm-brackets that slide nicely to allow small adjustments. There are three brackets to get in balance so this isn’t a ten-second job – though measured markings on each of the arms makes positions easier to return to when re-attaching a previously used camera and lens combination. Some way of keeping the camera screw in place would be really useful, and in fact a quick release plate even better, so that after moving the camera for a battery change or a card swap you don’t have to rebalance it all over again.

One of the more obvious differences between the Moza Air and the Zhiyun Crane is that the Moza Air features controls that face the user, so they can be operated with the thumb. There are only two control points and each can perform a range of tasks according to how many times it is pressed. It doesn’t take too long to commit these functions to memory, and I appreciated having all the controls in one place while trying to keep an eye on the screen while filming – so I guess it is better than having a collection of dedicated buttons for each task.

The stop/start function is very useful, and the proximity of the thumb rocker is handy for controlling the camera angle without having to change the way your hand is gripping the handle. The rocker controls the left-right/up-down direction of travel of the gimbal, but there’s no way to tilt the camera left-to-right, and it takes some practice to get the motion slow and smooth.

Despite its light weight, in use the Moza Air gets quite heavy

Despite its light weight, in use the Moza Air gets quite heavy. That isn’t an inherent fault of the device so much as the nature of holding a camera on a stick at an angle for a long time.

If you record sound from a hotshoe mounted microphone you’ll want to choose a small one that doesn’t restrict your movements too much. When using the gimbal in the upright position there is loads of room for a microphone, but as soon as you begin to tilt the gimbal forward into the flashlight position the brackets of the device will clash with the back of the microphone.

When the camera is slung under the gimbal for low angle shots there is even less space for a microphone, but there are accessory points where a mic can be attached. I used the Rode VideoMic Pro and Pro+ in the hotshoe for most of this test, and attached it to the handle bars when shooting with the camera slung low.

Motion in action

The second version of this gimbal that I received was dramatically improvements over the first very early version I used. Its motor seems much stronger, or better tuned, so it can hold more weight in more difficult positions for longer without suddenly giving up and throwing the camera around – which happened a lot with the early model.

The ability of the gimbal to support and steady the camera at quite a wide range of angles is pretty amazing, and allows the user to perform crane-like sequences with the camera coming from a low angle up to an overhead view in one smooth motion. The side-to-side support is also very good, and though side movements can create clashes with cables and screens sticking out to the side of the camera.

at the extremes, the head can’t hold the camera for long before flipping out

Using the controller on the Moza Air’s handle you can introduce tilt and twist actions. With the handle in the upright position you can rotate the camera 360 degrees about the vertical axis while the tilt motions are more moderate. Although I didn’t expect to be able to get the camera to look directly down I’d rather hoped to for a better range of tilt angles – and at the extremes the head can’t hold the camera for long before flipping out.

The controller on the handle doesn’t really allow fine movements or adjustments during filming as the increments are crude and a bit jerky, so users will be better off using the Bluetooth thumb controller that comes in the kit. With a bigger joystick and a wider range of actions this provides a little more precision. The thumb controller can instruct the head to move at different speeds as well as customize the way it works and to instruct the system which camera is in use. It is important for the system to be informed of the camera brand so that the cabled remote that connects the head and the camera can operate properly.

The new Mimic Motion Control feature makes a massive difference to the finesse with which movements can be communicated to the head. Attaching the thumb-controller to the handle bars and setting it to the appropriate mode allows users to control the head remotely just by moving the handle bars – and the head follows every action. This allows much finer movements as well as complete flexibility in the speed at which the head moves. It makes a huge difference to how the camera angle can be dictated when the rig is mounted on a tripod or being carried by a third party.

recording can be initiated and stopped using either the thumb controller or from the buttons on the gimbal’s handle

Using the cabled remote, which connects the camera’s remote control socket to the gimbal via USB, recording can be initiated and stopped using either the thumb controller or from the buttons on the gimbal’s handle. Canon users’ cameras compatible with the system can be made to focus from the remote buttons as well. The stop/start feature is particularly useful as it means you don’t have to alter your grip on the handle to kick off the recording – and suffer a few seconds of wobbly footage at the beginning and end of each clip. This can save time in editing and quite a lot of memory card capacity during a long shoot with a number of scenes.

The App

I used the smartphone app with my iPhone 5s and found early versions of it slightly prone to hanging and displays lagging behind what the head was doing. The app offers a virtual joystick for controlling the head, but I found the lag such that accurate instructions proved hard to communicate.

The app also allows you to program the speed of the head as well as to calibrate the motors and determine the angles of movement in each of the controllable axes. The early version was not especially easy to use, but the more recent update has made a big difference.

The head’s timelapse feature is also controlled via the app, and gives filmmakers the opportunity to determine start and end points for motion in the sequence as well as three other points for the head to cover during the action. Thus the head doesn’t just move from side to side or up and down – it can move in all directions across the four shooting segments of the timelapse. Initially the head moved continuously during the sequence, which wasn’t ideal for those wanting to use long shutter speeds. Consequently many of my first timelapse sequences are a bit jerky.

The recent firmware update allows the head and camera shutter to synchronize and offer a move-stop-shoot-move routine that holds the camera still while the shutter is open – with cameras that are compatible with the head’s cabled remote. The timelapse feature of the app now offers plenty of control over the end result, and with cameras that plug into the head it will start and stop the shooting too.

Performance

I have been very pleasantly surprised by how well this gimbal performs. I had expected it to be of some assistance in keeping the camera stable during walking shots, but didn't expect the degree of correction that it provides when running. When kept within the perimeters of the angles it can handle the gimbal works really very well, so it is a question of finding where those extremes are. Inevitably I wanted it to be able to cope with angles it could not manage, but in the course of normal shooting I suspect the more difficult poses I demanded in testing would not be required. I found that the more I got used to what it can do the more I was able to compensate with my own movements so that the gimbal didn't have to work so hard.

There were a number of occasions on which the humming of the motor rose to a level that would be noticed in the audio. These occasions were not limited to handheld and demanding shooting with heavy equipment, but also occurred while the Moza Air was mounted on a tripod. Usually the whirring could be solved by rebalancing the camera, but sometimes that wasn't enough - but it would go away by itself.

Battery life isn't too bad, and I found a set of three could keep the Moza powered for at least four hours. I also found though that removing the batteries from the handle in between shoots was a surer way of there being power in them the next time of shooting.

In general, I thought the Moza Air behaved rather well throughout the test, and it allowed me to get plenty of shots I wouldn't have managed otherwise, and the updated timelapse feature is actually really useful.

Conclusion

The Gudsen Moza Air is slightly less than perfect in some respects, such as the complications of getting the camera balanced to begin with and in the arms clashing with each other when in certain positions. However, the company doesn’t appear to be sitting on its laurels – there have been really quite significant updates even during the period of this test. It is an excellent solution though for holding a recording camera steady for 80% of the shots any videographer is going to want to shoot. It can’t do angled up or down shots very well, but for everything else I found it a great assistance.

In the world of video, where everything seems to cost a small fortune this device is relatively affordable

Critically, the Moza Air has allowed me to create a video that doesn’t look like it was shot by a monkey even though this is pretty much the first time I have shot more than two clips that were intended to be stuck together, and my videography experience is slim to say the least. In the world of video, where everything seems to cost a small fortune this device is relatively affordable and actually presents very good value for money considering the difference it will make to your footage.

Yes, some of the mechanical design is in need of refinement, but for the most part I can live with that for now - although when the motors give up when holding the camera during a difficult angle it can be frustrating. More powerful motors would allow it to hold better and would reduce the whine and wobble that can be produced in the extremities of the head’s operating envelope, but I suppose that would cost more money. If you don’t push it too hard, and don’t expect too much you will be very happy indeed with the Moza Air – as I have been.

This little movie was made for a bit of fun - but primarily to demonstrate what the Moza Air can do in a range of situations. It was shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 in VLogL and edited in Davinci Resolve. I used two Moza Airs - one to support the camera for the whole of the shoot and the other in the box that we could film being assembled. It's neat that Gudsen supplies a hard case for the kit, but it struck me as something you might see in a gangster movie - hence the theme we went with for this clip. Pros:
  • Relatively good value
  • Supports most DSLRs
  • Nice button controls
  • Good stabilization
  • Mimic Control is excellent
Cons:
  • Build quality could be refined
  • Could be made lighter with different materials
  • Hard to balance the camera quickly

For more information see the Gudsen website.

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