Big thanks to the people at Zacuto who were kind enough to loan me an entire D-SLR rig for review a few weeks ago. The timing and setup could not have been better. After a week with the Zacuto Fast Draw, I’m here to share my thoughts on their video D-SLR solution.
My work sent me to Florida to shoot video with a D-SLR and no assistant. Whatever system I chose would have to be incredibly nimble, flexible and comfortable. Originally I was looking at some products from Red Rock Micro to pair with a Nikon D7000 and Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 lens.
It was during a Twitter conversation with my friend Zack that I was pushed into the direction of Zacuto. I remembered Zack had a Zacuto system that he really enjoyed which provided a stable shoulder rig, follow-focus and viewfinder that made fine-tuning focus on shots much easier.
I had never had the opportunity to play with his rig but was in awe, nevertheless.
It wasn’t long after I first tweeted about the need for a good video D-SLR rig that I got a message from Zacuto inviting me to try out their stuff in return for a review. Obviously I took them up on the awesome offer.
Here’s a quick video introduction to some of Zacuto’s D-SLR solutions.
The next review to hit this site should be one of the Zacuto Fast Draw with follow focus and all sorts of fun accessories. Thanks to the people at Zacuto for finding me on Twitter and getting a review setup shipped to me in literally 24 hours. Insane social media and insanely good customer service.
Zacuto knows what they are doing when it comes to accessorizing your video capable DSLR like the Canon 5D MKII, 7D, T2i, T3i, or from Nikon cameras like the D7000, D3s etc. It seems like they have thought of every problem that might come up when using these devices, and then figured out the solution.
I’m going to be shooting back in Florida and Missouri with the Nikon D7000 and can’t wait to give the Zacuto a solid run through.
My friend Zack (@zackluye) just got the new, beautiful, Canon 7D. This thing takes the most incredible video you ever did see, for under $2k! It got me all in a mess. I have this amazing Nikon D700 which has the insides of a Nikon D3 with a smaller outside. Yeah it’s missing some of the features of the D3 but it also has a few that the D3 doesn’t have. In the end, it takes identical photos as the D3, same chip, same processor, same images.
I went to Internet to read about the 7D, the Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D700, D3, D3X and D3S and, to my surprise, I left happy. I was expecting to read that the 5D and 7D have lower image quality than the D700 but shoot amazing video. Got that.
The Canon 5D Mark II has a full frame sensor but doesn’t handle low light nearly as well as my D700 but shoots at a higher megapixel and does video. The Canon 7D has the same problem but is aggravated by a smaller sensor so even more noise. But again, the video? Glorious.
I was expecting to hear that the D3, D3X and D3S all take better pictures than my D700. NOPE! While the D3X and D3S take arguably better pictures, there are caveats.
The Nikon D3X has a 24mp sensor that would allow me to print my photos even larger than my current (20×30 inches) which I would love. But it’s low light performance is ranked below my D700 and it costs three times as much (or something like that.)
The Nikon D3S has the same size sensor but ISO sensitivity up to like a babillion. Basically it can shoot in the dark and still get great photos. At ISO 12,800 the image looks like ISO 6400! Incredible.
So, after shooting a weekend full of concerts and artists and having to deal with extremely low lighting situations, I decided to run a little ISO test. So check out the image below, click to view it a little larger, there will be a download link for the full size image if you really feel the need for that.
Nikon D700 ISO Experiment click to download the (almost) full resolution image.
I wish I had my Nikon D80 with me right now to run the same test. I’m pretty sure it’s ISO 800 looks like the Nikon D700 at ISO 3200. The results here are pretty impressive to me and it makes me feel just that much better about my purchase. It will be a year in January. What shall we do for my Nikon D700 anniversary?!
And as far as shooting HD video? I’ll just keep experimenting with my Kodak Zi8 until I’ve grown up into something better. Really do hope Nikon comes out with a DSLR that shoots video that competes with the Canon equivalents, with a full frame sensor and doesn’t cost a fortune