Zacuto Fast Draw Review

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.

Continue reading

Shooting AdagioTeaV with the Canon 7D

Last night @ZackLuye and I shot the latest episode of AdagioTeaV at my apartment and with Zack’s new Canon 7D.  I blogged about this camera earlier in the week, boasting about it’s beautiful video and whining about not having an HD feature in my Nikon D700.

We setup up the Canon 7D with a 50mm f1.8 prime lens, a couple of my Arri lights and my Kodak Zi8 (just for fun).  The result was some beautiful video, and hilarious outtakes.

Adagio TeaV: Episode 42 (canon7d) from Zack Luye on Vimeo.

This is by far the best AdagioTeaV has ever looked.  It’s been shot with a massively expensive Panasonic HD cam, a Canon 5D Mark II, a Canon XL2 and other pro-level cams and this $1,700 D-SRL did it the best.  That’s pretty telling about the state of digital videography.

The whole experience went pretty smoothly.  FinalCut Pro installed, despite stalling out in the middle of the install, and we got to editing the video.  That of course really equated to me watching in awe as Zack took to FinalCut Pro like a ninja.  The only real hiccup came with the memory card Zack purchased by recommendation from Columbia Photo.


See, the ProMaster compact flash card turned out to be horrendous.  Despite advertising better than 300x write speeds and boasting UDMA technology, the card simply could not keep up with the Canon 7D.  In fact, it could only record 2:46 mins of video in a single session!  That’s pretty awful, especially if you’re shooting with a single camera, without a standalone audio recorder and, well if you want to record more than three minutes of action.

When we put in my Lexar 300x UDMA cards, which I love and adore along with my Nikon D700, these time limitations disappeared.  Apparently not all UDMA compact flash cards are created equal.  Moral of the story? Stick with the big guys, SanDisk and Lexar.

It was fun watching and learning from Zack using FinalCut Pro.  Sounds like we’re going to exchange our unique bits of knowledge.  Together, we’re unstoppable! 😛

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]