I’ve got a small secret to tell, but I don’t want to offend anybody when I disclose it.  I go to several trade shows every year to keep up on the latest gear and software upgrades.  It gives me a chance to also catchup with old friends and view some of the best creative work on display by others.  Of all the shows I attend, my favorite is the one right here on the Paramount Studio back lot, CineGear Expo.  I mean, how can you beat a gear show setup on a New York City street set?  Want to see the camera crane working at three stories?  No problem… its over by that big brownstone, mounted on the Porsche Cayenne.  Price?  Don’t ask.  Rent it.

Welcome to CineGear Expo 2015

Welcome to CineGear Expo 2015

CineGear always has the latest of everything, in a wide range of sizes and prices.  This is a Hollywood show, held for all of us in the business as well as private individuals attending from all around the country.  It is for gear heads, and those who employ them.  Is it a big deal show?  It isn’t NAB, thank God, but yes, it is a big deal for me and a whole lot of people in Hollywood who work in the industry.  Judging from some of the prices of items on demonstration, it has some major capital expense opportunities too!  This show for me is also everything NAB is not.  This is a working man’s show; all the gear is on demo and all of it seems to work.  Where NAB and CES are be there, see and be seen CineGear has more grit.  Get your hands on the controls and feel it work kind of grit.  NAB feels like a trade show.  CineGear feels more like an on site demonstration of everybody’s favorite toys ;=)

Once Again, The Shogun Was Everywhere In The Atomos Stand.

Once Again, The Shogun Was Everywhere.  Here, In The Atomos Stand.

Feel free to jump up and try a Fiilex Q1000 and not just at any location.  The Fiilex booth was inside Studio 31, where that new Q1000 with the fresnel lens had enough juice to actually light up the 30′ ceiling.  A powerful light, mains and/or battery powered from several optional sources.

Paramount Studios is A Perfect Location For CineGear; History & Ambience Count!

Paramount Studios is A Perfect Location For CineGear; History & Ambience Count!

 

 

There were all kinds of stabilization and motion control devices … everything from the Movi way up to the absolutely awesome BOLT shown below.   I can’t imaging a DSLR mirror could stand up to the stress and G forces something like The BOLT would put on it.  That makes The BOLT the latest addition to #mirrorless madness?  Need a he-man slider?  Kessler, eat your heart out.

From TimeLapse To High Speed Video Arms, The Bots Were Well Represented.

From TimeLapse To High Speed Video Arms, The Bots Were Well Represented.

To my great surprise, my vote for the single product that stole this show is the two new Zeiss Batis lenses.  I expected them to be very good.  They turned out to be exceptional.  Nicole Balle, Zeiss Marketing Manager for the Carl Zeiss Camera Lens Division was a great help telling us about the new 85mm f/1.8 on camera.  Thank you Nicole.  And please thank the engineers at Zeiss for these two Professional grade Sony E mount lenses.  These two lenses, a 25mm f/2 Distagon and an 85mm f/1.8 Sonar, are simply fantastic.  Video segments shot using these two Batis lenses are included in the video at the top, and her are a couple of quick stills.

Thank You Nicole Balle.  A7S, Zeiss 25mm f/2 1/8000th sec. @F/4

Thank You Nicole Balle. A7S, Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 1/8000th sec.@F/4

 

 

 

Paul Gero, A7S, Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 1/8000th sec.@F/4

Paul Gero, A7S, Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 1/8000th sec.@F/4

I can’t wait to get my hands on an evaluation set of these lenses to do a more in depth field test, but I can safely say from just a few minutes with each of these wonderful lenses that they are probably two of the finest lenses I have ever used.  Certainly the two top autofocus on the Sony A7S.  The autofocus speed is very impressive, crisp and snappy.

The A7S, Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 1/8000th sec.@F/4 Produces A Clean Image Edge To Edge

The A7S, Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 1/8000th sec.@F/4 Produces A Clean Image Edge To Edge

 

 

 

The A7S, Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 is one FINE 85mm lens/camera combo!

The A7S, Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 is one FINE 85mm lens/camera combo!

The A7S, Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8.

The A7S, Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8.

The out of focus areas with both lenses are wonderful to see.  The image definition and 3D quality is very impressive from a lens that features excellent micro contrast and at the same time remarkable macro contrast as well.  The color can range from rich to pastel, depending upon your final processing, while the color accuracy on the A7S I used was remarkably good.  But the second greatest surprise after the remarkable image quality is the weight of the lens.  Both of these lenses are made of metal, though exceptionally light weight.  The build quality is first class, what you would expect from a top of the line German Zeiss lens.  These two are going to be must haves in my bag once they begin to ship the middle of July, 2015.

DSC04562

From the movie “Forest Gump.”

As always with every show, there were literally hundreds of other items I saw I could have written about.  These were just the ones that particularly stood out this year for me, at CineGear 2015.  I’m already looking forward to next year, CineGear 2016.  Why don’t you plan to attend as well if your in Los Angeles next June?  I can promise an experience you won’t forget; CineGear up close and personal.

 

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