The Sony Alpha a6500 is an APS-C format mirrorless camera, powerful for both still and video shooting. Featuring 4K internal video recording as well as 24.2 MP still photo shooting. The small form factor hides a powerful camera that makes it easy for anyone to capture great photo and video, even in challenging situations.
The a6500 builds on the success of the a6000 and a6300. The a6500 adds five-axis in-body stabilization. Now every lens is a stabilized lens, letting you shoot handheld photos and video with reduced motion blur and smoother camera moves. Sensitivity is unmatched among crop-factor cameras, with ISO extending to 51200. Video recording is higher quality, with resolution up to 3840×2160 at 30 frames per second.
The camera accepts any E-mount lenses (also called NEX), as well as nearly any DSLR lens with the use of an adapter. Lenses designed for full frame (FE lenses) will have a 1.5x crop in field of view, when compared to a full frame camera. We would be happy to help you choose the best lenses for your rental.
Your rental includes the Sony Alpha a6500 body, two batteries, a 64GB SD card, and a charger. You’ll need to add a lens to be ready to shoot.
The Sony A7s II is a combination still and video camera, featuring 4K internal video recording as well as 12.2 MP still photo shooting. Like its predecessor, the Sony A7s, this camera is a low light monster, allowing exposures where other cameras simply can’t. Max ISO goes all the way up to 409,600, with a native ISO of 3200. This camera is the ideal choice for low-light documentary-style work.
The most notable improvement over the Sony A7s is the added in-camera 5-axis image stabilization. Now every lens is a stabilized lens, letting you shoot handheld photos and video with reduced motion blur and smoother camera moves.
The camera accepts any E-mount lenses (also called NEX), as well as nearly any DSLR lens with the use of an adapter. We suggest lenses offering full-frame coverage, but crop-factor lenses will function in crop mode. We would be happy to help you choose the best lenses for your rental.
We include the Sony Alpha A7s II body, two batteries, a 64GB SD card, and a charger. You’ll need to add a lens to be ready to shoot.
The Sony FS7 features a Super 35-sized sensor, 4K internal recording, and codecs including XAVC-I at 113 Mbps, to match Sony’s flagship F55. Capture 14 stops of dynamic range in Slog-3, or choose a picture style to go direct to broadcast. 10-bit 4:2:2 in DCI-4K, QHD, and 1080p HD resolutions without bulky recorders means shooting for the colorist is easy.
We include the extension unit with the kit rental, which adds raw output, timecode in and out, genlock, and multiple power options.
The Sony E-mount on the PXW-FS7 can be adapted to fit EF and PL lenses, and a behind-the-lens ND filter means no more clumsy filter changes. The rental includes an electronic viewfinder/display and adjustable hand grip. The versatility makes the FS7 equally at home in cinema and broadcast applications.
The FS7 camera supports UHD framerates up to 60p, as well as 1080p at 180 fps, all continuous and in-camera. Sony rates native ISO at 2000, and low-light performance is superb, especially when compared with other 4K cameras.
While Sony continues to offer the FS700, the FS7 offers multiple improvements in functionality, higher-quality recording formats, and a more ergonomic layout. The FS7 is a well-matched camera to an F5 or F55, and also works well on a set with an FS700 or even an A7s backing it up. This is Sony’s answer to the Canon C300, and it would appear the FS7 wins in every category worth measuring.This FS7 camera kit includes everything you need to get started shooting in 4K at high speed, just add lenses.
Sony FS7 camera
XDCA-FS7 extension unit
Metabones EF to NEX Speedbooster Ultra
2 64GB XQD cards
1 USB 3.0 XQD card reader
2 V-mount batteries
1 Dual V-mount charger
2 BP-U Batteries
1 BP-U Charger
You’ll want to use a lens support when mounting heavier lenses to the Metabones Speedbooster Ultra.
I’ve been shooting with the Sony PXW-FS7 and Metabones Ultra Speedbooster EF for about six months, yikes, about four years! For some of my earlier notes, check out my first post on the FS7. This post is updated and current as of October 8, 2017, and covers some of the updates available in the FS7 mark II as well.
The FS7 and the C300 mark II have definitely squared off as direct competitors. Excluding a few fanboys on either side, most operators and producers will say both cameras perform relatively equally. The cost to buy, cost of ownership, and flexibility all tilt in Sony’s favor. Canon appears to have the edge in durability and name recognition.
The battery options have gotten a lot better, and most modern BP-U series batteries have been updated to work with the FS7 and FS7 mark II. I’ve had great results from BP-U90 batteries made by Vivitar, with two of them lasting all day. If you’re running on a gimbal/stabilizer, you’ll probably want to scale down to multiple BP-U30 batteries.
The XDCA-FS7 really brings the camera close to the features and functionality of the much pricier F5 and F55. If you’re using the camera professionally, it’s a no-brainer to buy one. Of course, everyone who has one isn’t looking to sell it, so they are pretty rare to find used.
After beating an FS7 up for four years, a few parts are going to break or fall off. In particular, consider reinforcing the connection between the EVF and camera body. Also, be aware the shotgun mount is a target for abuse, and the EVF mount is less than ideal. If you’re able to swap for the mark II version of the EVF mount, I strongly suggest it. At a minimum, you’ll want to trade out the short rod for a longer one to better position the EVF for shoulder work. Be careful, as the screws strip out easily if you’re heavy-handed.
The stream of constant firmware updates has ended, and the latest version is probably the right choice for anyone who is not in the middle of a project. You don’t want to brick your rig halfway through a week’s shooting, or find out that highlight handling or something was changed halfway through your shoot. There are still some weird things about the way the FS7 handles settings, in particular if you’re setting general settings like framerate and resolution. More than once, I’ve gone through all my settings from top to bottom, and then realized that by changing some value, I’ve reset other values as well. And then there’s the menu items that end up grayed out without explanation. I suggest writing your most commonly used settings to an SD card, so you can recall them quickly, rather than spending 10+ minutes making sure every last setting is right or doing a factory reset every shoot.
My key reason for preferring the FS7 over the Canon Cx00 series is the NEX/E mount. The extra flange depth leaves room for optical tricks like speedboosters. There are two big things to know about the Metabones Speedbooster Ultra. First, it needs to be adjusted before you can get infinity focus with most lenses, particularly wide lenses.
Terrible English aside, this is how Metabones suggests you adjust infinity focus on the Speedbooster.
I’ve seen this issue with two different EF Speedbooster Ultras, and have heard about the same problem on the F-mount Nikon version. I needed to rotate each one between 2/3 and 7/8 of a turn counterclockwise before I could get infinity focus on a Zeiss CP2 21mm or a Rokinon 14mm. This seemed to pull the focus witness marks a little closer to accurate, as well. It’s tempting to rotate until you can get past infinity, but I suggest tweaking just enough to get your widest lens happy. Sloppy third-party wide lenses like the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 are probably best avoided completely.
Second, sometimes things just don’t work. If you disconnect and reconnect, this will usually fix the problem, but occasionally, I’ve needed to reset the camera before I could get electrical functions on my lenses using a Speedbooster.
With wide lenses, the arm sometimes needs to come off or be flipped back to stay out of the shot.
LUT handling is limited in the camera, and I don’t expect a firmware update that enables preview in one LUT while recording in another. I was using the Gratical HD for awhile, but lately have preferred the Atomos Shogun Flame to help manage LUTs (as well as anamorphic desqueeze and a few other features). Having the EVF set up to view log and the medium-sized monitor for a “normal” color is quite useful.
What are your experiences with the Sony FS7? Let us know in the comments below.
More than half of our lenses are EF mount, but we carry adapters for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) and Sony E/NEX so you can mount them on mirrorless cameras, as well. We also have specialty lenses, including tilt-shift and fisheye. If you need a very hard-to-find lens, we can use our network of other rental companies to help you find exactly the lens you need.
We can add a temporary focus gear to any lens you like, so you can use it with your follow focus. We’re adding new lenses all the time… and we make our inventory decisions based on your requests! Let us know what you’d like to see next!
What camera/projector/microphone should I use for my project?
That depends on a lot of factors. We suggest calling us at 414.939.3653 if you have questions about what equipment will be a good match for your needs.
Can I come see your place and check something out?
Please make an appointment so we can be sure someone is in the office to meet you, and we can make sure that what you’re looking for is in our inventory that day. We spend most of our day taking and preparing rental orders, and we want to be sure we have time set aside to go over your questions.
Do you have camera X?
We have 99% of our regular stock listed in the catalog. If you need something that’s not listed, we can usually bring it in from one of our rental partners if you can wait a few days. If you’re looking for something specific, we may know someone else in Milwaukee who rents it, too.
I know what I want. What should I do next?
Send an email to [email protected] listing each item, a good time for you to pick up, drop off, and your name and phone number.
I have an emergency. How fast can you help?
Since we’re usually on set just like you, the fastest way to get in touch is with SMS to 414.939.3653. Often, we can get you replacement equipment delivered within an hour. But sometimes we sleep, too, so be patient! Be sure to read this information on emergency rentals and delivery, including terms and fees.
What if I break/drop/damage/lose the equipment?
Let us know right away if the equipment becomes lost or damaged. Your rental contract makes you 100% liable for the cost to replace any equipment that you don’t return in good condition, except for reasonable wear and tear. Any deposit you left with us will be applied to the cost to repair or replace the damaged equipment, and we may charge the credit card you have on file with us for any additional amount due. You may also be responsible for lost rental income. That means if we would have rented the equipment to someone else in the time it takes to repair or replace it, you will need to pay for that as well. If you have insurance, some or all of those costs may be paid by your insurer.
Why is the MKE price so high/so low?
We try to stay competitive with other equipment rental companies in the Milwaukee area and online. We love to be a one-stop-shop for large and small productions, and keeping our prices low is part of that. Sometimes, online rental companies will list a really low price for an item, but when you look closer, you’ll see that they charge extra for “optional” parts like batteries and memory cards. If you notice our price is higher than the competition, let us know and we’ll try to match it.
Sometimes, we have to charge a bit more for our products. In that case, we hope that supporting your local rental house is worth the couple extra bucks.
Do you sell new or used cameras or other equipment?
We’re not currently a distributor for any brand and don’t sell any new equipment. Occasionally, we may sell equipment that we no longer need in our rental inventory. When we do, we’ll list it on the blog. We do sell expendables, like gaff tape, markers, blackwrap, and gels, but that’s usually part of a rental order.
I want to use something, but I’ve never used it before. Can you help?
Yes! Let us know before you pick up if you have questions, and we can schedule time for an introduction to the equipment. Some of this stuff can be intimidating, but once you get your hands on it, we’re sure you’ll figure it out just like we did. And if you decide you’d rather hire an operator to run it, or an AV tech to set it up, we can help you do that, too.
Shutter speed is one of the variables that helps control exposure and the overall look of your video. If you’re an amateur photographer, you might be familiar with shutter speed, but there are some key differences between photo and video. Frame rate also factors in for moving images. Let’s start with frame rates first.
The video frame rate is the number of images (frames) shown per second. We abbreviate this FPS. This can be anything from around 12 (the minimum to “fool” the eye into seeing motion) to more than 1000. But film and video have converged around a few standards. Here are the ones you should try to remember:
Most Common Use
Old web videos
PAL (foreign) TV
Almost all SD TV in the US, lots of HD TV
SD TV in the US before color
Peter Jackson’s movies
Some HD TV outside the US
Some HD TV in the US
I’m sure whole books could be written about why some of those frame rates seem so ridiculous, but the difference between 30 fps and 29.97 fps is actually really important, I promise.
If you’re making movies or web videos in 2013, I strongly suggest shooting in 23.976 fps. If what you do ends up on television, you’re probably better off with 29.97 or 59.94. But let’s get back to shutter speed, which is the whole reason we started talking frame rates in the first place!
Photo: Flickr/wwworks Longer shutter speeds make moving things streakier.
The shutter speed is the amount of time the frame of video is exposed to light. The longer the exposure, the more light is recorded. Of course, under normal circumstances, the shutter speed can’t be any longer than the time between one frame and the next. So if you’re shooting 24 fps, the most light you could let into each frame would be 1/24th of a second. Makes sense, right? Your shutter speed can be a lot faster, however. most cameras will let you adjust your shutter to 1/8000 or so. This would let in a lot less light.
Photographers have used fast shutters in millions of photos to freeze motion. Since even fast-moving things appear relatively stationary over 1/8000th of a second, they can be “locked in place” without any visible motion blur. Other times, photographers can use very long exposures to intentionally blur backgrounds or leave trails to indicate motion in a still shot. But cinematographers have a different challenge. Since video and moving pictures are all about capturing motion, each of the still images has to work together with the ones around it to create the illusion of motion. The motion blur that photographers are often trying to avoid is the same blur that we can use to make motion seem fluid and natural. The illusion of motion in moving pictures depends in part on the smooth transition from one frame to the next. In modern video, we usually set a shutter speed at about half the frame rate. In an homage to the film cameras of the 20th century, this is called a 180-degree shutter.
There are times when the 180-degree shutter might not be the right choice. Sometimes you may be shooting something that flickers, such as a televison or LED clock, and don’t want to emphasize the flicker. Other times you may be shooting in such darkness that you’d rather have the extra motion blur and get all the light in every frame possible. There is no shutter speed that is right 100% of the time, but I usually start at 1/50th (when I’m shooting at 23.976fps) and make adjustments as necessary from there.
There are artful ways to use faster shutter speeds, too. In Saving Private Ryan, for example, the action scenes are shot with a 1/200th shutter, even though they are 24fps. This tends to make the motion look “strobey” or stuttery, and reminiscent of old 16mm newsreels.
Remember that shutter speed is just one of the four variables that affect exposure. We’ll talk about the rest as we get further into our “Exposure for Video” series.
If you’ve never used a detachable-lens camera like a DSLR or mirrorless camera before, the prospect of choosing lenses can be a bit intimidating. There are some alright guides online for still shooters, but we felt we needed to write something specifically for people shooting video. Here’s the quick-and-dirty overview of what you need to know before you pick a lens or set of lenses, whether it’s to rent, borrow, or buy.
The camera and the lens need to make a physical connection and an optical one. If you use a lens and a camera that share the same mount, this is usually pretty easy. The three most common categories of lens mounts in the video world are EF (Canon), F (Nikon) and PL (cinema cameras), but you’ll see others like Sony’s Alpha/NEX/E-mount, micro 4/3 (MFT) mounts, and more, too. Frequently, you can use an adapter to connect one type of mount to another, but it can be kludgy and often you’ll lose any electronic features built into the lens, like autofocus or vignette correction. And often, adapters will only work in one direction. This is because of the imaging area of the lens.
Each lens creates a circle of the image it is capturing inside the camera. Some lenses have a very large image circle. These are usually more expensive and heavier. They can be adapted more easily to almost any mount. Some lenses have a smaller imaging area. These are usually more affordable and lightweight, but can’t be used on a larger image sensor. This is the reason EF lenses (approx. 43mm imaging area diameter) can be used on crop-factor cameras like the T5i (approx. 30mm sensor diagonal), but EF-S lenses can’t be used on fullframe cameras like the Canon 5D mark III. This holds true for Nikon lenses (called DX) and some other third-party lens manufacturers, too.
If all your cameras have the same imaging area, it’s a non-issue. If you have different sensor sizes, it may make sense to buy for the biggest sensor, since you may be able to adapt your lenses to fit the smaller sensor. Or buy a separate set of lenses for each of your different camera mounts, if you don’t mind carrying around all that extra glass. For beginners, definitely start with a mount that matches your camera. You’ll have plenty of time to experiment with odd mountings later in your career!
Not all vintage lenses are great lenses. This Tamron would be pretty slow by today’s standards.
Wide lens. Long lens. Normal lens. Telephoto lens. These all have meanings, and they all depend not just on the lens itself, but on the camera and imaging sensor they are designed to be paired with. A “normal” lens is one that gives a field-of-view similar to what we see with our eyes. We measure lens focal length in millimeters. What tends to look normal is a focal length approximately the same as the diameter of the imaging area (the diagonal measurement of the camera sensor). Fullframe cameras like the Canon 5D and 6D are often paired with a 50mm lens when the shooter wants a natural sense of depth and dimension. Crop factor cameras have a smaller sensor, so the measurement of “normal” will be smaller, too. On a APS-C sized sensor as found in lots of DSLRs (T2i, T3i, T4i, T5i, T6s, 7D, just to name a few) a 35mm lens will look about normal in most cases.
Normal lenses, because they are doing “normal” things with light, tend to be the easiest to engineer. This is why the $300 50mm Canon f/1.4 lens can look amazing, but nobody makes a 300mm f/1.4 at any price.
Usually a photographer’s first lens is a zoom lens, this means it has variable focal length. A lens that does not zoom is called a prime lens. Prime lenses are easier to engineer than zoom lenses, so they tend to be less expensive, smaller, lighter, and of significantly higher image quality. If you have time to switch lenses, or a team of people to help you, you’ll almost always want primes. If you need to compose your shots on-the-fly, and don’t have time to dig through a set of 5 different lenses for the right one, a zoom might be the best choice. Historically, zooms have been favored for 35mm photo and television, while primes have been used more for motion pictures and large-format photography.
A wide lens is a lens that has a smaller focal length than whatever “normal” is, depending on the camera. So on my Canon 6D, a 35mm lens is a wide lens, but on my Canon T5i, it’s a normal lens. A wide lens tends to exaggerate space and perspective.
A long lens (also called telephoto lens) has a focal length greater than normal. Some lenses go much beyond normal, and are called super-telephoto lenses. A long lens tends to compress space and minimize distance.
A perfect bag of lenses would have all your focal lengths covered. When I shoot with the Canon 5DmkII, I usually have a 20mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 105mm in my bag. That way I know I can get just about any shot I want. I usually only shoot with a zoom lens if I know I need to cover a lot of different kinds of action at the same time.
If you don’t know the difference between stops and f-stops, take a moment to read our guide. Once you have an understanding of how f-stops work, you can start to compare lenses.
As far as we’re concerned, any lens with a maximum aperture of about f/2.0 or faster is a fast lens. f/2.8 is right in the middle. Anything slower is a pretty slow lens. All other things being equal, faster is better. But there are plenty of times when we’re shooting with an f/4 lens, too. It’s just a question of what lens is right for the job.
If you’re shooting outside during the day, you won’t need a fast lens. Fast lenses really pay off at night, or in interiors. They are also great for interviews, and any time we want that “background-out-of-focus” look we call shallow depth of field. I find I can usually shoot people by streetlight with a f/1.4 lens on a fullframe camera. Even campfire shots are a possibility.
Lens speed is one of the places where prime and zoom lenses really start to diverge. As an example, Canon’s 24-105mm f/4L zoom lens is top-of-the-line, and costs about $1000. But Canon’s 50mm f/1.4 prime lens is less than half the price, and three stops faster! If you’re shooting indoors, that extra light can be a huge help.
Image stabilization is an option on some lenses made for DSLRs. It tends to be used by people shooting in the style of television as opposed to the style of film, since video cameras have supported some kind of image stabilization for more than a decade. Canon’s lenses that support it are marked IS, Nikon’s are marked VR (for Vibration Reduction), and others are marked VC (for Vibration Compensation). As a video shooter, you’ll only want to turn it on if you’re shooting handheld or shoulder-mounted. Almost all image-stabilizing lenses are zoom lenses, with notable exception. There are different kinds of image stabilization, and some very high-end lenses will support two or more different IS modes.
If you do a lot of run-and-gun shooting, a zoom lens with image stabilization might be a good choice for you. But if you tend to do most of your work on a tripod, you’re better off taking something with extra speed or other features you might need.
These are the four easy-to-compare differences between lenses. Of course, we haven’t even touched on image quality, build quality, close-focus ability, or other important factors. We also didn’t mention autofocus at all, but that’s because for video shooters on DSLRs, manual focus is pretty much the only way to shoot, for now. How do you choose a lens? Let us know in the comments below.
When shooters talk about speed, they’re really talking about light. Light is measured in stops. If lens A lets in twice as much light as lens B, lens A is one stop faster than lens B. If it lets in four times as much light, it’s two stops faster. So, if we “stop up” or “open up” we are adding more light and if we “stop down” or “close down” we are taking light away (relative to where we started). All lenses have a maximum aperture (also called iris size or f-stop), but can be stopped down to reduce the amount of light coming in.
Photo: flickr/sodaniechea In some images, you can actually see the iris in the photograph. Here, you can tell the iris has six sides, making hexagon-shaped lens flares.
Lens speeds are measured in f-stops. Don’t confuse a stop with an f-stop. A stop is half or double a certain amount of light. An f-stop is the measurement of the diameter of the iris in the lens. They are related, but not the same. I’m going to explain this with some math, please bear with me. If you can commit it to memory, you’ll be halfway to being a professional shooter. If it bends your brain too much, just skip to the chart and try to memorize the pattern.
The F-stop is a ratio that measures the iris diameter relative to the focal length f. That’s why it’s represented as a fraction, f/x.
The cool thing about exposure is that as long as f is a constant, it doesn’t matter what it is. We can ignore it for this example, just remember that the number we’re focusing on is the denominator in a fraction, so a bigger denominator is actually a smaller number.
If I double the diameter of a circle, the area of a circle will become four times as large (remember that πr² equation from geometry class?). So if I double the diameter of the iris by going from f/8 to f/4, the iris gets four times bigger, and will let in four times as much light. Four times the light… that’s two stops (because 4=2×2). Eight times the light? That would be three stops brighter. One sixteenth the light? Four stops darker.
Now, as promised, the chart of f-stops:
<--Opening up Stopping down -->
. . . . . . .
f/1 f/2 f/4 f/8 f/1.4 f/2.8 f/5.6
What does it mean? It means that there is a one-stop difference between f/1 and f/1.4. There is a three-stop difference between f/1.4 and f/4. And you can extend the imaginary chart out as far as your mind wants to go by just doubling or halving the f-stop ratios. If you want numbers in-between…. you’d better bust out your geometry textbook (or use an f-stop calculator). To be practical, we’ve never seen an f-stop beyond f/0.7 on the open side or f/32 on the closed side, and optics tend to get a little crazy as you approach extremes, anyway.
Remember, the iris (aperture/f-stop/whatever you might call it), is just one of the four parts of exposure. You will need to combine f-stop, shutter speed, sensitivity, and the amount of light in the scene to get the full equation. The good news? F-stops are the tricky part! The rest gets much simpler. And now you have one of the tools to compare two lenses side-by-side. We’ll have more information on exposure in our next installment in the Exposure for Video series.
If you haven't found what you're looking for, try the search box above, or call (414) 939-3653. We have way too many clamps, cables, and widgets to list everything. And we have new stuff coming all the time, too!
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