By Don Lindich
Week 9, 2016
Q. I am buying a mirrorless camera and plan to use it primarily for moviemaking. Since I will mostly be making movies, how important do you think it is that I get a “power zoom” that zooms smoothly via a motor, rather than a mechanical zoom where turning the ring zooms the lens?
-Victoria D., West Mifflin, PA
A. I don’t think a power zoom it is important at all. Frequent zooming in and out while recording is considered bad technique and can be very distracting to the viewer. If you watch motion pictures and professionally produced television shows, you will see very little zooming in and out. When perspective changes it is often because the camera is moved, and effects like the “Ken Burns effect” are easily created in software. The most notable exception I can think of is recording sports, when zooming while recording becomes more necessary.
Looking back to a 10-minute short film I produced myself last year, I used prime lenses (non-zoom lenses with a single focal length, like 25mm) for almost everything, and for one scene I used a zoom. It was zoomed out to 300mm and left there.
I do suggest you get a good microphone. Make sure whatever camera you buy has a microphone input, and hopefully audio level controls, too. A good microphone to start with is the $149 Audio-Technica PRO 24-CM, which includes a windscreen and conveniently mounts on the camera shoe.
2016 Consumer Electronics Show: In early January I attended the annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. I saw some great new products there and am anxious to tell readers about them, starting this week.
The first product is ThinOPTICS reading glasses. I wear contact lenses and use reading glasses at times, especially for fine print or when reading for an extended period of time. Like many others, sometimes I misplace my glasses at home or forget to bring them with me when I go out. It is easy to forget about them since my contact lenses serve me well 95% of the time. I usually end up regretting it whenever I forget them, sometimes to the point that I find a drug store and buy another pair rather than go without.
ThinOPTICS reading glasses are so thin and flexible you can put them in your wallet or attach them to your cell phone case. As ThinOPTICS says, they are “as thin as two credit cards and as light as a nickel.”
The small size, light weight and flexibility don’t count for much if they do not work well as reading glasses. When I tried them I was surprised at what great glasses they are. The “Flex-Grip Technology” keeps them firmly and comfortably in place, and the optics themselves are sharp, clear and free of distortion.
ThinOPTICS reading glasses are available in strengths from +1.50 to + 2.50 and start at $19.95 for the glasses alone. A $24.95 package combines the glasses and a universal pod (a thin envelope) that can be attached to a cell phone case or placed in your wallet, pocket or purse. For $38.95 you get the glasses and a Samsung or iPhone cell phone case with integrated ThinOPTICS glasses compartment. ThinOPTICS provides a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and “free replacement glasses forever.” If your glasses fail under normal use, return them for free replacement. See them at www.thinoptics.com.