Hey everybody! I'm PhotoJoseph. For those of you who might be new here, this channel is about all things photo and video related. And this little baby right here is the LUMIX S1H. I've been building up this rig for quite a bit of time here, and I think I'm finally ready to show it to you.
[00:00:32.21] I'm gonna give you a tour of this rig and as I go through it and explain each and every piece, I'm gonna tell you what it does and why I made the decision to put it on there. Also as I introduce each element, I'm gonna tell you where it came from. You'll see a badge up in the corner that will tell you whether I purchased it or whether it was sent to me for review, and we're gonna start with the camera itself, the Lumix S1H.
[00:00:50.15] As many of you know, I am a Lumix Ambassador, so of course the camera came from Panasonic. And this camera, the S1H, just in case you aren't familiar with it, is Panasonic's full-frame line. This is the newest camera, the S1H, that does 6K video. Yeah, crazy right? 6K video and it's also going to be doing RAW in the near future.
[00:01:10.08] There was an announcement about that last year. If you haven't seen that announcement, I'll link to it at the end of this video and down below in the description. Be sure to check that out. It's coming, I can't tell you when yet, but it is coming.
[00:01:20.05] So, that's part of the reason that I did this actually. To do RAW, you're gonna have to be shooting into an Atomos Ninja V. This is not the Ninja V, I don't have one yet, but part of the reason to build this whole rig up was in anticipation of RAW coming and needing a place to mount that Ninja V.
[00:01:35.02] So, again, the S1H 6K camera, soon to be RAW capable and that's what that is. Alright, let's get into the cage itself. The cage is from SmallRig, and the cage that I put on here is the Half Cage. The reason for that is I like to be able to grip the camera itself. To grip on to the cameras own grip. And if you have a Full Cage, you can't do that.
[00:01:55.01] This is the SmallRig Full Cage for the GH5 and you can see how it's wrapped around here, and I just – I never really liked grabbing on to the camera with that cage there. And to be fair, when it's in a cage, you probably aren't grabbing it that often, but I found that I never really mounted things here anyway and I prefer having access to the grip, so I went with the Half Cage for the S1H. I got the Full Cage for the GH5, I also have the Full Cage for the S1 and I really think that I'm gonna just prefer having the Half Cage for the S1H.
[00:02:22.17] On top of the cage, we see this little helmet. This is for the XLR1. I've got the XLR1 mounted on to here so that I can mount my audio into that, (we’ll talk about that later), but this cage on here with the helmet allows space and protection for the XLR1.
[00:02:36.25] On top of that I have the handle. This handle is mounted on the top of the helmet. If the helmet wasn't on there, then the handle could be mounted directly on top of the cage.
[00:02:44.25] Accessories on the SmallRig include this monitor mount. Now, this is a tiltable mount, this is not the swivel one, and this is actually a bolt-on one. It’s one of the older ones and because of the way I've got it configured on here, it's bolted with one bolt into the middle of this line right here which means that it's not super secure. It could actually twist.
[00:03:04.17] So, eventually I'm going to replace it with one that will bolt onto the NATO Rail that has a full 360° spin which will allow me to turn this towards me if I wanted to shoot towards myself as well. But it's a bit expensive, it's a $60 piece, I just haven't pulled the trigger on that yet.
[00:03:19.09] Also up here on the handle, you'll notice that there is the follow-focus controller, and we'll come to that later but I do have on here the SmallRig bracket for the focus control. This is an add-on from SmallRig. The focus control system does come with its own attachment but it just didn't fit quite right to this SmallRig, so I went ahead and bought theirs and it fits much, much nicer.
[00:03:43.29] The other accessory on this SmallRig cage is right here. This is another NATO clamp holding the 15mm rod for which the focus control motor is attached to. So that is everything for SmallRig, now let's get into the lens, the reason that I have to have the focus control system on here.
[00:03:59.04] This - this is a beauty. This was a lot of fun. So one of the really cool things about shooting with the S1H is adapting lenses to it. There are so many lenses that you can put on this thing. In fact I've done a video about that, I'll put a link to that at the end; I'll put all these into a playlist for you. I love getting old vintage lenses - and I love getting old vintage lenses off of eBay or whatever and adapting them to fit this camera system.
[00:04:24.25] So, what we're looking at here is a Helios lens. This is some old Russian lens that is known for having a swirly weird bokeh to it. And this is actually an M42 screw mount. To adapt that M42 to the Lumix, all you need is this very inexpensive adapter. This is from a company called Fotasy. This is an M42 to L-Mount adapter. Super inexpensive and allows you to adapt these screw mount lenses on to it.
[00:04:53.12] I have another lens here that I absolutely adore. This is the Super-Takumar lens. Now, one of the differences here you'll notice is that I have a proper focusing gear on the Helios but I don't on the Super-Takumar. The lens diameter is just too small for the focus ring that I have on here and the company that makes these doesn't make them any smaller. So, unfortunately I had to use the kind-of janky, strap-it-on and cut-the-end-off strap, but it works.
[00:05:18.21] I think these lenses are absolutely beautiful, and stick around for the end of the video, I'll actually have a montage at the very end of shots made with this lens and this one here just so you can see what these lenses look like on the S1H. You'll also get to appreciate the focus control system in that montage at the end.
[00:05:35.19] A very quick interruption to let you know that I'm taking another group of just six people to India in November 2020 for an incredible photo adventure. If that sounds good to you, visit PhotoJoseph.com/India for all the info. That's it, back to the show.
[00:05:50.02] So that brings us to this. This is the Nucleus Nano N from a company called Tilta. This is a wireless focus control system. This is the motor that drives the lens, you can see the gearing on here and the little rubber gear ring that I mentioned to allow me to control that. And then up here we have the controller. This controller spins the focus ring. So, as I turn this, the lens focuses.
[00:06:12.11] Now, this is a really cool system, it's quite easy to set up and control. Once you've connected the two, you simply run through a calibration cycle. It runs the lens from nearest to farthest focus and then the system knows where near and far are, and then from there, you can just focus back and forth as you need.
[00:06:27.21] One of the really cool things about it is you can put focus points, an A to B point. So let's say you want to focus from subject A to subject B, you want to do a perfect rack, you want to not miss focus, you can set those points in, rack that focus in and it'll hit the mark every time. Absolutely love that! And again, you'll see some of that in the montage at the end.
[00:06:46.00] When you do connect this system, I'll give you a couple of tips on it. First of all, if you have this controller so close to the motor, that it's basically touching it, close to touching it, you're actually going to get some weird interference where you won't be able to control the motor.
[00:07:01.27] I ran into this hooking it up on the GH5 because it's such a small setup that I ended up having this right next to it, and it just — it didn't work, and I talked to the company and they verified sure enough, they found that when the two pieces are too close to each other, (they have to be almost touching), but if they're too close, they interfere, it doesn't quite work. So if you're running into that, definitely get that handle farther away. That is part of the reason that I have it up here on the handle itself. I found that that distance always, always works for me.
[00:07:29.19] One of the other little quirks of this system is when you get it, the instructions aren't the clearest thing in the world, and figuring out how to power it might take a little research. So, I'm gonna tell you right now that this piece up here comes with a battery; a rechargeable battery, it looks like a AA, it's not a AA. It's got its own special battery. So, that's fine, it comes with that. But the motor itself has to be powered and you might be wondering when you get it, like I was, “how am I supposed to power this thing?”.
[00:07:56.09] It comes with USB cables but you're not sure what to plug it into. So, what I tried was this, first of all. This is a standard Sony NP battery and this little adapter here is from a company called Blind Spot. This is the Power Junkie, it is a simple little thing that allows you to take any NP battery, attach this to it and you get USB ports, the DC ports, a couple other ports on the sides here. Basically it just gives you power to pretty much anything you want.
[00:08:23.13] So I thought this would be a perfect way to drive it. I hooked it up and it turns out that it wasn't delivering enough power. See, this motor can run anywhere from 5 to I believe it's 18 volts of power, and the more power you give it, the stronger or stiffer the lens you can drive.
[00:08:37.19] So, this little 5 volts that it was putting out wasn't quite enough. And how do I know that it was 5 volts? Well, if you look at the display on here, there's little thing that says “V” and then a number and I thought that was a version number at first because it was solid version 5.0, but it's not version, it's volts. And I reached out to the company to ask about this because I was finding that it wouldn't drive my lenses. I was getting motor overdrive errors or something like that and it just wouldn't work. And they said, well, “you’ve got to give it more power”.
[00:09:03.28] So what I found is that instead of giving it 5 volts through this, I found that my monitor which we'll back to talk about in a moment, actually has a DC out and that's providing 8 volts of power. So I had to get the special adapter cable for that of course but now that's putting 8 volts into this and that is enough power to drive the lenses that I've put on here so far.
[00:09:23.13] So if I start driving a much bigger, stronger, stiffer lens, then I may have to put more power on it, but for now, this is working for everything that I've got.
[00:09:31.07] Other than those little quirks and anomalies, I think this focus control system is really, really cool and I've really enjoyed using it. Alright, next up, let's talk about the monitor itself. So, this is the Andycine 4K which is a lovely little monitor and it's quite inexpensive and it's pretty full-featured. It will take in a 4K signal. I believe it passes through a 4K signal.
[00:09:55.23] OK, it doesn't say on the box but I'm pretty sure that's what it does. It'll pass through the 4K but in a case like this it doesn't matter anyway. All I care about is seeing the image on screen. It does have things like a histogram, waveform, you've got focus peaking, you've got a LUTs that you can load on to it. It's really a nice little monitor. And the fact that it has that DC out is really the key for this rig.
[00:10:16.01] So, if you're looking for a relatively inexpensive monitor that you can put on to your rig, obviously this is not a recorder, it's not going to give you that RAW recording capability, but as just a monitor, it is fabulous, it works out really, really well.
[00:10:27.21] So thank you Andycine for sending this out, I think it is an absolute win. Next up, let's talk about audio. I've got the XLR1 on here and in that is the Sennheiser AVX receiver. Now, the reason that I like this setup is well, I think it's pretty obvious. Right here we've got this tiny little rig that will hold not one but two XLR receivers on here. I don't have both in here because the second one is on this mic, I'm actually using it right now. But there's your transmitter pack, mic your subject up on this thing or two of them and you've got two packs coming into here and you have separate audio for left from right channel all in camera and it's absolutely fantastic.
[00:11:05.09] This is a really, really nice rig. I love having the XLR1 with these AVX receivers on there. OK, I think that's everything that I want to show you on the rig. The last couple things I want to show is once this is in the hand, what it actually looks like so you can see how that fits. Now, this is a little bit off-balance, it's leaning a little bit forward in here but I found shooting like this it's fine. A little bit of counterweight in the back wouldn't be terrible but I don't want to make it artificially heavier. But this has been working out quite nicely.
[00:11:31.03] Also, let me put this back on here… This version of the cage from SmallRig actually has its own quick-release plate for the camera itself. So, without having to disassemble the whole rig, which if I was shooting with either of these, I actually had to unscrew the camera which often meant taking other accessories off of it. Now what I can do is simply release the quick-release on the bottom, push the safety button and pull this out.
[00:11:57.18] Now, at this point of course, I'll just unplug the cables on here and I am good to go. Slide that back in, line up the focus control system and I'm back in business. So overall, this is a pretty sweet system. I'm digging it, having a lot of fun with it.
[00:12:10.09] Alright, enough talk. Let's take a look at some footage.
[00:13:11.21] Having the focus racking system is certainly cool, but I will say one complaint about it. You have to rotate it, the full rotation which is almost 330° or so. Not a complete rotation but almost. And you have to do that for your A to B points regardless of how close or far apart they are. So, if A to B is only an inch apart, or it's from the closest to the farthest focusing distance on the lens, you still have the full rotation.
[00:13:35.20] What I found is that that does make it a little bit difficult to do a long focus rack when this is actually mounted to the camera, and you're handholding it, because by doing that and turning it so much, you end up moving the camera a bit, so you might have seen that in some of the shots where I was focus racking. But the fact that you can go wireless, and take it like this, and sit away from the camera, is, you know, pretty darn cool.