PMA: Best in Show – Accessories

Tim Grey
25 June, 2011
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Naturally, this year’s PMA Imaging and Entertainment Expo featured all – well, most Sony and Samsung were notably absent – the big-name camera manufacturers, much of the show was made up by companies plying their trade in peripheries.

Clearly, this year’s hottest add-on for photographers stems from the relatively recent ability to shoot 1080p video with dSLRs – and the fact that they’re impossible to shoot handheld. Dollies, rigging, sliders and even cranes are extremely popular, with brands like RedRock and Genus making impressive systems to convert photographers into videographers.

Genus’ new shoulder-mount system – which sells for around $1000 – lets photographers stabilise their camera with two handles on the front, while a simple but effective follow-focus unit allows users to smoothly adjust focus using a dial and gear system.

Kayell Australia’s RedRock shoulder mounted rigs were equally impressive; made from carbon fibre, the units are exceptionally light. They’re endlessly expandable – if you shell out for a simple rigging, you’re always free to add on pieces later. They also feature balancing weights on the rig’s rear, making them easier to hold steady.

For something a little different, the guys at Protog were showing off their ‘CobraCrane,’ an amazing crane system that’s light enough to fit in a backpack. The thing essentially hoists your camera three and a half metres into the air (where they were remotely shooting from an iPad), allowing photographers to take shots they could otherwise only achieve if they carried around an enormous ladder. Check out the video below to see how it works.

Ezio were displaying its rather swanky high-end monitors, which while they aren’t exactly new products, still appear to be among the best screens for viewing images. While most of us love the high-gloss screens of our iMacs and MacBook Pros, unfortunately they’re a bit of a bane for image editing, as they pick up glare from even the smallest light source. The Ezios have a velvety matte screen and reproduce impressively rich colours and detail.

One point that was hammered home at this year’s PMA was that for a relatively small investment a person can now set themselves up with a comprehensive filmmaking setup. Aspiring filmmakers can now easily procure serious rigging, a camera that shoots high-quality stills and 1080p, audio recording equipment and a powerful editing station in the iMac all for under $10, 000 – which, while it’s still no small beer, is many orders of magnitude less than it would have cost just five years ago.

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