Category Archives: Movies

Using External Flash with the Sony DSC-RX100 III Camera

The Sony DSC-RX100 III camera has many great features, including a pop-up electronic viewfinder, a great lens with a wide aperture, a tilting LCD screen, and Wi-Fi capability. One feature it lacks is a flash shoe. So, in order to use an external flash unit with this camera, you need to use a flash with optical slave capability. I have put together a short video that demonstrates the use of an external flash with the optical slave feature. Here is the link to the video on YouTube:

For more information about using an optical slave flash with the RX100 III, or for general information about the camera’s features and operations, see Photographer’s Guide to the Sony DSC-RX100 III, available through this site and through various sellers.

Fujifilm X10 Camera’s High-Speed Video Modes

The Fujifilm X10 camera is primarily designed for still photography, but, like most cameras in its class, it comes with some video capabilities, and it includes three high-speed video modes, which I will demonstrate here.  (The X10 also has some excellent normal-speed video modes that produce Full High-Definition (HD) or standard HD video, but I’m not discussing those here; I posted a demonstration of HD video on the X10 a while ago.)

The three HS video modes work by having the camera speed up the frame rate (number of frames taken per second) on the X10.  The standard frame rate is 30 fps.  For the first HS mode, the camera speeds up the recording to 70 fps, or more than twice normal speed.  So, when video recorded in this mode is played back, it plays back at less than half normal speed.

The second mode, HS 120 fps, records at 4 times normal speed and plays back at 1/4 speed.  Finally, the third mode, HS 200 fps, records at more than 6 times normal speed and plays back at less than 1/6 normal speed.

The first mode, 70 fps, is recorded at 640 X 480 pixels, the 120 fps mode is at 320 X 240, and the 200 fps mode is at a very small and low-quality aspect ration of 320 X 112.  There is no sound recorded with any of these video modes.

If you would like to see a demonstration of these three modes, please check out this video that I have posted at YouTube.  I added a voiceover sound track to explain the video, but, of course, that sound was added in editing software, because no sound is recorded by the camera in these mode.

I am currently working on my guide book to the operation of the X10, Photographer’s Guide to the Fujifilm X10.  I hope to have it completed and available by April.

Video Samples from the Fujifilm X10 – U.S. Army Chorus Concert

Today I had the opportunity to attend a terrific local concert by the U.S. Army Chorus,  a group made up of amazingly talented singers. This was a chance to hear some beautiful music and also to test out the capabilities of the Fujifilm X10 camera to record video and audio.

I’ll be writing about the video features of the X10 in some detail in Photographer’s Guide to the Fujifilm X10, my next camera guide book, which should be coming out in April, if all goes well.  For now, I’m just going to give some early impressions and provide a link to a short excerpt from the video I took at the concert.

Today I used only the highest-quality High Definition video setting, Full HD, or 1920 x 1080 pixels. With this and the other HD formats on this camera (as on many others), you are limited to recording just under 30 minutes of video in any one scene. In this case, because the concert lasted about 90 minutes, I stopped the recording after most songs, and then almost immediately started a new recording.  In this way, I was able to record every song in the concert.  The battery, which started out with a full charge, was just running down as the concert ended.

I used an SDXC (extended-capacity) memory card with a capacity of 64 GB.  It worked well, and captured all of the footage with no hiccups or problems.

With the X10 camera, there is not a lot you can do to the camera’s settings for video purposes.  For HD video, the camera sets the exposure and focus automatically.  You can zoom the lens in and out, which is quite simple because, of course, the zoom function is mechanical rather than electronic.

Please note that my camera work here was not wonderful; I was seated in the audience and was trying to see over or around the heads of those who were seated between me and the singers; sometimes I fidgeted a bit too much and let the camera drift away from the scene.

Anyway, I am providing below a link to a very short excerpt from the U.S. Army Chorus’s performance earlier today of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” written by Julia Ward Howe during the U.S. Civil War in 1862.  The link is to a short excerpt whose file size  is still quite large — about 70 MB in size — because of the high quality of the video format.

Please click on the following link to view the video: Battle Hymn of the Republic – Short Excerpt You may have to right-click on the link and choose Save As, then save the file and play it in QuickTime Player or some other video player; if you try to play it directly from the link, it may be very choppy.

If you would like to see a longer excerpt from this song, I have uploaded it to YouTube; here is a link to that version.

I have also edited one other excerpt from the concert — a performance of “God Bless America,” led by a soloist and ending with an audience sing-along.  The latter part of the video, when I panned the camera around the audience, gives some idea of how well the X10 keeps up with autofocus and autoexposure during video recording. (As with the other footage, my camera work was not the greatest, because I was back in the audience with no tripod, and did not always hold the camera as steady as I would have liked.) That song is fairly lengthy, so I have uploaded it at full quality to YouTube; here is a link to the performance by the U.S. Army Chorus of God Bless America.






Second Try With Canon PowerShot S100 Super Slow Motion Video

Today I worked with the Canon PowerShot S100 camera and made a second attempt at making a sample movie using the camera’s Super Slow Motion setting.  I really enjoy features like this that produce special effects, and I thought it would be interesting for people considering this camera to see what the Super Slow Motion effect looks like.  There are a couple of problems with this mode, in my mind — first, you have to rely on the camera’s Auto White Balance setting, and it does not do a great job with incandescent lighting, at least not the lighting I am using.  Someday I may try to get bulbs that are balanced more closely towards daylight, but the background in the movie included below is really dark blue, not gray as it appears here.

Second, the resolution of Super Slow Motion  video is low, so the image looks quite grainy and fuzzy.  I tried my best to get the focus sharp by using manual focus before shooting, but the video still is not sharp.

But, at least you still get to see how a bag of multi-colored wrapped pieces of candy looks when it’s dropped, and is shown falling at one-eighth of normal speed!  Click on the link below to view the video. (If you would like to check out my general guide book to the operation and features of the S100, please check out the information page about the book.)

Falling Candy 2

First Try at Super Slow Motion Movie with PowerShot S100

Earlier today I finished the final files for the new book about the Canon PowerShot S100, with major assistance from my wife, Clenise, who did a tremendous job editing and proofreading the final version.  Now that the files have gone to the printer, there is more time to play around with the camera.

While writing the book I learned about the Super Slow Motion  feature in theory, but did not get much chance to experiment with it.  With its highest setting, you can slow down action by a factor of eight, which I imagine would be great for analyzing a golf or baseball swing, and for lots of other practical applications. For now, I just wanted to try a quick test to get some footage up on this web site, in case that might be of interest or helpful to people who are considering whether to buy the PowerShot S100.

I couldn’t come up with a very scenic or artistic subject for this first attempt; I just threw a set of jacks up in the air and did a super-slow video of them falling back down and bouncing around.  I will see if I can figure out a better subject for future attempts, though I probably will be working with other features of this camera (and other cameras), so I may not have too many other slo-mo movies here.

Anyway, click on the link below to see this first, fairly primitive attempt:

Jacks Falling Super Slow Motion

Miniature Effect Movie with Canon PowerShot S100

The book I’m working on now is Photographer’s Guide to the Canon PowerShot S100, which I hope to have completed by the end of this year, or sooner if possible. I recently got my S100 and have started experimenting with it. Today I’m going to post a short movie made with the Miniature Effect setting.

This setting, which is available in the Creative Filter shooting mode, blurs the sides or top and bottom of the image so the overall scene takes on the appearance of a tabletop model. With the S100, you can use this effect when shooting a movie; you can also set the camera to speed up the action so it appears 5, 10, or 20 times faster than normal.

I earlier posted a sample of a similar effect using the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera, which got this capability with its upgrade to firmware version 2.0.  You may notice that I’m using the same scene for the PowerShot S100, because this is the best location that I have found for this type of shot.  The vantage point is high above the ground, with a view of several intersecting streets. This type of scene seems to  give good results, because the cars and trucks zooming around the streets (speeded-up) have the look of little models.

Anyway, even though the book is not done yet, here is a sample movie to illustrate the Miniature Effect with the S100, using the 10X speed-up factor. Click on the link below to view the movie.