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Video: A 1000fps look at how a 16mm motion picture camera works

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Video: A 1000fps look at how a 16mm motion picture camera works

Gav with The Slow Mo Guys wanted to check out how a 16mm motion picture camera works in crisp slow motion. Using a Phantom Flex4K, he recorded at a blazing-fast 1,000 frames per second.

The Phantom Flex4K is an incredible feat of engineering and modern technology, but today the focus is on an older Russian 16mm motion picture camera. For viewers who haven’t seen how a 16mm motion camera operates, it’s neat to see the camera’s internals and how the film is loaded. With the film loaded, it’s time to set the frame rate, which is controlled via a dial on the outside of the camera. In this case, Gav will record at the standard 24 fps frame rate, although you can also record using this camera at 8, 12, 16, 32 and 48 fps.

A close-up of the back of the 16mm motion picture camera. Here you can see the rotary disc shutter with its two cut-out sections.

Taking a step back, a digital SLR camera includes a mirror at a 45° angle to project what the lens sees into the optical viewfinder. When you press the shutter release, the mirror flips up out of the way, exposing the shutter, which then remains open for a set amount of time to expose an image. As soon as the shutter closes, the mirror flips back down, allowing you to see through the viewfinder.

This split-view shows how the film is exposed as the disc spins on the left and what is being exposed on the right. When the mirrored disc covers the film opening, a small metal claw is inserted into the holes in the film to move it to the next frame. You can see this in incredible slow motion in the video below.

A 16mm camera operates similarly. The image coming through the lens is bounced by beam-splitting mirrors and then off a mirrored disc set at 45°. Unlike a DSLR, the 45° mirror in the motion picture camera doesn’t move out of the way to reveal a shutter but is itself the shutter. It is a rotary disc shutter. There are two openings on the disc, on either side, so for every 1/2 rotation, a single frame is exposed, which can be seen in glorious slow motion below.

When shooting still frames of Gav pouring water out using the same 1/60s exposure as the motion picture camera, Gav would exhibit some motion blur. Why doesn’t this happen with the motion picture camera? As we can see clearly at 1,000 fps, the film is being driven through the camera but is perfectly stationary when each frame is exposed, moving only when the rotary disc shutter is blocking the film. As Gav shows using a macro lens, there’s a metal claw that goes perfectly into the film’s sprocket hole to move it in perfect time with the selected frame rate. The entire mechanism is exact.

If you want to see the camera operate at 48 fps, which has a shutter speed of 1/120s, be sure to watch the full video above. You could project the film recorded at 48fps at half speed for some analog slow-motion footage.
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  1. Pingback: BenQ announces pro-level SW271C 27" 4K monitor aimed at photo and video users | godsownmedia

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On this day: Hasselblad launches first medium format mirrorless

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On this day: Hasselblad launches first medium format mirrorless


We’d never before seen so much silicon wrapped up in such a small package

Photo: Samuel Spencer

The Hasselblad X1D beat Fujifilm to the market by three months in 2016 to become the first mirrorless medium format camera. It wasn’t the first “affordable” (or, at least, sub-$10,000) medium format option: that credit goes to Pentax and its 645D and Z, but it was the first larger-than-full-frame digital camera to be designed as a self-contained ILC with no mirror.

It was built around the same 50MP CMOS sensor as the 645Z, which also underpinned the Fujifilm GFX 50 models, producing some excellent image quality. Hasselblad’s modern minimalist design was eye-catching, and the operability improved significantly through a series of firmware updates (though it never offered the mass-market slickness of the GFX models).

One of the factors that allowed the Hasselblad to be so small was the decision to build leaf shutters into all the XCD lenses, rather than having a physical shutter in the camera body. This resulted in a camera that could sync with flashes all the way up to each lens’s maximum shutter speed. Though this came at the cost both of higher lens prices and of polygonal bokeh, as the shutter/aperture mechanisms had relatively few blades. This second issue was somewhat resolved by an update that allowed the aperture to be opened a fraction beyond the widest listed value, so that the blades don’t intrude on the image.

Click here to see the nearly 200 photos we’ve published from the X1D

Alongside the X1D came the first series of medium format lenses designed specifically for 44x33mm digital, giving some excellent results (to the point that moiré is a significant risk even when stopped-down to F5.6, given the lack of low-pass filter on the X1D’s sensor). It also led to the only instance we’ve seen of a manufacturer referring to equivalent f-numbers. It’s probably no surprise that it would be one of the only companies to solely produce larger than full-frame systems.

We were in the fortunate position to borrow a Hasselblad, Pentax 645Z and Fujifilm GFX 50S at the same time and use them alongside one another, and looked at their comparative strengths and weaknesses. We hope to do something similar with the more refined 100MP cameras from Hasselblad and Fujifilm in the coming months.



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On this day: Hasselblad launches first medium format mirrorless

Published

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On this day: Hasselblad launches first medium format mirrorless


We’d never before seen so much silicon wrapped up in such a small package

Photo: Samuel Spencer

The Hasselblad X1D beat Fujifilm to the market by three months in 2016 to become the first mirrorless medium format camera. It wasn’t the first “affordable” (or, at least, sub-$10,000) medium format option: that credit goes to Pentax and its 645D and Z, but it was the first larger-than-full-frame digital camera to be designed as a self-contained ILC with no mirror.

It was built around the same 50MP CMOS sensor as the 645Z, which also underpinned the Fujifilm GFX 50 models, producing some excellent image quality. Hasselblad’s modern minimalist design was eye-catching, and the operability improved significantly through a series of firmware updates (though it never offered the mass-market slickness of the GFX models).

One of the factors that allowed the Hasselblad to be so small was the decision to build leaf shutters into all the XCD lenses, rather than having a physical shutter in the camera body. This resulted in a camera that could sync with flashes all the way up to each lens’s maximum shutter speed. Though this came at the cost both of higher lens prices and of polygonal bokeh, as the shutter/aperture mechanisms had relatively few blades. This second issue was somewhat resolved by an update that allowed the aperture to be opened a fraction beyond the widest listed value, so that the blades don’t intrude on the image.

Click here to see the nearly 200 photos we’ve published from the X1D

Alongside the X1D came the first series of medium format lenses designed specifically for 44x33mm digital, giving some excellent results (to the point that moiré is a significant risk even when stopped-down to F5.6, given the lack of low-pass filter on the X1D’s sensor). It also led to the only instance we’ve seen of a manufacturer referring to equivalent f-numbers. It’s probably no surprise that it would be one of the only companies to solely produce larger than full-frame systems.

We were in the fortunate position to borrow a Hasselblad, Pentax 645Z and Fujifilm GFX 50S at the same time and use them alongside one another, and looked at their comparative strengths and weaknesses. We hope to do something similar with the more refined 100MP cameras from Hasselblad and Fujifilm in the coming months.



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Our favorite ‘natural worlds’ pictures: DPReview Editors’ Challenge results

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Our favorite ‘natural worlds’ pictures: DPReview Editors’ Challenge results


June includes multiple days devoted to celebrating nature, including World Environment Day (June 5), World Oceans Day (June 8) and World Rainforest Day (June 22). In that spirit, we chose ‘Natural Worlds’ as the theme for our most recent Editors’ Choice photo challenge, with over 100 readers submitting entries.

We love seeing your work! Thanks to everyone who submitted. We couldn’t call out every image we liked, so we restrained ourselves to a baker’s dozen (in no particular order).

If you don’t see your work here today, don’t despair. We’ll soon announce a new Editors’ Choice challenge.

Also, a quick reminder to keep comments constructive and civil. These are images submitted by your fellow readers who took the time to share their work. Rule #1: Be nice. That’s it, there is no rule #2.



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