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Header image for article VariCam 35 & HS Accessory Guide

VariCam 35 & HS Accessory Guide

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Now that Panasonic has released their highly-anticipated VariCam 35 and VariCam HS, we wanted to break down some lenses and accessories that complement these new cameras.

With a 4K Super 35 sensor, the VariCam 35 is perfect for cinematic production, while the HS has a 2/3" sensor perfect for sports and documentary production. To further enhance the functionality of the VariCam 35 and HS, AbelCine has manufactured a variety of products to complement the camera, from our Mounting Kit to the Cine-Style Riser. We have also identified other products from lens adapters to P2 media to round out your camera package.  

AbelCine Accessories | Lens Adapters & Accessories | Lenses | P2 Media | Batteries | Monitors | Audio | On-Set Look Creation  

AbelCine Accessories

VariCam Mounting Kit: Cheese Plate & Cold Shoe

The Mounting Kit includes the the Front Top Cheese Plate and Cold Shoe Mount, lightweight accessories that provide numerous mounting options for your camera rig. The Front Top Cheese plate utilizes the existing two mounting points on the body and allows the attachment of a microphone holder and other accessories near the front of the camera. It includes various 1/4"-20 and 3/8"-16 mounting positions while providing uninterrupted access to the handle.

The Mounting Kit also includes the Cold Shoe Mount, a lightweight shoe that is custom-made for the top handle of the VariCam. It mounts securely to the handle with a single 1/4"-20 screw and includes a locating pin to ensure that the shoe does not rotate unintentionally.

VariCam Top Handle Standoffs

These replacement handle standoffs lower the VariCam's top handle by about an inch, reducing the camera's profile and improving weight distribution when mounting accessories to the handle to accommodate fast-paced ENG style shooting. The standoffs are designed so you can re-use the stock handle; a simple swap is all that is required.

Cine-Style Riser for VariCam

cinestyleriser The Cine-Style Riser for VariCam sets the camera at the correct height and with the proper mounting holes for attaching an ARRI BP-8 or BP-9 bridge plate. The riser is very low profile, and has ARRI-compatible rosettes on each side, support for lightweight 15mm rods on the front and back, and a removable foam shoulder pad for comfortable handheld shooting.

201W / 15V Power Supply

This inexpensive 15V power supply has enough wattage to power a VariCam and all needed accessories.  

Lens Adapters & Accessories

Wooden Camera Universal Lens Support

A great piece of gear for your kit is the Universal Lens Support from Wooden Camera that handles all studio configurations. The support will tie down to either 15mm or 19mm support rods without the needs for spacers or adapters. Additionally, the support post has a modular design allowing you to quickly adapt to a 3/8"-16 or 1/4"-20 support post on a lens. The support post travels in a channel that allows you to quickly center for either 15 or 19mm studio rods.

Zacuto Lens Support

The Zacuto Zupport Lens support is a great option, as the design easily translates to any new camera platform that enters the market. The lightweight adapters will accept different lengths on 15mm rods with either a 1/4"-20 or 3/8"-16 male thread on the end. These supports are very flexible in their configuration and often solve a unique lens support requirement.

Bright Tangerine Misfit Mattebox Kit

Misfit The Misfit fulfills requirements that camera operators have needed for years. Namely, a modular sunshade system that can be reconfigured quickly and easily. The Misfit can be configured with up to three filter stages, as well as be a clamp-on sunshade or adapt to support rods. The Misfit is lightweight and can be built to exacting requirements, plus the wide-angle of view on the shade allows it to cover wide-angle lenses. The 114mm clamp ring allows it to adapt to a wide range of lenses, and a full selection of clamp rings in popular diameters, as well as bellows rings for mattebox configurations, are available as well.

Vocas MFC-2S

Vocas has introduced a new single-sided follow focus with a twist: a walnut handgrip can be attached to act as a resting place for your hand when not pulling focus. The unit includes interchangeable gears for various lens pitch gears and reversible focus direction. This follow focus is made to fit on lightweight 15mm rods.  

Lenses

B4 Lenses

The modular design of the VariCam allows the user to swap between the 35 and HS record heads in the field. For sports and broadcast applications, operators have at their disposal the HS camera head, which features a newly-designed, highly-sensitive 2/3" sensor. For users who would like to maintain the 35mm cinema-style depth of field, the HDx35 allows for B4 lenses to be mounted onto the 35 record head. The HDx35 enlarges the 2/3" image to a S35mm size, and because the VariCam 35 head has the unique dual ISO mode, this option allows for minimal loss of low light performance. FUJIHA1655

Fujinon has released its newest B4-mount 5.5-18 ENG zoom lens. Weighing in a just under 5 pounds, this zoom incorporates an amazing focal range of 5.5-100mm, with close focus at 17" from the front element. With these specs, it is the run-and-gun lens that can handle everything from intimate interviews in close quarters to landscapes. With an overall length of 9 inches, the lens is be well-balanced for shoulder work as well. Fujinon is offering the lens in two models: HA18x5.5BERM is a servo zoom / manual focus version. The HA18x5.5BERD is equipped with servo focus and zoom.

Fujinon 18x7.6

The new 18x7.6 combines a wide focal length range with lightweight functionality. Weighing in at just 3.5 lbs, this lens packs a lot into a small package. Minimum focus is 22 inches from front element and focal range for the lens is 7.6 - 137mm, a built-in extender doubles this range. Additionally, menu structures on the lens have been simplified to access the most commonly used functions. Canon CN7X17KAS S  Cine Servo Zoom

PL Lenses Canon 17-120 Cine Servo Zoom

This lens from Canon will no doubt be a big part of VariCam acquisition. The Cine Servo 17-120 incorporates the functionality of an ENG zoom while having the coverage for a 4K sensor. Our own Jeff Lee presented this lens for us a while back, when Canon let us have a sneak peek before shipping lenses, so make sure to check out his video for more information.  

Media

Panasonic expressP2 and microP2 cards

While Panasonic P2 cards have been in use for some time, the new expressP2 cards offer a big speed and storage capacity boost. Andy has additional details in his blog, but expressP2 media is designed to handle AVC-Ultra 4K at frame rates up to 120p from the 35 camera head and AVC Intra 100 up to 240 fps capture from the HS camera head. ExpressP2 cards are currently available in 256 GB size, with additional capacities coming in the future.expressp2

The Panasonic AU-XPD1 USB 3.0 expressP2 reader is the best option for easy and fast offload of media. In our own testing, we achieved download speeds of 300 MBps, which means we were able to download 64GB of footage in 4.5 minutes.

For users wanting to use original P2 media, Panasonic provides the AJ-P2AD1G adapter card. This adapter accepts microP2 cards and allows them to be used in equipment designed for original P2 cards. The adapter has a read speed of 1 Gbps. A firmware update will be required for any equipment built for original P2 cards.

The VariCam also has a second slot for microP2 media cards. These cards resemble SD cards, however, they have a read speed of up to 2 Gbps and have internal error correction technology much like their bigger brother expressP2 cards. The sub-recorder microP2 slots allow for simultaneous proxy recording, as well as the recording of sound and on-speed frame-rates when recording high-speed to the main expressP2 record slot. MicroP2 cards are available in 32 & 64 GB versions.

Although microP2 cards can be read in a standard SDHC card reader, the Panasonic AJ-MPD1G takes advantage of USB 3.0 speeds and allows you to read two microP2 cards simultaneously.  

Batteries

Switronix Hypercore 98A Gold On-Board Batteries

hypercoreA high quality and high wattage power solution for the VariCam is the Switronix Hypercore 98A Gold. The battery handles up to a 10 amp draw and offers a 12V P-tap connector and a regulated 5V USB port. The Hypercore Gold series batteries are compatible with third party and all Anton Bauer chargers, which is great for those with existing chargers. Additionally, the built-in accelerometer initiates a sleep mode when the battery is not in use to limit discharge. If the battery does not detect motion for 48 hours it will shut down; motion detection brings it back to life. A back-lit LCD display indicates running time in hours and minutes, and the status of remaining power is calculated every 5 seconds.  

Monitors

TV Logic VFM-058W

One of the unique feature of the HS and 35 camera heads is the mirrored VF output on the front of the camera, which allows the camera assistant or DP to view the same image that the camera operator is seeing in the EVF. Conveniently located next to the VF SDI port is a 12V 2-pin Lemo accessory power output, which lets the operator or AC mount and power a monitor from the front of the camera. One monitor that is a great option is the TV Logic VFM-058W, which features a full raster 1920x1080 5.5" panel and offers unprecedented sharpness. DP7PRO_OLED2

SmallHD DP7 -PRO

For those seeking a larger screen in a small housing, the DP7 is available in several varieties, with the OLED version being the most color accurate. In addition to the high contrast and wider gamut, the DP7-PRO OLED also supports loading custom 3D LUTs and includes useful tools like a waveform, vectorscope, and histogram.  

Audio

The uniqueness of the new VariCam's ability to record sync sound audio to its microP2 cards while shooting variable speed on its expressP2 cards, coupled with the ability to record four discrete channels of 24 bit 48K audio on-board, makes on-camera and wireless audio accessories a necessity and not an afterthought.

sennheiser8060 A great choice for an on-camera mic holder is the rugged, but low-profile Invision 1/4 from Rycote. This in turn is the perfect way to hold a high-quality microphone such as the Sennheiser MKH-8060, which can then be paired with a Rycote 033201 Super-Softie to cut down on wind noise and provide wet weather protection.

Moving to the back of the camera, a BEC BP700BPU Universal Back Plate will allow attachment of a BEC BEC-ABSPU Universal Side Plate to accommodate wireless audio receivers, such as the Lectrosonics Dual Channel SRb for dual-microphone sit down interviews.  

On-Set Look Creation

With a planned firmware upgrade in January, both camera heads will support live grading via Pomfort LiveGrade for VariCam. This new software takes the familiar UI of LiveGrade and allows you to interface with the camera to create in-camera LUTs in real time. With LiveGrade, on-set LUTs can be built from a laptop connected to the camera via the ethernet port, with a WiFi option coming in a future firmware update. The software can also be combined with color wheels, like the Tangent Elements TK Panel, allowing for greater flexibility and speed with LUT creation. For more on the VariCam's live grading capability, check out Andy Shipsides' blog from IBC 2014.

Dave Kincaid
Contributor

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