Who needs gimbals?
Rick Bronks dumps it all and takes a bare-bones kit out and about.
If you don't have time to read, the film is at the bottom of this post.
I've had the pleasure of shooting with the S1 range for several months now, I had the Panasonic Lumix S1R high-resolution monster, and now the S1 with the incredible V-log firmware. I've had a few lenses to play with too.
I was working in Amsterdam for 24 hours and thought it would be a good time to see how the S1 performed as a film making tool, but with zero accessories. Not a tripod, no fancy gimbals, nothing. Just my 45 year old hands and the camera.
I dumped all my bags at the hotel and took with me just one camera and 2 lenses. I packed them all into a Peak Design sling bag to I could be totally mobile. I knew I was going to stay out until dark so I took with me a faster lens for the night shots.
I've fallen in love with the Sigma 14-24 Art lens. I love the versatile focal range. Lovely and wide and then 24mm get's me a little tighter. It also has a very close focussing distance so I can get right up to people and things.
The other lens I took is the delicious Panasonic 50mm f1.4 lens. This too is a stunning lens and at night in low light renders beautiful images.
I already know the Lumix S1 it's a very capable stills camera. I've been shooting with it long enough now to be very pleased with the stills output - and I love even more how I can switch into video mode and shoot some incredible quality footage.
Shot with the Sigma Art 14-24mm L mount lens.
Shot with the 50mm Panasonic Lumix f1.4 L mount lens.
I'm not going to go into a tech breakdown of the camera, the bit-rates, colour science and so on - there's plenty online for you to read about that. This is really a quick post about the results I got from this little experiment.
I think there's always a danger of over-kitting out a camera these days. Rigs, cages, mics, lights and so on. Of course there's always a justification for rigging a camera with various tools but sometimes, it's portability that takes priority.
What I've come to love is how discreet I can be whilst shooting (stills and video). When shooting video most people don't even notice I'm doing it, they just assume I'm shooting a still image.
The combination of in-body and lens stabilisation makes hand held work absolutely rock-steady. It blows me away. The image is solid. Doesn't move.
When I pan or tilt the camera there's a small 'lag' when the camera is trying to stabilise - but you can work around this by starting the move before the shot you want so it gives the camera time to catch up then carry on the camera move until after the composition you want has passed so there's room for it to come to a natural 'rest'.
I've found the best way to work handheld is to not treat the camera like a gimbal - and not doing gimbal like moves. It's certainly better when you think of your hands as a tripod. Locking off and composing each shot is the way to go with this camera. Pans/Tilts are take a little practice to get right if you're working with all the stabiliser functions on.
The articulating screen is really useful for low down shots. In my film I was practically on the ground at various points - especially when the trams/bikes pass by. It gives you more creative freedom than if you were hauling around a gimbal.
It was also raining for most of the time I was shooting. Having just the camera and lens in my hand was easier to protect it from the elements. It's weather sealed of course but rain on the lens is not a great look.
Leaving my comfort zone of tripods and gimbals behind and taking these cameras out for a walk was a very positive experience and I realised that there's all sorts of creative possibilities if you're not tied into other bits of kit.
Here's the final edit. Enjoy.