What the Consumer Electronics Show is for gadget geeks, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show is for video geeks (we say that lovingly). While there was no shortage of good stuff on hand for videographers at NAB, these three products caught our eye immediately.
Manfrotto Digital Director
The Digital Director is a hardware/app combo that transforms your iPad Air into a remote control and viewfinder via USB. It is, for now, the only Apple-certified device on the market for such an application. The app allows you to adjust a multitude of exposure settings in real-time on your Canon or Nikon DSLR as well as check the battery status, view a dynamic histogram and monitor audio levels.
The Director can be used for still or video shooting and supports downloading full resolution still photos to an iPad for editing, emailing, tagging/keywording and sharing on social networks.
The Digital Director app hits the apps store in June for $500 and is available for pre-order now. It includes a mounting bracket with a dedicated CPU and a connector for plugging your DSLR into your iPad.
DJI Ronin M
DJI may be better known for their flying cameras, but the company also produces a sophisticated brushless gimbal for land use as well. The Ronin M is the latest model in this series and it's a slimmed down, less expensive and more approachable model than the original. It weighs just 5 pounds but can support cameras up to 8 pounds. You mount your DSLR or video camera and the gimbal balances itself, ensuring that your camera stays steady even as you move about. The battery is good for up to six hours of use. When you're done, you can twist off the top handles to shrink down the M for transport.
The Ronin ships next month and is expected to cost around $2,000. You can pre-order it now.
Blackmagic Design's URSA Mini
The ink was barely dry on our review of the Blackmagic URSA in Rangefinder's May issue (coming soon to a mailbox near you) when Blackmagic Design introduced a new member of the family. The "Mini," as you may have guessed, is a slimmed down version of the URSA. While the weight spec isn't completely finalized, we're told it will be about seven pounds, or less than half what the original Ursa weighs. (Incidentally, the original Ursa isn't going anywhere.)
What's more, this video camera will ship with the option to use a brand new 4.6K image sensor with an incredible 15 stops of dynamic range. That's a big deal for anyone shooting video in low light situations. The Mini with the 4.6K sensor will be able to reclaim a lot more detail in the shadows.
Beyond the sensor, you'll have a 5-inch HD touch display, XLR inputs with phantom power, and the ability to record 4K or Full HD internally to CFast 2.0 cards. The Mini with a 4.6K sensor will be sold in an EF mount for $4,995. If you don't need the 4.6K sensor, you can spring for an URSA Mini with the original 4K sensor for $2,995.