There is no perfect camera! (At least not under $1200)

The problem most budget filmmaker/photographers face today is wanting a truly hybrid solution for both videos and photos that doesn't break the bank. My films and photos generally involve adventure and travel, so having a camera that is budget friendly, compact and produces quality images in both video and photo is key!

Lets talk about Micro 4/3's:
Micro 4/3's is a great system for filmmakers and offers a bunch of lens options. Cameras like the GH3,GH2,GH1,G6,G7,GX7,GM1 can all be had for under well under $1000, they all give you decent video performance but lack in the photography aspect of things. Smaller sensors and lower megapixels (only up to 16mp) don't make for the best photography cameras. I've owned the Panasonic GH3 and although it was a good camera, heres are some things about it that I liked and what I didn't like. The Good: High bitrates in MOV, 60p at 1080, headphone jack, weather sealed and great battery life! And heres whats not so good: No focus peaking, small sensor, bad lowlight performance, deeper depth of field and less than desirable photo quality. All of the Panasonic cameras have a mixture of these draw backs, for instance I could just get the Panasonic G6, its pretty cheap and has my much desired focus peaking feature, but I give up weather sealing, headphone jack and bitrate options. Thats why I'm not looking into buying another Micro 4/3 camera in the future.

(A quick side note is that I owned a Blackmagic pocket cinema camera for 3 months, I loved the codec, focus peaking, flat profile and RAW option but basically hated everything else. The really small sensor, crappy lowlight, horrible battery life, and cost of accessories needed just to make it work, was not worth it! Not to mention it cant take stills.)

Lets talk about Canon's:
Canon Cameras kickstarted the DSLR filmmaking revolution but over the last few years they've almost completely died off. You'll rarely see filmmakers shooting documentaries or weddings using canon dslr's anymore, and that mostly due to the poor image quality (compared to the competition) and the lack of features (again, compared to the competition). The last canon camera I've owned was the little eos-m, and it was good for what it was, a compact super 35mm sensor camera with a mic jack and focus peaking (thanks to magic lantern) and 18mp photos. But at the end of the day you're still just getting basic 7D/t4i looking footage thats really just "OK" and not on the same level as the competition.

And then there's Sony:
I'll just come out and say it, I've really disliked Sony for a really long time! At  least as far as there sub $1200 camera market. The way Sony cameras reproduce color, the horrid menu's and they're lack of any mic jack or audio features have always made me think of Sony as the "tourist brand". That being said, when Philip bloom and Andrew Reid started talking about the inexpensive Sony A6000, and had lots of good to say about it, I got very interested. Sony mirrorless cameras like the NEX line up have had "okay" image quality with not so good codecs, mostly AVCHD. They almost always lack a mic jack, headphone jack and any kind of LOG or flat profile. The A6000 is no exception, but its image quality is actually really good! For photos its boasting a crazy 11fps and 24mp sensor with stupid good autofocus! For video its giving us 1080p at 24p, 30p and 60p. Up until recently it was only spitting out AVCHD at 24mbs, which as we all know is a pretty crappy codec if you wanna do any kind of grading and it also is a bit harder to edit with, but a few months back Sony did us a solid and gave us a firmware upgrade which lets you shoot in XAVC-s, a much more robust codec that clocks in at 50mbs instead of the 24mbs that AVCHD gave us. That was a huge improvement to me and is making me seriously consider getting that camera, especially now that it can be had for around $400! The good about the A6000: Super 35mm sensor, great image quality, decent codec, versatile lens mount, ergonomic body, great for stills! The bad: No mic jack, no headphone jack, known to overheat, not weather sealed and no flat profile.

Its true there is no perfect camera for us lower budget filmamker/photographers, but I think it comes down to what you wanna compromise on. For me the A6000 looks like a promising investment, it would be my first Sony since my handycam days and if the new A6100 or A7000 fixed the issues that the A6000 has, then investing in the Sony system might be the way to go, especially since they are already dominating the pro $2500 and above market!

Thanks for reading!
- Nigel Barros

Tribe Previsions Hammock Review

The Tribe Previsions  hammock is small, compact and lightweight but is still able to handle a heavy payload. One of the first things that prompted me to look into this hammock was the price, for under $40 you get more than you pay for, making it ideal for a budget conscious backpacker like me. 

The hammock packs into a small bag (that's attached) and is very lightweight. The Tribe Previsions logo also glows in the dark.

Right out of the bag the hammock is ready to go, they provide extra rope to use incase the trees (or whatever you're hanging it from) are a little too far apart.

I've used this hammock now on numerous occasions and still can't find anything I don't like about it, it's supports my weight just fine (I'm about 180lbs) and the material is well stitched.

All in all this hammock is a no brainer, compared to the more expensive Eno's, I really can't find a reason to not pick Tribe Previsions (other than brand loyalty). Thanks for checking out my blog and have a wonderful day!


My switch from Canon to Fuji

Let me tell you a story, around this time last year my friends and I took a trip to northeast Brasil (where my family is from), I had all these grand ideas of the images I'd create and all the different gear I'd need take with me. So I loaded up my camera backpack with everything I could think of, two camera bodies with battery grips, 6 lenses, a speedlight, tripod, gopro etc. I had all this expensive and heavy gear that I took as my carry on while I traveled. During my 2 1/2 months in the country I didn't use any of that gear... Yup that's right, for 9 weeks that backpack full of camera gear sat in my grandmas house. I did however take a lot of photos, not with my fancy Canon equipment, but with my iphone and my gopro, why? Because those two were the most convenient and didn't attract much attention, after all northeast Brasil isn't the safest place ever, and I wasn't wanting to get robbed of all my expensive gear. So after I arrived back in Portland, I realized something, having a bunch of cool gear is pointless unless you use it and you can't use it if it's not with you and my gear wasn't with me because it was too cumbersome and attracted thieves. So the next month I decided to sell all the camera gear I owned and start from scratch. After researching and testing out a bunch of cameras I stumbled upon the fuji x100s, I had heard about this camera, but blew it off cause I thought it was just one of those trendy "hipster" cameras that girls bought because they look cool. Man was I wrong, legends like David Hobby, Zach Arias and even my all time fav Joey L, were using this camera, so I had to read up about it. After taking into consideration the draw backs this camera had, it did meet the requirements I had for my "travel camera". It was light, small, inconspicuous, had amazing high ISO performance and stunning image quality, after a lot of back and forth I finally pulled the trigger and ordered my first Non Canon camera, the Fujifilm x100s!

(I went with the new black version cause I figured it would stand out that much less, plus it looks a little less "trendy" haha) 

First off this camera has some draw backs, the fixed focal length and the poor video features were two things I wasn't comfortable with, but I new I could work around them. The first month I decided to shoot with the camera as much as I could, I shot everything I used to shoot, skateboarding, landscapes, portraits etc. I quickly learned the 35mm focal length and knew how I would frame my shots after only a couple minutes at the location. The leaf shutter is one thing that I love about this camera I can hand hold my camera at slow shutter speeds and sync flashes at faster speeds than any of my DSLR shooter friends! All in all this camera is amazing, it's not for everyone but for me it's a perfect fit, it's goes everywhere with me whether I'm climbing a mountain or taking senior photos this camera makes me love what I do and doesn't slow me down! 

Find me on Instagram! @nigelbarros

My ever growing bucket list!

Recently I lost my original bucket list, so I've tried to remember all the things I wanted to do. Here are some that I remembered and I'll undoubtedly be adding more and more as time goes by! 

- Learn to speak 3 different languages fluently

- Take a helicopter ride through the Columbia river gorge

- Watch the sunset from the top of a skyscraper in New York City 

- Star gaze in the back of a pick up truck full of pillows 

- Swim with dolphins 

- Go to Ireland (drink in an Irish pub) 

- Train hop for a few weeks (anywhere)

- Visit the Amazon (hold a sloth)

- Backpack in Patagonia 

- Travel to Iceland, hike, explore and learn to pronounce some Icelandic phrases

-  Ride an elephant 

- Cliff jump in Hawaii 

- See the 7 wonders of Oregon

- Skate Kona 

- Skate through New York 

- Try real sushi in Japan 

- Take aerial photo/videos 

- Photograph dangerous predators 

- See pulpit rock

- Meet/shoot with Joey L

- Road trip across the country with friends

- Visit Machu Picchu

- Hang glide in Rio 

- Visit the South Georgia islands

- Backpack Europe 

- Visit New Zealand (find Weta workshop and meet Richard Taylor) 

- Free climb to the top of a city bridge 

- Camp in the Mojave desert 

- See the northern lights

- Go to the Great Wall of China

- Explore Switzerland 

- Go on a giant rope swing 

- Swim in water caves in Brazil 

- Travel by horseback for several days (anywhere) 

- Learn how to back or front flip (no trampoline) 

- Photograph a riot or protest

Why traveling is good for you

If you're over 18, able bodied, not currently in college, have a job (and or money) and you have a desire to travel, then my question is, whats holding you back? There are so many things in life that seem really "important" but in the grand scope of your life, are so insignificant. Jobs and money come and go, friends will "grow up" and get boring, school doesn't guarantee anything and fame/recognition is frivolous! But, if  9-5 jobs, mini vans, white picket fences, coffee dates and Superbowl parties are really what you're into then, more power to you! I've only been to a handful of different states and countries, and even though my traveling experience is somewhat less than those who I look up and aspire to, I can tell you this I WOULDN'T TRADE MY ADVENTURES AND EXPERIENCES FOR ANYTHING! When I talk of traveling, I mean actually indulging yourself in another culture, not just being a tourist and seeing a new part of the world. You'll be surprised how much your outlook on life will change when you see life through the eyes of someone who  has so much joy having so much less. And the people who have more, and look down on you like a second rate citizen, you'll understand how it must feel when the less fortunate look at you. Getting out of this red, white and blue comfort zone will humble you and change the way you live your life. I wont lie its a lot harder than just sitting in front of your computer and re-blogging "wanderlust" tags on Tumblr, but if you seriously have wanderlust in your bones, the only one stopping you...... is you!

Packing light for photography

When I go out to shoot video there are so many different pieces of gear that I like to bring; tripods, sliders, steadicams, jibs, lights, mics etc. But when I go out to take photos I like to pack as light as possible. Since I am a huge fan of Joey L's work I know that it's possible to create stunning images using only one flash. Sure I don't use a phase one with professional studio strobes but the techniques are the same. Using natural light as the hair light then using a flash for the key really creates some cool photos. That's all I've been rolling with and it's all I've needed so far.
My light strobist set up:
-Canon 60D
-Sigma 17-50mm f2.8
-2x aperture trigmasters 
-1x Neewer TT-560

Star Time lapsing

Ok so shooting stars isn't the hardest thing to do, but shooting a time lapse of stars is kinda tricky, cause you gotta have a really long shutter (like 20 to 30 seconds) then a delay for the interval. So you're only getting around 2 photos a minute and to make a good time lapse you need atleast 200-300 photos imo. Another thing to take into consideration is the rule of 600, and that refers to the focal length of your lenses and how long of a shutter you can have before the stars start to leave a light streak. For example if I shot the stars on a 30mm then that would be 600 divided by 30 = 20, which means I could only have a 20 second shutter before the stars would start to leave light streaks. Hopefully I'll get some good lapses in the future but this attempt wasn't too great.

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