Category Archives: Tech Talk

The most common questions I seem to get from aspiring unit photographers lately relate to how much we should get paid or how much they should charge for their work.  So I’ve gathered together some thoughts on the topic that may be of use to other photographers attempting to determining what rate to charge (or…

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  • JohnJune 30, 2015 - 6:29 pm

    I work as a union stills photographer in Canada.

    As of out latest contract- which I think came into effect two years ago- we are paid a set minimum ‘processing fee’ for every day we shoot unit on set.

    You can still negotiate a different rate, and some productions would prefer to pay you the specific hours worked, but in general, I’ve found it works really quite well.

    We get $150/day for processing, paid as a labour cost, to cover the time we spend in Lightroom/whatever processing/exporting/whatever we do to unit shots.

    I like it- and I think it works well for stills guys and for productions: productions know what it’ll cost to shoot unit, and they can budget easily, and stills guys know that they don’t have to fight for the time to do the work in post that they want to do.

  • PSbyAYJuly 2, 2015 - 7:34 pm

    John, Thank so much for your input. It’s great to hear that the post production side of things is being addressed on your side of the pond. How does that align with the role of the photo editor/lab side of the stills business? Does it sit along side or supplant their role?

If your photography business is anything like my work on film sets there is often no particularly good places for your laptop to be while you’re downloading your files to your computer. Often times this results in me having to leave my laptop temporarily on a chair or other small surface. With my Macbook Pro,…

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Recently I finally had a chance to meet and chat with two wonderful UK unit stills photographer compadres, Liam Daniel (IMDB) and Giles Keyte (IMDB | Web Site). Over a couple of hours we covered off on a range of topics relevant to camera nerds and unit photographers alike, but none so intriguing nor contentious…

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  • Simon RidgwayJuly 7, 2014 - 10:25 am

    Great information. I’ve got a very old, very beat up Jacobson and have been considering the Aquatech, but the Fatboy looks good.

    So the question I have is, how does the sound damping of the Fatboy compare to a Jacobson? I’ve not had any problem so far with the Jacobson being too loud, so if the Fatboy can match it, then that would be enough for me!

    Thanks,
    Simon

  • PSbyAYJuly 7, 2014 - 3:41 pm

    Good Question, Simon. I’m told the Fatboy’s sound dampening is comparable to the Jacobson. Unfortunately we weren’t able to include one in our comparison on the day so I can’t speak for the Jacobson personally in relation to the Fatboy.

  • Larry HorricksJuly 14, 2014 - 8:39 pm

    Hello lads…seems like good way to pass some time and have a few pints. Wish I was there. I have never laid my hands on an Aquatech but I find my Fatboy somewhat less quiet than my old Jacobson. That being said I would never go back…there are many things to like about the Fatboy….love the quick release tube clamps, the overall ergonomics,weight,viewfinder,like that I can just slide my camera body in without messing with a cable connection…so I would say I’m quite satisfied with the Fatboy. I have my the depth of field preview button on my 5D mkIII programmed to toggle back and forth between servo focus and regular autofocus so it would be great if Tamas could design a button on the front that would allow me to use this vital function while the camera is blimped. Its very useful to able to track a moving subject with servo then revert to regular autofocus when the subject is no longer moving…I use this al the time shooting scenes.

    Well good shooting chaps…maybe we should have a meet up in Prague or Budapest.

    Cheers
    Larry

  • Bill MatlockJuly 15, 2014 - 1:50 pm

    I bought my Fatboy a little over a year ago and have never looked back. Have shot features, television and a few stage productions with never a problem. I still have my Jacobsen (2 button version) but only keep it as a back-up in case a complete disaster strikes the Fatboy. As for relative silence, while I’ve read a couple of comments about the Jacobsen being marginally quieter, I’ve run several informal tests with sound guys on set and if there’s a difference, so far we haven’t heard it. Almost forgot, I shoot with the Canon 5D MKII

  • PSbyAYJuly 15, 2014 - 2:32 pm

    Bill, thanks for piping up! I’m glad to know you’re having a good experience with the Fatboy and appreciate you providing your thoughts! I do hope to do a relatively scientific test at some point across all three, but it can be very hard to get so many blimp owners together at the same time! Angus

  • Simon RidgwayJuly 15, 2014 - 10:23 pm

    Good to hear the positive comments about the Fatboy. definitely on my wish list. And good that i can use the tubes I already have for the Jacobson! just wish the Fatboy allowed you to scroll through images on the screen – I believe the aquatech allows this?

  • PSbyAYJuly 16, 2014 - 8:56 am

    My Aquatech Version 2 has three controls:

    1. Two button electronic shutter trigger on the front
    2. Image Playback
    3. Dial to adjust aperture via the quick control dial (the bit around the “Set” button)

    Aquatech did scale back the number of exterior controls based on user feedback.
    Angus

  • simon meinAugust 2, 2014 - 7:38 pm

    Why the bother when the Jacobson blimp is fine without any hassle with the 24-70mm
    …..

  • PSbyAYAugust 7, 2014 - 8:59 am

    Hi Simon, I guess because not all unit stills shooters are still using the Jacobson. Among the UK photographers that I have regular contact with Jacobson shooters are now the exception rather than the norm. Anecdotally it seems to be a fairly even split between Aquatech and Fatboy these days.

  • JoergAugust 18, 2014 - 11:20 am

    Great test which confirms my experience. I am using the Fatboy with a Jacobson lens tube together with my 5D II and a 24-105 zoom lens since two years. I also need a thick rubber band for the zoom ring – but works well. Mostly I shoot TV-Shows and classic concerts here in Germany. The noise level never was a problem as the combination Fatboy / Jacobson lens tube is just perfect.

The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L has been a very topical issue for blimp makers and users alike. The second version (and current) 24-70mm f/2.8L was released in 2012 and is a massive step up in optical performance for this workhorse of a lens. Because of the fact that this new version is physically longer when…

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With thanks to Aquatech USA and their UK Distributor Fixation UK I have just received the latest version of the already highly regarded Aquatech sound blimp for the Canon 5D Mark III. I have been using the first generation blimp for 12 months now and aside from a few niggles, I have found it to…

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  • Anne Marie FoxJuly 17, 2013 - 7:16 pm

    Great analysis of the AquaTech blimp. Are they Nikon compatible?

  • PSbyAYJuly 18, 2013 - 8:19 am

    Hi Anna, thanks for the question. They do versions for Nikon, yes.