It was another blow-out year in Vegas for NAB—complete with close to 100,000 attendees from around the world, and enough shiny new camera equipment to make the gear nerds in each of us scream for joy.
Unlike years past, NAB 2018 didn’t seem to have an overarching theme, like 4K, drones, or VR. Granted, all of these things were present, but none dominated as the “it” thing of 2018. 4K is now commonplace (on the capture side—still remarkably quiet on the viewing front), DJI has eaten the drone category, and VR is…still finding its footing.
Theme or not, there was still plenty of exciting new gear and smoking hot deals. Here were my top 5 favorite toys for under $1500:
1. DJI Ronin-S
Sturdy enough to hold a Canon 5D or Nikon D Series, this stabilizer provides incredible hand-held performance—keeping up and down and side-to-side movement almost perfectly still using only one hand.
From the manufacturer: “Designed for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, the Ronin-S combines advanced stabilization, precision control, and manual focus control capabilities in a compact, single-handed form factor. With the Ronin-S, creators can shoot with the freedom of stabilized shots on the move.”
Price: The Ronin-S is scheduled for release in July, and while pricing information is not available, it is expected to be under $1000, and possibly even closer to $500, making it a smoking deal.
2. Teradek VidiuGo
Pop this small box on top of your camera and, like magic, you can encode and live stream over cellular networks directly to any online video platform, including Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, and more.
From the manufacturer: “New for NAB 2018, the popular VidiU series of live streaming encoders is getting its first new addition in several years: VidiU Go. Built on Teradek’s venerable Cube HEVC platform, VidiU Go streams to Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and any other online video platform in pristine 1080p60 video quality. With H.264 and HEVC built-in, the Go gives you the flexibility of delivering live video in the widely accepted AVC format or taking advantage of the efficiency of H.265 during bonded cellular broadcasts.”
Price: $1,490. (If you want to stream over cellular LTE/3G/4G you also need a Node attachment for $399)
3. DJI Mavic Air
Another powerful and affordable release from our friends at DJI, the Mavic Air is the smallest drone we’ve seen yet…and even shoots 4K! This thing is almost as small as an iPhone (albeit thicker) when folded up, can fly for 21 minutes, and has a 3-axis gimbal for perfectly smooth shots. In addition to shooting 4K 30FPS, it can even shoot 120FPS slow-mo at 1080p. Oh, and it’s less than a grand.
From the manufacturer: “As tall and wide as a smartphone when folded, the Mavic Air is an ultraportable drone packed with innovative features to capture high-quality aerial images with ease.”
4. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
This is the 4K upgrade from the previous Pocket Cinema Camera that people loved (but could only shoot HD). This camera provides a very compelling package: small form factor, 4K shooting up to 60FPS, captures in 10-bit ProRes or 12-bit RAW, and has a full-size Micro Four Thirds sensor making it solid for low light conditions.
From the manufacturer: “The revolutionary new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is the camera you’ve been asking for! It features an all-new handheld design that puts the latest advanced digital film technology into the palm of your hand! The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K has a 4/3 size sensor, 13 stops of dynamic range and dual native ISO up to 25,600. That means you get stunning HDR images and incredible low light performance! The external controls give you quick access to essential functions, while the large 5-inch touchscreen makes it easy to frame shots, focus accurately, and change camera settings. Images are recorded onto standard SD/UHS-II or CFast 2.0 cards in RAW and ProRes at up to 120 frames per second! In addition, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K has an MFT lens mount, built-in microphones, mini XLR input, full-sized HDMI, 3D LUT support, Bluetooth, USB-C Expansion Port, and more!”
5. Edelkrone Motion Box
This clever little robotic motion control box gives you the ability to control your camera movement from your smartphone, creating smooth shots or time lapses with ease. The Motion Box is $299 and gives you the ability to pan 360 degrees. But like an erector set, you can snap on additional functionality with ease: add a second Motion Box with Tilt Kit ($299 for the box and $94 for the tilt kit), and you can pan AND tilt. Slap on a Skater Kit for $189, and you have an app-controlled dolly WHILE you pan and tilt!
From the manufacturer: “Pocket-sized motion control with unmatched time-lapse 2.0 features.
This feature-packed little BOX is an app-controlled pan & tilt head, camera skater,
1-axis head solution for SliderONE PRO and product turntable!”