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Old August 4th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #1
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Stupid, stupid, STUPID matte box prices!

I don't suppose anyone here could expplain why something such as a mattebox or sunshade with a decent sized french flag and rail system should cost anything approaching the absolutely extortionate prices that are being charged? Please, please, please tell me why a bit of molded plastic, some alluminium rods, and a flat hinged piece of metal should be costing me $500???!!!

Okay, so there is a bit more engineering than that involved, but I simply cannot believe that these prices are justified in any way or form.

Does anyone know of a decent (ie rather cool looking as well) mattebox and sunshade with rail system that would fit the XM1 (GL1) that doesn't cost half as much again as the camera itself?
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Old August 4th, 2004, 12:33 PM   #2
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Exactly what I have been wondering since I bought my camera. I guess having your cam look that cool comes with a price. The dope century optics matte box and rod system for the GL1/GL2 is like $1080. The french flag for it is an extra $80!!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=331121&is=REG
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Old August 4th, 2004, 12:42 PM   #3
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Yeah!

It's pretty unbelievable IMHO. I just cannot for the life of me see what the money is going into!

Originally I made a makeshift sunshade for my Optex 16:9 adaptor out of an old black plastic flowerpot. Of course I only used this on my own productions rather than paid work for fear of having my camera laughed at.

The problem is that with the 16:9 adaptor a sunshade of some kind is essential and I need something that is affordable, and looks good too to give me respect! LOL!

My 16:9 adaptor cost me 500, and that is a piece of optics. I can see no reason why some bits of plastic and metal should cost more than a complex 16:9 lens!

What surprises me even more is that nobody else seems to give this problem of matte box prices a second thought! What am I missing?
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Old August 4th, 2004, 12:46 PM   #4
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As an owner of a Chrosziel I share your amazement. To be sure, there is a bit of workmanship involved in the filter tray and rod fittings. And the materials of the best units are designed to endure heavy use. But even so, they still seem very expensive for such relatively simple accessories.

The explanation fundamentally boils down to the fact that they sell at these prices. Ten years ago matte boxes were mainly sold into the rental market, which could recoup the prices easily. Today we see people buying them largely as fashion accessories for their cameras with little idea of how to really use them properly. (BTW, have you priced 4x4 or 3x3 filters for them?)

There are a few "less expensive" models, such as the one from CAVision. But if you want a better deal check the online auctions for sales of used matte boxes.

But before proceeding ask yourself if you -really- need one or if the money would be better spent on other areas of production. If all you really want is to shade your lens from flare, there are far less costly solutions for that.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 12:48 PM   #5
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I empathize in your outrage over matte box prices and I would simply chalk it up to supply and demand.

In need of the use of a ND grad filter recently, I searched and stumbled upon the Formatt FM-500 matte box over at DVXuser.com and recently used it on a shoot with excellent results. I don't know how the build quality compares to a $1,500 box nor does it have a rod option available, but I have found it to be an excellent solution for the budget conscious. It can be had from B&H for about $299.

I use it with a DVX by the way.

Hope this helps.

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Old August 4th, 2004, 12:59 PM   #6
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Hi Ken,

When I am using the Optex 16:9 lens some form of sunshade is neccesary. Facing the camera even vaguely in the direction of the sun can cause it to flare easily and for every single bit of dust that might have found it's way there between cleaning the lens and pressing the record button shows up. Once the lens is shaded these problems go away.

There are other solutions (such as my modified flowerpot), but I wouldn't dar use these on a paid job because they simply look amateur. Luckily most things I have shot with the 16:9 lens have been my own projects. But recently I have started to use it more and more on paid jobs but have craftily got around the problems, or have been lucky enough to be shooting indoors under controlled lighting conditions.

But I would rather have the flexibility that a mattebox and sunshade give. ND filters are a major issue with me at the moment. I can use the cameras built in ND4, and then attach my ND8, but that causes a huge amount of vignetting and my zoom ranges are even more limited than they were to begin with.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 01:04 PM   #7
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Hi Tim, thanks, I'll look that one up. But atill 299 still seems a lot.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 01:07 PM   #8
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Indeed, wide lenses, esp. anamorphic lenses, are flare magnets. Technically, these call for even more expensive matte boxes and filters specifically designed to accommodate 16:9 lenses (although most folks just get the standard square version).

For an extremely inexpensive, yet very effective, solution to simple lens shading take a look at the Flare Buster. This featherweight, ultra-portable gizmo attach directly to a camera's top shoe and can basically hold any type of shade you need.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 02:39 PM   #9
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I think that by and large these prices are a holdover from the days before DV. When you're buying a camera for 25 grand plus what's another 1000 between friends to control a little lens flair?

As well I think that for the most part they are made by small companies to some fairly high standards. Low production runs add to cost greatly. Although in comparrison to other industries, like high end bike parts for example, yes they are insane.

That's the name of this business though. I'd like to know why a Sachtler tripod plate costs $90. That's just stupid.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 03:06 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ryan Liverman : I'd like to know why a Sachtler tripod plate costs $90. That's just stupid. -->>>

Answer: Because they're trying to look good against rival Vinten, whose plates cost $160.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 03:20 PM   #11
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Ken,

Even though they are separate companies, aren't both Sachtler and Vinten (and Bogen and others) manufactured by the same parent corporation. If so, why try to compete against your own products?
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Old August 4th, 2004, 03:34 PM   #12
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Vinten, Bogen and Sachtler are subsidiaries of the same conglomerate: The Vitec Group, PLC. Each company's principal manufacturing operations is likely quite independent of the others, however.

I was only joking about Sachtler's rationale for its plate pricing. Of course the fact of the matter is that each is the sole producer of its spare parts and can charge whatever the market will bear.

These companies do, indeed, compete against each other. That's actually the best of situations. Vitec, like most such conglomerators, acquired these companies more as brand investments than individual organizations. To that end, its rather like owning hotel properties which can be divested as needed.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 04:22 PM   #13
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Think of Vitec as General Motors and all of it's various divisions (Chevrolet, Pontiac, Saturn, GMC, Buick, Cadillac, and Oldsmobile, oops Olds is gone). I'm sure over the course of the next few years some stream lining will take place to take advantage of some scale of economies.

Simon, I think you have discovered a true market niche. You should create you own manufacturing company to produce low cost matte boxes for the DV market. The sales will be stupendous and you'll be able to retire in a few years. Or not.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 04:43 PM   #14
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And dude, if you can make sure it doesn't vignette no matter WHAT you use with it, no matter how wide the lens, etc. . . you'll be God.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 06:36 PM   #15
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If you want to go the el-cheapo route I suppose you could look into this: http://www.cinetactics.com/mb100m.php Although $169 also seems like a lot for something made out of nylon...
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