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Old November 12th, 2009, 05:21 PM   #1
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why is a mattebox so expensive ?

Hey,
Anyonea an idea why a mattebox is so expensive ?

I'm buying a DSLR and I'm looking for a kinda cheap mattebox.
Anyone an idea where to get it ?

Thanks,
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Old November 12th, 2009, 06:11 PM   #2
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How do you define "kinda cheap"?
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Old November 13th, 2009, 12:27 AM   #3
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I must say that I also find 2000 dollar seems a bit overpriced for what you get. On the other hand this is not a huge market that sells tens of thousands or even millions of products. So the production and development costs are relatively high. If a good mattebox including the options (french flag, side flags, filter holders and rails) would cost around 250 dollar I would surely buy one. The nearest set that I like (Vocas MB250) costs 1000 dollar, without sideflags.

There is no way that I would pay 400 dollar for a set of sideflags (like the Chrosziel cost).
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Old November 13th, 2009, 02:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart Wierzbicki View Post
Hey,
Anyonea an idea why a mattebox is so expensive ?
,
Now isn't that a good question! I've always thought they were insanely priced.
I think the engineers would point to the fact that a lot of the parts take a lot of machining to make, and the sales reps would point to small volume of sales.
Formatt filters make a nice one, really professional looking and works well, and it's "only" about 180 I think including top flag. I had to return mine due to vignetting though so you'd need to check that it was wide enough for your lens.
Another alternative is the Lee filters "wide lens hood" which is a bellow lens hood with several filter slots. No flags though, but only about 140.
Steve
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Old November 13th, 2009, 03:53 AM   #5
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Mario's right - the tiny market for such devices makes the unit cost higher, which in turn ups the price and so on. The good news for us filmmakers is that manufacturers are bothered to make a niche product that they believe in so enthusiastically and rate so highly.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 05:19 AM   #6
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I've got a Century mattebox with rails etc for my Sony V1. It's worth $2k, but I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase it ex-demo for $390.

Just sayin.

Andrew
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Old November 13th, 2009, 06:20 AM   #7
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I saw that Indifocus sells for example a mattebox for about $349 and the guys from dvcity one for about $325.
Then I see other companies selling matteboxes that look the same for about $2000
Then I wonder what the difference can be and if you can see this difference in your footage. :D
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Old November 13th, 2009, 06:47 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bart Wierzbicki View Post
I'm buying a DSLR and I'm looking for a kinda cheap mattebox.
Why do you feel you need a matte box for the camera if you have not shot with it yet?
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Old November 13th, 2009, 07:01 AM   #9
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I've seen Matteboxes run the gamut from $400-$2k. But you really have to assess your needs. The indifocus one does not have side flags. To me, that's pointless. Even if you don't need the side flags all the time, the box should come with them. So they look to cost around $1k for the non-pro one's and $2k for the pro ones. When you're putting these on a $2k camera they seem expensive. When you are putting them on a $200k camera, not so much.

We are borrowing a lot of things from the film world. We're playing their game, and sometimes, we are going to have to pay for that.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:26 AM   #10
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yeah I always thought the same thing, I mean I would only buy the mattebox because it looks cool, and because as some of you know part of doing the job is putting on a show for your client who wants to feel that they are really getting their money's worth in something that looks kinda like in the movies you know!
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Old November 13th, 2009, 12:20 PM   #11
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Well, for me, the mattebox is a nice way to buy standardized filters. Unfortunately, I just haven't been able to get there. I am ordering rails this week finally, and the mattebox next summer.

For the folks I need to put in front of the camera, the mattebox is more intimidating than anything else. Many are already camera shy. Putting something in front of them that looks as imposing as a camera on rails with a huge mattebox is scary. I wouldn't even dream of buying a full-sized camera for my work. I'd never get anyone to stand in front of it!
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Old November 13th, 2009, 12:28 PM   #12
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One of the reasons I would see for buying a good quality mattebox would be the same reason I buy good quality lights with good quality barndoors - after a while, hinges begin to "work in". On barndoors, sooner or later the ability to stay where you put them gets compromised. On better quality items, this is MUCH further down the road. The same MAY be true of flags on pro level matte boxes. The last thing you want is your top flag slowly creeping into your frame... ASSUMING you're using flags and didn't just buy the box for "cool factor".
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Old November 13th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #13
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I have the Chrosziel matte box...and at nearly $4K to replace it, the unit is still largely plastic. I don't get it. The unit for the EX-1 is nearly the price of the camera!
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Old November 13th, 2009, 06:35 PM   #14
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As was pointed out earlier, the rule of thumb for film industry products was relatively few units sold to offset R&D, overhead, distribution and all of the other costs involved. Since the explosion of the indie and prosumer market, there are many more potential buyers but they are insisting on less expensive gear. The $4K Chrosziel mattebox was originally designed to work with $60-100K broadcast or lightweight film cameras, so the numbers made sense then. Advances in electronics, sensors, processing and software has made it possible for manufacturers to make cameras in the sub-$10K range that now produce beautiful images, but that doesn't mean that manufacturers of accessories will now suddenly be able to make their products that much cheaper when all of their material costs are at least as much as they ever were. We've seen a certain amount of this out of many of the manufacturers but they simply can't compete with the overseas knockoff market (India, China) who are much leaner and have little overhead and drastically reduced labor costs.

As far as needing a mattebox: the two functional purposes are to control flares (via eyebrow and siders) and to mount filters. It takes a lot longer to manage flares with any other method than simply tweaking a sider or eyebrow, as anyone can attest who has messed around with pieces of blackwrap or setting flags. Likewise, using screw-in filters is a cumbersome process. If neither of these are crucial to your workflow, the only other reason is to dress up the camera and make it look impressive, in which case you might as well buy the cheapest one you can find and not be concerned with its performance.

That all said, you might want to take a look at Redrock's Micro-mattebox; at around $700, it's rugged, full-featured and works well with their DSLR accessories which I think are also fairly priced.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #15
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I'm shoot wedding videos.
At this moment I always shot with a Canon XHA1 and a Brevis 35mm adapter and this all mounted on a shoulder rig and an external tv.
This all looks really cool and I have received some projects by people who just saw us at work and they were impressed with that material.
But now I'm switching from that whole system to just a Canon DSLR on a shoulder mount.
So to be really honest.
For me a mattebox is not that important. I just take into consideration the coolness factor.
If we charge a lot of money for a wedding video and they just see us filming with a photocamera, their first reaction can be : Why are we paying that much money for just having someone film with a little photocamera.
So if we have a shoulder rig, with a mattebox, follow focus, D7 and a Zacuto Z-Finder, it will look totally different. So this is my opinion and maybe the professional people will call it or me dumb or stupid, but for the wedding couple, their day is an adventure and maybe a once in a lifetime experience so if I can help them to give them a great feeling with a little extra show. Why not ?
I'm also not going to tell the children that there is just a man hidden inside Mickey Mouse in Disneyland. :D It's all part of the magic. :D
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