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Old March 28th, 2017, 05:57 AM   #1
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First Matte Box

Hi All,
I'm looking for some advice on affordable first matte box. I've been looking at the Fotga DP500 Mark 3.
Although I can't find many reviews of it, it seems to have most of the features I'm looking for.
However from a youtube video it seems it might be a little big for my rig. I'm currently shooting on a Canon 70D, but looking to buy something that will grow with me as and when I upgrade to different cameras.

Any comments on this particular matte box?

Any suggestions for good alternatives?

I'm not sure whether to go for a matt box like this one with 4x4 filter trays or whether to go up to 4x5.65, as I understand I may run into vignetting on wide angle lenses.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Regards
James
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Old March 29th, 2017, 01:18 AM   #2
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Re: First Matte Box

Hi there
I have used a larger matte box like the one you mention, (mine is a TLS Kestrel) on a 5D, but they are very large on a DSLR.
If you don't need to stack filters, a cheaper and lighter option is the new range of Zip boxes by Wooden Camera.
https://www.woodencamera.com/zip-box...m-p/231500.htm

These look pretty cool and won't add loads of weight to your rig.
cheers
Gareth
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Old March 29th, 2017, 04:23 AM   #3
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Re: First Matte Box

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Watkins View Post
Hi there
I have used a larger matte box like the one you mention, (mine is a TLS Kestrel) on a 5D, but they are very large on a DSLR.
If you don't need to stack filters, a cheaper and lighter option is the new range of Zip boxes by Wooden Camera.
https://www.woodencamera.com/zip-box...m-p/231500.htm
Thanks for the suggestion Gareth, I'm sure your right it would dwarf my camera and would certainly like to get a slightly smaller one if similarly prices/featured. But I'd like to get a matte box with at least two trays one for ND filter and one for a polariser that can rotate 360 degrees ideally.
At the moment I'm using a variable ND via a step up ring screwed onto the lens and don't find it ideal.
I'd rather invest slowly in some quality glass that I can use on any lens I buy in the future and save the faffing (screwing filters on the end of each lens and having to change step up rings etc). So a matte box looks like the way to go.

Regards
James
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Old March 29th, 2017, 07:52 AM   #4
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Re: First Matte Box

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Buckett View Post
Thanks for the suggestion Gareth, I'm sure your right it would dwarf my camera and would certainly like to get a slightly smaller one if similarly prices/featured. But I'd like to get a matte box with at least two trays one for ND filter and one for a polariser that can rotate 360 degrees ideally.
At the moment I'm using a variable ND via a step up ring screwed onto the lens and don't find it ideal.
I'd rather invest slowly in some quality glass that I can use on any lens I buy in the future and save the faffing (screwing filters on the end of each lens and having to change step up rings etc). So a matte box looks like the way to go.

Regards
James
As much as I loved and used a matte box on my Sony Z1, I simply found it too big and not very practical on a DSLR. I ended up preferring the Tiffen variable ND on my 5D3, I got one for each lens. Swapping out expensive 4x4 ND filters, with out getting fingerprints or risking dropping them was to me too much of a hassle, as well as needing three or four filters which aren't cheap. The variable I could just rotate it as light changed.
I did miss using my polarizer and grad's on some shoots...
ND's in particular are very important filters in video, but to be honest I stopped using the matte box with a DSLR and went with the variable screw on.
I do on occasions use it with the C100 when I want to use a grad or polarzer though.
Check out the Genustech.. they look good for the money
cheers
Gareth
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Old June 13th, 2017, 12:57 AM   #5
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Re: First Matte Box

I have a Tilta that works OK for the little I use it.
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Old June 14th, 2017, 07:02 AM   #6
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Re: First Matte Box

I hate a big mattebox on a smaller rig - I'm happy with my cavision 3x3
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Old July 8th, 2017, 04:15 PM   #7
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Re: First Matte Box

I just bought a Fotga DP3000 ; it just arrived today .

The matte box itself , despite its low price , is actually a very nice piece of kit , with much of it being made of metal and other pieces hard plastic , it all seems well engineered and durable , the French Flags fit nicely and are easily adjusted , both for tightness and positioning . There are two 100mmx100mm filter holders , one rotatable and the other just slides in and out .

As it comes , the box is designed to be mounted on a 15mm rail system . The way my camcorder is set up ( JVC GY-HD251 ) it mounts onto a standard Sony quick release plate ; if I were to mount a rail system onto the bottom of the camera I fear I'd lose the ability to mount/dismount from the plate , and if I put the rail system under the plate , I'd either have to remove the camera from the matte box if wishing to shoot handheld , or lose the ability to shoulder mount it ...

As it happens , both my ENG lenses have 82mm filter threads on the front , and both are internal focus , so I looked for a solution that would allow me to mount the box onto the front of the lens .

I remembered my Lee filter system that I used to use back in the days of medium format , and found up in the attic a filter holder and bellows type lens hood ( a bit too narrow for use with my camcorder ) and although I had a few mounting rings , there wasn't an 82mm one . I looked on eBay for an adaptor ring , and came across a Zomei starter kit , which was a filter holder plus an 82mm adaptor ring , for about 14 , so I ordered that too . Not so keen to start messing up my expensive Lee holder , I didn't feel so bad at drilling a few holes in the Zomei to make it do what I wanted .

It was a simple enough matter to remove the cowl surrounding the rear blanking ring off the matte box , and unbolt the 15mm rail mount flange . I then drilled holes in the Zomei filter holder to match the hole centres for the rear cowl and , at the same time removing one filter slot from the Zomei to make it shallower and mount the box that much closer to the lens , mounted it onto the back of the matte box using the countersunk screws which had come out of the cowl ; it all fitted together very nicely .

I did find that , while the Zomei holder would sit nicely onto the adaptor ring and support its own weight without any difficulty ( it is just an interference fit , a bit like a bigger version of the Cokin A series filters I used for my SLRs in years gone by , with the added weight of the matte box , the plastic springs weren't quite strong enough to keep the holder accurately in place . I remedied this by drilling another two holes in the filter holder just above where the adaptor ring sat , then screwed in a couple of pan head self tapping screws just so that when the holder , with matte box attached slides down onto the adaptor ring , the flanges of the two pan head screws just sit nicely on the top edge of the adaptor ring and support it just where it needs to be .

Having said the above , the matte box is quite light in construction , which is fortunate as I wouldn't want to hang too much weight on the front of an already quite long lens ( Canon YJ12x6.5 B4 ) . As it is so far , I have not done anything but unbolt parts off the matte box , all alterations have been to the cheap filter holder , and if I find a way of fitting a 15mm rail system to the bottom of my camcorder then I would do this and put the matte box back the way it was on arrival . I'd need to find some way of fitting a rail system between the base of the camcorder and its front foot , and spacing the rear foot down by the same amount so that the quick release plate could still be used , and keep the shoulder mount available .

I wanted the matte box primarily so that I could use ND , CP or graduated filters , and also to give me a little more control of shading where shooting towards the light could be a problem . If I don't always need the matte box then I won't complicate things by fitting it when the standard lens hood will do .

I should still have a Cokin P series CP somewhere , which I have yet to find , and seem to recall it is about the right size for this holder but not entirely certain , but I ordered an inexpensive set of 100mm x 100mm ND and graduated filters which should be here soon enough , I also ordered a 100mm x 150mm grey graduated filter which can slide vertically in the Zomei filter adaptor to find the right position to darken down a bright sky ( the matte box accepts square filters but there is no facility to slide them up/down to adjust where the transition takes place , although one holder does rotate , they are just either in or out ) .

I plan to also get a tobacco graduated filter and a blue one since I like the effects these ones can have ; again they won't be for use all the time , but they can be useful .
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