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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
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Old January 19th, 2007, 08:54 PM   #1
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ebay matte box

Hi folks,

has anyone had any experience with this matte box for the Z1 from ebay?

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Matte-box-with...QQcmdZViewItem

I'm sure that when I searched the archive a while ago I found a thread where someone said they had ordered one and was going to post their findings about this matte box but try as I might couldn't find it again. It certainly looks pretty good from the ad and at bargain price.

I recently bought a Vocas MB320 with rod support for a bargain 200 (its cosmetically damaged) from ebay only to find out that it is particularly awkward to use on the Z1: the plate is for the big Sony cameras so wont fit therefore I'd need a step-down ring to attach to the lens which is about 40... then i wouldnt be able to use the box with a wide-angle converter attached. this, plus the fact that the filter holders have to be mounted sideways so that the top tags dont hit the stupid on-board mike which means little chance of using grad filters means I'll probably resell it. Has anyone decided to hack their on-board mike off yet as i know its unremovable!!??

Cheers,

Baldwin
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Old January 20th, 2007, 01:57 AM   #2
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Baldwin,

I have purchased the Wide angle screw on matte box from this vendor, and have to say that the quality is quite OK - it's no Chrosziel, but it is only one fifth of the cost! I use it on my A1 and it works well. The vendor is excellent (very courteous and reliable) and I am also seriously considering purchasing this for my Z1 - so I too am interested in any feedback on this one.

If you decide to get one, please provide feedback - it looks very good - and at a bargain price.

All the best,
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Old January 24th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #3
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Report on the eBay matte-box

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baldwin Li
Hi folks,

has anyone had any experience with this matte box for the Z1 from ebay?

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Matte-box-with...QQcmdZViewItem

I'm sure that when I searched the archive a while ago I found a thread where someone said they had ordered one and was going to post their findings about this matte box but try as I might couldn't find it again. It certainly looks pretty good from the ad and at bargain price.

Your timing is almost perfect. I was the one that had bought the matte-box from eBay. As I live in Brazil things take a lot to get here, and they did in different times: the MB three weeks ago and the Z1 just today.

The first thing I had seen on the MB which I didn't particularly like were the three rod holders. One of them screws to the base, which adjusts to the camera you will use. It has two spring levers that grip (not too firmly) to the rods.

There are two more holders: one in the middle and one in the end. The latter screws to the sunshade, alllowing it to be held by the rods. The middle holder might be used to hold something else, but I am not sure what.

The problem is that these three parts the rods secure to are made from a rubber/plastic alloy which is not really hard. So the first thing I noticed when I assembled it all, without the camera, was that the shade end seemed to be on a spring, when it should be rock solid.

So I started to think on how to have someone mill for me these three parts on a lathe.

When the camera arrived I understood why they had used such plastic rubber alloy. In order for things to fit you HAVE to force the rods up a little bit so the shade will go into the front lens. As far as I know there's no other way to do it.

In fact there might be, but also using a lathe to mill the three holders and also drill a new hole on the base (not the camera) so everything is straight. In that way the rods will hold the MB in front of the lens, with no force over the zoom body.

This force is not great, but I don't think it's right.

After I make these parts I will probably sell the whole thing and go for a Geardear, which seems better made. Reports on that one might also be appreciated.

As it is, my comments on this eBay mattebox, get the one without the rods, which is cheaper and might work better. You may need different rings if you will use a wide angle.


Carlos
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Old January 26th, 2007, 02:05 PM   #4
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Carlo,

Is it just the rods that are the problem? Are you happy with the mattebox? Is it better than just the Z1 rubber shade (which is not too bad).

All comment would be appreciated.

All the best,

Graeme
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Old January 26th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graeme Fullick
Is it just the rods that are the problem? Are you happy with the mattebox? Is it better than just the Z1 rubber shade (which is not too bad).
The rods are fine. What I think is wrong are the pieces that connect the rods to the other parts. That is the camera base and the matte box.

What the rods should do is to hold the MB firmly and with no movement just aft the front lens. It should be precisely there. That is what the rods should do, with a little help from the other parts.

Those parts are flexible, when they shouldn't be.

Of course I amnot happy with the matte box. In spite of the flexibility I expected the MB to go exactly at the front of the lens, and it doesn't. I will have the parts milled to correct the problem. If I lived in the USA or if it was possible I would ask for my money back.

The MB itself is not bad, even if the distance between it and the mike is very critical. I already slightly scraped the black paint from the wire mesh moving the MB. But I knew that was a problem in the Z1. I just expected more precision in the parts design.

The MB should play a different role than the rubber shade, which is to hold and rotate the filters. That is why I bought it. I don't like to unscrew filters either, which you have to do if you don't have a filter holder.

And it has to allow rotation too, so you can adjust a pola-screen or a graduated ND.

So I will have to find a way to make this MB work. Which may not be easy.

Let's hope this paints you a more clear picture.

As I said before, I might be better off with a Geardear.


Carlos
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Old January 29th, 2007, 10:19 AM   #6
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my flag broke instantly, its fun to use but its no serious peice of equipment and you get some vig
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Old January 29th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #7
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Hi there

Check out the TLS matte box, similar to the Formatt.. uses a screw adapter or rods...(adapter cheaper)... (google to find their website with quick video demo)

General quality pretty good.. looks and feels solid enough.. I've had mine for about a year.

Only negative point it the French flag tends to droop if you don't use an allen key to tighten it.. the knurled knob doesn't give you enough leverage to tighten properly..

cheers
Gareth
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Old January 29th, 2007, 02:34 PM   #8
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Panaview 4x4 filters

has anyone had any experience with Panaview Schott glass filters on Ebay for $49 ?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Panaview-4x4-Pro...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old January 30th, 2007, 05:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Watkins
Check out the TLS matte box, similar to the Formatt.. uses a screw adapter or rods...(adapter cheaper)... (google to find their website with quick video demo)
Price is much more expensive than the Geardear, which deserves a view.
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Old February 1st, 2007, 11:13 AM   #10
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ebay matte box

Thanks for the replies folks - I was very close to buying the ebay matte box but eventually found somewhere which would sell me a step-down ring for my Vocas box which works okay on my Z1 now. I guess there is no real way of solving the mike on top of the camera problem which gets in the way of the holders, except getting the hacksaw out...

on a slightly off-topic note I did buy a rain cover for the Z1 from this ebay vendor which is a nice little product and is well-priced.

thanks,

baldwin
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Old February 8th, 2007, 12:31 PM   #11
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Better late than never, we say here.

Let me get back to the eBay matte box, which I could at last find a way out to.

The first problem is that the instructions that came with are very poor, which may lead you to misunderstandings and dead ends.

The second problem is that they tried to make a camera base that could work on different cameras, and ended up with a very confusing part.

Today I picked it up again to see what parts I would need to have made to correct the problems. Then I could figure out how it should be assembled, which is certainly not as the "manual" (???) shows.

The good thing is I could get things right and in working order, tried the 4 x 4 filters, etc. It looks fine. Not perfect but alright.

It can be perfected and I might do that. The rod adjusters are made in a flexible material, and they should be rigid. I will try to have them milled in aluminium. The ring that fits over the lens is a thin rubber, and it works as a sort of "skirt" so light won't get in from behind. It should be more solid and grip the lens firmly, but that might be more difficult to achieve. As I see it this whole piece is lacking in accurate precision, which is what you get for this kind of money.

Anyway, the MB is working now, which is great news.


Carlos
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Old February 21st, 2007, 08:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baldwin Li
Thanks for the replies folks - I was very close to buying the ebay matte box but eventually found somewhere which would sell me a step-down ring for my Vocas box which works okay on my Z1 now. I guess there is no real way of solving the mike on top of the camera problem which gets in the way of the holders, except getting the hacksaw out...

on a slightly off-topic note I did buy a rain cover for the Z1 from this ebay vendor which is a nice little product and is well-priced.

thanks,

baldwin
Actually vocas sells aluminum 4x4 filterframes with a shortened handgrip that will fit underneath the Z1's microphone.

http://www.vocas.com/links/dvaccessories-link.htm
middle of the page, look for Filter frame 4"x4" aluminum mkII item# 0310-0011.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 03:43 PM   #13
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Tuning the eBay matte-box

Even if apparently there seems to be some patent problem to be solved between Vocas and this matte-box, it's being quite useful to "tune it", in order to see what I will have to look in other types on the market to improve on this one.

1) Price. This was the major thing that made me take a risk with this MB. There should be several options to pick for, starting for more affordable types. Something like a Sidewind matte-box, which is an affordable one which unfortunately can't be adapted to a Z1. As it is, I seem to feel robbed when I look at the prices asked by Century/Vocas, Chroziel and similar.

2) Precision. Rubber or flexible plastics seem to be the way to sort relative precision. This is bad for rigidity. I think some parts should be designed with more precision, even if small plate adapters might be necessary. That could make prices come down, because the parts would be used on many camera types, and still have good quality.

The problem is also the difficulty to have access to these parts in order to see what works or not, what compromise is the one you are buying.

Sometimes these compromises are easy to overcome, if you are willing to improve on the parts. But I am not sure everyone will have the same spirit that I have.

E.g.: I discovered that the filter holders of the "eBay MB" (which is made by Active Industries, in India) did not quite clamp the 4 x 4 filter. A small 1mm rubber rectangle, contact-glued to the clamp, solved the problem. Now you can shake it and the filter won't fall.

But today I set all things up on the Z1, and everything seems quite workable.

As I said, it's a good place to start from and not break your bank. I wish all other MB manufacturers, like Vocas, would think of something like that.


Carlos
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 10:37 PM   #14
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Carlos,

Does this Matte box mount well on your tripod? I am using a quick release plate all of the time and take my camera on/off the tripod frequently duirng a shoot. Just wondering if there were any problems in this regard?

Thanks for your input.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 10:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graeme Fullick
Does this Matte box mount well on your tripod? I am using a quick release plate all of the time and take my camera on/off the tripod frequently duirng a shoot. Just wondering if there were any problems in this regard?
Yes, it does. But it needs some finishing. You can say that you get what you pay for, so there is one drilling you will have to do. You may get away with no drilling, but then it will be a pain to screw in the camera to the base-plate.

The problem to be solved is this: the "universal base-plate" they provide needs some thinking to make it work. When you find the way around it, you need to widen an existing hole so you can tighten the camera fixing screw.

Right by this hole is the tripod hole. To it you will screw the release plate.

After that things run very well.
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