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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old August 29th, 2007, 08:54 AM   #1
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Why use a Matte Box

Dear forum members,

I've just recently purchased a vx2000 and I've made some very nice footage with the camera, overall I'm very pleased.
However I would like to extend the camera with some additional lenses and filters. In my quest I stumble upon matte boxes for filters. French flags, follow focus etc.
If I look at the prices of these matte boxes, i'm a bit puzzled why these things should cost so much.
Does these matte boxes improve the picture? Is the french flag needed to block direct light to the lens?

So my question: why use a matte box

Kind regards,

Richard Plukker
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Old August 29th, 2007, 10:50 AM   #2
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These things cost a lot of money because the market for them is tiny. The people who buy them are seriously out to improve the look and quality of their footage, so these things have to be built pro tough. Up goes the price again.

Flare is a big problem with cameras such as your VX. It has a very short focal length zoom lense composed of 14 elemets. Keeping non-image-forming light off the front element is the very first way to improve the lens's contrast and reduce image degrading frare.

The hood that comes with the VX2k is a very good one, but it's only designed to be good at the very widest angle of the zoom. So matt boxes and French flags are there to shield the front element, to keep it always 'in the shade', whatever focal length you're using.

Again, with such very short focal legths this becomes even more important if you use filters, so matt boxes are the best way to use filters - because it shields them from the light.

tom.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 01:29 PM   #3
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Helpfull

Hi Tom,

That is a very good answer to my question, very helpfull.
Does this also mean that you will get a better picture when positioning your camera in the shade?

Kind regards,

Richard
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Old August 29th, 2007, 01:50 PM   #4
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If the shade shades the front element, then yes, without a doubt. We've all seen the nasty 'nearly-in-focus splodges' as people pan in the sunshine. This is because they have dirty front elements (or even worse, unclean 'protective' UV filters in place) and huge D o F due to their tiny chips. If they'd done the same pan under the shade of a tree, the splodges would be all but invisible.

tom.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 05:49 AM   #5
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What about this Matte Box?
http://www.indiesnap.com/dv.html
Looks like it would work. A lot cheaper than anything else i have seen. The only thing is that you have to buy filters elsewhere.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 12:00 PM   #6
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this thread seems to have died, has anyone orders a matte box from this site mentioned above?

i saw a bunch on ebay but they're shipping out of india and i dont like buying camera gear online as it is, too many crooks out there...
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Old October 21st, 2007, 01:52 PM   #7
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Link above worked ok for me, and yes quite cheap.

I've brought off the India company before (the cine city) didn't really have a problem, would recommend for a cheap imitation steadicam or something but you do get what you pay for...bear that in mind with anything.


RH
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Old November 16th, 2007, 01:10 AM   #8
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Hey Tom thank you for the response in this thread, I never knew why matte boxes cost so much either.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 09:46 AM   #9
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a lot of the same work can be done with screw on filters, if your lens is threaded (not all of them are, but most prosumer camcorders are), and by paying attention to how the light is entering the camera. if you can see the "splodges" in your viewfinder, you can often re-direct the shot so that you can eliminate them by a slight shift in how you are directing the light into the camera. screw on lenses also increase the chance that you will get your camera lens reflected back to you, but if you learn how to see this effect in your viewfinder, you can get rid of it--you have to botch it up a couple of times before you figure it out, i think. it usually occurs when you shoot directly into a high light situation, and your brain doesn't register the ghosting in the viewfinder, until you understand the situations where it is most likely to occur--then you begin to be able to see it and adjust.

you can save a lot of money and weight with the screw on filter sets, if you are a run and gun type shooter, where weight and the wieldiness of your rig may be a factor. they aren't as nice as drop in filters, but in most situations, unless you're making your Hollywood opus, they're fine.
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