O'connor 1030D Review

I had the opportunity to use the O'connor Ultimate 1030D tripod system on a recent short film I DP'ed and directed. I needed a beefier system for my current camera set up and I will say this system did the job and more. The current price of the system I was using is $9,134.25 at B&H.  

This tripod was showcased at NAB 2012 so it's nothing new to the market. I just haven't seen very many reviews and thought I'd share my experience with it. You can get all the tech specs for the system on O'connor's site.


The build quality of the 1030D is top notch, and that's what I expect from O'connor. You don't have to look too far to find vintage 1030's all over the place. This is a testament to how well built O'connor's tripod systems are. This latest version of the 1030 borrows a few features from it's bigger brother the 2575. The main one being a step less counter balance crank, which is located on the back of the head. It's simple to use and you can dial in a counter balance from 0 to 30 lbs. This head will work with the lightest mirrorless camera to a mid-weight camera like the Canon C300 MkII.


I love putting the 1030D head on a dolly. My current tripod head doesn't really support the payload of my current camera set up, but this head can handle the weight with no issues. Plus, because this head is so easy to operate making complex dolly moves are made so much easier. The 1030D comes with a 100mm bowl base, but can also accept a Mitchell base or 150mm ball base if needed.


This is by far the best tripod I've used for narrative film work. I could see some documentary DP's using this tripod, but there are probably lighter systems out there that would be better suited for faster setups. I highly recommend this tripod system for anyone shooting a cinema style.

Below is the film where I utilized the O'connor Ulitmate 1030D. I'm guessing 85% of the shots were done using the O'connor system.

Zacuto Gratical Eye Review

I've been using the Zacuto Gratical Eye for about a year now and thought I would give it a quick review. I've really enjoyed using a number of Zacuto's EVF's. I had the Gratical X for a while, but when I upgraded to the Canon C300 MkII I decided to upgrade my EVF. The Gratical X is great, but I liked the smaller design of the Eye and I no longer needed HDMI, which the Gratical X offers but the Eye does not.. I also like to power my camera and accessories off of one source. The Eye uses a  Lemo connection so I'm able power it off of an Anton/Bauer battery.


The Gratical Eye is loaded with features. I'll list the ones I use most, but if you want a comprehensive list you can visit Zacuto's site

I love that I can have a waveform and histogram always active when I look in to the viewfinder. That way I'm not searching through a menu to find the most essential tools to help me make correct exposures.

I also use redline peaking when I find it hard to focus. I just have to tap the top joystick once to the right and this feature turns on. And to turn it off you just tap again. There are four presets you can program the Eye to have at the touch of a finger using the joystick. This is a big time saver.

I also us the custom LUT feature. Zacuto has some preset LUT's included with the Eye, but you also have the option to load your own LUT's into the EVF. Since I shoot in CLog most of the time it's nice to use a LUT to bring back some contrast into the image I see coming from the camera.

Proximity Sensor

A unique feature of the Gratical Eye is the proximity sensor. The Eye does not have an ON/OFF switch. In order to prevent screen burn in of the OLED screen this sensor will turn off the OLED when it does not sense movement near it. You can adjust the time the sensor uses to turn the screen off. Mine was set to 5 seconds when I received it, but I found that was too short a time and the screen would shut off while I was shooting. I've since adjusted the time to 30 seconds and have had no issues since.

Who's the Eye for?

The Eye accepts an SDI signal. If you want to use it with a camera that only has HDMI out you will need an HDMI to SDI converter, which is doable but not ideal. But it's perfect for cameras with SDI out like the Canon C300 MkII, URSA Mini, Sony FS7, etc.. If you own multiple cameras or rent different cameras for various projects I think this is a great EVF to invest in. 

Here's a recent project I shot using the Gratical Eye.

Anton Bauer Digital 90 Review

Batteries aren't the most sexy thing to review, but hey, we all need power for cameras, EVF's, monitors and the like. Without them we can't shoot. So I've been using the Anton Bauer Digital 90 for the past year. It's the latest design that A/B released back in 2014. For context purposes I'll let you know I've used these batteries with the Sony A7s (a bit of an overkill for that camera) and the Canon C300 MkII. It has preformed well for me so far. Having an external battery gives me more run time with my cameras and I don't have to change batteries as often with the manufacuture's smaller battery options.

The new design of the A/B Digital 90 is slightly bigger than expected, which is odd. Newer designs are usually smaller in the increasing digital age. However, Anton Bauer chose to increase the size for safety reasons. The bigger casing allows for the lithium ion cells to be individually wrapped, which prevents the potential of fire or blowing up. Despite the increased size the new design is actually lighter. This is always nice if you're a camera op.

I use the Digital 90 to simultaneously power my C300 MkII and the Zacuto Gratical Eye.

Some of the other improvements in the new design are the digital read out is simpler and clearer to read. The exterior has a rubber coating for easier handling and impact absorption in case you drop it. Another new feature is a built in P-tap. This is a big deal. If I need to run another device off of my battery I don't have to buy a dedicate battery plate or a distribution box. It all depends on your needs, but I find myself using this feature to power an on camera monitor when needed.

The on battery p-tap is located on the right side of the battery for easy access.

The large digital display window makes it easy to see how much power remains.

Some of the cons on the new design are the awkward shape and bulky size. I assume it's for ergonomics. I wish the design was smaller verses bigger, but safety first, right?

If you fly a lot be aware of the restriction limiting two of these batteries in your carry on during air travel. One on your camera and another in your carry on. This is fairly limiting compared to the PAGlink battery which is TSA approved and unlimited in quantity in a carry on. However, Anton Bauer just updated their Quad Charger so one can discharge batteries for airline travels. Here's a link to their press release for more info.

I also use the Digital 90 with my SmallHD AC7 OLED monitor, wireless transmitter and the Wooden Camera Director's Cage. This set up allows me to wander around a location easily and freely without using cables. I hate cables. The A/B Digital 90 preforms well with this set up.

One really impressive feature of this battery is the recharge time. It's on of the shortest recharge times on the market. At least from the research I've done. Here's a great video comparison of various battery bricks if you really want to dig deep into comparisons: watch here.

My experience with the A/B Digital 90 has been good. The cells on this battery are supposed to last a very long time and the price is competitive with other offerings on the market (they sell for $269.10 at B&H). There are far more competitors now days in the external power business and I think A/B sees that.

When surveying DP and Camera op friends I find an overwhelming majority of them use Anton Bauer batteries. The company has a long standing reputation for quality and their customer service seems to be top notch.