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Setting up the FX6 for Filming Wildlife

Danny_Schmidt
Key Contributor

Much of my work these days is filming wildlife so I wanted to share my current FX6 long lens build.  We talk a lot on this forum about how great the FX6 is for shooting wildlife (4K 120, cache record, etc) so I won’t go into that here.  Mostly I wanted to point out some crucial pieces of gear.  There isn’t much on the internet that explains these things, so hopefully this helps!

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The first, and perhaps most crucial, piece of kit is a proper tripod.  These long lens rigs can get pretty heavy and very prone to shaky footage, so having a solid fluid head is really important.  I use the Cartoni Focus 22.  None of the heads in this range are cheap, but I guarantee that if you take care of it, this piece of camera gear will outlast everything else you buy.  

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The next piece is the 18” Dovetail plate from Wooden Camera.  This piece attaches to your tripod plate/tripod head.  Atop the dovetail is a Wooden Camera bridgeplate that you can slide back and forth along the plate to achieve optimum balance on the tripod.  

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I use 24” stainless steel 19mm rods that plug into the WC bridgeplate.  These allow for the Wooden Camera lens support to prop up the lens.  

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Attached to the camera is the Tilta Baseplate.  If I wanted to, I could use 15mm rods with this baseplate to attach a follow focus, etc.  You can see that I have a focus ring on the Sony 200-600mm lens for this purpose.   

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The Sony 200-600mm has been a great wildlife lens.  With the focus gear on there, it helps to slow down the fly-by-wire focus system when you’re not using AF on the lens.  

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I like a big monitor for filming wildlife.  It lets me achieve critical focus, exposure, etc.  I’ve been using the SmallHD 702 Touch.   

The monitor and the camera are powered by the amazing Hawk-Woods 150w  v-mount batteries.  I love these things.  They are compact, but super powerful and have d-tap for the monitor.  

Have any questions? Suggestions?  These setups are always a work-in-progress.  Let’s see those rigs!

2 REPLIES 2

IamOakley
Top Contributor

So do you prefer a big monitor over an EVF for wildlife? Was just noticing Doug Jensen using the Zacuto Gratical Eye viewfinder, and I have always been partial to EVFs so was thinking about maybe upgrading to that. Would love to know what you think!

julienjarry
Top Contributor

Can you give us any pointers as to how to get into the world of paid natural history work assuming we have the work to show for it, the gear, drive, knowledge, and ambition? Thanks!