Equipment Reviews

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Steve Bedell Posted: Apr 18, 2012 Published: Mar 01, 2012 0 comments
The Aurora Orion light kit arrived on my doorstep at the busiest time of the year for me. At the end of the summer I take hundreds of high school seniors and thousands of “one shot” photos of the underclass students at high schools. So while it has taken me a while to get around to writing the report, I have used these lights to take thousands of pictures, and I was really glad to have a light kit that I could just pick up and walk out the door with and have all I needed in one really nice travel bag.
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George Schaub Posted: Apr 11, 2012 74 comments
The new super wide angle Distagon T* f/2.8 15mm lens for Canon and Nikon mounts is neither lightweight nor inexpensive (1.6 lb for Nikon, 1.8 lb for Canon mount, $2950) but what you get from this manual focus lens is exceptional image quality and facility that is perhaps unmatched by any other lens in its focal length class. With a 95mm filter thread and integral and fully compatible lens shade, the lens offers an extraordinary 110-degree angle of view that is pleasure to work with on a wide variety of subjects. The fast f/2.8 aperture is matched on the narrow end by a minimum aperture of f/22, which at 15mm means there’s potential for extraordinary depth of field effects using the 10-inch closest focusing range. While decidedly not a portrait lens, the 15mm is ideal for landscape, street photography and creative advertising work, as well as architectural and urban photography, as I discovered in mybrief time working with it.
Joe Farace Posted: Apr 10, 2012 Published: Mar 01, 2012 0 comments
“Lighting is really common sense and personal observation. This is applied to a few rules of photography which cannot be broken and to others which I tend to bend a little.”—Paul Beeson

A monolight or monobloc to our European friends is a self-contained studio flash that is typically, but not always, powered by an AC power source and allows for different light modification devices, including reflectors, light banks, or umbrellas. The key phrase in that last sentence is self-contained. To my way of thinking the biggest advantage monolights possess is just that—if you’re shooting on location or for that matter anywhere and the power pack in a pack and head system stops working, so do you. If you have a couple of monolights and one of them fails, you can still shoot.

George Schaub Posted: Apr 09, 2012 Published: Mar 01, 2012 4 comments
The diminutive Nikon 1 series of cameras, including the J1 reviewed here and the coming V1, introduces the new CX-format CMOS sensor to the interchangeable lens, mirrorless camera field, which we dub Compact System Cameras. The sensor is smaller than APS-C and Micro Four Thirds sensors, coming in at a 2.7x multiplication factor using standard 35mm focal length designations. The 10.1-megapixel sensor has a native speed of ISO 100, with speeds up to 3200, and 6400 with a 1 EV push.
George Schaub Posted: Apr 06, 2012 Published: Mar 01, 2012 20 comments
The new Canon PIXMA PRO-1 is a 13x19” pigment-ink printer that makes fine quality prints in a price range that could be considered quite fair for what you get ($999). Aimed at avid photographers and enthusiast printmakers, as well as pros choosing to do their own mid-size prints, the PIXMA PRO-1 fills a void left by HP’s abandonment of the category and directly challenges Epson. The printer offers ease of use, solid performance, 12 ink cartridges, and all in all seems to improve upon 13” printers of the past. Our tests were aimed at determining if the PIXMA PRO-1 could be a solid contender in its class and if there were upgrades or new workflow techniques that would differentiate it from the competition.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Dec 27, 2011 Published: Nov 01, 2011 0 comments
Increasingly, manufacturers are coming out with cameras and speedlights that support wireless TTL flash operation. What this means for you is a simplified approach to using dedicated flash units off camera—especially multiple speedlights, alone or mixed with other light sources. With wireless TTL you’re free to move the off-camera flash a few inches or a few feet here or there, not to mention modifying the light in any desired fashion, and all without having to recalculate exposures, use a flash meter, and link everything together with wires. The camera’s metering system does the math for you. Beyond that, wireless TTL assures you that all speedlights on and off camera will fire in sync.
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Steve Bedell Posted: Dec 14, 2011 Published: Nov 01, 2011 0 comments
The Einstein monobloc strobe is listed at 640 watt seconds (ws) of power, has a bright 250-watt modeling light that can vary proportionally with the flash output, a 12 flash per second (fps) claimed capability, and a constant 5600˚K color temperature, no matter what the power level. Also, a claimed nine f/stop range, from 2.5 to 640 ws, and Paul C. Buff’s proprietary IGBT technology fill out the bill. It’s solidly built, using a Lexan housing instead of metal. It’s not very big, but is bigger and about a pound heavier than the company’s AlienBees units that many photographers, including myself, use.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Dec 13, 2011 Published: Nov 01, 2011 0 comments
I was quite impressed with Nissin’s initial lineup of shoe-mount strobes. The Di866 Professional (now the Di866 Mark II) is quite innovative and versatile in its own right, sporting a full-color menu interface, while providing TTL wireless operation. There’s also the Di466 (for Nikon, Canon, and Four Thirds cameras). And the Di622 has been updated to the largely revamped Di622 Mark II, now the subject of this review.
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Staff Posted: Sep 13, 2011 Published: Aug 01, 2011 1 comments
The annual meeting of the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) to vote for the best photographic and imaging products in 2011 was held on April 9, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. This year at the TIPA General Assembly 29 member magazines voted for the best product in each category. TIPA has member magazines from nine European countries and Australia, Canada, China, the U.S.A., and South Africa, plus has an affiliation with the CJPC of Japan. The General Assembly selected the best photo and imaging products of 2011 in 40 categories. In the past 21 years the association has given over 430 awards for products from over 70 companies from 15 countries. Shutterbug, the sole US magazine in the association, was represented at the meetings by Editorial Director George Schaub.
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George Schaub Posted: Aug 01, 2010 0 comments

The best photo and imaging products of 2010 were voted on at the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) General Assembly held from April 8-10, 2010 in New York. The editors of the 28 member photo and imaging magazines from nine European countries plus Canada, South Africa, and the United States met to vote on the TIPA Awards 2010 and discuss the association’s activities and projects.

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George Schaub Posted: Jul 01, 2007 0 comments

On the following pages we've assembled reports that act as mirrors on the state of the art of photo and imaging gear today. While the reports themselves cover numerous recently introduced products in various categories they also tell us how taking, making, and sharing images has changed. Compare this report to one made in past years and you'll see a radical...

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