Nikon SB-300 Speedlight
Small enough to fit into a shirt pocket, the SB-300 Speedlight provides more power and coverage than a built-in flash. Compatible with both Nikon D-SLR and Advanced Performance Coolpix cameras, it covers a wide-angle 18mm in DX format and operates via simple on-camera controls. The SB-300 tilts up to 120 degrees, allowing for more flattering portraits and even exposures. Powered by two AAA batteries, the SB-300 features thermal cut-out protection to prevent overheating when capturing rapid flash images in succession. The suggested price is $149.95.
Rogue Safari Pop-Up Flash Booster
Designed for use with most modern Canon APS-C or Nikon DX sensor cameras with telephoto zoom lenses (100mm and longer), the Rogue Safari Pop-Up Flash Booster is lightweight and easy to use. This attachment concentrates the light from the camera’s pop-up flash to provide more illumination on subjects as far as 60 to 70 feet away. The light adds up to 8x more than what the unassisted flash provides. Crafted from durable impact-resistant polycarbonate materials, the Rogue Safari Pop-Up Flash Booster does not require batteries and has a retail price of $34.95.
The conventional camera strap does the job, but with some gear can put considerable strain on the neck, tempting you to hang your camera from the shoulder, where it may slip off or invite thieves. Like a good backpack, today’s ergonomically designed camera-carrying systems largely relieve that stress and throw in some extras in the bargain. New age straps feature a more comfortable neck/shoulder pad than found on conventional neck straps, so you’ll still be comfortable hours later, and often with a quick-release mechanism to rapidly detach the camera when the need arises. Many are of a sling design aimed at the “quick shooters” among you, and some are so innovative as to almost defy description. A few even let you comfortably and safely carry two cameras at the same time.
The Vanguard ABEO Pro Kit starts out as a solid carbon-fiber tripod but then adds features and functions like a removable and rotatable (vertical or horizontal) center column, a pistol grip with built-in trigger release with cable attachments for many cameras, bubble levels, 80-degree leg spread, three “feet” supports (pads, spikes, and rubber), a quick-release base plate and mechanism, and etched degree settings on the center column for those who want to do precise panoramas.
The Photogenic ION Lithium-ion Pure Sine Wave Inverter is a compact, lightweight, and affordable AC power supply unit for use in the studio or on location. Weighing only 3.5 lbs and measuring 7.5x4.4x3.3”, it features two AC outlets for two monolights and gives you over 3500 flashes at 320 watt seconds. The built-in USB port allows you to power-up your phone or other electronic devices. The ION comes complete with the inverter, lithium-ion battery, charger, carry strap, and adjustable multi-clamp.
Russell R. Caron
Sep 06, 2013
Published: Aug 01, 2013
One of the challenges to home or professional photographersthese days is trying to keep every portrait set from looking the same. In a world where “freshness” counts a lot, being able to mix things up from one session to another, from season to season, all without jumping through too many hoops to change the set, is an advantage for many. A current trend is the ability to not only change backdrops but flooring as well, and with that in mind we recently had the opportunity to work with products from a division of the pro lab White House Custom Colour called “Backdrops by WHCC.” They have a wide range of interesting offerings in both fabric backdrops and rugged “rubberized” studio flooring.
In this update on new bags and cases, with information gathered by reporter Jack Neubart at the CES/PMA show, we’re seeing even more innovative styles and practical solutions for carrying our gear. Backpacks, sling bags, and messenger bags garnered most of his attention, along with a sampling of hard cases.–Editor
The Phottix Odin is a radio frequency-controlled system, or simply radio remote. The basic package includes two units: a transmitter and a receiver. Additional receivers are optional. You only need one transmitter to sit in the camera’s hot shoe and trigger compatible i-TTL strobes, but you need a receiver for each off-camera flash. And recently, Phottix introduced a new combo pack that includes one additional receiver—perfect for my two-speedlight setups. The unit tested here is for Nikon and I worked with my Nikon SB-900 speedlights.
Hoodman Custom Finder Kit
Hoodman’s Custom Finder Kit for up to 3.2” viewfinders includes a H32 HoodLoupe with German glass optics, a +/- 3 diopter adjustment, and a 1/4”-20 mount. Designed to fit all D-SLR cameras, the milled black anodized aluminum base plate is made in the U.S.A. (by Custom Brackets) and allows you to mount the HoodLoupe to your camera for video capture and live view. The base plate also features anti-twist bars, two 1/4”-20 tripod mount holes, a hand strap slot, and a camera sling strap attachment point. Hoodman’s Custom Finder Kit has a retail value of $199.99; the base plate may be purchased separately for $99.99.
The world of photography is a very wide one, and in this report Roger Hicks takes us to the fringes of photographic accessories. While you might well wonder how you might use some of these items, well, you never know!—Editor
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, um… it’s um… a camera-carrying helicopter drone. Honest! Though our other favorite in this meandering survey is probably a lot more use to a lot more people. It’s a changing room! It’s a hide for photographing wildlife! It’s a monopod! It’s a light modifier! It keeps the rain off! Or the sun! It’s… um, it’s an unusually versatile umbrella.
When shooting portraits on a green screen setup the first stage in the work is selecting and removing the green screen itself, something a “magic wand” or similar selection tool will accomplish. The next stage is finding and fitting an appropriate replacement background, and just as Digital Anarchy’s Primatte Chromakey streamlines the green screen removal process, the company also offers a Photoshop plug-in that streamlines the background creation process. Dubbed Backdrop Designer, the software can aid you in digitally creating muslin drapes, lighting effects, and other photographic backgrounds.
A trio of new battery grips is on offer. The Pixel Vertax series (Argraph) gives you a firm handle on your camera while providing a power boost. Features include a vertical shutter release, shutter and aperture control wheels (Nikon models or a single wheel for Canon), exposure lock, multifunction control buttons, and more. The grips accept AA batteries (alkaline or rechargeable) or camera batteries for added shooting capacity. The grips offer excellent dust and moisture seals and a rubber handgrip for slip-free control. They are made for use on current and newer model Nikon and Canon cameras. Prices start at $79.
There are several ways to trigger a camera wirelessly but up until recently none of them conveniently gave Nikon D600 shooters a large-screen remote live view. Enter the Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter that operates with “smart” devices—namely iOS and Android tablets and phones, in conjunction with the Nikon Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app. The device is a tiny Wi-Fi 11b/g/n dongle about the size of the tip of your thumb and connects to the camera’s USB port. It even comes with a short lanyard and protective case, so you can keep it attached to the camera strap. I tested it with a third-generation Apple iPad with Retina display. Read on, as you’ll find important tips here that are not found in the instructions. (Note: WU-1b also works with the Nikon 1 V2; model WU-1a is currently available for the Nikon D3200.)
While photokina could be considered a distant memory, we have a number of reports yet to run that deal with products that were new to market and caught our reporter’s eye, and that in many cases are just becoming available now. Here’s a report on useful items filed by Roger Hicks that covers interesting accessories and other products he found at the show.—Editor
Midwest Photographic Resource Center is now offering their new USB Case. This pro-quality display box comes with either a 8GB or 16GB stainless steel and leather USB flash drive. The lid features a built-in display window that allows you to personalize the box for each client. The retail price for the 8GB drive and USB Case is $29.95.