Black Rapid : Check Yourself, Before You Wreck Yourself

You can’t expect all of your gear to last forever.
You buy a new camera every few years, and I’ll bet you have more than 2 camera bags.

Can we talk about one bit of gear that gets used daily? It’s your camera strap.
It’s time to check it out, and make sure it’s up to snuff.

Let’s go back a step: My favorite camera straps are Black Rapid, and when I first saw them a few years ago, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to sling my camera to the side or back.
Man, was I wrong. these straps have save my back, and in a long day on a shoot, like an event or music, these straps have been lifesavers.
Truly my go-to bit of gear. And I’ve tried a ton of em!
They’ve been around for more than a few years now, and continue to improve them.
One of the key contact points, the carabiner, has gone though some changes.

And now, a reality check:

A few friends, and noted photographers who have been heavy users from the start, have had some mishaps using the 1st gen straps.
If you call having your camera and lens fall to the ground from at least waist high, a mishap. An expensive fall.

Why did this happen? Heavy users, with first gen Black Rapid, have seen the metal knob that secures the carabiner to the strap get worn down.(see above on the left)
And when it gets worn down, the carabiner can slip out. And so can your camera.
They have made huge improvements on the new straps and you can see the stronger, more robust machining and design on the latest straps.
You can see the brass locking fitting, the quieter connector, and just a higher quality design.
Still feeling anxious?
You can add-on a Tether Kit and put your mind at ease. Connects your camera to the strap with an extra strap, in addition to the carabiner.

The point is, nothing lasts forever. Straps included.

The good folks at Black rapid have started a <a href=”http://www.blackrapid.com/tradein-program” target=”_blank”>trade-in program, so you can get upgraded at a discount.

You don’t want to be the person who has a camera hit the sidewalk. Check you gear and then get a new strap.
My straps of choice is the Breathe. The double strap is great, and if I’m rolling with 2 DSLR’s , it’s the way to go. For my mirrorless work, the Breathe is the hit.

Stick with these folks, your back will thank you.

The New Nikon D850 – 45.7 MP of Goodness

Nikon, I just can’t quit you!
Don’t think I ever will.
This new, long awaited D850, coming in at an MSRP of about $3300, (wasn’t that what the D810 was?) clocks in with some amazing specs. OK, first some photos.


Continue Reading »

ThinkTank Photo : BackPack or Roller? YES!

When going to a local shoot, what do you feel is the best way to carry your gear?
For speed, a backpack usually is the ticket. When the shoot is done, and you’re packed and on the move, a roller would be sweet.
ThinkTank Photo has now upgraded my favorite StreetWalker BackPack, with wheels!

Here’s a situation: Went to cover one of my favorite events, Roller Derby, and with a full pack on my back, went into the same old entrance, mid block.
OK, now there was a special event also at the same venue, and I was told to go around the corner, and enter in the middle of that block. It’s summmer and didn’t want to show up all sweaty, and hustling with a heavy backpack. would make that a certainty.
Popped open the top, brought out the handle, and beetled around the corner.
Back still intact.
After a few hours of shooting slamming action, I was ready to pack away the 2 bodies, speedlights, batteries, and empty my pockets of extras, to get on the road.
Yes, the Black Rapid straps helped save the back, but the thought of strapping on a very full backpack, and walking the 12 blocks I needed to go, was not an appetizing thought. And I was in less of a hurry.(of course, still had a night of editing ahead!)

It was a pleasure to then be able to fold in the backpack straps, pop up the handle and get on my way. Even rolled my way into a local pizza place for a fast slice.
Point being, the walk home was an easier deal, thanks to some wheels.

When shooting local, the Street Walker has been my bag of choice: holds enough gear, and sits right on my back.
The addition of wheels, sent it over the top.

What’s in the bag? 2 bodies, 4 lenses, including a 50-140 2.8, 2 speedlights, battery pack for speedlights, cables, cam batteries, smartphone ext battery, etc.

So, what are the differences between the 2 versions? (other than wheels, and a handle? And money?)

Some minor bits. here you can see a height difference:

Top down, same good stuff: window for ID, great zippers ( you’ll know when you have bad ones) comfy handle, great construction.And of course a zippered compartment to hide away the handle. Good touch. Wider.

Wheeled:
Great design on the backpack straps ability to fold away.
Different design in the inside of the top flap. Now there is a slot for a 15″ Laptop, so it’s contained internally.
Slightly diff strap layout for your tripod.
Added smartphone pocket in one of the side pockets
Larger side pockets for bigger water bottles, snacks, and stuff

Non-Wheeled:
allows for a larger laptop 17″, with a side zippered outside access, only.
It also has a velcro strap on the back to allow you to securely add a gear belt, and further customize your rig.
Slightly less room inside, yet lighter overall.

Specs for those that like em:

STREETWALKER® ROLLING BACKPACK V2.0 SPECIFICATIONS-

Internal Dimensions:
11.8” W x 19.7” H x 6.3–7.1” D (30 x 50 x 16–18 cm)
Exterior Dimensions:
12.6” W x 21.9” H x 9” D (32 x 55.5 x 22.9 cm)
Laptop Compartment:
9.8” W x 14.5” H x 0.9” D (25 x 36.8 x 2.3 cm)
Phone Pocket:
3.9” W x 7.5” H x 0.6” D (10 x 19 x 1.5 cm)
Weight:
8.2 lbs. (3.7 kg)

STREETWALKER® HARDDRIVE SPECIFICATIONS-

Internal Dimensions:
11” W x 19” H x 6–7” D (28 x 48.3 x 15–18 cm)
Exterior Dimensions:
11.5” W x 19.8” H x 8.5” D (29 x 50.3 x 22 cm)

Laptop Compartment:
11.3″ W x 13.5″ H x 1.5″ D OR 15.3″ H when not using the bag with a gripped DSLR (28.6 W x 34.3 H / 38.72 H x 3.8 D cm)
Weight:
3.8–4.6 lbs (1.7–2.1 kg)

Basically the same great bag, with the advantage of wheels. If you work trade shows, as I do, it’s perfect! backpack to get out fast, rolling to go booth to booth.
Another fine addition to the ThinkTank line. Designed by photographers, for photographers. Highly recommended!

Yes, I still use the SKB hard case, with the ThinkTank backpack, when I fly. Can’t wait for that new TSA deal to kick in. Still no word about lenses. Time to get pre-check, if you don’t already have it!
Dang!

Epson FastFoto : Bulk Scan Precious Family Photos Without Sending Overseas

I love to scan old photos.
Seriously, being able to scan negatives and slide from my archives is one of my favorite evening pastimes. Set it up, scan and store. It almost becomes a treasure hunt, especially with the negatives.
One thing I was not scanning much were all of the 4×6 photos in my storage boxes. You know, we all have them. The personal records of our lives.
The neg sleeves from the commercial labs, like Fromex, had a short cut to the strips, and was, honestly a bit of a pain to deal with.
There are services where you pack all of your precious family photos into a box, and send them overseas to be scanned. Scared the heck out of me, so never did it.
The I saw a demo of the Epson FastFoto 640

When I first saw the Epson FastFoto last year, I had a feeling that this was a breakthrough product. Being able to bulk scan my family snaps, with speed, AND scan front and back for the older ones (people used to put notes on the back) was a win. And sitting on a small bit of a desktop? Worked for me!
Until I get to try these things out myself, I can’t truly comment.
After having one to test for a bit. I’m convinced.

Pure winner.
There is one downside that I’ll broach later. Continue Reading »

Focus & Filter : Great Deal to Step Up Your Photography – Under $15!

You have the new camera, and have figured out that the upgrade in your photographs is massive. How do you take the next steps? Want to crush it in the photo contests, and social media? Or maybe you just want to be the master of your photo domain?
The camera manual has some good info, now it’s time to expand the horizons.
Andrew Darlow, photo book writer, has come out with a new tome which is geared to the intermediate and advanced photographer titled : “Focus & Filter, Professional techniques for Mastering Photography and capturing the Perfect Shot”

Almost 200 pages, with 50 assignments you can try after walking through the lessons, to prove the technique. Worth $15? Continue Reading »