Real World Review – Lexar HD2 : Multi Reader Just Got Better

When Lexar introduced the Workflow Tower last year, I took it to SXSW for a real world review.
Basically you have a 4 slot unit, where you can interchange the card reading modules, depending on your media, and have them all download concurrently to a folder, or consecutively to Lightroom.
This was a dream come true, as I was able to download all of my material without waiting to switch out cards, thereby letting me sleep more (and dream). Getting to your hotel room at 3:00 AM with a handful of cards to download is no fun.
Ok, a little fun as you see the images!

And when you didn’t need the heavy lifting of the 4 banger, each module worked on it’s own. No power needed, as you are used to. Carry what you need on the road. Sweet.

So this year, they brought out the V2:

simply called Lexar Workflow HR2 Four-Bay Hub

With an expanded line of modules, Thunderbolt™ 2/USB 3.0, back-up drives, AND 2 Thunderbolt ports in the back,


giving you super fast downloads, and the capability to daisy chain these puppies.

I can only imaging a team of photogs, needing massive multiple downloads simultaneously. Like at a wedding. Or at a news event when a companies team of photogs have runners moving the media cards from the editors to the photogs and back again.

I’m a one man band out there, but shooting SD and Micro SD (GoPros) all of the time. Flexibility is a great thing for longevity in gear.
The new modules include a 3 slot microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-I, , 2 Hard Drive back-up options,SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-I and UHS-II, CompactFlash® UDMA 7, XQD™, CFast™ 2.0 (Thunderbolt or USB 3.0), and who knows what else would come along.

And if you’ve already invested in the modules from Version 1, don’t worry: all work in the new deal. The beauty of this system is the fact that it is modular, and changes with you.
I have to say, my CF cards are getting a lot more use in my video camera than my still gear.

Now the power requirements on the Thunderbolt version, make you carry a heavier power adapter, than I’d like, . But the extra sleep is worth it!
V1 had a smaller power adapter, but didn’t have as many perks.
About $200 for the Hub.

It may have more horsepower than you need. The V1 is still a great option.
And remember that you do have to buy the modules separately, but that’s how you get the setup that you want. I use 2 SD card modules, 1 CF (for Canon XF100 video camera), and 1 triple micro-sd for the GoPro.

My hope is that they come out with larger back-up hard drives modules, and my workflow will be able to get further streamlined.
I somehow see that happening.

10 years of ThinkTankPhoto : Best Camera Bags in the Biz

Technical Image Press Association Names Think Tank Photo’s 10th Anniversary
Airport International™ LE Classic Rolling Camera Case 2015 “Best Photo Bag”

Airport International LE Class backpack low res
Seems like only yesterday that I was walking the lanes of PhotoPlus Expo in NYC and saw a sea of black bags, with a company name I had never heard of. ThinkTank Photo.
Aside from being very nice guys in the booth, and all of the bags being black, the stuff all looked incredibly well made. I had always used one other brand for soft bags and one for the hard shipping.
After some discussions, and making one of the early videos with them that I ever posted for this site, I learned that the bags were designed by pros. Real photographers with input that had purpose. The folks who knew what you needed, because they needed it. I use the gear daily. Made perfect sense. Still does.
And after years of developing great useful products of all of us, they realized it had been 10 years of being in business.

I raise a toast to this group: two designers, Doug Murdoch and Mike Sturm, and two photographers, Deanne Fitzmaurice and Kurt Rogers. Deanne Fitzmaurice won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for photojournalism in 2005. Thanks for making the best stuff I’ve ever used!

Founders Photo 10 anniversary

Now, My Airport International is still going strong and has traveled around the world with me many times, so i may not pick up this special edition. If you don’t have one, this may the time to pull the trigger and get the best carry-on camera bag around!

And the official release:

SANTA ROSA, CALIF. – The Technical Image Press Association recently named Think Tank Photo’s 10th anniversary edition Airport International™ LE Classic rolling camera case 2015’s best photo bag. The TIPA awards are given to the best products in their category that have come on the market in the year preceding the election.
In naming the Airport International™ LE Classic “Best Photo Bag” TIPA wrote: “The roller photo case is specially designed for photographers who need to bring a lot of equipment in the aircraft. The bag has been approved as a carryon and offers space for several cameras, lenses and a 15 or 17 “laptop. The outside of the bag is equipped with water-repellent fabric and protected strips.”
TIPA Awards are independently voted on by TIPA’s General Assembly every year. TIPA membership comprises 28 leading photo and imaging magazines from 15 countries on five continents, and also has a cooperative partnership with the CJPC (Camera Journal Press Club), representing 11 top photography magazines in Japan.

Think Tank Photo developed the Airport International™ LE Classic in celebration of the 10th anniversary of its founding.
“The Airport International™ LE Classic is most definitely a limited edition bag. In celebration of our founding 10 years ago in my garage, we have added such one-time highlights as full-grain leather accents and panels,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo’s founder and lead designer. “The roller is extremely useful for wedding and commercial photographers who need quick access to their gear and who are concerned about gear security while shooting remotely.”
The Airport International™ LE Classic carry-on roller lets photographers legally store their bodies, lenses, and accessories in overhead bins or under the seats of international carriers. For added security, it features front-pocket and main compartment combination locks and a cable from a secret rear hatch that allow it to be secured to posts, trees, and other immovable objects.
It accommodates up to a 500mm f/4 lens unattached, additional smaller lenses, two gripped DSLR camera bodies, and other photography accessories. TSA approved combination locks secure the main compartment zipper sliders.
# # #
Headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, Think Tank is a group of designers focused on studying how people work and developing inventive new carrying solutions that meet their needs. They are dedicated to using only the highest quality materials and design principles, and employing materials that are environmentally benign

Nikon J5 – Update On the Compact Coming Soon

Nikon has announced the next generation in their mirrorless One series. The J5 is on its way.
They know their customers and have continued to deliver a camera that does just what they want.
This series has proven to be a star performer in the Asian market but has been a little slower going in the US.
Not quite sure why.
With a simplicity of operation, and a small footprint, this camera is the perfect performer to capture a families lives, without the sometimes perceived complexity of a DSLR. Even at the beginner level of DSLRs I have hear too many folks say that it is too much camera for them, and they retreat to a smartphone. The things they’ll miss is a shame
This J5 camera has a shooting frame rate that will get that incredible moment in the young athletes life, for instance. When she throws that blazing fastball, you’ll be covered. 20 frames a second should get that precise moment. And it’s 20.8 MP 1″ sensor should get the quality you want. Or switch to video mode.
You want to shoot the important moments no matter where you are. Or what the light is like.
Nikon’s famous for their low light capability in all of the product line, and that experience is in this camera with an ISO range from 160-12,800.
With NFC and built in Wi-Fi via Nikon’s Snapbridge, you can share the magic, pretty darn fast. Get your instagram game stronger than ever.
OK, you’ve seen way too many selfie sticks, right? The LCD on this camera flips up 180º.
Small size, interchangable lenses, wi-fi, and the rest?
Look like the right choice for the family camera. And with that pocket size, and solid optics could it be a discrete street shooter?
and the official word : Continue Reading »

VR Is In The Beginning of the Beginning

444429-carl-zeiss-vr-oneVR-(virtual reality): This refers to content created in a 360º environment and viewed using special goggles.
As image makers, we should all be aware of the ways images can be made. This technology is young for acceptance into the culture, so consider this an early adopter look.
At SXSW interactive this year, I figured it would be the chatter and not the conversation. There were numerous panels and presentation on all aspects.
Some basic learning’s:
Continue Reading »

SXSW – This Is The Little Gear That Worked

SXS_2838 Ludacris @ Stubbs

As we enter the season of music festivals, the shooter on the scene needs to be prepared.
Before we post about the holy trinity of lenses you need, the reason to use a DSLR or Mirrorless, or the best software to get your images out fast, let’s look at some of the other items that should be in you kit.
Simple things.
At SXSW in Austin, there is such a huge range of photo assignment types, that you’ll need to be ready for all: Major speakers in a convention center, bands in tiny dark clubs, red carpets for movie premieres, huge name bands on stages surrounded by dirt, street scenes with brands promoting their wares, and basically, a full range of assignments for any shooter, sans studio work.

So, what should be in your hotel room when you come back to download your full cards and recharge?

A lot of little gear. Small, but mighty.

Speaking of recharging, I took this unit with me for the first time:
The Watson dual charger lets you swap out plates for different cameras, shows percentage of charge, and has a USB input to charge up another item. Was able to charge both Nikon and Fuji in one charger with and easy plates change.


One thing Ive learned in the pit, is that while shooting, using your phone to get that Instagram, posting fast and tagging right, get’s the flow started for your photos, still to come.
But you better be charged.

This Photive has 6 ports that will charge your smartphone and tablet fast!and will know when your tech is full and stop sending current. It knows what kind of power you need ( 2.4 for iPhone, 1.2 for Android) and smart adjusts. Small, and lets you set it up in your room without taking up your USB ports on your computer situation.110-220v so good overseas.


Always in the bag is the PNY 10400, with a cable for my iPhone. With a readout that shows percentages, this fast charger can fill up a phone 5 times! I have used this all over the world, charging off of any USB (see above). Small, powerful, and you can help a buddy out and still have enough juice for your full day and night.about $50.

Then let’s look at some lower tech goodies.
It’s dirty out there. And dusty. This trio of goods are used in daily maintenance of the camera and lenses.
Giottos air blowers, LensPen lens cleaner, and the secret weapon: a USB LED ring light with a magnifying lens. Cost about $8, and lets me see if my lens is really clean. Both sides.


Going back for a second to the Instagrams: I always have some Olloclip lenses in my bag. Always. You need to go telephoto? Wide Angle or Fisheye? This is your secret weapon to post unique images.

Here’s another one. You may think that business cards are old school, but I met more band managers and PR people shooting events, and a distinctive card will stick out in the pile that may have collected. I go for MOO cards. Lots of cool formats to choose from.

If you are going to shoot music, you will need earplugs. Whether you carry the basic foam, shutting out 32db, or a higher quality set like Dubs. For $20, I just used these-Check out some EarLove plugs. And yes, that’s a flashlight- when it’s dark in the club, you want to know what’s in your bag.

The basic workflow is this:
MacBook Pro 13″ ( could be the last year. Squeezed 4 years out of it)
ToughTech Duo 2.5in RAID 750GB
G-Tech Mobile 1Tb drive
Lexar Card Reader – I took a couple of modules from the Workflow tower to cut down on weight and it worked fast.
USB 3.0 bus powered HUB – 4 inputs, and it is a life saver. No need to plug into a wall, since its bus powered.
It’s simple and it works.
Why all of the hard drives? back-up, Back-up, Back-up. Yes, 3x.

And you know what I’m using to take it to the event:ThinkTank Airport International

And what I’m using AT the event:ThinkTank Shape Shifter

Yes, the camera strap of choice is Black Rapid- either the single or the double. You need to get one of these.

I’ll get to the bigger stuff shortly.