Holiday Gift Guide Part 4: Black Friday Best Deals

There may be supposed “doorbusters” on Black Friday & Cyber Monday, with special pricing, but on high ticket items it’s usually last years model.
What you should look for are deals on Media Cards, software, and batteries. I always stock up on that day.
Of course, the majors photo dealers will all have some kind of deal, like BH, Hunts, Adorama, Samys, and Midwest Photo. I’ll add the links as soon as I get them on Friday to help you shop fast. If there are new deals , I’ll add them here as well, or simply post to, and FB.
The folks at Resource gathered up some links for your BF pleasure here.
Of course, it could be a good time for your year end purchases.

So, what to add to your wish list, and maybe share with someone who may be gifting you?
Maybe you have a high frame rate camera, but if you don’t have fast card, it won’t matter. Read/Write speed on a camera is only as good as the media card you put in.
In other words, when get that burst off of that incredible soccer play, you may have to wait for the camera to write the info to the card, and you may miss the next great play.
The super fast cards from Lexar are the way to go.
Incredibly reliable, the 2000x speed on these SD cards (Max. Read Speed: 300 MB/s Max. Write Speed: 260 MB/s) is the way to go.Comes with a special high speed reader, and of course it’s backwards compatible.
And now it seems that the CFast format (Max. Read Speed: 525 MB/s Max. Write Speeds: 445 MB/s) is catching on in the video world. 4K takes a speedy card, so check out the Lexar 64GB Professional 3500x CFast 2.0

While you are at it, pick up the Lexar Hub System with all the modules you’ll need to read all of your media cards, AND back it all up at the same time. Brilliant! (here is a review)

Have you been aching to do some timelapse? Syrp gear has sweet cyber weekend deals. Used these on a few commercials, and it was perfect.

Want to improve your workflow? Get some real tools for the pro, by X-Rite. I always have the color chart with me. Especially for video.
And after having 2x 8 year old monitors die within a week of each other, when I replaced one, i saw how discolored the other was. Calibrate your monitors!

Speaking of monitors, Dell has some great deals today
Is analog you deal?
Lomography has their own Black Friday sale!

On the software front:
Adobe Cloud CC for Lightroom and Photoshop Get this for $10 a month.
And you can get the entire Creative Cloud for $40 a month, including all of your video needs.20 + deskyop and mobile apps, plus a portfolio website, and 20GB of cloud storage. Black Friday is 20% off and available now!
PhotoMechanic for asset editing

There are a few more sweet programs, but honestly, I can’t recco till I’ve spent some time with them. Above software is tried and true.

On the battery front, what you want to look for are not just camera batteries, but the batteries for your phone and tablet on the go.
With the intensive amount of mobile apps, wi-fi controlling and transfer of your cameras imagines, you will run down the device battery in no-time. I think every camera company has an app, and i may have 20 photo-editing apps on my phone.
All well and good, but just power drains.
The recco is for a 10,000mAh minimum with a 2.4 and 1. volt, like this: PNY AD10400 10400mAh 1A/2.4A PowerPack-Portable Rechargeable Battery Charger

There will be lots of deals on this kind of battery, just make sure it’s a reputable brand.

One other item I usually stock up on is storage. Could be a good time to back up all of your materials. An extra copy of all offsite is a good way to go. So RAID drives, NAS, and just hard drives to back it up, before you run the risk of losing it.
Plus you can find great deals on flash drives, which are great to make a pocketable back-up of your projects, as you work.

More to come!

Holiday Gift Guide Part 3: The Video Gear

Is your video game up to snuff?
Whether it’s 4K, or just HD, there are so many ways to go, and tools to use.
Here is a short list of some things that you may want to find under the tree.

If you are going the DSLR or Mirrorless route, I have one word for you: Atomos!
All of things you wish your camera had: larger screen, touch screen, scopes, Zebra focus, long record times, extended battery life, and more, are all available on the full range of Atomos products.
As you take the primary HDMI feed out of your cameras sensor, these monitor/recorders are a must have.
In a couple of sizes, and capabilities, you can add 4K recording to your camera with ease.
Starting with a Ninja Blade for about $500, you can go up to about $2000, for a 7″, 4K monitor recorder

These are units you may want to add to any camera you may have. I use em with a Nikon D810, Fuji X-T@, BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, and will be adding to my camcorders, when needed.

Lets talk viewfinders. When you are not using a monitor, you really need to see the screen up close. Like any other video camera. Here are 2 great choices.
I think the main ones that may be on your shopping list are the Hoodman $200.
and the Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 3.0x $300.

Are you using the ultra compact, high quality, BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera? This rig from RedRock Micro,The RetroFlex, is the way to go.
A bit Retro in the design, but incredibly well built. The Viewfinder is magnetic and snaps beautifully into place on the solid cage.
Check into the full range of RedRock Micro products for all of your camera rigs.

On lighting you have a myriad of choices.
Litepanel is the standard. The costs have dropped in recent years, and these are a great choice.. Even if you just get a mini for an On-Board light, these are the lights you want. Stick with the pros and you’ll have good quality builds and color temps that will be consistent and make your post workflow easier.


Tired of building your rig whenever you get to a gig or, move around within a venue?
ThinkTank photo has a new line of video bags which allow you to keep your rig fully built, or primarily built, and safe in transport.
This one, Video Workhorse 21, is the right size for me, but measure out your gear for the right size and style for you.



For your audio monitoring, the best bet out there (other than your earbuds because they are in you pocket!) and surprisingly one of the most affordable, is the Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor Headphones. Under $100, they are flat, and perfect fro monitoring your recordings. And by flat, it means they add no highs or lows to your monitoring sound, so you get a true sound.

Of course you all know that off-camera audio is the way to go.
I’d recco a shotgun and a lav mic, but it is a subjective call. I still use an older A-T shotgun, and a Tr-50 lav., plus a Sennheiser radio system for the wireless mic.
Your mileage may vary.

One item I think should be in every videographers toolkit is the Manfrotto MVM500A Fluid Aluminum Video Monopod with 500 Series Head. Seriously, it is a tool you will use more than you think. Documentary, street, nature, this monopod with a fluid head AND fluid support legs will smooth out your shots,and packs right. Only about $270

I will just say one thing about drones. A great hobby, but be judicious in the use of the footage in your videos. A right tool for a right job. On the new category of portables, DJI Mavic Pro just beat out the GoPro, and Go Pro is now stopping delivery to fix some issues.
Here is some hot of the presses video with the Mavic from Vince Laforet:

Be aware and do your research. We all have at least one GoPro in the kit, but they missed the mark on their first foray into drones.

I think this is just part one of the video gift guide, as we will be adding software and other workflow tools coming up.
and will share those shortly.

Holiday Gift Guide Part 2 : So Many Bags…

Camera bags are pretty personal, so you may want to pick one for a wish list.
However, here are some good choices to look at.

My top pick across the entire line is ThinkTankPhoto. Designed by working pros, this brand has everything you need, and built to last.
From the Airport International, to the Street Walker, City Walker, and the new line of video bags, any product you get here, will be top-notch and just work.
Airport International
I could stop, but I won’t.

There are some new contenders that are crushing it in certain areas.
The Peak Design Sling, is a perfect choice for a walk around street photographer, and the price is real right. Reviewed here.

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 2.58.53 PM
Tenba makes a messenger bag, with a design that makes it a daily worker not only for cameras, but a full working bag your daily job use.

If a hard case is your need, because of checking bags, or needing a stool, there are some new options.
One, is the classic Pelican case is now available in a 40% lighter version, Pelican Air.Buy it with the TrekPak system. Don’t think you would be disappointed.

Put my hands on it, and it’s true. Hoisting it full of gear into an overhead will def cause less grunts from the weight.
What I’m most interested in seeing is a collaboration between SKB and ThinkTank Photo:

Combine a hard case, fitted with quality camera backpack, and you can fly with confidence, and when you get to your hotel, take out the backpack built out with your gear, and you’re ready to roll.

Like so much gear, you use the right bag for the right job. Any of the bags on this list will be a welcome addition to any photographers shooting life.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016 – Part 1: Starting With The Basics

Whether you are looking for a right gift for a photographer, tips for your wish list for others, or just need to get some year-end upgrades, I hope the next days of the latest edition of the Gift Guide have something for you.
Let’s get to it!

First of all: Straps!
Do you carry your cameras on your shoulder or perhaps with a wrist strap? Or if you are a little crazy like me, and use both?
Good news-BlackRapid has taken their now classic line of products and upgraded in so many ways, you’ll want to treat yourself to the new straps. For me, it’s the best strap out there, and saves my shoulders and back after a long day with 2 cameras rocking. Period. That’s what I look for in a strap.
Now, the basic system hasn’t changed in theory but got better : lighter, breathable, safer. Check out this review on the Hybrid for some more details. And if you don’t think you really need a new strap, update your current BlackRapid with quieter FastenR (rubber coated for quiet), Lockstars (additional lock on clasp), and a sweet tripod plate.
Honestly, before the new straps came out, I was looking at all of those upgrade accessories myself. I want all of my cameras to have the FastenR on at all times, to make it an easy hook up to cross chest straps.
I know, only recommending one brand for that.

Different on the hand, or wrist straps.
I have a preference for my camera to have a wrist strap, even when on a shoulder strap. And I’ve tried a ton of them.
Each one just has a different feel. You’ll need to pick based on preference in action.
So the strap I’m using on an Fuji X-T2 is the latest from Spider. img_0286-2


The Spiderlight for Mirrorless. $40, and available in a ton of colors.
Great form factor, comfortable, and stays where you want it. Have spent 5 solid days with it on the street and it rules!
Try the Spiderpro for the DSLRS. Around $65.

Then, BlackRapid has a cool wrist strap which is lightweight, and takes into consideration a long day of shootings and adds a wrist strap to the hand strap. Seems like a great preventer of wrist fatigue for your heavier cameras. Easy integration with the BR system. $40

Going small, a classy strap for the mirrorless crowd is the Lance strap. Solid build, O ring attachment, and will stay where you put it. Simple and elegant. About $24

Have a smaller need? For a right price, the Joby wrist strap is a great option. Mine lives on a Fuji x100T all the time. Only $12.

Going back to ways to carry your camera, Spider just launched a new product, that lets you get into their primary system, without getting all suited up.
The new SpiderLight Holster

Using your own belt, this locking holster, keeps your mirrorless at your side.
The idea of not having to use the full spider belt was the main appeal here. Not sure about hanging a DSLR with real glass on my belt as I think my pants could fall down! This unit, though, makes sense.

More gift guides coming up!

Tether Tools Case Relay – Location Time-Lapse Tool Made Right!

At every photo trade show, I search for innovation and design improvement from all the manufacturers. And of course that is their goal as well.
Sometimes it’s inches, sometimes revolutionary.

One of my favorite new products comes from the folks at Tether Tools®.
They see a photographers needs, and rush in to solve the problem. I first found them while hunting down a great table system for shooting while tethered. They got that game DOWN!

To backtrack for a second, other than drone videos, one of the revitalized imaging trends is time-lapse video.
I’ve been looking at a lot of different units that plug into the camera for constant shooting, or use the internal built-in software.

Here’s the problem. Once you’ve committed to making a time-lapse video, set the image, secure your tripod or mount, ensure that you have the right amount of room on your media, there is one more critical part.
Constant POWER!

Yep, I don’t care what camera you use, mirrorless or DSLR. the batts usually can’t last the entire duration of a dramatic time-lapse.
Enter the Tether Tools Case Relay.This is the smartest solution I’ve ever seen to a widespread problem.

This is a system that allows you to not only add plug-in power to your camera via an external battery, like the ones you use to charge your phone, it also has a battery in the unit itself.
Why does this matter?
Hot Swap.
Continue Reading »


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Current Exhibitions

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  • APR 24, 2017–July 30th, 2017
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