Monday, September 30, 2013

Hot new introduction from Lowepro

Go from camera bag to daypack with the pull of a zipper. The versatile Lowepro® Hatchback Camera Bag features a clever, integrated, padded camera case that can be removed to transform the main bag into a spacious daypack. The top compartment has a zippered sleeve and two mesh pouches for accessories and personal essentials while the zippered, padded exterior sleeve protects your iPad®. And you'll love the two stretch water bottle pouches, adjustable Velcro® divider for customized organization, padded, mesh-covered straps and back panel, and built-in cover for all-weather protection. Polyester and nylon ripstop. Imported. (18½ x 7¾ x 4½"; 2 lbs)

I haven't used this particular bag yet, but I still own three other Lowepro bags.  They work and they last!

Check this one out at or call 1-800-962-4943.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

GoPro Hero3 Black Edition

Spend just a few minutes on the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition web page and you’ll see some of the most fabulous shots taken by GoPro users – surfing, underwater swimming, biking through treetops, motorcycle riding, you name it. So what could I do with my new GoPro to top those guys?

Hmmmm…still thinking…

Considering that I’m now approaching retirement, probably nothing quite that strenuous or exhilarating. What I’m really looking for now is an assistant to make things easier – not harder. You know, somebody to carry an extra camera, who can capture those shots that I might miss while I’m shooting something else.

After being inspired by all the shots of riders with multiple cameras affixed to their helmets and handlebars, it occurred to me that I could attach a GoPro to the DSLR camera I’m already carrying. It sure doesn’t weigh enough to impede my shooting. When things get interesting, it’s a simple thing to press the Record button on the Hero 3's remote and just let it roll until the battery runs out.

While I’m waiting for the peak of the action, or just the right expression, the GoPro is recording it all in 1920x1080 high-definition video at 30 frames per second. If I miss the smile or the peak action, it’s sure great to know that my assistant – let’s call him Hero 3 – has grabbed the shot for me.

Earlier this month, I had a chance to jump on the Press Boat to cover the re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Erie between Ohio and Canada. We had no idea of how the action would unfold or what type boat we’d be sailing on. Turns out, we got put on the most fabulous tall ship ourselves, but we wouldn’t be sailing up close to any of the other “combatant” ships in the re-enactment.  That meant I’d be shooting all day with my biggest telephoto.

Using an off-camera flash bracket, I mounted the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition slightly above and to the left 
of my DSLR. That way, between shots, while I was changing positions, my GoPro was running and capturing some of the beauty of the ship we were sailing on. It was also recording wide angle shots that I can use for backgrounds later when doing page layouts for a photo feature.

This was my first experience using the GoPro so I was anxious to see the quality.  The day started out rather dreary, so I honestly wasn’t expecting too much. As the sun began to break through, things began to look up. It turned out to be a beautiful day and I was incredibly impressed with the images recorded on the GoPro, both during the light rain and in the intense mid-day sun.

The attached video should be labeled: Photos and video by Hero 3, since I never touched the shutter to take any of these.  They were all taken with the camera running while I was concentrating on other things. But hey, assistants don’t get bylines, so it remains: Photos by Doug. 

The stills are all just frame grabs I did while reviewing the video playback. The sharpness, contrast and color I think are amazing.  I can’t wait to use this for other situations.

This was all made possible with the LCD Touch BacPac accessory. With a real time video screen showing you what’s being captured, I could align the GoPro very easily with my DSLR. It also told me that if I wanted to use my giant f2.8 300mm lens, I would need to jack up the GoPro to avoid getting the lense in the shot.  Conversely, when I use a small point and shoot, even at widest angle on my GoPro, the camera is not in the way.

The camera’s specs are amazing, with as many different video shooting modes as you could ever want. Pick anything from WXGA up to 4K Cin.  I used 1080p and was quite happy. What you are looking at on YouTube or Vimeo is a compressed and reduced version of what I see on my desktop, but it still looks awesome.

In still camera mode, you can shoot resolutions from 5 to 12 MP, bursts up to 30 per second, continuous shooting at 3, 5 or 10 frames per second or time lapse at 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 second intervals.  This assistant has got it together.

Hero 3 also lets you control any all video/camera settings from your smartphone using the free GoPro app available for iOS or Android.  While the Hero 3 Black Edition comes with a remote control, you can also control your camera with full live video preview using the app. Watch the video below for all the details – very full-featured and works amazingly well. 

With all the mounting options available for GoPro and now with two additional batteries charged and ready to go, I can see lots of other opportunities to use it. I can even monitor the action and record it from around the corner, in the next room. Maybe I'll call my assistant James Bond.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Rode Rec 2.8 new updated app for recording

Rode Rec 2.8 from RØDE Microphones on Vimeo.
Great new recording app from Rode.  LOTS of new features - check out the video.

Rode Rec 2.8 on Vimeo:

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

New iPhone5S - 64-bit photo app

PicTapGo Takes The Lead As First Photo App Designed Specifically For New iPhone 5s
A Now Faster & Sleeker Version of the Beloved Photo Editing App PicTapGo is Available for 50% off This Week Only

San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – September 20, 2013 – PicTapGo, an easy-to-use iPhone and iPad photography app created by Totally Rad! Inc., has received a major update today to utilize the full 64-bit processing capability of Apple’s new iPhone 5s and Apple iOS7. The upgraded version of PicTapGo is faster and much more user friendly for the fast-paced, multi-tasking iPhone user, and is among the first apps for iOS to support the new iPhone hardware’s 64-bit capability.

For a limited time only, PicTapGo (regularly $1.99) is available for the reduced price of $0.99.

In addition to being much faster than the previous versions of PicTapGo, the app is now designed to show off Apple’s newest operating system, iOS7. Apple’s newest mobile operating system gives a sleek, modern face to the iPhone. Users can now enjoy the faster and sleeker looking PicTapGo on all their Apple devices with one simple download.

“When we heard the announcement of the iPhone 5s on Tuesday, we immediately sidelined our other projects to work on updating PicTapGo,” said Doug Boutwell, CEO and Founder of Totally Rad! Inc. “PicTapGo is clean, elegant, and powerful, just like iOS7. We want to make sure PicTapGo users have a seamless experience with the new iOS7 aesthetic, and that our app takes full advantage of the new hardware. Having their favorite app upgraded and available to download the day they get their new iPhone 5s is an added bonus for users.” 

Additionally, PicTapGo is now a “universal app,” and includes the iPad-optimized version of the app, PicTapGo HD, for no additional charge.  Users of both the iPhone and the iPad will get the optimal experience for their device with a single purchase.  PicTapGo HD, the dedicated iPad-only version of PicTapGo, will be phased out of the app store over the coming weeks.

With PicTapGo, for only $1.99 ($0.99 for a limited time), anyone who has an interest in sharing their photos via social media sites, like Instagram, can turn a basic image from their phone into a polished, professional-quality photo by layering and combining over 55 filters. PicTapGo came out of the founder’s personal desire to quickly and easily improve their photos from the one device they are never without -- their iPhones. Behind PicTapGo is Totally Rad! Inc., makers of professional Photoshop and Lightroom editing tools designed by and for serious photographers. Totally Rad! Inc. is passionate about all things photography, and combines a love of photographic art and image science to make editing tools loved by photographers across the globe.

To download the new and improved version of PicTapGo, visit the iTunes stores today. Learn more at and view photos of how PicTapGo will look on the new iOS7 software at

iPhone Screenshot 2
 Totally Rad! Inc., is the brain child of a husband and wife duo, Doug and Chenin Boutwell. With backgrounds in professional photography the Boutwells created Totally Rad! Inc. to simplify digital photo editing for professional photographers. Totally Rad! Inc. makes professional Photoshop plugins and editing tools such as RadLab, Dirty Pictures, Pro Retouch 2.0, Replichrome, and the iPhone and iPad app PicTapGo. Learn more about Totally Rad! at:,,,,

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Revolutionary new Capture system from Peak Design

Capture v2 Camera Clip
A camera can’t capture that priceless shot when it’s tucked in a camera bag or backpack. That’s why Capture was invented – so that your camera is always ready. Capture v2 is now almost available and it’s an even more elegant and versatile way to always keep your camera handy.

Capture v2 is made to attach to a strap, a backpack or your belt, with its positive locking screws and grippers. It will attach to any strap up to 3 inches in width and ½” in thickness.  (If you are using a motor drive camera body or heavy lens, a pro belt like the Think Tank belt is recommended.) Improved grippers keep it from sliding around.

The new Capture v2 offers even better security for your camera. With a 90 degree twist-lock quick-release, the odds of your camera bouncing loose are almost zero. Top that off with a screw lock on the opposite end, and even in high vibration situations, your camera is going to stay in place.

Capture v2 Camera Clip

New with version 2 on the PRO model – a 1/4″x 20 mount for tripod or monopod

Completely re-engineered, this new plate is slimmer, more ergonomic, and yet easier to use with a redesigned slot for positive, clip alignment.  Want to see what kind of technology goes into making one of these things?  Watch this amazing video of the Capture v2 manufacturing process.

On the PRO version, you’ll be getting a 1/4″ x 20 mounting hole on the aluminum base so it can be used in conjunction with your monopod or tripod. With one of three PROplates (Arca, Dual/Manfrotto, or Micro) you can go from tripod to shoulder strap to monopod in the blink of an eye.

I had the opportunity to work with one of the first samples off the production line, and absolutely loved using it on my monopod.  I could quickly go from supporting my heavy f2.8, 300 m.m. lens on a DSLR to shooting with my point-and–shoot held high in the air on my extended monopod.  One Capture clip = lots of possibilities. Be sure to order additional PROplates for each of your cameras or big lenses.

There are also accessories coming as well.  A PROpad is planned for supporting your large lens/camera combinations comfortably on your belt.  There’s also a special mount made for attaching your GoPro cameras to your backpack straps. Watch my blog more hands-on-tests once these guys begin to ship.

Peter Dering, the inventor of Capture, has been doing business a unique way since he came out with his first Capture device. He funded his company via Kickstarter, allowing individuals to back his company instead of angel investors, sharktankers or NYSE big wigs. Now, upping his game, he’s gone back to Kickstarter for round two and is quickly becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs to use this funding method.  In addition, his customers become his board of directors – how cool is that?

Not only has he raised more than needed each time, he’s been a sharp business man. He’s used the excess capital to invest in what he feels is the sharpest group of engineers and inventors available to help him continually improve the quality and the breadth of his product line. It’s been truly amazing to watch.
For more information on the Capture v2, as well as the available reward packages, see the Capture v2 on Kickstarter.  The current funding round ends August 23, 2013, after which time, you can order Capture v2 on the Peak Design website.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


This morning, Sony has just released two new compact cameras good enough for any pro.  Enhanced resolution for more detailed pictures is the name of the game for both these models. The RX100 II adds a new 1-inch back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor for incredibly beautiful imagery.   The RX1R is geared for the enthusiast that wants the most detail possible and removes the low-pass filter to realize the full resolution potential of the image sensor. Both cameras will be available the beginning of July.

RX100 II

RX100 Mark 2
RX100 II (a.k.a. RX100 Mark 2)
Sony’s backlit sensor is the world’s first 1.0-type back illuminated sensor, (with 5.9 um pixel size) making it 40% more sensitive in dimly lit situations than the existing RX100 model.  In conjunction with an f1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, you can get great photos and video – from sunlight to dark evening shots.
The RX100 II also comes with Wi-Fi built in along with a first for Sony – NFC (near field communications). Now, with one touch, you can wirelessly transfer content between compatible devices. With Smart Remote Control functionality you can preview images and control shutter release directly from your connected phone or tablet.
The RX100 II features a  LCD display that tilts upwards (up to 84 degrees) and downwards (down to 45 degrees), allowing those high or low level shots. (No 180 degree flip however.)
A Multi-Interface Shoe on the RX100 II allows users to add optional accessories including an electronic viewfinder, powerful external flash and clip-on LCD monitor.  A Multi Terminal lets users add a shutter-release remote control.
In video mode, you can now also shoot at 24P for those Hollywood looking shots. A stepped zoom is also new. By revolving the front control ring, you can instantly select 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70mm or 100mm focal lengths.
MSRP is scheduled to be $750.00.  Click here for a full spec sheet of the Sony RX100 II.


The ultimate sharpness RX1R
Designed primarily for the landscape photographer who wants MAXIMUM detail in their shot, the RX1R is designed to deliver.
In most high end digital cameras, there is a “multi-segment optical low-pass filter (OLPF) in front of the sensor to suppress unwanted moiré and color artifacts.  The enthusiast-oriented RX1R model removes this low-pass filter to realize the full resolution potential of the image sensor and bring new levels of realism to landscapes and other finely-detailed subjects,” says Sony. “Additionally, to take advantage of the OLPF removal, the camera’s processing functions have been optimized to maintain image sharpness without compromising lens/sensor performance.”
While the size and weight of the new RX1R is the same as the former DSC-RX1, the new update comes with TRILUMINOS Color technology, allowing for the ultimate image playback on compatible BRAVIA televisions.
MSRP is scheduled to be $2,799. Click here for a full spec sheet of the Sony RX1R


A new flash, the Sony HVL-F43M will also be available this July for about $400.

 PHOTO GALLERY - Click on any photo to see larger version, then use left and right arrows to see more.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Brenthaven creates new Camera Collection of photo bags

When you’ve invested heavily in a new camera, whether serious point-and-shoot or DSLR, the next thing you must do is invest in a suitable carrying case. Experience has proven, unprotected cameras sitting on a car seat will inevitably go crashing to the floor, the first time someone cuts you off in traffic. Having a really protective bag is your best insurance.

Brenthaven bags offer great protection with their 100% lifetime guaranteed BX2 Extreme Foam protection that actually distributes the load upon impact. Reputedly the foam absorbs 90% of the energy of impact, while maintaining its shape for the life of the product.

I recently tested the BX2 Backpack model (UPC 7 30791 17031 5) and was favorably impressed. The exterior is a smooth charcoal grey material with an abrasion resistant material on the bottom. 

The top accessed zipper compartment is big enough for chargers, batteries, memory cards plus a sandwich (preferably in a zip-lock Baggie.) There are also slots here for business cards, your phone and pens/pencils.

The lower section has enough dividers to handle most every lens you probably own. My Nikon D300S DSLR with my “go-to” 18-270 zoom fits nicely in the t-shaped divider. I can also remove an interior divider and it will handle my D2X with Nikon 70-200 f2.8. All the dividers are adjustable so you can carry a combination of small lenses and maybe a large, external strobe. Two zipped openings let you access the camera from side or front of the bag.

Shoulder straps are comfortable and come with an adjustable sternum strap. There’s a really useful strap and support for your tripod on the side. This was one of my favorite features, as I’m always amazed that camera backpack manufacturers usually fail to include this feature. I can even carry my not-really-lightweight Benro tripod with medium-sized ball-head.

The side zipper opens to allow carrying a laptop up to 15.4”. An additional exterior pocket is ideal for memory cards. A zipped pocket on the upper section is great for notebook and pen, should you be one of those who still like to write in the analog world. An interior zipper pocket in the lower camera section includes a lanyard for your keys with a small penlight included. A rain cover is also provided and stored in this pocket.

Before you buy a new camera bag, check out the Brenthaven Camera Collection at They come with a 100% lifetime guarantee. 

For more photos, see

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Black Rapid Metro strap for people on the move

When it comes to taking photos, one of the most essential accessories is a good camera strap. You want it to be secure, but you also want it to compliment the photo taking experience, not frustrate it.
Recently testing the Black Rapid Metro strap, it was apparent that the Metro is up to the challenge. Metro is one of Black Rapid’s latest and lightest straps, made from ballistic nylon – ideally suited for the new breed of compact cameras. With the same secure connection to the camera’s tripod mount, the Metro strap securely attaches your compact camera just like its big brothers.
With its easy sliding connector, you can effortlessly slide your camera from your side up to shooting position in a fraction of a second. Two cinch clips let you adjust the sliding range to your own personal preference.
The Metro is also very compact, such that you can carry it in your bag with your compact camera, always ready when you are. It’s only good if you have it with you when the need arises, so its compact size is ideal.
Despite its small size it can easily handle a larger DSLR if the situation presents itself. Trying it with a Nikon D300S, complete with battery pack, the Metro performed quite well and was very comfortable on the shoulder.
Got a situation where you want security for your compact camera, but don’t want a shoulder strap? Consider the Wrist Strap. The same connector holds your camera with never-fail security, but the strap is only long enough to circle your wrist.
Think about the wrist strap when holding your camera out a car or helicopter window. If the unthinkable should happen, it will be nice to know the camera is not going to get away from you.
When you have some time, check out the entire line up of straps for cameras of all sizes at the Black Rapid website. You are bound to find the right strap for however you shoot.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Peak Design accessorizes their already fab line of camera mounts

After years of using and cursing your factory DSLR support strap, you begin to realize there must be a better way. You don’t want to go crazy with DSLR shoulder mount, but you need a camera clamp that will let you go from “support” to “shoot” in a second. Enter Peak Design’s Capture camera clip system – camera clamped to your belt or backpack one second and tripod mounted the next. Seriously.
The Capture camera clamp is really two pieces of gear in one package – an Arca compatible base plate that screws to the bottom of your camera or camcorder, and an ingenious clamp that attaches to your belt, your messenger bag strap, your backpack strap, climbing harness, baby carrier, etc. The aluminum clamp will work with any strap up to 3” wide and .5” thick (that includes most padded backpack straps.)
The Capture clip and bracket
Once the clamp is secured to your strap of choice, the camera (with clip attached) slips into place with one quick motion. An audible click tells you that it’s secure. When you are ready to shoot, just press the release button and the camera slides out smooth as can be, and you are ready to shoot or attach to your tripod. If you plan on some serious jostling (like climbing or 4-wheeling) you can engage an extra lock to prevent any accidental unlocking.  Clips are available to fit Arca or Manfrotto RC2 style heads.
Out in the elements – don’t worry.  The Capture clamp is made of die-cast aluminum, the release button is thermoplastic and the clamp bolts are cold-forged zinc alloy. It comes with a lifetime guarantee. When was the last time you got one of those?
The Leash is another support system for your camcorder or DSLR that is entirely different – but uber handy in its versatility. Instead of those annoying split rings that normally hold your gear, the Leash comes with four anchors that will support two cameras, camcorders, binoculars, recorders, whatever.
The Leash strap attaches to the loop clips
The anchors simply loop onto the neck strap bracket or d-rings of your gear and then with one, quick motion, snap into the slim, seatbelt-grade Leash strap.  I use it for my small Sony Handycam camcorder that didn’t come with a shoulder strap. When I want the camcorder on a shoulder strap, the Leash is a perfect size. When I want the camcorder on a tripod, two quick pushes and the Leash is released and I can fold it and stick the strap in my pocket.
Another great use for the Leash is as a camcorder stabilizer. Attach the strap to your belt at one end and the camcorder at the other. Extend your arms until the strap is tight and then raise the camcorder to shooting height. With the Leash kept taught, you get a third point of support and much steadier shots.
As a bonus, you can use the Leash and the Capture camera clip together.  Shooting out the open window of a helicopter, I want to make sure there is absolutely no way my camera is going to fall from my hands. With the Capture clip attached to my shoulder strap, it’s secure when I’m seated but ready to go when I want to start shooting. With the Leash attached to the camera base plate, I know it can’t fall even if I lose my grip when holding it out the window.
Both these devices were extremely well thought out and deserve a look by any active photographer. Check them out at
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