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Wrapping Up the Event

 



The cold and snowy winter days in Michigan have me longing for a warmer respite. So the call of the exciting Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo is excuse enough for me to hop on a plane to visit the warm climes of Las Vegas.
The goal of the conference portion of WPPI is to hone the skills of professionals who specialize in weddings, portraits, video, school and sporting photography. Classes, seminars and photo walks are led by noted pros and educators who share their techniques with attendees to help grow their business.

The expo portion of WPPI takes place in a huge hall where manufacturers of photo equipment, accessories, materials, and services can present their products to attendees.

The venue for WPPI was the huge Las Vegas Convention Center. Event organizers told me that the show outgrew the space at MGM Center. The LVCC was easily able to accommodate the 13,000 attendees and 230 exhibitors.


Convention goers are attracted to WPPI by the many well-know photographers and instructors that conduct more than 200 different classes. You may recognize some of their names and work: Joe McNally, Sue Bryce, Joe Switzer, Lindsay Adler, Tamara Lackey, Me Ra Koh, Bambi Cantrell, Katrin Eismann, Bob Davis, Jerry Ghionis, Roberto Valenzuela and Julianne Kost to name a few.

At the expo, I made my way through the exhibit hall and stopped often to listen to many of the seminars and demonstrations sponsored by the major equipment manufacturers. Here’s a quick look at a wide variety of topics presented to attendees.

Lighting Techniques


A Nikon Demo


Self-Portraiture & Posing


presented by Brooke Shaden

Posing the Family


presented by Michele Celentano


Nikon Ambassador


Dixie Dixon

with an attentive audience



Photojournalist Joe Bussink

Talking Mirrorless Cameras at Fuji

My stay in Las Vegas was short but I did talk to dozens of equipment and accessory suppliers during my visit to WPPI. As soon as I get my act together, I’ll review some of items that caught my attention.

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 

PhotoPlus Expo

09th November 2015


 
 

The PhotoPlus Expo is the largest photography show in the US. This year more than 21,000 photo professionals and enthusiasts flocked to New York City’s Jacob Javits Center to attend the various events. These included more than 100+ classes conducted by 140 speakers covering posing, lighting, equipment, software, services, business techniques and strategy. In addition there were 15 photo walks across the New York City landscape in which participants were mentored by noted professionals.

I took an interest in the more than 250 exhibitors covering more than 100,000 square feet of space and demonstrating their goods and services.

 
 


Following are some of the exhibits that I stopped by during my visit to PhotoPlus Expo.


There were an abundance of live seminars and demonstrations on the expo floor. These covered a large gamut of photo topics: better use of equipment, lighting techniques, wedding and portrait sets, directing and posing subjects, post-processing and software usage.

Many well-known photographers and educators were on hand for the seminars and floor demos: Hanson Fong, Joe McNally, Lindsay Adler, Tamara Lackey, Terry White, Julianne Kost, Scott Kelby to name a few. With more than 100 classes, there is learning for every photographic category.


Equipment

For those interested in trying new cameras and accessories, all of the major manufacturers had exhibits and representatives to demonstrate their wares and answer questions. Even hard-to-find accessories such as these long lenses were available for hands-on trial for the many interested photographers.

 


Services

Many attendees use the services available at PhotoPlus to clean and/or service their equipment Here is a Canon rep cleaning a DLSR while the owner waits. The major manufacturers Canon, Nikon, Sony and Panasonic all had technicians on hand to provide service to those with extended service contracts. They also provided complimentary cleaning.

 


Barber Shop Leather Accessories

I was attracted to goods at the Barber Shop booth. They had a very attractive collection of leather camera straps and cameras bags. Barber Shop is an Italian company and these goods were exquisitely stylish and solidly made. For more information visit Barber Shop.


LowePro Camera Bags

Based on my many years of satisfaction with their products, I stopped at the LowePro booth. On display were several dozen of backpack style camera bags in sizes varying from small for a single camera to extra large for two cameras with six or more lenses.

I took to their Urban Reporter which looks more like a messenger bag rather than a conventional camera bag. It has room for a laptop, a large camera and ample padded storage for several lenses and accessories.

I also saw their new DroneGuard. This is a case designed to carry a drone (e.g. DJI Phantom) and accessories. This makes transporting the drone convenient and safe.

You can learn about their product line by visiting LowePro.


Urban Reporter 350

DroneGuard

Tornado Hexcopter Drone

Drones are available in many different sizes and sport a wide variety of features. It’s almost essential that these flying devices have excellent digital equipment, stabilization and easy control if the desired end result is quality photography and video.

At the Yuneec booth, the Canadian company’s product director Mark Padilla gave me a demonstration of their Tornado H920. This professional drone has a lightweight carbon fiber body controlled by a sophisticated remote that includes “pilot view”, video downlink and instrumentation.

The camera provides full 1080 HD. Since the drone’s landing pods are retractable, the camera has an unobstructed view. Additionally, it is mounted on a controllable 3-axis gimbal for steady shots.

For more information please contact Yuneec.

Below you can see Mark giving me a demo of the Tornado H920:

 



Cotton Carrier Harnesses

As an outdoor photographer, I typically carry two or more cameras on assignment and headed to Cotton Carrier to look at their products.

Their “vest” holds one or two handsfree depending on the options selected. Each camera is held to the vest using a locking connector and leash. They also have a Speed Belt for holding a camera at waist level.

You can learn more about their lineup at Cotton Carrier


Epson SureColor P800

Over the years I’ve owned several professional quality printers. The most recent was limited to 13″ wide prints.

I’m now interested in a printer for making larger prints and stopped to talk to the Epson representative who demonstrated their new SureColor P800. This device can make 17″ wide prints on a very wide variety of papers, has several paper handling features including roll feeder, uses large capacity ink cartridges with enhanced black and white printing. The samples produced during the demo were superb. The SureColor P800 is now on my wish list.

You can find out more about the P800 by visiting Epson.


Kodak PixPro SP360 Action Camera

Kodak’s Rep Amanda Drain gave me a demo of their innovative PixPro SP360 Action Camera. As its name suggests, it captures 360 degrees as 1080p HD video.

The camera itself is a cube with a dome on top. It’s weather resistant and ruggedly designed to withstand drops and knocks. It has Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity and can be controlled with either IOS (Apple) or Android devices.
To see samples of the 360 HD video and for more information please visit Kodak PixPro.


If you’re ready to experience the PhotoPlus Conference next year, mark your calendar for October 19-22 at Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 
 

PhotoPlus Conference & Expo

12th October 2015

 

 

I have a strong interest in staying on top of the rapidly evolving picture taking techniques and amazing new advances in photo equipment. One way of doing this is for me to attend the various conventions and meetings. On my docket is the upcoming PhotoPlus Conference & Expo.

Next week I’ll be going to New York City and the Javits Center where PhotoPlus runs from Wednesday, October 21 through Saturday, October 24th.

 

 

 

 

Traveling to New York is always an enjoyable trip for me. I was raised in Westchester, just a stones throw from NYC. I’m anxious to ride the subway to the brand new Hudson Yards station (across the street from Javit’s). Taking the subway will save me a couple of miles walk from Grand Central to Javits.

What is PhotoPlus?

Since 1983, PhotoExpo has grown to be the largest photography show in the US. The conference is geared towards amateur and professionals who can sit in on more than one hundred seminars and classes ranging from posing and lighting techniques to business and promotional practices. Seminar and class instructors are led by noted professionals who are anxious to share their know-how. With New York City as a backdrop several accompanied photo walks are scheduled for attendees can explore the city photographically.

PhotoPlus also attract attendees to the expo where more than 200 exhibitors are showing their latest equipment, supplies and services. They’ll get hands-on time with cameras, lenses, flashes, gadgets, and accessories galore. Several large vendors are on hand at the expo for those ready to buy new equipment. Many vendors present live on-floor demonstrations of their equipment and services so attendees can see the products in action.

As an interested photographer, if you’re in the New York City area next week consider attending. Here’s where you’ll find more information at the PhotoPlus Conference & Expo.

 

 
Written by Arnie Lee

 

 

 


The Consumer Electronics Show – Accessories for Photographers

 

I’ve been attending the Consumer Electronics Show for more than 30 years. This huge expo is the premier showcase for new and innovative products that are slated for homes and businesses this year.

 

While walking the several miles of aisles at the Las Vegas Convention Center, a couple of areas especially caught my attention: 3D printers and drones. You can read my show reports here: 3D Printing Technology and Drones.

 

But as someone who also has a keen interest in photography, here are a few of the photo accessories that stood out at the show.


Hisy and Halo Remotes

 

Here’s are two tiny little accessories for those of you who are fans of “selfies”.

 

Basically the Hisy and Halo are bluetooth shutter release for you smartphone. The Hisy is for iOS devices and the Halo is for Android devices.

To the right is the “selfie” of Jackie and myself that we took with her Android smartphone.

They also have the Wing – a selfie stick.

The suggested price of the Hisy and Halo is $24.99. The suggested price of the Wing is $29.95.

For more information, please visit HisyPix.

 



Nanuk Camera Cases

If you’re rough on your camera equipment, you may want to look at Nanuk’s cases. PlastiCase makes some very durable protective cases.

Below is one of their smaller cases. It’s made of a impact resistant plastic, has sure-lock latches, soft-grip handle and is waterproof. This 903 model easily accommodates one of my mirrorless cameras with an 18-200mm lens attached. I’ve removed the foam padding to show the spacing.

The Model 903 has a very affordable suggested price of $25.

 

PlastiCase makes about two dozen different cases in various sizes. For more info, please visit PlastiCase.

 



EnerPlex Solar

EnerPlex is a manufacturer of a variety of solar chargers.

If you’re shooting out in the field for any length of time and run out of juice, these solar chargers may prove invaluable. They are compact, foldable and ruggedized.

On the right, you can see solar chargers built into backpacks. EnerPlex has two backpack models: Packr Executive $130 and Packr Commuter $100.


Kickr IV+ on left produces 6 watts nx Kickr II in center produces 33 watts

Commander-XII produces 19 watts for laptops and tablets
For more info, please visit EnerPlex.

 



Thule Camera Bags

Thule is probably best known as the maker of the well-built and ergonomic car top carriers.

This Swedish company also has a stylish line of camera bags and backpacks.


I found their line of bags to be both attractive and practical.
Their new Legend GoPro Backpack was introduced at the show.

Designed and built for rugged outdoor use, you can mount two GoPro cameras directly to the backpack – one forward-facing the other backward-facing. The outermost compartment has die-cut foam insert for GoPro accessories. It’s lightweight and crushproof (EVA shell) and has several other padded compartments for safe transport of camera accessories, hydration reservoir and smartphone.

Thule tells me that the Legend GoPro Backpack will be available in May. Suggested price is $199.

For more info, please visit Thule.

 



Meikon Diving Equipment

For divers and shooters needing protection against water, Meikon had a large array of waterproof housings and accessories for many popular camera models.

On display were housings for Sony mirrorless, Nikon D7000, Canon 5D, Canon M, Canon T2i, T3i, T4i, T5i, Panasonic GF2, GF3, GF5 and GF6.

Meikon also has a nice selection lighting equipment and brackets.

For more info, please visit Meikon.

 



 
 

This concludes my reports from CES.

As usual, I’m excited when I return home from CES. Maybe a few of my finds will get added to my wish list for this year.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
Updated 02/20/2015
 
 


 

Hand Grip and Shoulder Strap Combo

For much of my shooting, I’m out in the field exploring and enjoying the outdoors, nature and landscapes: you get the picture. I like to travel light so I rarely use a camera bag or backpack. As I’m walking, hiking, climbing, bending, kneeling and at times crawling, my cameras get a mighty good workout from jostling around on my shoulder and banging against my side.

Occasionally, I’ve used various camera shoulder straps. While these provide ample padding to cushion the weight on my shoulder, they do little to prevent the camera from swinging back and forth as I’m moving.

As I was wandering through PhotoPlus Expo recently, I stopped by the Joby booth where their rep Kate showed me a new hand grip/shoulder strap combo.

The UltraFit Hand Strap lets you comfortably hold the camera without having to use any finger pressure. You can carry a heavy DSLR with minimal effort and without the fear of dropping it.

You can also see the shoulder strap that’s hanging below the hand grip that Kate is holding.

Flip the camera over and you’ll see that the hand grip attaches to the camera body with a Swiss-Arca style flat plate.

For times when you want a hands-off way of carrying the camera you can screw Joby’s Pro Sling Strap to the plate. A short but strong tethering line minimizes the swing of the camera as it hangs from your shoulder.

 

The UltraFit Hand Strap with Plate sells for about $35. The Pro Sling Strap sells for about $30.

After talking to Joby and seeing it in action, I’ve already placed a set of these on order.

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

 

 

Parade of New Cameras

01st October 2012

Photokina Part 1 – the new stuff

Every two years the photographic industry gathers at Photokina to introduce its new products.

The event takes place over a week period in early September at the huge Koelnmesse Exhibition Center in Cologne, Germany.



 

This year I again attended Photokina along with some 150,000 other visitors and walked the aisles of the messe’s ten huge halls to see the new photographic and imaging products from more than 1500 vendors.

What follows is a condensed report of those products that were of particular interest to me.

Prior to the start of Photokina, many of the photo manufacturers announced new products that would be on display at the expo. Like many others, I was curious to touch and feel some of these products and these were the ones that I gravitated to when I reached Cologne.


Sensor Size

Two seemingly “opposite” trends seem to be taking place in among the camera equipment makers.

On the one hand there is a strong movement towards smaller, yet higher quality cameras. More about this shortly.

On the other hand, there is also a recent movement towards larger sensors. Why larger sensors?

Advanced and professional photographers have historically chosen equipment that produces the highest quality images regardless of size and weight. This has been the realm of equipment with larger sensors.

 


Left: full-frame sensor; Center: APS-C sensor;
Right: typical point-and-shoot sensor

View showing a full-frame sensor in an upcoming mirrorless camera
 

The advantage of a full frame sensor is its superior light gathering ability and the reduction of image noise compared to a smaller sensor.

At this show, I saw no fewer than five new models with full-frame sensors.


Camera Size

If there’s one thing that electronics has taught us is that next year’s devices will be smaller than this year’s. For the higher level cameras, this has been happening quietly for several years.

With Canon and Nikon – the “big guns” of the camera industry – now having compact interchangeable lens cameras, this movement gains momentum.

 

These are also known as mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC). With new models made by Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Samsung and Sony, the MILC is the fastest growing part of the market for advanced equipment.

Removing the moving mirror from a DSLR enables the camera makers to save a lot of camera body real estate. Instead of looking through an optical viewfinder, the photographer composes using the LCD or electronic viewfinder.

Early MILCs used smaller sensors which allowed the manufacturers to design smaller, lighter weight lenses. Canon, Samsung and Sony MILCs use APS-C size sensors but the corresponding lenses are remarkably small as well. The result is a high quality, interchangeable lens camera that is extremely compact and convenient.


This looks like a typical point-and-shoot camera, but is actually a new model MILC from Canon.
 

Keeping these two trends in mind, I made my way through the aisles of the Koelnmesse.


Nikon D600

First on my list was this new DSLR from Nikon. This model is a lower-cost model than their D800 which was introduced just a few months ago and features a large full-frame sensor (same size as 35mm film frame).

For those interested, I’ve summarized the main differences between these two models:

 

Model D600 D800
resolution 24.3 mp 36.3 mp
media 2 SD card slots 1 CF card slot
1 SD card slot
continuous shooting 5.5 frames/second 4 frames/second
auto-focus 39 points 51 points
size 5.6″ (width)
4.4″ (height)
3.2″ (depth)
5.7″ (width)
4.8″ (height)
3.2″ (depth)
weight 26.8 ounces 31.7 ounces
price $2100 (body) $3000 (body)

 

The D600 felt noticeably smaller than the D800. The demonstration model was equipped with Nikon’s new 24-85mm lens for full-frame cameras. Both the D600 and 24-85mm lens are currently available.

If you’re the owner of any of Nikon’s DX (APS-C) series lenses, the D600 automatically recognizes when this lens is mounted and adjusts the resolution to about 10mp. This allows you to continue to use your investment in DX lenses.

Nikon also announced a wi-fi adapter for the D600 that lets you automatically transmit images to a smart device. In addition to providing synchronized backup, you can share these images as text messages or with online social media sites. The low cost adapter (about $60) is not yet available.


Canon 6D

Next up was the Canon booth where I saw the newly announced 6D.

 


The 6D has a footprint and feel similar to Canon’s 7D, only this model has a full-frame sensor.

Here you can see that both GPS and Wi-Fi are built into the 6D
Although the prices of tge 5DMkIII and the new 6D are quite disparate, here are the major feature differences between these two models:

 

Model 6D 5D Mark III
resolution 20.2 mp 22.3 mp
media 1 SD card slots 1 CF card slot
1 SD card slot
continuous shooting 4.5 frames/second 6 frames/second
auto-focus 11 points 61 points
Wi-fi built-in external with $850 transmitter
GPS built-in external with $400 receiver
size 5.7″ (width)
4.4″ (height)
2.8″ (depth)
6.0″ (width)
4.6″ (height)
3.0″ (depth)
weight 24.0 ounces 30.3 ounces
price $2100 (body) $3500 (body)

 

Perhaps the most significant features of the 6D besides the full-frame sensor are the addition of both GPS and Wi-Fi.

GPS automatically adds location information to the images. This is especially useful to landscape photographers who can now precisely identify the location at which a photograph was captured.

Adding Wi-Fi capability to the camera again provides automatic backup and rapid sharing of images through online smart devices.

Two other features which are new in this model: 1) in-camera HDR which combines bracketed exposures to yield images which encompass wide exposure levels. 2) multiple exposure capability to superimpose up to nine separate images onto single frame.

Similar to the 5D Mk III, neither have a built-in flash but reply on external flash units.

The staff at the Canon booth indicated that the 6D will go on sale in December of this year.


Sony Alpha 99

Although Sony is a distant third to Canon and Nikon in terms of high end market share, this company has been delivering products with innovative features.

 

Sony’s new Alpha 99 is their first full-frame camera using its unique translucent mirror. Instead of a conventional mirror which flips out of the light path when the shutter is depressed, the translucent mirror remains stationary allowing light to pass through to the sensor. This design provides continuous autofocus and exposure and high speed capture.

Below I’ve compared the new Alpha 99 with the Alpha 77, which is Sony’s top if the line APS-C size cameras in the translucent mirror series.

 

Model Alpha 99 Alpha 77
resolution 24.7 mp full-frame sensor 22.3 mp APS-C sensor
media 2 SD card slots 1 SD card slot
continuous shooting 10 frames/second 12 frames/second
auto-focus dual phase detect 19 points,
102 additional points
single phase detect 19 points
GPS built-in built-in
video 1080p @ 60fps 1080p @ 60fps
Viewfinder 2.4 mp OLED electronic 2.4 mp OLED electronic
size 5.83″ (width)
4.5″ (height)
3.13″ (depth)
5.75″ (width)
4.2″ (height)
3.25″ (depth)
weight 26.0 ounces 23.0 ounces
price $2800 (body) $1300 (body)

 

The Alpha 99 uses a unique dual phase detect system is designed to provide continuous and precise autofocus. Other features carried over from earlier Sony’s translucent mirror cameras are sweep panorama, automatic HDR and multi-frame noise reduction.

The Alpha 99 is due to begin shipments in early November.


Sony RX-1

I didn’t expect to see a camera such as this from Sony.

The RX-1 is compact camera with a full-frame sensor and a non-removable lens.

It looks as if Sony has identified a market of well-to-do photo enthusiasts that can afford $2800 for a camera with a 24mp full-size sensor and fast but fixed focal length Zeiss 35mm f/2 lens. You’ll have to compose your subjects with the 3″ screen unless you purchase either the optical or electronic viewfinder.

 


with optional electronic viewfinder

convenient settings with multiple dials
 

All of the RX-1 samples were firmly locked behind glass at Photokina so I wasn’t able to have a hands-on demonstration. Of course Zeiss is noted for its superior lenses so coupled with the same full-frame sensor used in the Alpha 99, we can expect this camera to produce remarkable photographs.

The expected availability date of the RX-1 is late December.

 


 

This concludes the coverage of the new full-frame sensor equipment from Photokina.

Coming up in Part 2 of our Photokina coverage are the compact MILC cameras. We hope to see you back here soon.

 

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 

 


Accessories From Hoodman USA

26th February 2011

Help Seeing with your DSLR

These two accessories look simple because, well, they are simple. They’re also those types of accessories you might not think about using until you do and then you wonder why you went so long without them.

The first is the HoodEYE eyepiece from Hoodman. The HoodEYE, which replaces the normal eyepiece of your Nikon or Canon DSLR camera, helps block out light from the side that might reduce your ability to see correctly in the viewfinder. All you need to do is gently slide off the normal eyepiece and slide the HoodEYE on the mounting rails. It takes only a few seconds. You can rotate the HoodEYE eyecup left or right to accommodate both “right-eyed” photographers and “left-eyed” photographers. It won’t cover or interfere with the LCD screen.

Click the following to view a video of the HoodEYE.

 
I used it with my Canon XTi and it worked as I hoped. I was outdoors on a bright sunny day with the added problem of sunlight reflecting off the snow but everything in the viewfinder was bright and clear. Best of all, I didn’t have to hold my left hand around my eye to frame the picture and read the display in the viewfinder while trying to hold the camera steady with the my right hand.
(more…)

A quick look at the storage area for my photo equipment is a reminder of how many accessories that I’ve accumulated. My shelves are lined with camera bags, backpacks, filters, tripods, gorillapods, remote shutter releases, battery chargers, flash brackets, gps receivers, and many more.

Having used many dozens (perhaps hundreds) of accessories since the 1960s, I’ve had varying opinions about the usability of many of them. Some were worth their weight in gold while others weren’t worth the shelf space they were occupying and are no longer in my possession.

I’ve had a long history of making my own accessories. I’m signalling a short series of articles that I will be writing in coming weeks that show you how can easily make your own photo accessories to save you both frustration and money too.

Here’s a peek at the very inexpensive materials that I purchased to make the first accessory.

Stay tuned to see what we do with these items for the first project.

 
Written by Arnie Lee

 


Upcoming Reviews

29th January 2011

I made it a point to attend several trade shows recently – Photokina in Cologne (September), PhotoPlus in NYC (October) and CES in Las Vegas (January). I spent a lot of time walking up and down the aisles at the shows and was able to get hands-on demos of many new pieces of photo equipment and accessories.

Several readers have asked about our plans for reviews of some of these items, so I thought I’d drop a few lines to let you know that we’ve already started reviewing the following items and are putting them through the paces. Additionally, we’ve added another tablet computer to our inventory and are just now logging a few dozen hours studying how it might come in handy for photographers.

Color Nook – this is the new color version of Barnes & Noble’s earlier black and white e-book reader. The display makes it great for reading ebooks that include full-color illustrations and photographs.
Eye-Fi – this innovative wireless SD card is not new, but the improved software has many new features for automatically sharing your photos with other sites.
Samsung Galaxy Tab – this recently introduced tablet computer is aiming to grab some of the would-be iPad enthusiasts. It’s more compact than the iPad and sports a few nice features.
Sony Alpha 55 – this new DSLR has a slew of innovative features. Demoing it at the PhotoPlus Show, I felt that is a groundbreaker. Others must have felt that way too; it was on backorder for six week.
Sony SnapLab – not everyone needs the power or speed of this medium volume printer. But having a SnapLab gives you a very convenient way to get prints directly from your digital media or bluetooth mobile device.

Stay tuned. The reviews are in progress.

Written by Arnie Lee