Blog Page 2

GoPro Karma and Hero 5 in Review – What we Know so Far

0

Although I didn’t attend, I’ve been looking forward to Photokina 2016 for months. For me, this was a show where almost every manufacturer I’m really interested in was presenting. I was most excited to hear the Panasonic and Olympus presentations, because both were announcing a new flagship m43 camera that I’ll quite possibly buy, and I wasn’t thinking much of GoPro, even though I love my GoPro 4 and various accessories.

Well, the Panasonic and Olympus announcements were pretty cool (more on this later), but the GoPro presentation blew me away. I don’t know if it’s because I wasn’t paying attention to what they were up to (I knew they were preparing a drone, that’s about it), but I was really, really impressed, and yes, excited.

I think the best thing is to just go over all the things they announced and give my thoughts:

 

GoPro Karma drone

This was the big news, and it looks great. The price is amazing – $799 by itself (if you already own a GoPro Hero5, or a GoPro Hero4 Black). If you buy it bundled with a camera, you save $100, so if want to add one of those tiny Hero5 Session cams, it’s $999, and with the new Hero5 Black, it’s $1099 (All prices USD). To me, this is a really good price. If you get the top of the line Hero, it’s $100 cheaper than a DJI Phantom4, which is the only other drone I’d really consider (because I’m worried I’d crash everything else).

The Karma Gimbal thing doubles as a hand-held stabilizer!

This blew me away, it’s so genius, and it looks like switching the gimbal between drone and the handheld stick works so smoothly. I currently own a Feiyu-Tech G4 gimbal for my Hero4 Black, and the footage you get with it is absolutely amazing, but there are a few problems:

One problem is that Feiyu-Tech is some relatively faceless company in China, and I’m not very confident as to what happens if my gimbal ever breaks, or gets damaged. Of all the camera equipment I have, the gimbal is by far the thing I think most likely to break, because of all the tiny gyros and moving parts. And the thing seems built well enough, but a couple of little touches worry me – there are 2 long screws that you need to adjust that are so flimsy and always bend a bit, and they send a special USB cord to charge the batteries, but if you use a normal USB cord, apparently you can fry the batteries or something.

So the better option to a FeiyuTech might be the DJI Osmo, and it does look great, but it’s over $500, and you can’t remove the camera from it and move it around. I’ve always been tempted, but it’s too pricey and not flexible enough for me.

So my point is this: Having a drone double as a gimbal stabilizer is such an amazing value proposition. If you price out what a drone/camera on this level would cost, and then add the price of a stabilizer, the Karma drone looks like just an insanely good deal, and it’s not even close. This is great for GoPro, because it will give a lot of people (like me) a good reason to buy the Karma, even if they know they won’t use the actual drone part constantly.

You can also buy the stabilizer on its own with no drone (for $299), and oh yeah, one of the coolest things about it, is that you can mount the gimbal itself to any GoPro mount, just like you’d mount a camera. Honestly, I feel like I’m doing a bad job explaining how exciting this thing is, but it’s really, profoundly awesome.

Their usability and software improvements looks great

I installed the GoPro software when I got my Hero4, and I was pretty surprised that it wasn’t bad at all, it was quite usable. I’ve never had great luck with bundled software, especially photography stuff, and I long ago got to the point where I don’t even install anything that comes with a camera, other than smartphone apps (which are usually abysmal). But, as decent as the GoPro Studio thing was, it still wasn’t quite up to par with other solutions (I use DaVinci Resolve now).

The new software that GoPro announced looks extremely good though. It’s hard to really be sure, because marketing videos never tell the whole story, but I’m quite curious to try it out – it looks like a really good alternative.

The other usability add-on that really looks amazing, to me personally, is the feature where you plug in the Hero5 to charge, and it automatically starts sending your footage to your computer. This is such an amazing change, and I only wish any camera I owned had this feature. I used to use Eye-Fi SD cards, and they had this, and it was almost magical – I had a friend who bought one and then yelled at me for not telling him about how great it was. Eye-Fi had pretty terrible desktop software though, so hopefully GoPro will implement this feature a lot better. They could easily do it terribly and negate any benefits of this feature, but I’m hopeful, given the way they presented it and really focused on usability.

The Hero5 and Hero5 Session look great

I’ll actually say that I was most impressed with the Hero5 Session. When they released the original Session, I wasn’t that impressed – it was smaller, but the Hero4 was already relatively small, and I didn’t see the point. What’s more, having such a small camera with not even a small monochrome interface just seemed to suggest a lot of usability problems.

Now that it has voice activation, I see it as something I could easily use, and the size now becomes an advantage, not a hindrance. I love chucking my Hero4 into a pocket for quick trips out, but it’s still a bit bulky – and weirdly shaped – for all occasions. I could stick the Session in easily.

The voice activation in the Hero 5 is something I have actually wished for with my Hero4. It’s a real pain switching modes on it – I always forget which button does what, and the UI is not very great. Being able to just say “Take a picture” is amazing. I use voice commands on my phone all the time, and I think most people who think of this as a small feature haven’t really lived with a voice-activated device. This is a major feature, to me at least.

Conclusion

I didn’t mean this to be this long, and I’ve got to wrap this up, but the upshot is: This stuff all looks amazing, and I’m very pumped to try it out when it’s released (soonish I think). I’ve read that the actual GoPro company is not doing amazingly financially lately, but if anyone else thinks like I do, I could see this whole line really re-invigorating their sales.

(By the way, needless to say, I don’t own any stock in GoPro, and this post is completely independent and just my own views – I know it may feel over the top, but I’m not shilling, I just think this new line-up is really exciting.)

Purchase links:

GoPro Hero5 on Amazon

GoPro Hero5 Session on Amazon

 

 

The Followup to the Sony a6000’s official name and hint of timing

0
Oh my! I wrote this post 2 days ago, and didn’t get around to finishing and uploading it. In the meantime, SONY have updated their site to fix the bug that I saw, so you will have to trust me on this, but the page truly was redirecting as I describe, as of just 2 days ago. Perhaps someone at SONY saw that someone was sniffing around different URLS and fixed the thing I saw and note below.

There have been some rumors about the followup to the SONY a6000, which so far have not been proven right. One rumors site said it would be released on September 11, 2015, which wasn’t true, and it puts into doubt the other rumors this site reported (which I’ll repeat below).

Well, I just want to say, that I can announce with 99.9% certainty that the camera will indeed be called the SONY a6100, and not the a7000, as a lot of sites have dubbed it. I’ll explain why:

If you go to the official website for the previous versions, the ends of the URLS are named like so:

interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-5000-body-kit

interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-5100-body-kit

interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-6000-body-kit

You can see by clicking through that the whole URL is the same in each case, except the model number.

So, an interesting thing happens when you change these numbers for different ones: If you put in a totally random number like 9900, you get an error page:

interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-9900-body-kit

And if you put in 7000, which would be the URL for an a7000 camera, you actually get sent to the page for the a7:

interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-7000-body-kit

However, if you enter the 6100 model number, you get a whole different error – you’re redirected to a page that lists all their interchangeable lens cameras:

interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-6100-body-kit

(If you click that and just get the regular error page, they may change this. Also if you click that once the a6000 has officially been announced, it will almost certainly take you to an actual product page, not an error).

So this means that their web department has already created a product page for the a6100, and are waiting to flip the switch when the camera is announced. This, to me, heavily hints at a fairly imminent release, at least before Christmas 2015, but that’s not 100% definite of course.

As for the actual camera itself, I’ve trawled the web for info, and there are conflicting reports, and some of them come from fairly unreliable sources that said the camera would be announced a month ago. It seems like the a6000 was almost a perfect camera in its class, and just super, super popular (read the Amazon reviews!), and a fantastic value, so there may not be a ton of features they could add.

The most obvious thing is going to be 4K video – this may be controversial, but I’ll go out on a limb here and say that SONY will almost definitely include this. It’s the one thing that could be a large improvement on the original a6000, as opposed to everything else, which will be small, evolutionary improvements. What’s more, SONY have shown a willingness to push features out as fast as they can, as opposed to their plodding, entrenched competitors (mostly Canon), who could easily add newer technology to their cameras, but prefer to mete them out slowly and bleed all the customers already in their ecosystem for every possible dollar over the years.

I Just Got Release Info from a Panasonic Rep Regarding the GH5

0

I just wanted to write a quick post with some information that isn’t really shocking, but is pretty official and can probably be considered almost official:

I was at an industry event today, and Panasonic had two reps there, who I wound up chatting to for a bit. They had a bunch of gear there, including a couple of GH4s, and most of the current Lumix lens line-up, and as they kindly let me try out a few lenses, I mentioned that my only issue with my GH4 (or more accurately, the Micro Four Thirds format) was that I wish there were more wide lenses.

Now I should digress for a second by the way: To be honest, between Olympus and Panasonic, there actually is a pretty comprehensive selection of wide M4/3 lenses available, and really my particular beef is only that I like buying old manual lenses and adapting them to fit on my GH4, and it’s relatively tough to find an old lens wider than 24mm, and if you do, anything reasonably fast is pretty expensive, and you may be better off just getting a nice, fast Rokinon/Samyang lens.

Anyway, one of the reps mentioned that they had just been in Japan and discussing the Panasonic product roadmap, and that they were pushing hard for more, more, more lenses. I decided to ask if there was any word on the GH5, and they didn’t hesitate to tell me that it would be timed to go along with Photokina 2016 (which as of this writing is a bit over a year away). They were very definitive on the GH line being on a 2 year cycle and this being when we’d see the GH5.

If you look at the release timing of the GH3 and GH4, this is not really a surprise, but I thought I’d post about it, because I’ve seen a few discussions about the GH5 recently. I know that the GH4 supersite Suggestion of Motion did some kind of April Fool’s prank that fooled some people into thinking a GH5 release was imminent, and a recent article on House of Japan speculates that Panasonic will be building 8K into the GH5, and posits a 2016 release date as well.

The 8K prediction actually makes a huge amount of sense. Panasonic is clearly pushing the envelope when it comes to features – for example, being the first serious mirrorless or DSLR to record 4K internally. The only company coming close to matching them on this dedication to rapid improvement is Samsung with their new NX1.

While a company like Canon is busy greedily protecting its profits by only putting 4K into the most expensive cameras it sells (and opinion is still split on whether they’ll put it in the 5D Mark IV when that finally comes out!), Panasonic is happily piling every possible great thing into their cameras, and lowering the price as much as they can.

Sticking 8K into their cameras as soon as it’s feasible is clearly in line with their whole ethos, and although the big manufacturers have tried to teach us all to wait and wait for tiny improvements, I think Panasonic may well come through on this by 2016. If they were able to put 4K video into a premium point-and-shoot in 2014, I can’t see what would stop them from putting 8k into a Micro Four Thirds in 2016.

Oh god I just thought: Imagine how embarrassing it’ll be if Canon does release the 5D Mark IV with just 1080p video and other manufacturers start putting out cheaper cameras with 8K before they get around to even adding 4K. The way Canon thinks and works, this is a non-zero possibility!

The Big Chart of Rokinon, Samyang and Bower Lenses – Find Out Which Clone is Currently Cheapest.

0

I’ve noticed a big trend in the past year or so when it comes to camera lenses: People are rapidly discovering, and loving, the Rokinon/Samyang/Bower prime lenses. These are identical lenses, sold by 3 different companies, each with their own branding on them (and slight cosmetic differences on the outside.) The quality on these lenses is extremely high, and the price is dead cheap compared to similar lenses, but there is one big trade-off: The focus and aperture are manual, so you will need to control these from the actual lens. This may be a dealbreaker for some people (especially if you’re doing lots of run-and-gun photography where you need to focus and refocus fast), and not a big deal to others.

As I write this, the 14mm Rokinon (for Canon mount) is one of the top 20 bestselling lenses on Amazon. Even more impressively, it’s actually the 2nd bestselling non-manufacturer lens (number 1 is an inexpensive Opteka 6.5mm fisheye, but it’s probably ranked so high because its sales for all 7 mounts are combined in the chart. And by the way, I have to admit it’s realllly tempting me right now!)

One of the most interesting things about the Rokinon/Samyang/Bower lenses is that occasionally a certain lens will be cheaper for one of the brands. Often it might just be $10 or $20, but I’ve seen prices vary by much more – for instance, the first search I just did for an example showed one specific lens being $50 cheaper for the Rokinon version than the Bower. But that’s just one example, and it’s not always the Rokinon that’s cheaper.

Since I plan to get a few more of these lenses in future, I thought I’d make myself a chart with easy links to check and compare the current prices, and then I thought I’d share it here.

All you have to do to use this chart is pick which mount you want (Canon, Nikon, SONY, etc), then pick what lens you’re interested in, and then click each of the links. New browser tabs will pop open for each link you click, and you can see which is cheapest at the moment. Hope this is helpful!

8mm

Mount Lens Samyang version Rokinon version Bower version
Canon 8mm
f3.5
Samyang SYHD8M-C Rokinon FE8M-C Bower SLY358C
Nikon 8mm
f3.5
Samyang SYHD8M-N Rokinon FE8M-N Bower SLY358N
Sony Alpha 8mm
f3.5
Samyang SYHD8M-S Rokinon FE8M-S Bower SLY358S
Olympus 4/3 (not micro) 8mm
f3.5
Samyang SY8M-O Rokinon FE8M-O Bower SLY358OD
Pentax 8mm
f3.5
Samyang SY8M-P Rokinon FE8M-P Bower SLY358P
Sony E (NEX) 8mm
f3.5
Samyang SY8MBK28 Rokinon FE8M-NEX Bower SLY358SE
Samsung NX 8mm
f3.5
Samyang SY8MBK28-NX Rokinon RK8MBK28-NX Bower SLY358NX
Micro Four-Thirds (aka M4/3) 7.5mm
f3.5
Samyang SY75MFT-B Rokinon FE75MFT-B Bower SLY75BM43
Fuji X-Mount 8mm
f3.5
Samyang SY8MBK28-FX Rokinon RK8MBK28-FX Bower SLY288FXB

14mm

Mount Lens Samyang version Rokinon version Bower version
Canon 14mm
f2.8
Samyang SY14M-C Rokinon FE14M-C Bower SLY1428C
Nikon 14mm
f2.8
Samyang SY14MAE-N Rokinon FE14MAF-N Bower SLY1428N
Sony Alpha 14mm
f2.8
Samyang SY14M-S Rokinon FE14M-S Bower SLY1428S
Olympus 4/3 (not micro) 14mm
f2.8
Samyang SY14M-O Rokinon Bower SLY1428OD
Pentax 14mm
f2.8
Samyang SY14M-P Rokinon FE14M-P Bower SLY1428P
Samsung NX 14mm
f2.8
Samyang SY14M-NX n/a Bower SLY1428NX
Micro Four-Thirds (aka M4/3) 14mm
f2.8
n/a Rokinon FE14M-MFT n/a
Fuji X-Mount 14mm
f2.8
n/a Rokinon FE14M-FX n/a

24mm

Mount Lens Samyang version Rokinon version Bower version
Canon 24mm
f1.4
Samyang SY24M-C Rokinon RK24M-C Bower SLY2414C
Nikon 24mm
f1.4
Samyang SY24MAF-N Rokinon RK24MAF-N Bower SLY2414N
Sony Alpha 24mm
f1.4
Samyang SY24M-S Rokinon RK24M-S Bower SLY2414S
Olympus 4/3 (not micro) 24mm
f1.4
Samyang SY24M-O Rokinon RK24M-O Bower SLY2414OD
Pentax 24mm
f1.4
Samyang SY24M-P Rokinon RK24M-P Bower SLY2414P
Samsung NX 24mm
f1.4
Samyang SY24M-NX Bower SLY2414NX

35mm

Mount Lens Samyang version Rokinon version Bower version
Canon 35mm
f1.4
Samyang SY35M-C Rokinon RK35M-C Bower SLY3514C
Nikon 35mm
f1.4
Samyang SY35MAE-N Rokinon RK35MAF-N Bower SLY3514N
Sony Alpha 35mm
f1.4
Samyang SY35M-S Rokinon RK35M-S Bower SLY3514S
Olympus 4/3 (not micro) 35mm
f1.4
Samyang SY35M-O Rokinon RK35M-O Bower SLY3514OD
Pentax 35mm
f1.4
Samyang SY35M-P Rokinon RK35M-P Bower SLY3514P
Samsung NX 35mm
f1.4
Samyang SY35M-NX Rokinon RK35M-NX Bower SLY3514NX

85mm

Mount Lens Samyang version Rokinon version Bower version
Canon 85mm
f1.4
Samyang SY85M-C Rokinon 85M-C Bower SLY85C
Nikon 85mm
f1.4
Samyang SY85MAE-N Rokinon 85M-N Bower SLY85N
Sony Alpha 85mm
f1.4
Samyang SY85M-S Rokinon 85M-S Bower SLY85S
Olympus 4/3 (not micro) 85mm
f1.4
Samyang SY85M-O Rokinon 85M-O
Pentax 85mm
f1.4
Samyang SY85M-P Rokinon 85M-P Bower SLY85P
Sony E (NEX) 85mm
f1.4
Samyang SY85M-E Rokinon 85M-E
Samsung NX 85mm
f1.4
Rokinon 85M-NX
Micro Four-Thirds (aka M4/3) 85mm
f1.4
Rokinon 85M-MFT
Fuji X-Mount 85mm
f1.4
Rokinon 85M-FX

Gear Alert: The 1 Most Important Thing You Must Know About the New Yongnuo 35mm Lens for Canon

0

I want to get this article written and uploaded as fast as I can, because the new Yongnuo 35mm lens is officially for sale (Check it on Amazon), and it looks really, really interesting, but there’s one very time-sensitive thing that I think people need to know. I’ll try to keep this short, I don’t want to end up writing a book on this, because I have a whole long essay I’ve been working on that’s related to the topic of 35mm lenses. I’m going to try writing this in points to lay out my case:

yongnuo-35mm-front-and-back

The front and back of the Yongnuo 35mm shows it to look quite solid, as well as quite Canon-like (thanks to the fonts)

  1. Everyone loves the inexpensive 50mm f1.8 “nifty fifty” lenses, and the Canon version is the best-selling lens out there. Everyone on earth loves to tell people “OH YOU GOTTA GET A NIFTY FIFTY”, and it’s true that they are great lenses, because they’re fast and cheap.

  2. When it comes to the nifty fifty, everyone is kind of wrong about one thing: People love to say “you get the same view as you see with your eyes”. Well, that is NOT true if you’re using an APS-C camera like the Canon T6i, 70D, etc. These cameras are by far the most popular DSLRs, and a lot of newer photographers don’t realize that a 50mm lens will capture far less of a scene on these than on a full frame camera like the Canon 5D Mark III or things like that. The nifty fifty is still a cheap, fast, sharp lens on crop-sensor cameras like the T6i, but the photos are much more zoomed-in than what your eyes see.

  3. Canon sells a nice little 40mm f2.8 pancake lens, that would probably suit people better, but it’s more expensive than the 50mm, and slower, so most people will naturally buy the nifty-fifty first, and then be fairly reluctant to ever buy the 40mm, since it’s fairly close to what they own.

  4. The Yongnuo 35mm is almost as fast as the Canon 50mm (Amazon) (f2 vs f1.8), and also the number 35 looks far enough away from 50 that I think people will psychologically be a lot more apt to buy it, especially when you consider that it’s about $30 cheaper than the 40mm. A lot, and I mean a LOT, of people buy a cheap 50mm and immediately want to buy another cheap prime lens, and are disappointed to learn that there’s really nothing out there that’s as great a value as the nifty-fifty.

  5. Yongnuo are a solid company with a track record of very good, high quality products (mostly flashes, but their own nifty-fifty is also VERY well regarded), and people love them. I think their reputation, paired with a fast, cheap prime lens that isn’t super-similar to the nifty fifty is going to make their 35mm lens a HUGE success, it is going to sell like CRAZY.

  6. Going back to point 2, I think once people actually start using a 35mm focal length lens on crop-sensor APS-C cameras like the T5i, T6i, 70D, etc., they are going to love it, and word is going to spread like wildfire at what a better choice this is than even the nifty-fifty.

  7. So here’s the thing: When Yongnuo put out their 50mm nifty-fifty clone, they sold it for about $40 initially, but it became extremely popular, and they realized they could basically double the price. If you believe, as I strongly do, that the 35mm will be a huge hit, it is very, very likely that they will raise the price on it, maybe even double it. This is my main point: If you don’t already have a 35mm or 40mm focal length lens, you need to buy this one right now before the price goes way up.

Getting this thing for about $120 right now is such a steal. Here’s the thing: I am constantly keeping my eye on old, manual focus used lenses, and you can’t even get an OLD f2 35mm lens for $120. Check out this link to KEH and look for the f2 Canon lenses they have (I wasn’t able to narrow the link down to only f2 lenses) – their stock will change over time, but as I’m writing this, their cheapest 35mm f2 is $109, but that’s for one in their Ugly condition, which means the glass has “marks, fungus and/or haze”, and is not even close to being a good lens. To get a 35mm in excellent condition there right now is $199, but remember, that’s an old, and not necessarily sharp, lens that is completely manual – you can’t use autofocus or auto-exposure with it (incidentally you can’t use it on a modern Canon anyway, just on a mirrorless like a Micro Four Thirds, Sony, etc., so don’t buy one of these for a Canon!)

So that’s my argument in a nutshell: I think this Yongnuo is going to be a huge hit, but I think the price is going to go way up, and you need to buy it now to save yourself money. My advice: Buy it, try it, and if you don’t love it, keep it a few months and then sell it on, maybe you’ll even make a little profit, who knows!

Links: Yongnuo 35mm lens for Canon on Amazon

Since the time I started writing this article and publishing it, the Yongnuo has already gone out of stock on Amazon, which basically proves my point: This thing is likely to be a huge success. If you think you’re going to want this sometime, do yourself a favor and get it sooner than later!Looks like there are still some available on Ebay, but prices look like about $140, and if I recall it was $121 or so on Amazon, so use your best judgement and do what suits your needs best.

A Really Great Rundown of the Bags That 75 Pro Photographers Use

0

Just stumbled on this great article on a site called Shotkit. The writer asked 75 shooters what bag they used, and wrote a comprehensive article about it, and it’s great.

I’ve been quite into bags lately, and I’ve actually got two on order (inexpensive but promising-looking Ebay ones coming from Asia somewhere), and there are so many nice ones out there. Unfortunately, a lot of very attractive bags cost hundreds of dollars, but there are some solid choices out there that come in under $100, or even under $50, and, perhaps surprisingly, some are represented on this list.

I do think that once you go over a certain price threshold, a lot of what you’re paying for is aesthetics, or even the brand name. For instance, I love the look of ONA bags, and I understand they can’t be cheap to make, but oof, some of the prices are well out of my range – perhaps not overpriced, but not in my range. But the name seems pretty well known, and a lot of people are willing to pay, and so it goes. (Funny thing – I couldn’t remember the name ONA as I wrote this, so I googled “expensive camera bags” and the number 1 result was their beautiful Brooklyn bag.)

So give it a look, and I’ll update this site with my findings on my own purchases when I receive and test them. I can also compare them to my current bags – I’ve currently got a Lowepro Slingshot 102 which still does nicely as a smaller bag, as well as a Manfrotto Advanced Tri Backpack (in the medium size), which I really dig, and helps when I need to take more than a single DSLR and a few lenses. I’ve actually got a few more, but they’re out of rotation and haven’t been used in ages.

This post is actually partly just a bookmark for myself, so I can find this list months from now when I will surely want to read it at some point.

Selfie Stick Showdown – the Top 4 Compared

0

The Wirecutter recently published an article comparing 20 different models of selfie stick, and they pronounced the Looq DG the best of the lot.

They also singled out 3 other selfie sticks as runner-ups, all of which they deemed “Also Great”, which some might feel is a bit wishy-washy. I decided that maybe another look at their top 4 was in order, andI took it upon myself to do it, so without further ado, here’s my rundown, please enjoy, and let me know what you think (you can now find me on Twitter.)

The Looq DG is the best selfie stick, according to The Wirecutter. Let’s see what the story is:

The Looq DG

FEATURES AND SPECS:

The Looq works in a very clever way. It doesn’t work using bluetooth or wifi, doesn’t need batteries and in fact, it doesn’t use any power at all. It has a headphone cord that you connect to your phone, and when you click the button on the Looq, it changes your headphone volume, which triggers a photo on both iOS and Android phones.

This unit extend from 8 inches to 41 inches. It fits all phones width up to 3.35 inches thick. This of course includes the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

WHO IT’S FOR:

Narcissists.

SUMMARY:

There are 2000 year old trees that have been photographed fewer times than the average 20 year old. These trees go on, decade after decade, humbly providing us with the very oxygen we breathe, nourishing the earth, and providing shelter to wildlife. Their beauty and usefulness will live for centuries, long after the last selfie stick has decomposed on an indistinguishable pile of trash in some disgusting, polluted dump.

The Ipow was the first runner-up that The Wirecutter listed.

Ipow

FEATURES AND SPECS:

The manufacturer describes this selfie stick this way:

“Don’t you have this confusion when you are traveling, on the beach, hiking in the mountains, rock climbing, on a cruise, or just around the house with the family,even when you are traveling to a foreign country? Our Ipow camera pole is very nice and essential tool to solve this issue.”

That about sums it up. Notable is that this model works using Bluetooth, so it may impact your phone’s battery somewhat, but it’s not a big deal overall, Bluetooth uses less power than WiFi.

WHO IT’S FOR:

Narcissists.

SUMMARY:

Soft features, smooth skin, and a symmetrical face can signal outward beauty to humans, but these things only last for so long. All beauty fades, and having tens of thousands of photos of your looks slowing degrading as you age is a curse in two ways: Even as you document your slow but inevitable descent, your constant pursuit of self-worship reinforces itself, and you will reach a point where you’ve convinced yourself that only physical appearance matters, right as your own physical appearance gets worse and worse. This is a Faustian bargain that can only result in emptiness and depression.

“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.”

― Francis of Assisi

The Noot is another runner-up, which The Wirecutter called a “suitable alternative” and “Also Great”

The Noot

FEATURES AND SPECS:

The Noot is another stick that uses the headphone jack, like the Looq DG. With a weight of 9 grams, it extends to a maximum of 95 cm (about 3 feet.) The Noot will you have you snapping pics easily – it’s noot hard at all!

WHO IT’S FOR:

Narcissists.

SUMMARY:

Narcissism has been grouped with Machiavellianism and psychopathy into a “dark triad” of negative personality traits. These traits are correlated with racism, aggression, sadism and other undesirable and destructive behavior.

“Every man is a hero if he strives more for others than for himself alone.”

― Lloyd Alexander, The High King

The Wirecutter points out that the CamKix Bluetooth Remote Selfie Stick has features the other sticks don’t.

CamKix Bluetooth Remote Selfie Stick

FEATURES AND SPECS:

This is another Bluetooth-enabled unit, and it extends from 11 to 40 inches. It’s light and compact, but to be honest, so are the other selfie sticks in this list. It’s worth remembering that this will only work with iOS 6.02 and up, and Android 4.2.2 and up.

WHO IT’S FOR:

Narcissists.

SUMMARY:

“Non nobis solum nati sumus. (We are not born for ourselves alone.)”

― Marcus Tullius Cicero, On Duties

LightingRumours Has a Very Nice Review of the Pixelstick

0

Looking around the web today, I noticed this review of the Pixelstick on Lighting Rumours, and I recommend giving it a look. It’s informative, and includes some some really nice photos.

This is one of the more abstract Pixelstick creations out there, but extremely realistic images are also available – scroll down for one.

The Pixelstick is a lightpainting tool, originally sold through a (quite successful) Kickstarter campaign, and now on a dedicated website. For $349, you get a long stick with 200 colored LEDs on it, and a controller which lets you do incredibly complicated things, and create lightpaintings out of images of your own.

How it works is that you take an image that’s 200 pixels vertically, and you put that on an SD card, then you put that card into the Pixelstick. As you walk across your lightpainting “canvas”, the LEDs will change color to match the horizontal pixels of the image you loaded.

I wanted to include an image from the review I’m talking about, so I nicked this one. It’s Copyright Robbert Dijkstra – Picturelab. (He wrote the review in question.)

It’s an incredibly smart idea that they seem to have done very well, according to the Lighting Rumours review. The review does make a good point that it’s not a cheap tool, but that it’s worth it if you can keep coming up with creative uses for it. I agree, but I will add that while the Lighting Rumours guy created some great images with it (as seen above), there are also a number of extremely cool stop-motion videos I’ve seen with it, and I think perhaps that might be the best way to squeeze the most value and use out of the Pixelstick.

So for now, check out the review I mentioned, as well as some other good links (with more pics) I’ve stuck below.

Links:

Of course, the official Pixelstick site has a ton of info, as well as being the place to buy one now that the Kickstarter is long over.

The Pixelstick’s Kickstarter campaign has good selection of images and movies on its Updates page. Scroll down that to see some of the work they’ve felt is especially worth showcasing.

The Lighting Rumours review this whole dang post is about.

Canon Recently Dropped Prices – What’s the Best Deal Percentage-wise?

0

Canon recently announced a bunch of price drops and instant rebates, and I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at which cameras/kits were actually reduced the most, on a percentage basis. I whipped up this chart, have a look.

Oh and one note: I believe most, or all, of these price drops are permanent, but there were some recent time-limited rebates on a few of these cameras as well, which can cause some confusion (because Amazon leaves up recent rebate information on the order page, even after the rebate “order by” date expires).

Product Original Price Discount New Price Percentage Savings
EOS 5D Mark III $3099 $600 $2499 19%
EOS 5D Mark III with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS $3699 $600 $3099 16%
EOS 5D Mark III with EF 24-70mm f/4L IS $3849 $600 $3249 15%
EOS 6D $1799 $400 $1399 22%
EOS 6D with EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 STM $2199 $400 $1799 18%
EOS 6D with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS $2399 $400 $1999 19%
EOS 7D Mark II $1799 $100 $1699 5%
EOS 7D Mark II with 18-135mm IS STM lens $2149 $100 $2049 5%
EOS Rebel SL1 $549 $150 $399 27%
EOS Rebel T5 Kit w/ 18-55mm lens $549 $150 $399 27%
EOS 70D $1199 $200 $999 17%
EOS 70D with 18-135mm IS STM lens $1349 $200 $1149 15%

New Lightroom Tutorials by PhotorecToby

0

Update – Just finished watching the latest video in this series and it’s great, I’d recommend this. I also learned that when the full 8 videos have been released, the price will go up, which is worth noting (although still a month away I think?)

After the horrible image I made for my last post, I just screenshotted the dang Adobe website for this!

I just wanted to post a quick thing pointing to something I recently signed up for.

If you spend any time looking at photography videos on Youtube, there’s a good chance you’ve seen some by a guy named Toby, aka Photorec Toby (also aka CamerarecToby I guess?) His videos are quite pleasant, and he does a good job of reviewing gear, doing overviews of general photography stuff/techniques, etc.

He also has a weekly video podcast called Photo MishMash with a lady named Christina, and together, they’ve put together a video course on how to use Lightroom. I’ve been watching it, and I’m enjoying it so far, and I just wanted to link to it. It’s only 2 episodes in, but the style is good, and while I thought the first video (on importing images, setting up Lightroom, etc) would be too basic for me, I watched it anyway and learned a lot about some settings I didn’t really understand.

The really nice part about it is the price – it’s $2.50 per episode (they have 8 planned in total), which is extremely cheap compared to other courses (also it’s free if you subscribe to his Patreon campaign). Of course I can’t find it now, but I’m positive I saw a course for maybe $150 on a very popular photo blog the other day which I can’t remember the name of now, ugh. Apparently it’s like the most popular photography blog?? (note to self: edit this when you remember that site!) Ugh, I can’t believe I can’t find that site, but I just googled for “lightroom tutorials” and I found a bunch of other paid ones ranging from $40 to $110+.

This one is $20/month but includes other stuff, and actually doesn’t look like a terrible deal, but that’s a pretty huge cost over a year – you’d have to really make time to watch a lot of videos to get your money’s worth, but if you did that, and if the courses are decent (they look okay at first glance!), I’m sure it’d be worth it. Actually the more I look at it, it does look pretty appealing, I’m going to bookmark that and think about joining.

Also worth mentioning, I’ve been a member of a few different video training sites – mostly web-related ones like Treehouse, Codeschool and one or two others – and I’ve seen good and bad videos, and know what works and what doesn’t, and the PhotorecToby are quite good.

So anyhow, that’s all I have to say about it really, you can check it out here, I just figured I’d mention it quickly for people who haven’t seen it (and cause I haven’t updated this blog in 2 days haha!)