The Hottest Camera On The Internet Gets An Update

If you have been on any social media in the past couple of year, you know that the FujiFilm 100V has been one of the most sought after cameras.

Admittedly, i have using one of the X100 series for years, and it’s been the camera I grab when going out on the streets of NY. Lightweight, top notch optics, leaf shutter, and as i went through various models in the line, love all of the improvements along the way. Yes, I did pick-up the tl lens ad-on , and have used it in venues where it made the most sense. Easy to carry as well as fitting on all of the line-up as I upgrade to new models

Articulating LCD, and the more megapixels were the big ones for me on the X100V, and now they went above and beyond with the X100VI!

So, new processor with 40.2 megapixels, PLUS 5-axis image stabilization good up to 6 stops, and add in 20 film simulations for your creative choices. I usually just go with an Acros versions, and sometimes Provia. I shoot RAW so only used for jpeg export from camera.

And to further increase the versatility, this new model has 6.2K/30P movie recording capabilities.

There is a slight bit of additional LCD articulation, and I’ll take it!

The good news is also that the batteries from previous bodies can be used here, so no need to re-buy!

Size wise- it’s pretty much the same size as the X100V.

Of course the question is: Should you buy?

If you are not a current of the X100V, no question. And we have been told that availability should not be an issue. Fuji learned.

Should you upgrade? If you already have a X100V, you may not want to spend the dough, unless you can sell it.

The hot market may cool off, once the x100V1 once is available. I’m sure you will get a good price as it is still a sweet camera.

However, with all of the additional features, like IBIS and a 40.2 megapixel brand new sensor, your street work can get a huge upgrade.

And the price? About $1600 USD , and available in black or silver

And do want to mention the special edition X100VI:

Limited Edition X100VI Units:

To celebrate Fujifilm’s 90th anniversary year in 2024, a special Limited Edition of 1,934 X100VI cameras will be made available by Fujifilm, worldwide. The Limited Edition camera body is engraved with the corporate brand logo from Fujifilm’s founding in 1934, and each unit bears a unique serial number. These numbered X100VI units are packaged in a special, soft-release box that includes a special strap and Fujifilm history cards. The Limited Edition X100VI units will be available in extremely limited quantities and vary depending geographical location. Please contact your local Fujifilm sales and marketing company to explore the opportunity to purchase the item in your area.

This will be available for about $2000.

 

Fujifilm Debuts X100VI
Mirrorless Digital Camera X100VI’s iconic dial-based design and advanced technology includes new features for content creators of all types; special limited edition also announced in celebration of Fujifilm’s 90th anniversary
FUJIFILM North America Corporation is pleased to officially announce the highly anticipated launch of FUJIFILM X100VI digital camera (“X100VI”, pronounced X100 Six), the newest model in the popular X100 Series. X100VI offers outstanding image quality in a compact, lightweight body, and features Fujifilm’s legendary color reproduction technology, which is best experienced through its revered Film Simulation modes, a feature, users have come to expect from all Fujifilm digital cameras, along with In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) and enhanced video capabilities.

Product Features:

  • X-Trans™ CMOS 5 HR and X-Processor 5 deliver high image quality and high performance X100VI is equipped with the back-illuminated X-Trans™ CMOS 5 HR sensor1 with approximately 40.2 megapixels. The sensor has an impressive pixel structure that allows light to be efficiently captured compared to prior X100 Series cameras. Additionally, ISO 125, which on the previous X100V model was only an extended sensitivity option, is now available natively on the X100VI. With its fixed, 23mmF2.0 lens, X100VI delivers sharp, high-resolution images.

  • X100VI comes with 20 of Fujifilm’s popular Film Simulation modes, including the new REALA ACE mode, which applies a diverse range of distinctive tones to the user’s images. REALA ACE mode offers faithful color reproduction and high-contrast tonality, making it suitable for a wide variety of subjects and situations.

  • The camera incorporates an impressive autofocus (AF) prediction algorithm for reliable focusing, even when recording continuously-moving subjects. X100VI uses the subject detection AF X-Processor 5 to accurately track a range of subjects. Built using deep-learning AI technology, it can detect animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, trains, insects, and drones2.

    • Enhanced high performance to maximize X100VI’s range X100VI is the first camera in the X100 Series to incorporate a 5-axis, in-body image stabilization function with up to 6.0 stops, while generally maintaining the X100 Series’ characteristic compact size and lightweight, only having increased in weight by 1.52 ounces over the previous model.The “Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder” allows the user to switch freely between the optical viewfinder (OVF) and the electronic viewfinder (EVF), pursuing the rangefinder style of photography that has been a hallmark of the X100 Series.

  • The EVF is equipped with a high-resolution OLED panel with approximately 3.69 million dots, optimizing the immersive shooting experience. The “Electronic Range Finder” (ERF) function allows a small EVF to be simultaneously displayed on the OVF. Using this feature, the photographer can view either the entire frame or the area of critical focus, increasing the capabilities of a standard optical viewfinder. The ERF function is highly convenient, especially for street photography. 2 Subject detection setting should be on “Bird” to detect insects, and on “Aircraft” to detect drones.

    CIPA compliant, Pitch/yaw direction, when EVF/LCD is used

  • X100VI is capable of 6.2K/30P movie recording, a first for the X100 Series. The camera is also equipped with a tracking AF function during movie recording to ensure high-quality content creation.

    X100VI offers an accessory-free, native Camera to Cloud integration for Adobe’s Frame.io, which allows users to wirelessly connect any X100VI to an active internet connection, authenticate it to Frame.io, and automatically upload photos and videos just moments after they are created. This can drastically reduce the amount of time needed to reach the end of any post-production workflow. X100VI is the latest in FUJIFILM‘s digital camera portfolio to integrate Frame.io’s Camera to Cloud technology, joining X-H2, X-H2S, and GFX100 II in offering the capability.

    • Sophisticated, functional product design As with the prior model, aluminum is used for the top and bottom surfaces of the X100VI body. Aluminum, which features a high degree of malleability, is pressed and machined for crisp, clean edges, and the surface is finely blasted for a smooth texture. In addition, anodized aluminum is used on the camera surface to produce a high-quality finish.

  • X100VI’s ultra-thin tilt LCD monitor can be stored in a fully flat position, a design leveraged from the X100V. The stylish, integrated body design allows for a variety of shooting styles, from high to low angles. The shape of the grip has been fine-tuned to ensure a secure yet comfortable feel. The positions of the buttons on the back of X100VI have been designed to maximize ease of operation with the right hand, enabling extremely comfortable shooting while utilizing the viewfinder.

  • Wide variety of compatible accessories enhance X100VI’s capabilities Weather resistance is available for X100VI when the optional AR-X100 adapter ring (MSRP $49.99 USD/$50.00 CAD, available in silver and black) and the PRF-49 protection filter (MSRP $55.99 USD/$70.00 CAD) are used in conjunction with X100VI’s lens. This allows the user to continue making images in challenging weather conditions.

  • Fujifilm’s optional LH-X100 lens hood (MSRP $139.99 USD/$100.00 CAD, available in black and silver) is also compatible with X100VI. In addition to being lightweight and precisely crafted from machined metal, the hood is cleverly designed not to obstruct the field of view when looking through the viewfinder, thus achieving light-shielding performance.

  • Two separately offered FUJIFILM conversion lenses allow the user to change the focal length without changing the optical performance of X100VI, thereby enhancing the photographic field. WCL-X100 II (MSRP $349.95 USD/$450.00 CAD, available in silver and black) is a dedicated wide conversion lens that multiplies the fixed focal length by approximately 0.8x, converting it to 28mm (35mm format equivalent), while the TCL-X100 II (MSRP $349.95 USD/$450.00 CAD, available in silver and black) is a dedicated teleconversion lens for narrowing the field of view by multiplying the fixed focal length by approximately 1.4x, converting it to 50mm (35mm format equivalent).

  • Adding the separately offered, LC-X100V genuine leather case (MSRP $79.99 USD/$100.00 CAD) ensures the X100VI can be carried in style. The battery and the user’s memory card can be inserted and removed from the camera without the need to remove the camera from this case.

Pricing and Availability:
X100VI is expected to be available from Fujifilm dealers early March 2024 at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $1,599.95 USD and $2,159.99 CAD.
X100VI Limited Edition is expected to be available directly from Fujifilm commencing in late March 2024 at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $1,999.95 USD and $2,699.99 CAD.
For more information about X100VI, please visit this link .

Start 2024 With Perfect Color Using Datacolor

I have a great deal of respect for companies that are dedicated to their product line, and of course to their customers.

Yes, there are all of the camera manufacturers, who know once you are in a system, you will probably stay, unless you have unlimited funds. We could talk forever on each one, and why they are awesome.

I’m talking about the companies that support all of your image making, because if you don’t have the best output, it doesn’t matter what gear you had in your hand.

Think of brands like Adobe who are all about the digital image, and they maintain the product line and support for all that. Not hardware, but software.
Then you have a company like Datacolor who is dedicated to ensuring that all of the work you do looks great : When you are making the image, and then exporting the result. Yes, I’ve had more than a couple of posts where they were featured, but employing their full line is obviously something I take seriously.

Let’s go through some of the product line, and why I depend on them for my workflow.
Once you employ their tools, It’s all about getting the baseline, as in a correctly exposed and accurate file as they were shot. Once you have a baseline, let your creatives juices flow.

Starting from the right place is the idea, a little bit like starting with RAW, relatively untouched files.

For me, the first step is starting with a calibrated monitor.
What that means is that the monitor you are editing with should be calibrated to a standard color band. Not that you wouldn’t get creative,  and make sure the look of the photo or video has your look on it when you finish working on it.
This will ensure that you started with a  correct baseline. If you are not working with a calibrated monitor, the work you put into image, may not look the same once you get it into other environments. Like a book, or prints.
Enter the Spyder X2 Ultra calibration device.


It is so easy to calibrate your monitor, and the Datacolor software walks you through it.
Maybe it’s a 2 min process.
Essentially, you first set the device near your monitor on your desk so it can read the light in the room. (more on that in a sec)  Then the software walks you through the steps to hang the device onto your screen, as it cycles through the calibration process.

At the end you can save the profile for, perhaps, how your camera exposes in certain situations, like a wedding or event photographer who uses a certain lighting setup, even flash-on camera, and here is a bonus feature :
Monitors don’t keep their corrections forever. Just a fact of life. The Datacolor software sends you a reminder every month, so you know when to refresh the settings. I kinda like it when this pops up on my screen. A gentle reminder.


Genius!!

One thing to remember is that when you are working on a screen, the ambient light in your room will affect the perceived color.
In my day job, I produce commercials , and when we have been in the remote world, my biggest issue has been trying to see, on my home office screen, as close as I can get to the colorist screen.
How do they know what my ambient light is?
The Spyder X2 Ultra solves this issue, by having a sensor that takes that light by your monitor into account, as shown blow

And there is an additional feature in the software where you can turn on automatic ambient light adjustment. They took into consideration that the light in your post production area may shift during the day. You just have to leave the unit plugged in, and it will adjust your monitor(s)

OK, you have set your monitors, and you have a confirmed color, or a black and white baseline.

Next part of the equation, are the compact, portable color charts.                                                                                                      They are always in my camera bag, as the size allows for that.

One is dedicated to still photography. The Spyder Checkr Photo is a set of 4 color and B&W charts, set in a click stop case. Small, locking , and you can even replace the charts if you get a smudge or hand grease on it.
The way it works is that you preset the standard chart in your computer, and this can be done with include software and images.
When you are about to shoot, take and shot of the color chart near your subject, so that the lighting is similar. All about the light falling on the color chart.

Easy Peasy. I even have used it on the street, where I may photograph the chart, and then at least to have a standard to deviate from.


When you return to your post production set-up, take the shot of the color chart from your shoot and match it up to the sample. Then you Edit in Spyder and set the color.

Here is how you do that in LightRoom: go to Photo>Edit In>pick edit in SpyderCheckr (yes you do need to have the software installed on your computer for it to show up in the Edit In options)

Then there is a video equivalent color chart. Spyder Checkr Video.
Here is a basic video to give you a look at how it operates.
This works kind of in the same way as the photo checkr. However, the color correction is a bit more complex in video, as you are making adjustment on vector scopes that you use in your editing software, like Premiere  or DaVinci.


You still shoot some frames of the color chart and B&W reference. Go into the vector scope and match up the value from the chart
Do white balance, hue, and saturation for each scene that you captured
More for an advanced user, but starting with great color and exposure, before you add your creative looks.

And the PDF instructions for use. 

How else can you ensure a quality image?
As we are dealing with light, the way light falls on a subject can tell you about proper exposure.
Datacolor makes a very cool product called SpyderCube cube that has a ¼-20 thread so you can introduce it into a scene, and see how the light falls using black, grey and white surfaces to let you know when to add or subtract light in post, and get proper exposure in your working file.

There is also a reflective ball on top. Basically calibrating for the specular highlights. Use the highlight slider to adjust for that. Grey, and white sides to generally balance, and an interested black hole on the bottom, which represents the total absence of light.

All of these factors will lead you to a well balanced, and properly exposed image. Of course the color charts will give you much more information, and if you are shooting for a client with a packaged product especially, exact color reproduction is critical. We call these “color correct props” that are generally created by companies that specialize in this, and work from files that have been approved by a brand. Not what you may buy off the shelf.  As a photographer/director, you are responsible for making sure the product is accurate.

I recently published a book of photographs, and the need for correct color was never more critical.                                                            Before you go to press, you have to make sure that the files you supply are what you want the final image to look like. Datacolor Spyder X2 Ultra was the only way to go.

I was able to review PDF layouts from the publisher, and because I was looking at them on a calibrated monitor, if any adjustments were needed, I could easily see what they were.

Plus, the X2 Ultra accommodates multiple monitors, and as I was using 2, it allowed a perfect color matching on both
You know what they say, GIGO: garbage in, garbage out.

The Datacolor Spyder X2 Ultra is my go-to monitor tool, and I depend on it.
The color charts are always in my bag, as the size doesn’t take up much room.
The Cube can be used  even if you don’t want to bring out the full color chart: small, easily held by a subject in a portrait situation.    Even a location portrait!

There is another product of theirs that is more geared to my older kit of Nikon DSLRs.
It’s the DSLR’s that allow you to set your lenses focal point.
It’s called a Spyder LensCal.

What this product does is let you calibrate (that word again!) your lens to make sure that it’s focusing correctly. On my older Nikons I could adjust a critical focus point, and used this tool. When I first tried this, I was shocked how slightly misaligned some of my lenses were.

With current cameras, I would only use it to set a main focus point and then know what the depth of field was. Super niche and not sure you need it.

Have a look at their full product line. And if you are someone who prints, Spyder Print maybe the product you need:

“The Spyder Print software creates a fully editable, custom profile to ICC standards. You’ll get the most color-accurate reproduction of your image files and reduce ink and paper waste from repeated print outputs while optimizing the performance of your printer.”

Paper and ink waste has always been a problem for me, when I printed. Creating a custom profile could help your print sales.

It’s a poor craftsman who blames their tools, but you must keep them in proper order.
I have seen sales on these items from time to time, you can get set-up, and

Make sure your images from 2024 are all that they can be.
As I said in the beginning, Datacolor, as a company, is dedicated to this.

And Now, Your Moment Of Zen….

Happy New Year!
I think we can all agree that 2023 was challenging on so many levels.
But we all made it through!
On to 2024, and a new device to maybe help you keep your calm, and focus.
It’s something I keep in my nightstand and take it when I travel.
Whether you have stressful shoots, attend business affairs with a lot riding on it, or just look at this year ahead and know there will be a bit of tumult, this little unit will help calm the waters.
Nothing artificial, nothing you put inside your body.
It’s the Morphee Zen Pebble:


72 audio sessions designed by relaxation experts. Continue Reading »

Make The Memories IRL with FUJI Instax

First posted this about a year ago, but I think that it deserves another posting. When you go out , or party in for New Years. sure the phone may be your camera of choice, and maybe everything you see is so transitory that am IG story, or Snap will suffice.

But maybe the people you ring in the 2024 with, and the events surrounding it deserves a real life, in your hand, photograph. The printer below will let you take any image from your phone and print it out. Add a cardboard frame to make sure it’s displayed

The instant print game is pretty much owned by Fuji with the Instax line of printers.
That is not an opinion, it a fact.
As an Instax enthusiast forever, I love the instant gratification of the print in hand, and while I enjoy all the phone filters I can use to digitally share photos, there is something about a physical thing in your hand.

Have a look at this vid for a great walk through at this new addition: Continue Reading »

Photoinduced: How it Started, How Its Going

As the year ends, a little look back on how Photoinduced came to be.
After leaving a production executive position at a large ad agency late 2004, I wanted to see what was around the corner.
There was an idea that had been rambling around my head for awhile.
A place for photographers to go with a wide range of subjects addressing all of the joys of the world of photography.
Interviews with masters, gear reviews, gallery notices, and resources. This is what became Photoinduced.
Below is a post from 5 years ago about the journey, which continues today.
My deepest thanks to all of the loyal readers, the brands that have shared the latest in tech, and the photographers I have the utmost respect for, whom I’ve had the honor to interview.
This is kind of an origin story.
#TBT
13 years ago today, I woke up and wrote the 5 pg draft to a new business idea. A website, tied to on-demand content, with video downloadable to a phone for mobile consumption. There was a cable channel woven in, and a social media play (not sure if I called it that back then) It was photography based, and not my photography, but photography as a whole. Some of you out there may remember signing an NDA.
Yes, people thought I was nuts making a digital play, and who would have watched any full up video on a phone? Pipes
were not built yet to handle that, and phones were flip or blackberry.
Continue Reading »

We Knew It Wasn’t Over! Still Great Deals For End Of Year Gear!

Sure, there was Black Friday.
Then Cyber Monday
Then Green Monday.
And the sales continue..
If you are looking to make some purchase before year end, you are in luck!
I keep getting emails about sales continuing this week. Everyone wants to end the year on a high note, including the stores.
Here is also a link to all of the Holiday Gift Guides of 2023
What to get?
Well, as always, this is usually the best time to grab some media cards and hard or SSD drives. Prices seem to hover in a good place this time of year.
Then I would highly recommend getting your self a new Wacom tablet, and even if you have one, the latest ones, with BT and touch capabilities, make them the best computer base tool out there for your editing, and honestly, your everyday use thanks to that touch pad capability

Continue Reading »

Holiday Gift Guide #6: For The Road Warrior & Hybrid Worker

Whether you’re traveling or working from the home office, you need the right tools.
Or maybe it’s just the coffee shop, you want tools to help make it as easy as possible.
This is a big category, and I’ll try to group them into categories.

All of the items here I have used in the real world, and highly recco. The photos are large so you can see the details.

At home:
First of all, you want to have your laptop at a proper angel for comfort.
Twelve South has a perfect stand for that: The Curve


It’s a great height, and I just add on a  bluetooth keyboard and trackpad.
Then you want to be able to use your phone to possibly face time while reviewing work on the computer. Rolling Square makes a well-made, and elegant solution for this.


Reviewed here as well. 
With a modular system and magnets, your magsafe phone can be attached to your laptop and angle to the perfect spot. And it folds or is removable for travel.
Pick up an additional mag plate and one of their lights and you have a sleek working environment. Or even a charging plate.
A great stocking stuffer, is their InCharge  6 in 1 charging cable. Always have the right connector! Continue Reading »

Holiday Gift Guide #5 – The Audio!

Ok, let’s talk about audio.
You know that it’s 50% of your content, unless it’s bad. Then it’s 80%

Yes, this list hasn’t changed a lot from last year, except for a few big additions:

When you want to go more mobile, and connect directly into your camera , or to a portable mixer, the latest from Rode, the Rode Wireless Pro just works . With a receiver and 2 wireless mics, you can quickly hook up your subjects for an interview situation. Plus this new setup gets you 2 lavalier mics for a more discreet mic situation.And finally, a compact charging and storage cage. In NYC, I’ve seen the local news station using these as they cover the local beat.

This new version features a 32 bit float, which is essentially a secondary recording that can ensure a quality recording when you go to edit. N0t able to use direct into your camera, but it’s your audio  insurance. Read more about 32 bit floats here.
Good news is that it is also compatible with a lot of other Rode products. Honestly it may be a bit harder to find due to the popularity, but worth the hunt.

Another solid choice is the Deity Duo, Continue Reading »

Holiday Gift Guide #4 – Photobooks

I hope you all had a relaxing holiday and got to spend time giving thanks.
And if you were clicking the keyboard or hitting the stores, we all know that Black Friday gives way to Cyber Monday!
To be honest, I always feel that it’s SSD/hard drives, and media cards that can be the best deals on these 2 days.
As we move into the cooler months, nothing beats sitting down and turning the pages of a great photo book.

Here are the photobook gift suggestions for this year:

Any book by Paul Nicklen!
Paul, and his partner Cristina Mittermeier make the most amazing and beautiful photographs of our natural world.


Paul is a SeaLegacy co-founder, National Geographic photographer, acclaimed ocean conservationist, and TED Talks favorite, Paul Nicklen traces his extraordinary love affair with the polar regions in his most recent book, Born to Ice. His powerful images of iconic arctic and Antarctic wildlife and scenery, coupled with his inspiring photographic storytelling, blends ethereal beauty of the icy landscape with a compelling call to action.
Yes, previous descriptor was the official word. Continue Reading »

Holiday Gift Guide # 3 – Tools for Content Creators: Home and Mobile

It has been an interesting year in the world of image making.
There is major emphasis on content creators, and the equipment they may need.
And Black Friday sales will be active on these brands, with highlighted products below:
Joby, Pivo, Platypod, and LumeCube and Ankerworks

Usually the biggest deal are on Black Friday, but don’t stress: Cyber Monday is right around the corner!

Let’s break it down from basic to major:First of all, if you are using a phone to create, the first you need is the Joby Bluetooth remote control. Turn your phone recording on and off from a distance. Pairs fast on your phone, dependable. Great tool.

A perfect gift for the mobile creator is the Joby Beamo magsafe light. Giving 4 hours of light, this light attached to a mag safe phone, and if you don’t have one, they include a thin metal ring to place in your case of phone back. Continue Reading »

Thanksgiving Memories – This is not a shell

 

DSC_0042

Not like “This is not a pipe” (Ceci n’est pas une pipe) the famous painting by Rene Magritte, below

the-treachery-of-images-this-is-not-a-pipe-1948(2).jpg!HalfHD

Nothing like that. Well, maybe a little borrowed concept for the sake of this post.

Instead it’s a bit of memory that has a photo of an object as it’s touch point.

When I was a kid, we used to have thanksgiving dinner at our apartment. The cousins always joined us, the good flatware came out, and that’s just what you did.
Mom cooked the turkey in a paper bag to keep it at a certain moisture level, and the pies were a sweet pecan.
But the appetizer was the most unique item.
A seafood mixture with a creamy binder, the origins of which I can’t remember, and bread crumbs.

All mixed together and served in shells. Like the one shown above.
Continue Reading »

Holiday Gift Guide 2023 – #2: The Gifts That Don’t Need To Get Wrapped!

And here we go!
It seems like this year, the end of year sales have been coming earlier and earlier!
Since I wouldn’t want you to miss some of the great deals out there, we’re gonna start with software.
Of course, all of the software below have great savings this year, so if you want to grab a deal , or gift someone, now is the time!

No wrapping needed.

For all of your basic daily needs, there are 2 main players: Lightroom and Capture One. The world is split!

Lightroom is my jam, and it’s DAM (digital asset management) helps me locate the 360K images on my drives, plus be able to work some post production into the mix. The Creative Cloud also is a major daily set of apps that I use all the time. Plus when some of the designers I work with send a file over, I can generally open it with one of the apps in the CC.

Continue Reading »

Paul McCartney, Photographer : Eyes Of the Storm

So, a new Beatles song at #1, tours still happening, and now, a show of photographs by Sir Paul McCartney.

Below is one of my faves from the exhibit:

Paul McCartney (English, b. 1942)
George looking young, handsome and relaxed. Living the life. Miami Beach, February 1964
Photograph
©1964 Paul McCartney under exclusive license to MPL Archive LLP

Yes, it has been exhibited in the UK, although this will be the first showing in the States.

Should be an amazing perspective from one of the people on the other side of the camera at all times. I’d say it’s a book, less about the photography than the historical reference. To have that from one of the subjects of Beatlemania will please the most ardent Beatles fan.

The official word:

Continue Reading »

Holiday Gift Guide 2023 – 1st Up, Something For Your family

Sure, the deals are coming faster than ever this year, and in the coming days, the posts here will cover a range of gifts for the image maker in your life.
Or maybe just you!

With holidays here, your chances of hanging out with family are darn good, and I’d like to suggest something to you:

Interview and Record the elders in your family, and create a family history video that can be shared, cherished, and passed on.

dad-2

When my grandmother was 92 and my daughter was 2, I saw them hanging out, and knew that the knowledge of family history my grandmother had would never get told, unless she told it.
Some family members felt it would be revisionist history. You know what? It was the only history we had.
And everyone sees life through their own eyes and experiences. No one is objective.
So I sat with Grandma Kate, and my daughter at one end of her bed, and proceeded to ask her questions.
Even if she didn’t know what she ate the morning before, she knew her personal history.
With a video camera in hand, I made a record for us of who were, where we came from, what my dad’s life was like, and look into the past that only she could provide.
Since then I have a made a bunch of these, and honestly, as you hone your interview skills, shooting skills, you will have made a very special gift for yourself and your family.

There is a reason that companys like Ancestry.com and DNA kits have become so popular. We want to know who we are, and knowing where we came from is a big step in that direction.

It’s up to you.
With your skill set, the tools, and during the holidays, the PERFECT opportunity, you can create a video that would bring a lotta happiness to your family.

The picture above is my father when he was a radio announcer in NYC.
Never got to interview him, and always wanted to share the sound of his voice with my daughter. Didn’t happen.

Give your new gear a run through with a purpose. Plenty of time for selfies.
Just a suggestion.

If you own a company, and still are making your year end purchases, coming up are more gift guides to help you make some gear decisions. Plus more.

My personal go-to purchases at this time of year are media cards and hard drives. Boring maybe, but essential, and best prices this time of year.

One thing to note is that there will not be camera systems in the gift guide. Every brand comes out with new and improved models, yet to switch systems is not and easy or cheap move. You know what you like, and perhaps the new global sensor is what you are after. Or you want to wait for the 2nd gen.

What will be posted in the next days will be gift ideas that will help you, or the giftee, in their image making life

The Little Product That Is Going Right Into My Bag!

As I start gathering all of the latest products for our annual Holiday Gift Guide, I’m seeing an interesting pattern:
It seem to be 2 major categories: Content Creation Tools, and pro-end products all designed to make your projects look the best that they can be.

Let’s start with this MagSafe light from Joby. Called the Beamo™ Ring Light for MagSafe

Imagine a ringlight with 4 levels of intensity, 4 hours of power, that can be attached to your phone by MagSafe.


This little unit is complete with a mirrored surface to make sure you are lit right, and the best part: it stays on the back of your phone with the beauty of MagSafe. Continue Reading »

Social Content & Platypod, Plus More! : Tools For The Kit

How do we share these enriching experiences with a wider audience? In this digital age, social media reigns supreme, with IG reels and TikTok leading the way. Like it or not, it’s a fact.
Personally, I’ve embarked on a journey of increased content creation and discovered some invaluable tools along the way. When it comes to outdoor shoots, I’ve opted for a compact setup – I still shoot Fuji for those captivating stills reels and my trusty iPhone for additional IG reels and Tik Tok adventures.
I have kind of Frankestein-ed this from a variety of items in my general kit.
Depending on needs.

Here is a list:
*Platypod Extreme tripod Base
*Platypod Handle
*LumeCube phone holder
*LumeCube mini LED
*Manfrotto BallHead – (link is to a diff ballhead, than what is in the photos)
*Joby Impulse 2 Remote + (the secret weapon)
*Ankerwork M650 Microphones


Continue Reading »

Fall Will Bring A New FujiFilm GFX 100 II – Medium Format Flagship Gets An Update!

The FujiFilm update to their medium format camera has been rumored and is now about to become available.

The GFX 100II will be here this fall!


What do you get different from the last model?
For one thing the learnings of the sensor on the X-H2s, you get an improved 102MP Sensor with faster and better AF. We all need that!
Burst shooting has gone from 5 FPS to 8 FPS Continue Reading »

BH Sponsors a Gear Show, and PhotoFairs NYC Brings the Artistry

After a week in NYC with a gear show, Bild Expo, and an art show, Photofair, it became a meld of great effect. Both were happening within feet of each other in the Javits Center.

Bild Expo was created by BHPhoto and since PhotoExpo isn’t around, this may become the new deal. To be able to check out the gear, speak to brands about what you may be wanted to capture, and talks by photographers about their journey, was invaluable.

While perusing the new offerings of the latest gear , it was clear that there was indeed, nothing new under the sun, but improvements on what existed.
Great to see some of the brands that I have seen for years, still upping their game, and seeing familiar faces.

And mere feet away was a collection of over 56 global photo galleries, so you could see what some practitioners of fine art photography were creating.

PhotoFair was exhibiting some of the best artists in the field, with 56 galleries, representing about 120 photographic artists, plus talks by folks like Dawoud Bey, in a very comfortable setting.

Inspiring to say the least. When you see a major showing of fine art photography, it’ll make you examine your own path. Or bring you into the world of collecting.
Continue Reading »

Captivating Moments Unveiled: Bild Expo and Photofair Illuminate NYC’s Javits Center !

In September 2023, the city’s photography enthusiasts and professionals are in for a visual treat like no other. The Javits Center, nestled in the heart of Manhattan, is set to host two of the most anticipated photography events of the year: Bild Expo and Photofair.

Bild Expo: Where Creativity Meets Technology

Bild Expo, an annual photography exhibition and trade show, has become synonymous with cutting-edge technology and artistic innovation. In September 2023, it promises to be bigger and better than ever before. This year’s theme, “The Future of Photography,” is a nod to the dynamic fusion of traditional artistry and modern technology that defines the contemporary photography landscape.

Date: September 6-7 2023
Location: Javits Center, New York City

Key Highlights:

Exhibition Halls: Explore multiple exhibition halls showcasing the latest cameras, lenses, drones, and photography accessories from renowned brands. Get hands-on experience with the latest gear and see how technology is reshaping the photography industry.

Artistic Showcases: Witness the work of groundbreaking photographers, both emerging talents and established icons, in captivating gallery exhibitions. Get inspired by the diversity of visual narratives on display.

Educational Workshops: Learn from experts in a series of informative workshops covering topics ranging from lighting techniques and post-processing to storytelling through photography. Elevate your skills and gain insights into the industry’s latest trends.

Networking Opportunities: Connect with fellow photographers, industry professionals, and potential collaborators. Build valuable relationships and expand your creative network.

Photo Walks: Join guided photo walks in the vicinity of the Javits Center, led by experienced photographers. Capture the city’s iconic landmarks and bustling streets through your lens.

Photofair: A Celebration of Photography’s Rich History

Running right after Bild Expo, Photofair offers a unique journey through the history of photography. This event celebrates  photography, with 120 of the leading masters of the art

Date: September 8-10, 2023
Location: Javits Center, New York City
Key Highlights:

Don’t miss out on this extraordinary opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of photography, from its rich history to its cutting-edge future. Whether you’re a professional photographer, an enthusiast, or just curious about the art form, Bild Expo and Photofair at Javits Center in NYC this September 2023 promise to be an unforgettable experience that will ignite your passion for photography.

Prepare to be captivated, inspired, and moved by the incredible visual stories waiting to be discovered. Mark your calendars, pack your camera gear, and get ready to explore the limitless possibilities of photography in the heart of the city that never sleeps.

See you at Bild Expo and Photofair!

 

# TBT Story Behind The Shot #4

Story behind the shot(s)
Figured a good time to recount this event, as it’s the anniversary of Woodstock.

I was too young to go to Woodstock.
Bummer
Years later, there was an attempt at a re-creation bringing a ton of the folks that performed there.

Those that were still with us at that point.


Janis was gone, but Big Brother and the Holding company played.
Jimi, too, and his iconic version of the Star-Spangled Banner had to live in our collective memories.



Canned Heat, Chambers Brothers, Wavy Gravy, It’s a Beautiful Day, Country Joe & The Fish, Lee Michaels, and so many more played.


PLUS
Alan Ginsberg read from Howl to the rapt crowd. Meeting him was for me a major highlight.

 


Everyone let their freak flags fly and tried to recapture the vibe.
With less mud.
I shot with film.

Fast forward to a few years ago, on the 50th Anniversary, Morrison hotel Gallery invited Michael Lang, who was the main face of Woodstock, and had Henry Diltz, and Bob Gruen attend an opening of photos at the gallery.


Also included here are some shots of Baron Wolman, at a LA Gallery.


Plus, a who’s who of Woodstock photographers: Baron, Jim Marshall, Lisa Law, and Henry who all signed a classic photo from the event.


Sold for $20.


Why didn’t I get more as gifts??

Content Creators: Change Up Your Lighting Game!

We have all seen, and probably used, a ring light.
Basically, this gives you a shadowless light that may be flattering, although EVERYONE has been using this!
If you don’t believe me, have a look at the eye in a screen grab. In what we call a catchlight, you can see the ring light on the eye.
Not saying it’s bad, but maybe it’s time to change up your setup to add a bit more distinction to your content.
Joby has designed a full lighting kit for the smartphone creator with a new attention to detail: a background light.

It’s called the Beamo Deluxe Studio Lighting Kit! 

It’s a mouthful , so I’ll break it down for you. Continue Reading »

Maybe The Most Boring, Yet Critical Piece of Kit In Your Photographic Life

Sure, we all look at the latest camera bodies, glass, tripods, lights, bags (oh, the bags!) and more.
When it comes to your final output, what everyone will see, it’s about the tonal quality and color.
All of your post production adjustments are based on what you see on your monitor(s).
A little while back, I reviewed the Datacolor Spyder X colorimeter, and it has served me well.

When I am working on one monitor, that is.

So if that is your case, or if you work only on a laptop, that option is a great call.
However…..
I have begun the work on an upcoming book, and using multiple monitors, I needed to have the color match across them all.

Whether it is the post production on an image, or the layout of the book, having consistent colors across them all was critical.

That’s when I knew that the upgraded DatacolorSpyder X2 Ultra was the unit that would serve the project best.


Sure, they look the same, but the guts and software are the upgrade that was required.
Continue Reading »

#TBT The Story Behind The Shot #3

My VW bug was chugging its way up Telegraph Ave, like the little engine that could.
And it did!

That afternoon, on Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley, Talking Heads were doing a free concert.
As a new fan, it was not to be missed.

They did the hits, and in a very strange timing, they sang Psycho killer as we all found out that Mayor George Moscone & Supervisor Harvey Milk were murdered by Dan White, a former supervisor in SF.
Because of this tragedy, Diane Feinstein succeeded Moscone as acting Mayor.

The concert was crowded, and afterward and I found myself backstage. Don’t ask me how.
I ended up capturing this portrait of Tina Weymouth, the bassist.

A couple of years ago, there was a screening in NYC of Stop Making Sense, attended by Tina and her husband Chris Frantz, the drummer for Talking Heads.
I had my advance ticket, so I got a 16×20 print of the portrait to give to her on the night.
Decades later, the story came to a right conclusion.

Pivo Max – Your Solo Creator Multi-Use Tool

While at CES 2023, part of the goal is to see what’s coming out new, that could be of use to all of you.
When I saw this Pivo Max, I couldn’t wait to give it a go, and see if it performed as expected.

What you have, basically, is a base that has a bluetooth connection to an app, which allows you to track your movements while shooting. Your camera will move with you.

The thing that brought me to their booth and impressed me the most was the strength of the motor allowing the use of a mirrorless camera.

 


As a content creator, you know that you need to push out your work in a variety of formats.
The most common being the 9×16 Vertical for social/smartphones, and the 16×9 for platforms like YouTube.
You may have thought that you need to shoot twice, once in each format, or compromise the framing to lean towards one or the other.
The Pivo Max  does indeed have a strong enough motor to allow you to mount both a phone and a mirrorless camera to capture your content at one time.

It worked as expected! When I see products in a trade show, you never know how a production unit will behave. This did not disappoint!


Sure, you may say that anyone can mount both units and get the same.
But the critical difference when using the Pivo Max is the dynamic look when you add motion tracking to the equation.
By connecting via Bluetooth to the app, you can have your cameras track you by face, or body.
Now, if your content includes moving around a gym, in let’s say, a training video, or even a horse riding instructional this set-up will track you easily and make sure your shoot captures your vid.
Of course you can hire someone, to be the camera person.
This setup lets you shoot as a solo creator!
The tracking on this app is so good, it was tough to get a product shot as I moved around to get the right light! It kept following me.
I’m showing a specific set-up getting all content in 2 cameras at once.

The Fuji X-H2 has a flippy screen so I could see the framing on the camera, and then I used the phone in a front facing camera so I could see what was being captured there. Like I said, a one person set-up. We all know that the front and back cameras on a phone have diff resolution, but for social, the quality is good. The Fuji gets the 4K files.

To activate the phone I use the included remote control. The camera was activated on the body, knowing I’d be editing that first part out.

You can just mount your phone, or tablet, horizontal or vertical on the base, or a tablet, and keep it simple. Probably a way most people will use this.


Maybe you just want to live stream, and a less complicated set-up is best.
I would also suggest connecting a good wireless mic system to complete the system.
For this review, I was just shooting video, no audio.

OK, you have a dual capture set-up, a single capture set-up, and there is more.
With a remote control included, you can also control the base via the app, or even without the app!
So, if you want that 180º or 360º shot you can easily do that with the remote. Either direction.
You can also adjust speeds of any of those movements.

I have looked at this category for years, going back to something called a Swivl, which used a large bulky tracker that you wore. Unwieldy at best.

The tech in this may appear simple, and it may be. It just works.
If capturing content, as a solo creator, with the ability to add dynamism to your video with a moving subject, I highly recommend this Pivo Max.

It does all break down pretty small and the phone mount has a ¼-20 standard screw mount as does the base. I just screwed on the camera, and as you see, added a cold shoe adaptor to the phone base to complete my set up. The Max does not come with that, but I’m sure you have one in your kit. If not, a cheap add-on.

I do use a Zhiyun tripod adaptor so the bottom can live on the base, and the top lives on the camera. I didn’t have to remove my fave wrist strap, the SpiderHolster wrist strap, my wrist strap of choice/

This can also be a great tool for real estate sales

With this, an agent can give a virtual tour of a property. I think content creation is where we live, but that is just another use case.

The main base unit is rechargeable, with 10-12 hours of battery life. You can also charge your phone/tablet through the base while you record as well.
the remote uses 2 AAA batteries.

One thing I will say that you should look at your motion and see how how is all tracked.

In a closer , let’s say 6Ft distance, try to do smoother movements as the tracking is so good, it will stop and start moving as you do. No lag, but immediate.

There you have it! from the trade show floor, into a real world situation, the Pivo Max does exactly what it promised. It costs about $250, but I have seen it on sale for as little as $175 USD.

 

BTW, here is a video for another product on the line, with a motor best suited for a smart, not the full combo. You may want to look at the whole line to see which unit is best for you

 

 

# TBT Story Behind the Shot – Tragedy on Red River

(please note, there is a possibly disturbing photo at the end of this post)
I had just seen/photographed St. Vincent perform at Stubbs, and it was an incredible set.

Making my way out, it was on to the next venue to hear some new music.
While walking on the street, the camera’s exposure was set for whatever may be seen on the street.
There was a rope blocking the sidewalk, making us all walk in the street.
All of the sudden we hear a car’s screeching tires, bursting through the flimsy barricade with a police car in hot pursuit.
The camera came up to my eye, with the continuous shooting sequence in action.
The driver plowed through the crowd of these poor young kids, just trying to party and get to the next venue.
The things I saw, are etched in my mind forever, and I’m not sure about posting some of them here.
I know I saw a young woman bleed out, while being attended to by paramedics.
There was a facility close by that had dispatched medical support immediately.
This one shot has stuck in my memory as it reminded me of Kent State.

Continue Reading »

Story Behind The Photo #2 – Maximum Security Prison with a Manson Family Member

Sitting in a friends living room, it was fascinating to hear the writer talk about interviewing a Manson Family member in max security, in a morbid way.
Then she said the photographer she took with her, totally screwed the assignment.
One camera, dressed a bit off, and was scared witless. Missed most of the possible shots.
She needed to find another photographer.
My buddy suggested me.
After looking at some of my photos she agreed.
I asked her when we would be going, and she said it would just be me, as she had already wrote the interview.
I did as much background as I could, and got notes from the writer.
With an official letter from the publication, a plane ticket, and my camera bags filled with his favorite cigarettes, I took off.
Nothing like hearing the actual door of a prison close behind you to know the truth.
While walking the line, my accompanying guard told me how much he respected my work from Nam.
I had never been to Nam. I said thank you.
Meeting with BB, I started to lay out my gear. There were some other inmates in the room, and I asked them all what they were in for.
The last one said I didn’t want to know.
I agreed, and gave him a smoke.
The guy knew his poses and we started to shoot.

During the process I asked him for his side of the story.
His freedom had been challenged, so he had to kill.
My gear was a Nikon F3, FM, and Nikon F that I always carried. Fully manual, and as the expression goes, I could hammer nails with it all day, and it would still be in focus.
And both of the other cameras did go down.
The final set-ups were done with the F. Whew!
Yes, I had a speedlight, changing bag (used when the cameras went down) and tons of film, B&W, and ektachrome.
There was one shot that I wanted to do, and the guard was a bit concerned.
With the lights out, or very dim, I wanted to spray the scene with a fire extinguisher for atmosphere and hit the scene with a flash. Hell, he had an automatic weapon.
So, we did it.

 


Throughout the shoot we talked a lot.
“When did you get those tattoos?”” In here” “Really, how?” “Broken guitar string and ink from a pen” “damn, that had to hurt!” “You know how long I’ve been in here? THAT hurts”
As a self-taught musician, we discussed his music, styles, etc.
After the shoot. I met with his therapist who told me he was really a good guy.
I sent him contact sheets, and transparencies, as I had promised.
A short while later, I was at home, and I get a collect call from the prison.
He wanted to chat.

Loved the photos, but unfortunately couldn’t get the slides as they were in plastic mounts and could have been made into a weapon.
How did he get my phone number?
The writer said he really like meeting me, and wanted to let me know he liked the photos.
Yes, I did change my number.
This was perhaps the most exhilarating, single photo shoot I had done.
The magazine came out and it was great to see the full page spreads of the photos.

#TBT – Story Behind The Photos #1

One of my favorite assignments was covering concerts at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.

Being a young, low on cash, photographer, Nikons NPS Service was always great about loaning me gear to supplement my owned kit.
The greats were there, and honestly, loved to photograph jazz musicians especially as they were the most chill.

I was hanging backstage, cameras slung on my body, with a bag loaded with extras.
Leaning against a wall, having a smoke, and one of the musicians came up to me.
“Say, are those Export A’s?” said Dizzy Gillespie.
“Yes they are” , I stammered back
“That’s my brand! Can I get one?” “Tell you what, if I can photograph you, I’ll give you a pack!”
He happily agreed, and we started to shoot!
Of course there was the classic puffed cheeks with the upward bell, which all went to just joshing around, playing congas and hanging out.
He ended up giving me a calendar from a Chicago jazz club, and some other things.
Most importantly, we had formed a photog subject bond, and through out the next three days, I was able to photograph him on stage, connect from the wings for more personal shots, And catch moments backstage with some of the other mega stars of the world of jazz.
Because I was hanging with Dizzy , it was assumed I was a “right “ guy, and the access was
invaluable getting moments with these other musicians.
Joni Mitchell was also on the bill, playing with Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Don Alias.
The list of talent was incredible, and the archives from that shoot are invaluable.

Remember when I told you that I was not a wealthy guy? Well, I was bulk loading film, and reusing film cassettes to save some dough. There was a roll that had unfortunate scratches, due to debris in the cassette, and through the years I have had those images worked on and ready for printing.
Just a cautionary tale.

Wacom Tablets – The Pro Move

I have been using Wacom tablets for many years, and the latest models are a great move forward.

Thinner, sleek design, lighter weight, better button design. Bluetooth has been available, just have to mention.

When you want to get more precise editing on your photographs, a mouse/track pad just won’t get you there.

OK, I know there are those that aren’t quite sure what the advantages are of a Wacom Tablet, or what the heck they even are.

Let’s get down to it before we get into some of the available options.

On a very basic level, a Wacom tablet is a separate work surface that connects via Bluetooth to your computer, and gives you an area to make precise corrections to an image. They come with a pen/stylus that lets you control things on your screen with a pen stroke, or push.
Primarily best in Photoshop, once you get familiar with the advantages, you will use it instead of a mouse/track pad, for pretty much every way you navigate on your computer. No matter what program you are using. This is also invaluable for illustrations. Drawing on a Wacom Tablet is the way to go!
The customizing of your available actions is all in your control.
I’ll get into some ways to customize in a sec.

When I tried to pass on one of my older Wacom Tablets to a fellow photographer, they had a visceral response, saying they were too hard, and complicated.

Doesn’t have to be!

Like all good tech, these have such a robust feature set, that you can set your levels of need, based on your skill level
Once you connect your Wacom tablet to your computer, you can go in and select from a menu of how you want to use it. Here you can see that it appears in your system preferences:


Personally, for the set-up, I keep it super simple:

Adjust the area on the tablet that is “active”: In other words, a 3in square can replicate the entire screen so you don’t need to drag your pen across the whole area. And if you use 2 monitors. you can select the area(s) that the tablet/pen is active.

Customize the buttons on the pen: Pressure is an easy select, and  Undo or Erase are the 2 most popular and used options, you can choose how they work


Set how the buttons on the tablet itself, will give you repeated actions that match your workflow.
Each button can also be selected to open a series of customized actions.


My advice is keep it simple, especially if you are new to this.
Now, some folks may say, ” I can just use my iPad ”
Want to know why that is not a great idea? The latency from the pen action to the tablet is so far superior on the Wacom, that it will cut down your possible frustration from things not happening in real time.

The Wacom stylus does not use a battery, so need to charge!
The Wacom tablet battery lasts for 15hrs so you will always be connected, unless you need those extra hours and can just plug in.

Yes, some of the current AI enabled masking options currently in Adobe software are great, no question, and you may think that these can help you retouch.                                    Sure thing, for global corrections, or major areas (Subject, Sky, Background)
But when you need to go in and really get specific on your post processing, you need the precision of the pen.
And if you are a portrait photographer, a delicate retouch on facial cleanup requires this set-up.
Try adjusting facial lines with a mouse.
Not happening.
What I use, is a simple, adjusted, smaller work area on the tablet (see above), zoom options, undo and erase, and various pressure sensitivities, left and right click, and double click.
On the Pro, where I prefer the medium size, you can add touch commands as well, so you can still get the track pad experience incorporated into your workflow. And more room on your desk!


The bluetooth gives you some freedom and no wires, although the pad is pretty close to my monitor mostly.
I haven’t gotten into the workflow of using your big screen for a couch centric work station.
Honestly, with a calibrated monitor, the Wacom, and a keyboard, my situation is pretty well set.

Now there are a few options to go with:

The Intuos Pro, Medium, my personal choice. This one sells for about $310. USD

It does come with a pen stand that also house a multitude of stylus tip styles for the heavy user.

Or, as a starter set-up, you’ll be happy with the  Intuos, Small, which is available with and without bluetooth. about a $20 USD difference.

Both come with training and software

So either $60 0r $80

Main differences are 4 customizable keys, not 8. The big deal for me was the touch pad. And the pen stand with extra stylus nibs is a great addition as well.

Whether you know the Wacom brand , or were wondering if you should jump in, now would be a good time!

There is one other part of the Wacom line that I love, but have yet to put in much time on.

It’s the Cintiq line, where you are actually working on a monitor as tablet so you can see all of your work right on the image as you are affecting it.

This one starts at about $650, which is waaaaay less than when I first started seeing these.

If you made it this far, I’ll bet you want more info.

 This video, from BH, gives a good overview

This can be a time saver and a new workflow for you, and once you have set it up, you will be sailing!

I work in ad agencies, and every art director I know, uses, loves, and couldn’t live without their Wacom.

Just saying.

Joby Smartphone “Swing” Slider – Upgrade Your Content

If you are a content creator, you know the gear you should have.
Or do you?
As most of the content on TikTok has, primarily, a static camera, and maybe a ringlight, hopefully some audio that is more than a headset mic, you may want to stand out a little bit more.
When I shoot an interview, for instance, I will use a 2-3 camera set-up, with one of the cams, on a slider.
What that does is add a bit of motion, even slightly, that gives you something to cut to or from, that adds visual interest to your production. In those instances I use the Edelkrone system on large tripods for stability, within the movement, and for the weight of the cameras.
If you are doing a smartphone bit of content, you kit is way smaller, and you may still want the extra visual boost of a moving camera. Chances are you will only use it as a “B” roll, or product insert shot.
Enter the Joby Swing Slider!
I’ve had a chance to work with this a bit and wanted to share a way I use it, although a bit different than the usual side to side.
How about in and out?

 

Now the goal is to have some elements for the camera to go past in this usage, so you have a true sense of depth. I had a camera, a Rubiks cube as you can see, with a Joby tripod supporting a business card, and added a puzzle ball behind, to complete the depth.

You can do the horizontal slider action, as well, but I wanted to show you another way to do it.

In addition, the slider connects to an app, and the connection is very fast.
You get to choose speed of the move and use the touch screen on the smart phone to set your start and stop points.

Plus you can do time lapses with the app!
I do love a good time lapse, and as I usually connect a camera to a power source, so as not to lose the shot, I have not yet tested this for long time lapses, and have just used the battery life on the unit. Since you don’t use those shots a ton, it ain’t Koyaanisqatsi,

And unless you are doing a ton of shots with the slider, the built in battery works just fine!

The unit also has a level so you can be sure to get your horizon line as you like them.


Have a look at this instructional video, so you can get an idea of its set-up:

Overall, I really like this unit. Also, feel that a heavier base camera stand may yield better results.
As you can guess, I only had the slider, and used other bits to put together the sample. I did use a heavier base camera stand for the video, by Edelkrone.


Yes, easy to do your vertical content, so no worries there!
One other thing to note is that the buttons on the iPhone may get pressed by you phone holder, but I’m sure you have experienced that before.
I mention it because the balance may be affected by how the phone is mounted, primarily in the horizontal format, depending how long you are having the slider travel.

So there you have it! About $140, for the whole kit.

Fuji Announces New Camera, Improved APP, & WA Lens

Big day of news over at Fuji, and we’re here for it!

Let’s start with the latest camera.

Now that everyone is vlogging (aren’t you?) the industry has come to answer your need!

The new Fuji X-S20, added in addition to the X-S10 has arrived with a ton of new features to make your vlogging heart skip a beat!

Thought I was over promising?
How about a Vlogging function on the PSAM dial!

One thing that influencers have always complained about is when they are talking about a product, and then hold it to camera, the time lag to refocus has been an issue.
This new camera is supposed to solve that lag issue.

From a larger battery for longer shooting time ( same as X-T4, X-T5 and H2, H2s),

 

to improved AF subject detect,

you may want to consider this as a dedicated influencer camera.

The 3.5mm mic and headphone jacks are on opposite sides of the camera, so may make your cable management easier.

the HDMI is the mini version.

the S10 is still in the line-up and at about $300 less, it may still serve your needs. But…..Get future proofed!

 

My only complaint is the single media card slot. But you can’t get everything!

That wasn’t all that was announced.

How about an improved Fuji app?

What’s that you say? About time? Yep, we agree, although I’m a big fan of the wireless firmware updates currently available.

They have added a history function so you can see just what you uploaded, film simulation. etc.

You still can’t upload a RAW or RAF file so be committed to your jpegs.

One of my main uses is when I do a pixel shift image, or remote control of the camera, and should be as good, or improved

And you did see the new wide angle 8mm lens on the S20 above.

The samples sent looked like there were no distortion issues, although I haven’t had a chance to shoot with it.

And for those of you out there with an X-H2, H2s, or X-T5, you get some updates as well:

Whew!

OK, there you have it!

Lots to go over.

Is this the camera for you?

I would say, as mentioned, that this could be a dedicated influencer/livestream/creator camera, with a ton of dedicated features for those operations.

Rolling Square – Form and Function Combine For A Brilliant Modular System

You know, whenever I go to trade shows, there is usually a trend in new products that can be spotted.
This year at CES, it was no different as manufacturers saw a need, and rushed to fill it.
Now as we all have been trained in the past 3-4 years to live on zoom calls, and while doing that, you may also need to communicate with your team/client via txt, slack, etc.
What we needed was a way to keep our phones at hand, and maybe needing to charge them while using that all, important second screen.

The most elegant, clean design I saw at CES was the offering from Rolling Square.
Called the Edge Pro system, this modular setup will serve you well, allowing you to attache your phone, and other essentials in a very slim design.
Not only slim, but a very clean design. All designed in Switzerland.                                                                                                       (Below are a combo of a video from the company, and actual photos by me of the product in use.)

take a look at this overview:

All in metal, the Edge Pro system is designed with a series of magnets, embedded within the separate units, and then you adhere these pieces to the back of your laptop, or computer case (which I did), and then add on the proper phone holder, or an adjustable light, or a phone charger. So you are adhering the silicon covered metal disks, and then the mag holders attach where you want them.

The magnets are a strong hold, and, as we are all about the magsafe phones or cases, you’re all good holding your phone. I was using it with an iPhone 14Pro

And they didn’t stop there.
With this system, you can also move it to an iPad, giving you that second screen. you can see that in the video above.

But wait, there’s more!
In the set you also get a round light that adjusts intensity and color balance!
Not the basic rectangular light, but that round beauty light make you look the best, in my humble opinion.

All about the catchlight in the eyes, right?
The light has a 5hr charged life and can adjust color temp, and intensity.
Here is the basic set-up that is an EDC (every day carry)

This is how it looks with just the magnet holders on the laptop case:

And here it is with the holders in place, from the back: (phone mag holder can be rotated & straightened.)

How thin is this? In other words when you put it into your bag, how much will it stick out? Barely at all. And you can always just take the mag connectors off, when traveling. Here it is with connectors folded and ready, and also with out connectors on.

 

And of course, you also get the magsafe phone charger that fits perfectly in the mag holder.
OR, just add another piece and you have a strong, simple hands free, phone holder.


For best results get 2 core pieces, in my opinion.

Or it works with one as well:

Sure, you will need a hub to connect your light and the charger to, let’s say, a MacBook Air at one time.
I use an EZquest hub for that, with multiple USB-C inputs.

As I mentioned, form and function. The clean design of this system drew me in at CES. And now that I have a sample, it’s better than that.
As we all may be moving to hybrid work and you need to travel your laptop, the connector, or home base as I call it. Folds in so slim, that it is barely noticeable, as you can see above.

I do wish there was a case that held all of the pieces, but I have pockets in all of my backpacks that do the job.

BONUS: As a run and gun photographer, who has to post fast, we all used to velcro a card reader to the top of a laptop.

Now you can use a ProGrade card reader , which has a metal plate in it, and have it held in place with one of the mag connectors.

I don’t want to come off as a complete fanboy, but when something is well designed, I want you all to know about it.

There is another line of products cables that they design, called Incharge-x. You see that in the above photo all folded up for travel?
So why are they good, well designed, and super useful?
Along with a rugged casing on the cable, each end has a sleek, all plug design so you are never without the right cable!
Check this out:

And you can go for the mini, seen above, which is always in my kit, all the way up to a longer version. They have from 1ft to 10ft  long, which stores in a silicon case.

BTW, the mini USB on the lightning output is hidden within the plug.  Genius!

In the case you also get hanger for stashing the cable near your computer. Or where ever you need to use it. Also mag, so the plug area will also just stick.

I write about these items, because they are the often overlooked, but much needed items.

When you show up at a job, or an office you want to look like you have the best usable, best looking kit, no matter what you are doing.
I do, anyway.

The Rolling Square line-up has a sleek design, and smart thinking behind it.

The expression goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Lynsey Addario Delivers Commencement Address To School Of Visual Arts

Tis the season!

Yes, you will see alot of notable speakers at graduations this season, and for the world of photography, Lynsey Addario delivered one of the finest to the graduating class of the School Of Visual Arts, 2023.
I would suggest reading it in it’s entirety because there are great lessons in there.
It doesn’t matter if you are a graduate, a photo journalist, or someone who can appreciate the life lessons of a worldly correspondent

Here it is in almost it’s entirety:

Usually, when I’m invited to address an audience, it is to speak about my experiences as a war photographer. Which is not surprising since I’ve spent the last twenty-five years covering conflict around the world, and most recently, Ukraine where I returned two weeks ago.
Today, you sit where I once did. You’ve likely spent the last few years thinking about the work you want to create, and the impact you want to make with your art.
Continue Reading »

Panasonic Lumix 5SII : Best for Video, or Stills?

After seeing the Panasonic LUMIX 5SII at CES, finally had a chance to actually put it to a real world review.
Often touted as the best solution to mirrorless video capture, I also wanted to see how it performed as a still camera making it a solid hybrid choice.
Sure, I’ll be laying out some of the specs, which you should go through if deciding on a purchase, and these are the first impressions:
Below is the full framee Lumix 5SII and the Lumix 5SIIx. More on the differences later.

First of all, this camera has a great ergonomics and very solid build, so felt just right in the hands, from the get-go.

The deep grip on the right hand side, gave a sense of security in holding the camera at the ready. The placement of the primary dials and controls are in just the right proximity for adjustments.

Glad they do not have the lugs with a hole for connecting a strap, so my SpiderPro wrist strap attached perfectly! I’ve tried so many of these, and I swear by the SpiderPro.
If you are familiar with a PSAM dial for exposures, you will feel right at home.


On a still photography walkabout, AF was primo, and coupled with the IBIS, street photography was a breeze.

Honestly, it locked in on selected faces in a crowded street fair,
The phase detect AF was spot on, and let me relax as the crowd milled about to get the right shot.

With a hybrid phase-detect AF (PDAF), the focus didn’t “breath” and locked on.
The 20-60 lens was tack sharp as well,

As a street photography camera, the Lumix performed spectacularly.
Here is my local pizza joint, with a fast capture. While not a night shot, the light was super low, and the Lumix delivered admirably.

This billboard was street level, but the texture was critical as a test.

This camera line has been lauded for its video capabilities, and this new unit proves that love for this is justified.
There are no recording time limitations at any resolution.
Panasonic achieved this by adding a small cooling fan in the enlarged EVF hump.
That alone may be a reason to purchase.
Genius!

The lens supplied for the review, the 20-60, had a perfect focal length for video and vlogging, in a 16×9 or a 9×16 format

The camera uses 2 SD media cards, and that was surprise as most brands are switching to a Cfast B option for improved read/write speeds, especially video and for sports.
So Panasonic and Sony are the holdouts committed to the SD format, although on the new Sony, you have a choice of SD or CFast A.
To that point S5IIx does support internal SD card recording up to 600 Mbps in All-Intra (All-I) mode.

The new L2 Engine processes twice as fast as before, I’m told, and the main benefit is that it allows for less rolling shutter distortion.

We all want that.

CMOS has some inherent issues, and this get’s closer to the solution.

Like all of us, I do like to customize a camera button operations, and knowing what I’d like it to do and how I shoot, I dig into the menus, and get it set for a real world review.
The menus were easy to get into and adjust, and only a couple of times did I refer back to the manual to adjust.

It may seem like a small thing, but I have tested some other high end mirrorless cameras where the menu choices are so deep and buried, that it makes it impossible to shoot on the run. At one event, even the company reps didn’t now how deep to go to make, what I thought was a simple adjustment. I only mention this to let you know, that out of the box, the Lumix 5SII menus are very user friendly.

As you can see here, the camera with the 20-60 mm lens is light enough and balanced for an easy vlogging situation. The articulated, or flippy LCD, made vlogging easy. Of course, this camera has built in active IS, so even handheld you are in a better place.

Would need to play more with the color, as vid straight out of camera was a bit off for me, and checking files on a calibrated monitor. I am sure that with a chosen LUT, I would have been in a good place.

To that point, here’s another sweet part: you can load in a LUT ( predetermined color correction) on an SD card, use that to capture vid, and color correct IN CAMERA. Saves a ton of time in post, if you need to get the vid out super fast!
Or just save time in the edit bay!

My only issue was battery life. there may be an auto turn-off that I didn’t discover, but the drain was real.
Anyone shooting on the street, or in a paid setting would have extra batteries on hand, so may not be as much of an issue.

Honestly, was tempted to make a purchase if I wasn’t invested in another system.

I have been shooting with an APS-C line-up, and the full frame files on the Panasonic had me thinking twice.

One thing to note is part of the Panasonic commitment to pro video.

As an example, you know that Netflix has an approved list of cameras that can be used for content they license.

The LUMIX S1H is the first mirrorless cinema camera to join the Netflix Approved camera list.
No, it’s not the one I’m speaking about here, but that approval says a lot about the product line. Twice the price, DC-S1HBODY $3,999.99
but depends on your needs, it could be the game changer you need.
Even as a solid B-camera option.

A few specs:
S5IIx will output full-frame 12-bit 5.9K 30p (16:9) ProRes RAW video, along with cropped 12-bit 4K (actually 4,128 x 2,176) and 3.5K (3,536 x 2,656) video at up to 50p externally to an Atomos Ninja V+ HDR monitor-recorder. Both cameras also offer S&Q and HFR recording, letting you capture at high frame rate.

The LUMIX S5IIX is capable of RAW video output and All-Intra, ProRes*1 recording on SSD. It also features wired*2/wireless IP streaming function and USB tethering.
Other than the fully blacked-out body, the S5IIx has some interesting features not found on the S5II. You can record to the USB-C port, much as you can on the GH6 via a recent firmware update. Formats supported include All-I, ProRes 422 HQ and ProRes 422, all in 10-bit. That includes 5.8K (17:9) at up to 25p (1.6Gbps) and C4K (4,096 x 2,160) at 60p with an APS-C crop (1.9Gbps). That will require some kind of rig to mount a USB SSD, but those already exist and aren’t very expensive. Check out SmallRig for some well made options expensive.

Now that both versions are available, I’d opt for the S5IIx for the extra $200. More vid capabilities, and after all it is all black!

So to answer the question: is it better for stills or video?
The answer: YES!

A Classic Flexible Tool Adds To the Lineup : Joby Podzilla!

I know you have to have one of the most versatile, classic tools in your kit:
A Joby flexible tripod called the Gorillapod!
For many years, this company has given the photo and video community unique tools to capture images from anywhere!
Yes, years ago, I did the first Photoinduced review of the Joby Gorillapod lineup by attaching a heavy video camera onto a railing, and on the other side of the scale, had a point and shoot camera attached to a metal surface utilizing the magnetic feet of a much smaller unit.
These products, and honestly the full line from small to heavy duty, have been a standard in my kit. The solution to so many mounting problems.
Now they have come out with new version of the classic that speaks to a new market, the Podzilla!

It’s not a replacement, but an addition!
In the original, you had to add a tripod head to attach the camera (or light, or microphone)

With this new version, the ball head is built in, with a bubble level.

So with the Podzilla, you get a new visual design with the same quality and support.
You do have some restrictions on how heavy your camera can be, although the weight of cameras has gone down! It does support up to 5.5 lbs.

Who is this flexible tripod for?
The vlogger will now have an all-in-one tripod, the ability to wrap the legs around anything, or work with uneven surfaces to secure a mirrorless camera, or smartphone.

And the traveller who needs a versatile solution to get the unique shots, with a lighter weight.

I do feel that Joby has served my needs for almost 15 years! On a personal side, I have used it for face time calls with family when i need to share things like a birthday cake on a table and a regulation tripod won’t maneuver to the best place

As always, the right tool for the job.

To attach your camara, they have a separate ¼-20 standard tripod mounting plate to put onto your camera.

This way you can set your Podzilla to just the right place, and then add your camera with a fast, secure, snap in.

Or maybe just hand hold the whole deal!

They do have magsafe add-ons if you want to quickly place your phone to begin your content fast.

I would recco the large unit, for the most versatility with a range of cameras. And it’s just over 12″, so it’ll pack easy in your bag.

And of course, as I only mentioned, when you want to put an LED light into a specific place or want a microphone in a proper location for the best recording, these tools are in valuable. Put put that speedlight  where you need it!

Yes, this photo is from a review of Joby products i did in 2009. More down below.

Now, the collection I own of the Joby flexible tripods are all still in use, and at least one is an EDC (everyday carry) in my kit.

There is one other Joby Product that is ALWAYS in my bag:
It’s the BlueTooth record/shutter trigger for your phone. I have an older one , that still does the job.

There is a newer version called the Impulse 2, but I’m using an older, smaller unit that I picked up out of BH.

Here is the current version, that works up to 80 ft, and uses bluetooth 5.0

 

It is nice small device in reality, battery operated.

If you have ever wanted to do an on-the-spot social post, especially on your phone. This little gem will let you start and start your video hands off, and then no need to add that extra edit.

There have been many Gorillapod imitators. A whole lot. When you have a product that lasts like the Joby Flexible Tripods, as illustrated in this post, you should just follow the rule of buy the best, and buy it once.

As promised here are some of the photos using the Joby Gorillapods from 2009!

When a product line has been around for years, and still delivers, I’m on board!

Magnum Square Print Sale Adds a Twist!

You may have seen this print offering from Magnum come around before, and each time there is a new selection of photographers. Strong showing in this one, as well.

The Square Print sale runs from April 17th til April 22. If you happen to be in London, they will all be on display! However, I have purchased these based on the website, and have always been happy with the purchases.

This time, they have added some photographs from those not 100% fully immersed in stills, and still relevant.

The Joy of Flight. Teignmouth, Devon, 2000. © Roger Deakins

The above is by award winning cinematographer Robert Eakins. He has been reconnecting publicly with his photography roots, and is a true master.

Also check out his recent book.

So, why should you buy one or more of the prints?

Yes, they are square, and about 6″x6″. Signed if the artist is alive, or estate stamped. I own about 3 myself.
Basically, these are gems, that can be placed strategically around your living area, without a huge commitment to wall space.
Honestly, I live in NYC, and wall space is at a premium. Already tiling framed art around the pat.
With these, images, you can arrange them to be revealed as you and your guests move through your space. The price is very affordable, and framing with archival mattes won’t break the bank.

Here is one from Larry Sultan, who we lost in 2009.

Dad on Sofa, 1984 ©Larry Sultan Pictures From Home

One of my current favorite photographers Alejandro Cartagena, did a series of workers, shot from an overpass.

Do you want to go with a classic photographer, like WeeGee?

Here is a photograph of his, not usually seen:

Yes, I did say that they are adding some images that have interest, although not by names widely known in the world of photography.

Like Judd Apatow. Know for his many films, this is a shot of the cast of Anchorman. walking to set.

Hot Anchormen. The Valley, California, 2003.

On its face, not revealing. When you know the subject and the context, the interest value goes up.

As I said, I have a few of the square prints, arranged throughout my home, and do rearrange now and again. Just to get a refreshed view of the images.

I know you may think this is crazy, but I was educated by an art collector years ago about how to hang your art. And sometimes, re-arrangement and freshness is what you need to fully appreciate your collection.

Go have a look at the over 100 photographs, and pick your next piece of art.

Just remember, these images will not be reprinted in this format again.

When you are on the Magnum site, don’t forget to look around the shop for some other amazing artwork

 

 

 

 

Your Phone is Now Your Camera Monitor: Bigger, Brighter, And Always With You!

Whenever I go to trade shows, I’m on the lookout for tools that may make your life easier.
This iPhone Adaptor by AccSoon called the SEEMO, for your DSLR or Mirrorless camera came right to the top. An HDMI to IOS converter, has so many practical uses, you have to check it out.

OK, I’ll admit, I own and use Ninja V a recording and monitor device for my cameras. It was not cheap, and I had to add an SSD drive to record to, and batteries and cables. It does become a lot to set up, and heavy and bulky in the bag.

Sometimes, I want to simplify. This unit lets you use your smartphone as your much larger monitor, and although it only records in 1080P, max 60 FPS, if you want to, you can now livestream easily with the app, using your high end lenses and controls!

That capability alone will up your game on social media by far, and will lighten your load when you are on location.

 

Other than the adaptor, and a NP battery, and a couple of cables, your camera and phone are always with you. You will need the same batteries that the Ninja uses, and I’ll bet you have one or more of those.
Continue Reading »

The Photography Show (AIPAD) Is On!

Every year, we all have our favorite photo fairs, right?
After Paris-Photo, this is mine. The Photography Show  

44 Galleries from all over the world come together in NYC, to show, and sell, the work of photographers from Dorothea Lange, to Cig Harvey and a ton of your favorites in between. PLUS, there are free talks by some of the smartest and most talented people in the world of photography. Click the link and check them, and maybe see you there!

Whether you collect photography, want to be collected, or just love photography, this show will hit all the marks (check all the boxes?)

Some of my all time favorite gallerists , like Howard Greenberg, are showing a broad selection of work, with a walk through both floors guaranteed to speak to your aesthetic.

Here is Mr, Greenberg discussing a photo with a collector.

As this was the first day, the impressions are fresh, and overall, I have been exposed to a whole new range of photographers and approaches. Continue Reading »

Tools Of The Trade – Start Your Post Process Right!

Before your shoot….
Be prepared to get the best quality out of your project, with these simple steps below to get quality images.
And save time in your post production.

To start, there are a couple of things to carry if you are doing a shoot where there is time frame and money involved.
Yep, when you are hired for a shoot, generally, there is an expectation of delivery of files asap.
Just the way it is.
Of course, no matter what you are shooting, these tools below with help you create the finest images.

A: Color Chart
B: Exposure Calibration on set
C: Monitor Calibration

So Let’s get into iT!

One thing I have found is a must carry on your shoot is this: Continue Reading »

STM Brings Tools To Add A Second Screen

When you need that second screen..

I’ll say it’s a safe bet that when you are on a Zoom call, your phone is close at hand.

Whether it’s to txt with teammates, look at a message that was called out in a notification, or candy crushing your heart out, you need to have the phone in close proximity.

We all know that to just have the phone on the flat on the desk, or in your hand, looks obvious and could be construed as you’re not paying any attention, as your eyes go downward.
I have been looking for the best solution for years, and at the last CES, I saw some that may have solved it!

From the good folks at STM, they have presented 2 options:

One that sits, tripod like, on your desk, and using a mag safe case or just the mag safe phone, you can set your phone at the right angle for viewing.
Continue Reading »

Ankerwork Delivers With A New Wireless Mic System

The wireless mic category is growing fast as the number of content creators explodes

My main set-up was for years, a Sennheiser transmitter /receiver system and a Tram-50 or Sanken mic, both lavs, to get that personal; sound. Then Rode joined the pack and a ton of people jumped on board, even my local news station in NYC. DJI joined in earlier this year, and so many more have joined.

Ankerworks showed off the M650 wireless mic system at CES, and since working with it a bit, I have a def opinion and will go through the plusses and minuses

First off, from a physical perspective, having everything you need in a compact, charging case is brilliant. Well built, great design, and even with the included bag, it’s an easy carry. as you include the headphones, lav mic, connecting cables.
As you open the case you see the LEDs, letting you know how charged up you are, and these 3 parts will last about 7 hrs.
( BTW, I switched out one of the color caps on a transmitter, so you can see a diff. Very easy to do.)

Here you see the carry bag, with a set of headphones, and a Rode lav mic, kept separate from the charging case by sewn pockets, below: Continue Reading »

Fuji, Adobe & Frame IO Just Gave You Back Some Time In Your Life!

A few months ago, I wrote about the collab of Fuji/Adobe /and Frame.IO using the Fuji H-2s to upload your camera files, still and video, to a FrameIO account for you, and perhaps your partners, so that

A: you could start editing before you physically ingest your files, or

B: your video files could begin to be edited as you were were still shooting.

Basically, a team of shooters from anywhere in the world they have internet access, could join together to place all assets in one folder, making for fast and efficient workflow. All about the cloud!
OR, my personal workflow, while covering a convention, event, music, etc, your files are going right into a folder, so when you return to your home base, or hotel, you can start work, instead of spending time ingesting, before you do a light edit/post.
I can tell you from experience, that coming back to a hotel at 2:00 AM after 12 hours of shooting with a handful of media cards, especially the latest large capacity cards like CFExpress B, makes me lose sleep, and is a time waster.
If my images are already in a folder, even if only proxies on the video side, it’s a huge win, and i can jump into an edit and a light touch of post.

In the fall, I saw the software in beta at NAB and it works! At that time it was only for the Fuji X-H2s, and not the H-2, which was my purchase choice due to many reasons.

 

Well, now Fuji is going to roll that system software and appropriate wi-fi grip to both cameras in the H series!Huzzah!
I am all in.


And to get some of you on board with this super collaboration, they are going to pick 10 people, supply them with the necessary gear, EVEN if you are not currently a Fuji shooter, to get acquainted wth this gear and workflow!

You really should apply, and honestly, I’m going to buy the special grip for my H-2, because i’m already sold on the system.
Continue Reading »

CES 2023 Part 2 – What You May Actually Be Able to Buy!

If there is one thing I’ve learned from years attending CES is that a lot of the products you see may never make it to market.
Development deals, supply chain for components, and perhaps just the marketplace.
Since we are here at Photoinduced, I like to see what products may help you as a creator to help you make content.
Or sometimes there are tools that enhance your business life and are small things that play big.
ONE NOTE: I have not been able to road test ANY of these products, was just able to handle them. A real world review will be forthcoming once I can actually use the products.

The biggest news in photoland was the new Panasonic GH6 series camera, that brings your hybrid still and video life to a whole new level.


Know forever as one of the best Hybrids out there, new specs bring it back to the top cameras for consideration. 4K in slow motion!
Am I saying you should switch your whole system?
Nope.
But maybe this is the camera that fits the bill for compact hybrid shooting, especially if one camera is what you want to keep the bag light.
And another camera in the Lumix  line, the S1H this is the first mirrorless camera approved for use on NetFlix Original content.

Then Zacuto showed off their Smartphone rig, The Smart Z Finder, with all kinds of options for add-ons.


Handle, shoulder mount, cold shoe mounts, etc. But the biggest news on this is the design:
With a cut out of the main holder, you can easily adjust your video app, such as Filmic Pro, by just reaching in from the side!

There was another version of this by another company a few years ago, but now that phones have been constantly improving, this could be your next go to rig. Truth be told, after 2 days of press events, using a full on camera, I moved to my iPhone 14 Pro, with a beast grip, and a SmallRig handle and light to capture the event

Speaking of phones, a company called Accsoon, showed off a system allowing you to use your phone as a monitor for your camera, with a simple hook-up, and run by a classic NP type battery.

Perfect for live streaming with hi-end glass
Will I put away my Ninja V? probably not.
But when I want to lighten the load, this looks like perfect solution.

Then I saw a set of new cameras and a printer from a company called Pickit- 3 sizes of the camera, plus a standalone printer. Like the polaroids of old, there are no lens choices, however..


They claim that the cost cost per print is about 30 cents! And the quality of the paper was so good! You can print 4×6, 3×3 or 2×3 prints
OK, while I loved seeing this, I went to the other side of the booth and it was KODAK!!
Yep, company owned by Kodak, just different branding. Interesting call. Looks like they are coming after Fuji, who currently owns the instant print market. Kodak has had a few failed attempts in this category. Let’s see how this one goes!

For the content creators that write scripts, and you should, Neweer displayed the latest teleprompter in their line. A nice big 17” screen, remote control that will let you adjust the speed of the scroll and enlarge the copy if you need, a carrying case, and rest of the mounting hardware.
You do need to add your own tablet, but you knew that.


For instance, the blackout covering for the unit, is zippered, so it’s an easy set-up and wrap out.
Comes with a case and remote control You do need to control the speed and for those glasses wearers, you can enlarge the copy as it scrolls. This should be available now, and with a 15% discount.

Another trend is the wireless mic category.
AnkerWork, a division of Anker, whose products I really love, is introducing a new dual mic set-up that comes with a variety of color caps ( they are round) to customize depending on the wearers wardrobe.

Available in March, expect six hours of battery life and about 1.5 charges from the case.  It can go from a dead battery to fully charged in 90 minutes.

I know you’ve seen that on newscasts where depending on the clothing, the mic may be color coordinated.
It all comes in a case with the ability to recharge them, and holds the receiver as well

And there was one product that wasn’t new but massively upgrade with, yes, AI! The BirdBuddy
This bird feeder has a camera that is motion controlled ,so when your feathered friend come to nosh, they are captured on the camera, and then the species is identified by AI, and sends the info and visual and info to your phone.
How cool is that?
And one of the new features coming is a solar panel on the roof, so you shouldn’t have to worry about charging it up!

I know, all of the bird photographers will not have to give up their super long lenses, but for the rest of us, this is awesome!

A couple of other trends in products are computer docks.
Yep, whoda thunk it?
As we have been moving to USB C cables, we need more ports.
As you have probably figured out by now, the more USB-C ports you have , the more power you need to utilize them

OWC
Thunderbolt Go dock 

With all of the ports you need, and without the huge powerblock, we all have at the office, you’ll want to take this with you on assignment.

And this beauty which has saved me more times than I can say, always in the bag: Simply called the Travel Dock

As you can see, it also has an SD reader.

Another option, just in for review from EZQuest
8 ports with ability to not only add peripherals, but connect to an external monitor to increase the space.

Trust me we will be seeing a lot more of these, and soon, there will be a CFExpress reader on board as well. Progress!

Next up, have you ever been on a zoom call, and keep your phone handy to either side communicate, check emails, or dare I say, complete your Candy Crush levels?

Well, there was a preponderance of mag safe phone holders that attach to your laptops and can be used as a sidebar, or even on top of your laptop to use as an alt camera as well.
With smartphones now shooting 4K , it would be an upgrade for sure.

and this slick setup from Rolling Square. A full system, including the charging pad


Rolling Square has a definite sleek design, and the only questions I have, on all of these, is if the magnet holds the phone well enough. and on the one right above, how bright can the light be?

And the orgami kings, Moft, who make my favorite traveling laptop stand, enter this into the category:

https://www.moft.us/products/snap-monitor-phone-holder-1?variant=40060565356631

And when you are on the road, you need a nice compact travel charger to take care of your goods so when you wake up, all is charged 100% and you are ready

STM showed off a sweet affordable folding travel charger that comes in a case!.
As a person who wears a smart watch with a bracelet band, I need to hang it onto to a charging dongle .
This thing has it all! And it does come with a travel case

There was an updated photo editing software, Luminar Neo, which showed off some image correction live, and it was very impressive and can be a LR plug or PS pluginWhew! there were many more products, just don’t want to bore you.

Very impressive! Have a wheel through with the link, and see if it’s what you need. Or want. Or want to try!

And that’s what i have right now!  There were many more products, just don’t want to bore you. Once actual products are in hand, I’ll do real world reviews.

BTW, one of the big pieces of new for travelers was Delta announcing free wifi for all members!

So the days there were 8 AM till about 10 PM everyday, but we were treated well. Free lunch!!

Here is the line:

Truth be told, meeting fellow content creators was a nice respite from walking the floors. Met some very nice people from all over the world.

 

 

 

 

CES 2023 Part 1: Sustainability & AI

Where to begin….
After over 15 years doing CES, I have seen the changes, in how it’s presented, and how I’ve interacted with.
A growth on both sides.
I started a new media outlet in 2005, and it continues to this day. That’s Photoinduced.com, where you are reading this now.
At first CES was combined with PMA which was a photo centric convention, and more specific to my site, Photoinduced, covering the photo and video market.
As PMA went away, I was always looking for the brand and products that would be of interest and enhance the lives of content creators, although I primarily called them photographers and videographers at the time.

After doing it virtually last year due to the pandemic, it was great to be back in person.
Why?

Because the human contacts I make, and the conversation held that were not impeded by a sterile online presentation are what CES is all about for me.
Not only going to the scheduled keynotes and press events but walking the floor.
It’s about discovery.
It never fails to be a positive thing to actually see a product, talk to the inventors or marketers about the how and the why.

I’ll go into the history of attendance later, but for CES 2023 here are my impressions:
There have been 2 major concepts being promoted.
Sustainability and AI.
AI is kind of the “Alexa enabled” from a few years ago. In other words, every product wants to get that stamp on the product to show they are future focused, and the products they are bringing to market will continually learn how the consumer will use them and learn from that repeated use.
That, for me, is the long and short of it.
Some people consider AI is all about MidJourney and ChatGPT which are very cool and part of it, but products that learn from usage will make your daily life easier.

Sustainability was the concept that the major brands hung their hats on to show the public that they are responsible global citizens, and are working toward zero emission, recycling plastics, and using designs that will impact the environment less.
It does have to start with those big players, and they have to be recognized for making this a front and center presentation feature.


Continue Reading »

New Year, New Media Cards – Time To Upgrade!

You got the new camera body, and now all of your media card collections may not be completely usable.

If you are shooting large files and/or video, you definitely need to change it up, and upgrade. Speed is the name of the game.

Kinda why you changed to the new cameras, correct?

Before you consider your options, remember that we have gone from CF cards, in the beginning of digital to SD UHS-I cards, to UHS-II cards, and all of the capacity and speeds that those cards could be manufactured with.
Now, after trying a few other formats for high speed (like the failed XQD format), high capacity media card, the imaging industry seems to have come to the conclusion that CFExpress cards are what we need.

Have to agree.
To take advantage of the newer video capabilities and 40MP plus stills files, you need a media card that can handle it.
Here is a size comparison:

Continue Reading »

My Perfect Traveling Podcasting Set-up

Sure, I have a rig at home that serves me well, and during the pandemic became my weekly go to.
Now that I’m on the road more, I needed a more portable set-up and here is where I landed.
And why.

The Mainstay is the Zoom PodTrak P4

With the capability of 4 mics, a jingle pad, ability to do remote interview via phone, sweet pre-amps AND battery powered, it is the jam.
Most of the time I will use 2 mics
If in someone’s office, I use the Shure SM58s and 2 Manfrotto PIXI tripods, along with 3.5 mm headphones. The high quality, and yes affordability of the mics, make it the go-to.
The tripods, and I’ve tried a bunch, are the perfect size and height. I do add the mic holders. Want some more details on the Manfrotto PIXI? Here you go!

Now the Zoom PodTrak P4 has one drawback as it doesn’t have a ¼-20 tripod socket
So, I use a phone holder with a tripod hole, and add another Manfrotto Pixi tripod to give me good eyeline and access to the mixer


Want some more details on the Manfrotto PIXI? Here you go!

The earphones are the inexpensive kind I buy in minor bulk, so interviewees can keep them.

In my office, I use Sony 7056, but on the move, prefer a less intrusive set.


Continue Reading »

Fuji Introduced New Camera Bodies This Year: How I Chose the One to Purchase!

It was a great problem to have this year: Updated cameras, and a few great choices in the X-T5 and the H2/H2s

Before I let you know what I bought, and why, let’s rewind to why I went with Fuji to begin with:

After a lifetime of being a Nikon photographer, starting with a Nikkormat, I have used Nikon on assignments and when it was film, it was a F3, FM, and always a back-up totally mechanical classic F in the bag (as insurance, cashed that policy only once, and worth it!)

Then I went into the digital realm all the way up to Nikon D810.

There was a point that having 2-3 camera bodies, the holy trinity of lenses (14-24, 24-70, 70-200, all f/2.8 plus a 20mm), speedlight, batteries for all, etc., etc. my backpack was getting heavy!
Sure, the ThinkTank Airport Roller was/is a great carrier, but many events I would photograph made a roller a non-option. Some places even went so far as to ban roller bags!
Time to lighten the load.

I researched mirrorless, and tried the Sony NEX. Added a Leica lens, and it was fine. But not as practical as I wanted. And the available lens range at that time wasn’t robust.
A documentary photographer I respect recommended the Fuji line -up.
Started with the X-T1, and I was all in. The ergonomic design and the analog feel to the Shutter Speed/ISO/and f/stop spoke volumes to me as I didn’t have to dig into digital menus to set my camera.

Plus, Fuji was the first company I saw that would do firmware updates to the bodies and lenses on a fairly regular basis, eliminating the need to upgrade the camera, and simply update the firmware. Other camera companies did start to follow suit later. Smart move.
Plus, I got back into shooting primes, which was a great discipline to re-discover.The Fuji glass is high quality and love em.

Fast forward to my going with Fuji all the way up to the X-T4.

Yes, I earlier picked up the H1 as the IBIS in the body was a great upgrade. Although the analog controls were eliminated.

So, when the H2/H2s bodies were announced, myself, like all fuji shooters, were asking “Where is the X-T5, and will it have some of the same features?”

Some points-

Yes, and no on the features. Yes, to the 40MP sensor as in the H2, (updated as well)
No, different video capabilities. No battery grip possible on the X-T5. That alone started me thinking about the audience for the X-T series.
Tilt screen on X-T5, Fully Articulated on H series
Good news is that the battery for the last X-T4 is the same for either of these
H2 series, def a little heavier, with a deeper grip as well.

Another main difference are the media cards. Remember when we went from CF to SD? the SD UHS-I, and UHS-II?
Well now that you are asking a camera to shoot large files, Stills and Video, you need a card that can keep up with it, and that is a CF Express card.

I know: who wants to start investing into new media cards? You have to evolve.
I was shooting the US Open in Aug/Sept and the speed I needed to fire off the camera to nail the shot was def hampered by the speed of my cards.

OK, this is where I started to peel off from the X series for the next purchase.

The H2 has much more versatile options for stills and video, as in what kind of files you can save, like RAW and ProRes.
You can record to and external unit, like an Atomos V, with 12-bit files
If you are shooting for long takes or continuous, like an interview, you can get a fan that screws into the H2 body.
One hot tip is if you move the LCD screen away from that back of the camera body, you are removing n big heat source
Full size HDMI port as well.
You can pixel shift on the H2 with an ability to create a file 4 times the sensor pixel size.

And one the biggest point for me, was future proofing. There is a grip available for either the H2 or H2s, that will be incorporating a new feature called Cam-to-Cloud
Currently on the timeline as on the H2s first.
What is it?
Basically, with the grip added, the higher end wi-fi will be able to transfer one camera or multiple cameras images to a folder in the cloud as they are shot. This grip is called the FT-XH File Transmitter Grip


Even if you run out of battery, or turn the camera off, the upload will continue once you get power and turn the camera on again
Imagine you are shooting an event, get back to your studio or hotel, and have to ingest all of your media cars to even begin to edit.
With this system, you can start your edit immediately.
Or perhaps you have 5 photogs covering the same event. If they all have this system, all of their images/video are uploaded to a folder and whomever is doing the edit can begin while photogs are packing up. Actually, way before that.

A system developed between Adobe and Frame IO, I have seen it in action, and it works.
They are still tweaking it, and not supposed to launch till Spring 2023 and only for the H2s to begin with, although the same higher end wi-fi grip will also fit the H2.

Now the Fuji system taught me the best ways to assign functions to buttons on the camera based on how I shoot, and where my fingers sit.

And didn’t love a couple of button placements on the H2, so assigned those a different function based on my use.

Onto the image quality: The X-T5 and the H2 have the same sensor so not a big diff.

The mechanical shutter on the H2 can shoot up to 1000 raw files in continuous mode as opposed to about 20 in the X-T5
This is a huge diff for me, and also where the CFExpress B card comes in. If you want the speed, you need media cards that can handle it.

This year, I shout the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade with the H2, Last year it was the X-T4
Def saw the difference, especially when I wanted to crop.

Straight RAW files out of the cameras had more depth than the X-T4, and made a difference.

So, you can guess which camera I went by now.

The Fujifilm H2. May add the H2s, and the grip.

Very happy with the purchase, and if you are looking for your year-end gear purchase
I highly recommend this camera.

BTW, there are some lenses out, and I’m working a bit with the 30mm Macro, as we all need a macro, right?

In case you are wondering, I do still have the D810, and all of the NIKKOR lenses, which I sometimes add to the mix with a Fringer adaptor. But rare.

 

A couple of closing notes: There are a few top level camera systems available to you.

I went with Fuji based on my needs and the way I shoot. To shift systems is a huge expense, and I considered it all carefully. Very carefully.

I imagine you will as well.

 

Holiday Gift Guide #4 – Audio!

Ok, let’s talk about audio.
You know that it’s 50% of your content, unless it’s bad. Then it’s 80%

Yes, this list hasn’t changed a lot from last year, except for one big addition:

As I’ve gone more mobile, my podcast choices for audio have changed, primarily on the portable mixer. Yes, the Sound Devices MixPre 3II is amazing, but the Zoom PodTrak P4 has so many great needed features, that I’m going to a single post on my fave mobile set-up with choices.

And when you want to go more mobile, and connect directly into your camera ,  or to a portable mixer the Rode Wireless Go II. With a receiver and 2 wireless mics, you can quickly hook up your subjects for an interview situation. In NYC, I’ve seen the local news station using these as they cover the local beat.

Another solid choice is the Deity Duo,

looking like many mini mics on the market, but this one has another trick up it’s sleeve: you can either have it just forward facing, OR have it pick up from behind as well, so you can capture the interviewers questions as well.

 

And if you can sit down with your subject, get a couple of the classic Shure SM58

Add in 2 Manfrotto PIXI tripods, best solution I’ve found and your set. When you buy the Shure mics, you’ll get the mic holder you need. What i like about this tripod is the height it sets the mic at. Perfect!


Let’s go more pro, if you want to get some of the best:
Sennheiser receiver/ transmitter system has been in my kit for years,

For lav mic I prefer the Tram tr50

,
or the Sanken COS 11-D


It’s funny, as i think the Tram is more popular on the west coast, and the Sanken on the east coast.
If you live in a major metropolitan city, like AL, Chicago or NYC, I would suggest going into a local vendor to actually hear the mics to make your best choices

If you are going into podcasting world in a studio or stationary place, a perfect mic is the
Shure SM7B

Couple it with the best headphones Sony MD 7506, around $90
Yep, that good for the best price. Nice and flat so you can mix as you like. Get one for each of your guests

what do you plug into for your podcast?
If you are going to be stationary, I’m partial to the Rodecaster Pro.

Yes, there is a newer version, but the original still does everything i need and more. Plus they do firmware updates, so a great unit at a reduced price.



which mixes, records, and exports to my fave podcasting platform, Anchor. Once you export to this , it will send your podcast to all the majors.

If you are on the move, and really only have need for no more than 3 mics, the MixPre 3II is a great choice, with a small form factor and high end pre-amps,

plus support with upgrades to the firmware when needed. While I love this mixer, I use jingle pads (added sound buttons) on all podcasts, so it does require editing and mixing after a recording. Super high quality, however.

Pack all of that into an Orca bag , that you can get from 16×9 suppliers. Your size needs will vary, so choose the bag based on the gear you’ll transport and use.

More guides coming!!

Holiday Gift Guide #3 – Phone Stuff!

The phone as a camera has taken over any need for a point and shoot camera. The camera brands have known this for years. The improvements keep on coming, and you just have to make sure you are charged up ALL THE TIME!

As we all start to become one with wireless charging, the options are pretty darn massive!

I will say that MagSafe has been a game changer, where a magnet in a phone and/or a phone case will connect your phone to the charger in just the right place to charge.
I have run through a few charging mats or circles that you have to be quite specific in where the phone is placed, so you don’t end up with a dead phone, thinking you had charged it enough.
At least with MagSafe, the phone locks onto the proper place, so charging can begin in earnest.

Here are some tested chargers, that you may want to add to the gifting list.

Twelve South The HiRise 3


Built in watch charger with the ability to use a bracelet type of band, Charger area for the phone that magsafe, and a useable angle.
The feet are grippy, and I will admit, when I first started to us it, it was way too slippery.


Till I took off the clear plastic and the feet were able to grip the surface. And they are non stick!
Even on wood there are no marks. Of course, like most, you charge your airpods on the base as well

Then we have the Mophie.

More angle choices for the phone, the watch charger is not included, but if you have a watch, IOS or Android you must have a charger cable, somewhere, right?

Weighted base so you can be secure in moving the phone around to get the optimum angle.

Looks great in black.

One thing that irks me a little is that both of the above chargers need an additional item to work, or to work fully: The HiRise needs a USB adaptor to plug in to the wall.
The Zagg needs a watch charging cable. Now I had an extra charger block for the HiRise, and had a watch charger from previous chargers.
I like them both for different reasons, but wish they put everything you need in the box.

And since you will probably be entertaining more this holiday season, your guests may need a charge.
The best looking, and functional one I have seen is made by Zens.


With a clear surface so you can see all of the charging elements, it matches form and function.


2 phones can go in it, and there are tiny LED lights in the back, so you know it’s charging!
It can take a watch charger, but if this is primarily for guests, they probably won’t need to charge their watch

For Travel,  it’s the mophie 3-in-1 for the win.


Quality product with a lot of power, especially for the phones (yep, the like a more powerful charger)

When I’m on the road, I don’t want to take a chance of waking up in the hotel room and having a dead phone. Or watch.


Plus, it looks deluxe, and works the same.

On cases, I’d recco a simple case from Speck. After trying a few, the speck has a great selection and have no issues on wireless charging.

Many times, there are sellers with knock-off cases right outside Apple store. Great prices but, if you’re going to buy, I’d try it out by going back into the Apple store to make sure it charges.

And a surprise for me this year, is this product from Zagg: Gear4 Ring Snap 360

For the folks who are, or were, hooked on pop sockets, and since the pop socket interferes with wireless charging, this item is perfect:

Magnetic, so it connects securely to your phone through a case, and the inner ring allow you to use it as a kick stand, horizontal or vertical, with enough stiffness to support the phone.

And the best part is that you can remove it simply from the phone for charging. Best phone accessory stocking stuffer!

There you have it! Sure, many choices out there and more coming next year!

Stay tuned for the next Holiday Gift Guide!

 

 

2022 Holiday Gift Guide #2 – Photobooks FTW!

It’s always a tough category to recommend as there are so many ways to go.
As we go headlong into the holiday season, nothing says “I know You”, like a well-chosen photo book as a gift.
That’s the good thing: there are quality photobooks for whomever you are gifting, worthy of your time, and the recipients tastes.
Maybe you want to relax over the holidays checking out some of the new publications.

Let’s look at some you should consider:

First up is a beautifully produced book by master photographer Lynn Goldsmith, titled “Music in the 80’s
Ms. Goldsmith captured the world of Rock and Roll in the 80’s. Not that she didn’t capture other decades, she is still quite prolific, and this is just her current collection of brilliant images.
Included here, not only as a document of the music that was, but also as a perfect gift for the music lover.
I could say coffee table book, but only to reference the high quality of the publication.

In addition, she collaborated with her friend Patti Smith to create a limited edition collection of photos, signed by both Lynn Goldsmith and Patti Smith For the special friend. Lynn Goldsmith. Patti Smith. Before Easter After
Prints are available!

Next up we have a brilliant reprint of Segregation Story by Gordon Parks
In the 50’s the only African American photographer on the Life magazine  staff, captured the essence of segregation in the south .

The iconic shot of the young girl and mother outside of a dress store, speaks volumes, but there is considerably more depth with the pages.

“Department Store, Mobile, Alabama,” 1956. Photograph by Gordon Parks. Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation.Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation

One of the great things about this book is that it’s a reprint of a much sought-after book, published by one of the best photo book printers, Steidl

Usually selling for upward so $800 for a 1st edition, this reprint also had a great publisher.
Stiedl again!
And by adding about 20 images not included in the original, this one belongs in your library.

With a similar layout, size, and even binder titling, the interior layout doe s tells a mostly different trajectory than the original but its splitting hairs.
As to the quality, you can feel the ink on the page, (don’t eat with your hands before checking that out) and the high-grade quality of the publication is everything you expect.

Once again, published in conjunction with the Gordon Parks Foundation, so rest assured this volume is a true American beauty, retelling the reality of the segregation story of the South, that sadly, is rearing its ugly head again.

In a more introspective space, is a current book by Donna Ferrato –
With a unique ultra-personal viewpoint, Donna Ferrato tells her tale in an almost diary like format in her current book, Holy

“Her new book, Holy, published in 2020 by powerHouse Books, is a call to action. It proclaims the sacredness of women’s rights and their power to be masters of their own destiny.”

With black and white images, mounted with the text, you are brought into a more engaging relationship with her photographs, and of course her subjects
As tempted as I was to do an initial cursory flip through this book, as is the usual first blush approach, the written exposures drew me in, again and again.

Sitting down with the full volume, beautifully produced by Powerhouse books, was more than a viewing: it was an emotional experience.

The photographs she shares, are usually accompanied by handwritten text sharing her feelings of the moment, or as an observer of the scenario.
Known for her photojournalistic approach to domestic violence, she reveals hidden worlds that may shock you, not just for the raw insight, but the sheer intimacy of her work.

As with some that have gone before, who also were part of the situation, as well as documenting it, like Nan Goldin or Larry Clark, her vision is singular.
The well written text brings out the bloom of the stories, but never feel as an add-on, but as a deeper dive into the situation.

Here is an artist’s statement
“Welcome to the sanctuary for people who wish to help wipe out violence against women and children. This is collection of stories told to me throughout many years come from people who’ve been through it.
My photography has been used like work horses consistently bringing breaking news through global media outlets.
They’ve created an awareness of a social disease since the stone age. It’s a problem. These shared stories, video interviews and photographs are proof.”

 

 

Next up is a reprint of a classic Susan Meiselas book: Strippers.


In her study of the backrooms, backroads, and generally, life as you may have only heard about this classic book gets a 2-volume reprint with a second accompanying volume giving a more behind the scenes look at the shoots.
The original came with CD with audio interviews with the subjects, trying to further expand your intimate knowledge of the woman who danced.

Same format, slip cased.

And one of my new favorite books, Dining Alone, by Nancy Sherl

The title says it all, but if you have ever been single adult, the photographs’ you see will def resonate.
On many levels we either are or see people eating alone. What are their stories, or why are they rating by themselves

It’s not about someone feeling sad for them or thinking that the glorious notion of breaking bread with someone has been breached, but a beautiful construct of the simple act of solitary dining.
Beautiful produced, this is also available with an original signed print.

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my north star, the book that showed me what I wanted to do, the Family of Man

I will never forget fining this dog-eared paperback copy of this in our family bookshelves and knowing than I wanted to be a photographer
Illustrating the human condition, from birth to death, of the global community, showing the similarities between us all.

It may be the least expensive book on this list, but perhaps the one that should be in everyone’s library.

 

This was a banner year for photobooks, and way to many to list out, and this list should be a good range for gift giving!

With reprints of classics like Segregation Story, and Strippes, plus perennial faves like Family of Man, this list is at least a start!

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2022 – #1 : Travel Tech

As we begin the Holiday Guides this year, we’re starting Gear for the Traveling Creator

Yep, we are def full on the road again, prices are a bit higher this year, and you need this tech to get you through it all.
And, as this is a traditional gift giving time, consider these things to give to those on your list!

Plus check out the Cyber Monday deals!. Always gear and tech centric.

If you are flying, we’d like to recco the Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones

Paired with the AirFly Pro.

Forget fumbling with wires. Just pop the AirFly into the headphone jack, and you are free to move around!
Plus they make one for 2 users as the same time.
Do not recco airpods or other earbuds on a plane, because , sure enough, you will drop one, and scrambling around on plane floors looking, is well, just disgusting.

As you pack for your trip, one thing that is always in my bag is the Peak Design Tech Pouch:

I keep a bunch of cables, multi USB docs, SSD Drives, a mini Bluetooth speaker, chargers, and more.
And if you want to treat yourself in the hotel, bring a Roku Streaming Stick. with remote, to plug into the hotel TV.
https://support.roku.com/article/215058118. Bring your Roku account with you on the road!

It becomes a solid pack filled with what I need on a trip.
One other item I travel with are these Hydration packets. Easy to pack and do the trick. Whether it’s late nights, entertaining, or being entertained, these are always on hand.

No one likes to get to their seat on the plane only to realize there is no overhead storage left
Bummer.
And you don’t want your equipment flying the belly of the plane.

I use an SKB case with a ThinkTank designed gear backpack designed for the case.

You can either take out the backpack and out it under your seat, and let the hard case get checked, or if you are brave check the whole thing. Super solid case

For my carry-on as I have to have main gear with me, so no baggage delays on the other end
I have 2 go-tos

One is the Peak Design Everyday Messenger bag. Room for 2 bodies, 3 lenses, batts,etc, and a Laptop with charger


Shoulder bag with a handle. And the headphones.
Also can be slipped over a handle of your luggage.

My other choice is a bit Stealth: It’s an Oakley Icon 2.0 Backpack. 2 side pockets I slide lenses into, a Laptop pocket with an alt side zip for access.
A top pocket for sunglasses, gum, (be kind to travel neighbors) batts, media cards,biz cards. I still do use them as the photos in the are a keeper.

In the front zipped pocket, I can put another lens, and usually a smaller cam, like a Fuji 100v.
In the main bag area go the camera bodies, and sometimes a speedlight. And the headphones.
Been partial to the Profoto A1x these days.
I always carry a Playtypod in either bag as it’s one the best portable camera tripod/bases around. and add a tripod head for the most versatility

Simple, solid, and always a help.
And of course
Batteries for everything.

Are these carry on bags light? Nope, but you will have your gear with you when you get off the plane.

The gear I pack are my personal choices based on what I will be shooting. Interviews, portraits, event, etc.. It all changes what get’s packed.

When you get where you’re going you’ll want to keep everything charged of course.
Currently I’m using the Anker 747 block to charge any USB-C gear, plus an extra USB -A port.

Lost of power, as you can use one port to charge a laptop. Super fast

Then in the room my fave option for charging my phone, watch, and airpods, is the Mophie 3-in-1 travel charger with Mag-Safe

I’ve tried other travel options, but on the road, the last thing I want to wake up to is a dead, or near dead, phone.

A little more expensive but peace of mind is worth every penny.
BTW, magsafe helps keep the phone on the charger!

One other thing that always goes with me, are some Baggu bags. They fold up to nothing, and whether you are getting some dinner or snacks, or even picking up some tech samples to check out, these are the bags to get.


Hold a lot, are very strong, and super lightweight.

One product I wrote about earlier this year could be a sleep aid. The Morphee


Not drugs, but an analog style digital device that packs alot of tech into its beautiful wood body that has a plethora of audio options to lull you to sleep.
What I like about it is, it works great, is a separation of gear at night, tactile
No kidding.

Should you pack a water bottle? Yes.
Should it be a S’well? Maybe. They do have some weight, but will keep your drinks hot or cold. Like the coffee you grab from the hotel before going out.

 

Last but not least, are tracking devices for your bags. There are 2 current industry leaders: Apple AirTag and Tile.
I’ve used both, and it does give me a sense of security. They are in my carry-on, checked bag, and of course, my gear bag.

 

That are some of the basics I find are great to pack, and great to gift!

Favorite Software Upgrade In The Past Year!

Sure, there have been some great deals on photo software this holiday shopping season.
The DAM (digital Asset management) software I depend on, though, is Adobe CC Lightroom Classic.

For many reasons.

Not only can I locate files going back almost 20 years on my many HDs,RAID Arrays, etc., currently over 350K images, but I can do an edit with post-production adjustments in the same program.
My workflow is to cull photos using Photo Mechanic, then import the selected images into LR, and add keywords for searches.

I always under expose slightly to maintain highlights, depending on the situation.
It used to be my Wacom tablet skills would be put to the test, trying to isolate areas before going in to touch up some areas.
Adobe has solved this with a smart mask upgrade to Lightroom! And they did it twice this year.
Let’s look at an original file, extreme as it is, to see how it started, and how it ended up, before I take you through the process:


First of all you get some very sophisticated controls:


Then you pick the starting mask tool, and dig in. Start with the subject, and you can see the overlay if you want:


Next up is the background. As you can see in this image, the main subject got the overlay, and the surrounding people and scenarios became included in the background mask ( I did open up the sky to se how it would look, before going back to a richer sky):

And just wanted to give a light hit to sky, before going back to all and adjust various masks:

I do go back and check each mask to make sure there is a balance, and any adjustments make visual sense.
What I used to do with a Wacom and a pen, now happens with smart mask.

Now what I have shown you with an image of mine, just scratches the surface.

You can also pick which people are the going to be the subject of your masking efforts. LR will identify the subjects:


And the you can go in and pick out what features you may want to adjust. Teeth in this case, as you can see by the red overlay:

You can , of course, go in  and fine tune any part of the mask you are not satisfied with. Eyebrows??

With a  brush, radiant tool, color range, luminance range, and more.

What Adobe has done is give you the smart masking and adjustments tools and have sped up the process, and have made it incredibly accurate.

Truth be told, I check out masks on almost all of my final images. Whether I hit it hard, just a light tap, or leave the image as it is, this tool has made my editing life soooo much easier.

And it was free with Creative Cloud subscription, or any configuration you may use to get your lightroom app.

It also works with the IOS version!

 

I would highly recommend you explore this feature, and if you don’t use Lightroom, try a free try and take it for a spin.

I know how adopting a new DAM is a very big call. Just a suggestion to explore your options if you are ready to make a switch.

Some Cyber Monday deals  right here.

 

 

 

 

The Product I Didn’t Think I’d Review

Tis the season to go to a lot of tech events, where I try to suss out products that may be useful to you in your creator life.
So it was a huge surprise, when at the last tech event, I saw something off my beaten track.

Now I was also out there and on-line this weekend with you all getting media cards, ssd drives, and a new camera body(more on that to come).
And this was something that is also on sale this weekend. Not camera or video based, but…..


As a parent, or relative, you always think about the amount of time a child spend in front of a screen.
Inevitable, but, you still want to entertain them.
I ran across this product call Tonies, that is unique, expandable, and best part: no screens
Ok, OK, what the heck is it?

Check this vid:

Basically, it is a box, with a speaker. What else?
You can place a character from their collection on top of the box, and it will read a story.
And they have a ton of choices~
The child just has to tilt either side to move forward or repeat the story and adjust the volume.
You can also custom record a story.
Maybe when you have a date night with your spouse, you have read a story to your child, and it plays through the box.
OR it’s a relative, and you want to share the special connection of reading to them
Super easy to set up

By the way, parents can set limits on volumes via the app.
It does also have a headphone jack.

Oh, it has a rechargeable battery that will last about 7 hours fully charged
It’s lightweight, heavily padded, so easy for a child to carry

I was so impressed by this product, and the concept of no screens entertainment, I had to share.

One thing you should note that there is an age warning as the figures may not be right for a toddler.
They do have an age requirement of 3+ because of that, unless under adult supervision.

So this one is for the kids, Like I said, tis the season.

Back to gear in the next post, including a review of 2 cameras, and why I picked only one!

3 Sets of Gear for Podcasting – Choose Your Own Adventure!

So, you want to make a podcast?

It’s a great way of creating a voice for yourself and discuss topics that may be of interest to others.
I’m on episode 53 of my own, and it becomes a weekly discipline.
But that not what you want to hear about.

The question may be:
What is the best gear to get?

In this post I’ll go over:
*Rodecaster Pro
*Aten MicLive
*Zoom Podtrak P4

I find there are 3 main mixers I’d recommend:
The price ranges are from about $200 – $430
All 3 were used with a Shure SM7B mic as a main microphone.
with some alts I’ll discuss further down the post.
Size comparison photos at the end of the post.

My current go-to when recording at home is:
Rodecaster Pro.


There may be a newer version, but I’m still using the original and the good folks at Rode keep updating the firmware.
Some of the positives:

Great pre-amps
4 mics can be used
Bluetooth Phone connection or Direct line in.
Sound effects pad with up to 16 or more sounds, or custom sound (I went custom)
Well built
Companion software on the computer makes it super easy to transfer episodes to upload to podcast hosts
A huge positive is the on-board micro-SD media card slot, so you can record and have a removeable hard copy.
You CAN power from a battery like a big one you would use to charge a laptop.
Basically, it does take some real estate, yet can be transported.
I do have a case that holds the rodecaster pro, 2 Rode Mic Boom arms, 2 Shure SM7b ‘s, headphones, cables, etc.
It’s a big case, but if needed, a great set-up.

Then, there is a new one I took for a test drive :
The Aten MicLive mixer

with 2 XLR combo inputs, so you can plug a 1/4″ jack instrument (like a guitar) right in, You should know your goals for interviews to determine if the 2 inputs is enough.


You can also do an interview by phone with an input designed for that..
A key feature is that it uses the industry’s first AI-optimized audio mixer – enhances microphone audio quality with enhanced acoustic models. It truly delivers great sound.

High end pre-amps for some sweet sound.
A time saving feature once you get to edit, is auto ducking, which lowers background music anytime one speaks. Yes, you can use 2 xlr combo inputs and add music (or a phone) through a 3.5mm input as well. So have your music going throughout if you like, and while doing the interview it will automatically duck (lower the volume) the music when someone is talking.
The footprint is way smaller than the Rodecaster, and being rewarded with great sound is the key.

It only powers on when connected to a laptop or tablet using an app to record/edit/mix
MicLIVE 6-CH works with dedicated ATEN software, OnAir Audio, which supports Windows and Mac OS. You can also use Garageband or your audio software of choice.

They did spend a lot of real estate on voice altering knobs and software. Not sure why, but would rarely use those features.
A big diff is no removeable media, although you can store up to 8 audio samples on the jingle pad.
This is best used in limited space, and when you are at the very least, connected to a laptop.

The best portable, standalone podcast mixer is the Zoom PodTrak4


Here are the highlights:

Up to 4 XLR mics, direct connect to a phone
4 possible sound effects (or jingle) pads
Can run on a battery (usb-c connection or AA)


Removeable SD card slot
Solid pre-amps
I do wish that the sound effects pad effects could be stored internally, but they can only be stored on the SD card, so a little tricky
The size is very manageable
The build is a little plasticky but seems to hold up.
The big news is that is is a self sufficient unit, as it doesn’t need a laptop or tablet to work.

If you are doing a single VO record, I’d recco the Shure SM7B, with a Rode flex arm, and Sony 7506 headphones for any of these scenarios when in a stationary place.

If you are going portable, you may want to go to 2 Shure Sm58s, 2 Manfrotto PIXI mini tripods

(This same setup is great with the Aten, as well.)

Small footprint, easy to pack and carry.
For headphones I use wired earbuds, your choice, and always carry a bunch of inexpensive wire earbuds for the guests

Now with the Zoom PodTrak4, you do need to add some adapters to go to 3.5 plug mics. Especially those needing phantom power.

These are not XLR combo inputs on -board, so that will add some dough to your purchase for the converters. about $25 per, made by Rode.

You can pick you lavalier mic of choice, and I go either Sanken , Tram 50 , or sometimes the Rode lavalier

And yes, you can use a Rode Go wireless system, or Sennheiser G series transmitter /receiver system with the above wired lavs, if you already have that system in your gear bag.

So that is a roundup of my choices for your podcasting systems:

If you are going to based at a stationary locations and will have up to 4 mics going, and def get the Rodecaster pro.
For a smaller footprint, with one-on-one 2 mic interview situation, or carrying a laptop/tablet
Go for the Aten MicLive

My fave for portable is the Zoom PodTRak4. No computer needed, battery powered, small footprint, removable SD Media capable, and 4 sound effects pads.
Up to 4 XLR mics.
BH has run packages that have the mixer, one set of headphones and a 3 month sub for podcast hosting for about $180. Keep your eyes peeled as they may run that again

For size comparisons between the 3, with a deck of cards for size relationship:

In the hand:

and you saw this one:

A Perfect Way To Share Family Memories – Epson FastFoto

Yes, I posted this a while back, and the product still is incredibly viable, even as tech marches forward! Time to pick one of these up and share with your immediate family, and all of the connected households.

I love to scan old photos.
Seriously, being able to scan negatives and slide from my archives is one of my favorite evening pastimes. Set it up, scan and store. It almost becomes a treasure hunt, especially with the negatives.
One thing I was not scanning much were all of the 4×6 photos in my storage boxes. You know, we all have them. The personal records of our lives.
The neg sleeves from the commercial labs, like Fromex, had a short cut to the strips, and was, honestly a bit of a pain to deal with.
There are services where you pack all of your precious family photos into a box, and send them overseas to be scanned. Scared the heck out of me, so never did it.
The I saw a demo of the Epson FastFoto 640 (its now the 680W)

When I first saw the Epson FastFoto last year, I had a feeling that this was a breakthrough product. Being able to bulk scan my family snaps, with speed, AND scan front and back for the older ones (people used to put notes on the back) was a win. And sitting on a small bit of a desktop? Worked for me!
Until I get to try these things out myself, I can’t truly comment.
After having one to test for a bit. I’m convinced.

Pure winner.
There is one possible downside that I’ll broach later.

OK, first of all, you stack the photos, and pick your resolution,

and then decide where they should go after you scan. Add the image info for that batch. After you scan one batch, you can continue to add more batches with the same info/set-up if you like. These images can all be saved to the same folder, or destination. I have different folders for birthdays, holidays, etc.,

They can be sent into a named folder, or even on-line.

Then, hit a button on the front of the unit, and your snaps get scanned, in a bulk rate fashion. and no negatives left the sleeves!
Digitized, tagged, and ready to share.
Sweet!
You can also use it for documents, and make searchable PDF’s.

I did it with 4×6 prints, 5×7, and even long panoramics. On the pano’s, once I brought them into lightroom, I just did a mass rotation to get them in the proper orientation. For odd size photos, they include a folder to keep them held correctly to scan. Can you throw a random stack of odd sized prints in at one time? Not advised.
The color was great, it can do auto enhancement, saving an original so you can tweak, the resolution is superb, and the ease of operation was as advertised.

And you can save in of format options for easy sharing (300 dpi), archiving (600 dpi TIFF) and enlarging (1200 dpi (4)); handles multiple sizes in one batch!

I’ll call it portable, as it’s small enough, although not battery powered. (11.8 x 8.7 x 8.1 in)
Well built, great software included, and very easy to use.
So what’s the downside?
The price.
When I first saw the unit at a press event, I thought perhaps it was a suggested price. Nope.
It’s a hefty $650. Now it has dropped to $530!
BUT……
It serves a huge purpose, and it does exactly what it said it would, and does a great job of it.
I suggest this:
Share it with your family. Yep, that’s right. Buy one, and share the cost with family members. Have each family get the scanner for a bit, and scan in their collection of family images. If you amortize the cost with your family members, you can create a massive digital history of your family photos, to share online or in hard files.
The family that scans together, stays together.
As far as shipping it to out-of-town relatives, the box I got the review unit sent in, was the box it came in. No outer packaging, so that’ll work.
The software is very easy to download and use.
When my mom turned 80 we all shared photos of her from across the familial network, and created a book of her life. Wish I had this then.
With companies like ancestry.com giving you details on your families birth lineage, here is a perfect tool to document your families visual history.
Win #TBT every week!

Fuji X-T5 Launches + a SWEET 30mm Macro!

When the Fuji X-H2, and X-H2s were announced, those of us who have been shooting with the X-T series, were asking:
Where the HECK is the X-T5??
Well, your question has been answered, and you won’t have to wait too long to buy.
This November, the X-T5 will be available at a price of about $1700!


Had a chance to put IRL hands on this pup, and no surprise, it felt as comfortable as I hoped
So much of a known feel from the X-T4, with some great improvements.

Taking a page from the H2, you will now get that 40mp you’ve been wanting. AND 6.k video!
Better IBIS, 2 SD card slots, same battery as the X-T4.

So no new battery buys,

and you won’t need to buy the expensive CFExpress cards.
Very slight body change, so feels even a little it better in the hands due to the front grip
Improved battery life,

and a faster AF due to a new processor.Plus finally subject detection, AF!
X-T5 equips AF Algorithm developed with ”Deep learning
technology”. Some brand call a similar system AI.
Camera can recognize not only “Human face/eye” but also
“Animal”, “Bird”, “Auto mobile”, “Bike”, “Airplane”, and “Train”

On the video side of the equation, they did lower the BPS from 400 to 360, BUT it can do ProRes and BlackMagic RAW

Recording time is about 90 min @ 6.k/30P

A hot tip I garnered while at the event, was pulling away the LCD from the back, when recording a lot, as it helps with the heat dissipation.


Heck, I’m also going to do that when I shoot anything with pre-shot.
Got caught with overheating when I was shooting at the US OPEN this year.

What doesn’t it have?
A grip that takes batteries.

Notice there are no contacts for a vertical grip, with batteries


A fully articulated LCD, only a 3 way.


Hopefully not a deal killer.
If you were looking for a legacy camera that upgrades your current photography situation, your eagle has landed!

One other great product they shared was the 30mm 2.8 Macro, lens:


Tiny lightweight, and the specs are crazy. 1×1 macro, weighs 195g
Even if you have the 60mm, 80mm, this lens is a prefect lens to put in your bag
IS this your new “nifty fifty (ok, 46mm)
Looks like it will be mine soon!
MSRP of $599.

here it is on a H series body

So there you have it for now.
I have been looking at the full line of new Fuji camas and I have decided which one will be coming home to me.
That is for another post.


Damon Webster

A Marriage Made in The Cloud – Fuji & Adobe Take Wireless Tethering to Whole New Level!

We always hoped we get there.
And now it looks like it’s almost in our hands:

Fujifilm announces collaboration with Adobe to Offer the World’s First Camera-to-Cloud Native Integration for Digital Still Cameras

The ability to shoot and wirelessly transmit RAW stills files and ProRes video, and to be able to edit within moments for the small crew content creators is groundbreaking.
Oh, not the idea of a wireless transmission: it’s getting it in the cloud that is the big news!

Tethering in a studio usually works best when hard wired. This is about remote shooting and uploading to the cloud.

This changes everything, as a more stable, reliable, system. Having a partnership with Adobe definitely brings it to the right place.
The remote capabilities are massive. Especially in the documentary category, or news gathering.
Putting this tech in the reach of the many, in an affordable package, democratizes the collaboration possibilities.

What does it take? The new Fujifilm H-2S and the special grip with an enhanced wifi antennae, plus an update to the firmware.
And if you have worked in the video space, you will know about Frame.IO, which is where your files will upload to.

During Covid days, all of my post production for commercials and sometimes shoots, was remote, and a lot still is. For commercials we would use Slingshot to get the dailies to the editor fast.

This isn’t that, but a manageable system that opens up the door to not only location uploads, but being able to work with people in various location, uploading to the same file on Frame.IO. Content creators can easily work together as long as there is wifi.

In a press event we got a preview of this technology, and this week at NAB, I’ll be able to see it in action.

During the presentation to our group, the question came up about “what if you lose battery power, or you shut your camera down during the transfer?” No fear, as the transfer continues once the camera is on again.
Continue Reading »

Fuji Drops A 40MP, APS-C Camera – The X-H2: Is This The Right One For You?

Fuji just announced its new X-H2, a 40.2MP camera, with a brand new
New X-Trans™ CMOS 5 HR sensor and the high-speed X-Processor 5.

And why are there now a X-H2, And a X-H2s? 2 versions of the same camera with diff specs. I’ll give you some of the specs here, and at the end let you know which one I’ll go for.

The H-2 will sell for $2000, and the H-2s sells for $2500.

With a $500 difference, between the 2, the simple answer is that the H2s has more robust video capabilities, and the H2 has the higher MP count. They share many of the same accessories- vertical battery grip, cooling fan, and some other items.

The specs are eerily similar, and you really do have to make a conscious direction on which to buy, depending on your usage,
Of course, it may make sense to buy one of each, so you are prepared for all situations.

Here is a breakdown:

The new sensor gets you to a low ISO 125, and a max shutter speed of 1/180,000 (are your shooting in a snowstorm?)
AND they’ve added an interesting built in focusing meter.


It shows up on your screen as a green gauge and shows you your in focus range. This all reads great, but until I see it in person, the jury is out on that feature

Speaking of auto focus, X-Processor 5 features subject-detection AF based on deep learning technology that automatically detects and tracks a broad and diverse range of subjects, including animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, and trains. Like some of the other brands in the category

X-H2 is the first X Series camera featuring the Pixel Shift Multi-Shot function
. Using the camera’s in-body image stabilization (IBIS) mechanism to shift the image sensor with immense precision, 20 reference images are automatically created and later assembled in post-production using the dedicated “Pixel Shift Combiner” software. The result is a 160 Megapixel image, constructed from the total information available from each RGB pixel found on the X-H2’s new X Trans 5 CMOS HR sensor.

Yes, you read that right 160 MP, using a proprietary software.

OK, as mentioned above, it also has the capability of 8K movies that can be recorded internally at 30P in 4:2:2 10-bit color. X-H2 has a heat-dissipating design — same as the X-H2S — to enable recording of 8K/30P video for up to 30 minutes. There is an available cooling fan, for shooting longer sessions.
This is the world’s first APS-C camera to enable 8K/30P Apple ProRes internal recording.

Honestly, I use an Atomos Ninja V for video on my Fujis, but this camera allows you to shoot 8K/30P on board video for up to 30 minutes

Be mindful of the heat dissipation, it’s a very real thing. Thats’ why they offer a cooling fan!

You will have to get a fistful of new media cards, as CFExpress B may not be in your arsenal.
So here is my journey with the H series of Fuji cameras.
I began with the X- series and loved the analog feel, and controls at my fingertips
When the H-1 came out with built in IBIS, I jumped on it. Different layout, but I tweaked the wheels to do the functions I commonly used
Then came the X-T4, with great IBIS, solid video options (was able to shoot FLog at 400 MBS for a movie), and back with the analog knobs

With the new H series, there are so many improvements, as it usually goes with any next gen.
However, for my purposes, my take is go with the H-2: high MP; better newer sensor and processor; all the video specs I need (as I said, for more serious video I use an Atomos Ninja V); plus the headphone jack is now back to a 3.5mm standard (was never a fan of the USB-C. requiring an adaptor; and yes, it’s $500 cheaper.

Now $500 in the life of a camera is really not a big deal, but it is the still image specs that tipped the balance.

In the future, can I get all of those specs in an X-T5? I still do love the analog adjustments.

 

PLEASE NOTE: I HAVE NOT SHOT WITH THE X-H2, SO ALL NOTES ARE BASED ON SUPPLIED SPECS

Fuji Instax Mini Link II – Perfect Companion to Your Smartphone

The instant print game is pretty much owned by Fuji with the Instax line of printers.
That is not an opinion, it a fact.
As an Instax enthusiast forever, I love the instant gratification of the print in hand, and while I enjoy all the phone filters I can use to digitally share photos, there is something about a physical thing in your hand.

Have a look at this vid for a great walk through at this new addition:

This printer has been designed to work primarily with your smartphone, and of course, it’s so much more than just a simple printer.

First of all, once you download the app, and it is super easy to connect to your phone, and start to explore the options.

You can infinitely adjust the photo with color filters, and on this shot, I also added a heart, which is in the app.

You can also write on the photo with a selection of virtual brushes, or add different frames, as you can see here. You can see by the NEW labels , they are always updating!


Also you can collage the images, and one of the most fun is the match test.

Admittedly, when I saw this feature, I wasn’t quite sure how it worked or when you may use it.

You can take a photo of 2 people, or get 2 photos of people from your phone and get started.
There is a test that asks you to answer questions, another that just analyzes the images, and determines a % of compatibility
I was sitting with some family, and the mother and daughter couldn’t wait to try it!
They did the questions, was a tone of fun, and the Mini Instax printed out a souvenir for them with the analyses.
The evidence in the hand was worth everything~

Another interesting app feature is the QR code for video. This is from my rooftop, and you can scan the QR code, but you will need to have the app on your phone to see and hear the vid.

 

Now, you have to shoot the video on the phone, within the app, but imagine singing happy birthday on a smartphone vid, printing a still frame, and having a QR code on the print, and the birthday person can scan the code, and hear everyone singing.
Yes, you can forward a video, but I’m telling you, to have the hard print in hand is such a great physical gift.
Heck, last I looked birthday cards are still available and sent all the time.

The app needs a little tweaking to make it easier fro the recipient to see. You can see it in within the app.

So cool.

And of course there is more!

You can add spray paint, bubbles, an icon or an image onto a photo.
The printer itself also has an accelerometer in it to adjust the zoom feature on the screen by just moving the printer.
Cool tech, just didn’t find it useful. Oh well.

For me, having a printer in my bag to immediately give away a gift, and share a moment, is key.

I will say that as this printer is made for fun with a group.

So many great options to make a creation on the spot and share.
Truth be told, on my coffee table I have a bunch of instax photos , and because they are the physical print it causes me to pick them up now and again, and remember the time.


I could be scrolling though my phone at the thousand of images on there, but having a select set of hard copy photos mean a whole lot to me.

For the cons, the only thing I would say is, like all printers, is the cost per print. At about .70 per print, it can add up.
And I would suggest playing with the unit to gauge how you like images to look when printed.
Personally