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:

Snap Laptop Phone Holder – MagSafe Compatible

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.

 

 

 

 

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:

If you are shooting on continuous, like for sports, and need to capture RAW files with fast read/write capability so you don’t get locked out of wait for the card to do its business CF Express is the way to go.

Different camera companies had published preferred cards for their cameras, and I find it’s always a good place to start
Like Fuji
Heck, they did the testing!

You will need a new card reader as well.

Delkin has bundled some of the cards with a dual card reader for SD and CFExpress B

ProGrade makes a dual card reader as well.

Hot tip is that I use a few of these cards readers, plugged into a multi data port hub, to download/ingest concurrently to Photo Mechanic. 
Trying to cut the workflow time, wherever I can.

For now, I am using the 2-slot combo of an USH II and CFExpress B, as recommended for my current cameras, Fuji X-H series.

Now, Sony has gone with the CFExpress A format, with their reasoning explained to me as it will fit into a SD media card slot.
And of course, they recco the Sony line of media cards.
Duh.

I guess you then have an option of 2 SD cards, or SD + CFExpress, although the CFExpress B’s seem to be the faster card.

Trust me when I tell you, if you are shooting the large MP stills or 4-8k video, you want the fastest cards you can get.
You knew that.

As far as the brands go, it is up to you. There are some cards I’ve used that have failed, and there are some companies that do what is called “white labeling” meaning trusted media card manufacture’s supply the companies with their product that can get a label added.

For the Fujifilm H2, which has a 2 slot system, I use a variety of SD USH II cards (Sandisk, PNY, SONY, Lexar, OWC, Fuji)
On the CF Express side, I use a few: Delkin Power, Manfrotto, and if I’m shooting video Delkin Black

It does also depend on your budget, of course, and end of years sales on media cards are my usual purchase. The prices are generally heavily discounted, so best time to load up.

I know, we all have a ton of media cards that may not keep up with the new cameras.
Keeping CFEXpress back-ups, and cards for multiple bodies, ainlt cheap, but…..

Adapt, shrug it off, and upgrade the easiest and critical part of your content creation process.
I also like this breakdown by Shuttermuse

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.

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


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.

I have used alt mics, as in lavalier mics in this set-up. Sometimes I use Sanken, sometimes Tram-50, and depending on what’s in my bag, a Rode lavalier.

You do need to have some Rode 3.5 mic adaptors for the PodTrak when using lavaliere.

And I have used the Rode Wireless Go II system as well. That set-up does let me have 2 mics going into one mic input.

On the jingle pad, seen here in the center of the mixer, the place where you can add your open and closing music, and any sound effect you want, works great, although there’s one disadvantage:

The sounds must be set on the removable SD card, which is where you are also saving your recording of your program.

It is a little bit of a pain, but I always just download the recorded show, and leave the sound effects on the card. The SD card can hold a lot, so don’t worry.

You can easily do a remote interview via phone, and even add that person onto a 3-4 way conversation. When you do a phone connection you do lose one mic input.
If you are doing a location podcast, you really don’t need more that 4 people.

On the power: you can use any battery pack that has a USB-C plug, or a DC plug
I prefer the mophie battery which is compact, has a ton of juice, fast charging, AND if I need to, I can charge my phone, it has the extra input
Highly recco this to power the set-up.
It does take 4 X AA batteries but it does eat them like candy. External battery is the way to go.

On the removable media card to record, you probably have some spares in your kit, but I’m partial to SanDisk for this setup.

To transport it all I do have a case packed up my Amazon to protect the mixer while in transit, plus it also holds all of my needed cables for connections. And yes, that is a cable I use to do remote phone interviews, via my iPhone 14


And then, I use a HEX bag to carry it all.

By the way, one of the cables I carry can also connect direct to my camera in case I want to record directly to a video of the podcast. I use a Fuji H2, but you can go with an Action Cam for size as well.

I hope some of these items can help you when you looking into building your own set-up.
The cables you may want to add are a personal preference, and depending on the way you may use it.
As i mentioned, I keep cables in the bag for adding a video camera, and a remote interview, via the phone. Plus the USB-C short cable to add the eternal battery

Even if you’re not portable, a lot of the above components will be great with a stationary unit.

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!!