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:


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.

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.

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!