The Day The Computer Died…

It served me well.
For over 10 years my Mac Pro tower was my daily companion.
Photo editing, video editing, and those oh so long hours looking at social posts I didn’t need in my life.
With 2 screens and the ability to plug in a myriad of external drives, it was an upgradable powerhouse.
And I say was because, well, it was time to be replaced. Didn’t want to but had to.
Programs were no longer able to upgrade from the old Tech.
And the number of crashes were killing me.
What to get?
Apple had just come out with the cheese grater tower, with a $6k starting price. Nope.
So, I was on the hunt for a previous model.
EBAY? CraigsList?

Sure, some of the specced out packages looked good, but who were the sellers? Lots of positive feedback, read well, but this would be a substantial purchase.
I was concerned.
So I went to OWC site, also known as MacSales and started to wander around.
This company is reputable, I trust them, and have done business with before, but never on this large of a purchase.
I made a few calls to sales and the tech dept, gingerly describing what I needed for speed, RAM, etc.. They answered all patiently, made suggestions, but never a hard sell.

I have to say, I was not disappointed with the conversations.

Relieved, actually. This was a lot of dough, and I was looking for some competent advice.
I also wanted to be assured that what I would get, was warrantied, tech supported, AND returnable. Just in case.

After much deliberation, I went with a Mac Pro trash can. You know, the one that is a cylinder, and looks sleek? The one I bought was new/old stock, IE brand new, never opened, except to spec it out for my needs.

Once I got it, the good techs at OWC gave me step by step migration instructions so could get all material transferred over to my new computer, from the old. Easy Peasy!

Then I came into some other issues: Cables to connect things, as this unit is a Thunderbolt 2, and USB computer.
I had way more things to plug in, than outlets on the new unit.
Once again, I consulted with OWC and got a Thunderbolt 3 dock.

I know, I know, 3, not 2?
Well, some of my newer devices were UBC 3 and USB C.
It did require getting some adapters to go from the unit to the computer.

Now, the Mac Pro, while sleek looking, has a spiderweb of cable coming from it, and I wanted a bit more of a cleaner look.
I called them for any possible solutions, and they had a simple one: get a longer cable between the dock and the computer, and hide the dock! Genius!!

With all of my calls, they wanted to make sure totally happy was good with my purchase, and they had a new idea:
A dongle that I could connect both of my monitors to, and only take up ONE outlet!! Yes, 4K compatible.

Had to have. I know more pluggable things are coming, so I’ll take any extra outlets I can!
One thing to note is that you need to add a keyboard and mouse. I just used the one from my older Mac Pro, and life is good. Did treat myself to wireless keyboard when i wanted to use my TV as the monitor.

One of the last things I purchased was a warranty, that included the cost of shipping.
Being an Apple products owner for years, I know this is a good investment, and like I said, I trust OWC.

What’s the upshot of all of this?
If you are going to replace a computer, or buy another, put your trust in OWC to make your purchase.
With great customer service, tech support, warranty avail, and all of the extras you may need to customize your rig, you can’t go wrong.
They help you get what you need. Try that with EBAY.

And yes, I bought the computer with my own money.
This is not a sponsored post.
Hopefully just a helpful one. OWC made it easy

NG: shortly after the new Mac Pro came out last year, they introduced the M1 chip. Felt like I dodged a bullet. And save a ton of dough!

Tik Tok Creators, Time to Light up The World!

As most TikTok creators know, a good ring light gives you that semi-flat, appealing light that makes everyone look great.
Even without filters!

You needed to have access to AC for your light, which meant you stayed close to home.
Lume Cube, the people who brought you the laptop light that EVERYONE uses for Zoom calls, came out with a Battery Powered 18” ring light that you have to check out.Right, battery powered, so you are wires free! They call it cordless, but you know what it means.

It comes in a kit that includes batteries, AC adapter, charger, phone holder, flexible neck to place phone in various configurations, a light stand, and all comes in in carry bag.

(labor dale sale of 15% off!)
Where was I…. oh, yeah, right..There are some very strong pros, and just one minor con.

First of all, it’s lightweight, which will help you schlepping the gear to the outdoor creations. I had been using a much heavier unit, which always stayed inside.

There are easy to use controls to set your light intensity, and color balance,- tungsten/daylight/custom between 3600-5600K  and even check how much battery life you have left!

They claim 70min on full charge, although I haven’t had to drain them all the way down yet.You can adjust the color temp to balance for Daylight or Tungsten (indoor) or anything in-between.

All I ever ask a piece of gear to do is deliver what it says it can, and keep it simple. This scores on all counts.

I was looking for a solution when I would create on my rooftop in NYC. No plug-in power, so I was always fighting bad shadows or squinting.

With this battery powered ring light, problem solved. Of course, my neighbors weren’t too happy about the rooftop light. Have to figure out how to be more stealth!

Take this light ANYWHERE, and create your content, properly lit.

And remember: it does come with anAC adapter, so you CAN plug it into an AC outlet.

Now I did say there was one con: the light stand is less that I would hope for.

It’s a bit hard to lock in place, and felt a little less than sturdy with everything mounted. Keep your camera to lightweight mirrorless, or a phone.

It does make the whole package more lightweight, although I just swapped out a Manfrotto light stand that I swear by all the time, and issue sorted.

So go forth, go into the world and create!

In my TikTok life, I will admit that I have now learned that cats don’t like tin foil on a counter, and get totally freaked out when a cucumber is placed behind them while they are easting.
It’s the little things.

Some notes about the company : from the first time I saw the LumeCube submerged in water at a trade show, to popping one on top of my camera,

to the almost daily usage on my laptop for meetings, this company has continued to produce quality LED  lighting products and accessories that deliver. This Ring Light adds to the lighting solutions I count on.

BTW, I’ve heard that the LumeCube with barn door and snoots, has become a favorite with macro shooters. Makes sense to me!

 

 

A Great New Product You May Not Need In A Year

This year, the pandemic did not slow down product development. As a matter of fact, it birthed new product categories, all related to to Covid.
Getting to see, and handle, products that were yet to hit market, was all over zoom.
So all samples to be shipped, and evaluated. Shipping has been an issue all over, but we are coming out of all, as we get back to normal, safely.
Masks became a manufacturing category, as well as, unfortunately, a political statement.

It’s about safety, and respect for others. I hope that you wear one when working as a street photographer, event photographer, and most cases when you are with others, unless all concerned are vaccinated. Look at most newscasts and you can see the reporters all wearing mask.
Consider a face mask a standard part of your kit, at this writing.

One of the standouts for me was AirPop Face masks.
Yep, we are all trying to find the best fitting, safest, and convenient ones possible. Aren’t we?
Heck Will.I.Am just came out with a high tech mask, that looks to sell for about $300.
Maybe not.
AirPop had an intriguing product that goes out at a $70 price point, including 4 replaceable filters that are good for 40 hours per use. So some good value when you long at the full package.
More than the price point, is the design:
First of all, there are adjustable straps for your ears, helping you find the most comfortable tension, while maintaining the safety, and sealing to your face.

The insert is pretty trick as well, with a flap that helps insure great fit depending on the shape of your face.

Admittedly, it took a beat to get the insert fitted in but that gave me the confidence of the tight fit. they call it the Ergo-Flex Seal.
One of the best parts of the design is the fact that it gives you the seal for protection, with a design so your mouth isn’t up against the mask, so you have a better experience for exercise, and honestly, any activity.

When they did the presentation, they were also debuting a coming product which has a sensor, that connects to an app, that tells you the quality of the air. On first glance, it looked like the air valve on some of the early masks we all saw, that had been deemed not sufficient for protection, but instead was a very high tech piece of gear, that gave great protection and an connected app gives you the data.

That one is still to come, and I’ll let you know what the deal is once it’s in use.

To recap:

  • Masks are a standard part of your gear,
  • Airpop has a great fitting and breathable solution
  • Price point makes senes when you take into account 40hrs per filtration insert, comes with 4, and washable outer.

 

After The Zoom Call, Get Creative! Lume Cube Helps Put It Together

Is anyone’s eybeballs swimming from all of the zoom calls? Or perhaps you you love a more comfortable chair?
I’m totally with you.
After doing all of the connections with your co-horts, maybe it’s time to create something for your audience.
You know who I’m talking about: your friends, your followers, heck, maybe even your family! Upgrade your vlogging life!
Lume Cube has become the standard issue light for your computer and keeping you looking good on all of those meetings.
They have just introduced a system, The Mobile Creator, that encourages you to take off that light, add your phone, and maybe a higher quality microphone and let your creative juices flow.

Is it that TikTok you want to make to grow that audience? or maybe that cooking show you always felt was the right way to share your cool ideas.
When you want to make it easy, and even be able to take it outside, with minimal set-up, this is the the package for you.
Dress it up, or dress it down, you can have all of the items you need in one place. You can go vertical or horizontal, as you can see.

I have personally put things together from bits and pieces, and honestly, it usually looks a bit haphazard.
With this set up, you don’t need to hunt for all pieces. It’s all here

So you can just do the tripod, phone holder, with 2 attachment points so you you can add your own gear. About $60.

OR add a light, the Lume Cube Mini. Or 2! ( with one light, it’s about $120.)

OR go all in and put the mounting hardware, light, and Rode Micro Mini mic, all in one place, as you see above. This will set you back $180.

And you can also make it nice and compact-

Step away from the meeting, forget about going on mute , and create something to share with the world. Here are the tools.

What will you make?

 

Real World Review – Fuji S-10 FTW In The Street

I’ll admit it.
There is a holy grail search for the best camera for the street photographers. Mirrorless is a winner from my perspective, and yes, size matters.
True, there will forever be discussion, comparisons, preferences.
Potato, Potatoe. ( Fuji, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Leica are all great choices!)

Tried a bunch, and I’m a Fuji photographer: love the files, and camera designs feel right. What’s up with this new one, the S-10?

In the Goldilocks scheme of things, my Fuji ranges are this: one is small, my X-100f, one is heavier, the X-T4, with much more capability.
The things I love about the X-T4 : Ibis, dual card slot, bigger battery, dedicated movie mode, ability to shoot 4k FLOG 400mps in movie mode (shot 2nd unit for a feature with this) and using the full compliment of Fuji Lenses.
And just the ergonomics. Top design is outstanding, and all of my controls are right there.
The X-100 series, is slim, leaf shutter, fixed lens, and a no-brainer for me, as it also fits right in my jacket pocket. Great for that simple walkabout.

So why the S-10??

The S-10 comes in right at the middle!

And on paper the Fuji S-10 covered a lot of bases.
First thing you notice, is the S-10 smaller than the X-T4,

It uses interchangeble lenses, and battery is the same battery I use for the 100F.
The dial design seems to be aimed at the newer user, as shooting modes are displayed on top.the old PSAM range (program, aperture, shutter speed, manual)
There is a dedicated ISO button to change up your ISO in manual, although you can create 3 separate auto ISO ranges, so you can set and forget.

It can take only 1 SD card, and UHS I only, so no back-up in the body.
The LCD is fully articulating, much like the X-T4, so great for vlogging.

IBIS (lens stabilization) is built in so that helps both the newbie, and the pro for a better chance at a sharp image.
The video capabilities are quite strong. mic inputs and headphones with an included dongle.

I can see how that saves space on this body, same as the X-T4. Still wish the X-T4 had a regular headphone jack like the X-T3, but I digress.

There is a built in flash, not super strong but fine for the friend snaps, or a fill light.


You can customize all of the buttons on this body, which I find super useful to match my other Fuji bodies for consistency.
On that point, when I first started to shoot with it, it did take a moment to get into the rhythm of fast changes in the controls.
Not a steep learning curve.
The body build overall is solid, and felt well built in the hands.
When you talk about basic ergonomics, the S-10 works, although if you have large hands, you may want to put it in your hands before purchasing.

What am I missing from the X-T4? not a whole heck of a lot, and at under $1000 vs $1700, the S-10 is a darn good deal.
The highlights:

*The LCD is fully articulated, and can be reversed to close in on body and be protected.
*The excellent Fujifilm algorithms for the classic film types, so you can adjust your jpegs in camera.
*Built in stabilization (IBIS)
*One SD card slot
*smaller battery
*smaller footprint overall than the X-T4

For the full story, here is a link to a comparison chart of the S-10 and the X-T4.

Yes, this a high recco piece of kit. If you are currently in the Fuji system, you have the lenses. If not, get the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens, which is corresponds to a 27-84mm equivalent focal length. I use that lens all the time, and dang happy with it. Great for video as well. Or you can go for the 16-80mm, with an equivalent 24-120mm-equivalent zoom which gets you a longer reach with an f/4 all the way through the focal range.

I may have to add this to the camera bag. I walk around NYC all the time, and ounces count!

Whether you are new to the Fuji system, or looking for an add -on, this camera will not disappoint.

and a little vid from BH