ProLighting from Lowel

Many years ago, my Lowel Tote-A Lights were a go-to. Quartz lighting, compact, lightweight, and great color. And warm to the touch

Well, that was then. The new upgrade to LED has a some of the same greatness: Solid build, PERFECT color (5600º), and versatility

Barn doors top and bottom, let you further shape the light directionally. Add in an umbrella, and you have a solid single source beautiful portrait or interview light. Yep, add more for true shaping.

With ability to use horizontally, or vertically, thanks to a 1/4-20 thread on the mounting bar, it throws a power bank of light, which can be spread using the included diffuser.

It all comes with what you need in a well made zipped case,

And what you need is where I want to advise all potential users. It is not simply a plug and play operation. There are 2 parts that must be plugged together to light up this unit.

One is the control pack that connects direct to the light, and controls the on and off, plus a dimmer. A little bulky, but OK.

THEN you need to connect that pack to the power block that then plugs into an outlet. It does create a bit of a large total block. They knew this and designed some connective parts to hold both parts together, and a cold shoe to attach the whole package directly to the light.

Now, you get excellent light, and true color temp. What comes with that is weight. Another advantage is the ability to operate on DC and add an outboard battery. V-Mount for those who want that option.

I’m torn on this product: Wish the weight had been cut down, but the light quality is great. Bulky power sourcing, and the step dimming is a not as seamless as I’d like to see. Under 5LBs. A little heavy in comparison with what is currently in the market place.

Part of what I loved about the original lights, was light weight. The heat from quartz was not the best, and having to wait for a cool down before packing was a drag.

The price has just dropped at BH from $450 to $300, with a Watson V-Mount adaptor thrown in. You may want to consider it as a high quality single LED, just consider the bulk.

Nikon Z Series – Why I’m Staying in the Family

A few years ago it was clear: mirrorless cameras were the future, and only getting better.

As a long time Nikon user, the double DSLR bodies, multi lens, music shoots, were getting heavier that I wanted to carry. Enter mirrorless. I went Fuji. And then……

……Nikon did what I wished for. A solid Full Frame mirrorless WITH an adaptor to use legacy glass! The Z series!

Sure, that glass was best balanced with my Nikon 810s, but I could still use those beauties already in my kit. And with a operating menu that was oh so familiar, it was a new deal.

One other note: the Z7 balances fast on my Zhiyun Weebill Lab! HUge advantage, when using the 4K video. And I do!

Today they are announcing one of the newest additions to a lens line made for the mirrorless Nikon Z series: part of the holy trinity of lenses, the 24-70 2.8. Huzzah! With a weight that compliments the size of the Z series, it may be time to rebuild.

Key Features:ideal for environmental portraits, landscapes, weddings, events, studio and street photography.

Constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range delivers the subject separation, speed and gorgeous bokeh .

Exceptional optical performance achieves edge-to-edge sharpness and minimal aberration in an incredibly lightweight and portable package.

All-new ARNEO coating works in conjunction with Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat to minimize ghosting and flare when the light source is within the frame.

Fast, accurate and quiet autofocus throughout the zoom range, thanks to Nikon-designed Multi-Focus System and Stepping Motor.

Built-in Function (L-Fn) button, Organic EL Lens Information Panel and independent focus ring give creators more control .

Fully compatible with in-camera 5-axis VR found in the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7, providing up to 5stops of image stabilization without adding to the size or weight of the lens.

Optimized for video, with reduced focus breathing, a quiet stepping motor, customizable control ring, and the ability to take advantage of the in-camera 5-axis VR + eVR of the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7.

Designed with consideration to dust and drip resistance, and featuring a fluorine coat that effectively repels dust, water droplets, grease and dirt.

The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S will be available in spring 2019 at a suggested retail price (SRP) of $2,299.952.

And taking a cue, I think, from the good folks at Fuji, they have announced the plans to do a firmware upgrade affecting the Eye AF features, plus more.

I have to applaud any company that upgrades the produce with firmware instead of insisting you but a new cameras for the new features. Unlike the film camera of old that never needed an upgrade (Get off my lawn!), Cameras are computers that need an upgrade now and again. Firmware is the best! Details below-


MELVILLE, NY (February 13, 2019 at 11:01 P.M. EST) – Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce additional details regarding the development of new firmware for its full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Nikon Z 7 and Nikon Z 6. The firmware in development includes new functions for the Z 7 and Z 6, such as Eye-Detection AF, RAW video output, and support for CFexpress memory cards. In addition, the cameras’ AF/AE functions will be further improved.

The Z series will continue to flexibly respond to changing user needs and offer next-generation features that give users new creative opportunities.

Functions and capabilities to be added and improved with new firmware

1. Support for Eye-Detection AF for still image shooting (scheduled for release in May 2019)

Eye-Detection AF is convenient for portrait photography. The Eye-Detection AF in development will work not only with the AF-S (Single AF) focus mode that is convenient when photographing still human subjects, but also with the AF-C (Continuous AF) focus mode, which is effective when photographing human subjects that frequently adjust or change their pose. What’s more, the function is capable of detecting multiple eyes, from which the user can select the eye upon which the camera should focus, allowing the photographer greater flexibility when photographing multiple people to suit their intent.

2. Increased AF/AE performance (scheduled for release in May 2019)

AE (auto exposure) tracking will be newly possible in continuous high-speed (extended) mode, in addition to the AF tracking that existed previously. In addition, low-light AF performance will be improved, enabling faster autofocusing in dark or dimly lit surroundings with both still-image shooting and movie recording.

3. Support for RAW video output

Output of 4K UHD and Full HD RAW data stream from the camera will be supported. The output RAW data stream can then be recorded in the compatible RAW format using an external recorder. This will allow users to utilize rich 12-bit colors to achieve flexible color grading.

Release timing for this feature will be announced at a later date.

4. Support for CFexpress memory cards

The new firmware will provide support for CFexpress, a new standard for memory cards. Having passed durability tests in which they were inserted and removed from a camera 12,000 times, these memory cards offer users a greater sense of security. They also offer high-speed performance that will provide users with a more efficient workflow. After upgrading, users will be able to use both CFexpress as well as XQD cards in their camera interchangeably. In addition to the Z 7 and Z 6, in the future, CFexpress memory card support will be added to the Nikon D5 (XQD-Type), Nikon D850, and Nikon D500 digital SLR cameras as well.

So, if you were thinking about getting into the mirrorless future, and don’t want to relearn all new camera functions., the Nikon Z7 with all of the legacy deserves strong consideration. Heck, I’m the same boat!

Holiday Gift Guide 2018 – Part 4: The Books

There are photo books that should be in everyone’s library, and there are photo books that may just pique the interest of the giftee.
At the end of this post is a book that you may never buy, but may be fascinated with the design.

First up-
If you, or a photographer you know, is always looking for some good projects to launch into, this is the perfect book.
With the teaching masters of photography laying out some great assignments, at about 1 page per project, there will be ideas here to get your camera going on that personal project. Priced right, everyone will find some photographic food for thought in there.

Lauren Greenfield has been added a view of our culture for decades now. From her examination of the US caste system in Fast Forward to an in depth look at eating disorders.
This book, Generation Wealth, is an important work in our cultural introspection. A lifelong project, it calls for you to examine values. Perhaps it will give you an understanding of how the other half lives. Not a sympathetic view, a decidedly editorial view. There is also a companion documentary you should check out.

A now classic book, Nothing Personal, has been given a reprint, with an extra companion piece. Long out of print, the combination of the images from Avedon, and the words from James Baldwin, depict a look at the world that may have more relevance today, than you may think. Oversized and beautifully printed, this is a great one to gift.

Sure, you loved discovering Vivian Maier, now find this photography by Sabine Weiss you truly have to see. Her street photography is exceptional, and her name may be a little off the beaten path. I first discovered her work at Paris-Photo years ago, and have been a fan ever since. Her heart, her eye, will amaze you or your gift recipient. Seek out her other books as well.

In the 70’s, SF photographer, Mike Mandel, published an incredible set of baseball cards featuring photographers. Yep, all of the greats: Ansel Adams. Imogene Cunningham,etc, with stats on the back! I have a partial set from that time, and when this boxed set was announced i couldn’t resist. If you want to get some major Kudos for a gift that keeps on giving, this is the hit.

Mike Mandel- 70’s box
This boxed collection contains facsimiles of Mandel’s original publications, long out of print, including the ‘Myself: Timed Exposures’, ‘Seven Never Before Seen Portraits of Edward Weston’, plus previously unpublished work such as ‘Motel Postcards’, ‘People in Cars’ and ‘Mrs. Kilpatric’, and ephemera from the projects, including selected facsimile contact sheets from the baseball photo shoots, a letter to Mandel from Charis Wilson regarding Edward Weston and a pack of ten of the original 1975 baseball cards, PLUS a full reprint set of the entire series. All packed into an Agfa paper box! Yes, there is even the same kind of gum included, as you would get in any pack of baseball cards.

A slightly different book, in a unique format, the book Until Death Do We Part Thomas Sauvin has made a lifes work of discovering Chinese vernacular images. In this collection, it explores the tradition of the wedding family lighting a cigarette for every guest. The book is admittedly small, just the size of a pack of smokes.I’ve given you the link to Mr. Sauvins site, Beijing Silvermine, as you will get the best price from him. Amazon is way too high in this case.

Sandro Miller is a gifted commercial photographer, and his personal projects have crossed over into fine art and, let’s be honest, having John Malkovich reimagined and recreating classic imagery is inspired. In the gift realm, in The Malkovich Sessions you get beautiful photography, celebrity, and overall a book that will just bring a smile. And if your a feeling generous, check out some of Sandro’s prints with Malkovich. Contact his gallery here.

This is the book that should be in everyone’s library. The Family Of Man is still the most visited photo exhibition ever, books have been written about this exhibit, and this book, has been in print for 60 years. A testament to the human condition, it is a collection of work from 256 photographers from all over the world, sharing life from birth to death and everything in between. We’re not so different after all.

\OK, you stayed to the end of the post, and I told you about this crazy great book!

From Thomas Sauvin, comes this book, Xian, with a unique design, that reveals vernacular photography from Mainland China. At about $1400 USD, I don’t expect many of you will purchase this. Just have a look and be amazed!

More Holiday Gift Guides coming!!

Black Friday Sale on Camera Bags From ThinkTank!

This just in! More Holiday Gift Guides coming, but needed to share this hot off the press!

Our friends at ThinkTankPhoto just announced their Black Friday specials.

It will put its popular Airport Advantage Plus rolling camera bag on sale at 50% over Black Friday weekend. In addition, several of its most popular camera bags will be on sale at 40% starting on Black Friday and through December 2nd. And don’t forget, by using my special Web link when ordering, you will receive a free gift and free shipping on top of the discounts!

The Airport Advantage Plus rolling camera bag is designed specifically for traveling photographers. By it complying with international carry-on size and weight requirements, you can keep your most valuable gear safe and near you when flying.

On sale at 40% through December 2nd are Think Tank’s Spectral shoulder bags, UltraLight backpacks, Signature shoulder bags, Sidepath backpack, and Multi-Mount holsters. The UltraLight backpacks are the lightest weight photo backpacks on the market. The Signature shoulder series are designed for wedding and other event photographers who seek a more elegant and discreet shoulder bag.

Holiday Gift Guide 2018 – Part 3! Let’s Talk Video

OK, the first item up is what I believe is the gear purchase of the year:
Why is it the gear of the year?
The Drone has been dominating the new gear of previous years, it’s true.
As a commercial producer, I know the uses of a solid pro drone, and the shots you can get like no other. That is when we are putting on a RED or Alexa to the drone.
For the enthusiast, the current licensing and restrictions for use, have limited the out of the box enjoyment. Forget cities.
And even in personal videos, the footage has limited uses. You can just see so many drone shots. For real estate and large acreage properties, they have their function.
Overall we know Smooth footage is where it’s at.
Even when you walk with a gimbal, you’ll get shots that look like you laid down some track and had a dolly. Seriously, in my ad agency, just saw some footage like that tonight.
That’s where the gimbal comes in.

Maybe you are using a smartphone and know that that small unit will reveal every shake of your hands. Go for the Zhiyun Smooth 4. The collaboration with Filmic Pro app for video shooting on smartphones puts a very robust film making tool in your hands.

or DJI Osmo 2.

Both gimbals use Filmic Pro as well as their own proprietary software. The Zhiyun comes with a mini tripod to help when you stabilize and give extra gripping area. DJI OSMO 2 requires a separate base purchase. And both can use a GoPro to increase the usage options.

Using a bigger camera? How about you step up to the Weebill Lab for mirrorless, or Crane 3 for DSLR. This is the kind of gear you should own. Period. End of story.
At about $600 for the Weebill Lab, this will improve the quality for your videos, is light enough for travel, and balances with ease. A full review is forthcoming.

New features include ability to use your phone as a monitor, available compact follow focus, or zoom control. Get the creator kit for follow focus motor, and the smart phone holder.
By the way, if you watch any press conferences, you’ll see the gimbal is coming around for the journalist as well. Maybe jockeying for position is better when you come out with smooth footage!
To be honest, I’m still using the Crane 2, which is avail for great prices, including a follow focus motor.

It is important to note the weight with gimbals. For instance, the Ronin-S, a great product, weights 1lb more, than the Zhiyun Crane 2. Important info when you will be holding this for long periods of time.
All of these gimbals will work with whatever cam you have, for a basic performance. Certain cameras will be enhanced based on software on the gimbal. Check your model for compatibility.

Remember, audio is 50% of your project, Unless it’s bad, then it’s 80%!
There are so many ways to go, and here is just an inexpensive way to up your run and gun production. That is a Rode VideoMicro.

A small, directional mic that fits on your camera and takes up little room.
Well priced, and one of those items that should always be in your bag. Comes with the wind screen, and mounting for your cameras hot shoe.
For lavs, I go Sanken, or Tram-50, and then you have so many choices on shotgun mics, depending on your budget and quality of sound. For handheld, the choice I would recco is the Electro-Voice RE50B – Omnidirectional Dynamic Shockmounted ENG Microphone.
If you can, go to a brick and mortar store and discover the sound room to listen to the different qualities of the mics.

In the action camera realm, the new GoPro Hero Black 7 is well worth the price. At about $400, the improved image stabilization is a huge help, especially in a small camera.

Honestly, couple it with a Smooth 4 gimbal and you have a great action rig, that will deliver smooth, solid action footage.
Being waterproof, you can take this on the holiday vacation! Vertical mode is avail so your social posts will be mobile friendly.
Battery life is still meh, especially if you use all the features: monitor, stabilization, 4K, etc.
Amazon has some great deals, and picking up a pack of 3 with a charger will be under $30.
Currently Go Pro is including a $50 micro SD card with your purchase, and that’s a pretty good deal.

So many tripods to choose from, and once again, as a gift this gets specific to video gear used, and situations.
One thing that will always be needed is a good monopod with a fluid head.
Manfrotto XPro monopod with 500 series fluid head. When you have no room to stretch your tripod legs, need all the capabilities of a smooth pan and tilt, this is the unit.

It’s become a classic, and you can’t miss with giving this monopod to your favorite videographer.( is it you?)
Picture next to it is a Sirui monopod. What I like about this one is that it’s only 14 ins long! And the carbon fiber legs make it a great light weight choice. Add a small video head, or ball head, and you are nimble!

Last for the really great video gift, is a monitor from Atomos.
A big purchase, but how much do you love your favorite videographer?

Highly recommend this unit, and all of the Atomos products.
Gonna be a bit lazy here, but here is a perfect description of what this does for you:
Eliminate your camera’s internal compression and time limits – record up to 4Kp60 10-bit HDR video direct from your camera’s sensor over HDMI 2.0. Teamed with a 1TB AtomX SSDmini you can now achieve up to 150 minutes of 4K recording on a single drive! And when you’re done, your edit-ready ProRes and DNxHR recordings are stored on affordable SSD drives.FEATURES:HDR/SDR – The Ninja V displays 10+ stops of dynamic range in realtime from Log/ PQ/HLG signals. See your images clearly in daylight on the near edge-to-edge anti-reflection screen.Compact Monitor Recorder – The new Ninja V features a stunningly bright 5.2” 10-bit HDR monitor with an astounding 1000 nits of output. The sleek aluminium body is crafted for maximum durability, weighing in at just 320g and measuring only 25mm thick.Playback – AtomOS allows accurate set up and one-touch operation, ensuring a great recording every time. Of course, a recording isn’t complete until checked; Ninja V allows instant playback, slow motion and frame-by-frame analysis for immediate review.Record 4K HDR Gaming – Ninja V is a stand-alone system for 4k UHD, HDR and high frame rate capture that eliminates expensive, complicated and unreliable PC setups. Ninja V enables simple recording, monitoring and instant review. Capture every detail in HDR and automatically include all the correct HDR flags ready for upload to YouTube.SSD Made Mini – Atomos has worked closely with their drive partners at Angelbird and Sony to bring you the AtomX SSDmini. These tiny drives are only 7mm high and 80mm long. They retain the same SATA III connector as traditional SSDs and they are backward compatible with our range of Ninja, Shogun and Sumo devices.Great Sound – Like all Atomos Monitor/Recorders, Ninja V enables audio input directly from your camera. CABLE – The Atomos Right-Angle Micro to Full HDMI Coiled Cable (11.8-17.7 In.) has right-angled micro connector for use with the Ninja recorder.

You will need to buy SSD drives, and I’d say some Sony LP batteries, or a D-Tap connector for your larger batts.
This is a right rig.

So we could go on and on, but this should give you some good ideas in the video realm, with units to work in most situations.

Oh, did I mention Premiere Pro for editing software? OK, I just did!


Upcoming Events

Is there an event we should know about?
Let us know on twitter.

Current Exhibitions

  • Yossi Milo Gallery
  • African Spirits Group Exhibition
  • July 11 – August 23, 2019
  • New York, NY 10001
  • 245 Tenth Avenue
  • p. 212-414-0370
  • Annenberg Space for Photography
  • APR 26, 2019 – AUG 18, 2019
  • 2000 Avenue of the Stars, #10
  • Century City, CA. 90067
  • Tel: 213.403.3000
  • Getty Center
  • Oscar Rejlander
    Through June 9th, 2019

  • 1200 Getty Center Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA. 90049
  • Tel: 310-440-7300
  • Howard Greenberg Gallery
  • Nove 14,2018- March 2, 2019
  • 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
  • New York,NY 10022
  • Tel: 212-334-0100
  • Peter Fetterman Gallery
  • March 2 – September 6, 2019
  • Through Sept 6th, 2019
  • 2525 Michigan Avenue Gallery A1
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • 90404
  • Phone: 310.453.6463

Is there an exhibition we’re missing? Let us know on twitter.

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