Monday, July 27, 2015

DIY Passport Photos part 3

It was time again for us to renew passports for my daughter and myself (note that children's passports expire after only five years).  As before, I wanted to do it myself so that I could have photos I would at least be satisfied with for ten years (the passport duration for adults).

For the passport photos in this post, I used the following:

To process the photos and prepare them for printing, I used Lightroom 6.  Here's how I took the photos.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monolight Power, Speedlight Price? Godox e300 Preliminary Review

Chinese lighting products have been steadily improving while offering incredible prices, and studio strobes are no exception.  Godox's e300 is a monolight that has pretty good specifications on paper, including 300 watt seconds of power.  The kicker is that it's available at under $100 - comparable to the cost of an inexpensive speedlight, making it attractive to hobbyists and casual shooters, especially first-time strobe buyers.

I just got a Godox e300 and in this post, I provide my first impressions.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Unboxing the Godox e300 ($100 Monolight)

Is it possible to get a decent monolight for the price of a speedlight?  The Godox e300 is a monolight that seems to promise just that.  Check out the specs:
  • 300 watt-seconds of power
  • 150 watt modeling lamp
  • compact size (20.3 cm long) and light weight (1.45 kg)
  • radio-based wireless remote adjustment capability with separate FT16 accessory (~$30)
  • available for less than $100 on eBay
For comparison, the Alien Bee B800, already one of the most affordable monolights, has 320ws of power and costs $280.

I ordered one last week and just got it yesterday.  Here is the unboxing:

I conducted preliminary tests last night and will post my first impressions soon.

Amazon Prime Day Deals

Today is Amazon Prime day.  I will be on the lookout for photography-related deals and will be posting them here.  If you spot any, pls. post it in the comments!
Canon Rebel SL1 bundle $419.  Amazon describes it as a mystery camera but Amazon's quote from DPReview matches the conclusion for the SL1.

Hit the jump for other deals, including lightning deals!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Spectacular Strobe Sale: Flashpoint Streaklight 360ws

Adorama is offering a complete Flashpoint Streaklight 360 kit for $399.95.  Hit the jump for details and why you might be interested.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Spectacular Strobe Sale: Flashpoint Rovelight (Profoto D1 clone)

The Flashpoint Rovelight is a clone of the well-regarded Profoto D1 monolight, a self-contained monolight that includes a built-in battery in its body.  While the Profoto D1 costs around $1000 for the 500ws model, the Flashpoint Rovelight RL-600 offers similar functionality at just $600.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Spectacular Strobe Sale: Godox Ving V850 and V860

The Godox Ving is a unique speedlight that uses rechargeable Lithium batteries instead of AA batteries.  As a result, you get a far greater battery life (650 full power flashes -- claimed to be the equivalent of 12 AA batteries), and you have faster recycling times.  It's almost like having an external battery pack, but built-in to the speedlight itself! Check out this demo video by Gadget Infinity:

The Ving currently has three variants: the V850 is a manual flash, while the V860N is for Nikon i-TTL and the V860C is for Canon E-TTL.  Godox has its own wireless radio system: the FT-16, which can adjust flashes remotely, and which is compatible with the Ving and several other Godox products, such as the Witstro and their extensive monolight lineup.

The Ving has received positive reviews from Fstoppers (reviewing the rebranded Neewer TT850), Flash Havoc, Lighting Rumors and others.

The good news is the Godox Ving is on sale: buy 1, get the 2nd at 50% off, through eBay seller "zeniko_online_store":

This sale applies only to Zeniko's U.S. eBay stores (they have items listed from their stores in China, which have a lower price per unit but aren't included in the sale).  To avail of the discount, just select "2" under quantity.  The price will be updated automatically.

Note: I'm not affiliated with Zeniko or eBay, and we receive no commissions on this.  I'm just passing along this tip!

Monday, July 6, 2015

UAE Trip - Part Three

In the last part of our story, we stopped at the end of my first day in UAE; where we rented a C7 Stingray Corvette from Dubai, and took it home to Abu Dhabi at around 3am to spend the night and start the second day early in the morning.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Parrot Teleprompter on 20% Sale

The Parrot teleprompter is a small teleprompter that works with your smartphone and can be attached to your camera's lens like a filter.  I ordered one through their Kickstarter campaign and it is indeed exactly as described.  The folks at Parrot are offering a 20% sale that ends on the 4th of July.
Quick notes: 
1.  The adapter for attaching it to your lens is the same size as the one for a Cokin square filter holder (type P).  If you have one of those, they will work.  Alternatively, you can get Cokin lens adapters inexpensively from eBay.
2.  The clamp for the smartphone can accommodate thicker smartphones.  I didn't need to remove my phone from its protective case.
3.  Parrot is now using teleprompter glass instead of acrylic.  This allows better transmission and clarity, but it is also more fragile.
4.  They also have a teleprompter app for Android and iOS (free for now).  The app does not yet support remote control, but they plan to have a remote control accessory in the future.  Alternatively, you can use any other teleprompter app, as long as it allows mirroring.
P.S. We're not affiliated with Parrot and we don't receive any commissions from them.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Testing the Samsung NX500 after firmware update v. 1.10

This video shows the effect of the firmware update v. 1.10 on the Samsung NX500's low light autofocus speed, backlight autofocus accuracy, and the raw buffer depth.

Hit the jump for details.