Impact Two-Light Digital Light Shed Kit Review

Do you need to take photos of small objects or products, maybe in order to sell something on E-Bay or Craigslist? You could make a white walled box out of paper or sheets, but doing so can be a bit of a hassle. What if you had a pre-assembled light shed that is easy to set up and quick to take down? The Impact Two-Light Digital Light Shed Kit is a ready to go kit to help you take product shots easier. Let’s take a look at it and its capabilities in more detail.

Impact 2-Light Digital Light Shed Kit

1) Product Information and Specifications

What’s Included:
1. Impact’s Extra Large Digital Light Shed is a high-quality, translucent cloth material housing for photographing small and medium products that can be lit with daylight, HMI, electronic flash, fluorescent, quartz and tungsten light sources.

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Mamiya RZ67 Pro Review

A Very Personal Mamiya RZ67 Pro ReviewIn one of my recent articles I talked about the beginning of the digital age and the consequences it brought to our understanding of photography. With all its greatness, with all the speed and quality and versatility, it became irreplaceable in our everyday lives and businesses. Along with that, however, digital photography also brought up a few problems, likely the biggest of which was the growing interest in new technologies rather than photography itself. This problem seemed to push the very goal of having a camera and a lens completely out of our minds. New gear was the thrilling, fun part. Comparing one to another has become our everyday activity. And yet, if we manage to get past that, if we manage to actually get out there and shoot rather than just read and read and read about new lenses and cameras day after day, we get the point of digital. We get to enjoy it as we should. We get to see digital, in a way, how we see the 18-200 or 28-300 class lenses – the do-everything, good enough for anything, the daily choice. But here lies another potential problem – with all the great all-round lenses, why do we love those boring 50mm f1.4 primes so much? I find myself shooting, and shooting, and shooting again. I find myself having hundreds, if not thousands, of photographs, and I like them. But a super-zoom is no prime lens. There’s always something vital missing. I may have just found out what it was for me. Before we dive into my very personal and subjective Mamiya RZ67 Pro review, lets talk film for a minute.

1) A Couple of Thoughts on Film

Where digital is about speed, you had to take it slow, sometimes even painfully so, with film. Where you had the shot with digital the second you pressed that shutter, you had to carefully store, develop and enlarge the photograph back in the day. Fiddle with the chemistry and red light in complete darkness. And you had, at best, 36 shots before you take a break and change film, whereas with digital, you have hundreds and hundreds before you swap that SD/CF/XQD card and shoot away again, ten frames per second. And every shot had to count. For every exposure, you pay money. You had manual focusing and manual exposure (I’m not talking about automated SLRs – I find them a little too boring, and we’ll talk about it further on) and you never knew if you’d screwed something up in the process. With digital, you can just shoot, adjust, and shoot again. I’m not even going to start on dust and scratches and archiving and having copies and making sure you don’t expose that precious roll to light before you had the chance to develop it.

Kodak BW400CN

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Think Tank Airport Security v2.0 Review

This is a quick review of the Think Tank Airport Security v2.0 rolling bag, one of the most popular and premium bags by Think Tank Photo. Targeted for busy photographers that have to travel on assignments with their gear, the Airport Security line is specifically designed to meet US domestic flight carry on size requirements. The bag also comes with TSA-approved combination locks and has an extra security cable to attach it to a fixed object. Best of all, it is a fairly large bag that can accommodate plenty of photo gear – whether you are storing a single DSLR with a 600mm lens or multiple DSLRs with smaller lenses. I have been personally using the bag to store my DSLRs, lenses and flash equipment and the bag has seen plenty of abuse this past summer during the wedding season.

Think Tank Airport Security

1) General Information and Dimensions

1.1) Features

  1. Meets USA domestic airlines’ carry-on size requirements
  2. TSA approved combination lock secures the main compartment
  3. Security lock and cable built in to the frame
  4. Security ID plate and unique serial number
  5. Holds pro-DSLR and super telephoto lenses up to 600mm
  6. Emergency shoulder straps for occasionally carrying the bag as a backpack
  7. Front stretch pocket holds an optional case for 15″ or 17″ laptops
  8. Optional low divider set allows for up to 17″ laptop to fit inside
  9. Clear Business card holder
  10. Seam-sealed rain cover included
  11. Looks like standard luggage rather than a photo bag

1.2) Dimensions

Internal Dimensions: 13” W x 21” H x 7–8” D (33 x 53.3 x 17.8–20.3 cm)
External Dimensions: 14” W x 22” H x 9” D (35.6 x 55.9 x 22.9 cm)
Weight: 12-14 lbs / 5.4-6.4 kg (weight depends on accessories used)

1.3) What’s in the Bag?

Here is a partially loaded Think Tank Airport Security v2.0 roller bag (click the image to enlarge):

In the bag close

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Impact Background System Kit Review

Every photographer knows that a background can make or break a photo and for that reason a clean, non-busy background is desirable for many photos. Having a light, portable and inexpensive system is helpful for both portraits as well as product photography and the Impact Background System Kit with 10′x12′ Black and White Muslins may fill that need for you. The kit for this quick review of how it handles has been kindly provided by B&H Photo.

1) Product Information and Specifications

What’s Included:
a.Impact Background Support System – 12′Wide
The Impact 12′ Background Support System will support seamless paper up to 11′ in width, as well as accommodate the 12′ width of any brand of muslin background. Total weight distributed across the length of the crossbar should not exceed 20 lb.

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Oben CT-2320 Tripod Review

While tripods aren’t glamorous, are a hassle to carry and despite gains in vibration reduction/image stabilization, it is still almost essential to have one in every photographer’s tool bag. When looking to photograph landscapes or wildlife, many times the difference between a nice photo and a great photo can be whether a tripod was used or not. Long exposures and long lenses both benefit from camera stability. So if you haven’t got a tripod and you are looking to improve some of your photos I would suggest you consider adding one. A quick search for a tripod will reveal to you that there’s a wide range of styles and materials with equally wide ranging pricing. So if you are new to this and somewhat confused on what to buy, check out Nasim’s article, How to Choose and Buy a Tripod. With that said, here is a review of a good, affordable carbon fiber tripod and ball head, the Oben CT-2320 with BB-2 ball head kit which has been kindly provided by B&H Photo.

Oben CT-2320 3-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod-with BB2 Ball Head Kit

1) Product Specifications

1.1) CT-2320 Tripod:
Load Capacity: 26.4 lb (12Kg)
Maximum Height: 67.2” (170.1 cm)
Maximum Height w/o Column Extended: 57.7” (144.7 cm)
Minimum Height: 12.6” (30.4 cm)
Folded Length: 25.2” (63.5 cm)
Weight: 2.95 lb (1.330 kg)
Material: 6x carbon fiber
Head Attachment Fitting: ¼”–20 & 3/8”–16 (reversible screw)
Leg Stages/Sections: 2/3
Leg Lock Type: Twist lock
Independent Leg Spread: Yes
Spiked/Retractable Feet: Yes/Yes
Center Brace: No
Center Column Type: Rapid
Center Column Sections: 1
Bubble Level: Yes

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Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 v2.0 Review

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of what I would find during my review of the Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 v2.0 bag. For many years, the Tumi Alpha Large Expandable Organizer Laptop Brief has been “gold standard” of laptop bags for me and many other road warriors. And while not designed for photography, the Tumi bag nonetheless remains the benchmark for quality that I measure all types of luggage and bags against. It was inconceivable that I might find another bag that I thought matched or beat it.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

- William Foster

Think-Tank-Urban-Disguise-60-V2-Front_View

As I criss-crossed the globe and our country over the years, my original Tumi bag endured more abuse than I had a right to expect of it, often being filled to its limit and being jammed under countless airline seats. For some time, Tumi had free lifetime repairs on its bags. I made good use of the policy. At some point, Tumi ended its generous free lifetime repair policy (I suspect I might have had something to do with single-handedly dragging down Tumi’s profits and the resulting change in policy!), and I started to pay $50 or so per repair. As wear took its toll on my Tumi bag, I eventually had to consider the cost of cumulative bag repairs vs. buying a new bag.

Those of us who travel frequently get attached to our bags. They reliably and safely carry our precious belongings when we are far away from home. When my Tumi bag finally reached its end, I couldn’t dream of donating it or (gulp!) tossing it into the trash. No, the Tumi deserved nothing less than a Viking-style funeral! So one night, as I sipped a glass of wine, my Tumi bag literally went up in a blaze of glory in my fireplace (don’t call the environmentalists!). I drank a toast to it’s many years of dedicated service and recalled the interesting adventures we shared. I slept well that night knowing that the Boatman collected the coins I had placed in the Tumi, and had safely transported it across the River Styx.

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Hitech Neutral Density Master Kit Review

This is a review of the Hitech Neutral Density Master Kit, which contains a number of filters that I use with the Hitech Filter Holder for landscape photography. Since I personally prefer soft edge graduated neutral density filters over hard edge (doing mountain photography with hard edge can be problematic), I decided to go with the Soft Edge ND Kit instead of the Hard Edge ND Kit Density Kit. The nice thing about this particular master kit, is that it contains two sets of filters – one standard set of square ND filters (1, 2 and 3 stop) for slowing down the shutter speed when photographing moving water, waterfalls, etc., and one set of soft-edge GND filters (1, 2 and 3 stop) for those tricky high-contrast scenes during sunrise, sunset, etc. If you do not understand what any of this means, I highly recommend to read my article on Lens Filters, which explains all this in detail.

Hitech 150mm Neutral Density Master Kit

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Panasonic GX1 Review

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the Panasonic GX1. Although I have owned some compact cameras and occasionally have the chance to experiment with those of others, this is the first mirrorless camera I have used. As Nasim and others have indicated, mirrorless cameras will increasingly play a larger role in the digital camera market, due primarily to their smaller size, lighter weight, reduced mechanical complexity, and faster FPS ( frames per second speed). They provide an impressive range of features in extremely small packages. But mirrorless cameras such as the GX1 still represent a modest investment and thus do not offer any cost reduction relative to entry and midlevel DSLRs. In this Panasonic GX1 Review, I will provide detailed information about the camera, as well as image comparisons to other DSLR cameras.

Panasonic GX1

Some of my questions prior to receiving my GX1 included:

  1. How well would the GX1′s picture quality compare against that of my D7000?
  2. How well would the GX1′s pictures compare to my D800?
  3. Would I find the weight advantage of the GX1 meaningful?
  4. How would I adjust to the GX1′s controls?
  5. What would cause me to consider a GX1 over a DSLR or point-and-shoot camera?

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Hitech 100mm Modular Filter Holder Review

It is no secret that many landscape photographers, including myself, heavily rely on filters for field work. As I pointed out in my Landscape Photography Guide and Lens Filters Explained article, filters can be very helpful for, among other things, capturing more dynamic range in difficult lighting conditions, decreasing reflections and haze, enhancing colors and slowing down the shutter speed. I have been using a number of different filters and filter systems ever since I started photographing landscapes (more filter holder system reviews coming up soon), so when I found out that Hitech came out with a new filter system this year, I decided to give it a try.

Hitech 100mm Modular Filter Holder

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Impact Fluorescent Cool Light Kit Review

This is a review of the Impact Flourescent Cool Light Two Fixture Kit. When most people think of studio lighting, they think of flash or strobe lighting. There is another option, though. Continuous light sources are a great alternative. They allow you to see exactly how the light is going to fall on your subject, you can see the ratio of light to shadow, and they are much easier to use if you’re using multiple lights and don’t have a lot of studio experience. Additionally, you can use them to light video. I was very excited to test out these Impact fluorescent lights in my studio to see if they’d be something I could add to my lighting arsenal.

1) Product Specifications

Input Voltage – 120VAC
Lamps – 5 (per head)
Ballast – In each bulb of choice
Reflector size – 18.5″
Mounting – Standard 5/8″

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