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Category Archives: My Gears

Press pic to hop over to ModoSteady 585's product page

Okay, you probably have a Sony NEX-5 like I do, or the new lines of DSLR capable of shooting Full HD video like the Sony A33, A55, Nikon D3100 or Canon EOS 550D and you like me are probably looking for some sort of stabilization accessories so to enable you to shoot smoother video.

Of course one can go the professional way with systems like Redrock Nano (US$387.50 and up), Steadicam Merlin (US$849), Zacuto Target Shooter (US$475) and the list goes on and on, but these close to professional steady systems do cost a fortune. One alternative I found over the weekend, is this ModoSteady585 from Manfrotto launched way back in 2007, some three years ago.

Originally designed for small video camcorders, the ModoSteady 585 can carry loads up to 750g or 1.7lb and the newer line of video DSLR fits just right in. The ModoSteady 585 cost around HK$790 (US$100) and it sure does the job albeit mixed reviews since it was introduced. I tried it out with my Sony NEX-5 and it just fits perfectly although the quick release plate is bit wide for the slim body of the NEX5 where the circular plate sticks out on both the front and rear sides of the camera. There are tons of video on the ModoSteady 585 on YouTube, check it out for yourself and see if this works for you. It works for me.

Some pics of the ModoSteady 585 after the jump.

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Interfit

Been looking at this Interfit STR102 Mini Beauty Dish Reflector for quite some time and finally found the knock-off at Ying Kee in Shamshuipo for HK$168. As for the results, well not bad for a mini-dish, best if added off-camera above subject tilting down aiming at subject but have to be real close for a tight portrait, otherwise, you wouldn’t see much effect.

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Manfrotto 322RC Joystick Head

Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Head

Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Head

Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Head

Manfrotto 685B Monopod

Manfrotto 685B Monopod

Manfrotto 685B Monopod

Manfrotto 685B Monopod

Got these two awesome gears for my arsenal two weeks ago and took them out shooting a few times, the result, ultra steady on my Sony A900 and even better with the Canon G10.

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The reason I chose the Manfrotto 685B monopod over the others available in the market is that from all of the research I did, this one matches my need, i.e. being able to extend and retract at the fastest speed possible.  My believe was further confirmed by the following two videos which I found on YouTube and Luminous Landscape.  The YouTube video is a review of the monopod from Yuri Arcurs, one of the most successful stock photographer, check out how he utilizes his monopod in his daily shoots.  Instead of going for a custom bracket like he does, I found the Manfrotto 322RC2 joystick head which allows for fast switching from landscape to portrait position via the joystick ballhead.  As for the second video, it is a full video review of how the Manfrotto 685B works with the Canon G10.  Check them out and enjoy.

Click pic to watch video

Click pic to watch video

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The Nikon Porter Bag

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With the Panasonic LX3

With the Canon G10

With the Canon G10

According to dpreview, “Panasonic has announced a firmware update for its Lumix DMC-LX3 digital compact camera. Version 1.3 improves auto white balance and general performance of the camera. It also rectifies minor operational issues. The latest version will be made available for download on the 1 June, 2009.”

Download link here, http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/download/LX3/index.html.

Source – dpreivew

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Had the Canon G10 for a week now and just picked up the Canon Speedlite 270EX two days ago.  Comparing it with my Panasonic Lumix LX3, the Canon G10 shoot some real nice pics at ISO80, but above that, it simply is no match with the Lumix LX3.  Still love the dedicated aspect change button on the Lumix LX3 but all in all the dials on the Canon G10 is much more easier for access and the size fits a guy with large palms far better.  As for the Canon Speedlite 270EX, it’s compact, light-weight and great with the bounce.  But mind you, there is no button apart from the on/off switch and lock key.  All settings are set via the camera menu system.

Just came back from my week-long photo shoot in Taipei. Before I took off for the trip, I took some pics on the gears I brought along and Gonna share with you all here. Because I was to do a full four days shoot with some local models in Taipei, both in the city and out in the countryside, other than the camera and the full lens series, I brought with me the mobile lighting equipments for off-camera lightings. Check them out.

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Sony A900, Carl Zeiss 16-35mm F2.8, Carl Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8, Carl Zeiss 85mm F1.4 and Tamron 70-200mm F2.8

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Light Stands, Shoot-thru umbrellas and bunch of clamps and accessories

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Sony F56 and F58 flash guns, Elinchrom Skyport Transmitter and Receivers

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Lots of gels (from Photogels, LumiQuest and Honl Photo), Snoots, Barn Doors and Speed Grids (from Honl Photo)

Elinchrom Skyport Transmitter on My Sony A900

Elinchrom Skyport Transmitter on My Sony A900

Elinchrom Skyport Receiver

Elinchrom Skyport Receiver

Well it took me less than a week to decide on the wireless trigger system for my Sony gears.  Decided on the Elinchrom EL Skyport system and got it yesterday.  Put it on a few range test and the results were more than satisfactory.  Reasons for picking the Skyport  is because it is way cheaper solution than the Pocket Wizard which is not legally sold here in Hong Kong due to some stupid radio frequency/broadcast regulations.  For the universal radio trigger set (1 transmitter and 1 receiver), it cost less than HK$1,400 (US$180).  Got myself couple extra receivers for HK$790 (US$101); great bargain.  Way better than the PT-04 from Shamshuipo.

In order for the Skyport to work on the Sony system, a cable is needed and so far I only found these from FlashZebra.  It’s the Sony/Minolta proprietary hotshoe to Skyport and it also work with Pocket Wizard and Cybersync.  The price at US$46.50 is a bit steep but the construction is awesome.  Too bad I’m not good at DIY or else I’ll make myself couple.

Sony/Minolta Proprietary Hotshoe to Elinchrom Skyport

Sony/Minolta Proprietary Hotshoe to Elinchrom Skyport

The Hotshoe to Elinchrom Skyport Itself

The Hotshoe to Elinchrom Skyport Cable Itself

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[Updated: 30 March 2009] For a more complete review on the Strobist Lighting Seminar DVD, check out this post from Lighting Mods.

[15 March 2009] Just received the Strobist Lighting Seminar DVD package from Strobist via UPS yesterday.  8 DVDs altogether.  Just finished disc 1 and half way through disc 2.  Will update more when I’m done.

In the package –

  • Disc 1 – Lighting Gear for Beginners (Excellent coverage from cameras, flashes, to DIY snoots and umbrellas.  Very informative).
  • Disc 2 – Morning Session Part 1
  • Disc 3 – Morning Session Part 2
  • Disc 4 – Afternoon Session Part 1
  • Disc 5 – Afternoon Session Part 2
  • Disc 6 – Bonus Material – Conference Room Headshot, Swimsuit Portrait, Kendo Practitioner, Pool Portrait
  • Disc 7 – Bonus Material – Lighting Indoor Basketball, Mountain Bike Shoot
  • Disc 8 – Bonus Material – Group Shot, DIY Macro Box, Sunset Sunflower

Source – Lighting Mods

Front view with my Sony A900

Front view with my Sony A900

Side view

Side view

Top view

Top view

Got this lens for two weeks now and been out shooting a bit the past two weekends.  Initial feeling towards the lens – great F/2.8 lens at this range, not a fast lens, great for portrait but okay with sports.  Tamron Hong Kong now offering firmware upgrade to the lens but they can only do so by sending the lens back to Japan and it will take up to four weeks in doing so.  Reviews on the firmware upgrade from the local forums indicated that the lens focus a lot faster and more quiet.  Think I’m going to check it out after my two trips next month.

Will post up some pics I took with the lens later this week.  So far I can say, for a third of the money in getting the G lens from Sony, I’m happy with this Tamron.