Sunday, January 13, 2019

What's In My Bag - Photography Edition 2019

This is the Part 2 of my "What's In My Bag" for 2019 focusing on my photography Bag.


Flash Modifier Gear:

Kobra Flash Modifier:  It's a recently shipping Kickstarter that's a forward facing flash reflector that controls light from spraying everywhere. It stops you from being blinded  It weights 4.3 grams and folds in my bag.  It also includes these gel insert to change the light emitted. The slip into a little leatherette wallet for storage.  It's a must-have for photographers.

Gary Fong Puffer Plus Flash Diffuser: It slips over the Nikon Flash and diffuses the light.  I use it in a pinch if the flash has run too hot or I forgot to pack extra batteries.

Nikon 3400: It's a basic DSLR that does the job.  I'll probably switch over to a Sony A7 this year.  I've been using Sony sensors for nearly 20 years and I know what they can an cannot do. 

Neewer Vertical Battery Grip: Holds 2 Batteries.  That gives me some 2500 shots or 5 hours of power.

Waka Camera Neck Strap: Comes with a shoulder strap and a safety tether.  You don't want thousands of dollars of equipment crashing to the ground.

Camera Assistant:   Arsenal is touted as a Smart Camera Assistant.  It uses feedback from a camera that uses machine learning to automatically adjust exposure, shutter speed, aperture, focus.  It connects to the USB port on your camera and then over wifi on your cell phone. It also has additional features bracketing/stacking for more dynamic range. It hasn't worked exactly as I'd hope.  The timelapse feature simply just takes X shots over Y interval.  I expected that it would save images to the phone for timelapse and bracketing, but just saves them to the SD card.  You have to use your computer to stitch them together.  In my usage, most of the images come out overexposed.  Another Kickstarter miss.

Nikon Nikkor 70-300 mm Lens: Produces sharp photos with a telephoto lens.

Apeman i-TTL Speedlight:  Cheap, cheap flash that works better than more expensive lights.

DxO One Lighting Edition:  Produces high quality 20 MP images from a 1-inch sensor.  It's a great little accessory or standalone.  It captures to SD Card or your phone. I wish that I got the USB-C version as well.   The device manufacturing arm of DxO Labs has gone out of business, so no new firmware updates. 

Newest Toy:   Snap 4K Action Camera.  It's a nice tiny camera that you can mount using magnets to your person or a bike mount.  The lens can flip 180 degress. It comes with a Bluetooth remote to remotely start and stop recording.  Also, an extra battery gives you an additional 1.5 of battery for 3 hours of continuous storage.  So far the video and photos are excellent and it's a nice addition to my photo and video equipment

Update (03/23/2019: 2 months later and this thing is dead.  I noticed that it stopped showing recording status and now it's dead even with the external battery connected.  Purge garbage.

Yi Discovery 4K Action Cam:  It's meh.  It's really 2K and not 4K.  No tripod mount or image stabilization, but I shouldn't expect much from a  $50 action cam.
(Update 10/27/2019):  Replaced with a GoPro Hero 7 Black.

More Stuff:
Supon i-TTL Dual Hotshoe Bracket: For when things get crazy.  Speedlight and Arsenal
Eynpire Triple Mount Bracket: For when things get really crazy
USB-C to OTG Micro USB Cable
Google Pixel

Canon Vixia HF R80 Camcorder: It's an ok HD camcorder with an external mic input. With enough light, it performs well.  In low light, there is a great deal of noise.  It's a good camera to get B-roll material but I'm finding that my Pixel takes better video and low light photos and video.

Final thing

Frii TriLens:  A belt mount that holds 3 lenses.  Simple as that.

As I finish the entry, I see that I've left behind two batteries and a charger on a shoot. Time to hit the re-order button.

I was really saddened with the Arsenal not really working as expected.   One thing th"at I did was test qDSLRDashboard.  It's an Android/iOS App, Windows/MacOS App, and Raspberry Pi App that runs on a Raspberry Pi that remote controls cameras.  It worked using a Raspberry Pi but was a little bulky.    I connected it to a my Google Pixel and then things got fun.  I was able to perform Focus Stacking and remote control of the camera.  Removing any human shake from the camera makes a better photograph. All the functions of the Arsenal minus the machine learning that doesn't seem to work.  The app was only $8.66 plus another $7 for the OTG cable.  The Arsenal was $175 and I had to buy another OTG cable for it because the USB-Cable was bent. It's been nearly 2 months and I have not heard back from Arsenal Report on the replacement.

For those of you considering the Arsenal, hold off and try qDSLRDashboard using your phone first.   It's a cheaper alternative.

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