The standard way of carrying your camera is using the shoulder (neck) strap that comes with almost every camera. It has a lot to be desired. When I am out with my family, the camera would want to swing or roll wildly whenever I bend down to do something. Even during normal walking the camera bounces around and wants to slip off my shoulder. It requires one hand constantly on the camera to make sure it is secure and leaves another hand to do very limited things. For outdoor photographers, the shoulder strap just won’t work well for biking or hiking. I am sure many people have similar complaints. Recently, I have noticed a few products that can nicely solve the problems, for a price. Read More…

Posted in Accessories on September 20th, 2009. 2 Comments.

Hand_Strap

If you hate the shoulder strap that comes with your camera and seems always getting in the way during shooting, you are certainly not alone. One cure for such annoyance is to replace it with a hand strap that only get around your right hand. Hand straps for cameras are hardly anything new. I can find bunch of them at Amazon, even Canon and Nikon make them.

The unique feature I see from this one is the wrist support. DSLR cameras aren’t light, especially when fitted with a large lens. Regular hand straps don’t provide any help to your wrist. Wrist support is important when using a hand strap because all the weight is on it during the entire time you are using it. With a shoulder strap, you can get relief for your wrist when you are not actively shooting by carrying your camera on the shoulder.

This hand strap screws into standard 1/4″ tripod socket at the bottom of the camera and provides an extra tripod socket for mounting on tripod.

[Via Engadget > Red Ferret]

Posted in Accessories, Photography Gadgets on August 20th, 2009. No Comments.

Responding to popular demands, a new member has been added to the Eye-Fi wireless memory card product family. The new Pro version of the 4GB SDHC card supports various RAW formats and Ad-Hoc networking so you don’t have to be close to a wireless access point or Wi-Fi hotspot for it to work. It can now directly transfer photos to a computer with a wireless networking card but not necessarily connected to the Internet. The card is now shipping for $149.99. That is a significant $50 premium you will be paying for the two new functions. In case you are not sure if this one is for you, check out the Eye-Fi card comparison chart.

If you are using cameras that take only Compact Flash (CF) memory card, a SDHC to CF adapter such as this one may work but it is not officially supported.

Further reading:

Posted in Accessories, Photography Gadgets on June 12th, 2009. No Comments.

Bob Johnson of Earthbound Light just posted an article about a source for cheap CR123A batteries.  For many, CR123A may not be a familiar battery type since most digital cameras now take either proprietary Li-Ion rechargeable or common AA batteries. Once upon a time though, many film cameras and accessories used CR123A batteries, such as Nikon N80, N75, N90, F75, F80, FM10, F100, Canon EOS Elan 7/7E/7N, Nikon SB-50DX flash, etc. Even now, they are still used in photography accessories such as Nikon SB-R200 Remote Speedlight, Sekonic L-358 Flash Master Light Meter.

These CR123A batteries are expensive compared to common AA batteries. It is perhaps not strange because of their higher voltage, energy density, and output current. The SureFire CR123A battery mentioned in Bob’s article is quite inexpensive ones you can find but there are even cheaper alternatives. Read More…

Posted in Accessories on May 25th, 2009. No Comments.

The battery company Energizer has teamed up with National Geographic for 2009 Energizer Ultimate Photo Contest. You can send in photos in 6 cateories: Animals/Wildlife, Nature, People/Cultures, Travel, Weather, and Inspiration/Keep Going for a chance to win a National Geographic Expeditions trip for two to the Galápagos Islands! The winning photo will also be featured in National Geographic magazine.

The contest is juded by Jim Richardson, an internationally-acclaimed photographer with National Geographic magazine for the past  25 years.

Now comes the Energizer’s sales pitch. Energizer wants you to buy their batteries. In this particular case, the Energizer® Ultimate Lithium AA and AAA batteries. which are supposed to last 7-8 times longer than Energizer Max and weight 30% less.

There’s no question about one thing: To get the best shot, you need the best equipment. That’s where Energizer comes in. Energizer® Ultimate Lithium AA and AAA batteries are the world’s longest lasting batteries in high-tech devices. They last up to eight times longer than Energizer® MAX® in digital cameras (results vary by camera)—which means you can take your mind off your batteries and focus on capturing that winning photo.

The Energizer Ultimate battery is awfully expensive. Pack of 6 costs you $26.55, while Pack of 16 Energizer Max Alkaline batteries costs $15.82. It does seem reasonable to spend 4.5X the money for 7-8x the power. However, true costs of these batteries for per KWH (kilowatt hour) don’t look so good. It depends on where you check, per KWH costs of AA batteries can be in the hundreds. As comparison, the average cost of household energy is about 11 cents per KWH in US.

Fortunately, most digital cameras now comes with Li-Ion rechargeable batteries, which should be a much more cost effective power source over the long run. For accessories that still need battery, such as SpeedLight flashes, the most cost-effective would be NiMH rechargeable batteries. Pack of 4 rechargeable AA typically costs about $10-20 and they can be recharged for hundreds of cycles. Even factoring in the cost of the charger and household electricity usage, it would still be more economical than the typical Alkaline or even the new Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries.

Energizer Rechargable Battery

You don’t really need Energizer brand rechargeable batteries to take great photos though. As a matter of fact, the Energizer brands have some mixed consumer reviews on Amazon due to fast self-discharge rate and other issues. On the contrary, the Sanyo Eneloop 4 Pack AA NiMH Pre-Charged Rechargable Batteries appears to be a great option for its excellent self-discharge rate.

Posted in Accessories on April 19th, 2009. 2 Comments.

The Eye-Fi Wi-Fi cards are amazing achievement of digital technology. By incorporating a complete Wi-Fi chip inside the tiny SDHC card together with storage capacity, the Eye-Fi cards enable digital photographers to wirelessly transmit photos, and now videos as well, to their computers and Internet photo/video sharing sites. Some even offer geotagging capability by using location information of known wireless access points.

Now, the company is shipping the 4GB Eye-Fi Explore Video and Eye-Fi Share Video models for $99 and $79 respectively. The differences between these two are that the former offers unlimited Geotagging and one year of Hotspot Access. If you decided to go with the latter, you can still add Geotagging and Hotspoint Access services for $14.99/year per feature. Read More…

Posted in Accessories, Photography Gadgets on April 10th, 2009. No Comments.

Christian Løverås of Automagisk blog has posted a mini review of the Nikon GP-1 Geotagging GPS unit.

Previously, he has used a Garmin handheld GPS unit as a GPS logger to log the locations as tracks and sync the data with the photos afterwards using a specialized software. By using the Nikon GP-1 direct geotagging solution, the geotagging process has become quite simpler. The camera records the information directly in the photos with no post processing required.

Check out the Nikon GP-1 mini review and see how the GPS unit can be mounted directly on flash hot shoe or on the camera strap.

Posted in Accessories, Photography Gadgets on March 31st, 2009. 1 Comment.

Recently CNet’s Crave gadget blog and other place like Dvice has discovered a new GPS geotagging hardware for Nikon DSLRs from an European company Foolography that we mentioned a while ago. Except the price changes there is nothing new. Basically the “Unleashed” is a tiny Bluetooth module that sits directly on the 10-pin connector of Nikon DSLR cameras. It receives the GPS information from an external Bluetooth GPS unit then relays the information to the camera. The camera then records the information as metadata in the photos taken. The main benefits of such approach instead of the direct wired connection are, 1) it is very small, 2) the Bluetooth GPS can be used for other things and it can be upgraded independently.

The company is currently at PMA 2009 (Warning: link has autoplay video) in Las Vegas. The product is not yet available for purchase. While you are waiting, you may want to check out another similar device called Blue2CAN.

Posted in Accessories, Photography Gadgets on March 5th, 2009. No Comments.
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