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Full Frame Mirrorless

Although I have been a longtime user of mirrorless cameras, I’ve been sitting on the fence about moving to a full-frame model. What was holding me back was my reluctance to make a sizable investment for a new set of lenses.


This past February while attending the Wedding & Portrait Professional Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Sony introduced a new camera – the Alpha 7 III. In case you’re curious about it, see my previous article about the WPPI Expo here.

A couple of features of the 24 megapixel A7 III caught my attention. First was the camera’s autofocus system. Using 693 phase detection AF points focusing was fast and accurate. Second the camera’s Eye AF which identifies and tracks the subject’s eye as the focus point. Third was its high continuous shooting speed – up to 10 frames per second. And forth was the comfortably adjustable LCD screen. And I saw that the A7 III had dual SD card slots. I spent about 30 minutes inspecting the camera and bouncing questions off of Sony rep Dave Rhodes. I left the expo with a very positive opinion about Sony’s brand new model.

After returning home from WPPI, I pre-ordered the camera with a 28-70mm lens. Along with it I ordered an accessory that would allow me to use my collection of Canon lenses with this new model. This device is the Metabones Smart Adapter.


Last week Sony released the first batch of A7 IIIs and my order arrives by courier, but due to my workload I wait a few days to open it. When I finally free up some time I find that the package contains the body, lens, USB charging cord, shoulder strap and instruction manual. Strike 1 on Sony. I see that the package does not have a battery charger. Instead I have to use a USB cord to connect to the camera body to charge the battery.

Now I think that I’m ready to take a few shots so I attach the lens, insert the battery and a blank SD card and turn on the camera. Strike 2 on Sony. The battery is not charged so I cannot power on the camera. Disappointed, I unwrap the USB charging cord only to find that there isn’t an A/C adapter for the cord. Strike 3 on Sony. It would be nice for Sony to al least supply an A/C adapter for the USB cord.

After striking out, I have to take a break. I hunt around for an A/C adapter and then proceed to charge the battery (in camera) for a couple of hours. After the battery is charged, I head outdoors to take a few shots.


my first photo with the A7 III

still – landscape

close up autofocus

action autofocus

high speed frame rate

auto white balance

While there isn’t anything remarkable about the photos, I want to see the camera shoot still, close auto focus (branch), action (runner), high frame rate (duck) and auto white balance (indoor).


I’m right-handed. The camera grip feels solid. Overall the body is compact without miniature features. The electronic viewfinder is bright and crisp. The LCD screen is adjustable making it easy to compose your shots whether they are overhead or low to the ground..



convenient and customizable control

the A7 III next to my Canon 6D

I like this camera’s dedicated exposure adjustment dial. A control wheel on the rear and another on the front are useful for changing exposure combinations. There are four buttons that let you customize the settings to your preferences. For those in a hurry to share photos, one of the controls lets you send images to a smartphone by Wi-Fi. And compared to my other full-frame DSLRs, the A7 III is noticeably smaller and lighter.



To be honest, I would not have purchased the A7 III had not the Metabones adapter been available.

This accessory allows me to use my full-frame Canon lenses with Sony full-frame FE-mount bodies including the A7 III. Having read dozens of reviews of the Metabones adapter beforehand, I was convinced that it was the only way for me to afford a new A7 III without having to buy a new set of lenses.


the A7 III, Metabones adapter and a Canon E-mount lens.

the A7 III with the Canon 24-105mm F/4L lens attached.

As part of checking out this new camera, I tested all of the Canon lenses in my collection with the A7 III using the Metabones adapter.

I was pleasantly surprised. The adapter worked with all of my lenses. Additionally the lens information (ID, shutter speed, f-stop, focal length) was transferred to the images’ EXIF data (two lenses were incorrectly identified).

Below are images made using those respective lenses.



135mm F/2L

35mm F/2

75-300 F/4-5.6 @75mm


75-300 F/4-5.6 @300mm

24-105mm F/4L @24mm

24-105mm F/4L @105mm


50mm F/1.4

8-15mm F/4L Fisheye @8mm

8-15mm F/4L Fisheye @15mm


17-40mm F/4L @17mm

17-40mm F/4L @40mm

85mm F/2


100mm F/2.8 macro

Sigma 20mm F/2

24mm F/3.5L TS-E


100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L @100mm

100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L @400mm

All of these photos were taken from a distance of about eight feet except for the two 100-400mm photos which were taken from a distance of about 16 feet. In short, the Metabones adapter lets you use Canon EF-lenses on Sony FE-mount bodies.

Sony E-mount lenses (designed for the smaller APS-C size sensor) can be used on the A7 III. My E-mount 18-200mm lens worked perfectly. However using an E-mount lens reduces the image resolution from 4000 x 6000 pixels to 2624 x 3936 pixels.


 
 

One neat feature that I am going to use for portraits is coined Eye AF. Long ago I was taught that for portraits it is important to focus on the subject’s eye. With Eye AF activated, the camera identifies the subject’s eye and makes it the main focusing point even if the subject moves. Eye AF worked well with the several subjects that I photographed.

I should mention that there’s an app on my iPhone that lets me grab images from the A7 III. The app is called PlayMemories Mobile and lets me download the images (JPGs only, not the raw ARWs) from the SD card to my iPhone. Having used the app with other Sony cameras previously, I’ve found it to be easy and very reliable.

I should also mention that PlayMemories Mobile also lets me record location information for the images. Using the smartphone’s GPS capabilities, the app sends the location coordinates via Bluetooth to the camera as it is capturing the images onto the SD card. Again, in my short time using this feature, it worked reliably. Bravo Sony.

I use the classic version of Lightroom to perform most of my image editing. To be exact, I’m now using Lightroom 6.14 but it’s my understanding that Adobe will not be making any further upgrades to this version. Therefore it’s unfortunate that I am unable to edit the raw ARW files with my copy of Lightroom without performing an extra step. Luckily I’ve found a way to fool Lightroom into believing that the camera’s raw ARW files were created with the previous generation Sony A7 II camera. Still this “fix” is an inconvenience before editing with Lightroom.

Despite my initial frustration (lack of a charger, uncharged battery, etc) out of the box, I remain very positive about its impressive features and performance. Having spent a few hours “playing” with this new mirrorless, I’ve used only several of the features that first attracted me to this camera. There are many more that I plan to become familiar with and use. Additionally, there are a large set of features that should be of interest to the movie enthusiasts. Admittedly, I’m not deep into moviemaking so I will cede the reviews on this aspect of the camera to other photographers.

In the mean time, if you’d like to learn more about this new model, Sony has an extensive description of the Alpha 7 III features here.

The suggested retail price of the A7 III is $2000 for the body or $2200 for the body with 28-70mm lens and is now available.
 
 

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 



 
 

Sony Alpha 7 III

23rd March 2018

The Newest High Performance Mirrorless


As the cold winter weather wares on me, I look forward to escaping for a few days. My destination is the Wedding & Portrait Professional International Conference and Expo in warm (usually) Las Vegas. There photographers can attend any of several hundred seminars, classes, workshops covering the gamut of the photography world. I especially like the expo where I can seek out the makers of new equipment and accessories. And so for this article, you’ll see that I stopped at Sony to have a look at their upcoming A7 III mirrorless camera.

Sony is the leading maker of mirrorless cameras. Early on I was attracted to Sony’s NEX series owing to their compact size and weight. I now own three of Sony’s mirrorless APS-C sensor models. For the past two years, my walk-around “goto” is the Sony Alpha 6000 with which I’ve taken many tens of thousands of pix.

I’ve been holding off upgrading to a full frame, but Sony has been dangling some impressive features in their newer models. The A7 III is Sony’s latest iteration of full-framers and I had some hands-on at the WPPI Expo.


Pick up the camera and it’s lightweight (compared to full-frame DSLR) but solid. The body is made from a magnesium alloy and is sealed to keep out dirt and moisture. The handgrip is comfortable (I’m right handed) as I tested it with the 24-105mm G lens. I cozied up to the bright, crisp viewfinder. Although I was in a lower light indoor setting, the speed of autofocus seemed to be very snappy. I counted four customizable buttons – a plus for fast working in the field. There are also two convenient dials for changing shutter speed or aperture and a welcomed dedicated dial for exposure adjustment.


Among the A7 III’s impressive features are:

 

  • 24.2 MP full frame sensor with ISO from 100-51200
  • Bright 2.3MP electronic viewfinder
  • Advanced AF with 693 phase detection and 425 contrast points
  • “Eye AF” detects and focuses on subject’s eye
  • continuous shooting up to 10 frames per second
  • in camera 5-axis image stabilization
  • high capacity battery provides 700 shots per charge
  • dual SD card slots supports high speed UHS-II
  • tilting LCD screen with touch-screen capability
  • high resolution 4K HDR video

  •  

    At the WPPI Expo, Sony rep David Rhodes demonstrated a new feature for me. Using your finger tip, you can use the touch screen to instantly change the focus point. The LCD screen also tilts up and down for easier viewing from different angles. While I wasn’t able to try it, the A7 III is capable of shooting 10 frames per second while maintaining autofocus.


    In the past, some critics pointed to the dearth of lenses for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras. Sony has been rapidly developing and introducing new lenses and now has a decent stable of prime and zoom lenses – I counted about two dozen lenses.

    Additionally, Sigma recently announced the support the Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras. While they are not yet available, Sigma will be producing the following prime lenses for Sony E-mount cameras:

    14mm F1.8 DG HSM Art
    20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    70mm F2.8 DG MACRO Art
    85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    105mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art


     

    The A7 III is on target for release about mid-April. The suggested price is $2200 with a 28-70mm lens. For more information and detailed specifications, please visit Sony A7 III.

    For more information about the upcoming Sigma lenses, please visit Sigma.


    After my hands-on test and after talking to the Sony rep David Rhodes, I’ve decided to pre-order the A7 III. The two features that pushed my decision are the speedy and more accurate autofocus, the 10 fps shooting capability and the availability of a larger selection of lenses. I look forward to its arrival – I’m told in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I’ll have a review of the new equipment in the near future.

    Note from April 10, 2018: I just received delivery of the A7 III that I preordered a couple of weeks ago. I hope to have a review shortly.

     
     

    Written by: Arnie Lee
     
     

    Some Day My Prints Will Come

    For decades I was schooled in conventional (film) photography. So it’s natural that I am a lover of photographic prints. And although I enjoy the convenience and portability of electronic display devices, I simply prefer to view my work on hardcopy prints.

    Last last year, I ordered a large format printer – the Epson P800. Normally it makes prints up to size 17″ x 22″. Add a roll paper feeder and it can produce enormous panoramas up to 129″ wide. Since the printer was in high demand at the time, my waiting time was about a month for delivery.

    When I finally received the printer, I was preoccupied with a lot of other work. To ensure that the printer was working properly I used to make only two or three prints and then set it aside.

    Jump ahead two months and I’m attending the WPPI Conference & Expo. I think to myself that I should learn about printing papers to get the best results from the investment in my Epson P800. And so at WPPI I stop at several makers of fine art papers to get educated.


    Hahnemuhle is a German based company that offers a wide variety of papers. I look at their large catalog and am stumped by some of the terminology. So I start asking questions.

    What is baryta paper? I’m told that it is paper coated with barium sulphate, a substance used on traditional photographic paper. When baryta paper is used for inkjet printing, it supposedly reproduces the effect of silver halide processing.

    Many of the paper descriptions include a gsm value. I find that gsm is an acronym for grams per square meter. Thus a square meter of Canvas Metallic 350 gsm paper is heavier than FineArt Baryta Satin 3500 gsm paper.

    I am also curious about paper with the rag description. I learn that this paper is made from cotton linters or rags and is superior to wood-based paper.


    The helpful representative left me with this sampler – a collection of their fine art photography papers and other helpful literature. For more information please visit Hahnemuhle.

    Namhoon Kim is the Marketing Manager for Durico Media. The company is based in southern California. As you can see from the below photograph, they have a rather large selection of papers.

    I helped myself to about a dozen of their print samples all on different paper stock. I find that the samples are the only way to determine if a paper is suitable for one of my prints. Reading a catalog description does not give me the know-how to select a paper – I require hands-on to feel the surface and a sample photograph to give me the visual feedback.

    For more information, please visit Durico Imaging.


    Epson is probably best known as a manufacturer of printers. They also are a large producer of high quality printing papers.

    My visit to Epson is to find out more about their printing papers and luckily I am handed a “Print Sample Guide” to take with me. It has their complete line of papers with printed samples: photographic, matte, cotton fine art and canvas.

    Before I depart the representative shows me their new software Epson Print Layout. This app is for users of Epson professional printers and provides a convenient and elegant way to organize, set up and print your images. If you’re a user of a high end Epson printer, you can download a copy of the Epson software from here.

    For more information about their papers, please visit Epson.


    Paperwise, I’m 3 for 3. I walked away with samples from three different manufacturers. So with samples in hand, I am prepared to make my paper choices. Now I’m ready to fire up that printer that has been sitting idle waiting for me.

     

     
    Written by: Arnie lee

     

     

    Hover and Shoot


    You don’t ordinarily think of looking at drones at the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo. However, DJI had a booth there showing off the new Mavic Pro.


    At the DJI booth, representative Laura Schutz showed me the company’s newest drone. She emphasized that drones are now simpler to fly. And drones are now much more affordable.

    Users have invented innovative ways to use drones for airborne photography. DJI, a pioneer in the industry, recently released the Mavic Pro which builds on the simpler and affordable features.



    The Mavic Pro is compact. When not in use, the rotor arms fold tightly against the unit’s body making it easy to store and transport.

    Owing to its efficient motors, flying time is up to 27 minutes at 40 mph.

    The unit’s remote controller has a range of more than 4 miles. It can send livestream directly to popular smartphones.

    Mavic Pro has five built-in sensors that can detect and avoid obstacles during flight. There is also a set of backup sensors that can take over in case one is malfunctioning.


    Specifically for photography is a camera that shoots 4K at 30fps mounted on 3-axis gimbal for smooth, jumpfree video. Stills are captured at 12MP.

    Its GPS capabilities enable accurate positioning whatever your location.

    In “ActiveTrack” mode, the drone follows or flies alongside the subject.

    In “Gesture Mode”, the Mavic follows you until you give it the go-ahead to snap your “selfie”.

    The “Terrain Follow” mode flies the drone at a fixed altitude above the ground.


    This Mavic Pro is taking video footage of me.

    The Mavic Pro has many features which set it apart from other drones. The DJI website has many videos that demonstrate these features.


    The suggested price of the Mavic Pro is $1000.

    For more information about the Mavic Pro, please visit DJI.


     

     
    Written by: Arnie Lee

     

     


     

     

    Canon’s Latest Mirrorless


    This past February at the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo, I stopped at the Canon booth to take a look at the company’s new M5 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.


    Canon is best known for their full featured DSLR cameras. Although I own several high end DSLRs from both Canon and Nikon, I’ve been a devoted user of mirrorless cameras for at least five years owing to the compact size and electronic viewfinder that I highly value.

    Sony has been a leader in the mirrorless realm with Fujifilm, Panasonic and Olympus close behind. Canon has been playing catch up with its M series for a couple of years. I now consider the M5 a strong contender.

    The new M5 now uses a 24MP sensor with Dual Pixel AF for faster and more precise autofocus. This is Canon’s first M series with built-in viewfinder. The M5 combines in-camera digital and optical lens stabilization. The tilting LCD has doubles as a touchscreen. And the camera has a built-in flash.


    This is the Canon M5 with the 18-150mm EF-M lens.


    The tilting LCD also functions as a touchscreen. Touch the screen to activate focus manually.

    As you can see the M5 has a convenient, dedicated exposure compensation dial.

    The M5 also captures full HD 60p movies in MP4 format. The touchscreen can be used during video operations to affect focus.

    The camera includes Wi-fi and NFC capabilities as well as bluetooth to send images to a smartphone.

    The suggested price of Canon M5 with 15-45mm EF-M lens is $1099. The suggested price of the Canon M5 with the 18-150mm EF-M lens is $1479.

    For more information about the M5, please visit Canon.


     

     
    Written by: Arnie Lee

     

     


     

     

    Instant Photography – prints while you shoot


    At the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo held earlier in February, I couldn’t help but notice several attractive displays at the huge Fujifilm booth.


    Fujifilm has been producing instant photo cameras since before the turn of the century (2000) as a successor to the groundbreaking Polaroid line.

    Their most popular model is the Instax 70 Mini which comes in six vivid colors – white, yellow, blue, gold, red and black.

    All of these cameras feature auto focus, auto exposure, self-timer, fill flash and tripod socket. They also have a convenient “selfie” mode.

    Fujifilm’s line of instant photograph cameras are an attractive addition for enhancing wedding, reunion, or party events. Make the rounds among the guests with one of these cameras and there’s an exciting picture for them to see.



    Instax Mini film is packaged in sets to produce 10 – 62mm x 46mm photos – about the size of a credit card.

    In addition to photographs with white borders, the packages of film can be purchased with these designs and colors: black, sky blue, rainbow, candy pop, stained glass, shiny star, comic, air mail, stripe, and Hello Kitty. There is also a monochrome film package for producing black and white photos.

    Here’s a photo of me taken with a colorful border. It takes about 90 seconds from pressing the shutter release until the photograph is fully “developed”.


    Here’s a couple of wedding displays that were created from Instax cameras.


    The suggested price of Instax 70 Mini is $110. The Instax Mini Film sells for about $15 for 2 x 10-exposure packages.

    There is also an Instax Wide 300 model camera which can take instant photos that are double wide: 62mm x 92mm.

    For more information about the Instax line of cameras, please visit Fujifilm.


     

     
    Written by: Arnie Lee

     

     


     

     

    Lightweight, Convenient and Protective


    At this year’s Wedding and Portrait Photography International expo, I spent several hours talking to vendors of cameras, equipment, accessories and services. The people at the Think Tank booth, gifted me a small accessory for everyday use.


    This accessory goes by an unorthodox name: My 2nd Brain 11. I suppose the name suggests that all of your necessities can be easily kept in this single case.

    The “11” refers to the size of a tablet or notebook that it can hold, in this instance an 11″ model of either.

    Load up the case with what you need, throw it over your shoulder and you’re ready to attack the world.



    The inner pocket is well padded and provides protection for my iPad. The outer pocket is perfect for holding my cell phone. A non-zippered pocket on the reverse side conveniently holds standard letter-size papers.

    The case opens wide and has several elastic-mesh pockets for securely holding pens, business cards, notepads, more. The padded shoulder strap is fully adjustable.

    My 2nd Brain 11 comes in black and green. The suggested price of My 2nd Brain 11 is $85.

    Think Tank also has larger My 2nd Brain cases for 13″ and 15″ tablets or notebooks.

    For more information, please visit Think Tank.


     

     
    Written by: Arnie Lee

     

     


     

     

    “Wet” shots

    25th July 2016

    A “must-have” for the pool owner

    For nearly thirty years my wife has been after me to build a swimming pool in our yard. Finally, I sort of succumbed to her pressure two years ago. But instead of building one, we found another home that already had a built-in pool.

    I have to admit that the swimming pool has been a great addition for the family, especially for the grandkids who drop in regularly to cool off. This being our second summer as pool owners, we’ve hosted many ad hoc combination swim/BBQ dinners. This in turn has given me lots of opportunities to photograph the kids in action.

    Late in 2013 I added a neat camera to my growing collection of equipment. The Nikon 1 AW1 had just been introduced as the first rugged mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera. The feature that won me over was the AW1’s underwater capability. Without having to use a bulky and expensive housing this compact unit is usable down to 49 feet. Additionally, it is shockproof from falls up to 6 feet and can operate in temperatures as low as 15 degrees F. Along with the camera, I opted for two lenses: a zoom 11-27.5mm (30-74mm equivalent) and a fixed 10mm (27mm equivalent).

    For extra protection, I ordered two accessories: the orange silicone protective jacket and the convenient hand strap.

     

    Here’s a sampling of how I use the AW1:

     


    teaching one of the young ones to swim

    a very cold and wet whitewater trip

     


    underwater action

    a pair of grandkids

     


    lounging on top

    half submerged, half above water

     

     

    As an old school shooter, I’m both comfortable and used to messing around with the camera settings. However with the AW1, I’ve come to use it almost as a point-and-shoot camera. Of course the overwhelming number of images that I’ve shot have been in and around the pool, usually with lots of sun. Although I’ve haven’t changed the ISO, white balance, aperture nor shutter speed on the AW1, the photos have turned out well.

    For those occasions when the natural light is low, pop up the built-in flash which works underwater too. Press the red-dotted button and you’re shooting movies – either above water or below water. And of course I can change lenses from the zoom to the fixed wide-angle.

     

    All in all, I have found the AW1 great not only in and around the water, but it performs well on dry land too.

     

     
    Written by: Arnie Lee

     

     


    WPPI 2016

    28th March 2016

    The Wedding & Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo

    Can you guess who the target audience is for this convention?

    For those professionals who want to enhance their skills – posing, lighting, equipment, marketing – the WPPI is a week-long “university” taught by experts. This year’s WPPI took place March 3rd through March 10th at the MGM Conference Center in Las Vegas. WPPI organized more than 250 classes and seminars for 13,000 anxious attendees. These classes were taught by 175 instructors including notables such as Joe McNally, Tamara Lackey, Lindsay Adler, Roberto Valenzuela, Bambi Cantrell, Hanson Fong, Kevin Kabota, Jerry Ghionis and Gary Fong to name a few.

    In addition to the conference, the expo highlighted 270 exhibitors showed the newest cameras, lenses, equipment, lighting, accessories, supplies, marketing material and services. All of the major camera manufacturers will set up booths to demonstrate their latest equipment.

    Following is a look at those items that caught my attention at the this year’s WPPI a couple of weeks ago.

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    Presentations and Seminars

    There were many opportunities for everyone to learn new posing and lighting techniques right on the expo floor. All of the camera makers and many vendors were holding demonstrations conducted by well-known photographer/educators.






    DXO One

    This small unit is a camera that works in conjunction with an iPhone. With a large 20mp 1″ sensor and f/1.8 lens you attach it to your iPhone to control settings. It also works “off-phone” if you want a small, lightweight camera. Though small, it can capture RAW images too. I found it very straight-forward to use and the images were quite good considering the convention hall lighting.

    Suggested price is $499. For more information please visit DXO



    MagMod

    MagMod makes a set of accessories to improve the quality of light from your flash unit. These include a snoot to narrow the light to a beam, a sphere to diffuse and soften the light and a bounce that reflects the light output and avoid harsh shadows, gel which add various colors to the light and grid to focus the light.

    What is unique about these accessories is that become part of your flash unit using a magnet for instant attachment. Price for the complete set is $235.

    For more information please visit MagMod



    RL Handscrafts

    I received two demos at this booth. One was for their Derringer above left for carrying from 1 to 3 cameras. You wear the strap on both shoulders with wide padded straps that relieve pressure points and back. The straps are adjustable for easy access to any of the cameras. Price is $485.

    For carrying two cameras, the Clydesdale above right can help you more easily carry your equipment. The strap attaches solidly to the camera’s tripod socket. RL makes several styles differing in weight, padding, air holes for easier breathing, color. Prices start at $205 to $425 for the deluxe version.

    For more information please visit RL Handcrafts



    Sony G Master Lenses

    Sony is the undisputed leader of mirrorless cameras. They have been rapidly adding lenses to support their highly acclaimed full-frame models: A7R II and A7S II cameras.

    Three of Sony’s new lenses made it to WPPI for demoing. These are the 85mm f/1.4 GM, 70-200mm f/2.8 OSS and 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. Prices are $1800, $2900 and $2200 respectively. For the 70-200mm lens, Sony is also releasing 1.4X and 2.0X teleconverters. Sony claims a higher resolution of the G series lenses compared to others and superior auto focus performance.

    For more information please visit Sony



    Spider Holster

    Spider makes a holster with a unique locking-clamping device for conveniently carrying your camera at your waist. The holster is adjustable and is worn like a belt to either side. The clamping device is solid and easily slides into the holster for hands-free carriage. Price for the Spider Pro holster is $135.

    The company also has a variety of heavy duty hand straps that come in a variety of colors. All are made of durable material, attach to the camera with a tripod plate and include a removable wrist strap. Price for the black model is $65 and $75 for other colors.

    For more information please visit Spider.


    Written by: Arnie Lee
     
     


     
     

    Looking at a Few More Gadgets

    Consumer Electronics Show is a yearly showplace for the newest whiz bang devices that are making their way to the marketplace. I returned from CES with a stack of brochures and notes about some of these products.

    Here’s a few more of them that interested me most at this year’s CES.


    Parrot Bebop 2 – Lightweight Drone

    Further down one of the aisles there was a large crowd gathered. This was the Parrot booth where I witnessed a cool choreographed “dance” of a fleet of colorful drones.

    The Bebop 2 drone is lightweight with 3-axis stabilization. The integrated 14MP camera with fisheye lens records in either still or video modes which you can aim through 180-degree direction. You control the Bebop 2 with either your smartphone or tablet which shows you what the camera sees. The battery can power the drone for about 25 minutes.


     

    The Bebop 2 also has a built-in GPS receiver that you can programmed to follow a pre-set path. I’m guessing that this is how the choreography was performed.

    The suggested price is $549. For more information please visit Parrot.


    Robo 3D R1+Plus – 3D Printer

    I’ve owned an early model 3D printer for a couple of years. At first I printed many of the samples that you can download for free from many online sites. This certainly expands the use of the printer but only for those owners who have the know-how and expend the effort to find the projects.

    The Robo R1+Plus is one of only a few 3D printers that are available at retail stores. It offers one of the largest build size for this class of printer: 10″ x 9″ x 8″.Robo has wisely created a set of ready to print projects that can be offered at the point-of-sale. A potential buyer can see some of the many things he/she can create with the printer.

    The suggested price for the R1+Plus is $799. For more information please visit Robo 3D.



    New Balance Shoe – Midsole Made with 3D Printer

    At the 3D Systems booth, sports shoe maker New Balance was showing a new running shoe with a midsole made with a 3D printer. The midsole is the result of a special powder that offers strength and durability.


    For more information please visit New Balance.



    pq Custom Eyewear – Printed with a 3D Printer

    It took me a few minutes to figure out what this display was about but it’s turned out to be very interesting. This booth was pq Eyeware by noted designer Ron Arad.

    These are custom designed frames without hinges and manufactured using a 3D printer made by 3D Systems.



    For more information please visit pq Eyeware.


     
     
    Written by: Arnie Lee
     
     


     
     

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