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Keeps your camera close at hand

At this year’s Wedding and Portrait Photography International expo, I spent a considerable amount of time talking to many of the 200+ vendors of cameras, equipment, accessories and services. Spider Holster was one of these vendors that caught my attention.

The Spider Holster set of accessories provides a way to carry one or more cameras conveniently at your waist. The system uses a pin (ball-joint) mounted on a plate that attaches to your camera body. The ball-joint pin securely slides into a slot on a waist-mounted holster. The camera literally “hangs” at your waist leaving your hands free until you are ready to shoot again.

The camera hangs at the shooter’s waist with the lens facing backwards. If the shooter kneels, the lens will remain facing backwards and out of the way.

The pin bracket screws into the camera’s tripod socket. Notice that there are two positions to mount the pin. One position is for a left-hand holster and the other position for a right-hand holster.

The holster attaches to a waist belt. The ball-joint slides into to holster and has a safety latch to prevent the camera from inadvertently detaching.

Representative Ashley Cavanaugh is sporting a single holster. You can also attach a second holster to the waist belt enabling you to swap between two cameras.

To the right is a variety of brackets and plates. One of the plates lets you mount the camera directly on tripods that require an Arca-Swiss mount..

The SpiderPro single camera system includes the holster, the camera plate, the pin and single cam belt. The suggested price of the single camera system is $135.

The dual camera system includes two holsters, plates and pins and a dual cam belt. The suggested price of the dual camera system is $235.

For more information, please visit Spider Holster.


Written by: Arnie Lee





Looking for a new camera? Here’s a few.

Besides being avid an photographer, I’m also a techie. This makes it difficult for me to page past the ads for new camera gear.

In addition to the higher end cameras, I also collect, experiment, use and review compact cameras.

This holiday season is an opportune time to shop for a new or replacement camera.

Why, you ask?

Well, the prices for high quality compact cameras are extremely attractive. Competition among the major manufacturers is very high and that drives prices down. In one week, I saw the price of several medium-end point-and-shoot models drop 20% as the manufacturers scurried to garner additional holiday sales.

This isn’t meant to be a review but let me point out a few of the bargains that I saw.

Canon PowerShot SX230 HS – 14X optical zoom, 12mp, 1080 HD video, builtin GPS, $200 was $300
Nikon Coolpix S6200 – 7x optical zoom, 16mp, 720 HD video, $130 was $200
Nikon Coolpix S6200 – 10x optical zoom, 16mp, 720 HD video, $150 was $230
Nikon Coolpix S9100 – 18x optical zoom 12mp, 1080 HD video, $250 was $330
Samsung SH100 – 5X optical zoom, 14mp, 720 HD video, builtin wifi upload, $130 was $180
Sony CyberShot WX9 – 5X optional zoom, 16mp, 1080 HD video, $140 was $200

You’ll notice that I have listed three Nikon models. Over the past several months, Nikon has been very aggressive with both the number of models that they’ve made and the pricing of them.

I’ve used three of the cameras listed and have found that the image quality from all to be very good. I am also impressed with the ability to take pictures in low-light with the Nikon models.

I also enjoy the longer zoom range on many of the models which let me “reach” subjects are farther away than my feet can take me.

If you’re looking for a new or replacement camera that doesn’t break the bank, you have a large choice available. Best of luck with your shopping.


Folllowup: After writing this article, I saw a “deal” that I didn’t want to turn down. I ordered a compact camera to be my pocket companion. I’m buying the Canon Powershot SX230HS for $189.

This is the third Canon SX200 series camera that I’ve owned. I’ve taken well over 11,000 photos and videos with my older SX210. Being small, it is easy to carry with me on my travels. Yes, I’ve made this camera work hard these past two years.

The new SX230 takes better photos in low light situations, retains the extended 14x telephoto zoom lens and includes built-in GPS that records the location of my photos. This will make it easy for me to remember where I snapped all of the new pictures.

With the end of the holidays, retailers are anxious to sell any excess inventory. This makes now a great time to be shopping for a new camera- there are many bargains to be found.


Written by Arnie Lee

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Buying A Preowned Camera – Caveat Emptor

Although the prices of new dSLR cameras continue to drop as manufacturers release newer models, there are still many reasons you may want to consider a buying preowned camera.

Price is perhaps the main reason for many people. Are you currently using a point-and-shoot camera but are yearning for higher quality photographs? Then buying a preowned dSLR may not be
such a bad way to go.

Newcomers to photography aren’t the only ones shopping for preowned cameras. Many experienced photographers use preowned cameras as backups or for times in which they don’t want to risk damaging their newer equipment when shooting in difficult locations, bad weather conditions, etc.

Although previewing a preowned dSLR camera won’t take a lot of time and isn’t as big of a purchase as a preowned car, for example, you should still “kick the tires.” Caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) should be a reminder especially if you’re shopping online and cannot touch and feel the camera. Photography terms can be intimidating so if you’re fairly new to photography, take a friend with you who knows about photography. Meet the seller during the day if at all possible. The natural sunlight will help you better test the quality of the camera and its features easier (not to mention that it’s safer). In fact, keep safety in mind at all times.

  • First check the battery compartment. If you see any sign of corrosion or battery leakage, stop right there and consider moving on to another camera. Otherwise, check the battery doors and battery springs that can become loose over time. Make certain it’s easy to insert the battery back in the compartment.
  • Check the camera body carefully. Look for dents, scuffmarks, scratches, etc., that indicate a dropped or otherwise carelessly handled camera.
  • Bring a memory card for testing. Don’t necessarily trust the card that nay already be in the camera. You want to make certain that your card works in the camera. Check all the terminals and look for bent pins or any “gunk” that is stuck in the pins.
  • Turn the power switch on and off a few times.
  • Examine the LCD monitor and adjust the contrast higher and lower.
  • If the camera has a live view or video mode, make sure they’re working properly.
  • Does the viewfinder look clean? It’s not uncommon to see a bit of dust or some dirt particles, but reconsider the camera if you see defects or any foreign objects in the viewfinder.
  • Make certain the diopter control wheel works.
  • Ask how many photos the seller has taken (actuations) with the camera. The camera’s shutter has a “life expectancy” so a replacement may be expensive. Most cameras are rated for about 100,000 actuations. So, you can probably consider a camera with less than 10,000 actuations to be in relatively new condition. A camera with 50,000 or more actuations is “well-used” and “very well used” if it has more than 100,000 actuations.


  • Check that pop up flash actually pops up by pressing the flash button (if available on the camera).
  • Test the camera in dark conditions to make sure it flashes.
  • If the camera has a hotshoe, make sure it too is functioning.
  • Check the remote IR flash if it’s available with the camera and you have plans to use it.


  • With a lens attached, activiate the camera’s autofocus.
  • Remove the lens carefully. Check the lens mount for scratches or other damages. It’s important that the lens mount is solid especially if you’ll be using different lenses.
  • Peek inside the camera to the mirror box. Make certain no dirt or water marks are on it.

Test shots
OK, now that you’ve looked over the camera and are satisfied, it’s time to snap some photos. This is when it’s a good idea to bring along someone who is familiar with photography and let him/her do the testing for you.

  • Does the shutter work and sound OK?
  • Do all of the buttons and dials function properly?
  • Make certain that all modes on the dial work as they should.
  • Taka a few photos with different aperture and shutter speed settings to check whether the exposure has changed.
  • Set the diopter control wheel correctly for your eyes, select a focus point and take a manually focused photograph.
  • Test the multiple shot (sometimes called burst mode) feature of the camera if it’s available. You should do this for at least two reasons. The first is, of course, to test the mode itself. The second reason is that if the shutter is indeed failing, it’s possible that you can hear the shutter get slower.
  • Compose a picture, select a focus point and autofocus on it and capture it. Verify the photos and focus point are in focus. (This is probably best done with a lens you know is good.)
  • Shoot a few photographs in spot metering mode. Make certain the meter actually changes based on the scene you’re shooting.
  • This is a test for the LCD monitor. Take one fully underexposed (black) and one fully overexposed (white) photo. Then look at each carefully in the LCD monitor. You’re looking for dead pixels on the LCD monitor and on the sensor.

Often overlooked

  • Ask about a lens cap, users manual, quick start guide, etc. that originally came with the camera.
  • The battery charger is one item that is often forgotten so make certain that it works.
  • Although not always a reliable way to see how much action the camera has been through is to look at the camera strap. You may want to consider another camera, and possibly another seller, it the seller maintains that the camera has barely been used, but the strap is worn and faded. A camera strap won’t wear down much with gentle and minimal use. This, of course, doesn’t mean that the seller didn’t replace the strap with a newer one.
  • Will the seller would agree to ask about a warranty period (even a week or two)?

That should be about it. In addition to the these suggestions, use some common sense and you should do fine.

Written by Scott Slaughter

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