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PhotoPlus Expo 2016

28th September 2016

Like A Kid in A Toy Store

As a long time follower of all thing photographic, I’m attracted to places where I can see, touch and fawn over new and innovative photographic equipment, accessories and services.

The upcoming PhotoPlus Expo 2016 Conference and Exposition is magnetically drawing me to New York City where more than 250 exhibitors will gather to show off their latest products and services. It’s the largest photography and imaging show in North America and has the distinction of more than 30 years of continuous operation.

Additionally, dozens of noted professionals and instructors will conduct 100+ of in depth seminars and classes demonstrating posing, lighting, wedding, portrait, marketing and photofinishing techniques.

Over the many years that I’ve been attending PhotoPlus seminars and demos I come away a little smarter as a photographer. Unfortunately (for my wallet), I also leave itching for new camera equipment and accessories.

The conference includes daily photo walks where attendees will explore the sites and streets of New York City accompanied by well-known professionals.

One standout is the Drone+ Seminar led by photographer George Steinmetz as he shows his aerial films. Also joining him are representatives form the FAA that will explain regulations concerning commercial drone photography.

PhotoPlus takes place October 19-22 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. With the completion of the #7 subway last year, getting to Javits is an easy ride from other areas of the city.

If you share my enthusiasm for photography, visit PhotoPlus Expo 2016 for more details. Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


The Backorder Has Arrived

This past October, I was in NYC to cover PhotoExpo 2013. It’s a large trade show for the photographic industry where new equipment, accessories, services and the like are on display.

One of the nicest things about trade shows is that you can have some hands-on time using the new hardware and ask in- depth questions that the reps are able to field.


I was interested in a few new pieces of equipment including Nikon’s newly announced AW1. It’s based on the one year-old Nikon 1 series. These are compact, mirrorless models that have interchangeable lenses. They are small and lightweight but deliver high quality images.

But the kicker here is that the AW1 is also waterproof to 49 feet, temperature resistant to 14F degrees and shockproof to about 6 feet. I was attracted to this camera because of its ruggedness.


I spent about 30 minutes of touchie-feelie time with the AW1 at the Nikon booth. I also peppered Brian – the Nikon rep – with dozens of questions about the camera.

In the end, I came away satisfied that this new piece of equipment needed to become part of my arsenal.

When I returned home from New York, I placed an order for the AW1 with two waterproof lenses. Although the AW1 has been available for sale for about six weeks, the two lens kit was just made available.


However, due to the usual holiday confusion, I have yet to open the carton. In the next few days, I hope to try it out. Since it’s 10 degrees outdoors here in Grand Rapids, I think the underwater testing will have to wait unless I decide to try it out in the bathtub.

But with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) right around the corner (next week), I just might take it with me to Las Vegas and jump into one of the pools. I’ll fill you in when I have more to report.

 

 

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

 

 

PhotoPlus Expo – Redsnap

19th November 2013

High Speed Photography and More

As I was walking the aisles of the PhotoPlus Expo, an impressive photo caught my attention. It was a stop action of a glass bottle as it was shattering into hundreds of small pieces.

I was at the booth of a company named Triggertrap and they were showing off its Redsnap trigger. This device is unique in that you can use one of several sensors to trigger your camera or flash.

 

This is the Redsnap.

It accepts interchangeable sensors: laser, sound, infrared and lightning. It has three outputs to connect up to three cameras or flashes.

A sensor snap into the top of the unit. In this photo, the sound sensor is attached which was used to trigger to sample photo of the breaking bottle.


this photo from Triggertrap website

These are a pair of laser sensors. A laser sensor can trigger a camera when the laser beam is broken.

The Redsnap can also be set to take timelapse photographs.

 

The good news is that this looks like a promising product.

The bad news is that the Redsnap is not yet available. Triggertap has been raising money to build and distribute the Redsnap through a Kickstarter campaign. The goal was to raise £50,000 but they surprisingly raised £290,000.

I learned that the electronics and enclosures for the Redsnap are now being finalized. Small production batches will be available for Kickstarter contributors beginning in December and January and full production is scheduled to begin about May of next year.

Retail prices have yet to be determined. For more information go to the Triggertrap site.

It looks like an interesting accessory. I hope to review one when they become available.

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

 

 

PhotoPlus Expo – Leica X2

13th November 2013

Retro at a High Price

For much of the mid-20th century, the Leica name was synonymous with finely designed 35mm film cameras and superb optics. But as the industry moved from film to digital, the company seemed to have lost it footing and missed the opportunity to maintain its technological and engineering edge.

Leica hasn’t given up.

As I walked the aisles of PhotoPlus Expo, I couldn’t help but stop when I spotted these amazingly bright colors starring me in the face. This was the Leica’s booth and these are their X2 cameras.

Surprisingly, the cameras are available in ten different leather trims. If nothing else, this fact alone makes the X2 a statement in style. Notice the matching straps and protective case.

It sports a 16MP APS-C sensor, a fixed 24mm f/2.8 Leica designed lens, 2.7″ LCD in a very compact package. Leica likes to say this is the only digital camera made entirely in Germany, stressing its handmade workmanship. For more information, see Leica X2


Above is my Leica M3 film camera from the 1950s


You can see that the X2 inherits a lot of its looks from the M3. Leica is betting that the “retro” look of the X2 will prove to be an attractive selling feature. I found the X2 to be very eye-catching.

If you’re a believer in the Leica pedigree, you may want to take a deeper look at the X2. Reviews of the X2 are mixed. While the camera is well built, it doesn’t have features which separate it from the competitors’ offerings. And the X2 significantly pricier than the other brands.

The X2 sells for about $1995. Accessories include matching leather strap, protective case and an electronic viewfinder.

 

 

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


PhotoPlus Expo – Sony a7

05th November 2013

Full Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

At this year’s PhotoPlus Expo, I made it a point to visit Sony’s booth to have a quick hands on their newly announced Alpha 7 camera. But first, here’s a little background that may help to explain why I take such an interest in the a7.

In 2010, Sony introduced the Alpha A55 with its unique translucent mirror. The non-movable mirror enables Sony to pack many innovative features into a space-saving SLT body that are missing from conventional DLSR cameras – accurate and continuous autofocus, real time electronic viewfinder, sweep panorama, multi-frame noise reduction, more. Since then I’ve been a user of two models – the A55 and a more advanced A65. Both produce excellent images. And since they are considerably smaller and lighter than the competitor’s equivalent models, they are less burdensome in the field.

These two SLTs cultivated my fondness for lightweight equipment. So I was very intrigued when I learned about Sony’s NEX series of compact camera. With an APS-C sensor, a NEX camera body is half the size of a DLSR yet accommodates interchangeable lenses owing to its mirrorless design. I soon acquired a lower-end NEX 5 to see if it met my requirements. I found it has image quality but I was not comfortable using the LCD finder with longer lenses. I then purchased the NEX 7 that sports an electronic viewfinder. Since then this has been my camera of choice owing to its excellent image quality, innovative feature set, compact lens size in an extremely lightweight package.

Several weeks preceding the PhotoPlus Expo, Sony announced the Alpha 7. It’s a direct descendent of the NEX series. Yes, it has a full frame sensor but its mirrorless design has been proven by several generations of the APS-C size NEX cameras.

You can see the thinness of the camera body with 35mm lens attached.

Specs: 24MP sensor, hybrid phase detection/contrast-detection autofocus, bright 2.4MP electronic viewfinder, articulated LCD, full HD video, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, E-mount and full E-mount lens compatibility.



the a7 with Carl Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens attached

dedicated mode and exposure compensation dials


I asked Meagan, the Sony rep, if the very compact E-mount lenses are compatible with the a7. She told me that they can be used but the view is shrunk to cover only the central 16MP of the sensor.

For the a7’s larger sensor you’ll have to use one of the new Full E-mount lenses: FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6; Sonnar 35mm f/2.8; Sonnar 55mm f/1.8 and Vario-Tessar 24-70mm F4. Also coming is a Sony 70-200mm G f/4 lens for early 2014.

Meagan says that delivery of the a7 begins December 1. Price is $1699 for body only and $1999 with the 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.


 

 

I am impressed with the small size of the a7. With the 28-70mm lens attached, the package is amazingly small and lightweight. While I wasn’t able to examine my test shots in detail, I’m confident that the full-frame sensor will delivery excellent images. In fact, I understand that Sony supplies this same sensor for use in Nikon’s D600 full frame DSLR.

So I remain in a quandary. Should I move from my very comfortable NEX 7 to this new full-frame a7?

 

 

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 

 


 

 

On the Equipment Horizon

06th December 2010

At the PhotoPlus Expo this past September I stopped by the Sony booth. Having received pre-show information, I wanted to try their pair of new cameras – the Alpha A33 and A55. While both look and function like DSLRs, a more appropriate term might be DVF – Digital ViewFinder – since neither uses a reflex mirror. Instead, they sport a fixed translucent “mirror” that sends a small portion of the incoming image to the viewfinder and the remainder to the “film” light sensor.

This technology isn’t new. In the early 1960’s Canon made a model called the Pellix using a similar scheme with a pellicle mirror. My uncle bought this camera back then, one of the first to have Through The Lens metering (TTL) and it served him well for many years.

Sony believes that their updated translucent mirror has life in the 21st century. There are several advantages to such an arrangement. First, a static mirror eliminates the reflex mechanism providing a space, weight and cost savings. Removing this mechanical assembly also allows for a higher frame rate. Next, the electronics measuring the auto exposure remain uninterrupted from frame to frame giving instant responses to varying changes in lighting. Similarly, the auto focus system stays 100% available – a very important consideration for high speed continuous shooting.

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