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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
 
 


 
 

WPPI Conference & Expo

22nd February 2016

The Wedding & Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo

As I sit at my computer in crusty Michigan with the clouds building for another forecasted snow storm, I’m looking forward to escaping for a few days.

My destination is the WPPI Conference & Expo which begins March 3rd and runs through March 10th. For professional photographers and hobbyists alike, it’s a chance to learn from experts.

Additionally, you’ll travel to the warm climes of Las Vegas at the MGM Conference Center for extracurricular activities that are sure to add up to a practical education and fun packed week.

WPPI is comprised of hundreds of classes and seminars taught by noted photographers 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.

Alongside the conference is the expo portion in which 80,000 square feet of space occupied by 300 exhibitors who will showcase 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 wares.

To look at the wide range of classes and seminars please visit WPPI Conference & Expo.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

Mylio – Organization +

24th March 2015

Organizing your Collections

The proliferation of high quality mobile devices has given professional and non-professional photographers alike more alternatives for capturing, storing, managing and displaying their images. But at the same time using multiple devices has made it more difficult for them to keep their collections orderly.

At the Mylio booth at the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo I stopped to have a demonstration of their software and service that addresses many of the issues that crop up when using multiple devices.

Mylio bills its product as a rich photo management system to organize, edit, synchronize and safeguard a large collection of images.


Harry Wendt gave me a quick demo


Henry showed me that changes to an image on a laptop are immediately synchronized to a second computer, a tablet and a smartphone. You can choose to backup images to the cloud for additional security.

Mylio has three levels of service for $50/year, $100/year and $250/year that let you synchronize up to three, five or twelve devices respectively. The two higher levels integrate with Lightroom and let you edit RAW images as well.

As I was unable to spend more time at the demo, I plan to do a more lengthy review of this service as it seems to include many useful features.


For more information about this service, please visit Mylio.

 
 
 
Written by Arnie Lee
 
 


Canon 5DS

23rd March 2015

WOW – 50MP Sensor

The Canon booth at Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo certainly drew a lot of visitors who wanted to view and ask questions about the upcoming Canon 5DS.

The reason for the crowds was Canon’s earlier announcement that this new camera features a sensor with a whopping 50MP! This is a giant leap in resolution compared to existing full-size sensor cameras.

The camera body is remarkably similar to the 5DMkIII, both in size, weight, LCD monitor and controls. But it’s the inside where the action is. The sensor alone has more than twice the MkIII’s 22.3MP resolution. The 5DS uses a pair of the next generation DIGIC 6 processors to handle the additional pixel load.

A new feature lets you crop to either 1.3x or 1.6x to match the lens factors of the EOS 1D and APS-C respectively. In turn, camera blurs the cropped portion of the image in the viewfinder and provides resolutions of 30MP and 19MP. The mirror lock-up has also been improved to minimize camera shake. Canon has also added an intervalometer for time-lapse photography without requiring a remote control.

So while Canon has drastically increased the resolution of the sensor, the tradeoff is in the sensor’s sensitivity. The normal high ISO for the 5DS is 6400 compared to 25,600 for the 5DMkIII. So this is the price you’ll pay for higher resolution.



The 5DS autofocus uses the same 61AF points as the 5DMkIII. The metering is composed of 150,000 pixels RBG+IR found in the 7DMkII and is said to provide better exposures with artificial lighting.

In addition to the 5DS, Canon is also offering the 5DSR. The 5DSR cancels the low-pass filter to provide higher edge sharpness – useful for detailed subjects such as landscapes. Both cameras are scheduled for June release for prices of $3700 and $3900 respectively.

You’ll also notice that one of the photos above shows Canon’s new 11-24mm super wide angle zoom lens. This is not a fisheye, it’s a rectilinear but comes at a hefty $3000 price.

 

 

Written by Arnie Lee


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WPPI 2015

20th March 2015

2015 Wedding and Portrait Photographers Conference

Each March I make it a habit of leaving the cold climes of Michigan to enjoy some warmth and sun. My destination is the WPPI Conference in sin city, Las Vegas.

 

From its name you can easily guess that the WPPI Conference is for photographers who are involved with weddings and portraits.

WPPI is mainly a learning experience for the 12,500+ participants. This year they attended more than 200 seminars, classes, demonstrations and photo walks taught by 150 expert speakers. Among many of the photographer-instructors were: Bambi Cantrell, Roberto Valenzuela, Julieanne Kost, Jerry Ghionis, Tamara Lackey, Clay Blackmore, Lindsay Adler, Bob Davis, Bruce Dorn, Gary Fong and Kevin Kubota. Subject matter included practical shooting techniques, posing, lighting, equipment, accessories on the technical end to marketing, advertising, pricing, client retention on the business end.

The WPPI show a staple in the photo industry – this was its 35th anniversary. It’s the premier show of its kind drawing photographers from 60 different countries.

Another side of WPPI is its huge 75,000 square foot Expo where some 275 vendors demonstrate and sell their newest equipment, accessories, supplies, software and services.

As you walk around the exhibit hall you’ll see live demo shoots, discussions and displays.

 



panel discussion at Nikon

entertainment at Plustek lighting


Bambi Cantrell

lining up to speak to Sony reps

 
To join the WPPI or learn more about the 2016 WPPI conference and expo, pleae visit WPPI Online site.

 
Please stay tuned for several upcoming articles about equipment and accessories that I reviewed at this year’s expo.

 

 
Written by Arnie Lee

 

 

 

 


Rapid Fire Nikon D4s

17th April 2014

How does 11 frames per second sound?

At the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Expo last month in Las Vegas, I got a chance to handle Nikon’s newly announced D4s camera.

Although it’s lighter than the D4, it has a remarkable 16MP sensor that’s superb at high ISO settings. In fact we saw a demonstration of the camera at an ISO setting of 25600 and there was virtually no noise. With many other DLSRs sporting higher pixel counts, the D4s sacrifices more pixels in exchange for very superior noise reduction.

But the feature that caught my eye (actually my ear) is its high speed, rapid fire capability. Rated at 11 frames per second with continuous autofocus and autoexposure, this camera is will garner the attention of sports and action photographers.

I made a short recording at Nikon’s booth. The shutter sounds like a miniature machine gun. To hear it, please press the play button below:
 
 
      
 
 
Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
 
 

Although it’s a better performer in several respects, the new D4s is lighter weight than the predecessors D4 and D3s.

Nikon’s rep Paul Van Allen told me that the the D4s is already available. Price for the D4s body is steep $6,500.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 
 


 
 
 

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Sony Alpha 6000

17th April 2014

Sony’s Newest “MILC” – Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

I’m apolitical when it comes to camera brands. I use equipment from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, etc.

When traveling for assignments I carry a quality camera and several lenses. For the past few years I’ve gravitated towards the smaller and lighter cameras. What’s more is that lenses for these cameras are also smaller and lighter too so packing is easier.

My go-to camera is now a Sony NEX7 which is half the size and weight of the Canon 6D or Nikon D800. But the one downside of the NEX7 is its slow focusing speed and accuracy in low light situations.

Naturally I was interested in seeing the new Sony A6000 at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Expo last month. This new model addresses the focusing issue by using “hybrid” phase detection for fast response combined with contrast detection for improved accuracy. Sony claims that the A6000 can record an amazing 11 frames per second with continuous autofocus. Whether shooting still or video this is a welcome and impressive feature packed into a camera this size and cost.

The A6000 is similar to my NEX7 in many respects including a 24 MB APS-C sensor and an electronic viewfinder (EVF). I find the EVF essential when using any of the interchangeable lenses rather than relying on the rear facing LCD screen especially in bright light. Another advantage of the high resolution EVF is that it displays a preview as you make exposure and/or white balance adjustments.

The bright, tilting LCD lets you shoot from a low viewpoint without having to kneel or from a high viewpoint without having a ladder.

The A6000 at WPPI was equipped with a 18-50mm lens. Sony calls it a PZ “power zoom” in that it has a small button which automatically zooms in and out when depressed. When retracted this camera/lens combo is quite compact, yet it fits comfortably in my hands. The specs say that the camera body weighs less than 13 ounces – how’s that for a weight saver?

The A6000 has most of the same features of the NEX7 such as in-camera HDR, sweep panorama and multi-frame noise reduction. For me a bonus is the built-in wifi for transferring images to a mobile or computer device and the downloadable apps (for an additional charge) such as time lapse, automatic backup, photo sharing.

The Sony rep told me that the A6000 will be available about April 23rd. Price for the A6000 body is $649; for the A6000 with 18mm-50mm PZ lens is $799.

I have an A6000 on order and am looking forward to this as an upgrade to my NEX7.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

Camera Straps

02nd April 2014

Simple or Stylish

There were more than a few exhibitors at the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo showing their accessories. And camera straps were among the most frequent offering.

Two particular offerings caught my attention: one for their simplicity and the other for their uniqueness.


CustomSLR camera straps

 


The Air Strap has a wide shoulder pad that is both lightweight breathable. The strap is easy adjustable to different lengths for a variety of carrying situations. Price is about $20.

The Glide Strap is a neat shoulder strap that’s split towards the bottom. By pulling on the camera, the strap expands for quick, yet secure access. Price is about $33.

For more information about the Air Strap or the Glide Strap, please visit CustomSLR
 


 

Hold Fast camera straps

 

For those photographers seeking a more stylish look, Hold Fast Gear‘s booth was loaded with a large number of colorful and unique accessories.

Below and to the right Matt is demonstrating the Luxury Leather Multi-camera strap. It features wide high grade leather, large D-rings, camera attachment and sliding leather harness. Cost is about $200.


Hold Fast has a lot more stylish accessories.

For more information about the Hood Fast camera straps, please visit Hold Fast
 


 
You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you prefer the simple or the stylish.
 
 
Written by Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

Removing the Shakes

30th March 2014

Stabilizers for Shooting Video

As I was making my way through the 300+ exhibitor booths at this month’s Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo I was reminded how important video has become to this part of the photo industry.

For quality smooth videos, photographers rely on stabilizers to remove the shakes. At the lower end of the spectrum is the iPhone and GoPro. With proper stabilization, these cameras are capable of shooting very decent videos.

Tiffen has two accessories: one for iPhone and another for the GoPro Hero: the Curve and the Smoothee.


Tiffen Smoothee
Tiffen Curve

The “Smoothee” is for an iPhone

The “Curve” is a lightweight stabilizer for the GoPro Hero

The Steadicam Smoothee is a small single handle device with a quick-release mount for the iPhone. It sells for $150. For more information, please visit Steadicam Smoothee

The Steadicam Curve is specifically designed and balanced for the various models of the GoPro Hero. The price is $100 and is available in four colors. For more information, please visit Steadicam Curve

Both the Smoothee and the Curve are lightweight and allow the photographer to easily move alongside the subject while recording smooth videos.


For larger cameras, a solid tripod with a robust fluid head is most often used. But for hand-held applications, photographers will want to turn to a portable video rig.

One such rig is the Comodo Orbit.


The “Orbit” stabilizer from Comodo is designed for much larger cameras.

This is a lightweight, hand-held gimbal rig built for DLSRs

The twin grips make the rig easier to handle especially when shooting for extended periods of time. The grips also double as a floor stand. With its gimbal mount, the camera is free to pivot to its stabilized position. The Orbit sells for $1500. For more information please visit Comodo.

 
 
 
Written by Arnie Lee
 
 


From the Photo Booth Supply Co

Event photographers know just how popular photo booths have been for the past few years. And many of these working photographers know that the photo booth has been a reliable revenue generator for them too
 

As you might imagine at the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo, there were several exhibitors showing their offerings to the thousands of event photographers in attendance.

I stopped to examine several, but the one that caught my attention was the setup at Photo Booth Supply Company.

Their setup is simple and stylish at the same time. With an enclosed camera, studio lighting, subject-facing monitor, dye-sublimation printer and a dearth of wires and cables, this is a turnkey solution for photographers who shoot a variety of events.

The couple to the right is getting ready to snap their likeness in front of the PBS camera.



The touchscreen monitor lets the subject snap the photo when he/she chooses the right pose and moment.

The dye-sublimation printer produces an attractive finished product. So a few seconds later – voila the photo

The basic system includes this equipment:

  • Canon T3i with 18-55MM lens
  • Camera AC adapter
  • Studio strobe with umbrella
  • Touchscreen monitor
  • Computer w/wireless keyboard
  • Photo booth software
  • Custom carrying case
  • Photo booth stand
  • DNP printer
  • 4″x6″ media for 800 prints*
  • Printer enclosure
  • Printer carrying case

* the DNP printer can print 4×6, 2×6, 5×7, 6×8, and 6×9 prints.

Templates for the printer can be customized to include single or multiple images. By adding a green screen, you can superimpose the photos on top of virtually and background scene. If you want to put your subjects in front of the Eiffel Tower or Great Wall of China, go at it.

The photo booth is highly portable and can be set up in just a few minutes. As you can see above, the equipment is attractively packaged making it appropriate for formal events.

The price for the photo booth, high speed printer and heavy duty carrying cases is $8,800. For more information, please visit Photo Booth Supply Co.
 
 
Written by Arnie Lee
 
 
 


 
 

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