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Deal: Manfrotto MB SB390-5BC Veloce V DSLR Backpack $39 at Amazon



Amazon has the Manfrotto MB SB390-5BC Veloce V DSLR Backpack (Brown) for $39 with free shipping. Stores DSLR and 70-200mm, 2-3 Lenses, Tripods, and has a dedicated padded laptop sleeve.

Think Tank Photo Announces New Gear Now Available



Our Friends at Think Tank Photo just announced that their line-up of new gear went live on their website this morning. The new products include:
And don’t forget that should you order one of Think Tank’s Airport rolling camera bags during the month of May you’ll receive an Artificial Intelligence [Artificial 15 or Artificial 17] laptop bag free.

Free Laptop Case

FREE GIFT REMINDER: As a friend, you receive a free gift with all orders from Think Tank of $50 or more. To participate in this free gift offer, click on ANY of the links or images in this article or HERE and explore their website. At checkout you will be asked which item you would like to receive for free.

Kickstarter: Statc - Magnetically Attractive Camera Pod



Statc [stat-ik] - Pertaining to or characterized by a fixed or stationary condition.

Statc is a portable micro pod that enables stable shots and unique perspectives while reducing the need to always lug bulky gear. It uses a magnetic interface to attach to most metal surfaces and will support cameras up to 2lbs. It's easy to store, and the integrated thumbscrew allows adjusting ballhead tension on the fly. This is great for MILC (Mirror-less Interchangeable Lens Cameras) like Sony's NEX series. It will easily accept point & shoot cameras, iPhones, POV cameras, small video cameras and any thing else with a 1/4-20 thread.
  • Statc works great as a way to stabilize your camera for self or group shots using the timer feature on your camera.
  • It's so portable, there is little excuse not to have it with you all the time.
  • The Statc can inconspicuously be attached to your camera allowing for sharper images and better low light photography without drawing attention to yourself.
  • Quickly attach and move your camera for great action shots from unique locations.
  • Capture perspectives that most tripods are not capable of.
  • Designed in Idaho. Made in the USA.
Statc is launching on Kickstarter to help raise the funding necessary for manufacturing.


Continue reading for more pictures and information about the Statc.


Sometimes hauling tripod gear can be a nuisance, especially when exploring urban environments. How about a portable alternative that actually adds functionality as well?

Statc's portability, ease of use and magnetic mounting system make stable shots accessible all the time, without any extra bulk. Plus it allows you to capture shots from unique perspectives that no other camera pod is capable of.

What is Statc?
Statc is a portable magnetic camera pod with a adjustable ball head. It is great for urban and cityscape photography because these environments have metal surfaces everywhere such as railings, benches, light poles, meters and more. It can be quickly attached and removed with virtually no setup time. Unlike many ultra portable camera pods, Statc only needs a surface area of about 1 inch to be stably secured and the surface does not have to be level, such as round railings or stairway rails.


How frustrating is it when you want to take a photo or video of yourself with your group of friends? Statc is great for taking self or group portraits without having to ask a stranger to take the shot for you. No more blurry photos, shaky videos, or badly composed shots by strangers. Statc attaches in orientations you never thought of, allowing for very unique perspectives of you and the group.

Statc Supports:
  • MILC (Mirror-less Interchangeable Lens) EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens), and Micro 4/3 cameras.
  • Smart phones such as the iPhone with a Glif.
  • Compact cameras such as point and shoots.
  • POV cameras like the GoPro.
  • Small to medium sized video cameras.
  • Other accessories with a 1/4-20 mounting system, like friction arms, mics and lights.


Features:
  • 360 degree swiveling ball-head.
  • Ball-head tension adjusting knob.
  • All aluminium body.
  • 1/4-20 threads for all cameras.
  • Supports cameras up to 2lbs.
  • Plastic bottom to help prevent scratching surfaces.


Portable and easy to use.
Take Statc when you don't want to bring any extra gear and never again miss the opportunity to capture that perfect low light shot, HDR photo, stable video, or self portrait. It's easy to store in your camera bag, backpack, glove box, or keep it threaded into your cameras 1/4-20 slot.

Review: Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap


Review: Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap

Overview : The Herringbone Heritage Hand Strap is a luxurious hand strap that is hand-made using premium 100% genuine leather. Both the hand grip and the webbing are made of genuine leather. Strap buckles and snaps are also made of high quality leather and metal components.

Moreover, every package comes with a unique Multi-Plate (available only with Type 1). This plate does not only serve as a way for you to attach your handgrip strap, it also serves as a quick release tripod plate for both the Arca-mount tripod head and a Manfrotto RC2 head. (The Multi-Plate is not sold separately).

Features :
  • Strong and durable
  • Genuine Leather Webbing
  • Includes a quick-release Mutli-Plate (Arca and Manfrotto RC2 compatible) with single strap lug (included with Type 1 only)
  • Premium 100% Genuine Leather
  • Comes in a pouch with an elegant gift box
  • Made in Korea

Quality/Usability : If I'm not using my camera sling strap and just holding the camera with my bare hand, I'm afraid that one day I will drop the camera. So I decided to look into a hand strap. Having a hand strap allows me to hold onto the camera without holding on to the camera with my death grip to make sure it doesn't fall.

As I browse multiple camera forums, I've read and seen threads about Herringbone straps. It costs more than the cheap no names and less than the popular ones. The most important feature for me is comfort. I couldn't try it out since there seems to be no US dealers, so I had no choice but to purchase the strap online.

The Herringbone Heritage Hand Strap comes in 3 colors:
  • Black
  • Black with Red Stitching
  • Brown
Here is an unboxing video that we did for the Herringbone Heritage:


There are also two types: Type 1 and Type 2. The difference between the two types is one includes the Multi-Plate and the other doesn't. The strap itself are the same. Type 1 is geared towards cameras with no battery pack and/or no slot to attach a strap. Type 2 is for those who use a battery grip and/or has a slot to attach a strap. I know on Canon battery grips, you're able to attach a hand strap but with Nikon's you can't. It's all personal preference. If you get the one with the plate, you don't have to use it but it's always good to have for resell value. Of course, getting Type 1 will cost a couple bucks more than the Type 2 and the multi-plate can not be purchased separately.

Review: Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap

I opted for the Black with Red Stitching and Type 1. I got the red stitching version to match the red accent on my Nikon. I know some Canon users will get the red stitching version to match their L lenses. Included is the hand strap, strap webbing, strap plate, multi-plate (not included with Type 2) and pouch. The strap plate allows you to use both hand strap and neck strap (if you use one) at the same time. If you don't use a neck strap, you don't need to install it.

Review: Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap

The Herringbone logo is stamped onto the leather and printed on the buckle as well. The quality of the leather is top notch and the stitching is done very cleanly. The leather isn't stiff and is fairly soft and flexible but doesn't feel cheap in the hands.

Here is a step-by-step video of how to install the Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Strap on to your camera:


Review: Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap Review: Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap

Once the strap is installed, adjust to your comfort. It can be loose or snug. If it's too tight, you won't have room to reach any of the buttons on the camera. If its too loose, you can reach the buttons easily but the camera can easily slip out of your hands.

Review: Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap

If you opted for Type 1 with the multi-plate, you can attach your Herringbone Heritage to the bottom of your camera/grip through the strap loop. If there isn't one, you can use the multi-plate or similar plates that allows you to attach a hand strap. The Herringbone multi-plate requires a coin to tighten and loose the screw. There is also threading inside the screw that allows you to attach to tripod or sling strap mounts. However, you'll need to remove anything screwed into the multi-plate before you can mount the multi-plate to your tripod.

Review: Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap Review: Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap

The Herringbone Heritage multi-plate is Manfrotto RC2 and Arca-Swiss compatible. So you don't have to have multiple quick release plates. Just leave the Heritage strap attached and mount the plate to your tripod.

Review: Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap

Unfortunately, I'm unable to try it on a Arca-Swiss as I only own a Manfrotto RC2 tripod head. The fit is perfect with the RC2 and there is no wiggle once mounted. If I ever decide to switch to an Arca-Swiss system, I do not have to take the hand strap and reattach it to the new plate or find a new way to attach the strap if there is no slot.

Conclusion : Overall, the Herringbone Heritage Leather Hand Grip Strap is a very comfortable strap. After a couple of uses, the strap will take the shape of your hand. I noticed over time, the strap will start to loosen. This could be because of the strap stretching.

For a few extra dollars, I highly suggest getting the Type 1 with the multi-plate. Even if you don't use it, leave it in the box. I only suggest this because if you ever decide to sell the strap, having the multi-plate will help its resell value. Even if the strap is no longer useable, you can sell the plate by itself. If you use a sling strap, you can attach it to the multi-plate but you'll need to remove it every time you need to mount your camera to your tripod.




Manufacturer: Herringbone
Site: Buy from Amazon

Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight


Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight

Overview : The Gary Fong PowerSnoot replaces the need for cumbersome light modifiers and allows photographers to maximize the efficiency of their strobe but with more directional control. Mounted off camera, instead of filling a room with a soft light, the parabolic reflective interior will allow you to focus light in the areas you want to highlight, and more importantly, away from where you don’t. Mounted on camera, photographers now have a tool for creating cutting edge special effects.

Features :
  • Increases directional light output by 3 times
  • Narrows the light output which can be used as a hair light, spot light, or any subject that needs a concentrated light source
  • Universal mounting system that fits most strobes currently in the market
  • Concentration of the light increases the effective distance of the strobe being used
  • Universal Fit - fits most flash units with a tilting/bouncing head, including: Nikon SB600, Nikon SB700, Nikon SB800, Nikon SB900, Canon 430ex, Canon 430exII, Canon 580ex, Canon 580exII, Leica SF-58, Olympus FL-36, Olympus FL40, Pentax AF540FGZ, Sony HVL-F42, Sony HVL-56, Sony 56am, Sony 58, Sony 58AM, Sigma EF530-610, Bower SFD Series Flashes, Vivitar DF383, Vivitar DF400, Metz 44, Metz58AF, Nissin Di622, Nissin Di866, Quantum Q Flash


Quality/Usability : If you're a wedding photographer, do studio work or portraits, traveling with large light set up will become a thing of the past. The Gary Fong PowerSnoot has been designed with portability in mind. This device will replace the need for cumbersome light modifiers and allow you to maximize the efficiency of your strobe but with more directional control. Mounted off camera, instead of filling a room with soft light, the reflective interior will allow you to focus light into the areas you want to highlight and more importantly away from where you don't. Mounted on your external camera flash, you now have the tool for creating special effects.

Here is a unboxing video of the Gary Fong Lightsphere PowerSnoot:


Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight

The PowerSnoot includes the PowerSnoot, grid attachment, archival grip band (rubber band), cinch strap (velcro strap) and guide/instruction.

Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight
Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight
Gary Fong Lightsphere PowerSnoot attached to Nikon SB-600 External Flash

The grid attachment looks like the bottom of a potato masher. The grid attaches to the PowerSnoot fairly well and won't fall off. To securely hold the PowerSnoot on your camera is a piece of cinch strap (velcro). The rubber band helps give some friction for when the PowerSnoot is attached to the flash. Without it, the PowerSnoot would slide down or even off the flash.

Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight

The PowerSnoot looks metallic but its actually plastic and chrome plated inside and out. With a typical flash, it lights up a broad area. With the PowerSnoot, it's more powerful, sending all of the light through the grid...just like a spotlight. The grid itself can go on any Lightsphere (also sold separately).

Here is a sample image (no retouching done) in a fairly lit bedroom along with a more professional image from Gary Fong:

Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight Review: Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight

This is a great way if you're looking to light up only the subject or a specific area. The spotlight effect enables you to light your subject better and give you control over the background light, even on a bright sunny day. By changing the aperture, you can make the sunny day, look like evening.

Conclusion : Overall, the Gary Fong LSU-PS Lightsphere PowerSnoot Universal Spotlight works as described. It gives you the spotlight effect on your subject and gives you better control at back lighting. This would be more ideal for portrait and studio work.

Although the PowerSnoot fits on most if not all external flash units, to ensure that the PowerSnoot doesn't fall off, you'll need to tighten the velcro strap. The rubber band is also needed to provide friction when the PowerSnoot is attached to the flash.




Kickstarter: Lens/Focus Shifter - Lens Mounted Follow Focus



If you shot video on your DSLR, creating a smooth, professional follow-focus motion can be costly for high-end equipment. Not to mention having to lug it around. What if there was a $45 solution that works on any DSLR lens and easy to carry around?

Daniel Bauen and Mark McJunkin at Microfacturing are looking to create just that. By using the popular website Kickstarter, Microfacturing is looking to gain backing and support from the photo and video community to manufacture and distribute what could be a game-changing product for those of us who are looking to get into video and follow-focus mechanisms for the first time, or for those who might be looking for a small, portable system to take on location.


By using a rubber gasket, the Focus Shifter is able to fit around any commonly-used SLR lens and provide a follow focus motion that is infinitely more stable and accurate than even the steadiest of bare hands. The ‘KISS’ design approach is readily noticeable, and will certainly be appreciated by those who are looking to work quickly and efficiently.


Continue reading for a video of the product in action and how it might perform. For more information or interested in pledging, visit Microfacturing’s Focus Shifter Kickstarter Page.



The Lens/Focus Shifter is a stand-alone follow focus and focus marker board that can be used on any camera lens. No extra equipment is required.

FOCUS ON PERFECTION
It's perfect for filmmakers, photographers, and anyone wanting to step-up their production capabilities. It gives you professionalism without breaking your budget.

NAIL YOUR FOCUS
The re-useable Focus Marker allows you to create marks for your focus points using a dry-erase marker. The arrow on the Shifter facilitates quick and easy transition between focus points.

FITS ANY LENS
The Shifter and Focus Marker attach quickly and easily to any lens from small 50 mm 1.8 lenses, to large zoom and wide angle lenses. It will fit lens diameters from 56mm (2.20in) up to 98mm (3.86in). If you're measuring circumference, distance around the lens, it fits from 176mm (6.93in) to 308mm (12.12in). In the rare case that you need something larger or smaller than that, pledge at the CUSTOM SHIFTER level and specify the diameter.

SIMPLE TO INSTALL
To attach the Shifter, simply slip it over the lens, onto the focus ring and tighten it down with the ball end. The Focus Marker attaches to the lens with an elastic band, and has over-molded rubber feet to hold it in place.

EASY AND SMOOTH
The Shifter operates on the full dynamic range of the lens. Its design allows you to smoothly pull focus without any jarring starts or stops. The ball design is easy to grasp so you can avoid twisting your hand into uncomfortable positions when pulling focus. For a lens with a narrow focus rings, you can prevent your fingers from falling into the frame, by keeping them at a safe distance.

FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS TOO
Using the Shifter improves manual focus speed and accuracy when taking photographs. It's especially helpful with lenses that have a shallow depth of field, and need fine adjustments. Get another one to use for zoom.

WHAT YOU GET
Each Shifter set includes:
  • "Voters Choice Name" Shifter
  • Focus Marker Board
  • Bag of black elastic bands to hold the Focus Marker Board to the lens.
  • Fine tip dry erase marker
MADE IN USA
Many Shifters and Focus Markers have already been made on our 3-D rapid prototype and precision CNC equipment, and tested by local film makers. We have a fully functioning manufacturing facility for small to medium scale production. Our products are all manufactured in the US in part of our grass-roots effort to bring the builders back, and avoid lost time on long flights to Asia just to kick the vendors in gear. It's a lot more efficient to drive down the road, or fly a few states over to get what you need. The Shifters are made from strong plastic in order to keep them lightweight, so that they don't shift the focus when the camera moves around. Kick-starting funds will go towards expensive injection molds, molding, CNC machining, and assembly line, for the Focus/Lens Shifters that will be delivered to you.

Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment


Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment

Overview : The M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System from Custom SLR is a universal camera tripod plate system that has the world's first integrated Manfrotto RC2 and Arca-Swiss connections, plus modular attachment points for accessories. You can also quickly attach your camera to any tripod when using any of the most popular camera strap systems, such as C-Loop, BlackRapid, SunSniper, Spider Holster, Cotton Carrier, and many more. The ergonomic design relocates the tripod socket, making it easier to shoot portraits. The M-Plate is manufactured from aerospace-grade aluminum and has a hard anodized black finish. It's made in the USA.

Features :
  • Universal: Quick-attach to any tripod while using your favorite camera strap systems such as own C-Loop. Also compatible with BlackRapid, SunSniper, Spider Holster, Cotton Carrier and others
  • Built-In Manfrotto RC2 + Arca-Swiss Quick Release: World's first tripod plate to integrate both mounts on the same plane. Also compatible with other tripod plate systems
  • Fast Access: When used with the C-Loop strap system the camera hangs perfectly balanced on your side for instant engagement
  • Comfortable: Ergonomic design relocates the tripod socket making it easier to shoot portrait shots
  • Durable: Made from aerospace-grade aluminum and hard anodized for a superior black finish
Hand Strap Attachment :
Add a Hand Strap Attachment to the M-Plate. Compatible with most hand straps. Use the included hex tool to fasten the Hand Strap Attachment to the M-Plate.

Note: Must be used with the M-Plate.

Quality/Usability : When we first reported about the M-Plate, it was getting started on Kickstarter. Custom SLR showed off its prototype of the M-Plate.


Fast forward a couple months with a video from CES 2012:

As you can see a lot has changed within a couple of months

Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment
Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment

Nothing much is included. Just the M-Plate Pro and hex key. The main plate has the tripod screw that attaches to the tripod mount of your camera/grip. There are also 5 other screw holes. This allows you to attach other plates that is not Arca-Swiss or Manfrotto RC2 compatible. It even has an arrow to let you know which way it should be pointing. The underside of the M-Plate Pro is corked as this will provide protection between the camera and plate. The other hole mount on the side is the M-Link Port. This will allow you to connect with future photo and video attachments, including flash brackets and video rigs that are currently in development by Custom SLR. At the time of this review, the only available attachment is the Hand Strap Attachment.

Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment

The round "bubble" that sticks now relocates the tripod socket. This also gives it a better center gravity. The new tripod socket allows you to mount your C-Loop for your Split Strap or Glide Strap, fastener for your Black Rapid straps, pin for your Spider Holster or other similar setups. Of course, if you mount any of these to the tripod socket, the camera won't be flat. With the camera held in portrait mode (vertical), the tripod socket does not get in the way nor does the plate feel bulky and make holding the camera feel uncomfortable.

Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment

As stated above, the M-Plate Pro is compatible with Arca-Swiss and Manfrotto RC2.

Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment

With the M-Plate Pro mounted onto an RC2 tripod head, the fit is perfect and snug. There is no wiggle when mounted. If I ever decide to switch to an Arca-Swiss system, I do not have to unmount the M-Plate Pro. I can just continue to use it.

Compatibility :
For non-standard and non-supported camera plates, the M-Plate Pro offers mounting mounts to attach virtually any plate system.

Built-in Tripod Adapter works with:
  • Acratech (including 22159)
  • Benro (including B-00, B-01)
  • Foba (including Mini-Superball)
  • Induro
  • Kirk (including QRC-2)
  • Mantrotto (including 498RC2, 496RC2, 494RC2, 468MGRC2, 234RC2, 322RC2)
  • Novoflex (including Q=Mount)
  • RRS Really Right Stuff (including B2 LR Quick Release)
  • Wimberly
Built-in Tripod Adapter does not work with:
  • Manfrotto (RC2 3-way heads, 327RC2, 324RC2 460MG)
  • Novoflex (Panorama=Q PRO, Q=Base)
Note: To use with one of these heads the tripod plate will need to be mounted on one of the five M-Plate mounting holes. The M-Plate is not compatible with small SLR bodies and over-sized lenses where the lens sits below the base of the camera.

Hand Strap Attachment :

Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment Review: Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment

As mentioned at the beginning of the review, the only available attachment for the M-Link Port at the time of this review is the Hand Strap Attachment. To install the Hand Strap Attachment to the M-Plate Pro, you'll need to use the same hex key used to screw the M-Plate Pro to your camera. You'll need to screw the Hand Strap Attachment to the M-Plate Pro first or if you have the M-Plate Pro already installed, you'll need to loosen it. You won't have enough room to slide the Hand Strap Attachment between the camera and M-Plate Pro if it's already mounted. Next, you'll have to thread the hand strap through the Hand Strap Attachment. Once the hand strap is through the Hand Strap Attachment, you can tighten the M-Plate Pro to the camera and finish adjusting your hand strap.

Conclusion : Overall, the Custom SLR M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System with Hand Strap Attachment is a great and sturdy multi-plate. The sleek design blends perfectly with the camera. Custom SLR has thought out the design very well. I'm interested in seeing how future attachments will look and work with the M-Plate Pro.

Granted, once the M-Plate Pro is screwed onto your camera, it won't budge. However, if you need to remove the M-Plate Pro or any of the M-Link Port attachments, you'll need to have the hex key handy. There is a key ring attached to the hex key but things can still be lost. I would be nice if the hex key can be stored within the M-Plate.

Custom SLR is the first universal tripod multi-plate compatible with Arca-Swiss and Manfrotto RC2 tripods that integrates them elegantly on the same plane.


*UPDATE 9-11-2013 *
There was a slight redesign to the M-Plate Pro. No longer does it use cork for the underside. It now has a black rubber piece. This is a lot better since it provides friction. With the cork, it left indentation from the grooves at the bottom of the grip/camera. With the rubber, it won't have that problem.


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