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Project 365: Day 56 - All Work, No Play

Working on the weekend.

How to Setup and in Action Video of Glidecam XR-2000

We posted an unboxing video of the Glidecam XR-2000 not too long ago and now we have two new videos for you. The first video will show you how to setup the Glidecam XR-2000 Series. Unfortunately, it doesn't tell you how to balance and configure it.

For a video on how to set up the Glidecam, check out the video on Philip Bloom's website and check out these videos from NAB 2011 - Video 1 of 3, Video 2 of 3, Video 3 of 3.

The second video shows you the Glidecam XR-2000 in action after it's been set up and balanced. NOTE: I am not a "professional" and have not mastered it yet but with a little more practice, I would have no problem using it.

We'll have a full review of the Glidecam XR-2000 shortly. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when the review has been posted.

Project 365: Day 53 - Perfect Weather

Sunny and mid-50's in February.

Deal: Save up to $350 on Canon Camera & Lenses Bundles at B&H Photo

If you're looking to buy a new Canon camera and lens, B&H Photo is having a deal. You can save up to $350 on Canon Camera & Lenses Bundles.

This offer expires Saturday, March 3rd!

Soul by Tapti Tapan Fashion Show Teaser

So we were one of the photographers for Soul by Tapti Tapan that took place during New York's Fashion Show Week. It was held on February 16, 2012 at La Vie Lounge in NYC. It was a great experience and a great opportunity to network with other photographers and improve my skills and learn new ones at the same time.

Below are some teaser images of some of the beautiful models that were there. For a full set of images, visit our Facebook album page (be sure to LIKE our page as well). NOTE: Facebook downgraded the images so they aren't as crisp as the images below.

What do you think? How did I do?

Project 365: Day 51 - Fingers are Crossed

I got my fingers crossed.

Project 365: Day 50 - Fashion Show

Editing pictures from a fashion shoot. Feels like it never ends.

Project 365: Day 47 - Lucky Star

A lighting fixture at a Fashion Show I attended as a photographer.

How to Tell a Difference Between a Genuine and Counterfeit Nikon Lens Filter

So I purchased a brand new Nikon 77mm NC filter for my Nikon 24-70mm f2.8G to protect the lens from dings, scratches and elements (I know there are people who dislike filters because it degrades the image quality but its nothing Lightroom can't fix considering I'll be post processing the image anyways. The filter I purchased was from eBay and the seller was located in Hong Kong. My gut instinct told me that it was more than likely a fake but the seller had a reputation and the price was affordable. So I took the chance.

Having received the filter, it looked very well made and legit. I did some searching online to see if anyone had compared an authentic filter to a counterfeit. There wasn't much information but from what I've read and the minimal information available, it had all the information of a real filter. I decided to go out and purchase a Nikon 77mm NC filter from an authorized Nikon retailer just to compare for myself since there was no definite answers or comparison pictures available on the web. When you purchase from an authorized Nikon retailer such as B&H Photo and Adorama, you know its legit. Amazon is legit as well but you have to make sure its "Sold by" and not from a third party seller that says "Sold by...and Fulfilled by Amazon.".

The fake filter and packaging is almost identical that it can pass as real to an average buyer. The only way someone would know is if they had the real product next to them to compare. But this tutorial will help tell you whether or not what you own/purchased is the real thing since there is nothing on the web...until now. This would probably apply to ALL Nikon filters.

Take a minute and look at the picture below. Can you tell which is real and which is the fake? Rollover the image to find out the answer...

Did you get it right? I'll explain how to tell the which is real and which is fake below.

*NOTE: I know there's no real way of comparing filters unless you have an authentic one next to you to do a side by side comparison. Hopefully this tutorial will pin point some areas that you can definitely recognize as a potential counterfeit. Granted, filters is just a piece of glass but please purchase your OEM battery grips, batteries and battery chargers from authorized dealers. Counterfeit items can cause damage to your camera. Why risk saving a few bucks when you can be losing more? If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.

As you can see from the front of the package, it looks identical. But there are slight differences. The bars at the top and bottom are different shades of gray. The Nikon logo on the real package (left) is vibrant and in the middle of the gray bar. The Nikon logo on the fake package (right) is dull and at near the top edge.

The back is similar to the front. The UPC both have the same number and barcode but to the naked eye without comparing side by side, they are the same. But the fonts are slightly different. The real label is slightly bolder. You can also tell that the yellow on the real package is yellow where as the fake package was more orange looking. The gray also bleeds into the hang tab on the fake.

The sides look about identical. However, I did notice that the end of the packaging where they seal the package looked different. On the fake package, it had a square edge. On the real package, it had a trapezoid edge. You can see my outline of where the edge is.

The same differences found on the front of the package can be seen on the top and bottom. Dull colors and different shades of gray. The real package looked a bit more transparent.

The instruction manual looked identical but definitely completely different and noticeable without needing to compare. The fake instruction manual is thicker and white as if it was printed on normal printing paper. The real instruction manual was thinner and more transparent and had a newspaper feel to it. The way it was folded is also different. I pointed out where the front of the manual is and had them face the same way. You can see that the way the manual was folded is different. I didn't bother unfolding the manuals completely as these were enough to show the differences. And who really reads them?

The front of the filter case looks exactly the same. It has the Nikon logo, CP-15 and 77mm, all molded into the case. You can also see that the real case is slightly more transparent (clear) where as the fake case is more opaque (cloudy).

On the back of the case, both have "MADE IN JAPAN" molded into the case but one small thing is different. >PP< is molded on the inside of the real case. On the back of the case, its looks backwards (as shown in picture). This is not molded on to the fake case.

But most importantly is the filter itself. Both are glass and you can tell by the weight and by tapping it. But from what I've read online when I did my search to see how I can tell if it was real or fake was to take a look at the font for the Nikon logo. It's hard to tell if its correct or not when you have nothing to compare it to. As you can see from the image, the Nikon logo is ever so slightly different and so are the colors. The logo on the real filter is slightly more bold. The "Nikon NC 77mm MADE IN JAPAN" is also closer together where as the fake is more spread apart and is missing "MADE IN...". The "77" is slightly different as well. On the real filter, it has a curved bottom where as the fake is straight.

When laid flat side by side, the real filter is slightly thinner than the fake filter.

You must ask, how am I sure that its fake and not real? There are a lot of differences between the two. The real filter was purchased from an authorized Nikon retailer. When items are manufactured, they are all consistent in packaging and design when it comes off the production line, especially when they are "Made in Japan". They never vary. I can go to a different authorized Nikon retailer and it would be identical to the one shown above. The fake looks real when you have nothing else to compare it to but they always leave out things that make it stand out without the need to compare it to something (I.E. manual).

Other than packaging and filter appearance, is there any difference in the quality of pictures? Honestly, I couldn't tell a difference. Even just placing both filters on a white piece of paper, they both looked clear. As stated in the beginning, there's nothing a little post processing in Lightroom, Aperture, Photoshop or other photo editing programs can't fix or adjust.

Want to avoid being scammed? Avoid purchasing filters from eBay...especially from sellers in Hong Kong, China or Asian countries. These are where counterfeits usually come from (just look at all the fake Sandisk memory cards on eBay). For sense of security and comfort, I highly recommend purchasing real filters from B&H Photo or Adorama. You can't go wrong.

B&W filters is another filter that has fakes and is highly copied.


This article was featured on NikonRumors, Fstoppers, Crave Asia (Asia CNET), Crave CNET, UniquePhoto.

Project 365: Day 46 - Crying Elvis?

A crying Elvis? What or whoever it is, this is what I see on my iMac at work.

Project 365: Day 45 - Valentine's Day

Mysterious at work love bug knows how to entertain.

This Week in Photography History

Quote Of The Week
“Photography is the easiest thing in the world if one is willing to accept pictures that are flaccid, limp, bland, banal, indiscriminately informative, and pointless. But if one insists in a photograph that is both complex and vigorous it is almost impossible.” – John Szarkowski (1925-2007, photographer and curator)

This Week In Photography History
21-1Clyde Tombaugh discovered the dwarf planet Pluto on February 18, 1930 through examining photographs of the section of sky beyond Neptune.

Photographs were taken over a period of time using an astrograph, essentially a telescope for celestial photography, thirteen inch long with three elements set for f5.3. By using a machine that rapidly switched between photos, he identified the one moving object as a new planet.

brought to you by B&H Photo.

Project 365: Day 43 - God of Wealth

Cai Shen Dao – God of Wealth.

Review: Photography and Cinema Camera Pistol Hand Grip

Review: Photography and Cinema Camera Pistol Hand Grip

Overview : The new Photography and Cinema Pistol Grip is the only camera handle grip available with a wide platform. The large plastic molded handle makes working with small cameras more ergonomic and stable when shooting video.

A rubber platform prevents slippage when the camera is mounted to the stage using the standard 1/4x20 threaded stud.

The included threaded D-Ring allows the PNC Handle to be attached to a carabiner which in turn can be hooked onto keyrings, keychains, belt loops, etc.

A small metal insert below the handle allows you to attach a PNC friction arm for carrying an extra accessory such as an LED light, Microphone, or Portable audio recorder.

Using two grips and a friction arm will create a nice hand held stabilizer for your small video cameras.

Features :
  • Rubberized grip
  • Supports cameras such as point-and-shoot, camcorders, micro 4/3 and DSLR
  • Supports accessories such as LED, microphones and audio recorders

Project 365: Day 41 - It's a UFO

Or just an LED lamp.

Deal: Nikon CoolPix Instant Rebates - Perfect for Valetines Day Gift

Over at B&H Photo, there are a bunch of Nikon CoolPix Cameras available with Instant Savings! These would make great Valentines Day gifts for your loved ones or if you were looking for a new digital for yourself, these would make a great purchase.

Offer expires February 25, 2012.

Review: Carry Speed Slim CS-Slim Camera Sling Strap

Review: Carry Speed Slim CS-Slim Camera Sling Strap

Overview : Carry Speed Slim Strap. This strap is designed for the photographer who wants to position the camera on the side of his hip instead of the center of his chest but does not want a bulky strap running across his shoulder, yet wants the strap to be comfortable.

So, Carry Speed has removed the flash card pocket and changed the shoulder portion of the strap material to neoprene. Additionally, there is a long slit in the center of the neoprene allowing the width of the strap to compress when on the shoulder of the photographer lessening the bulk of the strap. Thus, a much more flexible and comfortable strap is created.

The Carry Speed Slim Strap is attached to the camera via the Speed Mount. This mount screws into the camera's or lens' pre-existing tripod socket. However, this mount reveals an alternate tripod socket allowing for easy attachment to and removal from a tripod without having to remove the strap from the camera or lens.

The strap is designed to fit across the shoulder relieving neck strain and allowing the camera to comfortably rest next to the hip. Strap length is adjustable for most body sizes and an adjustable stop is included to assure that the camera will be where the photographer wants it, whether in the resting or taking position.

Features :
  • Designed for smaller system
  • Original Ball Head Hanging Design
  • Detachable Shoulder Pad
  • 3 button quick release buckle
  • FREE Uni-Strap / Hand Strap included
Package Includes:
  • CS-Slim Strap x 1 (Include the connector)
  • Ball Head Locknut x 1

Project 365: Day 40 - Path to Trouble

B&H Photo. Haha.

Press Release: Kodak Focuses Consumer Business On More Profitable Growth Opportunities

Back on January 19, 2012, Eastman Kodak announcedthat it and its U.S. subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for chapter 11 business reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

The business reorganization is intended to bolster liquidity in the U.S. and abroad, monetize non-strategic intellectual property, fairly resolve legacy liabilities, and enable the Company to focus on its most valuable business lines. The Company has made pioneering investments in digital and materials deposition technologies in recent years, generating approximately 75% of its revenue from digital businesses in 2011.

But today, they have announced that they plan to phase out digital devices such as digital camera, pocket video and picture frames within the first half of 2012. Instead, they will focus on its brand licensing program.

It's sad to see photography pioneer go this route. Read below for an official press release.
ROCHESTER, N.Y., February 09 -- Eastman Kodak Company (the “Company”) (OTB: EKDKQ.PK) announced today that, as a result of its ongoing strategic review process and commitment to drive sustainable profitability through its most valuable business lines, it plans to phase out its dedicated capture devices business – comprising digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames – in the first half of 2012. Kodak will instead expand its current brand licensing program, and seek licensees in these categories. Following this decision, Kodak’s Consumer Business will include online and retail-based photo printing, as well as desktop inkjet printing.

Kodak has contacted its retail partners, and is working closely with them to ensure an orderly transition. Kodak will continue to honor all related product warranties, and provide technical support and service for its cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames.

“For some time, Kodak’s strategy has been to improve margins in the capture device business by narrowing our participation in terms of product portfolio, geographies and retail outlets. Today’s announcement is the logical extension of that process, given our analysis of the industry trends,” said Pradeep Jotwani, President, Consumer Businesses, and Kodak Chief Marketing Officer.

Upon completion of the phase out, Kodak expects to achieve annual operating savings of more than $100 million. Kodak expects to incur a charge related to separation benefits of approximately $30 million resulting from the exit of the business.

In addition to its Consumer Businesses segment, Kodak has a Commercial Businesses segment that includes the Digital and Functional Printing, Enterprise Services and Solutions, and Graphics, Entertainment and Commercial Films units. Kodak’s digital businesses now comprise approximately three-fourths of total revenues.

Kodak continues to have a strong position in the personal imaging market. While photos are increasingly taken on multi-function mobile devices, Kodak technology makes it easy for consumers to produce a broad range of photo products, anywhere, anytime – from prints to photobooks, photo greeting cards and personalized calendars. These items can be made on Kodak products, with Kodak quality at retail, at home, and ordered for delivery to home.

Kodak’s continuing consumer products and services will include:
  • Retail-based photo kiosks and digital dry lab systems, a market in which Kodak is the clear worldwide leader. Kodak pioneered the retail-based kiosk market, and the company now has more than 100,000 kiosks and order stations for dry lab systems around the world, with some 30,000 of those units connected to the most popular photo-sharing sites.
  • Consumer inkjet printers, where Kodak has outpaced overall market growth for several years. Kodak consumer inkjet printers provide consumers with high-quality output and the lowest total ink replacement cost. Consumers can send documents and photos to Kodak printers from anywhere, using any web-connected device.
  • Kodak apps for Facebook, which make it easy for consumers to obtain photo products using photos from their Facebook albums.
  • Kodak Gallery (, a leading online digital photo products service. Kodak Gallery enables consumers to share their photos, and offers product and creation tools that enable people to do more with their photos.
  • The Kodak camera accessories and batteries businesses. These products are universally compatible with all camera brands, and extend into other consumer product segments such as charging units for smartphones.
  • The traditional film capture and photographic paper business, which continues to provide high-quality and innovative products and solutions to consumers, photographers, retailers, photofinishers and professional labs.
Source: Eastman Kodak

Project 365: Day 39 - Only in New York

David Beckham is the biggest "dick" in the city...literally.

Review: Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 Rotating Camera Flash Bracket

Review: Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 Rotating Camera Flash Bracket

Overview : Quick Flip models offer high value, compact size, light weight and fast handling. No wonder they're the best-selling brackets on the market! Although lower in price than our top-of-the-line brackets, they share the same quality materials and construction.

Features :
  • Compact, ergonomic, portable hand held design
  • All aluminum construction
  • Lightweight for easy carrying
  • Fast and functional
  • Cushion and foam grip, comfortable for both shooting and carrying
  • Rotates cameras from horizontal to vertical position
  • Keep flash centered over lens
  • Accepts all flash units (adapter may be required)
  • Perfect for shooting at press conference, wedding etc.

Quality/Usability : I'm still looking for that flash bracket that fits my needs and to my likings. And I think I have found it.

Of the "Stroboframe" flash brackets that I've tested and reviewed, this is my most favorite. There is one screw and multiple holes. This allows you to move your camera to any position you want. You can have it closer to the grip or further away. If you have the frame aimed out as shown in the picture, the bracket grip would be on the left.

Review: Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 Rotating Camera Flash Bracket

If you flip the flash bracket, the flash would hang upside down. Rarely would you have your flash in this position if you're shooting in landscape mode. But even with the flash in this position, the flash won't fall and is held securely.

Having the grip on the right side is my preferred setup. The flash bracket would be backwards (Stroboframe sticker facing towards you) but you'll see why below.

If the bracket grip is on the left side, flash bracket flipped and held in portrait mode, the flash will be at the bottom. This is poor lighting and the flash would be too low. Flash should be above the camera.

Review: Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 Rotating Camera Flash Bracket

If the bracket grip is on the right side, flash bracket flipped and held in portrait mode, the flash will not only be above the camera but sideways. Even though the flash is sideways, this is still fine.

Review: Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 Rotating Camera Flash Bracket

Of course, this all depends on how you hold your camera in portrait mode. Some people prefer to have their shutter button at the top and some to have it at the bottom. If you have a grip on your camera, you will have no problem accessing the shutter on your grip as the base of the flash bracket is thing and the screw does not get in the way.

Conclusion : Overall, the Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 Rotating Camera Flash Bracket allowed me to flip the bracket around to use it the way I wanted to. I wasn't limited to having it in a specific position. I liked the fact that I was able to move the screw to any hole so that I can position the camera as far or as close as I want to the bracket's grip. Neither the screw or base of flash bracket got in the way of using the shutter button on a gripped body. The flash bracket was also lightweight where it did not get my arms tired.

As you can see from the pictures, I don't have the camera mounted to the bracket. The reason is because once the camera is mounted, the bracket does not stand up due to the screw protruding from the bottom. So if you're using this for an event and need to put this down, it won't stand up and it will lean forward or backwards. If you must put your camera down, you will have to put the camera on its side.

With the price that this can be purchased for, this would scream fake but it comes with a warranty card. Makes me wonder if this is an actual Stroboframe.

Site: Buy from LighTake
Price: $27.49

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