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Review: Parrot Bebop Drone Quadcopter

Overview : The Bebop Drone Quadcopter with 14 Megapixel Flight Camera from Parrot is a Wi-Fi-based, mobile device operated RC aircraft capable of capturing 1080p aerial video and taking 14 megapixel still photos. Avoiding the added weight and power consumption of a motorized gimbal, the camera - notably - features an electronic image stabilization system that relies on a 3-axis motion sensor and a 180° fisheye lens from which it crops an image.

The Bebop is controlled from an Android or iOS mobile device running the FreeFlight 3 App (see Parrot website for latest list of supported devices). In addition to letting you control the quadcopter, the app provides a real-time preview from the flight camera, and you can even record a low resolution feed directly on your device. For high res recording you can use the 8GB of built-in memory, or connect a USB storage device for increased capacity.

Two outdoor hulls are included, plus there is an "indoor hull" which is comprised of removable EPP prop guards. With the outdoor hull, the flight weight is reduced and the quadcopter is more aerodynamic. The Bebop Drone powers from a 1200mAh lithium-polymer (LiPo) battery, which is estimated to provide around 12 minutes of flying time. Two batteries and a charger are included in the box.

Features :
  • Capture 1080p Video and 14MP Photos
  • 3-Axis Sensor-Driven Image Stabilization
  • Up to 984' Line-of-Sight Wi-Fi Range
  • Linux-Based Flight Computer
  • 8GB of On-Board Flash Memory
  • Apps for iOS and Android Mobile Devices
  • GPS-Enable Autopilot Functions
  • Return Home and Emergency Landing Mode
  • EPP Safety Hull Included for Indoor Use
  • Compatible with Skycontroller System

Quality/Usability : Drones are becoming more and more popular everyday.

Included with the Parrot Bebop drone is the drone, lens cap, hull protectors, (4) extra propellers, propeller mounting tool, (2) batteries, battery charger, USB/MicroUSB cable and a quick start guide. The quick start guide is pretty useless since it doesn't give the much needed info. If you want the user guide, you'll have to download it.

A iOS, Android or Windows tablet/smartphone is required in order to fly the Bebop drone. You can also purchase the Bebop with a Skycontroller. This is essentially a physical remote control for the Bebop which gives you that piloting experience. It also features a docking station for your tablet/smartphone to it and increases the Bebop's range to over 1 mile with the WiFi extender.

The Bebop drone comes in three different colors: red/black, blue/black and yellow/black. The drone is mostly made up of plastic with the top of the drone covered in foam to protect the camera and Parrot’s P7 dual-core CPU, a quad core GPU, and 8GB of internal flash memory. The back of the Bebop drone has a USB port to update the firmware (or can be done via the FreeFlight 3 application), transfer files as well as a on/off button.

Typically, there would be LEDs mounted to the bottom of the drone. There is none with the Bebop. So if you're looking to fly this at night, it will be difficult to locate where the drone is. Some Bebop owners actually went and did a DIY by adding their own LED lights to the bottom of the drone.

The lens is a 14 megapixel Full HD 1080p "fisheye" lens with 3-axes image stabilization. As you can see from the pictures, the front glass element protrudes from the drone. One drawback from this is that if the Bebop drone takes a nose dive or bounces and lands on the pavement, there is no protection for it. They include a lens cap but that is when it is not in use.

To change propellers, you'll need to use the propellers mounting tool to remove the old propellers and lock the new propellers. The "landing gear" is essentially plastic with little rubber nubs. When the Bebop drone lands, it will bounce. Don't expect a soft landing.

The hull protectors are essentially bumpers. They're used mainly when you're indoors and to protect your walls from getting scuffed or damaged from the propellers in case of collision. The hull protectors are made of foam and the brackets are made of plastic.

They're attached in between the propellers and landing gear. If for whatever reason and the Bebop takes a hard landing, the hull will come off. I guess this is good because it won't damage the drone but if the propellers are still spinning and the hull protectors come off during impact, it won't be protecting it anymore.

If you're using the hull protectors, in the FreeFlight app, press the gear icon and go to Flight Settings. Activate the Hull button. For outdoor flight, deactivate the Hull unless you're in an area that has objects near by.

During my review and tests, I smacked the walls of my housing while trying to control the Bebop and the propellers has left cut marks on the foam.

The battery is 1,200mAH lithium-polymer battery and retails for $30 if you want to buy extras. When you plug the charger into the outlet, the charger will light up red indicating that it is charging. Once the battery is fully charged, the led turns green. It takes about 1 hour to charge the battery.

On a full charge, flight time is approximately 10 minutes. Half the time of what the DJI would be (20 minutes).

To install the battery, there is a string that you'll need to pull. This slides out the battery connection. Once it's visible, connect the battery to it and make sure that it is latched on. Once they're connected, slide the battery in while tucking in the cable and string at the same time so that is is hidden. When the battery is fully inserted into the drone, secure the battery with the velcro.

You can download the FreeFlight 3 application from iTunesGoogle Play or Windows. This app is required in order to operate the Parrot Bebop drone. The app also works with other Parrot drones such as the Jumping Sumo (Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama) and Rolling Spider (Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama).

When you launch the app and it's not connected to the drone, you'll get a video to play to show you more about the Parrot drones. So how do you start using it?

First, you'll need to your settings and go to WiFi. Here, you'll want to power up the Parrot drone and let your device find the WiFi that the Parrot gives out. Once you find it, you'll want to connect to it.

Once the app and drone has been successfully connected, the app will no longer make you watch videos but will have a button that says "START". Once you press that button, you're able to view and control your drone...after you calibrate the drone (x-axis, y-axis and z-axis), which it will show you what to do.

Here is the layout once you're in flight mode:

There's three ways to control the Bebop with the right joystick. You can either use an accelerometer by holding the right joystick and tilting your tablet/smartphone (Normal) or switching over to the joystick mode (Joypad - shown above) where if you press up, the drone flys forward, down for backwards and left and right to fly in those directions or the right joypad lets you orientate the camera regardless of the Parrot Bebop drone's position (Ace).

If you want to get even more fancy once you mastered the controls, you can do maneuvers and tricks with the Parrot Bebop by using the pre-programmed acrobatics (#5).

All video recording starts automatically when you press the "TAKE OFF" button. It would be nice if it let me start the recording once I have the drone positioned to where I want it. The record button (#6) blinks during recording. To stop video recording, press the record button. To take a photo, press the camera (#7).

Conclusion : Overall, the Parrot Bebop Drone Quadcopter is a nice drone at a fairly reasonable price. Like any drone, it will take some learning curve to get use to it. One of my biggest gripe with the Parrot Bebop is the front glass element being exposed. You can easily scratch the lens if it falls face first. Another is the lack of LED for night time flying. You'll have to go and mod it yourself or buy aftermarket parts.

It would have also been nice if it also gave owners the option to use memory cards such as a microSD or SD card to record on. With the built-in memory, I'm forced to hook a USB cable from the drone to my computer.

Manufacturer: Parrot
Site: Buy from Amazon / Buy from B&H Photo / Buy from Adorama

Press Release: Custom SLR Launches Dual Camera Strap

Today, our good friends over at Custom SLR has announced the immediate availability of the Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap. This allows photographers to comfortably carry and instantly access two cameras at once.

If you already own one Custom SLR Glide Strap, you can purchase the Dual Camera Strap Kit. It contains a sternum strap and back pad. You'll also need to purchase a second Glide Strap to complete the dual system.

The Dual Strap System - $134.95

  • Split Strap Technology™: Distributes weight evenly to reduce pain/fatigue and provides superior ventilation
  • Silicone Print: Reduces slippage
  • Unique Ergonomic Design: Conforms to shoulder for unparalleled comfort
  • Instant access: Cameras sit at your side and glide up the strap, allowing you to take pictures quickly
  • Universal Fit: Compatible with any camera and fits most users

The Dual Camera Strap Kit - $24.95

For our loyal customers who already own a Glide One Strap, the kit contains a sternum strap and back pad to convert two Custom SLR Glide One Straps (not included) into one dual camera harness system.

C-Loops are optional and can be purchased separately ($34.95).

Continue reading for full press release.

The Dual Camera Strap combines the superior comfort of Custom SLR’s Split Strap TechnologyTM with the ease of use of its Glide One Straps to create a dual camera harness system.

Custom SLR, a photography accessories company in Silicon Valley, today announced the immediate availability of the Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap, which allows photographers to comfortably carry and instantly access two cameras at one time. It features the same Split Strap TechnologyTM found in the Custom SLR Glide One Strap, which was rated Best in Test by Advanced Photographer magazine.

"The Dual Strap turns the best camera strap on the market into a professional double camera sling setup,” said Ivan Wong, Chief Operating Officer of Custom SLR. “Photographers often shoot with two bodies, and with our Dual Strap they will be able to shoot all day in comfort with the ability to customize and adjust the strap to fit perfectly. We are not the first to introduce a dual camera strap, but we are the first to deliver one with superior comfort and ergonomics. We continue to expand upon the modularity of our products to deliver new functionalities."

With the Dual Camera Strap, each camera rests securely at either side of the photographer and can glide up to instantly capture the moment. The strap features secure connections with swiveling quick-release buckles for the ultimate in flexibility. It also has a neoprene back pad for cushioned comfort at a common pressure point, silicone print on the bottom of the straps to prevent slippage and a sternum strap for extra stability. Additionally, it can be disassembled and used as two separate and fully functioning Glide Straps.

Installation is simple. The strap tightens into the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera using the C-Loop Camera Strap Mount, Custom SLR’s first invention. With its 360-degree swivel, the C-Loop prevents tangled straps and provides a tight, secure connection. For photographers who want to transition to a tripod without removing the strap, the M-Plate Pro universal tripod plate is compatible and comes with modular attachment points for accessories.

The Dual Camera Strap can carry a maximum weight of 16 pounds and is compatible with any camera. The length is adjustable up to 70” and fits most users. The complete Dual Strap System retails for $134.95 and is available exclusively through Custom SLR. Additionally, existing users of the Glide Strap have the option of purchasing the Dual Camera Strap Kit for $24.95 to convert two Glide Straps (not included) into one dual camera harness system. To purchase the Dual Strap or the kit, visit

Deal: SanDisk and Lexar Independence Day 2015 Savings Memory Card Sale

Adorama has an Independence Day special sale on SanDisk and Lexar memory cards, drives, and card readers. The offer expires 7/11/15.

Product Advisory: Counterfeit Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flashes

The counterfeit product fraudulently displays the Canon logo and may fraudulently display other Canon and third party trademarks.
Canon has put out a bulletin that there are now counterfeit Speedlite 600EX-RT in circulation in the camera market. These are sold through various online marketplaces such as eBay (mostly from international sellers) and other international websites.

Please always remember to buy from authorized dealers such as Amazon, B&H Photo and Adorama to ensure that you are getting genuine products which comes with warranty.

Continue reading for more information and comparison pictures.

We have confirmed that there are counterfeit Speedlite 600EX-RT flash products in circulation in the market. It has been reported that these products are being sold through various online marketplace websites. These counterfeit products have not been designed or manufactured by Canon, but fraudulently display the Canon logo, and may also fraudulently display other Canon and third party trademarks. Furthermore, these counterfeit products have not been manufactured or tested under the safety standards established by Canon, so we are unable to make representations concerning their safe operation, and there is a possibility that using one of these counterfeit products may cause adverse affects such as generation of fire and/or smoke.

The safety of our consumers is our utmost concern. Unlike genuine Canon products, counterfeit products may not meet government and industry safety standards. To ensure that you’re buying genuine Canon products, we recommend purchasing from a Canon Authorized Dealer or directly from Canon. Please be advised that Canon is not responsible for any malfunction, accident, or damage related to the use of any counterfeit product.

It has also been confirmed that the radio transmission wireless shooting function incorporated into genuine Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flashes is not incorporated into the counterfeit product. This missing feature will limit the performance of the counterfeit flash, as compared with a genuine Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flash.

We truly appreciate your attention to this matter and thank you for being a valued Canon customer.

The following tips may help you to identify a counterfeit Speedlite 600EX-RT flash. Please note, however, that other counterfeits may display other, or additional, differences from genuine Canon products. As such, you should contact Canon using the contact information below if you have any questions about whether you are using a genuine Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flash.

The position to release the mounting foot lock lever is different.
The position to release the mounting foot lock lever on a genuine unit is towards the left (see the green arrow), and the position to release the mounting foot lock lever on a counterfeit unit is towards the center (see the red arrow).

The display on the Custom Function screen is different. Follow the steps in the Speedlite 600EX-RT Instruction Manual to access the Custom Function screen.
Source: Canon U.S.A.

Kickstarter: The AGUA. A totally new way to carry your camera!

As always, we're always on the look out for new photography related gear. Today, we bring to you the AGUA from Kickstarter. Not only is it a carry case for your lens and camera, but it's also a quick-draw and it's IPX3 waterproof. It has a built in lens protector, a slot to store your lens cap and comes with a strap.

There's only a handful of days left to make your pledge but it has already exceeded it's funding goal. It's available in 3 sizes: AGUA 25 (for mirrorless/compact), AGUA 35 (for medium SLRs) and AGUA 45 (for large SLRs) for $55, $60 and $65, respectively.

We're hoping to get our hands on one to give our readers a full review.

Continue reading for more information.

It's not just a bag, it's not just a strap, It's AGUA! A super-protective, quick-draw, fully-adjustable revolutionary camera carrier.

The AGUA ("Water" in Spanish) is an IPX3-standard storm-proof camera-carrier.It is different than common water-resistant camera carriers because it allows intuitive quick-drawing of the camera. AGUA'a quick- adjusting padded strap allows perfect fit to the user's body. The AGUA's special structure allows the photographer to comfortably carry his camera close to the body in any weather - rain, snow, sandstorm or even in a dense urban environment, without worrying about the fate of his expensive equipment - and draw it quickly and with ease at the right moment to capture a perfect shot.

Here are 3 main reasons why we believe the AGUA is one of the most versatile and functional camera carriers you can find today:

1. Quick-Draw
Drawing a camera from most rain-proof bags is slow and awkward while AGUA enable to quick-draw so fast you will never miss a shot!

2. Storm-Proof
The AGUA provides excellent protection for the camera against severe weather conditions, according to the international IPX3 standard.

What is IPX3 standard?
The official IPX3 standard states: IPX3 Protected against spraying water: water spraying up to 60º from vertical at 10 liters per minute for 5 minutes at a pressure of 80-100kN/m2. To adhere to this standard, we perform strict tests at a special "wet" lab, located at the factory which manufactures our bags. In addition, just to be sure, we put the bags through a series of intensive field tests.

To sum-up: You can trust AGUA to protect your gear in any kind of rain. Having said that, here's a friendly advice: the AGUA is not waterproof; therefore you should refrain from dropping it in water or swimming with dolphins. Enjoy!

3. Quick-Adjusting

Say goodbye to your old camera strap… One of the AGUA's unique features is the fact that the camera is attached to the bag with quick-release buckles, including a failsafe connection. This method eliminates the need for the original camera strap because the AGUA's strap is used to carry the camera itself. Why is this method so successful? Because when the photographer draws the camera it stays connected and protected from falling, if for any chance the camera slips out of his hands. The photographer can also choose to disconnect the camera completely.

These are the three main advantages over traditional camera bags, but we didn't stop there:

Interchangeable Strap
AGUA's quick-adjusting padded strap can morph into a great "classic" camera strap in no time! The AGUA offers a comfortable diagonal strap with the most convenient mechanism for quick and perfect fitting with one hand. The strap has 2 buckles that allow quick attachment for disconnecting and reconnecting to the camera, thus turning into a high-quality camera strap. This is a perfect solution for situations in which the photographer wants to carry the camera without the carrier.

A True Go-To Bag!
On a wild life adventure or the crowded metropolitan, sunny beaches or snowy peaks, riding a mountain bike or roaring off-road motorcycle - the agua will always be your perfect companion for every shooting opportunity.

God Is In The Details
The AGUA provides excellent double-layer protection against water and impact, thanks to an outer layer of waterproof tarpaulin in matte black, and a padded inner layer of Neoprene and Lycra. it offers smart design that allows carrying it in many ways while keeping your gear secured and ready to shoot.

  • Storm-proof quick-draw holster for all day & all weather use.
  • IPX3 rain-proof standard: Protected against spraying water - Water spraying up to 60 degrees from vertical at 10 liters/min at a pressure of 80-100kN/m2 for 5 min. Fits camera’s body + lens.
  • Eliminates the need for additional camera strap – agua's dual-use strap carries both bag and camera.
  • Quick-Adjusting detachable padded strap can be attached to the camera (with supplied adapters)
  • Front “Thermo-forming” lens protector. Ultra rigid from outside – soft and padded from inside.
  • Double-layered construction enables protection against water and impacts
  • “Quick-Draw” mode for instant shooting while the camera is secured.
  • "Failsafe" connecting buckles
  • Left and right handed operation
  • Maximum lens’ diameter: 10 cm / 4”
  • Note: Increase lens’ diameter by 10% for camera body + lens’ total length that is 5 Cm / 2” shorter than the bag’s maximum recommended length, and 20% for camera body + lens’ total length that is 10 Cm / 4” shorter than the bag’s maximum recommended length.
  • Color: Black-blue

Review: The SpiderPro Hand Strap

Overview : The Hand Strap's unique curved "S" shape positions the user's hand at optimal shooting position (at 45 degrees to the camera body), allowing easy access to the trigger and all other controls while offering clear access to the battery door and memory card slots.

Its combination of design and materials provides real weight support in the correct places: over and above the knuckles, and close to the user's wrist.

Features :
  • Holds DSLR with Attached Lens
  • Works with or Without a Vertical Grip
  • Won't Interfere with Tripod Mounting
  • Mounts Between Camera & Any Tripod Plate
  • Adjustable to the Size of Your Hand
  • Provides Access to Rear Camera Controls
  • Curved for Comfortable Hand Position
  • Made of Padded Foam, Nylon, and Leather
  • Optional Snap-On Wrist Strap Included

Quality/Usability : The SpiderPro Hand Strap was first announced back in September 2014. If you've ever used a hand strap, you may have noticed that it has a tendency to get in the way. Whether it's when you're trying to swap batteries or memory cards or when you pick up the camera for a quick shot without slipping your hand in. We noticed that from the hand straps that we've reviewed. They also cover majority of your backhand.

Spider Holster set out to solve that problem and redesign the common hand strap to eliminate these flaws while making it universal, comfortable and secure. When I first saw it, it looked interesting compared to all the other straps that I've seen and reviewed. I attended PhotoPlus Expo in October 2014 and Spider Holster was there with a booth. I walked up to Shai (owner of Spider Holster) and the first thing I said to him was "I want to see the hand strap!". Of course, I said "Hi" and "How are things?" before asking to see the strap.

The moment he put the camera in my hands with the strap (pre-production sample), I felt weak in my knees (not really). But the strap felt so comfortable and natural. From that moment on, I knew I had to own this strap! He showed me (and other attendees) the features of the strap and I was sold! Unfortunately, they didn't have any of the strap available for sale. If they did have it, I'm sure it would of sold like hot cakes.

But now that its been a few months since PhotoPlus Expo and months since the campaign to preorder is over, I finally have it in my hands.

The SpiderPro Hand Strap comes with the hand strap, eyelet, screw mount and washer, hex tool, second strap for added support and pamphlet on how to install.

As I mentioned before, the hand straps that we've all seen and used can either be uncomfortable, bulky or gets in the way. The SpiderPro Hand Strap addresses most of these problems by going with an S-shaped design that curves back away from your camera's hand grip. Not the typical huge pad that takes up majority of your backhand. And yes, that is leather.

A flat loop of thin but extremely durable material lets you connect the strap to your camera body between any quick-release plate you use on the bottom of your camera. That means you don't need a special plate or connector to use the SpiderPro.

That same durable plastic material is used to hook into the eyelet.

The underside of the SpiderPro Hand Strap is padded with memory-foam and wrapped in velour to give you that extra comfort. If this doesn't scream quality, I don't know what will.

With just the SpiderPro Hand Strap, it stays and feels secure in your hands. But if you want that added protection, you can snap on the leather wrist strap for added support. This strap wraps around your wrist so you can actually let your hand dangle without putting a death grip on your camera.

The images above shows the SpiderPro Hand Strap attached to a Canon 5D Mark III. Set up is similar on all Canon bodies. For Nikon users, installation requires you to remove the eyelet ring from the camera body and replace it with the one that is included with the strap.

Below is also a video of how to install the SpiderPro Hand Strap on both Canon and Nikon camera bodies:

By having the S-shaped design, this puts the strap out of the way of the battery door and card compartment. Since it leaves the grip open at the front, you can just pick up the camera and shoot without the hand strap getting in the way.

Left: Without grip; Middle: With grip; Right: With grip and wrist strap

The images above shows the area coverage of the SpiderPro Hand Strap thanks to the new S-curve design as well with the wrist strap. The ability to adjust the strap by loosening the screw to contour and placement on your hand is a huge plus. Other straps are limited in movement and is at a set location. I can have the strap further back closer to my wrist or further up closer to my knuckles.

You'll have full access to the buttons on the back of the camera. No more straining your hand because its too tight and having to loosen the strap or having to slide out your hands or feeling. When used in portrait, the strap does not get in the way.

Conclusion : Overall, Spider Holster wants to give you a better grip on your digital SLR and they hit the nail on the head with the SpiderPro Hand Strap. I know I might have said that there were other hand straps that were the best, but as new products come out, things change. But as of this review posting, this is my all-time favorite hand strap!

It's not only very comfortable but it gives me full access to the buttons on the back of the camera without having to slide my hand out or strain my hand. It also gives me full access to the battery and memory card compartment. It also doesn't cover majority of your hand with an oversized pad.

I've reviewed so many sling straps and hand straps that I switch often. I have to say, this strap will be staying on my camera for a very very long time. Other hand strap makers are going to have a tough one to beat and to knock this off it's throne.

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