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Finding America

on April 23, 2010 with 0 and 0 in category Photography tagged as Read more

Chimera Super PRO Shallow Plus Bank softbox baffle problem

on April 14, 2010 with 0 and 0 in category Photography tagged as , , , ,

Chimera pro shallow bankI purchased the Chimera Super PRO Shallow Plus Banks with the internal baffle to further spread the light from the softbox.  I also purchased the Chimera quick release Speedring for Profoto that allows me to quickly collapse the softbox in seconds without tearing down.  I found the new Chimera softbox no longer used the hook and ring method to secure the inner baffle.  They have replaced the functional and secure method with a small Velcro tab.   This Velcro tab is on the corner of each side of the baffle and a small Velcro one-inch wrap on the internal four rib corners of the softbox. This small amount of Velcro does not function well and I could not get more than three sides to connect at one time.  I thought I might have been missing a Velcro piece that would better secure the baffle so I contacted Chimera. To my disappointment the first response from Chimera was a generic help email that was of no help. I am unsure of why Chimera would change the design so I contacted a friend who is a Chimera hard core fan.  He stated that he does not use the internal baffles on the new boxes because he cannot get them to stay fastened.

For the record, I love the quick release Chimera speed ring and the quick collapse design.  I can set up a softbox in under 30 seconds and pack the sofbox in seconds.  I would love this for my Profoto Octabox!

I plan to contact Chimera again to see if I can get a better and more helpful solution on the poor inner baffle attachment

UPDATE 15 April : After contacting Phil at Chimera and showing him photos of the problem they are shipping me a new baffle FedEx to try.  I hope this works and will post updates.

UPDATE 19 April : Chimera sent me a new modified baffle via FedEx.  As requested they added two pieces of velcro to clip on both sides of the softbox velcro.  It works and I hope it becomes a standard design for Chimera’s baffles.

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Panasonic DMC GF1 is a great fast small form factor camera

on January 6, 2010 with 0 and 0 in category Photography tagged as , , ,

I have been on the search for a small portable camera that I can have when I am not carrying a full size Canon EOS 1D or 5D body.  I like point and shoot camera and believe the most important thing is to have a camera with you.  Any camera.  The problem I have had with point and shoot cameras, were the slow focus acquisition along with slow shutter speeds.  Bottom line is I found a great, compact, fast camera that takes great photos.

I picked up a Lumix GF1 with the 20mm 1.7 pancake lens.  This camera has been great and has been the perfect blend between my 1D and a small portable system.  The camera has a very solid build and looks like it will take a beating. I added a GGS glass screen protector and a 46mm UV filter to make sure it could handle bouncing around my backpack, truck, etc.

Focus Speed:  Living and traveling to remote areas often has me taking quick shots from a car.  So far no point and shoot could focus and fire the shutter in time for my style of quick from the hip shooting.  The GF1 is the exception.  The focus and shutter lag has been great.  It is not as great as the 1D system, but I did not expect it to be.  The GF1 is a great addition to make sure you have a camera with you at all times.

Workflow:  The GF1 integrated perfectly into my OSX Lightroom workflow. The only odd thing so far is the orientation sensor does not appear to register in Adobe Lightroom 2. I import the HD Video in iMovie 09 without problem.  Will be working on test using 1D, 5D and GF1 video in the same shoot with Premier CS4.

Video:  The video is nice addition to the small rangefinder form factor.  It has a relatively fast autofocus, but as expected it is no comparison to the Mark IV or the 5D MII video quality.  The microphone is satisfactory but not for use in any pro audio requirements.  No external microphone can be added.

So far I have been very pleased with the GF1 quality and form factor.  I also like the fact I can add Leica M lenses with a 35 dollar adaptor if I want to expand the system without having to purchase a overpriced Leica M9. 

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5D Mark II good but not great – Waiting for 1D Mark IV for a pro video SLR

on September 8, 2009 with 0 and 0 in category Photography tagged as , , ,

Well I forced myself to set down my 1D Mark II for two months to use only the 5D Mark II.  I like the 5D Mark II , the video and full size sensor, image quality is fantastic. I use wide-angle lenses most of the time, so the extra wide from the full sensor has made me even close down my wide-angle shots to 24mm (hmmm is it time for the 24mm 1.4L II).  I am not sure if I am just used to the 1D buttonology, but I have found myself grumbling at the 5D buttonology multiple times now.  Often I bump the settings dial knob on top of the camera and change my RAW to JPEG or other annoyances. This is a pain and I have missed several shots because of the camera being bumped into an odd mode.

Just because of my hate for the 5D button layout I will probably dump the 5D when the 1D Mark IV comes out in October 09.  Not sure I will get one until after the Olympics because the large photo houses will get first dibs.  I wish the new Mark V would come with a full sensor to make it all that I need.  Canon would not want to loose its 1Ds megapixal superstar for a faster shooting 1D that does not have the mega numbers that the camera magazines like to fight the megapixels game.

This is nothing against the 5D itself, I just like having the two button push to change most modes on my camera.  I picked up the new pocketwizard remote for my speedlights and I hold it off the camera shoe.  I love the fact I can control the EV value from the 5D menu, its just that the combination of having to plug in the info then bumping the dial into some odd mode with not the settings I want make we wish for the two button requirements of the 1D.

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The loss of a good travel companion

on June 2, 2009 with 0 and 0 in category Photography tagged as , , , , , ,

People often ask if I am nervous traveling to places like Afghanistan and Pakistan and other far places on the earth.  My regular response is that I have the same chance of being injured in the shower in my house or on the DC beltway as traveling.  Well it looks like the same type ofMy damaged 1D Mark II "it’s gonna happen wherever you are" happened to one of my more traveled Canon camera bodies.  As poor luck would have it, my workhorse 1D Mark II flash shoe had become loose and was not firing the speedlight.  So while I was back in the US, I sent it off to Canon for a tune up and repair of the flash shoe.  Now fully encased in bubble wrap, and a pristine box, it just came back from the CPS Canon repair center in NJ with a large crack on the magnesium frame.  The crack is on top of the camera where the camera shoe had been replaced.  I’m guessing during the repair that the technician put a little too much tension when he was replacing the flash shoe.  CPS was very professional and immediately sent me a FedEx return label, but I am tight for time to return from Montana to Ethiopia.  Luckily I have a 5D Mark II as my extra body so I’m not out of a camera while in Montana.

To my surprise, I found myself far more upset about the sentimental value of the camera.  It has traveled to the harshest sides of the world, is heavily worn, and has become the solid companion I trust.  Due to the large frame crack, I am guessing that Canon will have to replace the entire magnesium frame, leaving little of the nostalgic paint-free rub marks, and duress marks that proved it was not the camera of a fashion photographer or one that sat on a shelf. Like a good set of jeans, I am very upset to have to get a new one.  I also find it ironic that its final days were at the Canon repair center and carefully transported in a large box surrounded by bubble wrap and not on some mountain in Nepal being crushed by a run away yak.  Well, with a sad heart I placed it in the same box it arrived in to go back to Canon.  I will ask Canon if I can have the frame back for sentimental reasons.  Will hope they honor the request because the camera has become more than a tool, but a solid travel companion.

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