Archive for category Reviews

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact review Pt2

Today part 2 in my series of looking at the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact phone.
And this time it’s a small update and tip that will probably work for more phones.

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As always with something new it’s a matter of liking somethings, getting used to some others and really loving some others, and I already found something cool that I’ll be using a lot.
As you know I love shooting tethered, it gives you a direct feedback, but it’s also very handy for the attendees during a workshop/demo to see what I’m doing. Tethering my sony a7r via play memories is handy and works on ipad and iPhone. Play memories is the software you can get for free from Sony that is creating a connection between your phone and supported cameras like the Nex and A7 series, it shows the live view and images coming in, but you can of course also remote control your camera.
Setting up is pretty easy and straight forward just connect to the camera via wifi in the setup of your mobile device, start playmemories and go, but it can always be easier.

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Sony Xperia Z1 Compact ongoing review Pt1

In todays world we are all connected, being via a tablet, phone, computer or whatever device you prefer.
As you all know there are several devices but I always think of them as follows, the Apple devices and the Android devices, yeah I know I skip some devices but let’s be honest these two are the biggest. Now it’s no secret I use a lot of Apple product (as most creative people I think), that doesn’t mean however that I’m not interested in what else is going on and how that can improve my workflow, work or give me more creative options…… I guess you are the same way right?

 

Sony
A few years ago we owned a Sony AVCHD camera that was it, however at one point our JVC home theater projector got replaced by a Sony for the simple reason that Sony beat JVC on a lot of points that I found important (at the moment we use the Sony W500 4K unit which is not only very good but also has a price point for a 4K projector that is very interesting). After the projector switch, much to my surprise, I sold all my Canon gear to venture into the A99 universe, a camera I still love and use a lot (although the added A7r actually makes me use the A99 less and less).

 

Because we travel a lot and Apple still doesn’t make a Macbook on which you can also use a pen to operate Photoshop/Lightroom I decided to buy a Windows machine and after some disappointing tests I ended up with….. the Sony Vaio Duo13…. pfffff another Sony product (do you start to see a pattern?)

 

Last week I was asked to testdrive the new Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and as you know I love my iPhone 5s and at this point I don’t see myself switching to the Android system, however……. I will be looking very seriously at the phone and the options it gives me. I hear you ask “Frank you can do everything you want with Android that you can do with an iPhone” and I agree on the app area, some apps are not on the Android system but I can live without them, however as some of you know I’m very much into the whole “active” stuff and seeing what Apple is doing with the future iPhone series and wearable devices I think I will really gonna love that. However….. there are many people walking around with 2 phones and I won’t care so who knows. For now I will test the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact next to my iPhone 5s and keep you updated on the stuff that really matters for us photographers. Think about camera functions, video editing, social media etc.

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The new Elinchrom ELC the game changing strobes

Elinchrom meets a new dimension in lighting
Photographers play with light, but above all we play with time. Actually for me photography is freezing a unique moment that will never happen again in the exact that same way.
In the studio we basically have two ways to use light. The first one is continuous light, the second is with strobes. You can also use both at the same time or mix them. Supporters of continuous light talk about: What you see is what you get.  The strobe supporters say: The power of strobes allows us to create stunning freezing action shots. I’m a supporter of the second group. Don’t get me wrong, I also often work with continuous light, but with continuous light I don’t have the possibility to do a day to night shot with the bright sun, freezing the moment and I cannot play with depth of field (especially creating a deep depth of field) when shooting my medium format camera.

 

One real disadvantage of strobes is that strobes often have to recharge after every flash, and that can sometimes can take the “flow” out of shoot.

6c540d7cb22d4bb3e9c346418940ccb8Enter the ELC
Elinchrom strobes were already very fast in comparison with most other brands, but now they introduced one of the fastest strobe in the world. This is a new high end strobe  and will catch a lot of attention, not only because of it’s performance, but it will also push photographers to the next level of creativity. It will help  you to create pictures which weren’t possible before due to a load of features you will love and never saw in Elinchrom strobes before. Of course there is a lot of information in the manual and on the specsheets, but let me show you what I think are the biggest advantages of these strobes.

 

A few months ago Elinchrom send me the ELCs to test. It’s really exciting to test photography gadgets so long before their official release. But sometimes it’s also really really hard because, as you can understand, you canot tell anyone and trust me I’m REALLY enthusiastic about the ELCs.  And to keep it a secret and only share my experiense with a very small group… believe me it was very very hard.  I’m glad we can finally demonstrate the strobes in our workshops, on trade-shows and events.

Nadine Februari 7 2014 (222 of 297)-Edit

What is so special about ELC?
Basically the design of the units is like an ordinary Elinchrom strobe.  Only the 500 and 1000 watt are in the same housings now. This is easier for transport, and it just looks nicer in the studio when mixing strobes. The major difference however, which will make a lot of photographers very happy, is something that has actually nothing to do with the light itself :D

 

The display
We all know this problem, you have to change something in your setup and…. Whoops where was that thingy again…. Is it this button in combination with that button? If you found it, than you have to search between codes like FB, FX, F1, F2 etc. and after that you have a lot more of menu options. To be honest, I love Elinchrom a lot and I work on a daily basis with it, but I need a cheat sheet when I have to change a setting that I don’t use weekly or monthly. Not a big deal of course, but sometimes in a stress full situation it can be…challenging.
Luckely this is a part of history. The new ELC units have a fantastic menu system. No cryptical desciptions, but a very clear display with full phrases and a great menu structure. In one word AMAZING!

 

In the menu you’ll find, of course the settings for the sky port, modelling lights, beeps etc…. but you’ll find way more than that. You can change the sound signals itself, the speed of recycling, set standby options, use the strobes in series, adjust the delays, adjust the…….. well let me put it this way……and much more.

 

I hear you think….. “Hey! I heard some settings that I haven’t seen before.” and yes… the ELC strobes can do a lot more than simple flash to freeze the movement. It will fill way too much space to explain everything, but I will show you some basics, which I use very often.

Sanne Januari 11 2014 -17-Edit

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OKDOTHIS

Now it’s not often that I review an app on this blog, but this time I want to make an exception for a very special one, “OKDOTHIS”
It’s available on iPhone only at the moment.

OKDOTHIS-001OKDOTHIS is an app that was brought to my attention a while ago but to be honest I did not downloaded it, the idea was cool, the app looked great and it was started by a good friend of us Jeremy Cowart, but somehow I did not find it necessary to add another “social network” to my collection, and let’s be honest most of us are already on G0ogle+, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, What’s app etc. etc. it’s almost a day job just to keep up with everything, so why, oh WHY add another one… well that was also my idea until last week I started trying out “OKDOTHIS” and I can tell you it’s freaking awesome.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 2

We all love our gadgets, and when the gadgets can really add something to our photographic workflow it gets even more interesting of course.
As you have read on this blog before I recently sold my MacBookPro in exchange for a Sony Vaio Duo 13 which I still use and love, but in all honestly it’s in a price range where not everyone is able to shop in for a tablet/laptop, so I was very interested to testdrive the new Microsoft tablet, Surface Pro 2.

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Voltaic V60 minireview/tip

We all have a digital life, don’t we all get nervous when our laptop or phone dies?
Well when traveling it’s a matter of reality, especially when travelling long there will be a moment when a laptop battery simply dies, you can’t help it. Of course it helps if you only watch movies on a laptop because with the modern Hasswel laptops they will actually probably survive most long flights on one charge if you only watch movies and lower the brightness a bit. However I don’t just want to watch movies… I want to be able to play some games, do some work and with me that means Lightroom and Photoshop and somehow this drains the battery much faster of course.

 

So how do you solve this?
You can take a plane charger with you but not all seats in a plane have power connectors.
When you own a Mac there are many options from companies like HyperShop, which I can really advise, we owned several of their solutions and they just work flawless (and look great). But when you’re using a PC or other laptop I had to start searching all over again.

 

In the end I choose the Voltaic 60W external battery solution.
Here you see a quick iPhone shot of the Voltair next to my Vaio DUO13 which is not a large laptop, so you can really see how small the Voltair is, and this last part is incredibly important for me. When flying every pound counts and also size is important, with the Voltaic I really found something that hit the sweetspot for me.
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FujiFilm vs Sony A7(r)

Ok, now this is a blogpost that I never planned on writing till I got a question about it.
Let me start off by saying that I love the Fujifilm cameras A LOT, I own a X-E1 and in my opinion it is/was one of the best cameras for street Photography, and the X-trans sensor is just awesome. Now there is a price difference between the Fujifilm X-E1 and the Sony A7r I’m now testing but I thought let’s just look at the X-E1 vs the A7r and see what happens. In this blogpost you will read my personal opinion.

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