Hello Profoto !!! After many years of loyal service, my Novatron light kit was falling a part. So it was time to get new Strobes. It's not that I was unhappy with the Novatron system, but it's a small company and I wanted to expand, so I decide to go for a different brand that could support my ambition.
First I explored the big names like Bowens, Bronclor, Dyna-lite etc.... And after all that, I went for the Profoto brand for 3 very good reasons. First, Profoto is a very trusted Swedish company known for their quality. Second, is the fact that you can rent their really large panoply of lights and accessories pretty much all around the world. And third, I GOT A GREAT DEAL! I got a kit that includes two 600 w/sec mono-lights, two light stands, two reflectors and two umbrellas in a beautifully crafted carrying case.
Okay let me give you a little perspective here. One Profoto ComPact-R 600 Monolight without the reflector goes for $ 804.95. And that's just about the lowest price I could find. I got a set of two and everything else for $ 1699.95 PLUS a $100 instant rebate at Sammy's Camera here in Los Angeles, CA.
Wireless baby... Yes wireless !
Did I mention that these babies have a built in radio triggering system?
So I got myself a Pocket-Wizard and the Sekonic L-358 flash-meter and now I'm free to move around with no cable attached to my camera or flash-meter.
I have to say, not only are they beautifully designed, they really look and feel well made. I completed my kit with a barndoor and Softbox from Photoflex. My preferred basic set-up.
I've just started working with them and so far so good.
Now I'm headed out into the real world with theses babies and in a few weeks I'll write you a full review.
Product information is personal opinion and provided for informational purposes only. I have no affiliation with the brands or companies mentioned here.
As a Nikon D300 owner I was pretty happy with the default picture control modes of this camera. The standard mode worked well for my everyday point and shoot and the neutral modes for portraits provided good skin tone. But that was until I got curious about the fact that some D300 photographers were missing the D2X picture modes and raving about the fact that now the D2X modes were available for the D300!
So like most Nikon D300 owners, I uploaded the D2XPicture Controls,available on the Nikon Europe site and while I was at it, I uploaded some curves that imitate some Fuji films from This Site.
I wanted to see for myself what were the real differences between all of these picture control modes and see which would serve me the best and for what purpose.
So I took a color card and asked my lovely partner in life to hand model for the skin tone reference. Each photo was shot exactly the same way: Manual Mode, Aperture F9, Shutter Speed 1/80s, 400 ISO and with the same custom White balance.
I did this comparison board so you could decide for yourself.
But here are my thoughts: -Of all the picture control settings, the D2X Mode II is definitely the closest to the real life skin tones of the hand and color test card. The Default Neutral mode comes in second
-I really like the Fuji Astia and the Superia Reala, although this one is a touch too bright, I like them both. They are warm but not too saturated .
-The Velvia was obviously too bright and doesn't look anything like the Fujifilm that I know. One could easily fix this by twesting etc. but I just don't want to be bothered with that. I may just delete it!
-The Vivid default mode. Well too vivid for my taste!
-I can see how the D2X Mode III could be very nice for landscapes, just as Nikon recommended.
So after seeing so many different curves uploads options and discovering some new favorites of my own, I'm saying bye bye to that default standard setting and highly recommend you check this out for yourself. Thank You NIKON!!!
PS: Nikon's recommendation for achieving a level of brightness similar to that of images captured with the D2X and the D2XS, is to set Picture Control Brightness to -1.
Lately I have been shooting more stock photography and love carrying my DSLR with me all the time, so I don't miss any photo opportunities. Like most of us I have a couple of camera bags that are nice and practical. But not wanting to look like a tourist or paparazzi, I used to put my camera in a small camera bag then stuff it in my regular backpack. This way I just looked like a dude with a backpack. However, that wasn't working. It was a bit much every time I wanted to take my camera out. Sometimes I even let a photo opportunity pass me by, just thinking of the trouble it would be to reach for my equipment.
Then a couple of months ago I got my hands on the "Tamrac Adventure Messenger 4" the one with a trendy camouflage design.
It really does look like a messenger bag, has a fashionable statement and a nice slim profile.
Once packed with my equipment and strapped on. It feels and looks like a regular messenger bag full of books, my superman outfit or just my lunch.
That's what first attracted me about this bag. It's so discrete!
It's perfect for everyday use when you just want to carry only what's necessary. For me that means: one DSLR body, one Flash, one zoom 18-200mm and one 105mm macro lens. This bag fits them all pretty neatly.
As you can see, because of its slim profile, it wouldn't be able to fit a Nikon D3 or a Canon 1D. But it's perfect for other bodies such as: the Canon 5D, 40D, the Nikon D80, D4o and others. In this case it works for the D300, without of course any Battery pack attached.
As plain as the bag looks, it does have some nice special features. Like the front pocket with two compartments to keep things nicely organized (wallet, notepad, pen, LensPen, memory cards, batteries, Altoids...).
The front flap has a zip pocket where I keep little things like a microfiber cloth...
The back has a flat zipper pocket for papers. It's where I keep my gray card .
But also in the back there is this flap for using on a Piggy Back. I guess for some that can be useful ?
Personally I'm really keen on the handle. It's handy and we don't always see this on a camera bag.
The side has a small pocket for your cell or Ipod or Iphone or whatever your cool gadget of choice is these days.
The strap has a nice comfortable shoulder pad.
The inside has two vertical dividers and three horizontal dividers that I keep at the bottom of the bag for extra padding. Given the way I pack my equipment, they work better for me there.
In general, the bag is well constructed, and the entire case is nicely padded. Although, I do feel that the foam used could be a bit more rigid. Lately, I've seen camera bags on the market with new materials that are semi rigid/semi soft that look more protective.
The one thing I'm not crazy about is the bag's buckle closure.
I looks good, but I have a hard time closing it with one hand. The ends have to line up perfectly before they slide in together and click, something my fingers don't agree with.
The flap has a little piece of Velcro, that helps to keep it closed,when you're on the move and can't click the buckle. But I find it too flimsy, not secure enough. So I sewed two big pieces of Velcro on there. You can see in the picture, the one in the middle is the original and the two on either side of it are the ones I added for peace of mind.
CONCLUSION So to wrap-up my review. I can honestly say, I love the Tamrac Adventure Messenger 4 bag. It's discrete and practical. I can access all the contents easily and it's comfortable to carry around. I wasn't crazy about the small piece of Velcro, but it's fixed now. I'm going to have to do something about that annoying buckle soon. I'll post whatever I come up with. Other than wishing for more rigid padding, the bag looks well made. I'm using it almost everyday, so I'm going to find out pretty quickly how durable it really is.
PROS Discrete, Messenger bag look Slim Comfortable Practical, has a lot of useful features Cool looking
CONS Hard to close buckle Small flimsy Velcro Wish for firmer foam protection