PhotoPlus Day 2 Report

Accessories Oct 26, 2012

October 26, 2012 – Day two of the 2012 PhotoPlus Expo started of with SpinLight360, a small company that produces a light modifier system for SpeedLight strobes. The system looks very versatile allowing for blocking as well as diffusion. The SpinLight360 system includes tungsten filters, but there are plans to expand the filter selection. Filters may be used with diffusion domes and blockers freely. The system is not vendor specific and can be used with pretty much any brand of SpeedLight. Contact for more information.

Next, I trotted over to the Mitsubishi booth to have a little chat about dye sublimation printers. According to Wikipedia dye sublimation is a

printing process that uses heat to transfer dye onto medium materials such as a plastic card, paper, or fabric. The sublimation name is applied because the dye transitions between the solid and gas states without going through a liquid stage.

These printers are mostly used for event photography that requires fast, high-quality prints available on site. Historically, dye-sub printers were notorious for poor image quality and high consumables cost, but that has changed in recent years. Mistubishi has constantly improved the image quality of their printer line and lowered the cost of their consumables below the level of some professional print laboratories. Dye-sub printers also have the advantage of consuming ink and paper uniformly making budgeting of consumables easy and predictable.

Mitsubishi had two new models on display: the CP-D70DW (above, left) and the CP-D707DW (above, right). Both units are deisgned for high-speed printing of smaller print sizes (2×6, 4×6, 5×7, & 6×8) with the CP-D707DW capable of printing a 4×6 in 5.9 seconds (after data download). The printers are direct attached (no built-in network connection) but can be shared on a print server. I will be reviewing one very shortly.

Next on Hill Street Blues, I made my way to the Brenthaven booth to check out their new line of BX2 camera bags.Brenthaven has been around for 30 years making bags for mountaineers and have now expanded into the photography space.

Decked out in a sedate gray color that is a fresh departure from the black or brown ussually reserved for pro bags, the BX2 line (pictured above) includes an amazing new foam lining that disperses energy extremely efficiently. This was demonstrated at the booth by the dropping of a 1 inch steel ball bearing onto both standard foam liner and the BX2 material. The ball bearing bounced as expected on the regular foam lining (both were about 1/4″ thick), but landed with almost no rebound on the BX2 liner. I will pop a video of this test here tomorrow. The bags are very reasonably priced and I will be reviewing one of their backpacks very shortly as well.

Next, the Manfrotto family of companies gave me a tour of their rather extensive booth showing off the new product from theor various brands. Under their own brand, they showed me their new 290 series of affordable carbon fiber tripods. Then I was bustled over to Elinchrom and Lastolite where I saw some very interesting pieces of gear.

The Elinchrom D-Lite RXOne studio flash is the new low-end starter light system. While there are less expensive startes lighting systems, none that I know include all of the features of the Elinchrom lights. Even this basic model includes a SkyPort receiver built-in. Another nice touch is that the accessories for this light can be used on all of the higher end models. Truly, this is a system that can grow with you. I will be testing the RXOne Starter Kit in the near future as well.

Lastolite had two new products to show me: the Strobo Kit for SpeedLights and the EasyBox II series of light modifiers.

The Strobo Kit (pictured above) includes filters, grids, gobos, barn doors, collapsible snoots, multi-flash brackets plus a host of other features. The components adhere magnetically to the base unit which is held on the SpeedLight with a Velcro strap affair. Very flexible.

The EasyBox II pictured above is not some weird asymmetrical design. It can be easily converted from a strip light to a moretraditional shaped softbox. Just zip/unzip a couple of zippers and swap out some tension rods and you are good to go. Again, the EasyBox II can be used with any light in the Elinchrom family.

Over at the Sigma booth, I ogled at their 120-300 mm f/2.8 zoom. The new version of this lens will be the flagship of the S line. Currently available in the Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts, I inquired as to the future availability of other mounts like the Sony Alpha A-mount or the Pentax K-mount. I was told that negotiations were under way with Sony, but there is nothing definite at this time.

Afterwards, I trundled over to Times Square to check out the new Microsoft Store that opened there.

The Store is located next to Forever 21 and was quite full even at that late hour of the day. Plenty of Surface Tablets were on hand and all were packing theofficial release of Windows 8 RT. I have personally been using Winddows 8 for the last nine months at my day job and while it can be quirky on the desktop, it is right at home in the touchscreen powered world of tablet computing. The Surface Tablets are solidly built and I would get the fullt keyboard cover over the Touch keyboard. The difference is $30 and totally worth it. Microsoft elect not to offer a 16GB model, instead opting for a base 32GB model at a starting price of $499. The MS App Store is still a little empty compared to the more mature App Stores from Apple and Google, but MS is heavily pushing for Modern UI application development. Expect the quantity of apps in the Store to rapidly increase. Interestingly enough, the Surface Tablet ships ships with Word and Excel 2013 built in. Looks very nice if they can get more apps out there for photographers.

That’s it for today. Stay tuned for the Day 3 report tomorrow.