I made a trip to San Francisco in the beginning of March for a vacation. Even during the planning stage for the trip I was beginning to dread taking my heavy 60D with me. I did end up taking it, without the grip and with only the 28-135mm kit lens. And while I appreciated the speed and incredibly sharper and more dynamic images than that of my iPhone 5, I hated the weight of it. By the end of the trip I was already researching mirror-less camera options to sub in for my 60D for my next excursion. Continue reading “Bye Bye, Canon EOS-M”
Formula D was last weekend in Atlanta, Ga. I decided to rent a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 and see what I could get. The pics turned out well. Still need a lot of practice to get the panning down but I’ll get it. The pics were edited in Aperture using Nik Color FX Pro, Sharpener Pro, and Dfine. Enjoy
So I was reading though my huge list of blog subscriptions last week and I came upon a review on CrunchGear of this new BlackRapid camera strap. After reading the review I started doing some more research on it and after a few days of deliberation, decided to buy.
The idea behind BlackRapids bandolier style of strap is to make it easier to do what all photographers want to do…SHOOT PHOTOS! All BlackRapid straps employ the same design principle that allows the camera to be quickly slid from the resting (waist) position up to the shooting position.
After opening the mesh bag the strap comes in, I began to take a closer look at the strap itself. The build quality looks amazing…not a loose thread or unkempt webbing cut. This particular model, the RS-4, is similar to the original R-Strap (RS-1). It has a similar slim profile but also has a nice slim zipper pocket for storing memory cards, ID, cash, etc.
The RS-4 I received still has the old style FastenR bracket that has been the main topic of debate in others’ reviews. This L shaped bracket screws into the tripod socket on the bottom of either your camera body or the tripod mount of your lens.
*The newer FastenR-2 is an aluminum puck with the screw on one side and a d-ring on the other. You can view the manufacturing schematic for it here.
When I first attached the bracket to my D90, I looked to see how easily this might come loose. But once tightened, it’s not going anywhere. Sure, this is not the same concept as a typical camera strap, and there is the “potential” for it to come unscrewed, but give it a chance. When you actually get your own strap and see for yourself, you’ll have confidence in it too. Plus, as often as we change settings on our cameras, adding a little double check for tightness isn’t too much to do if you’re still unsure.
*You may also use a tripod mount quick release like the this Bogen RC2 unit. I plan on testing this as well. Update: After researching some, I found a user on a Canon forum that had dissected his bogen RC2 tripod plate. He found that the D-ring does not go completely through the thumbscrew and with some effort (albeit quite a bit) the D-ring can be pried loose. And after I tried the plate on my D90, the way the camera was hanging on only one end of the D-ring, it would just be a matter of time before a good jolt pulled it out of its socket.
The strap is attached to the FastenR bracket via the swivel clip shown above. BlackRapids now includes a small piece of clear tubing that slips over the clasp and keeps it from opening unintentionally (which was apparently an issue). The spring tension on the clasp is actually pretty substantial and in my opinion it would be difficult for it accidentally bump open but better to be safe than sorry.
*The above clasp is also being replaced by BlackRapid with a carabiner style clasp with a spin lock.
One of the key reasons I wanted a new strap is due to the pain that the factory Nikon strap caused, especially when paired with some accidental sunburn. Well that problem is solved in two ways, first, the BlackRapid’s strap sits on your shoulder vs. around your neck. Second, the strap actually has some padding and a nice breathable mesh over that. To say the least, this strap is extremely comfortable.
I had a chance to go out this past Sunday during the sunset and shoot a little. It’s hard to believe such a minor improvement on strap design would turn out to be so incredibly innovative. It simply makes an enjoyable task more enjoyable. The camera is easier to work with while moving around, looking at angles, setting up remote flashes, etc… and it’s right there at your side when you’re ready to shoot. This is definitely a must buy!
Enjoy some images captured with the assistance of the RS-4.
We got a later start this morning. We started out with a trip across the street from where we were staying at the Universal Hilton hotel, to In-and-Out Burger. Double-double Animal style…the only way to get it. After that we opted to skip our previous plans to visit the LA County Museum of Art and the La Brea tar pits to instead go to Universal Studios to better enjoy the beautiful weather that we had.
We did Terminator 2: 3D, very outdated but still pretty entertaining. Also, Simpsons: The Ride, Shrek 4D, and The Mummy: The Ride. Of these, Simpsons was the newest and the best, using a near IMAX size screen and a flight simulator-like chassis to pull you right into the “Krusty Land” experience. And in a close second, The Mummy ride. This is an entirely indoor roller coaster that is short but well worth it…ride it twice if the lines are short.
After that we headed back to West Hollywood to meet up with Joey and Jason. I had to pick up a camera case for me to carry on for my flight back to Atlanta. We all chatted for a bit then Ash and I went to the Burton Outlet, and the Kidrobot store. Ash and I then made our way to Yogurtland which we’re told was recently the hotness in LA’s yogurt eating trend. Entirely self-serve, this yogurt paradise is a great place to stop in and get some refreshing mid-afternoon treats. Pick your cup size, pick your flavors and then toppings, but be careful as you’re paying by the ounce. $0.30/oz at the time.
Later, we had our name on the list for the green room at Jimmy Kimmel Live! After arriving we we’re told that the green room was up to capacity, so we waited outside for a while and checked out the stage that was setup outside for Kanye tonight. After a few minutes we returned to check on the green room. I looked down the alley as xenon headlights were barreling towards us. Two black Escalades on 24’s came to a halt right in front of us. I thought to myself, this has to be Kanye. Security jumped out and cleared the area and then Kanye, who is an arrogant half man, came out with two others in his entourage and entered the theater. We eventually made it in to the green room. They had free drinks, which was really nice.
Kanye’s performance was interesting. He performed “Love Lockdown”…eventually. He ended up doing the song 3 times. Thank goodness this wan’t a live broadcast of the musical part of the show. He blamed the band for screwing up for the most part. I’m not a big fan of the guy to begin with but this was really icing on the cake. He apologized for being un professional and performed 2 extra songs for the crowd. Overall this was a cool experience and was definitely a good show after all that crap.
Ash and I started out on Hollywood Blvd. for some morning Mc D’s. We continued shopping in that area and also East and West Melrose Ave. We met up with some friends at the Grove and got some lunch at the Cheesecake factory there. I know our choice in food isn’t very great…everything we ate pretty much we could easily get here in Atlanta but oh well, maybe next time we’ll research some more.
After that we drove up to the Hollywood Trail to check out the view and escape all the noise of the busling city below. Very romantical. We went back to the hotel after that cleaned up and headed to Universal CityWalk for some more shopping and dinner. We hit this great store called “It’s Sugar,” and I think the total purchase was $40 of candy. We had dinner at Wasabi, a not so good sushi joint at CityWalk. The only good thing was a big bottle of Asahi and also we saw John Stamos eating there as well. The sideburns gave him away.