Tripod heads come in many sizes and formats. There are heads that enable you to position your camera very accurately, in small degrees and in each of the three dimensions individually, while others allow you to freely move the camera in any direction or angle you want by simply releasing a lever or screw. The latter category includes ball heads. Usually and because they're made to freely move your camera in all directions, ball heads are not suitable for anything but keeping your camera still when shooting with long exposure times or with heavy lenses mounted. In theory, ball heads would be great for videographers — free movement in all directions is what we think about when shooting a movie. However, ball heads don't restrict movement at all, meaning you can't easily keep them level with the horizon either. Unless you're using a special one, the Uniqball.
The Cactus RF60X flash is a speedlight with a built-in radio transceiver, SSH and stroboscopic capabilities, support for four groups and delay functionality. It’s compatible with the Cactus V6 II, V6 IIs and older V6 flash triggers. Its radio operates in the crowded 2.4GHz radio bandwidth, but it has 16 channels and 999 radio-IDs to choose from to avoid interference.
The Mecablitz 64 AF-1 must be the Rolls-Royce of speedlights. Its quality of build, feature set, controls, sounds it makes — everything oozes quality and professionalism. Made in Germany it says on the box and as cliché that may be, it shows. The Mecablitz 64 AF-1 is as dependable as its beautiful minimal, business-like design suggests. It’s probably a lot better than any camera-brand flash as well.
A light stand is nothing to get excited about, but the LP605M Convertible 7.5in Compact Light Stand and Monopod is a two-in-one stand, designed to lighten the load for location photographers. It was developed with industrial designer and photographer Eric Au and builds on the popular LP605 Compact Light Stand.
We all know Cactus flash triggers as a cheap alternative for expensive PocketWizard products. The V6 II and V6 IIs (Sony) are not just cheaper but also viable replacements. They also come with unexpected features, including cross-brand TTL, high-powered HSS, stroboscope support, group sequencing and more.
Europe is home to some pretty innovative developers. In Slovenia, Lumulabs is a small operation that developed the Lumu Power light meter, a Kickstarter success that started well over a year ago and which successfully ended in June with the first shipment of the finished devices. The Lumu Power light meter is a hardware sensor combined with an iOS app. It has both a fast-response silicon photo diode and true colour sensor in a package the size of a big marble.
Another year, another release of Corel Painter. The new version is packed with new features that guarantee jaw dropping awesomeness. There just seems no limit to Corel’s ambition to develop an application that is meant to create digital art that looks like the real thing. Combined with the newest Wacom Intuos Pro and its amazing natural feel, Painter 2018 is for digital artists to drool over.
Affinity Photo is a strong competitor for Adobe’s Photoshop CC product on the Mac and now it’s an equally strong alternative for Adobe’s Photoshop on the iOS platform. I tried Affinity Photo on my iPad Air 2 and I was very impressed with it.
Most users in the creative industry know they should regularly calibrate and profile their monitor for colour-critical work, but there’s more to colour accuracy than keeping your monitor in shape colour-wise. If you’re going to be printing or projecting your photos, art or videos, you’d better calibrate the output equipment as well. In fact, if you want to be absolutely certain colours will be accurately rendered from input to output, you will need to calibrate — or at least profile — cameras, scanners, monitors, printers and projectors. There’s only one affordable option that is accurate enough: the Red Dot Award winning X-Rite i1Pro 2 and I had the chance to test the Photo version.
Wacom’s new Intuos Pro graphics tablet is the thinnest since the company started selling graphics tablets many years ago. Wacom sells its professional line of tablets most often to graphics designers and photographers, but I managed to put it to good use with mocha Pro and Motion as well. The experience led me to try to use the newest Intuos Pro with Final Cut Pro X, my goal being to use it as a poor man’s control surface. For my tests, Wacom kindly sent me a large Paper Edition model.