Please see the first part of my coverage of Photo Plus Expo NYC 2011 in my article entitled “Photo Plus Expo NYC 2011–New Products Report–Part I of II”.
Here’s what else I discovered while at the show…
I shoot with Elinchrom lights (article and more) and those of you who do hopefully will understand it when I say that the Elinchrom 39" Rotalux Deep OctaBox is the magic light modifier that just makes your subjects look awesome. Well Elinchrom has taking that magic to a new level with the indirect lit version (much like the EL Octa 74” (190cm) Indirect Light Bank ) that will be available later this year for roughly $599. It will be called the Elnchrom Rotalux Deep Inverse 59" Octa (EL 26188) and should be available on B&H in the future with this link.
Another nice addition to the Elinchrom line up for Quadra owners like myself is a proper ring flash for less than $599 called the Ranger Quadra Ringflash ECO. While you can get the ring flash effect with a product like the Ray Flash, this is a device where the more light you have – the better. If you are tired of the budget ring flash look, now you can go pro for a price that won’t leave you broke. I’ll be getting a chance to review one of these so stay tuned for a future review.
For those of you who wish to control your lights from your iOS based device via WiFi, Elinchrom has a new EL-Skyport WiFi adapter and app that will give the ability to do just that. While it is not as powerful as the software that goes with the USB-based RX Computer Remote/Trigger Set, it’s pretty close and pretty cool to see in action.
Zoom Pro HD Head
Zoom Action Head
Last but not least, Elinchrom has released two new zoom lights to compete with Profoto’s equivalent design. The lights feature an inner tube that can be zoomed to a variety of positions for lighter or softer light effects.
Manfrotto had some new video tripods that they were pretty proud of, but I’m not a video guy so I just grabbed a snapshot and moved on. You can learn more about them at http://www.manfrotto.us/category/8709.0.0.0.0/Video. I also think this is the link on B&H, but the one two I saw may have been newer models.
Photography vests are lame and most of the jackets I’ve seen are just as bad. However, Manfrotto is trying to change that with its cool pro field jackets. It doesn’t look as stupid as the picture above and feels really nice on. The only problem with them is the price – they are $500 for reasons I simply don’t understand.
With DSLR’s blurring the line between still photography camera and video camera, it makes it hard for us to buy the right equipment for the job. A great example is for a tripod head because video requires smooth panning and a long grip helps. For photography a ball head is a must. Until now the solutions that tried the marry the two might have worked for a camcorder or point and shoot, but not for a DSLR with a heavy lens. Well Manfrotto thinks it has the solution in the Manfrotto 755CX3 Tripod with 055 Photo-Movie Head & Q5 Quick Release Kit.
Pictured above, this kit has a movie / photo lock that when in photo mode acts as a typical ball head, but when in movie mode it locks the ball head and allows for smooth panning. It’s a novel idea in a great looking package, but I’m skeptical.
The big news from Lastolite this year is its new Joe McNally line. Despite what you might think, this is set of products that exceed what you normally get from Lastolite. The sizes are typically larger and additional modifiers are typically offered, so you too can try to be like Joe when you are shooting with the small flash.
When holding the products side by side at the Expo I felt like the McNally ones were the same build quality but for better suited for advanced use thanks to the additional modifiers like specal masks.
The big question is if they are worth the premium price tag. At $247, the price jump is significant over similar kits (11” smaller and no mask, but has two more panels). I’d guess the additional cost is probably due to Joe’s name on the product not coming for free, but we pay these premiums for golf clubs, shoes and other products so why not photo gear? I just had my Westcott reflector set rip on me so I might check some of these out when replacing mine.
Think Tank Photo
The big news from Think Tank Photo were the lighter weight Modular Component Set™ V2.0. They feature a lighter design and better storage of the rain covers (in the bottom zip pocket) as well as other minor improvements. If you like the Modular Set but thought it was too heavy or bulky, then this is a great improvement that you’ll want to check out.
The big news from Sony was the new a77 which they claim is the fastest DSLR on the planet (at 12fps – just like the full frame Canon 1D X). I wasn’t able to get too much info on it, but in my hand it felt much like a Nikon D7000 with a better burst mode which is a great thing. I think Sony owners will probably be excited with this new release because this camera offers A LOT of bang for the buck (i.e., 24.3mp, OLED viewfinder, & more) in a user-friendly consumer camera package. DXOMark had good things to say about the sensor and I saw enough to like to think that Sony might finally start offering something interesting for DSLR owners.
One of the coolest things I saw at the show was the clever iPad calibration software (used in conjunction with a PC and a Spyder) called SpyderGallery. This was really clever solution for those who want accurate color when showing their photos on the iPad. Click here to learn more.
The backpack makers threw me for a loop when they were demonstrating their MicroSync II VM2TR Wireless Transmitter/Receiver Kit – the worlds smallest wireless radio sync system. While they don’t offer TTL, they are cheap and tiny. It seems like a much better choice than some of the eBay contraptions that claim they do the same thing and from what I saw at the show they work well (much like traditional pocket wizards). They can even fire your DSLR or strobes.
While not even close to the quality of a Think Tank Photo bag, this bag was so clever that I had to write about it. There is a metal frame with ventilation on the back is brilliant to keep the heat from being trapped (one of my complaints about my TTP bags). This is the MiniBee version which is smaller than its predecessor so I think this is something that hikers will really appreciate.
I’m a huge fan of my GTI light box, but my biggest complaint is that it doesn’t have a dimmer. The new SOFV-1Xi offers a precise intensity level setting, a meter to show you how many hours your lamps have been on, and an improved design. While it isn’t offered in sizes as large as my PDV-2020EX, most will find its A3+ format support to be sufficiently large. If you are into light boxes, this will get you jazzed.
There were many more products that I saw but I couldn’t cover them all. Some will be featured in upcoming reviews and others are currently working with me on possible reviews. I made a ton of new contacts for a lot of great existing products that readers like you have asked me to feature. The Expo has opened the door to help make that happen so stay tuned for an interesting year ahead.
This article features links where I may receive a commission if you make a purchase. Thank you for supporting this blog by making purchases using my links and special offers.