Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mini-Review: Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens–Yeah, this one is awesome too!

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

After being blown away by the Sigma 35mm and Sigma 50mm Art Series lenses, I wasted no time getting my hands on the all new Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens. I’ve had a chance to kick the tires on it for a few hours and have once again been impress with what Sigma brings to the table with their silver dot Art series lenses.

With the same great build quality as the 35mm and 50mm, I’ll have to refer you to my Sigma 35mm and Sigma 50mm Art Series lens reviews for additional construction comments. I love the build of this lens, but my only gripe is the pinch lens cap that loves to fall off frequently. Here a quick video where I go over the construction and this complaint:

Now before you flame me for not getting the cap connected in the video, I would like to point out that YES it is possible to get it connected – with careful care – and if securely locked it stays on most of the time. However, it’s not quite as secure as what I’m used to seeing from Nikon lens caps which outperform the pinch design of both Canon and SIGMA.

Real World Shots

As my readers have come to expect, here’s my 100% unedited real world images with all their flaws and incredible detail. These are all straight out of the camera JPEG’s taken from a Canon 1D X with no cropping, rotating, etc - nothing. 

All images are copyright ® Ron Martinsen – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may click to view the in-camera originals, but you must delete them when you are done reviewing them. You may not edit, print, copy, upload or otherwise use or modify these images without written consent – yes, even the ugly ones!


f/4 @ 24mm for 1/400 sec at ISO 320

This is one of those crazy sharp images that make you think – how come this blows away my other lenses that cost twice as much?!!!


f/5.6 @ 24mm for 1/60 sec at ISO 100

This shot should dispel any question about sharpness concerns - you’ll find gobs of sharpness at at f/5.6!


f/2.8 @ 24mm for 1/320 sec at ISO 320

Creamy delicious bokeh and sharp detail – what’s not to love about that?


f/8 @ 24mm for 1/10 sec at ISO 100

f/8 is indeed great with lots of detail on the pilings and the boulders on the right


f/5.6 @ 24mm for 1/60 sec at ISO 500

The nice thing about sharp lenses is that even as the ISO’s start to climb, you get such sharp captures that you get back some detail that might have otherwise been lost by ISO noise.


f/16 @ 24mm for 1/125 sec at ISO 2000

This lens is so sharp that even the diffraction at f/16 isn’t enough to make me fear using it.
This is definitely a very sharp lens!


f/5.6 @ 24mm for 1/125 sec at ISO 160

After a while I started to think that the biggest “con” of this lens is that it is so sharp that it makes everything so hyper-realistic that anything less than perfection looks ugly – you know, kinda like how the news people got real ugly when HDTV first went live?


f/4 @ 24mm for 1/125 sec at ISO 100

I’ll remind you that these are unedited in-camera shots with zero post-processing beyond the Canon Standard Picture Style. I was just shaking my head at how sweet this lens is for such a great price!


f/4 @ 24mm for 1/500 sec at ISO 200

This lens has it all – sharpness, great bokeh, and excellent contrast. If you aren’t happy with your shots, blame the person pushing the button – not this lens!

Click here to see the complete gallery of images.

Bookshelf Shots


f/4 @ 24mm for 8 sec at ISO 100

I had a slight backfocus issue that can easily fixed with the SIGMA USB Dock so the focus ended up being on the green Hobbit book instead of the top center of the Lord of the Rings books like I typically do. This results in more softness on that book so don’t be thrown by that if you are used to looking at my bookshelf shots.

There was some mild distortion at the edges, but overall the center is crisp and sharp. Like most lenses of this type you have a small circle of sharpness at f/1.4 along with some vignetting and that sharpness circle expands to entire top and bottom of the image by f/2.8. f/4 is definitely the sharpness aperture and its still shallow enough to cause some blur on the surrounding books – which I both expect and like for a f/1.4 lens. f/5.6 – f/16 are all excellent so really the only softness is in the f/1.4 – f/2.8 range at the edges.

Click the image above to see the full-size in-camera original to see just how sharp it is while it still maintains a shallow depth of field for adjacent books.Click here to see the rest of the bookshelf shots in the gallery from f/1.4 – f/16.

Conclusion

I’m sounding like a broken record on these Art Series lenses which is why I didn’t do a big review. Once I started seeing the images on the camera I knew that it was going to be more of the same awesomeness that SIGMA fans expected to see from this lens. It’s certainly worthy of the Art Series moniker and definitely worthy of my highly recommended stamp of approval!

Simply put, if you are looking for a 24mm prime lens then is one you should definitely buy and try out before considering anything else.

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order on the B&H web site.

Other articles you may enjoy

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these reviews:

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Canon 1200mm f/5.6L–only $180,000 Used! :)

Canon Super Telephoto 1200mm f/5.6L EF USM Autofocus Lens
Canon Super Telephoto 1200mm f/5.6L EF USM Autofocus Lens

For all of you wildlife shooters out there, Canon has your dream lens in stock – albeit in the used department! If you’ve got an extra $180,000 lying around in your seat cushions, it can be yours!

Conclusion

Yes, this is really for sale at B&H, and no I don’t expect that you have the money for this. It’s fun to hear about these up for sale when they occasionally do. I’ve seen one in action during a Formula 1 race, so people really do have them – but they are very rare!

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order on the B&H web site.

Other articles you may enjoy

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these:

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Monday, April 27, 2015

COMPARISON: Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD vs Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L

 

Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens
Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens

When I reviewed the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM the image quality was so good that my wife shocked me by insisting that I buy it. After publishing my review I quickly started to hear from readers that I should also take a look at the Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens as some claimed it was just as good for a fraction of the price plus it offered vibration control. I had heard this kind of buzz before after I reviewed the Zeiss Otus 55mm when people told me that the SIGMA 50mm Art Series was nearly as good – and they were right. I like a good deal just as much as the next guy, so I figured there was nothing to lose by trying this out – best case scenario I could return my 11-24mm and save a bundle by getting this lens instead.

Would the rumors be true? Read on to find out!

Tamron Lens Review

Since I haven’t reviewed this lens yet, I’m going to start the first part of this article with my thoughts about the lens on its own merit. At the end of the article I finish up with a video and comparison photos between this and the Canon.

First Thoughts

Out of the box this is an impressive lens that feels like a $1000+ lens. It focus and stabilizes quietly while offering a solid overall feel. At a whopping 3.35 lbs it is pretty heavy compared to the Canon 16-35mm’s, but more inline with the Canon 11-24m which also weighs in at 3.7 lbs. Physically its closer to the 11-24mm as well.

As a result of the heft of this lens, I think some might find it too cumbersome to carry around. If you are the type that uses a 70-200mm f/2.8 and think its not too heavy, then this won’t be a concern. However, if you are someone who decided to get the 70-200mm f/4L IS (1.67lbs) then you’ll probably want to shy away from this lens as it weighs nearly twice as much!

The lens cap slides on and off of the built-in hood which works extremely well, but some may fear that lack of a locking mechanism. Personally, I liked it over the Canon 11-24mm locking design, so I considered this an advantage.

I’m not a fan of the firm resistance of the zoom and focus rings nor do I care for the feel of the switches for focus and VC, but some could consider this an advantage as Canon’s design is famous for accidental movements. As a result, I’d call them functionally effective but not especially satisfying to use (unlike the dreamy feel of the Zeiss Otus focus ring).

About Vibration Control

While adding vibration control is certainly handy for free hand use, the fact that it isn’t tripod aware means that some users will inevitably get blurry shots on long exposures when they forget to turn it off. As a result, I consider it both a blessing and a curse. Since I’m used to not having stabilization on wide angles due to the slower shutter speeds they enjoy (via 1/<focal length> formula), it would have been nice to see Tamron match other newer stabilizations systems that are tripod aware. This technology exist, so I am disappointed they weren’t able to apply it here.

Canon offers IS on the 16-35mm f/4L IS but not the new 11-24mm or the legacy 16-35mm f/2.8L IS. They do however have tripod awareness built into their newest generation IS system which the new 16-35mm f/4L IS uses.

In real world use I never saw a great benefit of the VC system, so I consider this more of a checkbox feature than one that wow’d me. If this were a longer lens then it would certainly make more of a difference to me, but I never had an occasion where I needed it.

Bookshelf Shots


f/5.6 @ 30mm for 15 sec at ISO 100

To my eyes, the sharpest this lens gets is at f/5.6 @ 30mm. The resulting image is razor sharp in the center (click the image above for a full-size original) with softness as you expand outwards. I’d consider this an above average sharpness for where it is sharp, so Nikon buyers will probably find that it is a fair competitor to the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Lens. I discuss how it compares to Canon’s offerings later in this article, but overall I found that it could do a better on the edges than it does.

Click here to see my full set of Bookshelf shots and view the captions to know which is which.

Real World Shots

As my readers have come to expect, here’s my 100% unedited real world images with all their flaws and incredible detail. These are all straight out of the camera JPEG’s taken from a Canon 5D Mark III or Canon 1D X with no cropping, rotating, etc - nothing. 

All images are copyright ® Ron Martinsen – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may click to view the in-camera originals, but you must delete them when you are done reviewing them. You may not edit, print, copy, upload or otherwise use or modify these images without written consent – yes, even the ugly ones!

To see more photos, visit http://photos.ronmartblog.com/lens/tamron/15-30mm.


f/5.6 @ 15mm for 1/100 sec at ISO 500

When I saw this shot initially, I was was like “whoa, that’s impressive”!
Make no mistake, this is a decent lens!


f/5.6 @ 15mm for 1/100 sec at ISO 640

The bokeh felt a bit odd to me at wide open, but the sharpness at the focus point was impressive!


f/22 @ 30mm for 1/60 sec at ISO 320

For fun I did this shot at f/22 to check out the starburst effect with this lens vs f/16 below


f/16 @ 30mm for 1/30 sec at ISO 100

I was pretty satisfied with this lens performance – aside from constant ghosting problems


f/4 @ 30mm for 1/125 sec at ISO 100

While sharpness is good, I’d classify the bokeh quality as average for a third party lens


f/5.6 @ 19mm for 1/100 sec at ISO 640

This lens is sharpest in the center but it still does okay with edge sharpness
in real world scenarios (vs pixel peeping where it suffers)


f/4 @ 15mm for 1/800 sec at ISO 100

If you are mindful of the sun (which is right behind Kai’s head), ghosting and flare can be avoided
and good results can be quite easily achieved.


f/4 @ 15mm for 1/1000 sec at ISO 100

While I wouldn’t say this is a fast focusing lens, it was acceptable for a wide angle based on my subjective testing in the park with an active 5 year old both here and below


f/4 @ 15mm for 1/640 sec at ISO 100

The 5D Mark III was able do its job thanks to acceptable AF speed for a wide angle lens


f/4 @ 15mm for 1/1000 sec at ISO 100

Wide angles are fun for different perspectives that retain a view of the environment while still capturing your subject. This makes them lots of fun with kids!
Notice the unusual ghosting on the bottom left quadrant above the grass by the people


f/4 @ 15mm for 1/800 sec at ISO 100

The sharpness of the hair was insane here, but even more fun is the big head little body effect that is so much fun with super wide angles.
Edge distortion is pretty extreme though which led to stretched out long hands.


f/4 @ 15mm for 1/800 sec at ISO 100

It never fails, whenever I shoot 15mm I always end up with at least one shot of my shoe in the frame. I included it here just for fun to remind readers – keep an eye on your shoes when you go super wide!


f/4 @ 15mm for 1/640 sec at ISO 100

Many of my outdoor shots were marred by excessive ghosting spots like these. Sometimes they can be cool, but most often they were were just annoying like the one here that led to a ghosting booger on my subject.


f/4 @ 20mm for 1/500 sec at ISO 100

Once you get mindful of this problem you can use it to your advantage to get ghost spots that draw attention to your subject as I did here.


f/4 @ 15mm for 1/1250 sec at ISO 100

If you can avoid the ghosting, you can do this to your friends who bought much more expensive lenses in this range. It’s definitely a crazy sharp lens at the center that’s a lot of fun to use.

To see more photos, visit http://photos.ronmartblog.com/lens/tamron/15-30mm.

Compared to the Canon 11-24mm

DISCLAIMER: Before people decided to post flame mail comments about why I didn’t compare this lens to the Canon 16-35mm’s, I’d like to officially state that this review was done at the request of multiple readers who asked me how the new Tamron 15-30mm compared to the new Canon 11-24mm. I answer this question below, and for completeness I also include some info about the Canon 16-35mm’s. The reason why I did Canon instead of Nikon is simply because that’s what I shoot with and the timing of the release of these new lenses.

For the images below I took the two sharpest images of the day which unfortunately ended up being composed slightly differently and used a different focal length. However, the casual observer might feel that the Tamron is “just as good” as the 11-24mm by doing a comparison of this type. This I think is what is happening on the web by those who feel this lens is competitive with the 11-24mm:


Tamron f/5.6 @ 15mm for 1/60 sec at ISO 100

The Tamron did a fantastic job at capturing an image with sharp detail and a pleasant bokeh


Canon f/5.6 @ 19mm for 1/60 sec at ISO 100

The Canon offers a much more pleasant bokeh (although the intensity is due to subject distance and focal length), but where it has the greatest advantage is in sharpness of the details on the flower

Flare Comparison

As mentioned previously this lens has a habit of ghosting, but it’s also gets a bit washed out with flare too. I wanted to have a shot compared the Tamron against the SWC anti-flare technology used in the Canon lens. Notice how the Tamron image below feels a bit washed out and lacking midtone contrast?


Tamron f/4 @ 30mm for 1/125 sec

Under identical conditions, the Canon does a better job with flare and avoids the washed out look as you can see here:


Canon f/4 @ 24mm for 1/125 sec

Click here to watch a video that explains how Canon’s Subwavelength Structure Coating (SWC) lens coating technology works.

.

Bookshelf Sharpness Comparison

24mm @ f/4: Canon 11-24mm vs Tamron 15-30mm
24mm @ f/4: Canon 11-24mm vs Tamron 15-30mm

As expected, the $1800 premium for the 11-24mm clearly shows as the newest Canon is significantly sharper all the way out to the edges even at it’s base aperture of f/4 (vs the 15-30mm’s 2nd sharpest aperture that’s 1 stop up for wide open). The Tamron does a respectable job at the center but it’s only advantage over the Canon seems to be slightly brighter and warmer images in-camera.

Physical Size Comparison

In this video I discuss the physical size Canon 16-35mm to the Canon 11-24mm and Tamron 15-30mm:

The video above was shot with a Nikon D7200 using the kit lens featured in my review.

Canon 16-35mm Comparisons

The best way to do your own pixel peeping is to visit the comparison gallery and download the photos so you can do your own comparisons in Lightroom. Here’s how from my gallery:

Step 1 – Click select photos:

Select Photos

Step 2 – Click Select All:

Click Select All

Step 3 – Click download:

Click Download to get a local copy of the originals
Click Download to get a local copy of the originals

This will give you a zip file of images you can use to compare to your hearts content. When done, please delete them from your computer. Images are included for both Canon 16-35mm’s (the f/2.8 & f/4) as well as the Canon 11-24mm to be compared against the Tamron 15-30mm.

Lightroom Metadata Filtering in Library Grid Mode
Lightroom Metadata Filtering in Library Grid Mode

The net result from pixel peeping is that you’ll notice that the sharpness ranking goes like this:

  1. Canon 11-24
  2. Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS
  3. Tamron 15-30mm
  4. Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 II

My eyes notice a more pleasing bokeh from the Canon’s with slightly more edge distortion from the Tamron.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, my take on this lens is that it offers nice center frame sharpness at the expense of a harsh sharpness fall off with extreme distortion at the edges. While some fall off and distortion is characteristic of this class of lens, I found it to be less desirable than what I’m accustomed to as a long-time user of the the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II. However, this is a much sharper lens than my old Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II, so its impossible to justify the extra $400 for the Canon over this lens. As a result, I have to say this lens is a great value for what you get. It’s basically in the same league as the Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS for a only $100 with the added benefit of being a constant f/2.8. 

The ghosting, flare, and mediocre bokeh are certainly things to be mindful of, but when used in a way that works around or embraces these limitations I think this lens is sure to please. As a result, if you are already a fan of Tamron lenses then I’d say go for it. If not, then those who are loyal to first party OEM lenses (like Canon and Nikon) might find themselves slightly disappointed.

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order the B&H web site.

Other articles you may enjoy

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these:

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Friday, April 24, 2015

REVIEW: Epson SureColor P600 (Part I of II)

Epson SureColor P600 Inkjet Printer
Epson SureColor P600 Inkjet Printer

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Max Resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
  • Max Printable Area: 13 x 129"
  • Borderless Prints up to 13 x 19"
  • Accepts Roll Media up to 13" Wide
  • 9 UltraChrome HD Pigment-Based Inks
  • Auto-Switching Black Ink Technology
  • Tilting 3.5" Color LCD Touchscreen
  • Advanced Media Handling & Disc Printing
  • USB 2.0, Ethernet, & Wi-Fi Connectivity

I’ve finally had a chance to do some initial testing on the all-new P600 and thus far I must say that I’ve been very happy. While it does lack ICC profiles that are as finely tuned as those on legendary printers like the 3880, they have been of acceptable quality.

Setup was done in a room separate from my computer and thanks to WPS support, I was able to get it working my computer without any trouble at all. The total time I spent from unboxing to my first print was about 15 minutes, and 10 minutes of that was purely unboxing and tape removal.

Thus far I’ve printed on the following papers with very good results:

4x6 prints have been so hassle free that I’ve done multiple as part of my 2015 plan to print more (see why on my last ScottKelby.com blog post).

No ICC Profiles needed?

One surprising bonus is that printing using Epson color management instead of Photoshop color management with Epson papers has been very good for everyday non-color critical printing jobs. As a result, I’ve been comfortable with setting things up where my wife can print her own 4x6 images and the results have been very good.

Did what I say confuse you? Well here’s what it looks like in real world terms if you print from Photoshop:

4-17-2015 12-26-34 AM
Notice the Color Handling is set to “Printer Manages Colors

and here’s what it looks like in Lightroom 6:

image
Notice how Color Management Profile: is set to Managed by Printer

To make this work the Epson printer driver has to have its Mode setting set to EPSON Standard (sRGB) as shown here on the PC:

4-17-2015 12-26-11 AM
Notice how The Mode option says EPSON Standard (sRGB) – this means the printer does the color management on its own – only recommended with Epson papers

This is advice I have never given in the past for any other printer model as ICC profiles are typically critical to get a good print. It’s a VERY big deal for me to say that you can get good prints without an ICC profile using Epson’s built in color management, so if you get a chance to try one of these printers out I’d encourage you to check out this feature.

Does this mean that no ICC profiles are really needed? No, not at all – the best results are still achieved with the best ICC profiles, but I honestly can’t see a huge difference between the profiles that come with the printer and the built-in printer color management. As a result, if you want results that are significantly better than this feature then I suspect you’ll have to create your own finely tuned ICC profiles.

Conclusion

I loved the R3000 as it was a great printer that produced excellent results with great ease of use. From all of my testing thus far, I can easily say it does everything as good as or better than the R3000.

Yes, I’m really loving this printer!

The wireless connectivity has been excellent and much faster than my R3000, and the new touch screen interface on the printer is excellent! I look forward to seeing how it performs over a longer testing period as much of what you see here is going to be in the P800 – the replacement for the legendary 3880!

CLICK HERE to read my conclusion in part II.

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order on the B&H web site. My friends at Amazon have it available here.

Other articles you may enjoy

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these:

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Monday, April 20, 2015

FREE ThinkTankPhoto Shoulder Harness with Urban Disguise bags until May 15th

Urban Disguise Shoulder Harness special offer

My friends at Think Tank Photo, who are celebrating their 10 Year Anniversary, have announced a special offer.  Whenever you order one of their Urban Disguise Shoulder bags between now and May 15th you will receive a Shoulder Harness V2.0 backpack harness by mail for free. 

This harness is pretty cool because it easily converts your shoulder bag into a backpack.  It’s great for freeing up your hands to sprint through airports for flights, for example.

To take advantage of this special offer, simply order the Urban Disguise bag of your choice and download and submit the online form.  Think Tank will ship your new harness right out.  And, don’t forget that by using my special URL you will receive a free gift from Think Tank with your order as well as free shipping.

CLICK HERE to see my last Urban Disguise bag review, or click here to see all of my ThinkTankPhoto product reviews and special offer.

Other articles you may enjoy

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these:

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

MindShift Gear Reviews: House of Cards and Filter Nest & Hive Mini

My friends at MindShift Gear make some super durable and lightweight camera bags for hikers, but they also make some great accessories. Even if you are a couch potato, you can appreciate the value in having accessories that help you keep track of your stuff while still being super lightweight. In this article and the video below I discuss some of the accessories I’ve tried and love from my friends at MindShift Gear.

Check out the video above to see these products in action, but don’t forget to read the article for a special offer!

House of Cards Memory Card Wallet

Click to learn more about the House of Cards Memory Card Holder
MindShift Gear House of Cards (Closed Front View)

This is a super lightweight and compact memory card holder that holds up to 6 CF cards and 3 SD cards at the same time as shown below:

Click to learn more about the House of Cards Memory Card Holder
Holds 6 CF and 3 SD cards

If you’ve used the Think Tank Photo Pixel Pocket Rocket then this is basically a super lightweight equivalent that is a row smaller and uses an elastic band instead of Velcro to keep itself closed. It’s pretty self explanatory and works great in real life applications. The handy tether shown below is great for clipping this inside your back so you can get to it quickly. The orange colors also make it super easy to find.

Click to learn more about the House of Cards Memory Card Holder
House of Cards Business card/identification window (back)

Special Offer

In celebration of spring, between now and May 15, 2015 when you order one of their award-winning rotation backpacks you will receive for free a House of Cards CF/SD card holder.  To partake of this special offer, click on the backpack of your choice and look for the headline reading “Purchase any MindShift Gear backpack and receive a free House of Cards via mail-in form!” Order your backpack, click on the link, follow the instructions on the form, and MindShift will mail you the House of Cards.

Click here to learn more about the House of Cards and get a link to the rebate form!

Don’t care about weight for your memory card holder? You can also get any of the following FREE for a limited time with your order of $50 or more from ThinkTankPhoto when you use my blog links:

Modular Pixel Pocket Rocket
Modular Pixel Pocket Rocket

Limited Edition Pixel Pocket Rocket
Limited Edition Pixel Pocket Rocket

Pixel Pocket Rocket™
Pixel Pocket Rocket™

Filter Nest Mini

Click to learn more about the Filter Nest Mini
Filter Nest Mini

A variable neutral density filter and circular polarizer are the main filters that no landscape photographer should be without, but the cases these come in can be kind of bulky. What’s more, these things are expensive and it’s kind of common to have a set for two different filter rings (77mm and 82mm for me).

Wouldn’t it be great if you could keep all these filters together and do it in a way that both protected them and didn’t add much weight to your bag? MindShift Gear thought so and created this handy case with color dividers that helps you do just that.

Of course, when I first heard about this I thought – why on Earth would I use that? After a moment I stopped and thought about the fact that my polarizer cases look nearly identical to each other as do my variable neutral density (VND) filters so the common mistake I seem to always have is grabbing the wrong size at the wrong time. What’s more, my polarizer cases are more fragile and a pain to open than my VND’s (which from Singh-Ray are effectively a single filter version of this), so I found myself liking having them all together with fast access.

I realize this might not be for everyone, but if you are the type of person that likes to keep your stuff organized and easy to access, then you’ll enjoy this product.

Click here to learn more.

Filter Hive Mini

Click to learn more about the Filter Hive Mini
Filter Hive Mini

In addition the filters above, I’m still one of those rare landscape shooters who carry’s gradient neutral density filters to deal with those situations where I really new two exposures in the filed and I want to do it right in-camera rather than relying on HDR after the fact. I also know plenty of photographers who swear by Lee Filters for all their neutral density needs, so given their premium price and fragility you definitely need something that both organizes and protects – ideally without adding much weight. The Filter Hive Mini does just that with a lightweight design that accommodates up to four square/rectangular filters (up to 4 x 6 or 100 x 150 mm).

My Cokin case was bulky and the gray sleeves they provide are dust magnets, so this was a no brainer for me. I also have trouble telling which ND filter is which in the case so I used a system where orange is the lightest color to hold the brightest filter (my ND2) and the blue is the darkest (my ND8), so it’s easy to know which is which without hunting for the tiny 8pt text!

Click here to learn more.

Other MindShift Gear Products & Reviews

Click to learn more about the Mindshift Gear rotation180° Professional
Mindshift Gear rotation180° Professional

If you are into heavy duty mountain climbing then this is the perfect camera bag for you. CLICK HERE for my MindShift Gear Rotation 180° Review.

Click to learn more about the MindShift Gear rotation180° Panorama
MindShift Gear rotation180° Panorama

This is for the hard core hikers who want great functionality with the minimal weight possible. CLICK HERE for my MindShift Gear Panorama Rotation 180° Review

Two new bags for less than $200!

I haven’t had a chance to review the two newest bags from MindShift Gear below, but they are both crazy light and affordable.


rotation180ยบ Travel Away
(Only $199!!!)

 


rotation180° Trail
(Only $179!!!)

 

Conclusion

You might not have heard of MindShift Gear before, but they are a spin off from Think Tank Photo. From my experience they offer the same great quality and service with a fraction of the weight, so they are perfect bag for hikers, cyclists and anyone who wants a lightweight gear.

These accessories might not be for everyone, but while you are here I encourage you to check out their backpacks if you haven’t before. They are pretty sweet bags that offer fast access to you gear without having to take your bag off, so I find them extremely handy.

MindShift Gear has a bunch of products and accessories made for hikers. Click here to learn more.

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order today.

Don’t miss the special offer in the House of Cards section above too!

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