The 30th annual Photo Plus Expo is on! After several exciting weeks of pre-show announcements, here's what we found walking the show floor.
It is hard to believe 30 years have gone by since the first Photo Plus Expo opened its doors, and its amazing how it has grown to become an influential and eagerly anticipated event for professional photographers from around the world. Sure, there are plenty of workshops, portfolio reviews and other fun stuff for pros, but there are also a ton of new products. In the last three weeks there have been some exciting pre-show product announcements. Be sure to check out our coverage of:
Photographer Tim Grey earlier today presenting before a full Adorama booth this morning. He's conducting a Workshop at Adorama next week, and there's still room if you want to sign up!
Now we take a look at the fun stuff: The gadgets that are designed to make your life as a serious shooter easier.
Adorama debuted 3Pod tripods, a new line, at the show. Learn more about it by watching Diane Wallace's introduction video.
Gary Fong: A Faster Fit
Gary Fong, a pioneer in shoe-mount flash modifiers, is showing off his new Lightsphere Collapsible Speed Mount, designed for travel photography and quick lighting setup/breakdown. A new mounting system lets photographers quickly swap out light modifiers. The Lightsphere effetively transforms your flash to spread light 360 degrees, for a bare-bulb effect. A new Wedding & Event Lighting kit uses the same new mount but includes domes that produce amber or white light, and a grey dome that can also be used to establish custom white balance. Other kits are designed for portraits, fashion and commercial use, and color reference, and a new Collapsible Speed Snoot uses the same mounting system but offers more directional lighting control.
Hahnemuhle: High-Tech Paper
Hahnemuhle is introducing two new polyethylene-coated papers withmicroporous inkjet coating, along with a couple of matte papers and a photo canvas. The new papers are: Photo Mattte Fibre 200, a warm-toned, smooth surface designed for fine-art printing and Photo Matte Fibure Duo 210, a double-sided version; Photo Glossy 290, a high-gloss polyethylene paper that Hanhemuhle claims will give photo lab-quality results, Photo Luster 290, same as the glossy version but with a satin finish, and Photo Canvas 320, a poly-cotton canvass with a matte coating.
SpinLight 360: Well-Rounded Light Modifiers
SpinLight 360 took an interesting approach to modifying shoe-mount flash when it debuted at Photo Plus last year. A snap-on, rotating base holds a variety of circular diffusers, reflectors and flags and seemed quick and flexible. This year the company announced a $39.99 20-gel collection that includes 5 color correction gels (CTO and CTB in full, half and quarter strength, and a Plus Gren CC30 filter), 15 color effects gels, and a multi-functional storage case. The storage case is made of clear plastic and can hold translucent materials, such as marbles (see photo, above) to create unique special effects.
Manfrotto: Bringing Cool to Tripod
Today Manfrotto announced that it has updated most popular tripod, the 190. The new Manfrotto 190 has a new Quick Power Lock (QPL) system, a strong, fast, ergonomic leg lock that can be operated with one hand. A newly patented 90-degree column can be repositoned straight up, on its side, or straight down so it's tucked inside the legs when the tripod is folded away. The tripod is expandable and can hold accessories such as LED lights via a new Easy Link connecting plug. Other features include a rotating level bubble, leg angle selectors, and color accents that give the tripod a certain cool factor.
LowePro: Bagging the Tablet
With more photographers carrying multiple devices, Loewpro has launched three multi-device camera bags designed for mirrorless cameras, a smartphone, tablet and miscellaneous stuff. The Streamline 250 fits a mirrorless/CSC with kit lens, extra lens, 10" tablet, smartphone and personal items. The Streamline 150 fits a mirrorless/CSC with kit lens, extra lens, 7" tablet, smartphone and personal items. The StreamLine Sling fits a mirrorless/CSC with kit lens, extra lens, 10" tablet, smartphone, water bottle and personal items. For DSLR users LowePro is showing the new Transit AW lineup, designed for traveling and urban photographers, and the Photo Sport Shoulder bag, which is designed to hold a wide variety of gear in a protected environment with multiple storage options via removable and customizable inserts and a storm flap to protect the contents from rain.
The Transit Backpack 350 AW fits a Pro DSLR with attached lens (up to 70- 200mm for side access, or 300mm when stored vertically); 1-2 extra lenses; flash and accessories; compact tripod; and a 15" laptop. The Transit Sling 250 AW fits a DSLR with attached lens (up to 24-700mm for side access, or 70-200mm when stored vertically) or a mirrorless/CSC kit; 1-2 extra lenses; flash and accessories; compact tripod; and a 10" tablet.
Joby: Handy Dandy
Here's something clever and different: Joby's UltraFit Hand Strap with UltraPlate is a combination DSR hand strap and universal quick-release plate. Photographers can keep the hand strap attached to their camera while mounting it to a tripod or even using another camera strap. The hand strap is compatible with standard and pro DSLRs with or without a battery grip. The quick-release plate has built-in Arca-Swiss compatibility. Unlike most baseplates on the market, the UltraPlate has two additional 1/4"-20 screw mounts. Photographers can add other accessories, such as other camera straps, flash brackets and other tripod quick-release plates without removing the hand strap.
Joby is also showing the new UltraFit Sling Strap and 3-Way Camera Straps, both of which are designed to accomodate either compact system cameras or DSLRs in a quick-draw, cross-body design, based on user studies with more than 500 photography professionals and enthusiasts. The straps are available in male and female design options.
Tether Tools: We're All Connected
Tether Tools products aren't particularly sexy; instead, they're functional. But the company's product answer a growing need among the photo industry, which is cables and wireless tools that connect your cameras, computers and production gear. New at the show include the Wireless Pro Tethering Kit, which includes everything you need to shoot wirelessly with CamRanger, iPad, Android, Mac or PCs, along with a power source for at least 24 hours of shooting. For shooters just starting out, the Tether Tools Wireless Tethering Starter Kit (which won the TIPA awards for best digital accessory) works with a range of Nikon and Canon DSLRs and connects them with smart phones, tablets, Mac, PC or Android devices, and uses the CamRanger system.
LaCie: Speed Demon
LaCie is showing off its latest Thunderbolt digital file storage solution, which the company says can shave hours off a photography workflow. Starting at 1TB and going as high as 20TB for the $1,099 5big unit (right), the Thunderbolt series offers file transfer speeds at (fasten your digital seatbelt) up to a screaming 785MB/s. This requires a computer with Thunderbolt connectivity but if you've got it...wow!
Hoya: Shift to Neutral
A problem with many Neutral Density filters is that they're not all neutral. As you shift from lower to higher density ND filters, you may discover a noticeable color shift Hoya's new line of PRO-ND filters have what they've dubbed Accu-ND technology—a metallic coating that doesn't color shift as you move from one density to another. The new filters range from two to 10-stops in light reduction, and are available in 49-82mm sizes. Hoya also announced a Graduated ND10 filter, which offers a 3-stop light reduction that evenly fades from 3 to 1 stop of light reduction; the filter rotates so it can be placed accordingly. It is available in 52, 58, 77 and 82mm.
Look for part 2 of our Photo Plus report, coming soon!