The Tables have Turned, and now David Saffir Needs Your Assistance

David Saffir, shooting in Paso Robles CA, earlier this year

David Saffir, shooting in Paso Robles CA, earlier this year

We are writing this note for distribution to all the places where David Saffir has generously provided his expertise and wisdom over the years; please distribute as appropriate.

Many of you will recognize David’s name. Some from the excellent book he contributed to our Mastering Digital Series, named Mastering Digital Color. It still sits on my resource volume shelf. Others have heard David speak at venues from Sammy’s in California to B&H Photo in New York. And in recent years you may have had the opportunity to discuss photography, videography, and digital workflow with him in the Datacolor booth at a number of tradeshows. Thousands of you would recognize his voice from the webinars we co-hosted for Datacolor on a wide array of photo and video topics. Finally, there are those who have followed David’s personal blog, as well as his frequent contributions to the SpyderBLOG.

Like many photographers, David is an independent contractor. This means he has to pay for his own health insurance, most recently through the Affordable Care Act. Recently David’s wife underwent major surgery, and the bills, above what insurance covered, had already begun to mount. During her recovery David suffered a major stroke, leaving one side of his body paralyzed. Neither of the Saffirs will be able to return to work any time soon.

An account has been set up on David’s behalf, and any donations to it will be used towards the Saffir’s rapidly growing short-term expenses. Donations can be made payable to David Saffir, and sent to his sister Cynthia Saffir, 2266 Pelham Ave. Los Angeles CA 90064. Alternately, you can donate via PayPal, account name csaff@yahoo.com. All donations, of any size, will be much appreciated.

We will keep you informed of David’s progress, as further information becomes available. Thank you for your assistance.

 

David Tobie, on behalf of Mike Ritzer, Ken Sklute,

and a growing list of other photography friends.

 

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2014. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

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To Power, Filter, and Protect – CagePro for your GoPro Camera

Tehkron has announced a new cage for the GoPro Hero3+ cameras called CagePro, which serves multiple purposes.

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Protection

We all know the types of abuse GoPro cameras see; its all in a day’s work for a GoPro to be used in high activity, accident-prone situations. So an outer cage for the GoPro is a useful tool unto itself.

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Support and Attachment

Convenient attachment methods for GoPro cameras can also come in handy, since crazy action angles are what GoPro is about. A second version of the cage is available with a top handle, offering even more options for support and attachment.

CageProHandle

 

Power

Perhaps the most unique feature of CagePro is that it holds standard batteries (the same batteries used in the Canon 5D Mk ll and lll, and 7D) to provide long-life power to your GoPro. Anyone who has spent time working with GoPro videography will instantly understand the value and convenience of this option; not only can you power your GoPro for longer, you can interchange batteries with your DSLR cameras, which you may be using on the same shoot.

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Filtration

GoPro cameras are used in uncontrolled situations, and typically they adjust to bright conditions by shortening the shutterspeed. As we learn from our DSLR video work, this is not ideal. In the DSLR video world, we would compensate for this by adding a neutral density filter to the camera to allow shutter speed and aperture to not be sacrificed for the sake of not blowing out the highlights. The 62mm front threads on the CagePro housing allow ND and other filter types to be mounted. Again, if you have 62mm threaded lenses, this will allow you to interchange components with your DSLRs and your GoPros.

The Last Word

Is CagePro an accessory you can’t live without? That will depend on your particular brand of action videography; but I can see a lot of value in this product for GoPro shooters. At prices of $150US and $180US for the cage or the cage plus handle, this is an affordable addition to the action shooter’s gear.

All Images Courtesy of Tehkron

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2013. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

Gear Organization – What’s Inside Your Camera Bag?

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Why will we pay a small fortune for a camera bag, but nothing for the organizers we put inside it?

Heads turn when I pull out a serious camera bag. But once I open it, the magic ends. I have random cases and pouches from companies ten years dead, and even an old electric shaver kit inside. So one of my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions was to improve the quality of my gear organizers this year. Given the state of the calendar, I needed to move quickly.

What’s Out There for Organizers?

After looking at the choices out there, I began to realize why I was still using such a motley crew of random containers: everybody wanted to sell me a camera bag, but no one wanted to supply organizers to go inside it. Perhaps because they were convinced that no one would pay for organizers when they have a random set of small, low cost cases already. However, I stuck with my resolution, and moved forward.

What Did I Choose?

I simplified the process by acquiring the entire Gura Gear <www.guragear.com> line of organizers: their Et Cetera Cases bundle, and their Et Cetera Pouches bundle. It seemed simpler to try all three sizes of each, and find out if I might need more of a particular size, then to attempt to guess what sizes and quantities would be needed in advance.

The Gura Gear Et Cetera Pouch Set

The Gura Gear Et Cetera Pouch Set

How Are They Constructed?

Gura Gear’s cases and pouches are well designed, bringing the durable materials and quality details that we expect from their camera bags down to the smaller scale of organizers. Fronts are transparent, to simplify finding what you need without opening more cases than necessary. Zippers are high quality, and zipper pulls are color-coded. Interior dividers are adjustable, and larger cases have interior edge bands as well. All the cases have a small strap loop, which can be used to secure them. The pouches are similarly made, with shallow edges instead of the deeper sides of the cases. Both cases and pouches have tape loops at each end of the zippers, which function as pulls, and could be also be used for securing the pouches (which do not have straps) if the need arose.

What’s the Value of This Design?

This type of organizer is not intended to become a freestanding camera bag; it’s designed to live inside a camera bag or gear case, so the fewer extra features on the outside, the better. Slick, smooth, and uninterrupted is the goal for an internal case; long straps, pocket flaps, and other interferences are not desirable.

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Medium Et Cetera Case, showing zipper tabs, zipper pull, loop handle, and card holder

What Sizes for What Gear?

Both the cases and the pouches come in Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear sizes. The simplest solution is to gather all your gear, and test how it fits in the various cases, and what breakdowns naturally occur. Batteries and chargers in one case make sense for some users; others will take batteries on-site where there is no electricity, and not want to backpack the chargers into such sites. Breaking down chargers and cords together makes a different type of logic, but then all the parts for a given set of lights can’t be broken out from other lights or from camera battery chargers. In many instances more, smaller, cases offer more flexible packing options than fewer, larger ones, and reduce the number of times gear needs to be rebundled before packing. I suspect that in the long run the greatest advantage of dedicated gear containers for me will not be time savings on site-time, but savings on prep time, and greater assurance that I have what I need.

Large Et Cetera Case, as my Capture Calibration Case

Large Et Cetera Case, as my Capture Calibration Case

How Did It Work Out?

The cases and pouches proved ideal for a wide range of gear. The largest case is ideal for the multiple SpyderLensCal units I use for video focus pulling, the multiple SpyderCube units I use for lighting set up, and the multiple SpyderCheckrs I use to for White Balance with the gray cards, and color calibration with the color cards. The pouches proved equally ideal for cables, converters, dongles, and small gear. If I have a complaint, it would be that none of the containers, except the largest case, is more than 7 ¾” long (20cm), and I seem to have a lot of items just a bit longer than that.

Small Et Cetera Case, filled with chargers and related cables

Small Et Cetera Case, filled with chargers and related cables

What Other Storage Solutions Might I Need?

The possibilities for gear storage and transport are infinite. But the one item clearly not covered by this type of case and pouch system is media storage wallets. For video shooters using drives, these cases could be ideal, but for still photographers using cards, a wallet makes the most sense. Gura Gear offers a series of such wallets, as do a number of other companies. Keep the juggling act of card changing in mind when you shop for a wallet design. Avoiding wallets with awkward roll-up functions or zippers makes the process of pulling out a wallet and swapping cards as simple as possible. Having separate sections for different types of cards, or for full and empty cards, is another key feature.  

At What Cost?

Dedicated organizers are not inexpensive; especially not well designed ones. Purchasing a full array of dedicated cases and pouches runs more than a low priced camera case. However, the more I work with the Gura Gear Et Cetera organizers, the more I appreciate the value of having the right case for every use, and the same system for all cases. It saves a few seconds identifying the right container, and a few more with the smooth-working zippers and pulls. And it makes it easy to purchase more cases exactly fitted to need and size, as more gear is purchased, or to move into video work. Compared to the cost of their contents, the cases are a steal. For my review of Gura Gear’s Bataflae Camera Packs, please click here.

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2013. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page