BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Archive for April 28th, 2009

Photo Gear: Tripods

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manfrottohead

The Manfrotto geared head model 405.

Tripods are too often an overlooked accessory in photography. Most hobbyists, if they even own a tripod, too often settle for a model that is cheaply made and doesn’t offer the range of benefits a good tripod can offer. Plus, if you’re going to put your $1000+ gear on something, shouldn’t it be the best?

First, let’s discuss the basics: a tripod is composed of two parts, the legs and the head. The legs are, as you may already guess, the base of the tripod. It’s important, then, to get the best support possible.

I think the heavier the legs, the better. My favorite manufacturer in Manfrotto because I think this company offers the best product at the best price. I particularly like model 161MK2B (kinda boring name) AKA the “Super Pro Tripod Mark 2 Black (kinda long and still boring name). Despite the rather boring name, this tripod is fantastic. It’s very sturdy and has a high load capacity. This is a great base in which to begin.

As for tripod heads, I prefer what’s called “geared heads” because they are highly precise and easy to operate. In the Manfrotto line, I like the model 405 (now I think Manfrotto REALLY needs to working on product names) because its gearing system is needle-sharp. It allows for 360-degree panning and front and lateral tilt. This is very important for macro photography and landscape work.

I’ll warn you: This whole setup isn’t cheap. The tripod itself will set you back almost $500 and the head is about $400. Yeah, I know. Most hobbyists don’t want to set back nearly $900 for a tripod but, unlike most other photography gear, tripods don’t really go out of style. A good tripod now will last you probably your entire photographic career.

There are less expensive alternatives that are good but don’t offer the same quality as this gear. Be sure to look for these qualities when purchasing your next tripod:

  • Heavy-Duty Design: The heavier the legs the more stable the tripod. Try to pick gear that “feels” like it’s well made. If in doubt, move on.
  • Head Interchangeability: Can you change the head? If not, this probably isn’t the best tripod for your money.
  • Well-Known Names: Sometimes I’m not a fan of “brand names” because there’s some gear that may not be well known, but are great pieces of equipment. In tripods, I say go with the names you know. Manfrotto, Bogen, Slik – but only the “pro” rated gear and Swarovski Optik.
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Polaroid Acquired by Hilco Consumer Capital, L.P. and Gordon Brothers Brands, LLC

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

A joint venture led by Gordon Brothers Brands, LLC (“GBB”) and Hilco Consumer Capital, L.P. (“HCC”), which includes private equity fund Knight’s Bridge Capital Partners and other institutional investors, announced today the Federal Bankruptcy court for the district of Minnesota approved its acquisition of substantially all the assets of Polaroid(R), including the Polaroid brand, intellectual property, inventory and other assets. Jeffrey Hecktman, Chairman and CEO of The Hilco Organization, and Michael Frieze, CEO of Gordon Brothers Group, are proud to have Polaroid associated with their organizations and as a leading brand in their distinguished portfolios.

The joint venture partners, who recently acquired The Sharper Image, Linens ‘N Things and Bombay brands, plan to develop a full-scale global licensing and marketing strategy for wholesale, direct-to-retail (DTR) and e-commerce businesses to leverage Polaroid’s innovative and pioneering heritage.

Stephen Miller, Co-President, Gordon Brothers Retail Group stated, “Polaroid is an iconic brand known globally for their technical innovation and high-quality products that deliver on its reputation of ease-of-use. As a Boston-based company, it’s a privilege to keep Polaroid’s roots in America while expanding the brand internationally.”

“The Polaroid brand has immense global appeal that translates into almost all categories,” commented Jamie Salter, CEO of Hilco Consumer Capital. “This is a terrific opportunity to unlock Polaroid’s brand value and transform its multi-channel platform of diverse and unique consumer products using leading technologies and trend-setting innovations.”

During its 72-year history, Polaroid has developed one of the world’s most widely recognized consumer brands. The joint venture recognizes that Polaroid’s unique “innovation-made-simple” brand platform has global appeal across a wide demographic and can be expanded to numerous product categories. The Polaroid brand began with polarized sunglasses, evolved into instant film, camera and camera accessories, and expanded well beyond into flat panel televisions, portable DVD players, digital photo frames, digital HD camcorders, waterproof digital cameras and more.

Always on the cutting edge of the latest “instant” technologies, Polaroid is also responsible for the world’s very first ZINK enabled printing device. The Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer offers the capability to print and share 2”x3” borderless, color images from a camera cell phone or digital camera in under a minute. In 2009, Polaroid unveiled a digital camera with the same printing capabilities, the palm-sized PoGo Instant Digital Camera.

The flexibility of the Polaroid brand offers limitless potential to embark on additional product opportunities, ranging from consumer electronics to commercial imaging. The joint venture intends to partner with a number of global institutions in the ongoing development of the Polaroid brand.

Written by jeremyparce

April 28, 2009 at 6:12 am

Places to Go on the Web – Great Photo Sites Issue 15

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I love photography. Not only do I love to take photographs, I love to talk, teach, and explore photography. I also like to look at great photographs to get ideas on how I can be a better photographer.
If you have any interest in digital photography, then a visit to some of these sites is worth your time. Looking at great photos will help make your own photos better because you can get ideas, tips and see what and how others are photographing their subjects. As your cruise Cyberspace, spend a few minutes looking at these Websites:

Jehad Nga: Jehad Nga’s use of light and shadow is simply amazing. Born in Smith Center, Kansas, he discovered photography while a student at UCLA in 2002. Between 2001-2002, he traveled the Middle East taking medical volunteer positions and eventually trained to be an EMT while interning at Magnum Photos. In 2003, he traveled to Iraq to cover the U.S.-led invasion and in the summer of 2003 he began working in Africa. Since 2004, he has been based in East Africa. His client list includes Marie Claire, Newsweek, Time Magazine and Human Rights Watch.

Chris Rainier: Chris Rainier is considered one of the leading documentary photographers working today. His photography of sacred places and indigenous peoples have appeared in Time, Life, National Geographic publications, Conde Nast Traveler and publications of the International Red Cross. He was included in the American Photo Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People Working in Photography Today” list.

Michele Laurita
: LA-based photographer, cinematographer and director Michele Laurita started in photography more than 10 years ago shooting for music groups and album covers. She has photographed – to name a few – Ben Affleck, Selma Hayek and Nicholas Cage. Her client list includes Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Rolling Stone and Modern Bride.