BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Posts Tagged ‘photo gear

Panasonic Announces Pricing for Lumix GH1

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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.

Panasonic recently announced pricing for the highly-anticipated LUMIX DMC-GH1, the new Micro Four Thirds digital camera with Full-High Definition (HD) video recording ability, which will be available in early June for a suggested retail price of $1499.95. The LUMIX DMC-GH1 includes the LUMIX G VARIO 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. lens as part of the kit. The new lens, designed to support HD movie recording, features a silent motor and continuous auto focusing (AF) capability – a differentiator from traditional DSLRs.

In the U.S., the LUMIX GH1 will be available in black and has advanced photography features, such as the ability to record AVCHD 1080p/24p High Definition video, yet is easy enough for entry-level users to understand and take beautiful photos and videos. With Panasonic’s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode – a user-friendly setting made popular in the LUMIX line of digital point-and-shoot camera products, both entry-level and more experienced DSLR users can enjoy a complete suite of technologies that allow beautiful photo-taking and engage automatically – no setting adjustments needed.

For those looking for more creative control in their digital camera, the LUMIX GH1 can adjust shutter speed during motion recording, giving the videos a special look, particularly suitable for shooting fast-moving subjects. Also, the LUMIX GH1 allows users to control the aperture, which is convenient when there are several subjects at varying distances.  By adjusting the aperture, the user can focus on the foreground and blur the background – or vice versa – even during video recording.

“Since redefining the traditional DSLR category last year with the LUMIX G1 – which eliminated the internal mirror and thus dramatically reduced size of the camera body and lenses – Panasonic has been working to expand its award-winning LUMIX G Micro Four Thirds System line.  Panasonic wants to offer increasingly innovative products and features that make photography fun and easy,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “The introduction of the LUMIX GH1, allows photographers of all levels to take superior quality photos and shoot HD video with a more compact, easy-to-use camera that provides increased creative capabilities.”

The LUMIX GH1 provides cutting-edge video recording features, including the ability to record high-resolution full HD (1920 x1080) video at 24 fps or smooth HD video (1280 x 720) at 60 fps using an AVCHD format (MPEG-4/H.264), which provides the important benefit of doubling the HD quality recording time compared with Motion JPEG. The LUMIX GH1 features a dedicated video record button on the back of the camera which lets users instantly start recording videos, even while shooting still photos – removing the fear of potentially missing a must-see video moment.
For more information about the Panasonic LUMIX G Micro Four Thirds System, including the award-winning LUMIX G1, and to place a pre-order for the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH1, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

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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.

Must Have Equipment: Gorillapods

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There are only a few pieces of photo gear that I get excited about and the Joby Gorillapod is one of those items. It’s a photographer’s dream because it’s simply built and highly functional.
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Unlike traditional tripods, the Gorillapod doesn’t require a level surface – you level out the camera yourself. The device is composed of multiple, fully-articulating, ball-and-socket joints that allow you to bend, twist and fold the Gorillapod into any shape necessary to get the perfect shot. Rubberized feet and soft rings between the ball-and-socket joints prevent slippage even in the toughest environments.

There are 5 versions of the Gorillapod: The Go-Go version for phones, MP3 players and compact cameras; the Original for compact cameras and point-and-shoots; the SLR model for prosumer-style cameras; the SLR-Zoom to support SLRs with long lenses and the Focus style, which can hold a whopping 11 pounds, for pro-model SLRs.

There are also a host of accessories for the Gorillapod including spikes for the feet – great for outdoor photography and photography in mud or snow; a level and a flash clip to support off-camera strobes.

This is a must-have piece of equipment especially if you do macro photography or mount remote cameras. Also, Gorillapods work great if you’re doing tabletop photography and/or fine art work. The units are well-priced with the SLR-Zoom model priced at $54.95 and the Focus model priced at $109.95.