Every now and then you come across a simple idea that makes great sense. The Pod takes the humble bean bag and does just that.
By adding a tripod mount and strap to secure the camera (larger pods only) you have a versatile pod to mount and secure your camera for those occasions when you don't have a tripod.
With different sizes for different types of cameras there is sure to be one to fit. The Green pod seems to be the right one for the DSLR user (I will be adding it to the shopping list).
Updated 3rd August 2008
I am currently researching Radio Triggers to remotely trigger off camera strobes (flashes). This will allow me more precisely control my lighting and help me to develop my creative side.
What I am looking for initially is a setup with 1 transmitter and 2-3 receivers which will allow me to have a flexible setup for different circumstances.
On a side note, I will be using Olympus flashes FL36/FL50. While I know that the new FL36R/FL50R flashes have a good remote capabilities - via the inbuilt flash (with supported bodies E-3 E-420 and E-520). But, I currently shoot with an E-510 and non R flash.
The Gorillapod SLR-Zoom makes a great little travel tripod which is far more versatile than any other small tripod that I have ever seen or used. But don't let the small size fool you, it is more than capable of supporting my Olympus E-300 or E-510 and my largest lens the 70-300mm.
Gorillapod SLR-Zoom, Manfrotto Ball Head & Olympus E-300 with 70-300mm
When shooting in low light conditions or with long zoom lenses some sort of support is a must to avoid camera shake and ensure a sharp image. A tripod is the obvious choice and will give the best result but it is not always the most practical.
However there are a few situations where a tripod is not the most practical accessory:
- When you are going tramping it is extra weight that you have to carry.
- Shooting images in a crowd with limited space.
- When shooting with long lenses and you want to move around. Think sports photography.
I recently purchased a Manfrotto 680B monopod and 486RC2 ball head. While I could have got smaller and cheaper I wanted something that would last me for years to come. It is rated as being capable of holding a load of 10kg and weighs in at around 0.83kg.
Rather than try to sell the benefits of a monopod, here are a couple of images taken under the same conditions. One handheld without monopod and one taken with monopod.
Shooting with the Olympus 40-150 (80-300mm equivalent) kit lens there are lots of occasions where I just don't have enough reach.
I am planning to get the new 50-200 SWD, EC-14 and EC-20 teleconvertors. But, still waiting on availability of the new 50-200 and EC-20 in NZ. So, after a lot of research decided to purchase the 70-300 ED lens in the interim.
I recently purchased the 50mm F2.0 Olympus Macro Lens for my E510 and have been putting it through its paces over the past couple of weeks. It has proven to be a very versatile lens and works extremely well when combined with the in-built Image Stabilisation of the E510.
Being a fixed focal length lens the manual zoom (feet) does take a little bit of getting used to.
Some will argue that it is not a true macro with only a 1:2 magnification. But, I'm not going to get into that debate here.
Although it is marketed as a macro lens there are three key areas where I feel it performs exceptionally well.
- Macro Photography
- Low Light Photography (without tripod)
I recently had the requirement for a new camera bag. My old shoulder bag had served me well, but was just getting too small and it wasn't the most comfortable bag to use if you had to carry it for an extended period of time.
I liked the idea of a backpack for comfort, but this would just not work for me. The accessibility of a shoulder bag was a definite requirement (let's face it who wants to take off a backpack every time you need access to your camera or other piece of equipment?). I started to investigate my options when I stumbled upon the Slingshot range of bags from Lowepro - they looked very promising.
With a single wide strap worn diagonally it is normally worn as a backpack - when you need access to your gear swing it around to the front. A built in raincoat for the bag was also a bonus.