Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Gear Review - Think Tank Photo Skin Series V3.0 - Skin 50 & Skin Changer Pop Down

Finishing up our review of Think Tank Photo's recent updates to their popular modular belt system, we take a look at a couple of pouches from their Skin Series- the Skin 50 v3.0 & Skin Changer Pop Down V3.0 .

Both of them feature the Sound Silencer style velcro closures that allow you to set them to silent mode when you're shooting in places like a church wedding.

The interiors feature dividers - the Skin Changer comes with 3 while the Skin 50 has a single one.

The Skin 50 is large enough to hold even the Sony G Master 85mm f1.4 with the hood in place.

A Sony a6000 and two lenses (Zeiss 55 1.8 and Zeiss 35 f2.8) also fit quite nicely in this pouch.

The Skin Changer Pop Down has an expansion zipper on the bottom that lets you extend the length of the pouch

This lets you easily hold a 70-200mm lens with the hood attached.

Comparing the Skin 50 V3.0 to the older series, the material of the pouches feels slightly thicker than the 2.0 versions, yet they compress down just as flat when you need to pack them away and it doesn't feel like there's much different in weight.

The zippered pocket in the front flap has been eliminated and the zippered rain pouch access has moved to the back and is now in a velcro compartment.

The tabs that let you lock the pouch in place on your Pro Speedbelt are now slightly smaller but this doesn't affect how it attaches to your belt.

Overall my only real (small) nitpick with the 3.0 series of Skin pouches has to do with the interior lining.

On the Skin 50, there's just a single strip of velcro down the middle - which limits you to putting the divider just in the center of the bag.

If you look at the rear interior of the Skin Changer, you'll see the lining that lets you attach the velcro doesn't cover the entire back wall.

Compared to the front interior where the lining covers the entire front wall of the pouch which gives you more flexibility in placing the dividers.

I would have preferred it if both front and back walls of all the Skin Series V3.0 pouches were like this front wall lining of the Skin Changer 3.0.  But this is just a small nitpick and overall the updates are quite nice.

As always, if this post has been helpful to you, please consider using the links on this page to make a purchase from Think Tank Photo. That will help us to continue doing these reviews for you.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Gear Review - Think Tank Photo Speed Changer V3.0

Think Tank Photo recently overhauled their modular belt series of pouches and made a bunch of changes and refinements. Today we're taking a look at the updated Think Tank Photo Speed Changer v3.0 and how it differs from v2.0 of the same bag.

Size-wise, V3.0 and 2.0 are about the same. Front pockets have been enlarged and now cover the entire front of the bag.

V3.0 eliminates the zippered pocket on the front face of the bag which makes for a cleaner look.

It also changes the location of the rain cover. Instead of a zippered pocket on the bottom front of the bag, it is now accessed by a velcro compartment at the bottom rear.   It is also non-removable.

In V3.0, the rain cover is stored underneath the bag as opposed to V2.0 where the cover was stuffed up in the front wall of the bag.  This change reduces the bulkiness of the bag from front to back.

On the back of the bag, the modular attachment point has been modified slightly - the plastic locking tab no longer extends into the velcro area.  This change does not really change how it attaches to a Pro Speedbelt though, just more of a refinement.

The front organizational pocket remains the same, with slight color tweaks to the trim.

The main compartment remains unchanged except for some minor cosmetic changes.

Overall the Speed Changer V3.0 is a nice update from the previous version.  Much cleaner, more refined look and I'm glad they kept the organizational pocket (something that I really missed on the updated Hubba Hiney 3.0). I also like the change they made to the rain pouch access.

As always, if  this review has been helpful, please consider using the links on this page to make a purchase from Think Tank Photo. That will help us to continue doing these reviews for you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Gear Review - Think Tank Photo Camera Clip Adapter 3.0

Think Tank Photo recently refreshed their popular modular component system and sent us a couple of items for review.  Since wedding season has just gotten underway, we had the chance to take these out into the field to see how they compare to previous versions.

This is the Camera Clip Adapter v3.0 which is a padded support to be used with either the Peak Design Capture Camera Clip or the SpiderPro/SpiderLight Camera Holster system.

Both Peak Design and Spider holster make their own versions of padded supports for their systems and I've used all of them.

Here's the Think Tank Camera Clip Adapter V3.0 compared to the Peak Design Pro Pad v2.  As you can see, the Think Tank padding is much more substantial.

Even though I'm a big fan of Peak Design and own almost all of the products they have launched, they tend to lean more on aesthetics rather than functionality.  Below is the Think Tank compared to both v1 and v2 of the Peak Design Pro Pads.

Peak Design's original Pro Pad also gave you the choice of horizontal/vertical mounting, but their latest version (v2) only allows horizontal mounting.

One of the benefits of the Think Tank version is even though the packaging shows the Peak Design Capture Clip mounts horizontally, the Peak Design Capture Clips (both V2 and V3) can be mounted in either vertical or horizontal configurations.

The Think Tank Capture Clip Adapter also has more padding than the Spider Holster Pad.

There is one thing that I need to point out - when I first received the Think Tank Camera Clip Adapter for this review, I noticed two small vertical stitches on the Pad which were not on the example photo of the packaging:

These stitches prevented the Spider Holster from seating in all the way.

I contacted Justin at Think Tank Photo's customer service and was told this was probably a manufacturing defect and so they shipped out a replacement right away.  Unfortunately the replacement had the exact same stitching.

So I contacted Justin again and was assured that this was also a defect - those two stitches are not supposed to be there.  They are currently looking into this issue and he assured me this this issue will be corrected.

Instead of waiting for them to send a second replacment, and in order to get this review out in a timely manner, what I ended up doing was use a knife to carefully cut away the two stitching errors.

Once that was done, the Spiderholster slid in all the way and fit snugly against the pad like it is supposed to.

Let me be clear - I do NOT recommend doing this modification on your own as you could very easily injure yourself if you're not careful. If your Camera Clip Adapter has these stitching errors, notify Think Tank Photo's customer service for a replacement.

Using the Think Tank Capture Clip Adapter V3.0 with a gripped Sony a7rii and a 70-200mm lens on several wedding and model shoots, it made a world of difference compared to the Peak Design pad or the Spider Holster Pad.  There's just no comparison - it beats them by a mile.

After using the Think Tank Photo Camera Clip Adapter 3.0 for two weeks, my verdict is this:

Don't even bother with either the Peak Design Pro Pad or SpiderHolster's pad and just get this. If you use the Think Tank belt system with either the Spider Holster or Peak Design Capture Clip, the Think Tank Capture Clip Adapter v3.0 is definitely a must have.

If you found this review helpful, please consider using the links on this page to visit the Think Tank website.  A small percentage of the sale goes toward helping us keep this blog going so that we can continue to do these reviews for you.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Photoshoot with Anya - my first Russian model

One of the things I enjoy most about photographing models is meeting people from all over the world so when the opportunity came along to work with Russian model Anya who contacted me via Model Mayhem, I did not hesitate.

We both had tight schedules during the time she was visiting Maui, so we had very little time to arrange a shoot together.  Luckily, we were able to pull off two photoshoots that incorporated three separate locations.

We started early in the morning in Kapalua, in a jungle setting.  Had to put up with a lot of mosquitos, but it was so worth it beacuse the morning light coming through the trees was amazing.

For lighting we used a Cheetahstand CL360 in a small white shoot thru umbrella as our main light with the sun as her backlight.

On a couple of poses we had some hard sunlight coming through the trees and falling on Anya so we propped up a Lastolite Trigrip Diffuser Panel to keep that off of her as needed.

Anya is definitely one of the bravest models I've met, lying down in the middle of the jungle like that without caring about the hundreds of spiders, centipedes, or the many other creepy crawlies that were probably underneath all that.  Just thinking about all that gives me the heebie-jeebies!

We then rushed to our second location in Kapalua which was at Dragon's Teeth.  I've shot on the north side of this spot before with a few other models, but because of the position of the sun around the time we got there, Anya and I went to the opposite side of the rocks to find some shaded areas to work with.

Anya changed into her Bohemian look for this set.

Because this area is very windy, any light modifiers such as a softbox or umbrella would have immediately ended up in the ocean.  The extremely rocky terrain also made it difficult to find a spot near the model to position the lights close to her and still be out of the frame.  We ended up shooting the light from a fair distance - two Cheetahstand CL-360s provided just a touch of light.

The next day was a short photoshoot at Makena Cove in the morning. Used the Cheetahstand CL-360 in a Cheetahstand QSB silver beauty dish.

On this day it was slightly over cast, so we didn't have to fight the sun too much.  The flash was used just to add a bit of fill as needed.

Really enjoyed working with Anya on this series of images.  My only regret was that I forgot to have her teach me how to swear in Russian. ;-)