When we heard that Gitzo, the Italian manufacturer of premium tripods and accessories, was showing a 200 Euro mini tripod at Photokina we just had to see it for ourselves. The Gitzo Mini Traveler Ball Head is, indeed, gorgeous can carry a full frame DSLR and only weighs 265g, but is it worth the price tag? A Gitzo mini tripod would always be special, but how special?
The Gitzo mini tripod is already available for pre-order in the UK via dealers for around £189. It uses the same kind of carbon fibre leg construction as its bigger counterparts in the Gitzo stable. It has a neat patent-pending mechanism for switching each leg between standard and low positions. There is no thumb-wheel to tighten the tripod screw, unlike its Manfrotto Pixi cousin, but it’s lighter, smaller and stronger.
The aluminium ball head can safely carry an attached load locked in position up tp 3kg in weight, though there is no quick-release option. To unlock the ball head you rotate a collar at the base of the head. It’s available in grey and black.
The engineering, materials and design all look superb as you can see in our pictures. But it costs 200 Euros.
Chuck in a bundle of assorted size photo prints and the Epson FastFoto FF-680W scanner does the rest
The Epson FastFoto FF-680W is a very clever solution to a familiar old problem. What are the odds that you have a box (boxes?!) or a drawer full of odd-size photos lying about the house? Wouldn’t it be great to scan them so you could share them conveniently via the cloud or social media?
But have you tried scanning dozens or more old prints? It’s a thankless task and it takes ages. A quick demo of Epson’s new and unassuming-looking FastFoto FF-680W scanner at Photokina genuinely wowed onlookers.
The FF-680W’s feeder is remarkably unfussy; you can place a wad of of different size prints up to A4 dimensions into the feeder and they will processed by the scanner without any fuss, one by one, at a rate of about one print per second.
The companion software then automatically crops the prints and even scans the back of each print to detect written or other notes, which are also scanned and saved as images linked to the front image.
You can configure the software to automatically upload the images to Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or DropBox. For a stack of, say, 30 prints, the whole process takes literally no more than a couple of minutes. You really have to see it working to appreciate how clever the Epson FastFoto FF-680W is.
Too good to be true?
So is the Epson FastFoto FF-680W too good? in a sense, some will think so once they learn the prospective price, which is around €600. The FF-680W is not aimed at household consumers. Instead, Epson hope you will see them in retail locations for customers to use as a service and for other companies to offer photo print digitising services.
Touching Photokina anecdote
A rather lovely anecdote shared with me by the Epson staffer, Julian Maddock, demonstrating the FF-680W on the Epson booth here at Photokina was that an elderly gentleman produced a Photokina pass and ID from way back in 1954, In fact the person first started attending Photokina in 1950. Of course, the precious souvenir from 1954 was duly scanned by a FF-680W for posterity.
The Epson FastFoo FF-680W in America and will start shipping it in Europe at the end of the year.
ARRI and Angelbird introduce CFast™ 2.0 Memory Card
Lustenau, September 28, 2018 – ARRI is introducing the ARRI Edition AV PRO AR 256 CFast 2.0 card by Angelbird. The card has been designed and certified for use in the ALEXA Mini and AMIRA camera systems* and can be used for ProRes and MXF/ARRIRAW recording.
ARRI has worked closely with Angelbird Technologies GmbH, a hi-tech company based in Vorarlberg, Austria. Angelbird is no stranger to film production, and some of their gear can be found at ARRI Rental European locations. The company’s young yet experienced team has a passion for quality and great attention to detail.
“Many of the CFast cards we tested delivered good results, but it usually takes the manufacturers a few attempts to stabilize their performance for high data-rate write patterns,” says Oliver Temmler, Product Manager for Storage Media at the ARRI headquarters in Munich, Germany. “Angelbird really stood out—they listened to us closely and quickly determined which parameters they had to tweak.”
For the ARRI Edition CFast card, the Angelbird team did not want to settle for “good enough” but went straight for “the very best.” They developed an ARRI-specific card that uses a combination of thermally conductive material and so-called underfill, to provide superior heat dissipation from the chips, and to secure the electronic components against mechanical damage.
The result is a rock-solid 256 GB CFast 2.0 card, with super-stable recording performance all the way across the storage space, making it the perfect addition to an ALEXA Mini or AMIRA camera setup.
The ARRI Edition AV PRO AR 256 memory card by Angelbird is available exclusively from ARRI and other sales channels offering ARRI products.
*Support for new CFast 2.0 cards is currently not planned for ALEXA XT, SXT(W), and LF cameras.
ProGrade Digital Announces New Line Of Professional Grade microSDXC™ UHS-II, V60 Memory Cards, Plus Two Additional USB 3.1, Gen. 2 Dual-Slot Workflow Readers
microSDXC™ UHS-II, U3, Class 10, V60 Memory Cards Support Maximum Read Speed of up to 200MB/s and Maximum Write Speed of up to 80MB/s
Company Expands USB 3.1, Gen. 2 Card Reader Line to Add microSD™ Dual-Slot Card Reader, Plus CompactFlash™ & SD™ Dual-Slot Card Reader
COLOGNE, Germany, Photokina, Sept. 25, 2018, 7:00 am PDT – ProGrade Digital, founded with a mission to provide the highest quality professional grade memory cards and workflow solutions, has expanded its product range with the introduction of professional grade microSDXC™ memory cards, plus two additional USB 3.1, Gen. 2 dual-slot workflow readers. The new ProGrade Digital microSDXC UHS-II, U3, Class 10, V60 card delivers a maximum read speed of up to 200MB/s and maximum write speed of up to 80MB/s. Video Speed Class V60 tested and certified, the card’s sustained write speed will not dip below 60MB/s, which ensures that dropped frames do not occur during video recording. Building upon the company’s line of latest generation USB workflow products is the addition of a microSD™ Dual-Slot Card Reader, plus CompactFlash™ & SD™ Dual-Slot Card Reader. Both readers support USB 3.1, Gen 2 protocols and offer data transfer rates of up to 10Gb/s (1.25GB/s).
“ProGrade Digital is pleased to announce the expansion of our professional line to include a range of V60, UHS II microSDXC cards. With this announcement, ProGrade Digital becomes one of the only companies to offer a microSDXC with a certified video speed class rating of V60–which is critical for uninterrupted video capture by many professional and mirrorless cameras from companies such as Sony™, Canon™, and Panasonic™,” said Wes Brewer, founder and CEO of ProGrade Digital. “As more and more professionals add drones plus smaller action and point-of-view cams to their workflows to produce broadcast, sport, travel and documentary footage, the need for high performance, high-quality microSD cards is increasing. The ProGrade Digital microSDXC memory cards bring extra versatility, when paired with the included SD UHS-II adapter, by also allowing professionals to record footage created by DSLR and mirrorless cameras with full-size SD card slots.”
The company also introduced two workflow readers. Mark Lewis, VP of Marketing for ProGrade Digital, said, “Our new dual-slot readers support the USB 3.1, Gen. 2 protocol. This protocol renders a data transfer rate of up to 10Gb/s. At that speed, envision the time to be saved when transferring files, especially from today’s data-intensive cameras. Insert a memory card into each slot and get a concurrent maximum speed of transfer.”
ProGrade Digital microSDXC UHS-II, U3, Class 10, V60 delivers:
Performance speed certified to perform at a maximum read rate of up to 200MB/s; maximum write speed of up to 80MB/s
V60 (Video Speed Class) tested and certified to perform at a minimum sustained write speed of 60MB/s
Optimized for 4K, UHD, Full HD and most high bit rate MPEG-4 CODECs
Rigorous full card testing, plus component-level testing down to individual memory chips
Laser-etched serial number to track key components and manufacturing data in order to provide highest quality control
Professional-level capacities 32GB, 64GB; 128GB in Q4
Packaging: single and multi-pack in jewel case; includes full-size SD UHS-II adapter
ProGrade Digital focuses exclusively on the design and marketing of digital memory cards, card readers and workflow software required by imaging professionals. Flagship products include ProGrade Digital CFast 2.0 and ProGrade Digital SDXC UHS-II memory cards offered in a range of capacities and optimized to render maximum performance when paired with high-end DSLR, mirrorless, camcorder, drone and digital cinema cameras from Canon™, Nikon™, Panasonic™, Sony®, Blackmagic™, GoPro™, DJI and more. ProGrade Digital memory cards and workflow solutions are available for purchase by global customers on www.progradedigital.com and the B&H Photo and Video website. Customers in North America and 27 European countries may also shop on the Amazon website. ProGrade Digital memory cards expand the creative visions of cinema and photography professionals around the world.
Press release issued by Sense-Tech Innovation Company:
STC to Showcase a Host of New Products During Photokina 2018
Following the recent announcement of STC’s award-winning products becoming available across Europe via InfinityX Distribution, we are pleased to announce a number of new products to be showcased during Photokina 2018
Sense-Tech Innovation Company, (STC), the Taiwanese optical manufacturer with an enviable heritage of producing precision optical products for serious image-makers and content creators, since 2010.
STC Introduce World’s First Sapphire UV Filter
Award-winning Taiwanese manufacturer of optical products, Sense-Tech Innovation Company, (STC) is proud to introduce a brand-new filter series during Photokina 2018.
Visitors to the pan-European imaging event, which takes place between Wednesday 25th to Saturday 29th September, will witness the world premiere of STC’s Sapphire UV Filter.
This innovative Sapphire UV Filter from STC offers users the benefit of the minimum optical path difference, reducing diffraction in the glass and therefore reducing flare and ghosting. The superior optical coating technology also corrects colour casting by suppressing ultraviolet light before 380nm, and the transmittance of visible light registers at a staggering 99.5%.
STC has adopted the use of the world’s thinnest single-crystal Taiwan-made semiconductor glass, which is naturally strong and structured by the chemically strengthened 800Mpa glass, which will provide users with the most reliable protection for both lens and images.
World Leaders in Compatible Clip-in Filters
As the world-leading brand of clip-in filters, STC presents new and patented clip-filters for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Fujifilm full-frame and APS-C DSLRs and Olympus micro-four-thirds cameras.
Along with these, visitors to Photokina 2018 can also expect to see a number of new customised clip-in filters for use with drones, including ND, and clip-in filters for use with Panasonic camera models, along with colour-correction coated gelatin filter for a number of Canon and Sigma lenses.
STC’s filter series ranges from Astro to Infrared, Infrared Cut and Neutral Density.
For enthusiasts of astrophotography, STC will also present the brand’s Nightscape Filter, which cuts light pollution, retaining original colour of cityscapes and landscapes.
Designed for simple use, even for beginners, STC’s Nightscape Filter utilises the same superior colour coating design as the brand’s Astro Multispectra Filter but with the allowance of 40% mercury and sodium light transmittance for optimum results.
STC’s excellent Astro Duo-Narrowband Filter captures the specific wavelengths of gaseous and planetary nebulae, Hα and OIII, realising the vision of many deep-sky astrophotographers, allowing users to shoot with less time, whilst still achieving detailed, superior images.
Olympus PEN-F Grip
Not only do STC produce world-leading optical products, as outlined above, but the brand also manufactures a number of exceptional accessories for brands, such as Nintendo, Hasbro, Garmin and Fisher Price, as well as many well-known imaging brands.
Adding to this long list of successful partnerships, STC present a brand new hand grip for the popular Olympus PEN-F camera.
Solid and comfortable holding vertical hand grip for Olympus PEN-F camera
Aluminium alloy metal with retro silver-anodized, yet 107g light to carry
No Disassembly Necessity: battery and SD card can be freely taken out without removing the grip
Standard 1/4″ stainless screw can mount on tripod directly
Flat Slotted screw: Easy to assemble with just one random coin
Rubber cushion better protect your camera from vibration.
Mobile Phone Filters
During Photokina 2018, STC will present its new filter kit for use with mobile phones. These exceptional new products remove unwanted reflection light, reducing the brightness for motion blur and changing colour temperature without lowering the image resolution.
STC will be present during Photokina 2018 in Hall 3.1, stand C60, where visitors can see a broad range of products from the brand.
On their stand throughout Photokina 2018, STC will have a spectrometer to hand, to demonstrate the optical excellence of their wide range of filters.
We have been using a couple of new products from a new player, ProGrade Digital, in the professional category of the memory card business. Here we’re reviewing their ProGrade CFAST™ & SD Dual Slot USB 3.1, Gen 2 Workflow Reader. It’s a bit of a mouthful! We’ll review their UHS-II V90 SDXC card separately.
ProGrade was formed earlier this year by a group of former Lexar and SanDisk personnel and they have a particular focus on the needs of photographers. The reader we’re looking at in this article supports both UHS-II SD card and CFAST cards. Please note we are only examining its SD card performance in this review.
For years now we’ve ignored the USB 3.0 card reader at our office (a Lexar Pro SR1). But now UHS-II cards have come onto the scene the limitations of first-generation USB 3.90 card readers have been exposed.
UHS-II cards are capable of much faster read and write rates thanks to improved data transfer protocols and interface electronics. You can tell an UHS-II card from a ‘standard’ card by the extra row of contacts on the card.
UHS-II cards are compatible with older SD card readers but you don’t get the extra performance. The ProGrade reader we’re reviewing fully supports UHS-II, but that’s only half the story. Memory card performance is limited by bottlenecks. Where the bottleneck resides depends on the memory card itself, he card reader, the connection to the host device and the interface at the host.
The ProGrade CFAST™ & SD Dual Slot USB 3.1, Gen 2 Workflow Reader not only supports UHS-II but also data transfer at up to a theoretical Gen 2 10Gbits/sec, or 1.25 GBytes/sec via its USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface using a USB C-type connection. That’s double the theoretical speed of USB 3.0 Gen 1. But as we shall see, it’s more complicated than that.
First, here is a quick look at the hardware:
ProGrade have come up with a robust device that gives you confidence it will last and withstand a degree of abuse. It is supplied with a pair of high quality 45cm cables, USB-C to A and USB-C to C.
The reader also has a magnetic base so you can secure it to a convenient steel surface, like the surface of your PC case, for example. W word of caution; the magnet is quite strong and, personally, I’d recommend taking care to keep the reader away from sensitive magnetic devices like hard disk drives.
To start with we didn’t have a USB Gen 2 capability on our office desktop PC. This was solved by installing a suitable interface card. We also tested the reader on a laptop with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 type C port.
To explore the kinds of benefits possible we tested the reader with ProGrade’s own high performance 64GB UHS-II U£ V90 UHS-II SDXC card, a Toshiba M301 U3 UHS-II MicroSDXC card fitted to a UHS-II SDXC adapter, and a Samsung Pro 64GB U1 SDXC UHS-I card. The Samsung card is representative if typical mid-tier good performance cards that you can get for a reasonable price.
First we tested the three cards using both the ProGrade reader and our old Lexar Pro reader connected to our PC’s standard Type A USB 3.0 port.
On the Lexar reader there was minimal difference between any of the cards despite their considerable differences in potential performance. None managed to break the 100MB/sec threshold.
Using the ProGrade reader the two UHS-II cards were liberated and both easily exceeded exceeded 250MB/sec for read actions and the ProGrade card sailed past 200MB/sec for write operations. The Samsung UHS-I card hardly benefited, however.
Next we fitted the ProGrade reader to the Gen 2 USB 3.1 Type C port we installed for this review. There were only small improvements for the UHS-II cards. Our deduction is that the cards have effectively become the bottleneck and are basically maxed-out. If we get a chance to test a faster CFast card we’ll update the review.
Finally, we connected the ProGrade reader to our laptop’s USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C port. We only tested the ProGrade UHS-II card this time.
We still enjoyed healthy UHS-II read and write speeds but not as spectacular as the results using the desktop PC. This isn’t a big surprise as laptops are optimised for power efficiency rather than outright performance.
Incidentally, we also compared the peformance of an inexpensive Kingston MobileLite G4 UHS-II card reader which needs a Type A port. The ProGrade reader easily out-performed the Kingston reader, though both were a lot better than the old Lexar Pro reader.
If you use UHS-II cards now, you can save time time by investing in a good UHS-II card reader, like the ProGrade one tested here. Upgrading to a Gen 2 USB 3.1 interface on your PC is not justified at present. That may be different if you use faster CFast or XQD cards.
Can we recommend the ProGrade CFAST™ & SD Dual Slot USB 3.1, Gen 2 Workflow Reader? Yes, if your budget allows.
Lexar Announces New NS100 and NS200 2.5” SATA III (6GB/s) Solid-State Drive (SSD)
The Easy Upgrade to Boost Your Computers Performance
San Jose, CA, September 18, 2018 – Lexar, a leading global brand of flash memory solutions, today announced two new internal solid-state drive solutions to rejuvenate old laptops or PCs. The new Lexar® NS100 2.5” SATA III (6GB/s) solid-state drive (SSD) and Lexar® NS200 2.5” SATA III (6GB/s) solid-state drive (SSD).
The entry-level NS100 SSD is an affordable upgrade for casual users who want more performance than their hard-disk drives (HDD) can provide. It provides faster boot-ups, application load times, and data transfers – turning your old computer from dinosaur to dynamo with sequential read speeds of up to 550MB/s. 1 The NS200 SSD is ready for gamers and professionals looking to refresh their system with a quicker internal drive solution, giving the speed needed to take multitasking on an old PC or laptop to the next level. Users will be able to power through the day with sequential read speed of up to 550MB/sand sequential read of up to 510MB/s1, faster app response times and better overall performance for gaming, photo, and video editing, or other multimedia applications. Both Lexar NS100 and NS200 are shock and vibration resistant4, making them more reliable and durable than typical HDD, plus they also feature SSD Dash management so the user can monitor their drive and make sure their applications maintain exceptional performance. 3
“The outlook for the solid-state drive industry remains strong and continues on a path to become more broadly used. We’re excited about adding an internal SSD category to our product portfolio as we continue our commitment on delivering innovative and fast-performing storage solutions. The NS100 and NS200 SSD delivers Lexar quality to accelerate your computer’s performance with optimized speed and reliability,” said Joel Boquiren, Director of Global Marketing.
The Lexar NS100 2.5” SATA III (6GB/s) solid-state drive will be offered in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB capacities, and the Lexar NS200 2.5” SATA III (6GB/s) solid-state drive in 240GB, 480GB capacities, with a three-year limited warranty. The new NS100 is available mid-September at MSRP $29.99 USD (120GB), $49.99 USD (240GB), $89.99 USD (480GB), and the NS200 is available mid-September at MSRP $79.99 USD (240GB), $109.99 USD (480GB). For more information visit www.lexar.com
This product announcement confirms that Lexar is returning to the high-performance storage market, and will continue to produce, develop, and strengthen the portfolio of memory solutions centered on performance, quality, and reliability.
Lexar will be exhibiting at this year’s Photokina, in Cologne, Germany September 26th – 29th, with new product announcements, focused around one of the most exciting shows in the professional photographers’ calendar.