So as we come to the end of the year, Scott Kelby posted his annual holiday gear guide so I thought I’d present mine. Like Scott, all of the items here are items I personally have used this year. Unlike Scott’s list, each one of these items costs less than $100.OP/TECHÂ¤USA RAINSLEEVE- FLASH (Pack of 2)).
Joe McNally will know he swears by diffusing the light from his small flashes to soften the output and produce a light output that has more shaping characteristics than the harsh light directly from the flash. The particular Sto-Fen referenced is for the Canon Speedlite 580EX II (B&H) but also fits the original 580 EX. Don’t have one of these units? Sto-Fen make similar products that fit all the common flash units from most of the manufacturers. This diffuser alone can go a long way to eliminating harsh shadows. Incidentally, B&H currently (date of posting) have a $50 instant savings on the 580 EXII bringing it down to $424! Joe McNally and David Hobby. Actually, what I got was an image of one since the physical units hadn’t arrived in time to stuff the goody bags. Having swapped by cardboard one for a real one I hastened to my local camera store, Houston Camera Exchange, to buy one for each of my speedlites. If you’re using multiple speedlites then these coldshoes are very easy and convenient to use if you want to mount your slave speedlites on a light stand. In the under side of the Frio is a standard 1/4 inch socket so you can screw the stand onto the top of a light stand or into an umbrella bracket if you want to angle the light. The speedlite just clips into the Frio. Of course, the Frio can be used with a flash from any manufacturer, not just Canon flashes. I find them to be way more convenient and easy to use than the ‘foot’ that Canon supplies with their speedlites when mounting my off camera lights on some form of stand or bracket. David Honl has done the work for you and put a sturdy frame around the grid to prevent it getting damaged in your gear bag. The grids come in 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch mesh sizes, the 1/8 inch grid providing the most tightly controlled light. If, like me, you’ve already applied Velcro to your speedlite then you simply attach the grid over the face of your flash with the Velcro straps provided. If you haven’t stuck Velcro all over your speedlites or are disinclined to do so (like many) then you can buy a Honl Photo Speed Strap for Speed System (B&H) for $9.95. LumiQuest UltraStrap (B&H) for $7.95 if you don’t want to stick Velcro on your flash. As with the Honl Speed Strap, you simply wrap the Lumiquest Ultrastrap around the flash head when you need it. Of course, if you buy a Honl strap your don’t need the LumiQuest one and vice versa since they are both simple Velcro straps. The Moment if Clicks(Amazon, $34.64 or $19.80 for Kindle). Joe writes an interesting vignette on how this clamp came into being and got it’s name towards the end of the book. I find these to be extremely versatile for positioning off-camera flash units in weird places or mounting multiple speedlites in a shoot-through umbrella. On some of mine I’ve replaced the cold shoe that comes with the device for a Frio as I find the Frio’s more user friendly. To do this I had to go to my local hardware store and get some 3/4 inch long 1/4 inch diameter threaded bar. I unscrewed the cold shoe that came with the clamp, screwed in the threaded bar and then screwed on the Frio.
BlackRapid RS-7 Camera Strap $58.95Syl Arena. In addition to the 33 ft cord, Syl through his OCFGear.com site also sells 16 ft cords for $48.00, but the 33 ft cord give you more options in my opinion. This cord allows you to take your master flash off your camera and still have it as the master. If you want to do off-camera flash you need a way to trigger that flash. If your Canon camera has a built in flash you can use this but what if it doesn’t? Then you either need another 580EX II (or 430EX II) or a more limited ST-E2 controller but at $474 or $224 respectively, the OCF33 at $65 is much more reasonable. Using the OCF33 is a breeze. You simply put one end on the hot shoe of your camera and the speedlite clips into the hotshoe on the other end of the cable. This hotshoe has a threaded socket so you can mount it on a camera stand, umbrella adapter, Justin Clamp, etc. The beauty of this is that you can still use this flash as a master to control other speedlites as slaves and still have all the functionality of setting lighting ratios on the camera without having to go over to each flash and change their settings individually. The cable also allows the master flash to be out of line-of-sight contact with the camera so further extending your shooting options. Houston Camera Exchange and deciding to buy it. They’re a little awkward to carry – I’ve seen some tie them to their camera strap but so far I just keep mine handy in a pocket on my camera bag. This device consists of a rubber shroud with a magnifying lens that you use to chimp the LCD screen on the back of your camera to see if you got the shot or not. The magnifying lens is adjustable to suit your own eyesight, much like the diopter setting on the viewfinder of your DSLR. With the LCD screens on the back of modern camera’s its not really necessary to check the histogram every time and the Hoodman Loupe also gets around the difficulty of trying to view that screen in bright sunlight. You can check for focus, depth of field, photo bombs, etc. before leaving the scene. There are few things more frustrating than getting home, uploading your shots to your computer and finding your ‘keeper’ shot is soft or that uncle Bert had his eyes closed. With the Hoodman Loupe you can check these on site and reshoot if necessary.
Well, there is is, my ten photo accessories under $100 for this Holiday season. I have no affiliation with any of these product manufactures but I do have an affiliation with B&H and Amazon. I use all these items myself and I’m happy to recommend them.