Monday, December 31, 2012

My best of 2012 equipment list

2012 is almost done. It has been fun reviewing equipment that I have acquired this year. There were good ones, bad ones and THE very best ones. Some of these have been reviewed on this site before and some of them are still pending. However I will give you the best pieces of equipment I have gotten this year.

Expoimaging Rogue Flash Bender
Expoimaging Rogue Flash BenderOne of the best if not THE best flash modifier you can buy for your speedlite. I've tried numerous modifiers such as snoots, beauty dishes, mini soft boxes, etc for my external speedlites and nothing really compares with the Expoimaging Rogue Flash Bender. It's bendable so you can use it whether your speedlite head is positioned for portrait or landscape. It folds easily, and doesn't weigh the flash head down. The lightsphere produces light that is pretty soft and even...but the bulk and weight made me switch to the Flash Bender.

The Canon 24-105 f/4L IS USM.
Canon 24-105 f/4L IS USM - The new version came out this year...the Canon 24-70 f/4L IS USM. It features new optics and a new construction, but for like $700 less, I'd still go with my trusty Canon 24-105 f/4L. It's longer, and it has been around for a long time. The 24-105 f/4L is sharp all around the frame. For general purpose, you can't go wrong with this lens. It's been around...but I just got one this year.

MeFoto A1340 Tripod travel tripod.
The MeFoto A1340 travel tripod -  MeFoto is created by well known tripod/head maker Benro, who's been around for a while. The A1340 travel tripod features a small profile when folded, and it also transforms into a monopod. You get a sturdy tripod and a monopod at the same time. The ballhead is well done, comparable to moderately priced bullheads. 

Epson Artisan 1430 printer
Epson Artisan 1430 printer - If you print 13x19 photos or smaller, the Epson Artisan 1430 is a very good printer to have. It has wifi, 6 individual cartridges, and Epson quality and reliability.  After I got mine, I have printed my images into 13x19 glossy, matte, or metallic paper...and it never fails to wow me every time. It's under $300 so you can spend all your savings for paper and ink.

The Apple Imac - After having my old imacs' hard drive die on me, I fixed it but I wondered about getting a new one. My old imac was the very first aluminum one released in 2007. I thought it was time for an upgrade. I got the Quad core i5 model released in 2011. It's a year old but still kicks some serious butt. I never realized the power of the Quad core processor until I edited video. Of course I could have gotten the $2000 mac pro, but I didn't have two grand that time.

Lowepro Vertex 300 AW
The Lowepro Vertex 300 AW backpack - If you need a BIG camera bag for travelling with multiple lenses and bodies, get this...nuff said.

The FX5 flash extender.
Visual Echoes FX5 better beamer flash extender - If you are a hardcore birder, get this. But be careful when leaving this attached to your speedlite on a sunny day, as it can melt the casing of your speedlite. I was very impressed to what it does!

The Canon 400mm f/5.6 USM
The Canon 400mm f5.6 USM lens - Also, if you are a birder with little budget, get one of these bad boys. But don't forget to get a monopod with it!

Canon 50mm f/1.4
The Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM lens - I know it's been long overdue that I get this lens. It's better late than never.

BlackRapid Double (DR-1 Double strap) Strap - I got the BlackRapid Sport R-Strap earlier this year and I have been very pleased with it. This Christmas I got something better...The DR-1 double strap which is the dual strap version of the much talked about BlackRapid strap. The BlackRapid Double strap feels so balanced in your shoulder when you are carrying 2 bodies with lenses in them. It actually feels better than carrying a camera backpack mainly because the weight is evenly distributed on both sides of the shoulders instead of the weight pulling your back. I was afraid it would feel awkward with the dual strap but it felt really natural. The price is pretty steep at around $129 but hey, it's a great investment if you want to carry 2 bodies together in one time.

Adobe Lightroom 4 - This is the software that wowed me in 2012. The best thing about Lightroom 4 is the ability to bring out lost detail in the shadow and highlight areas...still it depends on how bright your highlights and how dark the shadows are but oftentimes Lightroom can fix it. 

and the best one of all...

The Canon 6D
The Canon 6D - I didn't have the money to get a 5D MK3 so I got this instead. A little full frame camera that does a lot that its big brother does. The thing that impressed me the most is the wifi capability and the lowlight awesomeness.

Have a happy new year everyone!!!

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