Category Archives: Gear


My Review Of The Phase One IQ250 Medium Format CMOS Back


Camera and software maker Phase One let me have/demo/test the brand new groundbreaking CMOS 50 megapixel digital medium format back for a couple of weeks. You can check out all of my thoughts and impressions as well as test images over on


Need An Indestructible Lighting Case That’s Lighter Than The Competition? The Pelican iM2950


When you travel on assignment over 100k miles a year like I do, you start to learn the importance of durable cases for your gear and slimming down on weight to save on baggage fees. For years I have been flying around with the Pelican 1650 to protect my flashes. I had it so fine-tuned for weight that it was 69.5 lbs, just half a pound under the 70 pound airline weight class. Although, after recently replacing my White Lighting flashes with the new Profoto D1 Air flash heads, I wondered if I could find a lighter case option.

After some online research, I discovered the Pelican iM2950 Storm Case. It’s just as tough, can carry my 4 travel flash heads and modifiers, and rolls just like the 1650 does. On the inside, the 2950 is a couple of inches larger than the 1650, and depending on what site you read its about 5 to 10 pounds lighter. I ordered the case with the padded divider kit rather than the cubed foam. Unfortunately the kit does NOT come with enough padded dividers to organize my setup the way I needed but thankfully I kept some extra pieces from my old 1650 and made it work. You may want to keep that in mind if you order a setup for yourself. You can see my new case configuration below. The grey dividers are from the old case.


Currently the case weighs in at around 66 pounds. The extra weight savings will allow me to squeeze in a few more light modifiers or I could just replace the two D1 500 heads with the more powerful D1 1000 heads, which are about a pound heavier each. I know to those that don’t travel on shoots every week, this may not seem like a big deal, but the extra 5-10 pounds of weight savings will give me more flexibility to travel with a lot of the light modifiers and accessories I would need on location.

According to B&H:

The Pelican iM2950 Storm Trak Case with Padded Dividers (Black) is an injection-molded case made of HPX high performance resin, that is virtually unbreakable, dent-resistant and shatter-resistant. It is tough, rugged, lightweight, airtight and watertight. There is a permanently attached Vortex valve that automatically adjusts air pressure without letting in water, and won’t unscrew from the case. Press & Pull latches open with the push of a button, yet stay closed securely under impact or stress. The case has unbreakable molded-in hasps that allow the addition of standard size padlocks. It has hinges with integrated feet that hold fast under impact, and create a flat surface for upright stability. It is carried by three double-layered, soft-grip, solid-core handles, lightweight retractable, telescoping handle and rugged in-line wheels.

Material Exterior: HPX high performance resin
Interior: Water-resistant, PVC-coated nylon fabric dividers
Interior: Convoluted foam pad in the lid.
Type of Closure Five Press & Pull latches
Two unbreakable molded-in hasps
Hinges with integrated feet
Exterior Dimensions 31.3 x 20.4 x 12.2″ (79.5 x 51.82 x 30.99cm) (LxWxH)
Interior Dimensions 29 x 18 x 10.5″ (73.66 x 45.72 x 26.67cm) (LxWxH)
Lid depth: 2.0″ (5.08cm)
Interior Fitting Water-resistant, PVC-coated nylon fabric dividers
Accommodates Items that need protection and organizing
Carrying/Transport Options Three padded handles
Telescoping handle
Built-in wheels
Weight 34 lbs (13.15kg) 1


My well-worn Pelican 1650 (top) vs my new iM2950

You can order an iM2950 at B&H HERE.

You can read more about this on Faivish Pewzner Rabbi.


The DSLR Camera To Buy For Your Aspiring Photographer This Holiday Season : Canon SL1


Every year, as the holiday season comes around, people will email and message me asking what to buy themselves or a loved one to start or expand upon their love for photography. A camera that offers interchangeable lenses, easy to use, good quality, compact, reliable, and can be had for under $1000 with a lens. I have that camera for you…

Canon has always made dependable high quality cameras for beginners and pros alike. When I’m not shooting with my Phase One medium format, I use my Canon cameras. In fact, I have probably half a dozen Canon DSLR’s sitting around the office for various purposes from still to video. Recently, Canon announced a cool new camera for their entry-level DSLR “Rebel” line called the SL1 that you should be pretty excited about. Here’s why:

  • The SL1 is extremely light and compact as crop sensor DSLR cameras go. According to Canon: “For ultra portability with a minimal footprint, the EOS Rebel SL1 is the world’s smallest and lightest digital SLR. Weighing in at approximately 13 ounces, the EOS Rebel SL1’s astonishingly compact size does not compromise its excellent performance as a member of the Canon EOS family”
  • It is a very respectable 18 megapixel still photos (RAW and JPG)
  • Has an ISO range of 100-25,600, which makes it VERY capable in low light in comparison to previous models
  • It shoots FULL 1080p HD video at 30p and 24p. It also shoots slow motion up to 60 frames per second.
  • Its autofocus system is not as awesome as a $3k camera, but it will do a solid job for you.
  • It accepts Canon’s FULL line of lenses (even the big expensive ones that the pros use)
  • It also has a pop up flash installed and a flash hotshoe that accepts Canon’s full line of external flashes when your shooter wants to expand the camera’s capabilities
  • The best part?! It can be currently had WITH an 18-55mm starter lens for a little over $500! It wasn’t that long ago you would have to pay over $1k for features like this.


Interested in this camera? Head on over to Amazon to order one today. They also list all of the specs in great detail.


Can You Power a Profoto D1 Air With A Vagabond Mini Battery Pack? (Video)

I recently started upgrading my Paul C Buff White Lightning flash heads with the Profoto D1 Air mono-flash heads. Being an on-location portrait photographer, easy power sources are very important to me. Sometimes I will land in a city and will need to go right to right to set and picking up a generator isn’t an option. Profoto has their own battery pack system, but I already have a few Vagabonds that can fit in my carry-ons very easily and someone once told me that you can run the D1’s off of a vagabond mini battery pack.

As you can see from the video, it does power up a D1 500 and fire. Power recycling is noticeably slower and the strobe sounds a tad strained, but it does work. Helps having the audible sound when the capacitor is recharged. Oh, and make sure the modeling light is turned off or that drains the battery very quickly!

I should try and field test on a couple of D1’s and Vagabond Minis. I’ll let you know when I do!

You can also put the D1’s in a “battery mode” which make them perform better when plugged into a battery pack. One of my readers M.D. Welch suggested this:

Plug in the unit, but leave the power off. Hold down the Model button, wait about 10 seconds while you hold it down, then on the LED indicator it will say “bt”. You are now in battery mode. The last thing you need to do is pull the power cable from the unit, wait a couple of seconds, and plug it back in. Now you can use the light. If you want to go back to wall power, you need to repeat these steps, but the LED indicator will say “- – “. If you don’t do this, you can blow the D1. These steps are in the D1 manual, under using the BatPack.

IMG_8159 did a great review/description of the Profoto D1. See below to learn more:

YouTube Direkt

Capture One Express 7 Announced – Phase One’s Affordable Raw Processing Software For Under $100



Phase One announced their new Capture One Express 7 raw image processing software today and it’s free to try for 60 days and only $99 to buy! Express 7 is actually a streamlined version of their advanced Capture One Pro 7 software, which is what I personally use, focusing primarily on RAW processing. Also, I’m excited to mention that they are using my Mad Max photoshoot on the marketing material. :)

It’s no secret to those that follow my work, I have aligned myself professionally with Phase One. No, they are not paying me to do so. They simply have one of the finest camera systems in the world, which I happily own and shoot with (my Phase One 645 DF+ with IQ140 back), and have developed one of the most advanced tethering and RAW processing software on the market.

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Like Shooting Tethered? Check Out Some Of These Awesome Products From Tethered Tools

vimeo Direkt


If you haven’t heard of yet, well… you have now. Tethered Tools makes a wide range of fantastic products to make your tethered shooting go more smoothly. They are your one stop shop for all of your tethered shooting gear needs including software… but you do have to provide the camera and computer.

Sure, they have all sorts of amazing custom configurable tables for your laptop/computer on set, but they go much further than that. Afraid of unplugging your cable from your computer or camera? They created this cool series of products called Jerkstoppers, which keeps you from causing inadvertent disconnections. Want to have easy access to your tablet device as well? They have solutions for that.

I’ve been enjoying playing with my Tether Tools setup and plan on adding custom options to my setup! You should definitely check out their site.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what software I use for my tethered shooting with my Phase One 645 DF+ IQ140 and my Canons, it’s Capture One Pro 7. You can download a fully-functional demo for free here.

My Phase One IQ140, powerbook, and Tether Tools setup


Here are some of the Tether Tools products that I have been using:


My Crazy New Customizable Camera Strap By Vulture Equipment Works


The American-based company Vulture Equipment Works hooked me up wish a crazy new camera strap for my Phase One, although it works on essentially any camera. Sure, it may appear bulky to some, but so did another “Made in America” product, the 1967 Pontiac GTO. Also, the hooks, straps and quick-releases all have a functional purpose. This strap system is very versatile and customizable, which I’ll demonstrate to you in a future post. I love this thing. Looks like my camera is ready for battle.

Background information from the Vulture website:


Somewhere around 10,000 feet, another plane in tight follow formation and a fevered rip of the shutter it hit me… “This is so cool, I need a really cool set of specialized equipment.”  Standard camera straps are just not that strong and definitely not that cool plus let’s face it, our lenses and bodies are thousands of dollars or more, so I’ve never trusted them.  I had to look no further than the C130 I was ridding in to find my inspiration, aviation cargo equipment and military special ops jump rigs, so with some time and a bunch of American ingenuity the Vulture Strap was born.

About Us

Vulture Equipment Works is an American equipment company who designs, manufactures and distributes the finest products possible for today’s imaging / outdoor professional.  Our passion lies in using only the best quality raw goods and developing highly specialized life-style gear that can last a lifetime.  Unlike most, we choose to do all of our R&D, design and prototyping ourselves, in-house at our headquarters just outside of Chicago.  This gives us complete control over the design process ensuring a true linear organic flow.  This also helps maintain our vision in the products integrity and the compatibility with the rest of our product line.  Plus we have a really tough mascot.

Vulture Equipment Works: