Gear Up: The Summer’s Digs in Photo Gadgets

July 24, 2014

By Libby Peterson

The Teeny, Tiny FlashQ Wireless Trigger
The adorably tiny FlashQ 2.4GHz wireless trigger is a handy gadget created by Light Pix Labs, thanks to the Hong Kong-based company’s wildly successful crowd-funding effort on Indiegogo. 

Simply attach the FlashQ transmitter to a camera’s hot shoe and the receiver to a remote flash, both of which operate similarly with a power button, a test button and a tricolor LED indicator. The FlashQ works with sync speeds of up to 1/250 of a second, and it can support up to eight receivers at the same time once they’ve been paired with the transmitter, offering a large range of creative lighting possibilities. 

Included with the wireless flash trigger are a cold shoe adopter, a sync cord (to connect to studio strobes or external flashes) and two coin batteries for operation. The FlashQ comes in white, black, blue and pink, and Light Pix also lets you customize it with your own signature. The company plans to ship the trigger kits by September and is now accepting reservations.

Price: $39 ($129 with custom signature)

Profoto’s B1 Location Kit
Photographers looking to start shooting on location (or those itching for a complete overhaul on their current gear) should perk up to this bit of tech news from Profoto: Following the release of the company’s since-popular B1 off-camera flash last November, Profoto has recently reconceived the B1 flash into a full location kit

The kit includes two B1 off-camera flashes, two batteries, a Fast Charger that can recharge batteries in an hour and a Car Charger, which can be plugged into a standard car cigarette connector and recharge batteries in two hours. Photographers will save an estimated $200 by getting this location kit, as opposed to buying each of these items separately. All equipment comes compactly stowed in a backpack, with extra room for stands and lenses. 

Profoto is also working on a firmware upgrade to allow for high-speed sync, and a Nikon-compatible Air Remote TTL-N is also in the works. The company reports that these developments are expected to be finished later this year.

Price: $3,950

Photoflex’s Versatile FlexFlash Kit
Whether in the studio or on the road, the FlexFlash lighting kit from Photoflex should serve any photographer who wants professional features for a fraction of the price. 

The kit includes two FlexFlash 400w strobes equipped with digital screens and a flash duration of 1/1200 of a second, two 6.5-foot Compact LiteStands, a medium 24 x 32-inch LiteDome with removable front and interior diffusers, a speed ring, a 30-inch white adjustable umbrella and a padded kit case. 

Made of fiberglass, this kit will give double the power of Photoflex’s previously released 200W model, and it’s especially ideal for shooting large group portraits. With Quick Release Corners, setting up and tearing down the Photoflex kit is promised to be a total cinch.

Price: $877.95

Keeping it Airtight: Photojojo’s Waterproof DryZone Duffle
Have an outdoor assignment but not sure if the weather will cooperate? No need to worry. Photojojo is helping out the outdoors-y, sporty, adventurous photographer with the DryZone Duffle camera bag. 

This airtight, waterproof bag keeps gear safe when you accidentally drop it into water (in fact, Photojojo guarantees “bone dry” gear after a full dunk), get drenched during a boat trip or set it down into the morning dew of a field. It’s also padded for extra protection and it’s yellow, so you won’t lose track of it. Unzipping the DryZone duffle will reveal a removable cushioned bag (below) that can hold a camera, two to three extra lenses, an external flash, cords, cards and anything else you need to keep dry.

Price: $149

Tamron’s 16-300mm Lens
The new 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 lens from Tamron really takes the cake for working both as a wide-angle and telephoto lens. The 18.8x zoom ratio in this gadget is invaluable for photographers shooting with Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras, and APS-C size image sensors. 

The release of the 16-300mm (which translates to a 24.8-465mm range for 35mm film users) follows that of the 18-270mm lens a couple years ago. The 16-300mm has 16 specialized glass elements in 12 groups, and the lens’ coating technology minimizes flares and ghosting. The minimum focus distance of 15.3 inches allows for easy macro photos, and it’s equipped with Vibration Compensation, reducing image blur—which should certainly come in handy when shooting at telephoto distances without a tripod. Measuring 3.9 inches, toting this lens around certainly beats lugging those enormous telephoto lenses.

Price: $629

Album99 from Nations Photo Lab
Looking for an album solution that incorporates high-end quality with affordability? Album99 from Nations Photo Lab allows you to choose from sizes starting at 5 x 5 to 8 x 8, 8 x 10, 8 x 12 and up to 12 x 12. You can also pick from six Genuine Leather Cover options or two Photo Wrap Cover options. 

Says photographer Jewell Juergensen in a testimonial on the Nations website, “My clients expect a high-quality, luxury album that fits with my brand. Being able to EXCEED my clients’ expectations with Italian leather and ultra-thick pages while costing me only $99 makes me very happy (and profitable).” 

Other options include Kodak Professional Lustre Photo Paper, thin and thick page options, flush mounted pages, panoramic spreads and more.

Prices: Vary by size

Artsy Couture Custom USB and Presentation Boxes
From Artsy Couture comes custom wooden 8GB USB drives that are slightly larger than a standard business card and, according to the company, gives you “a ton of added real estate to add your logo and images of your client’s session.” 

Also available from Artsy Couture are Custom Presentation Boxes with a fully customizable lid to which specific personalized information can be added, including your logo, images of your client’s session, a birth announcement, a thank-you note and so on. Over 100 different combinations can be created using ribbon, tissue and different color choices. 

A 1-inch 8 x 10 box can fit 100 4 x 6, 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 lustre prints per box, while a 1-inch 5 x 7 box can fit 100 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 prints and can be combined with the company’s Custom USB Drives.

Prices: Custom Presentation Box, $8.75; Custom USB Drives vary by size