My Day at Photo Plus Expo

I spent the day in New York city at the 2009 Photo Plus Expo show. It was just a one day trip (thanks Amtrak Acela). I went up for lots of reasons, but here's some of the gear I saw that looked interesting.

Drobo Pro

I spent a lot of time looking at the Drobo Pro in-depth.

This seems to be the perfect box for creatives who need data redundancy. You can place up to 8 drives in the rack (adding them as you go and even mixing and matching sizes). Current drive capacities mean you can store 16TB, but the Drobo folks tell me 3 TB drives are just around the corner (which means 24TB in a rack). .

What's also nice is that you get two options of data redundancy. The Drobo can have protectio so one or two drives can fail and your data is still safe.

The Drobo also offers three interface connections:

  • FireWire 800
  • USB 2.0
  • iSCSI (utilizes Gigabit Ethernet)

It's iSCSI that promse some great options for perfomance.

What I also like is that the Drobo Pro can be rackmounted or placed on a desk.

Hoodman HoodEYE 3.0


a big fan of my Hoodman HoodLoupe to make it easier to view the monitor on the back of a DSLR camera. With the new HoodEYE you can upgrade your loupe. It offers an oversized eyecup with a temple flair – this helps seal of light when viewing outdoors.
I am particularly interested as we are exploring using loupes like viewfinders for shooting video on DSLR cameras. Having the extraeyecup really does make a difference, but it is a very personal choice.

Installation as an upgrade took only a minute, you can also order a new loop with the modified eyepiece include. They're also offering straps so you can attach the viewfinder. I'm up in the air on this one (compared to a Zacutto viewfinder). This is a much more affordable approach. I do prefer this loop (as a director) so its easier to go aroudn and check cameras, we'll try it as an active viewfinder next week and wil let you know how it does.

Millenniata Archival Media


problem with mosts optical media (like CDs and DVDs) is that over time that start to deteriorate. Most discs use a dye to indicate where data is written. This process is called data rot, and it can happen with optical media at any point. Higher wuality discs are less likely, but cheaper discs can happen sooner. The exact point that this occurrs is unknown because the media gives no indicator of a problem.

Millenniata has tried to solve this with their Write Once, Read Forever. The discs are based upon obsidian stone (and I tried to get more out of them.. but trade secrets). The burners use more energy to burn and the surface of the disc is MUCH harder. The results are a disc that is etched (as opposed to just using dye)

While its not a cheap solution, (around $1800 list price for the drive and starter pack) the Millenniata folks are offering optical media that looks the test of time. The discs are also much better able to withstand temperature and physical damage. What's also great is the media is backwards compatible once burned, so you can burn with their special burner, then hand off to a client. They also promise to soon have specialty discs so you can print on the label face.

iDC Follow-Focus

Bruce Dorn is a Canon explorer of light

and a photog who's jumped in head first to the DSLR video market. He's made a folow focus kit that makes it much easier to control focus when shooting video on a DSLR. The device is less complex than other units, as it uses a skateboard style wheel that makes gentle contact with the existing rubber rings on a camera. I played with it hands on and it looks worth testing.

  • It currently only works with Cannon lenses (although I am willing to try and make it work with Nikon)
  • 24mm f1.4 L
  • 35mm f1.4 L
  • 50mm f1.2 L
  • 100mm f2.8 Macro
  • 135mm f2 L
  • 16-35mm f2.8 L
  • 24-70mm f.28 IS L
  • 24-105mm f4 IS L
  • 85mm f1.2 L
  • 135mm f2 L
  • 200mm f2.8 L

I'll be doing a more detailed write-up soon.

Manfrotto 482 Micro Ball Head

I stopped in at B&H on the way over to the convention center.

This little beauty can mount on the camera hot show and give you a threaded mount. This will be perfect to attach an audio recorder to the top of my camera for DSLR Cinema projects. You can mount a variety of audio or video hardware directly to the camera. You can also rotate the mounting plate to a better angle as needed (works well if attaching a light or monitor).

  • height: 2.52 in
  • lateral tilt: -90° / +90° tilt range
  • load capacity: 4.41 lbs
  • material: aluminum
  • weight: 0.33 lbs

Fat Gecko Camera Mount

The folks over at Delkin Devices have comeout with an affordable mount for DSLR cameras.

The Fat Gecko is a dual suction cup mount that can be adhered to a smooth, non-porous surface (like mirrors, cars, airplanes.) It appears rugged, but is still very cost affordable (I would still recommend using a safety chain... but I am paranoid when it coms to gear and insurance).

  • Suction cups can hold a eight pound camera
  • Double knuckle design and 2" extension tube allow for 360° tilt, 360° turn & 360° rotation
  • The ¼ x 20 tripod mounting screw allows for use with most digital still or or small video cameras on the market
  • Suction cups use a quick release function to make attaching and detaching you camera easier
  • Steel frame construction is rugged and durable
  • Four adjustable joints make it easy to tweak the shot

You can see videos of the product in use at

Lensbaby Fisheye Optic

Some people love them (I am a fan) others hate them.

But Lensbaby keeps putting out great new products. They released a new option, a fisheye optic, that drops into their Composer lens.

  • Ultra-wide 12mm focal length
  • 160 degree field of view captures
  • Minimum focus: 1" from front of optic
  • f/4 optic with aperture disks that range from f/5.6 to f/22
  • Designed for use with the Composer, and can also be used with the Muse with a special adapter

The lens won't work with the Control Freak lens. I'm told because it goes soe wide that you actually see the control cabels on the lens.

That was my day... I saw a few more products I like and will try to post. The show runs through Saturday, October 24.