COBA Meeting: Wireless Digital Photography and Sensor Cleaning

This is our second meeting of the year and also second time at our new meeting place: SmugMug Headquarters. Adam Tow presented about his take on wireless digital photography including a live demonstration and one of our fellow members, J.C. Dill and Landon talked about their experiences with sensor cleaning. Read the in-depth summary after the jump including pics.Having finished his year-long documentary, Autum-Gem – The Qiu Jin Project, Adam and his wife Rae will be extensively traveling to promote and screen the movie and so Adam wanted a way to post pictures along the way in an easy and relatively quick method. Through a combination of five different technologies, Adam is able to remotely send photographs taken from his camera directly to his SmugMug or Flickr accounts.

Adam photographing Landon as he is taking a picture to show dust.

The five different technologies it takes for Adam to do this are: Eye-Fi SDHC card, Verizon USB727 EVDO modem, Cradlepoint CTR-350 Mobile Router, BixNet 5V Li-Ion battery, and a SmugMug/Flickr account. Larry Gonzales and Jeremiah Njoroge from Eye-Fi were on hand to answer questions and explain how the Eye-Fi technology works. From what Adam was showing us, it seems to be a very cool concept especially when the need of getting images on the web as fast as possible is very, very important. Using his Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II shooting wit small JPEG (4 MP equivalent files of about ~1 MB) he was able to burst off a number of shots and have them appear quite quickly in his SmugMug account. Even at the medium setting, the images took no more than a few seconds to appear. Quite impressive. One thing to note is that the Eye-Fi does not support RAW, only JPEGs will be uploaded. The Eye-Fi SDHC is a very impressive invention. I had, at one time, considered getting one for my 1D bodies and after Adam’s demonstration, I’m tempted again.

Wedding photography was mentioned as a good candidate, but I disagree as you probably don’t want your raw, unedited images available; not the best way to make a good impression. I think the better candidate for this technology would be photojournalist who don’t alter their images at all. This certainly offers a whole new level of live blogging: live photobloging. To read more in-depth on this and Adam’s thoughts, check out his blog posting [link to post]. Check out Adam’s live photoblogging session at COBA on his SmugMug [link]. The only complaint I have about this whole setup is that it is expensive. The equipment alone cost about $200 and the Verizon wi-fi plan is $60 a month, so the cost can add up quickly.

Sensor Cleaning

J.C. Dill and Landon were discussing their favorite method of sensor cleaning: Dust-Aid Sensor Cleaner. They swear that these have produced the best results in their continual endevaor for a clean sensor. This is the product they use exclusively for their Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn, Canon EOS 5D, and Canon EOS 20Da. The neat thing about the Dust-Aid Sensor cleaner is that it does not use any cleaning solution so thus won’t leave smear marks. I do have to say I am a bit scared of doing my own sensor cleaning, but after their demonstration and seeing the results, I’m sold. The Dust-Aid also seems to be the least scariest of all the other cleaning methods such as the Artic Butterfly and Visible Dust System. It is also the cheapest at ~$27.

Seem really good, I may end up purchasing one of the Dust-Aid to try since both my 1D bodies have collected some noticeable dust and it is starting to take a lot more time to clean out in Adobe Lightroom.

April K. Tse and Shootsac

Canon EOS 40D with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM in Shootsac.

April brought her Shootsac to show me. An interesting “hip-pack” concept to store/carry your camera and lens without it looking noticeably like a camera/lens bag. The Shootsac is created by wedding photographer extraordinaire Jessica Claire. You can wear it one of two ways: as a purse or around your hip.

It’s designed to carry 3-6 lenses and is quite portable and made of neoprene. It seems you can only carry 3 pro lenses at most or risk breaking the seams or your back from the weight.

I can’t say I’m terribly impressed or would want to get one, but that’s just me. You can also purchase different front flaps so you can change it as often as your mood or outfits. The Shootsac isn’t cheap at $179 and neither are the front flaps costing anywhere from $30-$60 depending on the design.

COBA Pictures

You can see all the pictures from COBA at my SmugMug [link].

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