Monday, January 16, 2017

Can the KPS T5 handle ...?

Recently, a potential customer asked whether the KPS T5 geared ball head can handle heavy cameras.  Such question is not uncommon.  So, we thought a picture would be better.

Below is a picture of the KPS T5M Geared Ball Head with an equipment weighing 13.8 lbs.  What we mounted is Celestron Omni XLT 120 telescope with Canon 5D Mark III attached.  According to the manufacturer's websites, the Celestron telescope weighs 12.5 lbs and 40 inches long, and the Canon 5D weighs 33.5 oz (2.09 lbs).  So, the total should be 14.59 lbs.  According to our measurement using our scale, the combination weighed 13.8 lbs.  Even the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens weighs only 9.9 lbs and is 18 inches long.

It is not that we are recommending replacing the telescope's equatorial mount with KPS T5.  The Celestron equatorial mount with counter weight would be better for star gazing.  We are just showing this to demonstrate what the KPS T5 can do.  KPS T5 can handle the load.

We used FLM CP30 Pro tripod with KPS T5M.  T5M is the screw knob clamp version of the T5.



Sunday, January 1, 2017

Comparison of BRiHT-360 Reflectors and Grids

Happy New Year!

We had a chance to do a quick comparison of some reflectors for SMDV BRiHT-360 and grids.  Here's what we saw.

Items tested:
  • BR-120 Standard Reflector (This is the reflector that is included with BRiHT-360.)
  • BR-170 Tele Reflector (Optional purchase.)
  • BR-40 Snoot
  • 10, 20, 40, and 60 degree grids for BR-170.

Set Up:
  • BRiHT-360 placed 8 ft. away from the white background.
  • White background width is 9 ft.
  • I believe the BRiHt-360 power setting was at 1/64.

First, thing we noticed is that BR-170 concentrates light so that the brightness at the center is about twice as bright.  Light meter reading with BR-120 was f/2.8 and with BR-170 was f/4.0.

Here are the pictures.

1.  BR-120 standard reflector.

2.  BR-170 tele reflector without a grid

3.  BR-170 + 60 Deg. Grid


4.  BR-170 + 40 Deg. Grid

5.  BR-170 + 20 Deg. Grid

6.  BR-170 + 10 Deg. Grid

7.  BR-40 Snoot (Snoot has a grid).  We tried this just to see how it compares.  Light spread appears to be about the same as BR-170 with 20 deg. grid, but at about half the efficiency.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

SMDV BRiHT-360 TTL Flash

The flash we've been anticipating will be available starting in December!

We are expecting shipments of SMDV BRiHT-360 TTL Bare Bulb Flash starting at the beginning of December.  We are taking orders now.

BRiHT-360 Flash is a TTL and HSS capable bare bulb flash with integrated battery.

BRiHT is:
     Bare bulb
     Remote controllable
     integrated battery
     HSS capable, and
     TTL capable
     360 watt class flash.

TTL and HSS capability requires use of SMDV FlashWave-5 transmitter.  Initially, the TTL/HSS capable FlashWave-5 will be limited to Canon and Nikon cameras.  However, support for other camera manufacturers is in the plan.


We will post updated specifications as soon as possible.

Monday, April 4, 2016

SMDV BRiHT-360 Bare Bulb TTL Flash specification published!

SMDV BRiHT-360 Flash is ...
     Bare bulb
     Remote controlled
     integrated battery
     HSS, and
     TTL capable, and
     360 watts of power!

Expected availability:  May 27 Autumn By the end of 2016


Saturday, February 20, 2016

FAQs ... Why SMDV Speedbox for speedlights? Considering Speedbox-S65

     One of the more frequent questions we get from our potential customers has to do with how it compares with other similar looking softboxes with speedlights.  Obviously, we have not tried every softbox out in the market.  But I thought it would be interesting to compare one of the better known and well regarded softbox with SMDV's Speedbox:  Westcott Rapid Box 26" and SMDV Speedbox-S65.

     Here's a summary of our findings*;

  * This comparison is focused on the light quality.  Obviously, Speedbox is much faster to deploy and take down than Rapid Box.  For instance, I can open up Speedbox-S65 in about 12 sec.

     What was surprising is how much more light loss there was with the Rapid Box.  We knew that the SMDV Speedbox is more efficient.  But the amount of the difference was a bit surprising.

     Here are the details on the set up and equipment used.

  • Softboxes:  SMDV Speedbox-S65 and Westcott Rapid Box 26"
  • Flashes:  Canon Speedlite 430EX II (and Metz 64 AF-1 for a comparison test)
  • Flash zoom setting:  24mm
  • Flash power setting:  full power


  • We put a light stand at about 8 ft from a wall to place the softboxes.
  • Another light stand was placed against the wall to make sure the light meter was at the same place every time.
  • Room was dark ... very little ambient light.
  • The flash zoom setting was set at 24mm because anything narrower is not going to be able to evenly fill the softbox.


     Here were the light meter readings:
       f/10:     Bare flash, Canon 430EX II
       f/9:       Speedbox-S65
       f/6.3:    Rapid Box

     So, the difference between bare flash and Speedbox is only 1/3rd stop.  Between bare flash and Rapid Box was 1.33 stop, i.e., the Rapid Box lost 1 more stop of light than the Speedbox.  (We repeated the test using Metz 64 AF-1 to be sure and the differences in the light output were the same, i.e., 1/3 stop and 1-1/3 stop.)

     Below are some sample shots of a scene to show the difference.


     Here, the differences are readily visible.

     Here is one other observation.  A lot of beginner photographers comment to us how SMDV Speedbox is expensive.  SMDV Speedbox is not cheap.  But we are convinced that it is a higher quality product.  Light is softer and more even.  Also, you get more out of your flash.

     For instance, some folks spend more to get bigger flash, but are not willing to spend more on softboxes to make the best of their more expensive flash.  I feel that is being penny wise and pound foolish.  For instance, if one gets Metz 64 to get more light (than Canon 430), you would get about 2/3 stop more light (see the chart below).  But if you put Rapid Box (or some other cheap imitation of SMDV Speedbox), you would lose 1 stop of light.  The person would've gotten more light (and better quality light) and saved more money by getting Canon 430 and using SMDV Speedbox.

     Here is what I mean.  First, take a look at some relevant flash measurements.

   So, here are couple of options typically considered by beginner photographers.

     We understand that the difference between flashes models is easier to tell.  But by failing to understand the differences in softbox quality, one who selects option #1 (or something similar) can end up paying substantially more for not only less light, but lesser quality light (option 1 is $263 more, but 2/3 stop less light).


     Finally, in some forums, some folks tried to dismiss us by saying that we are biased.  It is true that we are biased because we are an authorized SMDV dealer.  But, our findings are what it is.  If anyone doubts it, we would invite you to test it and see for yourself.  Finally, unlike many retailers, we actually use and believe in the quality of our products.

     Hope you find this helpful.

     Jay

Friday, January 22, 2016

Another KPS T5 User Impression

We wanted to share with you one of our recent customer's impression of the KPS T5 Geared Ball Head.

Here's what Mr. Don Libby wrote about the KPS T5.

I had thought that I would have to wait a couple of days to really put the T5 to a test however I found myself using it the day after I wrote the above.  I ended up shooting an interior and used the T5 with my Phase One XF.  Without any thought of what I was doing I set the camera up much as I would have when I still used the Cube.  Very simple and without any real effort.  It wasn't until an hour or so later that it dawned on me what I had done and just how easy it was.
The sign of a great piece of gear is the ability to use it with little to no concern and get the shoot.  Which I did. 
You can guess the rest.  I ended up asking for an invoice which I promptly paid.  The T5 is now mine.  Yes, it's that good!

We couldn't agree more.  We also use the KPS T5 on a regular basis ... .

Please click here to visit Iron Creek Photography Blog and read the rest.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Update on KPS T5 Geared Ball Head availability

Good news for those who've been most patient!

We are expecting a limited batch of the updated KPS T5 Geared Ball Head by the last week of January.

The new version has an updated main lock knob.  The updated version features a click-stop knob that helps the user to know how much force is needed for optimal operation of the microTilt function.  Read more about it here (go to the bottom of the blog for "Update").