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I reached out to the good people at b-grip, an Italian based company that recently released the UNO, a carry system designed to work with mirrorless camera systems. I've had this for about a week and I wanted to give you some initial insights as I am adjusting to using it before my travels to Peru in mid May.
Construction & Design -
The UNO is a "high resistance techno-polymer" that contains glass micro-spheres as well as fiberglass. Although it appears to be high grade plastic at first glance, this mount is definitely tougher than expected (no flex/warp/discoloration under stress). One of the big differentiations with this mount is that on the chest mount it allows the camera to hang pointing directly down, not resting on the mount or strap. This seems to prevent the camera/lens rubbing on the mount (note - the b-grip UNO needs to be mounted at mid chest or a touch higher, otherwise if mounted too low it is not as efficient for accessibility).
The UNO mounts in two manners - a compression bar for the shoulder strap mounting option or a belt/pocket hanger option. I have zero interest in the belt option, so my tests will be solely on the shoulder mount. On my initial walk around, I may use some paracord to attach the bottom of the UNO to the shoulder strap to prevent the system from 'flapping' while climbing around.
Arca Swiss Plate
The UNO has an Arca Swiss style mounting plate made out of the same techno polymer as the rest of the system. This plate is very basic, with a rubberized surface between the plate and the camera. This works great for my Sony A7r but I noticed that when mounting it to the Sony A6000 it was tight against the LCD and I couldn't easily tilt out the LCD. I will likely be shooting with the A6000 more on this system than the A7r, so I am curious to see how much 'annoyance' this causes.
I have also mounted my GoPro Hero3 on this system and I really like how it fits well with the UNO. I have a feeling I will be doing more GoPro video and timelapse now that I have something besides my crazy head mount!
Ease of Use
The locking system is nice, I felt very comfortable in my initial walk around that both cameras were secure and I wasn't going to lose them. In my attempts to 'quick draw' my cameras I found the system to take some time to get acquainted so that I can quickly get the camera out and ready for shooting. I need a bit more practice with this before I can feel confident in using this over something like a Rapid Strap.
I'm a bit of a gearhead, especially with the items I bring along in my outdoor adventures that play an important role to the success of the trip. With new travel opportunities emerging over the past few months and more just around the corner, I've been penciling a list of big ticket items to purchase that will be added to the packing list. These items I qualified for this list as a result of having significant influence (either direct or indirect) on outdoor photography as well as travel. I am not by any means being paid to create, mention or pitch any of these products or brands - this is totally out of my own list as well as some great items that have been released as of late. I find that all of these items will have a major benefit in outdoor photography or a useful tool to incorporate into the adventure. So, lets check out some new gear!
1. Goal Zero Solar Recharging System -
Goal Zero makes a portable, solar recharging system for just about every need imaginable - from a power stick to keep your smartphone fully charged to the expedition style Yeti systems that can keep a small base camp functioning in the most remote corner of the world. Somewhere in the middle of all this is the Sherpa 100 series system. This system is offered in the perfect bundle - solar capacitor, an inverter for standard plugs, and a large solar panel for keeping it all charged for around $600. This system is well adapted to keeping camera batteries fully juiced as well as being able to handle charging a laptop or tablet. In addition to charging via the solar panel the Sherpa 100 can be charged while on the drive from location to location or in the swank hotel digs via a standard plug. This is high on my list for working abroad when regular charging isn't always an option or I'm off the grid.
2. Compact, high output LED flashlight
Kinda vague, I know. I have a hard time just picking one brand here. I personally have been a big fan of the products rolling out from Fenix Lighting - a mix of standard battery and rechargeable options ranging from compact 100+ lumen flashlights to larger, search and rescue (SAR) style lights pouring out 2600+ lumens of light. Many other companies like Surfire, Four Thirds, and others have been doing a great job of providing high out put lights in relatively small packages. I've used these with colored gels in light painting as well as for general needs in camp and visibility on the trail. I tend to opt for lights in the mid range category that take AA batteries or are rechargeable (pair that up with the Goal Zero Sherpa). Regardless of brand, its something that you should have in the bag!
G-Technology G-Drive ev ATC
This hard drive from G-Technology is a great option for someone needing a tough, efficient hard drive for file management and back up while out in the field. The all terrain casing (ATC) protects the ev RaW hard drive that's engineered to easily take a 1.5m drop. Available in both Thunderbolt ($230) and USB 3.0($180), this is a big wishlist item for backing up images on the go. For current G-Technology owners the ruggeg ATC case with either Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 will be available for purchase to incorporate your existing G-DRIVE ev or G-DRIVE ev SSD.
Petzl Tikka RXP Headlamp
I think Petzl has made a remarkable piece of equipment in the Tikka RXP ($100) headlamp. This high output (up to 215 lumens) and rechargeable system brings new innovations to headlamps with customizable programming for burn times and light output via the USB charging port through Petzl's free OS software. The idea behind this light is to have reactive lighting technology - basically it is able to sense the distance between the light and the object it is lighting and modify the lumen output based on distance. This multi-beam light is high on the list if you're overdue for a headlamp upgrade.
GoPro has done it again with the fourth installment of their popular action cam. This time around we've been given 4k video recording at 30 fps, night shooting modes, Wifi+Bluetooth connectivity, increased image quality and much more built in to the Black edition. GoPro has also rolled out the ability to accessorize with a touch display panel for the back of the GoPro4 (and an option now for the Hero3+ and Hero3). The GoPro Hero4 comes in at $399.00 for the Silver and $499.99 for the Black edition. The additional features make this a substantial upgrade if low light and high quality imagery are priorities with your action cam.
So I've given you some of my big ticket items that I am hoping to acquisition for my camera bag and worldly travels. What are some of your wishlist items?
Welcome to the blog roll portion of my new website. This will serve as a platform for sharing content regarding photography techniques, educational information, travel stories, and much more. I look forward to breaking out and sharing more than just my images in the very near future.
I figured more than just a quick 'hello' was in order for this introductory post, so I have included my first portfolio image, 'King of the Valley.' Special moments like this were and always will be critical in the progression of this art in my life. Over the past few years I often find myself reflecting on my earlier work when I'm met with challenges or creative roadblocks. I have found that when I am having struggles with creativity, I remind myself of why I picked up a camera in the first place. The love of the outdoors and nature took me down the path I walk today and enjoying those things are at the heart of why I continue to explore, photograph and teach.