Photo gadgets I can’t live without

I’m prepping for next week’s trip to China and thought I’d share some gear that’s become essential. 

*Rocket Blaster and liquid sensor cleaner. The only time I had the hood up on a film SLR was to inspect the mirror/shutter box (not that I could have actually repaired anything but it made me feel handy). Now, the mirror on my digital SLRs gets locked up more than I’d like to think about and the reason is dust. No matter how careful I am by changing lenses only when necessary and pointing the open body down,  dust ALWAYS gets on the sensor. The Rocket Blaster is good for dislodging casual sensor dust but for those bits that are committed to appear in your beautiful skies, you need to do some wet work. Get a bottle of the cleaner and it’s dedicated sensor swabs. Match swab size to sensor size. In other words, it’s easier to clean an FX sensor with a wide swab….not a narrow swab designed for DX-sized sensors. 

*LaCie rugged hard drives. I usually carry two, a 500 GB and a 250GB. I move the image files off the flash cards directly to the LaCies with redundant copies on each. The 500 also carries a bootable backup of my Macbook Pro’s hard drive in case of a failure. Since the new Macbooks only have Firewire 800, I do simultaneous downloads by daisy-chaining the two LaCies via their Firewire 400 ports. That leaves both Firewire ports open on the hard drives….one connects to the MBP, the other to a Firewire 800 card reader. USB could be an option but I believe that would require a power source for the hard drive, someone correct me if I’m wrong. 

*ThinkTank rolling bag. I have two ThinkTank airport rollers, a standard size and the smaller, international size. These have displaced the venerable, hard-shell Samsonite roll-aboards that have been my go-to camera carriers for at least a decade. ThinkTank rollers, like the Samsonites, look like all the other roll-aboards going on the plane….and that’s a good thing. Photographers want their photos to stand out…not their gear. In addition to padded protection, ThinkTank has an integrated a dual security system so you can lock the bag AND lock the bag to something using an on-board cable. These guys get it.

*The Scott eVest. This vest is like a wearable gadget bag designed for the person who travels with lots of electronic devices.These guys have really diversified from the original Scott eVest into a full line of geek clothing. There is a jacket with sleeves that zip off, pants and even a cap.  I like the vest because it’s black, the zippers are concealed and all of the 22 pockets hang on the inside of the vest. With the draconian restrictions on carry-on weights that many international airlines have adopted the eVest has rescued my cameras from checked baggage more than once. The method is simple. Load up your heavy camera gear in the vest (it will hold A LOT). Then, if you want, transfer the gear back to your carry-on after weigh-in. I have the jacket and the vest. For my purposes the jacket is too heavy, so the travel Scott eVest has become my constant companion. The vest is very discrete and since it’s black, works for almost any occasion.  (The khaki safari vests suggest you just came from a campfire. )


~ by keithphilpott on May 15, 2009.

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