Category: Product Reviews


As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, the folks at Lexar were kind enough to send me one of their professional speed memory cards to test out and review.  I also mentioned that I was having a little trouble getting back into shooting this Spring.  Well, the card coming really helped with that.  Today, I popped the card in and went out in the yard to take some shots.  By the time I finished the yardwork, the sun had gone in and it was getting cloudy, so i didn’t take a ton, but I did wander around and get a few.

Out in the front yard, we have these cool blueish-purple flowers growing.  I think they are really weeds, but they have great color and make for a nice photo.  I got down on the ground and took some shots of them to share with you.

I started to think about a class my photo group recently had where we discussed using auto focus vs using manual focus.  I would venture to say that 99.9% of the time I use auto focus.  Today, I decided to use manual focus to see how things would come out and realized that I have much more control over the picture if I focus it myself.  In case you don’t understand,  the camera on auto focus will select an item to focus on and you have to either accept it and take the picture or move the lens a little and get it to focus where you want it.  With manual focus, I can pick the exact spot I want and focus the lens on that exact spot.  It makes a huge difference.  I am going to start shooting manual focus a lot more in the future.

In this picture, I found the rusty old chain link fence quite intriguing.  In the picture you can see the weathered, rusty links foreshadowing the bright green grass in the background.  This really grabbed my attention when I was out back shooting and I was torn as to whether I should keep it in color or make it black and white.  Perhaps I should do a selective color treatment.  After much thought, I decided to leave it alone.  It seems to have a lot of character as it is.

Have you done any shooting recently?  If so, what did you shoot?  I’d love to know.  See ya soon!

I just found out about the Ultimate Blog Party, hosted by Janice and Susan, twin bloggers from 5 Minutes For Mom.    I am still learning about the party, but it seems like a HUGE gathering of many bloggers.  They are also doing a bunch of giveaways.  There are a few simple requests, like following people on Twitter, adding them as fans on Facebook and blogging about this party. I figured I would check it out and see who I could meet.

I am heading out to see what it’s all about, and will let you know as I learn more!  If you stopped by from the UBP, please let me know.  See ya soon!

The folks at LowePro were kind enough to lend me the Pro Runner 450AW backpack to try out.  The 450AW is a very functional, high capacity backpack.  This bag is large and in charge!  It has tons of room for all of your camera equipment and even a slot for your laptop.

Inside the main compartment of the bag is room for two dSLRs and about 8 or 9 small lenses or 2 0r 3 large lenses.  You can rearrange the dividers in a number of configurations to fit longer lenses or other gear as well.  I don’t have that much equipment yet, so I used the space for chargers and other camera accessories I needed to take with me. As you can see in the picture below, there is ample storage in the three pockets shown when the main compartment is open.  I used these pockets to hold extra memory cards, remotes and filters.  When I asked LowePro for a bag to review, I wanted one that could accommodate my laptop.   I have an HP 17 inch laptop and it was a little bit of a tight squeeze, but it fit in and I was able to take it with me.  I used some of the extra room inside the main compartment to store my power cord for the laptop.

One of the things I really like about this bag is the amount of padding on the straps and waist belt.  With the amount of equipment you can carry in this bag, the padding makes carrying it around all day much more comfortable.  The padded straps definitely help distribute the weight and make it more manageable.  There is also a lot of padding for your back to help absorb the weight.  This bag is quite heavy when fully loaded with a laptop and all my camera gear, and I am not a little guy.  I am about 5′ 7″ and about 200 pounds .

The front of this bag also has a large zipped storage area that can hold quite a bit.  This area has a hook to hold your keys and two pockets to hold miscellaneous items you need to store.  There is a hefty strap that keeps the bag shut and gives it extra support.

The straps also double as a tripod support.  There is a movable base for the bottom of the tripod to go into that you can attach to the bottom of the bag using the two straps on the front of the bag.

The backpack also comes with a built in rain cover.  It is built in and stowed away in a front pocket until you need it.   It is tucked neatly in the under the front storage pocket, closed in with a nice Velcro tab (not shown).  Another feature I really liked was a small storage pocket on the front of the bag.  You can use this pocket for storing things you need to grab in a hurry, like a plane ticket or directions.  The picture below also shows one of two handy grab handles for easier pick up.

Suggested Retail Price: $249.99

Specifications:

Exterior Dimensions – 13.4W X 11.4D X 19.9H in./34.0 X 29.0 X 50.5 cm

Interior Dimensions – 12.2W X 6.7D X 18.5H in./31.0 X 17.0 X 47.0 cm

Notebook Interior Dimensions – 12.2W X 1.8D X 15.6H in./31 X 4.5 X 39.5 cm

Pros:

  • Ample storage space
  • Laptop storage
  • Well-padded straps and back area
  • Grab handles for easy pick-up

Cons:

  • Fully loaded it’s a bit heavy

Overall, I really liked this bag, but it is much larger than what I need.  I don’t have enough equipment to fill it to it’s potential.  For a real serious professional with tons of gear, this is the perfect bag.  I would love to try a bag that is just a touch smaller to compare it to this one.  I contacted LowePro about their bags because I have a LowePro Mini Trekker that I have had for 7 or 8 years that is still in great like new condition, despite me using and abusing it almost every day for the time that I have had it.

What bag do you use for your camera gear?  Why do you love it/hate it?

**Photos courtesy of LowePro**