Tamron, Sigma & Canon 70-200 f/2.8 Portrait Lens Review

The 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is THE workhorse for portrait and wedding photographers. If you don’t own one and are thinking about purchasing, finding objective information about the different makes (Canon, Tamron and Sigma) is nearly impossible. I have read countless reviews, spoken with pro photographers and most of them become a little crazy when giving their opinion.  That said, if you are a pro, make your living with photography, particularly if you’re shooting weddings, professional sports, the Canon is the way to go, without a doubt.  The lens is built like Fort Knox.  But, if you’re wanted to save nearly $1500 the Tamron and Sigma and viable options.

I finally found a review that is not a knee-jerk reactionary tirade. Check it out for yourself.

Blackmagic Camera

Should RED be worried? Quite possibly!

Consumers may not be familiar with Blackmagic Design, but the firm’s cameras are all the rage with filmmakers at NAB, drawing enormous crowds within seconds of the show floor opening up to attendees. This year’s flagship is the URSA, a relatively massive 4K camera with an enormous 10-inch 1080p flip-out display. There are also two 5-inch monitors on each side, displaying everything from camera settings to a duplicate preview. Another highlight is the Super 35 image sensor (the same used in Blackmagic’s existing 4K cam), which is upgradeable should you wish to swap in a refreshed version down the line. You also get plenty of SDI inputs and outputs, XLR mic jacks and either a Canon EF or PL lens mount. [read]


Blackmagic Studio Camera HD , MFT lens mount, 10″ Viewfinder, support for up to 1080p60, 4 hour Battery, Talkback


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Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K, 1 10″ Viewfinder, 12G- SDI, MFT Lens Mount, Support for up to 2160p60, 4 hour battery, Talkback, Tally


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Blackmagic Design URSA EF Camera with EF Mount, 4K Super 35 sensor with global shutter, 12G-SDI, built in 10″monitor, Dual CFast Recorders, Scopes, Audio meters


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Blackmagic Design URSA PL Camera with PL Mount. 4K Super 35 sensor with global shutter, 12G-SDI, built in 10″monitor, Dual CFast Recorders, Scopes, Audio meters


Flashpoint White Shoot Through Umbrella – other uses

Under an UmbrellaWhile writing a review for the Flashpoint 180 Monolight and the 71″ Glow Grand Softbox I wanted to test these two products in a bright environment, where I really need to kick a lot of light on my subject since I was using a white shoot through umbrella as my background.

As you can see from the photo on the left, there’s been some post production work, but that’s neither here nor there. Nor is this about my review. (see initial review) What I wanted to touch on was using something other than a classic backdrop or something found in nature.  In this case I wanted to increase the light hitting the back of my subject but not have to deal with direct sunlight.  Seen that done too many times and frankly I’m bored.

I remember seeing a high fashion shot about a year ago where the photographer used a huge white shoot through umbrella.  But, that was shot in a studio with very controlled conditions.  Beautiful shot though.  I wish I could remember where I saw it because I would love to share it with you.FlashPoint-Umbrella

Back to my story, I purchased this 7 foot umbrella from Adorama about a year ago.  It’s HUGE and works great when you’re outdoors and need to soften that noon time sun.

I had my subject drape it over her shoulder, standing with her back toward the sun so that the umbrella lit up.  Then I took the Flashpoint 180 Monolight and the 71″ Glow Grand Softbox and placed it right in front of her, about 10 0r 11 feet away.  Turned the monolight up to full power and got a beautiful shot, in my opinion at least.  I liked the umbrella ribs behind her and with quasi high-key effect I think it works.

My point – experiment with different backgrounds to create something out of the ordinary for your portraits. Now go out and shoot.

Joe Randeen : 3 Penguins Photography

Flashpoint 180 Mono Light and Glow Grand Softboxes [review]

Received a wonderful invitation, a short time ago, from the amazingly talented Jeff Foster (Pixel Painter). The invitation was to assist in reviewing the Flashpoint 180 Mono Light, the Glow 47″ Grand Softbox, and the Glow 71″ Grand Softbox.  Although I’m not done putting all three products through their paces (the 71″ softbox is a MONSTER), I do have some initial observations.

First, the Flashpoint 180 Mono Light. I don’t do a ton of in-studio work.  I prefer seeking out new locations, locations that suit the subject matter that I’m photographing.  That said, this light is great for both.  Everything you see pictured is included.  It’s light-weight and contains everything you need for a basic shoot.

The shoot-through umbrella is a nice touch and maybe in a pinch, I would use it.  But, if I’m going to haul a stand(s) I’ll bring something more substantial.

The mono light has plenty of power, highly adjustable.  I do wish it had an LED readout instead of a simple dial, but for the price it’s not a deal breaker.

It comes with the necessary cables, a reflector and the aforementioned umbrella.

You can click on the link for more specifics.

That brings us to the Softboxes.  As I mentioned, as of writing this I have only begun using the 47″ Softbox.  The 71″ is such a monster that I don’t have the stands to fly this thing.  I’ll do some mods and get it working soon.

The only initial con that I encountered is that both Softboxes require 16-rod speedrings.  Personally, I had a hard time locating any, at a fair price.  So, having only one speedring currently, makes it not desirable to switch between the two Softboxes – it takes a lot of time with 16-rods.  But, yes there is a but, having 16-rods makes the Softboxes round and even.  That part I love.  Get a speedring for each Softbox and you have no worries.  NOTE: Adorama states that each Softbox comes with a speedring, we only got one for both Softboxes. Again, check the links above for more specifics.

So, I did shoot a couple of initial shots; a selfie using a remote for my camera and one of a baby.  I set up in my messy garage for expediency, with a black backdrop and a white foam core board for a bite of highlight.  No other strobes, just the one 47″ Softbox.  I was extremely happy with the results, especially since I was wearing glasses. The mono light was set at half power and remotely triggered.










Joe Randeen Selfie

f/13, 125, ISO 400


f/9, 160, ISO 200


f/9, 160, ISO 200












Looking forward to sharing more with you soon. In the mean time, check out some of Jeff Foster‘s other reviews at Pro Video Coalition:

DJI Phantom Quadcopter for GoPro Hero3 with Zenmuse H3-2D Gimbal
iOgrapher for iPad/iPad Mini
Lowel GL-1 Power LED Flood/Spot Light

 – Joe Randeen :: 3 Penguins Photography

iOgrapher for iPad/iPad Mini – Product Review

The iOgrapher Mobile Media Case for the iPad Mini and the full-sized iPad are made from injection-molded polycarbonate – making them flexible and durable and able to withstand a lot of abuse. With several cold-shoe attachments, a tripod mount and a threaded 37mm lens mount for wide angle and telephoto lenses, large easy-grip handles and an amazingly inexpensive price, make this a must-have accessory for your iPad.

When I first saw the original iOgrapher case for the iPad Mini, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. After all, I have an iPad 2 and they didn’t offer one at the time for the full-size iPad, so it was a moot point. But the inventor/originator of the iOgrapher, David Basulto contacted me to see if I’d be interested in checking it out – and even sent one with an iPad mini just so I could test it out. [read Pro Video Coalition]

– by Jeff Foster