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Tech Talk #002

In this episode of Tech Talk, I discuss Canon’s new speed light, the 600EX-RT and how it’s raising the bar by incorporating radio technology into the unit. This eliminates the need for additional radio triggers like Pocket Wizards and gives you so much flexibility as a shooter to have the range and power of radio! You can manually control many speed lights and either use a hotshoe mounted 600EX-RT as commander or the optional Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT to control up to 5 groups of 15 individual speedlites ! ! ! !

I would have liked to have seen a hotshoe mount on the ST-E3-RT b/c if you’re going to take up the hotshoe, why not have it be another purpose like with a Pocket Wizard FlexTT5. I like that this controller along with the new 600s are backlight and have beep indicators for recycle times. Very handy when working over longer distances. Also, with the radio technology, you are no longer hindered by line-of-sight issues that occur with IR (in fared).

I don’t believe the 600s are compatible with the 580s or 430s which is a bit of a bummer. Most pros will have some 580s and possibly some 430s in their arsenal, so not being able to use them with the new system is a bit aggravating. That and the whopping $630 price tag for the new 600s. Granted, Nikons new SB910 speedlite is $550 and doesn’t incorporate radio technology, however it is backward compatible thru Nikon’s proprietary CLS (creative lighting system) which in some way’s gives it an advantage.

I move on to discuss the ridiculousness of the Pentax 645D in gloss Red. Yuck. It’s awful, gaudy and gross. File under “What were they thinking?!?!?”. It’s unfortunate, because with Medium Format Digital becoming more affordable, Pentax delayed production of that camera to the point of obsoletion which is a serious negative. That and the limited availability of glass makes me – and a lot of other folks – wonder about Pentax’s commitment to MFD (Medium Format Digital).

Contrast to the Pentax 645D is Leica’s S2 system that is beyond gorgeous. The camera and lenses are of course built beautifully – as only one would expect from Leica. Handling the S2 is a dream – so nicely balanced, simple and elegant. The images that come off that Leica – well they’re in a league of their own. Literally. The file size is proprietary – not quite full-frame MFD, but considerably larger than 35mm and the look of the images, well, amazing! However for that money, the images better be amazing! Just the body alone is close to $30K so as you can imagine, that camera system is not for everyone. Unlike the Pentax 645D which is a system you can get into for around $10k. Still big money, but not for me regardless of price.

I go on to discuss the importance of backing up your files. YOU NEED A BACKUP STRATEGY!!!! It’s an investment into your future. Sure, spending your hard-earned cash on hard drives is super boring, but losing your precious files is heartbreaking. Come up with a backup strategy and stick with it. Back up often – don’t put it off. Make it automated – I do. I have mine set to back up every night after I’ve gone to bed. Done. The little digital elves do all the heavy lifting for me and don’t interfere with my workflow.

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