I’ve been using Racket as an excuse for free stuff for nearly ten years now. I’ve gotten CDs, concert tickets, booze, food, toys, books, video games, and more. The catch? I have to write down what I think about it. One of the very wonderful side effects from this gig has been developing my skills as an actual photographer. I have been given cold hard cash/checks to take pictures of people. So, now I want to combine the world of free stuff with making my job as a photographer easier, and you get to reap the benefit of learning of some new gadgets and gizmos to make taking pictures/video easier. Notice I did not say that you’ll get better pictures, it will just be easier to get what you were going to get anyway.
I heard about Peak Design while looking at camera harnesses. I usually double-fist cameras while shooting live events rather than picking only one lens or dealing with the hassle of switching them out with a dozen other photographers clamoring to get a decent shot. Using the neck straps that come with them not only hurts your neck, but is annoying as all fuck when the straps get tangled up and you’re now choking yourself out with a wonderfully thought Canon neck strap. The over-the-shoulder straps are awesome for this, but you look like a goddamned douchepickle. It’s like dressing up in full camouflage during a Nerf gun battle. It looks like overkill, no matter how fun it is to sneak attack your officemate and put a sticky dart in his eye.
Peak Design was gracious enough to send me three different products: their Slide, the Clutch, and the CapturePRO clip. The Slide is just a longer, slightly less awful version of the shitty straps I hated in the first place, but the Clutch and the CapturePro are the fucking JAM. The CapturePRO clip is basically a camera harness mount that you can hook onto any backpack strap, belt, whatever weird thing Austrians wear. It comes with a clip that screws into the camera’s shoe like a tripod mount, which, when properly screwed in, is secure as all hell. They call this bad boy the PROplate. However, I found that I could use the same connector on the bottom of the Clutch. The Clutch is a little strap that is just big enough to wrap itself snugly around your hand. Here I was using them together like an old-west cowboy gunslinger.
I intended to give them a review just after I shot a couple of concerts with them, but I’m glad I waited until after a few impromptu hiking trips. The Clutch was even more handy as I hiked around, offering a sense of security that neckstraps don’t. My camera wasn’t swinging around as I climbed up a hill, and I could take a picture whenever I needed to. The CapturePRO was easily locked down on to one of my backpack’s straps, and it hooks in securely, even though you WILL freak out when there’s a little bit of a tug from the weight on your strap. If you want to buy any of their stuff, use the coupon code Racket for 10% off!
It’s particularly good for reaching down to dog level and snapping some pictures:
Another benefit to Peak Design’s PROplate is that it can fit into the very sweet MeFOTO Roadtrip tripod I got without having to adjust a thing. When I snagged the red, white, and blue Amazon exclusive (USA! USA!), they came in quite a few colors. Now, you can customize your own entirely HERE. I would probably just get the red, white, and blue one anyway.
The GoFOTO Roadtrip is light enough to chuck in your hiking pack, but sturdy enough for those who have absolution not inclination to step foot into the wilderness. Definitely sturdy enough to get some campfire-lit trees and the night sky. And, if you want an additional level of flare for your camera, they make a series of UV and polarizing lens filters in a multitude of colors.
The PicoDolly falls into the category of stuff I am writing about, but have not actually tried out. I mean, it looks like an awesome roller-skate that you could hook a camera up to. Which I want to do, roll it down the street, and have Gozer chase after it. So, people from Photography and Cinema, if you want me to get a derby-ass husky to chase a camera, feel free to send me one. Any of you other photographers have any tips on some good and/or fun gadgets and gizmos? Let me know in the comments.