ExpoImaging RayFlash 2 Review

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Ring lights are often used in fashion photography. However, unless you plan to use one on a regular basis they can be expensive and cumbersome. The RayFlash 2 is designed to work with your speedlight to provide a more attractive, flatter, shadowless feel to your images as opposed to just the pop-up flash or direct speedlight alone. Traditional ring light configurations come in all sizes and different specifications. Some of the newer LED based ones are lower cost. However, the professional ones tend to cost a few hundred to several hundred dollars. I like the looks of ring light photography, however not enough to invest hundreds of dollars in one. That’s why the RayFlash 2 is very attractive to me. It’s small enough for travel and low cost enough not to break the bank. You can see my original RayFlash review here that I did 5 years ago. Time flies. Since that time ExpoImaging has made some nice improvements on the RayFlash and introduced it as the RayFlash 2. The first enhancement is that it’s now much easier to attach and adjust. The head expands to fit around your speedlight easily. Also the channel slides up and down to accommodate the height of your DSLR and speedlight. Although it’s very adjustable it does come in two sizes. One for larger DSLR bodies like my Nikon D4 and D600 and a smaller model for smaller DSLRs. I wanted to try out the RayFlash 2 and here are my results:

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This image of Dior was captured just using the on camera flash. NO RayFlash 2.

The image above was taken without the RayFlash 2 and just using on camera flash. As you can see there are definitely some distinct hard shadows under the chin. There’s a reason why so many photographers shy away from on camera flash. The results are usually less than desirable.

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This image of Dior was captured using the RayFlash 2.

The image above was captured using my Nikon D600, SB 910 and the RayFlash 2. If you compare the shadows you can see that the RayFlash 2 produces a flatter more flattering result with softer shadows.

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The RayFlash 2 produces a distinctive catch light in the eyes.

 

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the “ring flash look” and you have a speedlight then the RayFlash 2 is definitely worth considering. This is especially true if you don’t need to use a ring flash for every shoot. I also really like how portable the RayFlash 2 is and that it easily fits in either my backpack or regular luggage for travel. I would say the only downside is that it’s not as big as some of the more expensive units out there. It would be nice to have a bigger one that produces an even softer light and bigger catch light. Otherwise, I really really like it.

You can get the large RayFlash 2 here.

You can get the small RayFlash 2 here.

 

An Evening with Sting and the Sony Alpha NEX-3N

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I resisted buying a mirrorless camera until the prices came down on certain models and I could no longer resist. I ended up getting a Sony Alpha NEX-3N. The price was right and it came highly recommended from my colleagues at work. My main use of this camera will be for travel when I’m not traveling specifically to do a photoshoot and for concert photography. By no means do I consider myself a concert photographer, but I do enjoy it.

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A couple of nights ago I got a chance to shoot Sting and Paul Simon in concert. I decided that this would be a good chance to give the Sony NEX-3N a good workout.

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I love that I have the option of shooting in Manual mode as well as RAW with this camera. However, if you do shoot in JPEG you have the option of using digital zoom. In RAW the digital zoom seems to be disabled. I only took the 16-50mm lens.

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I was very pleased with the results as well as the low light performance at both 800 and 1600 ISO.

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Although I did buy an additional lens, the 55-210mm lens I didn’t want to run the risk of security viewing it as a “professional” camera and stop me from shooting. Maybe I’ll try it next time I go to a concert. In any case I’m really impressed with what this camera can produce especially for the relatively low cost. As far as camera settings go, I shot at f/5.6, 1/80th, 800-1600 ISO for most of the evening. I did start on Aperture Priority, however I wasn’t happy with the results especially in the bright lights.

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The Bottom Line

While I won’t be giving up my Nikon DSLRs anytime soon, I can certainly appreciate the Sony Alpha NEX-3N as my new “walk around with” camera. While the newer models offer built-in WiFi, I was happy using my Eye-Fi Pro X2 card for wireless transfers directly to my iPhone 5s during the concert.

Get the Sony Alpha NEX-3N here, it comes with the 16-50mm lens.

Get the 55-210mm lens here.



4 Hidden Gems in Adobe Photoshop CC

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In this episode of Adobe Creative Cloud TV, I’ll show you 4 hidden gems in Adobe Photoshop CC that I bet most of you didn’t know were there.

Are you missing out on my Bonus Content?

See more of my Adobe Creative Cloud Videos on my Adobe Creative Cloud TV and get the App below. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App! My iOS App is a Universal App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. I also have an Android version on the Amazon App Store:

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Nikon D4s Announced and Available for Pre-order

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Seems like only yesterday that I announced that I was buying/upgrading to a Nikon D4 from my trusted Nikon D700. Believe it or not that was just over two years ago! Time flies… Well here we are in February 2014 and Nikon just took the wraps off the rumored Nikon D4s. At first glance it looks just like a Nikon D4. However, there are some new things going on on the inside that count.

  • 16.2MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • 3.2″ LCD Monitor
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
  • Multi-CAM 3500FX 51-Point AF Sensor
  • Native ISO 25600, Extended to ISO 409600
  • 11 fps Shooting for 200 Shots with AE/AF
  • 91k-Pixel RGB Sensor and Group Area AF
  • 14-Bit RAW Files and 12-Bit RAW S Format
  • 1000 Base-T Gigabit Wired LAN Support

What makes the D4s better than the D4? Basically it boils down to a faster camera with better video support and better low light performance.

Will I be upgrading? While I may get a review unit to test, I most likely will not be upgrading to the D4s. This camera is more geared towards photographers who shoot sports or photographers that constantly work in low light situations (wedding photographers, etc.). Since I don’t focus on either one, I’ll probably be sitting this one out. Now if Nikon sends me one and forgets to ask for it back, I won’t complain either. hint hint, LOL

I’m actually waiting to see what they do with the D800 upgrade.

You can pre-order the Nikon D4s here.



My 3 New Online Classes on KelbyOne are Here!

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Hey everyone, I just wanted to give you a heads up about my three NEW Online Classes on KelbyOne. I visited KelbyOne studios a couple months back and recorded three in-depth online classes and now all three have been released.

Adobe Muse CC for Photographers

You probably know that you need a website, but you’re not really into writing code. That’s why Adobe Muse CC was created. In this class Terry White shows you how to get started and create a complete website from scratch without having to write a single line of code. You can have your own website and more importantly update it as often as you need.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC for Photographers

You would be hard-pressed to buy a camera that doesn’t shoot video today! However, as a photographer you probably never got into video editing. Now with Adobe Premiere Pro CC it couldn’t be easier to tell your story with photos and videos. The problem has been that all the other Premiere Pro classes out there are geared towards video people. In this class Terry White shows you how to go from start to finish with your videos, photos, and music without all the video jargon. Let a photographer show you how to use Premiere Pro CC.

Intro to Adobe InDesign CC

InDesign CC lets you bring your photos, text, and graphics together in a seamless integrated workflow. In this class Terry White shows you how to get started from scratch even if you’ve never launched InDesign before. After this class you’ll be able to lay out just about any document that you want to create. Brochures, newsletters, magazines, business cards, flyers, and books are just a click away.

I’m really happy with the way these classes turned out and I hope you like them too!



Thanking My 125,000+ YouTube Subscribers!

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I just wanted to take a moment to thank my 125,000+ YouTube subscribers. I just received this award/recognition from Google and I’m quite honored. I couldn’t have done it without you. Also thanks goes out to so many of you who take the time to come up to me at conferences to thank me for my content as well as the shoutouts on social media and my blog. More content to come!

Subscribe here if you’re not already a subscriber.

Thanks again!

Save $50 on Photoshop World with my Promo Code TWHPSW414

photo by Jason Lykins

photo by Jason Lykins

My favorite training conference and expo is coming up soon! Photoshop World is coming April 8-10 in Atlanta Georgia. I’ll be there doing a series of classes. What makes this Photoshop World even better is that I get to give you $50 off your Full Conference Pass! That’s right, just register for Photoshop World here and enter promo code TWHPSW414 and $50 will be knocked off your price right on the spot. I look forward to seeing you all there!

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Bonus Deal

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In the market for a Nikon D7100? Well now you can save $500 on the D7100 kit. Check it out here.

4 Cool Ways to Charge Your iPhone, iPad and other Mobile Devices on the Go

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If you have a smartphone and you use it throughout the day chances are your battery won’t last from the time you wake up til the time you go to bed. If you work in an office or other stationary place then you probably charge your device at your desk. If you drive around you probably charge your device in the car. However, what if you’re out and about all day, take trains and are just not near a wall outlet? There are ways to charge on the go. Here are a few of my favorite accessories:

 

ChargeCard

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First off even if you can get to a charger or USB port and you’re an iDevice user then you’re going to need a cable. Good luck if you are borrowing a charger from your friends that use Android and other platforms. This is why I love the “ChargeCard” it’s a credit card size “cable” that I keep in my wallet. Pop out the USB plug, plug it into any standard charger or USB port and the other end into your Lightning port on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Away you go…

Get the ChargeCard for Lightning devices here

Yep, they make one for Android here and older 30pin connectors on iDevices here.

 

RAVPower Flashlight Battery

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I have a variety of different portable batteries. However, this is one the coolest ones I have because of its size and form factor. At first glance it looks like a standard small LED Flashlight and it is! However, on the other end is a standard USB port so that you can plug in your smartphone and charge it back up. What more can I say? A device that serves more than one purpose effectively is always going to be a favorite of mine!

Get the RAVPower Lipstick External Power Pack here.

 

RAVPower Luster 6000 mAh Battery Pack

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Need more juice? If you want to be able to charge either a smartphone or a tablet then you’re probably going to want 2.1A output. That’s why I carry a RAVPower Luster 6000 mAh Battery Pack. This one has enough juice to charge either my iPhone 5s or my iPad Air. Even if you’re only going to want to charge a smartphone, then you might want to get this one because the higher output will charge your smartphone faster!

Get the RAVPower Luster 6000 mAh Battery Pack  (in multiple colors) here.

 

Premium Solar Charger

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A battery is great, but what about those times when even the external battery goes dead? Well there’s always the sun as a backup. This is a battery pack similar to the ones above that can be charged up via a wall outlet, but it also can be charged via solar energy.

Get the Premium Solar Charger here for your next power outage!

 

 

Low Cost Speedlight Softbox Option

 

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Whenever I review a product it’s usually one that I use. I usually try to buy the best gear that I can. As we all know photography gear can range in price and it can be expensive getting the “best” gear. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get good results with gear that costs less. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to review a “lower cost” speedlight softbox. Impact makes some decent gear, typically at lower cost than the competition. Now keep in mind that you get what you pay for in most cases, but if you’re on a budget and not making a living from your photography then low-cost options may work out best.

Impact Quikbox

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The Impact Quikbox is a 24″x24″ softbox for speedlights. B&H sells it in a kit complete with an Impact 8-foot stand and tilting bracket. The Quikbox is easy to set up. Just pop it open and put the inner baffle in and then the diffusion cloth on the end of it. Lastly mount the supplied speedlight bracket to it and you’re all set. The only thing I don’t like about their bracket is that it doesn’t tilt. This is why B&H includes an additional bracket that allows you to tilt the light. The 8-foot stand is very light — almost too light for the softbox setup. You may have to put a sandbag on it to keep it from falling over.

Putting it to the test

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I had a regular commercial shoot this past weekend and decided to give the Impact kit a real world test. I mounted my Nikon SB 910 speedlight on it with a PocketWizard Plus X trigger.

 

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I had the model hold a reflector to bounce a bit of light underneath her chin and I was pleased with the results and quality of light. With the size of this box, inner baffle and diffusion panel, the light was soft enough for my taste.

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The Bottom Line

This Impact setup works as good as more expensive setups that I’ve used in the past. The quality of the materials used in the box is good. The only thing I don’t really like about it is that it doesn’t fold down nearly as small as my other boxes. So for travel this would not be my first choice. However, if you’re on a budget you can get this kit with stand and tilting bracket for less than others sell their boxes alone for.

You can get the Impact Quikbox Kit here from B&H Photo.

 

Bonus Deal

85mm-1.8

While you’re in the mood to save some $$$, you can save up to $400 on Nikon lenses now through 3/1/2014 here.

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