For a good part of my life I worked for a couple of major photography gear companies who at one time or another owned a high percentage of the market.
These companies represented some very high end gear as well as popular blister packed accessory products. Year after year ALMOST CLONES of these products appeared on the warehouse shelves with very little if any change. Innovation was not important for these companies and in some cases for those companies that managed to survive the lack of innovation and ALMOST CLONING is still a way of life.
When I learn about products that fill the CLONE void, I take the time to study and use them. I either purchase them from a local dealer, or get samples from the manufacturers which I return after working with them. By doing that I am not obligated to anyone.
What it boils down to is:
- 1-Is the product practical serving a real purpose above and beyond other products
- 2-Does it do what it is supposed to do
- 3-Is it well made
- 4-is it fairly priced for what it is
- 5-If it is wearable, is it comfortable
- 6-Is it truly innovative enough to make a difference in my photography life
Products I have written about in the last few months are as follows:
- A) Cosyspeed Camslinger-
- B) Peak Design Products. Camera mounting clamps for quick access to cameras. Rapid adjust camera straps. Rapid access to GoPro cameras, binoculars, etc.
- C) Lolumina Soft Release Button for modern cameras that do not have a thread.
- D) FlashQ. Very tiny wireless radio signal off camera flash control. The receiver and transmitter fit inside a small shirt pocket and work up to 30 feet away.
The Cosyspeed Street Camslinger is made by a young German company. It purpose was to finally provide mirrorless and small DSLR users with a terrific product to fill a nitch that most companies have not even considered. A lot of thought went into the fit and comfort of this camera holder that allows a photographer to have a camera and lens at the ready while offering up great protection from bangs and dings and inclement weather. Pouch accessories fit nicely on the belt for carrying a couple of extra lenses, batteries, or a frequently used accessory. While doing all this it fits perfectly a bit below but on the hip. I am able to wear this for hours at a time whether I am walking city streets, hiking in the woods, and yes even driving my car or riding a bike, etc.
Peak Design was a Kickstarter funding program that found instant success. The first product was a method of securely mounting a camera and lens to any belt so that it was at the ready all the time. The company has since that time had several other Kickstarter programs that were also highly successful and they now have a bunch of products that are innovative and practical for the everyday and professional photographers. They now have one of the best camera strap systems for quick release and comfort, rain protectors for camera and lenses while on a belt. It is more designed towards bigger and heavier gear.
Lolumina Soft Release Button is a very clever idea that really works extremely well. Older cameras and even some newer cameras use the cable release thread in the top of the shutter release button to add a soft release button. With more modern design cameras that thread is replaced by a solid shutter release which generally requires too much pressure to get the shot off. Lolumina cleverly reversed the way to add a soft release which works really well. They have enabled adding a soft release for easier firing of the camera, keeping it more stable.
FlashQ is a product that entered the market and seemed to be another me too product in a heavily populated remote flash firing arena. However, they were different. They are inexpensive, very well made, and very tiny radio controlled remote flash firing accessory. The transmitter and the receiver easily fit in a tight shirt pocket. A normal set up is one transmitter and two receivers. All you have to do is turn them on and they find each other up to 30 feet away for full manual control of flash units.
What was intriguing about these products overall is that they were developed with the user in mind first and the technology second. They are all well made, priced right and fairly and are highly functional providing users with a great experience.
They are also start up companies and I love to support young and enthusiastic startups who had the courage to create something that everyone can use that make the photographic user experience better than it was before.
On corporate levels, I have no obligation to write good things about these products. I have not received anything from these companies that would obligate me to nice to them.