Saturday, November 2, 2019

Three new products that I am really excited about!

This week was a really good one for new photo related products. Two of them I have in my hands and one of the announcements got me excited, even though I have not tried it yet.

First off, I have to tell you about the new Acratech GXP ball-head. I have been using Acratech ball-heads for many years now, but have always wanted one that is bigger and more robust. This is especially true when I mount my Canon 200-400mm lens on my tripod and the shear weight of the lens pushes the limits of the smaller heads. But now Acratech has released the new GXP and it is awesome.

As you can see from this side view (with the GXP on the left), the new head is significantly larger and more robust than the previous GP model.

On this top-down view, you can also see how much larger the new GXP head is compared to the GP. I was surprised to see that this new ball-head is only $30 more than the GP. It is still not inexpensive at $489, but it is totally worth it.

Believe it or not, I use my Canon 200-400mm lens almost every time I photograph a bar mitzvah. This lens lets me shoot from 200mm to 400mm at f/4. This is really helpful in a dark temple. But this means that I am mounting this large lens on the Gitzo Mountaineer tripod (combined with the Acratech head) quite often. Having more support is a great thing!

You can see in this image how much lens this head is supporting. The company says that this new ball head will support up to 50 pounds, which is double the capacity of the GP. I am really excited to have this new GXP ball-head supporting my beast of a lens.

The next new product that I got this week is the new Crucial X8 solid state drive. Crucial has been making internal SSDs for a long time now but never offered an external unit. Now they do!

The X8 comes in capacities of 500GB ($120) and 1TB ($165). I got two of the 1TB units for me to use both at home and on the road.

What makes me most excited about the new Crucial X8 SSDs in the speed and price. These new SSDs are twice as fast as all other SSDs on the market today. Yep, this little thing is twice as fast as the Samsung and SanDisk products and sell for slightly less. Most external SSDs transfer data at approximately 500Mbs, whereas this X8 can move 1GB per second. This is really helpful for people like me who move massive amounts of data from one computer to another. I am going to recommend this SSD to all my photo tour attendees.

I know that this is a small thing, but I love that the Crucial X8 ships with one USB-C cable that has a USB-A adaptor. This makes life really easy for me, since I have a desktop computer with USB-A and a newer MacBook Pro with USB-C.

The third new product that was announced this week is the new DJI Mavic Mini. I do not have one in my hands yet, but expect to get one soon. The minute it was announced, I was on the B&H website to order mine. It is only $399 for the drone, but I chose to get the combo kit with extra batteries, which runs $499.

I have always loved flying my Phantom 4 drone, but don't take it with me very often since it requires  whole other camera bag. Now, with the Mavic Mini, I can put this little drone into one small slot in my main camera bag and travel with a drone any time.

Having a drone this small, that can capture professional quality images and video is very exciting. Now...if I could just find places to fly this without it being illegal. I am looking forward to bringing this little guy with me to India, Costa Rica and anywhere else I can grab aerial imagery.

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