Categories
Audio Videography

Comica Boom X-D D2 versus Rode Wireless Go

Comparable wireless systems in price, with a clear value winner.

If you are looking at the Comica Boom X-D D2, you are probably also looking at the Rode Wireless Go as well and trying to decide between the two. While about the same price, the Comica Boom X-D D2 offers more bang for your buck. First, you are getting 2 transmitters in this set, versus the 1 transmitter with the Rode Wireless Go. Additionally, you are getting an LCD display on each transmitter on the Comica Boom X-D. The LCD transmitter shows battery strength and signal output. The Rode Wireless Go transmitter has 2 blue LED lights – one for battery (which only tells you if the battery is active, it doesn’t relay how much or how little battery you have left on the transmitter), and it’s pairing status with the receiver. Additionally, Comica includes 2 lavalier microphones in the set. This allows you to hit the ground running recording interviews and other multi person situations. You’ll have to purchase the lavalier microphones separately if you go with the Rode Wireless Go. Both systems come with dead cats (fuzzy attachments to dampen wind noise) for the units, but the Comica Boom X-D dead cats are easier to attach and have a more solid connection than the Rode Wireless Go, which is constantly being knocked off when I use it. 

The Comica Boom X-D’s wireless range isn’t quite as long as the Rode Wireless Go. The Comica is rated at  165 feet/50m  where as the Rode Wireless Go is rated at 230 ft/70 meters. I tested both out at 100 feet range, and both were still very strong at this distance. I don’t see much need for going beyond 100 feet, but if you work in an area where you record subjects over 165 feet away, the Rode might be for you.

Recorded signals with both systems set to 0 db resulted in a hotter output from the Rode Wireless Go. But the Comica Boom X-D was plenty loud enough, and only required a few db boost in post to get it to match the signal output of the Rode Wireless Go. Both sound clear and full. 

Both charge via USB-C and feature built in batteries. That makes both essentially disposable when the batteries inevitably fail. The Rode Wireless Go battery is rated at 7 hours, and the Comica Boom X-D is rated at 5 hours. The Rode charges in about 2 hours, and the Comica charges a bit quicker, at around 100 min.

Overall, if I could only have one of these systems, I’d choose the Comica Boom X-D. It’s not quite as loud as the Rode, and it’s range is a bit shorter, but it’s a solid system that gives you more flexibility in recording (with the extra transmitter and the included lavalier microphones). The LCD display on the transmitters is the feature that seals the deal. Not having the signal information on the transmitter on the Rode Wireless Go is a source of constant frustration when I use it, and it’s inclusion on the Comica Boom X-D makes using it much more enjoyable. 

Pros: 

  • Complete system with 2 transmitters and 2 lavalier microphones for what you would pay for 1 transmitter and no cavaliers microphones on the Rode Wireless Go.
  • LCD display on the transmitters provides easy to read, useful information
  • Dead cat attaches easily and isn’t easy to detach (like the Rode Wireless Go)
  • USB-C charging is convenient and quick

Cons:

  • Range, while good, isn’t quite as strong as the Rode Wireless Go
  • At 0db, the signal out of the Comica Boom X-D isn’t as strong as the Rode Wireless Go
  • No way to replace the battery, making this a disposable product.
Categories
Chairs Computers Desks Furniture Monitors Webcams

The best work from home setups

Since 2011, I’ve worked either primarily (50% or more) or entirely (100%) from home. Since 2017 I’ve been working from home 100%, and honestly, the thought of ever going back to work in an office scares the crap out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I do miss the in person human to human interaction, but living in Atlanta, I dread the loss of 10-15 hours of my life a week spent in a car sitting in traffic. I’m much more productive working from home, and having done so for the better part of the last decade, I feel pretty confident to dispense some tips on how to do so.

Workspace

The most important ingredient to successfully working at home is to have a workspace that is free from distractions. If you have a home office, you’re off to a great start. If you don’t have a dedicated home office, try to find a room in your house where you can setup a temporary one. Key ingredients are a door to close off, because you will need silence and to keep distractions from house mates to a minimum.

If you are using a room like your bedroom as your office, you will probably find that after awhile, the monotony of spending 8 hours or so sleeping in a room and another 8 hours working in the same room can become too much. In the early 2000s when I worked from home periodically, I had my work desk in my bedroom and it got to be too much. It’s fine for a short term solution, but the mental toll it can take on you might be too much.

The other key to surviving in your workspace is to make sure you get out of it periodically. Take time to get out of your workspace for lunch. Try to get outside the house even if it’s only for 15 minutes or so a few times during the day. When you are physically at work, you will get up during the course of the day for mental breaks. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean that you still don’t need those breaks.

Proper tools for the job

Having the right tools at your disposal is equally as important as the space you will inhabit during this time. Here’s a few recommendations.

Desk

If you don’t already have a desk, I’d suggest getting one that can easily adjust to being a standing desk. The one I’d recommend is the Autonomous Smart Desk 2. Available in a wide range of desk top materials and bottom leg colors, you can get a 53″ x 29″ top with fully automatic legs for $429 (a $30 discount is available if you sign up for their mailing list). Also available on Amazon.

Autonomous Smart Desk 2 - Bamboo Top, Black Legs
The Autonomous Smart Desk 2 is affordable and a great option for standing/sitting.

If you are looking for a budget option, you can piece together a table top and legs from Ikea for under $200. Ikea has a broad selection of table tops in different finishes, and a wide selection of legs to match.

Chair

I’ve been sitting on my keister professionally for 30 years, and I’ve had employers provide great chairs and not so great chairs. I can say with 100% certainty that the most essential component of working from home (if you choose to sit over standing) is a good chair. I’ve found no other chair that my ass and back appreciate as much as the Herman Miller Aeron Chair. Everything else is settling.

Monitor

Working from a laptop is great for the freedom to pick up and move from room to room, but if you are staying in the same place for extended periods, a larger external screen is a great productivity enhancer. Because monitors are not a one-size-fits-all proposition, here’s a few options.

Best 1080p Option

If you aren’t looking for anything fancy, the Dell P Series 21.5″ Screen LED-Lit Monitor Black (P2219H) is a great 1080p option. It’s a bit pricey (just under $200) for a 1080p display, but has a great refresh rate and viewing angles, and is an IPS display. It also offers the ability to rotate 180 degrees, so if you are a coder using it as an external display for your code, you’ll get more of it in view.

Budget 4K Option

If 1080p isn’t going to cut it for you, and you want something larger, 27″ is the sweet spot for 4K displays. Of all the 27″ LED displays available, I’ve found that LG makes the best offering dollar for dollar. The LG 27UL650-W 27 Inch 4K UHD LED is a great mid range offering. sRGB with 99% color gamut makes it a great choice for designers. The rotating stand makes it a great choice for coders who want to use it positioned vertically. AMD Freesync makes it a great choice for gamers with Radeon graphics.

Best Overall 4K Option

LG Ultrafine 5K Display

If you can afford the splurge, the LG 27″ Ultrafine 5K is still the best overall 27″ display available (at about $1300), especially if you are Mac user. You’ll get a 5120 x 2880 resolution display in an unassuming black chassis. The real benefits of this display come for those connecting laptops with USB-C. This display offers USB-C connections and Thunderbolt 3 (94w) charging. Additionally, you get a built-in webcam, which is nice when working from home these days. On the downside, you don’t get the ability to rotate the display 180 degrees, and there’s no VESA mount capability. This monitor is also a bit long in the tooth, and hasn’t been updated in years. Still, if you are a professional working from home, this is still the best 27″ 4K+ display available right now.

Webcams

If your desktop doesn’t have a webcam, or if your laptop does but features one of the weak-as-hell 720p webcams Apple still insists on putting in their ‘Pro’ laptops, adding an external webcam can be a good option to make sure your co-workers are seeing you at your absolute best.

Logitech Pro Webcam C920

A 1080p webcam that includes stereo microphones and has wide ranging support on Windows, MacOS and Linux. Generally this retails for about $80, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you may find it hard to get your hands on one at it’s normal retail price.

Categories
Deals

Daily Deals

Photo/Video

Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column (MT055XPRO3) – Save 50% on Tripod Heads when you purchase 1 or more Tripods offered by Amazon.com.Link

Autel Robotics EVO Drone Camera with Cinematic 4K HD Video at 60FPS ($298 Value Bundle) – $1099Link

Samyang SYIO18AF-E AF 18mm F2.8 Wide Angle auto Focus Full Frame Lens for Sony E Mount, Black – $349 ($50 off)Link

Computers/Tablets

Apple 11″ iPad Pro (Early 2020, 256GB, Wi-Fi Only, Space Gray) – $849 ($50 off)Link

Software

Serif Affinity Photo (macOS/Windows digital download) – $25 (50% off) Link

Storage

SanDisk Extreme UHS-I MicroSDXC, Various Sizes

  • 1TB – $259.99
  • 512GB – $109.99
  • 400GB – $80.99
  • 256GB – $49
  • 128GB – $24.99
  • 64GB -$14.49

Categories
Drones

5 Reasons to buy the Autel Evo (and not the Mavic 2 Zoom)

Recently, I decided to add a drone to my filmmaking toolbox, and quickly decided to get the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom. Some of the Mavic 2 Zoom’s restrictions were a deal breaker for me though, so I started looking at alternatives. I’m glad I did, because I found the Autel Evo, and have been loving using it since buying at 3 months ago.

Here’s 5 reasons you might want to buy the Autel Evo instead of the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom.

Autel Evo Cinematic 4K Bundle – https://amzn.to/3aqu7tD

Freewell Bright Day 4 Pack ND8/PL, ND16/PL, ND32/PL, ND64/PL Filters Compatible with Autel Evo – https://amzn.to/2UIG7jh

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom Drone Quadcopter with 24-48mm Optical Zoom Camera Video UAV 12MP 1/2.3″ CMOS Sensor (US Version) – https://amzn.to/39snGVA

DJI Smart Controller – https://amzn.to/2Jj36w6

Categories
Cameras Lenses Photography

Commlite CM-EF-NZ Adapter

If you saw/read my review of the TechArt TCZ-01 Adapter, you’ll have the main gist of what the Commlite CM-EF-NZ adapter does: it allows you to use your Canon EF glass on your Nikon Z camera. The Commlite adapter, in functionality, is nearly identical to the TechArt adapter. However, there are a few differences in the builds of these adapters.

The Commlite Adapter features it’s MicroUSB port (for firmware upgrades), in the adapter itself. The TechArt adapter MicroUSB port is attached to the lens dock (which is essentially the lens cap). In this regard, I find the Commlite solution better, as there’s always the possiblity of losing the lens cap and by extension, the ability to update the firmware.

The other major difference between the two is that the Commlite adapter features a built in tripod foot, similar to the foot that the Nikon FTZ adapter has. Unlike the FTZ adpater, the Commlite foot can be easily removed. I find that, while nice to have, I leave the tripod foot off most of the time. If I were adapting a heavier or larger lens (say the Canon 85mm 1.2 L), I could see the tripod foot being useful.

Performance wise, they were nearly identical. Both focused fast with the lenses I tested and either would be suitable to the task of adapting Canon glass to the Nikon Z bodies. Both captured EXIF data from the lens, but neither captured the lens brand name. For example, the Canon 50mm 1.8 STM lens just identified as a ’50mm f1.8′.

Between the two, I prefer the Commlite adapter over the TechArt. The MicroUSB port in the adapter vs. on the lens cap, and the removable tripod foot are advantages for the Commlite adapter. Additionally, the Commlite is $10 cheaper than the TechArt adapter. Either will get the job done, but the Commlite is my pick.

Commlite CM-EF-NZ Adapter

TechArt TZC-01

Nikon Z6 Body with FTZ adapter

Categories
Cameras Photography

Fujifilm X-T4 and the future

In you haven’t been living under a rock for the last week, you’ve probably seen the countless videos of the X-T4 in action. It seems Fujifilm blanketed anyone with a YouTube channel an X-T4 for review (except me, thanks Fujifilm). If you’ve watched any of those videos, you’ve seen the wonderful improvements Fujifilm has made to the X-T4 over the X-T3 – IBIS, bigger battery life and the fully articulating “vari-angle” screen being the stand out features. The X-T4, when it starts shipping at the end of April, is sure to be one of Fujifilms best sellers. But let’s take a minute to talk about what happens after the X-T4. 

A few interesting nuggets of information accompanies the X-T4’s launch. First, is that the X-T3 will continue to live alongside the X-T4 in the Fujifilm lineup. At $1299 for the body, this is going to be a great camera at a great price. And really, if you are looking at buying either the X-T3 or the X-T4, and you don’t need or like the fully articulating screen, don’t need IBIS, or are OK with the smaller battery (and body size), the X-T3 will save you $400. What will be interesting to see is what happens on the next iteration. Will Fujifilm make an X-T3 Mark II? Will the X-T3 remain in the body lineup for years as is, while the X-T4 will receive a new sensor and processor on the next iteration? It will be interesting to see. Perhaps the more interesting nugget of information released was that Fujifilm has not abandoned the X-H line. The big differentiator between the X-T and the X-H lines was IBIS, and now that the X-T4 has gained that advantage, all that really separates the two lines are the body shape. 

I suspect if the X-H line is going to soldier on, then Fujifilm sees it as a way to reach a market segment that the X-T line still isn’t reaching after it’s latest additions. Perhaps Fujifilm believes that with a bigger body, in the next iteration, they can give the X-H2 an even better implementation of IBIS. Or maybe they believe they can use the larger body to increase the processing power of the X-H2 to such that it could shoot at 30 fps and give it a buffer that can handle sustained sports shooting. Whatever they add to the X-H2, I’m sure it will position that camera as a more professional alternative to the X-T4. The biggest knock on Fujifilm and their current lens lineup is that there aren’t a lot of options for sports shooters. The XF 200mm f/2 R LM OIS WR is a beautiful, capable lens. But it doesn’t cover all the ranges a professional photographer shooting sports and wildlife might need. There’s a couple of lenses Fujifilm is releasing in 2020 that haven’t been identified on the lens roadmap. These lenses, when announced may tip their hand at what Fujifilm has in store for the X-H2. 

As someone who has owned every X-T camera since the release of the X-T1, it’s been a joy to see Fujifilm build their camera lineup from a small, capable, lightweight DSLR replacement with a few compromises, to a fully tricked out DSLR killer with the X-T4. Video, which was just downright terrible on the X-T1, is now the signature feature of the X-T4. And it’s class leading. The sheer amount of video options that Fujifilm has stuffed in the X-T3 and the X-T4 is just showing off at this point. Sure, the removal of headphone jack on the X-T4 is a step backwards. But with the option to restore that feature via the dongle or the battery grip, it’s not a crippling feature. It’s just an annoyance on what is, one paper at least, nearly the perfect hybrid camera.

Autofocus, which was a joke on the original X-T1 is now in the same league as Sony, which is generally considered to be the segment leader in autofocus. And no other camera manufacturer has been as dedicated as Fujifilm in releasing firmware updates that improve AF with nearly each release. 

So, those are my thoughts on the X-T4 and the future. What do you think? Are you happy that the X-T4  addressed the battery, articulating screen and IBIS? Are you going to upgrade to the X-T4? Do you think Fujifilm left space in their lineup for a new X-H2? Sound off below and let me know what you think.

Fujifilm X-T3 (Silver) – Amazon

Fujfilm X-T3 (Black) – Amazon

Fujifilm X-T4 (Silver) – Amazon

Fujifil X-T4 (Black) – Amazon

Categories
Cameras Lenses

Canon EF Lenses on Nikon Z mount cameras

If you are a Nikon Z shooter, and are looking to to expand your lens options beyond the small-ish selection of Nikon Z mount lenses and the large selection of Nikon F mount lenses, you have options.

Enter the TechArt TZC-01, a lens adapter that will allow you to use your Canon EF mount glass on your Nikon Z camera. TechArt also makes a version that will allow Sony E mount lenses to work on the Z mount as well, but for this review, I’m focusing on the Canon EF version.

The adapter is about what you’d expect from a lens mount adapter. It’s roughly the same size as the Nikon FTZ adapter, albeit without the tripod mount attachment that the FTZ features.

The adapter is built solidly, featuring a brass mounting ring, metal construction, and 1.45 oz / 41.0 g weight. If you are used to shooting with the FTZ, this won’t feel much different.

An unexpectedly nice feature of the TechArt TZC-01 is the lens dock, which is really just the lens cap. It features metal contacts to interface with the adapter, and a Micro-USB port, allowing you to deliver firmware updates to the adapter as they become available. How useful this feature is will ultimately rest with the manufacturer, and if they ever decide to issue a firmware update. But, it’s good to know that if Nikon ever issued a firmware update that rendered the TZC-01 inoperative, TechArt might be able to push their own firmware update out that would restore compatibility.

I jumped off the Canon system years ago, so I didn’t have many lenses to test against. My sole Canon EF lens I’ve retained – the Canon 50mm f1.8 STM II lens – aka the ‘nifty-fifty’, was the first test subject. Autofocus was quick, and all the standard auto focus options that are available to native Z mount lenses – Eye/Face autofocus and Animal AF – new to the Z with firmware 3.0 – worked great.

I rented the Canon EF 100mm f2.8 L lens for testing as well from Aperturent. Being a macro lens, this is not a super fast focusing lens even when used on a native EF mount body. That said, the lens performed admirably on both the Nikon Z6 and Z7.

Using the adapter, the camera will pick up limited EXIF data from the lens. You will get the maximum F stop and the focal length, but not the lens brand name. For instance, the Canon EF 100mm f2.8 L lens identifies only as ‘100mm f2.8’. This isn’t a dealbreaker, as I noticed when I was testing out the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 Sport lens on the Nikon Z cameras with the FTZ adapter, it too didn’t report the brand name of the lens.

At $249.00, I’ll leave it to you to decide if the price is worth the benefit. I suspect if you love your Nikon Z cameras, and have access to a good selection of Canon EF mount glass, the price of admission is worth it.

There are some quality Canon EF lenses that don’t have a Nikon Z (or let alone a Nikon F) equivalent. The Canon EF 50mm 1.2 and Canon 85mm f1.2 come to mind. Both of those lenses are beasts and have some great optical characteristics (namely, the insane bokeh both feature). However, neither were autofocus speed demons when mounted on the Canon 5D IV, so I wouldn’t expect them to be any better mounted on the Nikon Z cameras. Still, until Nikon ships the 50mm. 1.2 S lens sometime this year, it’s an option.

If you are a Canon EF shooter moving over to the Nikon Z ecosystem, this adapter could be indispensable as you slowly convert you glass to native Z mount offerings, as they become available over the next few years.

TechArt Canon EF to Nikon Z Mount Adapter – Amazon Affiliate Link

Canon 50mm f1.8 STM II – Amazon Affiliate Link

Nikon Z6 with 24-70 f4 S lens – Amazon Affiliate Link

Aperturent – Photo/Video/Lens rentals – Amazon Affiliate Link

Categories
Lenses Photography

Sigma 70-200 f2.8 Sport – Whole lotta lens for little money

My review of the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 Sports DG OS HSM.

Images shot with this lens used in the review: https://www.flickr.com/photos/serpicolugnut/albums/72157712985998117

Currently on sale at Amazon for $1185!

Use affiliate links below to support the channel.

Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 Sports DG OS HSM for Canon Mount – https://amzn.to/3707edG

Sigma 70-200mmF/2.8 DG OS HSM for Nikon F – https://amzn.to/31t5RU3

Categories
Computers

Macs are cheaper than PCs… Change my mind.

Categories
Cameras Lenses Photography

Nikon D780 and Z 70-200 f2.8