Godox Witstro AD-180 with ProPac external battery pack
Current pricing on Aliexpress: AD 180 ± U$ 275; AD-360 from ± U$ 420
Maybe you have been wondering if a branded flash is giving you the best bang for the buck. Or maybe you need more illuminating power when on location, without dragging around studio strobes, heavy power inverters and bags of extension cables; that is, if you have access to a wall outlet at all... In come the Godox Witstro portable bare-tube flashes.
The Witstros are hot-shoe flashes that give you studio-strobe akin flash power in a package that is only slightly heavier than the Nikon SB-910 – not including the external PowerPac or optional accessories – and generate roughly six (AD-180) to nine times (AD-360) the flash output at a comparable price. That is without even considering that open tube has another important advantage over hot-shoe flash: very even lighting, virtually without fall-off. Godox claims the flashes cover up to 28mm (18mm DX) without dark corners, which is a typical problem of hot-shoe models, especially at wider angles.
Left: Strobies XS Bracket, pan reflector. Right: Photoflex umbrella holder + hot shoe mount
Anybody who has a little experience with flash photography knows that on-camera flash – even with a modifier – rarely gives the best possible results. This is why all Nikon DSLR's since the D2/D200 include a unique iTTL flash system called CLS, which allows you to remotely control off-camera flash units, be that a SB-600, SB-700, SB-800, SB-900/910 or any combination of CLS compatible flashes.
With the exception of the flagships (D1-D4 series) – which do not have a built-in flash – and the so-called Baby Nikons (including the D3000- and D5000 series), all models from the D200 onward also include the option to use the built-in flash to remotely trigger up to two groups of external flashes. This so-called “Commander Mode” can be set in the flash menu > built-in flash > commander mode.
On one of those typical gray, Dutch September rainy days we did a little tour of an old-fashioned photo store called Camera Land, located at one of those typical gray, suburban shopping centers; this one in the city of Alkmaar, at about 35 km. from Amsterdam. Although it is nothing compared to those giant photo stores in the US, it is a pleasure to spend some time there, because the owner is around – which always helps – they are well stocked and the staff is not pushy, very knowledgeable and ready to think along with the customer.
Since I am tall, I have had quite a bit of trouble to find a good mono-pod to fit me, but the store carries the RedGed brand, which takes this aspect into consideration. So, they had no trouble coming up with three 170 cm. models – two of which carbon fiber and out of budget. I left with the most economical of the three: a RMA-432 4-section one-touch aluminum mono-pod, which has a tube diameter of 32 mm., folds down to 54 cm., supports up to 15 Kg. and weighs only 650 grams (69 Euros). I also bought another umbrella adapter for off-camera flash, but my best buy by far was also the cheapest:
Yup, it’s kind of hard to understand “конкурса Мисс Вселенная - 2010”, except for the 2010 bit. If the previous is just mumbo jumbo in your browser, you may need to install some Cyrillic typeface on your system. Not that it makes any difference; Russian is still Chinese to the majority of us, right? Let me help you out: it’s about just another Miss Universe contest; this time the Mexican beauty Jimena Navarrete turned out to be the winner. The site also reports that Donald Trump is suing the organizers of this Vilnius.ru MU event, for being “non-offical”. Nothing will happen, of course, but I still wonder what maffia.ru will be thinking about that.
Sometimes we run into “Cool Stuff” by accident, as I did with this piece of camera equipment. However, I will start looking more consciously for particularly “cool” gadgets that might interest you and will try to post my “finds” on a somewhat regular basis.
The GoPro HERO is a high performance, wearable, waterproof 1080p HD video and still photo “sports” camera, even though I can think of a few applications not even remotely sports, but equally cool... It records 1080p/960p/720p HD video at 30 and 60 frames per second (60 fps in 720p), up to 2.5 hours on a single charge and up to 9 hours total on a 32GB SD card (not included).
It may take a while to get the hang of it, but once you do, geo-tagging is addictive. It only takes a compatible Nikon camera and a relatively cheap device to all of a sudden find yourself and your images totally Googlearthed. ¿Googlearthed? No way that word exists. Well maybe it didn’t, but now it does.
Figure this: you connect a GPS device to almost any* Nikon camera and - all of a sudden - the machine knows it's precise location on the planet, instantaneously. You may not always remember where you have been, but your Nikon surely does.