Monthly Archives: February 2017

Lume Cube Review

The makers of Lume Cube have a new  smaller and less powerful but a highly efficient light designed for phone photography called the Life Lite.  This is a smart, Bluetooth controlled, pocket-sized Lifestyle Light for iPhone, Android, DSLR or a GoPro. The Life Light will be available in March.

This gadget review however, is of the original Lume Cube and the cheaper version that does not have any bluetooth connectivity. Both are identical in performance and while you can controll one with a smart phone the lite version is all manual.  I have been using the Lume Cube for many months and have been most satisfied with its performance and portability.  I have used these lights for macro, video and portraiture and love the results they have helped produce.

Specs:

  • Type LED
  • Output Variable: 0 to 1500 Lumens
  • Strobe: Variable 1/8000 to 1 second
  • Mount Type: 1/4″-20 female
  • Power Source: Integrated battery
  • Battery Duration: 100% Brightness: 20 minutes; 90% Brightness: 60 minutes; 50% Brightness: 120 minutes
  • Power Connector: USB (for charging)
  • Waterproof Depth: 100′ / 30.5 m
  • Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.5″

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

The Lume Cube comes in a small cube shaped cardboard box that contains the Lume Cube and a USB charging cable.

You do need to unscrew a small cover to access the charging port.  This access cover is a requirement as the Lume Cube is rated to be waterproof to depth of 100 feet.

Shaped as a cube, the unit has two rubberized push button switches on the top and a 1/4 20 mount that can be used to mount the light on a light stand, tripod or any flexible light mounting device.

The two push buttons control the video light and the alternate flash function of the device. Each time you depress the on/off video switch the light cycles through 10 levels of intensity.

You can also control the Lume Cube using the mobile app. Lume Cube has simplified its lighting controls with a proprietary wireless, Bluetooth-enabled app, available on both Apple iOS and Android. The app is capable of controlling up to 5 Lume Cubes simultaneously. The app allows you to adjust the brightness, flash duration and red eye latency on each Lume Cube independently; and with its onboard optical sensor, Lume Cube can be configured as a slave flash unit to be fired by any other external flash.You have to register your Lume Cube to sync it to your app once registered you can control all your Lume Cube’s power and settings separately.

Lume Cube Setup and test for portraits

To test the Lume Cubes I fitted two Lume Cubes on two separate light stands. The “Main” Lume Cube was place so as to create Rembrandt lighting on the dummy head.  The second was place to create a gentle fill.  As you can see from the image below, the Lume Cube, due mainly to its size creates a fairly hard light.  The settings were ISO 200, f/1.7 at 1/125 sec. using a Panasonic Lumix GX85 body and a Lumix 42.5mm f/1.7 lens wide open.  The light emitted is cool and for this test I used an X-Rite Color Checker Passport to balance the temperature.

The second test was conducted with the same placement of the lights but instead of the Lume Cubes facing the dummy head directly the light was bounced off two Rogue Flash Benders.  No Diffusion material was used.

As you can see the light was much softer and way more pleasing in the image below.  The settings were ISO 640, F/1.7 at 1/80 sec.  Clearly there is about 3 stops of light loss when using the Flash Benders.  However, the soft light is excellent for portraiture.

 

Lume Cube for Macro/Close-up Photography

The Lume Cube produces a really hard light as it is a very small light, but also a very powerful one.  The Lume Cubes were about 1.5 inches from the subject.  Exposure triad: F/4, 1/800 sec., ISO 640.  The lens was a 30mm macro with an extension tube.  Camera: Panasonic Lumix GX85.

The following is the setup:

The image shown below is a 45 image stack using the GX85’s focus bracketing feature.

The portability of these little powerhouses has me convinced, and I tend to carry two in my bag at all times.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Posted in Accessories, Lighting, Lumix GX85, Macro, Mirrorless, Panasonic, Photography, Portraits, Product Reviews, Stacked Image

Lume Cube LITE Announced

Lume Cube has recently announced the Lume Cube LITE. This is priced at just $69.99, which is $10 less than the OG Lume Cube. Essentially the Lume Cube LITE is the same build quality as the Lume Cube, with just two features pulled out to cut costs. The Lume Cube LITE is stripped of the Optical Sensor (which is primarily for Professional DSLR Flash Photographers) as well as the Bluetooth connectivity (sometimes not needed for your everyday use), cutting the Lume Cube down in both weight, and in price! It still has the same 10 settings of bright light output, the same clean beam angle provided by our built-in fresnel lens, but the Lume Cube LITE has a manually triggered Strobe Light mode. 

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

 

 

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Posted in Photography

Aquatic Birds of Florida

Before I say anything, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not a videographer.  I captured these clips while I was in Florida during the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, late January 2017.  All these were captured during my photo walks/drives in Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island.  The primary purpose was to tryout the “In Body Image Stabilization” aka IBIS of the Panasonic Lumix G85 camera body.  The camera was used with the Leica 100 – 400 mm lens at its full extension that is an equivalent of 800 mm (most of the time).  All footage was captured hand-held and in many instances during high winds and rain.  

It is important to note, that all the footage was captured before Panasonic released two major firmware updates, one of the camera and the other for the lens.  What this means is that the Dual IS function was not in effect when these videos were captured.  

I was very impressed with the performance of this camera and lens combination and will be doing a comparison to see the impact of the new firmware when I am at the next conference in St. Augustine in April.

To see the video in 4K please CLICK HERE to be directed to YouTube

 

Posted in Lens, Lumix Leica 100-400 mm, Mirrorless, Panasonic, Video, Workshops Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Panasonic Lumix Camera and Lens Firmware updates – Feb 8, 2017

Panasonic yesterday released firmware updates to its G 80, 81 and 85; GX80 and 85 camera bodies; and the Leica H-RS100400 lens.

The firmware update to the G80,81 and 85 fixes the following:

  1. Reduced operation noise during the shooting standby or the motion picture recording.
  2. Dual I.S.2 function with the interchangeable lens H-RS100400 is available.
    (Firmware update of the H-RS100400 is required.)

The firmware update to the GX80 and 85 fixes the following:

  1. Reduced operation noise during the shooting standby or the motion picture recording.
  2. Fixed a problem that camera fails to connect to the Picmate server.

The firmware update to the Leica H-RS100400 lens fixes the following:

  1. Dual I.S.2 function is available.
    (Firmware update of Dual I.S.2 compatible model is required.
    The firmware of the DMC-G80/81/85 should be ver.1.2 or later.)
  2. Fixed the instability of Auto Focus when the focus switch set to [5m – ∞], using Olympus Corporation’s OM-D E-M1 MarkII.

PLEASE NOTE: THE UPDATES ARE SPECIFIC FOR EACH MODEL. PLEASE ENSURE YOU USE THE CORRECT UPDATE FOR YOUR CAMERA.

Thes updates can be downloaded using the following link:

Panasonic firmware updates

Posted in Photography

LRTimelapse version 4.7.5

LRTimelapse version 4.7.5 has just been released.  Here is the link for the update:

https://lrtimelapse.com/download/

If you do not own the best Timelapse processing application (it works in tandem with Adobe Lightroom) you can get it here:

 

LRTimelapse.com - advanced time lapse photography made easy.

This update improves support for external ramping tools like the timelapse+ View and improvements for working with Cinema-DNG files. The windows version does not need java installed anymore (likewise as on mac) and along with this there are several fixes and improvement to make your workflow easier and more streamlined. Preview generation has been significantly improved and several new cameras are now supported.

Posted in Photography

Adobe CS 6 Dead (Retired) and CC subscription prices go up in some countries

Without any press release or announcement, Adobe has officially retired the CS 6 products.  The CS 6 web page reads:

“Looking for Creative Suite 6? The latest versions of all your favorite apps like Photoshop and Illustrator are only available with a Creative Cloud membership. You’ll also get hundreds of step-by-step tutorials, built-in design templates, your own portfolio website, and more.
 
As of January 9, 2017 Creative Suite is no longer available for purchase.”
 
Lightroom is still available as a standalone product so you can still get the latest RAW converter and continue to use your Photoshop CS 6 License.
 
I am using Capture One for my Library and RAW conversion (so awesome); Affinity (from Serif, now also for Windows), On1 RAW and Macphun Luminar for Pixel based editing. I really do not use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop except for some demos and where my students need specific Adobe product help and I never did subscribe to the CC model.
 
Also from Adobe:

Adobe and currency fluctuations

Currency exchange rates have fluctuated significantly over the last few years. Like many US-based global companies, Adobe is making pricing adjustments in a number of countries to offset fluctuations in foreign exchange rate. Starting on March 6, 2017, the price of Adobe products in the United Kingdom and Sweden will be increased. Existing customers will receive information about their subscription pricing directly from Adobe.
 
When do the product prices increase in the United Kingdom and Sweden? 
 The increased prices are effective starting on March 6, 2017.
 
I have an existing membership. Is my monthly fee going up?  
If you have a month-to-month plan, you will see the price increase on your statement at the next billing date. If you have an annual plan, the new price goes into effect at the end of your annual term.
 
Posted in Photography