Tag Archives: product reviews

Philip Bloom Looks at Panasonic’s HPX-301e

Philip Bloom (http://philipbloom.co.uk/), a UK based cameraman, has put together an amazing video review of the NEW Panasonic HPX-301e (basically the European version of the HPX-300 being discussed on the b-roll.net FORUM).

Take a look at the great images and honest review of the newest camera from Panasonic.

The complete review can be found here.

Kleer DigiFi Opera Wireless Earbuds

Contributed by: Brian Young, Miami Beach, http://flacaproductions.com

digifi_opera_big_picture_11I took the plunge and bought a set of Kleer DigiFi Opera Wireless Earbuds recently and i think they’re really great.

I used them yesterday on an all-day, network news, run-n-gun shoot (7 tapes off the shoulder, multiple locations, multiple vehicles, a quick 45 minutes in a helicopter…you get the picture) and was very impressed. It was perfect for this kind of day.

Today, I shot a sit down interview and went back to my normal system – a coiled cable audio implements custom mold IFB – I’ve never been a headphone guy – too cumbersome. I’ve been using these IFBs for 20 years. but I think in the future, I’ll use the wireless and keep the IFB in the bag for a backup – even on sit-downs. I think it will be nice to be able to break away and mess with lights, etc and not have to worry about plugging/unplugging the IFB.

The DigiFi was a really pleasant surprise…something that has become second nature to me – using the IFB – has been greatly improved.

A few thoughts:

- I normally only want one ear monitoring, keeping my left ear open. I was a little concerned about achieving this with the digifi, (what was i going to do with the earpiece that i wasn’t using?) but it was easy to accomplish. I put the right ear in, draped the receiver section of the unit across the back of my neck (it fits and feels very natural – after a few minutes, I forgot it was there) and then just tucked the left ear unit inside the collar of my shirt. It stayed put all day. NO issues. When we got in the chopper, I just picked up the left ear, put it in and it was great. A nice option for closer monitoring or higher noise situations.

- I was using this on a Betacam (D55/PVV3) and the one earphone output is mono. You have to plug the little transmitter in – which is stereo (since its main target use is for music) so I just used a mono-to-stereo adapter on the transmitter plug. Worked like a charm and since the monitor jack is in the back/bottom section of the deck (just above the XLRs, but below the battery) it didn’t matter that it was sticking out as it was “protected” by the XLRs and the battery, and it rode there just fine all day. I’ll eventually find a place to Velcro it, but the short extension cable it ships with is just a bit too short to get it any place viable. it’s an easy ‘fix’ that really isn’t needed, but is probably the way to do it right. If you have a camera that has a switchable mono/stereo mini-plug monitor jack, you might not have to employ an adapter to get both signals mixed down to mono.

They run at 2.4GHz. Audio quality is great. Virtually no lag (like bluetooth) and plenty of gain (which is still controlled by the camera output – the DigiFi only has a power switch on the transmitter and the receiver).  It actually has more gain than when I use the IFB. even at higher levels, there is absolutely no distortion in the audio.

You charge both units over USB – and they get a full charge in what seemed less than an hour. They ran all day with no issues – but I did shut them off during lunch and a couple of other down times. It’s supposed to run for 10 hours on one charge. It automatically shuts down after a few minutes (not sure exactly how long) if it detects that its not moving any audio. It fired right back up quickly with a button push on the transmitter and one on the receiver. Easy. It never slowed me down and is certainly faster than hooking back up the IFB.

It’s amazingly – and surprisingly – liberating to not be tethered to the camera, yet still be able to monitor audio. You can put the camera down for the little breaks and not get all tangled up. You can set the camera on the ground for a couple of shots – same deal. In the chopper it was really nice to have one less cable to deal with, yet not give anything up. It looks/feels pretty sturdy, so I think it’ll hold up, but if it does die, I think I’d order another one – which is the real answer as to how much I like it so far.

I also believe that this is delivering a much higher quality signal than the IFB – not really hard to do, actually – so that’s a nice plus. My only issue is trying to figure out what i do with the receiver when i’m done shooting. The IFB just clipped onto the camera strap – I’ll have to figure out some place for the DigiFi receiver/earbuds to live when not in use – I think a little Velcro patch will solve that quickly.

So – from my early, one-time experience, this is a real winner of a little product. While it may have answered a question that hadn’t been asked much, for me it’s higher quality audio monitoring with one less cable. Win-win. Might be the best $100 I’ve spent in a while.

Full disclosure – I have no connections of any kind to this product…just a satisfied customer so far.

REVIEW| A Look at the D-Pro Xtender

Even though I may appear to be a huge gadget-hound, I’m very much a minimalist when it comes to the typical shoot. Remembering my days of shooting with a 3/4 deck on one shoulder, a camera on the other, and a 15 pound “bat utility belt” around my waist – my compact and self-contained camera with no extraneous equipment is the only way to go.  I like to be light and nimble – while still having the proper arsenal to shoot good images.

It is with this stubbornness that I am cautious about adding new peripherals to my camera.

Shawn Dennison of D-Pro has convinced me to try something new. The Xtender is a hinged bracket that mounts on your camera and gives your standard camera light a lift.

I hate using my top light, but there are times when it is the only choice. The night interview with the police P.I.O. at at crime scene, or the quick interview with a politician running down a dark hallway. Just a little light off to the side to prevent the terrible “deer in headlights” look, and a bad image is made better.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Hey, there are plenty of light bracket solutions out there, what’s so great about this one?” Let me have Mr. Dennison show you…

D-Pro has thought of everything, include solid joints, and innovative mounting screws that don’t torque lose from use.

But the best part about the Xtender is – I’ve had it on my camera for a week now and I’ve forgotten it’s there. It doesn’t add any bulk to my camera; it doesn’t get in the way. It hides on my camera until I need it.

That is the definition of good peripheral gear. Stay out of my way – but be there when I need you.

Sounds kinda like the description of a good reporter.

How to Setup, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews

From: Kevin Johnson

Training DVD 60 minutes Retail: $40.00 vortexmedia.com

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks… or so they say.

Even though career wise, I’m not an “old dog” (more like a mid-life crisis dog), I’ve been doing this enough that I feel like I have my bag of tricks filled just fine.

So when Doug Jensen of Vortex Media sent me a copy of his DVD, “How to Setup, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews (using a light kit that costs under $1500),” I’ll admit I was a little skeptical. My interview lighting is adequate, gets the job done, and looks OK… why should I sit at home after a long day at work and watch someone tell me how to do my job.

The DVD sat next to the TV for a week or so until, I needed to kill time waiting for a plumber to arrive. I popped the disc in, and much to my surprise, I LEARNED NEW TRICKS!

“How to Setup” takes you through the process of lighting an interview from start to finish. Broken down in smart chapters, the video follows a typical production crew setting up an interview. Everything from picking the proper location in a subjects house – to the placement of the camera – to positioning the interviewer and subject – and then finally what lights to pull out and where to place them.

A full day long lighting seminar crammed in a 60 minute DVD, this is the perfect video for a photographer just starting out in the business of television. Even if you don’t have the $1500 light kit described in the title, you can still learn a lot about placement, composition and depth of field.

But don’t think this leaves the experienced photog out of the loop. Even after 14 years in the business, I found a lot of nuggets that I can use in my daily shoots.

Check out a preview of the video here.

For a limited time, b-roll readers save 30% of the purchase of How to Setup, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews (using a light kit that costs under $1500).”

More info at: http://vortexmedia.com

Cineflex Hi-Def Gyro Stabilized Camera

From: Lynn French

In Phoenix, we have “Car Chase Tuesday” and “Thunderstorm Thursday”. For some reason, the crazies go carjacking on Tuesdays and lead police and the gaggle of TV news helicopters on low speed pursuits through residential areas. On Thursdays we get fast moving weather events that arrive with a huge wall of dust called a “haboob” (that is the correct meteorological term—guess what it looks like?) and drop a little rain in the streets that also serve as the drainage system. The village idiots then drive around in it until they drown their Volkswagens and have to be rescued by redneck angels in jacked-up Ford 150s with tractor tires on custom rims.

Our viewers LOVE watching these things unfold on live TV. I will be the first to admit that Phoenix is not a hot bed for Big “J” journalism. People move here to escape being cold and dealing with reality, they don’t want either in their newscast. Our viewers love shiny things: car chases with lots of flashing lights, big blazing house fires, sparkling water running in places it should not (I won’t tell you how many water main breaks we fly on).

In a city that is 40 miles wide and 60 miles long, the only way to bounce from downtown to Scottsdale in a few minutes during rush hour is via helicopter. And as mentioned before on this website, we got a new one! The ol’ Sky Pig we traded in actually had a great camera: a standard issue Wescam with the laptop controller and a 90X lens. The new Sky 12 has a Cineflex Hi-Def gyro stabilized camera with a 108X lens. Same principle, a world of differences.

I have worked Wescams for seven years, never tried a Flir, and shot off the shoulder with a gyro zoom for a few years before that. Part of me misses flying with the doors off, hanging by a harness, feeling airspeed against my shoes. Parts of me, my shoulder and back specifically, do not miss the awkward sitting position, the frustration of zooming in for the moment you showed up for and catching a little thermal that bounces the hell out of your shot. I loved the partnership you built with the pilot to give shots a sense of cinematography using the aircraft as the pan and tilt instead of the lens. Now you zoom out, put a little roll in it and it makes crime scenes and real estate look like the opening shot of a film about suburbia.

I have a correction to make from the “I’ll Fly Away” article, our camera is not serial number 2, it is SN0001. So, as you can guess, we are still working out the bugs. The first time we used the camera was for a car accident (shiny crumpled stuff). If the police officers at the scene saw it on the air that night, they had to feel good…they looked 8 feet tall with 22 inch waists and all of the vehicles involved were Mini Coopers. This is what happens when you squeeze a 16 X 9 image into a 4 X 3 screen without the proper down conversion. Somewhere between the factory and Wysong in Tennessee, folks switched the down conversions from high definition to standard def, back and forth, they switched them one too many times. It is not an easy problem to correct once the helicopter is put together. When Rick, our chief pilot, described what he and the factory rep had to do to fix it, taking the helicopter apart and starting fresh from the air frame sounded like an easier option.

Once the aspect ratio is corrected, the picture is a jaw dropper to say the least. What this camera can do on 1X most cameras can’t do with a doubler. The first time it really hit me was when we were floating over a vendor tent fire at a horse show. I got all the regular shots on 1X and then went to the doubler. Being able to read the fire fighters’ names on their helmets from 800 feet above quickly solidified my appreciation for the new system. Even when the HDTV signal is down converted, it is still so much clearer than how a standard camera reads the picture. We used to read license plate numbers pretty well from 1000 feet, now we can see if their registration is expired.

Anyone who works with a Wescam knows the upward looking bounce. If you point the camera too far above the horizon, it starts to jiggle up and down and locks in this mode for a few seconds. This is a maddening feature if you are shooting other aircraft flying parallel or ascending next to you or a wide shot that includes the sky, such as a sunset (which happens to be our most popular shot in Arizona). The Cine-Flex is far more agile when it comes to it’s range of view. It can look about 25 degrees above the flat horizon and when it reaches it’s limit, it just stops, no bounce. Both systems are pretty equal when it comes to looking straight down… they get equally confused and can turn the image upside down or lock onto it and keep it stable.

Both cameras are equal in a few areas. You can control zoom rate, the controls are easy to understand after you work with them a bit, the laptop gets sticky on the bottom on a hot day and welds to your legs if you are wearing shorts. Both do a fine job of holding on a point as you orbit around it and both can make the image look like it lays down if you don’t tweak the roll occasionally. Where Wescam has the little thumb controller that looks like a fat canoe to work the roll, Cine-Flex incorporates the roll into the joystick and it operates like a high-end Atari accessory from the ’80′s, both equally effective and occasionally clumsy. The one advantage of Wescam in this area, you could reverse the roll where you pushed on the low end of the thumb controller to raise the opposite side of the horizon or pushing on one side of the canoe brought that side down and you could increase it’s sensitivity to your touch. With the Cine-Flex joystick, you only get the factory setting.

There are a few things I miss about the Wescam, namely, the overlay. With Wescam, you can have a lot of important information “supered” onto the monitor that shows your picture: microwave transmitter status, which features are turned on, cross hairs and safety zones. But most importantly, the direction the lens is pointed in relation to the aircraft. Cine-Flex has no overlay what so ever. They have a very “artsy” version of the lens direction inlaid in red lights on the laptop controller. Once you get used to it, it can be functional, but it is not a quick read visually for a brain that is being bombarded with scanner information, air traffic control, the station’s off air audio, and the desk calling over the two-way. Usually, I end up stopping for a second, looking out the window for some landmarks and working off those because I can’t determine which way the lens is pointing from the picture on the monitor. In a really heated spot news situation, you will find your eyes fatigue a lot quicker doing this versus glancing at the corner of the screen to check the overlay.

Here we come to the big bug: the microwave transmitter status. The microwave system is by NSI (not affiliated with Cineflex). The NSI microwave pod used in our system was designed to go on top of live trucks. To install it on our helicopter, they turned it upside down and put it on the belly. Well, the reading it gives you to help your engineering folks tune you in on the ground IS OFF BY 180 DEGREES! I think most of us would agree that we went into television so we would not have to do any complicated math. Every reading the pod gives in relation to the receive site requires that we add 180 unless it is over 180, then we subtract 180. Yeah, carry the two, divide by six, and take the derivative of the logarithm to the “nth power, damn, do I sound like an idiot over the two-way when I am trying to do math in my head. The NSI microwave system was recommended to us because of it’s stronger antenna and it also works as a receiver for doing bounce shots. For now, we will have to live with it. If you are considering an NSI system for a helicopter, ask if this has since been fixed.

With the bugs come wonderful advancements. The nose mount itself looks cool. It has a carbon fiber covering and is considerably lighter than the other ball camera systems; 67 pounds… I have worked with MII cameras that weighed more. The iris and white balance controls have a wider range than older systems. Rather than the classic 3200K Filter One for nighttime, and three 5600K filters with two neutral densities for daylight, it works on the independent filters where you can dial in varying levels of ND and four different white balance colors (3200, 4300, 5600, 6300). In a place like Phoenix with nuclear sunlight almost every day of the year or somewhere with snow and bright sun, you can get a much nicer iris range with the independent filters and maintain better colors with the various white balances. I will be interested to see how this portion of the system holds up over the years. These are controlled with a touch screen. News photographers are not known for their light touch. If I had to place a bet as to what we will break first, this would be it.

As many differences as I see as the operator, where it really counts is with the viewers. Along with the much crisper picture and better colors, it is just so freakin’ solid. If you are watching it from home, you will think we have a tripod in the sky. With the purchase of a new helicopter, we did not get better air over Arizona. There are still the same thermals, tail winds and pollution. But in combination with a more powerful aircraft, the camera does an incredible job of taking any vibration out of the tightest shots. With that powerful zoom, as the operator, it is more important than ever to be sensitive to our viewers. Just because I can go on doubler and see the blown out skull of a dude who was found executed in the desert and tell you the time off of his wrist watch does not mean I should, some things are still best done on a wide shot.

It will be interesting to see this new camera system mature and evolve over the years in the same way Wescam and Flir have while paving the way for some great innovations. But just once before it gets too hot, I would like to fly with the doors off for old times sake on Car Chase Tuesday.

cineflex.com

Final Cut Pro 3

From:  Kim Fatica

Apple’s third generation non-linear edit platform has gone from a novel curiosity to heavyweight contender in just two short years. Even the very first version of Final Cut Pro was an impressive freshman effort, but many thought Apple’s headfirst dive into serious post-production waters would bellyflop.

Upgrades to FCP 2 included improvements in rendering, with real-time hardware-assisted effects (Matrox RTMac and Pinnacle CineWave), better ways to manage your media files, and advanced timeline features that brought the program more respect. It also added much-needed audio controls and monitoring. It was becoming the tool of choice for independent filmmakers and getting some looks from a few broadcast houses, but it was still viewed by many as a lightweight.

It took Apple about nine months to drop the jaws of an industry that had praised Avid and bashed Macintosh-based-anything as child’s play. Final Cut Pro 3 arrived with a fury.

Before I get wrapped-up in a feature-intensive article, let me first say one of my favorite features of FCP 3 is the documentation. The last version came with a telephone book-like manual that was more than one thousand pages thick. Apple wised-up and produced a three volume set which also included additional manuals for new features and tutorials. If this is your first time with FCP and you find the documentation daunting, I highly recommend purchasing a guide such as Lisa Brenneis’ “Final Cut Pro for Macintosh” ($24.99, Peachpit Press, www.peachpit.com). It boils it all down in just over 600 pages.

Apple added some great upgrades to this package, including color correction tools to assure compliance with broadcast standards (even providing zebra bars for hot zones) and for correcting poor white balances. Before FCP 3 there was no way of knowing if your luminance and chrominance levels were “broadcast legal”. There is also a window that can display a waveform monitor, histogram, vectorscope and RGB parade in any configuration. Look at one. Look at two. See all four. The choice is yours.

FCP 3 is OS X native; meaning it takes advantage of the Unix-based platform for added stability, protected memory and advanced memory management. With Apple’s built-in digital hub, audio and video can live in harmony under one roof. The elegance of the Aqua user interface isn’t apparent when operating under X, which I found a little disappointing. Buttons and toolbar sliders that typically appear three-dimensional in OS X look very plain in FCP 3. There has been the argument that the basic interface is good because it doesn’t present a distraction under professional working conditions, but one of Apple’s selling points has always been to not look like “the other guy”. Freedom of expression has always been Apple’s credo. Perhaps the thinking here was to keep the familiarity with the program rather than unfurl a whole new look; something I think many people are still struggling with in the transition from OS 9 to X.

The introduction of OS X has been a blessing in many ways, but it is still evolving. There are some minor buggy issues that still need to be worked out before I’m comfortable operating FCP fully under X. Go ahead, call me a killjoy. Several of my colleagues who have been running FCP in X have had some trouble batch capturing (capturing a group of designated clips in one session). The program has, on occasion and without warning, shut down. An OS X bonus: only the program crashes, not the entire system. Rebooting works to restore the program, but that is a hassle. Some of my effects plug-ins and filters were written for 9 and won’t operate under X. Final Cut can share plug-ins with Adobe After Effects, so you may want to check them to see if they are compatible. Developers are getting on the X bandwagon, so expect to see everyone caught up before year’s end. Apple has turned the corner with this operating system and has no plans of backward compatibility in the future.

You may have heard of FCP 3′s ability to show G4 real-time (RT) effects, something achieved previously only through the installation of hardware such as the Matrox RTMac board. Notice I wrote that FCP can “show” RT effects. It gets a bit murky here, so pay attention.

Final Cut Pro 3 offers a new feature called OfflineRT, an offline format that saves precious hard drive space. Video captured in the OfflineRT format is highly compressed. Apple’s official press release contends you can keep 40 minutes of OfflineRT video per gigabyte of disk space. The “What’s New in Final Cut Pro 3″ manual included with the software says approximately 120 minutes. No matter. Capturing vids in OfflineRT format reduces the transcoding from DV’s 3.6MB/second data rate down to 660K/second. When you finish editing your project in OfflineRT format, you head to the Media Manager and use the “Create offline” option from the popup menu to prepare your sequence for output to tape.

OfflineRT is not the same as the G4 real-time effects offered in FCP 3. OfflineRT is a format. G4 real-time effects is an editing tool that will work with OfflineRT or DV footage, but is only a way to preview your work as a timesaving measure. It provides the editor with a way to check the timing of an edit before they waste valuable time rendering to check the edit. Aha!

If you are working with G4 real-time, you had better be doing it on a desktop G4 with a processor speed of at least 500 MHz. Or you should have a 667 MHz Titanium PowerBook. Those are just the minimum G4 real-time requirements. The real-time effects won’t work properly on G3s or slower G4s. The new dual processor G4s are idyllic and work fabulously for real-time. You also will not be able to view your effects if you output to a FireWire device. In RT, FireWire output is disabled. In order to see the RT effects on a monitor you will have to install a graphics card with video output. Laptop editors should note that G4 PowerBooks already have an S-Video output, so you are in luck. Oh yes, one other point about RT mode: you still have to render when you finish editing.

I made mention earlier of Matrox’ RTMac board ($699, www.Matrox.com), a hardware solution to provide real-time editing to Final Cut. Installing the board means you won’t need to use Apple’s G4 real-time effects and your entire sequence won’t require rendering time. Nice. Real nice.

Apple did some really nifty things to Final Cut to make life as an editor much simpler. It seems to take me forever to get a project done when I work out of my home studio. Distractions from my children and the occasional reminder I’ve forgotten to take out the garbage often force me to leave my work unattended for a while. And unsaved. “Autosave Vault” is a new enhancement that allows you to go back and view previously saved versions of your project. Your precious projects are now backed-up as often as you specify. You can indicate how often you want FCP to back-up your projects and how many copies per project are to be backed-up. To me that is equivalent of having 99 layers of “undo” in Illustrator (Adobe’s vector drawing program). Go ahead. Let the kids whack the keyboard a few times. No big whoop.

Well there is one caveat: The Autosave Vault folder is not locked, so you had better not delete it. The manual warns you that the autosave files in that deleted folder cannot be re-created.

I was really impressed with the inclusion of Boris Calligraphy plug-ins, which allow you to make animated 3D titles. There’s also the Voiceover tool that allows you to take track directly to disk and into your project folder. Version 3 also supports the use of up to 12 scratch disks-additional storage disks for saving captured media and rendered files. I also liked the new Chroma Keyer and flicker reduction filters, improved audio controls (three-band equalizer, hum remover, reverb, echo), and excellent support of five different EDL formats (CMX 340/3600, Sony 5000/9100 and GVG 4 Plus). The list goes on.

Keyboard controls make shuttling and scrubbing a breeze. You can shuttle through your clips and sequences by the simple J (reverse) K (pause) L (forward) keystrokes and mark in and out points with the I and O keys. You can also pick up a third party keyboard such as one of two Post-Op Video EZ Keyboards ($110 and $140, www.postop.com) for Final Cut, which are color-coded and labeled to make navigation even easier. Finally, I heartily recommend Contour Design’s ShuttlePro programmable conroller ($99, www.contourdesign.com). The low-profile USB device fits comfortably to your hand has a familiar shuttle/jog wheel in the center and programmable function buttons.

I’ve been asked dozens of times for a recommendation of the best affordable NLE system. There are many fine programs available right now, but none can match the price/performance ratio of Final Cut Pro. You get a whole lot for your thousand bucks and right now there is nothing that can touch this program on a Mac, save for Adobe’s DV Collection, which includes Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator for $1100. But that’s four separate programs and Premiere is nowhere near as advanced as FCP.

Respect? If you were drawn to see Planet of the Apes, Lord of the Rings and Training Day, you should thank Final Cut Pro. The trailers were all cut on it. The three original networks, once stuck in a tape-to-tape loop have all used it. Have a Mac? Get FCP 3. With the new G4s having full digital integration at an affordable price, you can set up that home edit bay you’ve always dreamed about for $3,000 or less.

http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/finalcutpro/

bagpod

From: Andy Grossman

Too mobile for a tripod? Steadybag not quite what you need? Try bagpod, the lightweight support for extended hand-held situations.

This is a must-have for sports shooters. The padding is soft like buttah! Ryan Hunter, developer of bagpod, reccommends the support be tucked under the armpit. The idea is to relax your right shoulder, and have the bagpod support your shooting arm. This transfers the weight to the wide, grippy strap on your left shoulder. Once I got used to the feeling of carrying something on my left shoulder, I realized the burning sensation I usually get between my shoulder blades was not there. I tried to adjust the strap to hang lower in order to rest my elbow on top of the bagpod. However, that puts even more weight on the left shoulder. So in the end, Ryan’s recommendation worked better.

I gave it to one of my fellow photographers, Shelly to try. She agreed that it took weight off her back and noticed her shooting seemed steadier, as well.

For you “run and gun” shooters, this is it. The main pocket of the bagpod has room for a wireless bodypack or cube, snacks, an UltraLight, or anything else you can hold in two hands. This is especially nice for you DVCpro shooters, as the pocket can stow a couple of tapes. There is a smaller pocket that I use for pens, 9-volts, and my trusty chamois.

Underneath is a Velcro loop to hold a coiled mic cable. This also works well as strain relief for your cable during live shots. So not only do you get the weight distribution during long hand-held live shots, you can prevent the video cable from being pulled out from the back of the camera.The bagpod’s Velcro loop kept my cables neatly out of the way.

It was refreshing to not suffer through a 30 minute newsroom liveshot with an unsupported camera. The added stability helped when my blocking called for an MCU 20 feet away.

The shell is made of a heavy black cordura. Quality zippers keep all your stuff together. I’ve not used my bagpod long enough to attest to the durability of the foam filling, but I’m sure that future usage will put it to the test.

If I could change anything, I would add space on the top for those frequently used items. I could use a couple stitched loops sized to fit pens, and one larger loop for a Mini MagLite.

All in all, bagpod offers great camera support, storage, and a good surface for low angle shots.

bagpod eased that pain in my back. Now, if it can help with those “pain in the neck” producers…

NOTE: This product is no longer manufactured.