Gadgets & Gizmos

With photographers pushing the limits of where they position their cameras, it's no surprise tripod manufacturers are seeing new market opportunities. A great example is Sirui's W-2204 Carbon Fibre Waterproof Tripod. In fact, it's a monopod and tripod in one!

The tripod is protected from water, dirt and dust. In addition, it has a newly designed locking mechanism for comfortable operation and a spirit level for accurate alignment - so you know your camera is level, even if your camera's built-in level is out of alignment!

The tripod tubes are manufactured from 10-layer carbon fibre (which means reduced weight, increased stability and vibration-free performance).

Another special feature of Sirui's W-2204 is that one leg can be removed and used as a monopod. The centre column is also made of two sections of different lengths. The short section can be used with the tripod for ground-level shots. The long section can be used to increase the height of the monopod to 177 cm.

The legs have three ratchet positions and can be folded up by 180° so that the tripod measures just 52 cm when collapsed – and great for attaching to a backpack-style camera bag.

Each leg is made of four sections with three sealed twist locks. Rubber feet and metal spikes ensure that the tripod is stable on any surface.

A stabilising hook on the centre column is a Sirui standard (you hang something heavy from it to give the tripod more stability in windy conditions, for example), as are cold weather grips and a transport bag. The bag strap can also be used as a tripod strap.

Other features include a reversible 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch screw for heads/cameras, weight of 1.7 kg and a maximum carry load of 18 kg.

The tripod offers camera holding heights of 15.5 – 180 cm, while the monopod extends from 48 – 177 cm. RRP $549.

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How many pixels are enough? The Phase One XF IQ4 camera systems are built upon a new and expandable Infinity Platform and three 'full-frame' medium format camera models are offered, including the IQ4 150MP (151-megapixels), the IQ4 100MP Trichromatic (101-megapixels), and the IQ4 150MP Achromatic (151-megapixels).

Most interesting with the Infinity Platform, Phase One has moved the core of Capture One’s imaging processor into the IQ4 back itself. Called ‘Capture One Inside’, this offers raw file control in your camera. Image editing and processing – once possible only in the Capture One software application on a computer – can now be controlled within the IQ4 – although you will only be using the back's relatively small LCD screen, so you mightn't be doing a lot of retouching! However, it's a start of what could be a wholesale change in the way cameras are built and used.

Capture One Inside enables:

• improved preview quality;

• JPEG processing;

• IIQ style integration;

• improved Live View, faster frame rate, and new tools.

Phase One is known for its modular, open-platform approach. Like the Phase One XF camera body, introduced in 2015, the Infinity Platform of the IQ4 has been engineered to anticipate developments in technology and expand functionality to support changing workflow demands.

The IQ4 150MP and IQ4 150MP Achromatic models feature an ultra-efficient pixel design (the Backside Illuminated (BSI) sensor) that delivers unprecedented image quality and detail. It's a world first in full-frame medium format photography.

Wireless, USB-C and Ethernet offer greater control of connectivity and workflow. It means users will be able to interface directly with accessories such as hard drives, NAS storage, network solutions and mobile devices, while the new Ethernet and USB-C ports can offer charging capabilities of the camera system or sustained power from compatible devices. Support for both XQD and SD memory cards can be combined with the above tethering options to provide a multitude of workflow solutions.

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LaCie is well known for producing portable hard drives. The highly visible orange casing for its Rugged drives can be seen on film and photography sets around the world and, most importantly, there is a high level of physical protection for the valuable data inside.

Nevertheless, once Seagate (who owns LaCie) purchased Toshiba (who makes small solid state storage devices), it seemed inevitable that LaCie would deploy smaller SSD storage devices as well. While the Rugged drives are not large and easily fit into a camera bag, the new LaCie SSD drives are one quarter the size and much lighter still. You'll hardly know you're carrying one!

LaCie's Portable SSDs are compact, external solid state drives which offer fast and reliable performance featuring USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gb/s) technology, with a USB-C connector for universal compatibility.

With maximum sequential read/write speeds of 540/500 MB/s, the LaCie Portable SSD is available in 2 TB, 1 TB or 500 GB capacities. As an example of its throughput, the light-weight solutions can transfer one hour of 4K 30 fps video footage in less than one minute and store up to 65 hours of 4K 30 fps video or up to 20,000 raw photos (depending on your raw file size, of course, and the capacity of your chosen LaCie Portable SSD - we're talking the largest 2 TB capacity here).

Given the units high speed, a LaCie Portable SSD is also a great alternative to serve as a scratch disk, especially if you're working on location with a laptop. This configuration allows users to edit content directly off the LaCie Portable SSD, freeing up valuable workstation resources or serving as the perfect shuttle drive to quickly transfer files from capture devices on-set back to the studio.

Other key features include:

• pre-formatted exFAT for Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows;

• LaCie Toolkit Software Suite;

• drop resistance of up to two metres;

• a three-year limited warranty;

• three-year Seagate Rescue Data Recovery Plan;

• one complimentary month of the Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps plan; and

• USB-C and USB-C to USB 3.0 cables included.

The new LaCie Portable SSD will be available in 2TB ($539.99 USD), 1TB ($269.99 USD), and 500GB ($124.99 USD) capacities. Australian prices yet to be confirmed as we go to press.

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