Gadgets & Gizmos

LET’S FACE IT, on-camera flash can look horrible, so the first thing we do is modify the light with a shaper of some type. Then we take the flash off the camera for a better angle – and then generally we wish we had studio lighting instead! Well, perhaps a new light from Profoto is the answer.

The Profoto A1X is a little more of everything than its predecessor, providing a more powerful battery, faster recycling and Sony compatibility.

The Profoto A1X has up to 450 full power pops per charge with a one-second recharge time, but unlike standard on-camera flash units, Profoto suggests the light produced by the A1X will always be natural and beautiful, thanks to the innovative round head (as opposed to the rectangular head found on most camera flashguns), providing a softer, more gentle fall-off.

Certainly Profoto has refined the way its flash system works, demonstrated by cool features such as a magnetic click-on mount for light shaping tools. There are six tools available that can be used individually or in combination with one another.

Sometimes it can be challenging to see what your flash light is actually doing, so a modelling light can be useful. The A1X has one built into the head, providing flicker-free illumination so you can see exactly what you’re going to capture before you press the shutter. It’s especially useful when operating the flash off-camera, allowing you to see where the shadows are going to fall.

Other features include a 20-channel Air Remote with HSS and AirTTL. The increased number of channels means you needn’t be interrupted at busy events.

The TTL mode essentially provides point-and-shoot simplicity, the A1X calculating the correct exposure for you. However, switch the flash to manual and you can fine-tune the exposure to create exactly the look and feel you want.

On the back, a large high-resolution display makes the unit easy to navigate with big, super-legible numbers. And whether you’re a Sony, Canon or Nikon shooter, the A1X will work happily in tandem.

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Lacie/Better Photography Magazine Special Promotion

Affordable Desktop Storage

d2 Professional or 2big RAID – which is right for you?

Are all your photos sitting on a computer hard drive? Please, don’t do that! Ensure the safety of your precious images with both backup and archive storage solutions from LaCie.

What’s the difference between an archive drive and a backup drive? There are lots of definitions, but the hard drive on your computer (desktop or laptop) is neither. This is your working drive and where your current photos and projects reside.

What happens if this drive crashes?

What happens when this drive is full?

In addition to your computer drives, you need external backup and archive solutions and these days, that means more hard drives or the cloud.

The cloud certainly has its uses, but it’s slow to upload and download large photographic and video files, it needs a good, fast internet connection and you’re reliant on an external company to maintain and manage it.

In comparison, a hard drive sitting on your desk, next to your computer, can be lightning fast to write to and read from, you don’t need internet connection and you’re in full control of its maintenance.

Hard drives are the solution most photographers use because cloud storage of large volumes of data isn’t as easy or practical, certainly not for prolific photographers with thousands of raw files and processed images. So where do you start? What external drives do you buy?

Your choice of hard drives will depend on the amount of storage you need, speed of access and budget. And LaCie has a range of drives for all types of photographers, beginning with the d2 Professional.

(Above) LaCie’s d2 Professional is fast, reliable and offers up to 10TB storage capacity

d2 Professional

There are two types of LaCie d2 drives, the d2 Thunderbolt™ 3 and the new d2 Professional. Both feature Seagate BarraCuda Pro enterprise-class drives for incredible reliability and performance.

With storage capacities up to 10 TB (depending on what size you purchase), 7,200 RPM performance and support for 24/7 operations, the BarraCuda Pro is ultrahigh performance and the highest capacity desktop drive available.

The d2 Professional is more keenly priced than the d2 Thunderbolt, offering just one USB 3.1 connector (which is compatible with Thunderbolt 3, USB-C and USB 3.0), while the d2 Thunderbolt model offers the same USB 3.1 connector, plus two Thunderbolt 3 connectors.

If you just require a single drive and don’t need to daisy-chain drives together, the d2 Professional offers great value and no diminution in security or performance.

The d2 Professional enclosure is forged from a single sheet of aluminium, providing uncommon rigidity for long-term durability, while a whisper-quiet fan and heatdissipating design pull heat away from the HDD, keeping it running fast and healthily.

And for complete peace of mind, it’s also backed by a best-in-class, 5-year limited warranty that includes Rescue Data Recovery Services. What does that mean? It means that in the case of drive failure, LaCie will replace your drive and recover your files with one in-lab data recovery service at no additional cost.

Archive or Backup?

So, will this be an archive or backup drive? If your computer’s hard drives have plenty of space, then the d2 Professional may act as a backup drive, keeping a second copy of all your files so that in the unlikely event of your computer drive failing, you have a backup copy that you can rely on.

However, when your computer’s hard drive(s) run out of space, then you will need to offload some of your files onto another drive – and so your d2 Professional could become an archive drive.

The important point to understand is, if you have an archive drive, you also need a backup of the archive data as well. You will need to purchase a second drive so you have a backup of your archive.

Backup Alternative

One option for a backup drive is to use a RAID system – but this is only a partial solution.

A RAID drive is really two or more drives that work together, keeping two or more copies of all the files. In this way, you have a backup so should one of the drives in the box fail, the other one(s) will still have the data safely stored.

However, a RAID drive won’t protect you from physical damage, fire or theft, so you find that many people use RAID drives for both their archive and backup drives, as extra insurance.

RAID drives need hardware and software to control them and so are usually more expensive than standard drives, but LaCie has a very affordable new RAID drive, the 2big RAID.

(Above) LaCie’s 2big RAID offers RAID storage with capacity up to 18T

2big RAID

The 2big RAID offers three operational modes: RAID 0 offers performance and is called Stripe Mode. The two drives are ‘linked’ together and function like one large drive, enabling maximum speed and capacity.

RAID 1 offers redundancy protection and is called ‘mirror mode’. There are two drives and one drive mirrors the other, meaning data is automatically the same on both drives. If one fails, the other has your back.

There’s a third option, JBOD which stands for Just a Bunch of Disks. Here the drives function independently, offering two separate drives in one enclosure, so if you don’t want to use the RAID functionality, you don’t have to.

With capacities up to 16TB, inside you’ll find two IronWolf Pro enterprise-class drives and they’re the secret ingredient for fast transfers and excellent reliability. Supporting up to 300 TB/year workloads, they’re specifically designed for RAID and highspeed 7,200 RPM performance, delivering smooth power management, massive capacity and 24/7 reliability.

And for ultimate peace of mind they’re also covered by a 5-year warranty, just like the d2 Professional.

The 2big RAID supports a USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector and, also like the d2 Professional, is an inexpensive way for you to obtain LaCie’s legendary speed and reliability.

We’ve just touched on the many ways LaCie can help the modern photographer solve his or her storage solutions. For more information, visit, a specialist photo supplier or better computer suppliers Australia-wide.

WHEN YOU WALK into a department store looking for a new television, have you noticed how all the display units are slightly different in terms of colour, contrast and brightness? It’s impossible to know which screen is closest to the original – and photographers have the same problem when editing their images. The only way they will know that what they are seeing is accurate is by calibrating their monitor.

And to calibrate your monitor, you need a tool like Datacolor’s SpyderXElite.

SpyderXElite offers a completely new, more accurate way of measuring colour. Its groundbreaking lens-based colour engine technology features higher light sensitivity and more advanced sensors, so you can experience significantly more precise screen colour, white balance and shadow detail.

The SpyderXElite software offers One-click Calibration and Stepby- step Assistant modes, along with interactive help every step of the way. It lets you calibrate multiple laptops and desktop monitors and supports the latest display technologies, so you can be confident that your colours are always accurate no matter which of your computers or displays you are working on.

The SpyderProof feature allows you to compare your monitor colours before and after calibration, so you’ll see how good it is. There’s an integrated ambient light sensor that can measure your room light throughout the day, allowing you to adjust your display brightness and contrast to ideal levels. The software can either warn you to recalibrate or do it automatically using custom profiles based on light level.

SpyderXElite features an extensive selection of calibration options, including photo, video, pre-press and scientific calibration standards. Importantly, your on-screen images may look different when you print them, or view them on other devices such as tablets. The Soft proof feature, only available with SpyderXElite, lets you simulate and view these changes on your calibrated screen.

You can purchase SpyderXElite through Kayell for $465, or the Pro model for $295.

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