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04/28/13 New information on Stretch Relief Pliers and wide back Stretcher bars

Stretch relief pliers working with a Omega 1.5 inch stretcher bar

Stretch relief pliers working with a Omega 1.5 inch stretcher bar


I was able to reuse some of my older 1.5 inch stretcher bars that were made by Omega with the new stretch relief pliers.  These bars are called a 1.5 inch bar, but they have a wider back side.  This makes it a bit harder to work with the stretch relief pliers since they really need to hit the very back of the frame to get a leverage point and create a fulcrum.  However I found that if I added just a bit more length of extra canvas, I was able to get a working solution.  You can read more about my findings here:

04/11/13 My thoughts on the Phase One Investment Protection Policy

New Phase One IQ2X Medium Format Digital Backs

Phase One is the company that produces one of the largest lines of medium format digital backs.  They were pioneers in the production of Medium format digital products from the first scanning backs to their newest lineup the IQ series of backs.   One of the marketing tools that Phase One uses is the “investment protection policy”, in a nutshell:  From the Phase One website.

The program is simple

  • Phase One / Schneider Kreuznach lens purchase is protected for 50% of original purchase price for 12 months*
  • Phase One camera body purchase is protected for 50% of original purchase price for 12 months*
  • Phase One digital back purchase is protected for 90% of original purchase price for 12 months*
Until about 6 days ago, the period of time for the digital back  “investment protection” was 18 months instead of 12.  Just recently Phase One changed this time frame and shortened it by 6 months.  I was surprised to find out that both of the dealer contacts I work with were not aware of this change.  The change of time frame concerned me since I am considering yet another upgrade, this time to the IQ260.  Depending on you interpret the “original purchase price”, I would have qualified  90% of the original purchase price of my IQ160 towards a IQ260.  The real question here is,  what is the purchase price? [Read more…]

04/05/13 Nikon posts new Firmware for the D800 and D800e

I noticed from reading some of the forums that Nikon has released a new firmware for the D800 family of DSLR cameras.  When Nikon brought out the first upgrade for the D800e I did not upgrade.  My camera was working fine and I did not see any improvements to areas that might effect my style of photography.  However this time, I went ahead and bit the bullet.  You can download the firmware upgrade here.

I used a older 2GB card to do the upgrade, the actual file is rather large as far as firmware goes, at 16K.   Nikon recommends you use a card that is formatted in the camera first and do not put the firmware in a folder.  NOTE,  when you format the card in camera, it creates a folder on the card, make sure you go back delete that folder, and just place the firmware which is a .bin file on the main drive letter for the card.  I used a compact flash card not a SD card for the upgrade.

If you have the Nikon or other branded grip installed using a NiMH battery, then you will have to remove it before the upgrade will install.  The actual installation takes about 2 to 3 minutes and Nikon gives you a nice information bar across the top of the screen.

From reading other reports of users who have upgraded it does seem to effect the way Live view is viewed at 100%, and for me any improvement on that is great!  The current implementation is pretty terrible.  I have never been able to tell anything from the image when viewed at 100% and always have to back off 3 steps of magnification.  This is true also for image preview.  I was hoping that the same fix might apply here too.

I noticed no problems after the install.


04/03/13 How to get a better grip on a Arca rm3di– Arca Grip extension

Grip extension for Arca rm3di

Grip extension for Arca rm3di

I have written a short article describing the advantages of using the grip extension for the Arca rm3di technical camera.  I have used the rm3di now for over 1 year and have the grip extension installed on my camera.  The extension is a one piece part made from the same material as the rm3di.  It can be installed in about 5 minutes and once installed it give the photographer a much more secure grip.  The stock amber/yellow handles are nice but they make a flush fit and don’t allow for the ability to get your fingers involved in the grip.  The extension adds about 1.4 inches of extra height.  It  is angled back away from the lens which frees up more room for your hand.  The stock amber/yellow handle then just screws back on top.  Acra gives you all the parts needed to attach the extension.  You can read more about it here, Arca Swiss Grip Extension.

03/31/13 I have written a new article about Stretch Relief Pliers by Breathing Color

Stretch Relief Pliers by Breathing Color

Stretch Relief Pliers by Breathing Color

I recently wrote a review of the the Breathing Color Stretch Relief Pliers.  These Pliers are a revolutionary design that allow a person stretching a inkjet canvas to have a tremendous amount of control over the canvas during the stretching.  These new pliers allow the user to increase their productivity by a considerable amount over the use of standard canvas pliers like the ones made by Fletcher.  The pliers many features that are unique:

  1. Locking pliers design with adjustable tension
  2. Teeth that grip the canvas allowing no slippage
  3. Notched back that allows the user to get in closer to the corners and center bars
  4. 4.5″ inch width which allow you to work with much more canvas during each stapling

I have been working with the Stretch Relief pliers now for about 6 months and I have yet to have any issues with them.  These pliers allow for a much more even tension on the canvas during stretching and create a true drum tight stretch.  You can read more about them in my review here: