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IQ260 and Battery Usage

A couple of days ago, we were in LA and shooting in the street tethered on battery power both with the camera and computer and I was quite shocked by the increased battery usage. Before I could make it the better part of the day on just one battery, now my batteries don’t last an hour. Probably closer to half an hour. So here are a couple of hints to help make the computer battery last longer… Video included above.

1. Turn off battery charging (default is slow) because it drains your computer quick.

2. Next turn down brightness on the screen, default is 80% and by turning it down to 20% I have noticed a big difference

3. Turn off wifi if you aren’t using it with the iPad.

Why were we tethering on the street and not using the iPad? Find out in my next blog post.

Phase one IQ260 and FireWire

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Today I am waiting for a flight from JFK to LA and with these spare minutes waiting to board I thought I would give some insight about working tethered. If you work with digital backs regularly then you probably have the same sleepless nights worrying about cables and batteries and communication problems before a big shoot that I do. Until very recently, my FireWire cables would become unreliable in about 30-60 days. The cables range in price, and from the ones I had tried both pricey and cheap, I get only 30-60 days out of them. My schedule is pretty intense, with adverse conditions all the time. From beach shoots to windy snow swept mountain tops, these are the places that really challenge a digital operator and his FireWire cables.

First tip, which is probably really obvious to most is to gaffer tape the cable to the computer, to avoid accidental disconnects. Secondly, always Saran wrap the tips. Its happened to all of us, you whip out a new cable fresh on the beach and the tips slips out of your hand and lands on the beach, encased in a thin layer of sand instantly rendering it useless trash. Saran wrap it!

Probably the best thing about traveling is I get to see what’s on the shelves in different places. I usually stop into B&H photo when I am in NYC or Calumet in London, but on a trip to LA about a year ago I stopped into Samys Camera and picked up some new FireWire cables that have lasted over a year! It’s a new record for me. Of course I take care of them, use the Saran wrap, but it’s astonishing! They are unbranded cables, grey in color with the connectors in red. You’ll only find them on the 4th floor in the bottom of drawer behind the counter, not on display. You need to ask someone, and sometimes insist as they will try to direct you to the ones on the shelf which are more expensive and in my experience less reliable. I believe they were $30 each. Another big advantage, is they fit snugly into both the P45+ or IQ260 backs, not too tight and not loose, this will save you some accidental disconnects.

I didn’t realize I could write so much about FireWire cables!

First 2 Shoot days with IQ260

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Here I am on the first day on set in New York, on a big Campaign photo-shoot. I have to say that I was a bit nervous at first. Whenever I have any changes to my my standard equipment or software it gets me nervous. I am firmly of the belief if it’s not broke don’t fix it. On my MacBook Pro I run 10.7.? And before the new back I was still with C1 6.4.4

On the very first shot we did lighting tests and focus checks, because the models are in action and being campaign there can’t be 1% of motion blur with the movement with the models…

Well everything went mostly very smoothly, except when I travel for these shoots I need to rent some things in the city we go to. Each place has its own way and method of ordering, for example I ordered an external monitor and it came with a 2 foot dvi cable which is incompletely useless. Fortunately, being New York we could fix it relatively quickly.

Back to the first shot, of the first day of the first huge campaign shot with my new IQ260 back. Everything was ready, tests were flawless, model walks out onto set, I check the camera and C1 to see suddenly its lost connection with the computer…. Incredible.

So I tried the same things I always try with my old P45+.

1. Turn off the back
2. unplug the FireWire
3. Close and restart C1
4. Plug in FireWire BEFORE restarting the back
5. Presto!

It worked, and that was the last time I had a problem the whole 2 days.

After working with the new IQ260 the past 2 days I can’t understand how we did it for 5 years with only ISO 100. (The P45+ is really great until 100, anything more and the noise is just too much for professional work). Using ISO 200 (and some ISO400 the next day) with the models walking down the steps, we were able to shoot at 1/800 shutter speed and f/5 for clean crisp files.

BTW, I noticed a sea change in skin tones from the P45+ and I continue to notice it, and now I realize it’s a major MAJOR improvement, they are more natural, and cleaner. It reminds me of how we used to change different films for different effects. This new back seems to have a lower contrast creamier look that can easily be made with adjustments to look like the P45+ if necessary.

One thing to keep in mind is we need much much more disk space for the bigger files…

I use a 2 disk setup. I have a super fast SSD and a fast standard 750Gb disk in place of the optical drive.

My SSD is just 250 GB, when theres no sessions on the disk I have 220GB free. Usually that’s enough for 2 days, but not anymore. A one day fashion shoot tended to be around 100Gb now it’s about 140Gb a day.

With the bigger files, the previews take longer to load in C1 as well, before I could download a CF card while shooting tethered and checking focus on the fly, not anymore.

We were shooting very very quickly, the past days, and the files come in very fast, but then take longer to load the hires previews. By the time I check focus on the first shot the photographer has got at least 20 more in the can. So now I try to snap one off before he gets to the camera and check it before he gets going.

More to come, samples and all.

Packing my ThinkTank Photo Bag

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Hopefully you´ll find it interesting!

Here´s what my packing list looks like this time around.

1 x Hasselblad H4x

1 x Hasselblad H2

1 x Hasselblad 50-110mm

1 x Hasselblad 210mm

1 x Hasselblad 80mm

1 x Metz MZ Flash

1 x RRS Ball head

1 x Pocket Wizard Set

4 x Hasselblad grip batteries

6 x Phase one Batteries

1 x Hasselblad & Phase One Charger

7 x CF Cards

2 x External Batteries for Macbook Pro

1 x box of AA Batteries

 

 

Skintones with the IQ260

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Can you distingush between the IQ260 and the P45+??

For me the difference in skintones is huge. The wall in the back was used to white balance the image, and the skin tones plus the pink shirt is really different.

Personally I am still getting used to the new look of the new IQ260 sensor I´ve been looking at the P45+ files for so many years.

Which is which?

Negotiating My crazy HEAVY carry-on

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Today I’m flying out of Barcelona to New York with my new IQ260. During the busy season I am flying every week. Sometimes 2-3 times a week with many different airlines and destinations. I always fly with one checked bag and my ThinkTank Airport International V2 plus a computer bag. My check-in weighs between 23-25 kilos, my carry-on about 17 kilos! In the past 5 years I have never had to check my carry-on and here’s my top 5 list of excuses at check-in when you’re overloaded.

First, drape a jumper over your bag.

1. I fly every week with this camera and nobody has ever required me to check it in

2. This camera costs over 40,000€ (that the truth!) will you be responsible if it gets lost?

3. If I lose this camera, I would lose my job.

4. What solutions can you give me?

5. If all else fails. Unload the bag, promise to carry the camera in your hand. Stuff a lens in your pocket and the batteries too. (you shouldn’t check batteries, especially lithium)

Once I get to new York I will show off my packing style and upload some shots from the new IQ260.

Intro : A new digital back and starting a new chapter.

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I´ve started this blog today, just as I recieved my replacement for my P45+ Phase one back. Today I start a new chapter in my digital capture life with the IQ260. I have to say the P45+ was a fantastic back and over the past 5 years virtually error-free. I ran the counter up to 340k shots before I turned it over the Innovafoto in Barcelona today. I have worked and traveled the world for many of the best photographers in fashion and advertising, and even in the worse of times the P45+ never quit. During the past 5 years I have replaced the cameras 4 or 5 times, and various lenses, prisims and countless batteries and firewire cables but that P45+ has never stopped, until I turned it in today.