Saturday, February 14, 2015

Shinjuku Best Photo Spots!

      I have been living in Tokyo area for about a year now and i have found some of the best spots to photograph the local area and to capture the essence of this great part of Tokyo. It ranges from the back streets near the station to the high rise look outs that litter the area.  Here is a Google Map that has all the local area marked out with a link to a image that i captured from that spot. Please enjoy and keep exploring!

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zmRzmXzCJN_M.kwCitQrGMdqg 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review of Oben CT-2381 Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs.


Oben CT-2381 with 5Dm3 and 24-105mm
      This is my Review of the Oben CT-2381 Carbon Fiber Tripod and it was a complete joy to do. When it was time to upgrade to the next level of Tripod cause of my $40 Chinese knock off was getting to heavy, very cold in the winter and was just a tad bit too short for me (am 6 foot tall), I came up with some guide lines on what i was looking for.

1:  It has to be carbon fiber Tripod cause i do a lot of traveling and traveling with a 4-5 lbs of cold metal just sucks.

2:  Has to be at eye level with the center column not installed.

3:  PRICE!! This is important to every Photographer starting out. Try and keep it down to about $300 USD.

So with the guild lines now set, it was time to search for this mystical tripod that is cheap like a manfrotto and built like a Gitzo begins!  After looking around all the Photography sites, a brand called Oben Tripods keep popping up with some great reviews and fit almost everything i was looking for.  I ordered a Oben CT-2381 Tripod with the twist locks from B&H Photo on that was on sale for $299.99 and that is about $50 off the normal retail price of 349.99.  The Twist locks is one thing that i loved about the Cheap Chinese knock off so i wanted to bring to the next tripod.  I received the tripod with flat rate shipping in about 2 weeks.

Me in a Pool in Singapore.
So my first thought was "this only cost $300.00?"  The build quality is solid and it can stand up to the run and gun of my life style of running around Tokyo doing cityscape shots. So with me ducking and running in the subway of Tokyo, i was a little worried about the size of it when its collapsed so i was really happy with the 24.4" size that fits nicely on a backpack.  I have been using the Oben Tripod for 6 months now and it looks and works the exact same as the day i got it in the mail. It has seen the streets of Tokyo, the mountains of Japan including Mt Fuji, and the hot and humid city of Singapore.  Taking it and putting in the rivers, the Singapore hotels pools, and the freezing rain and snow of Tokyo.   

Oben CT-2381 with the 3 sections fully extended.
What I love about this tripod is the twist locks. They work just as great as other tripods that I looked at, they seem a little tight and have to twist almost a full turn tinge them tight. After a few weeks of use they loosened up and work super fast now and take Less than a half turn.  The feet have super nice rubber pads with a twist feature that allows metal spikes come up.  The Levers that allow the legs to go out to the side are nice and tight.

Oben has put themself in a very nice area where they are making quality items at a great price. I know that it might not have the fine Finnish that some brands offer like Really Right Stuff but it does the trick.  The only thing i would have added to this set up is some foam type grips on the large part of the legs to help with the winter cold. The Tripod holds its own when i place my 70-200 F2.8 with a 5Dm3 and its rock solid. I would be scared to death to put that on my old tripod.



Oben CT-2381 looking at the Marina Bay Sands.
 







Over all i think this is a very solid tripod that i would not hesitate to purchase again and again. So if you are looking towards a great tripod that will not set you back a crap load of money, This is your Tripod.

Cheers,
Heath

Thursday, January 15, 2015

How to Shoot Long Exposures images when Tripods are not allowed. tokyo metropolitan building