DJI on Sunday introduced the Matrice 600, its next-generation aerial platform, marking a new era for professional aerial photography, filmmaking and industrial applications.
The M600 integrates DJI’s brand-new A3 flight controller onboard and features advanced Lightbridge 2 video-transmission technology that offers high frame rates and HD live-streaming capability at distances up to five kilometers.
“The M600 is the most-powerful and easiest-to-use professional platform DJI has ever produced,” said Senior Product Manager Paul Pan. “We’ve pre-programmed all M600 platform data and information into the A3 flight controller, remote and transmission system to minimize setup and get you flying as quickly as possible.”
The M600 is a six-rotor system with a maximum payload of 6.0 kilograms, making it ideal for the full range of DJI’s Zenmuse gimbals, including the Z15 series and the Zenmuse X series cameras, which are unmatched in providing stabilized aerial imagery. The M600’s carrying weight also allows it to fly the Ronin MX, DJI’s newest handheld and aerial three-axis gimbal. The M600’s propulsion system is dustproof to simplify maintenance and increase durability. It has actively cooled motors for more-reliable flight, and its landing gear is retractable for full 360-degree, unobstructed imaging.
The M600 is powered by six DJI Intelligent Batteries. The customized battery-management system and power distribution board allow all six batteries to be turned on and off with the push of one button and keep the system aloft, should a single battery fail. The M600 will fly up to 36 minutes with a Zenmuse X5 camera attached and up to 16 minutes with a larger camera, such as a RED EPIC. Flight time will vary for different cameras, gimbals and a number of other conditions.
Integrated A3 Flight Controller
Setting the M600 apart is its integrated A3 flight controller. It uses sine-wave-driven, intelligent electronic speed controllers to ensure the M600 performs accurately, safely and efficiently. Meanwhile, self-adaptive flight systems adjust parameters automatically, based on different payloads.
It’s upgradable to the A3 PRO system, which features advanced diagnostic algorithms that compare sensor data from three Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) units and three inertial measurement units.
The A3’s GNSS system can also be optionally upgraded to DJI Real-Time Kinematic technology, offering centimeter-accurate positioning to allow for complex maneuvers in an industrial setting and so that cinematic shots can be precisely replicated. The RTK technology can also withstand magnetic interference.
The M600 supports the DJI GO app, which includes a live video feed, battery and redundancy status, transmission strength and other data to keep the user informed of flight status at all times. The app also provides access to aperture, shutter speed, photo and video capture on any Zenmuse X-series camera, plus remote focus on the Zenmuse X5 and X5R cameras.
The M600 is a top-quality development platform, compatible with the DJI Onboard Software Development Kit and Mobile SDK to work with different industrial applications. It has dual parallel CAN and API ports for connecting DJI devices, including the Guidance sensor system, RTK GPS units or third-party components.
The M600’s retail price, including the integrated A3 flight controller with Lightbridge 2 and a full set of batteries, is $4,599.
Works Seamlessly with Ronin-MX
When paired with the new DJI Ronin-MX, the M600 offers best-in-class three-axis aerial video stabilization. The latest in the Ronin line is also the most-versatile, working both on the ground and in the air with minimal setup.
The Ronin-MX works perfectly with the M600, as a fully integrated system that includes the A3 flight controller, Lightbridge 2 transmission system and gimbal in the air. It’s the first universal aerial gimbal DJI has made that communicates with the onboard DJI flight controller.
It’s fully compatible with a rich selection of DJI accessories for long-distance focus and aperture control and features remote start/stop controls and video transmission. The Ronin-MX is built for convenient, handheld use, but it also has multiple operation modes, including underslung, upright and briefcase. Apart from the M600, it’s also compatible with video cranes.
“For film directors, the M600 is a game-changer. There are other options out there, but none that integrate a top-class flight controller, video-transmission system like Lightbridge 2 and support for a wide range of cameras and gimbals,” said DJI Executive Creative Director Sheldon Schwartz. “If you go with the new Ronin-MX on the M600, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get unparalleled stability and cinematic-quality shots.”
The Ronin-MX has a built-in, independent IMU module, a Bluetooth module and a 2.4GHz receiver. It operates through the DJI GO app and has settings for SmoothTrack and gimbal-tuning for various cameras, including some of the RED series, DSLRs and other professional camera. It also operates in multiple modes, including aerial and car mount.
Mounted on the M600, the Ronin-MX’s CANBUS port allows all flight controller data to pass through to the Ronin-MX, meaning the gimbal is positionally aware and able to keep the horizon level. The Ronin-MX can pan 360 degrees, tilt +45 to -135 degrees and has redundant slip rings, offering enhanced reliability for operators. With an optional accessory, the Ronin-MX can transmit video real-time from a mounted camera, making full use of the M600’s Lightbridge 2 capabilities. It will also be compatible with the DJI Focus, through a wireless adapter mounted to the Focus remote.
The Ronin-MX is powered by a 4S Ronin-M battery. Third-party cameras mounted on the Ronin MX can be powered by an optional onboard DJI battery.
The Ronin MX is compatible with a wide range of cameras from Arri, Black Magic, Canon, Panasonic, RED, Sony and Nikon. Its maximum load weight is around 4.5 kilograms.
The Ronin MX retails for $1,599. Bundled with the M600 and integrated A3 flight controller and Lightbridge 2, it will sell for $5,999.
Tamron lenses awarded with two prestigious TIPA awards in 2016
April 18, 2016, Commack, New York - Tamron Co., Ltd., a leading manufacturer of precision optics, has announced that its SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD (Model F012) and 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC (Model B018) have both been presented awards with the "TIPA Awards 2016" hosted by the TIPA (Technical Image Press Association).
BEST DSLR PRIME LENS: SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD (Model F012) Excerpt from the Award Citation of the TIPA Jury: At approximately 80mm long and between 450 and 480g in weight (depending on camera system), the full-frame Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 is constructed with 10 elements in 9 groups. It utilizes two molded glass aspherical elements with one LD (low dispersion) and one XLD (extra low dispersion) element, which greatly reduces chromatic aberration. The lens has excellent resolution from corner to corner, no vignetting even at full aperture, a minimum focusing distance of 0.2 meters and Tamron's VC (vibration compensation) system (except on the Sony mount version). Full time manual focus override is always available, a great aid when doing close-ups.
BEST ENTRY LEVEL DSLR LENS: 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC (Model B018) Excerpt from the Award Citation of the TIPA Jury: When entry-level photographers start to look beyond their kit lens, or purchase a lens with their camera body, they will be excited to own a lens that offers a wide range of focal length options, and the Tamron 18-200mm fits the bill. Constructed with 16 elements in 14 groups, this lens for APS-C format cameras yields a 35mm equivalent of 28-310mm. It is compact: an average of 95mm (3.8 inches) in its various mounts and is said to be the world's lightest (400g, 14.1 oz) in its class. Vibration reduction helps users get steady pictures, particularly at the longer focal length ranges.
SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA – For videographers seeking reduced weight, increased capacity, more features, and ease of use, Think Tank will release seven incredibly strong soft-sided video cases. In addition to being lighter weight and having more features than traditional hard cases, Think Tank’s new video cases let videographers to hit the ground running by allowing them to leave their cameras fully assembled between shoots. No longer will they need to build-out their cameras while the client impatiently waits or the shot disappears.
The new video bags range in size. The largest, the Video Rig 24 rolling case, holds a fully assembled 24” video rig and features inset channel aluminum tubing for added strength and durability. The mid-sized bag, the Video Transport 20, holds a video camera body, four to six lenses (detached), shotgun mic, small monitor, 4K recorder, audio recorder, additional accessories, and up to a 17” laptop in a padded sleeve. The smallest, the Video Workhorse 19 shoulder bag, holds a professional camcorder or video cameras up to 19” and features striated aluminum and arched twinwall reinforced struts to create a collapse-proof lid. Built tough, with the quality Think Tank is known for, these bags are the perfect blend of protection and functionality.
The seven new bags in Think Tank’s video series are, from biggest to smallest in capacity:
Video Rig 24 – Holds a fully or partially assembled video camera rig up to 24” (61cm), which could include camera body, lens, monitor, viewfinder, 4K recorder, audio recorder, rails, follow-focus, matte-box, shoulder mount, top handle, stabilizer handles, shotgun mic, and counter-weight. The case fits a Canon C-series, Sony FS700, FS5, FS7, F5 or F55, Red Epic/Scarlet, Black Magic Cinema Camera, Ursa or Ursa Mini, Aja Cion, Arri Alexa, as well as many ENG cameras.
Video Rig 18 – Fits a fully or partially assembled video camera rig up to 18” (45.7cm), which could include camera body, lens, monitor, viewfinder, 4K recorder, audio recorder, rails, follow-focus, matte-box, shoulder mount, top handle, stabilizer handles, shotgun mic, and counter-weight. The case fits a Canon C-series, Sony FS700, FS5, FS7, F5 or F55, Red Epic/Scarlet, Black Magic Cinema Camera, Ursa or Ursa Mini, Aja Cion, as well as many ENG cameras.
Video Transport 20 – Holds a video camera body, four to six lenses (detached), shotgun mic, small monitor, 4K recorder, audio recorder, additional accessories, and up to a 17” laptop in a padded sleeve. The roller bag fits a Canon C-series, Sony FS700, FS5, FS7, F55 or F56, Red Epic/Scarlet, Black Magic Cinema Camera, Ursa or Ursa Mini.
Video Transport 18 – Fits a video camera body, three to five lenses (detached), shotgun mic, small monitor, 4K recorder, audio recorder, additional accessories, and up to a 15” laptop in a padded sleeve. The roller bag holds a Canon C-series, Sony FS700, FS5, FS7, F55 or F56, Red Epic/Scarlet, Black Magic Cinema Camera, Ursa or Ursa Mini.
Video Workhorse 25 – Holds professional camcorders or video camera rigs up to 25” (63.5cm) long and 9.1” (23cm) tall, which could include a camera body, lens, monitor, viewfinder, 4K recorder, audio recorder, medium LED lightpanel, shotgun mic, lavaliere mics, rails, follow-focus, matte-box, shoulder mount, top handle, and cables. The shoulder bag holds a Canon C-series, Sony FS700, FS5, FS7, F5 or F55, Red Epic/Scarlet, Black Magic Cinema Camera, Ursa or Ursa Mini, or a DSLR/Mirrorless rig such as the Sony a7sII, Panasonic GH4, or Canon 5DMIII.
Video Workhorse 21 – Fits a professional camcorder or video camera rig up to 21” (53.3cm) long and 8.7” (22cm) tall, which could include a camera body, lens, monitor, viewfinder, 4K recorder, audio recorder, medium LED lightpanel, shotgun mic, lavaliere mics, rails, follow-focus, matte-box, shoulder mount, top handle, and cables. The shoulder bag holds a Canon C-series, Sony FS700, FS5, FS7, F5 or F55, Red Epic/Scarlet, Black Magic Cinema Camera, Ursa or Ursa Mini, or a DSLR/Mirrorless rig such as the Sony a7sII, Panasonic GH4, or Canon 5DMIII.
Video Workhorse 19 – Holds a professional camcorder or video camera rig up to 19” (48.3cm) long and 7.5” (19cm) tall and accessories, which could include a camera body, lens, monitor, viewfinder, 4K recorder, audio recorder, medium LED lightpanel, shotgun mic, lavaliere mics, rails, follow-focus, matte-box, shoulder mount, top handle, and cables. The shoulder bag fits a Panasonic PX270, X1000 or DVX-200, Canon C-series, Sony FS700, FS5, FS7, F5 or F55, Red Epic/Scarlet, Black Magic Cinema Camera, Ursa or Ursa Mini, or a DSLR/Mirrorless rig such as the Sony a7sII, Panasonic GH4, or Canon 5DMIII.
TORRANCE, CA — April, 15, 2016 – Since 1976, the Pelican classic Protector case has been the go-to protective case solution for millions of people worldwide. It has made an impact in industries ranging from military and aerospace to photography and hunting. Today, Pelican is proud to announce the outcome of a relentless quest to offer Pelican users more versatility than ever before: Introducing Pelican Air cases. These new cases have been engineered to maintain the same standard of durability, but reduce the weight of each case by up to 40 percent and offer new size selections not currently available in the Pelican classic or Pelican Storm lines.
Available in six long-form, travel-ready sizes, Pelican Air cases are constructed of lightweight HPX2 resin, the next generation of Pelican’s proprietary formula that rebounds to stress without breaking. With the busy traveler in mind, the 1535 Pelican Air case (Wheeled Carry On) complies with overhead bin standards and the 1615 Pelican Air case (Wheeled Check In) complies with current airline check-in size regulations.
Additional models are currently in development with more than 20 new sizes making their debut over the next 18 months. Each case passes the same performance tests (impact, drop, submersion, high and low temperature) that Pelican users have come to trust and is backed by the company’s legendary lifetime guarantee of excellence.
“The Pelican brand is synonymous with protection and has set the gold-standard in the protective case market for more than 40 years,” said Lyndon Faulkner, President and CEO of Pelican Products. “While using the Pelican classic case design as the basis for the new line, our engineers have spent the past two years reimagining the classic case with a focus on taking out weight while maintaining the same high level of performance customers have come to expect from Pelican. This revolutionary Pelican Air case design underscores Pelican’s continuing commitment to innovation and making a legendary product even better.”
To construct a lighter case, Pelican’s engineering team faced the challenge of building lightness into every facet of the design without compromising Pelican’s renowned durability. By working with a team of materials scientists, Pelican was able to construct cases that are the lightest protective cases on the market today.
Pelican Air cases are available with several configurations:
No Foam (empty)
Pick N Pluck foam – manually customizable cubed foam
Padded Dividers – newly redesigned with a fully-sewn tub, felt exterior and high-visibility yellow interior, making it easier to identify equipment
TrekPak – a completely new divider system with rigid, customizable panels and locking pins
Pelican Air cases are available through select dealers, distributors and retailers starting May 1, 2016.
TOKYO, April 18, 2016 — Four Canon cameras and one Canon printer were recognized with “Best Photo and Imaging Product” awards by the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA), representing 30 photo and imaging magazines from 15 countries across five continents. The five award winners are: the EOS 5DS R digital SLR (DSLR) camera, the EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR camera, the PowerShot G5 X digital compact camera, the IXUS 285 HS (PowerShot ELPH 360 HS in the Americas) compact digital camera, and the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 professional inkjet printer.
Best DLSR Professional / High Res: EOS-5DS R Named “Best DSLR Professional / High Res,” the Canon EOS-5DS R features an “impressive” approximately 50.6 megapixel full-frame sensor that the TIPA jury noted rivals those of larger medium-format digital cameras. The judges also highlighted the camera’s 5 frame-per-second (fps) continuous shooting of full-resolution still images and Full HD video capture at 30 fps. The EOS-5DS R is equipped with Dual DIGIC 6 image processors, a newly developed mirror vibration control system and time-release lag settings to further suppress camera shake and allow the camera to realize the full potential of its sensor. It has a 100% coverage 3.2-inch 1.04 million dot Intelligent ClearView II LCD viewfinder that can display a variety of shooting information. The jury also pointed out that the camera sports a 150,000 pixel RGB-IR metering sensor that utilizes EOS iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) AF and that AF performance is enhanced by the 61-point high-density reticular sensor.
Best Photo / Video Professional Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Selected for this year’s “Best Photo / Video Professional Camera” award, Canon’s EOS-1D X Mark II flagship-model DSLR offers impressive specifications. The camera is equipped with an approximately 20.2 megapixel 35 mm full-frame Canon CMOS sensor and achieves high-speed continuous shooting of approximately 14 fps, and up to 16 fps in Live View mode. The TIPA judges noted that the Dual DIGIC 6+ image processors enable high-speed writing of up to 170 RAW images and 81 RAW+JPEG images per burst. Thanks to Dual Pixel CMOS AF, in which all of the CMOS sensor’s pixels include both imaging and the phase-difference detection AF functions, the EOS-1D X Mark II is capable of high-speed AF tracking. The camera features an improved 61-point viewfinder AF and an improved AI Servo III+ predictive AF algorithm, and also achieves 4K 60p video shooting, and Full HD 120 fps high frame rate image capture suitable for slow motion video capture. With the optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8B, compatible with the new IEEE802.11ac wireless LAN standard, data can be sent wirelessly at high speeds across the 5 GHz band.
Best Easy Compact Camera: IXUS 285 HS Crowning the IXUS 285 HS “Best Easy Compact Camera,” the TIPA judges declared, “Canon continues to offer pocketable yet full-featured compacts that offer many more options and higher photo quality than camera phones.” The camera sports a 12x optical zoom lens with built-in image stabilizer, a dedicated Wi-Fi button and NFC for enhanced connectivity, and a 3-inch LCD screen. It boasts an approximately 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ image processor that achieves high image quality even in low-light environments. What’s more, it can capture 1080p Full HD video and, using Canon’s proprietary algorithm, can produce a “highlight reel” in camera from selected albums.
Best Expert Compact Camera: Canon PowerShot G5 X Crowned “Best Expert Compact Camera,” Canon’s PowerShot G5 X features a 1-inch approximately 20.2 megapixel High Sensitivity CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 processor that achieves an approximately 6 fps continuous shooting speed and Full HD video. The camera features a 24–100 mm (35 mm film equivalent) 4.2x optical zoom lens with a nine-blade iris and an aperture of f/1.8 at the wide-angle end and f/2.8 at the telephoto end that achieves rich tonal gradations and exceptional blur characteristics across the entire zoom range. The G5 X features an EVF (electronic viewfinder) with approximately 2.36 million dots and approximately 100% coverage that employs an organic EL (electroluminescent) panel and has a refresh rate of up to 120 fps. A built-in eye sensor, which has a range of approximately 22 mm, can even detect users wearing glasses and switches display from the EVF to the 3-inch vari-angle LCD touchscreen. Additionally, the camera’s hot shoe is compatible with all Speedlite flashes in the EOS system.
Best Photo Printer: imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 "Combining the ease of desktop use and a 17-inch wide cut sheet printer with many features from Canon’s higher-end pro printer models," the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 earned the title of TIPA's "Best Photo Printer." It incorporates a new twelve-color LUCIA PRO ink system, with eleven pigment inks, including the newly formulated Photo Black, and Chroma Optimizer. What’s more, Photo and Matte Black have their own nozzles, so no switching is needed between print jobs.
Equipped with the air feeding system found in Canon’s large-format imagePROGRAF inkjet printers, the PRO-1000 virtually eliminates paper skewing, regardless of paper weight and type, while also achieving more accurate ink placement. A new print head expels more ink droplets per second for more stable print performance, and print head-mounted sensors can detect clogs and automatically delegate printing responsibilities to other nozzles to prevent discoloration.
SuperStore & Offices B&H will be closed starting at 7pm EDT on Thurs April 21. We will reopen at 10am on Sun May 1.
Online Orders Online ordering will pause during the following holiday observance periods: 7:30pm Fri April 22 through 9pm Sun April 24 7:45pm Thurs April 28 through 9:15pm Sat April 30
Shipping Orders placed before 4pm on Thurs April 21 will be processed prior to the holiday closing. Orders placed after this time will be processed after we reopen on Sun May 1.
Store Pickup Store Pickup orders placed up to 1 hour before store closing time will be available for same-day pickup until store closing time. Store Pickup orders placed within 1 hour of store closing, or while the store is closed, will be available for pickup 45 minutes after the store reopens.
The balance of the standard test results, including vignetting, flare and distortion, along with specs, measurements and standard product images, are now available on the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens review page.
I expect to have the review of this interetsing lens completed very soon.
I was recently privileged to spend over a week photographing in Middle and North Caicos, Turks and Caicos, British West Indies.
Landscape photography was the primary pursuit and I packed an arguably best-available kit for this purpose.
Seen in the lead image is my primary pack for this trip, a MindShift Gear BackLight 26L.
This pack is well under the carry-on size limitation of many flights and holds a substantial amount of gear along with clothes, water bottles and other items.
Though nicely-sized, this backpack is not heavy.
It has proven comfortable to carry on easy hikes (such as through airports) and very long, difficult ones (such as over the pure-evil rocks on the cliffs along the Mudjin Harbor coast) alike.
Yes, the Zeiss Otus looks a bit big for this pack, but ... the zippers close, even with a 15" laptop in the lid.
I actually carried this lens in my personal item pack, but wanted to feature it among the important gear I took with me.
The Gratical Eye SDI electronic viewfinder is the smallest and lightest of our Micro-OLED EVFs. It fits in the palm of your hand and weighs only 14oz. This is an ideal SDI EVF solution for filmmakers using professional cameras and external batteries. The Gratical Eye has a 2 pin Lemo power jack and a single SDI input. Sleek and small, this EVF will fit in even the smallest of camera bags! Take it with you on the road or add it to your studio rig.
Along with the full suite of Zacuto EVF firmware (full scopes, LUTs, multi level peaking, and more), the Gratical Eye has two unique features – an external tally light and a proximity screen saver sensor. If the sensor does not detect anything for 7 seconds (time is user adjustable) the screen will go black and then wake up instantly when it detects motion. After 1 hour of being idle, the Eye will go into auto shutoff mode, saving you power.
The Gratical Eye SDI EVF features a state-of-the-art Micro-OLED screen. With 5.4 million pixels squeezed onto a screen only 0.61” diagonal, you get a hugely expanded contrast range for the truest image possible. The Micro-OLED screen offers vivid, vibrant colors and true black, as each pixel is lit individually.
An industry standard 2 pin Lemo jack makes powering the Gratical Eye off your existing external batteries a breeze. We offer an optional combined power and video cable 2 Pin Lemo to D-Tap and a BNC cable. Or use any current model Lemo cable you may own – The Gratical Eye’s auto-sensor prevents any compatibility issues with polarity.
Mounting options include both a ¼ 20 screw hole underneath the EVF and ¼ 20 rosettes on both sides so cables can go up or down. Attach your electronic viewfinder with an arm or Zacuto Axis Mini as part of a Zacuto Next Generation Recoil Rig.
Gratical Eye customers can enjoy free firmware updates, including fixes and additions, for life. The Eye SDI EVF has a built in USB port for quick updates. Our software engineers are always working on tweaks and new features to make sure your Gratical stays current and consistent for any future changes in camera or workflow. Have something you’d like to see added? Please contact us to make a suggestions and you could see your idea in our next firmware!
Canon to Enable Providing Viewers with Outstanding HDTV Picture Quality and Long-Zoom Image Detail
MELVILLE, N.Y., April 13, 2016 – NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, has selected Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, to provide a wide variety of HDTV Field, Portable and Studio lenses for its production of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, which take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 5 – August 21. The announcement was made today by David Mazza, CTO & SVP, NBC Sports & Olympics, and Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO of Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Over 70 Canon broadcast lenses will be used during coverage including the DIGISUPER 95 TELE long-zoom field lens featuring a focal length of 1178mm (2356mm with 2x Extender); the DIGISUPER 27 studio lens providing crisp HD imagery in a studio environment; the HJ14ex4.3B wide-angle HD lens capturing a panoramic 96.3 degrees angle-of-view; and the HJ24ex7.5B HDTV field telephoto zoom lens, providing a remarkable 7.5-180mm zoom range in a compact, portable body.
“We are honored to once again be chosen as the lens provider for NBC,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc.
“The lenses that Canon provides are an essential component to the visual system that captures the excitement and the emotion of the Games. Canon lenses are also light and robust, which our camera operators like,” stated Christopher Adams, Vice President Venue Engineering, Olympics Production Engineering, NBC Sports Group.
You probably have seen the option in your editing software or your printer driver to choose 16-bit color processing. In fact, you may have selected the option, although you weren’t quite sure what it meant, because more data should result in better prints, right?
This short article will unlock the mysteries of 16-bit printing and help you to take full advantage of this feature in your imaging workflow.
When flying with camera gear, I always carry it on the plane with me.
At least the most expensive and highest importance gear goes with me.
But, just because I want to carry the gear onto the plane does not prevent the airline from forcing a gate check of a typically-large roller case, even if it falls within dimensional compliance.
The scariness of this scenario was reinforced to me recently when I watched gate checked bags sliding down a very long tube, landing with significant force at ground level.
So, I take precautions against being forced to turn over a camera case at the gate.
The first precaution I often take is using the airline's credit card to buy the flight tickets.
This move typically results in priority boarding privileges.
United Airlines and American Airlines (my two most-used airlines) charge an annual fee for their cards, but another benefit these cards provide is a certain number of free checked luggage bags on each flight.
A flight or two a year generally equalizes the credit card's annual fee.
While there are generally a lot of people flying with priority boarding passes, getting in line early within this boarding group has always insured that I can stow my largest case in the overhead storage,
avoiding a gate check requirement caused by lack of storage space.
Another key to avoid gate checking is knowing the size of the planes that you will be flying on.
The smallest plane on your trip is going to be the limiting factor.
If flying on a small plane such as a regional jet, this can be a problem (especially if it is the first leg of a multiple flight trip).
The isle seat on the side of the plane with the most side-by-side seats may have the largest storage option – under the seat in front of you.
In this case, know what size case fits here – a full-size hard or rigid case will often not fit.
With large-sized planes booked for all of my commercial airline flights and priority boarding passes in hand, I was comfortable taking a full-size roller bag as my carry-on to Alaska.
The Think Tank Photo Airport Security V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag.
TTP sent me this case a long time ago, and I have used it with great frequency since, leaving many of my other cases to gather dust.
This trip involved a mix of travel (including float planes, various boats and an SUV) and in-the-field use of camera gear.
While the Airport Security is not my first choice for backpack-style carry, it provides this option and I carried it full of gear for many miles in the Katmai National Park back country on this trip.
The straps work fine.
Aside from having a large capacity, including the ability to hold a 600mm f/4 lens with a pro-sized camera body attached (snug fit), this case provides very solid protection for the contents
and the build quality was something I had a lot of confidence in.
The lead image for this post shows most of the primary items I carried in this pack while traveling.
I removed a 15" sleeved laptop and some other odds and ends (including some spare clothes) prior to taking this picture.
The laptop fits in the outside pocket or, to save some dimensional space, inside in the shown load configuration.
From left to right across the bottom of the case are the following:
The Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens was along for my ultra-wide angle needs (didn't end up using it much).
The Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Lens earned its ticket to travel from its excellent image quality at a wide aperture.
Night sky photography its primary intended purpose.
The Canon EOS M3 with a
Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens mounted made the trip.
With Canon EOS Rebel T6i-like image quality, this tiny camera with the 18-55 gave me a very compact general purpose kit to use
when I could not (or did not want to) take a full size camera and also provided a backup under the same circumstances.
The EOS M3 proved a convenient choice for photographing from commercial airplanes (you do this, right?), from float planes and for a part-day salmon fishing trip.
In Lowepro Lens Cases under and beside the M3 are Canon EF 1.4x and
2x III Extenders.
While I have no regrets from bringing these, I did not use either on this trip.
The 600mm lens was enough, but you never know when a unique situation calls for more reach.
An Arca-Swiss Z1 Ball Head is fit into the bottom right divided section of the Airport Security.
This head was chosen because ... it is my current favorite – it works great and reliably so.
While I don't usually have room for tripods in my carry-on cases, I usually include my primary ball head because of its dense weight.
Keeping my checked bag under the 50 lbs. limit is usually a challenge.
My "personal item" carried onto the plane was a
Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Pro.
This pack is ideal for maximizing the camera gear carried onto the plane and great for lower volume needs on location.
Lots of additional accessories were along in the carry-on packs including well over 1TB of memory cards, many batteries, chargers, power supplies and including power supplies, charges,
external hard drives.
I always carry an empty water bottle through security and fill it from a water fountain before the flight, insuring adequate hydration for a long period of time.
Not seen in the two backpack images are a pair of tripods that were along for this trip.
My favorite all-around tripod is the Gitzo GT3542LS.
It is an extremely rigid, strong, lightweight, reliable tripod that is easily up to handling the 600mm lens kit.
Nested inside the legs of the larger tripod was the Gitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod with an
Acratech GP-s Ball Head mounted (great little head).
The second tripod served as backup, permitted use of two simultaneous tripod setups and offered an ultra-lightweight tripod for those times when the full-size option was too much.
This little tripod could have handled the 600mm setup if necessary.
A pair of empty Lowepro Toploader Pro cases were placed over both ends of the nested tripods with their
open lids providing protection for most of the sides of the tripods.
Clothing provided the balance of the protection necessary for the tripods.
Large lenses are far easier to use on a gimbal mount and the Wimberley Tripod Head II is my first choice.
I packed this head in a padded case inside my checked bag.
My Alaska trip itinerary, in brief, involved a flight to Anchorage, SUV rental, driving to Seward and then Homer and float plane flight to coastal Katmai National Park where I stayed on boats for 4 nights.
After flying back to home, a 1/2-day side trip to fish the Kenai River was in order and then on to Denali National Park for a few days.
There is very little I'd change in my packs if I were to do this trip again.
Have any questions? Ask them in the comments section below!