Aputure Amaran AL 528S LED Video Light Review


Aputure Amaran AL 528S LED light

I’m a huge fan of my Aputure Aamran AL-H198 LED lights and they’ve been performing great for me (I liked my first one so much I bought a second within a week). They’re so awesome, especially when you consider their low price, I wrote up a full review about them here on my blog.

Because I had such a positive experience with the little 198 LED lights, when it was time to add to my light kit I decided to try out a larger version of their awesome LED lights. My plan was to keep my AL H198 lights and use them for highlights, kick lights or background lights and get a bigger light to use as my main or “key” light. There were plenty of choices but I settled on the Aputure Amaran AL 528S because of it’s price (all of their 528 LED lights can be found for under $170.00 US) and massive amount of light output (the spot version I chose has a specification of 12,700 LUX at .5M).

The bigger front surface area of the 528 LED light should translate into a much softer output than the smaller 198 LED lights and that meant, with the addition of a little diffusion,  it could be a perfect main light in my small office/studio. Once again the team at Aputure hit a home run and, now that I’ve had mine for a while, I’m sharing my official full-length review.

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Aputure Amaran AL-H198 LED Video Light Review


The Aputure AL-H198 (Real World) Gear Review

The Aputure AL-H198

Today marks the beginning of real product reviews on my blog. Since the beginning of my blog I’ve tried to be super inclusive of all visitors by not concentrating on the gear I use. Instead I’ve talked about the results I achieve and the techniques I used to get them. I’ve been a Sony shooter since well before it was OK to shoot Sony cameras so gear reviews just were not something I was interested in doing. But things change and, while the tips and techniques are great, there are real gear choices that need to be made. So with this review of the Aputure Amaran AL-H198 I’m going to start sharing real world reviews of some of the gear I use on a regular basis. If you are making videos then light is super important and in this review I’ll be looking at a superb 198 LED video light that is extremely affordable. Continue reading

Going Mirrorless


As a photographer I’ve been shooting for decades now and  I’ve used all sorts of equipment over the years to capture images. For the past ten years or so that’s involved digital cameras that can sometimes be pretty big and heavy.

As I’ve been getting older I’ve been thinking a lot about lightening my load and being less obvious (nothing screams “photographer” like a gigantic DSLR with a f2.8 zoom lens attached). As long as I’m not giving up much performance I’m perfectly willing to forego my gigantic rig in favor of something much easier on my shoulder – whenever I’m not on an assignment, that is. I’m still going to have my big gear for the important stuff but this article will talk a bit about my adventures with Mirrorless Cameras.

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Ruggard Triumph 55 Sling Bag


For a little over three months I’ve been trying out a new Sling Bag style camera bag from Ruggard called the Triumph 55. Because I sometimes photograph local new and special events (think: “photo journalism”) I was in the market for something that was comfortable, held the all of the gear I’d need on an assignment and had plenty of great features. When I started looking for a bag for my journalism work I decided to look into backpacks and slings because I knew that walking to a location was a huge part of the job (I often use public transportation to get to news scenes in the Washington, DC area). In the beginning money wasn’t a factor because I really wanted to find something that was comfortable.

I own a number of Ruggard products (available exclusively at B&H Photo) including a bunch of tripod/lightstand bags and I’ve always been impressed by their flexibility, durability and their affordability. Because I’ve had good luck with my Ruggard light stand bags I decided to give their sling bags and backpacks a look. It turns out the slick Triumph series of sling bags were perfect for what I needed.

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My New Travel Tripod


I use a tripod whenever I can to make sure my camera is as steady as can be. Most of the time I use a big tripod made by Manfrotto that has always been my number one go-to tripod. It’s a tripod I’ve owned for close to 10 years now and it show no signs of stopping any time soon. As much as I love my big Manfrotto it is a bit heavy and a little large for when I’m traveling or out for a fun photo walk. In those situations I prefer a smaller and lighter solution for keeping my camera steady. Recently I added a new travel-sized tripod to my gear collection and for this blog post I’ll be sharing some initial thoughts about it.

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the Tuff-Luv DSLR Shoulder Bag


Recently I ordered some new Tuff Luv DSLR Shoulder Bags from my friends at LoveCases. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to carry my gear and this time I was looking for some over-the-shoulder camera bags. I’ve talked at length about my gear bags in the past and I own plenty. I own a ton of photography gear and each job I go on will have different requirements. For big jobs I have big gear bags. For day trips walking around Washington, DC I want to travel light. In the past I’ve used sling style bags but I quickly discovered that they only worked over one shoulder (and after a long day it becomes a little fatiguing when you can’t switch shoulders). I felt it was time to try a shoulder style bag again and the Tuff Luv DSLR Shoulder Bags looked like they were perfect for my needs. In this blog post I’ll be sharing my full review of them.

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