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Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Year in Photography

T.O.P. Photography Accessory of the Year 2006

Winner
Joint Award—Epson, Canon, and HP for ULTRACHROME K3 (Epson), LUCIA (Canon), and VIVERA (HP) pigment inks (not all introduced this year, but all available at the same time for the first time this year). Although photographs can now be used in many purely electronic forms, the highest expression of photographs as fine art has always been the fine print—and prints with poor longevity have little integrity. Epson gets credit for the earliest use of pigmented inks. Now, it has two such inksets, and these have been joined by Canon's professional 12-ink Lucia set and HP's 8-ink Vivera set. In general, I think these inks are more attractive than dye inksets—they're a bit more subdued, seem to have more body, and don't as easily run to unnatural dayglo brightness—but the work these companies have done in creating inks with such good life expectancy is as admirable as it was needed. Of course, the applause the ink makers care about is whether the products are profitable, but then, if you're using a pigment inkjet printer, I bet you feel like you're doing your part where that's concerned, eh?

Runner-Up
The Upstrap—When I blogged about these, a few people actually wrote in to say they didn't care for them, which only goes to show that on this planet there are people from another planet. The Upstraps are the greatest thing since sliced bread. They're the proverbial better mousetrap. I couldn't be more amazed than if someone invented a perfect camera bag or the ideal tripod (two other categories of accessory that will never be perfect, most likely because they're imperfectible). I have Upstraps on all of my cameras. They are one accessory that I appreciate every single time I use one.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON

12 Comments:

Blogger Stephen said...

MIke,
I bought two Upstraps last year at this time for my 1D's for my pro work shooting motorsports at racetracks in Northern California. After of a year of shooting with them, I have to say, for fear of being labelled an alien, that I don't like them. They grip to be sure, but they are very bulky to pack in my Airport Addicted, and are not very flexible with the rubber pad. Sorry, they don't work for me. I am going to replace them with the new LowePro straps designed for photojournalists that are also designed not to slip off, but can be easily folded to pack away.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Allen George said...

Stephen...I agree with you and exactly for the same reasons. The rubber pads are very inflexible and bulky to pack away. It's even more annoying when you don't have the neckstrap on.

Gotta say that I'm not a fan

7:14 PM  
Blogger Dwight Jones said...

I just got my Upstrap Quick Release version and think I am going to like it. On the other hand, the quick release tends to increase the bulk and just adds to the "stuff" you deal with. I might have been happier with the regular Upstrap. Too soon to tell.

Also, they are selling a lightweight version that looks promising. I'm going to try them on my smaller cameras

7:19 PM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

The Upstraps do the job they promise: keep the strap from slipping from your shoulder. In this regard they are simply excellent.

But I have three of them (2 camera models, one bag model) sitting in a drawer because I just do not like the lump-o' -rubber-on-a-string design. Even though I have shoulders that resemble Homer Simpson's I find that the straps supplied with my (Canon) cameras are perfect for me. Tacky enough to stay put, flexible enough to quickly configure in a forearm wrap, no rubber lump threatening to thump me in the puss with one false move.

So I guess to each his/her own preferences.

Gotta go now. I'm waiting for a call from Mars.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Ed Wolpov said...

I also purchased two Upstraps for my cameras and am not completely happy with them either. I find the rubber pad too bulky, but also don't like the fact that it's permanently attached to the strap. If the strap was able to slide freely through the pad, I wouldn't have to be shifting the whole camera/strap/pad around my shoulder.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Rick Morris said...

Upstraps - don't leave home without them! Cheap insurance and peace of mind.
Granted, they could be more comfortable, but they're not.
I have very long hair and have found out that they stick to hair as well as they stick to everything else :)

6:22 AM  
Blogger David said...

Love mine. Have two of them. No problem packing them in my Airport Addicted bag, and they do exactly what they are advertised to do. To each his own.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Rob Giordano said...

I've been using UPstraps for years and I love them. I have them on all my cameras and one also for my laptop.

Bulky? Poohbah!...They're no bulkier than any of the other junk that fills my pockets or carry bag when I'm out in the field.

I wish Mr. Stegmeyer would make one to hold up my bluejeans too.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Curtis Clegg said...

I'm just curious... what was the best thing before sliced bread?

1:19 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"what was the best thing before sliced bread?"

I'm not sure, but I think it was the cat's meow.

--Mike

2:59 PM  
Blogger Lummer said...

i was skeptical at first. i bought a couple, one for my rangefinder, Canon 5d. since returning from a month in japan on assignment, i have a wide kevlar one on my xpan, the wide kevlar on my 1d N.i gotta say, for me they work perfectly. the odd thing, i keep expecting the strap to slip off my shoulders because every strap so far slipped off... so this is the enigma. they work awesome, snow and the humidity of the hawaiian islands. i sound like an ad, but i am really pleased with them ! my humble 2cents.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Lummer said...

hi all. just my 2 cents. i bought a couple being skeptical. soon after, i switched all my cameras to the wide ones, thin and 1 with the removable option. after using them for over a month. i love them, i have a wide kevlar one my 1D N and several thin ones on my rangefinders, the wide one works well with the xpan. i guess i expect the strap to fall off my shoulders. This anticipated action takes getting used to with this straps, they don't fall off like all straps. works well in cold weather and the humidity of the islands. if the straps could be made so they extend a little more around the shoulder in the shape of a 'relaxed upside down U', the strap would be more ergonomic(instead of being a straight line). humbly with aloha, L

7:23 PM  

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