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Photoplus Expo

25th November 2012

for both professionals and consumers

When someone asks me where I’m from, I usually volunteer a two part answer: “I grew up in New York but I live in Michigan”. Still after almost 40 years, it’s a treat for me to return to New York to see friends and family.

My most recent visit was in late October to attend the Photoplus Expo that’s held each year at the Javits Convention Center.

I’ve traveled there for the past several years to report on the newest photo products, speak to the equipment vendors and watch several of the live “how-to” seminars.

This year thousands of professionals and enthusiastic consumers also traveled to New York City to get a hands on experience with the latest photographic equipment and accessories.

For this report, I’ll concentrate on several of the new digital cameras as these are the among the most popular.

Nikon D600

I first saw the Nikon 600 a few weeks ago at the huge Photokina Expo in Cologne, Germany. Nikon’s newest DSLR is positioned as a “prosumer” model. Its full-frame sensor, the same size as a 35mm film frame, offers an impressive 24MP resolution with superior light gathering power and less noise than the more common APS-C size sensors found in many consumer targeted DLSRs.


The D600 is smaller than the full-frame Nikon D800 which was introduced only a few months ago. Its $2100 price is $900 less expensive than the D800 which has a 36MP sensor.

The autofocus system is switchable between 9, 21 or 39 autofocus points depending on the type of subject. Its high speed image processor can capture up to 5-1/2 frames per second. The large 3.2″ LCD automatically adjusts the brightness to suit the surrounding lighting conditions.

The D600 automatically recognizes when a DX lens is mounted and adjusts the camera resolution to about 10mp. So owners of DX lenses can continue to benefit from their earlier investment.

Other notable features are:

  • built-in flash with versatile wireless control of external units
  • dual SD card slots – you can configure the D600 to record duplicate of images on both SD cards or to record jpg images on one card and RAW images on the other
  • in-camera HDR capability – multiple exposures are combined automatically to capture a wider range of tones
  • Active-D lighting – reduces very contrasty scenes to retain detail in highlights and shadows
  • time-lapse – captures multiple frames at specified intervals
  • full 1080p HD video at multiple frame rates
  • uncompressed video output via HDMI cable
  • external stereo input with visual auto level monitor

Users who want to transmit images directly to a smart device can purchase the inexpensive WU-1b wireless adapter. With this they can backup images and/or share images as text messages or online social media sites.

The D600 will prove to be a very capable model for those looking to upgrade from one of Nikon’s DX format cameras to a full-frame body. It’s available now for $2100. The price of the WU-1B wireless transmitter is $60.


Canon 6D

Pick up the Canon 6D, and you’ll immediately notice how much smaller (less wide) and lighter it is compared to Canon’s previous full frame 5DMkII and 5DMkIII models. The target market for the 6D is the prosumer who wants to upgrade from an APS-C frame size body, similar to what Nikon is doing with its D600 model.

Other features of the 6D are:

  • 20MB full-frame sensor
  • 11-point autofocus system
  • high speed capture at 4.5 frames per second
  • single SD card slot
  • in-camera HDR – combines bracketed exposures to yield images which encompass wide exposure levels
  • multiple exposure – superimposes up to nine separate images onto single frame
  • full 1080p HD video at multiple frame rates
  • built-in WiFi – sends images wirelessly to smart devices (computer,mobile phones) for backup or preview
  • built-in GPS – adds location information to images


One feature missing from the 6D is a built-in flash. Normally, this classifies the camera as a professional model. Originally slated for release December 15th, the Canon 6D was already shipping in late November. The price is $2100, same as the Nikon D600.


Sony NEX-6

I have to admit that I’m a big fan of Sony’s line of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC). The newest member of the NEX series is the NEX-6. The MILCs are all much smaller and lighter than any of the DLSRs, making them very convenient to carry.

This model uses a hybrid autofocus system that addresses a shortcoming of the earlier models. Autofocus is now performed by combining fast phase-detection for coarse focusing with contrast-detection for precise focusing.

Many of the controls on the NEX-6 have been reworked from earlier models to change the settings faster and more conveniently. The high resolution electronic viewfinder lets the user preview the effect of the settings before the shutter is released.


Sony has also introduced a new 16-50mm zoom lens for the NEX series.

This lens is the first E-mount lens with a power zooming feature.

The lens ring is used for zooming and manual focusing.

When it’s not being used, the lens retracts to less than 30mm thereby making the camera and lens combination even more compact.

The 3″ LCD display has a 920K dot resolution and tilts 90 degrees upward and 45 degrees downward for easy viewing in a variety of shooting situations.

Among the innovative shooting features are:

  • in-camera HDR – combines three separate images into a single image with wide tonal range
  • adjustable DRO – dynamic range optimizer helps prevent overly contrast images
  • multiframe NR – captures multiple frames and combines parts to produce single framewith least amount of moise
  • sweep panorama – sweep your camera horizontally to take multiple frames which are stitched together in camera
  • built-in flash
  • built-in WiFi – sends images to mobile device or computer for backup or display
  • full 1080p HD video

The Sony NEX-6 is available now with 16-50mm lens for $1000.


Thanks to the vendors from Nikon, Canon and Sony who provided me with much of the technical information that I’ve presented here.

The show management told me that more than 24,000 visitors attended this year’s Photoplus Expo. Based on my conversations, I recently added a new Canon 6D to my large inventory of photo equipment. I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one to have made a purchasing decision after the show.


Written by: Arnie Lee



Three Copy Rule

12th November 2012

The typical photographer in the “old” film days probably didn’t take as many photographs as he or she would today thanks to our powerful digital cameras. This made storing printed photographs easier because people would likely place the prints in a box or an album and put it in the closet. A few photographers might have had the foresight to store the corresponding negatives separately and more securely but not much thought was given to storing the prints safely.

“Anyone who has used any type of film camera is likely guilty of storing their photos this way (I’m including myself as well)”

Note that I said easier but that doesn’t mean better. In many ways we’re still using a one box to store all our photos but in this case, that box is our computer. It’s not too hard to imagine how a box of photos could be lost or damaged in those days, but so can a computer today. When that happens, a lifetime of memories is lost because a safe backup system wasn’t used.

We might forgive ourselves in the days of film because we quite frankly probably just didn’t know any better and never thought of backups or extra copies. We’re still facing that same challenge today: why, how and where to store our digital photography files.

Today, however, we have alternatives. One popular method of storing images is to use a portable hard drive (also called external hard drive). These are generally good choices and you can also use multiple external hard drives as your back source. This offers a cheaper way of having your files on multiple backup sources.

“Western Digital has many portable hard drives with capacities of 500GB to 1TB for $100 or less (image courtesy Seagate ( is another possibility.”

But only using one or more portable hard drives to keep a backup of your images isn’t necessarily effective either. Consider Hurricane Sandy or something like a housefire or burglary. It doesn’t matter how many hard drives you’re using to backup your files, keeping all of them in one location is almost as bad as not having any backup.

Therefore, the best way is to keep a backup that you have at an off-site location. This could be as easy as a portable hard drive that you take to the office or keep at a relative’s house or even a safety deposit box at a bank.

It’s not always practical, of course, to keep a portable hard drive at another location so you might want to consider online storage, also known as cloud storage. This type of storage is quickly becoming a necessity for both businesses and individuals. You can select from several reliable sites that are available. These sites have different plans depending on the amount of storage but you can generally expect to pay a few dollars a month for 20 to 30 GB of storage space. A few may even have a small amount of storage available at no charge so you can get an idea of what the online storage is all about.

I’m not recommending one over another but the following should give you a good idea of what is available:




Live Drive


My PC Backup


Sugar Sync


Don’t, however, rely entirely on the cloud backups. Instead use the 3 Copy Rule:

1. Main source location (I’m referring to your computer here, NOT the memory card still in the camera!)
2. Use a portable hard drive for daily backups or quick backups
3. Use the cloud backups for your offsite backup

“The Three Copy Rule is simple to follow yet it seems like we don’t regularly follow it.”

In other words, backup redundancy is the best plan to avoid disaster.

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