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I need a battery grip for my DSLR.  I checked out Consumer Reports.  Lots of information on a $30 coffee maker comparing it with dozens of other coffee makers in side by side testing.  No battery grips were tested by consumer reports recently.  I’m in a quandary, battery grips are not 30 bucks, the difference between the cheapest and most expensive is over 500%.  I scour the internet for reviews, there are many.  Unfortunately, all the reviews I find are about the one model that the reviewer has.  In some cases, where the original purchase was defective, the reviewer returned the grip for the more expensive OEM grip and is able to confidently say the OEM is “worth the money”.  This is not helping me.  I need reviews that compare professional equipment side by side with the competition.

The purpose of this site is to provide reviews that compare professional photography equipment side by side against the competition.  This site will try to compare all equipment sold within a catagory:

  • All USB 3.0 UDMA-7 card readers sold by Adorama.
  • All UDMA-7 CF cards sold by Adorama.
  • All UHS-1 SD cards sold by Adorama, claiming above 90MB/sec transfer rate.
  • All battery grips sold by Adorama for the Canon 5D Mark III. etc.
  • All 4 bay raid enclosures using 2.5 inch drives (mini) with a Thunderbolt interface sold by Adorama.  There are only two on the market at the moment, Drobo and Pegasus, (that I am aware of).
  • All 5 bay raid enclosures with a Thunderbolt interface sold by Adorama.  Drobo and LaCie seem to have the market.
  • All external drives with both a Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interface sold by Adorama.  Buffalo, Drobo and LaCie will be tested.
  • All 2 bay thunderbolt arrays  sold by Adorama to include G-Technology and LaCie.
  • Let’s not forget that sweet spot, the 4TB USB 3.0 drives sold by Adorama.
  • What is the most cost effective method for a birder to “get out there” as far as possible with acceptable Image Quality using Autofocus?  How about allowing for Manual focus?
  • A direct comparison of all Canon lenses at different focal lengths and aperture settings.
  • Lights?  PCB Einsteins using CyberSync v.s. Canon Speedlite 600EX-RTs with a ST-E3-RT.  Even a 3 light kit without modifiers, stands, backdrops, or batteries will cost you $1,800.  Remarkably, its about the same price no matter which way you go.  We will compare them and others on the beach at sunset and in the studio.
  • Traveling with studio lights and backdrops?  We are testing an airline checked bag solution domestically, we’ll try international early next year.  (Hint:  Buy insurance.)

I’m “that guy”.  I’m the guy who, rather than risk getting inferior equipment, even at a substantial savings, would rather blow 2 to 5 times as much on the OEM item “just to make sure I got the right one”.  At this point I take a deep breath and accept the fact that I may actually be “that other guy”, the one who wonders for the rest of the time he owns the equipment how well the cheaper equipment might have performed.

We are a Canon Professional Services Platinum member.  We are in a unique position to test Canon equipment.  While we are putting together the test environments for testing lenses we figured we’d start off with some hands on, side by side testing of equipment for which we already have a test environment such as battery grips, media cards, card readers, external storage drives and drive arrays.  Aren’t you tired of reading the specifications for a drive that only lists the throughput of the interface?

  • USB 2.0 has a maximum signaling rate of 480 Mbit/s with a maximum effective throughput of 35 MByte/s or 280 Mbit/s.  480 Mbit/sec is the rate generally quoted for a USB 2.0 drive, but you will never see that rate out of USB 2.0 device.
  • USB 3.0 has maximum signaling rate of 5 Gbit/s and a maximum usable data rate of 4 Gbit/s.  Again, the most quoted data rate for a USB 3.0 device is 5 Gbit/s which tells us the advertisers have no idea what they are talking about.
  • Thunderbolt provides 10 Gbit/s per channel (20 Gbit/s in total).  How many times have you seen Thunderbolt drives advertised as, “twice as fast as USB 3.0”, clearly ignoring all other factors?

Other issues we hope to tackle:

  • How about testing all items in a category using the same test equipment and software to include using the same drives when comparing enclosures?
  • How about quantifying what having both a Thunderbolt and a USB 3.0 interface on the same drive might be worth?
  • What does that mSATA plug-in do for Drobo performance anyway?
  • What is the cheapest way to achieve the longest focal length ($/mm) with autofocus using Canon lenses (35mm equivalent)?  (Hint:  $0.42/mm.  For L glass: $1.28/mm).  And how good are the results?
  • What combination of Canon equipment provides the longest focal length with autofocus (35mm equivalent)? (Hint:  It does not include the 800mm) (Hint 2: The longest focal length achievable, with autofocus, is 1,344mm and it will cost you $9.67/mm just for the glass).
  • What do you think about the argument that says, “I’d rather crop the image from my full frame camera than use APS-C”?  When is that the approved solution?  When is it not?  (Hint:    Cropping that 5D Mark III image to APS-C size will leave you with almost 8.5 Mega Pixels.)


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