Overpriced Items That I Can't Live Without

  1. Black Rapid RS Camera Strap: I paid over $170 for mine! Ouch! I bought the first one, the RS1, in Canada when the hook and the base were “crappy.” Then I bought the “proper” fastener for the base, then the “proper” hook, then finally I bought a Nodal Ninja plate that has a lip to distribute the tension from the tripod mount to the body of the camera. Now it's fantastic, I can even hang 10 pounds, the camera, the Sigma 120-400, the monopod + the head and carrying the whole “she-bang” is easy. Having the Black Rapid RS strap is also great for street photography, most people do not see the camera until I raise it to my eyes.
  2. Gary Fong Lightsphere: by the time I was done, I paid: $145 for it. Is it an overpriced Tupperware container? Yes and no. I have tried the Tupperware route and I get between 1½ and 2 f/stops more light with the Lightshpere. I do not mount it on the hot shoe, I connect it through a Canon OC-3 extension cable and hold the flash at the end of my extended arm. I use aluminium paper to cover half of the inside of the Lightsphere and get another f/stop of light through. The $145 is for both the Gary Fong Lightsphere and the flash extension cable.
  3. B&W filters, almost $700 worth! First I tried the cheap route and bought the Hoya Pro 1 filters, then I had AF focusing problems that were immediately solved by switching to Schneider's B&W filters. The $700 is for the 2 sets of filters, including the Hoyas that are still sitting at the bottom of my camera storage chest.
  4. Kata Rain Cover E-702 PL. $55 on sale. It's bigger and heavier than a garbage bag but it's more solid, it doesn't flap in the wind and it looks more professional.
  5. Velbon Carbon Fiber Monopod Neopod-6. At $99 with the Manfrotto Tilt-34 monopod head, it's a fantastic bargain, I have supported 9 pounds on it without any problem.
  6. Datacolor SpyderLensCal Lens Calibration System: At $69, it could be a bargain or a rip-off depending on how you look at it. For me, it's a bargain and I love it. Is $69 (Canadian) a rip-off when it allows me to get the best from my lenses? I usually recalibrate all my lenses twice a year, during the heat of the summer and during the freezing cold of the winter. I also recalibrate my lenses after extreme temperature changes. This allows my focus to be spot on and get the most out of the lens when wide open or very close to wide open. The Datacolor is an "almost one piece unit" that folds, no assembly required. When doing the calibration, the most importsant step is to keep both the camera and the SpyderLensCal parallel.