WaterField Designs announces the Outback Slip Case, a custom-fitted case for the just-announced Apple iPads. Natural materials—waxed cotton canvas and vegetable-tanned leather—combine for a sporty, un-pretentious look suitable for personal or casual work use. The custom-fitted Outback iPad Slip Case includes a softly padded interior and a stiff plastic insert to provide extra protection for the new anti-reflective, high resolution screen. WaterField Designs is an innovative San Francisco designer and manufacturer of custom laptop sleeves, designer bags and cases for digital gear.
The waxed canvas and premium leather of the Outback Slip Case gain character over time. A magnetically-secured leather strap keeps the iPad in place, and a cleverly-positioned lower “grab tab” lets users easily remove the iPad from the snug-fitting case. The Outback Slip Case can be carried on its own or stashed in a bag or backpack.
“I think the combination of canvas and leather gives the Outback Slip Case a relaxed, yet sophisticated look,” explains company owner, Gary Waterfield. “With iPads increasingly used both at home and at work, we designed this line to fit comfortably in either setting.”
Outback Slip Case for iPad
- Rugged, water-resistant, tan waxed-canvas outer shell gains character over time
- Premium, naturally-tanned, full-grain leather trim
- Soft, scratch-free, lightly-padded interior
- Screen-protecting plastic insert
- Slim leather strap fastens with invisible magnetic snap
- Exterior leather “grab tab” eases iPad removal
- Options: Snug-fit sizes for ‘naked’ iPad Air 2/iPad mini 3 with Retina and for iPad Air 2/iPad mini 3 with Retina using an Apple Smart Cover.
WaterField Designs offers additional custom-fitted iPad cases for Apple’s new iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 2—the Ultimate SleeveCase, the Suede Jacket, the CitySlicker, the Outback Solo, and the Travel Express, each entirely handcrafted in San Francisco. For the upgraded Mac Mini, WaterField’s Mac Mini SleeveCase keeps the device and its accessories safely stored and organized.
Pricing & Availability
iPad Outback Slip Case
Price: iPad mini 3—$59; iPad Air 2—$69
Color & Materials: Tan waxed, canvas with full-grain, vegetable-tanned, grizzly leather trim
Sizes: #10—iPad mini 3; #11—iPad mini 3 using an Apple Smart Cover; #23—iPad Air 2; #24—iPad Air 2 using an Apple Smart Cover
Shipping begins October 24, 2014.
Additional WaterField Designs iPad Cases—the Ultimate SleeveCase, Suede Jacket, CitySlicker, Outback Solo, and Travel Express—available now.
Mac Mini SleeveCase: $49, one size, colors: black ballistic with checkered Indium” trim.
About WaterField Designs
WaterField Designs manufactures custom-fitted, high-quality cases and bags for a full-range of laptop computers, smartphones, and other digital gear. All products are manufactured to exacting standards in San Francisco. More information is at the SFBags website under Our Story.
IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube for iPhone and iPad adds iOS 8 support, ENGL amps, new drum packs and more
The earth shaking gain of ENGL
AmpliTube’s amplifier section is about to get a whole lot louder. The latest version introduces two new offerings from ENGL, an innovative German manufacturer whose high-gain amps are tailored to provide that supremely righteous tonality coveted by metal, classic rock and modern hard rock players. The amp heads in AmpliTube are based on the meticulously engineered virtual models found in AmpliTube 3 for Mac and PC.
The ENGL E650: An all-tube head that can conjure up classic rock-god tones from the ’80s and ’90s as well as the heavy crunch and distortion of tomorrow’s tone connoisseurs.
The ENGL Powerball: An amp head that’s earned its reputation as one of the most powerful and versatile modern high-gain amplifiers off the potent combination of its brutal rhythm tones, super high-gain lead tones and ultra-clean tones.
Both amp heads are available as in-app purchases, which means AmpliTube’s collection of amps is bigger than ever before. And to coincide with this, AmpliTube now lets users transfer their purchased gear between versions and devices, such as from AmpliTube for iPad to AmpliTube for iPhone/iPod touch (limited to 10 device transfers per user).
Take control with iRig BlueBoard
Though AmpliTube is fully controllable from the touchscreen, it really comes alive when paired with IK’s iRig® BlueBoard Bluetooth pedal controller. iRig BlueBoard gives users a wireless stompbox-like experience with four assignable buttons that can be used to trigger effects and swap presets from the floor. The latest version of AmpliTube makes the pairing even more seamless and powerful by adding built-in support and a new mode that allows for global control of AmpliTube’s robust built-in recorder.
8 tracks of tone
AmpliTube has always let players record their sessions via its built-in recorder. The latest version expands this capability by giving iPhone and iPod touch users the ability to expand from a single-track to an 8-track recorder through in-app purchase. That means that iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users have the same multitrack recording functionality, which is perfect for AmpliTube’s new project sharing feature. Now users can share their recordings and music projects across different versions and across different devices via iTunes File Sharing.
For practicing and recording, AmpliTube features a powerful drum module called Loop Drummer. Like a virtual session musician, it provides rock-solid rhythm tracks that sync with AmpliTube’s recorder. The latest version of AmpliTube builds on this by adding additional Style Packs for purchase from the in-app store. Style Packs include 64 loops each, and provide eight different song-construction kits based around a core drumbeat style. The new Style Packs include 5 alternate versions of existing AmpliTube favorites – BLUES 2, FUNKY 2, METAL 2, POP 2 and ROCK 2 – plus three exciting new styles – JAZZ, LATIN and REGGAE. Now, no matter their style, guitar players and bassists will be able to practice with a drummer anywhere.
And a whole lot more
AmpliTube has also been optimized in a number of more subtle ways: It’s fully compatible with iOS 8, the new operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Its MIDI control has been improved by adding more assignable parameters to the built-in recorder. It’s now compatible with Audiobus on iOS 8. Its latency and MIDI control have both been improved. And its quick start guide has been replaced by multi-language dynamic tooltips available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese.
Pricing and availability
The new version of AmpliTube is a complimentary update for existing users of all versions of AmpliTube, and it’s available now on the App StoreSM as both a free or paid app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch for only $19.99/€17.99 for new users. The new ENGL E650 and ENGL Powerball amp heads are available via in-app purchase for $6.99/€5.99 each. Each new Loop Drummer 2 Style Pack is available via in-app purchase for $3.99/€3.59.
For more information, please visit:
AVANTEK USB Car Chargers
$9.99 to $16.99 Amazon
Do you dread long road trips because either you have to turn off your devices to save battery life or you have to buy those really cheap (not well made) USB charger things in service stations or convenience stores only to toss them into the trash after a single use or two. And you can only charge one or two (if you’re lucky) devices at a time. Frustrating, isn’t it? Well, for just about the same price as dime store charging gadgets, you can have a real multi-device charging station for your long trips.
Seriously. For $16.99, you can charge up to five devices at once (upper left device in picture). It’s the one that I take with me on road trips. My wife, daughter, and I are able to charge our three iPhones and my daughter’s iPad all at once. Try that with a convenience store charger.
The other chargers shown have two USB connectors plus three cigarette lighter-style socket charger ports. These units are socket port multipliers. With them, you can charge or power a variety of gadgets, tools, and appliances. You aren’t limited to USB.
My sons chose the socketed chargers for themselves because they have a variety of “thingies” that they want to power. I don’t know what “thingies” are and I don’t want to ask. I feel better not knowing all the details. But whatever those details are, they’ll have plenty of power available to them.
Why it’s Frugal: AVANTEK power products are frugal because they save you both time and money. They save you time by allowing you to charge multiple devices in your car and they save you money because you don’t have to buy multiple chargers nor do you have to re-buy chargers because the ones you bought were cheap pieces of garbage. Frugal and useful. You just can’t beat that combination.
Surprisingly, I don’t have even one bad or slightly negative thing to say about these products. They do what they say they’ll do and they do it inexpensively. The manufacturing quality is very high, the designs are good, and they work. It’s hard to find fault with a product that is so well thought-out, so useful, and so frugal all in one package.
What more can I say than to tell you that my wife and my two college student sons love these? I can tell you that I love them too. Honestly, every vehicle you own should have at least one of these devices available because these days we depend so much on our personal technology that you can’t do without power.
Recommendation: A must-have for every vehicle and every member of your family. These would make great gifts.
In photography, there’s nothing quite like stability. And if you’re using a tripod, you need stability because even the slightest movements during an exposure can have disastrous results. These days that’s not as expensive as it used to be because of our digital cameras and instant picture view, but film aficionados understand what I’m talking about. Often, you couldn’t tell that your trusty tripod had failed you until you developed your film, enlarged the negatives onto print paper, and discovered that indeed there was movement from a breeze, an overzealous shutter snap, or a slight bump as you released the tilt bar. But for the sake of stability, many a photographer lugged a 50-pound tripod around the countryside to grab that perfect image.
Videographers have the same problem. Camera shake makes people dizzy or uneasy when watching a film. You don’t want to purposely induce vertigo in your audience, so you resort to a tripod for stability. Hopefully one you can lift, move, balance, and position many, many times over the course of a long day’s shoot.
The 3Pod V3AH is such a tripod. It has almost every feature of a tripod costing hundreds of dollars. For the videographer on a budget, the guerrilla videographer, the YouTuber, or the professional who needs to travel light, the V3AH might be your perfect choice. At a nickel under $100, it’s really easy on your wallet.
Included in the box:
- V3AH Video Tripod
- Fluid Panhead with Sliding Quick-release plate
- Padded Carrying Case
From the Adorama V3AH page:
The V3AH is the 3Pod video tripod of brute strength and stability with an impressive supported payload of 14.5lbs. The 3-tiered extendable leg system lets the V3AH reach heights of 61″, and features sturdy rubber feet, large, easy to grasp locking knobs, and a torsion resistant aluminum center brace for added strength.
The professional 2-Way fluid metal panhead attaches to the body with a half-bowladaptor mounting system. It is manipulated by a fully adjustable textured handle, and provides a 360 degree range of silent, jitter-free motion with state-of-the-art dampening, counterbalance and drag functions, a built-in bubblelevel, and individual directional locking. An included sliding quick-release plate detaches from the panhead with a safe-spring release pin.
There’s nothing that I can tell you about this tripod that you can’t read for yourself. The real proof of how great it is has to be seen.
The V3AH in action.
Why it’s Frugal: For $100, the V3AH is the best of class tripod that I’ve seen. Its list of features, plus 3Pod’s quality craftsmanship, and its three-year warranty just can’t be beat. Adorama is the photographer’s standard for amateurs to professionals and they’re products are designed with the working photographer in mind.
The V3AH comes in a sturdy, black nylon case with reinforced stitching on stress prone areas, such as the handles and zippers. The case is tough and solid without adding a lot of extra weight to the tripod. Who needs to lug around extra pounds on any shoot? I want my gear protected, but not at the cost of needing to rent a pack mule for the hike.
Recommendation: If you can buy or only want one tripod and don’t want to spend more than $100, this should be it.
The list of Justin power products is long. You can find power products to meet just about any need. The two products that I’m reviewing here are the Justin 2,200mAh Power Stick and the Justin 6,000mAh Power Bank. This review is a bit different because it covers two products instead of just one. They serve the same function so that’s why I’m combining them here.
You can find Justin power products at several retail stores including Kohl’s and Staples. I mention those two because they popped up first in a Google search for the manufacturer ID for each product. Prices vary among retailers, but the ones I’ve given are pretty standard.
I’ve review several portable charger products on this site and there are two things to remember with any of them: You have to recharge your charger and you have to bring your USB charging cable with you, as well as the charger, or the charger won’t do you any good at all.
The Justin 2,200mAh Power Stick (Stick) comes fully charged out of the box and will provide you with at least one full charge for your phone or tablet. The unit is small enough to fit into any pocket or purse. The Stick comes in several standard colors: black, silver, blue, purple and red. I think there’s also a camo version available in some stores, so if you’re into camo, search for it at Kohl’s.
My daughter loves the blue Stick and takes it everywhere with her. She drops it into her backpack and away to school it goes. I don’t think she will ever be without it again. Texting, YouTubing, playing music, and using a camera burns a lot of battery, so it’s no longer an option not to have spare power available.
The Justin Power Bank and the Justin Power Stick would make great giveaways or prizes at trade shows and conferences.
My wife loves the Justin 6,000mAh Power Bank (Bank). No, she has no clue what 6,000mAh is, but she does know that a fully charged Bank provides at least three full phone or iPad mini charges for her. What else does she need to know? I’m the tech guy. She simply receives the bounty of her own personal tech sla–professional at her disposal.
The Bank isn’t really pocket friendly, but it is purse friendly and certainly is desk friendly. In fact, my wife usually keeps it in her purse for when she forgets to close all 15 apps on her phone or on her iPad mini. Yes, I did teach her how to close them, but alas, she cares little for such annoyances, especially when there’s the Bank to save her from her folly.
The Bank, when sitting on a desk or some surface, provides you with a stand onto which your phone rests. The stand slot gives it just the right amount of tilt so that you can face time or type comfortably on it without contorting your hands or peering over it like an old newspaper guy typing on a Royal typewriter. The Bank is for people who either have multiple devices or who have one that they use a lot.
You don’t have to own Apple devices to use Justin’s Power Bank or the Power Stick. They’re compatible with any device that uses a full-sized USB connector on one end of its charger cord. One of the best things about Justin’s products is that they’re ready to go right out of the box*. You don’t have to take the charger home and plug it in for 12 hours. Buy it, open the box, connect it to your phone, tablet, or whatever, and charge away.
Why it’s Frugal: Charger products are frugal by design. Justin’s power products are frugal because of what you get out of them: a lot of power for the price. At $14.99 for the Stick and $29.99 for the Bank, they’re very frugal choices.
I like Justin power products because they’re obviously well designed, well made, and well-priced. And you know that I don’t mind complaining about product pricing if I feel that it’s too high or not justified. These products are appropriately and competitively priced. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for keeping your Justin power products healthy and happy, so that they’ll last longer. My feeling is that you can buy Justin power products with confidence and without buyer’s remorse. Small, powerful, and frugal. What else do you want?
Rating: 9.5/10 for both products.
Recommendation: Buy them for yourself or as a most appreciated and practical gift.
*The products come partially charged, not fully charged.
If you’re an amateur photographer and just getting into lighting, you’re probably also looking for a few good choices to provide shadowless light to your subjects. Look no further than the Glow Hexapop line of portable lighting softboxes. A softbox is a cloth “box” that is black on all sides except for the side that faces your subject. This design keeps stray light from entering your lens as you take pictures. The softbox also spreads (diffuses) the otherwise harsh, concentrated light from your flash unit onto a white cloth sheet so that you don’t get the hard shadows, that “deer in the headlights,” or Rosemary’s Baby red eye effect from your subjects.
These softboxes are available exclusively from Adorama.
Many photographers use the softbox light as an artistic eye reflection artifact for portraits. Look at a few portraits that include the subject wearing sunglasses or extreme closeups and you’ll see what I mean.
Glow HEXAPOP Includes
- HexaPop 20″ Softbox
- Speedlight Bracket
- Stand Adapter
- Zippered Soft Case & Strap
But the softbox isn’t used exclusively for portraits. You can use it for product photography, closeup photography, night photography, and limited daytime outdoor photography to provide gentle lighting in shadows (fill flash).
The Glow Hexapop 20″ softbox (Hexapop) is an ideal soft lighting solution because it’s fast and easy to setup, it’s very lightweight, you can use it on your camera for a truly portable soft lighting effect, or you can use it off camera for stable subject lighting. To use it off camera, you’ll need a stand, such as the Flashpoint Pro Air Cushioned Heavy Duty Light Stand (sold separately). You’ll also need a flash sync cable to attach your camera to the off camera flash unit. There are so many different sync cables available, that I can’t give you a single URL to accommodate them all. You’ll have to search for the one that connects to your camera’s hot shoe and then to your flash unit. Be sure to buy one long enough so that you can place the flash unit out of frame for your shots.
The video below shows the Glow softboxes in action.
The Hexapop folds down with a “POP!” into a very small bundle to fit into the included carrying case.
If you’ve ever wondered why your photos don’t look like those of the pros, lighting is the primary reason. The other two reasons are that they have very expensive lenses and they spend a lot of time in Photoshop. Most of you don’t need that level of perfection and can live with a few artifacts, stray lights, empty pixels, and a hair out of place. What you need is better lighting. You might also need Photoshop and better lenses, but it’s really hard to fix bad lighting without it looking fixed.
Why it’s Frugal: The Hexapop is a great value. The tough fiberglass rods will last a very long time. The material is also very tough. No part of the material is stretched enough to tear a seam. Solid construction plus the included accessories worth an estimated $75 by themselves make this softbox an excellent and frugal choice for amateurs and pros alike. Durable, complete, and a great value.
For those of you who know a photographer, this softbox is a great gift idea. If you think your photographer has everything, he or she might not have this. Once your lucky recipient has unwrapped the Hexapop, you should suggest an impromptu portrait session to “try it out.” In about 60 seconds, you’ll see the diffused light hitting your face. It might be the single most used item in your photographer’s accessory list. Everyone needs great lighting and the Hexapop is it.
Recommendation: By it for yourself or for your favorite photographer and watch the smiles happen.
iblazr LED Flash Unit
The iblazr LED Flash Unit for Smartphones (iblazr) is an absolutely essential accessory for any serious phoneographer. Whether you’re making short films, taking photos, or providing an extra light source for photographic equipment, the iblazr is a lighting dynamo that easily fits into any pocket or bag. It is a source of continuous light or flash for your visual work.
The iblazr package comes with one, four-light iblazr LED flash unit, an instruction booklet, a microfiber drawstring carrying pouch, and a 3.5mm to USB interface charging cable.
- 70 degree beam
- 5600K color temperature
- >80 CRI
- 27mm (1 inch) x 32mm (1.25 inchess)
- 10 grams
- Three Power Modes: 16, 60, and 120 Lux at 1 meter
- Easy battery level check
- USB charging
- 3.5mm jack
- iblazr app takes movies and photos
- Continuous lighting or flash
- Can be used off the device
- Cold shoe mount for DSLR and SLR continuous lighting
The founders and iblazr team members are obviously visionaries who know what we phoneographers like for versatile lighting. When you read the list of features, note that many of them are advanced for such a small and inexpensive device. I’m usually a bit critical of accessories like this that are priced in excess of about $39, but not this time. I think the $50 price tag is just right. And, no, you can’t get it cheaper on Amazon–I looked.
I particularly like the feature that allows you to have continuous like off the camera or in the so-called “cold shoe”. The cold shoe is really just a plastic holder for the iblazr that slides into the hot shoe on your camera. It’s handy because how else do you get continuous, mobile lighting for your DSLR or SLR? Think of trying to provide some continuous lighting with any of the lo-fi cameras such as the Holga, Diana, LomoKino, or Smena. The answer is that you can’t–not easily anyway.
The iblazr makes photography more fun because good lighting is essential to produce good images. How many times have you lost a great shot because of poor lighting or lighting that was off or cast the wrong shadows? Well, you won’t anymore thanks to the iblazr.
Why it’s Frugal: The iblazr is frugal because it is an expensive way to deliver a lot of light on your subject. What’s frugal about that, you ask? Have you priced photographic lighting? Have you ever priced portable photographic lighting? Have you looked at portable lighting at all? The way I figure it, the iblazr is very frugal because it does so much for so little. Frugal.
There’s nothing that I don’t like about the iblazr LED flash unit. I can’t find anything wrong with it. It does everything I’d want it to do if I’d designed it myself. And I’d never have thought of the cold shoe attachment, so it’s better than what I could have dreamed up.
Recommendation: If you’re a phoneographer or a photographer who needs portable light, you must have it.