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Hammer & Anvil MK-SLR100 Directional Condenser Microphone (Review)

July 15, 2016 Comments off

Hammer & Anvil MK SLR100Hammer & Anvil MK-SLR100 Directional Condenser Microphone

All microphones are not created equal. That statement is an overly obvious one to those of you who are in the filmmaking or videography game. However, not everyone knows it. There seems to be this highly outspoken rule that great audio is better than great video. In other words, if your video is mediocre, it doesn’t matter if your sound is great. And no matter how great your video is, if your audio is poor quality, then the whole thing is poor quality. It doesn’t seem fair does it? Well, it isn’t, but since people love great audio, there’s only one thing to do: Purchase great audio equipment for your videos.

The problem with creating great audio is that it’s not cheap to do it. But anything worth doing is worth doing right, so save your money for better equipment. There are some exceptions to the more expensive equipment rule making a better audio product. Hammer & Anvil products transcend that rule. In fact, I’d say that they break it. The HAAMKSLR100 (SLR100) microphone is one of those exceptions. Sure, you can spend more, but you won’t really get more. The SLR100 microphone is a directional condenser mike that delivers great audio for under $40.

Type:   Directional Condenser microphone
Frequency Response:    38-20,000 Hz
Sensitivity:    -40dB +/- 3dB / 0dB=1V/Pa, 1kHz
Signal to Noise Ratio:    75dBOutput
Impedance:    <1k Ohm
Power:    1.5V AAA Battery
Plug:    Mini-Pin Plug (3.5mm)
Dimensions:    109x75x45mm
Net Weight:    52g

I like the SLR100. It’s small, compact, has its own power (AAA battery), has a pop screen, and a “dead kitten” for windy outdoor shooting. You can attach it to a hot or cold shoe or directly to a tripod mount. It also sports a shock mount of sorts on the base. It’s a complete video camera shotgun microphone that delivers very good sound for a small price.

Why it’s Frugal: The HAAMKSLR100 condenser microphone is frugal because it is inexpensive ($39.95), but yet delivers great audio. If you’re on a budget, this is a perfect audio unit to start with. It’s frugal because you get a lot of audio quality for a little money and you can use it with your iDevices, if you buy an adapter/converter

Now, you’re probably asking, “What are the practical applications for this microphone?” That’s a good question. If you’re a YouTuber who doesn’t want to be wired to a lavalier microphone or dish out hundreds of dollars for audio that’s imperceptibly better, then this is the mike for you. Would I use it for filming a documentary that’s going on Netflix? Probably not. Not because it isn’t a great little microphone; it is, but Hammer & Anvil offers some very reasonably priced professional directional microphones for about $100 more and they’re just too tempting to resist. For example, I’m actually reviewing the HAAMKENG600 microphone as I’m writing this post.

HAAMKSLR100 with Pop screenThe HAAMKSLR100 microphone will do just about anything you want it to do and, as I pointed out in the review video, for a few dollars, you can buy a three pole to four pole converter and use this microphone on your iPad or on your iPhone as an external shotgun audio capture device. Awesome.
It’s awesome because you don’t have to blow a lot of extra money buying a microphone specifically designed for your iDevices. You can use this one everywhere and that’s a very good thing.

One of the things that I really love about the SLR100 is that when you turn on the mike, you can see clearly that it’s on because of the green light on the back near the ON/OFF switch. I’ve seen complaints on much higher priced microphones that don’t offer this basic feature. Bravo to the folks at Hammer & Anvil for providing that much needed feature.
Why am I making such a big deal about the ON light, you ask?
Well, after you run down a lot of batteries because you left your mike ON, you’ll understand why. The light clearly lets you know when the unit is ON and when it is OFF. To me, that feature alone is worth $40.

I’m quite pleased with the sound quality that I get from the SLR100. It’s quiet where I need it to be and it picks up sounds that I want it to and all for the price of an afternoon matinee. I’m sold on it. As I said in the video, it’s a solid microphone and deserves the rating I give it. is a top-notch camera and accessory store for the amateur and the professional alike. This microphone is perfect for those who need something better than the built-in microphones on DSLRs, video cameras, and iDevices.

Rating: 8/10
Recommendation: Buy it for all your general video creation needs. It’s not a pro-grade microphone, but it’s darn nice for $40.


The 24/7 Messenger Bag from Adorama (Review)

January 20, 2016 Comments off

24/7 Messenger Bag24/7 Messenger Bag

Joseph (thevideoguyjoe) Butler and I created a video review of the 24/7 Messenger Bag from Adorama on our My Technical Romance YouTube show. In the video, you’ll see our complete take on the Messenger Bag (Messenger) that is part of the 24/7 Traffic Collection. I was the primary reviewer of the Messenger. Joseph’s first time to see the bag was just before we performed the review on camera, so his impressions and commentary are all from his first impressions of it.

In the video, we discuss the bag’s style, its contrasting colors, its interior features, its 3-in-1 bag feature, its wearability, and its composition. We demo the bag’s fully and quickly adjustable shoulder strap, its protective raincoat, and its capacity to carry photography and computing equipment.

The Messenger is a classic style bag that is dual-purpose designed as a walkabout bag and as a bicycle rider’s bag. Since Joseph is an avid bicyclist, he takes the bicyclist’s perspective on photography gear and accessories. I’m more of a walkabout street photography with a tendency toward stealth and a bit of guerilla photography and filming. I snap candid photos of people on public transportation, on the street, in restaurants (often to my wife’s chagrin), and I love to catch people sleeping in public places. Carrying a visible camera isn’t always the best method for capturing unposed, impromptu shots. With the Messenger, I can “hide” the fact that I’m going to take your picture by posing as a random hipster with a cool bag.

The bag’s main flap either is coated with or completely composed of a water-resistant material, plus the Messenger has a built-in raincoat that pulls out of a bottom compartment. I really like that the raincoat, as I call it, does not detach from the bag. Being permanently attached means that you always have it available. Additionally, when the raincoat is tucked away in the bag’s bottom flap, it provides extra cushion to everything inside the bag. An added bonus for sure.

Messenger Bag and Bonus BagsThe Messenger is actually three bags in one. That is to say that within the large Messenger bag, there is a small mesh bag and a small camera and lens carrier. In the video, you can see the relative sizes of each bag. The mesh bag is for cables. It keeps your cables, chargers, and other items organized so that they aren’t lost by getting attached to other items that you’re pulling out of your other bags.

Camera BagThe camera bag is a smaller bag with a handle and double zippers. It will comfortably hold a DSLR with a lens attached plus at least two other lenses. This smaller bag is for quick camera access that doesn’t include a shoulder strap and a lot of accessories. For street photography, run-and-gun, or a bit of open-ended shooting where lugging around a larger bag won’t work.

The entire bag is well put together with very strong stitching and materials that are easy to clean, water resistant, and very sturdy. I feel like this bag would be one that could last for ten years or more even with very harsh handling and less than desirable conditions. You’ll change cameras long before this Traffic Collection series wears out. I’d love to see one of these bags five and tens years out to observe the type of abuse they can take. My guess is a lot.

I like the size of the Messenger. It’s not bulky and stiff like some messenger style bags are. It’s supple, but sturdy. It feels good in my hands and I have no fear of placing my most valuable equipment into it for a full-on street run.

24/7 Messenger BagNow the tricky part. There is possibly only one thing that I don’t like about the 24/7 Messenger, and honestly it won’t bother everyone, but it bothers me: The shoulder strap isn’t removable. I would prefer to have a removable strap that I could tuck away into a pocket or slot until I’m ready to use it again. At the ridiculously low price of $79.95 (Seriously, I thought it was a misprint until I called Adorama for confirmation), it’s a must have. If you ride a bike, motorcycle, or if you walk and shoot, I’m not sure that you could find a better bag at a comparable price. I’m actually not sure if you could find a comparable bag at twice the price.

If you check out our review of the 24/7 Sling Bag, near the end of the video Joseph says that he wishes the Sling had more room in it. Well, the Messenger is the bag with extra room, so guess who now has the Messenger bag as well as the Sling? If you guessed Joseph, you’d be correct. He convinced me that the Sling and the Messenger are two different bags (duh) with two different applications. Fifteen minutes later I’m too exhausted to argue, so he walks away with two bags. That’s OK, because he’s the one who usually carries around the DSLR and various accessories. For larger shoots, I have a small pullman bag that is part of a set of luggage my wife bought me last year. The luggage is really ugly, but at least this way no one would steal it. And if they do, the thief will be easy to spot.

Ken’s Review: 8/10

Recommendation: A great big bag bargain that’s actually three bags for an excellent price. One of the best values every. Buy it.

The 24/7 Sling Bag from Adorama (Review)

January 19, 2016 Comments off

24/7 Sling Bag24/7 Sling Bag

Joseph (thevideoguyjoe) Butler and I created a video review of this bag on our My Technical Romance YouTube show. In the video, you’ll see our complete take on the 24/7 Sling Bag (Sling) from The Sling is the perfect street photographer accessory. Not only is it comfortable for carrying while you walk, but you can also ride your bike with it on, which Joseph describes in the video. He’s the avid bike rider and he thoroughly tests items that are touted to be “bike friendly.” He also doesn’t mind telling you what’s wrong with an item. I’m also known for that too. We try to tell it like it is so that if you purchase an item from one of our reviews, you aren’t surprised or disappointed by what we think are negative aspects of it.

The focus of this review is really from Joseph’s perspective because he tested it himself. I only saw the bag for a very short five minutes before he grabbed it, read about it, put it on, and then disappeared on his bike with it strapped on him like it was his first-born child.

A few days later, we caught up with each other for the review video (below).

In this 12 minute video, Joseph tells you everything you need to know about the Sling and how he used it. In fact, he has to unpack all of his stuff from it during the video. Among the items he packed into it are his Canon 70D with the 18-135mm lens, bike tools, camera battery charger, and a few other items. After all that, I’m not sure he had room for a sandwich or even a candy…I mean energy bar in it.

The many faces of the 24/7 SlingHe’s the kind of guy who packs everything he needs, and then some, for his bike-powered photographic excursions. So, if you can believe anyone on how well this bag is made, how much stuff you can pack into it, and how it works on a bike, it’s him.

Joseph also demonstrates the adjustable strap and how to maneuver the bag once you have it placed comfortably on your body.

During the video, we discuss the workmanship, the design, the materials, and we demonstrate all aspects and features of the bag including its built-in raincoat that doubles as a reflective visual notification to drivers that you exist.

If you’re not a person who likes to watch videos or video reviews, let me spoil the surprise for you. He really likes the Sling. I really liked it too after seeing it in action. As I wrote, I didn’t see it or touch it very much when it first arrived, so I was as excited as everyone else to see it reviewed. If I were a bicycle rider, someone who walked to work, rode a bus or subway, this is the bag that I’d have. It has room for a tablet or laptop, plus a camera, lens, and accessories.

I actually wish I’d had such a bag when I was trapped in a thunderstorm a couple of years ago in Vedauwoo (Wyoming). My Canon DSLR got very wet even though I ran bent over for about two miles with it under my shirt. The outcome of that was that now my onboard flash doesn’t pop up when I need for it to. It just clicks and then gives me an error. Sometimes I can pull it up manually, but it’s a problem that I can’t solve. The Sling would have prevented that, plus I could have held the bag over my head during the downpour for a bit of protection. Unfortunately, I didn’t have such a bag because they didn’t exist yet. My normal camera bag, had I had it with me, would have been drenched too because it has no waterproofing.

The Sling also has plenty of interior padding to prevent breakage from accidental drops, plus the stitching and materials are really tough. Trust me on this point, because if they weren’t up to a very high standard, Joseph would have mentioned it. He puts items through their paces for these reviews in order to give you an honest, non-marketing, real world view of the product.

Joseph’s rating: 7.5/10

Recommendation: Strong buy. You’ll love the Sling for its compact size and big capacity.

24/7 Camera Bags Hit the Photo and Video Scene, Available Now at Adorama

November 18, 2015 Comments off

247tcslNew York, NY – November 17, 2015  24/7, a new brand of stylish and discreet camera bags designed to securely hold all the photo and video gear one could need, has just launched The Traffic Collection, its first ever line of camera bags. Created for the urban photographer looking for infallible support and organization when shooting from location to location, the 24/7 debut collection was sleekly designed with impeccable taste, keeping photographers covered, discreetly, from café to boardroom to bustling city streets. The collection currently includes six different styles – the Holster M, the Holster S, the Messenger S, the Pouch, the Shoulder and the Sling. The 24/7 line is the picture-perfect answer for carrying equipment securely and in style, even in the busiest of cities. Bags from 24/7 are available to order now at

The 24/7 Traffic Collection includes:

Holster M: The Holster M is perfect for the urban photographer, with a design complementary to fast-paced city life. This medium-sized holster can hold a standard DSLR camera and has additional pockets for a memory card and personal items. Its adjustable, removable shoulder strap allows for two different ways to wear – across the body or on the shoulder. With a built-in all-weather cover, the 24/7 Holster M offers the best camera protection possible from the elements. Shop the 24/7 Holster M                    

Holster S: Like the Holster M, the Holster S is also designed for fast-paced city life, but in a more compact size. Made to carry a mirrorless camera and additional personal items in a front organizer and rear pocket, this small holster is wearable across the body or on the shoulder. A built-in all-weather cover gives shooters peace of mind in any environment. Ideal for those spur of the moment trips on the town, the 24/7 Holster S is the perfect size for travel. Shop the 24/7 Holster S

Messenger S: Specially designed for bicyclists, the 24/7 Messenger S is both stylish and discreet. A standard DSLR kit and personal items can easily fit in its large main compartment, and the additional padded insert keeps items from jostling around during a bike ride through the city. An adjustable shoulder strap gives the wearer two options, across the body or on the shoulder, for ultimate support while on the go. Shop the 24/7 Messenger S

Pouch: The Pouch was designed to hold a superzoom camera with plenty of padding and support. It can be carried on the shoulder or attached to the belt for free-hand shooting. This bag also includes a built-in all weather pouch to protect equipment from the elements. Designed for photographers seeking the highest level of convenience, the 24/7 Pouch allows for quick access to equipment with a fast-release front clip. Shop the 24/7 Pouch

Shoulder: The 24/7 Shoulder bag gives commuting professionals style and discretion in a larger carrier for those needing a bit of extra room. With space for a standard DSLR kit and personal items, there is plenty of space to hold all equipment necessary for all-day shooting – and then some. The removable shoulder strap is adjustable for extra support, and its built-in all-weather cover keeps equipment safe from the elements. Shop the 24/7 Shoulder

Sling: The 24/7 Sling gives shooters the ultimate flexibility on the job. With a strap designed for “slinging” the bag from back to front quickly, gear is accessible in a flash. This bag also offers side access that allows users to take their camera out without removing the bag entirely. Its padded harness and quick-adjust buckle provide extra support during fast movement, and with a separate area for personal items, the Sling is ideal for any situation that may arise during an all-day shoot. Shop the 24/7 Sling

The 24/7 Sling InteriorADORAMA: More Than a Camera Store

Adorama is more than a camera store – it’s one of the world’s largest photography, video, audio and computer retailers. Serving customers for more than 35 years, Adorama has grown from its flagship NYC store to include the leading online destination for imaging and consumer electronics. Adorama’s vast product offerings encompass home entertainment, mobile computing, and professional video and audio, while its services include an in-house photo lab, AdoramaPix; resources and gear for photographers, filmmakers, production studios, broadcasting and post houses, and recording artists through Adorama Pro; pro equipment rental at Adorama Rental Company; and the award-winning Adorama Learning Center, which offers free creative education in online channels such as the popular Adorama TV.

Adorama is listed as one of the top five electronics retailers by Consumer Reports, “Best of the Web” by, Internet Retailers Top 100, and is the official Electronics Retailer of the NY Giants.

Visit ADORAMA at

[Note: Keep watching for our review of the Messenger S and the Sling.]

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