As you might know if you’ve been reading for while, I work on a lot of creative projects. Due to that I have to keep a store of equipment in my home. I will be going through the equipment I have to determine it’s worth and how well it works. (I am excluding any equipment I have yet to use and will update later once I have experimented with them). These are my opinions, but I hope they can help someone pick out some new equipment. I have excluded some accessories and programs and limited this to equipment only.
M-AUDIO – M-TRACK 2X2M C-Series
This nifty little piece of equipment allows us to input two microphones and two instruments directly to the computer for recording. It has five dials that control input audio levels, monitoring audio and directional information. It does support phantom power microphones. The device also came with Pro-Tools, a basic but very good audio program as well as a library of other available audio programs. The input for this model is 24 bit. I think it is a good starting piece of equipment for beginners or people who work from home in audio. Certainly very good for podcasters.
Marantz MPM-1000 Mircrophones
I will admit that these are lower quality microphones, though still technically within a professional range. They do produce a buzz if they are set to maximum gain, but as long as gain is lower than 95% they record very clear audio. We often re-orientate them to maximize their capabilities and we do use the guards they were sold with, which after experimentation I have realized make a world of a difference when it comes to breath and spit sounds. If you are looking for medium range products for a podcast of voice over work, these are very viable microphones, but I would not recommend them for high quality professional work that requires pristine sound.
I realize a lot of people prefer the PC, but I have run on Apple products for a decade and quite enjoy them. In addition to the iMac, I use a WD Passport for external file storage. When I switched from PC to Mac I noticed an incredible increase in exporting, bouncing and rendering speeds. The user friendliness of Mac and inherent keyboard driven editing I have found it to be a sublime piece of equipment. As I have not run PC in a decade, I can’t say how much faster the Mac is today compared to a high quality PC. At this point I would have to imagine that preference is more so the reason to chose one or the other rather than quality. The one downside to the Mac is it’s inferior ability to run complex games, but as a piece of equipment for editing and recording it is absolutely wonderful.
Bower 7200 3-Section 71″ Tripod
This is a lightweight, aluminum tripod with a manual gear to bring up the head. With its plastic feet it does sit well on standard flooring and won’t rust easily. It does have a cheap feeling to it and does not have a very wide spread, so with little force it will tip over. Not a tripod I would trust with very heavy or expensive equipment. That being said, it is quite good for lighting, bounce boards and experimental shots outdoors where you will be moving the set up a lot. If budget is low or the tripod will be set in one place with weights on its feet it is perfectly viable, but by no means professional.
Cullmann 2108 Tripod
This tripod is no longer in production, but there are very similar products available such as the Primax 370M, which is also a Cullmann product. This is a heavier duty tripod with no crank system. You can loosen the shaft, pull it out out of the tripod body, rotate it or adjust the height. It has a two way head with marked angles and a detachable mount. The frame is very sturdy and I’ve never had an issue with it being unstable. I would recommend this model to anyone, though you may have to go through Kijiji to find one.
Canon EOS Rebel T3i
Once again we are talking about near obsolete equipment. I’ve had this SLR camera for many years and can say that it was a good investment. Though it does not support phantom power, it is a very adaptable camera. It’s abilities as a photography camera would limit it to hobbiest or amateur level. Augmenting it with higher class lenses, highest class cards and secondary flash can make it somewhat viable for outdoor photo shoots but when comparing it to almost any DSLR model that has come out since it’s debut, it simply falls short in quality, clarity and processing speeds. As a filming device, this camera is quite good, filming in 1920 at 30 FPS, but it does lack an effective auto-focusing setting. For stable filming, where the subject will stay at the same radius from the lens throughout the shots, it is quite viable, but for shots where the subject will be varying in the radius, it is not a good investment. I would label this as an amateurs camera. One good for learning how to shoot, work with your frames, aperture, ISO and certainly very good for shots where your camera may become compromised. I have stood in the mists of waterfalls, trekked through muddy trails and taken aboard boats with spray constantly hitting the camera and it has never failed me. I am not claiming that this camera is waterproof, but it is certainly very durable.
This is a concrete camera. Almost impossible to destroy. It is a film camera with a steel exterior and frame. With easily detachable lenses for it’s production date, it is a fun piece of equipment to play with, especially in dark room photography. I wouldn’t recommend it as a true photography camera, nor would I say it is even relevant in our technology driven photography, but for purists and hobbyists, it is a fun camera that can be hauled almost anywhere.
What camera do you use daily and do you use a neck strap or a shoulder strap? Let me know in the comments below!