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Hot! Deals!

Shooting Small with a BIG Impact.

If you’re selling something on Ebay or Craigslist, the pictures can be the difference between someone passing through or stopping for a longer look.

The normal process for shooting these types of pictures is to setup a white or black sweep on a table, add some lighting on the sides, dial in your exposure and Bingo Bango you have a salable item in queue.  It works.  And if your shooting pictures of baby grand pianos or a Honda CB750 this is still an appropriate method.  However, most items posted for sale online are smaller than the family dog.  For those items you will want to use a light tent.  And the best news is that it is the EASIEST shooting scenario you have ever seen.  A light tent will drastically increase the quality of your product images.

If you have a bright, sunny day, a light tent on its own can be a powerful aid to making better pictures.  Unfortunately, I don’t live in a tropical climate with eternal sunshine so adding lighting is a must for me.  In its simplest form, a light tent kit with constant lights is a valuable tool.  This kit is excellent for small subjects but generally requires the use of a tripod.

Look for these items to be our Hot Deals in the coming week!

We’re always looking for those little extras in our shopping experience.  Want to hear the icing on the cake?  When you shop at Roberts, you learn at Roberts.  How’s that for value?!

Hit the link to subscribe to our newsletter.  (Hint: It’s how you’re going to see our “Hot Deals”)




Its Back to (Photography) School Time!

Now that kids are back in school and the semester is in full swing,  its time to schedule a class or two for yourselves.  Along with our regular event schedule of camera operational classes we offer beginner and advanced courses and fun photo walks!  The “City at Night” event w/ Jarrid Spicer is an opportunity to try your hand at night photography in downtown Indianapolis.   We have an introductory course to help you refine and improve the quality of your pictures.  If you’re ready to take your lighting to the next level, take look at our Advanced Speedlight class with John Scott.   And last but not least, the always tough situation of “Low light and Fast Action” will be covered in an upcoming class.

Roberts is committed to an excellence in education.  Let us help you make your next great image.

Happy shooting and happy learning!


Photogenic’s Ion Inverter Gives You Power To Go



Getting power on the go can be a difficult task, but not one your average strobe-using pro can let slow them down. Sure, there are options like Elinchrom’s Quadras (which I love and use frequently), but sometimes you just need a bit more power than a DC pack can deliver. Enter power inverters. They use a large DC battery to power a 120v AC outlet, letting you use anything that can plug into a wall, including much higher output monoblocs. And that’s what Photogenic’s new Ion pack promises to accomplish. It’s got an 8.8aH lithium-ion battery that’s provide between 2000 and 300 flashes depending on how hungry your mono is (and would provide quite a few cellphone recharges in a pinch, too), LED charge indicators, weight of only 3.5 pounds and measuring out at 7.5 x 4.4 x 3.3″. The li-ion battery will charge to full capacity in a pretty short 3-4 hours, and with that 8,800mAh rating would go a long way to running the various other gizmos in your life if you found yourself in the middle of nowhere just as readily as it could your lighting gear. So, for those of you who do most of your work nowhere near a “studio,” it seems like a pretty useful bit of kit to bring along. And, at $400 for the inverter, plus available extra batteries and replaceable inverter, it’s not even much of an investment, compared to the price of most things in our world. More to come as we get some in stock.


Pocketwizard Announces New Budget-Conscious Plus X Transceiver [UPDATED: Pricing, Availability]



Pocketwizard today has announced a new entry in its remote trigger line-up, the Plux X. The Plus X is aimed at the budget market, and while there’s no pricing in the press release or on their page that I can see, at least one guy in the know is pegging it at sub-$100. The Plus X is basically a simplified Plus III, same body, same range. It supports 10 channels, a backlit dial, auto-switching between transmitting and receiving, sync speeds up to 1/250, the ability to trigger cameras (plus then trigger a flash via a third unit), and the ability to be used as just a transmitter. In short, for a lot of people this’ll be the only transceiver they need to consider, and might give the interweb-only cheapies a serious run for their money if that price point is real. Who wouldn’t reach up a few extra quid for Pocketwizard’s well-earned reputation for reliability? Press release after the jump, more info on availability and pricing as we suss it out.


Price is going to be $99, and we’ll have them in stock next week. Reserve your copy here:

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Everything but the Kitchen Sink Lighting Class

We have locked in the dates for a new class.  A Guide to Understanding Light is a comprehensive and fundamental instruction in all things lighting.  This means everything from better understanding light that exists in a scene so you know how to make the most of it to breaking out the big studio strobes to completely engineering your own creative vision. 

Whether you are family shooter, hobbyist, amateur or pro, everyone will benefit from this course.  We will be using a variety of products in the second and third sessions including some of my favorite Westcott products from the Apollo line and the uLite series from the Photo Basics line.  The latter are some of the best entry level constant light kits currently available.  I just purchased the Apollo Orb with the Orb Grid for a lightweight on location portrait lighting system and absolutely love it.  

Come join us for three great evenings in April.


Sekonic Launches L-478 Series Touchscreen-Enabled Light Meters, One With Built-In PW

You know what I hate? When people refer to photographer/videographers as “story tellers.” Consider it a personal gripe. Something about it just grates me. Maybe it’s that most of my photos are individual compositions built on formal mechanics of balance and rhythm, and not that modern, journalistic “a moment in time unfiltered” thing. Maybe it’s just because it makes me think I’ve under-invested in scrapbooks. I just don’t like it.

What I do like, however, is seeing new technology trickle into unexpected places. Like touchscreen interfaces into light meters. Even if the press release calls me a “story teller.” And, that’s just what these two new products from Sekonic (which we are lucky enough to be in the very, very limited launch club for) happen to be peddling. And more then just touch (although, if you’ve ever used an analog light meter, you’re probably already looking at that new touch interface with some sort of wide-eyed, blissed-out look of wonder, a single tear gently tugging at your eyelids over the beauty of it), you also get some pretty boss modern reasonablenesses like not limiting the aperture or ISO ranges, the ability to switch willy-nilly between still and cine modes, the ability to calibrate it exactly to your camera (via the aid of an X-rite target, natch), built-in compensation for CTO and other standard gels, and, in the case of the model dubbed the “L-478DR,” PocketWizard control built right in. Not so useful if you use Skyport like this kid, but for the countless legion of you using P-dubs out there, I am very stoked. Wireless triggering is the stuff.

And, as mentioned, Roberts is lucky to be in the launch for this, and that means you can go and order one of these right now, this very moment, for delivery as soon as next Monday, depending on where you live and your preferred shipping method. The L-478D without PW will set you back $389, and the L-478DR with PW will be $469. Both of those are already above our free shipping threshold, and so we’ll be happy to slap them in a UPS ground box to any of the contiguous 48 states without asking you for anything more in return. So, studio peeps, what’re you waiting for? Easier calculations of your ratios, ambient balance, and f-stops are waiting for you right now. With touchscreens, even!



Available 5-degree Viewfinder:

Want that press release so you, too, can know the feeling of being a “storyteller?” Well, that’s what jumps are for, good sir, madam, neuter, robot, or lemur. That’s what jumps are for.

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Westcott’s X-Drop System Gives You Good Travel Backgrounds

So, here’s a product I wasn’t aware had come out until today (bad web inventory manager not telling me), but it’s a new X-Drop background kit from Westcott. Now, I don’t often get excited about new backgrounds. It’d be like getting excited by a new ramen flavor. But, this is something new. More like a new type of bowl noodle, really.

If any of you have ever done location portraits, you know having a good background can be… a challenge. And, real background kits have those big stands and bigger cloths or papers that make set-up a pain. More portable options are costy. So, here’s a new idea: a 5×7′ telescoping presentation-style easel that stretches the lightweight background tight. Westcott is making nine colors, three of which are reasonable (black, white, and chroma green), and three of which were clearly scraped from a retro-Victorian scrapbook. You can buy a kit with any of the nine colors, a case, and the stand for less than $100, it’ll weight 3 whole pounds, and collapse into a 36″ x 6″ case. And, you can fit two other backdrops in the case, which’ll set you back $60 each. And all the backdrops are washable muslin. This is really pretty much the most exciting thing I can remember seeing in backgrounds for some time, and I’m seriously considering adding a white kit to my own lighting baggage because, well, at that price and size, why not? Then, I don’t have to worry about cloning out imperfections from their wall later, you know?

Hit the external link below to check them out for yourself.


Elinchrom’s Ranger Quadra Packs Kick It Up A Notch With Li-Ion Batteries

It’s no secret that I love my Ranger Quadra kit. I can think of only a few photo sessions I’ve done without it since I picked it up. My basic theory has become if I’m bringing my camera, I should probably bring my Quardas. I have not been disappointed.

It’s also no secret that I love lithium-ion batteries. They have better power, charge faster, and don’t suffer from “memory” problems like other rechargeable battery types. In fact, lithium-ions really only degrade under two conditions: excess heat (regulated by their chargers, which is why li-ion chargers tend to be costy), and time. They’re basically the best battery we’ve come up with as a society. And now, you can pick up some lithium-ion batteries to replace the lead acid ones your Quadra Rangers came with.

Why would you want to? Well, according to Elinchrom’s documentation, here are the pros:

  • Works with all Ranger Quadras sold (original and RX)*.
  • Shorter: Lead Acid – 8.27” – Li-Ion 7.28” = just under an inch shorter
  • Lighter: Lead Acid – 3.75 Lbs. – Li-Ion 1.61 Lbs.= 2.2 Lbs lighter.
  • More shots (fast/slow recycle): Lead Acid – 110/150 – Li-Ion 280/320 = 170 more shots per charge.
  • Recharges faster (80%/Full): Lead Acid – 1hr/2hr. – Li-Ion 45m/1.5h.= 15/30 minutes faster.
  • Recycles 15% faster than Lead Acid.

There are a few gotchas you should be aware of. One is that thanks to the temperature thing, lead acid will still be a better choice when you’re shooting out in the Arabian desert. Also, the battery indicator in the pack can’t read the lithium-ion’s status, so a more accurate indicator has been put on the side of the battery itself. And, lastly, while these will work with the original Quadras and the newer RX ones, there are a very few heads that will need modified to be compatible. To find out if your head is among those, here’s the instructions:

  1. make sure the head isn’t plugged in
  2. Carefully remove the flash tube, use a paper towel to keep your finger grease and moisture off it
  3. Look in the smaller hole you can now see
  4. If you see ‘Elinchrom 50.0044.01″ printed in there, you’ll need a modification.

At this time, we don’t know what the modification is, nor how to get it. We’ll report back. But for now, if you have one of those heads, we wouldn’t recommend throwing your cash at a new battery yet. For the rest of you, the links below will get you to the goods. The battery will set you back about $375, or $500 if you want the charger (you do). An extra charger if your cats chews through yours will run you $160.


Spring Cleaning – How to Clean your Closet

Its time for spring cleaning; out with the old, in with the new.  Or just out with the old.

If you have old cameras, flashes, lenses etc.  We are happy to help you unload some of the old goodies that haven’t seen the light of day for awhile.  If you have questions regarding trading in products for something new or would like us to buy some of your antiquated equipment, drop us a line here. A little birdy told me that earlry May will bring our always popular “Cash For Cameras” event during the Spring Expo.  If you don’t want it, there’s a great chance that our buyers do.

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Rogue Grids Tighten Your Flash Up

Coming soon to our shelves will be a neat new product from Rogue, called appropriately enough the Rogue Grid. The Rogue Grid is a stackable grid system for your hotshoe flash. There’s a bevel/holder, into which you can slot either of two grids, or both. You can see the grids are slotted, so they keep proper alignment, which means in a very tiny package, you have the option of three different grid tightnesses (45, 25, and 16 degrees).

The grid holder is all of 1.2″ deep, and the whole package with the adjustable tension strap for mounting it to your flash weighs just 3.5oz, which makes this one of those no-brainer tip-ins for your field kit. And, just in case you’re wondering why you’d want a grid, the picture below does a pretty good job of showing just how the progressively tighter grids affect your light output.

Pricing will be coming soon, as will their presence on our website. Keep your eyes peeled.