Studio Time With PhotoGear.com and Briana Covey

Studio Time With PhotoGear.com and Briana Covey

I’ve been buying my printer ink from 123inkcartridges.ca for years now and have always found their prices to be the best around, shipping to be incredibly fast and customer service has been second to none. If you don’t use them for your non-OEM ink requirements, you should be. They are also Canadian. Could you ask for more? Don’t worry, there’s one more pleasant surprise yet to come. 😉

Well, I recently picked up a couple of Canon Pixma printers for onsite event printing and as always OEM ink costs more for me to fill up my printer than my truck at nearly $80 plus tax for a set of 5 cartridges. So… I looked at 123inkcartridges.ca and found that they could supply a non-OEM (also known as “compatible”) set of cartridges for as little as $20 plus taxes. Since I calibrate my printer the same as I calibrate my screen, it really makes little difference what ink I use as long as it’s consistent.

It’s consistent. I’ve cranked out over 100 8×10″ prints out of these babies since setting them up last November at HalCon and couldn’t have asked for a better printer for the money and with ink at nearly 80% less than OEM ink how could I go wrong.

So go ahead. Check them out. I’ll wait. 😉

Now that you’re going to switch your ink supplier to these guys I need to tell you about a new sister site that launched a few weeks ago called PhotoGear.com.

logo-01

I’ve been on the mailing list for 123inkcartridges.ca for many years and saw a recent newsletter talking about photogear.com so I just had to check it out.

I was blown away with some of the prices and although the gear was mostly Made in China and possibly not the good kind of cheap, I decided to reach out to the company and have been emailing with one of the business partners for a little while now. I’m happy to say that Photogear.com has joined with us as one of the main sponsors of the upcoming Introduction to Glamour – Round 2 workshop that is coming up in March and as part of that sponsorship sent me a few treats for door prizes.

The one that intrigued me the most was a 40x190cm – that’s 16″x70″ or HUGE for our American friends 😉 – stripbox. This beast is double baffled, comes with an easily removable egg crate grid *and* a Bowens/Calumet compatible speedring. All for an unbelievable price of $82 plus tax.

JINBEI - 40X180cm Softbox

Now, I’ve always avoided ordering light modifiers from the web since my initial experience with Amvona several years ago. The gear was inexpensive, but the shipping was atrocious. Why would I spend $100 for a softbox and then $149 for shipping, duty, handling and taxes into Canada, right?

Did I mention these guys are Canadian? And based in Montreal? Oh… And you get free shipping on orders over $49 CDN? Yeah, you heard me correctly. Free Shipping. No fine print that says “US residents only” on this puppy. 🙂

So even though I was skeptical about the *really* low prices – and have always been a firm believer in “you get what you pay for” I have to say – when I started assembling the stripbank I was very impressed.

The packaging is rudimentary and the whole kit comes in a zip up pouch. The Chinese-English translated instruction sheet makes for some entertaining reading but honestly isn’t really required. The unit was assembled in a matter of a minute or two and goes together just like every other unit I’ve ever assembled. No surprises.

Except one. The unit is very light *and* the construction is solid. I don’t think I’d want to assemble and disassemble it on a daily basis but that’s got more to do with the size. I also own softboxes that I paid a lot more for and they fell apart after only assembling them a handful of times. So now I just don’t do that anymore. Lesson learned. 😉

Once assembled and the speedright was adjusted, the unit snapped smartly onto my Bowens Gemini 400RX monolight and rotates freely. There are two thumbscrews to adjust tension rather than the typical one. SO you do have to adjust it a tiny little more but once set up I found the movement very smooth.

So I set up the light and took a few readings with my light meter. For such a large – and very shallow – strip box I was pleasantly surprised that there was only about a 1 to 1-1/3 stop difference from the center to the extreme ends of the strip bank. This baby is nearly 6 feet long and only about a foot deep, so not bad, although Id have been happier with 1/2 stop or so.

Here’s a sample from the eventual setup with our model.

Briana waits for me to get on with the photo shoot

As you can see, the light spread and falloff is very good.

I like strip banks. Always have.

I’ve never been able to justify the price for a large one like this however. After doing a little comparison shopping on-line, I was able to find a Wescott stripbank that didn’t include a speedring and it was 5 times the price. I’ve got other Wescott gear and there is nothing about it that makes me want to spend $400 plus a speedring when I can get this JinBei stripbank from Photogear.com for only $82 *including* the speedring, which is $60 by itself at your local retailer.

Conclusion

Overall, I really like this unit and it is *absolutely* worth the asking price. Did I mention free shipping over $49? Yeah. I think I did. I’d rate this particular unit, the JinBei 40x180cm Strip Box softbox (available for purchase right here: ) a 5/5 for value and 4/5 for quality and that’s *only* because I’d have liked to see less fall off at the extreme edges even though it is very functional and solid otherwise.

So I’d like to thank the guys at Photogear.com for joining McCarthy Photographic as a major sponsor for our upcoming workshop and I realy look forward to playing with more of their toys over the next few months.

Last Word

I know… I’m also a huge “Buy Local” supporter, and I will spend my money at local suppliers as much as I possibly can, however the value I see here just cannot be passed up. Yes, the gear is from China, but the reseller is, at the very least, in Canada. So although I know I’ll hear about this from some people, most of you, like me, only have so much money to go around and saving a couple of hundred here and there is no small feat.

So, with a little Photoshop, here’s the final edited image featuring our lovely and incredibly talented model, Briana Covey. 🙂

Before - SOOC Image
Before – SOOC Image
After - Final Image
After – Final Image