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PW186 - Spyder Cube Review

Time to look at another great photography gift, the Spyder Cube. This handy cube will help you set black and white points in your image as well as accurate colour by providing 18% grey white balance targets. In the video I explain how it works and how to use it with an image in Lightroom.

PW186 - Spyder Cube Review

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Moo Luxe business cards review

You know those clear plastic wrappers Apple use on their products that are so fantastically fun to open? Apple are masters of turning a simple unboxing into a special event. It seems Moo are reading from the same playbook. They've always taken great care over the presentation of their products but never more so than with their new Luxe business cards. The cards themselves come in an elegant little box with magnetic closures. That's wrapped in a purple ribbon fastened by what looks like a stamped wax seal. All of this is enclosed in a card wrapping designed to present a neat "lid" as you open the posting box. This attention to detail is what raises Moo above the competition. Moo understands that you're excited about getting your new cards, especially if they've got your photographs printed on them. Their presentation makes that little moment of unboxing even more enjoyable - so much so that you find yourself unwilling to actually give the cards away for fear of spoiling this pristine little shrine to your new cards.


In fact the genius of Moo is not just in the presentation of their product. This is the company that started out offering just minicards which were a strange shape and on fairly thin card but with the ability to put a different image on the front of each one. They weren't business cards and they weren't prints. It's hard to say what they actually were besides insanely desirable. What Moo do best of all is design *great* products. Their product range has always been limited but with each piece carefully chosen for paper quality, print process, lamination and presentation. They don't try to make everything but what they do make is *good*. Reading from the Apple playbook again then.


Buying from Moo is a pleasant experience from beginning to end - enough to make up for the fact that they're actually quite expensive. And Luxe cards are at the ouch end of even that curve. What you get are business cards printed on a fascinating new triple layer paper with a stripe of colour sandwiched between two white layers. This new paper is very stiff and has a matte finish which is much easier to write on than Moo's usual laminated cards. The matte finish does mean that blacks don't print very dark, though. My own black and white designs have very strong contrasts but came out looking lighter than I would have liked - a common problem with matte printing.

Moo Luxe business cards edge view

Overall, though, the quality of Luxe cards is absolutely up there with what I've come to expect from Moo. Where Moo's minicards or business cards are a great opportunity to show off your photography, Luxe cards are better suited to being actual business cards, especially if you want to wow people with quality.

Moo Luxe business cards are £23.99 or $34.99 for 50 cards and you can find out more at moo.com.

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Photojojo iPhone SLR Mount Review

Yay, my iPhone SLR mount from Photojojo arrived today and I've been busily playing with it all morning. This wacky device lets me connect my SLR Canon lenses to my iPhone. I know - crazy right? My first instinct was to try using the 100mm macro with it so I hooked it up and headed for the garden. You can see the best of the resulting shots here.

So what do I think? Well first of all, yes this thing is real. it works. You can attach any Canon EF mount lens to it (Nikon version available too) and yes you really can get shallow depth of field pictures using this system. The first thing you'll notice, though, is that the pictures are upside down, which makes aiming the lens very tricky indeed and you'll need to rotate the images in post processing. There's also a big problem with dust spots because it uses a focusing screen to project the image from your lens onto and then the iPhone shoots a picture of the focusing screen. The screen picks up dust very easily and is very fragile so cleaning it is best done very gently with a lens cloth or using compressed air. 

The other problem with the focusing screen is that you can see the ridges on the screen in the pictures.  Check out the large versions of my pictures to see what I mean. In some cases I reduced the effect and in others I emphasised it. But in all cases it was there and quite easily visible at full size.

The device comes in 2 main parts, the jacket that fits onto the phone and then the DOF unit that screws onto the jacket with a 37mm thread close-up lens in between. The whole system is designed for 37mm threads so you can take the DOF unit off and add your own 37mm lenses if you wish.

Overall I found this a fun little device. With pro lenses on it's ridiculous looking, of course, and if you're going to carry big lenses anyway why wouldn't you just use your SLR? Valid points for sure but if you're just looking for something that's a bit of fun and you have $250 (ouch!) to spare then go ahead and get one. Personally I'll be getting a wide angle 37mm lens to attach to mine and using it for video, a bit like an OWLE.

 

 

 

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