Wireless keyboard for travel – Samsung Galaxy Note 10, android & apple

I find smartphones in general quite difficult to type with, and I’ve been thinking it’d be cool to write more while travelling. Especially as I’m considering photographing some stuff in Scotland as soon as I can afford it.

I bought the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 smartphone upon release and I’ve been really happy with it. I wanted a water resistant smartphone with USB 3 speeds for backing up photographs with my Sony a7rII mirrorless camera, and it’s served me well. I can never get along well with a touchscreen for typing a lot though.

Things like the Dell 9380 13inch XPS laptops are obviously incredibly nice but they’re also incredibly expensive and quite heavy to hike with for long periods. I can probably get by with a little keyboard for my phone, I think. The screen is fairly small but obviously most of that is taken up with the on screen keyboard anyway. Using a wireless keyboard, you effectively get twice the screen space and I think it moves into the realm of doable. For something like the smallest Apple iPhone, it might be too small but for larger phones like a Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Google Pixel 3 XL, etc. I think it should be okay.

I’ve seen a few models… The Microsoft Universal Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard catches my attention the most. Interestingly, it’s sold slightly cheaper here in the UK than in the states–that’s pretty rare for anything electronic. None of them seem to be waterproof but some have splash resistant keys. At £44.99 here in the UK, it’s cheap enough that you can break it without it ruining your life; nonetheless, it’s expensive enough I don’t really want to break it either. I have a folding case already, which I can use to prop up the phone screen.

There’s quite a few keyboards available and the microsoft is the more expensive model, but I typically really like microsoft hardware. I thought I’d mention these keyboards because it’s hard to keep track of technology and perhaps it’s something you might want to consider. If I get one, I will let you all know what I think of it. I have a few questions: are there delays when typing, does the gap in the middle of the keyboard matter much, and are the keys nice to type on? etc. so on. I currently use a topre, for my PC and I’m a bit spoiled.

I’m not sure how much these keyboards weigh in actuality either. For any travel bloggers hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2019, you might just have time to grab one! Haha. I think it’s definitely something a backpacker should take a look at.

To my knowledge, the microsoft universal foldable bluetooth keyboard works with all phone operating systems that have bluetooth.

 

Godox V1 Round Head Speedlight

Godox have officially announced the Godox V1 Round Head Speedlight. I’d like to buy one, depending on the price, and I will review it. It uses the same diameter head as the Godox H200R Round Head–an optional accessory available for the Godox AD200. This is great news because all of the magnetic accessories in the Godox AK-R1 will fit the Godox V1 flash.

From the looks of things, the Godox V1 Round Head Speedlight has a stronger hotshoe compared to previous models and it uses a quick release system instead. The user interface has been improved dramatically as a flash commander. As a slave, I don’t know if we will notice much benefit to the Godox V1’s revamped user interface.

The Godox V1’s hardened hot-shoe mount will probably benefit news, wedding and event photographers the most but I do not use speed lights on top of my camera. Nonetheless, things like this show Godox has listened. Personally, I’d prefer to see a portable off-camera flash the size of a Godox V1 but with a tripod screw thread instead of a hot-shoe mount; however, I’m probably in the minority. The Godox AD200 shown above has this but obviously it’s not as small as the Godox V1 Round Head Speedlight.

The flash power of the Godox V1 Round Head Speedlight is unlikely to be much different when compared to the Godox TT685S but recycle times will be considerably quicker.

Godox V1 prediction

There are three heads available for the Godox AD200. After various testing, I noticed the Godox H200R Round Head is the most colour stable head and it’s generally superior to the others. My theory here is that the bulb and perhaps the electronics are slightly different with the round head. The Godox H200R was released long after the rectangular fresnel head, so it makes sense. I believe the Godox V1 Round Head Speedlight will follow suit and surpass previous generation Godox speedlights in every aspect. These are things I will comment on when I buy a Godox V1 and review it.

Another thing to note is that round heads aren’t just marketing hype. You can read about that at my Godox AD200 review page.

Godox V1 new lithium ion battery

My main complaints or concerns are with the battery. Generally speaking, companies like Broncolor, Profoto, etc. buy Panasonic  or other branded 18650 lithium batteries, they then put them inside a cheap, plastic case, and they charge the earth for them. Sadly, loyal people who follow those companies tout the build quality or justify the cost, but really they are just a bunch of 18650 lithium batteries with a high price tag. Take the Profoto B10 Li-ion Battery pack for example. Judging from the weight, it’s about 6, 18650 batteries yet it costs £180. Each cell costs about £5; £5 * 6 = £30. Yet somehow they tax you £150 for a cheap bit of plastic we all know costs about £2 to make. I’m guessing they get a cheap deal on the cells too, lol. The electronics for this kind of thing aren’t that complicated either and if we saw as many disassembly photographs of flashes as we do lenses, people would stop this “Profoto build quality is amazing!!” rubbish.

The Godox V1 uses two 18650 lithium batteries housed in a proprietary case; I presume they’re made by panasonic. There’s nothing up with these cells, but personally I’d prefer they were separate–like AA batteries. Godox isn’t in the habit of ripping people off like Profoto and Broncolor do but I’d still prefer buy the batteries myself for £10.

The positive; however, is that they will get charged an equal amount. It’s never a good idea to have two lithium batteries with a different state of charge. Another negative is that with proprietary batteries comes a million and one chargers.

My little rant over, haha. The flash looks amazing though, I’m sure I’ll buy one at some point.

Available for pre-order

It is now available for pre-order.

Godox round head speedlight flash Profoto A1

Godox have announced news they will be releasing a flash similar to the Profoto A1. I think given the advancements they’ve made recently, at the pricing point, it is hard to justify buying into Profoto so I have decided to buy more Godox flashes when they’re released. I don’t know what the Godox Profoto A1 lookalike will be called or what it will cost, but I don’t expect it to be too expensive.

I’ve cropped this photo because it has personal stuff in the room, but this was taken with Godox speedlights. In my opinion, considering this is without any lighting modifiers, it looks pretty natural. The flash near the door is too powerful but that’s just user error.

 

Aperture: ƒ/8
Camera: ILCE-7RM2
Taken: 2018/10/02
Focal length: 21mm
ISO: 320
Shutter speed: 1/80s

Profoto B10 and Godox AD400 Pro potential review

Profoto have just announced a new product, the Profoto B10. I have been reading through various comments about Profoto and it’s interesting. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again so I don’t get a “you’re a crappy photographer and don’t know what you’re talking about!” email of abuse. I’m not a good photographer, but I know a bit about making things and I’m fairly good at critical thinking.

The Profoto B10 build quality

Build quality is an interesting concept and it’s often brought up into a discussion when Profoto is mentioned. What do you think of when we say “build quality”? I often find poorly machined products made of metal are are touted as having good “build quality” simply because they feel tough/cold in the hands.

The profoto is plastic/polycarbonate. I bought a Profoto B1 and the Profoto Sony transmitter; I wouldn’t say either are built like a tank.

Here’s some things I noticed… The early version of the B1 was a wash with flash tube problems, many people had received a B1 with a flash tube that had fallen out. The B1 I received didn’t exactly impress me from a build quality perspective.

The transmitter, even less so. Take a look at the top photograph, you can see how the plastic shell doesn’t even cover the terminals properly so if water got into the battery door, it goes straight into all of the circuity. In fact, anything could go down there. It’s just lousy. The battery compartment door was also, incredibly lousy. The door itself is incredibly thin plastic and it just screams cheap crap to me. I know why it’s this way, because it’s far easier to make and assemble.

It’s just a battery compartment door, and you might think why should I be worked up over this? Well, it’s quite simple really. This is a very, very high priced item and it should be made better. For the same price, you can get a far more complicated and rugged transmitter. It uses similar technology too. Obviously you’re not going to control your camera with that, but it gives you a rough idea as to how much you’re being ripped off if you buy this thing.

Let’s take a look at their other products:

  • Profoto Easy Stand — An easy to machine stand, made with cheap materials having a price tag of £2,835
  • Profoto ProDaylight 800 Extension Cable 5m – A £10 cable being sold for £395
  • Profoto WideZoom Reflector — £30 of materials being sold for £385
  • Profoto Off Camera Flash Grid Kit — £4 worth of materials, you can have it for £72

Still not convinced?

  • Profoto OCF Barndoor — This is very, very simple to machine. It’s just a bit of sheet metal for the most part. Its weight is advertised as “300 grams”, so you know there’s not much substance to it. £72

The marvellous Profoto B10

If the marvellous Profoto B10 works better than everything else, and it does the job you intended, who cares if the manufacturers kept costs down, right? Well, here’s the problem with that too.

The Profoto B2 doesn’t colour match with the Profoto B1X. Yeah it’s similar, but it’s not the “I paid loads of money for my colour critical work!!” I imagined it to be.

In the end, I’m left thinking… Hmm. Serious photographers should probably buy Broncolor as they’re more colour accurate and freeze water better. The average photographer is probably best with Godox.

Profoto B1 and Profoto B10 vs Godox AD400 Pro

One interesting comment I read a lot is that people should buy Profoto because they offer better light than the competition. I guess if you pay £9,000+ for a complete system of lights, you’ll want to believe that, right?

From what I’ve observed, the Godox AD400 Pro is actually more colour accurate than the Profoto B1 and it’s certainly more colour accurate than the B2. It’s also advertised as less powerful than the Profoto B1 but I’ve been told it is more powerful.

If there was a Godox AD200 Pro, I would be seriously interested in that. The Godox AD400 Pro is considerably larger and heavier than the Profoto B10. I feel the Godox AD200 is probably not as good as the Profoto B10 but I think the Godox AD400 Pro is a better flash than the Profoto B1.

My conclusion with the Profoto B10

Ignoring the fact that the A1 is a complete rip off, the B1x probably isn’t any better than the Godox AD400 Pro, and the Pro-10 is a rip off also, I think the Profoto B10 is a good looking piece of kit. On paper, the Profoto B10 specs are impressive and if it can be more colour accurate than a Godox AD200, I think it wins this round potentially. It’s a good size, shape and you can get third party modifiers.

When I think of building a complete system, I have to consider the other lights though and the Profoto A1’s are ridiculous to say the least. I’d be happy owning one B1X but at the price point, it’s a hard pill to swallow. After the guarantee period is up, the repairs are so expensive you’re cheaper to buy another Godox light anyway than to get the profoto repaired.

I really like the form factor of the Profoto B10 and I’m severely put off by chinese customer service, so in that way it tempts me. If it colour matches with the B1X, then I’d simply skip buying a Profoto B2.

I think I will end up buying a Godox AD200, Godox AD400 Pro and a Godox round head. I will then review these after I’ve bought them.

Flash misfires

The Godox has a different setting for close proximity. If you’ve had troubles even when you’ve used this setting, please let me know in the comments below 🙂

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 USB speeds and magnetic case

I don’t own the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, but from what I’ve heard of people so far, it exhibits the same type of problem the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has with USB speeds and SMB speeds as well.

I’ve written a few posts about that in the past. If my theory is correct, try getting an Anker USB hub with the Google USB adaptor cable :).

I’m not sure if the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has the same trouble with the S-Pen as well. If it’s behaving weirdly, and you have a case with a magnetic clasp, take the phone out of the case and see if the issue persists. This tip helped a lot of people with earlier versions of the phone :).