US manufacturer Ultimaxx has a huge range of budget camera accessories available here at BestBuy.ca, from lenses to filters, to lighting to cameras and so much more. Today I’m going to take a look at a cross-section of those accessories and give you my thoughts from the perspective of a professional photographer.
Firstly, watch this video for a look at the Ultimaxx products that Best Buy sent to me, then read my discussion below to learn more about each one.
Ultimaxx tripods and bags
First of all we have a couple of the many Ultimaxx tripods available at Best Buy. The 50″ lightweight tripod is an excellent travelling companion for two reasons; first of all, it’s light (no surprises there) and secondly, it’s not very expensive; so, if you do lose it, break it or ditch it from your leaky canoe, it won’t be the end of the world. As you can just about make out in the photo below it has a handy handle on the center column which makes it super easy to move around between shots when your camera is mounted on top. This would be really useful for shooting hyperlapse videos, for example. It also has that hook that allows you to add weight for improved stability. The feet are self-adjust which means they can easily compensate for uneven ground.
Looking at another, slightly bigger and more robust tripod, here we have the 72″ lightweight tripod. It has a quick release base plate and a small liquid level, as the previous model does. In this instance, however, you don’t get the adjustable feet, or the handle on the central column. What you do get here is the ability to splay the legs into very wide positions, as you’ll see in the video. This gives you a huge amount of additional stability, should you need it.
Next up we have a couple of the many camera bags offered by Ultimaxx. Let’s begin with this universal, water-resistant backpack which will play well with any make of camera, whether DSLR or mirrorless. It comes with straps on the outside to allow you to attach a tripod (probably a smaller one like the 50″ lightweight above). It also has a couple of handy pockets on the outside too. The interior is split into a number of different compartments for lenses and accessories, the size of which you can alter using the Velcro dividers. The bag is well padded to protect your gear and has a couple of rubber feet on the bottom. Be sure to check out the video to see me modelling it like a champ!
Finally, to end this section of the article, we have the Ultimaxx Professional Deluxe Camera Backpack. This is your fully functional, bells-and-whistles model that gives you everything you need in one well-designed, ergonomical backpack. Up top you’ve got compartments for your camera, lenses and accessories, on the sides you have tripod straps and exterior pockets, and down below you have a day pack that pops out and allows you to carry a trimmed down set of gear for quick and light maneuvers. (Check out the video to see me deploy the day pack). The pack also has a laptop slot which every modern photographer needs in order to quickly upload and share their travel adventures. The chest and waist straps ensure you can distribute your load comfortably and evenly.
Ultimaxx lights and lenses
Ultimaxx has range of lighting options available. Ultimaxx Universal Automatic Flash is a basic flash unit with just three power settings. There are two automatic modes which measure the ambient light level and produce the “right” amount of light. I say “right” because it totally depends on the distance to your subject. Basically you’ll need to shoot a test shot and adjust your aperture or ISO accordingly. So if you want to use this unit effectively, you’ll need to be able to work your settings in manual mode. The final power setting is Manual where the flash produces a full power flash every time. The unit also has a video light, which is essentially just three LEDs. Being honest, I wouldn’t have high hopes for the amount of light these puppies will throw out!
Next we have the Universal 36 LED Light with Mounting Bracket, which is actually one of my favourite accessories from this bunch. It’s nothing fancy, but it packs a nice little punch which really improved the overall quality of the lighting in the video I shot for this article. The only problem was that it ran out of juice towards the end, which meant I had to reshoot a portion of the video. You can mount the light directly to the hot shoe on top of your camera, or use the supplied bracket to mount it to camera left or right if you prefer. One of the cool things about this light is that you can ‘gang’ multiple units together using the hot shoe slots on either side and also on top. Basically you can stack them in rows of three, and as the power button is on the back you’ll have no problem powering them on. As you’ll notice from the photo below, the light comes with a recharger for the rechargeable battery inside, which is great in that it saves you buying new batteries, but on the downside means you have to wait for it to recharge, which can be a headache if you’re doing a paid gig.
To end this investigation of photography equipment, I’ll take a look at one of the many Ultimaxx lenses and lens accessories that you’ll find at Best Buy. I have the 500mm f/8 lens—a telephoto lens which allows you to get close-ups from quite a distance. This is a fixed focal length lens which means you can’t zoom in or out. It’s actually a pretty uncommon beast, in that there are very few lenses with that kind of focal length. In fact a Canon 600mm lens will cost you in the region of $16,000! Now I’m not for a second saying you’ll get a comparable quality of image from this lens, but remember—it ain’t what you got, it’s what you do with it!
So there it is, my quick look at some of the top accessories from Ultimaxx. Be sure to check out the complete range, and find whatever it is you need to make your photography life complete!