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This week's stories: More tempting f/4 pro lenses. Do our high ISO camera bodies make these zooms the smart choice? A review of my day at Macworld/iWorld. What I'm recording right now in Carpinteria at lynda.com. Plus Photo Assignment winners!

Story #1 - Is f/4 Right for You? Both Canon and Nikon have recently updated their stable of pro f/4 lenses, with Nikon touting the The Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR and Canon released the 24-70mm f/4L IS USM. This has prompted many serious photographers to consider these lighter, less expensive alternatives to f/2.8 maximum aperture lenses, and for good reason.

The Canon 24-70 f/4 costs $1,500 and weighs 1.32 lb compared to $2,300 and 1.77 lb. Plus you get image stabilization with the f/4 model.

The Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR costs $1,400 and weighs in at 1.87 lb compared to $2,400 and 3.39 lb.

I personally own both the Canon f/4 and f/2.8 70-200mm zooms, and have found myself using the 70-200mm f/4 at least as often as the f/2.8.

With the improved high ISO performance of today's Canon and Nikon bodies, there are many situations where the f/4 models will produce fantastic results. You do lose that one stop of "soft depth of field," but other than that, these new f/4 models are worth considering, especially if the budget is tight.

Story #2 - My Day at Macworld/iWorld - I was able to attend Day 1 of Macworld/iWorld at Moscone West in San Francisco last week. The big thing that jumped out at me is that the event is really iWorld. The focus is on mobility with iOS hardware and apps. This is in-step with surging interest in iPads and the continued love affair with iPhones.

I covered the expo floor in about an hour. But I also enjoyed many of the live events upstairs and catching up with TDS members who attended, and of course tech friends I've known for years. All in all, it was an enjoyable day.

Story #3 - Recording at lynda.com - I'm in Carpinteria right now recording a new "iPhoto & Aperture" title. What's cool about this, is that we're using the absolute current versions of both apps, and showing how they stack up against each other for a variety of tasks. This is perfect for those considering moving up to Aperture from iPhoto. Plus, I show how to use the two applications together, drawing from the strengths of each.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (27 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The February 2013 photo assignment is Furry Friends.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.

This week's stories: Using Lensbaby on Micro Four Thirds to create shallow depth of field, what's going on with Nik Software, a look at Drobo warranty and technical support, and what's coming up this week.

Story #1 - Lensbaby Composer Pro for Micro Four-Thirds cameras- One of the few drawbacks to shooting with micro four thirds cameras is that their images display a greater depth of field. For many shoots, this isn't a problem, and it's often a blessing.

But for those occasions when I want very shallow depth of field, I've experimented with the Lensbaby Composer Pro for micro four thirds. This $300 accessory has a focal length of 50mm and tilts from zero to 17.5 degrees.

You manually focus the Lensbaby using its well-dampened focusing ring, then alter the shallow depth of field effect by adjusting the metal swivel ball. Because you do have to manually focus, I recommend using the Lensbaby with an electronic viewfinder. For the first time ever, I can get radical shallow depth of field with a micro four thirds camera.

BTW: The Lensbaby Composer Pro is available in many mounts, including Canon and Nikon too.

Story #2 - What's going on with Nik Software? I noticed this week that Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 was not available for sale on B&H Photo or Amazon. Wondering is this is a result of the purchase of Nik by Google. If you know something about this, please post a comment in the Show notes.

Story #3 - Drobo Support and Warranty - The Drobo 5D comes with a 2 year warranty and 90 days of technical support. As you end the 90 day period, you can purchase Drobo Care for $169 a year. That includes 24x7 technical support, can be renewed for one year period as long as the product is still being sold, and advanced replacement - when you call, we'll send your hardware replacement same day.

If you choose not to buy Drobo Care, then you have the standard hardware replacement for 2 years (Hardware repair or exchange - when we receive your Drobo unit, we'll either repair it or send you a replacement) and no 24x7 technical support.

I haven't made a decision on what I'm going to do yet.

Story #4 - Just a reminder that I'll be at Macworld/iWorld this coming Thursday afternoon at Moscone West in SF. Best way to connect will be at the Digital Photography Panel Discussion (on main stage, I believe) led by Macworld Editor Jackie Dove at 2pm on Thursday.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (28 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The January 2013 photo assignment is Self Timer.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special Offer! They're offering a 14% discount for Valentine's Day gifts to significant others, spouses, children ... pix of pets, etc. Valentines day is a month from now, Feb. 14. Orders received by January 30 shipped in time. Just add TDS to the comments field to receive your discount.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.

This week's stories: 2013 Photo Workshops Schedule, Return of Drobo Part 5, Budget Fisheye, Macworld 2013.

Story #1 - Time to start thinking about our workshops for the upcoming season. We have five on the books right now. Let's take a closer look at them.

  • iPad for Photographers Workshop - April 20 & 21, 2013 - Sebastopol Apple Festival - TDS Studio in Santa Rosa, CA
  • Movie Making for Photographers - June 15 & 16, 2013 - Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic - TDS Studio in Santa Rosa, CA
  • Sonoma Coast Workshop - August 17 & 18, 2013 - Bodega Bay Lodge, Bodega Bay, Doran Beach, CA
  • Fall Color with Safari West - Oct. 20, 21, & 22, 2013 - TDS Studio in Santa Rosa, Safari West, Vineyards
  • Aperture Intensive - Nov. 16 & 17, 2013 - TDS Studio in Santa Rosa, CA

Additional Possibilities:

- Event Photography covering the Wine Country Big-Q BBQ Competition on July 12 & 13, 2013
- Action Photography covering the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival on May 18 & 19, 2013
- Another Aperture Intensive

You can get on the Reserve List by visiting the TDS Workshops page.

Story #2 - Return of Drobo, Part 5 - Which hard drives do I have loaded in my Drobo? I have two Seagate Barracuda 3000 GB drives in the bottom 2 bays, and 3 Seagate 1000 GB drives in the top 3 bays. Their specs are:

  • 7200 RPM and 64 MB cache
  • Seagate OptiCacheâ„¢ technology improves performance by up to 45 percent
  • Seagate AcuTracâ„¢ technology enables reliable read/write performance even in high touch operating environments

Story #3 - Fisheye for my iPhone - I spent $16 and bought the 3in1 Fisheye Wide Angle Macro Lens kit for my iPhone 4S.

Story #4 - Macworld 2013 - I'm be hanging out at the Macworld/iWorld event in San Francisco on the afternoon of Thursday, Jan 31, 2013. If you're in town and attending the show at Moscone West, be sure to look me up and say hi.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (29 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The January 2013 photo assignment is Self Timer.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special Offer! They're offering a 14% discount for Valentine's Day gifts to significant others, spouses, children ... pix of pets, etc. Valentines day is a month from now, Feb. 14. Orders received by January 30 shipped in time. Just add TDS to the comments field to receive your discount.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.

This week stories: Hands on with the Canon PowerShot N, falling in lust with the Fujifilm X20, and the Return of Drobo, Part 4.

Story #1 - The Canon PowerShot Nfeatures a powerful 28-224mm optical zoom, 12 MP sensor, touchscreen LCD that flips open, one button WiFi connectivity to your mobile device, stunning creative filters that can automatically be applied, and it's "shirt pocket" small. Price will be $299 this April.

I thought it was the most innovative consumer camera at CES.

But is it innovative enough for nimble photographers to slide into their pockets when they already have a capable smartphone?

Story #2 - The Fujifilm X20 ($599)reminded of just how handsome and capable a compact camera can be. Inside its die-cast magnesium body is a new 12MP 2/3" X-Trans CMOS II sensor coupled to a Fujinon 28-112mm f/2-2.8 zoom lens. Fuji's sensor is larger than much of its competition, including the Canon G15 and Panasonic LX7 that both use 1/1.7" chips.

The X20 now features an advanced optical zooming viewfinder that has an information overlay so you can see the current exposure settings while composing the shot. This is well implemented, and a welcome upgrade to the x10's viewfinder, which was good to begin with.

Additional features include an Intelligent Hybrid AF System, full HD 1080 video at 60fps, RAW capture, built-in film filters.

Story #3 - The Return of Drobo, Part 4. Since only my MacBook Pro Retina Display has Thunderbolt connectors, which I had been using for this project, I decided to try out the Drobo 5D using its buff USB cord included in the kit, and connecting it to my second generation (2009) MacBook Air.

For sorting and viewing images in Aperture reading the library located on the Drobo, performance was quite good. Where I noticed a difference was loading the data for RAW files in the Adjustments Inspector. There was a short delay from the time I opened the image until the adjustment tools were ready for use.

My conclusion is that I can view images, add metadata, and sort from the Aperture library using the humble USB 2 connection from my older MBP Air. But if I want to engage in serious image editing of RAW files, I should use the Thunderbolt connectivity on my newer MBP Retina Display.

Keep in mind however, that the USB port on the 5D is version 3. I was using USB 2 on my MBP Air. In the next installment, we'll see how USB 3 fares on the newer MBP.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (29 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The January 2013 photo assignment is Self Timer.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special Offer! They're offering a 14% discount for Valentine's Day gifts to significant others, spouses, children ... pix of pets, etc. Valentines day is a month from now, Feb. 14. Orders received by January 30 shipped in time. Just add TDS to the comments field to receive your discount.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.

We're seeing WiFi in our cameras more and more. The new Samsung NX300 and Canon PowerShot N are two recent examples. Then we jump over to the mirrorless bandwagon, which is getting quite crowded. I then wrap up with my preparations for CES 2013 in Las Vegas.

Story #1 - WiFi in Your Camera. One of the trends that we will see in 2013 is that more cameras will have Wi-Fi built-in. We've seen it at the DSLR level, with the Canon 6D and others, and now we're going to see it more at The compact system camera level and even compacts.

A current example is the Samsung NX300, a 3-D capable 20 megapixel mirrorless camera that also has dual-channel Wi-Fi built-in.

Why would you want this? Well, yes, you can connect directly to online sharing sites. But this could still be easier. I think the real use for Wi-Fi in our cameras will be to connect with our other devices, actually. You can share pictures with your smart phone or your computer or your tablet, do your editing, and then upload from there.

Story #2 - Acceptance of Mirrorless Cameras. The bandwagon is starting to get a little crowded. More and more big-name photographers are suddenly stating their love for Compact System Cameras and saying that DSLRs are on their way out.

And even though it's great to see my philosophy that's over two years old finally being accepted, I can tell you right now that DSLRs are here to stay also. It's not a matter of one type of camera replacing another. It's more about having a greater variety of tools for the different situations we face.

So if you're thinking about embracing mirrorless cameras in 2013, that's great! I love them so much. But at the same time, please keep your current to DSLR system. Don't sell it. There's a place in your photography for both types of cameras.

Story #3 - Packing for CES. Speaking of Compact System Cameras, for CES I am taking a Lowepro Photo Hatchback with my Olympus OM-D and Olympus Pen mini with five lenses. I'll also have a full size iPad and an iPad mini. And to make typing easier, I'll be using the Brydge Bluetooth Keyboard for the full-size iPad. All of this fits easily and my Lowepro Photo Hatchback bag: two camera bodies, two iPads, five lenses, a flash headphones, and a few personal items. I'm looking forward to reporting on the event from Las Vegas.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (26 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The January 2013 photo assignment is Self Timer.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.

A check-in podcast from on the road in Southern CA. I talk a bit about what I'll be covering in January, and a few topics that will kick off 2013.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (9 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special this month, order one SizzlPix and get the second one for 50 percent. Buy just one SizzlPix and get a 25 percent discount. Put "TDS" in the comments field of your order.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.

This week's stories: Lightroom 4.3 gets very Apple friendly, Flickr gets it together on the iPhone, and The Return of Drobo, Part 3.

Story Number One: Lightroom 4.3 was a hefty update for Adobe. There are 20 in new cameras supported in the application including the Canon 6D, the Nikon 1 version 2, the Nikon D600, Pentax K5 II, Sony RX1, and on and on. Plus there is a boatload of new lens profiles. Two that caught My eye were for the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5.

And finally for those using the MacBook Pro Retina display, Adobe has added HiDPI support. I tested this on my MacBook Pro, and I've reported on the differences in a blog post.

Story Number Two: Flickr version 2.0 for the iPhone. What a terrific update! Not only is it easy to use my iPhone to take pictures and post them directly to my Flickr photo stream, it's also quite easy to manage all of my social activity with this new application. In fact I think it's easier to manage my Flickr account with this new iPhone app, than it is with the computer through the web browser.

Story Number Three: The Return of Drobo, Part 3. So I moved an Aperture library from another hard drive onto the Drobo. The library and its referenced masters took up 2 TB of space on the other drive. However, on the Drobo, it's only taking up about 1.3 TB. I am now using up 25% of the space that I have on the drive array.

What's interesting, is that I can run my Aperture library off the Drobo instead of having to have it on my MacBook Pro retina display. Performance has been very good. As I mentioned before, I'm connected via Thunderbolt, and I have the Hot Data Cache active on the Drobo unit.

In this particular library, I have 60,000 photos, most of them raw files. I've done image-editing, organization, and I did a big printing job earlier today. Performance again has been very good. I feel very confident running my Aperture library on the Drobo unit.


The Gift Guide for Photographers features 12 tempting goodies for the photographer in your life. Each item includes a background article about it and a direct link for the best price.


Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (30 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Long Exposure is the Dec. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Dec. 31, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special this month, order one SizzlPix and get the second one for 50 percent. Buy just one SizzlPix and get a 25 percent discount. Put "TDS" in the comments field of your order.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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This week stories: A Bargain Canon Super Zoom, The Return of Drobo Part 2, and the Olympus TG-1 camera giveaway.

canon_55-250_on_60d.jpg

Story Number One: - The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II lens, Standard street price for the zoom is $299. But I've see it going regularly for $249, and I even scored one brand-new in the box with warranty for $195. This is not a fancy lens. But it certainly takes good pictures. What I like about it is that it has four-stop image stabilization, and that it is light and relatively compact for a zoom with an effective range from 88mm to 400mm. More on this lens in the first segment of the show.

Story Number Two: - The Return of Drobo - Part 2. Let's go under the hood and look at some of the specifications for the set up that I'm testing.

I have all five bays of the 5D filled with drives. That includes three 1-TB drives and two 3-TB drives that occupy the five slots. In the bottom slot (on the bottom of the unit), I have one mSATA SSD Accelerator Drive installed. This is a solid-state chip with 64 GBs of memory that improves performance. With a total of 9 TB of disk space installed, I have access to 5.4 TB of space. 2.77 TB of the 9 TBs is used for protection. More on how this all works out in the second segment of the show.

Story Number Three: -The Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS Digital Camera Giveaway. To celebrate the holiday season, I want to give away an Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS Digital Camera. It's one of my favorite compact cameras, and I think someone else should enjoy one too. I go over the details in this segment of the show.


The Gift Guide for Photographers features 12 tempting goodies for the photographer in your life. Each item includes a background article about it and a direct link for the best price.


Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (34 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Long Exposure is the Dec. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Dec. 31, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special this month, order one SizzlPix and get the second one for 50 percent. Buy just one SizzlPix and get a 25 percent discount. Put "TDS" in the comments field of your order.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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The Return of Drobo, Part 1 - I introduce what will be my ongoing review of this multi-drive storage device that I had experience with in the past, but haven't been using for a while. But now a new Drobo is available, the 5D with a Thunderbolt connector, and I became interested again. In this first installment, here's how it all came about, and what we're going to do over the coming months.

Story Number Two: Your Studio Inventory - It's that time of year to think about getting a little better organized for 2013. In this segment, I discuss creating a studio or home inventory to catalog all of your equipment. I did some preliminary testing with an application for the Mac called "Home Inventory". It cost $20. But, it comes with an iOS app that really speeds up the process using your iPhone. With just a few hours investment, I can have all of my gear cataloged and backed up.


The Gift Guide for Photographers features 12 tempting goodies for the photographer in your life. Each item includes a background article about it and a direct link for the best price.


Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (29 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Long Exposure is the Dec. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Dec. 31, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special this month, order one SizzlPix and get the second one for 50 percent. Buy just one SizzlPix and get a 25 percent discount. Put "TDS" in the comments field of your order.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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Holiday photography is really just a type of event coverage, except that you usually know your subjects quite well. In this week's podcast I provide 10 tips to help you get great holiday photos while still enjoying the festivities.


The Gift Guide for Photographers features 12 tempting goodies for the photographer in your life. Each item includes a background article about it and a direct link for the best price.


Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (32 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Flash is the Nov. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Nov. 30, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special this month, order one SizzlPix and get the second one for 50 percent. Buy just one SizzlPix and get a 25 percent discount. Put "TDS" in the comments field of your order.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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