Photography News | Issue 32 | absolutephoto.com
48 First tests
Accessories First tests
We get our hands on the latest kit and share our first impressions – so you know whether or not to add it to your wish list
Reviews by Will Cheung
TetherTableAero System From£270
Prices Tether Tools RSTAA4 Rock Solid Tripod Cross Bar £111.39 Tether Tools TTAM13BLK Aero for MacBook Pro 13in £159.90 Tether Tools PDMAC-13 ProPad for Tether Table Aero for MacBook Pro 13in £13.83 Tether Tools TetherPro USB 3.0A/ Micro B4, 6m cable £42 JerkStopper Camera Support £13.83
Shooting tethered and controlling the camera remotely, either wirelessly or hard-wired, is big business and all sorts of kit and software is available to enable you to do it. How you prefer to work depends on many variables such as what software you have, computer or tablet, your camera, your budget and how you prefer to work. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here. Realising that there are many ways to skin this particular cat, US company Tether Tools specialises in tethered shooting kit. Thankfully for us, the company’s products are currently distributed in the UK by Flaghead Photographic. I tried the Table Aero System but before getting down to the nitty- gritty of this particular kit, it is worth spending some time on the Flaghead and Tether Tools websites because there is a bewildering amount of kit on offer so you need to funnel down what you need. On the Tether Tools website there are a couple of excellent PDF downloads to help: Better When You Tether and The Ultimate Tether Guide. I went for the RSTAA4 Rock Solid Tripod Cross Bar to hold the laptop and camera via a separate ball head (not supplied). This is a lovely piece of kit and versatile too. There are four 3/8in screw threads to take
tripod heads, the two on the cross bar can be positioned to suit your needs and lock very firmly in position. The laptop itself sat on a TTAM13BLK Aero for MacBook Pro 13in, a shelf made from aerospace aluminium so lightweight and yet very tough. It features fittings for both 1/4in and 3/8in screw threads and can also be used on any standard lighting stand. Adding a foam cushion pad to stop the laptop sliding off, a USB 3.0 cable to link the camera to the iMac – because I was going for a hard-wired tethered set-up – and a JerkStopper Camera Support to take the strain off the cable-to-camera connection and I was in business. The build quality of the kit is excellent. Solid, the lock controls are big so they are easy to use and work very firmly. I tried this set-up with a still-life shoot with the cross bar fixed atop a tripod, added a ball head to hold the camera and then fitted the laptop shelf. It all felt safe and very solid. In a portrait shoot, the camera can be removed, while, with a suitably long cable, the laptop is left in situ. Alternatively simply use the Aero on its own on a lighting stand. WC
The complete set-up I tried (outlined in the Specs panel) costs in the order of £340 but I went for a full set-up. You can just go for the laptop table (various sizes are available) to use on a lighting stand you already have. It really depends on what you have in mind and what other kit you intend to use. Whatever Tether Tools kit you decide to buy, there is no doubt that the build quality is excellent and the concept is well thought through and performs well too.
Images Build quality of Tether Tools kit is first rate and should withstand everyday use and the abuse it’s likely to get in working studio environments. Ergonomics are good too and everything locks firmly and positively without any play.
Pros Build quality, versatility, simply works effectively Cons A versatile system is not cheap but it’s designed to last
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