Fuji X-E1 Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Fujifilm X-E1 mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, which was released on September 6, 2012 right before the Photokina event in Cologne, Germany. After the success of the X100 line and the release of the X-Pro1 (which initially received a rather mixed review from us due to its poor AF performance), Fuji introduced the X-E1 – basically a lower-end version of the X-Pro1. It was not an unexpected move, given how quickly Fuji was growing in popularity, thanks to its amazing retro design and excellent image quality. Despite its autofocus flaws and other quirks, both the X100 and the X-Pro1 created a huge fan base and a healthy community of supporters. The X-Pro1 was an expensive camera aimed at professionals and enthusiasts, so the X-E1 was naturally targeted as a more budget version with less features. In this Fuji X-E1 review (based on Firmware 2.00), I will provide detailed information about the camera, along with some image samples, and compare it to other cameras from Nikon, Canon and Olympus.

Fuji X-E1

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Impact LiteTrek Monolight Kit Review

As someone said, “photography is all about the light”. And nothing gives a photographer more flexibility to craft light better than quality studio strobes. If located in a permanent studio, they provide wonderful lighting and an endless array of possibilities, particularly when used with various light modifiers. Taking them on the road, however, is a different matter. Many models are bulky, heavy, and require proximity to a power source, making them impractical for many settings. Traditional off-camera flash units are much more portable and can be used creatively in a variety of situations, as David Hobby (a.k.a. “Stobist”) and others routinely demonstrate, but lack the power of strobe lights. To meet the needs of photographers seeking the power of traditional strobe lights combined with the flexibility of off-camera flash units, Impact provides the LiteTrek 4.0 DC Two Monolight and Mini LiteTrek (LT) Battery Pack Kit, a portable lighting kit consisting of 2 flash heads and a portable battery pack.

Impact_2_Light_Kit

1) Initial Thoughts

This lightweight kit is well-designed and made. Add two lightweight light stands (not included) and it has everything you need to create a studio environment anywhere you need. I was surprised at the lightness of the 400W heads relative to their power. They were much lighter than my 550W Bowen’s studio strobes.

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Fuji X-Pro1 Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Fuji X-Pro1, a highly anticipated mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera. Built on the success of the Fuji X100 and aimed at pros and photo enthusiasts that need a lightweight camera alternative to a DSLR with amazing image quality, the Fuji X-Pro1 is the first mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera from Fuji. Along with the X-Pro1, Fuji simultaneously introduced three prime lenses – Fujinon 18mm f/2.0 XF R, Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 XF R and Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 XF Macro, all specifically designed to be used for the new Fuji X mount. In this Fuji X-Pro1 review, I will not only provide detailed information about the camera, but will also try to answer the many questions that we have gotten so far on the camera from our readers, along with comparisons to Nikon and Canon DSLRs.

Fuji X-Pro1

I had an opportunity to work closely with the Fuji X-Pro1 on two separate occasions – once when the camera initially came out back in 2012 and again in the summer of 2013, after the latest 3.01 firmware update was released. I had a number of complaints about the X-Pro1 in my original review, because the camera was full of bugs and autofocus problems. The latest firmware 3.01 addressed many of those concerns, so I am simply revisiting the same review and re-evaluating the camera based on my latest findings.

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Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport, a high-end super telephoto lens with a versatile zoom range and a wide constant aperture of f/2.8, designed for wildlife, sports and portrait photographers. This is the third iteration of the lens. Its predecessor, the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM was released back in 2005 with identical optical design. What has changed, is the exterior make and appearance of the lens (along with the tripod collar and tripod foot), the new rigorous quality control that Sigma has implemented on its new lines of high quality lenses, and the ability to attach a USB dock for fine tuning the autofocus operation of the lens. In this review, I will go over the technical specifications of the lens, talk about its optical features and performance with and without teleconverters, and compare it to other super telephoto lenses like Nikon 200-400mm f/4G VR and Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II.

Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM

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Nikon 800mm f/5.6 VR Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR, an exotic super telephoto lens designed for wildlife and sports photographers. Nikon first teased us with its plans to release an 800mm lens in July of 2012, with an official announcement that followed in January of 2013 (along with the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens). Nikon has not updated its manual focus 800mm f/5.6 ED-IF lens for over 25 years, so it was about time to introduce an autofocus version of the lens to the market. The Nikon 800mm f/5.6 VR is a significant milestone for the Nikkor line, because this is the first lens to have the letters “FL” on the lens name, which indicate that fluorite elements are used in its optical design. Although Canon has been using fluorite elements in its exotic super telephoto lenses for a while now, Nikon historically has only used fluorite elements in its medical / microscope lenses. So in a way, this is the first lens of its kind for Nikon.

Nikon 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR

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Impact 20″ Beauty Dish Reflector Kit Review

This is a review for the Impact’s Beauty Dish Reflector Kit with an adapter for the Paul C Buff Alien Bee Strobe. The Reflector kit includes a  20″ Beauty Dish Reflector, Honeycomb Grid for 20″ Beauty Dish Reflector, and a diffuse sock.

Impact Beauty Dish Kit4

1) Overview

I have mostly been a natural light photographer.  I believe there is so much beauty in available light.  However, I have been playing with studio lighting to have more control over my lighting environment.  I am a huge fan of light modifiers that create soft light (like a softbox or this parabolic umbrella). Using a beauty dish was new to me and a little different than what I was used to – it is always fun and beneficial to play around with new tools to give you a new perspective on photography.

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Vello Universal White Balance Disc Review

This is a product review for the Vello Universal White Balance Handheld Disc.  White balance is something that I constantly tweak in Photoshop.  I typically use the auto white balance function on my Canon 5D Mark III.  I find that the auto function gets my white balance close, but in post production I typically adjust the white balance sliders a little to get my final edit.

I was curious and eager to know if a white balance tool would help me get it closer in camera.

1) Product Specifications

This disc is fairly compact, yet still works with lenses up to 95mm in diameter.  It comes with a limited 1 year warranty.  Also, the package include instructions for use, although you may need to consult your camera manual for the specific menu screen on your particular camera.

Vello Universal WHite Balance Handheld Disc 1

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Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D IF-ED, a variable aperture zoom lens that was released a long time ago, in year 2000. The lens has been recently replaced with the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED, which I recently reviewed and praised for its superb performance. I decided to post this particular review, because it might be useful for those that are considering purchasing the lens at a bargain price, now that it has been replaced and will soon be discontinued. Plus, I have all the data I need for a detailed review.

Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D

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Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G lens, which was announced on January 27, 2013 together with the super telephoto Nikon 800mm f/5.6E VR. The lens replaces the existing 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D, an old autofocus lens released back in August of 2000. With its rather weak optical design optimized for film cameras, the old version was never quite considered to be among Nikon’s top performing lenses. It suffered from decreased corner performance, strong distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration issues, making it a weak candidate for modern DSLR cameras. After 13 long years, Nikon finally completely revamped the design of the lens and reintroduced it to the market as a budget lens for modern full-frame cameras. The AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED went through drastic changes in optical design and now looks nothing like its predecessor both physically and optically.

Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

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Think Tank Glass Limo Review

Since purchasing a 500mm lens, I have not had a backpack that it will fit in. I have always had it in either my Airport Commuter or my Airport International bags, both made by Think Tank Photo. The Nikon 500 f/4G VR lens does not come with a bag, but instead it comes with a heavy, large case, so I needed a bag specifically for this lens. Ultimately, I chose another Think Tank product and in this review we will take a look at the Glass Limo backpack. Will we like this backpack as much as we like the other Think Tank reviews? The answer is a mixed bag (pun intended) so read on to find out the good and the bad about the Glass Limo.

Think Tank Glass Limo

Materials and Specifications

Those of you that are regular readers know that all of us at Photographylife.com love Think Tank products. You also know that they are made from excellent and durable materials so I will post the materials and specifications from their website:

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