Backpacks are a sore spot for many photographers. Personally, I’ve owned so many different types over the years that I truly can’t remember them all. I know photographers who have entire gear closets filled with bags, and nothing else. The problem here, I think, is that bags look amazing online (or in a store) — seeing them, reading reviews, and even trying it on for a few minutes — but then reality kicks in a few weeks later, and you realize that your new purchase isn’t all that spectacular. That brings me to the company Peak Design. I’m sure you’ve heard of them; they made headlines a couple years ago after fundraising millions of dollars on Kickstarter for their lineup of bags. We haven’t yet reviewed one of their bags on Photography Life, so, when they reached out to send a copy for testing, I decided to see how it measures up. This review specifically covers the 20 liter version of the “Everyday Backpack.” So, does it live up to the hype? Can you finally clean out your closet of bags and turn it into something more productive? The answers are more nuanced than you might think.
As a landscape and travel photographer, I heavily rely on tripods. After making a number of wrong purchasing decisions early on in my photography career, I realized that a solid tripod and tripod head are very important – sometimes even more important than choosing a camera or a lens. A poor tripod setup can create many headaches and really mess up images, and tripod heads play a big part of that. Many cheap tripod heads sag even after they are tightened. Some can barely hold gear and shake like crazy in wind or when they are touched. Others have poor plates and attachments, making them very frustrating to use in the field. Unfortunately, many of us go through a number of bad tripod heads before realizing that we should have gotten something solid to begin with. For the past seven years, I have been very happy with the Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead. In fact, after using the BH-55 for a few years, I ended up buying a few more ballheads from RRS for other needs such as travel. However, after attending a few trade shows and seeing other options from other companies, I wanted to see if there was something even better than the RRS ballheads that I have come to trust and love. I bumped into FLM at Photo Plus New York last year and after talking to the company, I decided to give their ballheads a try and see how they compare to RRS. Thanks to FLM Canada, I was able to obtain three ballheads to test, the CB-58 FTR, CB-48 FTR and CB-32 F. In this review, I will go over these three ballheads in detail and discuss their pros and cons.
One of the easiest ways to substantially improve the image quality of your daytime cityscapes is to use a circular polarizing filter. Putting a polarizing filter on your lens is like wearing a pair of polarized sunglasses over your eyes; the polarized glass blocks random light waves from passing through, creating a clearer image. Randomized light tends to be lower quality than direct light. As such, a polarizing filter will help ensure that only the sharpest, most colorful light hits your image sensor.
In this article, I’m going to review the Palette Gear Expert Kit. This is a control surface that consists of buttons, dials and sliders, all of which are meant to be used with a variety of photo and video editing programs. They can also be used with everyday computer operation such as web browsers and operating systems. Personally, I use it with Lightroom for working with photos, Premiere Pro for working with videos, and Chrome for web browsing.
This is a quick review of the FotodioX Nikon F to Fujifilm G-mount adapter, which allows mounting Nikon G-type lenses on the new Fuji GFX 50S camera. While it is always ideal to use native lenses on any camera system, the idea of using a lens from a different camera system on a mirrorless camera can be appealing for a number of reasons. Aside from potential savings, one can take advantage of the mirrorless technology (see mirrorless vs DSLR for details) and use the ability to zoom in on a subject while framing to potentially yield a higher number of in-focus shots compared to a DSLR. In addition, lens adapters also open up opportunities to use specialty lenses that are not yet available for the system, which in the case of the new Fuji GFX 50S, is certainly worth looking into, since the system is very new and only three native mount lenses are available at the moment. While shooting with the Fuji GFX 50S, I wondered how well my Nikon lenses would do on the medium format camera, so I decided to give the FotodioX Nikon F to Fuji G-mount adapter a try.
For most photographers, especially those who shoot landscapes, it is crucial to have a good set of filters at your disposal. Filters come in two types: screw-on filters (attaching directly to your filter threads) and square filter systems (sliding into a holder on the end of your lens). A lot of landscape photographers move to a square filter system over time — they have a wider selection of filters, and they let you move your filters from lens to lens more quickly. The main companies that make square filter systems are Lee, Cokin and HiTech, all of which are well-known among landscape photographers. There are a few other companies in the marketplace, too, including a relatively new brand called NiSi. Recently, NiSi has been contacting photography websites for reviews, and they contacted us as well. I have used the Lee system for a while, and experienced a few problems with it, so I wanted to review these NiSi filters and see how they stack up. This review covers the NiSi filter system, along with a few specific filters.
I have been looking for a small portable alternative to carting my tripod around with me for quite some time now. There have been many occasions when I’ve been out photographing and could have used the support that a tripod provides, but could not be bothered to lug my tripod with me. I have tried using a variety of small tabletop tripods. None of them were strong enough to support a DSLR and heavy lens. Beanbags are cumbersome to carry around as well. This past summer I stumbled upon a Kickstarter campaign for Platypod Pro Max, and I was intrigued. Could this possibly be the answer to my search?
MIOPS Smart Camera Trigger is a camera and flash trigger in a single unit. It provides seven different triggering modes, including lightning, sound, and laser. It also functions as an intervalometer for timelapse photography. It has an HDR mode, a scenario mode, and a DIY mode. With the smartphone app, you can also use the trigger in four shutter release modes: cable release, press and hold, press and lock, and timed release. The past few days I have had a lot of fun playing with my MIOPS Trigger, and I would like to share my experiences with you.
During our trip to Turkey, Lola and I had a chance to briefly meet with my Turkish friends from MIOPS.com, the talent behind MIOPS Smart Trigger and Nero Trigger (see our detailed review of Nero Trigger). MIOPS is a small business that operates out of Turkey, with an exceptionally knowledgeable team of software and hardware engineers. I first met the MIOPS team at the Photo Plus Expo in New York back in 2013 and since then we have become good friends. So when they found out that Lola and I were flying out to Istanbul, they invited both of us to their corporate office for a tour of their production facilities. Since I had a couple of cameras with me during the trip, I requested to record an interview with the team in order to introduce both the product and the talented team behind the product to our readers. In this article, I would like to share the recorded interview with our readers and provide some information on the MIOPS Smart Trigger. If you have never heard of this little device, I would definitely encourage you to read on, since this little gadget might get your creative juices flowing with all kinds of new photography ideas.
Many photographers who want to upgrade their tripod are stuck choosing between high-end aluminum tripods and low-end carbon fiber models. These two types of tripod tend to be similar in price, which makes the decision even more difficult. I have been trying out the carbon fiber Oben CC-2461 tripod over the past few months, along with the accompanying BE-126T ballhead. This review covers my experiences and recommendations for photographers trying to decide on a tripod at this price point.