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Nikon D500 field-tested: Long-expected successor to the Nikon D300 worth the wait!

Nikon D500 DSLR Camera (Body Only)Few cameras have had a more loyal following than the Nikon D300 (and predecessor Nikon D200). For those who wanted a pro-quality Nikon without moving to the size and expense of full-frame, they represented an excellent combination of features at a reasonable price. However, as the years have gone by, the tech in those cameras has been left in the dust. Many owners have been forced to move either “down” to a more consumer-oriented, but newer, model like the , or up to a larger, more-expensive, model like the . No longer. I shot almost exclusively in Alaska for two weeks with a , and loved it. It is easy to hold, fun to use, and took photos that are as high quality as I’ve ever seen from a 21MP sensor.

Canon G9 X field-tested: Best camera you can easily fit in a pocket

Canon PowerShot G9 X Digital Camera (Silver)The appeal of a camera you can always have with you is obvious. For an increasing number of people that’s their smartphone. But if you want to have something with a bigger sensor and a zoom lens, a compact point-and-shoot is the way to go. That creates something of a Goldilocks problem – the cheap, small ones aren’t much better than a phone, and the high-end ones don’t fit in a pocket. Canon has done a good job over the years with its S series in finding a middle ground – reasonable sensor, good features, and Raw capability. I’ve been shooting with the newest version, rebranded as the , and have been impressed by the upgrade in image quality, while learning to like, or at least live with, the new Touchscreen-centric interface…

Young bears play in the water on a hot day, just like people

Most of Alaska is having a streak of uncharacteristically balmy weather, not well suited to bears’ thick fur coats. As a result, cubs and juvenile bears alike have been taking advantage of the cool water as the site for their wrestling and play fights. These two young Brown Bears went at it for nearly an hour, with breaks to lay flat in the water and cool off before once again charging each other. A great week for our !

Moose Peterson backpacks revived and updated by MindShift

MindShift Gear and Moose Peterson Collaborate to Update Classic Moose Peterson Outdoor Photography Backpacks

I’m really excited to see the much-beloved Moose Peterson backpack line back on the market – chock full of improvements thanks to the folks at MindShift. The packs were my favorite for many years, but Moose stopped working on or selling them a while ago. The new versions, called MP-1 v2.0, MP-3 v2.0, and MP-7 v2.0 have the same form factor as the originals of the same name, but with improved straps, water bottle holders, and some other nice touches.

Adobe revs Photoshop, Creative Cloud with some cool new tools and VR support

I’ve been using the new June update for Creative Cloud for about a week, and am enjoying both the new Content-aware Crop feature in Photoshop, and the native 360-degree video support in Premiere (anyone who has tried to edit 360-degree video in a traditional video editor knows how painful it can be). There is also much improved integration with Adobe Stock for those of you who buy images, rather than sell them. On the sell side, Adobe has also promised a spiffy contributor portal for Adobe Stock, but no details yet on when it will be available. You can read my .

New Sony RX10 III field-tested: The ultimate all-in-one Superzoom is now even better

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III Digital CameraNo one like carrying a lot of camera gear, or changing lenses. But for many of us it is a necessary evil to get the shots we want. But the question I get asked most is "I want a camera that does it all, but I don't want to carry several lenses or a big backpack or tripod, what should I buy?" The new is an excellent answer. With a 1-inch-format 20MP sensor, and a 24-600mm super-zoom lens from Zeiss, it takes remarkably good images for an all-in-one camera, and it does it across a massive focal length range. The big upgrade from the Mark II is an increase in zoom range from 200mm to 600mm at the long end (resulting in a slightly larger, and more-expensive, camera).

Exciting new discoveries about the extent of cities surrounding Angkor Wat and other Cambodian temples

Cambodia’s Khmer temples are not only a wonder of the ancient world, but one of its great mysteries. With almost no written record of what was once a vast kingdom, researchers have been left to speculate about its origins, rise to power, and ultimate fading from glory. The large stone structures that remain have many inscriptions that help explain the kingdom’s religious life and the facts about the royal family, but are largely silent about the society, culture, or even the technology that helped Khmer agriculture power an aggressive campaign of expansion and conquering neighboring civilizations. The extent of its cities, and whether the area was an extensive urban sprawl or merely a set of disjoint small cities has also been a subject of conjecture -- until now...

OPTIC 2016 Trip Report: Outdoor photo extravaganza courtesy of B&H Photo

I’m just back from an East Coast swing including some fun bird photography on the Eastern Shore (hands-on with the coming soon!). The highlight, though, was definitely B&H’s OPTIC 2016 conference & tradeshow. Now in its second year, OPTIC was bigger and better this year, with more sponsors and more speakers. The tradeshow floor featured a wide-variety of cameras, lenses, accessories, and photographic service offerings. My thanks both to B&H (David Brommer, Deborah Gilbert, and the rest of the team) for hosting, and especially to DataColor for sponsoring my talk on Photographing the Bears of Alaska (based on the 17 years I’ve been capturing them on film and digital, and 15 years of ). Here are some of the highlights of the show for me...

Ricoh Theta S 360 camera field tested: Insanely fun and surprisingly useful

Ricoh Theta S Spherical VR Digital CameraAlong with Virtual Reality, no trend is hotter this year than 360-degree photos and videos. For a few years now, you've been able to cobble together a 360 photo using an app on your phone to stitch together the many required images -- with predictably-mediocre results.

Simple method for photographing Flycatchers in action

One of the most fun experiences in birding and bird photography is watching flycatchers hit the water to grab insects. Unfortunately, it is usually only that – an experience. Actually capturing photos of the birds in action is one of the hardest tasks in wildlife photography. It is possible (just barely) to do it by actually tracking the birds, if you have the right gear and just the right setup and background. But most of the time, that simply isn’t an option. However, there is a fairly simple set of steps you can take to give yourself a chance at getting some interesting images, and maybe even some really good ones if you are persistent enough. We experimented with it on our recent Texas bird photo workshop with some good successes. Here is what you need to do:

Curious about Virtual Reality? Here is a guide to your options for getting started

Virtual Reality (VR) may not be directly affecting your photography yet, but there is no doubt it is a major new way to communicate visually, and this year it will begin to impact both still and video shooters. Along with its sibling, 360 photos and videos, it is a powerful new tool. However, it is really early days, and not everyone is cut out for taking the plunge. I put together a guide to the available , that will point you in the right direction based the level of your interest and enthusiasm – and budget.

Sony a6300 compact mirrorless field tested: Amazing tech in a small package

I've spent a lot more time shooting with the new since my first look article, and the experience has reinforced my impressions -- both pro and con. On the pro side, the speed and image quality is really amazing. I covered multiple events at Nvidia's tech conference, in a variety of awful lighting conditions, and the camera performed flawlessly at ISOs up to 3200 (where I had Auto ISO set to top out). However, even after some customization of the interface, I found the controls inefficient, especially in dark rooms.

Did Lytro just build the ultimate movie camera?

Lytro is best known for its consumer and prosumer camera models that allow after the fact refocusing. After generating a lot of media attention, neither product caught on in the marketplace, so Lytro began a well-publicized change in strategy – moving to create products for professional content creators. On the heels of announcing its Immerge, which it plans to be the ultimate VR video capture system, Lytro has just announced Cinema, a movie camera that essentially virtualizes video capture. Instead of only capturing the amount of light falling on its sensor (or sensors), it also captures information about the direction of the light. This, coupled with a an active sensor that creates a depth map, allows movie makers to refocus, automatically green screen, and perform other special effects after the fact. I covered more of the details in a . If any of you are at NAB next week where the unit will be premiered, let us know what you think!

Sony a6300: A nearly perfect camera if you can live with the controls

Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm LensAlmost every photographer I know wishes their camera was smaller and lighter. But of course they don’t want to give up speed or features. This is particularly true with those of us clinging to our DSLRs, but constantly eyeing the mirrorless category for new models, as they creep up on our larger cameras in capability. With the launch of its , yet another set of barriers to moving to mirrorless have come down. I’ve been shooting with one since its launch and while I’ll be doing a more-detailed review, I wanted to get my preliminary thoughts out.

360-degree photos, Virtual Reality, and what they mean for photographers: Some thoughts

With the sudden interest in 360-degree photos and videos – along with a variety of new products for capturing them – it is natural to ask how they will be viewed, and what they might mean for photographers. This is a rapidly-changing area, but with today’s official launch of the Oculus Rift VR headset, it’s a good time to take stock of where we are so far – both in image capture and viewing.

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