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Think Tank StreetWalker Rolling Backpack 2.0 field tested: Airport-friendly photo backpack

Adjustable dividers allow a customized fit for your DSLR or Mirrorless gearI love using my Think Tank when shooting from a vehicle, like a safari truck in Africa, or a boat in Alaska, or even from a blind in Texas. With room for both my photo gear and my 15-inch laptop, it is one of the most-versatile photo backpacks on the market. But lugging it through airports, especially on the super-long walks we often face on international connections, is painful. So I was quite excited when Think Tank released a Roller version. I used a as my backpack in Alaska, and it did everything I wanted.

 

MindShift PhotoCross 13: A great sling-style bag for working in the field with a camera or drone

MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13 Sling Bag (Orange Ember)Photo backpacks are great for carrying gear, but they have one major drawback. They’re inconvenient to work with in situations where you don’t have the time or space to set them down. For that reason, I’ve always made sure that some type of sling or messenger bag was part of my arsenal. So I was excited to learn about the upcoming . I was fortunate enough to get an early version to take with me on my Alaska bear photo safaris and put it through its paces…

Nikon D7500 field tested: A winner DSLR for mid-range budgets

Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera (Body Only)Like almost every pro Nikon shooter, I’m eagerly awaiting the new Nikon D850. In the meantime, I needed an updated backup camera for my . I wanted one good enough to use for “pro” work, but small and light enough that I could easily carry it in a messenger bag with my drone for field work. I’d already shot with the Nikon D500 and , which are both excellent cameras, but decided to be a little more adventurous and purchase the newer , that fits many of the features of the into a smaller, less-expensive, package.

Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary lens field test: Excellent value in a lightweight telephoto zoom

Nikon and Canon’s long glass may be getting slightly lighter over the years, but those flagship lenses are also getting incredibly expensive. Fortunately there is a crop of third party value-priced lenses that have arrived to help out consumers. We’ve reviewed several of them in the past, like the , , and , but until now hadn’t gotten the chance to take the lighter-weight of Sigmas two superzooms, the into the field. Our annual Alaska bear & puffin photo safari was the perfect opportunity. Two weeks of mid-range use for the bears coupled with longer-range use with the Puffins gave me a chance to put the lens through its paces.

Getting Started: Tips for better capturing better videos with your DJI Mavic Pro drone

There are a lot of great resources on the web for helping you get started with shooting video with your drone. However, they are spread around and can take a while to track down. Fortunately for you, we’ve done that, and have put together a list of the most important things to know to get going. These tips are useful for any new drone pilot, but they are particularly geared to . If you don’t already own a Mavic Pro, :

Think Tank's Turnstyle 20 v2.0: The perfect day pack for your DJI Mavic Pro

Now that I’m doing more drone photography and videography, I needed a good way to travel with my drones. There are some really sweet hard cases, , but unless you’re working out of a vehicle its pretty heavy and bulky. Since many of the great drone locations are best reached by hiking or biking, I wanted something light and convenient, that would also hold my tablet and tablet mount.

Getting started with drone photography: A Resource Guide

DJI Mavic Pro There is plenty of information on the web about drone photography, but I’ve learned from experience that it is spread far and wide, and it can be very time consuming to get the bits you need. It can also be expensive if you order the wrong drone or even worse crash your drone because you were missing a key piece of information (yep, done that). So we’ve put together a resource guide that provides at least one approachable path for you to get started, have fun, and develop the confidence to push yourself and your drones further. We’ll be adding to this guide on a regular basis, so please let us know what additional topics you’d like to see included!

Finally, a hard-shell photo case with Think Tank features and flexibility

All of us have wrestled with the need to protect our photo gear while traveling on increasingly-crowded commercial airliners, but still have it available in a more-convenient, soft-sided, package when we get closer to where we are going. I get questions about how best to do this all the time from our readers and safari participants. Over the years we’ve had a variety of solutions, but none have been ideal. Now, leading photo bag maker has teamed up with leading hard-shell case maker SKB to create a unique hybrid offering. The combination cases offer a Think Tank designed set of dividers in the form of a removable backpack, enclosed in an SKB hard case. As always, if you , you’ll get free shipping and a free gift. The prices are amazingly reasonable, too!

Sony a6500 tested: Solid upgrade for top of the line compact mirrorless

Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)One after another Sony has been knocking down the barriers for those considering switching from full-size DSLRs to smaller, mirrorless, APS-C cameras. Better autofocus, high frame rates, and an increasing selection of lenses for its E-mount make the Sony a6000 family an excellent choice. Image quality is also highly competitive, as you’d expect from the company that makes sensors for much of the industry. One of the few remaining Achilles Heels has been its control and menu system, which have been hard to like. That was our biggest beef when we . With our recent field test of the newer we can confirm that Sony has made progress on the camera’s interface, but it is still more quirky than we’d like.

Reolink Argus: Extended test of a clever wireless outdoor camera

small_Reolink Argus product shot.jpgI’ve written a lot about various kinds of remote cameras, especially for how they can be useful for security and monitoring. There are plenty of models for indoor use, and for outdoor use with wired power, but not very many choices for completely-wireless outdoor cameras. In particular, I wanted one that didn’t require a paid monthly subscription to a cloud service. So I was excited when the folks at Reolink contacted me about their new Argus model.

Best laptops for Photo Editing

I’ve just updated my guide to some of the , so it is current with the latest models. Not a huge amount has changed since it was last updated 6 months ago, but more models now have Nvidia 10xx (instead of 9xx) GPUs, which is a sizable jump, and now many of them have 7th generation Core CPUs (Kaby Lake). There are also gains in performance, some decreases in size, and ports moving towards newer standards. One important development on the horizon is Nvidia’s new “Max-Q” laptop architecture, which will enable thinner models with discrete GPUs. Those should start showing up in the market by July. Their primary focus is gaming, but as always, gaming laptops can be ideal for image processing.

DJI breaks new ground with $500 Spark flying camera drone

It wasn’t that long ago that DJI amazed everyone by shrinking its Phantom drone platform down to a portable and more-affordable unit, the Mavic Pro. I love my two Mavics, and they are a great place to start if you know you want to get serious about drone photography. . But if you’re a little daunted by the whole process of setting up and flying a drone, or about the $1K price tag, DJI has done it again. It’s new . Or you can get a . DJI & B&H are estimated that shipments will begin in mid-June. You don’t get the 4K video or a few of the other features of the Mavic Pro, but the Spark is even smaller and easier to get flying.

Serious photography fun with DJI Mavic Pro portable drone

I’ve been having a blast with my DJI Mavic Pro drones. They are amazing pieces of technology, and DJI has packed most of the best features of the much-larger Phantom drones into this folding version. I’ll be writing a lot more about using drones for both fun and serious photo and video projects, but if you’re curious about what’s possible, I’ve written up my first experiences and notes in an . When you’re ready to fly, you can pick up a , or get a more .

Images from our South Texas (Rio Grande Valley) photo workshop

We just finished a really fun, and successful, photo workshop in the Rio Grande Valley. Off to our Hill Country workshop next! Some of my personal favorite photos: . Currently we don't have specific plans for when we'll be leading another workshop in the RGV, but if you like what you see and would be interested, message or get in touch through our website. Thanks, as always, to our hosts, Steve Bentsen and the Jackson family.

Sony's new monster full-frame Alpha a9 mirrorless available for pre-order

If you aren’t hopelessly addicted to Nikon or Canon, and don’t need the massive array of lenses and accessories they offer, then Sony is giving you one more big reason to dump your DSLR and go mirrorless. The is a spectacular performance machine, capable of 20fps shooting with Autofocus, for example. I’ll be writing more about it (and perhaps giving one a field test) in the coming weeks and months, but wanted to make sure eager beavers got in on the first pre-orders. You can put your order in for a – with shipments expected to start May 25th.

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