Review

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 .

New Nikon D7500 prosumer DSLR available for pre-order

Nikon has introduced a new model in its D7000 “prosumer” product line – the Nikon D7500. It features most of the headline features anyone could want in a sub-$1500 camera. In addition to 21MP DX-format sensor, it shoots at 8 fps, backed by an 51-point AF system, and can record 4K and time lapse video. Taking a page from consumer-friendly cameras, it has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and can be run from your smartphone. I’ve . You can’t get your hands on one until summer though, but . We look forward to reviewing one and letting you know how it works out in the field!

Arri's new surgical microscope shows that large sensors aren't just for cameras

If you know the name Arri, it is probably from their century-long dominance of the cinema camera industry. However, now it is bringing its famous Alexa image sensor to the industry’s first all-digital surgical microscope – aptly named the ARRISCOPE. I got a chance to use one of the prototypes when the team brought the beast to Stanford for a talk this week. It is indeed impressive. You can learn more about it by reading the .

Hands-on with Moshi's new wireless Vortex Air premium earbuds

With the disappearance of headphone jacks on an increasing number of smartphones, wireless earbuds have become more than just a convenience feature. That means a difficult tradeoff for audio designers between accommodating the limited battery capacity and providing high-quality sound. These tiny devices also need to support drop-free Bluetooth connectivity and streaming. Moshi, which is known for its fashion-forward accessories, , and headphones, has entered the market with two cleverly-designed models. The less-expensive Mythro Air and the Vortex Air – which we’ve been testing.

Adobe brings pro-friendly RAW HDR capture to Lightroom Mobile

Until now, HDR capture on smartphones has been an under-the-covers merging of several frames in a fairly simple way by the phone itself. Now, Lightroom Mobile offers pro-grade HDR for supported phones. The app’s camera mode will analyze the scene, decide on the needed bracketing, capture the images in RAW mode, and then combine and tonemap them into a 32-bit floating-point DNG RAW file – allowing full HDR editing. This is pretty amazing when you consider that typically a similar workflow involves bracketing on a high-end camera, and the use of specialized software applications to do the merge and tone mapping. It works on the Apple iPhone 6s and later, Samsung Galaxy 7 and 7 edge, and Google’s Pixel family of phones. For users of other phones, there are still some goodies packed into the new version of Lightroom mobile:

SmartDesk 2: Finally, an affordable, automated, stand-sit desk for your studio

For years its been known that working standing up – at least part of the time – can be good for your back. As photographers, most of us work standing up quite a bit. But unlike when shooting film and spending nights in the darkroom, many of us spend long days on the computer, and it is all too easy to not move around or stand up enough. There are a number of very nice motorized desks on the market, but they have typically cost as much as your DSLR. Not everyone can, or wants to, afford that. So it is with great interest that we’ve been watching the rollout of Autonomous.ai’s new SmartDesk 2. The company has been selling SmartDesks for a couple years, but version 2 has some significant changes – including better-built motors and controls. We’ve been testing the dual-motor Business Edition.

Arcus from Moshi: A backpack for the fashion-forward photographer

I have amassed quite a collection of photo backpacks over the years, in all shapes and sizes. Most are purely functional, and even those that look good, like my , clearly define themselves with functionality first. So I was very curious when Moshi, known for their fashionable accessories, asked me to test out their new Arcus backpack prior to launch at CES. I was impressed that while it is stylish, it could also fit my laptop, tablet, phone, paperwork, jacket, and camera with two lenses. So I was happy to give it a try. What I found was a pack that will make a lot of consumers happy, although it may not be rugged enough for most professionals.

Fujifilm X-Pro2: Retro camera for those with Leica envy

Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)Right from the first look the screams retro, and reminds one of a Leica. Its square-shaped, solid-metal, body, with large control dials on top is a definite throwback. At first blush, so is the Rangefinder (which under the hood turns out to be a lot more than that). As with Leica, a carefully-curated selection of high-performance lenses complement the camera itself. The design may be retro, and a few of the features, but the Fuji X-Pro 2 packs a punch when it comes to the latest technology, features, and premium image quality. You won't be sacrificing anything in those areas by moving to one.

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