Review

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.

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.

Magellan eXplorist TRX7: The ultimate off-road GPS and navigation system

Every serious nature photographer spends at least some time "off the beaten path." In particular, back roads, dirt roads and trails are often the only way to get where you need to go. Unfortunately, the otherwise-amazing navigation tools like Google Maps that we rely on for street driving are nearly useless once we venture beyond the main road grid. Magellan aims to take up the slack with a purpose-built off-road navigation system, the . I’ve been fortunate enough to give one of the first units a full field test…

New Sony a6300 may just be the perfect compact mirrorless camera

Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm LensIf you asked me to write down by dream specs for a mirrorless camera, they’d look a lot like those of the newly announced . It surpasses not just all similar Sony models, but all other compact-size mirrorless cameras on the market – in many cases by leaps and bounds. Let’s go over its breakthroughs…

Canon G5 X field-tested: Is it the best point and shoot ever?

Up until now, the choice for best point and shoot was tricky – none of the three leading cameras had everything. The got top marks for image quality and has a good zoom range, but no viewfinder. The sort-of-has a viewfinder (it is a small pop-up), but has a limited zoom range and is a little lower-scoring on image quality. The somewhat older is also a worthy competitor, but its larger size isn’t justified by image quality or features. Canon has finally broken the logjam with its new . This new model adds an excellent Electronic ViewFinder (EVF) and a hot shoe for an add-on flash. There are also some other, smaller, updates to video recording formats and other features, but the EVF and hot shoe are clearly the headline here.

Hands-on with HEXO+ Cinema-quality drone

Part of the fun of CES is getting to use some of the newest technology.

Hands-on with the Nikon D5 and Nikon D500: Amazing new DSLRs from Nikon

I got to shoot with both the new and at CES, and they are each amazing in their own way. For no-holds-barred shooting performance the ’s 14fps (12fps for up to 200 frames of RAW) and borderline-insane 3,000,000 ISO capability can’t be beat. But at over $6K and 3 pounds, with “only” 21MP of resolution, it certainly won’t be for everyone. It’s certainly the camera of choice for big-budget (and big backpack) wildlife and sports photographers, along with photojournalists who can deal with the size in exchange for unheard of low-light performance.

Think Tank Retrospective Leather 30 field tested: An already great shoulder bag goes upscale

Think Tank Photo Retrospective 30 Shoulder Bag (Gray with Brown Leather)One of the challenges of travel photography, and photo journalism, is carrying all the equipment you need without being too conspicuous or too uncomfortable. Fortunately, unlike most wildlife photography, you don’t need super-huge telephoto lenses, so a shoulder bag becomes an option. I’ve used many of them over the years, but recently have really enjoyed working with Think Tank’s Retrospective series. It combines a well-thought-out design with enough style that I don’t feel like I’m lugging a classic black photo bag. So when it was time for my annual photo tour to Southeast Asia I started out by thinking I’d once again take my with me (you can read our ). However, I had more gear to lug around this time (a , Nikon IR-Converted DSLR, Tokina 24-70 f/2.8 lens, , Nikon SB-900 flash, Sigma 12-24mm lens, Microsoft Surface Pro 3, filters, FLIR ONE, , and lots of “little stuff.” So I needed something a little larger.

Super-telephoto Zoom shoot out: Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 versus Sigma 150-600mm Sports

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Nikon FSigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Nikon FThis has been an amazing year for long-lens shooters. For those who don’t want to break the bank and their backs with the Nikon or Canon 200-400mm models, there are now four exciting new options (three of which are available to both Nikon and Canon shooters):

Before we dig into some of the details, having shot with these lenses, they are all pretty amazing for what they provide at this relatively low price point. They are all head-and-shoulders above the older generation super-telephoto zooms from these companies. However, they are also bigger and heavier than the classic 120-400mm and 150-500mm designs they largely supercede. Which lens is right for you will depend on your specific budget and needs, but I can easily recommend all of them as quality products that provide good value.

Photoshop Elements 14 hands-on: Low-cost version of Photoshop is better than ever for photographers

If you don’t already know the ins and outs of Photoshop, or hate the idea of sending Adobe a check every month forever, Photoshop Elements 14 is easier-to-use, less-expensive, and almost as powerful as its big brother. It also includes image cataloging, so you don’t have to deal with a second application like Lightroom. I’ve done a full . As I point out in the review, owning it does not give you access to Adobe’s mobile apps the way a Creative Cloud Photography Plan subscription () does, and it doesn’t allow for syncing to your mobile device. It’s also a bit behind on esoteric features (although Dehaze and camera shake reduction have been added, for example). But its wizards make it far easier to learn and to use than plowing through videos and web tutorials to try to do the same things in Photoshop.

DxO ONE production review with sample, RAW, and SuperRAW images

DxO ONE Digital CameraAs regular readers know, I’ve been having a lot of fun shooting with a alongside my more-traditional DSLR and compact cameras over the last few months. Until now, the software and firmware have been pre-release versions, so I haven’t been able to take you through them in as much detail as I would have liked, or post sample RAW and SuperRAW images. Now that the ONE is starting to ship that’s all changed, so here’s a more thorough look at the camera and its companion software. More importantly, here are some of the first real RAW and SuperRAW images that are available for you to evaluate on your own. #dxoone

DxO ONE Field-tested: Amazing images in a tiny package

For the last couple months I’ve been traveling with both a (that fits in my shirt pocket) and a (that barely fits in a cargo pocket). I’ve had a lot of fun with both cameras. While they have very similar sensors, they are different in almost every other way. Since they are both likely to be popular choices for image lovers looking for the ultimate compact camera, here are my thoughts on the very new ONE (you can ), and how it contrasts with a traditional high-end point-and-shoot… #dxoone

Sony RX100 Mark IV field tested: More camera for more money

Sony Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV Digital CameraFor those have followed the ground-breaking Sony RX100 since it became one of the first and best cameras to fit a 1-inch sensor into a compact form factor, each new version is eagerly anticipated. The good news is that Sony has steadily improved the camera's features with each updated model.

Think Tank Trifecta photo day pack Field Tested: A winner for those who want an accessible field bag

Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of Think Tank’s now-discontinued Sling-O-Matic easy-access field pack. I love the way I can get at my camera and lenses in any situation without putting the bag down. That’s critical in many nature photography situations, including when in marshes or even in crowded public places. Fortunately, Think Tank has come up with a new bag that gives me much of this same freedom, while adding the versatility of being a true backpack – The and . I field-tested a Trifecta 10 on my Alaska bear photo safaris this year, and was quite pleased…

 

3 Legged Thing travel tripod: As well-designed as they come

3 Legged Thing X2.1 Eddie Evolution 2 CF Tripod System w/AirHed 2 Ball Head (Black)UK tripod maker 3 Legged Thing (3LT) has been around for awhile, but hasn’t attracted as much attention as some of its high-end competitors like Gitzo. I’ve been using for a few weeks, including on safari in Africa, and have been very impressed. Not only is the build quality as good or better than any Gitzo I have used, but the feature set is remarkable. A single device can be a tripod or monopod, and the reversible center column make the Eddie very versatile. As with most travel tripods, the small carrying size relies on having a head that can fit between the legs of the tripod when they are folded back on themselves. My Eddie came with 3LT’s own AirHed 2 in a bundle. The head was as solid and usable as you can expect from such a small unit…

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