The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Has Loads to Love at a Good Price

The editing tablet market is usually dominated by the Bamboo models from industry-leading Wacom, but several competitors have sprung up in the last few years. Most notable among these have been Huion and XP-Pen. In addition to them, Apple has thrown its hat in the ring with the launch of the Apple Pencil some years ago for usage on their iPad and iPad mini models. Now there’s a new player in the market who’s making heads turn with their Pen Tablet models – Xencelabs. They are designed by industry veterans with over three decades of experience and with sizeable input from artists worldwide. The Pen Tablet models attempt to make inroads in an established market. Can Xencelabs woo digital artists and photography editors with their products? We got our hands on the Pen Tablet Medium model to test out.

Continue reading…

Your Time’s Up Wacom: Xencelabs Pen Tablet With Quick Keys Review

The Xencelabs tablet and Quick Keys Combo is a powerful tool that makes complex editing jobs easier.

We get by pretty well when it comes to editing our images on PCs and Macs. Still, there are times when I wish I had just a little more control over the edits I make. The mouse doesn’t want to cooperate sometimes, and making tiny brush strokes can be challenging. This is where editing tablets and pens come into play. We’ve all heard of Wacom before, but Xencelabs (which is pronounced Sencelabs) – that’s a new name for most. They have released an editing tablet that can be bundled with an OLED powered Quick Keys panel, and they’re going for the jugular. Will their new tablet and aggressive pricing strategy take image editors away from Wacom, though? Find out in our full review.

Continue reading…

Review: Wacom Intuos Pro Creative Pen Tablet – Small

photography accessories

The Wacom Intuos Pro Small is a powerful tool perfect for creators and photo editors with limited space. 

Wacom has been synonymous with producing tablets for media creators for a long time now, and there is no doubt that their tablets can make editing photographs much easier in post-production. The company introduced their new Pro line of tablets in 2017, but only recently released the new Wacom Intuos Pro Small model. This tablet offers the main features found in the larger models but in a fun-sized, lower-priced package. After the break, we will share our experience with the tablet and let you know if this small package can deliver significant results. Continue reading…

What Tablets Need in Order to Replace Laptops For Photographers

We’re the closest we’ve been yet to having tablets that can be considered true laptop replacements, but there’s still a little way to go.

For the last few years, Apple, Google, and Samsung have thrown around the term laptop replacements when it comes to their tablet offerings. But to date, that has not been delivered. There have been some recent offerings that come close though, with the iPad Pro series, the Google Pixel Slate, and the Galaxy Tab S line all trying to make this dream a reality. This week Apple announced the new iPadOS at their World Wide Developer Conference, but is this enough to make photographers ditch laptops for tablets? Let’s discuss after the break. Continue reading…

Wacom Completes Advanced Pen Tablet Series with New Intuos Pro Small

The new Wacom creative pen tablet is the company’s lightweight and portable addition to the now complete the Intuos Pro line. 

Photographers, digital artists, and designers looking to upgrade their creative pen tablet might want to check out the Wacom Intuos Pro Small. The new addition completes the company’s advanced creative pen tablet line, joining the Intuos Pro Medium and Intuos Pro Large sizes. With its host of features and benefits, this family of advanced pen and touch tablets promises expanded choices that bring the best of Wacom’s innovation and expertise in developing tools for digital art and design.

Continue reading…

Review: HP zBook X2 Tablet for Creative Professionals

The HP zBook X2 marks the company’s attempt to really target creatives. And they’re not doing a terrible job!

When the HP zBook X2 was announced, I was pretty excited and had hopes that it would send a message to Apple. And over my month or so of using the HP zBook X2, I grew less and less tolerant of it vs the Apple ecosystem that I’ve been embedded in for almost 10 years. But it honestly doesn’t have a lot to do with the way HP designed the tablet. The HP zBook X2 is a very good machine in and of itself; but the problem has more to do with Lightroom and Photoshop — the two apps they’re really talking about when it comes to working with photographers.

Continue reading…

First Impressions: HP ZBook x2 Tablet for Creative Professionals

The HP ZBook x2 seems to be a very big Apple competitor for creative professionals

When HP called me into a meeting, I didn’t at all think that they’d be announcing the HP ZBook x2. Instead, I thought that they’d be getting back into photo printing in a big way; but this was a pleasant surprise. In fact, the HP ZBook x2 seems to be almost everything that I wish Apple would do but continuously refuses to. The HP ZBook x2 sports, first and foremost, a gorgeous 14 inch matte display with a surface and texture that is designed to look and feel like actual paper. It does a pretty good job at it too. Then it boasts things like SD card slots, Thunderbolt ports, USB 3.0 ports, and a bunch of quick buttons that can integrate into any program that you wish. However, they’re primarily designed for and being marketed specifically with Adobe Cloud product integration. So all the quick actions that you do in PhotoShop and Lightroom are all available at the touch of a button on the side.

In fact, HP is calling the HP ZBook x2 a detachable workstation; and they’ve pumped it full of some awesome stuff on the inside.

Continue reading…

Astropad Studio Turns Your iPad Pro Into a Graphics Tablet for Your Mac Plus Adds Pro Features

Software Developer, AstroHQ, has announced their new flagship product, Astropad Studio. Building upon many of the key features of the original Astropad (check out our review), the Pro edition adds faster processing speeds, customizable workflow, and shortcut options, plus pen pressure and stroke settings. It also allows users to create shortcut sets that match whatever Mac app they’re currently working in, and adds keyboard support via the on-screen keyboard or use of an external bluetooth keyboard. The software is available now and currently priced at $64.99/year or $7.99/month. Continue reading…

Shotbox: A Tabletop Studio Suitable for Smart Devices Photography

In order to create professional “studio-like” looking product photographs, typically you will need good lighting source and a light tent. That’s what Shotbox is trying to provide. Shotbox is a Kickstarter project that aims to produce a collapsible tabletop light tent that uses LED lights to create a micro-studio environment for product photography, shooting with any camera even with smart devices.

Based on the project descriptions, the main features of the Shotbox include LED diffusion strips for softer light, LED dimmer switch for variable light intensity output control as well as inside support ribbing on the tent walls that further softens the light. The dimensions of Shotbox are 16 inches tall, 15.5 inches wide and 16 inches deep when extended in fully erect position, allowing product photography of small subjects on table tops. In the collapsed, flat position the Shotbox is reduced to 2.5 inches tall only which is easy to carry around. The latest Kickstarter project also features an extension panel that can be clipped onto the backdrop to create realistic background of choice, which can be custom-printed by yourself and fitted easily.  Continue reading…

The New Fotodiox FlapJack 1 x 1 LED Edgelight Targets Tabletop Photographers

Today Fotodiox announced the release of their all-new FlapJack 1 x 1 LED Edgelight. The latest edition in their FlapJack family of LED lights, the unit is targeted towards product and tabletop photographers, videographers working on-location and in-studio, as well as for other general purpose lighting scenarios.

The FlapJack 1 x 1 is fully dimmable and provides full control over color temperature. In terms of light output, the unit matches Fotodiox’s larger, 18” FlapJack Studio, which is designed to offer a broader light for larger setups. Power is provided via the included AC adapter for continuous use or a pair of NP-F style batteries for up to 90 minutes at maximum power. Its 1 x 1 flat form factor has been designed for easy storage, stacking, and transport with the light including a carrying case and shoulder strap.

The FlapJack 1 x 1 is available now through Fotodiox’s website here.

AstroPad Mini Turns Your iPhone into a Photo Editing Tablet (Sort of)

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 9.44.14 AM

An app called AstroPad is looking to make photographers strain their eyes while editing on the super small screen on their iPhone instead of an iPad turn your iPhone into a functioning graphics tablet. The app was already available for the iPad (and is 30% off today) but today they’re porting it to the phone. AstroPad was developed by ex-Apple engineers–which means that they really know how Apple products work on a deeper level. That’s why they cite that they’re using a technology called LIQUID that is designed specifically to run on WiFi.

The engineers state that the technology is color corrected and true to the source material. Additionally, it is GPU accelerated, so the Mac stays fast. Using LIQUID, the app connects to your Mac and lets you edit images in the same way you would with something like a Wacom tablet. Using Lightroom or Photoshop, you can retouch with a bit more ease if you’re using a tablet and pen. If you own an Apple watch, you can use the watch to do customizable shortcuts. They also claim that LIQUID is 2x faster than Airplay.

As far as ergonomics go, this may be better on the iPhone 6 Plus since it’s pretty much a phablet. But on smaller screens I’d see myself not only struggling a bit, but also killing the battery life of my phone let alone making it overheat. Granted, I have yet to test it–but I do some very intensive editing and I imagine that the photographers using this may do even more.

You can check out more at AstroPad’s website and the launch price for Astropad Mini is $4.99 while it will go for $9.99 otherwise. Even more details are below.

Continue reading…

In Regards to Tablets and Cameraphones Getting in the Way of Your Shot

Taking a photo with a tablet

A colleague of mine recently asked a question about wedding photography after talking about his experience of shooting his first one. He ended it very stressed out and eventually complained about so many folks holding up iPads and phones to take a photo during the ceremony and in some instances getting in the way of his photo-taking opportunity. While yes, it’s unfortunate that it ruined his shot I believe that event shooting and wedding shooting has changed to the point where we as photographers should instead be embracing this instead of trying to fight it.

Let’s be honest here, no one in the crowd taking a photo with their phone, tablet or even a little DSLR is your competition. Absolutely no one is going to shoot a photo and then charge the bride and groom for it. Yes, they’re getting in the way. Yes, it’s annoying. But instead of fretting over how a single image of yours is now ruined, turn it into something else immediately. If you’re at the back of the hall and you suddenly see cameras, phones and tablets go up you shouldn’t try to fight it. Embrace it and shoot that instance because at the end of the day your job is to be a documentarian.

If you’re at a wedding, and trying to snap a photo of the cake or a specific moment and someone’s flash is getting in the way and messing up your exposures, then that’s one thing. You can easily and politely ask them to stop for around 30 seconds so that you can take photos that the happy couple will remember and cherish later on in life. But if someone is simply just taking a photo, then that shouldn’t really bother you or prevent you from doing your job.

Of course, you can always ensure that this doesn’t happen to begin with by getting more creative with your angles and positioning as well as having a second shooter if that option is available to you in your budget. Furthermore, I don’t think that we can really stop people from taking pictures at this stage of the game. Everyone has a phone on them or a tablet and everyone loves taking photos all the time even though it’s not anywhere in the same realm or reason as to why you’re doing it. At certain times, telling folks to stop taking photos isn’t a bad idea–but again only at certain times.

Otherwise, it’s time that we embrace it rather than fight it.

Kindly Refrain From Taking Photos With Your Tablet

Taking a photo with a tablet

The phone camera generation and technology shift created the rise of yet another device: the tablet. And as people took image after image with their phone, so too did those with their tablets. Before we knew it, tablets were with people everywhere they went. So the photos they shot during vacations, concerts, at restaurants, events, the kid’s first recital, and even more were shot on tablets.


For the love of everything that Steve Jobs created you’re blocking my line of vision of whatever we’re all here to see. And sometimes you don’t even want to just shoot a photo. You want to shoot the same photo over and over again. Further, you sometimes want to record a video–you know how long you’re holding your tablet up to record a video? That entire time, I probably can’t see what’s in front of me. Or even if we’re in a sea of darkness, your super bright tablet in total darkness is a complete distraction.

That and you just look absolutely ridiculous when doing it. A tablet is not ergonomically designed for you to hold it outstretched from your body to take a photo and if anything, you’re completely overcompensating with the screen size.

Please. Please. Just stop it.

Sharp Presents a 15.6″ Hi-DPI Tablet That Runs on Windows 8.1

Sharp 15.6" hi-DPI Windows Tablet

When Apple’s iPad was first introduced, the photographic world was abuzz: finally there was a compact device that photographers could use to present their portfolios to clients. Meanwhile, the iPad is in its 5th generation, and the tablet market has changed considerably. It’s not the only contender anymore, as there are now a lot of choices both in screen size and in operating systems used.

Apple itself has introduced the iPad Mini a while ago, which comes with a smaller screen, and in Android land you can get almost anything imaginable. The Windows platform hasn’t been as popular as either iOS or Android, but there have been some interesting developments nonetheless.

The latest comes from Sharp, and it’s a 15.6″ tablet–yes, you read correctly, 15.6″. That’s the size of a regular laptop, and a lot more real estate than your common 7″ or 10″ device. So, what does Sharp’s new über-tablet have to offer that might make it worthwhile for a photographer? Find out after the break.

Continue reading…

Wacom Has Announced New Intuos and Intuos Pro Tablets


Wacom has been announcing a few new products lately. They recently announced the Cintiq companion as well as the Intuos Creative Stylus. To top it all off Wacom has refreshed the entire Intuos line as well. The old Bamboo line of entry level tablets has been discontinued. Now the Intuos line is now made up of 7 tablets. The regular Intuos tablets have a silverfish design and the Intuos Pro sport the classic black look similar to the Intuos 4. Included in this line is the Intuos Manga, the first tablet marketed at manga and comic book artist. Imagine what this table can do for photography! All the tablets have a newly designed pen which is more tapered in shape and has soft touch finish as well as colored rings and pen holder tags for customization. The standard model pens deliver 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity while the Pro models deliver 2048.

  • The three entry-level Intuos models include the Intuos Pen (small – $79 USD), Intuos Pen & Touch (small – $99 USD) and Intuos Pen & Touch (medium – $199). All three models can be plugged into a Mac or PC or equipped with wireless functionality (with a range of 30 feet) via Wacom’s optional $39 wireless accessory kit.
  • The Intuos Pro is essentially the same tablet across the board, with all of the same hotkeys and built-in wireless and touch functionality. The smallest model will retail for $249, with the medium model going for $349 and the largest model costing $499. The medium-sized special edition will go for $379.
  • The Intuos Manga ($99) is the same model as the small Intuos Pen & Touch, only it comes bundled with Smith Micro’s Manga Studio Debut 4 and Anime Studio Debut 8.

These tables are now available on the Wacom Store .

Via Comics Alliance


The New Eye-Fi Mobi Card Ports Images Directly To Your Phone or Tablet


Eye-Fi is announcing a brand new SD card today: and they’re calling it the Mobi. No, it’s not named after the famous Pop Music star,  but instead for a much more mobile photography emphasis. The previous cards needed to first be calibrated with a program on a computer and then have the mobile app redirect them if needed. But the new Mobi card is promising a new two step process: Just download the free Eye-Fi app for iOS or Android, enter the Mobi card’s unique 10-digit code, and the mobile device is paired. Use the same code to pair as many mobile devices as needed and connect via the card’s Ad Hoc WiFi transmitter.

Then you can upload the images to Facebook, Instagram or anywhere else you fancy.

The Mobi card will retail for $49.99 for the 8GB card and $79.99 for the 16GB card and is available now on through Amazon.

Tether Your Camera to a Microsoft Surface Tablet: And Why You Shouldn’t Do It


Shooting tethered is always something people love doing when they get the chance to. Tuts Plus has an interesting feature on how to shoot tethered to a Microsoft Surface tablet. How? Well, since it is a Windows 8 tablet you’ll just need to have Lightroom installed. Then you’ll need to go through the normal process of shooting tethered: which essentially means connecting the camera to the tablet via a USB cord, shooting, and waiting for the images to transfer into Lightroom as you shoot.

From a guy who used to shoot tethered often in a studio and also manage a computer for many studio shoots, I highly recommend not ever doing this–and there a couple of very good reasons why. First off, this is a tablet and you’re not using this to replace your dedicated machine. The Surface is quite powerful with up to 128GB of memory and 4GB of RAM, but it isn’t practical. If you’re doing one or two macro photos at home, then we understand why you might want to do this but you’re just going to have to move those images off of your machine anyway to edit on a significantly better display that can be easily calibrated. Plus, a lot of room has to be between the device and your camera to make tethering practical. Shoots are often done with 12 foot cables or longer because the cables tend to move in and out of their ports–so you’ll need to use gaffers tape to secure them.

However, I see one other application where this might be useful: the journalist at CES or another show that need to shoot a photo during a conference and send images immediately as it is happening. I’m positive that there is someone at Engadget that may just do this. There is a wireless way to do this through use of an Eye-Fi card and the Eye-Fi app–and that’s a bit more practical to be honest.

Photoshop Touch Optimized for Smaller Tablets

Smaller tablets such as the iPad mini, Google Nexus 7, and the Amazon Kindle Fires are getting some love from Adobe with their latest Photoshop Touch 1.4 update. It brings additional new features and effects while adding support for some long-awaited functions.

You’ll now be able to use your Pogo Connect, Jot Touch and the JaJa pressure-sensitive styli to edit your photos more effectively and quickly. To make things even easier, the 1.4 update gives you smoother brush strokes and improves your overall workflow. The update is currently available for download on your respective platform’s app store for existing Photoshop Touch users while new users can grab a copy for $10.

Quick Review: Wacom Intuos4 Pen Tablet

Intuos4 Pen Tablet

Intuos4 Pen Tablet

Intuos4 Pen Tablet

A show of hands out there: who think that pen tablets are for people who know how to draw? Go ahead, it’s okay, don’t be shy. I was in the same boat as you toward the beginning of these year. I began thinking about how it might possibly help my editing, so I started watching some videos online of them in use.

Don’t get me wrong, if you are able to draw, you can do some amazing things with a pen tablet. If you need proof, just do a quick search on YouTube. Now I, on the other hand, can’t draw at all. Get this; I took a class in school that was called, no joke, “I can’t draw but I wish I could”. It didn’t help me much. So why would I purchase a pen tablet? Click on through and I’ll tell you.

Continue reading…

Wacom Introduces The Cintiq 21UX Tablet For Photo Editing

Today, Wacom announced their new Cintiq 21UX tablet for photo editing. New features of the tablet include enhanced pen performance and new ergonomics designed to provide an intuitive and “natural-feeling pen-on-screen” workflow in addition to a black-scheme look to it. It will come at a pricey $1999 in the United States when it ships in late March/early April. Also included are the bundled software and a pen stand. It should work well with Photoshop and the other editing programs I’ve written about previously. More details in the four-page press release which can be downloaded here in PDF format (New Cintiq 21UX March 1 2010 Final for Distribution) More pictures after the jump. Also check out our coverage on Tablets.

Continue reading…