HillaryGrigonis Hillary Grigonis

Hillary K. Grigonis is a photographer and tech writer based in Michigan. She shoots weddings and portraits at Hillary K Photography. A mother of three, she enjoys hiking, camping, crafting, and reading.

All articles by HillaryGrigonis

 

The New Cheap Canon RF Lenses Look Enticing — for Dry Photography

Canon’s early RF mount lenses focused on the pro rather than budget photographers. But, the company’s latest glass expands Canon’s list of under $700 mirrorless lenses. The Canon RF 16mm f2.8 STM is a lightweight pancake lens that’s priced at $299. The new RF 100-400mm f5.6-8 IS USM, meanwhile, offers a lot of zoom for under $700. Despite Canon’s budget RF cameras like the Rp being weather-sealed, however, both of the newest cheap Canon RF lenses are not made for rain....
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Canon EOS R3 Solves Genuine Problems — But Can It Pummel Sony A1?

deal. The Canon EOS R3, a flagship camera geared towards sports, wildlife, and photojournalism, is expected to begin shipping at the end of November. Previous announcements have already detailed the camera’s major features, including 30 fps burst shooting, eye-control autofocus, and a 24.1-megapixel Canon-made stacked sensor. But, today’s announcement offers details on the seemingly small features that dramatically improve the shooting experience....
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This 50 Is Both Tank and Treasure: Leica SL 50mm F2 Summicron Review

Leica lenses are known for a durable, all-metal build. But, of course, metal weighs more than plastic. The Leica SL 50mm f2 Summicron is designed to be a lighter, more compact alternative to the Leica SL 50mm f1.4 Summilux. Of course, the term lighter is relative. I wouldn’t call a metal lens a lightweight. Yet it’s still lighter than the Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm f1.4, Leica’s f1.4 and feels almost perfectly balanced with the Panasonic S5 body....
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Good Photos on the Cheap: Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 Review

Ink is one of the higher expenses for photographers doing in-house printing — and not exactly environmentally friendly. Epson is aiming to ease both concerns by bringing the EcoTank line into a photo printer. The Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 is a mid-level photo printer with refillable ink tanks. The ink included with the printer itself will last for about 2,300 4×6 prints and replacing it will cost only about four cents a print That, and the $700 price is very enticing to serious hobbyists and photographers on a budget....
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A Simple Little Box That Shoots Vibrant Photos: Sigma Fp L Review

camera that, with accessories, allows photographers to build back only what is needed, from grips to viewfinders and a hot shoe slot. Carrying on the same body style of the original fp, the Sigma fp L adds a higher-resolution 61-megapixel sensor. The autofocus also gets a boast, and the camera houses more color profiles, along with other smaller tweaks....
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Photographers Need More Practical Camera Bags for Women

The design of many women’s products makes functionality feel like an afterthought. The front pocket of the jeans that I’m wearing won’t even fit halfway up my hand. (Forget about actually putting anything useful in them, like a phone or keys.) Men’s razors often have more blades for less money. The vast majority of camera bags made for women similarly put atheistic over function. I’m bombarded by Facebook ads for purse-like camera bags that put the weight of heavy gear on dainty straps. That’s fine for compact lightweight gear, but what about a girl with a full-frame camera and an f2.8 zoom lens? There’s nothing dainty about carrying heavy lenses on a small slice of one shoulder. Women need a practical camera bag that carries lots of gear too.  ...
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Unexpected, Practical and Green: Lowepro PhotoSport BP AW III Review

Hiking camera bags are made for the outdoors. But, too often, those bags forget the outdoors when it comes to what they are actually made with. The Lowepro PhotoSport BP AW III is the company’s first bag in a new, sustainable green line. The bag aims to appease outdoor photographers by helping carry gear — and eliminating waste by offering a build that’s 75 percent recycled fabrics. But, can a backpack made from things people threw away protect camera gear — and offer quick access?...
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Wow Speed, Great Durability, ’Meh’ Design: HP ZBook Power G8 Review

For photographers, choosing a laptop is often a balance between power — and price. The HP ZBook Power G8 is designed to fit in that balance. The Power line isn’t as robust a performer as HP’s Fury line, but it’s a step up from the more portable Firefly and Studio lines. With the base model starting at $1,899, it is $500 less than a MacBook Pro with the same storage. Heading all the way up to $3,149 for the most memory, the Power G8 isn’t a cheap laptop. But, it offers a lot of high-end performance without the highest price tag....
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This Epic Flash Dances in the Rain: Canon Speedlite EL-1 Review

Hot shoe flashes offer the flexibility of both on and off-camera use. But, the external flashes tend to have more limited power and settings than strobes. Canon’s new flagship flash, however, is powerful enough to use with a 200mm zoom lens. Despite the power, the Canon Speedlite EL-1 can add just a touch of light with the ability to go all the way down to 1/8192 power. And, with weather-sealing, versatile power isn’t the only way Canon is trying to set itself apart....
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This Actually Solves Stupid Back Sweat: Cosyspeed Photohiker 44 Review

When camera bag makers design bags, they design around the camera. Cosyspeed’s newest backpack takes the opposite approach. The Cosyspeed Photohiker 44 is made around the carrying system first, and the camera second. The goal, the company says, was to create a bag that was comfortable to carry lots of gear for long hikes. So, was putting emphasis on the comfort first and camera second worth the effort?...
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We Survival Tested PNY SD Cards in the Laundry. Were They Destroyed?

SD cards are like mini hard drives — but that mini part means they are prone to loss and destruction. I’ve lost SD cards to a chewing puppy, to a toddler bending a plugged-in card, and to inexplicable card errors. (Thankfully, all after transferring the images.) When PNY reached out with their Elite-X and Pro Elite Class cards, there was little doubt that the cards would be able to handle living in a camera. But, we wanted to see if the PNY SD cards could handle what happens after you pull them out of the camera. Like when you accidentally put them in a pocket and don’t remember until after laundry day....
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90s Colorful, Cheap Camera: Fujifilm Quicksnap 800 Waterproof Review

I’m on a mission to summer like it’s 1990. But, there was something missing amid the Disney classics, scrunchies, and sending my kids in the backyard for a few minutes of quiet. That something missing was childhood photos like the ones in a plastic tote at my parent’s house. You know, the ones with lots of grain, cheesy smiles, and colors that can’t be imitated in an Instagram filter. I found exactly that in the Fujifilm Quicksnap 800 Waterproof....
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The Wandrd ROAM 6L Is a Durable But Strange Sling

Wandrd bags are loved by many photographers for the blend of versatile designs and durable materials. But, the company largely produces backpacks. With the new ROAM, Wandrd is taking a step outside its comfort zone. But is it a misstep? The Wandrd ROAM 6L is a sling bag that can also be worn like a messenger or as a belt....
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Sturdy Workhorse, or One Trick Pony? Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 Review

The 24-70mm f2.8 lens is a workhorse lens — but it’s a bit of a Clydesdale. The zoom mixed with the bright aperture tends to create a heavy lens that’s difficult to carry around all day. That’s why Sigma (gasp!) shaved four mm off the traditional workhorse wide-to-mid to craft the Sigma 28-70mm f2.8. The Sigma 28-70mm f2.8 DG DN Contemporary is nearly half the weight of the Sony G Master and even Sigma’s own 24-70mm Art series lens. At 16.6 ounces and $900, the E-Mount lens has several advantages before you even take it out of the box....
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Can You Tell What Photo Is from Bokeh AI in the New Luminar AI?

Creamy backgrounds generate bokeh envy. Smartphone companies, using artificial intelligence, have been trying to whet this appetite with portrait modes. But, now a major photo editing software is joining the fray. Luminar A.I., a scaled-down beginner-friendly version of Luminar, has just announced its fourth major update. The refresh includes the addition of a major new tool — Portrait Bokeh A.I. The tool, made for portraits, recognizes the subject and offers a few different sliders to control the effect....
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This Massive, Unique 50 Is Imperfectly Beautiful: Zenit 50mm F0.95 Review

Modern lenses are becoming increasingly sharp, with an impressive ability to suppress flare and aberrations. But, as impressive as the sharpness of modern lenses is, photographers have taken to foggy filters, prisms, and Photoshop to add in character that the drive for optical perfection has dampened. Enter the new Zenit 50mm f0.95, a Sony E mount lens made from a Russian company that’s been around since the 1940s. The Zenit 50mm f0.95 is a freshly released 2021 lens that looks like it time-traveled to get here. The lens sports an all-metal look that’s difficult to find outside of Leica or adapted film lenses. And the images? The lens flare will make those Photoshop brushes jealous....
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This Revisited Bag Lost Its Way: Lowepro Flipside 400 AW III Review

I’ve used the Lowepro Flipside backpacks almost religiously. The Flipside design allows photographers to swing the bag forward on the waist belt, open up the full back panel, grab anything out of the main compartment, flip the bag back, and keep shooting. Few backpacks offer full access to every single lens slot without removing the bag. The flip design mixes the best benefits of a backpack with quick access that’s almost as good as a messenger bag. I fell in love with the first generation — which was affordable enough to pick up when I first started out –so naturally, I picked up the second generation. Now, the predecessor has arrived, but the Lowepro Flipside 400 AW III has big shoes to fill....
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Surprising Travel Magic: Tamron 11-20mm F2.8 Di III-A RXD Review

Crop sensor cameras make telephoto easy — and ultra-wide insanely hard. The Tamron 11-20mm f2.8 Di III-A RXD is the widest f2.8 lens with both zoom and autofocus for Sony’s crop sensor mirrorless cameras. Finding something close to Tamron’s new lens requires sacrificing zoom capabilities — or opting for a narrower aperture. Neither of which bodes well for versatility....
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I’m Falling in Like Slowly with the New Z7. A Nikon Z7 II Review

I have been a Nikonian photographer for more than a decade. Yet, after trying the company’s first full-frame mirrorless, I chose to stick with a DSLR. I simply didn’t have the confidence in the Z7 and Z6 autofocus system and lack of ability to record to two cards at once. That’s exactly what Nikon focused on in the second generation, however. The Nikon Z7 II keeps much of the first generation intact but steps up the autofocus, adds a second card slot, and moves to dual processors....
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Beautiful and Small! Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM Review

The 70-200mm lens is a workhorse lens, but the optics are also workhorse-sized. The Canon RF 70-200mm f4 IS USM is the company’s shortest and lightest to hit the category. Tipping the scales at a pound and a half, the lens promises all of the zoom range with none of the backaches that come with working with a lens like the three-pound EF 70-200mm f2.8L USM....
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What Happens When Wide Format Shrinks? Epson P8570D Innovates

Large format printers typically take up as much size as a desk. In addition, many require accessing both sides, which means the printer requires more floor space than the physical size of the printer itself. Epson is trying to change that. Announced on June 15, the new Epson SureColor P series models are 25 percent smaller and can also be pushed up flat against a wall. It’s a change photographers making prints in small spaces will likely be eager about. In a category of printers designed for high volume, however, it’s unfortunately not going to spit out fine art quality prints....
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Remarkable Zoom, Handheld: Tamron 150-500mm F5-6.7 Di III Review

The super-telephoto is one of the most difficult lenses to master — both for the lens builder and the photographer attempting to wield such large glass. While no 500mm will be described as tiny, Tamron has managed to shed some weight and length while still packing in a lot of zoom. The Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7 Di III VC VXD weighs 3.8 pounds and sits roughly eight inches long. With image stabilization built-in, the new telephoto is manageable enough to shoot handheld....
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Can a Free Photoshop Alternative Edit Just as Well? A Photopea Review

Photoshop is so synonymous with photo editing that it’s both a noun and a verb. With that fame comes a steady stream of copycats, including free Photoshop alternatives. Photopea is one such program. The free software is web-based, which means, besides not needing a credit card, photographers also don’t even need to download anything. The program has been around since 2013, but it’s enjoying some recent Reddit fame....
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Remarkable Range, Blah RAW: Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM Review

Full frame cameras require a lot of glass, even just to zoom three or four times. However, the Canon RF 24-240mm f4-6.3 IS USM manages to pack a 10x zoom into a lens that’s less than five inches long. Canon even managed to build in stabilization on a lens that’s under two pounds and under $900....
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Beautiful, Streaky Lens Flares. Olympus 8-25mm F4 Pro Review

The Micro Four Thirds system is made for telephoto lenses — but ultra-wide angles are tougher for the smaller system. That’s not stopping Olympus from adding another wide-angle zoom to its line-up, however. The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm f4.0 Pro — we’ll call it the Olympus 8-25mm f4 Pro for short — is a 16-50mm equivalent lens wrapped in Pro line features. Unlike the mount’s current M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2.8 Pro, the 8-25mm can accept filters without an adapter....
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Practical Design, Fantastic Comfort: Wandrd PRVKE II Review

The Wandrd PRVKE generated a lot of buzz when the backpack first launched on Kickstarter. And for a good reason — we gave the original bag the Editor’s Choice Award (And, like most photographers, we’re picky about our bags). Now, Wandrd is back with an updated bag by the same name. The updated Wandrd PRVKE II keeps well-loved features like the roll-top, rear access, extra pockets, tripod pocket, and numerous compatible accessories. But, the updated version re-designs the back panel and shoulder straps for more comfort, adds a luggage pass-through and adds accessory straps to the shoulders. It also fixes complaints on the earlier bag, such as stronger magnets on the top handles....
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This A.I. Culls Photos For You — And It’s Not Half Bad: Optyx Review

Culling photos from a big shoot such as a wedding is a process that typically takes hours. For me, the photo cull is a boring task that’s best tackled with Netflix and some snacks. But, can artificial intelligence turn that hours-long process into a few minutes? Optyx A.I. Photo Manager is an app that uses artificial intelligence to ease the bore of the cull. Using A.I., the app groups photos together, then searches for the sharpest one. But, mixing artificial intelligence with art is a precarious teeter-totter. Can A.I. really find your best shots?...
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A Superior Monitor, But a Hefty Price: BenQ SW271C Review

The colors in your photo edits are only as good as the monitor that you adjust them on. The BenQ SW271C boasts 10.7 billion of them. The HDR monitor, designed specifically for photographers, is a 4K beast with an SD card and USB ports, even doubles as a sort of docking station for photo edits....
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Fantastic Zoom, Limited Distortion: Nikon Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR Review

As a series that’s just a few years old, the Z mount doesn’t quite have the wealth of coverage and specialty optics as the F mount. But, the Nikon Z 24-200mm f4-6.3 VR covers a ton of focal lengths in a single lens. At $799, it offers a lot of focal lengths for a reasonable price point. But, cramming lots of focal lengths in one lens can be disastrous for image quality — and that’s coupled with a narrower variable aperture....
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New Nikon Z Macro Lenses Fill Major Gap. And They’re Priced Right

The Nikon Z system is continuing to shape to look more attractive to professional photographers. The latest news furthering their progress is for two new Macro lenses. Today, they’re announcing the Nikon Z MC 105mm f2.8 VR S and Nikon Z MC 50mm f2.8 macro lenses. The announcement fills in a gap in the young series lens coverage as the first lenses to offer macro capabilities for the Z series bodies without using an F-mount adapter....
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Canon EOS R3 Teases Remarkable AF. But What About the Sensor?

The upcoming Canon EOS R3 will be able to focus in the moonlight, maybe even without a tripod — or that’s what the latest specs on the still under development mirrorless camera seem to suggest. On Wednesday, June 2, Canon teased a handful of new details on the upcoming Canon EOS R3, a high-end mirrorless that mixes the R5 and 1D X Mark III DSLR features. The key details coming from today’s announcement shed light on the camera’s autofocus and image stabilization system but raise questions about who, exactly, is making the camera’s sensor....
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Look Out! Is This A Speedlight Killer? Flashpoint Xplor 100 Pro Review

As an on-site photographer, I’m an off-camera hot shoe flash kind of girl. I work without an assistant, so the ability to pull the flash off my camera after a wedding ceremony and onto a light stand for portraits has always appealed to me. But, at times — like when fumbling with four AA batteries — I’ve wondered if I was missing out by not lugging around a studio strobe. Enter the Flashpoint Xplor 100 Pro TTL pocket flash....
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New Wandrd ROAM is a Compact Sling That Cleverly Cradles a Laptop

Gear bag brand Wandrd is back on Kickstarter with a new bag — and this time, it’s not a backpack. The Wandrd ROAM Sling is a quick-access camera bag that can be worn over either shoulder, the back or front, or even as a fanny pack. But, it’s also a rare sling in that it offers the option to carry a 16-inch laptop and a tripod. The bag just launched on Kickstarter today, May 26....
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Sturdy Yet Small: Leica 28mm F2.8 ASPH Elmarit Review

Camera lenses are typically small or bright, but not both. The Leica Elmarit 28mm f2.8 ASPH may not be as bright as its f1.4 siblings, but the lens barely takes up room in a camera bag. I rarely throw around words like cute when writing about technology, but the 28mm is so small that it’s adorable. And, more practically, less in-your-face while out shooting, better balanced on an M-mount body, and easier on the neck....
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A Tempting Mix of Unusual Bokeh: Leica 21mm F1.4 Summilux Review

The latest high-end lenses brag about uniform sharpness across every pixel of the photograph. But, for those who find uniformity boring, there’s the Leica 21mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH. The ultra-wide, ultra-bright M-mount lens delivers more character than technical perfection. But, more than that, the lens delivers a variety of character, from the varying shapes of the bokeh to several different types of flare....
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This Thrifty Nifty Fifty Has Beautiful Photos: Canon RF 50mm F1.8 Review

I’ve long recommended the nifty fifty as one of the first lenses for beginners to add to their DSLR kit. With a bright aperture and a price often around or even under $200, the nifty fifty is an easy choice. However, the affordability of the 50mm f1.8 hasn’t quite made the migration over to mirrorless. Nikon’s is $600, and L-mount lenses are all much higher. Only Sony has a $250 option. That is, until the Canon RF 50mm f1.8 STM....
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Remarkable Images, Risky Design: Nikon Z 20mm F1.8 S Review

Just 4 mm away from the more standard 24mm, the 20mm lens offers a happy medium between an ultra-wide distortion and the narrower view of a 24 or 35mm. The Nikon Z 20mm F1.8 S blends in with a growing list of Z mount lenses. On the outside, the 20mm looks nearly indistinguishable from all the other F1.8 primes in the series. But, on the inside, the lens hides a new dual-motor autofocus design....
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Challenging, but a Worthy Slice of Focus: Leica 90mm F1.5 Summilux ASPH

Leica’s Summilux lenses boast ultra-bright apertures, but these ultra-fast lenses have been limited to wide-angle and standard focal lengths until recently. The Leica 90 f1.5 Summilux ASPH is the Summilux line’s first 90mm, joining 90mms from the Summicron and Macro-Elmar line-ups. Mixing the wide aperture of the Summilux line with a longer focal length creates a tiny slice of perfect focus that fades quickly into a spectacular blur....
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This Strap Packs a Hidden Tool: Wandrd Sling Review

Necks weren’t designed for holding much more than your head. Sling straps hold the weight the camera on the shoulders instead. Made with the ability to switch back and forth from a shoulder to neck carry, this type of strap design often offers more comfort for all-day shoots. The Wandrd Sling is one of those straps. Made from an incredibly soft nylon material, the strap is a happy medium form the expensive leather and the cheap, scratchy numbers that ship with your camera....
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Finally Competitive, Nikon Z6 II Firmware Gives Me Hope for the Series

The original Nikon Z series failed to live up to the autofocus performance of the company’s DSLRs. But is autofocus performance an issue that can be fixed with a simple firmware update? You might be surprised. Last week, Nikon released a list of firmware updates for every single Z series camera. Chief among the list of improvements? A boost to the autofocus. As one of what feels like the last millennial with a DSLR, I hopefully grabbed my review sample Z6 II and downloaded firmware version 1.20. After photographing a soccer game and the dark corner of a closet, I was pleasantly surprised....
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Affordable and Surprisingly Fantastic: Fujifilm 27mm F2.8 R WR Review

Kit lenses have a reputation for being lackluster. But then, sometimes cameras are paired with kits that are excellent even for photographers not investing in a kit to consider. The Fujifilm XF 27mm f2.8 R WR is one of those lenses. Equivalent to 41mm on a full-frame camera, the pancake lens makes a good walk-around kit with the XE4. But does the XF 27mm have enough strength to stand alone outside of the kit?...
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These Capture One Nordic Style Packs Are One-Click Editing Wonders

Presets tend to be either one-click editing wonders or catastrophes. And then, there are the preset packs where you’ll spend hours sorting through styles to find the ones you actually like. Capture One’s newest preset packs take on a minimalist approach, each with just three variations of two styles for a total of six presets in each pack. The Capture One Nordic Editorial and Nordic Lifestyle preset packs are inspired, as the name suggests, by Nordic art and light....
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Tiny Camera Meets Big Potential: Fujifilm XE4 Review

The smaller a camera is, the more likely photographers are to carry it with them everywhere. The Fujifilm XE4 is one of the smallest mirrorless bodies from Fujifilm yet. Paired with a newly announced 27mm kit lens, and the XE4 feels almost like packing a point-and-shoot. At $850 body-only or $1,050 with the kit, the XE4 is one of the more affordable Fuji mirrorless cameras. Even with that price, the XE4 still packs in the same sensor and processor as the body that costs twice as much, the Fujifilm XT4. So, where did Fujifilm cut to get to that sub-$1000 price point?...
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This Powerful PC Has a Gorgeous Screen: HP ZBook Firefly G8 Review

For creatives, choosing a laptop is a delicate balance between ergonomics, performance, and price. The HP ZBook Firefly G8 prioritizes the latter two, mixing as much as 32 GB of memory in builds that are nearly half the cost of a similarly outfitted MacBooks....
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This Beautiful Little Bag Packs Big Comfort: Wandrd PRVKE Lite Review

The original Wandrd PRVKE generated a buzz in the photography community — and over $400,000 on Kickstarter. Now, the PRVKE is back — and it’s launching in a smaller size. Announced on April 20, along with a revamp of the original PRVKE sizes, the Wandrd PRVKE Lite is a roll-top backpack designed for mirrorless and photographers on a more limited budget....
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Sony Just Crammed A Zoom Lens, Tracking AF in the Sony Xperia 1 III

After bringing a9-like autofocus to smartphones last year, Sony is again trying to push sports-ready autofocus into pockets. The Sony Xperia 1 III (and its little sister, the Xperia 5 III) bring real-time subject tracking to the company’s smartphone line-up. And, if that’s not enough, Sony packed in a periscoped optical zoom lens that shoots at both 70mm and 105mm. Announced today, April 14, via a YouTube video, the smartphones continue the earlier Xperia models’ photo-first focus....
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Astonishing Images, Finally Focused: Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 VR S Review

The 70-200mm f2.8 lens is meant to be a workhorse lens that can move seamlessly from one genre to the next. Now, Nikon has brought that workhorse to the Z mount system. The Nikon Z 70-200mm f2.8 VR S is a $2,600 lens that boasts closer autofocus than competing lenses and even lighter weight. And, as the name suggests, it pairs a lens stabilization system with the in-body system on many Z bodies....
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This Affordable Lens Doesn’t Suck: Sony 50mm F2.5 G Review

Prime lenses fall into two categories: the compact, affordable yet bright lenses and the pro-level, huge, near-technical-perfection monstrosities. The Sony 50mm F2.5 G falls in the first category. Weighing roughly six ounces, it’s a lens that almost feels like you forgot to mount a lens at all. In the bag, it barely takes up a lens slot....
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Great Sharpness Meets Vibrant Character: Nikon Z 50mm F1.2 S Review

When Nikon launched the Z mount, the company promised wider apertures and sharper photos. The Nikon Z 50mm F1.2 S is the fruit of that promise. The lens mixes a blurred-to-oblivion depth of field with a sharpness that’s detailed enough to make out the tiniest eyelash even on the lower resolution Z 6 II....
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Affordable, Portable, and Fast: Sony 40mm F2.5 G Review

Sony’s G lenses have a reputation for high-end image quality — but with a price to match. Sony’s newest optics in the series, announced on March 23, instead puts G series sharpness in a trip of compact, $600 each trio of lenses. The Sony FE 40mm F2.5 G, alongside the new 50mm and 24mm, is now one of the cheapest E-Mount G lenses. The question is, did Sony sacrifice too much to reach that lower price point?...
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