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

 

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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This Drone Had an Epic Crash, But I Still Want One. A DJI Mavic Air 2 Review

The thought of dangling a camera in the air has always made me hesitant to try drone photography. But, after taking my first flight with the newbie-friendly DJI Mini 2 when it first launched, I found that taking pictures at new heights was both thrilling and cathartic, a much-needed mental escape at the end of 2020. After safely flying DJI’s smallest consumer drone, I turned to its slightly larger brother: The DJI Mavic Air 2....
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This Colorful Zoom Is a Tank: Fujifilm 10-24mm F4 R OIS WR Review

Telephoto lenses tend to get all the love — and by love, I mean stabilization. Yet the new Fujifilm 10-24mm F4 R OIS WR packs a stabilization system into one of the widest zooms you can get without breeching fisheye territory. Pair it with the Fujifilm X-T4, and get 6.5 stops of stabilization....
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A Simple Strap That Almost Feels Like You’re Not Wearing One: Wandrd Wrist Strap Review

Shooting without a neck strap is both a bit liberating and terrifying. Liberating, because there’s no neck or back pain even with long shoots. Terrifying, because of the constant threat of a catastrophic drop. Thanks to a loose-fitting design that instantly tightens when dropped, the new Wandrd Wrist Strap is the next best thing to shooting strap-free....
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This Colossal Monitor Is a Multitasker’s Dream: BenQ PD3420Q Review

As a photographer, I typically have more than one program open at once, but only enough screen real estate to work with one application at a time. Enter the BenQ PD3420Q. The PD3420Q is a 34-inch ultra-wide monitor that has 33 percent more real estate than the typical screen. Those 34 inches have the potential to be the multitasker’s dream. Use both Capture One and Photoshop at the same time, without minimizing. Work from three Word documents simultaneously. Heck, watch YouTube while you edit photos, I won’t judge....
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This Unusual Lens Is Oozing with Style: Leica Noctilux 50mm F1.2 Review

Lenses are increasingly stamping out some of the most common technical issues. High-end modern lenses push for sharpness all the way to the corners, all but eliminate aberration, and reduce vignette. But as lenses become more technically correct, the optics also become more sterile. The new Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.2 ASPH is not one of those lenses. A remake of a film lens originally produced in 1966, the lens is nearly identical to the original except for a digital-friendly mount. Leica kept everything from the 16-blade aperture down to the aluminum build....
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We Raced 5 Photo Editors. The Results May Surprise You

Between the shoot and the edit is the cull — the dreaded time spent sitting behind the computer, sifting through photos for keepers. Slow software only makes the tedious task worse. Importing can take several minutes, even hours, with large uploads. But, can a specific photo editor speed up the culling process?...
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Fancy Lanyard Is a Better Description for This Strap: Wandrd Neck Strap Review

Mirrorless cameras and DSLRs have seemingly endless neck strap options. But, cameras with only a single attachment point have few choices. Point-and-shoots, both digital and film, often have slim pickings when it comes to strap choices and even fewer for photographers that don’t want a wrist strap. The Wandrd Neck Strap is a new option for those cameras. Using Wandrd’s custom attachment hardware, the Neck Strap attaches in seconds....
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It’s For Art. Not Pixel Peeping. Lensbaby Spark 2.0 Review

Lensbaby launched when founder Craig Strong literally took part of a shop vac hose to mount a vintage lens on his DSLR. The company’s first lens took on a similar look, with a plastic bumpy black tube creating a tiltable lens. The new Lensbaby Spark 2.0 mixes that heritage with a few modern updates, including mirrorless compatibility....
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This 1.4 Is Remarkably Light: Sony 35mm F1.4 GM Review

Wide apertures create spectacular bokeh — but cumbersome lenses. The newly launched Sony FE 35mm f1.4 GM defies the norm, weighing in at only a touch over a pound. A lens that just fits in the palm of my hand, the glass mixes an exceptionally bright aperture and near-perfect sharpness at a low distortion focal length. The result? Excellent images that capture a scene yet deliver the soft backgrounds typically reserved for longer lenses....
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It Taught a Pro Something. Serge Ramelli’s Lightroom Masterclass Review

As one of the more popular photo editors, Lightroom tutorials are easy to find. But, learning the photo editor and asset management system through random YouTube tutorials creates a hole-riddled foundation. The Lightroom Masterclass with Serge Ramelli is designed to create a complete understanding of the software. With classes on both Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC — and even a taste of Photoshop — the Mastercourse is the ideal start-to-finish course. Both beginners and intermediate users can build a complete understanding of editing in Lightroom....
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It’s Improved! But It’s Still Not Perfect: Nikon Z6 II Review

Two years after bursting into the Full Frame mirrorless market, Nikon is polishing its first draft with a second generation. At first glance, the Nikon Z6 II is a look-alike to the original mid-range mirrorless. But, Nikon is making some important strides towards addressing the wish list that the first didn’t quite fulfill. The Nikon Z6 II adds dual card slots and improves the autofocus. It even adds dual processors for a faster burst mode and larger buffer....
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New Tools Clear the Haze in This Photo Editor: Capture One 21 Review

While most photo editing software offers a list of similar features, the same tool’s performance may vary across the board. Capture One has consistently delivered more flexibility with RAW photo editing than the competition. It starts with better noise reduction algorithms to squeeze out a bit more shadow recovery–and runs the gamut. But they’re not done yet. Announced today, Capture One 21 adds several new features topped by a customizable Dehaze tool and Speed Edits....
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Is This Extra? PhotoWhoa 5100+ Lightroom Photo Presets Bundle Review

Lightroom presets are good for more than just faster photo edits. Presets can serve as creative fodder when you’re stuck. They can introduce new effects you never thought to try. Presets can keep the style consistent across an album or photo story. And so, if Lightroom presets can be used for more than just one thing, it makes sense to have more than one preset. Like, 5,100 Lightroom presets, right?...
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A Woman’s Perspective on the Nino Batista Retouching Tutorial Series

Retouching is part art, part technical savvy. Nino Batista’s Premium Retouching Video tutorials builds on the latter. The series of 30 retouching videos covers topics from retouching skin to perfecting color. Skin is one of the trickiest edits — and as a glamour photographer, Batista has a lot to work with in his edits....
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A Spectacular Point-and-Shoot With Wings: DJI Mini 2 Review

If a point-and-shoot camera drank a Red Bull and sprouted wings, it would look something like the DJI Mini 2. A compact folding drone, the Mini 2 doesn’t dazzle with the larger sensors and high megapixel count of the company’s pricier quadcopters. Instead, it impresses with a lower price point and easy-to-use features to get drone newbies — like myself — off the ground....
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For the World Traveler: Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 Review

From designs for hiking to street photography, camera bags are becoming less one-size-fits-all and more specialized. The Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 is designed with the opposite idea in mind. Dubbed as an everyday bag, the Chobe 2.0 easily converts from a laptop bag to a camera bag to a carry-on bag. Even the design crosses genre boundaries — the compartments and design feels like a briefcase, yet the rugged sail cloth material feels like an upscale duffel bag. The bag comes in a 13-inch and 16-inch version, with narrow and wide camera cube options (only the wide cube will fit a mounted lens)....
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A.I. Edited This Photo, It’s Not Bad: Luminar A.I. Review

From replacing the sky to correcting acne, Skylum Luminar is one of the most forward-thinking photo editors using artificial intelligence. Now, Skylum has re-packaged the biggest A.I. tools into a single, straight-forward program. Using A.I.-based templates mixed with traditional editing tools, Luminar A.I. aims to both help photographers edit faster and help non-photographers complete advanced edits....
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Budget Portrait Magic: Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM Review

We’re streaming daily on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and Spotify! At the initial launch, the Canon RF mount had few budget-friendly options, but the Mirrorless lens line-up is quickly catching up. The Canon RF 85mm f2 Macro IS STM is one of those lenses. An ideal focal length for portraiture, Canon also...
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I Was a Drone Virgin, But the New DJI Mini 2 Has Me Hooked

Getting your feet off the ground — both literally and figuratively — to try drone photography for the first time is intimidating. DJI’s Mavic Mini lowered the entry point to drone photography with a sub $500 price and lightweight design while still building several safety features from the company’s pricier drones. The DJI Mini 2, announced today, adds 4K video and RAW shooting, more powerful motors, and a more reliable connection....
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