Review: Peak Design Slide Lite Strap II (On the Sony a6000)

The new Peak Design Slide Lite strap is Peak’s most comfortable strap yet.

With the Peak Design Slide Lite strap, you’ve got a brand new option and some cool innovations from the favorite company of many outdoors photographers. The Peak Design Slide Lite strap is a camera strap designed for lighter cameras–like mirrorless options. But to be honest, I think that it’s more than good enough for most APS-C DSLRs. It uses Peak Designs quick release system and has soft seat belt webbing along the entire area of the strap. Additionally, the Peak Design Slide Lite strap has a very quiet but subtle handsomeness to it that in my mind actually makes it sort of stylish.

But most of all, it is adjustable and not necessarily caters to the less curvy photographer–or, you know, the one who wears a lot of layers in the winter.

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Quick Review: Manfrotto Magnetic Background Mount and Lastolite Urban Collapsible Concrete Backdrop

The Manfrotto Magnetic Background Mount and Lastolite Urban Collapsible Concrete Backdrop have seriously changed my opinion about using backdrops.

This post may sound like an ad, but it genuinely isn’t as I’ve followed FTC laws since the first days of this blog. Instead, it’s just heartfelt praise for pretty much everything about the system (with the exception of folding the damn backdrop back down into a portable configuration). Many photographers probably have some sort of at home studio setup. I know some who use paper and I’ve always instead reached for muslins and canvas. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to go around Etsy to find painter’s canvases that were on the floor to prevent paint from damaging said floor, cashmere blankets, Persian rugs, etc. But with the Manfrotto Magnetic Background Mount and Lastolite Concrete Backdrop, you get a real solution to a problem you never really thought you had simply because we’ve been doing things in a certain way for so long. Backdrops typically need to be thrown over a bar of some sort and then adjusted. But with this combination, you can throw that idea out the window.

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Review: Holdfast Gear Camera Leash 2 (Wrist Strap)

The Holdfast Gear Camera Leash 2 adds more versatility to the burly wrist strap.

If you were to look at the Holdfast Gear Camera Leash 2, you wouldn’t necessarily notice the upgrades. It’s only when you take a closer look that you’ll see how apparent they are. One of the company’s first products was the Camera Leash: a wrist strap with a bit of flair, sturdiness, and a major deviation from many of the other strap manufacturers out when they were introduced years ago. Some said the straps were vain. Others like myself saw them as an alternative to not looking like I was owned by one particular camera brand. They are a very subtle way to stand out from the crowd. And the Holdfast Gear Camera Leash 2 does that still, but at this point is much more familiar to photography audiences across the world. It’s again made of very durable leather, and been improved to be soft to the touch on the interior. The way it connects to the other Holdfast accessories has been vastly improved.

Holdfast’s products have evolved over the years from products with subtle stylishness to a more brash boldness. And as I too have grown older (I’m now 30 – when I started Phoblographer I was 22) my tastes have also changed. I find myself going after more canvas, leather, cashmere and wool products. With that said, I feel like Holdfast was ahead of what I’ve been looking for and I’ve grown an appreciation for their products.

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REVIEW: Joby Gorillapod Mobile Rig

Is this the ideal tool for mobile content creators?

Joby and their Gorillapod brand have been around for forever, and these versatile tripods have long been a favorite tool for run and gun photographers and videographers who always needed a tripod they could put anywhere. But in this age of mobile content creation a new breed of content creators, utilizing the incredibly powerful tools at their disposal in smartphones and action cameras, are growing and need tools to support their passions. Enter the Joby Gorillapod Mobile Rig – possibly the ultimate all-in-one tool for these creative content producers. Continue reading…

Review: The Platypod Ultra (The Smallest Tripod Replacement)

Just like it’s bigger brothers, the Platypod Ultra confuses me in so many ways.

The Platypod Ultra is used by a number of photographers after getting its funding off of Kickstarter, but the truth is I purposely put off doing this review because I really wanted to understand what this product is and does. They constantly tout it as a replacement for a tripod and I think that, in most situations, that’s completely wrong. Instead, it’s more of a combination of a Gorillapod, a tabletop tripod, and a really giant camera plate of some sort. Photographers have used it to get recording done in a variety of places and, while I’ve heard of a number of other journalists using one, I’ve never actually seen them do it. Perhaps the absolute best use of a Platypod I’ve seen is from photographers who find a way to use it in a situation where tripods are illegal. The Platypod Ultra is touted to be their latest and best yet. And if you’re the type of person who likes carrying around zip ties, I think that it probably could be. But to be brutally honest, I can’t see it as a replacement for a tripod at all.

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Review: Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod (Black)

The Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod is incredibly robust and very reliable.

During my review of the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod, I started to wonder more and more why photographers actually need tripods these days. Just think about it: newer cameras and lenses have image stabilization in them. Why would I really need a tripod today if I wasn’t shooting video? Landscape photographers have had the answer for years. Tripods like the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod are fantastic compositional tools in the same way that manual focus lenses force you to put more time into the image making process. They require you to think in a different way and really work to get what’s important to you. It may mean moving back and forth, adjustments, etc. Otherwise, you don’t need to make those movements unless you have a specific goal in mind. And a tripod like the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Aluminum Alloy Tripod can surely help with this due to its light weight and awesome build quality.

But one really big thing about it annoys me.

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Review: Meural Canvas (The Photo Frame Every Photographer Needs)

The Meural Canvas is changing the way your photos are viewed in galleries.

I first encountered Meural at a gallery event hosted by Lomography, so when the Meural Canvas came about I was incredibly excited to try it out. When one thinks about photo frames and they’ve been in the industry for years, they think about what’s essentially the precursor to the standard tablet device. But you see, the Meural Canvas is more than that. It’s a picture frame that connects to an outlet, has WiFi, and uses gestures from the user to interact with it. Oh yeah, and there’s a mobile app and a membership plan that comes with it. Unlike reformatted Apple iPads though, the Meural Canvas has a matte screen and so it prevents reflections a great deal and enhances the images by providing its own backlighting. It also not only shows off photos, but can do videos and things like cinemagraphs. Then consider the fact that there is real wood and a ton of metal inside and you’ve got yourself one hell of a device you’ll want your photos to be on–but only if you either have the money for it or have a justification for actually using one for commercial reasons as a photographer.

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Review: 4VDesign LUSSO LARGE TOP Camera Strap (Super Comfortable)

The 4VDesign LUSSO LARGE TOP camera strap is designed for big DSLR cameras. Unlike the company’s Lusso Slim, it’s also, well, large. The strap, which will find a great home with photographers who use medium format film cameras and DSLRs alike, is designed to harbor a lot of weight accordingly. Part of this is due to its very large shoulder pad, but the other part is due to its beautiful yet durable construction. The Italian leather straps are handmade in Italy, but they’ve also got quite a bit of canvas integrated into the design. And of any strap that I’ve used for DSLRs recently, this strap has some of the best construction I’ve seen.

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