Latest From The Phoblographer

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.

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This Strap Packs a Hidden Tool: Wandrd Sling Review

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Necks weren’t designed for holding much more than your head. Sling straps hold the weight of the camera on the shoulders instead. Made with the ability to switch back and forth from 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 incredibly soft nylon material, the strap is a happy medium between the expensive leather and the cheap, scratchy numbers that ship with your camera.

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Eco-Friendly, Sturdy, and Stylish: Gitzo Légende Tripod Review

The Gitzo Légende tripod proves there’s still a place for tripods in an IBIS-fueled world.

In a world full of IBIS and lens stabilization, tripods are quickly beginning to fade away. However, there’s still a place for trusty tripods in our lives. If you’re a landscape or astrophotographer, tripods are essential. Macro photographers, product photographers, and studio shooters rely on tripods too. Picking a tripod is a pretty serious business. At the end of the day, you’re placing your expensive camera and lenses on it. You need to be able to trust it. We’ve had our hands on the new Gitzo Légende tripod for a little while now. Is it one you should be fluttering your eyelids at, or should you walk away? Find out in our full review.

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Not Quite as Strong. Benro Rhino Tripod Review (VX25 Head)

The Benro Rhino tripod is pretty sturdy with a not so great head on its shoulders.

One of the most important parts of a tripod is the head. I’ve always loved different variants from ProMaster, Vanguard, and Manfrotto. With the Benro Rhino, it’s a bit of the opposite. You are getting quite honestly some of the best tripod legs I’ve ever tested. But the attached VX25 head is a bit disappointing. But throughout my testing, I still question whether or not I was pushing the tripod too far. At the same time, you should know its limits.

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A Simple Strap That Almost Feels Like You’re Not Wearing One: Wandrd Wrist Strap Review

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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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Photography Storage and a Whole Lot More: Synology DS1520+ Review

The Synology DS1520+ is an excellent NAS that boasts loads of additional features.

The Synology DS1520+ is the company’s latest Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device. Designed to mitigate our storage nightmares, it comes at a great time. Photographers are still caught in a megapixel war between manufacturers. Videographers are having 8K video pushed on them, and journalists need to manage a ton of multimedia files. Redundant storage is always an issue. But aside from being centralized storage for all of your data, the DS1520+ has got lots of added functionality too.

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Fancy Lanyard Is a Better Description for This Strap: Wandrd Neck Strap Review

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Mirrorless cameras and DSLRs have seemingly endless neck strap options. But, cameras with only a single attachment point have few choices. Digital and film point-and-shoots often have slim pickings when it comes to strap choices and there are even fewer choices for photographers who 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 Really Easy to Use! HY Magnetic Filter Holder System Review

The H&Y K-Series Magnetic Filter Holder System is an innovative and easy way for photographers to attach filters to their cameras.

The H&Y K-Series Magnetic Filter Holder System uses magnets to remedy an inconvenience for photographers. With this one system, there’s no need to have a ton of filters; you can theoretically use one filter across many lenses. The savings can add up too! Buying different Neutral Density and Circular Polarizing Filters can get pricey. The H&Y K-Series Magnetic Filter Holder System is a super user-friendly alternative.

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Long Exposures Made Easy: Haida 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter Review

The Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter is an invaluable tool for photographers specializing in daytime long exposure photography.

Shooting long exposures in broad daylight can be very challenging, and the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter was created with this in mind. Most conventional ND’s simply don’t provide enough light reduction. When photographing on a sunny day, you’re limited to exposures of a second or two at best. That’s barely enough time to blur out moving clouds or flowing water. Thanks to the whopping 17 stops of light reduction on the Haida Red Diamond Filter, significantly longer exposures become possible. For example, a 1/60 second filterless exposure would take 36 minutes and 16 seconds to complete. That’s a notable difference. We recently got to test the Haida Red Diamond 17 Stop ND 5.0 Filter out in the wild. Check out how it fared in the real world after the jump.

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The SK Hynix Gold S31 Surprised Us in Capture One

Essentials is a series featuring products we’re currently lusting over in quick, easy to digest posts.

Modern cameras are becoming more powerful with every new release. While this is fantastic news, it can also create problems. One such issue is the ever-growing size of both RAW and JPEG files. Long gone are the days of 10Mb files. Now, we routinely deal with file sizes in the 60Mb or higher range. Owning gear that can handle and store such large files is now something that has to be considered more carefully. Thankfully, you can buy high capacity, speedy SSD’s without destroying your bank account. We were sent the SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD, and have been putting it through real-world tests. Will the SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD help you generate a more efficient workflow? Find out in our quick review.

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A Constant Light That’s Built Like A Tank: The LitraPro LED Light Review

Photographers in search of a constant light that is well built and waterproof will want to check out LitraPro. Just make sure you’ve got deep pockets.

Beginner photographers are often intimated by stroboscopic flash. As a result, those just getting their feet wet with photographic lighting often look to constant lighting as an alternative. Consequently, we’ve seen plenty of LED constant lighting options come to market in recent years. Their overall quality has improved as well. The LitraPro is one such example. It combines a waterproof aluminum housing with a maximum light output of 1,200 lumens and the ability to use a variety of light modifiers. That all sounds great on paper, but is the LitraPro up to the task under real world conditions? Find out in our full review.

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They Finally Got It Right! Holdfast Gear Vegan Money Maker Strap Review

The Holdfast Gear Vegan Money Maker is oddly enough their best camera strap yet.

I’ve never really adored many vegan leather products, but the Holdfast Gear Vegan Money Maker is changing my mind. A staple amongst the wedding and event photography community, this camera strap is their softest and most comfortable option yet. Most vegan leather I’ve used tended to be rigid, tough, and sort of weird. But the Holdfast Gear Vegan Money Maker isn’t like that at all. I’ve been very used to their Money Maker straps cutting into my shirt or skin. The exception is their canvas option, and now the Holdfast Gear Vegan Money Maker is my favorite. Not only is this the best vegan leather camera strap I’ve used, but it’s something I may consider using more often.

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For Your Next Adventure: ProMaster SP528K Tripod Review

The ProMaster SP528K Tripod kit is exactly what most serious photographers need.

Fact: the staff of The Phoblographer is always on the lookout for new tripods. We use them a lot when we’re testing gear. And because of how much abuse we put them through, we tend to break them. None are created equal. In our discoveries for the perfect tripod, we were introduced to the ProMaster SP528K. At under $300, this tripod can get really tall – taller than I am. But the best part about it is the ball head. It’s capable of doing things that much more expensive heads do. It’s not perfect, but at the price point, I’m not sure anything can beat it–and it has us liking a lot of what the ProMaster lineup can do.

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Who Knew Tripods Could Be Cool? The 3 Legged Thing Ray Tripod Is

Essentials is a series featuring products we’re currently lusting over in quick, easy to digest posts.

Tripods are perhaps one accessory we rely on a lot but give little credit to. I mean, they’re just tripods, right? You plant it on the ground, attach your camera, and it just sits there doing its job. But did you know that tripods can be cool as well as functional? We had a chance to test out the new 3 Legged Thing Ray tripod and the new Airhed VU ball head, which are a part of the 3 Legged Thing’s new Legend range of tripods and accessories. The Ray is an ultra-compact carbon fiber tripod that not only looks great but also functions well too, while the Airhed VU is a precision-engineered ball head with a cool viewing panel. Let’s take a quick, closer look after the break.

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No More Screwing Around: Haida M10 Insert Variable ND Filter Review

Tired of screwing variable NDs on and off of your lenses all the time? The Haida M10 Insert Variable ND Filter aims to make that a thing of the past.

When it comes to neutral density filters, variable NDs are favored by many photographers for their versatility. Instead of carrying a bunch of individual ND filters of different strengths, VNDs cover a set ND range that can be adjusted on the fly. However, the way traditional variable NDs are designed (where two rotating rings are essentially conjoined) can sometimes make them a pain to remove. A filter wrench is often required. Haida is looking to change the way photographers use variable NDs. By leveraging their M10 Filter Holder System, photographers no longer have to screw and unscrew filters, VNDs included. The Haida M10 Insert Variable ND Filter works in concert with the company’s own M10 Drop-In Neutral Density and Circular Polarizing Filters. When combined, the M10 Insert VND acts as a multiplier for the M10 Drop-In ND/CPLs’ ND rating. Depending on the amount of light reduction needed, simply swap out the corresponding Drop-In ND/CPL rather than unscrewing a VND and screwing on a stronger one in its place. Sounds great in theory, but how well does the Haida M10 Insert Variable ND Filter work in the real world?

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The Century21 of Camera Straps: Woolnut Leather Camera Strap Review

For photographers wanting to add a splash of style when carrying their cameras, the Woolnut Leather Camera Strap is a handsome option.

Made from a combination of full-grain, vegetable-tanned Scandinavian leather, natural German wool felt, and metal accents, the Woolnut Leather Camera Strap is a definite upgrade over bundled branded camera straps. When it comes to straps, some photographers treat them as a style statement, while others are perfectly content using the branded one that came bundled with their camera. Some photographers tend to prefer lower profile alternatives like wrist straps or carrying clips. Having used the Woolnut Leather Camera Strap for the better part of the last few months with several cameras and lenses, it certainly falls under the style statement category. It’s nicely padded, and even when carrying heavier cameras and lenses, this padding keeps the Woolnut Leather Camera Strap comfortable.

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Get Low. Lower. Even Lower. The Gitzo Mini Traveler Tripod Review

When you need to get your camera really low to the ground, the Gitzo Mini Traveler Tripod is a sturdy but pricey option.

Tripods are a particularly useful tool when taking long-exposure photographs or working with extreme angles, and Gitzo’s Mini Traveler is no exception. Its compact design is its most significant selling point. The lighter and smaller a piece of gear is, the more likely it is that you will bring it with you. Another thing to consider is that many public places now require permits to use a tripod. Some locations have even banned them outright. The small form factor of the Gitzo Mini Traveler tripod helps you remain inconspicuous, allowing you to capture the image you envision. We’ve been testing one out for the last few months: find out how it fared in real-world use after the jump.

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Give Your Images Some Flare With The Lensbaby OMNI Flare Expansion

If you love the way lens flares lend a cinematic look to images, then you’ll want to check out the Lensbaby OMNI Creative System’s Flare Expansion Pack.

The folks over at Lensbaby are releasing yet another expansion pack to their awesome OMNI Creative Filter System today. The Flare Expansion Pack is the third expansion that Lensbaby has released for its unique OMNI Creative Filter System so far. Consisting of four brand new glass Effect Wands, the Flare Expansion Pack is designed to give photographers the ability to easily introduce unique flare effects to their images in-camera. We got to spend some time with the Flare Expansion Pack prior to the public release. Head on after the jump for details on the OMNI Flare Expansion Pack along with a sample gallery of images we created using the new Flare Effect Wands.

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Lust Materialized: Vi Vante Tiger Lambskin Camera Strap Review

The Vi Vante Tiger Lambskin takes the strength of a braided leather strap and makes it slimmer.

Lamb: besides being my favorite meat it’s also fantastic to know that it’s the leather used in the Vi Vante Tiger Lambskin camera strap. I’ve been personally using Vi Vante straps for the better part of a year because they’re honestly some of the best that I’ve ever used. It solves the problems that many photographers have had with lots of leather camera straps. It addresses the strength issue by being a strong, braided strap. It also stays nice and slim while providing this extra strength. And, most of all, it’s comfortable while being durable enough to handle even Panasonic’s S1 camera series.

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They Don’t Just Make Filters Anymore: PolarPro Apex Tripod Review

The PolarPro Apex Tripod lets you mount your camera really low off of stable surfaces and makes shooting from unique vantage points possible.

Up until recently, PolarPro was known primarily as a manufacturer of photographic filters. That all changes today with the introduction of PolarPro’s Apex Tripod and Apex Tripod Base. Both are members of the company’s Quick-Release Modular System of camera accessories. Designed with interoperability in mind, they are joined by the Belay Camera Straps and the Traverse Camera Harness. The Apex Tripod is a low profile mini tripod designed to work in just about any traversable terrain. As long as there’s enough room for you to deploy the Apex, you’ve got a stable platform from which to mount your camera. The folks over at PolarPro kindly sent over the Apex for us to try out ahead of its launch. Check out how it fared in the real world after the jump.

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