Minimal by Design, Easy on the Eye: PolarPro Belay Camera Strap Review

The PolarPro Belay camera strap with its QuickDraw plate is both minimalist and almost hassle-free.

Camera straps. They’re an essential accessory that we use all the time, but often these must-haves go unexplored and unrecognized. We at The Phoblographer love camera straps, though, and we always do our best to review as many of them as we can, so, when we were asked if we would like to give the new PolarPro Belay camera strap a try, we jumped at the chance. The Belay is a new strap that is part of a new, more extensive PolarPro system that features QuickDraw plates, which allow you to quickly attach and detach your camera from each accessory, which sounds good, but as they say, the proof is in the pudding. Find out what we thought about the PolarPro Belay camera strap in our full review.

Continue reading…

We Broke Two Lenses with This: PolarPro Traverse Strap Mount Review

The PolarPro Traverse is the weirdest Peak Design Capture Clip competitor that we’ve seen, and we can’t recommend it.

This review has resulted in the most awkward phone call I’ve had in 11 years with a camera manufacturer. Who would’ve thought that the PolarPro Traverse Strap Mount would have broken an Olympus lens? Olympus! The camera manufacturer is probably only rivaled by Pentax and Leica when it comes to the durability of their products. But indeed, the PolarPro Traverse broke an Olympus lens and then also majorly dented the hood of my Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 lens. This product is meant to be a Peak Design Capture Clip competitor. And I praise PolarPro for their efforts, especially because we stopped reviewing Peak Design products for ethical concerns. They didn’t include a manual, but instead just a little section of a pamphlet. One would think that it’s supposed to function and be used just like the Peak Design Capture Clip, but one would be wrong–and it turned into one of the most perplexing and stressful reviews that I’ve done in years.

Continue reading…

A New Way to Attach Filters: The H&Y RevoRing Filter System Review

The H&Y RevoRing Filter System is an innovative way to adapt circular filters quickly and easily across a variety of lenses.

Every so often, a product comes along and changes the way we’ve done something. That’s precisely what the H&Y RevoRing Filter System is trying to do with how photographers use Neutral Density and Circular Polarizing filters. For many photographers, ND and CPL filters serve critical roles in their photography workflow. The problem with traditional threaded round lens filters is that they’re limited to a single filter thread. If you’ve got a handful of lenses, each bearing a different filter thread, they would each require their own filter: that can add up to quite a lot of filters very quickly. While filter holder systems alleviate this by allowing you to use one set of filters across a bunch of different lenses, they often require you to juggle a lot of different components. With H&Y’s RevoRing Filter System, the only components you have to manage are the RevoRing itself and the filters you will need. The folks over at H&Y sent us pre-production samples of the RevoRing Filter System to evaluate ahead of its Kickstarter campaign launch. Does it live up to its promise?

Continue reading…

Torture Test: How Will a Protective Lens Filter Affect Image Quality?

Photographers have long debated the effectiveness of a protective lens filter. But what happens when you use one that is already damaged?

At one point, it was common for photographers to slap UV filters on their lenses to reduce haze in their images. While some photographers still swear by UV filters today, they’re primarily used for protection rather than reducing UV transmittance. Today’s digital sensors are significantly less sensitive to ultraviolet light than film emulsions were. As a result, UV haze is much less of an issue when shooting digitally. Nowadays, photographers typically use UV or clear filters as a protective barrier for their front lens elements. Another point of contention is that these so-called protection filters negatively impact image quality. We’ve previously covered situations where UV filters could come in handy, but let’s find out what happens if you were to use a protective filter that’s damaged?

Continue reading…

Print Your Landscapes: Red River Palo Duro Baryta Fiber Paper Review

With Red River Palo Duro Baryta Fiber Paper, the details in your photos will pop.

I’ve always admired how Red River created good paper at an affordable price point, but the Red River Palo Duro Baryta Fiber paper had me scratching my head despite the great details it rendered. The best way to describe it involves thinking a bit like watching an old school movie or even a more recent one shot on film. When you watch a beautiful movie shot on 70mm these days, you see specks and grain. That’s how Red River Palo Duro renders despite having a whole lot of detail. Why does it do this? To be honest, it beats the hell out of me. And even now I’m not sure I like it. But I respect the fact that it’s so different than anything else out there. The paper is said to mimic the look and feel of one of Ansel Adams’ favorites.

Continue reading…

Designed for a Street Photographer: CosySpeed QUICK SALLY Review

The CosySpeed QUICK SALLY One-Hand Wrist Strap is a strap that gave me anxiety at first. But that changed later on.

When the CosySpeed QUICK SALLY came in, I had a few doubts only because of the magnet that’s built into it. Magnets aren’t good for digital cameras, but they aren’t too terrible for film cameras. Though it serves a function when using the rest of the Cosyspeed lineup of bags, some situations require more than what the Street-o-Matic or others offer to me. Most of the time, I need a backpack. And sometimes, you want both the comfort and durability that the CosySpeed QUICK SALLY allows you. Indeed, while I initially had my doubts about the strap, I was proven wrong with repeated use. 

Continue reading…

Who Needs Hotkeys Anyway? The Loupedeck Creative Tool Reviewed

The Loupedeck Creative Tool allows for custom workflows for all of your photo editing and content creation needs.

The Loupedeck Creative Tool promises to make editing easier and more intuitive. This builds upon the foundation first introduced with the Loupedeck and Loupedeck+. Given our lukewarm reception of previous offerings, we were skeptical when the folks at Loupedeck sent their new Creative Tool for review. While you were able to streamline your post-processing workflow using the Loupedeck and Loupedeck+, support for applications outside of Lightroom Classic never lived up to expectations. Instead of a plasticky keyboard-like input device, the folks at Loupedeck have designed a brand new device from the ground up. The Loupedeck CT features two customizable touchscreens with haptic feedback, a wealth of customizable buttons, and plenty of anodized aluminum touchpoints. Judging from looks alone, the Loupedeck CT already appears to be a huge leap forward. They’ve nailed the form part for sure, but the true test lies in the CT’s function. Has the Loupedeck finally nailed it with the Creative Tool?

Continue reading…

Give It Time: The Holdfast Gear HF Classic Strap Wide Review

The Holdfast Gear HF Classic Strap perplexed me at first, but then I figured it out, and it just got better.

To say that there isn’t a learning curve with the Holdfast Gear HF Classic Strap is a lie. And to say that it won’t frustrate you at first is another lie. But what starts like a lion turns into a lamb. With time, the corn mash juices of the Holdfast Gear HF Classic Strap turn into a fine bourbon that you’ll enjoy spending time with. This strap is designed to work for any photographer that wants it, but it’s also got appeal to for a photographer using the rest of the Holdfast system. Like all things Holdfast, you’re getting ruggedness, harnesses, leather, etc. Made with buffalo leather and designed with some of the best hardware I’ve ever tested, the Holdfast Gear HF Classic Strap addresses a big problem that folks have: the metal hardware of their straps wears away at the camera. While some may embrace the patina, others treat their cameras like children. Now, Holdfast has a solution, but that solution is also the trickiest part of the strap.

Continue reading…

Le Sigh de Photo: Odake BladeX Pro Portable External 4K Monitor Review

Photographers sick of working on tiny laptop screens will appreciate the extra real estate of the Odake BladeX Pro Portable External 4K Monitor.

One of the common dilemmas photographers run into when editing images on laptops is that they never seem to have enough screen real estate. On a desktop, you would just replace your display with a larger one, but that’s not possible with laptops. Odake is trying to help alleviate this problem with their BladeX Pro – a portable 15.6″ external 4K monitor. The BladeX Pro’s Indiegogo campaign was just fully funded, and we got to check out a pre-production sample to see if it lives up to the task.

Continue reading…

Fun at Home for $60: The Lensbaby OMNI Color Expansion Pack Review

The Color Expansion Pack for Lensbaby’s OMNI Creative Filter System gives you even more variety when creating in-camera effects and light distortions.

When we reviewed the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System last year, we loved the in-camera effects we were able to achieve, and found its magnetic attachment system to be innovative. One thing we had hoped to see Lensbaby introduce down the line was the ability for users to make their own custom effect wands. The Color Expansion Pack is a collection of additional Effect Wands, Diffraction Films, and Colored Gels designed to work with the OMNI Creative Filter System. While the Color Expansion Pack doesn’t quite allow for the full customization we hoped for, it certainly hints at what’s possible.

Continue reading…

Can Your Hard Drive Survive Water? LaCie Rugged Boss SSD Review

For photographers in need of a mobile backup solution without having to haul a laptop around, the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD may be the right option for you.

The LaCie Rugged Boss SSD was designed for photographers that are constantly on the go. It lets you backup, review, and manage your raw files without needing your laptop. Some of us bring our laptops with us wherever we go, but now photographers with smaller camera bags don’t need to. That’s appealing to shooting street, documentary, or travel work where you want a low profile. We’ve been impressed with LaCie’s other solid-state storage solutions for quite some time, but how well does the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD stack up during real-world use?

Continue reading…

Not Bad for a Content Creator: The Drobo 8D Review

The Drobo 8D is a pretty good option for the photographer or content creator who needs to have their photos, videos, and more always backed up.

My move to the Drobo 8D came after a number of LaCie drives had failed on me and caused a ton of headaches with our standard content production. Admittedly, I’ve never used something like the Drobo 8D before, though I’ve been aware of their benefits. For years, my LaCie drives had never failed on me. But then three failed within a period of half a year. Frustration finally made me move to a RAID. New photographers and content creators may not truly understand the need for one. Indeed, I was a photographer who said, “This would never happen to me.” In my defense, I’ve been a photographer who mostly worked from a laptop for the majority of my career; portable hard drives always made more sense. Most of the stuff I do goes online into the Phoblographer’s Media Library. But, there are times when I need to access other things, and the Drobo 8D has proven to be pretty great at keeping all my data secured and backed up when I’m home. Of course when I’m traveling, it’s not going with me.

Continue reading…

Review: Haida Red-Diamond 3 Stop Soft-Edge Graduated ND Filter

Landscape photographers on the market for a reliable graduated ND filter should check out Haida’s Red-Diamond 3 Stop Soft-Edge Graduated ND Filter

When photographing long exposure landscapes, a common challenge many photographers encounter is the drastic difference between the amount of light in the sky and below the horizon. This is where filters like the Haida Red-Diamond 3 Stop Soft-Edge Graduated ND Filter come in handy. Soft, graduated neutral density filters allow you to expose for the darker areas of your frame without blowing out what’s in the sky.

Continue reading…

Review: Haida Red-Diamond 10 Stop ND 100x100mm Filter

Photographers shooting long exposures in brightly lit conditions will want to check out the Haida Red-Diamond 10 Stop ND 100x100mm Filter.

We’ve been testing the Haida 10 Stop Red-Diamond ND 100x100mm Filters (3.0/1000x Density) alongside their M10 Filter Holder System. Neutral Density filters are great for architectural, landscape, and travel photography, especially when shooting long exposures during daylight hours. ND filters help to prevent your images from being totally blown out when shooting long exposures in brightly lit conditions. They essentially serve as sunglasses for your cameras, helping to cut down the amount of light that reaches your camera sensor.

Continue reading…

Review: Haida M10 Filter Holder System (A Quick & Modular Solution)

The Haida M10 Filter Holder System is a modular way for photographers to quickly and easily attach/detach and swap in a variety of different filters

During last year’s PhotoPlus Expo, we were introduced to Chinese filter manufacturer Haida and their brand new M10 Filter Holder System. Neutral density filters play an integral role for photographers particularly specializing in landscape, architecture, and travel photography. If you find yourself shooting with a variety of different lenses regularly, chances are most of these lenses will have different filter threads. ND filters aren’t cheap, and buying filters in multiple densities for various threads can put a huge dent in your wallet very quickly. Filter systems like the Haida M10 system are a much more cost-efficient way to go, allowing you to adapt a set of filters across a variety of filter threads.

Continue reading…

Peripheral Review: LaCie Rugged SSD Pro (This Thing Is a Speed Demon!)

Photographers on the go who need of hyper-fast, darn tough external storage will want to consider the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro.

When the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro arrived for review, our expectations for the Thunderbolt 3 equipped external SSD were high. We previously reviewed LaCie’s non-pro version of the Rugged SSD (which utilizes USB-C rather than Thunderbolt 3) and were impressed by its performance and durability. Thunderbolt 3 has four times the maximum throughput of USB-C (40 Gbps vs 10 Gbps), so it stands to reason that the performance gains of the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro over its non-pro counterpart would be significant. Does the addition of Thunderbolt 3 justify the US $100 MSRP premium though?

Continue reading…

Peripheral Review: LaCie Rugged SSD (For Photographers On The Go)

The LaCie Rugged SSD is a speedy and robust portable option for photographers on the go in need of fast and reliable external storage

When LaCie sent over their Rugged SSD for us to test out, the opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time. As a photographer that’s constantly traveling from one assignment to the next, I spend as much time working remotely on location (if not more so) than I do working from my office. Thanks to their speedy performance, Solid State Drives have become an invaluable part of my on-location workflow, which involves my having to juggle tons of mission-critical client files. Importing, managing, and backing up thousands of raw and finished images along with plenty of Capture One sessions to boot can take a long time, so every second saved goes a long way.

Continue reading…

Monitor Review: BenQ SW270C 27 Inch Monitor for Photographers

The BenQ SW270C Photo Editing Monitor is an affordable option that combines accurate color reproduction and large screen real estate.

For a long time, photographers that do high-end printing or those working with images that have to accurately reproduce colors (such as product, fashion, or beauty photography for example) had to shell out serious moolah for professional-grade color-accurate monitors from companies like Eizo. These monitors are often prohibitively expensive, with price tags that easily rivaled the cost of some flagship camera bodies on the market.

Continue reading…

Review: MOAB Entrada 300 (The Darling of Black and White Photography)

MOAB Entrada 300 makes black and white photos look great.

Printing is still a large part of running the Phoblographer, and MOAB Entrada 300 is a fascinating paper to us in many ways. Most matte papers we test have some sort of texture to them, but MOAB Entrada 300 is an oddity in this way as it is a smooth matte paper. The result is a loss of detail when compared to something like a luster or a glossy print. MOAB Entrada 300 instead has the look of something almost like Red River Palo Duro papers, which are designed to emulate the look of the darkroom. In this case, MOAB Entrada 300 is for a photographer who really liked black and white. More importantly, it’s for the person printing an image who doesn’t know where they want to place it. To that end, it’s excellent for displaying it anywhere in your home.

Continue reading…

Review: Vi Vante Bengal Unleashed Lambskin Leather Camera Wrist Strap

The Vi Vante Bengal Unleashed Lambskin Leather Camera Wrist Strap is a stylish option that’s soft to the touch and incredibly practical.

For fashion-forward photographers in search of a new wrist strap for their cameras, Vi Vante’s Bengal Unleashed wrist strap may be just what they’re looking for. Made of ultra-soft lambskin leather, the Vi Vante Bengal Unleashed camera wrist strap is one of the most comfortable wrist straps I’ve tried to date. Whether you’re looking to upgrade from the ho-hum camera strap included with your camera, or prefer the lower profile nature of wrist straps over traditional neck straps, the Vi Vante Bengal Unleashed Lambskin Leather Camera Wrist Strap is worth considering.

Continue reading…

Review: Vi Vante Tread Classic Camera Strap

The Vi Vante Tread Classic Camera Strap is for only the most stylish photographer.

After using the Vi Vante Tread Classic Camera Strap for a month or so, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s for the stylish photographer. It has its practicalities, but it’s less functional than much of what Vi Vante has in their lineup. The Vi Vante Tread Classic Camera Strap is for the photographer who first and foremost wants to flex their style, evident in many aspects of the design. From the flat profile intended to provide comfort to the red threads that run through it, the Vi Vante Tread Classic is a strap that oozes with allure. And to be honest, I’m perfectly okay with that.

Continue reading…