Review: Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD (1TB)

Western Digital My Passport Wireless Series of external drives have long been a favorite for traveling photographers

Western Digital, or WD as you may know the company, has been pushing the envelope in terms of external storage solutions for several years now. It started with their original My Passport Wireless (read our review) and has gone through a couple of iterations since then, now culminating with their latest offering for the traveling content creator – the My Passport Wireless SSD. What they are positioning to be is the perfect external drive of the traveling content creator; be that photographer, videographer, whatever.

We have had our hands on the drive since it was announced at CES in January, and today we are here with our full review. Over the course of this review, we have traveled by plane, by car and used the My Passport Wireless SSD as it is intended to be used. We have had our hands on the 1TB model, but there are also 2TB models, as well as 250GB and 500GB models. Continue reading…

Review: VEO2 235CB Tripod (a Great Tripod for the Traveller)

The Vanguard VEO 2 235CB is a great, portable tripod for the travel photographer

When it comes to tripods, there hasn’t really been a whole lot of innovation in the past few years. Sure, the designs change and get better but there is nothing that has been completely game changing. The Vanguard VEO 2 235CB is in some ways the same thing we’ve been seeing over the years, but you also have the supreme build quality that we’ve always experienced with Vanguard products. We field tested this while hiking, on airplanes, on the NYC subways, in cars, and on rugged waterfronts. Somehow or another, Vanguard was able to take the build quality that we expect with the Alta series and put it into a small enough package with the VEO. Granted, you’re not getting all the features and are really limited to a few heads, but if you’re shooting photos then the Vanguard VEO 2 235CB is pretty difficult to beat.

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Quick Review: ProGrade Digital SDXC UHS-II Class U3 Card

The ProGrade Digital SDXC UHS-II kepp up with our most recent tests with no trouble at all.

We’re not typically ones to review SD cards, but the recent ProGrade Digital SDXC UHS-II deserves a bit of a feature due to addressing a concern I had while testing the Fujifilm X-H1 recently. For photographers, using the card isn’t really a problem in and of itself. In fact, it’s more or less flawless for photography. But the Fujifilm X-H1 is their most aggressive push towards getting into the world of video. It sports a 4K, 24p, 200MB/second video feature. Luckily, the ProGrade Digital SDXC UHS-II writes at 200MB/second. So when tucked into the Fujifilm X-H1, it seemed a match made in heaven.

Editor’s Note: These cards read at 200MB/s. They write at 80MB/s

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Review: The BenQ SW 271 Display (27 Inch)

The BenQ SW 271 has a lot going for it. We’ve been testing it for a little while now.

BenQ is making a really strong push to compete with the big boys — Eizo and NEC— in the high end, high resolution, large gamut monitor market segment. And they are doing so by bringing very competitive pricing to the mix. Selling for (as of mid-December 2017) $1,099.00, the BenQ SW271, is a 27” (diagonal), 16:9 aspect ratio, 4K UHD monitor with an on-board color calibration chip. It is a powerful shot across the bows of the justly acclaimed, but very expensive, Eizo ColorEdge CG and NEC PA monitor series.

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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…