Review: Stroppa Flat Camera Strap (So Gorgeous, Yet So Simple)

With the Stroppa Flat Camera Strap, you’ve got an option that is bound to stand out.

I’ve always been more of a leather and canvas guy when it comes to my camera straps, but after I was given the Stroppa Flat Camera strap I was pleasantly surprised. The material looks like a lighter version of the sailing rope style bindings that you’d find at Home Depot, but this is softer and quite durable. The Stroppa Flat Camera strap isn’t exactly low profile depending on what color you get. I was given both black and red; the red is arguably the more stylish of the two. For the photographer who doesn’t want leather or canvas, the Stroppa Flat Camera strap could be an affordable and versatile option.

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Review: BenQ SW240 Monitor for Photographers

The BenQ SW240 is the company’s latest affordable option for the photographer; but how is it?

Only a couple of years ago a high-end monitor with a built-in calibration and profile system which was also capable of displaying the entire Adobe RGB (1998) gamut cost serious money. And then BenQ upended that game with the SW series monitors. If you are in the market for a high-performance monitor, performance wise the BenQ SW models are right up there with the Eizo ColorEdge and NEC PA monitors but cost substantially less.

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Review: Cub and Co XQR Strap and Camera Bag System

The Cub and Co XQR system is one that I’m not totally sure I know how to wrap my head around.

I’ve often been a big fan of the things that Cub and Co does, but with the new Cub and Co XQR system I’m scratching my head. This is a product that I’m not exactly sure I understand though I will fully admit that there are things about it that make it innovative and much different from everything else out there. For that, Joel and the folks at Cub and Co should be applauded. But as far as usefulness goes, I’m not exactly sure that I can condone using a system like this.

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Review: MeFOTO Roadtrip Leather Edition Tripod (a Gorgeous Tripod for the Landscape Photographer)

The MeFOTO Roadtrip Leather Edition is a fine accessory for the photographer looking for some spice in their gear.

It was a little while back that I started seeing leather, wood, and old school aluminum incorporated into photo gear with Cokin’s offerings. But the new MeFOTO Roadtrip Leather Edition takes that and adds even more practicality to the design. We’ve previously reviewed the MeFOTO Roadtrip tripod and thoroughly enjoyed it. With the new MeFOTO Roadtrip Leather Edition tripod there is even more to love. The design seems updated to provide even more versatility. Does it completely change the game? Not really, but it surely adds more flavor to the world of tripods–and monopods!

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Review: TerraMaster D5-300C Hard Drive Bay

Is the TerraMaster D5-300C really a fantastic budget option for photographers?

Just as rent and transit fares are ever increasing, so too are the size of the raw files created by the latest cameras. This is a fact of life that we as content creators have to contend with on a daily basis. You can never have too much storage, but you may have some hard drives laying around collecting dust, and the TerraMaster D5-300C may just be the right DAS (Direct Attached Storage) device to put them to good use.

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Review: LaCie 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3 (The Dock Photographers Need)

The LaCie 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3 is an elegant local storage solution for content creators with deep pockets

With the advent of cameras with ever increasing megapixel counts, never before have content creators been faced with the challenge of managing and maintaining such vast amounts of data. This is especially challenging for photographers and videographers who work primarily from their laptops. Laptops tend to be lacking in storage space unless you’ve got deep enough pockets to afford one with a large hard disk/solid state drive. It’s not uncommon to see content creators juggling multiple external hard drives, stacking them up on their desks like oversized decks of playing cards, plugging them in as needed to retrieve or archive photos/footage. This process can be quite a hassle, especially if you don’t remember where you stored a particular file. LaCie’s 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3 aims to be an all-in-one solution for content creation professionals to both ingest and store all of their valuable data in one compact, minimal package.

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Review: HP zBook X2 Tablet for Creative Professionals

The HP zBook X2 marks the company’s attempt to really target creatives. And they’re not doing a terrible job!

When the HP zBook X2 was announced, I was pretty excited and had hopes that it would send a message to Apple. And over my month or so of using the HP zBook X2, I grew less and less tolerant of it vs the Apple ecosystem that I’ve been embedded in for almost 10 years. But it honestly doesn’t have a lot to do with the way HP designed the tablet. The HP zBook X2 is a very good machine in and of itself; but the problem has more to do with Lightroom and Photoshop — the two apps they’re really talking about when it comes to working with photographers.

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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…

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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Review: Peak Design Capture Clip v3

The Peak Design Capture Clip v3 review: Starring Chris Niccolls of the Camera Store 

The Peak Design Capture Clip V3 is Peak Design’s latest evolution of the original Capture Clip that helped them get famous off of Kickstarter. This latest version is a massive jump forward in many ways. Designed by a former Apple engineer, the Peak Design Capture Clip V3 is made mostly of a single piece of aluminum. When you look at it and feel it, it feels super slick. Plus it’s smaller than previous versions. And like the other Capture Clips, it’s designed primarily to house your camera in a reliable place with little to no movement. During my testing, I found this to be the best Capture Clip yet in many ways. But in other ways, I found it to be a pain for the landscape and adventure style photographer.

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Review: Wacom Intuos Pro (Medium)

The Wacom Intuos Pro may be just the thing photographers need

If you have been around photography for any length of time then you have likely at some point or another been recommended a graphics tablet of some sort to assist you while you are processing your images. No doubt Wacom’s line of Bamboo or Intuos tablets is something you have at least heard about, if not considered directly.

Well, Wacom updated their high-end tablet, the Intuos Pro, earlier this year and this is our review of that updated tablet, its abilities, and so forth. So if you have been considering a tablet of any kind, or maybe this model specifically, have a look below for our full review on the Wacom Intuos Pro (Medium). Continue reading…