Review: Simplr M1a Mirrorless Camera Strap

I genuinely, highly applaud the small business and entrepreneurial spirits of the American manufacturing world in regards to cameras; and so when the Simplr M1a Mirrorless Camera Strap I was very keen to give it a try. Jason, who creates the straps and sent me an inquiry about them, stated that he designed them for Fujifilm camera users primarily but that they can work well with all sorts of mirrorless cameras. The strap is made of military-grade materials and is designed with simplicity in mind.

While the Simplr M1a Mirrorless Camera Strap nails functionality really well, it’s pretty ugly; and I’m really wondering if it belongs on my Leica CL.

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Strap Review: 4V Design PIUMA UP KIT Sling Strap

When you think about sling straps for your camera, you’re most likely going to think about BlackRapid first; but the 4V Design PIUMA UP KIT Sling Strap is an option that honestly isn’t that expensive considering that it’s handmade Italian leather and rated to be much more durable than 4V states. Every now and again I actually have use and need for a sling strap. Of all the strap manufacturers out there, 4V is perhaps the last one that I’d suspect to make one of these straps. But believe it or not, I found the 4V Design PIUMA UP KIT Sling Strap to be not only incredible durable and useful, but surprisingly comfortable.

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Review: Fujifilm Instax SP-3 Instax Square Printer

The new Fujifilm Instax SP-3 adds Instagram and Facebook integration and prints your photos Square

It was only a matter of time until the Fujifilm Instax SP-3 Instax square printer launched; and it honestly couldn’t have come any sooner. I wasn’t a major fan of the Instax SQ-10, but the Fujifilm Instax SP-3 fully embraces wireless connectivity and digital photography and printing. More importantly, I’ve always loved the square format. The new Fujifilm Instax SP-3 has wireless connectivity that will let it connect to your phone, tablet, or Fujifilm camera in order to peruse the images there and print them. On the mobile device side, this can be done with the new Fujifilm Instax Square app. If you’ve got an iOS or Android device, you can also connect the new Instax Square app to your Instagram and Facebook account to print images from there. Plus it can connect with Dropbox, Google photos, Flickr and more.

So for weddings, that means that the hashtag that you’re following can easily have prints made right there on the spot.

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Review: Bashert Jewelry Leica Shutter Release Buttons

Fujifilm and Leica camera owners may really appreciate the Bashert Jewelry Leica Shutter Release buttons.

Though they may seem like just jewelry, the Bashert Jewelry Leica Shutter Release buttons have a fair amount of functionality to them as well as customization. You should know first and foremost that they’re made of Sterling Silver. That may sound a bit too bourgeois for some folks, but if you’re into customizations and a bit of the tactile experience, then you’ll understand how these can be really nice. For the uninitiated, soft shutter release buttons make the experience of pushing your camera shutter easier with less effort but without making them more sensitive. That doesn’t sound like such a big task until you actually experience it in person. I’d liken the experience to using an actual keyboard vs the one that you’ve got on the touchscreen device that many of you are using to read this blog post. There surely is a difference. I’d hate to write a long, essay format email on my iPhone 8 Plus but on my iMac’s Keyboard that would be significantly simpler to do. Synonymously, hammering a camera shutter over and over again can put some wear and tear on your fingers and hands in combination with typing on your phone, typing on a computer, etc.

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First Impressions: HP ZBook x2 Tablet for Creative Professionals

The HP ZBook x2 seems to be a very big Apple competitor for creative professionals

When HP called me into a meeting, I didn’t at all think that they’d be announcing the HP ZBook x2. Instead, I thought that they’d be getting back into photo printing in a big way; but this was a pleasant surprise. In fact, the HP ZBook x2 seems to be almost everything that I wish Apple would do but continuously refuses to. The HP ZBook x2 sports, first and foremost, a gorgeous 14 inch matte display with a surface and texture that is designed to look and feel like actual paper. It does a pretty good job at it too. Then it boasts things like SD card slots, Thunderbolt ports, USB 3.0 ports, and a bunch of quick buttons that can integrate into any program that you wish. However, they’re primarily designed for and being marketed specifically with Adobe Cloud product integration. So all the quick actions that you do in PhotoShop and Lightroom are all available at the touch of a button on the side.

In fact, HP is calling the HP ZBook x2 a detachable workstation; and they’ve pumped it full of some awesome stuff on the inside.

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Review: BenQ SW320 PRO 32IN IPS LCD Monitor (32 inch)

The BenQ SW320 PRO is one of the monitors on the market currently drooled over and dreamt about by many a photographer. It offers a whole lot for photographers who need to edit often in addition to printing, managing tasks like email, blogging, etc, and for general designing needs. If you aren’t aware of why this 32 inch monitor that has a whole lot of resolution can do such a great job, then consider the fact that BenQ claims it can cover over 99% of the Adobe RGB spectrum. Then add in facts like its ease of calibration with tools like those from Datacolor, the ability to switch between AdobeRGB, sRGB and black and white, and an SD card reader built right in alongside three USB ports and an HDMI out cable.

Pretty insane, huh?

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Review: Peak Design Leash and Cuff 2.0 Camera Straps

It's been a while since the Peak Design Leash and Cuff were released, and besides putting out a number of camera bags, the company has been focusing on trying to revamp these two straps. Peak Design, who first got famous off of the idea that you don't really need a camera strap if you use their Capture Clip, created the Peak Design Leash and Peak Design Cuff in response to their customers asking for straps. So with that in mind, it's no surprise the camera straps are still designed to work with their lineup of other products including their camera bags. Today, Peak Design is announcing their new camera straps on Kickstarter, and I've had a number of weeks to play with the new straps.

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Review: Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CT Tripod

When Vanguard announced the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CT Tripod, I was really intrigued by what could be coming. Vanguard’s original Alta Pro was and still is a beast of a tripod designed for taking quite a bit of abuse and being powerful overall. But when you take the Vanguard Alta Pro 2 Tripod out of its carrying case, you see that they’ve mostly given it a completely new vision. It retains a whole lot of the strength and great features that it had, but now the Vanguard Alta Pro 2 Tripod has even more. Additionally, it addresses a lot of the concerns he first tripod had.

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Review: Lumu Power Light Meter (Apple iPhone)

For years and years, I always wondered why no one had any sort of flash enabled light meter available for the iPhone; but then Lumu went and got the Lumu Power Kickstarted. It may have taken quite a long time, but it’s finally out the door. The Lumu Power light meter is designed for the photographer that wants and needs to use a light meter but that doesn’t want to carry around an actual light meter. Instead, they want something small that they can tote around and use whenever they want or need. Plus it simply works with your iPhone. So why would you not want one?

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Review: Gaffers Tape/Electrical Tape (A Photographer’s Best Friend)

There’s absolutely no doubting that gaffers tape and electrical tape have been used by photographers for years now. The tape has helped with a multitude of situations: covering up logos to make their camera more low profile, keeping a battery in a camera because the camera’s battery door fell off and you don’t have the money to replace it, adding grip to a lens or camera, building a GoBo for a light, attaching a gel to a flash, securing a flash to an unconventional spot, etc. Just look at most Leica cameras and you’ll see gaffers tape on it. Indeed, it’s true that photographers have used it over and over again for years for almost anything and everything.

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Review: Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap

Photographers who like backpacks have typically reached for the Peak Design Capture Clip, but if you want a camera strap instead, the Ponte Leather Co. Camera Lift Strap is looking to capture your heart. Made of Canvas, a bit of leather, and some chrome buttons, this camera strap is more stylish than your typical run of the mill strap but still can’t hold a candle to the gorgeous offerings of 4V Design, Tap and Dye, Cub and Co, ONA, Hawkesmill and to some point Holdfast Gear. The camera strap, which we reported on a while back during its Kickstarter phase, is out now and we got some times to really test it out.

The Camera Lift is designed to keep the weight of the camera off of your neck. While it makes the weight distribution a bit easier to handle, it’s not exactly holding true to its promise.

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Review: Platypod Pro Max

I’ve had the Platypod Pro Max in my possession for a really long time now; and my lack of getting this review out doesn’t have to do with laziness or priorities, but instead trying to illustrate how it’s actually useful for many photographers. You see, the Platypod Pro Max is marketed as being able to go where tripods can’t. But at the same time, it doesn’t have a lot of the same advantages of a tripod. You can’t extend its height because it’s a flat plate, but you can indeed place it in a variety of other flat surfaces. So with that said you pretty much just secure a ball head onto this thing, then put your camera on and you’ve got something that you’re ready to work with. But then the question begs why you’d still use it to begin with.

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Review: Cotton Carrier StrapShot Holster

There are products in the photo world that I’m happily proven wrong about, but unfortunately for the Cotton Carrier Strapshot Holster this isn’t one of those cases. The Cotton Carrier Strapshot is a Peak Design CaptureClip rip off one of those camera strap alternatives designed to backpackers and photographers that always want to have their camera at the ready. And in many ways, it’s a great attempt at catering to the hobbyist and adventure photographer. Waaaaayyyy back in the day when I first started the Phoblographer, I decided that I’d review the original Cotton Carrier–which is a big, bulky system that you wear as a harness across your chest and attempt to lock a camera into. But unfortunately, its clumsy size, weight and just how unpractical it became vs many other alternatives on the market let it die out.

For the most part, the Cotton Carrier Strapshot honestly should too.

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Review: DeadCameras Slim Strap Theme Camera Strap

Not long ago, the DeadCameras Slim Strap Theme Camera Strap popped up on the web. These camera straps are handmade in Portugal–which is much different from many of the others that you find out there instead made in London, America, or even Italy. The DeadCameras Slim Strap Theme Camera Strap also have a very unique look to them that majorly differentiates them from lots of other camera straps out there. That’s easily visible not only from the photos in this review, but also from the materials used in its production.

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Review: Syrp Super Dark Variable ND Filter (5-10 Stops)

Variable ND filters like the Syrp Super Dark Variable ND Filter have often been more popular amongst videographers than they have with photographers. But with proper knowledge of color theory or simply by relying on Auto White Balance if you’re trusting enough, a variable ND filter can be fantastic not just for the digital photographer, but also for the film photographer out there. The Syrp Super Dark Variable ND Filter is a variable ND filter that cuts out anywhere from 5 to 10 stops of light from your photo. The stops are clearly marked and the filter has hard stops at either end.

In the right situations, they rival Breakthrough and Hoya’s Quality.

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Review: Wolverine F2D Mighty 20MP 7-in-1 Film to Digital Converter

With analog film photography on the rise, there is obviously the need and want for many city dwelling photographers with little room in apartments to want to scan their photos; and that’s where the Wolverine F2D Mighty 20MP 7-in-1 Film to Digital Converter comes into play. No, it’s not a drum scanner. And it’s surely not one of those scanners well over $1,000. But it’s also not supposed to be. This film scanner scans 110 film, super 8 film, and 35mm negative and slide film in addition to black and white. For only [amazon_link asins=’B00O46B7TY’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c8ab35ba-de67-11e6-965f-bfba3e10fa0d’] though, you really can’t complain about the quality.

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Review: Cokin RIVIERA Classic Tripod

One of the biggest problems the photography industry has faced is selling tripods. In fact, it seems that with both lens and sensor based image stabilization seeming to work together, some may argue that you may not need a tripod. And indeed, for many photographers out there, you probably don’t need a tripod for your work. Landscape photographers and long exposure shooters will more than likely always need it. But the rest…

Maybe that’s why Cokin developed the Cokin RIVIERA Classic. You see, this isn’t a standard run of the mill tripod. Indeed, it isn’t a tripod you need per se, but it surely is a tripod you’ll want.

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Review: Holdfast Gear Maven Camera Strap

If you were to look at what some of the biggest names in the premium camera strap manufacturer lineup were, one brand that would immediately come to mind is Holdfast Gear. Their straps are incredibly different from everything else out there and for the most part, they got a bit of extra peacock to them vs many of the others. For a while now, I’ve been testing the Holdfast Gear Maven camera strap on the Impossible Project’s I-1 camera. Despite the fact that it isn’t specifically designed for that camera, they still work very well together due to the camera’s design.

Most of all, if you’re looking for something a bit more toned down from Holdfast, then the Maven is probably what you’re looking for.

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First Impressions: PanoCatcher Loop 360 Photography Rig

Editor’s note: we’ve made a number of corrections here to the post.

With everyone seemingly trying to get into the world of 360 photography and video, there is no doubt a whole lot of disruption in the photography world right now. But if there is anything out there that really seems incredibly cool, then it’s probably the PanoCatcher Loop used to create what’s being called a PanoMoment. Being launched on Kickstarter today, the project is one that delivers a 360 panoramic experience that sort of combines a timelapse, 360 photography and the interactivity that caters so much to the viewers out there with the attention span of a cocaine addict seeing s fluffy squirrel run across a field. A PanoMoment captures a still moment in time and essentially lets you scrub back and forth the way you normally would in a 360 image. But as you do this, the moment in time changes. It’s not a movie file, but instead a bit more like a stop motion 360 image.

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