Equipment Reviews

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Steve Bedell Posted: Aug 01, 2014 0 comments

We all know that dedicated flash units are amazing tools. They allow us to use not just one but several flashes with amazing control over the output and have the math figured out for us in the bargain. But unless we modify the light in some way we are left with a very small light source that can be very harsh, and while that may be fine in some cases, there are times when we need to modify the light to soften and shape it. With the Profoto RFi Speedlight Speedring, you now have the ability to do just that using the many modifiers available to you in the Profoto arsenal.

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Stan Trzoniec Posted: Jul 18, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 0 comments
Considering that this opticis only a tad slower than the Nikkor 200-400mm f/4, with a drop of a stop when you zoom out, has a 5x zoom range, is lighter, and costs about half of the near $7000 price tag of the 200-400mm f/4, it is certainly worthy of consideration for those who can appreciate what it has to offer in both range and versatility.
Russell R. Caron Posted: Jul 04, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 0 comments
The Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flash represents a significant new release for Canon photographers, most specifically for those using off-camera flash. A very capable and reliable flash on its own, its real forte is when used as the heart of a radio-controlled flash system. Eliminating the need for third-party radio transmitters and receivers to wirelessly connect off-camera flashes to the camera, and without the restrictions of similar infrared systems that require line of sight, the 600EX-RT system provides solid and, in my test, very dependable real-life operation in the field.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jul 22, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 0 comments
The Nikon Df is a retro-style SLR camera with a 16MP full-frame sensor. While other Nikon SLRs, such as the D4, are clearly aimed at the professional and enthusiast markets, with all the attendant features of modern D-SLRs, the Df is clearly a “classic” camera approach, intended for “purists.” That may be the reason why the Df offers no video capabilities, for example.
John Wade Posted: Jul 08, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 0 comments
In the days before the 35mm Single Lens Reflex (SLR) rose to prominence, the 35mm viewfinder camera reigned supreme. Unlike the reflex viewing system of the SLR, this camera type used a separate optical viewfinder with a slightly different view to that of the lens. Some featured built-in coupled rangefinders to aid accurate focusing, and many stood at the center of versatile systems of lenses and accessories.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jul 29, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 0 comments
Even though the new Pentax K-3 offers a very robust and massive body, it is quite compact; it’s only slightly larger than the ultra-compact Canon EOS Rebel SL1, although it’s almost double the weight. Using 92 O-rings and seals, the camera is splashproof and the covers that protect the card slots, interfaces, and battery look very robust and inspire confidence. The sealing doesn’t allow for use of the Pentax as an underwater camera, but it is certainly well protected for use even in a very hard rain.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jul 15, 2014 Published: Jun 01, 2014 0 comments
The Fujifilm X-E2 is a compact system camera with a “retro” design that offers 16MP resolution. Compared to its forerunner, the X-E1, changes include an electronic viewfinder with extremely high resolution. The small OLED display of the X-E2 has 2.36 million RGB dots and shows a brilliant, very crisp reproduction of the viewfinder image, images in review mode, and menus. The combination of the high-resolution monitor, the electronic magnifier (“viewfinder loupe”), and the focus peaking function are very helpful when working in manual focus mode.
Anthony L. Celeste Posted: Jun 03, 2014 Published: May 01, 2014 0 comments
I first looked at Auto FX Software’s DreamSuite Series One in the January, 2006, issue of Shutterbug. Since then, Auto FX has gone on to create DreamSuite Series Two and DreamSuite Gel. Now, Auto FX has released upgraded versions of all of these filter sets, plus an additional 12 new filters in a collection it calls DreamSuite Ultimate.
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Steve Bedell Posted: Mar 28, 2014 Published: May 01, 2014 0 comments
One of the reasons you might consider a “third-party” shoe mount for your camera is simple—it’s usually less expensive, sometimes considerably so. Saving a few bucks is good, but perhaps some features are missing, or the construction isn’t as robust, or the resale value will be lower. But sometimes it just may be a smart choice, as I found when testing the Phottix Mitros flash for my Nikon.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jun 10, 2014 Published: May 01, 2014 0 comments
The Nikon D5300 follows the Nikon D5200 and there is an important difference between the two. The D5300 has a new image sensor without a low-pass filter, which contributed to an excellent performance in our resolution tests.
The D5300 uses a display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, which shows the whole sensor image without black borders or frames. Compared to the Nikon D5200, the LCD screen is also larger, at 3.2”, and has a very high resolution of 1.04 million RGB dots. The monitor is fully articulated and makes for very comfortable shooting.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jun 24, 2014 Published: May 01, 2014 0 comments
The Sony A7 and A7R are the first mirrorless system cameras with a full-frame sensor. The A7 offers a sensor size of 35.8x23.9mm and a resolution of 24MP, while the A7R has a slightly larger sensor at 35.9x24.0mm and 36MP resolution. Both cameras use the E-mount lens system that was introduced with Sony’s NEX cameras. Because NEX cameras use APS-C-sized sensors all previous E-mount lenses have smaller image circles, thus the full-frame models require new E-mount lenses, which cover the larger image circle of a full-frame sensor.
Jack Neubart Posted: May 30, 2014 Published: May 01, 2014 0 comments
DxO Optics Pro is a Raw converter that keeps pace with the ever-growing, ever-changing world of digital photography. The newest version—DxO Optics Pro 9 (for Mac or Windows)—focuses on one of digital imaging’s most troubling artifacts: digital noise. Whether you’re shooting at high ISOs or bringing out blocked shadow detail in a seriously underexposed image or an HDR photo, digital noise (luminance and chrominance) can rear its ugly head. And now we can finally deliver a knockout punch to this culprit. But before you get in the ring, there are a few things you should know.
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George Schaub Posted: Jun 27, 2014 Published: May 01, 2014 0 comments
Starting with the 2014 CES trade show, held at the turn of the year, and continuing through press time for this issue, we’ve seen a goodly number of new products come to the fore. All this is only the start—this being a photokina year we’ll see a whole new round of products, including CMOS-sensor medium formats, with prices to match, coming our way. I trust that this report will give you a good sense of what’s here and what’s coming down the pike. So, here are my quick picks of those products that caught my eye, plus a snapshot of some of the trends.
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Jack Neubart Posted: May 23, 2014 Published: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
I’ve had to replace a failing computer hard drive more often than I’d care to remember. Fortunately, I’ve learned my lesson: my workstation now includes external drives as both backup and primary storage. I routinely move content from the computer onto one external drive and back up to a second drive. (I usually prefer to transfer memory card files first to the computer, so that my backups will include these; then I move those files to the external drive when a project is completed, making sure that they are synced to Lightroom.) Unfortunately, the cost of all this may amount to the price of a second camera body or new lens, but it’s money well spent, as you’ll realize the first time a drive goes down.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: May 13, 2014 Published: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
The Nikon 1 AW1 is the first digital compact system camera that can be used for diving or other active sports without an additional protective case. Protected by a stainless steel front cover, all function elements, card slots, and interfaces are protected by sealed covers. While the 1 AW1 can be used with all lenses of the Nikon 1 system, using it underwater and in similar adverse conditions requires the use of special lenses. Nikon offers a standard kit lens with a focal length of 11-27.5mm (29.7-74.25mm, 35mm film equivalent) that is protected by sealing gaskets and therefore can be used underwater. The second underwater lens is the 1 Nikkor AW 10mm f/2.8.

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