This week, Jason is off to meet clients in Europe for a 2-week photo tour. As exciting as this is, packing for such a trip can be a real challenge. Do you bring a tripod, and if so, what kind? Do you pack for airline travel, or do you pack for convenience while shooting? We’ll talk about bag choices, and tips for maximizing your travel photography experience without breaking your back.
While most camera lenses produced these days are excellent, sometimes you get a defective one. It’s happened to both of us a few times over the years. This week, we’ll talk about what to look for when you’re evaluating a new lens, and how to spot common defects.
It’s that time of year where dread starts to seep in… no, not Aunt Mabel’s fruit cake, but what to do when a friend asks you “what’s a good camera; I only have a few hundred dollars to spend.”
Well, that’s where we come in. Assuming your friend (or relative) really understands what it means to operate a “real” camera, then there are lots of good options out there on the used market. Today, we’ll go through a short list of camera bodies which still deliver the goods and are great values.
This week, we bring you our annual holiday gift ideas! In addition to the usual items, which never go out of style, we’re also including some items that we’ve been personally fond of over the past year.
Treat your loved one (or yourself) to some new gear
It’s that time again! “Black Friday” has morphed into “most of November” for deals and sales on photography gear and software. Here are some items I strongly recommend for the photographer in your life (even if it’s you).
Many of the items on this list are indispensable when you’re in the field
If you’re moving from XQD to CF Express Type B, make sure you have a memory card reader that supports both formats, such as this one by Sony. Older XQD readers won’t read CF Express cards, and some CF Express readers won’t read XQD.
Professional flash units that won’t break your budget
I recently picked up a pair of Godox flash units and a wireless (radio) controller for my OM-1 camera. They work really well, and are easy on your wallet. I recommend the TT350O for Olympus/OM users.
Computer & Travel Accessories
On the road? Consider upgrading your backup drive to a portable SSD. They are small, extremely fast, and have no moving parts. I use a 2TB SanDisk portable SSD when I’m on the road.
Most newer cameras can be charged directly via a USB-C cable. Save the bulk of packing your standard charging brick and consider a multi-port USB-C charger to charge both your camera and your smartphone. This 40W dual charger by Anker has enough power to charge the Nikon Z9 battery, either in-camera or using the charging cradle.
When it comes to traveling, I like to pack my gear in a rolling bag, then transfer it to a shoulder bag when I’m out shooting. The ThinkTank roller bags are my personal choice for carrying larger kits through airports. When I’m traveling light and just want a backpack, the ThinkTank/MindShift Backlight 18L or 26L backpacks are amazing. They can hold lots of gear, and open from the back, making them more secure.
I personally use Adobe Lightroom Classic in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop. The newest masking features in Lightroom put it at the top of its class for raw image editors. I also recommend the following plug-in tools:
Topaz Photo AI: This suite of tools delivers some of the best sharpening and noise reduction I’ve seen; far superior to using Lightroom alone. The suite also includes the new Photo AI program, which is still evolving but bundles sharpening, noise reduction, and up-sizing images into one application. I have recently started re-thinking my triage criteria for “acceptably sharp,” as Sharpen AI (and Photo AI) can sometimes work miracles on slightly soft subjects. Any software package that makes me re-think my workflow deserves recognition.
DXO Pure Raw 3: This is my go-to tool for noise reduction and detail retention on high ISO images.
Infrared Conversion Services
If you have an older camera, why not give it new life by converting it to infrared? Kolari Vision offers a variety of conversion options, but the most intriguing (to me, at least), is the full-spectrum conversion. When paired with Kolari’s clip-in filters (for mirrorless cameras), it means you can have one camera that can truly deliver a wide range of creative infrared looks.
Cameras and Lenses
If you’re really looking for an upgrade this holiday season, you can check out the holiday specials at B&H Photo.