3 Legged Thing travel tripod: As well-designed as they come

3 Legged Thing X2.1 Eddie Evolution 2 CF Tripod System w/AirHed 2 Ball Head (Black)UK tripod maker 3 Legged Thing (3LT) has been around for awhile, but hasn’t attracted as much attention as some of its high-end competitors like Gitzo. I’ve been using for a few weeks, including on safari in Africa, and have been very impressed. Not only is the build quality as good or better than any Gitzo I have used, but the feature set is remarkable. A single device can be a tripod or monopod, and the reversible center column make the Eddie very versatile. As with most travel tripods, the small carrying size relies on having a head that can fit between the legs of the tripod when they are folded back on themselves. My Eddie came with 3LT’s own AirHed 2 in a bundle. The head was as solid and usable as you can expect from such a small unit…

Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Superzoom compact camera passes its field test

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 Digital Camera (Black)No segment of the camera market has improved as quickly as the superzoom point and shoots. Originally more of a gimmick than a real tool, these tiny models are now quite capable of producing very usable images. However, to get their massive zoom ranges crammed into a few-ounce body means using a fairly small sensor. Likewise, electronics are limted by their weight and low price, so exposure, focus, and the EVF also suffer. To see what the new models are capable of, I brought along the new with me to Africa on safari to field test (in addition to my primary DSLR of course). For the most part I was pleasantly surprised with the results, but it certainly had some drawbacks as well…

Images from Johannesburg with the DxO ONE

The Melrose Arch mall and environs in Johannesburg provided some good locations to capture images for the new DxO ONE. To make sure the camera was doing as much of the work as possible, I left it on Auto mode for all but a couple of the shots. Here’s a gallery of some of my favorites (NOTE: This is a pre-production camera, so final image quality will be different when the unit ships to customers) – Images are all copyrighted, so ask for permission before using them)…

DxO ONE: Introducing a new kind of mobile camera

DxO-ONE-camera-for-smartphonesI’ve been working with a very exciting new camera that I’m happy to be able to tell you about now that it has been announced. It is called simply the ONE, from image processing software vendor DxO. DxO has used its industry-leading expertise in evaluating cameras and lenses, and creating image processing pipelines, to create a camera that works seamlessly with your iPhone, but produces much better images. The ONE is built around a 1-inch sensor – far larger than the ones found in mobile devices, including the one in the iPhone. It’s the same size sensor that’s found in much larger, high-end, compact cameras like the – that are also more expensive.

New value-price wildlife lens champion: Tamron 150-600mm zoom field-tested

Wildlife photographers have some amazing, and amazingly expensive, lens options from Canon and Nikon, but for many the huge price tags – not to mention large size and weight -- make them impractical. Instead, they have needed to compromise image quality to meet their budget. Fortunately, modern manufacturing techniques and lens design software improvements have continued to improve the quality of third-party value-priced lenses. The first of this new breed is the that I field tested in Texas during my workshops this month...

A magic trick you can hold in your hand: Celluon PicoPro portable projector field-tested

Every once in a while I review a product that seems like a magic trick. Right now that is the Celluon Pico Pro projector.

Datacolor Spyder 5: The best desktop color management tool keeps getting better

There is nothing more frustrating to a photographer than not being able to judge the color of their images. Even black and white images need accurate tonal values. That’s why I’ve long been a proponent of a fully color-managed workflow, providing the best chance that images shown on your monitor will match the way they came out of the camera and the way they look when printed. There are plenty of solutions, but having tried most of them, the one that stands out as a combination of functionality, ease-of-use, and reasonable price. That’s the Spyder line from Datacolor. This week Datacolor released a sleek new version – the . I’ve been using it for a while now during its beta test, and am impressed…

TYLT Vu Car: Finally, a wireless car charger that really works

As a photographer that travels a lot and relies on my smartphone for directions, music, email, and photo-related applications, it is important for me to be able to securely mount my phone in cars and trucks – both mine and rental vehicles. Just as important, it needs to charge effectively on long trips. Ideally, the charging would be wireless, which really helps with convenience and cable management. I’ve tried quite a number of car mounts – both wired and wireless – without finding one that met all my needs. Until I tried the new TYLT Vu Car (wireless)…

Nikon unleashes D7200 chock-full of features from full-frame, but will it finally satisfy as a D400?

For Nikon shooters looking to purchase or upgrade a DX-format DSLR (e.g. APS-C, or “crop” sensor), the new has plenty to offer. The camera features the powerful 51-point Multi-CAM 3500 II Autofocus module first introduced in the full-frame . The upgraded EXPEED 4 processor also allows for 6 fps shooting, and 100-shot JPEG bursts. NFC makes pairing the camera with a mobile device over WiFi a cinch (a welcome change from pecking at small screens!). Other nice upgrades include…

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