Hardware Review: Sigma 18-250

Lens reviews are at the heart of any photography-themed blog, and today is the review of the Sigma 18-250…with it’s wide focal range, this is a key lens to have in your bag if you want your SLR to reach it’s best potential.  While Point and Shoot and camera phones may be great for some scenarios, it’s the bigger sensor size of the SLR that will garner you better photos…yet these photos are only as good as the glass they’re captured through!  So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the Sigma 18-250! Read more

Hardware Review Think Tank Retrospective 7

Video Review

As summer comes upon us, we are out and about much more often, taking more pictures and videos than ever before.  This latest hardware review from Think Tank Photo makes sure we have the right gear with us without overloading us with every piece of kit.  I took a look at the Slate Blue denim-canvassed variety of the Retrospective 7 and it came out with shining colors (no surprise there).  Take a look at all the gear I included in the load:

  • 1  SLR
  • 5 lenses
  • Hoodman Loupe
  • Gorillapod
  • Flash Card Case
  • Headlamp
  • Battery Caddy
  • Leatherman

And there was room to spare.  I also really enjoyed the sound buffering panels to silence the ripping Velcro sound if desired.    There’s so much to appreciate here, it really needs more than I could say here in words.  So, with that in mind – let’s take a look at a new format I’ve put together for hardware reviews:  video footage!

The video may take a bit to load as I’ve covered this bag extensively, so it’s nearly 20 minutes long, but is only 115 MB in size.  Enjoy the vid, and if you have any questions about it, feel free to post questions, comments or other feedback here!  My only major nit is that the Retrospective 7 will not fit my laptop.  If it did that, I could easily see this replacing my laptop bag for short trips.  Since the pads are removable, I could easily make this a work bag too…and fit a P&S camera with my laptop, papers, and other info.  I realize though, that they were trying to make it as cross-compatible as possible, but I needed just two more inches to get my Macbook Pro in this bag!

Another small nit is that I am not sure how I would be able to hoo my tripod on to this bag for carrying purposes.  The new super light carbon fiber tripods are so light, I’d always rather take one with me than not, and in looking at the design, there’s really no way to strap that in.  I did kind of re-purpose the sound baffles for the Velcro to accommodate my Gorilla Pod, which I guess is fine in a pinch, but a tripod is something that we should never really go into the field without if we can help it anymore, and it’s too bad Think Tank didn’t give us a way to hook it on here.  (*Note*  There are loops on each end where a carribeaner might work, but this would be rather clunky – I’d rather see  some sort of tie-down on the underside.

Like I said in the video though – there’s more upsides than downsides, and I would definitely add this to my bevy of bags!  However, as always, I’ve promised not to keep the gear I review – so it will be offered up in the next giveaway!  When is that?  Watch the video! 🙂

Thanks again to the folks over at Think Tank Photo for this opportunity to get a first look and hands-on experience with the latest in their gear!  You can check out this bag, and any others from their line-up here.  In the interests of full disclosure, the links to Think Tank Photo here are included as affiliate links, and if you do end up making a purchase through them, the prices are the same, but a little bit comes back to me to help offset the cost of maintaining this blog, the podcast, and the contest series!  (Not to mention the video reviews I create here to share with you!).  So, again thanks to Think Tank, and thanks to all the readers who take the time to read the content here, watch the videos, and enjoy the various vendors products in support of the blog.  Happy shooting and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!
Free Laptop Case

Is Photoshop Touch for Photos?

Photoshop Touch

As promised, today I am going to take a closer look at Photoshop Touch from the folks at Adobe.  Designed to give photographers on the go something for doing quick edits on their mobile devices (i.e. an iPad), Photoshop Touch is basically a light version of the full Photoshop application that sits on your desktop computer.

Since I will be putting together a more extensive article for Dave over at PhotographyBB, here I’ll just be doing a quick overview of the menus, what options you have for editing, and applying styles and effects to images.  Coming up in the magazine edition, I’ll also briefly discuss some of the features available for drawing and sketching your creative visions from scratch!

The Menus

Photoshop Touch has six main menu options from the top panel.  These serve to do things like crop photos, apply styles and effects, and to perform basic edits on things like white balance adjustments, add text, drop shadows, and other Photoshop-style functions.  Here’s a quick summary of each of the menus (courtesy of the real Photoshop and screen captures from my trusty iPad2)!

Upload to Creative Cloud
Launch Creative Cloud

Save to camera roll
Share to Facebook
Share to email
Send to printer

Add new Folder
Move projects

Duplicate project
Delete project

Connect to Facebook

Settings

Photoshop Touch

On my initial edits inside of Photoshop Touch, I can definitely see some stylizing effects that could be useful for the creative eye, typical of what you would expect to see in a “Lite” version of Photoshop.  What I am not seeing though, is very much in the way of photo edits…I don’t see an adjustment brush, and standard types of photo edits like red eye seem to be missing.  There is some potential there, including things like white balance adjustments, and perhaps with some detailed time in, I may ramp up the learning curve enough to make this a decent photo post production alternative for in the field…I don’t think it’s meant for that purpose.

This is more a lite version of Photoshop, rather than Lightroom.  It’s not really a photo manager, there’s no exposure adjustments that I can see intuitively available, nor are there things that I would expect to see in a photo editor like red eye, noise handling, dynamic range adjustments, etc.  These might be obtained through more detailed edits, but I don’t see Photoshop Touch as something for the field photographer.  It’s probably more of a detailed sketch pad for the graphic artist.

I realize here that I am probably creating more questions than answers, but felt that on a first look, it would be helpful to identify the apparent overall goal of the app.  Since it’s only $10 for the app, I am actually going to go ahead and give this a buy recommendation.  Given the features that it does have, I can see the occasional need or use for a photographer.  In the event you can also take advantage of the sketch features, so much the better.  Even if you only get use out of it 10 times in a year (that’s less than once a month), it’s worth the expense.  For the price, and all things considered, this is a pretty solid “lite” version of the full Photoshop.  It’s certainly no workflow solution, but definitely worth the time spent in it for occasional styling, edits, and quick touch ups when you are on the go.

So, if you own an iPad (and at a baseline entry price of $500) you can probably swing the $10 to go ahead with this app.  You can get it from the iTunes App store directly from your iPad, or download via your computer and sync up through that method if you prefer.  More to come from the Adobe front, as we look t Friday where I give another sneak peak into the beta release of Photoshop CS6 (in case you haven’t seen enough of Adobe apps yet! 🙂  )

What about others though?  Has anyone else downloaded this app and kicked the tires?  It’s kind of hard to justify kicking the tires on an app at $10, so not sure what others thoughts are, but if you’ve bought it to try it, share your thoughts here.  Got more questions about it?  Feel free to share those as well.  In the meantime, don’t forget to keep on shooting, and we’ll see you back here on Friday.

Editor Note:  Don’t forget, the March contest eds this Saturday, so if you’re not shooting yet, get it done soon for your chance to win a great book from Joe Farace, titled “Studio Lighting Anywhere”.