Category Archives Reviews


When I was hosting my Dunedin, Florida PhotoWalk (as part of the worldwide photowalk), I saw a photographer in my group, a very nice guy named David Rogers, using the handiest camera strap I’ve seen in while. It’s called the Rapid R-Strap, and while I thought it was ideal for shooting in situations like a photowalk, I’m going to order one tonight for use with my 2nd camera when I’m shooting sports.

After talking with David about it, he offered to do a full review of it for the blog, and so, here you have it; the complete review from photographer David Rogers (Thanks David!).

Review: Rapid R-Strap from BlackRapid
The Worldwide PhotoWalk seemed a perfect opportunity for me to test the R-Strap from BlackRapid, Inc. I’m not the kind of person that likes to wear a tie let alone a 6lb. swinging weight around my neck so when I found out about this strap and the fact that it came with a 30-day return policy I felt I couldn’t lose. If I didn’t like it I’d send it back and be no worse off.

It aint going back! The simplicity of the design alone has you saying “why didn’t I think of that.” Truth is, much like the automatic kitty litter box, you probably did think of it but never did anything about it.

How it works:
The R-Strap is worn over one shoulder (my left) and crosses the body like a car seat belt or messenger bag. It attaches to the camera via the tripod socket on a large lens setup or the camera body when using smaller lenses. The camera is now hanging upside down at your side or just above your right butt cheek. In one very smooth motion you grab the camera with your right hand and swing it forward and away from your body up to your eye. Shoot!, then lower it back to your side and continue about your day.

[ed. Here’s a quick video from the manufacturer showing the R-Strap in action]:

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The greatest feature of this setup is the fact that your hands are free and your (more…)


If you’re not familiar with any of the “P-series,” (technically Epson calls these “Multimedia Viewers” because they play videos and music), they’re part portable hard drive for safely backing up your memory cards on location, part photo-viewer with a big bright screen, and part in-the-field laptop replacement, because you can create collections, do slideshows with a music background; you can sort and rate your images on them, and a half dozen other things in a size so small you can fit it in your camera bag. I’ve been using these “P’s” since there was a P-2000 and I take one on every location shoot without fail, as it’s become an important part of my workflow.

Anyway, I got to play around with the P-7000 quite a bit this past week, and I wanted to give you a quick review on what’s new, and why I like the P-7000 so much better than my beloved P-5000.

Here’s what I loved:

  • The Larger Storage Size; Epson has doubled the storage sizes of both units (compared to the previous P-3000 and P-5000). At 160GB the P-7000 has double the memory of my P-5000 and the P-6000 is 80GB (vs. 40GB for the P-3000). Last week (at my Mary Duprie workshop), I had to delete files on my old P-5000 to fit the shots from that day, so the 160 GB version is going to mean more to me than I once thought.
  • Better Software: If I had a gripe with the P-5000, it was that the software needed to be a little more robust. It did a lot, but it fell short in a couple of areas (especially when it came to importing images), but luckily the new software is MUCH better (it looks pretty much the same, but it has enhanced functionality in a number of areas).
  • It’s faster at Importing Images. These new units are supposed to be 35% faster at importing images ( I didn’t run lab tests to confirm, but I can tell you it definitely feels faster).
  • The Screen Display is Off The Hook: The new screen technology, using Epson’s “Photo Fine Premia” technology (which displays 16.7 million colors) is just stunning. It’s incredibly crisp, bright, and pretty much blows away what you see on the back of your camera’s LCD (and the new screens encompass 94% of the entire gamut of the Adobe RGB Color Space used by many photographers). When you zoom in tight to view your images really close (to check sharpness, etc), the display is tack sharp, and you can get in really, really close.
  • They added a new Jog Wheel to help you scroll through your images more easily (this is bigger improvement than you might think. Ask anyone who has an earlier P-series).
  • The P-7000 comes with a nice little travel pack, which includes a travel case, a car charger, and dual battery charger, and a few other little kickers.

What I Wish Were Different:

  • The software is much better for sure, but the overall design of the interface still needs a lot of work. Since this was designed for photographers, the interface design should appeal to creative types. Looks matter, and I’d love to see the look of the interface get the same amount of attention everything else has. Right now, the software is very functional. The problem is; it needs to look better, be easier to use, and more fun to use.
  • They’re pretty darn expensive; The P-6000 has a street price of $599 and the P-7000 goes for $799. I know they replace you having to carry an expensive laptop into the field to back up and view your images (which is does for me), but it shouldn’t actually cost as much as a laptop (for example, Dell’s new Vostro 1710 laptop, with a 17″ widescreen LCD display, 1 GB RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and built-in DVD burner sells for $100 less than the P-7000; at just $699). I think Epson needs to reevaluate the prices of both units, but the marketplace will ultimately decide if it’s too high or not.

The Bottomline
It is, without a doubt, the best P-series Epson’s ever made. The software, while not where I’d like it to be, is certainly much improved over earlier versions. The speed is better, the screen is insanely good—all the hardware parts of this puppy just rock. Best of all, it fits snugly in my camera bag (even my smallest one) and knowing that my images are backed up while I’m on location is absolutely invaluable to me. If price isn’t a big factor, and you want the very best back-up and photo viewer on the planet, pick up either the P-6000 or 7000 when they come out in September.

(Photo above courtesy of Epson).


A few weeks back, I went ahead and bought the new Nikon D700, but I really wanted to spend some time with it, and shoot in a number of different situations and scenarios, before I gave you my review. Now that I have a few thousands shots on it, I’m ready to share what I’ve learned.

My Field Report
The D700 was announced on July 1st, and Nikon seeded a number of photo sites with an early review unit, so for more than a month now we’ve all had access to very detailed write-ups of every single pixel, technical aspect, and mechanical specification possible. So, when I do a review, I want to bring a slightly different angle to it, so it’s really more of a ‘Field Report’ (what I liked and didn’t like and my personal impressions from actually using it out in the field).

My challenge in writing this field report, is that while it’s true the D700 is a new camera, it’s really two existing cameras made into one (the guts of a Nikon D3 inside the body of a Nikon D300), so I’m not going to have a bunch of exciting new features to share that everybody doesn’t already know about, so it’s really going to be a “feel for the camera” type of report, and my feelings on who might want one and why. We’ll start with a quick recap of what the D700 brings to the table.

Comparing it to the D300:

  • It looks just like a D300, and if you didn’t look at the name on the front (or the camera strap), you’d probably never know, so cosmetically, they’re very much the same, except that the D700 is slightly taller because of the updated viewfinder, and the D700 has the new flash sync and remote caps. Also, on the back the viewfinder area looks more like the D3’s, as does the multi-control wheel.
  • Since it has the D3 chip inside, you get two things: the Full Frame FX format sensor, (more…)

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A few weeks ago I was doing an on-location video shoot for my new book, The Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers. (This video is a special bonus feature exclusively for people who buy the book, in addition to the two new workflow chapters already in the book; one on location portrait photography and one on travel photography).

Anyway, I tried out this new piece of gear for the shoot (I’m not going to tell you what it is), and it worked so amazingly well, that I decided on the spot to do a quick little side video just to show it off.

I have no affiliation with the company whatsoever, but Larry Becker (NAPP Exec Director) was with me and let me know that NAPP members get a $10 discount on it, so then I had to do the video. It’s only 1 minute, 47 seconds long, so if you’re a Wedding photographer, you’ve got to watch that video up above.

By the way, here’s the link, to the product I’m demoing (ya know, just in case). ;-)


OK, now that Lightroom 2, the real final version is now shipping, I can really take a look at how the new version stacks up against my dream “wish list” of features from a blog post I did well before the public beta was released.

Did I get everything on my wish list? No, but of course, I never expected to (that’s why it’s called a “wish list” rather than “a list of demands”). ;-)

Now, I was pretty psyched to see a lot of the things on my list did make it into the final shipping version, and of course I was disappointed at the ones I thought for sure would be there but didn’t make the cut.

So, here I’m going to look at what’s hot about about the new Lightroom 2 (and there’s plenty of stuff to be excited about), and what’s not (You knew there was going to be a “what’s not,” right?) Here we go: