Category Archives: Gear

Review: SanDisk Extreme Pro Thumb Drive for Travel

Can a thumb drive replace an external hard drive for travel photography?

Most laptops just don’t have enough internal storage for lots of images, especially if you want to use a fast solid state drive (SSD). I keep my Lightroom catalog on my internal drive, but all my images are stored externally. That arrangement makes it much easier to transfer my files when I get back from a photo workshop or safari.

Until recently, I’ve always used 1 or 2TB external drives. My current one is the LaCie 2TB Rugged Drive, which I like a lot. They are reliable, and come in a variety of interfaces (USB/Thunderbolt). However, even with a fast interface, most traditional hard drives are still fairly slow. That can limit the transfer rate when you’re downloading your photos or accessing them with Lightroom or Photoshop.

San Disk Extreme Pro Thumb Drive
San Disk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 Solid State Flash Drive

The idea of using a thumb drive (memory stick) for travel didn’t really appeal to me, other than the concept of having a small and light storage solution without the need for cables. Most memory sticks are actually quite slow, even ones that are marketed with USB 3 interfaces. However, SanDisk recently released a USB 3.1 spec solid state thumb drive that claims to have speeds that match that of regular SSDs. Considering that most of the time, I rarely capture more than 100GB of images on any given trip, I figured that a 256GB drive might just work. So I purchased one from B&H and gave it a whirl, and compared it to my other drives using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test utility.

See the speed test results after the jump: Continue reading Review: SanDisk Extreme Pro Thumb Drive for Travel

2016 Holiday Gift Ideas For Photography Enthusiasts

Happy Holidays!

christmas-18106_640It’s shopping time, and if you are looking for gifts for the photographer you know (or for yourself), here are some nice budget-conscious items you can check out for your photographer friends and family.  And of course, don’t forget my printable PDF eBooks and video training courses!

Let’s get started, shall we?
Continue reading 2016 Holiday Gift Ideas For Photography Enthusiasts

Nikon 105mm f/1.4E vs. 105mm f/2.8 AFS G VR Macro

As you may know, I’m testing the new Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikkor portrait lens. One of the main questions I’ve been asked over on my Facebook page is, “how does it compare to the 105mm micro-Nikkor?”

It’s a fair question, as I’ve long listed the 105mm f/2.8 AFS G VR micro-Nikkor as an excellent portrait lens. For this purpose, at least to me, there are really only two discriminators: VR (stabilization) and aperture.  Continue reading Nikon 105mm f/1.4E vs. 105mm f/2.8 AFS G VR Macro

More Nikon 105mm f/1.4 Sample Images

I’ve had a few more opportunities to shoot with the new Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikkor, so I thought I’d post some sample images here. Most of these were shot wide-open, because that’s what this lens is all about. Simply put, if you’re into shots with shallow depth of field and incredible subject isolation, then this is a tremendous lens.

Check prices and specs of the Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikkor here

Quick thoughts:
  • The lens is quite sharp wide-open, but you have to be SUPER CAREFUL about your focus point because DOF is incredibly shallow (you knew that, of course).
  • Use AF Fine-Tuning to make sure you get the focus point dead-on with this lens. Any slight front or back-focus will be very noticeable!
  • There is light fall-off at f/1.4 but I actually like it because it creates a natural vignette effect in portraits. Adobe Lightroom now includes a lens correction setting for the 105mm f/1.4E, but I almost think that I like it better with vignette correction disabled.
  • This is a big lens (82mm front filter). It’s not something I’d carry around as part of my regular kit unless I were a portrait/wedding photographer (then it would live permanently in my bag).

Continue reading More Nikon 105mm f/1.4 Sample Images

Nikon DSLR Secrets: My Menu

The secret to finding frequently used items in your Nikon Menus

The My Menu item in Nikon DSLRs lets you save frequently used items.
The My Menu item in Nikon DSLRs lets you save frequently used items.

Have you ever been shooting with your Nikon DSLR and find yourself needing to change a menu setting quickly but cannot remember where it’s located? The “My Menu” option in Nikon DSLR cameras allows you to custom configure your own menu panel with the items you frequently use. Here, I’ll show you how to access and add items to the My Menu panel in Nikon DSLR cameras.

What’s in My Menu?

I currently have the following items in My Menu:

  • Time Zone and Date
  • Exposure Delay Mode
  • Long Exposure NR
  • Multiple Exposure Mode
  • Interval Timer Shooting
  • Monitor Brightness
  • Lock mirror up for cleaning
  • Battery info
  • AF fine-tune