Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Gnarbox WiFi Hard Drive

Gnarbox Product Review: A Wireless Portable Hard Drive for Mobile Workflow

As I find myself exploring the world with my camera, my need to “go light” has ramped up. While I still prefer to use my DSLRs, one area where I can really save some space and weight is by exchanging my laptop for an iPad for overseas travel. My mobile workflow on the iPad is still evolving, but Lightroom CC (formerly Lightroom Mobile), is quite competent for most travel photography. The Gnarbox portable hard drive is a potential complement to the traveling photographer looking to stay light and use a tablet instead of a laptop.

Gnarbox
Gnarbox is a portable WiFi SSD backup solution for mobile workflow.

The Achilles heel of most tablets is storage space. While the iPad Pro can be configured with 512GB of memory, that’s not a lot when it comes to RAW capture with my Nikon D850. In the field, it would be nice to not only have a file back-up solution that integrates with the tablet, but also a way of previewing and triaging images before moving them to the tablet to use in editing apps. Enter the Gnarbox, a portable hard drive with WiFi connectivity.

Gnarbox (gnarly name, dude) is a portable solid state hard drive (SSD) that connects to your mobile device via its own local WiFi hotspot. This means you can use it with mobile devices that do not support USB drives, like the iPad. I got my hands on a Gnarbox from B&H Photo to test, and what follows is my experience with it using iOS mobile devices. Continue reading Review: Gnarbox WiFi Hard Drive

Product Review: Oben CTM 2500 Monopod

A $99 Monopod That Delivers in the Field

Oben CTM 2500 monopod
The Oben CTM-2500 5-section monopod

I recently started using monopods again for bird and wildlife photography. Monopods provide stability in the field yet are far easier to pack and maneuver when shooting. I wanted to try out something less expensive than my older Gitzo monopods, so I looked at options and found the Oben CTM 2500.

The Oben CTM 2500 Monopod

The Oben CTM 2500 monopod is an inexpensive carbon fiber monopod that is sturdy enough to hold my 500mm f/4 Nikkor lens. However, I’ve done most of my testing using the Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 VR lens and my D850. I was very pleased to discover that this monopod performs well in the field.  Continue reading Product Review: Oben CTM 2500 Monopod

Nikon D850 Hands-On Review

The Amazing Nikon D850

My hands-on, non-techincal, totally subjective review
Nikon D850 Review
Sunset at Bandon Beach, Oregon captured with the Nikon D850

I’ve had the Nikon D850 for about a month now, and I’ve been able to use it on two of my landscape photo safaris so far. I figured then it’s time for a Nikon D850 review! I want to briefly present my impressions with this camera based on my experience in the field. I’ve previously shot with both a Nikon D800E and Nikon D810. This is my subjective review of how the Nikon D850 DSLR camera has impacted my photography. I’m sure others will post detailed technical reviews of noise, dynamic range, etc. I’ll leave that to the technical geeks and instead focus on my personal experiences with this new camera. Continue reading Nikon D850 Hands-On Review

Nikon D850: High ISO Samples

Nikon D850 High ISO Performance Tests

Nikon D850 High ISO Image
My test scene for Nikon D850 high-iso images

The Nikon D850 DSLR camera not only produces 45-megapixel images perfect for landscapes and studio work, but its fast frame rate makes it potentially appealing for sports and action photographers. In sports and action photography, shutter speed is critical, and that means being able to push the camera ISO well above its base value. I decided to do some Nikon D850 high ISO testing to see how it fares.

Watch: Nikon D850 unboxing video

The Nikon D850 has a base ISO of 64, but you can expand it up to 25,800. Beyond that, you can push the ISO two full stops (Hi 1 and Hi 2 settings) to get corresponding ISO values of 51,200 and 102,400, respectively. Nikon uses the “Hi” nomenclature to denote sensitivities that are not truly “in-spec” and in accordance with the ISO standard.

Nevertheless, we push our gear, so I captured a  sequence of shots from ISO 1600 through Hi-2 (102,400). Continue reading Nikon D850: High ISO Samples

Quick Test: D850 Dynamic Range

D850 Dynamic Range Example

Nikon D850 Dynamic Range Test
A slightly backlit, pre-dawn shot of my backyard, mimicking conditions one typically finds on landscape shoots. Let’s see how much detail I can pull out of the shadows…

I grabbed a quick backyard test shot this morning to test the Nikon D850 dynamic range. This is not a scientific test; instead it is simply a photo I captured using settings and conditions that I typically encounter in the field while leading my landscape photo safaris. With the D850 adding nearly 10 more megapixels than the Nikon D810, there was some question as to how well the new sensor would deliver in the dynamic range department. For most Nikon shooters I know, we are less interested in having more megapixels than we are in having the ability to capture wide tone ranges in the field. Continue reading Quick Test: D850 Dynamic Range