Category Archives: Wildlife Photography Gear Review

Nikon MB-D18 Grip: New Finding on Battery Required For 9FPS on Nikon D850

Nikon MB-D18 Battery Grip For Nikon D850Just received my Nikon MB-D18 battery grip today and I have been looking forward to finally testing for myself which batteries provide the uplift from 7 fps to 9 fps.  I have read countless reviews, blogs and followed the forums and there are many versions out there on this topic.  Nikon lists that the Nikon EN-EL18a or Nikon EN-EL18b are required to get 9 fps.  Another forum I read states only the EN-EL18b will work.  None of the blogs, forums or Nikon’s sites mention that the original Nikon EN-EL18 that shipped with the Nikon D4 would work.  The EN-EL18a is a 10.8v 2500 mAh battery in contrast to the original EN-EL18 which is also 10.8v but only packs 2000 mAh.  Thus it made sense to me that the original EN-EL18 might not have enough juice to power the Nikon D850 to the 9 fps.

I tested it this evening for myself and I can confirm that both the Nikon EN-EL18 and the Nikon EN-EL18a provide the 9 fps so if you have a few of the original 18’s there does not appear to be a need to purchase new 18a or 18b batteries to boost the frame rate.

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , |

Expert Shield – Best DSLR LCD Screen Protectors

You’ve just spent thousands of dollars on your new DSLR and for a couple of dollars more I just think it makes good sense to protect your investment by applying an after market LCD screen protector, but which one?

There are several on the market but the best I have found are those from Expert Shield, specifically the glass ones.  They are super easy to apply without bubbles and once applied you wouldn’t even know they were sitting there over top of your LCD.  I must also mention that their level of customer service is over the top.  Two examples: I recently purchased a Nikon D850 and applied the glass LCD screen cover without a hiccup however the small top LCD protector which is included was a little too large and did not fit properly so I trashed it.  At the same time I had purchased the Crystal Clear D5 screen protector which is a plastic version because they did not have a glass version for the Nikon D5.  I spent 45 minutes trying to get that protector to sit correctly but could not get it applied without bubbling around the edges.  The two glass protectors I purchased for the D850 and the D500 installed in a matter of minutes without any bubbling at all.  Each LCD protector you purchase comes with not only the back LCD protector but also the smaller top LCD protector so both LCD’s are protected.

I was going to leave the D5 as it was with the bubbles however the Expert Shield team reached out to me several days later to make sure everything went ok with my purchase.  I advised them of the issues with the top LCD for the Nikon D850 and the issues I had with the Nikon D5.  They promptly asked me to send them a picture of the top LCD on the D850 given it was a new camera on the market so they could make sizing corrections if required.  I received two replacements in the mail within days.  They also had their engineering team create two glass versions of the Nikon D5 screen protector for me to try and I am happy to say that both the D850 and the D5 protectors fit like a glove first try without issue.  All of this extra attention was provided at no extra cost to me which as you all know is not often the case these days.

Expert Shield has a great product, especially the glass versions of their protectors, and they get an 11/10 for customer service thus I am confident that they are the best DSLR LCD screen protectors on the market and they have earned my business go forward.

Application Tips:

  • Use a Microfiber cloth to clean your LCD and remove any dust, oils, etc. before application.
  • A hot steamy bathroom keeps the dust down so try that as your location of choice for applying screen protectors.
  • Place side one on the LCD screen and get it perfectly aligned while you still have the peel back layer applied.   Then tape the bottom of the protector in place to the body of the camera.  Now flip the LCD protector up remove the side one peel back and flip the LCD back in to place. Remove peel back layer two and you’re presto a perfect fit every time.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Heat3 Layer System – Best Photography Glove

Smart Just Got SMARTER. IHeat 3 Layer Systemntroducing the Heat3 Layer System designed for photographers by photographers. The Heat Company solicited feedback from hundreds of photographers using the current Heat3 Smart glove to find out how they could improve it. They got a lot of  feedback which has resulted in what is in my opinion the best photography glove available on the market today, the Heat3  Layer System.

The new Heat3 Layer System now gives photographers the flexibility to build the perfect glove/mitten system for whatever shooting conditions they may be going in to.   The outer shell no longer has the liner built in like the Heat3 Smart glove.  There is a shell similar to what is currently on the Heat3 Smart glove but it has no liner built in, a magnetic system for the thumb flap and more insulation in the thumb area.  Now photographers are given their choice of three removable liners to wear inside the shell. Heat 3 Merino LinerEach liner varies in thickness from warm, warmer to warmest giving you the flexibility to build out the glove as warm as you need it to be for the conditions you’ll be shooting in.

A new third windproof and waterproof layer called the hood has been added to the system. The hood fits over top of the shell for added protection from the elements during extreme cold shoots. You’d use the hood when you’re in between shooting or moving locations.

Then there are the little tweaks that just make the glove more usable for photographers. Each of the three liners has a pouch for hand warmers on the back of the hand so the warmth of the warmer is closer to your hand when you require it on colder days. The liner, the shell and the hood all have attachment points so the system stays bundled together and the tether strap holds all three pieces to your wrist so no piece drops in to the snow by accident.  Oh and the shell has magnets now on the thumb flap where the annoying velcro was positioned so when you wipe your nose you now longer take off a layer of skin from your nostrils, hey it’s the little things that matter.:))

The gloves are now available now at Cool Photography Gear.

 

Heat 3 Layer System

Tagged , , , , , |

Black Rapid Double Camera Strap Review

Black Rapid Camera strap Yeti double strap

As a wildlife photographer I have two camera’s with me 85% of the time.  Usually a long prime lens like the Nikon 600mm mounted on a Jobu gimblal head and tripod for those shots where I absolutely require the reach to the subject and a zoom lens like the Nikon 80-400 VR or 70-200 VR slung by my side for those times when the action moves in a little closer. By slung I mean with a black rapid strap which up until now was just a single strap but I recently picked up a double strap as well.

Why use a Black Rapid camera strap?

I’ve been shooting with the single Black Rapid Sport strap for two years now and it’s been a great addition, especially when a long hike is required to get to where I will be shooting.  I always found the straps that went around my neck after time put a lot of pressure on my neck and became very uncomfortable over time.  Many times if I was shooting with my longer lens I’d take the second camera off and just set it on the ground to give my neck a rest.  But with the Black Rapid strap I found the weight distributed across my shoulder to be a lot more comfortable and I can carry it around all day without fatigue from pressure points.

Why the need for a double strap?

Fast forward to today and I decided to give the Black Rapid Yeti double strap a try.  Don’t get me wrong the single Black Rapid Sport strap has served me well over the years and is great for single camera applications however I now envision myself being in situations where I will be carrying two bodies slung by side.

Example:  I’m planning to go back to Katmai National Park for another Grizzly Bear Photography tour. Last time I was in Katmai I so wished that I had an underwater camera available and handy to get right down into aBlack Rapid Camera Strap - Yetind below the level of the water when capturing the bears and pools of salmon.  I just purchased a Nikon AW130 underwater camera that I will sling from the strap on the left and I will carry my Nikon D4s and 80-400 VR on the right hand strap.  Sure one day I may pony up for an underwater housing for my DSLR but I need to convince myself that I’m going to do a lot more underwater photography before I drop $5k on a housing so this will be my first experiment.

Same deal when I head to the Pond Inlet Floe Edge in June 2016, I plan to have two camera’s slung around my body so I can capture Narwhal’s underwater and above where the opportunities present themselves.

Another application I envision which necessitates the dual Black Rapid Yeti strap is when I wish to bring the majesty of the landscape into my images.  My second regret while in Katmai shooting the grizzlies was that I often wished I was carrying a much wider angle lens to capture images that accented the bears within the context of the landscape and glaciers.  My second body on that trip was usually the Nikon 70-200 VR but it simply wasn’t wide enough to capture the ice capped mountain peaks and the bears on the tidal flats in the same frame. With the Black Raid Yeti strap I wouldn’t have to choose as I could have both wide angle and tele lenses at the ready on two camera bodies.

Changing lenses: Another great thing about having the dual strap is the changing of lenses, especially when I’m out in the field and it is muddy and wet and you can’t set one camera down.  Now with both bodies attached to my body I don’t have to worry about dropping a camera or setting one down on the ground where that really is not an option due to the conditions.

Is It Comfortable?

This new Yeti double strap is very comfortable.  The shoulder pads have ample padding and have a rubber underside so it stays in place better than some other straps I’ve tried.  Both strap lengths are totally adjustable so you can get the cameras to sit right where you want them.  I adjust my straps up to almost the shortest length so the cameras sit high up on my hip, any lower and I find they have a tendency to swing a little too much for my liking.  The second reason to keep that strap short is to keep the second camera out of the dirt and the snow when you find yourself kneeling down to take photo’s.Black Rapid Camera Strap - Yeti

With this setup I can walk around with two cameras, one of those being a Nikon D4s DSLR and a Nikon 80-400 VR all day long without fatique.  As a fun little side experiment, I wanted to see how the strap would do with my Nkon 600mm VRII attached to the Black Rapid Yeti and to my amazement the weight was very tolerable with a winter jacket on and it was balanced against my hip just fine as shown in the picture above.  Note, I have the fastener attached to the foot of the lens NOT the camera body which would out too much strain on the camera mount. I’m not saying I’d want to carry that beast around all day but it was to know I could sling it up for a hand held session if I wanted to.

The trick to being ready to shoot quickly

There are two clips that sit on either side of the camera so you can limit the motion of the camera on the strap when not in use.  I use the back clip fastened down so the camera can’t glide too far back behind me however I leave the front clip unfastened so the camera is free to come up to my eye without the need to unclip first before shooting.  In wildlife photography a matter of seconds can mean missing an opportunity, so I always keep the front clip free moving.

If you wish to support my website and blog I’d appreciate you making your Black Rapid purchase through Cool Photography Gear.

You can check out the Black Rapid Yeti Camera strap in action through the video below.

Also posted in Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , |

Drone For Wildlife Photography – To Fly or Not to Fly?

Lily CameraI have been considering a drone for use in my wildlife photography for a few months now but wondering just how many practical applications there really are. I was well intended when I bought my GoPro but it’s been in my bag with one or two exceptions. I tried it for underwater photography but found the results were lack luster.  Perhaps I need to get a little more creative in my approach.

This morning I was reading about the Lily Drone. The best part is that there is no need to manually control this drone, you wear a tracking device, throw the Lily Camera in the air and it takes off and follows you wherever you go. Like most photographers I have no pictures of myself, let alone pictures or videos of me taking pictures of wildlife so I could use the Lily to do a personal documentary if I so chose. If I placed the tracking device on my dog and set her loose in a field that might bring back some interesting footage, I’ve often wondered what she sees and where she goes.

As you can see I’m struggling to find wildlife photography applications for the Lily but it’s cool factor is just so high I really want one so I’m looking for other wildlife photographers to help me out here. How do you use your drone for wildlife photography? Can you envision wildlife photography applications for the Lily Drone?  Then there’s the whole question on whether I should be getting a drone that I can fly or one like the Lily that has no requirement for an operator.  Of course what I’d really like is the best of both worlds, one that I can fly if I want with the option to track me like the Lily.

For those of you who have not heard of the Lily Camera you can check it out at www.lily.camera. I like that it is ultra-portable weighing it at 2.8 lbs and is only 10x10x3 inches so you can easily pack it in with your other gear but its battery life is limited to just 20 minutes. It’s waterproof, which is very cool, but because of that the battery can not be removed and replaced by a spare on the fly so you need to spend two hours charging Lily in between flights which is not cool. With 12MP stills, 1080p at 60 fps and 720p at 120 fps slo-mo video it has everything I’d want if I could just think of a way to creatively use the little gizmo. All suggestions welcome please.

Tagged , , , |

Best Winter Photography Glove For Extreme Cold

Ask any wildlife photographer what their biggest challenge is with shooting during the cold winter months and 9/10 times they are going to tell you that it is keeping their hands or feet warm.  The other 1/10 has something to do with pissing ice cubes.:))  I’ve wrestled with the warm hand issue for over 15 years and have yet to find the perfect photography glove.  All the gloves I have tried have always had a weak point in their design.  If it was warm it didn’t provide the dexterity required to work the camera controls, if it provided dexterity it wasn’t warm, if it had warmth and dexterity it wasn’t water resistant and so on.

 

GOOD NEWS my photography friends, your prayers regarding cold hands have been answered. Paul Burwell recently reviewed a cold weather photography glove in the Spring/Summer 2014 Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine that he really liked so I snapped up a pair right away to test.  Without a doubt this glove is the best cold weather photography glove I have ever used.  It’s called the Heat 3 Smart Glove by The Heat Company and they’ve thought of everything, and I do mean everything, down to the smallest detail.  This glove oozes quality from the moment you put it on.Heat 3 Smart Glove

 

The story behind the making of this glove is worthy of its own paragraph so you understand the demands that were placed on the designers of this glove by the intended audience.   The Heat 3 Smart glove was a custom build at the request of the special combat forces in Germany and Austria (SEK, Cobra) for a one piece glove which met their requirements for warmth, waterproof, windproof, grip and tactility.  Project Heat3SpecialForce was a spare no expense, produce the best possible glove mission and the result was a glove that met all of the special forces requirements.Good for them I say, but even better for us photographers as our requirements are exactly the same, except we aren’t firing a sniper rifle.

 

Here’s a run down on the features of the Heat 3 Smart Glove For Photography:
  • Available in Five (5) colours – Black, Green, Beige, Brown, Grey
  • It’s a mitten and a glove all in one design, with the fingers and thumb being exposed only when you need the extra dexterity for shooting
  • Zipper pouch on top of the glove for placement of heat packs when required. (Room for a key, spare memory card, etc)
  • Palm side has full goat leather for added grip, warmth and durability
  • Easy access zipper across the palm opens up to expose the fingers for working the camera controls.  Keeps snow out and warmth in when zipped up.
  • The entire length of the palm side of the glove from the zipper in the palm to the top of the wrist cuff is cut through inside making it very easy to stuff heat packs into the glove all the way up to the wrist.  On extremely cold days I wouldn’t hesitate to stuff two hand heat packs into the wrist area, two hand heat packs into the top side of the glove above the fingers.  And if I was still cold I’d add two foot warmers, which are thinner and have an adhesive backing, on to the palm and fingers side of the glove.  Excessive yes but it shows how accommodating this glove is to heat packs if they are needed.
  • Silver  fabric on thumb and index fingers allows the use of an iPhone or tablet while in the field  (I’m thinking CamRanger :))
  • Primaloft insulation technology for optimal warmth.  (Warmer wet or dry than any other synthetic insulation)
  • Draw-string across the wrist to keep snow out and warmth in
  • Extra long cuffs with its own elastic draw-string to clamp down around your forearm to keep the snow out
  • Elastic joiners between first three fingers make it easy to remove glove without pulling the lining out of the mitten
  • Outer shell made from an Elastic Microfiber with water resistant and breathable qualities much like Gore-tex.
  • Elastic wrist cuff that attaches the mitten to your wrist so you can take the mitten off but still have it attached
  • Magnetic clip to keep the top of mitten pulled back when your fingers are exposed
  • Velcro on the thumb to keep the thumb flap of the mitten held back while your thumb is out of the glove
  • Additional leather thumb flap with Velcro to cover the thumb opening when not in use, keeps snow and wind out

 

This crazy long list of features is why this glove is already the #1 winter glove in Europe and fortunately it is now available in North America at www.coolphotographygear.com.

Note: There have been many complaints within the photography community regarding various brands of heat packs, they simply do not retain heat on cold days.  I will be testing The Heat Company hand warmers and foot warmers once the cold weather hits again and I will post another blog on their performance after my tests are complete so stay tuned.

Heat3 Smart Glove Retail Price: $199.99 CDN (Small price to pay for warm, dry hands during extreme cold photo shoots)

My only regret is that it took me 15 years to find these bad boys.


Heat3 Smart Glove Features

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

DSLR Sensor Cleaning Made Easy

DSLR Sensor Cleaning

DSLR Sensor Cleaning

Let’s face it DUST is the photographers four letter word.  If you’re like me you follow the DSLR sensor cleaning protocol as taught to us by the guru’s of photography.  Phase one begins with a blower, when that fails you move on to an electro-static brush and finally the dreaded wet swab as a last resort hoping all the while not to leave streaks on the sensor or worse damage it.  And of course I needed to have different solutions and sensor swab sizes for FX and DX bodies so it was expensive and a lot to carry on trips.   Many photographers simply throw their hands up and send the camera off for a professional cleaning but at the rate dust gets on the sensor that really isn’t a viable solution either due to expense and down time.

If all this sounds all too familiar read on because I’m about to introduce you to the Cadbury secret of DSLR sensor cleaning.

It’s called the sensor gel stick by Eyelead and it works on virtually any interchangeable lens digital camera – from a compact mirrorless to a full-frame DSLR. And it is as easy as 1-2-3 to use as follows:

1/ Set your camera to “Mirror Lock-Up” mode (with the battery fully charged) to expose the sensor.

2/ Remove the gel stick from its protective case and walk the whole sensor with the gelled side of the stick.

3/ Work a grid pattern across the entire sensor until you’ve covered 100% of it then use the provided sticky adhesive paper (included inside the metal case) to remove the dust from the gel. Once cleaned, the sensor gel stick can be reused over and over again. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to clean your sensor.

4/ Once completed turn off the camera, mount your lens, set it to the smallest aperture like f/32, then take a picture of a white surface. When you analyze the image, there should be no spots left.  I use the VisibleDust Sensor Loupe to look inside at the sensor saving the step of taking a picture and easily identifying where the dust spots are so I cheat and only apply the sensor gel stick where the dust is physically located on the sensor.

I will tell you that I was skeptical when I was first saw the sensor gel stick from Eyelead however when I found out this is the product Leica uses in their labs along with many other service centers as part of their professional cleaning I was sold.

And once you’re convinced and you wish to learn how to use the Eyelead sensor gel stick I highly recommend you watch the following video, this is the one that gave me the confidence to try it myself.  

Sensor Gel Stick

I’ve used the Eyelead gel stick now on three of my cameras and in all three cases it worked beautifully.  On my D3s I had to take two or three passes at a few tough spots but in the end it left my sensor dust free.   I’m sure there may still be a need at some point for a really tough bit of baked on dust to require the old wet swab so I am keeping them around just in case.

My new DSLR sensor cleaning protocol consists of the blower brush first followed by the sensor gel stick and that’s it – Easy Peasy – Lemon Squeezy. DSLR Sensor Cleaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Uncategorized Tagged , , , , |

CamRanger – Toy or Tool for Wildlife Photography?

CamRanger

If you own an iPad,  iPhone or iPod Touch and you have a need to control your Nikon or Canon DSLR remotely the CamRanger may just be exactly what you’re looking for.  I’ve always used a remote trigger and it works just fine for shots where I can pre-focus on a spot and sit back and wait for my subject to arrive.  However if the subject did not end up where I expected I was unsuccessful at capturing the image and of course I had to run back and forth to make adjustments to exposure, f-stop, etc. which further disturbed my subject and delayed my shooting.

Introducing the CamRanger.  This handy little device is very portable at 4″ x 2.5′ x .5′ and 3.5 ounces and comes in its own neoprene carrying case and a carabiner clip which takes up very little room in my camera bag.

 

Setting up the CamRanger

Installation was a breeze and I was up and running literally in ten minutes by following the simple steps below.

Step 1: Install the battery which is provided into the CamRanger

Step 2: Download the CamRanger App from the App store.

Step 3: Register your CamRanger using the serial number on the back of your unit.

Step 4: In the iOS settings from your iPad or iPhone go to WiFi settings make sure it is turned on and choose the CamRanger network

Step 5: Connect your camera to the CamRanger using the provided USB 2.0 cable. My D800 required a USB 3.0 cable which was not included.

Step 6: Turn your camera on and launch the CamRanger iOS app from your iPad or iPhone

I also performed a firmware upgrade which went off without a hitch so I’m now ready should I decide I absolutely have to have the new motorized head that allows you to move the position of the camera from the iPad app in addition to the other controls you have available.

CamRanger in protective pouch shown here attached to my D800 camera with 24-70mm lens..  Note: The neoprene pouch does not provide full weather proofing as the zipper will not close fully with the cable entering the pouch.  You will also note that the USB 3.0 cable that connects the camera to CamRanger runs through my L-bracket which disables the ability to shoot on the vertical axis.  I’ve ordered a right angle USB cable which will solve this issue.

Camranger on camera

The Field Test
So the big question I wished to answer was whether the CamRanger was just another new shiny toy or a useful tool in the wildlife photographers bag.  So with that objective in mind I setup my Nikon D800 on a tripod one cold February day, threw down a little bird seed in front of the camera and headed in doors to my couch where I could stay warm and put this little device through its paces.

When you press the eye on the CamRanger interface the wireless network transmits the image to your iPad in Live View mode so you’re seeing what the camera sees which of course is way better on an iPad than the 3 inch display on the back of the camera.  Focus is achieved by a tap anywhere on the screen of the iPad with a double tap to zoom in on your subject which is great for checking whether the subject’s eye is in focus both before and after taking a picture.  Fine focus controls are also available should you need to further define your focus point.  Best of all there is no need for the camera to also be in Live View so this saves a ton of battery life on the camera which is a very thoughtful design.

The interface is very intuitive with everything I’d want to adjust available on screen.  It wasn’t long and I had a red squirrel heading down my big oak tree for the seed I had placed in front of the camera. I had set the camera to take 3 shots when I pressed the capture button but you can set that as high as 18 continuous shots if your camera can manage it.  I shoot in Raw and those 36MP images take approx 27 seconds to download so you can preview them which of course is a life time.  Switching to RAW + JPEG basic had those images downloading for preview in 2-3 seconds which is very acceptable.

Res SquirrelBelow are the adjustments you have at your ready:

  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • ISO
  • Metering Mode
  • Drive/Shooting Mode
  • White Balance
  • Image Format
  • Focus Mode (Nikon only)
  • Auto Exposure Mode (Nikon only)
  • Exposure Compensation & Bracketing
  • Software Auto-Focus toggle to toggle AF/MF

From my iPad I was able to see how each setting that I made an adjustment to changed the histogram and the image I was viewing on screen.  The same was true when I flipped over to movie mode where I quickly moved to a manual exposure and shot a few minutes of two red squirrels arguing over a very tasty walnut.   The focus point took about 1 second on average to register and there was a slight delay on screen between what I was seeing through my window and what I was seeing on screen so for fast moving subjects coming in and out of the frame or changing the focal plane constantly this application would not be ideal.  Where I would find it incredibly useful is for slower moving subjects and certainly static subjects.  Example: Setting up the camera at the edge of a marsh and waiting for a moose or other critter to come into the frame from a safe and undetectable distance.

The Distance Test:  So  just how far can you be from the CamRanger?  From an unobstructed view I was able to get 270 feet before the wireless connection was broken, however the picture taking process does take longer at these long distances.  With the CamRanger behind my cedar hedge that range was cut down to about 85 feet, which might be somewhat limiting for those shy creatures.  One thing that did surprise me during my tests, my wife went to take a look out the window to see the red squirrel and got between the direct line of site from the CamRanger  to my iPad and I lost my signal.  I will want to perform a few more tests out in the bush to see if trees between the device and the iPad affect the signal.

As for being able to make every possible adjustment on your camera remotely the CamRanger works beautifully.  Heck you can even do HDR, time lapse and focus stacking and the histogram really allows you to nail down your exposures.    Battery life is stated to be 5-6 hours which should work for most wildlife photography sessions although I will likely carry a backup battery for those uncooperative subjects that want me to put in a full day.   Images can be downloaded automatically during shooting or reviewed singly with the ‘Auto Save’ function switched off. I recommend reviewing images singly for wildlife photography so you can keep shooting without the added delay required for the preview to appear on screen.  

Conclusion:  My final verdict is that the CamRanger is a very useful tool and it has earned  a place in my camera bag, not a big one mind you, but that’s a good thing as we wildlife photographers often have weight restrictions.  I see it as an incredibly useful tool with subjects that are not approachable or macro photography where one can setup a camera on a tripod and use the iPad to really zoom in on the focus point to get sharp images or produce sharp video content.

CamRanger Controls

 

 

Also posted in Uncategorized Tagged , , , |

Tripod Head News – Jobu Design Adapters Transform 3 in 1 Gimbal Head

 

Jobu Wide Angle Adapter

Special Offer: Save 15% on Jobu-Design purchases when you use the “Coolwildlife” coupon code.

Choosing the perfect tripod head can be daunting given how many are on the market and given the cost of these tripod heads you want to choose the right one the first time around.  Finding the perfect gimbal head may seem like an elusive quest however the folks at Jobu Design have crafted a few clever adapters that allow photographers the best of all worlds.

 

Adapter 1: The wide angle lens adapter (Jobu WAA2) which attaches to your tripod head shown here with the Jobu Pro2 gimbal head.  Throw a bubble head on top of your camera and you’ve got a near perfect landscape head at the ready.  A more complete blog on this adapter can be found here on the Jobu Blog Wide Angle Lenses On A Gimbal .  You’ll also require an Arca-Swiss camera plate (Jobu ADPT-AS250 or AS375) for the bottom of your camera to complete this setup.

 

Jobu Arca-Swiss Camera Plate

Jobu Arca-Swiss Camera Plate

Adapter #2 The top-mount to Side-mount adapter. (Jobu QRR-Pro) – When every pound counts such as small regional flights to remote areas a side-mount can save the weight of a swing arm.  This clever little adapter turns your top-mounted gimbal head into a side-mounted head with the turn of two screws.  For the complete story on top-mount vs side-mount gimbal heads visit the Jobu Blog Top-Mount vs Side-Mount.

Jobu top-mount to side-mount

Jobu top-mount to side-mount

With just two adapters you get a full on gimbal head capable of not only supporting your long lenses but also landscape photography with wide angle lenses and a side-mounted tripod head for those missons where weight is critical. Ian and the design team at Jobu Design really have made the quest for the perfect tripod head a no brainer so now you just need to decide on whether you want the Jobu Pro2 or the Jobu HD3 tripod head to go with those adapters.

Coolwildlife did a full video review of these two tripod heads so for those of you wanting a more in depth review visit CoolwildlifeTV – Tripod Head Reviews.

When you are ready to purchase use the “Coolwildlife” coupon code and save 15%.

Also posted in Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Gura Gear Photography Bag | Best DSLR Camera Bag

Gura Gear 32L photography bag

I’ll get right to the point, with the hundreds of available photography bags on the market how do you know which is the best camera bag for your needs?  When I bought the Gura Gear Kiboko 30L I thought I had found perfection and believe me I have a closet full of not so perfect DSLR camera bags.  I will call it near perfection as there were two  things I did not like about the Gura Gear Kiboko 30L. One was that it would not swallow my Nikon 600mm lens with the lens hood reversed.  Two, it only allowed me to access one half of the bag at a time,  given the butterfly flap design, and I often want access to all of my gear at once.

So I always said if Gura Gear came out with a larger bag that could handle my 600mm and a design which  permitted  access the entire bag while still maintaining the butterfly flap,  they would have perfected the photography bag once and for all.

Introducing the Gura Gear Bataflae 32L which hits both of my requirements above and a whole lot more so I am giving it my “Winner Best DSLR Camera Bag Award.”  Below are the features I wanted in my camera bag:

  • Large bag that can handle a 600mm (and the 800mm just in case I won the lottery)
  • Swallows Pro Body DSLR’s with L-brackets attached
  • Whole camera bag opens at once to access all camera gear
  • Butterfly flaps to access only half the camera bag (great for dusty shoots like safari’s)
  • Airline carry-on compliant photography bag
  • Gura Gear 32L photography bag with 500mm and bodyBack pack carrying straps with stowable harness design
  • Waist belt that is removable
  • Many, many dividers for multiple lens configurations
  • Wow A DSLR Camera Bag available in more than black.  Comes in black, grey or a limited-edition desert tan
  • Light weight coming in at 5.3 lbs
  • Tripod carrying syste
  • Waterproof rain fly which doubles as a ground cover in dirty settings

 

So if it is so darn perfect what would prevent you from buying one.  In a word “cost”.  The Gura GearBataflae 32L photography bag is expensive.  So if your Scottish like I am dropping big bucks on a camera bag requires careful thought.  That is until you frame it up correctly.  I drop tens of thousands of dollars on cameras, lenses, tripods and they all get carried and protected by…..yes my camera bag.  So why the %$#@ wouldn’t I buy the best damn photography bag money can buy rather than compromising on a camera bag that does not meet all of my needs just to save a hundred bucks?  Seems kind of silly when you put it that way.

It’s a no brainer decision, if you travel for photography adventures or hike into the field with your gear, especially with larger lenses, the Gura Gear Bataflae 32L delivers quality, is feature rich and is well worth the extra money.  Buy it directly from Gura Gear and save on closet space as it is the last bag you’ll ever buy.

Gura Gear 32L photography bag three colors

Tagged , , , , , |