• Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch 2016 compared to the 2015 model: Here’s what has changed

    Apple MacBook Pro 2016 vs MacBook Pro 2015: Here’s what has changed with the new laptops.
    Apple MacBook Pro lineup has just been refreshed. The last time this happened was in 2015, when Apple introduced the MacBook Pro with Force Touch Keypad, but the 2016 upgrade brings some crucial new features. For starters, the Apple MacBook Pro is now coming in three variants: the 13-inch version without the new Touch Bar, the 13-inch version with the Touch Bar, and the high-end 15-inch version with a Touch Bar.

    The main change to the MacBook Pro is that Apple has gotten rid of the function keys on top, and instead introduced the new OLED Touch Bar which customizes according to the application you’re using. So for Final Cut Pro or Email or Safari, the bar will show specific function keys which apply to application rather than a generic set of funct…

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  • MagMod Flash Modifiers

    MagMod Basic Kit

    If you’ve been paying attention to photography blogs for the past five years, you’ve probably noticed the exploding popularity of speedlights. Versatile and relatively inexpensive, these flashes offer TTL support that simplifies exposing an image. Even though I find speedlights extremely convenient, I often find myself using traditional strobes for creative lighting. While I know that I can often obtain big-strobe results from smaller speedlights, I’ve found that mounting modifiers onto the small speedlights is almost always incredibly cumbersome. I’ve battled with rubber straps, double-sided velcro and adhesive glue, but I’ve always found the mounting process clunky.  That’s why I was so interested in the MagMod system.

    What makes the MagMod system so unique is the way various flash modifiers are attached. The MagGrip is a rubber sleeve that wraps (admittedly with some difficulty) over the flash head. On the front are two extremely strong magnets that are used to attach additional accessories. At first I was worried about the magnetic system, as it seemed like any quick motion or small bump would send the modifier flying off my flash, but the New Ear…

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  • The Lensbaby Velvet 56

    While acting as an apt standard prime lens, the Velvet 56 also gives its user some very powerful macro capabilities.

    Over the past decade Lensbaby has become known for some pretty unique lenses. Offering photographers unique and interesting ways to expand their creative vision without straining their wallets. The Lensbaby Velvet 56 looks to continue this tradition by offering a truly unique 56-mm soft focus portrait lens with a couple tricks up its sleeve.

    The Lensbaby Velvet 56

    What you’re going to immediately notice about the Velvet 56 compared to most of Lensbaby’s predecessors is the build quality of this lens. They have forgone the usual plastic feel of their lenses and are instead building the lens out of metal, including its screw-on lens hood. This gives the Velvet 56 a very welcome strong, classic feel, truly showing that it draws its inspiration from the classic portrait lenses of the mid-20th century. The focus and aperture rings also benefitted from this greatly, featuring a nice smooth movement with a natural resistance that never felt like it was fighting against you. The aperture ring had a soft click to it, which was not bad but felt less solid than the movement of the focus ring.

    The actu…

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  • The Olympus EE-1 Dot Sight

    The Olympus EE-1 Dot Sight

     

    The Olympus EE-1 Dot Sight

    The build quality of the EE-1 offers a sleek design that does not look out of place on any camera while the matte black finish will not draw attention to you.

    Every once in awhile a gadget comes out that seems to fly under the radar despite the fact that it has the opportunity to be a game changer in the market. The Olympus EE-1 Dot Sight is exactly that. One of the main complaints about mirrorless cameras is that due to their lack of an optical viewfinder, tracking fast-moving subjects in nature and sports can be near impossible. The EE-1 looks to change this by offering any photographer with a mirrorless camera that has a hotshoe a simple-to-use option to help replace the optical viewfinder when tracking subjects.

    The Olympus EE-1 Dot Sight works essentially the same as a laser-gun sight by providing an optical viewfinder with a laser reticle that allows you to frame and track a subject in the distance without having to remove your eye from the target. As anyone who has tried to photograph a bird in flight can tell you, nine times out of ten when trying this with an electronic viewfinder, all you see is sky and you miss the subject all together. Powered by a small coin-t…

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  • Sigma MC-11 Adapter

    Sigma MC-11

    I’m a huge fan of mirrorless cameras, and one of the main reasons they won me over is the ability to adapt nearly any lens to your camera body. I have a variety of older lenses from Pentax and Nikon that are great fun to shoot on a modern mirrorless camera, and inexpensive mechanical adapters work great. However, I also want to be able to use my modern, electronically controlled Canon mount lenses on a Sony E-Mount camera, so the new Sigma MC-11 EF to E-Mount adapter grabbed my attention.

    The MC-11 adapter is a simple tube with no optical elements with electric contacts on both sides so your Sony camera can communicate with EF lenses. While Sigma only claims compatibility with their own outstanding lenses, I was also able to use Canon and Tamron lenses without issue. The MC-11 allows control over your lens’ aperture, and image stabilization will be carried over as well, if available. I tested the adapter with a Sony A6300 and A7R II, and the interface worked exactly as if a native E-mount lens was mounted. The MC-11 even allows rudimentary autofocus, with all of Sony’s functionality available.

    Sigma MC-11 Adapter

    Sigma MC-11

    The AF performance was the first thing I wanted to test, as it seems to vary q…

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