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5 equipment upgrades every photographer and videographer should consider

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5 equipment upgrades every photographer and videographer should consider


Photo: MPB

Let’s face it, sometimes upgrading your gear is the quickest way to advance your photography and videography. Capturing the decisive moment can require abilities your current camera just doesn’t have. But fear not: experimenting doesn’t need to break the bank.

That’s where MPB comes in. The platform is world-famous for its gigantic selection of used photo and video gear, all individually inspected and photographed, and priced fairly. When you consider an upgrade to better gear, also consider trading in your old kit to save even more money. And, with a 14-day return policy, if your upgrade isn’t working out, you can get a full refund.

Speaking of upgrades, here are five to consider.

Upgrade 1: Move to a faster lens

Photo: MPB

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to snag a low-light shot and failing. High ISOs and stabilization aside, the ticket to better photographs in tricky conditions is a faster lens.

Thankfully, many lens makers have options for upgrades with a bigger aperture. If you have, say, Sony’s 24-70mm F4 lens, there’s an F2.8 option you could consider. Maybe you have Panasonic’s inexpensive 25mm F1.7 and want a little more background blur. Try something like the Leica-branded 25mm F1.4.
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Upgrade 2: Make your camera last longer

Photo: MPB

Intensive shooting comes with a need for reliable power. Whether you’re outside waiting for wildlife to run by in the cold, or spending all day rolling video at an event, your camera’s battery life will come into play.

Some higher-end mirrorless models let you add a secondary battery with a custom-fit battery grip that functionally double your runtime. Pro videographers know that if you can screw it down to rigging, you’re golden. This is why versatile V-mount batteries like the Core SWX Hypercore are indispensable. V-mount batteries have a wide array of compatible adapters and mounts for video use no matter what kind of camera you have.
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Upgrade 3: Get a dedicated microphone

Photo: MPB

“My camera’s built-in microphone sounds amazing!” – said no one ever. Even video-centric cameras tend to have pretty thin-sounding onboard mics. And forget about getting clear voices for vlogs, or documentary filmmaking.

Even an inexpensive shotgun mic can make a world of difference to the audio quality of your videos, making the classic, tried-and-true Rode VideoMic Pro+ is a no-brainer. And if you need lavaliers that can help your subjects’ voices really pop, a secondhand set of Rode’s Wireless Go II should serve you well.
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Upgrade 4: Switch to a carbon fiber tripod

Photo: MPB

When it comes to working outdoors, every gram counts. After all, if you’re hauling gear into the backcountry to capture a shot of the landscape or Milky Way, picking the wrong gear could just about break your back. Ditch the aluminum tripod and go for a compact, lightweight carbon fiber model, instead.

Take, for instance, the high-tech, compact Peak Design Travel Tripod. The aluminum version weighs in at 1.56 kg (3.44 lbs), while the carbon one is only 1.27 kg (2.81 lbs). That difference means you can comfortably carry more gear without skimping on other essentials, like coffee or trail mix.
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Upgrade 5: Capture cinematic video with an external HDMI recorder

Photo: MPB

If you’re experimenting with color grading your own footage, 8-bit 4:2:0 with a standard flat profile can be extremely limiting. Unfortunately, some cameras otherwise capable of rich images are limited to the depth of file they can record internally.

Of course, there’s a way around this internal recording limitation: external recording! Something like the Atomos Shogun Flame 4K would be a fantastic way to upgrade your mirrorless camera to one that can get a cinematic look. This older recorder can spit out 4K 60P 10-bit ProRes footage onto SATA solid-state drives with added goodies like HDR. Plus, it gives you a far bigger screen than whatever’s on the back of your camera.
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Fujifilm X100VI added to studio scene

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Fujifilm X100VI added to studio scene


As part of the work on our review of the Fujifilm X100VI, we’ve shot and processed our standard studio test images with the camera.

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you’ll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

Given the camera is based on a sensor we’ve seen before, there are few surprizes in terms of its performance. It produces more detail than the 26MP sensor in the X100V. Inevitably it shows more noise at the pixel level than lower-res sensors, but is comparable when viewed at the same output size, up until the very highest ISO settings.

Lens performance

The studio scene is not intended as a lens test: we typically use very high-performance lenses at an aperture that delivers high levels of cross-frame consistency with little risk of diffraction limiting the performance. However, with the X100VI, we have no choice but to use the built-in lens.

The 35mm equiv field of view means we have to move much closer to the target but this is still at over 40x focal length, so not especially close-up. An aperture value of F5.6 means we’re not being especially challenging.

And the X100VI’s lens appears to acquit itself well in these circumstances. In the JPEGs it’s comparably detailed near the center as the X-H2’s results, using our standard 56mm F1.2 R testing lens (though the X100VI is possibly having to apply more sharpening to deliver this result). Things get a little softer towards the corners and exhibit (easily corrected) lateral chromatic aberration and some vignetting in the Raw conversion, but overall the lens appears to be doing a good job in front of a high-resolution sensor.

As with all the other 40MP X-Trans cameras, the Adobe Camera Raw conversion isn’t showing the same levels of contrast or sharpening that the camera’s own JPEGs do, so it’s worth downloading the Raw files to see whether your preferred software and processing workflow produce results you’re happier with. But overall, we feel it does well.



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iOS app mood.camera aims to recreate the experience of shooting film

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iOS app mood.camera aims to recreate the experience of shooting film


Image: mood.camera

A new camera app that wants to offer a film-like experience is now available. The mood.camera app (iOS only) targets fans of analog photography and consists of 14 film-like filters. I was given early access to the app to test it out and see if it offers anything different from similar apps on the market.

There’s been a resurgence in analog photography recently. Though many desire the look of film, they don’t necessarily enjoy the process (and time) of using analog cameras. mood.camera aims to bridge the gap between film and digital by offering filters that emulate film stocks such as Kodak Portra, CineStill and Chrome.

Inside the app, users can imitate a change in ISO (ranging from 100 to 3200) and will notice less detail and more grain the higher you go. There’s also a digital tonal range dial that impacts the amount of contrast and saturation in an image.

Image: Dan Ginn (made with mood.camera). Filter: Chrome

This isn’t the first app trying to emulate the look of film photography. Other apps, such as 1998 Vintage Camera and VSCO, offer filters that provide a classic look, as does Hipstamatic, one of the first smartphone apps within this niche.

What sets mood.camera apart is how it provides an analog-esque process to image making. Whereas other apps provide a live preview of filters and simulations, mood.camera doesn’t.

The app’s developer said the intention was to “mirror the classic film camera experience.” To see how the images turn out, you must view the photos in Apple’s Photos app.

Image: Dan Ginn (made with mood.camera). Filter: Portra

Some obvious features are missing in the app. There’s no portrait mode, which the developer says is because “Apple does not let you capture ProRaw and depth data.” There’s no night mode either, which the developer claims is possible to add but isn’t interested in doing so at this time.

Image: Dan Ginn (made with mood.camera). Filter: Chrome

Having used the app for a week, it did bring a new sense of enjoyment to mobile photography. I liked not having a live preview of my images. Its absence allowed me to worry less about the outcome and focus more on the process of creating photographs.

There was a distinct difference in each of the filters, and while they’ll never be 100 percent like stock film, they’re close. Unlike some apps I have tried before, I found it easy to navigate through the different filters in mood.camera, and the app itself was quick and responsive.

Image: Dan Ginn (made with mood.camera). Filter: Cine

If you want to adapt your smartphone photography workflow and like the classic look, then mood.camera is worth trying. There’s a seven-day free trial available before committing to a paid subscription.

mood. camera is now available on the App Store and costs $1.99 per month or $14.99 as a one-time purchase. A free trial is available to evaluate the app.



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Tamron developing 11-20mm F2.8 Di III-A RXD for Canon RF mount

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Tamron developing 11-20mm F2.8 Di III-A RXD for Canon RF mount


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Tamron has announced it’s developing a version of its 11-20mm F2.8 Di III-A RXD fast wide-angle zoom lens for Canon RF-mount APS-C cameras.

The 11-20mm F2.8, which is already available for Sony E-mount, will offer an 18-32mm equivalent range on Canon’s 1.6x crop cameras.

The lens, released under license from Canon, was announced simultaneously with SIgma’s announcement that it will offer six of its DC DN range of APS-C lenses for the same mount. Notably all seven lenses are for the smaller format RF-mount models.

The company says the 11-20mm will be available before the end of 2024. No details of pricing has been given.

TAMRON announces development of first CANON RF mount lens

April 23, 2024, 12AM ET / April 22, 2024, 9PM PT, Commack, NY – Tamron Co., Ltd. (President & CEO: Shogo Sakuraba; Headquarters: Saitama City, Japan; “TAMRON”), a leading manufacturer of optics for diverse applications, announces the development of TAMRON’s first CANON RF mount lens, 11-20mm F/2.8 Di III-A[1] RXD (Model B060), an ultra wide-angle zoom lens for APS-C mirrorless cameras. The lens is expected to launch within 2024.

TAMRON’s lenses for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras are highly regarded for their combination of superior optical performance and compact, lightweight designs. After receiving many requests from customers to offer lenses compatible with the CANON RF mount, TAMRON made the decision to develop a lens for the CANON RF mount under a license agreement.

The 11-20mm F2.8 is a fast-aperture zoom lens covering a focal length range from ultra wide-angle 11mm to 20mm[2], with a maximum aperture of F2.8 across its full range of focal lengths. With a surprisingly compact and lightweight design for a fast, ultra wide-angle zoom lens, the lens feels well balanced when attached to a compact APS-C mirrorless camera body, making it ideal for regular use. Despite its small, lightweight design, it also delivers high-level imaging power with an uncompromising optical design. Wide macro shooting is possible at 11mm with an MOD (Minimum Object Distance) of 0.15m (5.9”) and maximum magnification ratio of 1:4, and its stunning close-range shooting performance enables creative use of perspective at the wide end. The lens also incorporates an AF drive system with an RXD (Rapid-eXtra-silent stepping Drive) stepping motor unit that is remarkably quiet. The lens accurately captures not only still images but also video. It is also highly practical, with Moisture-Resistant Construction, Fluorine Coating, and other features designed for outdoor shooting, enabling users to easily enjoy the high image quality of this ultra wide-angle large-aperture F2.8 lens under a range of conditions.

Product Features

  1. Fast-aperture ultra wide-angle zoom lens
  2. Compact and light weight
  3. Outstanding optical performance
  4. MOD of 0.15m (5.9”) and maximum magnification ratio of 1:4
  5. High performance autofocus RXD stepping motor for both still and video use

[1] Di III-A: For APS-C format mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras

[2] The full-frame equivalent of 17.6-32mm.



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