New gear

Ex­pert opin­ions on all the lat­est hot kit

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All the lat­est hot kit for your Nikon, from a su­per-speedy por­ta­ble drive to a dinky, durable back­pack

G|Drive Mo­bile USB-C

£99, $119 www.g-tech­nol­ogy.com This 1TB por­ta­ble hard drive utilises the lat­est USB-C tech­nol­ogy, which en­ables head­line trans­fer speeds of up to 136MB per sec­ond, but it’s still back­wards-com­pat­i­ble with stan­dard USB ports (us­ing the in­cluded adapter), so there’s no need to worry if you’re not us­ing the lat­est hard­ware. At present only a few ma­chines ac­tu­ally fea­ture the new USB-C socket, but it’s widely ac­cepted that in the com­ing year this new con­nec­tor will be­come the stan­dard. For now, even on older USB de­vices trans­fer speeds are pretty good.

Com­pact enough to slip into a kit bag, it fea­tures a tra­di­tional 7200rpm hard drive rather than the lat­est solid state tech­nol­ogy. This means that you get a good amount of stor­age at a rea­son­able price, but you do also need to be a care­ful when han­dling the drive when out on a shoot, as hard drives are less ro­bust than their SSD equiv­a­lents. In our tests, us­ing USB 2, the drive’s per­for­mance was im­pres­sive, with read speeds of 35MB per sec­ond and write speeds of 30MB per sec­ond.

Un­like fast Thun­der­bolt drives, which are pri­mar­ily re­stricted to Mac users, USB-C looks like it will be­come more widely ac­cepted on Macs and PCs, so you can use this drive safe in the knowl­edge that it won’t be­come ob­so­lete any time soon.

Spi­derLight Hand Strap £50, $65 www.spi­der­hol­ster.com

Al­though un­con­ven­tional, this small hand­grip works in­cred­i­bly well and makes an ideal com­pan­ion for a small, light­weight cam­era such as a Nikon 1. One end of the strap at­taches to the nor­mal strap lug on your cam­era, while the other is de­signed to be fas­tened be­tween your cam­era and a con­ven­tional tri­pod base plate. Once at­tached, the strap loop gives you a good solid hand­hold with­out the an­noy­ance of a strap flap­ping around, and when you need to at­tach your cam­era to a tri­pod, the base is al­ready in place and ready to go.

BenQ W2000 £900, $985 www.col­or­con­fi­dence.com

A pro­jec­tor is an ideal way to show your images off to a crowd, en­abling you to dis­play a photo far larger than it would be prac­ti­cal to print, and to mul­ti­ple peo­ple si­mul­ta­ne­ously. The BenQ W2000 re­ally couldn’t be eas­ier to use, and fea­tures a va­ri­ety of in­put op­tions that will en­able you to get up and run­ning in min­utes. It projects a Full HD im­age at 2000 lu­mens and pro­duces bright, nat­u­ral colours. If you need a pro­jec­tor or are look­ing for one for a club, this is a solid solution.

Rogue FlashBen­der 2 XL Pro

£84, $79 www.rogue­flash.com The XL Pro is the lat­est and largest ad­di­tion to the FlashBen­der line of light mod­i­fiers. It looks and works very much like the smaller ver­sions, con­tain­ing a se­ries of flex­i­ble rods that can be bent to shape it and di­rect the light. Fash­ion­ing a sim­ple tube is straight­for­ward, al­though a lit­tle ad­di­tional Vel­cro would make se­cur­ing more ex­per­i­men­tal shapes eas­ier. Cru­cially, the neu­tral in­ner ma­te­rial keeps your flash out­put cast-free.

The XL Pro fea­tures a belt and buckle sys­tem that makes it quick to at­tach to your flash. This strap de­sign is very easy to ad­just, and so the FlashBen­der will fit any hot­shoe flash with a cir­cum­fer­ence be­tween eight and nine-and-three-quar­ter inches. It stays firmly in place, and you can re­move it very quickly. The size and shape also mean that it can be quickly folded and stored flat in your kit bag. It’s ac­tu­ally been de­signed to slot into the 15-inch lap­top slot in a back­pack, which is a nice touch.

While very sim­i­lar to its sib­lings and pre­de­ces­sors, the de­sign has seen a few mod­i­fi­ca­tions that have in­creased its ver­sa­til­ity. A new Pro Grip Strip and dif­fuser can be at­tached to the FlashBen­der, and al­though it might all look a bit flimsy when con­nected, in use it works well. The Pro Grip Strip helps to limit the spread of light from the FlashBen­der, mak­ing it ideal for trans­form­ing your off-cam­era flash and cre­at­ing at­trac­tive edge or rim light around your sub­jects.

The larger size of the re­flec­tor does mean that the XL model is heav­ier than its sib­lings, but Rogue has been re­search­ing ma­te­ri­als and has ac­tu­ally been able to re­duce the ma­te­rial weight. This new ma­te­rial is now be­ing rolled out across the range.

SRB Po­lariser

£12, $16 www.srb-pho­to­graphic.co.uk Po­laris­ers give an in­stant and dra­matic im­prove­ment to con­trast and colour in skies in land­scape shots, and should be at the top of any photographer’s list of ac­ces­sories. Usu­ally a good po­lariser will set you back a con­sid­er­able amount of money, but SRB’s po­lariser is in­cred­i­bly cheap and pro­duces ex­cel­lent re­sults. The ef­fect on skies isn’t as dra­matic as the re­sult you get from more ex­pen­sive al­ter­na­tives, but it does the job. If, how­ever, you need a fil­ter to kill re­flec­tions in wa­ter or from shiny sur­faces, then the SRB is ideal.

Man­frotto Off Road Stunt

£120, $149 www.man­frotto.co.uk Few back­packs break the mould when it comes to de­sign, but with the Off Road Stunt back­pack al­most ev­ery de­sign fea­ture is unique. It’s been de­signed for ac­tion cam­eras and CSCs (such as the Nikon 1) and fea­tures a zip down the cen­tre of the bag with two sep­a­rate pull-out sec­tions that store your kit safely. There’s even plenty of room on top for a jacket. This bag has been de­signed to fit snugly and is ideal if you’re an ac­tive photographer into, say, run­ning or moun­tain bik­ing.

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Gold Sil­ver Space Grey

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