Expert opinions on all the latest hot kit
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.
£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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