Category Archives: Reviews

Hands on gear reviews by National Geographic Creative photographer Jonathan Kingston.

Use Zacuto, Manfrotto and Arca-style heads without changing your camera’s base plate

The Problem

When I began shooting video more regularly, it did not take me long to figure out that in order to get smooth shots I needed a fluid head for my tripod and a shoulder mount for ‘run ‘n’ gun’ situations. The fluid head I am currently using is the Manfrotto 502 (HERE) and my shoulder mount of choice is the Zacuto Marauder (HERE). Two things that slow me down when switching from video to stills (or vice versa) are changing the tripod heads (which I found a solution for HERE) and re-mounting the camera to the various base plates for every system. For still photography, I have been using Arca style base plates for over a decade, and figured there must be a way to adapt the Zacuto and Manfrotto camera mounts to the Arca-style plate on my camera.

There is… Continue reading Use Zacuto, Manfrotto and Arca-style heads without changing your camera’s base plate

How to use the same tripod for video and stills

The Problem

I shoot both stills and video which often requires me too carry both a fluid head and a ballhead in the field.  Not wanting to carry two tripods, I very quickly realized that it took far too much time and frustration to swap the fluid head for the ballhead under any sort of time pressure (as is often the case in the field) and guessed there had to be a better way.

The Solution

I have always been a fan of Really Right Stuff’s products.  They are the photographic gear equivalent of a high-end german car – engineered to perfection.  As soon as I realized my problem swapping tripod heads in the field, I began combing their product lineup for some ideas.  What I found is a solution so elegant, I wanted to share it.   Continue reading How to use the same tripod for video and stills

The Ultimate Bag for Adventure Photography?

Overview

Just under a year ago, I received a call from my friend Dewitt Jones telling me I needed to check out this cool new camera bag he was using.  “It was made for you!” he exclaimed.   The bag Dewitt was referring to was the new MindShift rotation 180 Professional and anything that Dewitt takes the trouble to give me a call about, I take seriously.

I have been kicking the tires on my new rotation 180 pro for the last week and am thoroughly impressed.  I would venture to say it is the greatest leap forward in camera bag technology since the Domke F2.

Here is why…
Continue reading The Ultimate Bag for Adventure Photography?

Hands-on review of Peak Design’s new Slide camera strap

Note: As a follower of The Nomadic Photographer, you are eligible for a 10% discount on all Peak Design Products.  Use the coupon code “kingston” at checkout or simply follow this link to have it automatically entered for you.

I am a huge fan of Peak Design’s CapturePro camera clip.   After my first trip using it to carry my Nikon D4 in various Alaskan conditions, I knew I could never go back to a using standard camera strap during extended assignments.  The CapturePro saved both my neck and my wrist while carrying my heavy rig for days on end.  One of the things I appreciated most about the system was the ingenious Leash safety strap that rapidly adjusted to any length and doubled as a bracing /stabilizing strap when running and gunning video on the fly.  The width of the leash strap never bothered me because it never carried the full weight of my camera for any extended period of time thanks to the CapturePro system.

Fortunately or unfortunately – not all my assignments are extended affairs.  For short shoots and grab shots where I didn’t bother putting on the CapturePro camera clip – I found that the leash strap was somewhat lacking in the comfort department.  Shortly after this realization, I contacted Peak Design to beg them to design a wider strap that used their pioneering Anchor system.  As if I had rubbed the proverbial genie bottle, the next day a note appeared in my inbox from Peak Design letting me know that a wider strap – called Slide – was already under development and that they would send one my way when it was finished.

Slide arrived on my doorstep the other day and I have been kicking its tires since. In a nutshell Peak Design has broken new ground with Slide. In my opinion it is the best camera strap on the market for the following reasons: Continue reading Hands-on review of Peak Design’s new Slide camera strap

The Garmin fēnix for Photographers

A perfect moment for a little help from my Garmin fēnix. Sunrise in a fog bank in the middle of the inside passage, somewhere in Alaska.  The watch has saved me hours of work in post production thanks to the GPX tracklog it stores.

How I use the Garmin fēnix and Adobe Lightroom to automate the process of geotagging my images

The Problem

When I decided to pursue photography as a profession, little did I know I was also signing up to become one part librarian and one part IT professional.  Every day spent in the field, results in at least one obligatory day in front of the computer color correcting, cataloguing, and captioning photographs – all necessary evils that add value to the final image for my clients.

One of the key pieces of metadata clients request is the photographs location information.  While easily added by hand to one or two images, the fun level quickly drops to zero trying to remember where a specific image was taken after a multi week assignment on another continent covering an assortment of locations and potentially thousands of frames.  Compounding this frustration, $300 point and shoot cameras come with built in GPS that automate this process, but $6000 pro DSLR cameras do not!

Needless to say, when I found a way to automate the task of entering location information into my photographs, I jumped at the opportunity as it meant less time in front of the computer, and more time doing ANYTHING else.

The Solution

Continue reading The Garmin fēnix for Photographers

Peak Design CapturePRO® V2 Review

Note: As a follower of The Nomadic Photographer, you are eligible for a 10% discount on all Peak Design Products. Details at the end of this review.

Until a month ago, coming home with a sore neck from carrying my cameras during an assignment seemed as much a part of my business as waking up in the field for first light, or spending inordinate amounts of time away from home.  For quite some time, I had been daydreaming about a camera mount system that could distribute the weight of my camera onto my belt rather than my shoulders and neck.

To my delight, shortly before leaving for a three week assignment in Alaska to teach for Lindblad/National Geographic, I ran across a Kickstarter project touting a clever product called the CapturePRO® V2 by Peak Design®. Continue reading Peak Design CapturePRO® V2 Review

ADOBE DOUBLES THE PRICE OF PHOTOSHOP FOR EXISTING USERS

Time for creative destruction of the creative cloud

On May 6th Adobe announced its next iteration of the Creative Suite titled Adobe Creative Cloud. The software will be offered as a subscription only and priced (for existing users) at $49.99/month for the entire Creative Suite and $19.99/month for Photoshop only.

I won’t be upgrading. Let me tell you why…

Continue reading ADOBE DOUBLES THE PRICE OF PHOTOSHOP FOR EXISTING USERS