I’m constantly trying new things, but I only review stuff that I actually use. That should help keep the clutter down and keep you focused on the best stuff out there. I hope these reviews are of benefit to you in your lifelong adventure of photographic fortune and glory.
Photo Software Reviews
Five (plus 1) pieces of software you should have
- Aurora HDR 2018 – I developed this software along with Macphun for HDR and general processing. The latest release runs on both Mac and Windows. I also have a free tutorial and a special video tutorial just for Aurora!
- Luminar Review – Luminar is an extremely powerful and fast photo editor that can do not only the most basic adjustments, but literally millions of “looks” for your photo. It’s extremely easy and fun to use and designed for all skill levels.
- SmugMug Review – this how I share my photos online… I think SmugMug is the absolute best image portfolio and website tool
- Plotagraph Review – A Plotagraph is a “looping” photograph. You begin with a SINGLE image (not a movie file), like a JPG, and then you use Plotagraph to “animate” it. The resulting image is a repeating movie file that loops so smoothly, you can’t see the seam. There’s also some crazy new tech on there, like morphing and more.
- Screenflow Review – the easiest and best video editing and screen recording software for Mac. I also use Telestream’s other product called Wirecast for live streaming on Facebook and Youtube.
Additional Software you may find helpful
- OnOne Software Review – Perfect Photo Suite is a great set tools you should know
- Topaz Adjust Review – an amazing plugin to give very nice effects
- Animoto Review – a fun and stylish way to make online videos. So easy!
- Lucis Pro Review – wonderful for adding sharp detail and pop
- Topaz Adjust Review – an amazing plugin to give very nice effects
- Noiseware Review – great for reducing the “noise” in photos
- Magic Bullet Looks Review – I’m amazed at how much a simple filter can add to a video
- PhotoLooks Review – cool tool for giving your images some “pop”
- Photoshop Review – a nice review of Adobe Photoshop and why you need it!
- Portraiture Review – used for making people and portraits look amazing
- Topaz Detail Review – another winner from Topaz
- Topaz InFocus Review – another winner from Topaz
Photo Software Coupon Codes
I also have a complete list of the best coupon codes for photo editing software.
Camera Equipment Reviews
Below is a list of cameras I recommend that should work for any skill level or budget. In addition, I have a more complete list of Camera Lens Reviews that covers all the lenses I use for my photography.
Good Camera: Sony a5100
This Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you around the $500 level.
If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” or “HARDCORE” recommendations. However, if budget is your principal concern, then no worries; this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used if and when you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7Rii model below.
Better Camera: Sony a6300
Starting at below $999 for the body.
The A6300 is the latest evolution of the high end Sony APS-C models. It features, amongst other great features, enhanced autofocus speed and 4K movie recording. You can read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the model the A6300 replaces and has many of the same specs. The a6000 series has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000 models. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, more focal points, and faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 6 fps).
HARDCORE MODE: Hasselblad X1D
Starting at the low low bargain price of around $9,000.
- Check price of the Hasselblad X1D on B&H Photo
What a beast! You can read the full review over here which has loads of sample images. The key points are that it’s medium format and mirrorless, which means it’s got a much bigger sensor than the Sony and is not that much bigger in size. 50 megapixels. Beautiful and Sleek. I have the 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses and they are all outstanding! The only downsides I can see so far is it is a bit slow (like 2 frames per second) and the software is a tiny bit buggy. I think the latter will be fixed with firmware. Either way, the images it produces are phenominal.
Best Camera: Sony a7R III
Starting at just over $3198
A full-on Sony a7R III Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. It’s a great camera and much more affordable than the Hasselblad. I absolutely love it. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems with comparible specifications at a lower price and smaller size/weight. Its Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!
Something a little different?
I’ve tested a bunch of 360 cameras and the Insta360 One is definitely the best so far. I love the auto-stitching and removal of the selfie-stick. This is perhaps a very strange feature to mention, but I like how it makes all that nonsense disappear. The end result is that it has the equivalent feeling of a silent quadcopter floating a few feet away from your head all the time. They also have some cool software that lets you control what the viewer can see in post production. Check out my review for video examples.
Sony a7R – First Three Lenses
Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras! 🙂
- Sony FE 24-70 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great mid-range lens the covers wide to mid-range zooming. See more on the Sony 24-70mm review.
- Sony FE 24-240 f/3.5-6.3 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is great. What a range! It’s not super-fast, but that’s not a problem for me.
- Sony FE 16-35 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – I’m so excited about this lens! This is the first full-frame wide angle lens that fits the eMount on the Sony a7 line of cameras.
Sony a7R – Other Goodies!
- Sony Alpha Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – So that you can attach the other Sony full-frame Alpha lenses to your Sony a7R
- Novoflex Leica Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – Fantastic for attaching any lens that uses the Leica lens mount. WARNING: Do not get the cheaper adapters. I tried them, thinking it was just a piece of metal, but it was not and many of my photos, especially at infinity, were out of focus. Check out my Leica Lens Buying Guide for more info.
- Nikon F Lens Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Nikon DSLR lenses
- Canon EF Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Canon DSLR lenses
Sony A5100 / A6300 Camera – Two Great Lenses
If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first couple of lenses, here they are. Often times a camera will come with a “kit lens” that is pretty versatile and can get you a long way. The Sony a6300 comes with a 16-50mm lens that produces great pictures. But there are many lenses that are better for more specialized situations.
- Sony 55-210mm (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is a little big but its versatility is perfect for mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
- Sony 10-18 F/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review. Note: This is also a great lens for the Sony A7r Mark 2, giving you the full range of 12-17mm. The edges get a bit ropy, but only hardcore camera nerds look at the edges.
Leica Lens Buying Guide
I’m really getting into using Leica lenses with the Sony a7R. You have to manually focus but you still get focus peaking and all of the other sweet features of the Sony mirrorless system. I’ve created a Leica Lens Buying Guide where I’ll chronicle what I learn and recommend.
More Lens Reviews
I only write reviews for lenses that I use and recommend. Here is a complete list of camera lens reviews.
What’s in my photo bag?
Come check out my Camera Bag page for more details!
Over the past year few years, I’ve been partnering with Peak Design to build five incredible camera bags. And now you can see more! See our current Kickstarter here and/or check out our first Everyday Messenger here!
DJI Phantom and Inspire 1 Quadcopters
I recently got a quadcopter and I LOVE it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives.
I’ve recently switched tripods, then switched back, then switched again. I’m like the Caitlyn Jenner of tripods, and I’m not proud. But I’m ownin’ it girl.
- High End — The TQC-14 Tripod from RRS – I love this tripod. Again, I’ve switched around a lot… but this thing honestly fixes all the gripes I had with previous RRS tripods.
- Budget — Any 3-Legged Thing Tripod – These are also nice tripods. Yes, they are still pricey but with good quality. There are some very inexpensive tripods out there, but they are so flimsy and you should not waste your time.