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

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.

Google Pixel 2 XL

Good Camera: Google Pixel 2

The Google Pixel 2 mobile phone is AWESOME! It’s the best phone I’ve ever used. Read my review of the Pixel 2 XL. You can buy one unlocked direct from Google. There are two different models, they both have identical specs inside and out except for the size/screen and battery capacity. I recently did a Sony A7r Mark III Review where I sneaked in a Pixel 2 photo. Everyone had trouble finding it and seeing the difference between these two drastically different devices.

Also, I don’t follow scores from DxOMark but if that’s your sort of thing, you’ll see here that the Pixel 2 tops even the new iPhone X. But I can tell just by using it in a variety of conditions and comparing it to photos from friends using the latest iPhone or Samsung. They’re always blown away at the quality of the photos and you can see a bunch of examples in my review.

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).

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!

Best Drone: DJI Mavic

A few years ago I got a quadcopter and I LOVED it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives.

Back then the tech was a bit complicated, flight times were not great and image quality was decent but still had a bit to go. After a bunch of updates DJI created two amazing products though. The Phantom 4 Pro which has the largest sensor on a consumer drone and the Mavic Pro quadacopter (that’s what my daughter Scarlett calls them!). Here is my Phantom 4 Pro review. It’s a great machine but I think I’m leaning towards the Mavic as my go-to machine due to how compact it is. Review coming soon!

Best 360 Camera: Insta360 One

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.

Camera Lenses

Sony a7R – First Lenses

Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras! 🙂

  • Sony FE 24-105 f/4 G Series (Amazon) – An excellent high end lens that covers a good range. Ideal as a single lens to travel with. See image examples on the Sony a7R III review.
  • 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!

Tripod Recommendations

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 EndThe 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.
  • BudgetAny 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.

More Reviews and recommendations

Fuji X-T2

Looking for something compact and built to withstand the elements? Check out my Fuji X-T2 Review.

  • Check the price of the Fuji X-T2 on Amazon.
  • Check the price of the Fuji X-T2 on B+H.

The Fuji products have always served me so well in crazy weather conditions. Well, in ANY condition, really. But there’s something about going out into the wild weather to take photos. You just end up getting very unique stuff. 2017 was my eighth year at Burning Man, and my 2nd to take FUJI equipment. Burning Man can be a Very Harsh environment with not just high temperatures, but frequent sandstorms. Those were always a major worry with my other cameras, but not this one. I didn’t have one single problem. It shot flawlessly and it has a great selection of weather resistant lenses too. On that note, why not take a look at my Burning Man Survival Guide here.

Hasselblad X1D

Money no object? Consider the Hasselblad X1D which starts at the low, low bargain price of around $9,000.

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 a full frame DSLR and is not that much different 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.

  • I’m just curious if we can suggest subjects for tutorials (perhaps even for more detail in some step of an existing one) or offer videos (links?) of our own experiences/tricks with your currently reviewed software applications? It could get overwhelming though I imagine…

    Looking very forward to your future informational offerings!

  • Thanks!

    I do take suggestions… I can’t follow many of them up… as I use stuff, I generally put up a review if I think it is good! 🙂

  • kushal

    Thanks for this great. Had a fun-filled and extremely informative journey in you tutorial! Thanks a lot!

  • Frank

    Unbelievable stuff. I am just getting into HDR right now and have been using Dynamic-Photo HDR. Have you ever used this software and what are you opinions, if any, on the product? Thanks

  • Great Reading, thanks.

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  • Will you be moving to Nikon 16-35 and selling your 14-24. If you are and also keeping your 14-24 may I ask what you would use your 14-24 for.

  • Thomas

    I was trying to find some information on what size and make of SD(HD) memory cards you use and/or recommend? or some that you ‘recommend’ to avoid?
    I love your site, your reviews and your work.

    Well Done!

  • There is a typo at the bottom there 🙂
    “Games for iPhome”

  • Thanks!

    Trevor – I fixed that up.

    Thomas – I am working on a Hoodman review right now – search here on the page for that when it is avail!

  • Dave Burnet

    Hi Trey

    I ran across software called HDR Expose this weekend and am playing around with it. What are your thoughts?


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  • I want the 14-24mm f2.8 lens! Only problem is that I have a D300S… is that a waste? I shoot our interior exhibit/museum work and working with a 12-24 f4 lens has been frustrating… always a bit soft in my opinion compared to my 35-85 that came with my first D100. I sent the lens back to Nikon and they “retooled” the optics, but I still feel it’s not sharp as it should be.

    The crispness and clarity is what I want. There will be a move to a D700 or higher eventually, but not imminent. Would I see the benefits of this lens even though I’m in DX? If it’s sharp, I’d be VERY happy. Or should I be looking at a fixed mm lens? Again, this is mostly for interior installations.

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  • Vincent Randal

    I don’t have a Sony NEX-7. Instead, I have owned a Sony NEX-5N for about two weeks, and the more I use it the more I find fault with it. Sony told me the primary difference is the NEX-7 has a 24 megapixel sensor and comes with a viewfinder. They forgot to mention the NEX-5N sensor has better low noise performance than the NEX-7.

    But I will return the NEX-5N for a full refund for the following reasons:

    1. In Continuous Bracket mode you can only shoot 3 images and you are limited to EV steps of 0.3 and 0.7

    2. In Auto-HDR mode the originals are deleted by the camera, but you do get much wider EV range choices than in Continuous Bracket mode.

    3. In Auto-HDR in bright sunlight the images are almost completely washed out.

    4. You have to manually adjust the Exposure Compensation by trial and error to fix washed out images in Auto-HDR mode.

    5. You can only use a remote or timer in single exposure mode.

    6. The NEX-7 has all the same problems as the NEX-5N and a noisier sensor in low light.

  • What is the application you use to do your screen captures for your tutorial videos?

  • ScreenFlow Pro

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  • mikenna

    it is so cool how close you can get to an object like the Kennedy Space Center!

  • Pete

    Trey I literally just bought a nex7 based mostly on your photos and recommendation. However, I haven’t used it yet (still on its way) and I’ve been reading a lot about the new nex6. My assumption was that the 6 was a step down from the 7 so I just went with the 7 but I’ve read a lot of people prefer it because of better focusing technology and how it handles high ISO. Have you had a chance to use the new 6? Since I can still exchange it do you think it’s worth switching out the 7 for the 6?

  • cool! this page is full of useful information!

  • Guest

    Hi Trey

  • Ern

    Hello Trey
    Not sure if this is the correct location to thank you for the Wonderful 75 Lightroom preset sale. WOW! these are really all fantastic, They give my pictures so much life and punch even dull once luck pretty darn great. Thanks for all your hard work and for making me look like a pro.

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  • treyratcliff

    Thanks – and glad you like the presets!

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  • Anu

    Hi Trey,

    You have got a great website and amazing pics. I am like brand new to photography but my wife is pregnant and I wanted to make great videos and take some great shots of baby and her in the hospital.Which camera would you recommend ? My main aim like any other parent is to make great quality videos of our Baby girl. Any suggestions how I can make this work 🙂

    I really hope you can help me out because I am like very confused.



  • treyratcliff

    Hi @Anu ! I suggest you get the Good or the Better from my “Trey’s Gear” recommendations above. You’ll be set up! 🙂

  • treyratcliff

    Sorry for my mega-late response! Check my recommendations under “Trey’s Gear” and try to A6000! 🙂

  • Rjm

    Hey Trey!
    Was wondering what service you use for printing your art to canvas, if you have a favorite. Smugmug?


  • Twit

    I thought SM used compression when you upload? somewhere on the web it was suggested that some sites dont allow true lossless photo upload / storage

  • ArnieW

    Do you like the Sony A7ii?

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  • Jim D

    Love your creativity and skill! It has inspired me to improve my own photographic skills. Being new to Ps,Lr and Photmatix I expect to avail myself of many of your tutorial offerings. it would be helpful if you would include your computer hardware setup under Trey’s Gear. I would be interested in monitors, cpu, memory and Gpu specs. Also laptop configuration.
    Jim D

  • Interested in changing the future of photography?

    20+ 1-Click Styled Develop Presets + Bonus “Easy Adjust” Presets Collection.

  • Pat A Jordan

    What’s up with personal cloud space??

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  • crahol

    Trey: have you used Easy HDR software?

  • crahol

    Trey: Why are you using a mirrorless camera? And why Sony instead of waiting for Canon to make a high end mirrorless camera?

  • Sales staff: if I buy Becoming an Artist, do I have access to all 15 at purchase, or one per week?

  • Hi Jerry,

    Sorry I missed this. When you purchase the entire season, you can download all episodes immediately.

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  • Kent Faith

    Hi Trey, we have affordable and good-quality camera accessories, such as tripod, backpack, lens filter, microphone, speedlite, etc. How can we apply to be your partner and get our products reviewed in this website?

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