Gadgets & Gizmos


Mobilestudio Pro In 5 Configurations

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Big or small, having all your editing tools out on location or simply on your lap is a great way to work. But which is best for you? By Peter Eastway.

A confession up front: I went for the big one! I use the 16-inch Wacom MobileStudio Pro, but my reasons for going big might be different to your reasons for choosing small! One of the pleasures of travel photography is being able to look at your work in the evening, pick out your best shots and, if you don’t fall asleep, perhaps edit a few of the photos that really inspire you.

The Large Screen

So, when I’m in my hotel room or perhaps working with other photographers, I want to have a large screen with lots of monitor real estate. I want plenty of room for my palettes and, importantly, a good size reproduction of the image I am working on.

I’m often leading a group of photographers when I’m travelling, so having a large screen to show them a Photoshop technique, play an audio visual or give a Powerpoint presentation is really helpful. So I rationalised that I needed the larger MobileStudio Pro.

But there are a couple of compromises, the most notable being its size and weight. Didn’t I just say I wanted a bigger screen? Yes, but when I’m sitting on a plane travelling, I think I’d prefer a smaller unit – although I have to say that, now I have mastered Wacom’s ExpressKeys and the Pro Pen 2, I am pretty efficient with Capture One, Photoshop and InDesign, even within the confines of a ‘cattle class’ seat.

And there’s also the little issue of price - the top of the range 16-inch MobileStudio Pro costs $4299, compared to $2649 for the entry-level 13-inch MobileStudio Pro.

But even the entry level MobileStudio Pro is a dream machine. Its specifications outshine top of the line laptops from only a few years ago, so how much power do you really need? I could do most of my work with it, certainly when editing my smaller Canon and Fujifilm files. It’s only when I’m playing with 100-megapixel Phase One files that I absolutely have to have the 16GB RAM.

So, perhaps we should look at the range of MobileStudio Pro computers and see what we need, starting with the 13- inch models.

There's the good and the bad with telephoto lenses. The 'good' is that they are relatively easy to design, compared to wide-angles at least. The 'bad' is that they quickly become large and heavy if you want a wide maximum aperture, like f2.8 or f4, and that can make them problematic for handling and travelling.

One of the reasons photographers wanted the wide apertures was to handle low-light situations. A wide aperture meant a faster shutter speed, which is what you needed to freeze the action, especially for sport and wildlife. Back in the film days, you could shoot with ISO 1600 emulsions, but the film was pretty grainy and often ISO 1600 wasn't fast enough anyway. A wider aperture was better than a high speed film.

Compare the situation today when Canon and Nikon cameras comfortably shoot at ISO 6400 (and often much higher) and the need for a wide maximum aperture can be reconsidered. Especially if you don't want to carry too much weight!

Enter Tamron's 100-400mm f4.5-6.3 Di VC USD (Model A035), for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras. As you'd expect with a new telephoto zoom, it features VC (Vibration Compensation) up to four stops, meaning you can more comfortably hand-hold the lens in a range of situations, from sport to wildlife.

The 100-400mm lens uses three LD (Low Dispersion) elements for aberration reduction and Tamron’s eBAND Coating for anti-reflection performance. And at 1115 g, the new lens is claimed by Tamron to be the lightest in its class.

Magnesium alloy is used in key areas of the lens barrel to improve weight reduction, strength and portability, and at 197 mm long (Nikon mount), it's surprisingly compact and easy to use. Certainly there's no trouble fitting it into a standard camera bag.

The zoom lens is compatible with Tamron’s 1.4X teleconverter and the Tamron TAP-in Console, an optional accessory enabling users to update lens firmware and customise the lens settings, including adjustments of focusing positions for autofocusing and the operation modes for the lens’s Vibration Compensation system.

Additionally, an Arca Swiss compatible tripod mount is available as an optional accessory. Price is around the $1250 mark.

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Leica Camera AG has added the Leica CL to its range, so the Leica APS-C System now offers two camera models made in Germany – the Leica CL and the Leica TL2.

In technical terms, the cameras are equals, but could hardly be more different with regard to their design and handling concepts: reflecting the traditions of Leica in the form of the iconic Leica CL and, in contrast, the futuristic look of the Leica TL2.

The CL's electronic viewfinder (with EyeRes technology developed by Leica) features a latency time below the threshold of perception and a resolution of 2.36 million pixels. As the final image is visible in the viewfinder before the shutter release is pressed, users have complete control over the composition and exposure of their subjects.

In combination with the high-resolution, 24MP, APS-C format sensor of the Leica CL, there's a beefed up Maestro II series processor and a super fast autofocus system with 49 metering points, guaranteeing high picture quality in all photographic situations, Leica claims. This also applies to moving pictures captured at a resolution of up to 4K at 30 frames per second.

The Leica CL is equipped with an integrated Wi-Fi module. Pictures and videos can be sent by a wireless connection to smartphones, tablets or computers and quickly and easily shared by email or in social networks with the Leica CL App for iOS or Android.

In addition to this, the remote function of the app lets mobile devices be used as an off-camera viewfinder or for altering exposure parameters – for example, when shooting with the self-timer function or from unusual angles.

There are two dials for setting the aperture, shutter speed, ISO value, and exposure compensation. Everything is conveniently located so that photographs can be made without taking the camera from the eye.

An additional LCD display on the top plate instantly provides information about all relevant settings and exposure parameters.

The Leica CL with a black anodised finish has a RRP $3,700, while the CL with an 18mm will set you back RRP $5,200.

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