Gadgets & Gizmos

We’ll post a more detailed review on the DJI Copilot in the next few weeks when the magazine comes out with a more comprehensive story, but I thought I’d like to mention LaCie’s latest on-location device – because it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.

Years ago, Epson used to make a great little device that was a combination viewer and hard drive. I think the one I still have in the bottom of a desk drawer stores 80 GB, the screen is pretty basic by today’s standards, and it isn’t particularly fast.

These days, when I travel I usually take a laptop, but there are times and occasions when it’s not practical. A recent 6 day walk in the Western Arthurs comes to mind, but just being able to back up your work on the go without using a laptop would be incredibly useful for wedding photographers, for instance.

The DJI Copilot is currently a 2TB hard drive, wrapped in a grey plastic survival suit (a bit like LaCie’s orange Rugged range) so it can take the bumps and knocks of life in a professional photographer’s camera bag. And although it doesn’t have an LCD screen like the Epson, it tethers to your smartphone – so you can see the file structure and the thumbnails on a screen! And that’s very useful.

The unit comes with three different connectors, depending on what type of phone or tablet you’re using, and your connector of choice can remain in position permanently – indeed, the tether cable wraps around the unit into a purpose-built slot. In terms of input and output, you have an SD card slot (and LaCie provides a MicroSD adaptor for drone and GoPro users), plus USB and TB connectors, so it’s really easy to get data into and out of the DJI Copilot.

And we’re giving away two of these drives in our Better Photography Photo of the Year competition which will be announced mid-September. Details to come!


Mobilestudio Pro In 5 Configurations

Wacom Special Promotion

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.

For more information, visit

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