Thursday, 19 November 2015

Peak Design "Slide" Camera Strap

The majority of people that purchase a new camera will use the supplied camera strap or buy a cheap neck strap that may look and feel more comfortable. I mean... how important is a camera strap anyway!! Most people would say it wasn't important at all ....well they're wrong. Take it from us (and we are Professional Travel Photographers) that the humble camera strap is crucial in the difference between not only how you shoot but also how your neck feels at the end of a long day. For years, we used the "comfortable" neck strap that was extremely comfortable at the beginning but by the end of the day we were relieved to finally be able to remove it. Sure we could have had the strap over our head and sitting on one shoulder but this made it impractical when taking shots on the go.

There had to be a better way. Several years ago we started using a sling strap made by Joby (the same guys that brought you the nifty Gorilla Pod) and we absolutely loved it. We immediately tossed all our other straps in the bin and used nothing but these however the problem with most sling straps on the market is that they are connected to the tripod thread at the bottom of the camera. Now this is great until of course you need to use a tripod and then you have to laboriously remove the strap to mount the camera on the tripod. Sure, with the Joby strap you can mount a plate to the bottom of the camera which can hold the strap and mount a Quick Release for the tripod however this can be a problem depending on the size of your Quick Release (this is the case with our Manfrotto 168 Ball Head).

And then along came Peak Design with their "Slide" strap with its very unique design. They put their heads together and came up with a very innovative way for connecting the strap to the camera that would keep the bottom of the camera free and also easy-peasy to remove if needed. They invented the "Anchor Link". The nifty thing about the Anchor Link is that they can connect to the normal camera strap connection point (eyelets, lugs etc) or any other connection point such as an L Bracket (for use in Arca Swiss quick release systems). In the image below they are the small red & black objects with the loop. The newly upgraded *Dyneema-corded Anchors can each hold well over 90kg (200lbs.Once the loop is fed through the eyelets (lugs) on the camera or other connection point the small plastic dime-sized (5 cent coin for us Aussies) connection slides securely into the buckles at the end of the strap. Make sure you are pushing down on the dime sized connector while sliding into the buckles.
*Dyneema is apparently the worlds strongest fibre

The strap is made from what seems to be very high quality "seatbelt" material which you would normally see in a vehicle. This, in our view, will make it last a very very long time. The great thing about the material, and especially its width, is that it would be very difficult to slash through by thieves doing a "slash and grab" when attempting to steal your camera. The fact that the strap is used as a sling would make it difficult anyway but this makes it even more secure in our view. The strap can be easily adjusted using either of the 2 durable aluminium quick-adjust handles. The section of strap that would cover your shoulder is smooth on one side and silicone grip on the other making it easy to flip the strap over if you want to wear just over one shoulder (not that we would ever use it like this in our travel photography). Included is also an ARCA-Swiss compatible tripod plate.

Other than Black (Classic) as seen above the strap also comes in a couple of colours -
Tallac (an extra USD$5.00)
Lassen (an extra USD$5.00)

The things we love about this strap -

  1. It is extremely well designed and sturdy
  2. The Anchor Links to connect to the camera are the best design in the market
  3. Makes it a cinch to use your tripod with the strap attached or easy to remove the strap without being fiddly.
  4. Looks great
  5. Brilliant for photographers who do not carry backpack type bags
  6. Takes the strain off the neck reducing muscle pain and headaches
Now, as much as we love this strap there are just a few negatives (sorry but there's always got to be a downside)

  1. Its not really a sling, well not like the Joby Sling. The whole strap needs to slide for the camera to be raised to the eye whereas with the Joby Sling the camera will actually slide along the strap as you raise it to your eye.Therefore you can use the Joby Strap underneath your backpack and it works fineAs a result the Peak Design Slide is not great when using it underneath a backpack camera bag. You could use it by putting the strap on top of the backpack bag. We've met a photographer that uses it this way and has no problem so we guess it is up to the individual to make up their mind. So for those that walk around with a backpack camera bag all day this is, in our opinion, not an ideal strap. Having said that, Peak Design recommends the Capture Camera Clip as being more ideal for those that carry backpack camera bags. 
  2. The strap rides up on the side of your neck. This can be quite uncomfortable unless you are constantly wearing a shirt/top with a collar that will stop it rubbing on your neck. For a short period of time this is not a problem but can see it being an issue over a long period.
  3. The stiffened area of the strap that would normally be on the shoulder in our opinion is a little too stiff. As a result this makes putting the camera in your bag with the strap attached a little more awkward. This may become a little more pliable over time with regular use.

Below is a short 4minute video about the strap -

And here's another video about using the strap - 

To buy off the Peak Design website is USD$59.95 + Delivery or AUD$89.00 from a local supplier. If you like the design and style it is a great investment and possibly the only camera strap that you will ever need.

All in all, we highly recommend the Peak Design Slide camera strap and we hope this blog post will encourage you to give it a try. We definitely think you won't regret it.

If you have any comments or questions about this product then we'd love to hear from you.

If you liked this post you may also enjoy our Newsletter. You can receive new posts direct to your Inbox. Sign up here.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Review - Tamron SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 & Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Macro 1:1 Di VC USD

As Travel Photographers we really have never had the opportunity or the need to shoot Macro images. However since starting our Meetup group we have met many photography enthusiasts that were interested in this genre. We were fortunate to have been given the opportunity to test both the Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP Macro and Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di VC USD Macro. These lenses would be considered Portrait/Macro lenses and ideal for these types of photography.
Shot with Sony A7R using metabones adapter with Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP Macro (Nikon mount) 

The Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP Macro  (Model: 272E) - with & without hood
Resolution of the Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP Macro  (Model: 272E) 
Chart from
This lens will give outstanding results across the whole image at f/4, f5.6 & f/8
Whats the difference between the two lenses you ask? Well, in image quality we really haven't been able to pick them apart. The Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP Macro  (Model: 272E) is the older of the two lenses and apparently has been a legend of a lens for Macro photographers for many years. The Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di VC USD Macro (Model: F004) was only released in 2013. Both lenses have 1:1 magnification ratio. 

There is quite a price difference between the 2 lenses with the only difference being;

  • The F004 model has ultrasonic autofocusing (faster & quieter internal focusing) while the older (272E) lens barrel extends when focussing at closer distances making the length grow substantially (see below left image)
  • The F004 model also has VC (vibration compensation) which will allow you to handhold at slightly slower shutter speeds while attaining a low ISO setting (although this feature is not available on the Sony mount as Image Stabilisation is available in-camera).
  • Slight improvement in sharpness, reduction of flare and chromatic aberration which is due to technological advances in the the glass elements

The build quality of both lenses is excellent and have a very smooth focus ring. Unlike most lenses where there is a small switch for changing between Auto/Manual Focus -switching between manual and auto-focus on the 272E model is via a focus clutch mechanism by moving the focus ring back and forth. It will reveal a Blue coloured ring when in Manual Mode. We quite like this feature as it can be done without taking your eye away from the viewfinder. This is great for using AF and then switching to Manual Focus to fine tune the focus although you will find that switching between the two will require some fine tuning.

Left: The Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP Macro (Model: 272E) when focussing close
Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di VC USD Macro (Model: F004)
Resolution of the Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di VC USD Macro (Model: F004
Chart from
This lens will give outstanding results across the whole image at f/4, f5.6 & f/8
The newer lens (F004) has been weather sealed which is an improvement over the older model and these days is quite a necessary feature for all lenses and camera bodies. It features a virtually silent USD (Ultrasonic Drive) and Vibration Compensation which is Tamron's version of image stabilisation which is finding its way into many lenses these days. Tamron claim that this will allow you to handhold at shutter speeds up to 4 stops slower. We always take these claims with a grain of salt and always halve the amount of f-stops that they recommend. Therefore when using this lens we would recommend only handholding 2-3 stops slower. 

Resolution - both lenses are outstanding at the critical apertures from edge to edge. Wide open both lenses are great but at f/4, f/5.6 & f/8 they are brilliant although based on the charts above the newer lens is sharper across the board, which is to be expected. From f/11 and onwards the quality deteriorates due to diffraction but this is normal for any lens. Considering that you would not generally use this lens for great depth of field images then this is not worth worrying about. 

All in all we have had a great experience with both of these lenses. They are both a delight to use. There is however a substantial price difference between the two and this is understandable considering the improvements that have been made to the newer model. The 272E model currently retails for AUD$400-450 and the F004 model for AUD$700-800 (if you have a Sony camera you can buy this for just over AUD$500 but you will nee d an adapter to work on E or FE mount cameras). Below is the recommendation of for these lenses and we would have to concur.

Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP Macro  (Model: 272E)
Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di VC USD Macro (Model: F004)
Conclusion: If your specialty is Macro Photography with the occasional portrait shot we would recommend you splash out and buy the more expensive Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di VC USD Macro (Model: F004) however if you are adding another lens to your bag for the occasional Macro and portrait shot we would go for the Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP Macro (Model: 272E) which is the lens we will be purchasing. Either way you will not regret your purchase of either of these lenses. 

Note: The mounts available for Sony are for A mount cameras, If using an E mount or FE mount camera you will need to purchase an adapter. 

Below are some of the image we have taken with the lenses -
Shot with Nikon D7000 with Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di VC USD Macro (Nikon mount)
Shot with Nikon D7000 with Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di SP Macro (Nikon mount)
Shot with Nikon D7000 with Tamron AF 90mm f2.8 Di VC USD Macro (Nikon mount)
If you have any comments or questions about these lenses then we'd love to hear from you.

If you liked this post you may also enjoy our Newsletter. You can receive new posts direct to your Inbox. Sign up here.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Photo Tours - 2016 Itineraries Released

We have just released the itineraries for our 2016 Photo Tours.

To help you get the best out of your photography and learn in some of the most amazing and unique destinations, we have put together these great Photography Tours. On our small group tours (max. 8) we ensure that everyone gets plenty of one-on-one attention and advice so you can return with brilliant photos, memories and knowledge to take with you on your future travels. These tours are open to residents of all countries. We are going to visit great destinations such as Myanmar (Burma), UAE, Greece, Italy, Patagonia as well as re-visiting the Pacific Island countries of Fiji, Kiribati & Niue, so why not join us.

To find out more just click on the Download Flyer for the tour you are interested in or drop us an email with any questions you may have. All prices listed below are in AUD (Australian Dollar). If you would like to receive updates of new exciting destinations click here to be added to our Mailing List. You will receive updates on new products, special offers, tips & techniques plus loads more about whats planned for 2016. 

2016 Tours:

30 Jan 2016 - Best of Burma - 14nights/15days - from $5,850.00pp
A unique destination and an amazing country to visit and photograph. Full of colour and culture, we will travel to spectacular locations to cover a wide range of photographic opportunities. 
Download Flyer

20 Feb 2016 - Arabian Adventure - 14nights/15days - from $5,250.00pp
From the ultra modern cities to the ocean and deserts, this tour is a contrast of landscapes. The gold of the mosques to an oasis in the desert, the photographic landscapes will be spectacular.
Download Flyer

April 2016 - Santorini Photo Walk - Date to be Advised
As part of the release of our new Santorini book "Between Sea & Sky", we welcome anyone to join us on a photowalk on the Greek island of Santorini. This tour is also available to Greek speaking participants. Register to find out more...

17 Apr 2016 - Discover Crete - 8nights/9days - from $4,499.00pp
We will take you though this rugged and beautiful island in Greece. From the mountains to the sea, the unique villages and culture and people will make this a trip to remember. This tour is also available to Greek speaking participants. 
Download Flyer

1 May 2016 - Amalfi Coast - 5nights/6days - from $2,399.00pp
Discover the spectacular towns on the Amalfi Coast including Positano and the hilltop town of Ravello on this photo tour and enjoy some great food and photography along the way. 
Download Flyer. Combine with Captivating Naples tour and save up to $600.00pp..

6 May 2016 - Captivating Naples - 6nights/7days - from $3,099.00pp
Explore the vibrant city of Naples with great landscapes and landmarks including cathedrals and royal palaces. We visit the archaelogical site of Pompeii, venture across the Bay of Naples to the Isle of Capri and Procida and enjoy a pizza or two along the way. 
Download Flyer. Combine With Amalfi Coast tour and save up to $600.00pp..

20 May 2016 - Enchanting Cinque Terre - 6nights/7days - from $3,099.00pp
The walks between the 5 towns of Cinque Terre is the only way to see this unique area. The Liguria region has great food that you can walk off while taking in the magnificent scenery and photographic opportunities along the way. 
Download Flyer

13 Jul 2016 - Fiji Islands - 7nights/8days - from $3,399.00pp
The Fiji Islands is like our second home. We include visits to stunning waterfalls, quiet villages, spectacular beaches, markets, awesome landscapes, streetscapes and traditional ceremonies. See the unexpected side of Fiji.
Download Flyer

20 Jul 2016 - Tarawa Island "For Travellers"- 5nights/6days - from $3,950.00pp
A visit to the remote atoll islands of Tarawa in Kiribati is an experience you will never forget. This destination is part of our "For Travellers" photo tours as the destinations are more remote and off the beaten track.
Download Flyer. Combine with Remote Tarawa tour and save up to $1,650.00pp..

24 Jul 2016 - Remote Tarawa "For Travellers" - 8nights/9days - from $4,650.00pp
For those that want to visit more remote islands this tour takes you to Abaiang & Kuria Islands providing you the opportunity to experience even more of these remote islands. 
Download Flyer. Combine with Tarawa Island tour and save up to $1,650.00pp..

2 Aug 2016 - Kiritimati "For Travellers" - 8nights/9days - from $6,550.00pp
New to our tour program for 2016. This remarkable island is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The tour is part of our "For Travellers" due to the remoteness of the island with only one flight a week. The landscapes are magnificent and it has so much to offer a traveller that wants to get back to the basics. Download Flyer

24 Aug 2016 - Explore Niue - 7nights/8days - from $4,199.00pp
There are numerous coastal landscape opportunities on the island that make it ideal for photographers who love to capture seascapes, coastal scenes, caves and nature. 
Download Flyer

6 Sep 2016 - Patagonia & Iguazu Falls - 12nights/13days - from $9,950.00pp
This classic tour will takes us to the colourful city of Buenos Aires, the Glaciers and highlights of Patagonia then to the magnificent Iguazu Falls. Come with us as we explore the glaciers and countryside of this remarkable destination. 
Download Flyer

Oct 2016 - Tasmania - Date & Details to be advised
The "Apple Isle" has something for everyone - magnificent waterfalls, landscapes and colonial architecture, it truly is a photographers delight. Register to be notified once tour is available...

Dec 2016 - Sunflowers in New England - Date & Details to be advised
The New England region of New South Wales offers rural pastures, with homesteads, fields of crops & historic towns. A great region to practise your landscape photography skills. In December the Sunflower fields are a magnificent sight to be seen and photographed. Register to be notified...

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Review - No More Ugly camera satchels

Recently we stumbled upon a local (Sydney, Australia) camera satchel retailer that is determined to rid the world of ugly camera bags. They were kind enough to supply us with a satchel (same one as in the pictures below), which we took into the field several times.

The satchels are well constructed and although not waterproof would take a moderate amount of drenching due to the thick material that they are made from. The insert is soft and your camera will fit snugly although with an L bracket on our Sony A7r and a standard zoom lens attached it made the satchel bulge a bit.
Back View - closest to body
Inside - From Above - Empty
Inside - From Above - With Gear 
Inside - From Above - No Insert
Side View
Front - with Shoulder Strap

The buckles at the front are quite deceiving as they are not designed to be undone. Instead they connect to the bag using a snap buckle at the rear of the buckle. However when the bag was full including contents in the front pockets this made the satchel bulge which made it slightly difficult to close easily. 
Angled View - From Above

There is also a narrow gap between the inserts and the edge of the satchel that is perfect for carrying an iPad or tablet. The two pockets at the front are great for any filters or accessories. There is another pocket on the body side of the satchel that could fit a mobile phone, notepad etc however we would not use this pocket for any valuables while travelling.

The satchels are available in several sizes and colours. The satchel we tested was the "Canvas Camera Satchel Khaki Large" (the same as the pictures above). The bags are very affordable at AUD$59.95* (Small, in all colours), AUD $74.95* (Medium, only in Dark Brown, Light Brown and Two-Tone Brown) and AUD$84.95* (Large, in all colours). Below are some of the other styles -

 Camera Satchel Dark Brown - Large
 Camera Satchel Light Brown - Large

Camera Satchel Two-Tone Brown - Large
Camera Satchel Tan - Large
Now while we think these vintage looking camera satchels are really cool and awesome for the fashion conscience photographer they may not be very practical for anyone that wants to carry more than 2 lenses (large zoom) on a mirrorless or DSLR system. If you are a photographer that carries a compact mirrorless camera system with maybe smaller prime/zoom lenses e.g. Sony a6000 with 2 lenses (or similar) then maybe these are the satchels for you. Those photographers with more equipment and accessories may not benefit from their current line of camera satchels in their current format. 

All in all, we really like these bags if we were heading out for the day and just wanted to take minimal gear.  There definitely is a niche market for these satchels especially amongst the fashion conscience that carry minimal equipment and they will love these bags and it will serve them well.

If you are interested in purchasing a bag they are only available online at -

* Pricing is correct as at 3rd Sept 2015
If you have any comments or questions about these satchels then we'd love to hear from you.

If you liked this post you may also enjoy our Newsletter. You can receive new posts direct to your Inbox. Sign up here.

Free eBook - 10 tips for Monochrome Photography

We have just launched another FREE eBook titled "Travel Photography - 10 Tips for Monochrome Photography". In the book we have shared some simple tips based on our combined experience of 5o years in the Travel Photography industry. Ideal for the beginner/amateur wanting to learn more about this genre of photography or anybody interested in Travel Photography in general. Over the coming months we will be launching a series of eBooks. To get your Free Copy click on the image below.

It would be great to hear any feedback you may have about the eBook so that we can make improvements to any future releases.

If you liked this post you may also enjoy our Newsletter. You can receive new posts direct to your Inbox. Sign up here.