Photography Gear Reviews

Fujifilm XH-1 Real World Review

We take the Fujifilm XH1 to the Lake District to put it to the test in this real world review with a landscape photography flavour.

The Fujifilm XH-1 is Fuji’s new flagship mirrorless camera and sits above the XT2 in the Fuji lineup. It has the same 24mp crop sensor as the XT2 so we know the sensor is capable of capturing some great images. 

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Many of us need a camera to be rugged and reliable and that’s exactly what this camera is. The all new metal chassis feels rock solid and it’s weather sealed so when the rain starts, we don’t have to stop. One of the big benefits of mirrorless cameras is they can be smaller and more compact than a DSLR. This in part led to popularity of the XT2, especially amongst landscape photographers because weight and size really matters when hiking in the wilderness.

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It might seem odd then that Fuji have gone in the opposite direction and made this camera bigger than its predecessor, but I don’t think so. It’s still significantly lighter than a pro DSLR body so weight is still being saved over most pro cameras. However the bigger size makes it much more comfortable in the hand, especially with the optional battery grip. The comfort adds versatility and makes this camera a genuine option for photographers working with their camera all day like wedding and street photographers. It seems to be a genuine all rounder.

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One of the big selling points of this new mirrorless camera is the new in body 5 axis image stabilisation. Image stabilisation has never excited me when it comes to stills but it absolutely does when it comes to video. The system works really well to smooth out your shot and also breaths some new life into older lenses you might have lying around that don’t have IS.

This camera is a bit of a beast when it comes to video and I’ve been very impressed. It shoots 4K, it can do 120fps at 1080p and has loads of built in video presets to vary the look of your footage including a log mode. I’ve settled for the new ETERNA film mode that mimics the look of that film but still leaves me with plenty of room for post production if I need it.  Aside from that I’ve just been hugely impressed by the sheer quality of the video image. It looks sharp and punchy and just looks really good and is on a par with the Canon 5D mark iv.

An external microphone can also be attached and a really nice feature is the ability to set microphone gain separately for the built in mic and an external mic so you don’t need to adjust it every time you plug a mic in.

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So will this be replacing my DSLR. To be honest, not at the moment. It’s very close though and I have been very impressed with the Fujifilm XH1. I have absolutely loved shooting with it today and I feel it’s definitely better than the lower end DSLR’s and also better than the Canon 6D Mark ii that I reviewed the other week They are very similarly priced. 

It’s not the perfect camera, there are slight annoyances like the lack of a built in bulb timer and the touch screen is not as useful as it could be but the biggest issue for me is the cropped sensor. It is a good sensor but it’s just not full frame. Like all cropped sensors any noise that is present looks harsh and kills the sharpness and you lose some dynamic range. That might not matter to you but when you think the new full frame Sony A7R Mark iii is just around the corner, at a pretty similar price, personally I would need to try that out first before finally making the leap to mirrorless.

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Anyway this is still a very nice camera and I have had a great time using today here in the absolutely stunning Lake District. If you decided to buy I don’t think you would be sorry.

I’ll put more information down in the description and Please subscribe if you enjoyed this video, I have more reviews coming up and I’ll be out again next week for another landscape photography vlog. leave a comment down below with your thoughts or questions about the camera and I’ll see you another one very soon


Canon 6D Mark II Real world Review

I review the Canon 6D Mark II DSLR camera and head to the Lake District to put it through it’s paces from a landscape photography perspective.

If you have seen my camera reviews before you will know I am not interested in repeating all the specs and obvious elements. I want to get the camera out into the real world and use it exactly like a photographer would. In the video we look at the abilities of the camera mostly from a landscape photography perspective when we headed to Loughrigg Fell in the Lake District.

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Full Frame Sensor

The whole point of the Canon 6D Mark II is the entry into using a full frame sensor. This has a number of advantages. It usually includes improved dynamic range (not so much in this case - read on), better low light ability and least obviously - the potential to use better glass, particularly at the wide end. High end lenses like the Canon 16-35mm L are perfect for landscape photography and on a full frame camera you get the full 16mm wide end coverage. Putting this lens on a cropped sensor camera effectively increases the 16mm to a more narrow 25mm which can be limiting in some situations.

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Build Quality

Build quality of the camera is the usual Canon quality. It is a plastic build but it feels solid and secure and the weight also benefits from this. It has a flip out screen, which is missing from the higher end cameras for the sake of durability, but I find them particularly useful. When the camera is low down near a stream, or close to the ground, having the screen point up towards you is a real back saver. The flip screen means you can also use the Canon 6D Mark II for vlogging. Not a cheap vlogging option, but it is possible.

Image Quality

Next is the image quality. There are not many cameras out there today that provide poor image quality. This camera is no different. Image quality is superb for stills and you can quite happily use the 26MP sensor to create massive prints. Sadly though dynamic range was not as good as I would have hoped, especially at low ISO. This might put off some landscape photographers who might be looking at rivals from Sony and cameras like the Nikon D750. Personally when it comes to stills I am not concerned too much about dynamic range. Using bracketing can easily capture all the dynamic range in a landscape scene.

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Portraits and Focusing

The dynamic range of the camera improves dramatically as ISO increases. Therefore, like many full frame cameras, The Canon 6D Mark 2 is excellent in low light. Any noise that does appear has a film grain type feel rather than the harsh noise often associated with crop sensor cameras. This means the camera lends itself to shooting portraits as well as landscapes. Depending on the lens you attach to the camera it is capable of capturing stunning portraits. However I would be reluctant to use it at a wedding or for any other professional portrait work. The focus system covers a smaller area of the frame than higher end cameras like the Canon 5D Mark IV which can be limiting when you have to focus and re-frame more often that you would like. Having said that, for most, that will not be a problem. The focus system is still very accurate and fast. It also has the dual pixel autofocus system for video. This Canon system is really second to none for video focus and it very very rarely misses including when using face detection.

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Video Quality

Video quality is reasonable but again the dynamic range can be limiting. When I was out in the mountains getting detail across the frame was not easy and I was often left with blown out skies. This could probably be improved by using a flatter picture setting rather than sticking with the built in presets like I did. There is also no 4K option and the 1080p quality is softer than the Canon 5D Mark IV and more in line with the cropped sensor Canon cameras. However the ability to shoot 1080p at 60fps does provide the option of producing some slo-motion footage.

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Overall I had a superb time using this camera. If you were to buy it, you would be very happy. Just be aware it is not a professional level camera. We should not be expecting it to be though given the price point of £$1600. Indeed, the camera only comes equipped with one SD card port. To remove the slight limitations mentioned above you are looking at upgrading to the pro level Canon 5D Mark IV which is more than double the price. The Canon 6D is an all round performer suitable for all different genres of photography and will perform them all to a good standard. In many respects the upgrade to full frame is something many photographers aspire to and this camera allows you to do it much sooner with only very slight downsides. It is a shame the dynamic range is not better at low ISO but that is being hypercritical. An all rounder at a great price point for a full frame camera. A solid 4 out of 5.

Canon 800D (T7i) Review

I review the new Canon 800D (T7i) DSLR camera and head to the Lake District to put it through it’s paces from a landscape photography perspective.

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Photography Gear Reviews

There are a lot of great camera and lens reviews out thereon YouTube that provide technical details, breakdowns and clinical assessments of gear. Check out Chris Winter and Christopher Frost Photography. My camera reviews aim to give a more ‘real world’ perspective of what it’s like to actually go out and use a camera or lens in the field. They will generally be in a landscape photography theme and there are not many gear reviews out there that cater for this.

Canon 800D

The Canon 800D came out a few months ago and seems to provide an accomplished looking package for the price. I picked mine up slightly more recently and am intending to use it as my main vlogging camera to replace the older Canon 700D. The main reason I upgraded was the updated video features. For the first time Canon is offering the Dual-Pixel autofocus system on an entry level camera. This has been present on higher end cameras like the Canon 5D Mark IV and the 80D for sometime and offers smooth, fast and accurate autofocus for video that makes filming very easy. It locks onto a target, like your face, and doesn’t lose it. It will also allow you to do some beautiful cinematic focus pulls. It genuinely is a magnificent system and is a pleasure to use.

Video Stats

Other video features include 50/60 fps at full HD (1080P). This has been lacking for a while in the lower end cameras so it is a welcome addition to the 800D. Sadly though, it is still lacking 4K. At the current time this is not a deal breaker but as more people transition to 4K it will be something I need very soon.

Still Photo Performance

On the stills side, the 800D has an APS-C 24.2 MP sensor with an ISO sensitivity of 100-25600, following the trend of ever increasing low light ability in digital cameras. It has a 45 point autofocus system that is fast and accurate and very impressive on a camera at this price point. The autofocus point selection is more limited than on the higher end cameras but will be more than adequate for the majority of users.


Alternatives come from the Nikon 5600. This is a great camera but the video features are not up to the Canon standard. The Canon 77D, which was released at the same time as the 800D, is another alternative. The 77D is just an 800D in a slightly bigger, more robust body. Not worth the extra £200. If you want something more rugged the Canon 80D is a better way to go.


The Canon EOS 800D (T7i) is a very capable shooter at a very attractive, entry level, price point. The EF-S mount allows all EF lenses to attach to the camera meaning you can easily upgrade your glass as you gain experience. It has the ability to capture beautiful landscapes, fast enough to capture some good wildlife photography and is more than adequate for capturing some beautiful family portraits. This is an accomplished all rounder and is my new recommendation to people looking to purchase their first DSLR.


4.5 out of 5. 

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Canon PIXMA Pro-10s Photo Printer Review

A review of the Canon PIXMA Pro10-s photo printer.

This excellent printer creates fantastic professional prints that are indistinguishable from those made in a lab.

The Canon Pro-10s is a professional photo printer that sits in middle of the pro line of printer from Canon between the Canon Pro-100s and the Canon Pro-1. All three printers will print all sizes from 4x6 inches up to an impressive A3+ size. 

The Canon PIXMA Pro-10s strikes the right balance between quality and value. It has a 10 ink system where as the Canon Pro 100 has eight and the Canon Pro 1 has twelve.

Chroma Optimizer Ink

Like the higher end models this includes the Chroma Optimizer ink. This is a special clear ink that helps produce deeper blacks, adds a uniform glossy finish prints and expands the colour gamut. You have the option to switch it on or off. When you used with the luster paper the final prints have an ultra professional look that exudes class. Using it with full gloss paper creates a dreamy saturated finish - especially good for my water drops photography.

The Canon Pro-10s is also compatible with the Canon Print Studio Plugin for Adobe Lightroom. This is missing from the lower end Canon Pro 100 but it makes printing an absolute breeze. You can adjust the settings, tell it which paper you are using and preview print profiles. You can also set up a series of prints, stack the printer with the right paper then leave it to do the rest.


Connectivity comes in the form of either USB, Ethernet or wireless. I have had mixed success with the wireless printing. It works well most of the time but on a couple of occasions I have suffered connectivity problems with the printer, when this happens the printer just gives up and spits the paper out at whatever stage of completion it happens to be in. This is not ideal, especially when you consider the cost of the paper you are feeding through.

I have settled for using the ethernet connection. I have the printer wired into my router and then I can still print wirelessly from my laptop. This has been flawless up to now with no more failed prints.


This printer is not going to be for everyone as the costs can quickly add up. I picked this up for just under £500. It comes with a set of starter inks but the ink costs about £100 for a full set. The printeruses the inks at different rates so after the initial purchase you should only need to replace each individual ink as and when you use it. This is actually a benefit of the 10 ink system because you are not wasting inks in multi ink cartridges.

The paper is of varying costs depending on which type you get. There is no doubt this is an amazing thing and having the ability to print your work to a high professional standard is very addictive. If you are selling prints then the maths might work out for. Having said that we think nothing of buying thousands of pounds worth of camera gear and lenses so spending a few hundred on a printer like this might be what you need to put the cherry on top of your photography cake.

The images created by this printer are truly stunning and I found them to be indistinguishable from those made in a lab.

Why I bought this printer

I have now generated enough interest in my work to justify buying this printer. To create a new outlet for my work I am happy to announce that from today I have relaunched the first man photography website. I will put a link down below and I would love it if you will check it out. You can see all my work, purchase prints, pick up the awesome First Man T-shirt and still see all the content from the channel over in the Video section.

I am going to be offering more prints for sale from my portfolio over the coming weeks. And as I continue to document my journey in the landscape photography vlogs, some of the best work will then be available as soon as the video comes out. Giving you the option see the whole story of my work from it's very concept and creation to the point where the finished piece lands on your wall.

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Irix 11mm f4 Blackstone Lens review

A review of the astonishing new Irix 11mm f/4 ultra wide angle lens.

This Irix 11mm wide angle lens that is designed for full frame cameras. The lens comes in a variety of mounts including Canon, Nikon and Pentax. When mounted to a full frame camera the 11mm 126 degree field of view is astonishing and opens up new realms of creativity for landscape, architecture photographers and even some scenes close in.

Low Distortion

iris 11mm f4 review
iris 11mm f4 review

The Irix 11mm f4 lens is not a fish eye. It is rectilinear with minimal distortion thanks to the '4 high refractive lenses, 2 ED lenses and 3 aspherical lenses that guarantee minimal distortion'. Irix claim distortion is as low as 3.13%. If you want a full technical breakdown of the lens there are some excellent channels out there. I am more interested in practical applications of gear and I can say that distortion handling is excellent, particularly across the centre of the image. Horizon lines remain perfectly straight and vertically down the middle as well. There is some distortion towards the corners of the image but if used correctly this can compliment the image. Its not ideal if you have people in the corners but this is not really a portrait lens.

Image Quality

iris 11mm review
iris 11mm review

The lens is nice and sharp but does produce a small amount of vignette and also Chromatic abberation. This was within perfectly acceptable boundaries for me and is very easily removed in post processing using Adobe Lightroom. The vignette is also reduced by stopping down a bit.

Blacktone or Firefly

The lens comes in two varieties to suit the style of photography you are doing. The Irix 11mm f/4 Blackstone is the flagship version. There is also a cheaper and lighter version, with the same high quality optics that may be more suited to photographers wanting to travel light. This is called the Irix 11mm f/4 Firefly Lens.

Build Quality


The build quality of this Blackstone version is excellent. The metal body is well constructed and feels so solidly built that it could survive some serious punishment. The focus barrel is reassuringly stiff but rotates smoothly and accurately. There is a focus lock to ensure there is no slippage in focus and the engraved markings on the Blackstone glow in the dark.

The lens is manual focus. I am sure if you're looking seriously at this lens that will not be a concern for you. The distance markings are there to assist but I did the majority of my focusing using the camera’s zoomed live view function. Quick and easy. The lens is so wide that most things are in focus anyway.

Weather Sealed

The Irix 11mm is weather sealed on all parts apart from the front element. It is splash proof and I used it in the rain without any problems. The lens hood is permanent and protects the bulbous front element.

The Firefly is built using high quality plastic to save weight and bring cost down but is still weather sealed the same as the Blackstone.

Alternatives from the much more expensive Canon 11-24mm F/4 lens and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8.


I have loved using this lens. It has allowed me to get shots that I otherwise would not have been able to achieve. The wide angle rectilinear perspective gives you a really interesting point of few and opens up new creative possibilities. It is not a lens I would use for every shot but it is relatively unique and having it in your arsenal is a real benefit that will allow you to get shots that other people cannot.

11mm is very wide and captures a large portion of your field of view. The amount of bokeh you get will be limited so it really forces you to think about every single area of your frame and you need to carefully compose your shot. This is a good thing and can result in some really exciting shots.


At the point of release.

Irix 11mm f/4 Blackstone - $799 / £771

Irix 11mm f/4 Firefly - $599 / £567

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Amazon Echo and Alexa Review

Alexa, "What can you do"

A review of the Amazon Echo featuring the assistance of Alexa, your personal bot assistant. Listen to music, podcasts, news and more.

Photographers spend a lot of time sat at their computer editing photographs. Whiling away the hours becomes much easier when listening to music. I am constantly in search of new way and better ways of listening to music, whether it is headphones, bluetooth speakers or now the Amazon Echo.


At first the Amazon Echo appears to be like any other bluetooth speaker. As soon as you switch it on though it becomes so much more. You are instantly introduced to Alexa. Alexa is a cloud based assistant who operates the Amazon Echo for you. Speak to her and ask her questions and she will carry out tasks for you. For example,

“Alexa play music by the Stone Roses”

“Alexa, tell me the latest news”

“Alexa, what will the weather be like in London on Friday?”

“Alexa, turn off the lights”

Alexa will do all of these including turn off the lights when linked into a smart light system such as the Phillips Hue system.

Alexa and the Echo is set up using a phone app that is compatible with IOS and Andriod. The app can also be used to add functionality to Alexa and review this things you said to improve accuracy in future.

Amazon Echo - Microphone Technology

The Amazon Echo has a clever microphone arrangement that will pick up your voice anywhere in the room. It is a very effective system and works surprisingly well. As long as you ask a question Alexa is capable of answering, the Echo seems to understand you no matter how strong your accent.

The Echo links with Spotify and also Amazon Music.

One of the only downsides is the sound quality. Whilst reasonable for radio and podcasts, for music, the Echo is not up to the standard of of other bluetooth speakers especially in the bass department.

Another option is to buy the Amazon Echo Dot. This smaller version still contains Alexa but comes with a very small speaker. This can easily be hooked up to a bluetooth speaker, or amp, instantly giving Alexa the sound quality of your favourite speakers.

Even with the less than perfect sound, the Echo and Echo Dot are very interesting. There more than enough functionality to justify the £150/$150 price and even more so with the £50/$50 Echo Dot.

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Sony RX100 V Real World Review

We take the Sony RX100 V up a very pretty mountain.

The Sony RX100 V is a compact camera that packs a much bigger punch than its small size would suggest. It is a mirrorless camera with a one inch sensor that shoots 4K, captures 20 megapixel images and has an auto focus system that challenges even the very best DSLR's.

My previous real world review of the Canon 5D Mark IV proved very popular so this is going to be similar. I take the RX100V up a mountain in the Peak District hoping to capture some beautiful landscape photography. In the video I climb Mam Tor but also try to capture this amazing site of Winnats Pass, a collapsed cavern that has created and incredible natural scene.


The Sony RX100 V is currently priced at £1000 in the UK and around $1000 in the US. The price hikes that UK residents are currently suffering are becoming relatively irritating. Regardless it is an expensive camera so in the video I discuss who the camera is for and who would be likely to buy the RX100 V. It is an excellent camera for vlogging given the flip up screen. It would serve as a very good compact camera for a professional photographer. Or it would be especially good for a family who want something small, simple and with great quality.

One of the big selling points of the new model, especially since the Sony RX100 IV is still a great camera, is the sheer processing power. It is essentially a little computer. It has the ability to shoot 24fps which is simply insane. It's a nice feature to have but how much use of it you will get is a vital question. This is not a sports or wildlife camera where a fast burst rate is important, especially given the fixed 24-70mm lens. It is too short for those photography genres. It would however be useful to capture images of your children in short bursts.

Dual Autofocus

The most important upgrade is probably the dual autofocus system. Employing contrast and phase detection it rivals that of top end DSLRs. It focuses fast and accurately and makes shooting stills, fast and filming video a breeze. However it does not have a touch screen which means touch to focus is not an option and this was a feature I really missed.

The Sony RX100 V is a decent improvement over the Sony RX100 IV which was already better than the offering from Canon in this field, the Canon G7X Mark II.


I fully enjoyed shooting with this camera and it made a pleasant change from lugging around a DSLR, especially when I was out with the family. It takes high quality images and is also packing some hefty features. At a £1000 this is very expensive for a compact camera but in two or three months time when prices started to fall it could be a very serious contender for a lot of people.

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AmazonBasics DSLR and laptop backpack review

The astonishing AmazonBasics DSLR and laptop backpack A review of the excellent and affordable AmazonBasics DSLR and laptop backpack. The high quality of this bag defies the very affordable price tag.

In a recent video I featured my new camera backpack the F-Stop Sukha camera bag. Whilst this is an amazing camera bag many people were offended, and rightly so in some cases, about the huge cost.

To balance that out I am today reviewing the AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop backpack. This bag is much more affordable at £35/$40 and will fit most budgets. It was recommended to me Danny, a very early subscriber to my channel. He sent me some pictures of the bag and it looked very impressive so I ordered one straight away to check it out.

When the AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop backpack arrived the first impression was that the quality was much higher than I had expected. The material feels sturdy and similar to many other, more expensive, camera bags. This is the ethos of AmazonBasics. They make big quality products using quality materials but remove the frills branding and posh packaging associated with many other products. Simple yet effective.

 Big Cameras, Big Lenses

The video shows that that bag is capable of carrying a large amount of camera gear including my Canon 5D Mark IV and several lenses. This include the Canon 400mm f5.6 L lens. Astonishing. The AmazonBasics DSLR and laptop backpack also provides handy clips on the side to easily attach your tripod. In the video I attach a relatively small travel tripod but bigger tripods can also be carried.

The AmazonBasics DSLR and laptop backpack is not waterproof but the material is think enough that it will require a significant amount of prolonged and heavy rain to breach the material. For that time you get caught in a storm, Amazon provide a very handy rain cover that you can pull over the bag to keep things dry.

Accessibility of this bag is probably it’s main weakness, especially once the rain cover is fitted. In order to get at your gear you need to take the bag off and fully unzip the cover because your camera body must be stored at the bottom. There is no clever access panel like several, more expensive bags, feature.

Any Downsides?

The only other problem is the padding in the straps and back is not particularly thick. It feels a little bit cheap and after wearing it for a reasonable amount of time will become compressed and provide very little padding and support

However these are minor gripes and I can highly recommend the AmazonBasics DSLR and laptop backpack is you are looking for a camera bag under £50/$50.

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