TourBox review from a wedding photographer
This is my Tourbox review. It is a hardware controller (with software!) that controls editing software and speeds up your workflow. Rather than using your mouse and keyboard to change settings you use the TourBox.
What’s the advantage?
To put it succinctly it makes editing a lot quicker. Using a computer and mouse to edit is pretty slow. I’ve been using other midi controllers for many years so believe me when I saw that it takes hours off of an edit.
After hearing a friend recommend the TourBox I decided to get one. Up until now I have been using my keyboard with PFixer to make changes. Keyboard shortcuts work really well but I fancied trying something new (and I also love an excuse to buy a new toy.)
I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far. Customer service has been good although I had to pay import taxes to the UK which wasn’t a nice surprise. They have a Facebook group, it’s not that active but I have had people help.
How do you use it?
The beauty of this device is in its ergonomics and simplicity. It is designed to be used with one hand – leaving your other hand free for the mouse & keyboard. What lets similar devices down like the Loupedeck + is that they rely on you using two hands. Because you still need to use the mouse for editing it slows things down.
How do I edit?
It’s important to add as part of my TourBox review that I am a wedding photographer. I edit 600+ images in a go. Every image is edited. I’m changing white balance, exposure, contrast, shadows and highlights. I straighten images A LOT as well as having to clone distracting elements out. I’m using radial and gradient filters as well as vignetting. Whilst I enjoy editing I’m not endlessly tinkering and experimenting. I like my images to look natural and vibrant.
The ergonomics are incredible. Every button and dial can be controlled with one hand. It makes total sense and whilst there aren’t endless options it does 95% of what I need. Freeing up the second hand to use the mouse or keyboard is incredibly useful.
It’s very configurable. The software is very easy to setup. You can double press buttons, assign different combinations to make it work just as you want.
Small. It’s a small point but the TourBox sits easily on your desk next to your keyboard. It’s easily one of the smallest midi controller devices.
Works beautifully. My experience is that it works straightaway and I’ve had no hiccups. It has worked flawlessly with Lightroom with virtually no delay.
Quality feel. It feels like a premium item. It has a good weight and is made of nice materials. No cheap plastic, nothing has broken and the buttons and dials feel well made.
I’m pretty confident in saying that it is no faster than keyboard shortcuts. Using software like PFixer means you don’t need to buy hardware to speed up your workflow. But it is nice to use and could help with things like RSI.
The cost. I think the cost is fairly reasonable, but I did raise an eyebrow after being hit with extra high import taxes.
Can’t apply presets (yet.) I don’t use many presets but not having the ability to apply them with a push of a button seems like a basic thing to do in Lightroom. This is probably the biggest disappointment so far but it’s not a deal breaker for the way I work.
I wish it had an extra button and dial. The beauty of this device is the simplicity. You can keep your eyes on the screen without having to look at it. But I would love one more dial and another button or two. I largely adjust exposure, contrast and temperature – and I’d love one more dial to have as a spare to control other settings. The device is really simple and the lack of 20 buttons means your muscle memory quickly comes up to speed. I can quickly learn where all the buttons are and I don’t have to take my eyes away from the screen. But one more dial would be really useful for how I work.
It can’t be used to control your computer. I recently bought another toy, the Loupedeck CT. It has so many party tricks although it is priced at over double what the TourBox is. The TourBox does control other software like photoshop very well. But it does have limitations and can’t currently be used to scroll a document or open a web page.
TourBox review summary.
Because of the form factor the TourBox sits in its own category as far as I’m aware. No other devices are designed to be used with one hand and it’s a huge benefit as well as being fun to use. Two handed devices are awkward when you need to use the mouse frequently for cloning/ applying gradients etc. Keeping the device so simple means your muscle memory quickly learns all the controls and you become an editing machine!
Although an extra dial/button would really help the way I edit, the more complicated you make it the less easy it is to remember where everything is. The beauty of TourBox is that you don’t need to take your eyes off of the screen to find buttons and dials. Learning how to use it is incredibly quick and you will be up and running in 20-30 minutes.
What is the competition?
Loupedeck are the biggest company in this area as far as I’m aware. I recently bought the Loupedeck CT, and whilst it’s in a different price point it’s pretty amazing. The also offer the Live and the Loupedeck +. You can also buy a midi controller like the X-Touch mini. In the past I have used the Behringer BCF-2000 – it was my first controller but it was huge and took up a lot of desk space. I also looked at Palette Gear. If it weren’t for the price I would have given it a go.
Thanks for reading, I hope this has been useful. If you have any questions feel free to email me or ask in the comments below.