Tuesday, November 11, 2008
New Tools Of The Trade
Canon Upgrades Professional Services Program
The Canon Professional Services (CPS) program for qualifying pro photographers will change in the first quarter of 2009, offering three levels of membership—Silver, Gold and Platinum. Silver-level membership will be offered free to qualifying photographers and includes access to the CPS phone hotline and a 20-percent discount on repairs. Gold-level membership adds access to loan equipment for a two-week period, an expedited three-day turnaround on service and a 30-percent service discount. The Platinum level includes priority access to loan equipment, a two-day turnaround on service and a 60-percent discount. All current CPS members must reapply when the new program starts. Estimated Street Price: $100 (Gold); $500 (Platinum). Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com/cps.
Security-Friendly Laptop Bag
Keep your laptop safe in the Tenba Skooba Checkthrough bag, which is designed to pass through airport security screening without having to remove the computer. The bag debuts as the Transportation Safety Administration is changing its rules to allow the screening of laptops inside “checkpoint-friendly” bags. Using the Checkthrough, an inspector can see the laptop through a clear window that’s exposed when the bag is unfolded. With the window facing up, the bag is sent through X-ray screening, and screeners can view it the same way they would if the laptop was placed in a bin. The bag is primarily designed to hold all 15-inch laptops, but many 16-inch and slim 17-inch models will fit. The interior measures 16x11x1.5 inches. Estimated Street Price: $139. Contact: Tenba, (914) 347-3300, www.tenba.com.
The CompactFlash format is a favorite among pros looking for the highest-speed and largest-capacity memory cards available. SanDisk’s Extreme IV CompactFlash family is upgrading with a 12.5-percent boost in speed, resulting in 45 MBps read and write speeds. The lineup also is expanding with a 16 GB card. The card is UDMA-enabled, so when paired with a UDMA-enabled card reader, downloading /images to your computer can take less time. Shooting with a high-capacity card is especially useful if you shoot RAW or RAW+JPEG files. Estimated Street Price: $225. Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK, www.sandisk.com.
For the studio or office, Western Digital’s ShareSpace gives you up to 4 TB of high-speed networked storage for centralizing /images and projects across multiple workstations and shared workflows. WD ShareSpace is a four-bay storage system with a Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) interface as well as three USB 2.0 ports. You can access the network from anywhere through WD’s MioNet remote web-access software. Multiple RAID configurations can be set for enhanced data protection and speed. Automatic network backup software is included with licenses for up to three computers. This way, every time you save a change to a file, it’s automatically backed up. Estimated Street Price: $699 (2 TB); $999 (4 TB). Contact: Western Digital, (877) 934-6972, www.westerndigital.com.
Bringing its simple, intuitive U Point technology to image sharpening, Nik Software’s Sharpener Pro 3.0 lets you selectively adjust your /images without having to create layer masks. Compatible with Adobe Photoshop and Apple Aperture, the app features a soft-proofing tool that allows you to look at the finished result before printing. The RAW Presharpener feature maintains and improves detail sharpness without increasing noise and artifacts. For Photoshop users, the Selective Tool lets you use Photoshop’s brush tools to apply any Sharpener Pro filter. To speed up workflow, layers and masks are created automatically. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Nik Software, (619) 725-3150, www.niksoftware.com.
When a shoot requires travel, make sure your equipment is well protected using the Pelican 0500 Transport Case. The interior measures about 35x18.5x25 inches and comes with optional Pick ‘N’ Pluck foam for extra padded protection. A couple of helpful features are the manual pressure-equalization valve and humidity indicator, both of which regulate the air inside the case, protecting sensitive electronic equipment. The 0500 is stackable for optimizing space and is equipped with latches that have been tested to withstand nearly 400 pounds of pressure. Estimated Street Price: $899. Contact: Pelican, (800) 473-5422, www.pelican.com.
Chimera’s 24x32 Lighting Kit (#8000) comes with the versatile new Triolet 3-in-1 light with Quick Release Speed Ring. Other features include Chimera’s Video PRO Plus 1 Lightbank, a long-lasting, 500-watt bulb and a rugged 10-foot, 8-inch Manfrotto light stand. Also in the package is the 40 Degree Fabric Grid, which is a light-modifying accessory. (The #8005 kit featured in the September/October issue of DPP should have listed the bulb at 1,000 watts.) Estimated Street Price: $702. Contact: Chimera Lighting, (888) 444-1812, www.chimeralighting.com.
Transport your valuable photo equipment in Porter Case’s PCX Lite series. The carry-on-sized luggage cases have wheels and a built-in cart feature that allows you to stack more than 100 pounds of other baggage on top. Optional adjustable dividers and a customizable-layered foam interior help to protect your gear. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $149. Contact: Porter Case, (800) 356-8348, www.portercase.com.
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