DPP Home Gear In Focus January-February 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

January-February 2007

New Tools Of The Trade

In Focus Sigma SD14

The Sigma SD14 D-SLR features the unique Foveon X3 direct image sensor, which captures all three primary colors—red, green and blue—at every pixel. Other imaging sensors employ a mosaic grid, each pixel capturing only one of these primary colors—red, green or blue. According to Sigma, the result is image quality that exceeds what you'd expect from the across-by-down pixel count. This should make the SD14 an excellent studio camera, but its 35mm, SLR-style body will also travel easily into the field. Camera features include a 2.5-inch LCD monitor, built-in flash, mirror lock-up, high-eyepoint SLR viewfinder, five-point AF and simple, intuitive controls. Unlike previous Sigma/Foveon models, the SD14 can shoot JPEG as well as RAW images. Estimated Street Price: $1,599. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigma-photo.com.

In FocusToyo 23D
The Toyo 23D is a state-of-the-art view camera that was designed exclusively for digital photography. Compatible with all current digital backs, the camera works with all view-camera lenses, including those designed for higher-resolution digital backs. Two adapters are available: a Graflok type for use with backs featuring Live Video (such as Leaf) and a sliding adapter for other backs, which allows the back to be slid away for composing and focusing, then into position to shoot. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Toyo, (914) 347-3300, www.toyoview.com.

In FocusInduro Tripod Line
The new Induro tripod line has been jointly developed by the MAC Group and China's Yilee Precision Machinery Co., based on input from top pro photographers. Utilizing the latest innovative concepts, manufacturing technology and state-of-the-art lightweight materials, the line features carbon-fiber and aluminum-alloy models in four collections: Carbon 8X, Alloy 6M, Carbonflex 8X and Alloyflex 6M. The carbon models feature second-generation carbon-fiber technology that uses more carbon fibers and less epoxy and is touted to be 40-percent stronger in load pressure and 80-percent stronger laterally than first-generation carbon-fiber tripods. Flex models include an innovative vertical/horizontal center column. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Induro, (914)
347-3300, www.indurogear.com.

In FocusBowens Esprit Gemini Digital
Bowens has introduced digital versions of its popular Esprit Gemini monolights, the new GM250 and GM500 (offering 250Ws and 500Ws, respectively). Capable of operating using AC current or batteries, the units feature smart photocells that can be set to ignore pre-exposure flashes from cameras (or even learn the pre-exposure sequence), advanced modeling lamps that can be operated proportionally or per user-set level, power setting via dial from full to 1⁄32 power in 1⁄10-step increments, a large easy-to-read digital display panel (where the Digital in their name comes), quick recycling and more. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Bowens, (508) 862-9274, www.bowensusa.com.

In FocusApple Aperture 1.5
Apple's all-in-one postproduction software for photographers is now in its next generation. Aperture 1.5 adds enhancements across each phase of the workflow. Among them are a powerful new open library that lets you store images wherever you want, high-resolution previews of each image that are available even when master images are offline, integration with the iLife '06 suite of digital lifestyle applications, streamlined addition of metadata, a luminance-based Edge Sharpen filter, a new Color tool that lets the user adjust specific color ranges within the image, an enhanced Loupe magnifier, support across Apple's full line of Macintosh computers and more. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Apple, (800) MY-APPLE, www.apple.com.

Broncolor Minicom 40 And Minicom 80
Broncolor's Minicom 40 and Minicom 80 compact flash units feature a well-organized front panel with an illuminated digital display, LED indicators and a backlit scratchproof silicone keypad that's easy to read, even in a dark studio. The 6.2x7.8x11.4-inch units provide 300Ws (Minicom 40) and 600Ws (Minicom 80), yet weigh just 6.67 and 7.34 pounds, respectively. Both are also available in RFS versions, which can be triggered by radio or from a PC or Mac. Other features include 300-watt halogen modeling lamps, the ability to set the power in 1⁄10-stop increments over a five-stop range, built-in infrared receiver and photocell with independent operation, and a sequence function to trigger a flash series. Estimated Street Price: $1,779 (Minicom 40); $2,093 (Minicom 80). Contact: Sinar Bron Imaging, www.sinarbron.com.

In FocusMore Models For Camera Raw
Adobe has added 13 camera models to its popular RAW-image converter, Camera Raw. Camera Raw 3.6 is a free plug-in for Photoshop CS2 and Photoshop Elements 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 that lets the user quickly and easily open and convert RAW images from more than 140 digital cameras from 14 manufacturers. New additions to its capabilities include Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XTi, Fujifilm's FinePix S600fd and S9100/9600, Leica's D-LUX 3, Digilux 3 and V-LUX 1, Nikon's D80, the Olympus SP-510 UZ, Panasonic's DMC-LX2, the Pentax K100D and K110D, and Samsung's GX-1L. Estimated Street Price: Free download. Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.

In FocusEpson P-3000 And P-5000 Multimedia Storage Viewers
Here's a great way to download, store and view your images when it's not practical to have a computer with you. Epson's P-3000 and P-5000 Multimedia Storage Viewers offer the world's first four-color LCD and Adobe RGB color support. Featuring four-inch monitors along with built-in 40 GB (P-3000) and 80 GB (P-5000) hard drives, the units make it easy to store and share your files anywhere. The units can handle JPEG, EXIF and select RAW files, along with video and audio files, with download speeds up to 250-percent faster than those of previous models. Estimated Street Price: $499 (P-3000); $699 (P-5000). Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com.

In FocusKingston Offers A Bigger Capacity SD Card
Kingston has introduced a 4 GB SDHC card. Identical in size to regular SD cards, high-capacity SDHC media provide capacities beyond 2 GB and three speed classes, allowing for large digital video recordings. Currently, Canon, Casio, Nikon, Pentax and Sanyo produce cameras or camcorders capable of handling SDHC cards. Kingston's SDHC cards are 100-percent tested and backed by a lifetime warranty and 24/7 live tech support. Estimated Street Price: $199 (card); $19 (reader). Contact: Kingston Technology, (877) KINGSTON, www.kingston.com.

In FocusPhotoReflect.com Link
Photographers can now upload photos to PhotoReflect.com directly from Apple Aperture 1.5 via a new plug-in from ExpressDigital. PhotoReflect.com is “the Internet's largest virtual storefront for professional photographers,” providing the tools to sell prints and photo-related products online, generate proactive e-mail marketing campaigns to customers, manage all ordering and payment directly from the site, and design custom storefronts. ExpressDigital takes a maximum 15-percent e-commerce transaction fee from each online order, along with a 3-percent fee to cover the cost of payment processing. Contact: ExpressDigital, www.ExpressDigital.com.

In FocusHensel PRO MINI 1200 AS Generator
Hensel's PRO MINI 1200 AS generator is a designed-for-digital compact location strobe power supply that works with matching compact EH PRO MINI flash heads. Features include symmetric or asymmetric power distribution, quick flash durations, stable color temperature, power adjustable in 1⁄10-stop increments, four-channel radio-control triggering, modeling-light control and more. List Price: TBA. Contact: Hensel, www.Henselusa.com.

In FocusCalumet ProSpec Digital Media
Pro photo retailer Calumet has introduced its own ProSpec line of digital media, starting with 150X CompactFlash cards up to 8 GB and 75X SD cards up to 2 GB. Designed specifically for pro and serious photographers who shoot large files with D-SLR cameras, the cards provide performance, but can be used in any appropriate electronic device. The CF cards are rated for temperatures from -40 to 185 degrees F, while the SD cards can be used from -13 to 185 degrees F. Estimated Street Price: up to $249 (110X CF); up to $66 (75X SD). Contact: Calumet Photographic, www.calumetphoto.com.

In FocusNuLOOQ Navigator Does Windows
Logitech's NuLOOQ navigator is now available for Windows XP as well as Mac OS X. The half-tennis-ball-sized unit sits next to your keyboard and complements your mouse or tablet, allowing you to more easily navigate graphics and multimedia files. For photographers, notable features include the ability to adjust brush size in one-pixel increments by using the top touch-sensitive surface while keeping the brush directly on the image so you can easily see when the brush is the right size for the task, and the ability to pan and zoom with a nudge of the navring. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Logitech, (702) 269-3457, www.logitech.com/nulooq.

In FocusZeiss Ikon SW Superwide Camera
It's not digital, but the new Zeiss Ikon SW Superwide camera is a wonderful piece of technology for wide-angle fans. The 35mm model was designed to work with the Zeiss Distagon 15mm ƒ/2.8 T* ZM and the Zeiss Biogon 21mm, 25mm and 28mm T* ZM lenses. An accessory shoe directly above the lens holds the corresponding superwide viewfinder, while a second accessory shoe takes a flash unit or bubble level. Shutter speeds range from 8 sec. to 1⁄2000 sec., plus B, with flash sync up to 1⁄125 sec. List Price: $999. Contact: Carl Zeiss MicroImaging, www.zeiss.com/photo.

In the summer of 1962…my father decided to teach me Latin,” writes photographer Eric Meola in the preface of his new book, The Last Places On Earth (November 2004, Graphis Press). “All through June, July and August I repeated conjugations, my mind numbed by the drone of my father's voice. And then one day, a respite. A movie had come out called “Lawrence of Arabia,” and as my father talked of the Turks and the Ottoman Empire I knew I would have one afternoon to myself, to dream, to let my mind wander….”Pelican Case
With more than 12,000 cubic inches of possible storage space, the Pelican 1690 Transport Case can handle full-sized hard-drive towers, multiple laptops, mobile studio gear and plenty of general photo gear. Strong and watertight, the case features two double-hand side grips, two sets of heavy-duty polyurethane wheels with stainless-steel ball bearings and nylon hubs for long life, an extension handle, stainless-steel reinforced padlock protectors and Pelican's proprietary Pick 'N' Pluck Foam that provides for instant interior customization and shock protection. Like all Pelican cases, the 1690 comes with a lifetime “You break it, we replace it…forever” guarantee. Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Pelican Products, (310) 326-4700, www.pelican.com.

In FocusQuantum Qnexus
Quantum Instruments has introduced the Qnexus, a clever little device that attaches to a Qflash 5d-R flash unit and allows it to be controlled wirelessly by Canon or Nikon flash systems from as far away as 100 to 200 feet, thus providing an additional 150Ws to 450Ws of beautiful studio-quality lighting. The Qflash/Qnexus unit operates like the camera manufacturers' flash units in TTL, auto or manual modes, and ratios can be set between groups just as with the camera makers' units. Estimated Street Price: $150. Contact: Quantum Instruments, (631) 656-7400, www.qtm.com.

In FocusNew Stabile Ballheads
Novoflex has introduced two new compact precision Stabile ballheads, the BALL 30 and the BALL 40. Both provide smooth operation and a handy wing screw to lock and unlock the ball, and they're made of corrosion-free materials for long outdoor life. Despite their compact sizes, the BALL 30 can handle camera/lens units up to 5 kg (11 pounds), the BALL 40 up to 10 kg (22 pounds). Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.

ArtixScan M1
The Microtek ArtixScan M1 is a flatbed film scanner that can handle films and transparencies up to 4x5 inches and reflective art up to 8.5x14 inches. Replacing the popular ArtixScan i900, the new M1 ups the optical resolution to 4800 dpi (equivalent to a 34-megapixel digital camera file, for scans from 35mm films capable of producing prints up to 16x24 inches at 300 dpi or 24x36 inches at 200 dpi), with 16-bit output per channel. Microtek's exclusive E.D.I.T. (Emulsion Direct Imaging Technology) provides glassless scanning of films, eliminating Newton Rings and distortions. Included is the popular LaserSoft SilverFast scanning software. Estimated Street Price: $699. Contact: Microtek, www.microtekusa.com.

In FocusHahnemüle Photo Rag Pearl 320gsm

Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl 320gsm inkjet paper combines the texture and base of the company's popular Photo Rag 308 paper with the luster of the acclaimed FineArt Pearl paper. The natural-white paper uses no optical brighteners and offers long life along with beautiful images. Estimated Street Price: Varies depending on size. Contact: Hahnemühle, www.hahnemuhle.com.

In FocusLensbaby Buddies
Lensbabies, the lens attachments that attach to your camera to create selective-focus effects, now have accessories: the Lensbaby 0.6X Wide Angle/Macro Lens, 0.6X Wide Angle Conversion Lens and 1.6X Telephoto Conversion Lens (the last two sold as the Lensbaby Wide Angle/Telephoto Kit). The 0.6X items widen the 50mm Lensbabies to 30mm, while the 1.6X extends them to 80mm. Tuned to the optics of the Lensbaby lenses, the 0.6X accessories widen the view while keeping the sweet spot of focus constant relative to the size of the image. The 1.6X slightly increases the size of the sweet spot. You can unscrew the rear element of the Wide Angle/macro attachment and use it as a macro lens that focuses down to two to three inches from a subject. List Price: $59 (Wide Angle/Macro); $89 (Wide/Tele kit). Contact: Lensbabies, www.lensbabies.com.

In FocusIlluma Photo Hard Covers
Popular photo lab Apollo Photo Imagizing has introduced a number of new products. Leading the list is Illuma Photo Hard Covers for popular photo Memory Books. Cover images on front and back are protected with a high-gloss laminate coating, have a white silk interior and are elegantly perfect-bound. Solid leatherette padded Hard Covers, glossy Dust Jackets and a Soft Cover are also available for the Memory Books. Contact: Apollo Photo Imagizing, (800) 747-7371, www.apollo-imagizing.com.

In FocusMoab Desert Varnish Spray
Respected papermaker Moab by Legion Paper has introduced Desert Varnish, a spray-on print protectant that enhances print life and provides water and UV protection. The ozone-friendly spray is designed for water-soluble prints, including most dye and pigment inkjets. Estimated Street Price: $16. Contact: Moab by Legion Paper Co., (435) 259-3161, www.moabpaper.com.

In FocusMaha PowerEx MH-C9000 Charger
The PowerEx MH-C9000 WizardOne Battery Charger & Analyzer from Maha Energy can charge, condition, analyze, cycle, form and discharge one to four AA or AAA batteries while digitally displaying the battery capacity and voltage. Each of the four slots can be operated in a different mode if desired: charging, conditioning, discharging, Break-In (for new batteries) or Cycle (charges and discharges batteries consecutively for up to 15 cycles). Ten selectable charging and discharging currents, four independent temperature sensors, patented termination algorithms, and basic and advanced modes add versatility. Estimated Street Price: $69. Contact: Maha Energy, (800) 376-9992, www.mahaenergy.com.

In FocusHigher Capacity SanDisk SD Card
The new SanDisk 4 GB SDHC Flash Card is the largest-capacity SD card to date. Featuring a minimum data-transfer rate of 2 MBps, the card should be a perfect companion for the new SD-card-using 10-megapixel D-SLRs from Nikon and Pentax. Estimated Street Price: $149. SDHC cards require SDHC-compatible card readers; the 4 GB SanDisk card comes bundled with the MicroMate USB 2.0 reader at no extra charge. Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK, www.sandisk.com.

In FocusAdorama Belle Drape
Create customized portraits by adding different backgrounds with the Adorama Bell Drape Muslins. High-quality fade-resistant paints and dyes are matched with fine muslin material by background artists. There are many different professional styles and colors to choose from. The solid color series is designed to give consistent color density. The “3D” and color-pattern series consists of abstract color swirls and lines for a general purpose background. Estimated Street Price: Varies depending on style and size. Contact: Adorama, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.



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