Tuesday, December 15, 2009
New Tools Of The Trade
If you do a lot of low-light shooting, DxO Optics Pro software helps preserve the high image quality of shots taken at extreme ISO settings. New noise-reduction technology in version 6 extends dynamic range and removes unpleasant low-frequency noise. Noise is reduced well enough to effectively give between one and two more usable ƒ-stops. This is helpful if you shoot with one of the latest DSLRs capable of 25,600 and even 104,200 ISO settings. The program also includes a new sharpening control that creates crisper images by amplifying fine details, and it automatically corrects for various lens problems such as chromatic aberration. Estimated Street Price: $169 (Standard); $299 (Elite). Contact: DxO Optics, www.dxo.com.
High-Volume RAW Image Processor
Phase One’s workflow application, Capture One 5 PRO, improves over the previous version with accelerators that can process large-volume shoots faster. The user-friendly interface supports RAW image files from several medium-format systems and most pro DSLR cameras. Some of the new features include instant view of image focus with the Focus tool and quick verification of image focus and sharpness with the Focus Mask tool. The Skin Tone Enhancer makes skin look smooth and soft. For artistic effect, you can add vignettes to the edges of images. Individual color channels easily can be adjusted with RGB Levels and Curves. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Phase One, (631) 547-8900, www.phaseone.com.
Support your camera using the Monoball p0 tripod head from Arca-Swiss. For better handling, the 9.9-ounce head was designed without knobs. It can be grasped from any angle, left or right, and locked by turning the knurled part. It’s equipped with three locking elements arranged around the ball like planets. As the camera is placed directly on the ball, and not on its neck, the movements are as stable as if they were on a rubber ring. It offers a tilt ball range of 90 degrees and 360 degrees panning. The p0’s big brother, the Monoball p1, is more robust and weighs 17.5 ounces. It’s capable of handling heavy telephoto lenses and large-format cameras. Estimated Street Price: From $249. Contact: Arca-Swiss, (773) 248-2513, www.precisioncameraworks.com.
Review and save images as they’re shot using Epson’s P-6000 and P-7000 Multimedia Photo Viewers, which now come with tethered shooting capabilities through a firmware update. Whether you’re in the studio or on location, this new feature will save you time. The image automatically is saved to your camera’s memory card, while a backup copy is saved to the viewer’s hard drive. Image approval and adjustments can be made on the spot using the viewer’s large four-inch LCD. The firmware also includes a remote shutter-release function for added convenience. The P-6000 comes with 80 GB of capacity, while the P-7000 has 160 GB. Estimated Street Price: $599 (P-6000); $799 (P-7000). Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com.
Precise Focus Control
onOne Software’s latest version of FocalPoint 2, its selective focus and depth-of-field Photoshop plug-in, creates an authentic out-of-focus look with aperture-shaped highlights using a new blur algorithm. There are six FocusBugs for creating multiple areas of focus or complex depth-of-field looks. With the new FocusBrush, you can paint focus or blur on any part of an image with more control. Presets allow you to replicate the physical properties of fast aperture lenses, which are fairly expensive. FocalPoint 2 can be purchased as a standalone plug-in or as part of onOne’s new Plug-in Suite 5, a bundle of award-winning applications. Estimated Street Price $159 (standalone). Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.
Pack up your camera gear in the Tamrac Explorer 400. The bag has room for a DSLR with grip and five-inch lens attached, an extra lens, a flash and accessories. A Speed Pocket on the front flap lets you get to accessories quickly. The Total Coverage Top can be zipped closed and buckled up so your gear stays safe and protected from bad weather. A smooth nylon pocket inside the lid is designed for holding lens-cleaning paper. You can carry it using the adjustable BioCurve nonslip shoulder strap or EasyGrip carrying handle. Estimated Street Price: $65. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.
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