Wednesday, June 20, 2007
New Tools Of The Trade
28-Megapixel Digital Back
Leaf's Aptus 65 digital camera back brings speed and flexibility to high-res digital photography. The 28-megapixel, full-frame sensor captures a 16-bit RAW image in just 53 MB (31 MB using lossless compression) that expands to an 80 MB 8-bit TIFF file. Uncompressed RAW files are compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS2; ISO range is 50-800. The back is easy to use, thanks in part to a big 6x7cm LCD touch screen and a straightforward workflow. Compatible with a wide range of medium- and large-format cameras and most self-powered FireWire external hard drives, the back uses standard external batteries. Estimated Street Price: $17,995. Contact: Leaf, www.leafamerica.com.
Always-On Portable Drive LL
SmartDisk's new FireLite XPress is a palm-sized portable hard drive with an always-on cholestric LCD that identifies the drive by a user-designated name—no need to plug it into your computer or power up the drive to see what's on it. The drive also shows the last date info was recorded and capacity/available space, and provides a table of contents. The USB unit requires no driver installation with Mac OS 9 and X, and Windows XP and Me. Estimated Street Price: $188 (60 GB); $283 (120 GB). Contact: SmartDisk, (239) 425-4000, www.smartdisk.com.
Imagenomic's Noiseware 4 is a software solution to digital image noise. It's fast (processing one megapixel per second with 16-bit images), intuitive and effective, offering a number of new noise-correction controls, including detecting adjusted noise levels and suppression levels by tonal and color range. A new DetailGuard feature preserves image details based on tonality range and processing degree. Noiseware is also available as a plug-in for Photoshop 7.0, CS and CS2 and other image-editing programs (Windows and Mac), and as a stand-alone (Windows only). Athentech has incorporated Noiseware 4 into its Perfectly Clear imaging software. Estimated Street Price: $49 (Standard plug-in); $69 (Professional plug-in); $26 (Standard stand-alone); $49 (Professional stand-alone); $79 (Pro Bundle—stand-alone and plug-in editions). Contact: Imagenomic, www.imagenomic.com.
Versatile Eye-One LL
Designed for advanced professionals, Eye-One Display2 is a monitor-calibration tool that lets you create profiles for any ambient light condition. A push-button calibration feature automatically interacts with monitors to adjust RGB, brightness and contrast settings, eliminating many time-consuming manual steps. Gray-balance optimization, profile summary reports and a “before-and-after” feature add versatility. Users can select gammas from 1.0 to 3.0, track display performance in terms of DeltaE, and match multiple monitors. Estimated Street Price: $211. Contact: GretagMacbeth, (845) 565-7660, www.gretagmacbeth.com; Pantone, (201) 935-5500, www.pantone.com.
Apple has released a second update for its new Aperture imaging application. Aperture 1.1.1 resolves a number of performance, stability, color-correction and display-compatibility issues. To utilize the new update, users must first update to Aperture 1.1 and Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Apple, (800) MY-APPLE, www.apple.com.
Rolling Warehouse LL
Pelican's 1640 Protector Case features nearly 8,000 cubic inches of space protected by high-impact watetight cell-core construction. Additionally, it features a polymer O-ring for a dust- and waterproof seal and a Gore-Tex® pressure-equalization valve that stops moisture from entering and prevents vacuum-lock for easy opening at any altitude. The case is big enough for storing and transporting full-sized hard-drive towers or multiple laptops, as well as mobile studio equipment or lots of camera gear. Two double-hand side grips and two sets of ball-bearing polyurethane wheels make moving it easy. Estimated Street Price: $275 (includes a lifetime warranty). Contact: Pelican, (310) 326-4700, www.pelican.com.
Fluid Mask 2.0
You could call it “Masking Made Easy.” Vertus' Fluid Mask 2.0 is a Photoshop plug-in that provides a new-look masking interface. Additional features include new segmentation algorithms that show objects with accurate and smooth edges largely free of compression artifacts, a new Edge Detection Options panel, support for 16-bit as well as 8-bit RGB and CMYK images, and strength adjustments for the Global and Local brushes. The “color-by-the-numbers,” simple approach merely involves selecting objects displayed in the Edge Overlay view. Fluid Mask 2.0 is available for both Windows and Mac platforms. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Vertus, www.vertustech.com.
Hasselblad was scheduled to deliver its first 39-megapixel products on May 1, including the CFH-39 back built specifically for the Hasselblad H2 camera platform. The result of the H2/CFH-39 combo is the H2D-39, an autofocus digital SLR with a 39-megapixel image sensor that's more than twice the size of a full-frame 35mm sensor, three image-storage options (CF card, FireWire drive or direct to computer), automatic digital apochromatic lens-aberration correction, Instant Approval Architecture for quick and easy review and classification of images while shooting, and lots more. Estimated Street Price: $29,995 (with 80mm lens). Contact: Hasselblad USA, (425) 861-6434, www.hasselbladusa.com.
Cambo's WDS-470 is a wide-angle, large-format digital camera that's ideal for architectural and landscape photography. It consists of a Cambo Wide DS body, with a mount for Hasselblad V-compatible backs, and a wide-angle (110 degrees) 47mm Schneider Digitar ƒ/5.6 XL lens. The body features a handgrip, spirit levels, 3/8-inch tripod mount, cable release and perspective-correction rise and fall. Estimated Street Price: $4,463. Contact: Calumet Photo, (800) 225-8638, www.calumetphoto.com.
In The RAW
Phase One's popular Capture One RAW Workflow software is now available in version 3.7.4, which speeds up capture rate with Intel-based Macs and Windows, and incorporates compatibility with all Phase One P Series digital camera backs, and the new Canon EOS 30D, Pentax *ist series and Sony DSC-R1 cameras. An efficient, fully color-managed RAW image-processing solution, Capture One 3.7.4 is a free update for existing users, and free trials are available for new users, both on the Website. Estimated Street Price: $429. Contact: Phase One, (888) PHASE-ONE, www.phaseone.com.
Balance Those Colors
PhotoKit Color 2.0 is a Photoshop plug-in that provides automatic color-balancing, precise color corrections and creative coloring effects. Modules include Film Effects, Cross Processing, Color Overlay, Split Toning, Special Effects, Tone Enhance, Dodge Tone and Burn Tone, Color Enhance, CC Correction, CT Correction, and RSA Gray Balance. It's available for Mac and Windows. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Pixel Genius, (312) 951-6334, www.pixelgenius.com.
Metz has introduced a pair of powerful handle-mount flash units for digital photographers. The 76 MZ-5 Digital features an ISO 100 guide number of 249 (in feet), and the 45 CL-4 has a guide number of 145. Both are compatible with Canon E-TTL 1 and 2 flash modes, and Nikon i-TTL and D-TTL flash, via appropriate SCA adapters. The 76 MZ-5 features automatic zooming to cover focal lengths from 24-105mm, plus a wide-angle diffuser for 20mm, while the nonzooming 45 CL-4 covers a 35mm lens (28mm with included wide-angle diffuser). A new optional NiMH P 76 Power Pack will provide a minimum of 270 full-power flashes with the 76 MZ-5 and 420 with the 45 CL-4. Estimated Street Price: $900 (76 MZ-5 Digital); $599 (45 CL-4). Contact: Bogen Imaging, (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.
Picture Window 4.0
Picture Window has been a popular Windows digital-darkroom program for quite a while. In its newest form, 4.0, the software from Digital Light & Color adds such features as RAW image support, batch workflow, slideshow-style image preview, new browsing and navigation tools, and quicker performance. Other features include a complete suite of digital darkroom capabilities and an affordable cost. Estimated Street Price: $89. Contact: Digital Light & Color, (617) 489-8858, www.dl-c.com.
Famed camera-bag maker Domke is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a 30th Anniversary Limited Edition F-2 Shooter's Bag. Available in navy or sand and identified by a special anniversary patch, the bag is rugged, roomy, lightweight and versatile, and why not—it was designed by a working photojournalist. You can access your equipment instantly while the bag is on your shoulder, and the soft heavyweight canvas molds around its contents and your body for maximum comfort. The breathable, naturally water-resistant fabric keeps gear dry even in humid environments. Estimated Street Price: $119. Contact: Tiffen, (631) 273-2500, www.tiffen.com.
Light It Up
The Bowens Gemini 500/500 lighting kit contains two 500Ws flash heads, one Bowens Softbox 60, one Bowens 90cm Umbrella, two compact light stands, a wide-angle reflector, a deluxe kit bag, power cords, sync leads and modeling lamps. Add the compact, lightweight portable Bowens Travel-Pak battery, and you're ready to go on location as well as do studio shoots. The Travel-Pak can bring a 500Ws unit to full charge in as little as 4.5 seconds, and can yield more than 200 flashes per charge; its stylish carry bag offers protection from up to three inches of water, making it great for location work. Estimated Street Price: $1,647 (Gemini 500/500 kit); $895 (Travel-Pak). Contact: RTS, (631) 242-6801, www.rtsphoto.com.
150X 8 GB CF Card
When you're shooting high-megapixel RAW images, speed and capacity are paramount. Advanced Media has just introduced a 150X (up to 22.5 MBps.) 8 GB CompactFlash card that's ideal for such needs, and high-res video, too. The RiDATA 150X/8 GB Pro II is rugged—it can weather 1000-G shock, with a 500,000 power-on hours MTBF. It's also available in 4 GB, 2 GB, 1 GB, 512 MB and 256 MB capacities. (The 8 GB and 4 GB capacities are available only with devices that support FAT32 files; FAT16 devices can support only 2 GB.) Estimated Street Price: $230. Contact: Advanced Media, (909) 861-2269, www.ritekusa.com.
Hahnemühle FineArt Paper
New Hahnemühle FineArt Pearl 285 gsm is a fiber-based fine-art paper developed specifically for digital inkjet printing. Its triple-coated, lignin-free, 100% alpha-cellulose makeup produces excellent D-Max, white point and colors on a surface, much like that of a traditional double-weight silver-gelatin print. Estimated Street Price: Varies by size and quantity. Contact: Hahnemühle USA, (815) 502-5880, www.hahnemuhle.com.
Ink manufacturer Megaink has introduced some software to complement its inks: MegaRIP. An OEM version of Ergosoft's PosterPrint large-format RIP software, MegaRIP provides easy color management, better color matching and lower ink consumption. The software can drive a wide range of large-format inkjet printers and provides excellent results with Megaink's solvent-based inks. Estimated Street Price: TBD. Contact: Megaink, (800) 494-2901, www.megainkusa.com.
Easy RAW Conversions
Pixmantec's RawShooter makes it easy to convert large numbers of RAW images quickly and effectively. The Windows-only software comes in two versions. RawShooter/essentials 2006 is aimed at students and newer photo enthusiasts, and RawShooter/premium 2006 adds features like Raw vs. Raw comparison, user adjustment presets, FastProof (which quickly creates low-res proofs and high-res TIFF or JPEG conversions, thus eliminating the need to shoot RAW+ JPEG images), Curves and Levels, Digital Loupe magnifier, FastBrowse, Scene Adaptive Technology and more. RawShooter supports more than 65 proprietary RAW camera formats, including Adobe DNG. Estimated Street Price: RawShooter/essentials 2006 (free from the Website); RawShooter/premium 2006 ($99 from the Website). Contact: Pixmantec, www.pixmantec.com.
22-Megapixel Digital/Film Camera Bundle
A new bundle consisting of a top-of-the-line Rollei 6008AF 6x6-format camera body, Sinarback eMotion22 digital back and Schneider AF Xenotar 80mm ƒ/2.8 lens is available, providing photographers with the ability to shoot both film and 22-megapixel digital images in one package. The Sinarback can save RAW files, plus TIFF or JPEG files, and provides a 2.2-inch, angle-insensitive OLED color monitor. It has a lithium-ion battery good for 250 shots. Estimated Street Price: $24,999. Contact: Direct Source Marketing, (925) 825-4795, www.dsmww.com.
Taprell Loomis, supplier of many professional photo-packaging products, has introduced three new lines of photo frames. Perfect Choice frames stand up on desks or shelves, offer black- or walnut-finish hardwood, and come fully assembled, including glass. Readymade hardwood frames hang on walls and come in narrow and wide widths, four colors, and sizes from 8x10 to 20x24 inches. There are also pre-assembled frame and mat combos. Estimated Street Price: Varies depending on style and size. Contact: Taprell Loomis, (800) 827-5679, www.tap-usa.com.
Keeping Track, And Then Some
Cumulus 7, Canto's new version of the company's Digital Asset Management software, provides compatibility with the new Intel-based Mac computers, running natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs (as well as Windows). For photographers, Digital Asset Management means keeping track of your digital files and their usage, and Cumulus makes it easy to catalog and retrieve images and invoices, track sales, usage, rights and permissions, and more. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $3,495. Contact: Canto, (415) 495-6545, www.canto.com.