DPP Home Gear In Focus July-August 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

July-August 2008

New Tools Of The Trade

Rolleiflex Revisited
With its two lenses and hooded viewfinder, the Rollei twin-lens-reflex camera was a favorite among pro photographers. Now there's a digital version, the Rolleiflex MiniDigi AF5.0. The camera is a three-inch-high, fully functioning replica of the original, with a 3-megapixel CMOS sensor, autofocusing and a 1.1-inch TFT screen for previewing images. With a hand crank, the MiniDigi AF5.0 has the look and feel of its predecessor, but instead of advancing film, it prepares for the next shot. It also has the classic pop-up hood and viewfinder. The square-format design means no choosing between horizontal or vertical positioning. Simply look downward into the viewfinder at waist level, aim and shoot from the waist. The camera records to a Mini SD memory card. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Direct Source Marketing, www.dsmww.com.

Sleek Storage Drive
With big backup capacity in a tiny five-ounce frame, the Western Digital My Passport Elite packs some impressive features, including 128-bit encryption protection, a capacity gauge showing how much space is available and software that designates files and folders for automatic and continuous backup. To install the drive, simply plug it in and it's ready to use. Estimated Street Price: $169 (250 GB); $199 (320 GB). Contact: Western Digital, (877) 934-6972, www.westerndigital.com.

Family RAID
LaCie delivers a complete RAID solution with its 2big family of drives. The 2big Dual, 2big Triple and 2big Network feature capacities ranging from 1 to 2 TB. The Dual combines USB 2.0 and eSata II, which is ideal for audio and multistream video editing. The Triple uses FireWire 800, FireWire 400 or USB 2.0 connections to transfer data fast. The Network is an Ethernet version that can act as a file sharing or backup server. It also can be used as an FTP server. When capacity gets low, two hard drives can be added through additional USB 2.0 ports. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $399. Contact: LaCie, (503) 844-4500, www.lacie.com.

The Maxtor Touch
Push-button backup management is what you get with the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus. This all-in-one solution for backup, storage, security, file synchronization and drive management features a dual USB 2.0 or FireWire 400 interface, delivering greater speed, convenience and flexibility. With up to 1 TB of capacity, you can store tons of files, and the 7200 rpm, 16 MB cache buffer means you can access files instantly. Recovery software protects your entire system in case of a crash or virus. List Price: $89 (250 GB); $159 (500 GB); $219 (750 GB); $299 (1 TB). Contact: Maxtor Solutions (Seagate), (877) 271-3285, www.maxtorsolutions.com.

Custom Websites
Whether you're established or emerging, having a website serves as a valuable marketing tool for prospective clients, but building it can be time-consuming. liveBooks is a provider of customized portfolio websites and marketing software for pro photographers. Its new liveBooks Professional solution is designed to help you create an attractive Flash-based site with new enhancements for increasing page views and simplifying the process of making updates. Auto-generated HTML incorporates real-time updates to any part of the site. An HTML search landing page creates a snapshot of the site to rev up search engine traffic. You also can track page views with Google Analytics. Estimated Street Price: $800 (basic); $1,700 (select); $3,200 (unlimited). Contact: liveBooks, (800) 253-2085, www.livebooks.com.

Aperture Opens Up
Plug in to Apple Aperture 2.1, which now supports specialized third-party enhancement software such as Nik Software's Viveza, PictureCode's Noise Ninja and others. By selecting one or more images within Aperture, you can choose from a menu of installed plug-ins and make specialized adjustments to JPEG or TIFF files. The update includes the Apple-developed plug-in, Dodge & Burn, and is free to current Aperture 2.0 users. Contact: Apple, (800) MY-APPLE, www.apple.com.

Third-Party Candidates
The latest plug-in additions for Aperture 2.1 include Tiffen's Dfx digital filter program and Digital Film Tools Power Stroke, Light! and Ozone applications. Dfx provides an extensive suite of creative filters and effects. The standalone complete edition of the program includes more than 1,000 traditional and special effects optical glass filters and gels. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Tiffen, (800) 645-2522, www.tiffen.com. Digital Film Tools offerings for Aperture allow you to quickly make targeted adjustments using a simple stroke-based interface, add realistic lighting to an entire image or inside a selection, and manipulate color and brightness more accurately. Estimated Street Price: $125 (Power Stroke); $50 (Light!); $50 (Ozone). Contact: Digital Film Tools, (818) 761-6577, www.digitalfilmtools.com.


LCD Guard
For Nikon D3 shooters, Hoodman has developed a snap-on LCD cap to protect the three-inch color screen. HoodCap attaches to the LCD using the mounting points already built into the camera. The cap is optically clear, with scratch-resistant coating that helps keep dust and other grime away. Estimated Street Price: $24. Contact: Hoodman, (800) 818-3946, www.hoodmanusa.com.

Flash Ring
The Ray Flash from ExpoImaging is a light, portable adapter for your hot-shoe flash unit that creates a unique, three-dimensional shadow-wrapped look around your subject.
Light from the ring flash originates from a circle around the lens to produce a “shadowless” look on the front of your subject, while creating a soft, even shadow around the edges. Use the flash either as a main or fill-in light. Because it relies on the hot-shoe flash to generate light, the unit contains no electronics and no flash tubes and requires no cables. Estimated Street Price: $300. Contact: ExpoImaging, (800) 446-5086, www.expoimaging.net.

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