Tuesday, June 8, 2010
New Tools Of The Trade
With an internal rotating sensor, the Leaf Aptus-II 10R digital camera back allows medium- and large-format shooters to quickly change from portrait to landscape orientation during a shoot, while keeping the camera in position. In addition to saving time, this prevents the sensor from unnecessary exposure along with other issues that arise when the back has to be removed from the camera. The 56-megapixel sensor is 56x36mm and can shoot the full width of the medium-format capture area for either landscape or portrait setups. The back also has a 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD and an ISO range from 80-800. It’s compatible with most medium- and large-format cameras. Estimated Street Price: $32,494. Contact: Leaf Imaging US, (631) 547-8900, www.leaf-photography.com.
Capture RAW stills and high-definition video clips without interruption using the Lexar Professional 600x and 300x CompactFlash memory cards. They feature guaranteed minimum sustained write speeds of 90 MB/s and 45 MB/s, respectively, when paired with a UDMA 6-enabled card reader. The 600x cards are available in capacities of 8 GB to 32 GB, while the 300x cards come in 4 GB to 32 GB sizes. Both include downloadable Image Rescue 4 software for recovering lost or deleted files. Also available is the portable Professional ExpressCard CF Reader, which is compatible with all UDMA and non-UDMA CF cards, and supports speeds of up to 133 MB/s. Estimated Street Price: $499 (32 GB 600x); $44 (reader). Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.
One of the most notable new features of Adobe Photoshop CS5 is the Content-Aware Fill tool. The technology takes Content Aware-Scaling, which first appeared in CS4, and turns it up a notch. The feature removes any detail or object, examines the background surroundings and fills in the space left behind. So if a stranger walks into your shoot or if parts of a big open sky are missing, the images can be fixed quickly. Also noteworthy in this update are improvements to the Refine Edge tool, which makes challenging mask selections possible by precisely detecting and masking tricky edges, such as hair, while eliminating background color contamination. HDR capabilities are better with advanced tone-mapping control over gamma, exposure and detail, as well as color control over vibrancy and saturation. Adobe also added lens-correction tools for fixing geometric distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting. Estimated Street Price: $699. Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.
The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm ƒ/4G ED VR II features a professional-grade lens body made from die-cast magnesium for increased durability and is sealed to resist moisture and dust. There’s a special meniscus glass at the front to help protect the front element. Additional features include Extra-low Dispersion glass for reducing internal reflection and Vibration Reduction II, which gives up to four extra stops when shooting handheld. The lens focuses down to 6.6 feet throughout its zoom range. The addition of A/M (autofocus with manual override, AF priority) mode prevents accidental switching from autofocus to manual focus. Attach the lens to a DX-format (APS-C) camera body and it becomes a 300-600mm zoom with a constant aperture. Estimated Street Price: $6,999. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.
The Sony Alpha NEX-5, the company’s first mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera, is packed with powerful, advanced features. Built with a 14.2-megapixel APS HD CMOS sensor, this is the first model of its kind to debut outside of the Micro Four Thirds format. Powered by Sony’s BIONZ processor, autofocus is fast and precise with minimal shutter lag. Smaller and lighter than a DSLR, the NEX-5 is just an inch thick at its thinnest point, and the 10-ounce body is made from aluminum alloy. Other features include full HD (1920x1080) video, a tilting 3-inch LCD and a 7 fps high-speed burst rate. Three E-mount lenses are offered—a 16mm ƒ/2.8 wide-angle, an 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 standard zoom and an 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 zoom. An optional adapter will be available for compatibility with Alpha lenses, making the camera a good backup body for Sony shooters. Estimated Street Price: $650 (with 16mm); $700 (with 18-55mm). Contact: Sony, (800) 222-SONY, www.sonystyle.com.
Access your gear quickly on a shoot using the versatile Tamrac Evolution series photo packs. Two models are available, the Evolution 6 and 8. Both are capable of use as a backpack or sling pack on either shoulder, and with the Triple Access System, you can get to equipment quickly through the central front door or using two side doors. When worn as a backpack, you slip the shoulder strap off, swing the pack around to the front, and open the side door to access your DSLR. To get to additional equipment, swing the pack around to the opposite shoulder and open the side door on the other side of the pack. To convert the backpack to a sling, simply cross-connect a single shoulder strap. The other shoulder strap tucks away. The Evolution 8 holds most 15.6-inch laptops in a separate pocket, plus a DSLR with grip and attached 8-inch lens. The Evolution 6 holds a DSLR with an attached 5.5-inch lens. Estimated Street Price: $199 (Evolution 8); $149 (Evolution 6). Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.
Page 1 of 3