DPP Home Gear In Focus September-October 2006

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

September-October 2006

New Tools Of The Trade

In FocusNikon D-SLR
Nikon has upgraded its top-of-the-line pro D-SLR. The D2Xs retains the features that have made the D2X so popular with working pros, including 12.4-megapixel resolution at 5 fps, an 8 fps High-Speed Crop mode (at 6.8 megapixels, with a 2x focal-length factor and a new automatic viewfinder mask for easier framing), instant startup and a super-quick 37ms shutter release, and excellent autofocusing, metering and flash performance. The 1005-pixel 3-D Color Matrix Metering II is now available in HSC mode, too. A new 2.5-inch color LCD features a wide 170-degree viewing angle, and the 11-area (nine cross-type sensors) AF system is faster and more precise. Color reproduction is even better, Image Overlay lets you merge two already-shot NEF images in-camera, Multiple Exposure mode lets you shoot two to 10 images in one file, Black-and-White mode lets you shoot monochrome images, battery capacity has been increased to up to 3,400 shots per charge and much more. Estimated Street Price: $4,699. Contact: Nikon Inc., (800) NIKON-US, www.nikondigital.com.

In FocusHere Comes A (Wide) Horseman
One of the widest-angle cameras on the market, the Horseman SW-D Pro allows use of 24mm lenses with any digital back equipped with a Hasselblad V mount. With the backs' 38x48mm image sensor, a 24mm lens provides the same angle of view as a 17mm lens on a 35mm camera, ideal for architectural and landscape applications. Additionally, the rise, fall and shift movements are built into the camera. The new camera is a joint venture of Franke & Heidecke (German manufacturer of Rollei medium-format cameras) and Komamura (Japanese maker of Horseman medium- and large-format cameras). Estimated Street Price: $2,799 (camera); $3,899 (Schneider Apo-Digitar 24mm ƒ/5.6 lens). Contact: Direct Source Marketing, www.dsmww.com.

In FocusBack By Popular Demand
Sekonic has redesigned and relaunched the popular L-398 ambient-light meter as the L-398A Studio Deluxe III. Features include a new environmentally friendly, amorphous silicon photocell for battery-free operation, memory pointer, incident and reflected-light readings, swiveling head, and accurate readings for both still and cine users. Estimated Street Price: $179. Contact: MAC Group, (914) 347-3300, www.sekonic.com.

In FocusDxO Optics Pro v4
Users of D-SLR cameras will love the latest version of DxO Optics Pro. This software package features the third-generation DxO Optics engine, which automatically corrects lens distortion, vignetting, softness and chromatic aberrations, including purple fringing, with a wide range of specific camera/lens combinations. The new version adds horizon adjustment, keystoning correction and a Volume Anamorphosis correction feature that automatically brings 3-D objects “deformed” by ultra-wide lenses back to correct proportions. There's also the new DxO Color Engine, which provides full control over image colors, including the ability to apply the Color Rendition profile of one camera to images taken with another. Performance and workflow have also been enhanced. The new version will be available as a Photoshop plug-in, as well as a stand-alone application. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: DxO Labs, www.dxo.com.

In FocusPocketWizard Plus II Transceiver
The PocketWizard Plus II Transceiver solves the problem of how many transmitters and receivers to bring with you because it can serve as either. The device allows you to fire cameras and flash units wirelessly from up to 1,600 feet away. The first radio-triggering system to offer Auto-Sensing Transceiver Technology, the Plus II automatically switches from Receiver mode to Transmitter mode when it senses a trigger pulse from a camera's hot-shoe (you can disable this feature when desired). The unit can trigger at speeds of up to 12 fps and provides four 16-bit digitally coded channels for secure operation. The “bulletproof” unit comes with a three-year warranty, and operation is plug-and-shoot simple. Estimated Street Price: $188. Contact: MAC Group, (914) 347-3300, www.PocketWizard.com.

In FocusStealth Reporter
Lowepro's Stealth Reporter bags were created specifically for digital photojournalists and news photographers, offering quick access via a unique water-resistant top zipper, rugged and densely padded construction, and a built-in, all-weather cover. The Stealth Reporter D550 AW features a main compartment measuring 15x7.3x9.8 inches, plus a notebook compartment measuring 13.8x1.6x9.4 inches, ideal for a 12-inch notebook computer. A removable carrying handle and luggage trolley strap make for easy carrying, and a deluxe stabilizer strap is designed to reduce weight and reduce bag movement while the user is running. List Price: $185. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.

In FocusSpeedy High-Capacity Hard Drives
Owners of new Macintosh G5s will be happy to learn that LaCie will bundle a next-generation SATA II PCI-Express (PCIe) card 2e with its compact Two Big two-disk RAID system. The card has two ports and provides a native x1 host bus interface for Power Mac G5s or PCs with PCIe architecture, allowing for speedy interface with the 500 GB and 1 TB Two Big external hard drives—in Fast mode, up to 110 MBps. The hot-swappable, large-capacity hard drives are ideal for digital image archiving and real-time video editing. Estimated Street Price: $449 (500 GB Two Big with PCI-Express); $879 (1 TB Two Big with PCI-Express). Contact: LaCie, (503) 844-4500, www.lacie.com.

In FocusMasters Of Photography Collection
Kultur International Films has released three Masters of Photography DVDs: Edward Steichen, Diane Arbus and Andre Kertesz. Each documentary explores the life and work of its master photographer. There's also a two-disc set, The Adventure of Photography: 150 Years of the Photographic Image, a four-hour trip that takes the viewer from the first daguerreotypes to contemporary artists, including 1,700 photos by 300 photographers. Estimated Street Price: $19 each (Masters of Photography); $39 (two-disc set). Contact: Kultur International Films, (732) 229-2343, www.kultur.com.

In FocusSlik PRO 500 DX Tripod
Exclusive A.M.T. (aluminum-magnesium-titanium) alloy legs give the new Slik PRO 500 DX tripod steadiness, strength and light weight. Capable of supporting pro digital cameras and lenses up to 300mm ƒ/2.8, the PRO 500 DX features secure speed-release leg locks, a gearless center column and three-position adjustable-angle leg locks for easy setup on uneven surfaces. An optional 500 DX Short Column allows the camera to be positioned as low as 15 inches. Included with the tripod is the cast/machined aluminum PRO 500 DX three-way panhead with quick-release plate. Maximum height is 63.95 inches, folded length is 27.38 inches and weight is 5.47 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $140. Contact: THK Photo Products, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.

In FocusBrighton Photo Packaging
Photographers who specialize in children and family portraits will like the Brighton line of albums and wallet albums from Taprell Loomis, as will their clients. Available in traditional pink and blue versions with cream page inserts, the 8x8-inch albums include 12 bound pages that can accept photo mats in seven sizes or can be used without mats for scrapbook-style presentations. The wallet albums hold 10 prints and make ideal “accessories” for grandparents. The Brighton line also includes an accordion album, which holds 10 photos in a foldout insert, and comes in a 4x5- or 4x6-inch size. List Price: wallet albums are $6.85 per album (sold in packages of 10); the 8x8-inch albums are $15.60 each (sold in packages of three); mats are sold separately in packages of 24 for $12.70 (per pack). Contact: Taprell Loomis, (800) 827-5679, www.tap-usa.com.

In FocusRoadWired Skooba Seventeen+ Bag
Designed to hold the largest 17-inch “desktop replacement” laptop computers, the Skooba Seventeen+ bag from RoadWired features more than 20 compartments and pockets, a dedicated computer section lined with Skooba's shock-absorbing Air Square material, a ZipFit adjustment system to snugly protect smaller laptops, twin padded hand grips and an oversized shoulder pad with its own Air Square cushioning and ID/transit-pass pocket. Tough ballistic nylon with heavy-duty webbing and metal fittings provides strength. Estimated Street Price: $119. Contact: Tenba RoadWired, (914) 347-3300, www.roadwired.com.

In FocusBest Of Dean Collins
Fans of the late Dean Collins' Finelight lighting seminars can now enjoy the popular photographer and teacher's classes again via the The Best of Dean Collins DVD set. Transferred from video to high-quality DVD format, the six-hour tutorial features basic and advanced lighting techniques that can be applied to film or digital photography and covers portrait, product and fashion shooting on small and large sets. List Price: $179, with a portion going to CureSearch for pediatric cancer research. Contact: Software Cinema, www.software-cinema.com.

In FocusHelp Via DVD
Marketing images and RAW digital workflow are two areas of great importance to digital photographers. Photographer and educator Byron Jorjorian offers help in both areas via DVD versions of his popular seminars. Marketing Your Images: Steps to Success is a two-day seminar turned into a course-on-disk that offers the advantage of being able to return to it for reference at any time. The 121 full-size PDF pages present information Jorjorian has learned from more than 30 years of selling his photos. Advanced Raw Digital Workflow provides a 11/2-hour, studio-quality workshop video, plus a 48-page workflow guide with bonuses: a “how it was shot” slideshow, videos of how to automate many workflow steps and more. Estimated Street Price: $149 (Marketing); $89 (Raw). Contact: e-Book Associates, www.e-book-associates.com.

In FocusVersatile Strap
The UPstrap SLR-QR shoulder/camera strap combines an Ultimate Non-Slip shoulder pad, abrasion-resistant Kevlar-embedded webbing, 300-pound tensile-strength quick releases and a double-locking adjustment system to provide secure, comfortable transport of film and digital SLR cameras with long lenses. The strap can also be attached to a laptop or messenger bag. Estimated Street Price: $50. Contact: UPstrap, (877) 872-7639, www.upstrap.com.

In FocusSony D-SLR
Sony has entered the D-SLR market with a 10.2-megapixel model based in part on technology it gained when acquiring a part of Konica Minolta's digital camera assets. The new DSLR-A100 utilizes the Konica Minolta lens mount (and thus can use a wide range of existing Konica Minolta lenses as well as new optics from Sony) and has two effective anti-dust features: sensor-vibration dust removal and an antistatic coating for the sensor. Other features include an effective Super SteadyShot sensor-based, anti-shake feature that works with all lenses, near instantaneous hardware-based Dynamic Range Optimization and much more. Estimated Street Price: $899 (camera body); $999 (with 18-70mm Sony zoom lens). Contact: Sony Electronics, (800) 222-SONY, www.sony.com.

In FocusFlashpoint Snoot
The Flashpoint Snoot fits over Adorama Flashpoint DigiPopper Monolights and results in a small circle of light, ideal for accenting a small subject or a portion of a subject or background. The Snoot can also hold an accessory honeycomb grid, which turns it into a 30-degree spotlight with sharp falloff, or the red, green, blue and yellow filters that come in the kit with the honeycomb grid. Estimated Street Price: $34 (Snoot); $44 (Flashpoint II Snoot); $14 (honeycomb grid/filter kit). Contact: Adorama, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.

In FocusSeeFile
SeeFile is a Web-based file-sharing and image-management system that's easy to use and inexpensive for what it does: provides a way to promote your work and interact with customers over the Internet. Basically, you upload images to SeeFile, it creates thumbnails and maintains the folder system you set up (you can change it whenever you wish), and you make specified areas visible to one or more customers via logins and their Web browsers. Customers can communicate with you via attached comments, and you can respond. A commercial module lets you sell images via PayPal. This can be useful for individual photographers who want to sell their images online. Estimated Street Price: $695, plus $149/year for support for SeeFile Entry version; $1,095 for SeeFile Minibundle 1, which includes Entry and a Mac mini that serves as the file server; $500 for the commercial module (plus PayPal fees). Contact: SeeFile, (617) 262-2464, www.seefile.com.

In FocusNikon Capture NX Software
Designed specifically for photographers, Nikon Capture NX software features a unique and easy-to-use interface with something for everyone—from compact digital camera user to pro and advanced photographer—including lots of powerful image-editing tools that can be used on JPEG and TIFF files from any source. The software also works with Nikon NEF (RAW) images. JPEG, TIFF and NEF images can be saved in NEF format, providing the ability to make every edit nondestructively. Estimated Street Price: $174; a 30-day free trial version can be downloaded at www.nikonusa.com in the Software Download section. Contact: Nikon Inc., (800) NIKON-US, www.nikondigital.com.

In FocusModern Postcard
One of the biggest challenges to the budding pro photographer is getting his or her work out there to be seen, especially if he or she is more artist than businessperson. A one-stop shop for promotional photo postcards, Modern Postcard can help by turning your images into postcards, sending out targeted promotional mailings, and providing marketing advice and solutions for photographers. Estimated Street Price: Mailing fees for 500 standard postcards start at $355, including first-class mailing costs, or $155 without mailing; an order of 2,000 standard postcards is $861, including first-class mailing costs, or $311 without mailing. Contact: Modern Postcard, (800) 959-8365, www.modernpostcard.com.

In FocusMatch Maker
Pantone's Color Bridge Guide is now available for uncoated as well as coated paper. The new guide shows how Pantone Matching System Colors reproduce in CMYK on uncoated paper to aid in color matching. Some 1,089 Pantone Colors are displayed in a fan-guide format alongside their closest four-color process match for easy evaluation. CMYK values are provided for each process color and RGB and HTML values for solid colors. Estimated Street Price: $119; $179 (both coated and uncoated guides). Contact: Pantone, Inc., (866) PANTONE, www.pantone.com.

In FocusCanon/Hahnemühle Papers
Canon has cobranded a number of fine-art inkjet papers by Hahnemühle, offering the papers and including ICC profiles for them in new printers. The papers currently include a wide range from Hahnemühle's Digital FineArt Collection. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com; Hahnemühle USA, (815) 502-5880, www.hahnemuhle.com.



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