Thursday, August 16, 2007
New Tools of the Trade
Following the Novoflex BALPRO 1 universal bellows, the Novoflex BALPRO T/S provides an ideal tilt/shift bellows system for cameras up to 6x7cm format. The combination options are vast, supporting nearly all 35mm and medium-format lenses, as well as special lenses, with nearly all 35mm and many medium-format cameras. Tilt-and-shift functions are provided at the front and back of the bellows; the standard adjustment is 26mm horizontally, with the rotation 15 degrees left and 15 degrees right. The BALPRO T/S requires one of three special (Componon S) lens heads by Schneider: 35mm SLR cameras require the 80mm (Pro 80) lens head; the Mamiya 645 uses the 100mm (Pro 100) lens head; and Hasselblads use the 150mm (Pro 150) lens head. Estimated Street Price: $1,300 (bellows only). Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
Two Terabyte Storage Drive
Store an entire library of images on the LaCie 2 TB Ethernet Big Disk. The external hard drive is just 2x7x11 inches and can be used as a central location for storing and sharing files over a network. Its capacity can be increased by connecting another drive through either of the two USB ports. Ethernet connectivity allows for network access sharing, and you can stream multimedia content to its UPnP-compatible AV adapters for displaying photos or video and listening to music on a networked computer or home theater system. Estimated Street Price: $1,099. Contact: LaCie, (503) 844-4500, www.lacie.com.
Versatile Photoshop Tools
Complete with full versions of Genuine Fractals 5, PhotoFrame Pro 3.1, Mask Pro 4.1 and Intellihance Pro 4.2, the Plug-In Suite 3 from onOne Software is a very affordable bundle of four essential tools for enhancing your photographs. Genuine Fractals 5 can take an image and resize it over 1,000 percent with no loss of detail or sharpness. Mask Pro 4.1 allows you to cut out a subject from the background by assigning keep and drop colors and simply painting away the background. It also provides all of the tools you need to mask complex objects like hair, glass, wedding veils and fog. Intellihance Pro 4.2 combines eight image adjustments into one easy-to-use dialogue window. Each adjustment is instantly displayed in before-and-after previews for quick comparison. PhotoFrame Pro 3.1 allows you to add realistic film and darkroom edge effects, along with additional artistic effects like torn paper, brushstrokes or even realistic frames and mattes. Genuine Fractals users can purchase Plug-In Suite 3 for $300. Estimated Street Price: $400. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.
Digital Film Tools has released five Photoshop software upgrades: 55mm v7.5, Digital Film Lab v2.5, Light! v3.5, Ozone v2.5 and zMatte v2.5. All offer compatibility with Adobe Photoshop CS3, Windows XP and Vista, Macintosh Universal and Intel (native), along with image thumbnail preview with each filter, a resizable viewer, a number of compare modes, online help and more. Ozone features a large number of digital optical effects filters; Digital Film Lab provides a wide range of film looks; Light! offers a series of lighting effects and patterns; 55mm has more than 60 filters for fixing distortion, correcting light and altering precise tonal ranges; and zMatte offers blue- and greenscreen keying. Estimated Street Price: $50 (55mm upgrade); $25 (other upgrades). Contact: Digital Film Tools, (818) 761-6577, www.digitalfilmtools.com.
Remote Control Flash
Elinchrom's EL-Skyport is a small, radio-controlled, flash-triggering system that provides handheld or computer wireless control of all Elinchrom RX power units. A Universal Set is available for flash synchronization with other flash systems. For multiple flash unit control, there are eight frequency channels and four workgroups. The device also works when objects are blocking its path. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Bogen Imaging, (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.
All-Weather Photo Backpack
The Lowepro Vertex 300 AW is built to weather the weather. The 300 AW's exterior features water-resistant YKK zippers and an All-Weather Cover with heat-sealed seams to protect your gear in tough outdoor conditions. An eight-point adjustable harness makes hiking with equipment easier for varied body types, and the Glide-Lock attachment system on the front and both sides holds a tripod or monopod. The 12.2x6.5x20.5-inch interior is deep enough to hold one to two pro D-SLRs, a large 35mm or medium-format system, six to eight lenses (with an attached 400mm ƒ/2.8 lens), a flash, numerous accessories and a 17-inch notebook computer. Estimated Street Price: $275. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.
Capture One Upgrades For RAW Shooters
To coincide with the release of the new P+ series of digital backs, Phase One has updated its Capture One image editing and enhancement software, now supporting the P+ backs along with newer Fuji, Leica, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax models. Version 4 is designed to make processing RAW files faster than ever, while still producing exceptional image quality full of fine detail, accurate colors and without noise. Phase One also touts that Capture One 4 will provide immediate preview generation and image processing of high-resolution 120 MB TIFF files in less than 20 seconds. With one-step conversions, customizable interfaces and automatic application of image settings, output preferences and ICC profiles, the workflow application is easily integrated with Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture and more. The program supports most popular RAW files and the latest camera models and operating systems. Estimated Street Price: $499 (Pro). Contact: Phase One, (888) PHASE-ONE, www.phaseone.com.
Portable, 6,500-Lumens LCD Projector
The Sanyo PLC-XP100L LCD projector uses a 330-watt lamp to project images at 6,500 lumens and features a full 10-bit video circuit to deliver outstanding picture quality. The projector is designed with an Active Maintenance Filter System that automatically detects airflow and advances clean filter material when needed, resulting in less upkeep and more dependability. The system allows filter cartridges to last up to 10,000 hours. The lens shifts up, down, left and right, allowing for highly versatile adjustments and making the projector well-suited for a variety of applications. Additional features include 1024 x 768 resolution, 2000:1 contrast ratio and a throw distance of 31 to 400 inches. Estimated Street Price: $9,995. Contact: Sanyo, (888) 495-3452, www.sanyo.com.
Compact HD Camcorder
The Canon HR10 HD camcorder records true 1080i-resolution video directly to DVD. Ideal for photographers looking to expand their repertoire into video, it has a high-definition 1⁄2.7-inch CMOS sensor with noise reduction technology and an RGB Primary Color Filter to deliver crisp images with true-to-life color reproduction. The 10x video zoom lens features Super Spectra technology, which helps reduce flare and ghosting, and its aspheric design minimizes aberration and increases resolution, resulting in sharper image quality. SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization ensures steady shots at any focal length. The HR10 captures high-quality 3-megapixel stills and records on conventional 3-inch (8cm) DVDs. Using the AVCHD format, the cam captures twice as much video while taking up less storage space on DVDs, including high-capacity dual-layer discs for longer recording time. Other advanced features include Canon's next-generation DIGIC DV II image processor designed specifically for HD, an enhanced 2.7-inch widescreen LCD, and a Cinema Mode that records 24 frames per second and changes color and tonal characteristics to evoke the look and feel of film. The HR10 is just 2.6x3.7x5.2 inches. Estimated Street Price: $1,199. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
Redeveloped to deliver more powerful and accurate image blending, faster processing times and streamlined ease of use, Vertus' Fluid Mask 3 plug-in makes separating subjects from difficult backgrounds quick and easy. Using reformulated algorithms for more effective edge detection, complex patterns and textures like hair or tree leaves are automatically defined and masked for better editing or removal. Other additions include a Color Sampler and 2D color map for more accurate color selection and a Patch system for making changes to a localized region without affecting the rest of the image. Estimated Street Price: $239. Contact: Vertus, (877) 55-VERTUS, www.vertustech.com.
The ColorEdge CG241W LCD monitor from EIZO delivers 12-bit hardware calibration, 1920 x 1200 resolution and a 6 ms response time, making it ideal for displaying stills and playing back high-definition video. The 24.1-inch widescreen features a maximum brightness of 300 cd/m2, an 850:1 contrast ratio, and horizontal and vertical viewing angles of 178 degrees. The LCD panel reproduces 96 percent of the Adobe RGB color space, displaying most colors of an image taken in that mode and also covering CMYK color spaces used for printing. EIZO's ColorNavigator CE calibration software is bundled with the monitor. The application works with a measurement device utilizing the monitor's 12-bit look-up table for accurate calibration in less than five minutes. When calibration is complete, the settings can be saved as an ICC profile. Estimated Street Price: $2,459. Contact: EIZO, (914) 347-3300, www.eizo.com.
Extra Laptop Storage
Expand your computer's storage with the Lexar ExpressCard SSD, a high-capacity removable solid-state drive that provides plug-in storage and modular expansion for laptops. Available in capacities of 4 GB, 8 GB or 16 GB, the card fits in the ExpressCard slot of the latest laptops and serves as an additional memory cache, a reserve section of memory that the computer can use to access saved data and images faster than if the computer was retrieving them from the hard drive. Images can be stored directly on the ExpressCard, so you can move them from one computer to another. It also comes with auto backup software, so you can set up daily, weekly or monthly automated backup for specific folders and file types. Estimated Street Price: $129 (4 GB); $199 (8 GB); $299 (16 GB). Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.
You Can't Beat The Wrap
Collages.net now offers printing solutions that include canvas gallery wraps for your event or portrait photography. Full-bleed custom canvas prints are stretched around the 1½-inch wooden frame and are available in display sizes ranging from 8x10 to 40x60 inches. Frames come in square, panoramic or custom shapes. Borders and digital image stretching are available. Collages.net is a workflow site for pro photographers, providing customized and password-protected e-commerce Website hosting for online sharing, marketing, printing and selling of your photos. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: Collages.net, (877) 638-7468, www.collages.net.
Image Enhancement Software From Nikon
Nikon's Capture NX editing and processing software delivers powerful tools for improving images. The software is based on U-Point technology, an innovative system that lets you set Color Control Points to quickly specify and isolate an image, or portions of it, for enhancement. You select any Color Control Point to modify size, hue, brightness, saturation, contrast, RGB or warmth. Black, white and neutral control points can be used to set the dynamic range and correct colorcasts. Each point appears on the image and can be dragged from point to point for precise movement and positioning of the desired change. Additional features include batch processing, color management to match printer settings, distortion control, image noise reduction, color aberration control, dust removal and a redesigned browser for sorting, organizing, comparing and tagging images. Capture NX is compatible with TIFF, JPEG and Nikon's RAW format, NEF. Estimated Street Price: $150. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-UX, www.nikondigitalusa.com.
Secure your camera bag using UPStrap's Pro Mini Camera Security Cable and TSA (Transportation Security Administration) lock. The four-inch, nylon-coated cable is tested to resist 170 pounds, and its small diameter lets you thread it through your camera or bag and a chair, hotel bed frame and more to prevent theft. The lock has an indicator window that tells you if it was opened. A six-inch version of the cable that resists 250 pounds is also available. List Price: TBD. Contact: UPStrap, (877) 872-7639, www.upstrap.com.
liveBooks Wedding Packages
Transform your Website into compelling multimedia presentations to attract potential clients with Wedding Platinum or Wedding Gold from liveBooks. Both packages include custom design time with the liveBooks design team, the ability to upload slideshows, movies, music, a selection of background graphics, an information request form, as well as the ability to link to third-party services, such as blogs and print fulfillment suppliers. The packages also come with editSuite, Web-based software that gives you complete control over all your content through a series of intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces. Estimated Street Price: $2,100 (Gold); $3,300 (Platinum). There's a $90 annual fee. Contact: liveBooks, (800) 253-2085, www.livebooks.com.
The redesigned ColorEyes Display Pro from Integrated Color Corporation is now available with a new interface for quicker tool selection, a full set of Black Point Target Options for the most accurate blacks and dark grays, plus tracking features for monitoring the health of your monitor and quality of your profiles. There are two new LCD tool sets—one for monitors that have brightness and gain controls and one for monitors like laptops that have brightness-only controls. Settings files can quickly be exported to multiple machines and even locked so end users can profile while not changing settings chosen by the administrator. ColorEyes Display Pro is compatible with Mac OS X 10.3 or later (universal for Intel and PC), W2K and XP SP1 or later with 64-bit support. The program is sold as a download, on disk or as a bundle with the X-Rite DTP-94/ColorEye or with the ColorVision Spyder2. Estimated Street Price: $175 to $325. Contact: Integrated Color Corporation, (603) 664-9000, www.integrated-color.com.
Free Data Recovery Software
If you accidentally delete some of your files, don't stress. As long as the file's space on your hard drive hasn't been reused, Pandora Recovery can retrieve it. The software program successfully recovers content from any deleted NTFS-formatted file. NTFS, or New Technology File System, is the default file system used in all modern Microsoft operating systems. Pandora Recovery also restores archived, hidden, system, sparse, encrypted and compressed files. The program is available as a free download. Contact: Pandora Corporation, www.pandorarecovery.com.
Full-Featured Workflow Software
Microsoft has announced the availability of Expression Media, previously known as iView MediaPro 3. Expression Media is a sophisticated, easy-to-use asset management tool that catalogues and organizes images so you can quickly search and retrieve them for presenting in slideshows, videos and Web galleries. More than 100 different media formats, including digital RAW files, are supported. Integrated search tools make it possible to both store and find files on shared folders, hard drives or CDs/DVDs. You can even browse, search and annotate your images in Expression Media's visual catalogues when the original files are offline. Also included are dozens of customizable templates for creating presentations of your work, which can then be exported in the exact format and size you need. Estimated Street Price: $299 (new); $99 (upgrade). Contact: Microsoft, www.microsoft.com/expression.