Tuesday, August 12, 2008
New Tools Of The Trade
With a 12.1-megapixel FX-format (36x23.9mm) CMOS sensor and a handful of convenient new features, the Nikon D700 is a strong follow-up to the D3. However, this second Nikon full-frame D-SLR comes with a much smaller body than the first and a more affordable price tag. The camera incorporates many of the same technologies developed for the D3, including the EXPEED Image Processing system, 51-point autofocus system and two LiveView shooting modes (Handheld or Tripod) for quick shot evaluation on the 3-inch LCD. New in this model is a self-cleaning system for reducing dust. The D700 shoots a base ISO range of 200-6400. Custom Lo-1, Hi-1 and Hi-2 settings broaden that range to an equivalent ISO of 100, 12,800 and 25,600, respectively. With a speedy startup time, a shutter-lag response time of 0.40 milliseconds and a full-resolution JPEG capture rate of 5 fps, the D700 is ideal for even the most trigger-happy of photographers. Estimated Street Price: $2,999 (body only). Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-UX, www.nikonusa.com.
For more accuracy and control, the updated Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 lets you make localized adjustments to your images. Using a brush or gradient filter, you can change exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation and more where necessary. Lightroom 2 features 64-bit support that allows you to take full advantage of the memory capabilities of your Mac or Windows operating system. Other enhancements include simplified organizational tools in the Library, keyword suggestions and an improved keyword list. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.
The Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 3.5/18 super-wide-angle lens is an excellent choice for capturing dramatic perspectives. Designed with a floating-lens element in the rear and a 99-degree field of view, the 18mm lens achieves impressive image quality from infinity to 0.3m (0.98 feet). Top-notch reflection absorption combined with anti-reflective coating helps you capture sharp images under difficult lighting. The Distagon T* 3.5/18 is available with F bayonet (ZF) and K bayonet (ZK) mounts. Estimated Street Price: $1,450. Contact: Carl Zeiss, www.zeiss.com/photo.
“645” Format Digital
Phase One’s new full-frame 645 medium-format camera system is touted as the first digital image sensor to be based on the exact 6x4.5cm medium film format. The P 65+ digital back and camera system incorporate Phase One’s new Sensor+ CCD technology, which gives it scaleable pixel and file size, a higher sensitivity and dynamic range, and a faster capture rate of 1 fps. The P 65+ provides 100-percent viewfinder coverage and has a 60.5-megapixel resolution that produces 180 MB, 8-bit RGB files. The P 65+ reduces moiré patterns and has 12.5 ƒ-stops of dynamic range. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $39,000 (digital back) and $41,990 (camera system). Contact: Phase One, www.phaseone.com.
The new Domke F-300 Long Lens Bag lets you carry a D-SLR and a 300mm telephoto lens vertically so you can easily access your camera when a photo op presents itself. The F-300 has foam padding on all four sides and a 45-degree, angled, zippered, main compartment that lets you get to your camera quickly. The bag is manufactured with a water-resistant heavyweight cotton canvas that has been treated with repellent to keep out moisture and protect your camera. The shoulder-strap bag also features a rear pocket for accessories, and hook-and-loop straps on the side to hold a monopod. Estimated Street Price: $153. Contact: Tiffen, (631) 273-2500, www.tiffen.com.
Convert color photos into high-quality black-and-whites with Nik Software’s latest plug-in, Silver Efex Pro. Compatible with both Photoshop and Aperture, Silver Efex Pro offers a variety of tools for carefully manipulating structure, tonality and contrast. The plug-in also provides almost two dozen preset styles to emulate a range of renderings and film types or grains with a single click. These effects can be used as a starting point, so you can layer toning, vignettes, filters and more for advanced results. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Nik Software, (619) 725-3150, www.niksoftware.com.
Portable, Powerful Flash
Designed with fashion, advertising and commercial photographers in mind, the 3,000 watt-seconds Bowens Ringflash Pro is smaller and lighter than its predecessor. The unit delivers flash with a single continuous ring of 10 20-watt halogen lamps and plugs into a Bowens quad socket through a single 16-foot cable. The flash weighs six pounds, measures 8x3 inches and features a new soft handle for better portability. Estimated Street Price: $1,699. Contact: Bowens, (508) 862-9274, www.bowensusa.com.