Tuesday, August 12, 2008
New Tools Of The Trade
Nikon’s Capture NX 2 goes a step further with the Control Point technology introduced in the first version of the imaging software. Expanding from the Color Control Point tool, the Selection Control Point allows nearly any adjustment to a specific area by clicking on the image and using sliders. D-Lighting, brightness, color, focus and noise reduction all can be changed using this technology. The newly developed Auto Retouch Brush clears away spots and blemishes in a few mouse strokes. List Price: $179. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-UX, www.nikonusa.com.
Quickly mask edges using the powerful blending technology found in Fluid Mask 3. The software analyzes an image and creates outlines at the edges of areas with distinct color and texture, breaking the image into regions that either can be kept as part of the mask or deleted. It also blends image edges to avoid unnatural-looking cutouts with hard edges. With faster startup and image-processing times and a simplified layout, Fluid Mask 3 allows for much quicker edge evaluation and cutting. The program works as a plug-in for Photoshop and now as a stand-alone when working with TIFF and PNG files. Estimated Street Price: $239. Contact: Vertus Tech, (877) 55-VERTUS, www.vertustech.com.
Protect your laptop while traveling using the 1090 HardBack Case from Pelican. Designed to accommodate laptops of up to 15 inches, the crush-resistant case sports a high-impact, chemical- and heat-resistant shell with a shock-absorbing foam liner and watertight seals. A solid aluminum latch keeps the case closed, so all of that protection isn’t wasted. An automatic pressure-equalization valve keeps moisture out and makes it easier to open the case at any altitude. A sturdy nylon shoulder strap is included. Estimated Street Price: $139. Contact: Pelican, (800) 473-5422, www.pelican.com.
Review your work in full detail using the NEC Display Solutions MultiSync Enterprise Advanced Series LCD desktop monitor (EA261WM). The 26-inch widescreen display delivers 1920 x 1200 resolution, a 1000:1 contrast ratio and a five-millisecond response time. The EA261WM features built-in speakers and a headphone jack, a four-port USB hub, and is HDMI-capable with an adapter. Estimated Street Price: $679. Contact: NEC Display Solutions, (866) NEC-MORE, www.necdisplay.com.
Bring new focus to your images with FocalPoint 1.0 from onOne Software. The app digitally re-creates the soft, defocused look of selective focus or a tilt-shift lens. Using a special on-screen control called the FocusBug, you can quickly define the “sweet spot” of focus and control how much and what kind of blur to use. The tool also can be used to lighten or darken the edges of an image. Both effects direct the focus to the subject and not the background. With FocusBug, you also can tilt the sweet spot aperture in 3-D, simulating the effect of a view camera or tilt-shift lens. List Price: $159. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.
Get the light you need with Chimera’s 24x32 Lighting Kit (#8005). The kit includes Chimera’s Video PRO Plus One Lightbank, a Triolet Light, 500-watt bulb and a rugged 10-foot, 8-inch Manfrotto light stand. Also in the package are a 1,000-watt mogul lamp and 40-degree Fabric Grid, which is a popular light-modifying accessory. The entire kit fits inside a ballistic cloth duffle. Estimated Street Price: $723. Contact: Chimera Lighting, (888) 444-1812, www.chimeralighting.com.
With the debut of its D700 SLR, Nikon also has released the SB-900, an upgrade to the i-TTL Speedlight SB-800. The SB-900 incorporates new technology and an improved zoom range, with 17-200mm coverage for the FX (full-frame) format or as wide as 12mm for DX-format D-SLRs. The technology that sets it apart from older Nikon Speedlights is a variety of three lighting distributions: Center-weighted, for a center-dominant-based flash; Standard, for the same distribution as the SB-800; and Even, which covers the entire frame, from the center all the way to the edges. The SB-900 features wireless i-TTL technology to use off the camera or to sync multiple Speedlights, and it assists with autofocus with the AF assist beam that covers the D3, D700 and D300’s 51 focus points when used with a 20-105mm focal-length range. Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.
Project your images in 3,000 lumens of color and white light with the new, portable Epson PowerLite 1700 Series projectors. The 1720, 1725, 1730W, and 1735W all weigh less than four pounds and feature Epson’s Quick Wireless Connection USB Key, allowing you to stream wireless audio and video from a source with USB connectivity. The 1720 and 1725 project XGA (1024 x 768) resolution, and the 1730W and 1735W offer WXGA (1280 x 720) resolution. Estimated Street Price: $1,299 to $1,899. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com.