Tuesday, August 10, 2010
New Tools Of The Trade
Create images that look like they were taken with black-and-white film using Alien Skin Software Exposure 3. The latest version of the app allows you to simulate the look of Technicolor’s bright colors and the brown skin tones of early Kodachrome. Vignette, dust and scratch features make vintage processes like Autochrome, Calotype and Daguerreotype look more authentic. Aside from adjusting the grain’s structure size, the software allows you to alter how much grain texture is visible in the highlights, midtones and shadows of the image. Other new features include more than 500 presets, support for Lightroom and 64-bit Photoshop CS5 and faster preview updates. Estimated Street Price: $249. Contact: Alien Skin Software, (888) 921-7546, www.alienskin.com.
The Sigma 17-50mm ƒ/2.8 EX DC OS HSM is a compact, fast-aperture standard zoom with optical stabilization. With two FLD glass elements, one hybrid aspherical lens and two glass mold elements, the lens corrects for all types of aberrations. FLD glass is comparable to fluorite, which is less dense, making for lighter lenses. Sigma’s Optical Stabilization feature allows you to use shutter speeds up to four stops slower than would be possible otherwise. Sony and Pentax shooters can choose to use the OS system in either the lens or the camera body, which is a feature unique to Sigma. Additional features include a minimum focusing distance of 11 inches throughout the entire zoom range and a magnification ratio of 1:5. The lens is designed for DSLRs with APS-C-sized sensors. Estimated Street Price: $980. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
Keep yourself from standing out when carrying your gear using the Think Tank Photo Retrospective series of bags. Consisting of three shoulder bags and two lens bags, each model is made from soft, supple fabrics that conform to the body. The three Camera Shoulder bags accommodate a pro-sized DSLR with up to a 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 lens attached. Front pockets hold additional camera bodies without lenses, and an organizer pocket is built into the main compartment for accessories. The two Lens Changer Shoulder bags hold two or three lenses carried in separate compartments for quick access while changing. All models feature seam-sealed rain covers for protection against the elements. Estimated Street Price: $149 to $179 (Camera); $99 to $119 (Lens). Contact: Think Tank Photo, (866) 558-4465, www.thinktankphoto.com.
The ExpoImaging Rogue Flashbenders provide a fast way of lighting a shoot exactly the way you want. These portable light modifiers can be molded into a given shape for directing or shielding light as desired. There are three models. The Bounce Card/Flag can be used either as a reflector to bounce light onto a subject or as a flag to shield it away. The Small Reflector can be used as a reflector, flag or as a snoot to produce a narrow circle of light. The Large Reflector serves the same purpose as the small version but covers twice the reflective surface area. The units install quickly and work with all shoe-mount flash models. Estimated Street Price: $29 (Card/Flag); $34 (Small Reflector); $39 (Large Reflector); $104 (total set). Contact: ExpoImaging, www.expoimaging.com.
The Arca-Swiss L-Bracket lets you switch from portrait to landscape shooting without having to recompose the shot. Removing the device’s vertical arm to connect the plate to the bottom of your camera is quick and easy. The unit allows you to adjust the camera horizontally and vertically, independently of one another. One vertical arm can be used with different cameras. Plus, if you’re working with the bracket on a tripod, the camera releases in seconds when you’re ready to shoot handheld. If you need to work with the camera tethered to a computer, you can store the cables between the two metal brackets or in between the camera body and the L-Bracket’s arms. Estimated Street Price: $249. Contact: Arca-Swiss, (773) 248-2513, www.precisioncameraworks.com.
Since shooting video has increasingly become an important skill for pro photographers to have, make sure you have a sturdy support system whether using an HD DSLR or a camcorder. The Daiwa 08 Cam Balance System is designed for DV cameras weighing 13 to 20 pounds. It allows you to move the camera around smoothly with a full range of drag controls for tilt and pan movements. The Daiwa 08 has a tilt range of +90° to -75°, weighs seven pounds and has a ball base of 75mm. Estimated Street Price: $1,650 (head); $1,980 (with tripod, spreader and case). Contact: THK Photo, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.
With a 30-bit LCD panel, the HP ZR30w Performance Display is capable of showing more than one billion displayable colors. The monitor covers 100 percent of sRGB and 99 percent of Adobe RGB color spaces with visibly deeper reds, blues and greens. Key specs include 2560x1600 resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio and a 3000:1 contrast ratio. Along with wide viewing angles, the HP ZR30w has a Display Port and DVI-D inputs, an integrated 4-port USB hub, and comes with a six-way adjustable stand that offers tilt, swivel and height adjustability. Estimated Street Price: $1,299. Contact: HP, (866) 625-0242, www.hp.com.
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