March/April 2013

Fast Glass

Take your next shot with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm ƒ/1.8 lens if you’re an Olympus Micro Four Thirds shooter. The bright wide-angle is ideal for street shooting, landscape photography or capturing images taken in challenging low-light environments. With the Snapshot Focus mechanism, you can take spontaneous, blur-free images by shifting the focusing point to a specific distance. Sliding the focus ring back reveals range markings on the lens barrel, including distance and depth-of-field scales, which can be used as guides as you adjust the focal distance by rotating the ring. List Price: $499. Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, .

Special Effects

Find your creative edge with some help from Alien Skin Software Eye Candy 7. Effects such as Fire, Chrome and the new Lighting, Electrify and Cloud are possible to achieve in just a few steps. With more than 1,000 presets, the redesigned user interface lets you quickly browse all of Eye Candy’s effects through icons and instant previews. As you move the mouse over each preset, the thumbnail preview instantly shows how it will look within the design. Effects adapt to the size of artwork, so presets can be used without any modification. List Price: $199. Contact: Alien Skin Software, (888) 921-7546,

Rugged Vulture Straps

Inspired by military special-ops rigs and aviation cargo gear, Vulture camera straps are rugged devices, designed and manufactured for heavy-duty use in the field. They’re designed and built in the U.S. by people experienced in developing mission-specific gear, and also carry a serious “cool” factor. Highly adjustable, the Alpha 4 Strap is made of highest-grade, 1.75-inch mil-spec nylon webbing and features a top-of-the-line military quick-release. The Alpha 2 drops the quick-release to save weight, and the Alpha 2T Tensioner Strap serves as a “reverse monopod”: Connect it to the camera and your foot at the other end to steady the camera in the field without a bulky tripod or monopod. Street Price: $179.99 (A4); $149.99 (A2); $129.99 (A2T). Contact: Vulture Equipment Works, (630) 804-9600,

Sigma 17-70mm F/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM Zoom

The first zoom in Sigma‘s new Contemporary lens line (there are also Art and Sports lines; see “DPP In Focus,” p. 18, Digital Photo Pro, January/February 2013), the new 17-70mm ƒ/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM zoom is 30% smaller than conventional lenses of its range, yet provides a fast maximum aperture, focusing down to 14 inches (for a 1:2.8 reproduction ratio at 70mm) and built-in OS image stabilization. Two FLD, one SLD and three aspherical glass elements among its 16 (in 14 groups) provide good correction of aberrations and distortions at all focal lengths. Sigma’s HSM Hyper Sonic focusing motor offers quick and quiet AF, with full-time manual focus. The lens measures 3.1×3.2 inches and weighs 16.4 ounces, and it’s initially available in Sigma, Canon and Nikon mounts. List Price: TBA. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858,

Low-Draw Joker-Bug 800

When power consumption is a major lighting consideration on location, the Joker-Bug 800 from K5600 Lighting is a great solution. Drawing just 12.5 amps, the 800W HMI unit can output the equivalent of a 4000W quartz light, yet leaves a typical circuit able to handle a 400W unit, as well, without overload. The handy Joker-Bug 800 Kit includes one each of the Joker-Bug 800 head, MSR/SE 800W 5600K 400-hour bulb, 110V/240V 50/60 Hz power supply, Beamer optical accessory, 25-foot extension cable, four lenses (Fresnel frosted, superwide flood, wide flood and medium flood) with rings, four-leaf barndoor, carrying case and frosted glass beaker. The case measures 17.5x12x16.5 inches, and the whole kit weighs 41 pounds. Contact: K5600 Lighting, (818) 762-5756,

Ready For Anything

Pros have been using LumiQuest‘s efficient flash light modifiers for a quarter-century. Now, the company has put together a number of especially useful items in the Ready For Anything Kit. It includes the original ProMax System (80-20, Diffusion Screen, and White, Silver and Gold Inserts), plus the FXtra compact gel holder for colorizing or color-balancing the light, and the UltraStrap to securely hold them on your flash unit. List Price: $85. Contact: LumiQuest, (800) 332-4644,

DxO FilmPack v3.2.3

DxO FilmPack 3 lets you apply the look and feel of a wide range of vintage films to your digital images, quickly and easily, PC or Mac. It’s available as a stand alone or as a plug-in for DxO Optics Pro, Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture. There are two versions, Essentials and Expert, the latter providing more films and creative effects. The most recent upgrade, v3.2.3, includes support for Photoshop Elements 11 and Windows 8. List Price: $79 (Essentials); $129 (Expert). Contact: DxO Labs,

New Sony E-Mount Lenses

Sony has introduced a pair of new E-mount lenses for NEX still cameras and camcorders. The E 20mm ƒ/2.8 “pancake” lens provides an angle of view equivalent to a 30mm on a full-frame camera, ideal for a wide range of shooting, such as street photography, interiors and landscapes. The E PZ18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 OSS superzoom was designed as a kit lens for the NEX-VG30 camcorder, with quiet power zooming and autofocusing, and optical SteadyShot stabilization, but now is available for all NEX cameras. List Price: $350 (20mm); $1,200 (18-200mm). Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669,

Clear View

Check your histogram, composition and focus under bright sunlight easily with the Hoodman Compact HoodLoupe. Wear it around your neck like a normal loupe, and when it’s time to review your image, simply pull the HoodLoupe out to full extension and place it over the LCD. If your vision isn’t perfect, it has a +/-3 diopter adjustment. Precise optics deliver a 1:1 ratio for non-pixelated LCD screen viewing. A detachable lanyard and protective storage case are included. For video capture, the HoodLoupe integrates with 1⁄4-20 mounting solutions. List Price: $99. Contact: Hoodman, (800) 818-3946,

Metabones Speed Booster

The new Speed Booster from Metabones lets you mount Canon EF full-frame lenses on Sony NEX mirrorless APS-C cameras—no big deal, as lots of adapters let you do that. But the Speed Booster also reduces the focal length by 0.71X, increases speed one stop and actually improves MTF in the process. It even provides AF (albeit slow AF) with late-model (post-2006) EF lenses. The wide-angle adapter (designed by engineers behind high-end cinema and aerospace optics) turns the EF 14mm ƒ/2.8 superwide-angle into a 10mm ƒ/2, for example, or the EF 24mm ƒ/1.4 into a 17mm ƒ/1.0—solving APS-C superwide-angle needs while permitting use of lower ISO settings and shallower depth of field. How does it work? In simple terms, where a teleconverter spreads the light, increasing magnification and reducing intensity, the Speed Booster does the opposite. See the white paper ( Booster White Paper.pdf) for more details. List Price: $599. Contact: Metabones,

Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD

Tamron‘s new SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD telephoto zoom is compact (3.4×7.4 inches, 51.9 ounces), but full of good features. Among the 23 elements in 17 groups are an XLD and four LD units to minimize chromatic aberrations. Tamron’s VC Vibration Compensation provides steady handheld shooting, while the USD Ultrasonic Silent Drive AF motor provides fast and quiet autofocusing, with continuous access to manual focusing. Minimum focusing distance is 51.2 inches, for a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:8. Filter size is 77mm. List Price: $1,499. Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400,

Capturing Couture

Here are some camera straps and bags that really are different. Capturing Couture offers more than 50 adjustable camera straps from one to two inches wide combining fashionable designs (many with a Native American look) with durable materials, velvet lining and functional hardware. The camera bag line features tapestry patterns and intricate prints, a variety of pockets and fully lined interiors with cushioned padding to keep gear safe. There are also velvet-lined wristlet straps for compact cameras, with quick-release capability. List Price: $25-$59 (straps); $179-$199 (bags); $25 (wristlets). Contact: Capturing Couture, (949) 858-8598,

RRS iPhone 5 Case

Apple iPhones are popular, and their users are style-conscious, as well as tech-savvy. Really Right Stuff offers a case they will love. The CNC-machined aluminum XC-iP5 case for the iPhone 5 complements the phone’s design while protecting it. New B2-XJ clamps designed for the case mate with RRS tripod heads and accessories to provide steady support for sharper photos and videos with the iPhone. Available in black, silver, gunmetal gray or red with a number of button-color combinations, the case doesn’t interfere with signal strength. The case weighs just one ounce, and the clamps weigh between 1.22 and 1.77 ounces (three models are available). List Price: $125; $60 (for each clamp). Contact: Really Right Stuff, (888) 777-5557,

Ultraportable Technical Camera

Promoted as the world’s smallest technical camera with tilt and shift, the Rm3d factum is the newest addition to the innovative ARCA-SWISS R-line. Combining the current R-line focus/tilt unit with a new camera body, the Rm3d factum is capable of extremely precise focusing, as well as self-locking horizontal and vertical movements of +/-15mm and tilt movements of +/-5 degrees. It’s compatible with the ARCA-SWISS R lens mount, and a variety of film and digital backs. Current users of the Rm3di can order the body separately for use with their existing tilt/focus module. Contact: ARCA-SWISS, (480) 755-3364,

Correct color

Add to your portable flash lighting tool set with the Rogue Flash Gels Color Correction Kit from ExpoImaging. It contains three of each color gel and three attachment bands if you use multiple flashes. The kit comes with the most commonly used correction and diffusion gels, including 1/4 CTO, 1/2 CTO, Full CTO, Plus Green, 1/2 CTB and 1 ƒ-stop diffusion. Using color-correction gels with your flash improves color balance and consistency, particularly when shooting indoors under incandescent and fluorescent lights. List Price: $29. Contact: ExpoImaging, (800) 446-5086,

Capture One Pro v7.0.2 Offers Fujifilm X-Trans Support

Users of Fujifilm’s hot X-Pro1 and X-E1 mirrorless cameras will be delighted to learn that Phase One‘s Capture One Pro RAW processing software now includes support for the unique Fujifilm X-Trans image sensor used by those cameras. Capture One Pro 7 features a new processing engine, improved noise reduction and new digital asset management features from Phase One Media Pro. It’s fast, and it provides plug-and-shoot tethered operation of many medium-format and high-end DSLRs. List Price: $299. Contact: Phase One, (631) 547-8900, .

Flashpoint Ring Light Kit

Close-up and fashion/beauty photographers should check out the new Flashpoint Ring Light Kit. It’s built around a 400 w/s ring light for shadowless, yet concentrated illumination, with a 100mm diameter center opening to fit almost any lens of any format. It features a guide number of 110/35 (ft/m), flash duration of 1/400 to 1/1100, power control from full to 1/16 and recycling time of 1-4.5 seconds. Color temperature is 5000K +/-100K. It can be fired manually, via sync or as a slave. Power is AC or via the optional Flashpoint Battery Pack. The kit includes the AC power supply, sync cords, camera-mounting hardware and carrying case. List Price: $395; $350 (optional Battery Pack). Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama), (800) 223-2500,

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