March/April 2015

Hasselblad V System Digital Back

Hasselblad has reinvested in their classic V System cameras, dating back to 1957, by designing the cordless CFV-50c digital back with a 50-megapixel CMOS medium-format sensor. With a 100-6400 ISO, it shoots 1.5 images/second and long exposures up to 12 minutes to a CF card or tethered computer.

The 3-inch, high-resolution LCD screen offers a new menu and button layout. The digital back supports a classic Hasselblad square crop setting. Compatible with the PM90 and PME90 viewfinders. List Price: $15,500. Contact: Hasselblad,

Nikkor 300mm F/4E PF ED VR

Nikon has developed a travel-friendly AF-S Nikkor 300mm ƒ/4E PF ED VR lens that’s 30% shorter and 1.5 pounds lighter than its predecessor. This size and weight reduction is due in large part to Phase Fresnel optical technology that also contributes to a correction in chromatic aberration. The lens utilizes 4.5 stops of Vibration Reduction for sharp images when handheld, with additional VR modes for Sports & Action and Tripod Detection. Extra-low dispersion glass has a Nano Crystal Coating to prevent ghosting and flare, as well as a fluorine coating to repel dust, water, grease and dirt. New electromagnetic aperture control adds precision to continuous shooting. Silent Wave Motor offers quiet AF operation with quick manual override from a focus ring spin. List Price: $1,999. Contact: Nikon,

Sony Action Cam

Sony has stepped into the ring with GoPro, announcing its own POV 4K action cam. The compact FDR-X1000V shoots 4K for playback on a 4K TV through HDMI, full HD video at 120p and standard HD at 240p to capture slow-motion shots. The Zeiss Tessar lens has an ultrawide 170º field of view. The camera also features a back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and BIONZ X processor. Updated Steady Shot technology with electronic image stabilization provides vibration-free footage for quick action and aerial shots. The FDR-X1000V has added wind noise reduction to decrease interference with the stereo microphone. Manual controls include white balance, auto-exposure shifting, loop recording and burst still-image shooting. The camera is also compatible with the Ustream platform. An RM-LVR2 LCD Live View Remote is waterproof down to 10 feet for frame check, record start/stop, playback and file deletion. A Highlight Movie Maker feature automatically edits together a short MP4 highlight reel for quick sharing. The official Sony Action Cam app will be released in Spring 2015. List Price: $500 (with waterproof case); $600 (with waterproof case and RM-LVR2). Contact: Sony,

Aries Blackbird X10 Camera Drone

The Aries Blackbird X10 camera drone provides six-axis gyrostabilization and GPS accuracy for its 16-megapixel still and 1080/30 fps full HD video onboard camera. The weather-protected body integrates a 2.4 GHz WiFi connection for advanced control via an Android/iOS mobile app. The mobile device can be secured directly to the controller, while the app allows you to dictate start/stop video recording, still shooting, lens field of view and more. The Aries Repeater (shipped with the Blackbird X10) increases the WiFi communication distance up to 1,000 feet, when needed. The ergonomic grip controls climb, descend, roll and pitch. If there’s a loss of control, the GPS-guided system hovers, maintaining height and position. If the transmitter signal is lost, the automatic Flight Control system pilots the quadcopter to a safe height and lands safely at its starting point. The easily accessible 5300 mAh lithium battery system provides 25 minutes of flight time on a single charge with audio and visual alerts when the battery is running low. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Adorama,

Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F/2.8 R LM WR

Fujifilm‘s new wide-angle-to-portrait-length lens is built to withstand harsh conditions. At a 24-84mm equivalent length for a 35mm camera, the XF 16-55mm ƒ/2.8 R LM WR lens is compatible with all X-mount mirrorless cameras. With 14 weather seals for moisture and dust, the lens can withstand temperatures as low as 14° F. Seventeen lens elements are distributed in 12 groups, with three extra-low dispersion elements for controlling chromatic aberration and three aspherical elements to reduce distortion through zoom. A Nano-GI coating is used to minimize surface reflections and prevent lens flares and ghosting. Its Twin Linear Motor autofocus system is quick and near-silent, which is particularly useful for video work. Estimated Street Price: $1,999. Contact: Fujifilm,

Lexar microSD UHS-II

While compatible with tablets and smartphones, photographers most likely will be interested in Lexar‘s Professional 1000x microSD UHS-II for its use with quadcopters. Available in 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB capacities, the microSD cards capture, play and transfer 1080p full HD video, as well as 3D and 4K footage. The card is fully backward-compatible with UHS-I cameras and non-UHS-I devices, so any user can still take advantage of the 150 MB per second read transfer speed of the UHS-II technology when paired with the included USB 3.0 reader. A lifetime copy of Image Rescue software is included for recovery of lost or deleted files. List Price: $59 (32 GB); $109 (64 GB); $189 (128 GB). Contact: Lexar,

Rugged Hard Drive

Travel photographers will want to take note of the new rugged drive solutions from G-Technology. The G-DRIVE ev RaW with Rugged Bumper is a USB 3.0 bus-powered drive. Not only is it 35% lighter than the original G-DRIVE ev, the 1 TB capacity drive can survive a 1.5-meter drop. G-Technology has also developed an all-terrain case (ATC). Removable and compatible with the Evolution Series G-DRIVE ev or G-DRIVE ev SSD, it can be purchased with the G-DRIVE ev RaW drive, as well. When tethered to the removable drive, the ATC case protects the drive from drops of up to two meters, and its watertight compartment ensures the drive floats when dropped in water. The case additionally protects from pressure, shock, water and dust. List Price: $99 (G-DRIVE ev RaW 500 GB); $129 (G-DRIVE ev RaW 1 TB); $229 (G-DRIVE ev ATC with Thunderbolt 1 TB); $179 (G-DRIVE ev ATC with USB 3.0 1 TB); $129 (ATC with Thunderbolt); $79 (ATC with USB 3.0). Contact: G-Technology,

House Of Cards

Keep all varieties of cards safe with the House of Cards by MindShift Gear. The card organizer holds six CF cards, three SD cards and provides a built-in business card holder. Orange elastic bands ensure cards stay securely in place while giving silent access when needed. Clear windows let you easily differentiate cards from one another. The Tahoe Blue organizer color makes it stand out in a filled pack, while the removable tether clip can attach the House of Cards to the outside of a bag, belt or clothing for quick card access. The organizer has a water-resistant exterior. List Price: $19. Contact: MindShift Gear,

Lumix ZS50

The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 is a pocket-sized camera that packs a lot of punch. With a 12.1-megapixel MOS sensor and ultrawide-angle 24mm Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens, the 30x optical zoom provides a 35mm equivalent of 24-720mm zoom action. The large pixel size produces increased low-light sensitivity with a 6400 ISO. With the Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization Plus 5-Axis System, even fully zoomed videos are smooth and free from handheld jitters. The Venus Engine records 1080p60 full HD video in AVCHD progressive format. The ZS50 camera body offers both a 1,166K-dot-resolution Live View finder with eye sensor and 3-inch LCD display screen. A lens barrel control ring offers smooth and precise control over exposure and zoom, as well as access to aperture, shutter speed, focus and effects modes. The camera connects to phone and tablet devices through NFC or QR codes to control the camera from a distance or to instantly share images. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Panasonic,

Lighting Modifiers

Manfrotto has launched a new collection of lighting modifiers. Available in multiple sizes, the lightweight Softboxes have been designed specifically for easy setup and can be used on- or off-camera. The Duo Umbrella utilizes translucent white fabric and a removable black back cover for shoot-through and bounce light abilities. The Softboxes and the Duo Umbrella are collapsible and come with a case. The Magnetic Background Mount uses neodymium magnets to securely attach any steel-rimmed collapsible background to a lightweight stand for quick versatile shoots. The triple-stitched triangular and circular Reflectors and Diffusers control light in any situation. Highly portable, they collapse to one-third their original size and come with a carrying case. List Price: $68-$324 (Softboxes); $56 (Duo Umbrella); $194 (Magnetic Background Mount Kit); $43-$124 (Reflectors and Diffusers). Contact: Manfrotto,

Multiblitz V6 LED Light

Multiblitz has released a new low- power-consumption continuous V6 LED light for photo and video work both indoors and outside. At a lightweight three pounds, the V6 LED puts out 2200 lux at a six-foot distance with the FILNOS standard reflector (6000 lumens) at full power while providing 50,000 hours of lifetime usage. The 4000K color balance shifts slightly warm to flatter skin tone. The V6 LED light includes a multi-voltage supply unit that continuously dims light output over a 2.5 ƒ-stop range. Compatible with P-type modifiers and PROPAC battery packs. List Price: $799. Contact: Multiblitz,

Perfection Pro Scanner

Archiving your film, slides and print photos has become much easier with the Epson Perfection V850 Pro Scanner. Utilizing high optical resolution with 4.0 Dmax optical density, the V850 Pro produces a broad tonal range that accurately represents your image. The Dual Lens Scanning System auto-selects resolution from two lenses—a 4800 dpi High Resolution Mode for reflective images up to 8.5×11 inches/transparencies up to 8×10 inches or a 6400 dpi Super Resolution Mode for film. The Ready Scan LED light source uses 23% less power for faster scanning with no necessary warm-up time. Two sturdy film holders with three height adjustment levels and an anti-Newton ring plate ensure consistent quality scanning. Digital ICE technology automatically removes dust, scratches and creases from film, slides and photos. The High Pass Optics with anti-reflection optical coatings and high-reflection mirror increase speed by 33% while also increasing scan quality. List Price: $949. Contact: Epson,

The Latest In Aerial Robotic Drones

With more than 100 companies showing drones at CES earlier this year, it’s fair to say the copters are more than just a flyby fad. In fact, the upcoming NAB show is preparing an entire Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion featuring a fully enclosed "flying cage" for active demos. As we move into the year, here are several drone options from CES that we’re keeping track of as they continue to develop and enter user hands.

Known for their innovation in electric aviation with manned aircraft and hobby radio-controlled fliers, Yuneec has recently combined their aerial technology with the photo/video space. The Q500 Typhoon Quadcopter uses its own 12-megapixel, 1080p full HD photo and video camera attached to the ready-to-fly system via a 3-axis brushless precision gimbal. The ground station controller uses a 10-channel, 2.4 GHz RC transmitter to support a 5.8 GHz video downlink to provide streaming video to the transmitter LCD touch screen. The Q500 Typhoon flight time is 25 minutes on a single charge with the included battery. List Price: $1,299. Contact: Yuneec,

Action-adventure athletes and independent filmmakers alike will be pleased with two Kickstarter auto-follow drone projects that have been successfully crowdfunded—the AirDog and HEXO+.

The AirDog drone tracks your position and follows your movement using a waterproof Air Leash wrist system with a range of 1,000 feet. Designed with a protective housing for a GoPro, the built-in gyroscope provides stable and smooth footage with pitch control for active and accurate framing. The iOS and Android app sets camera movement between Auto Follow, Relative Position Follow, Follow Track, Look Down, Hover and Aim, and Circle. The removable interchangeable
14.8V 5500 mAh LiPo batteries provide a 10- to 20-minute flight time, depending on speed, which goes up to 45 mph. The AirDog is easy for travel, with arms and blades that fold up to protect parts and reduce size. List Price: $1,295. Contact: AirDog,

The HEXO+ self-flying camera drone system positions a 3D gimbal mount to the front of the copter for a fully unobstructed view. Compatible with GoPro cameras, the mount utilizes 3-axis stabilization for high-quality 4K video. What sets this drone apart is its functionality with the included HEXO+ Director’s Toolkit app. Using the app, you’re able to set the framing and movement for your shot, including Hover, Follow, 360° Selfie, Dolly and Fly Away. Set the app-loaded device in your (or your subject’s) pocket and the drone follows you, maintaining the framing and controlling camera movement based on your preset specifications without an extra leash accessory. The HEXO+ also automatically takes off and lands. Preordering is available now. Shipping begins in September 2015. List Price: $1,149. Contact: HEXO+,

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