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,

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