Canon EOS 70D
The new Canon EOS 70D is a mid-level DSLR with some particularly interesting features for motion capture. Its unique 20.2-megapixel Dual Pixel APS-C CMOS AF sensor is new technology that gives you fast and accurate phase-detection AF on the sensor. Each pixel contains two photodiodes, which serve to both record the image and perform AF duty for faster focus acquisition, improved tracking and smooth focus transitions during motion capture. The upshot is enhanced low-light AF accuracy, and you can smoothly rack focus via the built-in touch-screen LCD monitor without getting the sort of back-and-forth hunting that’s common with contrast-detection AF systems. The game-changing benefit is that this gives you the ability to create a sophisticated focus move without a focus puller or complicated and bulky equipment. When shooting stills, the 70D can shoot 7 fps bursts, and there’s built-in WiFi for wireless image transfers from the camera to your smartphone or tablet, along with full remote control. Estimated Street Price: $1,199. Contact: Canon, www.usa.canon.com.
Sigma has added the 18-35mm ƒ/1.8 DC HSM lens to its Art collection. Specifically made for APS-C lenses, this zoom lens gives you both wide-angle and standard shooting capabilities with a large ƒ/1.8 aperture, making it a standard go-to for event, portrait and travel photographers. The Super Multi-Layer coating reduces flare and ghosting and increases contrast while the Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) maintains a silent high-speed autofocus function. The nine-blade rounded diaphragm produces a smooth bokeh with the large aperture. It’s compatible with the Sigma USB dock for firmware updates and focus parameter adjustments. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Sigma, www.sigmaphoto.com.
While Adobe Creative Cloud has been getting a lot of attention, it shouldn’t be overlooked that one of its standalone products has been upgraded. Adobe Lightroom 5 covers your workflow from photo organization to edit to sharing. New features include an Upright tool to straighten skewed lines, a Radial Gradient for off-center vignettes, an Advanced Healing brush to remove irregularly shaped objects and Smart Previews, which create stand-in files for on-the-go edits. The software includes location-based organization for grouping your photos by GPS location or creating photo journeys, advanced black-and-white and eight colors when converting to grayscale, and improved book creation with customizable templates. Lightroom 5 works tightly with both Photoshop CC and Premiere Pro CC in Creative Cloud. It can be licensed alone or as part of the Creative Cloud membership. Estimated Street Price: $149 (full license); $79 (upgrade). Contact: Adobe, www.adobe.com.
Linhof 3D Geared Leveling Head
Originally introduced at Photokina in 2010, the Linhof 3D Geared Leveling Head is back with a second version, which includes an Arca quick-release mount. The head has been designed to provide precise positioning in two directions and has 360º panning in two places, below the lowest tilt plane and another just below the upper tilt plane. Two self-locking tilt mechanisms are positioned 90º apart and are driven by rubber-coated knobs. Each tilt plane is fully calibrated with dual pointers for accurate setting and resetting. The calibrated panorama plates sit below the tilt planes with full 360º rotation. The 4.1×4.1×3.1-inch head is equipped with an Arca-compatible quick-release, accepting Arca- and Novoflex-compatible plates (not included), with two bubble levels. It supports cameras up to 22 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $1,999. Contact: Linhof, www.linhof.com.
With a rugged stainless-steel and Adapto finish and eye-catching Italian design, the conveniently compact and lightweight Manfrotto PIXI mini-tripod supports sharp images without the bulky equipment. Measuring 5 inches when open, 7 inches when closed, and weighing 8 ounces, the PIXI is easy to carry. The push-button ball joint releases quickly for camera positioning, tilting 35º vertically and 360º horizontally. Supporting 1.4 pounds, it’s compatible with iPhones (using the KLYP case), compact cameras, compact system cameras and entry-level DSLRs. Estimated Street Price: $28. Contact: Manfrotto, www.manfrotto.us/pixi.
Sony has added the 35mm ƒ/2 full-frame compact RX1R to their lineup. To take advantage of the Exmor CMOS sensor’s high-resolution power, Sony has removed the multi-segment optical low-pass filter (OLPF) that’s part of the RX1, giving the RX1R the ability to bring out more fine details in your subject. The camera’s processing functions have been optimized for sharpness to complement the lens and sensor performance. As with the RX1, the RX1R has an ISO range of 100-25600 and the low-light feature of combining six rapid capture images to create one image with reduced noise equivalent to two steps of ISO sensitivity. The BIONZ image processor shoots at 5 fps for fast action shots. The RX1R is also compatible with TRILUMINOS Color technology when connected to compatible BRAVIA televisions. Estimated Street Price: $2,800. Contact: Sony, www.sony.com.