2010 Editors’ Choice Awards
Our editors pick some of the best products and technologies for the new year
Selective focus adds incredible visual impact to an image. With Alien Skin’s Bokeh, you can digitally manipulate depth of field as much as desired. It’s a way of providing the same effect that changing aperture in a lens does, only with Bokeh you can choose certain areas of a photo to manipulate and adjust focus for a subtle touch or an extreme makeover. Plus, unlike a photo shot at a specific aperture, you can go back and change the depth of field as well as the unique characteristics of the “bokeh,” which is the area that’s out of focus in your image. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Alien Skin Software, (888) 921-SKIN, www.alienskin.com.
Even as bright as modern screens are, getting a good preview of images in direct sunlight is next to impossible. Seaport Digital’s i-Visor Pro LS works not only as a portable shade for working in bright environments, but also as a cushioned carrying case for your laptop, cables, batteries and external hard drives. The ballistic outer fabric and padded core combine with a mounting support system to provide a cushioned workstation, and the tri-fold visor will accommodate up to 17-inch screens. The exterior zippers are waterproof, and cables can be attached via ports. Estimated Street Price: $159. Contact: Seaport Digital, (847) 235-2319, www.seaportdigital.com.
Even with the latest high-resolution LCD monitors, it’s hard to examine the image, histogram and menu items well in bright light. Enter Hoodman’s HoodLoupe 3.0, which attaches over the monitor and eliminates glare and reflections. The unit fits screens up to three inches and includes a rotating eyepiece with +/- 3 diopters of correction for sharp viewing. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Hoodman, (800) 818-3946, www.hoodmanusa.com.
Long used for architectural and landscape photography, tilt-shift lenses are finding new popularity for their unique control over the focal plane that results in depth-of-field effects similar to large-format view cameras. Compatible with all EOS cameras, Canon released two exceptional tilt-shift lenses early this year, the Canon TS-E 24mm ƒ/3.5L II and the TS-E 17mm ƒ/4L. The 24mm is an update to the popular TS-E 24mm ƒ/3.5L, adding independent adjustment of tilt and shift for exact positioning of the focal plane. The 17mm is an ultrawide, also sporting independent tilt and shift adjustment. There’s a floating internal focus mechanism, as well, for enhanced image quality throughout the focus range. Estimated Street Price: $2,199 (24mm); $2,499 (17mm). Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
This well-constructed bag is ideal for when you want to travel light. It holds a pro D-SLR plus two to three large-aperture lenses. Designed with a slim profile, the bag has enough room for wide-angle, standard and telephoto zooms plus a flash. For enhanced security, the Total Coverage Top can be zipped closed and buckled up, and a rigid plastic platform at the bottom provides shock protection. There are plenty of pockets for holding accessories along with the Piggy-Back Pocket, which zips open to allow the bag to be slipped over the handle of rolling luggage. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.
If you like shooting portraits but could do without spending a lot of time retouching them, Portrait Professional 9 is a smart software program that gives you a fast way of digitally airbrushing. The app uses a database of facial profiles to automatically adjust face shape, flesh tone, skin, eyes, teeth, lighting and blemishes. A slider system allows you to subtly add or reduce changes manually. Version 9 adds ClearSkin technology for maintaining skin texture after enhancement. There’s also a new intelligent touch-up brush for skin-defect detection. It’s available as a stand-alone program or as a plug-in for Photoshop. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Anthropics Technology, (971) 238-0917, www.portraitprofessional.com.
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