With more than 2,000 possible effects, the sequel to Tiffen’s Dfx digital software suite offers even more ways of simulating the company’s popular optical filters digitally. Available as a stand-alone program or as a plug-in for Photoshop and Aperture, Dfx v2 is a fast, intuitive and fun way to shape the overall look of an image. Just a few of the many filters include Day for Night for simulating a nighttime pallor, Haze/Sky for adding dynamic skies, Sepia for adding a classic brown hue, HFX Star for adding specular effects, and a number of contrast adjustments. The graphical interface allows you to preview the changes made to an image. Estimated Street Price: $149 (stand-alone); $299 (plug-in). Contact: Tiffen, (800) 645-2522, www.tiffen.com.
For more than 60 years, B+W Filters has been known for outstanding quality as well as technological innovation. It was the first filter manufacturer in the world to offer multilayer coating that repels water and dirt. Its proprietary MRC coating is exremely hard, so it protects filters from scratches. The B+W warming polarizer combines the power of a polarizer with the warming effect of an 81A or KR1.5 filter and is available in several configurations. Estimated Street Price: $160 (77mm). Contact: B+W (Schneider Optics), (800) 645-7239, www.schneideroptics.com.
Extension tubes allow a lens to focus closer than it normally can, handy for close-up work. Another bonus is that the tubes contain no glass elements, so they don’t ad-versely affect image quality. Kenko’s DG series set contains 12mm, 20mm and 36mm tubes, which can be used individually or together to produce different degrees of magnification. Assuming there’s enough light (extending the distance from the lens to the focal plane reduces the amount of light transmitted), the tubes maintain AF and TTL metering capabilities. They’re available for Canon EF and Nikon AF and AF-S lenses. Estimated Street Price: $169. Contact: THK Photo, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.
Monopods are nice alternatives to tripods because they’re more portable, yet able to fully support your camera. The Sunpak PRO 724M features four carbon-fiber leg sections with twist locks and extends from 20.7 inches to 62.3 inches. The carbon fiber is light, absorbs vibrations and provides the strength to support up to 11 pounds—a pro D-SLR with long lens—yet the unit weighs just over a pound. A neoprene grip offers comfortable handling in any climate, and a retractable spiked rubber foot provides a good grip on any surface. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Sunpak (ToCAD), (973) 627-9600, www.sunpak.com.
ACDSee Pro 3 delivers a comprehensive image-management and -editing solution for PC users. You can avoid lengthy import times with ACDSee Pro 3 by referring to files from their original sources, including hard drives, flash drives, cameras and even memory cards. There’s also support for more than 100 different popular file types, including a large selection of RAW files. With powerful custom metadata management, images can be found easily through extensive search possibilities. Output is comprehensive, as well, with Online mode for uploading and browsing images; an online preview and direct uploading to SmugMug, Zenfolio or personal websites; or through e-mail. Estimated Street Price: $169. Contact: ACD Systems, www.acdsee.com.
Preserve the tonal range and clarity of your black-and-white negatives using ScanCafe. Each image is scanned and repaired individ-ually so photographs that are decades old don’t have spots or scratches from age and dust. Because silver-halide film is often more brittle and tends to scratch easily, ScanCafe has developed a process by which negatives are enlarged to a minimum of 1920x1080 pixels, and visible defects are removed by hand. The result is 3000 dpi images with increased tonal depth, dynamic range and sharpness. ScanCafe allows you to review scans and reject up to 50 percent of the negatives. Estimated Street Price: $0.69 per negative. Contact: ScanCafe, (866) 745-0392, www.scancafe.com.