Home Buyer's Guide 2012 Editors' Choice Awards
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2012 Editors' Choice Awards

Our annual collection of noteworthy gear and technology

Labels: Buyers GuideGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom
NOVOFLEX MMR BLUEBIRD
Tripods aren't always convenient or even possible to use, but I still want to have something to help me keep the camera steady. This is particularly true when shooting HD video with a DSLR. The Novoflex MMR Bluebird provides a nice system for motion shooting by letting you brace the rig against your chest for stability. Twin adjustable handgrips let you position the unit comfortably, and the MagicBall joint allows you to align the system perfectly. Estimated Street Price: $1,399. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com. —CR
GARY FONG POWERSNOOT
I always want to have a lot of control over my light, even when I'm using small flashes. Snoots are a favorite because they allow me to create dramatic directional light for all sorts of subjects. The Gary Fong PowerSnoot is portable and efficient, and it fits on the flash using a very secure mounting system. The PowerSnoot is made of a chrome-plated body with a grid at the end. It's compact and delivers big results. List Price: $65. Contact: Gary Fong, (800) 906-6447, www.garyfonginc.com.—CR
KENKOP ZETA ZR SMC ULTRA THIN ND4 AND ND8 FILTERS
A neutral-density filter is something every photographer should have in the bag because it gives you the ability to slow down your shutter speed and create interesting effects that can't be mimicked with software. Kenko's new ZR SMC Ultra Thin ND4 and ND8 filters give you two and three stops of darkening, respectively. The Zeta filters have an ultra-thin frame, which minimizes vignetting and makes them excellent for wide-angle photography. The Zero-Reflection (ZR) Super Multi-Coating reduces reflections to keep your shots sharp and crisp. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $69. Contact: Kenko (THK Photo), (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com. —CR
NIK SOFTWARE COLOR EFEX PRO 4
Nik Color Efex Pro is my go-to plug-in when a photo needs a little extra punch or personality. I love the variety of preset effects, and the ability to customize and control their appearance with Nik's intuitive control points. New in Version 4 is the ability to "stack" multiple effects in one session—previous versions required you to apply effects one at a time. You can even save these stacks as your own "Filter Recipes" for use on other images. List Price: $199. Contact: Nik Software, (619) 725-3150, www.niksoftware.com. —WP
INTERFIT SUPER COOL-LITE 6-1 LIGHT KIT INT 213VS-443D
Ideal for photographers working with portraiture and video, the Interfit Super Cool-lite 6-1 light kit provides a soft daylight output that flatters skin tones. The light output is easily controlled through six switches on the back, one for each of the 32W fluorescent bulbs (equivalent to 770W of tungsten per head). To reduce light, simply switch off the illuminated switches as needed. For a softer feel, there's a 31-inch octobox with a large coverage area. For more oomph, soft shadows and extra contrast, the kit also includes a 16-inch reflector. List Price: $215. Contact: Interfit Photographic Ltd., (866) 947-9796, www.interfitphotographic.com. —DW
LEXAR PROFESSIONAL USB 3.0 DUAL-SLOT READER
With USB 3.0 technology, the Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot memory card reader provides fast transfer rates of up to 500 MB/s. That translates to roughly five times the speed of an average USB 2.0 connection, and the device is also backwards-compatible for those who haven't upgraded to USB 3.0 just yet, but plan to in the future. It supports both CF and SD card formats, including SDXC, and you can simultaneously transfer files between the two for handing off cards or backing up files. List Price: $49. Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com. —DW
MPIX GALLERY WRAPS
I like the fine-art presentation that an Mpix Gallery Wrap brings to a great photograph. Ready to hang, Gallery Wraps are printed on high-quality canvas and wrapped to a 1.5-inch wood stretcher. An easy online ordering system helps you upload and configure your Gallery Wrap in a few steps. They're available in 13 sizes from 8x10 to 24x36. List Price: $55 (8x10); $170 (24x36). Contact: Mpix, www.mpix.com. —WP


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