Tuesday, October 30, 2012
2013 Editors' Choice Awards
Our annual collection of noteworthy gear and technology
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
|EPSON STYLUS PHOTO R2880
Making exhibition-quality prints up to 13 inches wide doesn't mean you have to invest thousands. The Epson Stylus Photo R2880 features Epson UltraChrome K3 inks with Vivid Magenta (like those used in the professional Stylus Pro 3880), reproducing an exceptional color gamut, including truer reds, blues and purples. For black-and-white fans, this pigment-based inkset also has three levels of black for smoother tonal gradations. The R2880 even features a smaller droplet size than some of its more expensive siblings—just 3 picoliters—for precise rendering of fine details. Estimated Street Price: $449. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com.
|NIK SOFTWARE SILVER EFEX PRO 2
The process of doing a polished conversion from color to black-and-white used to be laborious and Photoshop-intensive. Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2 is the newest version of the powerful plug-in that makes it easy to do high-end conversions with complete control. Nik's famous U-Point technology allows you to make subtle or dramatic adjustments to large or small areas in the photo. There's a broad range of presets, or you can make your own custom adjustments. List Price: $99. Contact: Nik Software, www.niksoftware.com.
|PRO-OPTIC MIRROR LENSES
Want extreme telephoto focal lengths but don't have thousands of dollars to invest? Consider a mirror lens like the Pro-Optic 500mm f/6.3 from Adorama. It retails for just $140, giving you serious telephoto perspective for a very affordable price. Mirror lenses are significantly smaller and less expensive than an equivalent glass optic telephoto. They're manual focus, but they offer big telephoto reach in an affordable and relatively compact package. There's also a model for Micro 4/3 system cameras priced at $159. Contact: Pro-Optic (Adorama), (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.
|SIGMA APO MACRO 180mm F/2.8 EX DG OS HSM
The Sigma APO Macro 180mm F/2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens offers a number of benefits for the close-up shooter. It provides its maximum 1:1 (life-size) magnification at a working distance of 18.5 inches, handy when photographing flighty subjects like butterflies. Its wide ƒ/2.8 maximum aperture provides narrow depth of field for selective-focus shots. The built-in OS Optical Stabilizer makes for sharper handheld shots, while the Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) provides quick and quiet autofocusing. Three FLD elements minimize aberrations, and a nine-blade diaphragm produces pleasant out-of-focus areas. The lens measures 3.7x8.0 inches, weighs 57.8 ounces and is available in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Sigma and Sony/Minolta DSLRs. List Price: $2,400. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
|WACOM INTUOS5 TOUCH LARGE
The Intuos5 touch Large is the perfect hybrid of digital technology and the classic approach to image editing and design. For photographers who prefer to work hands-on, the digital pen tablet provides ample working space with a massive 12.8x8.0-inch active area and an incredibly sensitive pen with 2,048 levels of pressure for making subtle or not-so-subtle image edits. The digital drawing tablet makes image edits superfast and easy to perform thanks to a multitouch surface and several background tools that have been incorporated seamlessly into the design. The multitouch surface allows you to use finger gestures for zooming or rotating the canvas. You can assign several shortcuts for giving frequently used processes one-touch access through eight user-assignable ExpressKeys and a Touch Ring that can control up to four functions. The optional Wireless Accessory Kit lets you perform edits from up to 32 feet away. List Price: $469 (Intuos5 touch Large); $39 (Wireless Accessory Kit). Contact: Wacom, (800) 922-6613, www.wacom.com.
|TAMRON SP 60mm F/2 Di II 1:1 MACRO
We love macro photography because it gives us the ability to experience small subjects and even tinier details in a way we can't with the naked eye. For true macro work, you need a macro lens like the Tamron SP 60mm F/2 Di II 1:1 Macro. Designed for APS-C-sensor cameras (35mm equivalent of 93mm), the lens is available in Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts. With a fast ƒ/2 aperture, the lens is great not only for macro shots, but for portraiture, too. Estimated Street Price: $524. Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron-usa.com.
The Tamrac Aria camera bag is stylish, discrete and practical. Made from a rich, smooth fabric that feels like silk, but is durable, the Aria looks like a messenger bag so you can travel under the radar in crowded, busy places. It holds a DSLR with a lens attached, a second lens and a third lens or flash. A foam-padded compartment holds an iPad, and a zippered, pleated front pocket holds accessories and other items. Two slim side pockets hold a phone or iPod, and the silver interior lining makes it easy to find everything. List Price: $99. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.
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