Tuesday, October 30, 2012
2013 Editors' Choice Awards
Our annual collection of noteworthy gear and technology
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
|CANON EF 8-15mm F/4 L FISHEYE ZOOM
The Canon EF 8-15mm F/4 L is one of the most fun lenses we've ever used. We love to shoot wide and superwide-angle, and this fisheye zoom is sharp, reasonably fast and creates the distorted fisheye effect that we like to experiment with. Technologically, it's a game-changer that can be used on an APS-C or a full-frame camera. On an APS-C camera, it's a full-frame fisheye (meaning there's no vignetting) from 10-15mm (there's a limit switch on the lens to keep you from going too wide), and on a full-frame camera, it's a full-frame fisheye at 15mm. As you zoom out to 8mm, you get the classic "Hawaii 5-0" keyhole fisheye effect. List Price: $1,499. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
|ANTHTOPICS PORTRAIT PROFESSIONAL 10
If you shoot a lot of portraits, check out Portrait Professional, an incredibly powerful tool for smoothing and perfecting complexions and refining facial features quickly and easily. A step-by-step process walks you through the adjustments. Three versions are available: Standard, Studio and Studio 64. The Studio version adds RAW file support, 48-bit color and batch processing; Studio 64 also adds optimization for 64-bit operating systems and unlimited file sizes. List Price: From $62. Contact: Anthropics, (971) 238-0917, www.portraitprofessional.com.
|EXPOIMAGING ROGUE FLASHBENDER
The Rogue Flashbender is one of the most useful lighting modifiers we've ever used. Small flashes are incredibly useful, and with today's high-ISO capabilities, these small flash units can be used for a lot of sophisticated lighting, but you need to be able to control the light. The Flashbender weighs almost nothing, and it fits in a small camera bag, yet it can be used to direct, soften, harden, flag and snoot the flash. List Price: $39 (Large); $34 (Small). Contact: ExpoImaging, (800) 446-5086, www.expoimaging.com.
|TOKINA AT-X 116 PRO DX I
Whether you prefer shooting indoors or out, a wide-angle zoom is a must-have for your DSLR system. For getting really wide, the Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II delivers an equivalent focal length range of about 17-24mm on an APS-C camera. The 11-16mm lens is fast with a constant ƒ/2.8 aperture that's helpful when working in low light. With the one-touch Focus Clutch Mechanism, you can go from manual focus to autofocus and back instantly. Estimated Street Price: $739. Contact: Tokina (THK Photo Products), (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.
|ADOBE LIGHTROOM 4 + CREATIVE CLOUD
Adobe's masterful Lightroom editing suite adds more capabilities with each new release at the same time that it streamlines its considerable processing and image-management workflows. Lightroom 4 has welcomed a few new additions, like video compatibility and a new Map mode for working with the GPS abilities of your camera. Another important addition is localized adjustments of noise reduction, white balance and other settings for performing more efficient edits to select areas of an image. Lightroom 4 also has been made part of Adobe's Creative Cloud membership, which allows you to rent Adobe software, as needed. This is a far more cost-effective approach to using the Photoshop series of products, especially if you're doing less editing in Photoshop thanks to the comprehensive abilities of Lightroom 4. List Price: $149 (Lightroom 4); $19 a month (Creative Cloud single app); $49 a month (Creative Cloud Complete annual license). Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.
|CANON POWERSHOT S110/NIKON COOLPIX S800c/SAMSUNG NX210
In the age of social media, getting your images online quickly is integral to keeping your fans and friends updated on your work, one of the reasons why smartphones are stealing the thunder from compact cameras. But now compacts are fighting back by incorporating WiFi abilities and, what's more, they still offer all of the advantages that a dedicated camera has over a smart device, like manual settings, enhanced image quality, better optics, optical zooming rather than digital cropping, minimal noise, higher light sensitivities, large storage capacities and so much more. Several new cameras such as the Canon PowerShot S110, Nikon Coolpix S800c and Samsung NX210 sport WiFi, which makes it simple to upload images to the web right from the camera, and the potential exists for applications to be developed for using these cameras in new and exciting ways that even the manufacturers may not have imagined. List Price: $449 (Canon PowerShot S110); $349 (Nikon Coolpix S800c); $899 (Samsung NX210).
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