|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
|STEADYCAM MERLIN 2
Steadicam improved upon its popular, but aging Merlin handheld stabilization system for video DSLRs and smaller camcorders this year with its filmmaking sequel, the Merlin 2. Built to be much more robust and even more precise than the previous model, the Merlin 2 gives you floating-like control over your camera for level shots and extended takes. For achieving movie-like camera pans and tracking takes, you need a sophisticated balancing system like the Merlin 2, especially since DSLRs are incredibly prone to jelly-motion and skew from jerky movements. It supports cameras from 0.5 to 5 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Steadicam (Tiffen Company), (631) 273-2500, www.tiffen.com.
|NOVOFLEX LENS ADAPTER
Give your lenses more options using the Novoflex lens adapters. This year, the lineup expanded with support for the Nikon 1 and Pentax Q mirrorless camera systems. There are more than 125 available models, including some to fit medium-format lenses to SLR and rangefinder cameras, and to fit popular SLR lenses to mirrorless cameras. Some models incorporate an aperture-control ring so you can adjust apertures with lenses that lack one, such as the Nikon G series. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: Novoflex (HP Marketing Corp.), (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
Video capability in DSLRs has ignited a whole industry dedicated to making still cameras more useful for motion videography. The Manfrotto SYMPLA modular video rig system gives your camera steady support for long takes, and several cinematic tools can be added to enhance the look of the video. There are several options with the configurable kits, like adjustable hand grips for more comfortable holding, counterbalance for evening out the distribution of the camera's weight and various accessories and components that include follow-focus units, remote controls and matte boxes. SYMPLA is available piecemeal or in kits. Estimated Street Price: Begins at $64. Contact: Manfrotto Distribution, (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us.
|NOVOFLEX SURVIVAL KIT
This neat little kit provides all you need to mount a camera or other photo gear (up to 6.6 pounds) on a wide variety of surfaces. Included are a mini-ballhead, mini-tripod, suction cup, ground spike, universal clamp (1.7-inch opening), plastic clamp and a 5.9-inch metal rod. You can store each accessory in the included padded bag, which measures just 10.4x7.5x1.4 inches and weighs only 1.3 pounds. List Price: $163. Contact: Novoflex (HP Marketing Corp.), (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
|WESTCOTT 6-IN-1 ILLUMINATOR REFLECTOR KIT
Lighting equipment can be intimidating for the beginner. A reflector is one of the simplest lighting tools to master and is also among the most cost-effective and useful lighting tools you can carry. The Westcott 6-in-1 Illuminator Reflector Kit includes gold, silver, sunlight and black panels, plus 1-stop and 2-stop diffusers in a compact kit that includes a travel case and collapses to one-third of its open size. Available in several sizes, the 20-inch kit is a perfect balance of utility and portability. List Price: From $83 (20-inch kit). Contact: Westcott, (800) 886-1689, www.fjwestcott.com.
|BAY PHOTO CREATIVE EDGE METAL PRINTS
Bay Photo Creative Edge Metal prints immediately appealed to us because they take the art of photography to a different place, mixing uncommon materials with unique, decorative design. By infusing dyes into specially coated aluminum sheets, Bay Photo can produce beautiful photo prints on an extremely durable metal substrate. To make the finished product even more sculptural, you can choose to have the metal print cut to one of 24 shapes, ideal for making a creative statement. Sizes range from 5x5 inches to 30x30 inches. List Price: From $20. Contact: Bay Photo, (800) 435-6686, www.bayphoto.com.