Monday, November 24, 2008
2009 Editor's Picks
The PCPhoto editors pick some of the best products and technologies for the new year
Over-the-shoulder messenger bags are perfect when you’re out shooting the urban landscape. With Tamrac’s Adventure Messenger 5, there’s room for your SLR, several lenses and a laptop. A foam-padded main compartment with dividers keeps your photo gear organized, while the rear pocket provides quick access to most 13-inch laptops. Extra pockets make storing manuals, personal items and accessories easier. Estimated Street Price: $69. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.
We’ve always liked the concept behind Lensbaby lenses, with their eye-catching focus control. The redesigned Lensbaby line includes a new flagship, the Composer, which makes it easier than ever to achieve selective-focus results with straightforward operation. Perhaps the biggest enhancement is the new Optical Swap System, which is now part of every Lensbaby lens. This system makes the lenses modular, so you can switch out the optical element for different effects. Several are already available, including a Holga-esque plastic lens and a Pinhole/Zone Plate optic, with more to come. List Price: $270. Contact: Lensbaby, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbaby.com.
Ansmann Digicharger Vario
Keep all of your devices powered up when you’re on the road using the Ansmann Digicharger Vario. The charger works with more than 100 battery types, including AA/AAA, NiMH or NiCd batteries, and lithium-ion and lithium-polymer battery packs, all without an adapter plate. Simply plug it into a power socket or car cigarette lighter. The Vario charges quickly and has an overcharge protection mechanism that protects batteries from damage. Estimated Street Price: $58. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
Adobe Photoshop CS4
The latest version of the industry-standard photo-editing package has added new capabilities and convenience. Some of our favorites include a new Adjustments panel that’s more intuitive and includes lots of useful presets, and a new Masks panel that makes it easier to create and use masks. Also new in this version are cutting-edge technologies like content-aware scaling (which lets you stretch or compress the aspect ratio of an image without stretching or compressing subjects like people in the scene) and the ability to merge several photos into one with extended depth of field and dynamic range. Estimated Street Price: $699 ($199 upgrade). Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.
Nik Software Viveza
Nik Software’s Viveza makes image-editing fun and easy—thanks to the company’s proprietary U Point technology, images can be finely adjusted quickly and intuitively with user-friendly Control Points. You can set the radius of the Control Points to change as little or as much of the image as desired while color, exposure, contrast and other adjustments are seamlessly blended. The process takes all of a few minutes to master. Viveza is simple to use, you can see changes as they’re made, and it works. List Price: $249. Contact: Nik Software, (888) 284-4085, www.niksoftware.com.
Pretec 64 GB/100 GB CF cards
Pretec’s CompactFlash cards featuring storage capacities of 64 GB (and an upcoming 100 GB model) are remarkable. For photographers who like to keep copies of their photos on the card, those who shoot with ultra-high-res cameras, or for situations where switching cards isn’t possible (think underwater), capacities of this size are highly desirable. The fast 233x write speeds clock in at up to 35 MBps, and the cards are constructed of a metal housing for increased resistance to impact and shock. List Price: $399 (64 GB 233x). Contact: Pretec, www.pretec.com.
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