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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gear On A Budget

Affordable accessories to enhance your photography without breaking the bank

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Lally Cap
In-camera white-balance presets sometimes are imprecise, so a tool like the Lally Cap comes in handy for getting the right colors in each shot. Simply stretch the cap over the lens and point your camera at the subject, taking a sample white-balance photo. This presents a calibrated test target for the image sensor to evaluate and set a custom white balance from. Estimated Street Price: $29. Contact: Lally Photography, www.lallyphotography.com/store.

Lensbaby Optic Kit
For fans of Lensbaby’s special-effects lens, the Lensbaby Optic Kit gives you three more creative ways of expanding your photography. The Plastic, Pinhole/Zone plate and Single Glass optics add a dreamy, ethereal look to your images. Each one is compatible with the Composer, Muse and Control Freak lenses. Estimated Street Price: $94. Contact: Lensbaby, www.lensbaby.com.

Lexar Platinum ll 80x CompactFlash
With a high-speed memory card like Lexar’s Platinum II 80x CompactFlash, you can shoot higher-resolution images faster—and more of them—for as long as your camera can keep up. The Platinum II CF card features minimum sustained write speeds of 12 MBps, making the card a nice choice for capturing HD video as well. Estimated Street Price: $39 (4 GB); $59 (8 GB); $99 (16 GB). Contact: Lexar Media, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.

Lowepro Toploader Pro AW
Get to your camera quickly using Lowepro’s Toploader Pro AW, which can be worn in three ways—holster-style with a shoulder strap, with a belt system or with the Topload Chest Harness for hands-free use (sold separately). The camera sits sideways, making it easy to grab,shoot and put back. The bag comes in three sizes with an All Weather Cover. Estimated Street Price: $69 to $89. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.

Manfrotto M-Y Tripod
A little sturdiness goes a long way for taking sharp images. Manfrotto’s M-Y 7322YB Tripod is lightweight and comfortable to carry while still providing the stability that blur-free exposures require. The tripod features 4-section legs with durable ergonomic collars, reliable leg locks and rotating selectors that allow you to adjust the legs to two different angles for optimal framing. Estimated Street Price: $95. Contact: Manfrotto (Bogen Imaging), (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.

LumiQuest Quik Bounce
A flash unit is great as a powerful and portable light source, but the direct light also causes harsh shadows and high contrast. The LumiQuest Quik Bounce (LQ-122) refracts and softens light output to reduce red-eye and spread illumination more evenly on subjects. The unique design includes mini-barndoors that open to combine bounced light from the ceiling with bounced light from the rest of the room for a more ambient mix. Estimated Street Price: $44. Contact: LumiQuest, (830) 438-4646, www.lumiquest.com.

Mpix Gallery Wraps
Photos are meant to display, and the Gallery Wraps from Mpix are an attractive way to present them. Images submitted to the Mpix online lab are returned to photographers as beautiful prints on museum-like canvas that’s wrapped around a 1.5-inch or 2.5-inch wooden stretcher frame. The wraps begin at 8x10 inches, with dimensions of up to 16x20 inches available for less than $100. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $55. Contact: Mpix, www.mpixpro.com.

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