Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gear On A Budget

By The Editors Published in Accessories
Big-ticket items may have to wait for the holidays, but there are scores of accessories you can use to try new techniques and improve your photo experience without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars. Here’s a selection of some of our favorite tools and extras to make photography more enjoyable and successful—all priced under $100!
Big-ticket items may have to wait for the holidays, but there are scores of accessories you can use to try new techniques and improve your photo experience without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars. Here’s a selection of some of our favorite tools and extras to make photography more enjoyable and successful—all priced under $100!

Rainsleeve-Flash

Be ready for wet weather by throwing the Rainsleeve-Flash into your camera bag. It’s big enough to fit over your camera with a flash and telephoto lens attached. The eyepiece opening adapts to most viewfinders so you can compose shots through the lens and not the plastic. Rainsleeve-Flash is sold in sets of two. Estimated Street Price: $9. Contact: Rainsleeve-Flash (OP/Tech USA), (800) 251-7815, www.optechusa.com.


Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce

Diffusing the direct, sometimes harsh light created by a flash can be particularly useful when shooting portraits. The Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce is a plastic diffusion cap that creates a bare-bulb effect. Tilted to 45 degrees, the unit produces nice, soft wraparound light with a soft shadow behind the subject. Estimated Street Price: $19 to $24. Contact: Sto-Fen, (831) 427-0235, www.stofen.com.


Tamrac Velocity Series Sling Packs

For faster access, you can swing the Tamrac Velocity Series Sling Packs to the front of your body and pull out the camera quickly. A padded sling strap comfortably distributes the weight, but doesn’t need to be removed for retrieving gear. Bag sizes range from holding a D-SLR, lens and flash to a couple of camera bodies, up to four lenses and a flash. Estimated Street Price: $44 to $99. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.


Tiffen Dfx Essentials

Experiment with giving your images a variety of different looks using Tiffen’s Dfx Essentials, a pared-down version of the Dfx Creative Digital Effects Suite that includes 37 of that program’s most popular enhancement filters and effects. You also can create and save customized versions of your favorite combinations. It’s compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems. Estimated Street Price: $69. Contact: Tiffen, (800) 645-2522, www.tiffen.com.


UPstrap SLR-Classic

The beaded, non-slip surface pad that UPstrap uses in its SLR-Classic shoulder strap allows you to wear the camera over your shoulder for easier access without worrying about it sliding off. The strap is designed to provide more traction and lateral stability. It’s ideal for heavier cameras that weigh 2.25 pounds or more. Estimated Street Price: $35. Contact: UPstrap, Inc., (877) 872-7639, www.upstrap-pro.com.


Wacom Bamboo Fun Tablet

Get more hands-on and creative with your images using Wacom’s Bamboo Fun tablet. You can edit photos, paint, draw and jot down notes on-screen using the digital pen, which has 512 levels of pressure sensitivity for greater precision. As a bonus, the tablet comes with Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials and Nik Color Efex. Estimated Street Price: $99 (small). Contact: Wacom, (800) 922-9348, www.wacom.com.


Wolverine flashPac 7000

Downloading images to the 80 GB Wolverine flashPac 7000 allows you to clear your memory cards and keep shooting. Especially useful when traveling, the portable storage drive has a built-in, 7-in-1 card reader that’s compatible with most popular formats, weighs eight ounces and backs up files with a press of a button. Estimated Street Price: $89. Contact: Wolverine, (949) 653-6300, www.wolverinedata.com.

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