New Gear: January/February 2014

SUPERZOOM CAMERA

The 20.2-megapixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 with 24-200mm ƒ/2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* high-zoom lens provides incredible versatility in an all-in-one design, perfect for lightweight travel. Combining the large Exmor R CMOS sensor from the RX100 II and the new BIONZ X processor found in the high-end Alpha a7 and a7R, the RX10 offers some of Sony’s latest advances in image quality and sensitivity. Also like the a7 and a7R, it’s possible to increase or decrease the size of the AF spot to better match the size to your subject for more accurate focusing. Fast action can be captured at up to 10 fps with continuous AF. The RX10 offers exceptional video capabilities, with 60p and 24p frame rates, HDMI out, an adjustable audio level meter and headphone out for audio monitoring. It’s compatible with the XLR-K1M adapter for adding accessories like external mics. List Price: $1,299. Contact: Sony, www.sony.com.

ULTRATELEPHOTO ZOOM

Tamron recently announced the development of the SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD ultratelephoto zoom lens, compatible with both full-frame and APS-C-format cameras. With a large focal-length-range expansion from Tamron’s current 200-500mm, this lens is of particular interest for sports and wildlife photographers who need a little extra length without losing quality (from extenders) or time (by changing lenses). Including Vibration Compensation, a redesigned tripod mount and an Ultrasonic Silent Drive for accurate AF, the lens is set up to shoot sharp images at long focal lengths whether mounted or handheld. List Price: TBA. Contact: Tamron, www.tamron-usa.com.

HIGH INTENSITY, LOW HEAT

A continuous light for both still and video shoots, the LED-200WA High-Intensity Series by Fotodiox produces 15,000 lux/m of luminance—two times the brightness of the previous model—while consuming only 200 watts of electricity. The 200WA runs on constant power, instead of alternating current like many equivalent models, allowing it to run twice as long. Though it provides high intensity, it generates very little heat, making studio sessions more comfortable. Available in 5600K (Daylight) or 3200K (Tungsten), it’s housed in a strobe-like package with a Bowens S-type bayonet mount, making it compatible with standard strobe accessories. A built-in glass diffuser creates soft and even light with a high color-rendering index for proper color in all environments. List Price: $424. Contact: Fotodiox, www.fotodioxpro.com.

COREL PAINTSHOP PRO X6

The latest version of Corel PaintShop Pro X6 integrates new 64-bit power to elevate the photo organizer and editor software to pro-level speeds. The interface has undergone a redesign, too, for a cleaner, more user-friendly environment. Auto-grouping of sequential images helps simplify file management. Additional advanced editing tools include Smart Carver and Object Remover for removing unwanted objects from your image, Auto Selection with edge detect for quickly snapping to the edges of your subjects, and the Smart Selection Brush for intuitive masking. Corel offers the PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate package, which includes the Perfectly Clear and FaceFilter3 plug-ins for advanced portrait toning, and a collection of royalty-free images, brushes and textures for added creativity. List Price: $79/$59 upgrade (PaintShop Pro X6); $99/$79 upgrade (PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate). Contact: Corel, www.corel.com.

PRECISION PANHEAD

The Induro PHD3 panhead provides quick and precise camera positioning from a wide range of angles using a single-lock knob, which gives full control over the 360º rotation of the panning base, while a separate knob controls +90º/-45º front-back tilt movement and +45º/-45º side-to-side tilt. A graduated scale and bubble level aid in accuracy. A double-safety lock is incorporated on the quick-release clamp of the included Arca-Swiss-style top plate. List Price: $385. Contact: Induro, www.indurogear.com.

NIKKOR DX LARGE-RANGE ZOOM

The AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens from Nikon will be your go-to lens, with a great range for portraits, landscapes and travel shoots. You have four stops of VR image stabilization for sharp photos and videos when shooting handheld or under low-light conditions. A Silent Wave Motor keeps AF operation quiet, critical for video work. The lens contains one ED glass element, one aspherical lens element and a seven-blade diaphragm to create natural blur. Two focus modes are provided: M/A (AF with manual override) and M (for complete manual control). Estimated Street Price: $599. Contact: Nikon, www.nikonusa.com.

HDR PHOTO SOFTWARE

Giving photographers more flexibility in creating HDR images, Unified Color Technologies has upgraded the stand-alone software HDR Expose 3 and 32 Float v3 Photoshop plug-in to allow you to merge multiple frames from handheld bracket shooting. The new file browser automatically detects bracketed exposures and can employ a batch merge function. Upgraded alignment capabilities, including fully automatic and manual assist options, calculate proper alignment, while the reengineered "deghosting" algorithms reduce movement in a scene by using a key frame for other frames to reference. New Adaptive Tone Mapping enhances local control of contrast, color and detail retention. List Price: $119 (HDR Expose 3); $89 (32 Float v3). Contact: Unified Color Technologies, www.unifiedcolor.com.

PERFECTION PHOTO SCANNER

The Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner makes it quick and easy to scan film, slides, negatives and printed photos. Scanning at a high-quality 6400 dpi resolution, with a 3.4 Dmax and 48-bit depth, you can create enlargements up to 17×22 inches. Easy Photo Fix software provides a quick way to restore faded colors, and DIGITAL ICE technology aids in the removal of dust and scratches. Auto-detection allows scanning of multiple images at once, while saving each as individual files. Images may be uploaded directly to Facebook, Picasa and other cloud services. List Price: $199. Contact: www.epson.com.

CUSTOM TRIOPOD

Novoflex‘s modular tripod, the TrioPod, is available in five different sets, with each part available individually, as well, for maximum flexibility and expandability to match your changing needs. The system includes the 0.69-pound TrioPod tripod base, a center column that extends the stand base height by 3.15 inches, 3- and 4-segment aluminum legs, 3- and 4-segment carbon-fiber legs, mini-tripod legs and a 3-segment hiking stick. List Price: $585 (TrioPod with 3-section aluminum leg set); $657 (TrioPod with 4-section aluminum leg set); $887 (TrioPod with 3-section carbon-fiber leg set); $930 (TrioPod with 4-section carbon-fiber leg set); $709 (TrioPod with Hikingstick II 3-section leg set). Contact: Novoflex (HP Marketing Corp.), www.hpmarketingcorp.com.

POCKET-SIZED MIRRORLESS

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GM1 is a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera squeezed down to a pocket-sized profile. With a high-quality, 16-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor, the GM1 shoots both still photos and 1080 HD video at 60i/30p. The metal-alloy frame, with aluminum dials and brushed metal, feels comfortable in hand and has a stylish retro look. The 3-inch LCD screen allows you to set focus and trigger the shutter via touch sensitivity. Silent Shutter mode reduces shutter noise while in the field, great for wildlife photography. Built-in Wi-Fi connects to your smartphone or tablet for asset transfer, as well as remote triggering using the Panasonic Image App. The GM1 also has integrated creative filters, as well as time-lapse and stop-motion features. List Price: $749. Contact: Panasonic, www.shop.panasonic.com.

PERFECT PHOTO SUITE 8

onOne Software‘s updated Perfect Photo Suite 8 is available in two versions: Standard, which functions as a stand-alone app, or Premium, which acts as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture. Both versions feature a unified interface of eight modules, including Effects, Enhance, B+W, Portrait, Mask, Layers, Resize and Browse, handling most common aspects of photo processing. The new Enhance module includes easy-to-use tools for brightness, contrast, sharpness, removing dust spots and adding vignettes. The Perfect Eraser tool removes objects with content-fill technology. Browse from your computer, external drive, network and cloud-based storage and work on multiple images at once. List Price: $299 (Premium); $149 (Premium upgrade); $79 (Standard). Contact: onOne Software, www.ononesoftware.com.

KIT CUBE

Customize your favorite bag by turning it into a camera-ready workhorse with the Kit Cube by Mountainsmith. The removable padded compartment features internal dividers to protect and organize your DSLR or interchangeable-lens camera. Made from High Tenacity Nylon with a 5000mm PU waterproof fabric coating, the Kit Cube provides defense against weather and spills. Also available in a "micro" size for smaller bags and camera gear sets. List Price: $35 (Kit Cube); $25 (Kit Cube Micro). Contact: Mountainsmith, www.mountainsmith.com.

WOMEN’S SLING STRAP

Designed specifically for the female body by female designers, the Kick strap by BlackRapid makes slinging a camera more natural for women. The short shoulder pad includes a built-in curve that "kicks" webbing toward the center of the chest, making the sling placement fit comfortably. The shoulder pad is also thicker and wider than the BlackRapid Elle, and it’s compatible with the Brad underarm system for extra stabilization. Estimated Street Price: $61. Contact: BlackRapid, www.blackrapid.com.

TTL TRANSCEIVER FLASH

Phottix has released the Mitros+ TTL Transceiver Flash, taking a large stride toward integrating flash, transmitter and receiver technology. The Mitros+ combines a hot-shoe flash with built-in radio flash triggering for controlling compatible flashes and other Phottix triggers in TTL or Manual mode, eliminating the need for an external trigger. The transmitter allows for a mix of TTL (with +/- 3 EV adjustments in 1/3 increments) and Manual control (in 1/3-stop increments, 1/1 to 1/128). The flash has a zoom of 24-105mm, AF assist light, high-speed sync and second-curtain sync. List Price: $449. Contact: Phottix, www.omegabrandess.com.

PHOTOSHOP TUTORIALS ONLINE

Sharpen your Photoshop skills with hands-on, step-by-step video tutorials at PhotoshopCAFE. With online tutorials and in-depth DVDs, PhotoshopCAFE makes it simple to learn even advanced special effects and textures from top pros. There’s also an active forum where you can get answers to specific questions and connect with a community of photographers. The website is free; prices for DVDs vary. Contact: PhotoshopCAFE, www.photoshopcafe.com.

SIGMA MOUNT CONVERSION

What do you do with all your lenses when you switch camera brands? Owners of Sigma Global Vision Lenses will be able to take advantage of Sigma‘s new Mount Conversion Service and convert Sport, Art or Contemporary DSLR lenses to a new mount of their choice, be it Sigma, Sony, Pentax, Nikon or Canon, as long as Sigma has released that product in the requested mount. Additionally, mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras can be switched to a Micro Four Thirds or a Sony E-mount. Sigma is also extending the warranty on all products—cameras, flashes and lenses—to four years. The price for the conversion is $80-$250 per lens, plus shipping costs. Contact: Sigma, www.sigmaphoto.com.

STEADYCAM CURVE

The newest member of Tiffen‘s Steadicam family, the 0.5-pound Steadicam CURVE is a compact camera-stabilizing system designed specifically for GoPro HERO products. A fine-tune adjustment knob gives precise control over system balance. Ergonomically designed for one-handed use, the handle folds up and locks to frame for storage and travel, and for use as a handgrip. The durable aluminum frame is available in four colors: black, blue, red and silver. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Tiffen, www.steadicamcurve.com.

URBAN AND RURAL DECAY PHOTOGRAPHY

Moving through our busy lives, we may pass by abandoned warehouses, crumbling building facades or other once inhabited spaces now taken over by decay. In photographer and regular Digital Photo contributor J. Dennis Thomas’ new book Urban and Rural Decay Photography: Finding the Beauty in the Blight (Focal Press), Thomas discusses how to capture the beauty of these scenes. He covers a wide array of topics, from basic equipment, composition and HDR techniques, to more advanced storytelling elements, as well as important legal and safety considerations to remember as you approach decaying buildings.

VERSATILE SUPPORT

Weighing a featherlight 4 pounds, yet able to support 22 pounds of camera and lens, the versatile 3POD P5CRH 5-section Carbon Fiber Compact Tripod with K3 Ballhead by Flashpoint is the perfect travel companion. With wear-resistant lock guards that provide against slippage due to use and temperature changes, the 5-section legs individually fold and unfold with metal-jacketed twist locks and three position settings to compensate for uneven surfaces. Each foot has a spike for outdoor trail use with a nonslip rubber cap. Quick moments and tight spaces may call for the P5CRH’s monopod configuration, utilizing the center column’s reinforced twist-lock technology. The included K3 Ballhead provides smooth 360º panning with two bubble levels and a sliding quick-release plate. List Price: $124. Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama), www.adorama.com.

ND FILTER LINE

Hoya‘s nine new PROND neutral-density filters for both still photo and video range from 2 to 10 stops in light reduction. ACCU-ND metallic technology coats the front and back of optical glass, creating the neutral-density effect with a neutral color balance that doesn’t add any additional color cast. A one-piece, thin, aluminum frame keeps the filter secure and parallel to the sensor. Available in ND4X (2 stops) through ND1000X (10 stops) densities and sizes 49mm-82mm. Estimated Street Price: Varies by filter size. Contact: Kenko Tokina USA, www.kenkotokinausa.com.

ARTISAN & ARTIST CAMERA BAG

An attractive alternative to sling bags and backpacks, the Artisan & Artist Tote Type Camera Bag offers a stylish way to carry your camera gear while still providing protection. The rich, navy blue canvas is both water- and stain-resistant. The bag is accented with brown cowhide leather handles and a detachable shoulder strap. Moveable interior padded pockets protect your camera gear, as well as a laptop. One zippered pocket and two exterior pockets are available for additional accessories and personal papers. List Price: $379. Contact: Minox, www.minox.com.

MOBILE APPS

Instead of single-image pseudo-HDR, bring true multi-image HDR photography to your smartphone. The Pro HDR app by eyeApps LLC expands your dynamic range by merging multiple images. Compatible with your phone’s front and rear cameras, there’s both auto capture and manual modes, plus a digital zoom, self-timer and flash control. Edit your images with adjustments for brightness, contrast and saturation. Compatible with iOS and Android devices. List Price: $2. Contact: www.eyeapps.com.

Using an intuitive, simple interface, Filterstorm Neue makes it easy to enhance images no matter your skill level. The app includes basic cropping, preset filter effects, contrast and highlight adjustments for quick edits, and for more advanced users, sophisticated tools like curves, tone mapping, masking, a 10-step undo history, RAW file import and IPTC metadata control. Filterstorm Neue also offers several tutorials to get to know the app functions. List Price: $4. Contact: www.filterstormneue.com.

Rego helps you organize and remember places. Great for scouting photo locations when traveling, you can add each place to your map along with notes about the location. Or, use the app as an everyday journal to mark locations for later as you pass by or hear about them from friends. Rego is a private app, but there’s a share feature for location meet-ups. List Price: $5. Contact: www.regoapp.com.

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