July/August 2012

DN PRIMES

Expand your perspective when shooting with an interchangeable-lens camera using the Sigma Digital Neo (DN) lenses. The 30mm ƒ/2.8 EX DN and 19mm ƒ/2.8 EX DN are designed for Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras and Sony NEX cameras. The fast primes feature Sigma’s Super Multi-Layer Coating, which reduces flare and ghosting, and a linear autofocus motor that moves the lens unit directly, removing noisy mechanical parts or gears. The result is near-silent AF operation, which is most ideal when capturing video. The 30mm has a minimum focusing distance of 11.8 inches and a 1:8.1 magnification ratio; the 19mm has a 7.9-inch minimum focusing distance and a 1:7.4 magnification ratio. List Price: $199 (each). Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.

MIRRORLESS OPTICS

Create those dreamy selective-focus Lensbaby effects with a mirrorless camera now that the popular Composer Pro is an option. It’s available for the Panasonic LUMIX G Micro, Olympus PEN, Sony NEX and Samsung NX camera systems. This refined version of the company’s flagship model features all-metal construction and an upgraded swivel ball-and-focus mechanism that delivers smoother focus and greater tilt control than the standard model. The Composer Pro comes with the Double Glass Optic, which produces a "sweet spot" of sharp focus that you can move around the image by tilting the Composer’s swiveling lens body. The unit is compatible with the Lensbaby Optic Swap System. List Price: $300. Contact: Lensbaby, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbaby.com.

SELECT LENSES

Choose from a fast standard zoom and two wide-angle primes as Canon brings some new glass to the market. With a durable build that’s dust- and water-resistant, the EF 24-70mm ƒ/2.8L II USM is a good option if you do a lot of shooting outdoors. The optical design consists of two Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) elements and one Super UD to reduce chromatic aberration at wide angles. The EF 24mm ƒ/2.8 IS USM and EF 28mm ƒ/2.8 IS USM have been upgraded to include Optical Image Stabilizer technology and autofocus powered by Canon’s Ultrasonic Motor. The stabilization system delivers up to four shutter speed stops worth of shake correction. List Price: $2,299 (24-70mm); $849 (24mm); $799 (28mm). Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.

MORE STORAGE SPACE

Boost the size of your Western Digital My Passport hard drive to 2 TB. Larger capacity size is just one of the new features. The outer shell is designed to be more resistant to scratches and fingerprints, while USB 3.0 connectivity and continuous automatic backup software deliver a fast, secure system for storing valuable image files. Password protection and hardware encryption allow you to take an extra step in protecting your files from unauthorized use or access. Other available capacities include 500 GB, 750 GB and 1 TB. List Price: $249 (2 TB). Contact: Western Digital, (949) 672-7000, www.wdc.com.

NECK RELIEF

Carry your DSLR on your hip for a change and give your neck a much needed break using the b-grip EVO belt holder. The base attaches to a waist belt and a quick-release plate connects to the camera’s tripod socket so your DSLR stays firmly in place. When you need it, simply discharge the camera using the quick-release mechanism, and you’re set. There are extra loops for more stability, and you can use an additional belt to secure the bottom of the base to your leg so the camera stays secured to your body. Estimated Street Price: $59. Contact: OmegaBrandess, (410) 374-3250, www.omegabrandess.com.

TOUGH POINT-AND-SHOOT

Take off on your next adventure with the Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS. The camera can handle dust, cold weather, being shocked or crushed, and it’s waterproof down to 40 feet. The WG-2 GPS offers some pretty solid shooting features, as well as including a backlit 16-megapixel sensor, a wide-angle 28-140mm zoom (35mm equivalent), a three-inch LCD with 460,000-dot resolution and full HD 1080p video recording at 30 fps. GPS functionality also has been improved, with less lag time before startup and a longer battery life. List Price: $399. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.

GLASS OPTIONS

Give yourself more lens selection when using a mirrorless camera system with lens adapters from Novoflex. The lineup continues to expand with support now for the Fuji Pro X, Nikon 1 and Pentax Q camera systems. If you’ve thought about trying one of these cameras, the adapters allow you to use nearly all of your old lenses with them. Mirrorless cameras have made lens adapters quite popular partly because some camera makers don’t offer a wide range of lenses for them yet. Novoflex has more than 135 available models, including some to fit medium-format lenses to SLR, rangefinder and mirrorless cameras. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, .

CONTINUOUS LIGHT

Produce video that looks like a pro took it with help from the Litepanels Croma. Taking the MicroPro a step further, the Croma features adjustable color temperature output that ranges from daylight to tungsten. Changing the color temperature of the Croma to match the ambient light gives images a more natural look. The on-camera LED features two dials. The first one allows you to dim from 100% to zero with no obvious color shift, and the second lets you dial in fill light to any point between daylight and tungsten. Estimated Street Price: $595. Contact: Litepanels, (818) 752-7009, www.litepanels.com.

SOLID SHOTS

Show your camera some support with the Vanguard Abeo Series tripods. Magnesium die-cast construction delivers the rigidity and stability needed for carrying a heavy load weight, and the legs secure
ly adjust to 25º, 50º and 80º angles. Thick foam on the legs provides a secure grip, even in wet weather, and the quick-flip leg locks allow for a fast setup and are tension-adjustable. A low-angle adapter lets you get more creative in your shot selection whether capturing stills or video. The tripod comes with either a smooth two-way video head or ballhead, and it has rubber feet that convert to large spikes for shooting on rough terrain. Five models are available. Estimated Street Price: $189 to $269. Contact: Vanguard, (800) 875-3322, www.vanguardworld.com.

VINTAGE DESIGN

Go for a classic look when transporting your gear in the newly redesigned Billingham 335 SLR Camera Shoulder Bag. The main compartment has four deep pockets for holding cords, memory cards and other important extras. The zipper opening was reworked so the zip panels lie out of the way behind the inside pockets to form the TukTop, which allows the main zip, with its double pullers, to be tucked out of the way when opened. When you’re shooting, the zip can remain open and your gear kept out of sight and protected by the main flap. The bag holds two DSLRs, three lenses and accessories. Estimated Street Price: $389. Contact: Billingham (R.T.S. Inc.), (631) 242-6801, www.rtsphoto.com.

CARD CHECK

Make sure exposure metering and white balance are spot on using the Novoflex Zebra cards. With anti-reflection coating on both sides, the card’s grey side serves as a reference area for exposure metering while the white side ensures accurate white balance. After taking a light reading of the card to perform an exposure measurement or white balance, the camera is set to deliver the most accurate exposure and color under the existing lighting conditions. Two sizes are available. Estimated Street Price: $27 to $34. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.

LED POWER

Light up your next shoot with the Rotolight ANOVA Two, a bi-color LED system capable of reproducing white light from candlelight to full daylight. One dial allows a direct Kelvin calibration of 3150K to 6300K. Other features include wireless functionality and Magic Eye technology that allows you to use an iPhone or iPad to remotely measure color temperature and wirelessly transmit those color settings to the light. List Price: $2,598. Contact: Rotolight (R.T.S. Inc.), (631) 242-6801, www.rtsphoto.com.

FILM GRAIN

Add some authenticity to your digital images with Alien Skin Software Exposure 4. The program offers a slew of new features for simulating the look of historical photographic processes like cyanotype, lith printing and wet-plate photography. True film fans can get even more real, using tools that reproduce defects such as light leaks, dust and scratches—flaws that film photographers try to prevent. Alien Skin did extensive research into how grain should look, so it clumps and is strongest in the midtones, just like the real thing. It also scales with your image size. List Price: $249. Contact: Alien Skin, (888) 921-SKIN, www.alienskin.com.

CAMERA TRANSPORT

Attach a DSLR to your backpack or a second one to a camera vest with the Cotton Carrier StrapShot. An ideal solution for photographers who are often on the move, the StrapShot is compatible with any backpack, and the quick-release locking system delivers easy one-handed operation. The StrapShot clips to a backpack strap D-ring using high-quality Velcro® wings to attach securely to the strap. The strap is weatherproof and made of rugged 1680 denier nylon. A free hand strap also is included. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Cotton Carrier, (877) 852-9423, www.cottoncarrier.com.

MOVIE MAKER

Boost the quality of your video using the Flashpoint DSLR Movie Bundle. The system includes a shoulder-mount bracket rig with two grips, a matte box, industry-standard 15mm rods, a follow-focus unit and gear belt. With an ergonomic design, you can comfortably shoot with the rig over long periods of time. The fully adjustable lever-locking design allows you to adjust camera positioning for comfort and balance. The placement and angle of the handles alsocan be modified, and the large, smooth-turning knob of the geared focusing system lets you change focus without having to reach for the focusing ring of the lens. Estimated Street Price: $459. Contact: Adorama (Flashpoint), (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.

BIG-RANGE ZOOM

Cover every angle using the Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD lens. With a versatile 15:1 zoom ratio, the lens allows you to go from true wide-angle (equivalent to 28mm on a 35mm camera) to supertelephoto (about 419mm equivalent). With the Vibration Compensation system, you can handhold this powerful zoom all the way out to 270mm for sports or wildlife photography and capture clear, sharp images. The stabilizer is in the lens so it steadies the viewfinder image as well as the recorded one. The lens focuses down to 19.3 inches at all focal lengths, further extending its versatility. It’s available for Canon, Nikon and Sony. Estimated Street Price: $649. Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron-usa.com.

IN POST

Tailor your RAW workflow to fit your needs with Corel AfterShot Pro. The program delivers lots of useful features and options for working with RAW files in the most efficient manner possible. During import, you can upload images into custom or portable catalogues if you want to move them to another computer or work with files from their current location on your hard drive or memory card. Customize metadata to display only the information you want to see or use presets to attach information for easy searching. Optimized for multi-CPU computers, AfterShot Pro delivers maximum speed for previewing, making adjustments and outputting. Nondestructive editing tools include exposure and tone control, color correction, white balance, noise reduction, lens correction and more. List Price: $99. Contact: Corel, www.corel.com.

TRAVEL PACK

Put your mind at ease when you’re traveling with expensive camera gear by using the Tamrac Zuma 9 Secure Traveler. You can only get inside the bag through a rear-opening door that’s up against your back when you’re wearing the pack. When it’s time to shoot, you simply tighten the waist belt around your waist, slip out of the shoulder straps and bring the pack around to your front. From there, you can just unzip the door and grab your camera without having to remove the bag and set it down. There’s room for a DSLR with up to a six-inch lens attached, an extra lens, a flash, an iPad and personal items. List Price: $99. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.

QUICK MEMORY

Shoot at full speed by investing in a couple of new memory card options. Delivering minimum read speeds of 150 MB/s, the Lexar Professional 1000x CompactFlash card revs up your workflow when shooting sports or other action scenes. The fast transfer rate also is helpful for quickly moving still and video files from the card to your computer. Capacities of 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB are available, and there’s support for the VG-20 specification. This means the card has been tested to capture video at up to 20 MB/s with no dropped frames. List Price: $169 to $899. Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.

Hard Copy

Photography and The Art of Seeing: A Visual Perception Workshop for Film and Digital Photography by Freeman Patterson (Firefly Books, 2011; ISBN: 978-1-55407-980-3). The book has been updated and expanded to include technical guidelines adapted for both digital and film photography, with techniques and innovative exercises for taking creative pictures.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 10: Unleash The Hidden Performance of Elements by Mark Galer and Dr. Abhijit Chattaraj (Focal Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-240-52379-8). Featured projects teach you how to work with multilayered 16-bit/channel files, as well as convert to black-and-white using Adobe Camera Raw, create high-key images, work with image borders and textures, and create tilt-shift and cross-process effects. Three movie tutorials featuring specific techniques from the book are available for free online.

The DSLR Filmmaker’s Handbook: Real-World Production Techniques by Barry Andersson and Janie L. Geyen (Sybex, 2012; ISBN: 978-0-470-87660-2). Packed with professional techniques, this in-depth training guide teaches you the key tools and techniques for using your DSLR to shoot high-quality video.

Light & Shoot: 50 Fashion Photos by Chris Gatcum (Focal Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-240-81722-4). With a focus on lighting, the book takes 50 fashion photographs and tells budding fashion photographers how each one was created. Topics include equipment, how to integrate make-up and lighting, and how to shoot for catalogs, editorial and advertising.

The Wedding Photography Field Guide: Capturing the Perfect Day with Your Digital SLR Camera by Michelle Turner (Focal Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-240-81787-3). Get comprehensive and easy-to-follow advice on how to shoot such a special day. All the situations you’re likely to find are covered here, along with advice on the best equipment, posing, managing people and techniques.

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