March/April 2011

SHARP SHOOTER

Preview bright, clear pictures with accurate color on the Sony DSC-TX100V, which sports a 3.5-inch OLED screen with 1,229,760-dot resolution. OLED screens produce images with better contrast than LCDs, so blacks look much richer. The camera records 1920×1080 HD video at 60 progressive frames per second. In 3D Sweep Panorama mode, move the camera in a press-and-sweep motion while shooting, and it captures the scene from two slightly different perspectives. When the images are combined, the result can be viewed on compatible 3D monitors. Other features include a 16.2-megapixel sensor, a GPS and compass, and a 4x optical zoom (25-100mm 35mm equivalent). Estimated Street Price: $379. Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669, www.sonystyle.com.

TRAVEL LIGHT

Keep yourself mobile and your load of gear manageable when packing it in the Tamrac Evolution Messenger 2. The slim-profile bag holds a DSLR with lens attached, one or two additional lenses (including some 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 models) and a flash. Removing the foam-padded main compartment that holds your gear allows you to convert the bag into a briefcase for additional use. Handles make it easy to slip the compartment back in. The laptop compartment holds an iPad, most 10-inch netbooks or 11.6-inch laptops. Estimated Street Price: $119. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.

EXTREME MEMORY

Take high-resolution stills and full HD video using the very big and equally fast 128 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash memory card. Delivering write speeds of up to 100 MB/s, the card is built for recording 1920×1080 resolution, and has a bit rate of up to 50 MB/s and 4:2:2 color sampling. When recording HD video, the card is capable of 20 MB/s sustained write speeds. A silicone coating provides added protection from moisture and humidity. Estimated Street Price: $1,499. Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK, www.sandisk.com.

RADIO POWER

Control your off-camera flash system with the MiniTT1 and Flex TT5 radios from PocketWizard. The units were previously available for Canon only and now they’re offered for Nikon shooters. They can be used to control single or multiple off-camera Nikon i-TTL flash units at speeds up to 6 fps and faster. The MiniTT1 Transmitter is 2.8×1.9×1.3 inches and fits into the camera’s hot-shoe. The FlexTT5 Transceiver is 3.6×2.9×1.4 inches and holds Nikon flash units. They take the TTL exposure data sent through the camera’s hot-shoe and digitally transmit it as a reliable radio signal. The radios can trigger any combination of TTL or manual flash units placed wherever is desired to light up a scene. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: PocketWizard, (914) 347-3300, www.pocketwizard.com.

SHOW OFF

Make your photo collection look its very best when sharing via your iPad using PADPORT. The presentation app lets you view video and stills side by side, pick custom splash and home screens with background images, create multiple custom-named portfolios, bulk-load images via iTunes file sharing and choose from multiple themes. You arrange the image order of each portfolio. You also can include all of your contact information and hide the user interface to block viewers from accessing your settings. Estimated Street Price: $9. Contact: PADPORT, www.padportapp.com; Apple, itunes.apple.com.

MORE CONNECTIONS

Hook up more than one FireWire-compatible external hard drive to your iMac or MacBook with the Yin•Yang FireWire 800 to FireWire 400/800 Mini Hub from Sonnet. Since new Mac computers have just a single FireWire 800 port, the Mini Hub offers a solution by allowing you to connect FireWire 800 and 400 devices to your Mac simultaneously through that single port. Concurrent data transfer speeds are 800 MB/s and 400 MB/s, respectively. The Yin•Yang is small and portable, measuring just 1.9×1.5×0.6 inches, and requires no external power supply. Estimated Street Price: $69. Contact: Sonnet Technologies, Inc., (949) 587-3500, www.sonnettech.com.

SMART ZOOM

Back up your DSLR with a pair of 16.1-megapixel compact shooters from Panasonic. The LUMIX DMC-FH27 and LUMIX DMC-FH25 feature a 28mm wide-angle Leica DC lens with 8x optical zoom (28-224mm 35mm equivalent). When you want to change focal lengths quickly, hitting the Easy Zoom button gives you maximum 8x (224mm) power. The cameras have an Intelligent Zoom function that extends the zoom ratio by about 1.3x, meaning you can go from 8x to 10x (280mm). An Extra Optical Zoom function further extends the focal length to 18x (504mm), but shooting at these longer focal lengths does lower the resolution. The FH27 has a 3-inch Smart Touch Screen LCD and the FH25 has a 2.7-inch Intelligent LCD without touch control. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.

SOLID BASE

Boost the quality of your shots while keeping your camera bag from getting too bulky with the lightweight Nivelo tripod from Vanguard. With all of the features of a full-sized tripod, the Nivelo folds to 11.75 inches and extends to 39.4 inches in a matter of seconds. An open canopy lets you invert the Quick Fold Central Column, making the tripod a nice option when doing macro photography. With a 360º rotating head and side-to-side tilting function, you can take smooth panoramas and shots from unique angles. Shock-absorbing contoured rubber feet and a bubble level round out the features. The Nivelo weighs 1.3 pounds and supports 4.4 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Vanguard, (800) 875-3322, www.vanguardworld.com.

GET CONNECTED

Upload pictures to your computer from the Samsung SH100, a Wi-Fi-enabled compact camera that offers some interesting options for taking and sharing photos. The camera can connect to other Samsung Wi-Fi cameras, to hot spots and to an Android-powered Galaxy S smartphone. If you have one of those, you can use the phone to upload content to sha
ring sites and also control the camera remotely. The display turns into a viewfinder and you can move the camera’s zoom lens, as well as hit the shutter release. In addition to the wireless features, the SH100 has a 14-megapixel CCD, a 26mm-equivalent wide-angle lens and a 3-inch LCD. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Samsung, (800) SAMSUNG, www.samsung.com.

CLASSIC LOOK

Convert from color to black-and-white with Silver Efex Pro 2 from Nik Software. This is a major update to the plug-in and includes new features such as a History Browser for comparing previous image versions or different editing treatments, adaptive contrast and brightness controls, new presets and selective colorization. Amplify Blacks and Amplify Whites adaptively increase highlights and shadows, respectively, throughout an image, creating a unique contrast effect. As with the previous version, Silver Efex Pro 2 uses Nik Software’s U Point technology for selective editing. Estimated Street Price: $199 (new); $99 (upgrade). Contact: Nik Software, (619) 725-3150, www.niksoftware.com.

X-FACTOR

Get more capacity and speed out of your memory card, especially if you shoot a lot of video, using the Lexar Professional 133x SDXC cards. Coming in 64 GB and 128 GB capacities, the cards provide a minimum transfer speed of 20 MB/s. You can capture up to 48 hours of 1080p HD video and do sustained, rapid-fire still shooting when the camera is in continuous burst mode. The Secure Digital Extended Capacity format has an official maximum capacity of 2 TB. Remember, these memory cards are only compatible with devices that support the SDXC format. Estimated Street Price: $399 (64 GB); $699 (128 GB). Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.

VIDEO SUPPORT

Avoid shaky shots when shooting video with your camera secured to the DAIWA DST-43 or DST-73 tripod. Both have fluid pan heads that are all metal, with one pan handle as well as handle mounts on both sides. The camera can be easily mounted or dismounted with the long-side quick-release plate. The DST-43 has a 60mm ball mount, a maximum height of 59.4 inches, supports up to 8.8 pounds and weighs 7 pounds. The DST-73 has a 75mm ball mount, a maximum height of 62.4 inches, supports up to 15 pounds and weighs 10 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $349 (DST-43); $599 (DST-73). Contact: DAIWA (THK Photo), (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.

SIGNATURE PRINT

Put your photos on the fine paper found in the Epson Signature Worthy Collection. New to the lineup are Exhibition Canvas Gloss, Exhibition Canvas Satin and Exhibition Canvas Matte. All are built from a polyester and cotton blend that’s coated to produce vibrant colors, as well as rich, deep blacks and smooth tonal gradations. They’re also heavy, and can be stretched and coated for achieving an optimal combination of image quality and archival display life. All three papers are available in roll widths of 13, 17, 24, 36, 44 and 60 inches, and 17×22-inch cut sheets. Estimated Street Price: $34 (13-inch x 20-foot Matte roll); $49 (13-inch x 20-foot Satin roll); $49 (13-inch x 20-foot Gloss roll). Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.proimaging.epson.com.

HIGH SPEED COMPACT

Get creative with your shot selection using the Casio EXILIM EX-ZR100, a powerful compact camera with a dual core processor that lets you take up to 30 10-megapixel stills at 40 fps. The 12-megapixel shooter has several interesting burst modes in which you can capture shots at 1,000 fps by lowering the resolution to 224×64 or shoot 480 fps at 224×160 or 240 fps at 432×320. It captures 1920×1080 HD video at 30 fps, has a built-in stereo microphone and delivers full-time autofocus during capture. Topping it off is a 12x optical zoom (24-300mm 35mm equivalent). Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Casio, (800) 435-7732, www.casio.com.

ON THE ROAD

Wheel your gear through the airport in one of Tenba‘s Roadie II Photo/Laptop cases. Three sizes are offered with each designed to meet a different set of carry-on standards. The Compact case fits under the seat or in the overhead compartment. The Universal meets international standards, and the Large meets both domestic and international guidelines. The cases have enough room inside for medium to large pro DSLR bodies, large video cameras or medium-format camera systems. Midrange zoom lenses can be stored standing up. Supertelephoto 300mm to 600mm lenses fit with their hoods and tripod collars in place. There’s also a padded storage area for 15- to 17-inch laptops. Estimated Street Price: $279 to $319. Contact: Tenba, (914) 347-3300, www.tenba.com.

SOFTBOX

Enhance your lighting setup with the Flashpoint PZ Soft Box (FPSBPZ) series. A tear-down zipper relieves pressure on the inner rods, making the softboxes easy to set up and take down. They’re available in sizes from 12×36 to 40×60 inches. All units come with a removable inner baffle, recessed front and carrying bag. A speed ring (sold separately) is needed to attach the softbox to your light unit. Estimated Street Price: $59 to $149. Contact: Flashpoint, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.

NYIP TURNS 100

The New York Institute of Photography celebrates its 100th year of giving first-rate photography instruction. Offering multimedia distance education courses for photographers of all levels, the school provides every student with a dedicated instructor to work with throughout the course. Additionally, students have a professional student advisor who helps explain the materials in each lesson, provides advice about finding and working with clients, and gives their opinion on equipment and technology. Every course includes printed lessons, supplemented with audio commentary and video displays. Contact: New York Institute of Photography, (800) 445-7279, www.nyip.com.

Hard Copy

Expressive Photography: The Shutter Sisters’ Guide to Shooting from the Heart by Shutter Sisters (Focal Press, 2010; ISBN: 978-0240813479). This guide is designed to help photographers tap into their emotional connection to the subject matter in front of them before snapping the shutter. Written and illustrated by 10 of the women who regularly contribute to the Shutter Sisters website, the book is filled with beautiful imagery and inspirational words.

The Eloquence of Trees by Craig Varjabedian (PhotoBook Press, www.photobookpress.com; 2010). This limited hand-bound edition contains 28 photographs by Varjabedian, an award-winning fine-art photographer. The retrospective collection spans more than 33 years of his work and includes many images that have never been published. Proceeds will benefit Heifer International (www.heifer.org), an organization devoted to ending world hunger. To purchase a copy, email cindy@craigvarjabedian.com or call (505) 983-2934.

Decisive Moments: Creating Iconic Imagery by Scott Linstead (Bouquin Publishing, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-9867465-0-5). The Canadian wildlife photographer packs this book with fascinating portraits of animals and insects, stories behind how the images were created and inspiration for getting out there and taking your own. Many of the images show animals exhibiting behavior that’s rarely witnessed.

The Photographer’s Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman (Focal Press, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-240-81517-6). Stay away from making repetitive, cliché images by learning what makes a photograph great and how to achieve that repeatedly. The book contains more than 400 images taken on real photographic assignments, with schematic illustrations of how and why they work.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: The Ultimate Workshop by Martin Evening and Jeff Schewe (Focal Press, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-240-81483-4). From retouching work to creating offbeat compositions, this in-depth resource teaches you how to develop an efficient Photoshop workflow. The book is full of photographs and full-color screenshots as visual examples.

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