March/April 2013

TRAVEL CAMERA

Bring the Nikon Coolpix P7700 on your next trip. The point-and-shoot delivers some impressive shooting features in a compact body. A large, 1/1.7-inch, 12.2-megapixel backside-illuminated sensor, fast image processor and 8 fps continuous-shooting capability are some of the key specs. The 7.1x zoom opens up to ƒ/2 and covers a 35mm-equivalent focal-length range of 28-200mm. The 3-inch Vari-angle LCD has 921,000-dot resolution, and there’s a full-sized hot-shoe for adding a flash, GPS device, microphone and more. Also included are full manual controls, 1080p HD video functionality and advanced Lens-Shift Vibration Reduction technology. List Price: $499. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.

FAST GLASS

Take your next shot with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm ƒ/1.8 lens if you’re an Olympus Micro Four Thirds shooter. The bright wide-angle is ideal for street shooting, landscape photography or capturing images taken in challenging low-light environments. With the Snapshot Focus mechanism, you can take spontaneous, blur-free images by shifting the focusing point to a specific distance. Sliding the focus ring back reveals range markings on the lens barrel, including distance and depth-of-field scales, which can be used as guides as you adjust the focal distance by rotating the ring. List Price: $499. Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, www.getolympus.com.

CAMERA CLIP

Get rid of your neck strap and try the Capture Camera Clip System. It consists of an aluminum clip that fits on any belt or strap and a quick-release plate that screws into the camera’s tripod socket. You simply slip the camera in and (after pressing the quick-release button) out of the clip. The weatherproof aluminum unit comes with a lifetime guarantee, and works with any camera that has a standard tripod socket (1?4-inch diameter, 20 threads per inch). You can mount the camera in the clip in four directions, for easy lens changes, and you can use a hand strap with it, if desired. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Peak Design, www.peakdesignltd.com.

SPECIAL EFFECTS

Find your creative edge with some help from Alien Skin Software Eye Candy 7. Effects such as Fire, Chrome and the new Lighting, Electrify and Cloud are possible to achieve in just a few steps. With more than 1,000 presets, the redesigned user interface lets you quickly browse all of Eye Candy’s effects through icons and instant previews. As you move the mouse over each preset, the thumbnail preview instantly shows how it will look within the design. Effects adapt to the size of artwork, so presets can be used without any modification. List Price: $199. Contact: Alien Skin Software, (888) 921-7546, www.alienskin.com.

ADD LIGHT

Step up the lighting on your next shoot by using a continuous source. For video, it’s a requirement, and many still shooters prefer continuous lights, too. The Manfrotto LED lights are highly efficient and stable, losing less energy through heat generation and providing consistent color output from 1% through 100% power. They’re shock-resistant, consume less power and offer a long lifespan. Six sizes are available and all output 5600K light. The Maxima-84 Hybrid unit can be used as a flash unit that performs at four times the power of the continuous source. Estimated Street Price: $39 to $279. Contact: Manfrotto, (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us.

CORRECT COLOR

Add to your portable flash lighting tool set with the Rogue Flash Gels Color Correction Kit from ExpoImaging. It contains three of each color gel and three attachment bands if you use multiple flashes. The kit comes with the most commonly used correction and diffusion gels, including 1/4 CTO, 1/2 CTO, Full CTO, Plus Green, 1/2 CTB, and 1 ƒ-stop diffusion. Using color-correction gels with your flash improves color balance and consistency, particularly when shooting indoors under incandescent and fluorescent lights. List Price: $29. Contact: ExpoImaging, (800) 446-5086, www.expoimaging.com.

TOUGH DRIVE

Store your files on a drive that can handle a few dings and drops using the LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt. It’s fast, flexible and strong. With Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interfaces, the drive gives you connectivity options, and the USB 3.0 interface is backward-compatible so you can connect it to computers with USB 2.0. Available models include 1 TB HDD, 120 GB SSD and 256 GB SSD. The Rugged SSD delivers speeds of up to 380 MB/s while the HDD can perform at up to 110 MB/s. The design is the same as the first drive with a removable bright orange rubber protective case. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $199. Contact: LaCie, (503) 844-4500, www.lacie.com.

GROUND SUPPORT

Lock down your DSLR on the dependable Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT tripod. The central column adjusts from 0 to 180º angles in variable vertical and horizontal positions using the Multi-Angle Central Column. This is useful when taking macro and wide-angle shots. The Instant Swivel Stop-n-Lock System allows you to quickly reposition the center column in one movement. Other features include advanced camera vibration and shock control, and legs that adjust to 25°, 50° and 80° angles. The aluminum tripod weighs 4.4 pounds, supports 15.4 pounds, extends to 65 inches and folds to 24.7 inches. Estimated Street Price: $150. Contact: Vanguard, (800) 875-3322, www.vanguardworld.com.

CLEAR VIEW

Check your histogram, composition and focus under bright sunlight easily with the Hoodman Compact HoodLoupe. Wear it around your neck like a normal loupe, and when it’s time to review your image, simply pull the HoodLoupe out to full extension and place it over the LCD. If your vision isn’t perfect, it has a +/-3 diopter adjustment. Precise optics deliver a 1:1 ratio for non-pixelated LCD screen viewing. A detachable lanyard and protective storage
case are included. For video capture, HoodLoupe integrates with 1?4-20 mounting solutions. List Price: TBA. Contact: Hoodman, (800) 818-3946, www.hoodmanusa.com.

STURDY TRIPOD

Make sure each shot is as sharp as can be using the Flashpoint F-2127 Version II Carbon Fiber tripod, which supports 17.6 pounds, extends to a maximum height of 57 inches and has 3-section legs. Besides the lightweight advantages—this tripod weighs just 2.7 pounds without a head—carbon fiber doesn’t transfer heat like aluminum, but does absorb vibrations so images look sharper. The F-2127 also comes with flip locks for fast operation, and the center column can become a low column for ground-level use. Estimated Street Price: $179. Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama), (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.

SPEED MATTERS

Shoot with the fast Transcend 1000X CompactFlash memory card. High-megapixel RAW still shooting and HD video require fast memory cards and the Transcend 1000X supports UDMA Mode 7, with high-speed transfer rates of up to 160 MB/s read and 120 MB/s write. It’s also VPG-20-compliant, which means it’s able to capture pro-quality video at sustained write speeds of at least 20 MB/s without dropping frames. Capacities of up to 128 GB are available. Estimated Street Price: $109 (16 GB) to $749 (128 GB). Contact: Transcend, www.transcend-info.com.

FINE PRINT

Make prints that are fit for hanging on a wall using the popular Epson Signature Worthy paper collection, which now includes three new canvases. Exhibition Canvas Natural delivers gallery-quality prints with industry-leading Dmax and color gamut and without employing optical brightening agents (OBAs). The paper is available in Gloss, Satin and Matte finishes, and features a new OBA-free coating that maintains a bright white point for saturated colors, rich blacks and solid shadow detail. All three types are available in roll widths of 13, 17, 24, 44 and 60 inches, as well as 17×22-inch cut sheets. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Epson, proimaging.epson.com.

POWER FLASH

Illuminate your stills using the Nissin MG8000, which is designed for shooters who need extended output over a long time without overheating or shutting down. This new flash produces more than 1,000 continuous 1/1 flashes without overheating. It delivers all the features and benefits of the popular Nissin Di866 Mark II flash, with the added advantage of solid heat resistance. Nissin used special heat-resistant materials developed specifically for this model, as well as replaced the traditional flash tube with a quartz tube for significant heat reduction. Estimated Street Price: $629. Contact: Nissin, www.nissindigital.com.

CLEAN UP

Choose from the different LensPen models, all with a specific job to tackle, for cleaning the optical surfaces of your camera equipment: the Original LensPen for DSLR lenses; MiniPro for compact camera and video lenses; MicroPro for eyepieces, as well as phone and tablet camera lenses; FilterKlear for filters; and DigiKlear for LCD displays. All the models feature two working ends with a retractable natural brush for removing loose dust and a carbon-impregnated cleaning pad for removing fingerprints from the optics surface. The carbon compound used is similar to the one found in printer’s ink. The LensPen lineup is sleek, compact and fits easily in a pocket or camera bag. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: LensPen, www.lenspen.com.

HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE

Create more realistic-looking HDR images with HDR Express 2 from Unified Color. The second version comes with some helpful new features, including image-stacking functionality for automatically arranging, sorting and grouping bracketed exposures. A visual browser allows you to quickly and easily identify images by thumbnails rather than file names. The program is powered by Beyond RGB color technology, which allows color and brightness channels to be adjusted independently, preventing the color shifts typically associated with HDR images that look overdone. List Price: $99 (new); $59 (upgrade). Contact: Unified Color, (650) 591-5511, www.unifiedcolor.com.

WIRELESS FLASH

Take a wireless approach to triggering your flash using the Phottix Odin TTL Trigger, which allows you to retain full TTL functions, as well as remote-control power and flash zoom settings. The Odin consists of an on-camera transmitter and control unit, plus receiver units for Canon, Nikon or Sony hot-shoe flash units. You can mix TTL and manual flash units, use high-speed sync (up to 1/8000) and second-curtain functions, adjust manual power remotely and more. The four-channel, 2.4 GHz transmitter and receiver units can operate at ranges greater than 328 feet, and use AA batteries. Estimated Street Price: $349 (transmitter and receiver). Contact: OmegaBrandess, (410) 374-3250, www.omegabrandess.com.

Hard Copy

The Digital Zone System: Taking Control from Capture to Print by Robert Fisher (Rocky Nook, 2012; ISBN: 978-1-937538-13-2). This practical guide shows you how to use the Digital Zone System for editing color images, converting images to black-and-white and tone-mapping HDR images. Also included are brief discussions of color management, setting up Photoshop, printing and exposure for digital images.

Lensbaby: Bending Your Perspective, 2nd Edition by Corey Hilz (Focal Press, 2012; ISBN: 978-0-240-82505-2). The book covers everything you want to know about Lensbaby lenses, optics and accessories. Get technical help and creative tips for mastering each product. Learn how to place your sweet spot of focus, when to shoot wide open versus stopped down, the optics to best create a miniature effect and m
ore.

The Photograph: Composition and Color Design by Harald Mante (Rocky Nook, 2012; ISBN: 978-1-937-53806-4). The book explains the essential elements to achieving the highest level of visual design in photographs. Extensively revised and updated, the second edition includes 60 new images and illustrations, as well as new chapters that cover analyzing shapes and colors.

Top Travel Photo Tips from Ten Pro Photographers by Chuck Delaney and New York Institute of Photography (Allworth Press, 2012; ISBN: 978-1-581-15995-0). Each photographer shares secrets and advice that they have learned from their careers, and relates them in a way that’s easy to understand. The book is part of the New York Institute of Photography’s Quick-and-Easy Everyday Photography Guide series.

Top Ten Secrets for Perfect Baby & Child Portraitsby Clay Blackmore (Allworth Press, 2012; ISBN: 978-1-581-15994-3). Blackmore, a Canon Explorer of Light, provides insight, background, tips and guidelines for his 10 favorite types of baby and child photos, all based on various lighting situations. The book is part of the New York Institute of Photography’s Quick-and-Easy Everyday Photography Guide series.

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