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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May/June 2012

Labels: Buyers GuideNextGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom
CS6 TEST
Get a preview of the latest version of Adobe Photoshop with the CS6 Public Beta. Among the changes you may notice first is a darker interface. Taking a page out of the Lightroom notebook, the dark interface is intended to minimize distractions, putting the focus solely on the image while you're editing. But it can be adjusted to a lighter tone if desired. Dozens of enhancements are designed to save time, such as changing the blend modes and color labels of multiple layers at once. Hidden layers now show the correct opacity and blend mode values. Another major performance upgrade is Background Save, which allows you to save an image file and continue working on other images while the file is saved. Building on the popular Content-Aware technology that debuted in CS5, Adobe has developed Content-Aware Move and Extend tools. Move lets you draw a selection around an object and move it to a new place in your image; Extend lets you expand objects in your drawn selection by dragging them. Algorithms take care of deleting and aligning objects, as well as background fill. When using the Liquify brush in CS5, an image would tile as it was imported, there was a time lag when editing, and the brush couldn't go beyond 1500 pixels. In CS6, a 100 MB image pops open quickly, there are shortcuts for resizing the brush directly on the canvas, and it goes beyond 1500 pixels. When you start making those fingerpaint-like edits, the cursor follows immediately for real-time editing. Other key features include skin tone aware selections and masking, improved auto corrections, a new Blur Gallery with Iris, Tilt-Shift and Field Blur effects, as well as paint and drawing improvements that include enhanced airbrush tips, brush rotation and paint presets. Re-engineered design tools, a Lighting Effects gallery, an improved Quick Select tool and an added Perspective Crop tool round out some of what's new. List Price: $699 (new); $199 (upgrade). Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.

STRAP STYLE
Carry your camera using trendy designer straps from Mod. Constructed with durable webbing throughout, the straps have been tested to withstand a "pull-down" weight of 70 to 90 pounds. In the Premium Strap Collection, the straps are lined with high-quality, mink-like fabric and have genuine leather ends with quick release. All of the fabrics are hand-selected. Some of the styles include black zebra, kaleidoscope, skull and crossbones, and many more. Estimated Street Price: $47. Contact: OmegaBrandess, (410) 374-3250, www.omegabrandess.com.

TOP-NOTCH ZOOM
Capture sharp-looking images handheld with the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD lens, even in low light, thanks to Vibration Compensation technology. With an optical design that consists of 12 groups with a total of 17 elements, the high-speed zoom features three high-grade Low Dispersion elements, three glass-molded aspherical lenses, one hybrid aspherical lens and two Extra Refractive Index glasses. The upgraded VC system uses a moving coil mechanism that consists of a lighter coil that reduces the load on the drive system. Since the unit is more compact, the lens' overall weight and size have been reduced. It will be available for Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts. List Price: TBA. Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron-usa.com.

TELE UPDATE
Boost the quality of your portrait and travel photography using Nikon's retooled version of the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm ƒ/1.8G lens. Compatible with FX-format (full-frame) and DX-format (APS-C-sized-frame) DSLRs, the fast, lightweight lens delivers an equivalent focal length of 127mm when attached to a DX-format camera body. The optical design consists of nine elements in nine groups, and the seven-blade diaphragm produces a circular bokeh for creating more natural-looking blurred backgrounds that put the focus on your subject. The Silent Wave Motor (SWM) delivers fast, quiet autofocus, an especially useful feature when recording video. List Price: $499. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.


POWER SHOOTER
Ditch the heavy DSLR without having to sacrifice image quality using the Canon PowerShot G1 X. The 14.3-megapixel CMOS sensor is 18.7x14mm, making it the largest that Canon has put in one of its PowerShot models. The compact camera includes features that are familiar to EOS DSLR shooters such as 14-bit, RAW+JPEG mode shooting and compatibility with the manufacturer's Speedlite flashes. Other key specs include a fast ƒ/2.8 lens equivalent to 28-112mm in 35mm format, 1080p HD video recording in stereo sound and a 3-inch Vari-Angle LCD. List Price: $799. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.

BACKPACK WHEELS
Move through the airport quickly with your camera system tucked safely in the Tamrac Evolution Speed Roller backpack. When rolling is easier, the bag has smooth ball-bearing wheels and a telescoping handle that give you that option. For converting to a backpack, simply untuck the Tuck-A-Way harness. The bottom section holds a DSLR with a 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 lens attached, several extra lenses and a flash. The foam-padded top portion has adjustable, removable dividers for a second camera with up to a 6-inch lens attached and two small lenses. Another foam-padded compartment holds up to a 15.6-inch laptop. Estimated Street Price: $379. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.

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