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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

September/October 2012

Labels: Buyers GuideNextGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom
SLIDING SUPPORT
Move your camera with more control on your next film shoot with the Varavon Slidecam Lite. The lightweight slider, which is designed for DSLR video capture, is made from an aluminum alloy and steel. The roller bearing is manufactured out of steel, as opposed to the polymer plastic that other models use, so it's strong enough to support heavier setups. The Lite 600 is 24 inches long and weighs 2.7 pounds, while the Lite 800 is 32 inches long and weighs 3.3 pounds. Both are 1.2 inches wide and can support up to 19.8 pounds. A brake/stop bar prevents the dolly sled from moving during transport. List Price: Starts at $329. Contact: Varavon (International Supplies), (800) 999-1984, www.varavonusa.com.

CHANGING FOCUS
Experiment with the tilt-shift look without paying the high price that comes with these lenses using the Lensbaby Pro Effects Kit. The effects created by Lensbaby selective-focus lenses are popular, and the kit puts the flagship Composer Pro, the Sweet 35 Optic (35mm ƒ/2.5) and the Edge 80 Optic (80mm ƒ/2.8) in one package. The Sweet 35 delivers a sharp sweet spot of focus surrounded by blur while the Edge 80 produces a slice of sharp focus through the image surrounded by soft blur. Both optics feature a 12-blade adjustable aperture. Finally, there are two macro converters—an 8mm and a 16mm—that can be stacked together to create a 24mm converter. Estimated Street Price: $750. Contact: Lensbaby, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbaby.com.

IN THE BAG
Pick a camera bag that combines style and discretion for your next adventure. The Tamrac Aria camera bags are made from a rich, smooth fabric that feels like silk, but they're durable and look like messenger bags, so you can avoid calling unwanted attention to yourself. The bags hold a DSLR with a lens attached, a second lens and a third lens or flash. There's a foam-padded compartment for holding an iPad, as well as a zippered, pleated front pocket for accessories and other items. Two slim side pockets hold a phone or an iPod, and the silver interior lining makes it easy to find items. List Price: $99. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.

RETOUCH PORTRAITS
Make dramatic improvements to your people pictures using ArcSoft Portrait+. The program is based on facial imaging technology that focuses on key points around the eyes, eyebrows, nose and mouth. The program automatically defines more than 24 facial points for making quick adjustments such as smoothening skin, enhancing eyes, whitening teeth and more. There are 20 preset template styles, and batch processing is possible for making adjustments to a lot of images at once. The software's face detection technology can recognize up to 20 faces in each image. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: ArcSoft, (510) 440-9901, www.arcsoft.com.

STURDY LEGS
Find some stability when you're shooting on uneven terrain with the Sachtler Ace Tripod system. Manufactured from a composite material, the compact and lightweight tripod is designed for video DSLR and small HDV camcorder shooters. Supporting up to 8.8 pounds, it has a five-step counterbalance for quick camera balancing and positioning, and a drag system with three horizontal and three vertical steps. This allows for precise panning and tilting, as well as choosing a drag setting suitable for any situation. Estimated Street Price: $535. Contact: Sachtler, (845) 268-0100, www.sachtler.com.

PRIME OPTION
Avoid the expensive price tags that prime lenses sometimes come with by giving the Pro-Optic 85mm ƒ/1.4 ASPH some consideration. Having a fast, compact moderate telephoto lens on hand is a good idea, especially if you do a lot of portraiture. This lens offers a nice bokeh for producing smooth, out-of-focus backgrounds while keeping your subject sharp. It's manual focus only and has a nine-element optical formula that incorporates a fresh aspheric design and produces less chromatic aberration. Smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the lens is available in Canon and Nikon mounts. Estimated Street Price: $279. Contact: Pro-Optic (Adorama), (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.


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