January/February 2012


Accessorize your Sony Alpha NEX-3 or NEX-5 with some useful tools from Arca-Swiss. The NEX Kit consists of a mini L-bracket and a shoe for attaching an optical finder. The Nex L-bracket is fully adaptable with the monoball Fix and monoball Classic quick-release systems and allows you to quickly switch between landscape and portrait positioning. The bracket also provides more secure handling when shooting handheld. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Arca-Swiss International, P.O. Box 28450, Tempe, AZ 85285, (480) 755-3364, www.precisioncameraworks.com.


Create images that have the timeless look of film using DxO FilmPack 3. You can simulate the grain, color, saturation and contrast of popular film stocks, including Kodak Kodachrome and TRI-X, Polaroid 669, Agfa APX 25 and others. More than 60 film renditions are available with hundreds of possible combinations. The redesigned interface features a filmstrip that lets you easily navigate through all of the different looks. Ten film looks and 10 color filters have been added, as well as hue, saturation and lightness sliders, and noise removal for more authentic-looking grain. Estimated Street Price: $129 (Expert). Contact: DxO Labs, www.dxo.com.


Shoot sharp-looking stills and video with full manual control using the Fujifilm X10. Its 12-megapixel, 2?3-inch EXR CMOS sensor is larger than those found in similar point-and-shoots, and the Fujinon 4x zoom lens (28-112mm equivalent) can be operated by manually twisting the lens barrel to adjust focal length. You can choose between manual focus and autofocus via a front-mounted dial, and the lens has maximum aperture settings from ƒ/2 at the wide end to ƒ/2.8 at the telephoto end. Additional features include a RAW shooting mode, a dedicated exposure-compensation dial for making fast adjustments, a 2.8-inch LCD and an eye-level optical viewfinder. Estimated Street Price: $600. Contact: Fujifilm, (800) 800-3854,


Add some oomph to your iPhone photography with the iPro Lens System from Schneider Optics. The kit is designed for the iPhone 4 and 4S, and consists of wide-angle and fisheye lenses. Using a bayonet mount, the lenses securely fasten to a pocket-sized case, which serves as a protector, universal tripod mount and grip. The lenses twist on and off and have metal lens barrels. The fisheye has a 165° field of view, which is equivalent to a 12mm lens, and the wide-angle has an 86° field of view, which is equivalent to a 19mm lens. List Price: $199. Contact: Schneider Optics, (818) 766-3715, www.iprolens.com.


Mount a small flash to the Lastolite Brolly Grip, a handheld bracket that’s designed to support a flashgun along the shaft of an umbrella. A 20-inch translucent umbrella is included in the kit for creating a compact, easy-to-set-up mobile solution. The unit is designed for umbrellas with 8mm and 10mm shafts, either one at a time or both at the same time. It also can be mounted on a stand. List Price: $36. Contact: Lastolite, (201) 818-9500, www.lastolite.us.


Back up your files to the Iomega Mac Companion Hard Drive, a silver and black external storage unit designed, both aesthetically and physically, to fit on the base below the screen of your iMac or display. Available in 2 TB and 3 TB capacities, the 7,200 rpm drive has two FireWire 800 interfaces and a two-port USB 2.0 hub for connecting a USB printer and your iPhone, or another iOS device, simultaneously. A front-panel capacity indicator lights up as the drive fills up. Iomega Protection Suite software is included (via download). List Price: $195 (2 TB); $295 (3 TB). Contact: Iomega, www.iomega.com.


Make sure the audio is up to the same quality as the video you’re shooting on your HD DSLR by using an external recorder. The versatile Zoom H2n has five microphones and four recording modes. The modes include Mid-Side (MS) stereo, 90° X/Y stereo, and 2-channel and 4-channel surround sound. With Mid-Side recording, sound is captured from directly in front of you by a Mid mic, and from the left and right by a Side mic. You can increase or decrease the level of the Side mic to control the width of the recording range. Recording in RAW allows you to adjust the range afterwards. List Price: $199. Contact: Samson Technologies, (631) 784-2200, www.samsontech.com.


Slow down your shutter speed and create some interesting motion blur effects in-camera by using a neutral-density filter. The Hoya PRO1 Digital ND32 and ND64 are dark neutral-density filters that reduce the amount of light entering the lens in the equivalent of five and six stops, respectively. This translates to possible shutter speeds of approximately a ½ second (ND32) and one second (ND64) or more in daylight when shooting at ƒ/22. With the filters, you also can use wider apertures for creating shallow depth-of-field effects. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Hoya (THK Photo), (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.


Give yourself more shooting flexibility when working with strobes by firing them wirelessly using the Tamrac MicroSync Digital II. A simple setup entails just placing the transmitter in the camera hot-shoe and plugging the receiver into your strobe’s power pack. The MicroSync II features 16 channels, interchangeable plugs that fit directly into most strobes and an increased range of 200 feet. An automatic power management system delivers up to a 3-year battery life for the transmitter and 1 year for the receiver. Estimated Street Price: $129 (kit). Contact: Tamrac, www.microsyncdigital.com.


Keep gear dry when shooting in wet weather using the Petrol Transparent Rain Cover for vi
deo-capable DSLRs. It’s customized for cameras with up to a 70-200mm lens and an on-camera light attached. The cover has a rigid front hood section with a hot-shoe connector that stabilizes it on the camera. A 6-inch polypropylene track on top of the hood allows you to add an on-camera light or a wireless receiver. The cover is made of transparent polyurethane and black waterproof nylon, offering easy access to camera controls. It weighs about 14 ounces. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Petrol Bags, (845) 268-0100, www.petrolbags.com.


Clean your lenses with the Hoodman Lens Cleanse natural cleaning kit. Organic plant enzymes are the main component in the towelettes, which are made up of soft natural wood fibers that won’t scratch lenses or filters. The enzymes break down grime without damaging the coatings on your glass or the environment. There are wet and dry kits, and they come in single units or packs of 12. List Price: $9 (12-pack). Contact: Hoodman USA, (800) 818-3946, www.hoodmanusa.com.


Bring an animated look and feel to your stills with Photo Montage from Noise Industries. A plug-in for video-editing programs such as Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects, the application lets you create animations of still images without keyframing, although you still have that option. It supports all popular image formats and includes more than 100 animated presets. Photo Montage delivers support for titling, easy re-ordering and re-timing, 20 transition styles and built-in motion-blurring features. List Price: $199. Contact: Noise Industries, www.noiseindustries.com.


Secure your camera to a tripod using the Giottos Generation II ball socket heads. They’re built with a heavily anodized aluminum ball to reduce vibrations and skipping, delivering smooth movements with a calibrated pan base and ball lock. The quick-release plate has a ¼-inch camera screw and a pop-up anti-twist mechanism to prevent the camera from shifting when shooting vertically. A red safety button keeps the quick-release plate from sliding off. There are three heads in the series, with load capacities of 8.8 pounds, 13 pounds and 25 pounds. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $99. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.


Pop the 64 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC memory card into your DSLR and take plenty of high-resolution stills. This is the latest entry in the lineup, which starts at 8 GB, and delivers write speeds of up to 90 MB/s and read speeds of up to 95 MB/s. With Ultra High Speed (UHS) capability, the card not only captures larger RAW files in continuous burst mode, but full HD video as well. The Error Correction Code engine improves overall data integrity and reliability of the card while it’s reading and writing. List Price: Starts at $100. Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK, www.sandisk.com.


Turn your photos into elegant-looking greeting cards for all occasions with Miller’s Signature Letterpress. Combining letterpress technology with press printing, the cards give your photos a classic, yet contemporary look. Design options include eight drag-and-drop templates and a variety of color choices. The 5×7-inch cards are printed on 100% premium cotton paper. List Price: Available upon request. Contact: Miller’s, (800) 835-0603, www.millerslab.com.


Cover up your iPad in the stylish Trench Runner Sleeve from M-Edge Accessories. With a vintage military-inspired look, the sleeve holds your iPad securely inside its four-sided frame, with a vertical cover that flips back when you’re using it and snaps shut for total protection. All ports and buttons are accessible. The sleeve is made from weathered cotton canvas and genuine leather trim with brass hardware. List Price: $19. Contact: M-Edge, (877) 633-4343, www.medgestore.com.


Get more creative in your shot selection by taking the flash off-camera and firing it remotely with the Flashpoint X-Series Remote Flash Trigger Kit. This affordable and sturdy option has 16 channels and a maximum range of nearly 600 feet. The receiver can be mounted on a tripod screw or a hot-shoe (with the supplied adapter). It attaches to a strobe with a 3.5mm mini or ¼-inch mono plug cable and runs off of two AAA batteries. The transmitter is powered by a single AAA battery and mounts to your camera’s hot-shoe. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Flashpoint, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.


Go from wide-angle to supertele using the Pentax Optio RZ18, which packs a 25-450mm (35mm equivalent) zoom into a 4.3×2.4×1.4-inch body that weighs just 6.7 ounces (with battery and memory card). A 16-megapixel sensor, multiple image-stabilization options, a 3-inch LCD and a 9-point autofocus system with a supermacro mode round out the key specs. Along with face detection, the camera includes smile and blink detection modes that ensure good-looking people shots. The RZ18 captures 720p HD video at 30 frames per second. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.


Use the Vanguard Adaptor as a daypack, backpack or sling to haul your gear around. Just remove one of the shoulder straps and tuck the other away in a pocket to convert the bag from a backpack to a sling. Zippered openings on both sides of the bag provide quick access and accommodate left- or right-handed shooters. The spacious interior has thick padding to protect your gear. A zippered and buckled top compartment stores additional equipment and extras. There’s also a tripod holder and zippered pockets for smaller accessories and lens caps. Estimated Street Price: $89 to $129. Contact: Vanguard, (800) 875-3322, www.vanguardworld.com.


Bring your prints fully to life with help from the advanced features found in the Canon PIXMA PRO-1. The printer uses a 12-ink system, which includes five that are monochrome, and tubular ink delivery technology that’s designed to improve print speed. A 13×19-inch print should take about four minutes and 20 seconds. The ink tanks, which have been moved to the side of the printer, are 2.5 times larger than those used in previous models, and a new FINE print head delivers the ink with improved consistency. List Price: $999. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.


A Totally Biased Close-Up and Macro Photography Book by Rob Sheppard is an e-book offering the basics on how to improve your close-up and macro photography. Filled with inspirational nature photographs, the book can be viewed on any color e-book reader or on any computer with a free e-reader app. It’s available from digital retailers, including Amazon.com’s Kindle Store, the Barnes & Noble Nook Store and the Apple iBookstore

Photographing Childhood: The Image and the Memory by LaNola Kathleen Stone (Focal Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-240-81818-4). Stone delivers insider advice on how to take inspiring and technically sound images of children. She has contributed to Child Magazine, Pottery Barn, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and more. She breaks down various stages of childhood in a timeline and explains what each offers photographically.

The Passionate Photographer: Ten Steps Toward Becoming Great (Voices That Matter) by Steve Simon (New Riders, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-321-71989-8). Translating thoughts and feelings into strong images can be difficult. Simon helps you close the gap in this inspirational and practical guide by revealing 10 steps every photographer needs to become great at their passion.

Black and White Digital Photography Photo Workshop by Chris Bucher (Wiley, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-470-42193-2). This guide helps you master the art of black-and-white photography by exploring integral concepts such as contrast and lighting. The book focuses on the rules of photography and how they apply differently in black-and-white.

The Photoshop Darkroom 2: Creative Digital Transformations by Harold Davis and Phyllis Davis (Focal Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-240-81531-2). By keeping in mind what type of postprocessing you’ll do before you shoot, you can create more compelling images. Compositing, working with layers, HDR and other topics are covered.

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