For 20 years, LensPen has been creating unique products to make sure your photo lenses are clear of any distracting smears, smudges and fingerprints. Carbon is often used for this chore, and while it gets the job done, it’s messy to work with, sometimes leaving black smudges on your fingertips or on plastic cases. This year, LensPen has created the new Invisible Carbon compound for the LensPen Elite line, which cleans surfaces, yet doesn’t leave any black residue, even if you touch the cleaning pad surface. LensPen has expanded this specialized technology with several applicators: five photo cleaners, ScreenKlean for tablets and SmartKlear for smartphones. List Price: $8-$14 (photo cleaners); $19 (ScreenKlean); $9 (SmartKlear). Contact: LensPen, www.lenspen.com.
Monolights are a great option for photographers who want to work with portable, yet powerful off-camera lighting. The aluminum-housing Flashpoint Budget Studio Monolight Flash units come in 120ws, 160ws and 300ws options. AC-powered, the units take 0.5 to 2 seconds for recycling time and provide an audio and LED alert when they’re ready for the next flash. Additional features include a preflash test button, optical slave/master setting with LED indicator, SA fuse-protected circuit and replaceable flash tube. Each unit is also available as a kit, with a 40-inch white/black umbrella from Glow by Flashpoint and a 6-foot Flashpoint 3-section light stand. List Price: $49/$89 (Budget Studio Monolight Flash 120/Kit); $69/$109 (Budget Studio Monolight Flash 160/Kit); $99/$139 (Budget Studio Monolight Flash 300/Kit). Contact: Adorama, www.adorama.com.
FUJIFILM X-SERIES ULTRAWIDE ZOOM
Fujifilm continues to expand its X-series lens lineup for interchangeable-system cameras with the ultrawide 2.4x XF10-24mm F4 R OIS lens. The 15-36mm equivalent range is optimal for grand landscapes. Fujifilm has designed a new optical system with four high-precision aspherical lenses and three extra-low dispersion glass lenses to match the performance of Fujifilm X-Trans sensors. The lens also features a new coating on the reverse side of the lens, going one step further to reduce ghosting and flare. With a seven-blade aperture diaphragm, the lens has a 24cm minimum macro working distance. List Price: $999. Contact: Fujifilm, www.fujifilmusa.com.
FLASH MODIFIER STARTER KIT
For photographers just getting familiar with flash modifiers, LumiQuest has put together a Starter Kit perfect for taking on location. The kit includes three pieces: the Pocket Bouncer redirects light at a 90° angle to create large, soft light; the Fxtra modifier holds flash gels of various colors for special effects and color balance; and the UltraStrap is a nonadhesive mounting strap. All pieces fit in a small envelope for storage and travel. List Price: $40. Contact: LumiQuest, www.lumiquest.com.
VERSATILE FLASH MOUNT
While providing the same previous locking Bowens-compatible adapter for softboxes and lighting accessories, the Phottix HS Speed Mount II also offers new flash mounting methods. The flash now may be mounted horizontally to relieve the pressure from the flash hot-shoe by using a mounting platform and strap or vertically using a reversible L-bracket. The HS Speed Mount II is designed to complement the Phottix Varos BG Umbrella Swivel and also may be used with other umbrella adapters using a 5?8" lug. A carrying bag is included. Estimated Street Price: $59. Contact: Phottix (OmegaBrandess), www.omegabrandess.com.