When I say filter, your first thought may be a Photoshop plug-in. That’s natural, especially if your first good camera was digital. But folks who cut their photographic teeth shooting 35mm film know all about the light-bending qualities of glass screw-in filters. Physical filters were once the best (and sometimes only) way to get certain types of creative shots. Although still as effective as ever, they’ve fallen from favor for several reasons.
In this month’s Roundup we offer an introduction to a sampling of backdrop companies with products ranging from cloth to paper to virtual. Space prohibits us from covering their often extensive product lines, so we encourage you to follow up by contacting them directly. Many offer online as well as printed catalogs.—Editor
Nik Software’s Snapseed is a photo application designed specifically for the iPad. It enables you to create amazing photos with a wide variety of filters and tools. Filter choices include Grunge, Vintage, and Drama. Snapseed features U Point technology in touch devices, bringing precise selective adjustments to change lighting, color, and more by simply touching and swiping the screen. Snapseed allows users to enhance, edit, and share their photos via social networks, e-mail, and even print via Apple’s AirPrint Wi-Fi printing standard. Snapseed for the iPad is available on the App Store (www.niksoftware.com/buysnapseedipad) for $4.99. Tutorial videos are available at: www.niksoftware.com/snapseed.
The performance parameters of today’s cameras are flat-out astonishing. Many current entry-level and middle-tier D-SLRs provide image sensors with resolutions ranging from 12-18 megapixels (MP), burst rates of 5-7 fps, and full 1080p HD video capability. Sophisticated digital point-and-shoots are not far behind, with 10-14MP sensors, 720p or 1080p HD video, and respectable burst rates in the 3-5 fps range. Needless to say, pro and prosumer D-SLRs often exceed even these incredible specs, with sensors in the 20-25MP range, blistering burst rates up to 10 fps, deep buffers, and phenomenally rapid image processing software. Not surprisingly, flash memory manufacturers have responded with a veritable explosion of high-capacity, high-speed memory cards with incredible write speeds and an array of enhancements aimed at increasing reliability and security.
DeluxGear’s Lens Cradle system features a Neo Duet Camera Strap and a Cradle Mount. The strap has thick neoprene lycra for stretch and nonslip shark tooth webbing for comfort on your neck and shoulders. The Cradle Mount is made from durable polycarbonate and an auto-grade ABS blend. It offers an arc-like dual mounting platform for use with any camera and lens with a tripod collar and can safely support the heaviest lenses. The Lens Cradle can be configured into various mounting options. The system package includes the Cradle Mount and four-point Neo Duet Camera Strap for an MSRP of $49.99. The Cradle Mount and Neo Duet Camera Strap may also be purchased separately.
Having shot with numerous Lensbaby products over the past years I’ve almost grown accustomed to their ingenious approach to image-making tools and the equally ingenious way in which they approach product design. I do have to admit that one area in which I took less advantage than I might have was in aperture control and how that affected depth of field in my Lensbaby shots, more from laziness or simply forgetting about changing the aperture inserts as I got involved in the shoot. (For those who have not shot with Lensbaby optics you lift in and drop out, via supplied magnetic wand, the various aperture rings corresponding to the diameter of the desired aperture for the optic in use.) Now, this impediment to getting the most from the optics (admittedly, again, my own) is removed with their latest product, the Sweet 35 Optic.
Before buying a photo backpack or sling bag for that photo safari or vacation, consider how you’re getting there, how you’ll get around once you arrive, and what you plan to photograph. Will you be flying commercial or hopping a puddle jumper? Do you anticipate being on foot most of the time or traveling largely by car, jeep, or bus? Do you expect to encounter rugged terrain and steep trails? Will you need fast optics and long zooms for wildlife, a macro for close-ups, a wide zoom for landscapes, and perhaps a speedlight and ring flash?
New Nikon COOLPIX Cameras
Nikon recently introduced eight new COOLPIX digital cameras. Among them is a superzoom model, the COOLPIX P500, which offers a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 36x optical zoom lens, and EXPEED C2 dual image processors. Available in black or red, this model has an MSRP of $399.95. The P300 offers 12.1 megapixels with a 4.2x wide-angle lens, backside illumination CMOS sensor, high ISO sensitivity, and user-controlled shooting modes. Available in black, it has an MSRP of $329.95. For more information on these and other new COOLPIX models, please visit the Nikon website.
Calumet Pro Series Camera Cases And Protective Wraps
Pro Series camera cases are made from ripstop water-resistant nylon and designed to protect your camera and a mounted lens. The cases feature a hinged lid, smooth nylon zippers with large pulls, a reinforced adjustable shoulder strap with metal quick-release clips, and a padded carrying handle. Products include the DSLR123 Camera Holster Case that can hold most popular model D-SLR cameras with a lens up to 200mm; the RC1188 Rolling Camera Case (14x10x20.75” and 14.4 lbs) that meets domestic carryon requirements and has an expandable compartment for a tripod or lightweight stand; and the RC2065 Rolling Camera Case Plus (15.5x12x23.5” and 14.4 lbs) that can hold four to five D-SLR camera bodies and three to four lenses (even a long telephoto or zoom lens), a portable flash, and accessories.
Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2
Nik Software has begun shipping Silver Efex Pro 2, a major upgrade to its Silver Efex Pro software. Silver Efex Pro 2 offers a unique darkroom-inspired workflow and the ability to fine-tune images with precise selective adjustments powered by U Point technology. The software’s new features include the History Browser for endless experimentation, revolutionary algorithms such as Dynamic Brightness, Amplify Blacks and Whites, Soft Contrast, and Fine Structure, plus finishing touches like Image Borders and selective colorization.
Almost 20 years after the dramatic success of the first autofocus 35mm SLR, the Minolta Maxxum 7000, Minolta introduced “body integral” Image Stabilization (IS) to the world in the DiMAGE A1, and the game changed. Advanced photographers recognized the value of stabilization. That was back in 2003, but it wasn’t the first attempt to quell camera jitters. Previously, IS had been performed optically. Minolta did it in the camera body by physically moving the sensor to counteract camera movement. We called it Anti-Shake, and I was a member of the team that brought it to market.
Remote viewing and shutter release capability opens up a host of picture opportunities, from working high atop camera platforms from ground level to very low-level shooting without muddying your clothes (given your camera lacks an articulating monitor) to placing your camera in spots and being able to view and shoot without your being right behind the viewfinder. Many photographers routinely work with radio triggers for flash, especially in studio environments where the lights are set in position and photographer and model or subject move. The Hähnel Inspire adds to the mix with remote shutter release and viewing in one.
Calumet Pro Series D-SLR Camera Accessories The Pro Series 4-Channel Wireless Trigger Kit is a 2.4GHz system that allows you to synchronize your camera and flash for remote operation over 328 feet. Calumet is currently offering two versions of this kit, one for Canon and one for Nikon cameras and flash systems, but it can also be used with studio strobes as well as...
Having flown my fair share of miles in the last few months I have come to appreciate a roller bag that can be used to carry camera gear, be carried on or checked, and that can help and not hinder the trip. I have gone from using a camera backpack loaded inside a standard roller suitcase (just to get from the airport to the destination) to leaving home gear that I later regretted not bringing...
In keeping with our wedding theme this month, our Roundup entries cover the albums beat. Keep in mind that Roundup is not a test report per se, but a place where we get to provide information supplied by manufacturers on new products and services.—Editor
Kingston Flush Mount Albums Custom-made Kingston Flush Mount Albums can be created in three different ways: as a...