Equipment Reviews

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David B. Brooks Posted: Jun 11, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 1 comments
I always enjoy trying out the best new high-end products. It’s fun, but more important it tells me how good the best performance can be. But when reviewing color management tools I realize that photographers are not color scientists or computer programming experts, so I thought I’d start this review with a bit of a tech briefing on why they are important to all photographers who want to get the most from their work.
Anthony L. Celeste Posted: Jun 28, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 2 comments
When shooting portraits on a green screen setup the first stage in the work is selecting and removing the green screen itself, something a “magic wand” or similar selection tool will accomplish. The next stage is finding and fitting an appropriate replacement background, and just as Digital Anarchy’s Primatte Chromakey streamlines the green screen removal process, the company also offers a Photoshop plug-in that streamlines the background creation process. Dubbed Backdrop Designer, the software can aid you in digitally creating muslin drapes, lighting effects, and other photographic backgrounds.
Steve Bedell Posted: Jun 18, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 1 comments
As more photos are made on more types of devices, there’s a need for resultant images that aren’t just “OK” but as good as they can be. And part of the need, it would seem, is that some folks don’t want to spend a lot of time learning complex programs to get the image results they want. Companies like Athentech Imaging aim to make it a one-click affair.
Roger W. Hicks Posted: May 30, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 0 comments
The world of photography is a very wide one, and in this report Roger Hicks takes us to the fringes of photographic accessories. While you might well wonder how you might use some of these items, well, you never know!—Editor

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, um… it’s um… a camera-carrying helicopter drone. Honest! Though our other favorite in this meandering survey is probably a lot more use to a lot more people. It’s a changing room! It’s a hide for photographing wildlife! It’s a monopod! It’s a light modifier! It keeps the rain off! Or the sun! It’s… um, it’s an unusually versatile umbrella.

C.A. Boylan Posted: Jul 02, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 4 comments
A trio of new battery grips is on offer. The Pixel Vertax series (Argraph) gives you a firm handle on your camera while providing a power boost. Features include a vertical shutter release, shutter and aperture control wheels (Nikon models or a single wheel for Canon), exposure lock, multifunction control buttons, and more. The grips accept AA batteries (alkaline or rechargeable) or camera batteries for added shooting capacity. The grips offer excellent dust and moisture seals and a rubber handgrip for slip-free control. They are made for use on current and newer model Nikon and Canon cameras. Prices start at $79.
Steve Bedell Posted: Jun 21, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 2 comments
The job of auto-retouching software is to retouch faces quickly, easily, and with as little human intervention as possible. Most require you to either set or confirm where the major points of the face are, like the eyes, ears, and lips. After you’ve identified those areas, the software then goes about its business of transforming little Pamela into little Princess.
Jon Canfield Posted: Jun 07, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 4 comments
Canon’s 13x19”-sized printers, the PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II and PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II, have had a longer life than most, but have been replaced with two new models that are similar to the PIXMA PRO-1, introduced over a year ago. New features on both the pigment-ink PRO-10 and dye-ink PRO-100 include Wi-Fi and AirPrint compatibility, a new plug-in to make printing easier, and a refined inkset.
Roger W. Hicks Posted: May 28, 2013 Published: Apr 01, 2013 1 comments
As part of our continuing coverage of photokina, the worldwide gathering of the imaging industry, we present Roger Hicks’s fascinating report on unique studio accessories. As is his wont, Roger has turned up the arcane and unusual found in the main and hinterland booths of the massive show.—Editor
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Jack Neubart Posted: May 06, 2013 Published: Apr 01, 2013 3 comments
The difference between a “constant” aperture zoom and other standard zooms is that when you increase the focal length on the standard zoom the maximum aperture narrows. This might make the difference between being able to hand hold or not when zooming in, and may indeed force the use of higher ISOs. Known as “fast” lenses, constant aperture zooms are pricier and bulkier than their variable-aperture counterparts. And to sweeten the pot, we’ve seen more and more fast lenses with built-in image stabilization, which gets you even more low light and steady shot capability.
Roger W. Hicks Posted: May 21, 2013 Published: Apr 01, 2013 1 comments
Here’s another in our series of reports from photokina 2012. As you will have noticed we do not attempt to create a laundry list of new products and companies from the show, but prefer to report on what struck our eye and thought might be of special interest to Shutterbug readers. In this report Roger Hicks tells us about numerous instances of life in the film arena he found at the show, with special cameras, film, paper, and even processors part of the mix.—Editor
George Schaub Posted: May 24, 2013 Published: Apr 01, 2013 2 comments
In an attempt to connect everything electronic, this year’s CES/PMA show in Las Vegas was awash in “smart” TVs, tablets, and various and sundry devices that can link to your device—be it phone, tablet, or camera—and allow you to access “image content” anywhere, anytime. There was also a rash of rough cameras, a 3D lens for still and video, new ways to customize your camera, and a major boost in USB storage and memory card speed. Following are some photo tech highlights.
Jack Neubart Posted: May 03, 2013 Published: Apr 01, 2013 1 comments
There are several ways to trigger a camera wirelessly but up until recently none of them conveniently gave Nikon D600 shooters a large-screen remote live view. Enter the Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter that operates with “smart” devices—namely iOS and Android tablets and phones, in conjunction with the Nikon Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app. The device is a tiny Wi-Fi 11b/g/n dongle about the size of the tip of your thumb and connects to the camera’s USB port. It even comes with a short lanyard and protective case, so you can keep it attached to the camera strap. I tested it with a third-generation Apple iPad with Retina display. Read on, as you’ll find important tips here that are not found in the instructions. (Note: WU-1b also works with the Nikon 1 V2; model WU-1a is currently available for the Nikon D3200.)
Roger W. Hicks Posted: Apr 05, 2013 Published: Mar 01, 2013 0 comments
Roger Hicks’s “Pro Lighting Report” is part of our continuing series of reports from the photokina show. With a giant hall filled with lighting products, Roger reports here on what caught his eye and what he saw as the key trends at the show. We will continue with new lighting product reports in coming issues, with a special report coming out of the WPPI show held in March, and will catch up on more new products not mentioned here then. We consider lighting a key issue for all photographers and will have more tests ahead throughout the year.—Editor
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Edited by George Schaub Posted: Feb 28, 2013 1 comments
The Fujifilm XF1 has a compact body with a retro design that is emphasized by the optional black, brown or red artificial leather and the matte metal finish. The camera doesn’t have an on/off switch but is activated by turning the lens ring on the camera front. This then opens the lens cover and extends the lens system.
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George Schaub Posted: Feb 11, 2013 0 comments
Calling a product “state-of-the-art” can be a double-edged sword, one that includes both the leading edge and the bleeding edge. In the case of the Samsung EX2F there’s more of the leading side of the equation, at least when it come to a fun, portable camera that delivers in more ways than one—especially when it comes to connecting you from camera to email, sharing sites, et al.

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