Equipment Reviews

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Steve Bedell Posted: Jun 21, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 3 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.
David B. Brooks Posted: Jun 11, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 2 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.
Roger W. Hicks Posted: May 30, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 1 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.

Joe Farace Posted: Jun 25, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 1 comments
While it may not be nice to fool Mother Nature, photographers have been doing just that since Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths photographed the “Cottingley Fairies” in 1917, but a lot has changed since then and we’re now more skeptical of images that appear “shopped.” (Portrait photographers engaged in retouching even before Mathew Brady opened his New York studio in 1844.) To me, part of the fun of photography is enhancing reality, creating images that could be true or might be true in a parallel Fringe-like universe. That’s one of the reasons I like shooting digital infrared images because photography, for me, is all about having fun and if you happen to play a harmless—emphasis on harmless—photographic April Fool’s prank on someone, let’s hope it’s accepted in the spirit of the day.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jun 14, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 6 comments
The new SLT-A99 is Sony’s first full-frame camera with an electronic viewfinder. While former Sony full-format cameras like the A900 or A850 offered a standard SLR system, the new A99 offers an electronic viewfinder with extremely high resolution (2.3 million RGB dots). Due to the SLT system with fixed mirror, which allows use of a classic AF system based on phase detection, the camera is very fast and can even utilize the AF system while recording videos.
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 2 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.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Apr 30, 2013 2 comments
The EOS Rebel SL1 is an ultra-small SLR system; in fact it is smaller than many bridge cameras and even lighter than many other digital cameras.
Nevertheless it’s a real SLR system with Canon’s APS-C-sized image sensor, which is a little smaller than other APS-C-sized sensors made by Nikon, Sony and other manufacturers. Due to itsvery small body the grip on the right hand side is also is a bit smaller than usual and the handling of the camera is a bit tricky for photographers withlarge hands. The small body doesn’t allow for a status LCD on the top, so all information on image parameters and menu settings are shown on the LCD screen on the back.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
Fujifilm’s X100s follows the X100 and offers enhanced imaging features and functions. The most important difference is the new sensor--the X-Trans CMOS sensor uses aspecial RGB mosaic pattern and offers higher resolution compared to the sensor in the X100. The new sensor has special mirco lenses that result in a very sharp and brilliant image, which is then enhanced further with the camera’s new EXR II image processor.
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
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: 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
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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.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Apr 30, 2013 Published: Apr 01, 2013 0 comments
Our initial report on the Canon EOS-1D X appeared in the Image Tech section of our homepage at www.shutterbug.com and was based on a preproduction model. This is our final report based on a factory-ship model.
George Schaub Posted: May 24, 2013 Published: Apr 01, 2013 1 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.

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