Photo Gear
Covering The Photo Beat
Large Format Film, 3D Picture Maker, New Year Props, And More

Improved Kodak Tri-X Pan Sheet Film
Kodak has introduced an upgrade of their venerable black and white Tri-X Pan Professional sheet film. It's called Kodak Professional Tri-X 320 Film/320TXP and is said to have excellent tone gradation and shadow detail plus brilliant highlights. Processing times, in Kodak HC-110 developer and other developers, are slightly longer to improve process uniformity since these developers typically have shorter processing times. It's offered in an assortment of sheet sizes including 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10". All sizes are offered in 50-sheet boxes, but 4x5 format is also packaged in 25-sheet boxes. It features a new harder emulsion, which is less susceptible to scratching, and the matte surface on the emulsion side is smaller to optimize pencil retouching. Contact: Eastman Kodak Company, 343 State St., Rochester, NY 14650; (800) 235-6325; fax: (585) 724-0663;

Large Prop Numbers For 2004
A party, event, or other celebration photo prop for the New Year 2004 is available from American Rotational Molding Group/Meese Orbitron Dunne Company. Eye-catching numerals measure 19.5x11.5x7.5" and are set on a 51.75" long platform base that raises and unites the numerals for added effect. The set comes complete and the numerals five and six are available separately for use in subsequent years. In stock in white, custom colors are offered in quantity. Each numeral is molded in one seamless piece from durable polyethylene said to resist bumps, scratches, and scuffs. They are lightweight for easy movement and stable to prevent tipping. They are suitable for use indoors or outdoors without fading, discoloring, or cracking. Contact: American Rotational Molding Group, Meese Orbitron Dunne Co., 16404 Knott Ave., La Mirada, CA 90638; (888) 724-1228; fax: (877) 904-1670;

Compositional Aide
The ViewCatcher, a compositional tool created for artists, has some practical applications for photographers as well. This device, made of durable ABS plastic for withstanding repeated use, is a cropping aide suitable for use in the field, or for deciding how to crop prints. Made of #5 value, mid-gray plastic, it measures 3.5x3.5" and looks like a medium format slide mount. There is a small hole in the middle, which helps the photographer distinguish light, middle, and dark values as well as isolate colors. Then a sliding portion is pulled out to create a vertical or horizontal composition. Premarked measurements approximate standard print sizes. After adjusting to the desired format, you can look at the subject to determine if you have a lead into the composition toward the focal point of prime interest. This pocket-sized device, which can easily be carried most anywhere, has a MSRP of $9. Contact: The Color Wheel Company, PO Box 130, Philomath, OR 97370; (541) 929-7526; fax: (541) 929-7528;

Versatile Gear + Laptop Case
There are three new total-access Tenba ProDigital Shoulder Carry Gear cases that zip open from the front, back, or either side. A built-in shock-dispersion wall spreads impact at any point to help prevent damage to delicate equipment such as laptop screens. Quick-access panels for PDA, cell phone, gray card, etc. plus quick-access ports for the laptop computer bay make the contents very reachable. It's custom configured for digital cameras, but easily accommodates other types of cameras. Constructed of Tenba's DuraTek nylon, it has a comfort wedge strap and handle for comfort and security and a fold-out, waterproof, full-coverage rain cover to keep the contents dry. It's offered in sizes to accommodate three popular laptop screen sizes: 12, 15, and 17". The smaller model, which holds a 12" laptop, camera body, three lenses, flash, and a multitude of smaller items, has a street price of $158. Contact: Mamiya America Corporation, Tenba, 8 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY 10523; (914) 347-3300; fax: (914) 347-3309;

Sensitive Flash Meter
New from Sekonic is the L-558 DualMaster multifunction meter that is said to have twice the low-light function of any other similar meter. In addition, with the optional PocketWizard module inside, the meter becomes a master control center you can use to fire individual cameras and flash units, remotely--without wires--using a security encoded digital signal. A built-in retractable Lumisphere extends for 3D incident light readings, or retracts for a narrow incident metering angle. A 1Þ spot meter, it has a parallax-free viewfinder with illuminated display inside. There is an extra-large green-illuminated full-information LCD panel. It can memorize and recall up to nine readings in any mode, average them, and display them on an analog scale. A range of custom settings permits users to tailor it to their working style. The body and controls are well sealed so it's rated splashproof. The MSRP is $769 and the PocketWizard module is $25 more when bought with the meter. Contact: Mamiya America Corporation, Sekonic Professional Division, 8 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY 10523; (914) 347-3300; fax: (914) 347-3309;

To submit information for Photo Gear please contact Robert E. Mayer by e-mail at: or regular mail at: Shutterbug Magazine, 1419 Chaffee Dr., Suite #1, Titusville, FL 32780.