Photo Gear
Covering The Photo Beat
Softboxes, Shoulder Straps, Self-Regulating Tripods, And More Page 2

New Generation OctoDome Softbox
Photoflex has introduced the OctoDome nxt, said to be the next generation evolution of their popular OctoDome softbox, suitable for both conventional film and digital photographers and videographers who want a continuous light source with soft, wraparound light. It combines the best features of the Photoflex OctoDome3 and their SilverDome nxt softboxes. Offered as a stand-alone softbox and a kit, it measures 3 ft in diameter and has an eight-paneled silver interior, plus a low profile to produce a wide range of lighting effects. Used with the Photoflex Starlite 3200 it produces 3200Þ K of even, brilliant, and continuous tungsten lighting. It also has a cooling design for use with heat-sensitive subjects. The rear-mounted light produces more light output than a standard reflective umbrella. When used with OctoConnectors, even HMI lights for constant lighting at daylight-balanced temperatures can be used. A removable, recessed front diffusion panel permits using grids for easy changeover from high- to low-contrast lighting. All-steel suspension rods have aluminum bullet tips and a Brimstone black exterior has thick, light-tight fabric that's both durable and heat-resistant. The MSRP is $275. Contact: Photoflex Products Inc., 97 Hangar Way, Watsonville, CA 95076; (800) 486-2674; fax: (831) 786-1371;

Automatic And "Self-Regulating" Tripod
Brand-new from Bogen Imaging Inc. is the Manfrotto NeoTec tripod, said to be the world's first fully automatic, self-regulating tripod. A mechanism inside the leg permits the user to quickly and easily extend each leg to the desired height by simply pulling downward. There are no knobs, locks, or levers to adjust. Once extended, a patented internal mechanism locks it there, exerting additional locking power and stabilization as weight is added. Closing the legs is also simplified--just push a single release button to disengage the internal locking mechanism thereby allowing the leg to collapse. Other new features include a split column with a built-in, low-angle adapter that permits using a camera a mere 4" off the ground. When the center column height impedes setting up, the adapter allows switching from normal to low-angle situations without having to remove the camera and head. In addition, the center column can be used for horizontal applications and unusual angles often required for macro work. Made of aircraft-grade aluminum, it can support cameras weighing up to 17.6 lbs at a maximum height of over 61". The upside-down leg construction makes them waterproof for use in wet areas up to 18" deep. The NeoTech 658B tripod has a MSRP of $300. A monopod model is also offered. Contact: Bogen Imaging Inc., 565 E. Crescent Ave., Ramsey, NJ 07446; (201) 818-9500; fax: (201) 818-9177;