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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Holiday Buyer's Guide

A look at some of the gear that’s available for the nature photographer on your gift list

This Article Features Photo Zoom

HP Photosmart Pro B8850
No matter how many websites come out that allow people to show and share photographs, nothing beats a good print for showing off your images. Photo printers got very good, very rapidly in this decade, but improvements continue to be made.

Canon PIXMA Pro9500 MK II
The new Stylus Pro 3880 is the latest model from Epson for nature photographers. The 17-inch Stylus Pro 3880 has a number of advancements over previous generations of Epson printers, not least of which is the ability to print in 16-bit color. It promises to deliver the richest, most accurate colors yet, as well as black-and-white prints that would have the old darkroom masters trading in their enlargers. There’s more information on the Stylus Pro 3880 in this issue’s In Focus section.

Epson Stylus Pro 3880
’s 13-inch PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II also features 16-bit printing capability. With advances in Lucia ink technology and the support of third- party paper choices, it’s another excellent option for nature photographers this holiday season.

The 13-inchHP Photosmart Pro B8850 Photo Printer uses eight individual ink tanks and shares the same print head as HP’s popular B9180, but the cost is lower than the B9180, thanks to the exclusion of the Ethernet connectivity and the LCD display.

No holiday guide for nature photographers would be complete without a discussion of photo filters. Photoshop is amazing, but you can’t beat getting the shot right with the proper filter on your lens at the point of capture. Of all the filters, the most useful for most nature photographers are polarizers. There are two types of polarizers: linear and circular. The TTL autofocusing and metering systems in many D-SLRs won’t work properly with a linear polarizer, so you have to use a circular polarizer.

All of the filter manufacturers make polarizers. We’re pointing out a few examples here that have some unique properties. For example, the Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer is characterized as “lighter, brighter” and has a lower filter factor, meaning you lose less light while maintaining the warming, polarizing effect. The HOYA Pro1 Digital Circular Polarizer is part of HOYA’s filter line designed specifically for digital cameras. It has DMC (Digital Multi Coated) construction to reduce flare and a matte black Almite frame to prevent stray reflections off the filter ring. The B+W Redhancer isn’t a polarizer, but when used in conjunction with a polarizer, it yields its best results.

The Redhancer intensifies the red, orange and yellow areas of the photograph. When you combine it with a polarizer, you eliminate haze and get rich, saturated colors across the range. Top-notch build quality and optical excellence have been Heliopan hallmarks for many nature photographers. Their polarizers operate smoothly, and they’re available with Heliopan’s SH-PMC coating for reduced flare and ghosting.The Tiffen Warm Polarizer combines the popular Tiffen 812 warming filter with a polarizer in a single unit. The resulting warming polarizer has been a popular item for nature photographers since its invention.

HOYA Circular Polarizer

B+W Redhancer

Heliopan circular Polarizer

Tiffen Warm Polarizer

Singh-Ray LB Warm Polarizer

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