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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Focus: April 2011

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If you love the look of monochrome, Nik Software delivers a significant update to its black-and-white app. Silver Efex Pro 2 has a bunch of new features, including a History Browser for comparing previous image versions or different editing treatments, adaptive contrast and brightness controls, new presets and selective colorization. Amplify Blacks and Amplify Whites increase highlights and shadows, respectively, throughout an image to create a unique contrast effect. As with the previous version, Silver Efex Pro 2 uses Nik Software’s U Point technology for selective editing. Estimated Street Price: $199 (new); $99 (upgrade). Contact: Nik Software, (619) 725-3150, www.niksoftware.com.
The latest SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash memory card has 128 GB of capacity and delivers write speeds of up to 100 MB/s. The card is built for taking high-resolution stills and recording full 1920x1080 HD video. When recording HD video, the card is capable of 20 MB/s sustained write speeds. Additional features include a bit rate of up to 50 MB/s and 4:2:2 color sampling. A silicone coating provides added protection from moisture and humidity. Estimated Street Price: $1,499. Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK, www.sandisk.com.
The innovative Arca-Swiss d4 and d4m pan-tilt heads are designed for more precise camera movement. The d4 can be controlled either manually or with micrometers. With the d4m, all movements are manual only. Both models have a turning device at their base to align the camera, as well as a panning device under the camera mount for shooting panoramas. Under the panning device are two bubble levels that sit at a 90º angle for aligning the camera as well. The d4 and d4m weigh 1.7 and 1.4 pounds, respectively. Estimated Street Price: $1,102 (d4); $711 (d4m). Contact: Arca-Swiss International, P.O. Box 28450, Tempe, AZ 85285, (480) 755-3364, www.precisioncameraworks.com.
Give yourself a nice big display to view your HD video footage with the Sony CLM-V55 External LCD Monitor. The five-inch, clip-on monitor has WVGA (800x480) resolution, tilt/swivel capability for viewing and framing shots at any angle, and color peaking and pixel magnification modes for precise focus confirmation. Adjustable settings include aspect ratio (16:9/4:3), volume, brightness, contrast, color tone (phase), color temp and auto dimmer. There’s also a headphone jack for accurate audio monitoring and a detachable LCD hood for more precise viewing under bright sunlight. Estimated Street Price: $400. Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669, www.sonystyle.com.
Swing around the Clik Elite Impulse Sling to quickly grab your camera and shoot. The fully padded camera compartment fits a pro-sized DSLR and lens. A tuck-away tripod attachment holds a small tripod, and a media organizer protects memory cards, cables and other items. Additional features include a padded shoulder strap with a quick-release sternum attachment for stability, a stash pocket with a compression cord and mesh side pockets for water bottles and other extras. Estimated Street Price: $125. Contact: Clik Elite, (888) 532-2545, www.clikelite.com.


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