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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In Focus: August 2012

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You can configure the Manfrotto SYMPLA modular camera-rigging system without tools and within seconds. Flexibility and speed influenced how each of the components was designed, from self-supporting clamps that stay in place even before they're locked to easy-locking ball-joint handgrips, which were inspired by Manfrotto's ballheads for still cameras. Additional elements such as multi-axis micro-adjusters with single locking mechanisms, as well as sliding plates with quick-release buttons, have features that were borrowed from other Manfrotto support heads. Camera remotes, which fit the rig handgrips, allow you precise fingertip control for framing and accessing camera functions without losing your grip position. This also helps you keep your eyes on the frame for capturing steady, high-quality footage. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: Manfrotto, (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us.
The LumiQuest Strobist Kit puts three useful light modifiers in one package. The Promax Softbox III, the FXtra Compact Gel Holder with Rosco Gels and two UltraStraps along with a secure non-adhesive mounting strap are all included. The Softbox III is about 20 times the size of a portable flash head so the light it produces covers a large area for softer shadows. The FXtra is a nine-piece gel kit that includes gels for balancing your flash for tungsten and fluorescent light, as well as red, blue and yellow special-effects gels. The straps let you securely attach the accessories to the flash. Estimated Street Price: $65. Contact: LumiQuest, (800) 332-4644, www.lumiquest.com.
Protect your lenses from the bumps and scrapes that often come with shooting in the field using the LensCoat LensPouch. The soft neoprene bags are available in seven sizes, so they also can be used to store ballheads, light meters, GPS units and other extras. An easy pull-cord closure delivers fast and easy access, and you can connect the pouch to a belt using the built-in one-inch belt loop. The LensPouch also includes a removable reinforced front element-protection disc for your lenses. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $15. Contact: LensCoat, www.lenscoat.com.

Clean up your lenses, LCD screens, viewfinders and filters with the redesigned LensPen. There are several models, including the Original, DigiKlear, MiniPro, MicroPro and FilterKlear. While the sleek design is new, how the cleaning tool works hasn't changed. It uses the grease-cutting properties found in carbon compounds to remove fingerprints from optical surfaces. The compound that LensPen uses is similar to the one used in printer's ink. Before the carbon does its job, a retractable natural brush removes loose dust from the lens surface. The cap screws on to ensure the carbon is replenished in the cleaning pad. Estimated Street Price: $14 (Original). Contact: LensPen, www.lenspen.com.

When a sudden thunderstorm hits, you won't miss out on taking dramatic lightning images with the Strike Finder app from Ubertronix. Instead of creating a trigger app that attaches to an external camera, Strike Finder allows you to point your iPhone in the direction of the lightning and take a picture. It works with the iPad and iPod touch, as well. This latest offering from Ubertronix joins a series of camera triggers, with the most basic model capable of taking lightning pictures to the most advanced being able to capture speeding bullets. Estimated Street Price: $2 (app). Contact: Ubertronix, (210) 363-5738, www.ubertronix.com.

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