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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Focus: December 2011

Our annual look at products that the OP Editors found to be particularly interesting and useful for nature photographers

Labels: In Focus
This Article Features Photo Zoom
The Eye-Fi SDHC memory cards have changed the way I work in the field. The cards let me transfer images directly to my iPad or iPhone as I'm shooting and without removing the card to download in a card reader. The Eye-Fi essentially creates its own wireless network, making the transfer process possible. I particularly like the cards when I'm shooting with my underwater housing because I don't have to open the housing to transfer the images. Eye-Fi SDHC cards are available in several capacities. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: Eye-Fi, (877) 873-9334, www.eye.fi—CR
Lighting makes all the difference when you're trying to add drama and intrigue to what otherwise would be just a run-of-the-mill shot. For controlling the spread of light, grids are great tools, but you're confined in terms of variety unless you use multiple grids. The ExpoImaging Rogue Grid remedies this by producing three different honeycomb grid angles. The unit consists of a 45° screen, a 25° screen and the two can be stacked to create a 16° screen. Changing angles and adding lighting gels are easy because of the grid's modular design, and it weighs just 3.5 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $49. Contact: ExpoImaging, (800) 446-5086, www.expoimaging.com—KC
For improved viewfinder clarity, the HoodEYE from Hoodman is an oversized rubber accessory eyecup for DSLRs that seals out ambient light when shooting outside. A slip-ring mount allows for diopter adjustment with the eyecup pressed up to your eye. The latest version can be used with glasses. The eyecup is self-locking, and works with both left-eye and right-eye shooters. Five models fit most Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Estimated Street Price: $19. Contact: Hoodman USA, (800) 818-3946, www.hoodmanusa.com.—KC
There's nothing like looking at a poster-sized print of a photo. Perfect Resize 7 Professional Edition from onOne Software allows you to enlarge images up to 1000% while maintaining image quality. You can adjust the smoothness of curved edges to minimize halos, useful when resizing a low-resolution file. You can control sharpening, textures, film grain and more to fine-tune the results. The program can be used as a standalone application or as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture. List Price: $199. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.—KC
Fisheyes are fun for experimenting with perspective and adding a unique visual appeal. The Canon EF 8-15mm ƒ/4L Fisheye USM is different than most others in that it's also a zoom lens, which makes it doubly effective as an ultra-wide-angle on APS-C and APS-H cameras. What's more, the L-series 8-15mm is the first lens to function as both a complete 180º fisheye on all three Canon sensor formats (full frame, APS-C and APS-H) and as a circular fisheye on full-frame cameras for a distinctive tunnel-like fisheye perspective. List Price: $1,499. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.—DW

The updated Tiffen Dfx 3.0 adds 10 filters to the comprehensive set of more than 2,000 digital filters and effects. New features include DeBand and DeBlock for reducing banding and compression artifacts, DeNoise for working with grain and noise, Key Light for adding directional or point lights to a scene after it has been shot, and Film Stocks with more than 100 color and black-and-white film looks. The software is faster thanks to multiprocessor compatibility and improvements to the interface. It's available as a standalone or as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop/Elements/Lightroom, Apple Aperture and other popular video-editing systems. List Price: $169 (Standalone); $199 (Plug-in);$599 (Video/Film Plug-in). Contact: Tiffen Company, (631) 273-2500, www.tiffen.com.—DW
One of the advantages of a view camera is the ability to use lens movements to control perspective. In 2011, Schneider introduced a pair of perspective-control lenses that bring that ability to DSLRs. Canon and Nikon each offer its own tilt-shift or perspective-control lenses as well, but these new Schneiders bring additional options to nature photographers. The Schneider 50mm ƒ/2.8 Super-Angulon and 90mm ƒ/4.5 Makro-Symmar models are available for Canon, Nikon, Pentax K and Sony Alpha mounts. The lenses aren't inexpensive by any means, but fine optics are worth it. Estimated Street Price: $3,962 (90mm); $4,192 (50mm). Contact: Schneider Optics, (818) 766-3715, www.schneideroptics.com.—CR


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