OP Home > Gear > In Focus > December 2012


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Focus: December 2012

This Article Features Photo Zoom
While HDR technology can be polarizing among nature photographers, one thing we can all agree on is that it's here to stay. When it's not overdone, you can use HDR software to expand the dynamic range of a photo beyond the limits of the sensor to create more life-like photographs. HDRsoft Photomatix Pro is onae of the pioneers of HDR technology, and the software remains one of the most capable on the market. Photomatix can be used as a plug-in for Aperture, Lightroom or Photoshop, or you can purchase a stand-alone program. There are several bundles available at different prices. List Price: Starts at $29; $99 (Photomatix Pro standalone). Contact: HDRsoft, www.hdrsoft.com. —CR

A solid support system makes all the difference when trying to improve your video clips. The Manfrotto SYMPLA rigging system can be configured in seconds, without tools, and accommodates a wide range of DSLR systems. With self-supporting clamps that stay in place before they're locked and easy-locking ball-joint handgrips, the rig's design makes it easy for you to adjust your shot mid-scene. Built from steel and aluminum, it can be mounted on a tripod, supported on the shoulder or held like a steering wheel. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: Manfrotto, (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us. —KC
CANON EF-S 18-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM
Featuring an updated optical design and the addition of Canon's new Stepping Motor Technology (STM) motor for smooth and silent autofocus, the zooming abilities and essential focal-range coverage of the revised EF-S 18-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM makes it a good all-in-one choice for daily use with stills and video on APS-C sensors. The STM motor is important for shooting video because it silences the typical "searching" autofocus whirs that the camera's interior mic often picks up. The lens also has four stops of image stabilization and the Dynamic IS mode for image stabilization during video capture. List Price: $549. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com. —DW
If you have an APS-C camera and want to shoot very wide, the Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II is tough to beat for its price and performance combination. This seems like a pretty limited range, but at these focal lengths, it represents a change of some 40% from superwide to moderately wide. On an APS-C camera, this is an approximate equivalent of 17-24mm. The constant ƒ/2.8 aperture is fast and gives you a sweet spot in the ƒ/8-ƒ/11 range (about 3 stops from wide open) for sharp, clear images. And it also gives you new low-light opportunities. The Tokina One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism lets you go from manual to AF and back instantly. Estimated Street Price: $739. Contact: Tokina (THK Photo Products), (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com. —CR

One of the key benefits to large-format equipment is the ability to tilt and shift the lens plane and film plane. The Schneider Optics PC-TS lenses let you adjust the lens plane when you're shooting with your DSLR. These ultra-high-quality lenses are available for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony (Alpha) in 50mm ƒ/2.8 Super Angulon and 90mm ƒ/4.5 Makro Symmar versions (there's a 120mm ƒ/5.6 Apo Digital model for Mamiya/Phase One). The high-precision construction results in no play in the mechanism. The lateral shift is +/-12º and tilt is 8º. List Price: $3,962 (90mm); $4,192 (50mm); $5,657 (120mm). Contact: Schneider Optics, (800) 228-1254, www.schneideroptics.com. —CR
The Nik Software HDR Efex Pro 2 plug-in is one of our favorites—it's powerful and gives you a lot of control over how much of the effect to infuse your images with. The program benefits greatly from Nik's U Point technology, which allows you to fine-tune color and contrast locally for a refined HDR effect. You can review the adjustments you've made and experiment with different looks using the History Browser, which records every enhancement you make in an editing session. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Nik Software, www.niksoftware.com. —KC

1 Comment

Add Comment


Popular OP Articles