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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Focus: December 2012

This Article Features Photo Zoom
One of the downsides of using a DSLR for video is that it's very prone to motion artifacts and "jelly-motion," where panning horizontally results in image at the top of the frame being skewed in comparison to the same image at the bottom of the frame. The Merlin 2 from Steadicam brings the smooth tracking and panning shots that you see in movies to video-capable DSLRs. There are a variety of camera rigs on the market for attaining a bit of balance with the less-than-ergonomic design of still cameras, but Merlin 2 offers steady support and hovering stability at a pro level thanks to a precisely adjustable counterbalance system, high-quality parts and a precise design. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Steadicam (Tiffen Company), (631) 273-2500, www.tiffen.com. —DW

With the huge image files produced by modern DSLRs—plus HD video, too—it's not uncommon to transfer multiple gigabytes of data at a time. That's where a high-speed card reader like Hoodman's RAW STEEL SuperSpeed USB 3.0 UDMA can save a lot of time. Transfer speeds of up to 5 Gb/s (about 600 MB/s) move large photo and video files from your CF and SD cards to your computer 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Though your computer must have a USB 3.0 port to achieve these speeds, the reader is backward-compatible to USB 2.0. List Price: $49. Contact: Hoodman USA, (800) 818-3946, www.hoodmanusa.com. —WP

This smaller camera bag comes in two sizes, 150 (10.6x7.2x11.6 inches) and 250 (10.8x8x13.6 inches), and is handy when you just need to take a small amount of gear with you. You can wear it in front, back or on the side, and load from the top or with the front panel fully opened. Each Lowepro Urban Photo Sling has a padded tablet compartment, an adjustable and removable padded divider system, and a hideaway waist belt. List Price: $99 (250). Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com. —MS
The Pro-Optic Macro Zoomer extension tube lets you continuously adjust magnification without having to remove the lens and change tubes. The tube functions like a zoom lens. Rotating its "zoom" ring adjusts the magnification. Autofocus and auto-exposure operation are both preserved. The focusing range is between 46mm and 68mm. It's available for Canon and Nikon. Estimated Street Price: $129. Contact: Pro-Optic (Adorama), (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com. —KC
Ballheads are ideal for landscape photography, allowing you to position the camera just where you want it and lock it there with the twist of a knob. The Acratech GP-s functions like a ballhead, gimbal head and panoramic head all in one. It can handle lenses up to 400mm, supports a load capacity of up to 25 pounds and weighs less than a pound. This model was designed with a smaller-diameter base for using with travel tripods where the legs fold around the tripod head. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Acratech, www.acratech.net. —KC
I've been interested in combining photography with other art forms since my mixed-media classes in college—so Bay Photo Creative Edge Metal Prints immediately appealed to me. By infusing dyes into specially coated aluminum sheets, Bay Photo can produce beautiful photo prints on an extremely durable metal substrate. To make the finished product even more sculptural, you can choose to have the metal print cut to one of 24 shapes. Sizes range from 5x5 to 30x30 inches. List Price: From $20. Contact: Bay Photo, (800) 435-6686, www.bayphoto.com. —WP

If you're looking to minimize the time you spend processing images and spend that time shooting instead, ArcSoft PhotoStudio 6 excels at making essential enhancements fast and easy. With support for RAW formats, the ability to create HDR images from multiple exposures and all of the essential tools you'd expect for precise image adjustments, PhotoStudio 6 is also priced to be a great value. List Price: $79 (Windows and Mac). Contact: ArcSoft, (510) 440-9901 www.arcsoft.com. —WP

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