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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In Focus: March 2010

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Using the Lensbaby Fisheye Optic with a Composer or Muse lens allows you to get a 160-degree angle of view from infinity all the way down to one inch from the front of the lens. It features a six-element, multicoated optical design with an ultrawide 12mm focal length. The Fisheye has a much flatter field of focus so it creates some edge blur at brighter apertures, but it doesn’t have the “sweet spot” of sharp focus and dramatic blur as do typical Lensbaby optics. Also new is a Soft Focus Optic for creating a soft and diffused look. Estimated Street Price: $150 (Fisheye); $90 (Soft Focus). Contact: Lensbaby, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbaby.com.
If you spend a lot of time shooting in low light, DxO Optics Pro 6 can help you gain between one and two full stops of ISO sensitivity beyond what your camera can do. The app preserves high image quality of shots taken at extreme ISO settings. This is particularly helpful if you shoot with one of the latest DSLRs capable of 25,600, and even 102,400, ISO settings. New noise-reduction technology extends dynamic range and removes unpleasant low-frequency noise. The program also includes a new sharpening control that creates crisper images by amplifying fine details, and it automatically corrects for lens problems such as chromatic aberration. Estimated Street Price: $169 (Standard); $299 (Elite). Contact: DxO Optics, www.dxo.com.
Stay incognito when transporting your expensive camera equipment in Think Tank Photo’s Urban Disguise 70 Pro. The briefcase-shaped shoulder bag is especially nice when you’re traveling and don’t want to attract attention. With 14.5x12.3x6.5 inches of interior room, there’s space for two regular- or pro-sized DSLRs with lenses attached, and it accommodates a variety of camera configurations. An optional Shoulder Harness Attachment lets you convert it from a shoulder bag to a traditional backpack. High-quality YKK zippers and nylon ballistic fabric enhance its durability. Estimated Street Price: $189. Contact: Think Tank Photo, (866) 558-4465, www.thinktankphoto.com.
The Arca-Swiss Monoball p0 tripod head is designed without knobs for better handling. It can be grasped from any angle, left or right, and locked by turning the knurled part. The 9.9-ounce ballhead is equipped with three locking elements that are arranged around the ball like planets. As the camera is placed directly on the ball and not on its neck, the movements are as stable as if they were on a rubber ring. It offers a tilt ball range of 90 degrees and 360 degrees panning. The p0’s big brother, the Monoball p1, is more robust and weighs 17.5 ounces. It’s capable of handling heavy telephoto lenses and large-format cameras. Estimated Street Price: From $249. Contact: Arca-Swiss, (773) 248-2513, www.precisioncameraworks.com.
Make gallery-wrapped canvas prints of your landscapes with the Hahnemühle Gallerie Wrap system. The 1¼-inch-deep stretcher bars now are available in convenient, and more economical, Pair Packs. Each pack contains two bars of a given size, two corner braces and two corner-holding pins. Previously, the wraps came in 20-bar bulk quantities. Now, if you want to make a 16x20-inch wrap, you can buy just those sizes instead of a full box in both lengths. The system is made up of easy-to-use fastening components and bars. Estimated Street Price: Varies by size. Contact: Hahnemühle, (815) 502-5880, www.hahnemuhle.com.
Keep dust from ruining your images with Dust-Shield, a disposable filter for DSLRs that prevents dust from entering the chamber when you’re changing lenses. With high light transmittance, autofocus and image capture are unobstructed. You place it within the camera body, and the chamber area is protected from external dust. To remove the filter, apply an adhesive tab on its center and gently pull up. The first available models are for the Canon EOS 5D and 5D Mark II with more to come. Estimated Street Price: $19. Contact: OmegaSatter, (410) 374-3250, www.omegasatter.com.


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