TOOLBOX The Alien Skin Photo Bundle is a collection of plug-ins designed to expand creative options in the digital darkroom. Compatible with Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, programs include Blow Up 2, Bokeh, Exposure 2, Image Doctor 2 and Snap Art 2. The set represents $500 worth of savings off individual prices. Blow Up enlarges photos while retaining clarity. Bokeh simulates focus effects of real lenses. Exposure simulates a wide range of film stocks with more than 300 presets for films, special effects and darkroom techniques. Image Doctor provides a complete set of photo-restoration tools. Snap Art turns a photo into a work of art with a click. Estimated Street Price: $595. Contact: Alien Skin Software, (888) 921-SKIN, www.alienskin.com.
FINE GRAIN For film shooters, Kodak’s Ektar Professional 100 film offers high saturation, ultra-vivid color, excellent sharpness, extraordinary enlargement capability, good latitude (-1 to +2 stops) and lots of dye. It’s optimized for scanning and features the latest technology from Kodak’s motion-picture group. The C-41 can be processed by many labs and is available in 35mm. Estimated Street Price: $17 (120 Pro Pack). Contact: :Eastman Kodak, (800) 242-2424, www.kodak.com.
FRESH VIEW The affordable Pro-Optic 8mm ƒ/3.5 Fish-eye CS lens is designed for D-SLRs with APS-sized sensors. With a close-focusing distance of 12 inches, a 180º angle of view and deep depth of field, you can capture truly unique and dramatic close-ups from a fresh perspective. Lens construction consists of 10 elements in seven groups. It also features a built-in lens hood and is available in Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony mounts. Estimated Street Price: $289. Contact: Pro-Optic (Adorama), (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.
FLIPBAC If your digital camera has Live View, but not a tilting LCD monitor, the Flipbac is a clever device that combines an angle finder and LCD protector. It’s easy to attach to a D-SLR or compact camera. In the closed position, it protects the LCD screen from damage. The unit tilts down or sideways and contains a mirror that allows you to see the LCD monitor image for comfortable odd-angle shooting in horizontal or vertical format. Estimated Street Price: $19. Contact: OmegaSatter, (410) 374-3250, www.omegasatter.com.
IN THE BAG Pack a pro D-SLR plus two to three large-aperture lenses into the Tamrac Ultra Pro 7 (Model 5607). Designed with a slim profile, the bag has enough room for wide-angle, standard and telephoto zooms, plus a flash. For enhancedsecurity, the Total Coverage Top can be zipped closed and buckled up. As with all Tamrac bags, the main compartment is padded with foam, as are the dividers. Front and back pockets hold accessories. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.