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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In Focus: November 2011

Convert from color to black-and-white with Silver Efex Pro 2 from Nik Software. The upgraded plug-in now features a History Browser for comparing previous image versions or different editing treatments, adaptive contrast and brightness controls, new presets and selective colorization. Amplify Blacks and Amplify Whites adaptively increase highlights and shadows, respectively, throughout an image, creating a unique contrast effect. As with the previous version, Silver Efex Pro 2 uses Nik Software's U Point technology for selective editing. Estimated Street Price: $199 (new); $99 (upgrade). Contact: Nik Software, (619) 725-3150, www.niksoftware.com.
Sometimes you don't need a ballhead when trying to stabilize your camera on a tripod. The Really Right Stuff Leveling Base Clamp is ideal for those instances when only a small range of motion is needed to level the camera. The clamp can be mounted directly to the top of any RRS leveling base, replacing the existing platform. When used with the TH-DVTL plate attached to the bottom of a tripod head, mounting becomes quick and easy. The unit works with all RRS 1.5-inch dovetail standard rails and most Arca-Swiss-compatible rails. Estimated Street Price: $130 (clamp only); $260 to $269 (leveling base and clamp). Contact: Really Right Stuff, (888) 777-5557, www.reallyrightstuff.com.

Blow up your wildlife pictures to poster or any other size and resolution with Perfect Resize 7, the next generation of onOne Software's popular Genuine Fractals program. Features include sharper detail when increasing image size, more gallery wrap and tiling options (pro version), and interface enhancements. You can adjust the smoothness of curved edges to minimize halos, useful when resizing a low-resolution file. Two new methods allow small details to be made sharper without causing halos on larger edges. The first technique targets out-of-focus images and the second adapts the sharpening amount automatically to the size of image details. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.
The LaCie CloudBox backs up your image files to a local hard drive while also automatically mirroring an AES-encrypted copy to a cloud server daily, so if the device is damaged or inoperable, you still have online copies of all your files. Using LaCie's Online Restore software, you can browse and restore files and folders, up to 10 previous versions. Access is password-restricted, making your online backup even more secure. The CloudBox comes with a one-year subscription for 100 GB. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: LaCie, (503) 844-4500, www.lacie.com.

Aside from interesting pictures, these days all it takes to make a great travel photo book is an easy-to-use software program, a solid inkjet printer and top-notch quality paper. Red River Paper has designed its Arctic Polar Luster Double Sided photo inkjet media specifically for books and portfolios. The 50-pound (190gsm) paper has the same luster surface on both sides so it won't smudge, and offers ideal color saturation and clarity. Arctic Polar is compatible with any inkjet printer, and comes in a number of sizes and sheet packs. Estimated Street Price: $24 (20 pages of 8½x11 inches). Contact: Red River Paper, (888) 248-8774, www.redriverpaper.com.
Scan 3x5- and 4x6-inch negatives with the Flashpoint Photo Scanner (FPSCANA). With a built-in, real-time Scanning Detector to avoid distortion and an "over-speed alert" to control scanning speed, the device is easy to use. Scan resolution is up to 300 dpi, and images are saved as JPEG files. It supports Windows 7, Vista and XP, as well as Mac OS 9 and above. Estimated Street Price: $59. Contact: Flashpoint, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.

Make vivid, sharp-looking prints of your nature and travel photography using a couple of new printers from Canon. With five individual ink tanks, 9600x2400 dpi resolution, a 3-inch LCD and wireless connectivity, the Canon PIXMA MG5320 Wireless Photo All-In-One has a variety of useful features. Using the ChromaLife100+ ink system, prints are produced with dye inks and Canon's FINE print head. The Canon PIXMA iP4920 Inkjet Photo Printer also uses the ChromaLife100+ ink system with five separate ink tanks. The main difference between the printers is the MG5320 also has faxing and scanning capabilities. Estimated Street Price: $149 (MG5320); $99 (iP4920). Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.


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