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In Focus: August 2012
Boost the quality of your DSLR filmmaking with support from the Redrock Micro ultraCage DSLR. It secures the camera body at three points by screwing into the camera base, fastening to the top hot-shoe and locking the camera in place with an anti-rotation pin. Several Canon and Nikon bodies, including the Canon EOS 7D, Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon D800/D800E, have been tested with the support system, which includes industry-standard 15mm bottom rails for accessories such as a mattebox, follow focus or lens support. The built-in 15mm top rail lets you keep a camera-top monitor or remote focus motor on your camera at all times, and there are 22 mounting points (standard 1⁄4-inch and 3⁄8-inch) for other accessories. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $595. Contact: Redrock Micro, (888) 214-3903, www.redrockmicro.com.
Keep your camera gear close when traveling by air using the Rolling DigiSuite DSLR Camera Case from Petrol Bags to tote your stuff around. The carry-on-size rollaway camera bag glides along smoothly, and the front lid quickly unzips for getting into the central compartment where your equipment is stored. It fits up to two DSLRs with lenses attached, and removable dividers can be configured for storing spare lenses, a mattebox, camera baseplate, follow focus, cables and more. Without the dividers, the bag functions like a standard suitcase. The lid has a padded pouch that fits up to a 17-inch screen and a smaller zippered envelope-style mesh pocket that holds small accessories. Estimated Street Price: $279. Contact: Petrol Bags, (845) 268-0100, www.petrolbags.com.
Keep your DSLR firmly grounded with help from the Davis & Sanford Pro Elite tripods. With both a ground- and mid-level spreader, the tripods will stabilize your camera no matter what kind of surface you’re shooting on. An ergonomically designed lever system lets you pan, scan and tilt the fluid head, and counter-balance control mechanisms provide support for a wide range of camera weights. The variable quick release allows you to fine-tune camera balance rather easily. All three models feature aluminum legs and have a maximum height of 64 inches and a minimum height of 23.6 inches. The high-end Pro Elite 5100-25 is a 100mm video tripod with a head that has four-position pan-and-tilt drag functionality. Estimated Street Price: $1,099 (5100-25). Contact: Davis & Sanford (Tiffen), (631) 273-2500, www.tiffen.com.
Sometimes the convenience of a point-and-shoot is just too good to pass up on a hiking or camping trip, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t take some awesome-looking photos. The Leica X2 features a large APS-C CMOS sensor with 16-megapixel resolution. The autofocus system is noticeably faster than its X1 predecessor, especially in low light, and you can crank the ISO all the way up to 12,500 when needed. The X2 has the same fast 24mm ƒ/2.8 lens as the X1. A range of shooting options lets you switch between manual and automatic control, and the 2.7-inch LCD delivers a bright, clear view, even in strong lighting conditions. List Price: $1,999. Contact: Leica, (800) 222-0118, www.leica-camera.com.
The NEXTODI ND2730 storage drive gives you a fast, reliable way of not only backing up your images, but also previewing them out in the field. Copy, delete, browse, backup and preview functions are accessible through a single button on the 1.44-inch TFT LCD. Compatible with CF, SD, SDXC and SDHC memory card formats, the drive can back up a CF card at 70 MBps, which is three times faster than previous models, and SD, SDXC and SDHC cards at up to 25 MBps. Available in 500 GB and 750 GB capacities, the drive is also compatible with USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 interfaces for speedy transfer to and from your computer. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $450. Contact: NEXTODI (International Supplies), (800) 999-1984, www.nextodiusa.com.
You can configure the Manfrotto SYMPLA modular camera-rigging system without tools and within seconds. Flexibility and speed influenced how each of the components was designed, from self-supporting clamps that stay in place even before they’re locked to easy-locking ball-joint handgrips, which were inspired by Manfrotto’s ballheads for still cameras. Additional elements such as multi-axis micro-adjusters with single locking mechanisms, as well as sliding plates with quick-release buttons, have features that were borrowed from other Manfrotto support heads. Camera remotes, which fit the rig handgrips, allow you precise fingertip control for framing and accessing camera functions without losing your grip position. This also helps you keep your eyes on the frame for capturing steady, high-quality footage. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: Manfrotto, (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us.
The LumiQuest Strobist Kit puts three useful light modifiers in one package. The Promax Softbox III, the FXtra Compact Gel Holder with Rosco Gels and two UltraStraps along with a secure non-adhesive mounting strap are all included. The Softbox III is about 20 times the size of a portable flash head so the light it produces covers a large area for softer shadows. The FXtra is a nine-piece gel kit that includes gels for balancing your flash for tungsten and fluorescent light, as well as red, blue and yellow special-effects gels. The straps let you securely attach the accessories to the flash. Estimated Street Price: $65. Contact: LumiQuest, (800) 332-4644, www.lumiquest.com.
Protect your lenses from the bumps and scrapes that often come with shooting in the field using the LensCoat LensPouch. The soft neoprene bags are available in seven sizes, so they also can be used to store ballheads, light meters, GPS units and other extras. An easy pull-cord closure delivers fast and easy access, and you can connect the pouch to a belt using the built-in one-inch belt loop. The LensPouch also includes a removable reinforced front element-protection disc for your lenses. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $15. Contact: LensCoat, www.lenscoat.com.
Clean up your lenses, LCD screens, viewfinders and filters with the redesigned LensPen. There are several models, including the Original, DigiKlear, MiniPro, MicroPro and FilterKlear. While the sleek design is new, how the cleaning tool works hasn’t changed. It uses the grease-cutting properties found in carbon compounds to remove fingerprints from optical surfaces. The compound that LensPen uses is similar to the one used in printer’s ink. Before the carbon does its job, a retractable natural brush removes loose dust from the lens surface. The cap screws on to ensure the carbon is replenished in the cleaning pad. Estimated Street Price: $14 (Original). Contact: LensPen, www.lenspen.com.
When a sudden thunderstorm hits, you won’t miss out on taking dramatic lightning images with the Strike Finder app from Ubertronix. Instead of creating a trigger app that attaches to an external camera, Strike Finder allows you to point your iPhone in the direction of the lightning and take a picture. It works with the iPad and iPod touch, as well. This latest offering from Ubertronix joins a series of camera triggers, with the most basic model capable of taking lightning pictures to the most advanced being able to capture speeding bullets. Estimated Street Price: $2 (app). Contact: Ubertronix, (210) 363-5738, www.ubertronix.com.
Made with full-grain boot leather that’s more than tough enough for handling the outdoors, Saddleback Leather bags and accessories come with a 100-year warranty. The Gadget Bag is available in three sizes, with the largest able to hold a pro DSLR with attached 24-70mm, plus two additional lenses, a flash unit and extras such as batteries, filters and memory cards. The sewn cap closure keeps gear clean and dry, even in the dustiest and wettest of places. Padded dividers are available. Estimated Street Price: $162 to $280. Contact: Saddleback Leather, (210) 858-5210, www.saddlebackleather.com.
When you’re shooting from the car window and need some support, the Apex Bean Bag is a sturdy solution. The bag is made from tightly woven heavy-duty nylon pack cloth and sewn with high-strength polyester thread. With an aluminum plate that can be inserted into the top pocket of the bag for using a tripod head, the bean bag allows you to track, pan and use autofocus. Its large, flat top offers a stable surface for supporting lenses, and the bottom U-shaped portion is covered with a high-tack material, ensuring that the bag stays in place. Estimated Street Price: $129. Contact: Essential Photo Gear, www.essentialphotogear.com.
Carrying a DSLR around your waist as opposed to your neck can be a more comfortable option. The makers of the b-grip EVO belt holder now offer some other helpful accessories to go along withtheir hip alternative. The Universal Tripod Adapter fits all tripod models and is compatible with all b-grip camera accessories. The HS+ Handstrap includes the b-grip Quick Release Plate to securely go from belt to shooting in a snap. The unique “S” shape of the strap is designed to keep your fingers free for operating the camera. The Travel Kit lets you attach your camera directly to a backpack shoulder strap. Estimated Street Price: $19 (Tripod Adapter); $24 (Handstrap); $19 (Travel Kit). Contact: OmegaBrandess, (410) 374-3250, www.omegabrandess.com.
The grey side of the Novoflex Zebra card serves as a reference area for exposure metering, and the white side ensures accurate white balance. After taking a light reading of the card to perform an exposure measurement or white balance, the camera is able to deliver the most accurate exposure and color under the existing lighting conditions. The Zebra card is made from a flexible polymer with anti-reflection coating on both sides. Two sizes are available. Estimated Street Price: $27 to $34. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
Beef up your iPhone camera accessories by checking out the Adorama iPhone Toolshed. Lots of interesting little items can be found here, such as the Capta Tripod Mount/Phone Stand, the Digital King Magnet-Mount Wide Angle/Macro Lens and the Steadicam Smoothee. In addition to serving as a tripod mount, the Capta has a slot next to the tripod socket for keeping cables in order. The Wide Angle/Macro Lens from Digital King turns your iPhone lens into a 20mm. And the Steadicam Smoothee, with its ball-jointed handgrip, keeps the phone steady when you’re capturing video. Estimated Street Price: $34 (mount); $39 (lens); $179 (Smoothee). Contact: Adorama, www.adorama.com/iphonetoolshed.