Photo Accessory Reviews

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Anthony L. Celeste  |  Jun 28, 2013  |  First Published: May 01, 2013  |  1 comments

When shooting portraits on a green screen setup the first stage in the work is selecting and removing the green screen itself, something a “magic wand” or similar selection tool will accomplish. The next stage is finding and fitting an appropriate replacement background, and just as Digital Anarchy’s Primatte Chromakey streamlines the green screen removal process, the company also offers a Photoshop plug-in that streamlines the background creation process. Dubbed Backdrop Designer, the software can aid you in digitally creating muslin drapes, lighting effects, and other photographic backgrounds.

Jack Neubart  |  May 03, 2013  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2013  |  0 comments

There are several ways to trigger a camera wirelessly but up until recently none of them conveniently gave Nikon D600 shooters a large-screen remote live view. Enter the Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter that operates with “smart” devices—namely iOS and Android tablets and phones, in conjunction with the Nikon Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app. The device is a tiny Wi-Fi 11b/g/n dongle about the size of the tip of your thumb and connects to the camera’s USB port. It even comes with a short lanyard and protective case, so you can keep it attached to the camera strap. I tested it with a third-generation Apple iPad with Retina display. Read on, as you’ll find important tips here that are not found in the instructions. (Note: WU-1b also works with the Nikon 1 V2; model WU-1a is currently available for the Nikon D3200.)

Matthew Bamberg  |  Dec 17, 2012  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2012  |  12 comments

Photographers should back up their image files—it’s as simple as that—and there are numerous services that offer their services today. In this article I’ll be looking at one, Carbonite (www.carbonite.com), that works somewhat differently from others. Many people have told me that their $59 per year for the Home Plan, unlimited backup, is a steal, so I thought I’d check it out.

Jon Canfield  |  Nov 20, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2012  |  0 comments

I’ve been a long-time user of Wacom graphic tablets as part of my editing workflow. Making selections, painting a mask, and many other operations are not only more intuitive with a pen, but you have much finer control than you do with a mouse or trackpad. Until now, the Intuos4 Wireless tablet with Bluetooth has been what I considered to be as close to perfect as you could get. Used either left- or right-handed, I can have it plugged in via USB or use with Bluetooth when traveling or when I need to be a bit further from the computer, as when I’m teaching a workshop. When Wacom announced the Intuos5, I was curious as to what could possibly be improved upon from the current model, so I was anxious to take a look.

Jack Neubart  |  Sep 20, 2012  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2012  |  0 comments

Slik introduced the first pistol grip over 25 years ago, heralding an innovative adaptation of the ball socket head. Still in production, that head has not changed, but today there are numerous variations on this basic design. Several are fashioned along the lines of a video game joystick. Two other types included here are the collar lock ball head and what I call the “vice grip” head.

Jack Neubart  |  Sep 11, 2012  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2012  |  0 comments

While I’ve found Nikon’s wireless TTL system to be a great asset, I also understand that it has inherent weaknesses when used around obstacles that block the signal, as well as outdoors beyond a few feet or under sunlight. Enter PocketWizard’s ControlTL (Control The Light) TTL-auto radios for Nikon (originally introduced for Canon). These radios are designed to respond in every respect as a dedicated extension of the Nikon CLS/i-TTL system. And they have the potential to do that, provided you keep on top of firmware updates (www.pocketwizard.com/support). I conducted my tests using my Nikon D300 together with the Nikon SB-900 speedlight (verified by PocketWizard as compatible) and briefly an SB-700 (not confirmed at time of testing).

Jon Canfield  |  Sep 06, 2012  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2012  |  0 comments

One of the most common complaints about digital imaging is the lack of consistency when going from one device to another—most commonly screen to print. Dark prints are the typical complaint, but color shifts are also a contributor to choice language and lack of hair. Yes, we tweak the image until the sky is that perfect hue of blue, or the skin tones have just the right amount of warmth and vibrancy. When it’s all done, the image is posted online or printed and it looks nothing like what we expected. The image is too dark, skin tones are too red, any number of problems. Where did it go wrong?

 

In almost all cases, the culprit is an uncalibrated display. Back when CRT displays were the common screen type, color could be wildly different and it was usually pretty easy to detect when the display was at fault. With modern LCD displays that isn’t necessarily the case—color is often close to correct in hue, but luminance, or brightness, is where the problem usually lies.

George Schaub  |  Jul 18, 2012  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2012  |  3 comments

Wacom recently introduced their new line of Bamboo tablets, and we thought we’d revisit the use of stylus and tablet tools to give it a try. For our test we worked with the Bamboo Capture, described by the company as most apt for enthusiast digital photographers, although there are three intros in this new line.

David B. Brooks  |  May 10, 2012  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2012  |  26 comments

I usually do not write reports on new computers, but the new 2011 Apple Mac mini (www.apple.com) is an exception. It is not because it has the fastest CPU, as that is not a major advantage for working with digital photographs. In fact, doing digital photographic editing does not involve much computation (“compute” is to calculate or reckon a figure or amount) and no calculation is needed to edit an image with Photoshop. When an image editor opens a digital photographic file, the entire image, every pixel, is put into RAM memory.

George Schaub  |  Mar 26, 2012  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2012  |  4 comments

Backing up images while on the road makes sense; having a backup drive that can take the rigors of the road seems to make even more sense. That’s the idea behind the ioSafe Rugged Portable USB 3.0, available in various configurations, including SSD (Solid State Drive) and HDD (Hard Disk Drive), capacities, and aluminum or titanium covers. Regardless of the enclosure, the unit is dubbed shockproof (drops from 20 feet with the SSD and titanium enclosure with the optional “skin”), waterproof (submersible up to 10 feet for three days in aluminum, or 30 feet in titanium), and dustproof even in sandstorms, and even during ice storms for 24 hours. And, you’re also covered if you happen to drop it into a barrel of oil (up to 12 feet for an hour) or climb above 15,000 feet (aluminum) or 30,000 feet (titanium). To back up their guarantees the company includes a one-year replacement and one-time data recovery guarantee (up to $5000 on the data side).

David B. Brooks  |  Mar 15, 2012  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2012  |  9 comments

If you are a serious digital photographer you probably have a good D-SLR camera. And you expect it will capture sharp, finely focused, high-quality photographic images. It follows that the display you choose should be capable of reproducing all the attributes and qualities your camera has recorded. Most of the displays sold with computers in box stores, however, are not much better at reproducing photographs than the old-type big and heavy CRTs we had back in the mid-1990s.

Jay Miller  |  Feb 10, 2012  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2012  |  0 comments

I’ve been a dedicated gimbal head user for a long time. If you shoot with seriously long lenses, no other head comes close to offering a gimbal’s stability, articulation, and flexibility. Forget ball heads and anything else designed to attach long telephotos to a tripod. If you’re a big lens user and you photograph things that move, a gimbal is the only way to go.

Jay Miller  |  Jan 20, 2012  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2011  |  1 comments

Like most of you, I’ve been frustrated by the amount of dust that accumulates not only on my sensors but also on my cameras and lenses in general. It’s an ongoing battle. Take photos, clean cameras; take photos, clean cameras.

David B. Brooks  |  Jan 19, 2012  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2011  |  8 comments

It has been some time since anentirely new hardware andsoftware display color management system was introduced. X-Rite, the world’s largest color management manufacturer, now has a new i1Display colorimeter and next generation i1Profiler software. First of all, the new i1Display Pro is designed to accommodate all kinds of computer displays, including standard home/office models, wide color range displays, LED backlit LCD displays, laptops, and projector displays. The new colorimeter is a very flexible and convenient instrument design capable of measuring displays directly, as well as projected on a screen, plus ambient environmental illumination, all in one instrument. This new i1Display colorimeter is also capable of measuring a display at full screen to evaluate flare, and correct for it. It also features ADC, or Automatic Display Control, to manage a display’s internal controls and eliminate manual adjustments. Added to this comprehensive package is the Pantone management system for spot colors. A set of different methods of validation is available to measure the result of calibration and profiling with user-defined pass/fail tolerances.

 

Art Ketchum  |  Dec 15, 2011  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Over the years I’ve photographed hundreds if not thousands of models and subjects on muslin, canvas, and other background materials, and in many unique settings. I’ve had the privilege to shoot many magazine covers, dozens of catalogs, and ads for magazines.

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