Covering The Photo Beat; Camera & Lens Wraps, Light Shaper, And More

Stowaway Case: Stackable & Shippable
The new Stowaway 20-20 Wheeled case from Porter Case is designed to be part of a total travel system as it mates with all Porter carryon cases having a cart. Male channels on the bottom fit into channels in the lid of other Porter cases while female channels on the Stowaway lid permit other Stowaway cases to stack and nest on top. It measures about 20x20x12.5" deep. The construction is tough polyethylene plastic with an aluminum valance and lid stays. It comes cloth lined with layered foam or can be used with an adjustable divider system. The corners are ATA style, bumped out so they protect the heavy-duty twist latches, steel hinges, ball-bearing wheels, and extension handle. There are padded spring-loaded side loop handles and it weighs just 18 lbs. The size easily accommodates a projector with computer and accessories, photographic lights, or sales samples. The MSRP is $319. Contact: Porter Case, Inc., 3718 W Western Ave., South Bend, IN 46619; (800) 356-8348, (574) 289-2616; fax: (574) 289-2747;

LiteShaper Modifies Softbox Output
LiteShaper is the appropriately named new device that is easily attached either to a softbox or to another LiteShaper by the touch fastener lining. They easily fold, collapse, and bend to create most any light-forming shape such as barn doors, strips, snoots, and similar light-shaping designs both on and off the softbox. Currently LiteShapers are offered for 24x32", 36x48", and 54x72" softboxes. They are intended for photographers who desire a more developed lighting tool as they can mimic many different light-modifying devices. No MSRP was available at press time. Contact: XP Innovations, 1716 Lake Shore Dr., Fort Worth, TX 76103; phone/fax: (817) 534-9737;

Leitz M Classic Bag For Rangefinder Cameras
Photographers using Leica M and similar sized rangefinder camera gear often do rapid journalistic shooting for events, weddings, and general street photography. For these purposes a well-designed, easy-to-grab bag is essential. The new Leitz M Classic Bag holds a lot of gear but presents a very narrow profile so the user can more easily move about at crowded events or in other tight places. The shoulder strap is attached at the rear of the bag, instead of the customary side attachment, so it hangs more comfortably and there is no strap to reach around when accessing the gear inside. In addition, the strap can be adjusted for length at both ends so it can be shortened to carry the bag higher under the arm. A speed pocket inside holds the camera on its side in a convenient, ready-to-grab position. There is no cumbersome foam padding, it simply uses the speed pocket plus a movable cloth divider to separate the gear. These bags are bench made by hand in New England from the same waterproof and colorfast Cabriolet fabric used for the convertible tops of imported automobiles. The MSRP is $219. This bag is available at Leica dealers or directly from M Classics, 30 Kirkwood Rd., Brighton, MA 02135; (617) 787-2105; fax: (617) 787-2424;

Second-Generation Lensbaby
A new, second-generation version of the selective focus 35mm SLR camera lens called the Lensbaby 2.0 is said to offer brighter, sharper, and considerably faster speed selective focus capability for creative photographers. The new version features a coated, high refractive index, low dispersion optical glass lens rather than the single element uncoated glass element found in the Original Lensbaby. This is said to give the user a sweeter spot of critically sharp focus. This sweet spot is surrounded by graduated blur plus subtle prismatic distortions. The user can manipulate the sharp area around the image area by bending the flexible, accordion-like lens tubing using a finger on each hand to adjust the lens angle and focus point. Another major improvement is the new version has three shielded magnets embedded inside the optics cup, which suspends metallicized plastic aperture disks just above the lens. Inserting and removing the disk to change the aperture is much easier now. It's now offered in lens mounts compatible with virtually all SLR camera bodies at an MSRP of $150. For individuals who prefer a soft focus, diffused image, the Original Lensbaby is still offered at $96. Contact: Lensbabies LLC, 135 SE Main St., Ste. 201, Portland, OR 97214; (971) 223-5662; fax: (971) 223-5301;