Gear Up: September’s Essentials in Photo Gadgets and Gizmos

September 1, 2014

By Libby Peterson

The Lomo’Instant Becomes a Reality
After Lomography’s successful Kickstarter campaign (raising over a million dollars from a $100,000 goal), the Lomo’Instant camera is becoming a reality. Wedding and portrait photographers looking to buck up their services with a fun, simple alternative camera might consider this option.

Using Fujifilm Instax Mini Film, the compact cameras—which come in all black, white and Sanremo—have a built-in 27mm-equivalent wide-angle lens, but Lomography is also offering a lens package deal with a Fisheye lens (spanning 170 degrees), a 35mm Portrait lens and a Close-Up lens with a 10cm-15cm focusing distance. The flash system has three modes: Flash On Auto Mode, which deploys the right amount of flash based on detected brightness, Creative Mode with Flash On for indoor shooting, and Creative Mode with Flash Off for long exposures at night. Photographers looking to accessorize a little something extra can look into getting eight different color gels, a tripod mount and a cable release thread.

The Lomo’Instant is available for pre-order, with a scheduled delivery of December 2014.

Prices: Camera in black or white, $119 (with lens package deal, $149); Sanremo camera, $139 (with lens package deal, $169)

Westcott Eyelighter, Ahead of the Curve
Beauty and portrait photographers are faced with a fairly similar array of reflector options across tech manufacturers, but there’s no doubt that Westcott’s Eyelighter reflector isn’t one that photographers see every day.

Created with a curvature, this reflector is designed specifically to create a more flattering arched light on the subject and catchlight in the eye, following the curve below a subject’s iris rather than cutting into the pupil with a starry pop.

Most ideal for clamshell lighting, the Eyelighter’s curvature is supposed to help eliminate imperfections and fill in age lines, making it particularly useful for headshots. The makers of Eyelighter also promise that it will help darker eye colors stand out more, which may otherwise blend with the pupils. There’s a slight learning curve as far as placing the reflector, but in general it should be below the subject, about 30 inches away from the model’s chin. Made of aluminum and double-laminated cloth, the Eyelighter measures 57 x 25 x 21 inches, and weighs around 5 pounds.

Price: $300

Case Logic’s Luminosity Split Pack
On-location shooters might consider the new Luminosity DSLR Split Pack from Case Logic, which holds a DSLR body and up to four lenses. Equipped with thickly padded shoulder and waist straps, the pack has an adjustable sternum strap to distribute weight. 

The foam dividers are adjustable, and smaller items like SD cards have their own pockets, too. The bag comes with a lens cloth and a removable weather-resistant cover.

Price: $109.99

PrinTao 8: A Color-Resistant Printing Option
PrinTao 8 is a Mac-compatible printing solution that aims to squelch the photographer’s worry about printer-driver and color-management settings. Promising an easy setup, PrinTao 8 will pre-install all available paper media settings that a user’s printer supports, including color calibration profiles, and users can also create and store their own custom color settings. It can rotate and refit images based on a user’s “Best Fit” or “Best Cut” choice. Wedding photographers may be particularly intrigued by its ability to print paper at lengths of up to 100 feet long, especially for panoramic and group shots.

Prices: Vary from $99 to $699, depending on edition

Adorama’s New Jib-Like Hybrid Stabilizer
Expanding its Flashpoint ZeroGrav stabilizer line, Adorama has come out with a new hybrid still and video camera stabilizer called the Flashpoint ZeroGrav Stabilizer III. Most ideal for high- and low-angle shots (while it isn’t a true jib, it does have a head joint rotating column that allows for jib-like movement), filmmakers can use it like a dolly and shoot while walking, running, driving and moving around uneven surfaces; it’s designed to absorb any shakiness or sudden jerks for smooth-looking footage. With a spring-powered arm, the hybrid stabilizer has counterbalances, giving the grip an “anti-gravity” sensation, according to Adorama, which should make carrying it less strenuous. It can support up
to 6.6 pounds and extend to 31.5 inches long.

Price: $300

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