Product review: Vivid-Pix image restoration software outperforms Lightroom

June 2017 issue Tech

Image restoration in one click. Sounds too good to true, but Vivid-Pix provides two options for (near) one-click fixes: Restore (for Windows), Land and Sea (for Windows and Mac), and Land and Sea Plus (for Windows and Mac).For each product, the simple process begins with a visual comparison to determine what looks best. You select an image (or multiple images) to restore, the software opens a window that shows nine variations of the image, and you choose the one with the best brightness and... Continue Reading >

Product review: Sirui filters prove analog still beats digital

June 2017 issue Tech

While digital methods have supplanted many analog techniques of the past, some things are still best left analog. One is the use of filters on a camera lens.There are digital filters designed to mimic analog polarizing and graduated neutral density filters, but they never quite get it right. And there’s no digital substitute for a protective UV-reducing filter or 10-stop neutral density (ND) filter. Sirui has a new product line of filters that includes a screw-in UV, circular polarizer, and... Continue Reading >

An image editor to challenge Photoshop

5.5.2017 Tech

If you’re a PC user, you know there are Windows-compatible photo imaging programs aimed at taking on Adobe products. Now Serif Europe has joined the fray. After last year’s highly successful introduction of Affinity Photo for the Mac, Serif Europe has released Affinity Photo for Windows. The identical feature set allows full cross-platform compatibility of the two products.Feature for feature, Affinity Photo in its present version 1.5.1 comes close to matching Photoshop and offers many... Continue Reading >

4 Image backup strategies

11.22.2016 Tech

Photographers get the cold sweats just thinking about it: losing thousands of images in a single moment. When the hard drive you use to store digital files fails, will you be prepared? Because hard drive failure is not a possibility, it's a likelihood. That’s why it’s essential to back up your digital files.Consider each of these four options, not independently of one another, but as combined methods to redundantly back up and protect your creative life’s work.1. Back up to a disc.... Continue Reading >

Bring a mini studio to your client

November 2016 issue Business

Lollipop Props system is a small-scale charmerIt can be challenging to talk new parents into leaving the comfort of their home right after having a baby, but that’s the best time for adorable newborn photography. With the Little Studio System from Lollipop Props by Westcott, you can take the studio to them. This 42-inch setup ensures studio-quality portraits—including stylish backdrops and faux wood floors—wherever you are.The foundation of the setup is a 12-piece aluminum frame... Continue Reading >

SpiderHolster launches new gear for mirrorless and small DSLR cameras

10.18.2016 Tech

SpiderHolster announced new entries in its line of products introduced through Kickstarter: the new SpiderLight Holster and Plate, SpiderLight Single Camera System, and SpiderLight BackPack Adaptor. By using Kickstarter, SpiderHolster essentially allows consumers an opportunity to pre-order a product at a significant discount on the anticipated retail price.The SpiderLight Holster and Plate are designed for mirrorless cameras and small DSLRs. Lightweight and durable, the SpiderLight Holster... Continue Reading >

Super Soft Silver for Your Speedlight Flash

9.23.2016 Tech

The Rogue FlashBender 2 - XL Pro Super Soft Silver Reflector is the speedlight version of Rogue’s collapsible reflector. It features Super Soft Silver fabric, providing a higher output of soft non-directional light than Rogue’s standard white Flashbender 2 - XL Pro reflector. The reflective surface measures 13x16 inches and it weighs just 9.6 ounces. The FlashBender 2 XL Pro Super Soft Silver Reflector has five metal positioning rods you can use to throw light where you need it. The... Continue Reading >

Pushing the limits: Three new Nikkor lenses

8.31.2016 Tech

Back in my days as a newspaper photographer (film), the lens I most often carried on my Nikon was a manual-focus Nikkor 24mm f/2. It was compact, light, and delivered excellent image quality when stopped down to f/5.6. It was usable at maximum aperture.The new AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.8G ED is a far better lens in every way, albeit larger and heavier than my old one. Even so, it was the new AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens that I chose to use for the majority of my shooting as I reviewed the... Continue Reading >

High and mighty: DJI Phantom 4 review

September 2016 issue Tech

In March DJI introduced its Phantom 4 drone. In many ways, it’s a modest upgrade to the Phantom 3; however, major improvements can be seen in some key areas.To put these features to the test, I launched the Phantom 4 at Nani Falcone Park in San Antonio. After several flights, here’s what I learned.Camera and gimbal systemThe Phantom 4 inherits the Phantom 3’s stabilized, 12-megapixel Sony Exmor sensor camera but gets a new lens. The upgraded lens delivers an improvement in image... Continue Reading >

Super Soft Silver and Natural White Make a Difference

8.25.2016 Tech

©BETSY FINN What makes Rogue’s reflector stand out from others on the market is the quality of their super soft silver fabric. Rogue designed the muted silver side material to produce a bright fill light while eliminating hot spots. The super soft silver fabric is bright but not as harsh as traditional silver reflectors. These improvements make it easier to use than a traditional silver reflector. The 32-inch reflector sports “natural white” material on the flip side. Rogue’s... Continue Reading >