Gadgets: Picks from the PhotoPlus Expo

Oct 28, 2009 By Gregg Ellman

This past weekend at the 2009 PDN PhotoPlus Expo, companies from all over showed off the latest and greatest in digital photography gear. Here is a sampling of items that caught my attention while walking the floor at the Jacob Javits center in New York City.

Lexar Media takes digital media storage to the next level with the introduction of the Lexar Professional 600x CompactFlash (CF) cards, available in capacities of 8GB -- $199, 16GB -- $299, and 32GB -- price TBA.

This card lets photographers who capture digital images or video write files to the media with a speed up to 90MB per second when used with a UDMA 6 enabled device. This increases the camera's performance since the cards will clear out the buffer faster so more photos to be taken.

For downloading, Lexar has introduced the Lexar Professional ExpressCard CompactFlash Reader.

This device connects to the ExpressCard slot on a Mac or PC laptop with no cables. Users just download the driver to make a connection for lightning-fast downloading that photographer's need with today's larger files.

The 8GB and 16GB Lexar Professional 600x CF cards are now available; the 32GB CF card will be available in November.

Lexar also has launched Image Rescue 4 image recover software, which enables photographers to recover most lost or deleted images and videos from . This works with any memory card, from any manufacturer.

New to this version is an easy-to-manage one-step recovery interface, along with automatic updates to ensure the software's compatibility with new RAW images and operating systems.

Details: Lexar.com

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Video hosting web site Vimeo.com demonstrated its new desktop uploader software, which helps with individual or batched videos.

The software, based on an Adobe Air desktop tool, allows up to 10 videos to be uploaded simultaneously and allows the editing of titles, tags and descriptions.

A popular feature allows users to start and stop uploading without having to restart the whole process.

In the coming weeks, Vimeo Plus members can access features on the site's advanced statistics function. This gives stats for user-videos on things such as download and GEO (where they are watching it from.)

Details: Vimeo.com, $60

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Athentech Imaging Inc. has released a Windows version of an Adobe Photoshop plug-in of its patented Perfectly Clear image correction technology. Mac users can expect a version in early 2010.

With the plug-in, users instantly access the Photoshop correction features within their existing Photoshop workflow, including batch processing.

Once loaded, the software features a one-click automatic photo correction. In addition, the application features have separate controls for color accuracy, exposure and sharpness along with a dozen unique, independent patented corrections.

The user can select presets to apply automatically, or can create customized settings.

Images in both 8- and 16-bit will work with the software; RAW files must first be converted using Adobe Camera Raw.

Details: athentech.com, $199

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No matter what camera or accessories you have, you'll need somewhere to store it and several suppliers showed off new, innovative products.

Lowepro introduced the Pro Trekker AW Series backpacks. Simply put, if your equipment can't fit in this bag give up the profession. They make an ideal solution for photography assignments, which often turn into expeditions.

They come in three models and sizes; the smallest is the Pro Trekker 300 AW, then the Pro Trekker 400 AW and the Pro Trekker 600 AW.

The names indicate the largest lens each can accommodate (for example, the Pro Trekker 600 holds everything from a 600mm on down).

While the packs hold an enormous amount of gear, they are built with the traveler in mind. Each has a 10-point adjustable harness system.

They include a hydration-ready storage compartment for a 70-oz. reservoir (bladder not included) along with what seemed to be an endless amount of storage compartments, dividers and pockets. This enables the packs to carry the heavy equipment, but keeping it all safe and secure.

Each pack will also hold a laptop in an included laptop sleeve, which slides into the unit and is also checkpoint-friendly.

Like most everything else in the Lowepro line, the bags have all weather-resistant zippers and a rain cover. But keep in mind it's weather-resistant -- not waterproof.

Each pack has a thickly padded and mesh-covered waist belt to keep the pack secure to your body while in use, but it's removable and can be used as a utility belt with other Lowepro accessories that feature SlipLock attachments.

Details: lowepro.com; all the bags are available in Lowepro colors of Mica/Black; Pro Trekker 600 AW $399.99, 400 AW $349.99, 300 AW $299.99

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Datacolor, a company whose mission is to have color look accurate from start to finish, showed off the new DataSpyder3Studio SR color management system. Included are the SpyderCub RAW calibration device, which eliminates the need for 18 percent gray cards; the Spyder3Elite monitor calibration tool, and the new Spyder3Print SR (Strip Reader), which offers significant advances in creating ICC printer profiles.

The SpyderCube offers accurate color balance corrections for an entire selection of images shot under the same lighting conditions.

Photographers simply include the 1.5-inch cube as part of one of their pictures. With the proper raw conversion software, one image can be corrected in seconds; the rest can then be applied to the corrected image to produce a precise white balance.

With the Spyder3Elite display calibration, users will get accuracy, precision and speed while letting you create profiles to each specific need.

Spyder3Print SR is a new spectrocolorimeter, helping in printer profile technology resulting in outstanding color and black-and-white prints while working with any combination of inks, paper, and printer

Together, the system gives photographers the solution for perfecting color management from the download to the printing.

Details: datacolor.com, $599

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A few other interesting notes while at the show: If you wanted to wait in line at the Kodak display you were in luck as they gave out rolls of film -- yes film! If you got it, hopefully you still have a working camera to use it along with a place to get it developed and printed.

While I was working at the Canon counter on Saturday, a woman who purchased a Canon T1i Rebel earlier in the week mentioned she was looking at other cameras for a possible upgrade. I suggested to her that since she only got it four days earlier, I would at least wait two weeks!

And finally, much to my surprise the show was well attended. It showed just how popular has become with every age group. At both the Canon and Nikon areas, the counters were consistently packed three rows deep to see the companies' new gear making them both by far the hit of the show.
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(c) 2009, Gregg Ellman.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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