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2007, 2008, Other

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The Best of the Best

Adapt and Flourish

Just because you use one manufacturer's digital single lens reflex (dSLR) doesn't mean you're locked into using that brand of lenses. Want to use Nikon lenses on Canon dSLRs? Or Leica lenses on Nikon dSLRs? Or how about dozens of dirt-cheap, high quality, screw-mount lenses on your Olympus dSLR and others? With a proper adapter you'll be amazed at how many different lenses you can use. You'll have to do manual focus and lens-stop-down but your metering system will usually work just fine. There are a lot of cheapie adapters around but they'll soon enough do you wrong. Better to make a one-time investment for a high quality adapter and you'll never have to worry about needing a blow torch to disengage your lens. CameraQuest is your one-stop shop for any conveivable adapter you may need. www.cameraquest.com

Show Your True Colors

To match your printer's output to the image on your monitor, you've first got to make sure your monitor is accurately displaying your original photo. Your printer can't see what's on your screen; it prints from the image file on your computer. If that file doesn't display properly, making changes to it in your imaging program is like shooting in the dark– you won't know the results until you see a print. Colorvision's Spyder colorimeter (with PhotoCal software) is a device that automatically calibrates your monitor in a few seconds so it'll display your camera originals properly. Result? Prints that match what you see and enough savings in ink and paper to pay for itself quickly. Calibrate periodically to correct for color shifts as your monitor ages. US$159 (CRT monitors only) to US$249 (CRT and LCD monitors). www.colorvision.com

Belkin's Power Smoothie

Rolling black-outs, brownouts, and lightning, can zap your work-in-progress faster than ever before. Not to worry. Belkin has a line-up of UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) units that will keep things humming along during momentary power losses and give you lots of time to save your files and shut down if the outage looks like it's going to last for awhile. Even on standby, you'll be protected from nasty line surges which can bring your equipment to its knees. If the power in your area fluctuates a lot, keep it smoothed out and squeaky clean with one of Belkin's new Universal UPS Series units with AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation). You'll avoid all kinds of computer problems that freaky power can cause over time. AVR units, US$59 and up. www.belkin.com

The Incredible Shrinking Reflectors

Are your outdoor portraits plagued with deep shadows or burned out highlights? Reflectors can easily solve those problems and an ingenious solution is PhotoFlex's MultiDisc 5'in1 that compresses five, 32-inch reflectors into a zippered container just a foot across that weighs less than two pounds. Kids love to watch them expand– it's pure magic. For US$115 you get five of the most popular reflectors used in the photo industry today: gold, soft gold, silver, white, and translucent. They'll fill in shadows, cut harsh sunlight, and much more. Need smaller or larger sizes? They're available, too. And they're just as useful when used indoors with PhotoFlex's new digital photography lighting kits or your own source of light. www.photoflex.com

What's A Podmatic?

Tripods are a pain to tote around. If you just need to steady your camera, the Podmatic will do as well or better. This is the best monopod in the world– an improved version of the famous German Linhof Monomatic that sold for a couple of hundred dollars until it was discontinued. Demand was so great, photo-retailer Adorama decided to make their own (US$89) and it's a dandy– only 14" collapsed and 58.5" when extended. Perfect for steadying your camera at those slow, "iffy" shutter speeds when the light is low or when you're at full zoom and a shaky hand can ruin your shot. You'll also want to add a Slik Compact Ball Head (US$25) for even more versatility. www.adorama.com

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