A 17-incher is the acme of desktop printers: Who wouldn't want to whip out images so big that you have to stand back to appreciate them?
Canon's new entry, the imagePrograf iPF5000, is a beaut. It has two, count 'em, two heads to transport a whopping 12 inks. According to Canon, that means faster prints with a superwide gamut.
This is also the first wide-format printer to feature the new Lucia pigmented inks, which should translate into greater longevity and compatibility with more fine-art papers. In fact, Canon is introducing several new media to coincide with the printer's introduction.
Another bonus of having 12 cartridges: Enough slots to hold both matte and photo blacks, so there's no need to waste time and ink by flushing the heads to change them. That's a good thing, too, because this liquid color doesn't come cheap -- replacing all the cartridges at once will run you about $900. We look forward to seeing what this machine can do. ($1,900, street; www.canon.com)
Baby Makes 3
Short of switching to a view camera with a tilt-shift lens, there's no better way to get cool selective-focus effects than with a Lensbaby. Originally just a little, black, elephant trunk that replaced an SLR's lens, this baby's evolved. With the first two generations, exposure time was dictated by how long you could hold the bendy trunk steady between your fingers, and your image's repeatability depended on how well you could replicate the direction you pointed it. All that's changed with the Lensbaby 3G. With the added focusing rods, it's easy to frame the picture you want, choose the location of the spot of focus, then lock it in with a push of a button. While you used to be able to get sharp focus where you wanted it about half the time, now there's barrel focusing with a fine-focus ring on the lens to enable sharpness almost all the time. This should prove a boon to anyone shooting macro, working in a studio, or doing any kind of picture-taking where you might want to try the same shot twice. ($270, estimated street; www.lensbaby.com)
We always get excited when Kodak's got a new development on the film front -- once in a while we like to dust off our old cameras and remind ourselves what it's like to shoot without a preview. Plus, we still know people who shoot exclusively with the stuff. That's why we're amazed with Kodak's new Portra Professional 160- and 400-speed VC and NC films: They're not merely tweaked, but actually new, with a fresh, from-the-ground-up formulation. Kodak says that means the grain structure is visibly finer and the color is more saturated. The VC type also has lower contrast, so you'll get better results when, inevitably, you scan it to go digital. (www.kodak.com)
We may spend hours daily on yoga and pilates, but we'd still rather not do a belly flop just because we're trying to get a ground-level photo. Enter Hoodman's Right Angle Viewer, which clips like a periscope onto your viewfinder and lets you get a bug's-eye view without having to actually mingle with the bugs. Since it pivots a full 360 degrees, macro shooters and aficionados of the copystand can now look down while standing beside their camera, rather than trying to balance precariously over the top of it to frame a shot. You can even zoom in from 1:1 to 2.5X magnification, so you can check focus and fine-tune a cropped-in composition. ($130, direct. Fits most DSLRs; see www.HoodmanUSA.com for compatibility and more information.)