Photo Plus Expo 2012: The Best New Camera and Photo Gear

Interesting new products for every part of the photographic process

_l4c3430.jpg
Every year, photo gear manufacturers and printing services descend upon the Javitz Center in New York City to show off their new products and services. We're going to be walking the floor, looking for the coolest, best, and sometimes wackiest new stuff. Check back later as we add new stuff to the gallery. SpinLight 360
There are tons of speedlight modifiers out there, but the SpinLight 360 takes the do-it-all approach. The adapter snaps onto the front of the Speedlight and accepts a wide array of accessories. It comes with a selection of bounce cards (white and black), a few grid options, a CTL gel, domes, and a snoot. However plenty of other accessories are available for it. It also holds regular gels in place if you pull them from the super-cheap Rosco books. There are three different kit options depending on what mods you want. We're looking forward to checking it out for a full review.
Vulture Equipment Works Military Grade Straps
Vulture Equipment Works Military Grade Straps
The trend right now in straps and bags is extra-durability, but Vulture has taken that concept to the extreme. Their straps use military-grade clips and strap material that can withstand up to 5,000 pounds of weight at the top end. Despite their strength, they still feel very comfortable, which is pretty essential, especially if you're going to wear it skydiving or in other extreme conditions. They range from $100-$150, which isn't cheap for a strap, but you'd be hard-pressed to break it and still survive yourself.
Chimera OB2 Pro Foldable Beauty Dish
Chimera OB2 Pro Foldable Beauty Dish
A beauty dish is a fantastic light modifier if you're shooting portraits, but they're a huge pain to carry around. Chimera's solution, though, is a fold-up dish that travels like a soft box. It uses their Versi Octa Speed Ring, so it works with speedlights, and the Accessory Shoe has a place to mount both the flash and a radio transmitter like a Pocket Wizard. At $400 retail, it's definitely not cheap, but once you've bought the speed ring, you can buy other compatible modifiers that work with it for less than the complete packages.
Lacie P'9223 Slim SSD harddrive
Lacie P'9223 Slim SSD harddrive
Lacie's newest portable SSD drive is not only designed by the same folks who design Porsches, but its also ridiculously slim, fast and rugged. While it won't do 0-60mph in 3 seconds, it can move files at speeds up to 400MB/s via bus-powered USB 3.0. An all aluminum body and the SSD technology also means this drive can take a beating without dying on you. Currently available in 120GB for $100, the P'9223 might just be the perfect on-the-go, or in-the-field back-up drive.
Cullmann Titan Tripods
Cullmann Titan Tripods
Most tripods brag about how light they are, tapping materials like carbon fiber to cut back the ounces, but this tripod is meant to be heavy. The legs on the Cullmann Titan are made of sturdy aluminum and the center tube is absolutely massive. Rather than twisting the locks to keep the legs in place, there's a quick-release system that allows the legs to slide smoothly to the desired height. Similar tripods were actually available from the same company but had been discontinued. Now, five years later, they're back. The monopod is equally as beefy and smooth in operation. The Monopod will cost Under $170 and the burly tripod legs will be roughly $500 when they arrive in the coming months.
Bowens Jet Stream 250
Bowens Jet Stream 250
Yes, it's basically a $1,000 fan, but it's built for more than cooling off your shooting space. The Jet Stream has 250mm blades that push a tight beam of air an impressive distance. If you're trying to make a model's hair move from a distance, you'll have no problem doing it with this. It has a wide range of power modes and there's even an infrared remote to control it. There's a little lightning bolt button on the side of the fan that lets you go right up to max power, too. It's total overkill for anyone who's not shooting a ton of fashion in a studio setting, or movie makers -- the air stream is extremely consistent, which is important in the movies -- but it looks a lot more professional than pulling out the old oscillating fan.
PhotoFlashDrive.com Print and Flash Drive Boxes
PhotoFlashDrive.com Print and Flash Drive Boxes
Flash drives are an increasingly popular method for professional photographers delivering photos to clients. Howeverm this is one of the more elegant presentation solutions we have seen. The PhotoFlashDrive.com box comes in either unfinished wood or soft black material. Each one can have a custom logo etched into it, with no minimum order requirement. That means you can customize each box for each client. The boxes can hold one or two flash drives as well as a stack of prints from 100 all the way up to 400. The flash drives range anywhere from 1 to 16 GB and start well under $50, so they're affordable add-ons for wedding or event shooters.
Mpix Pro Custom Sketch Books
Mpix Pro Custom Sketch Books
With hip notebook manufacturers like Moleskine getting into the custom photo notebook game, it's not surprising to see other printing companies improving their offerings. The new sketch and notebook products from Mpix Pro look especially promising. You can get large-format sketchbooks or small-format notepads with Mpix Pro's excellent print quality. The samples look impressive and we expect to see more products like this very soon.
BX2 Brenthaven Camera Backpack
BX2 Brenthaven Camera Backpack
We're always on the look-out for new or unique camera bag designs. Brenthaven, a company deeply rooted in gadget cases and bags, recently stepped into the DSLR bag market with an impressive and sophisticated-looking line of backpacks and messenger bags. The BX2, which will retail for only $180, features the company's Xtreme foam padding. In a quick demo in which heavy metal balls were dropped on traditional foam, found in most bags, followed by the Xtreme foam, it was pretty clear just how much cushioning the right foam can provide. Xtreme foam is to normal padding what a memory foam mattress is to a traditional spring mattress. Other cool features include a tiny built in LED flashlight, front and side zip access to your gear, a rain sleeve and a lifetime warranty.
Tether Tools Look Lock Hot Shoe iPhone Clamp
Tether Tools Look Lock Hot Shoe iPhone Clamp
Getting a kid or a dog to look directly into your camera lens for a shot can be a painful experience. This articulating arm of this Tether Tool product is designed to clamp into your camera's hot shoe and hold an iPhone directly above your lens. Then you can use it to play cartoons, or pictures, or whatever else might keep your subject's fleeting attention. It's available now for $74. You can also use different mounting options with the iPhone clip if you don't want the extra weight attached directly to your camera or if you want your subject looking in a different direction.
IceLight
IceLight
We saw a couple of cool hand-held continuous lightsources at this year's PhotoPlus tradeshow. We liked the IceLight in particular because of how much it resembles a lightsaber. And while it won't cut through a Tantan with ease, it is dimmable, portable, and throws out some very clean LED light. On a full charge, with the power turned up all the way, the IceLight will last you a good hour of continuous shooting. Available this fall, it will retails for somewhere around $500.