TechnologyTell

CE Week 2013: Tiffen photography apps and accessories

Sections: Conferences, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Peripherals, Video and Digital Cameras / Video Capture

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Everyday photographers may not have heard of Tiffen, but if you’re familiar with even the most basic DSLR photography or videography, Tiffen is one of the go-to brands for lens filters, flash accessories, steadicam mounts, and a host of other gadgets. Most of the professional-level gear wasn’t on display in Tiffen’s booth at CE Week, but they did have a host of serious consumer-grade gear for the CE audience.

For the amateur videographer, the Steadicam Curve was on display, which provides a steadicam mounting system for the Go Pro camera line. For the photographer (both amateur and pro), Tiffen had their Photo fx iPhone and Photo fx Ultra iPad apps on display, which give you the ability to edit, retouch, and tweak your images with nearly the same power as a desktop editing suite.

If you’re not familiar with Tiffen and you shoot anything other than the most basic snapshopts, you should definitely check out their apps and camera/video accessories.

Go Steady

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Steadicam mounts allow you to move your camera smoothly, without the bounce and jiggle that occur if you hold the camera in your hands. The mount compensates for motion and stabilizes the camera, so you get a nice, smooth moving shot instead of a Blair Witch effect. One might think Go Pro’s line of cameras weren’t designed for smooth transitions and long, leisurely shots, since they’re used used in a lot of first person point of view applications (like on top of bike helmets, surf boards, or attached to skydivers). If you are filming with a Go Pro and want a perfectly smooth shot tracking your friends as they skateboard, surf, or other do other high-adrenaline activities, however, Tiffen’s new Steadicam Curve can let you do it.

The Steadicam Curve has a lightweight tubular aluminum construction, so it’s easy to hold, but it still provides enough counterbalancing weight to smooth the camera’s motion as you track your subject. The handle folds and locks to the counterweight arm to provide compact storage or a simple handgrip, and fine tune adjustment knobs on the curve give you precise control over your shot. The customized mounting plate snaps in and out easily, so you can take the camera out if quickly if needed.

Pricing hasn’t been officially announced, but it will go for under $100, and should be available by August. Sign up for the mailing list if you want to get notified as soon as it becomes available.

Evolve your Pictures

Serious photographers know the value of filters, which can help you get a specific mood in a picture, reduce unwanted elements like glare or haze, or let you capture really interesting aspects of a scene like infrared light. However, it can be difficult to a.) carry around all those filters all the time and b.) make sure you have the right filter on when you shoot. Photography software usually provides some basic options to achieve filter-like effects, but Tiffen’s Photo fx iPhone and Photo fx Ultra iPad apps are specifically designed to let you mimic specific filter effects after you shoot, giving you more creative control and saving you a hernia from schlepping hundreds of filters every time you go out shooting.

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Tiffen makes hundreds of filters that can be combined for thousands of effects; the Photo fx app ships with 878 presets based on 76 filter effects like Ambient light, B&W Looks, and Close-Up Lens. The app includes software equivalents of some of Tiffen’s most popular filters such as Glimmerglass and Black Pro-Mist, many of which go for hundreds of dollars (meanwhile, the app is currently just $3 for iPad and $1 for iPhone during a special Tiffen promo). Whether you need to do extensive retouching on your iPad or just want to give your shots a quick pep up on your iPhone before posting to a share site, the Photo fx apps have more than enough filter choices to make your job easy.

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All the presets can be customized once applied, so you really have an infinite number of possibilities for enhancing your photos.

While software filters will never provide quite the same quality as physical filters, the tradeoff is their immense flexibility (with a lens filter, what you shot is what you got, period). That customization process is where many apps get very complicated, but Tiffen’s interface is clean and, most importantly, provides a great deal of useful information. For example, when you’re cropping you can see not only the crop outline but also dimension information, so you know exactly how many pixels are in your current crop selection.

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Tiffen currently has a promotion on the Photo fx apps, so Photo fx Ultra is available on the App Store for $2.99, while Photo fx is available for $0.99. Prices are normally $4.99 and $2.99 for the iPad and iPhone versions, respectively. The Photo fx Ultra is compatible with any iPad running iOS 4.3 or later, while Photo fx requires an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad running iOS 6.0 and above.

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