Ray Flash replicates ring strobe look with a hot-shoe flash
In the parade of photography accessory announcements that come across my desk, this one caught my attention. ExpoImaging's Ray Flash: The Ring Flash Adapter directs the burst from any Nikon SB800 or Canon 580EX flash unit into a circle of light around the camera's lens.
The idea is to replicate the look of heavy, expensive, high-power ring strobes with a lightweight and relatively inexpensive hot-shoe flash unit plus the adapter. Ideal for portraits, the resulting effect is the soft, nearly shadowless look seen in fashion portraits and macro work, especially. The adapter, which slides over the flash head and channels light from the head down to the ring, apparently only cuts about a stop of power from the flash's output, making it easy to compensate.
An internal diameter of more than 4 inches should make the Ray Flash large enough to accommodate even most pro-size lenses. Because it doesn't produce any light of its own, but rather redirects the light from your flash unit, there are no batteries and no cable connections with the Ray Flash, making it easy setup and remove quickly.
Models for both Nikon and Canon are available directly from the manufacturer (www.expoimaging.net), and should be available from other photography equipment retailers soon. Suggested retail price is $299.
Video uploads now available to Flickr pro users
There's now another reason to move up to that pay-for-use, unlimited-uploads account on the popular photo sharing site Flickr: video uploads.
In an announcement late yesterday, the Yahoo! owned site released details of its new video upload capabilities for Flickr pro members. Users who pay the roughly $25 a year for a pro account will now be able to upload personal clips up to 90 seconds or 150MB to the site. (No word yet on what the total size limit on video uploads will be, though we're assuming there will be one.)
All users – even those with free accounts – can search for and view videos.
The same tagging, geotagging, search, licensing, and privacy tools that Flickr applies to still images will also be available for video clips, and the site promises a "seamless integration" of video into users' photostreams.
We'll be interested to see how this one develops, and how Flickr ultimately positions itself to compete with other established video hosting sites in the space.
New Nikon D40 firmware now available
Nikon has released updated firmware for its D40 entry-level DSLR. The update fixes an EXIF problem in which time of capture was not accurately recorded when shooting in burst mode.
Visit Nikon's support website to download firmware version 1.11 onto either your Macintosh or Windows machine.
Canon updates EOS 40D firmware
Canon also released a firmware update this week for its EOS 40D DSLR. The latest version, 1.0.8, corrects issues with the image stabilization system on some lenses making noise when in use, fixes an image playback problem on the LCD, and corrects errors in the Spanish and Norwegian menus.
It will be interesting to see whether the IS noise firmware fix is applied to other Canon EOS cameras as well, as we've noticed some high-frequency noise with the IS system on the kit lens of our latest Rebel test unit.
Canon's support website has a link to download the latest 40D update.