window using several options: a side-by-side image
comparison, a vertical split comparison, a horizontal
split comparison or an A/B comparison. All this is to say
you will get a pretty good idea of what your photo is
going to look like compared to the original. If you like
the filter combo effect you’ve created, you can save it
as its own preset for future use.
Dfx 3.0 also has several tools to create a mask in a
filter if you want to just tweak a specific part of your
photo, such as a model’s face. The easiest is a tool
called EZMask, which is yet another painting-style
masking technique that lets you draw in a mask for a
subject while leaving out the background (onOne has
a similar tool in Perfect Mask 5, which is part of Perfect
Photo Suite 6).
In one simple program, Tiffen gives you all your favorite physical filters (and more) in an easy-to-use plug-in or
standalone software product. If there were a few nitpicky things that bothered me—such as the sheer enormity
of the filter set and the jargon-filled nomenclature used to organize them—this was redeemed by the speed and
effectiveness of the software. There’s a new digital filter champ and, fittingly, it’s from a venerable name in the
filter business: Tiffen.
Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+
The lightweight and durable photo backpack for adventure photographers makes room for a laptop.
Good photo backpacks are a dime a dozen. Truly great photo backpacks are a rare breed. Put Gura Gear’s Kiboko
22L+, designed by wildlife and safari photographer Andy Biggs based on input from his customers, in the uncommon “great” category.
Though it may not look flashy, the Kiboko 22L+ is an extremely well thought out pack featuring some clever
innovations. (And I didn’t think more innovations were possible in the already well-trod territory of photo bags.)
The Kiboko 22L+ is the baby brother to the larger Kiboko 30L from several years ago. According to Biggs, who
founded Gura Gear, photographers who’ve attended his safaris told him they liked the bigger bag but were looking for a more petite pack that would also fit a laptop.
Enter the lightweight Kiboko 22L+, which, like the bigger bag, meets international carry-on airline requirements and can house a 15-inch laptop computer, up to a 500mm f/4 lens and multiple pro bodies.
MORE NEW FEATURES
If you want to remove noise, banding or blocking artifacts in your images, Dfx 3.0 has new DeNoise, DeBand
and DeBlocking filters. These don’t seem to be on the
same plane as some of the software’s other effects
but they do help in a pinch.
Glow Darks “glows and grows” the dark parts of an
image to create a shadowy halo—the effect is subtle—while Key Light will create the effect of relighting an image with a directional or point light. The new
Match filter matches the color, detail, grain and tone
of one photo, and applies it to another; and Texture applies, ahem, texture to a shot.
Some of the other new filters are more of a novelty.
Rays, for instance, creates a somewhat cheesy sun flare
background. (Church groups, however, might like this
for their monthly newsletter.)
Color Shadow, meanwhile, turns your image into a
colored silhouette, which Tiffen says simulates “the
look and feel of those colorful iPod commercials” but
to me is more like something you’d find in a surfing
magazine from the 1970s.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I don’t care who you are, there’s no way you could possibly carry around the number of actual glass filters
supplied in Tiffen’s Dfx 3.0 software. I mean, technically, you probably could but why would you want to?
Tiffen Dfx 3.0
Pros: The most comprehensive digital filter
photo effects program I’ve tested yet; one
license for the plug-in will let you use it in
several host applications; wide variety of
simulated film stocks including Agfa Scala; and
very fast rendering lets you see the effect on a
photo in a split second.
Cons: The choice of filters may be overwhelming
for some users and organization of the filters
could be better with less use of jargon.
Price: $169 - $599, depending on version and
third-party program compatibility.
We liked the bag’s simple
butterfly flap system that
opens only half of the main
letting you grab the
important gear quickly. Also
nice was being able to tuck
the shoulder straps in.