design and plasticky feel. Menu buttons allow access to all required features but this is slow and not always obvious. It does have full vertical and horizontal adjustment but, unlike the Canon 580EXII and Nikon SB-900, these are via two separate buttons and cannot be easily moved in both axes using one hand. In terms of performance, recycle times are comparable, as are power figures - with a guide number of 53 it's slightly less than the Canon and slightly more than the Nikon - and offers a +/-3EV compensation and 1/128 to 1/1 manual power range. It features an infrared focusing beam on the front to help the camera in low light. This works well but the motors that alter the angle of the flash to suit the focal distance are slow and noisy in operation.

The results, using the camera in its full auto mode (using the Canon ETTL system), were very impressive, delivering a well-exposed subject. This was also the case when used with manual creative modes - keeping the subject well lit in each case.

Despite the Sigma's competence, and the savings over top own-brand models, I feel it may still struggle to tempt people away from choosing the lower-specified but slicker manufacturer models, such as a Nikon SB-600 or Canon 430EXII. MGal

LIKES Power, wireless functions, ETTL, price DISLIKES Loud motor, unrefined look and feel


¬°will www.tiffen.com

^V Software developer onOne has been on a bit of a roll recently, with its range of plug-ins faring well in previous reviews. And, aiming to simplify image processing for the professional, it has introduced a second incarnation of its PhotoTools plug-in, with a raft of new effects, enhancements and compatibility options.

The program is available in standard and professional flavours, with the latter offering an additional 112 effects and support for both Adobe Lightroom and Apple's Aperture. The standard version plugs into Photoshop CS2, 3 or 4, but into none of the Elements series.

The user is able to select from hundreds of effects, many of which concern portraiture, which explains why the software is targeted at wedding and studio photographers. Effects for type, graphics, and a number of framing options, however, have also been provided to cater for other needs.

In the same way that you can stack filters on top of each other when shooting, you can pile up a number of effects and save them as a group, effectively saving them as a simple Photoshop Action to be applied when necessary. From here each filter's strength may be adjusted, and should you not want to apply a global effect on an image, you can selectively apply filters to specific parts. These same effects may be applied to videos too, though this is limited to Extended versions of Photoshop CS3 and CS4.

The charcoal-grey interface is split into panels, with the before and after preview panes on top at default (though you may reconfigure this to a degree if you so wish). Clicking on a filter presents a brief description, as well as a before and after view of a sample image, and should you be looking for a specific mood or effect you may search for it via the search bar. Adding the filters to the stack

J^ The Domke F2 * 1 'Shooters bag' has been one of the world's most popular pro camera bags since US photo-journalist Jim Domke invented it in 1976 as an alternative to the bulky, heavily padded models that still proliferate today. Although padding does aid protection, it makes bags heavy, stiff and unyielding, reduces their capacity and makes the contents more difficult to get at in a hurry. Domke's canvas bags are soft and light, mould around your body for comfort, and are designed to enable quick access to gear without removing the bag from your shoulder.

Inside, a removable four-compartment padded insert holds and protects the lenses/ flash and can be positioned in the middle or at one end of the bag, while a body and lens, or two bodies, fit in the remaining cavity or cavities. A variety of other optional inserts can be added or substituted as required.

While the F2 bag itself hasn't changed, for a small premium it's now available in an optional new fabric, Waxwear - a brown, cotton canvas impregnated with wax. This not only provides weather-proofing but gives the bags a ready-made distressed, weathered look. (They give you a spare can of wax, too.)

The US marketing poster shows the F2 Waxwear bag next to a bullwhip and fedora, and this does indeed look like a bag that Indiana Jones might use. Tastes in bags are subjective and you'll either like this bag or you won't. Philosophically it's the polar opposite of a modern urban brand such as Crumpler or the rigid, shell-like design of some Kata bags.

Personally I love it. I love the look and the utility of it and also the fact it weighs just 1.4kg when empty. For an average kit of one to two bodies and three to five lenses it's the ideal size. At £200 it isn't cheap, but having proven its ability to withstand years of professional use it should last a lifetime. Now, where's my bullwhip? NA

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