High-tech tools to keep your images secure when you’re in the field
Among the latest cameras and lenses showcased at the big PMA trade show every winter, there’s also a slew of new gadgets, technological innovations and services that don’t drum up the kind of attention that a hot new D-SLR does. While we can’t cover everything we saw, what follows is a look at some of the offerings from those smaller, “back of the show” manufacturers that caught our attention.
Perfect for grand landscapes and intimate nature portraits, see what the pros say about these indispensable lenses
The wide-angle zoom is an incredibly useful and multifaceted tool for a nature shooter. It’s as well-suited for sprawling landscapes as it is for close-ups, where you want to provide context for the subject by capturing more of the surrounding environment. And the added zoom capability is great compared to a fixed-focal-length lens, because you have more framing options without having to physically move to change a composition.
A compact digital camera with the sensor—and sensibility—of a D-SLR
Sigma is best known for its wide line of lenses, but the company has also produced a series of film and digital SLRs. Now, it has taken the big sensor from its latest D-SLR and put it into a compact digital camera body with a lens designed specifically for the sensor. The compact size and D-SLR image quality make this a great camera when you want to travel very light.
Between the large image files today's new D-SLRs generate and the demands of the latest software tools, your old computer is probably starting to show its age. We have some suggestions when it's time for an upgrade.
At the heart of most digital darkrooms is a desktop computer system, and compared to your camera and other related gear, it may be lagging behind. And it’s becoming all the more apparent every time you use your sluggish, half-asleep computer. Opening programs. Opening photos. Rendering changes. Saving them. Everything takes too long. It’s time to get a new computer, but what should it be?
High-tech tools to keep your images secure when you're in the field
Multimedia storage viewer (MSV) is a fancy name for a compact, handheld image viewer that has a built-in, high-capacity hard drive and certain audio and video functions. They have been around for a few years now, and the current crop is bigger and better than ever. Keen competition has encouraged rival manufacturers to refine existing features and add many new ones‚ and the prices have never been lower.
Capture sunsets with smoother transitions from light to dark colors using the 12.2-megapixel Canon EOS Rebel XSi, which has an enhanced 14-bit A/D converter, along with many other features and technologies found in the company’s pro models. A fast autofocus system, three-inch Live View LCD with two types of AF and a 35-zone metering system round out some of the top-of-the-line features. The XSi also has the optional Highlight Tone Priority and High-ISO Noise Reduction functions first introduced in the EOS-1D Mark III.
Nikon's new top entry-level D-SLR combines simple operation with creative capability
The Nikon D60 adds a number of great new features, including some borrowed from the high-end D3 and D300 to the popular entry-level D40X digital SLR. These include a two-pronged-sensor dust-control system, Nikon’s EXPEED image-processing concept, Active D-Lighting, in-camera NEF (RAW) processing, stop-motion movie mode, white-balance bracketing and an 18-55mm VR (Vibration Reduction) zoom as the kit lens. The result is a quick-responding camera that’s compact, easy to use and capable of creative photography.
The latest Rebel D-SLR adds megapixels, Live View and much more
Canon’s first entry-level digital SLR, the 6.3-megapixel EOS Digital Rebel, was also the first D-SLR to sell for under $1,000. It was followed by the 8-megapixel Digital Rebel XT and the 10.1-megapixel Digital Rebel XTi. Now, the new fourth-generation EOS Rebel XSi continues the Rebel tradition of great value at a low price.
Some of the best nature photographers share thoughts and tips on their favorite medium telephoto zoom lenses
The versatility of medium tele-zooms is just incredible. With ranges that vary from around 50mm to between 200mm and 400mm at the high end, these lenses provide a tremendous variety of framing options for landscape, wildlife, sports action and macro work. Between one of these lenses and a good wide-angle, you can travel most anywhere and be confident that your bases will be covered for nearly any situation. And you can travel light—an absolute necessity if you fly anywhere these days, given the weight restrictions on baggage, not to mention how much easier it can be on your back.
A tripod is one of the most important tools for getting your best images, and there‚’s a lot more to them than just three sturdy legs
A good tripod is essential gear for the outdoor photographer. It will hold the camera rock-steady, so you can stop down for depth of field or use a high-magnification lens without suffering blur due to camera shake. Plus, it will lock in your composition so you can study it carefully and you won’t accidentally change it as you squeeze off the shot.
All-in-one watches that do more than tell time for photographers
As we go farther into the wilderness for our photography, some tools have become an integral part of our sense of direction and help us to survive and calculate any sort of conditions or odds that may rear their ugly heads. As technology consolidates these tools, such as GPS units, altimeters, thermometers and compasses, into one highly functional device, the easier it’s becoming to get off the beaten path to find a one-of-a-kind shot.
Sony expands its α (Alpha) digital SLR system with the DSLR-A200. The 10.2-megapixel camera features continuous shooting of 3 fps, an integrated anti-dust cleaning system and an eye-level penta-mirror optical viewfinder with 0.83x magnification. The Super SteadyShot image-stabilization system helps prevent blurring caused by camera shake. It comes with an 18-70mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 zoom with a 35mm equivalent of 27-105mm.
There's a new player in the stabilization game: Welcome to Tamron‚’s Vibration Control zoom
It becomes a challenge to lug a lot of gear into the field. On the other hand, it’s nice to have wide-angle, telephoto and close-up capability, as well as a tripod for support. So the dilemma is always to either travel comfortably or be prepared for anything.
Get sharp handheld exposures with image-stabilization technology
Shooting at fully extended telephoto lengths without a tripod is a recipe for a blurry shot—unless you have image-stabilization technology. With image stabilization, you can get sharp handheld exposures at longer focal lengths and slower shutter speeds.
Shoot with a pair of newly designed high-end, wide-angle Nikon zooms built for digital photography. The AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm ƒ/2.8G ED lens lets you go for that ultrawide landscape shot, while the AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm ƒ/2.8G ED lens can be used for capturing various types of photographs. Both feature Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor, which delivers fast autofocusing without much noise. Extra-low-dispersion glass elements prevent chromatic aberrations, so you capture sharp, clear images with great contrast.
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