If you’re just getting into shooting with a D-SLR, the affordable Pentax K100D Super is packed with features and easy to use. The camera has a 6.1-megapixel sensor, advanced systems for shake reduction and dust removal, a user-friendly Mode Dial with Auto Picture, various Scene Modes and a 2.5-inch LCD with zoom capability. A compact, lightweight body makes the camera easy to carry around on backpacking trips and other outdoor adventures. The camera is fully compatible with Pentax SDMS lenses and can be purchased with an 18-55mm lens.
Canon’s pro-level D-SLR ups speed, resolution and image quality
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III is a solid camera for the outdoor photographer. For starters, image quality is superb. The new 10.1-megapixel sensor provides 23% more resolution than the EOS-1D Mark II N, and in my opinion, the images are even better than those of the 16.7-megapixel EOS-1Ds Mark II, especially in dim light and at higher ISO settings. Handling of high-contrast subjects and scenes is excellent.
Why this technology is a must-have addition to a photographer‚’s bag.
If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of being lost in a wilderness or a city, for that matter, or of not being able to retrace your steps to a choice location, then it might be high time to pick up a GPS. It’s one of those things you might not think about until you need it, and in situations like that, there’s usually a predictably exasperating outcome.
Go for a range of shots on your next outdoor photo adventure using the compact Canon PowerShot S5 IS, which features a powerful 36-432mm (35mm equivalent) 12x optical zoom lens. Loaded with advanced features, the 8-megapixel camera delivers clear images full of finely tuned detail and vibrant color, thanks to the DIGIC III image processor. A 2.5-inch vari-angle LCD, Optical Image Stabilizer technology and four movie modes are included in the 4.6x3.2x3-inch camera, which weighs less than 16 ounces.
Lots of great features in a weather-resistant 10-megapixel D-SLR
Outdoor photographers often encounter hostile elements, such as moisture and dust, that aren’t particularly good for cameras. And the all-out pro SLR bodies that can handle such conditions cost thousands of dollars. Enter Pentax’s top-of-the-line K10D, a rugged 10.2-megapixel D-SLR with a weather-resistant body and a price under $1,000.
My favorite photo subjects are birds, and I like to travel light, so I do most of my shooting with one lens, a fast telephoto. But between close encounters of the bird kind, I often come across lovely landscapes and flowers that require a much wider or closer viewpoint. The 18-200mm zoom lenses for my small-sensor digital SLR aren’t quite long enough for most birds and other distant wildlife, while the 28-300mm lenses aren’t really wide-angle on such D-SLRs. So I have to carry another lens or two or miss out on those non-bird photo ops.
Don't run out of power before you run out of pictures
I’m the first to admit being a bit compulsive about batteries. I condition them, charge them, check them and clean their terminals when necessary. I even label them with the date they went into service. I attached a power strip to one end of a workbench and use it exclusively to feed my rechargeables. Before you yell, "Get a life!" understand that I’ve never—not even once—run out of power before I ran out of pictures.
Take landscape and nature shots with finely tuned color using the Sigma DP1. This high-end compact camera features the same unique Foveon X3 direct image sensor, with 14-megapixel color photosites, used in the SD14 D-SLR for capturing full and accurate color image information. The sensor uses three silicon embedded layers of photo sensors, stacked to take advantage of silicon’s ability to absorb red, green and blue light at different respective depths. The sensor is physically as big as sensors on other compact digital cameras by a factor of 10 to 12. The DP1 features a 16.6mm ƒ/4 lens (35mm equivalent of 28mm), a 2.5-inch LCD and shoots RAW and JPEG formats.
Digital sensors come in a variety of sizes. Is bigger better?
Like film cameras, digital SLRs come in a wide range of formats. But with D-SLRs, the format is based on the size of the image sensor, not on the size of the film. Sensor size has several ramifications for the photographer. First, larger sensors cost a lot more than small ones, in part because of the difficulty in manufacturing them. Second, larger sensors "see" more of the image formed by a lens and thus provide a wider field of view with any given focal length. Third, for a given pixel count, larger sensors contain larger pixels, which, all other things being equal, collect light more efficiently for better low-light and high-ISO performance. Finally, larger sensors generally require larger camera bodies.
A creative approach to nature photography provided by this ultra-wide-angle zoom
Tokina’s AT-X 107 DX AF 10-17mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 fish-eye zoom lens is the most fun I’ve had with a lens in a long while. It features an incredibly wide 180-degree field of view, and with its zoom, something unique for fish-eye lenses, it also acts effectively as a wide-angle lens (albeit with some barrel distortion).
The 7.2-megapixel compact Samsung L74 Wide has a 3.6x optical zoom starting at a 35mm equivalent of 28mm. A three-inch touch-screen LCD makes navigating through the menu system easy and intuitive, while the World Tour Guide function (with travel information covering 4500 regions in 30 countries) helps you plan trips and navigate on the road. At just 4x2.4x0.8 inches and six ounces, the camera is a great size for hiking around within the backcountry.
Storing images in your digital camera has never been faster or cheaper. We‚’ll take you through the current selection of cards and options.
Digital memory cards just keep getting better and cheaper. Digital SLRs, camcorders and other multimegapixel cameras require memory cards that deliver very large storage capacity and high performance in terms of read and write speed. Noncamera applications and other digital devices—cell phones and PDAs in particular—require storage media that’s very small and thin. The memory-card industry has met and exceeded all of these requirements. Meanwhile, fierce competition among card makers for market share has kept retail prices surprisingly low.
This fast, versatile tele-zoom lens adds to your shooting options
Transitioning quickly from one shot to the next using a variety of focal lengths—it’s one of the features I appreciate most in the new APO 50-150mm ƒ/2.8 EX DC HSM telephoto zoom lens from Sigma. One moment you can get down low to compose a close-up of a lizard and the next you can zoom in tight on a bird about to burst into flight 50 feet away. In addition to its quick response time, the Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) autofocus is remarkably silent. And the manual focus override switch makes changing from one mode to the other simple, even while shooting.
Big, beautiful, cost-effective prints, up to 13x19 inches
For several years now, I’ve printed most of my images with the Epson Stylus Photo 2200, and it has been very good to me. When I had an opportunity to use the large-format Epson Stylus Photo 1400, I found it delivered colorful, archival-quality prints, with the added bonus of direct printing on CDs and DVDs—all at a list price of $399. Remarkable.
Every winter, the major manufacturers and distributors of photographic gear gather at the huge PMA trade show to announce and present their latest equipment. Put on by the Photo Marketing Association International, the event allows photo dealers and retailers to see all the gear in one place, which helps magazines like ours, too. This special edition of In Focus offers a sampling of the products we saw at the show in Las Vegas.