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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

2008 Holiday Buyer’s Guide

Our annual roundup of gadgets and gear to help the outdoor photographer in your life get better pictures

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Olympus PT-EO5 Underwater Housing
Underwater photography has gone mainstream. Once the exclusive domain of a handful of dedicated professionals, today there are options that fit the price range and shooting level of just about any photographer. The popular Olympus EVOLT E-520 can be safely transported to the ocean’s depths with the Olympus PT-EO5 housing. The full-featured setup gives you complete TTL flash control when used with the Olympus UFL-2 underwater strobes and fiber-optic control cable. The housing takes a multitude of lens ports for a host of Olympus Zuiko Digital lenses. Rated to a depth of 130 feet, recreational scuba divers, as well as snorkelers, can get stunning, vivid photographs of the undersea world. Estimated Street Price: $1,199. Contact: Olympus, www.olympus.com.
buyers guide

Hoya HD CIR-PL Filter
For many OP readers, the polarizer is the single most important accessory they can carry. Hoya’s new HD CIR-PL circular polarizing filter works with digital and film SLR AF and metering systems. The filter features a high-transparency polarizing film like those used in the latest HD LCD TV systems, with 25 percent higher light transmission than standard polarizing films. Transmission is enhanced by an eight-layer water-repellent and scratch-resistant multicoating that has an average transmission of 99.35 percent in the visible spectrum (wavelengths between 400nm and 700nm). The HD CIR-PL is available in sizes from 52mm to 82mm. Estimated Street Price: $105 to $285. Contact: Hoya (THK Photo Products), www.thkphoto.com.
buyers guide

Tamrac Expedition 6x
Backpacks are king for OP readers. They’re an efficient way to get a lot of photo equipment into the field with minimal hassles. The Tamrac Expedition 6x can haul not only your camera gear, but a laptop computer as well. The medium-sized backpack has a foam-padded computer pocket so you can edit images in the field. The pack has ample space for a D-SLR, lenses and accessories, and there’s plenty of padded protection for everything. Unique “wing” accessory pockets keep extras like memory cards and spare batteries conveniently placed independently of the main compartment. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Tamrac, www.tamrac.com.
buyers guide

Gitzo GT3541L 6X Carbon-Fiber Tripod
Tripods continue to get sturdier and support more weight while weighing less themselves. The Gitzo GT3541L 6X Carbon-Fiber tripod legs use layered carbon-fiber construction for improved tubing that’s stronger than its predecessor. Load capacity is nearly 40 pounds, there’s an ultralow leg spread for ground-level shooting, and the Anti-Rotation Leg system and G-Lock design mechanism make setup fast. The GT3541LS is available without a column as part of the Gitzo Systematic series, which lets you add a center column of your choice. Estimated Street Price: $825 (GT3541L); $699 (GT3541LS). Contact: Gitzo (Bogen Imaging), www.bogenimaging.us.
buyers guide

Tiffen Dfx Digital Filter Suite
Effects that used to take hours to achieve in a darkroom are now possible in just a few mouse clicks with Tiffen’s Dfx Digital Filter Suite. Included are hundreds of filters and special effects for replicating gels and filters, color to black-and-white conversions and particular film looks, as well as classic darkroom techniques like bleach bypass and more. The interactive EZ Mask tool simplifies separating different components of an image for further editing. You can choose from the Complete edition or a pared-down Select version. Estimated Street Price: $199 (Complete); $99 (Select). Contact: Tiffen, www.tiffen.com.
buyers guide

Monostat-RS Monopod
A tripod is usually the preferred tool for ensuring sharp photographs, but using one isn’t always possible. In situations when you want to have more freedom to move the camera but you still need something to help keep it steady, a monopod can do the trick. The Monostat-RS monopod is easy to carry, provides more stability than handholding (it can be used with the lens stabilizer on for added stability) and features a Swivel Toe Stabilizer that lets you shoot at up to a 60-degree angle from horizontal—something conventional monopods don’t allow. The toe also provides a good grip on slippery surfaces. Available in aluminum or carbon fiber, units support up to 30 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $175. Contact: Monostat of Switzerland (Accurate Sales, Inc.), www.monostat.us.
buyers guide

Moab By Legion Paper Moenkopi Unryu 55
Moab by Legion Paper has been a favorite manufacturer for outdoor photographers for years. The company continues to provide top-quality inkjet paper and specialty media that can be used in a variety of printers and gives you the opportunity to create a special, out-of-the-ordinary look for your photography. Moenkopi Unryu 55 (Unryu is a Japanese word that translates as “cloud dragon paper”) continues that tradition. When the paper is being manufactured, long, coarse fibers are added to a layer of mulberry. The paper is suitable for use in most printers, but it was specifically designed for archival inkjet models. Moab Moenkopi Unryu 55 maintains the look and feel of fine Japanese Washi papers. Estimated Street Price: $19 to $269 (varies depending on size and quantity). Contact: Moab by Legion Paper, www.moabpaper.com.
buyers guide


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