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Saturday, November 1, 2008

2008 Editors' Picks

Our annual look at gear from the past year that the OP editors found particularly useful

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Lexar’s Professional 300x UDMA CompactFlash cards can move data from card to computer (via a UDMA-compliant card reader) at 45 MBps—handy with the size of the image files shot by today’s digital cameras, especially pro D-SLRs. The cards also speed up image-writing in-camera with the new UDMA-compliant models, plus they come with a limited lifetime warranty. The 16 GB card is currently the highest-capacity card in the line. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.
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When Adobe first released Photoshop Lightroom, many photographers used it to organize photos and do basic image corrections such as exposure and tweaking the Hue, Saturation and Luminance channels. Now with Lightroom 2, you can edit images locally for exposure and color and make many other adjustments, like dodging and burning with more control without affecting the entire image. Lightroom 2 also makes it easier to index photos and create Collections. Integration with CS3 is better, and it’s nondestructive, so edits are only made when an image is exported. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.
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What makes the Lowepro Flipside 300 stand out is that the main compartment is only accessible from the back, so your gear is totally secure when the backpack is strapped on. Securely fasten the waist strap, and you don’t even have to take the bag off to get to your gear. Just slide off the shoulder straps, swivel the bag around to your front and unzip. There’s room for a pro D-SLR with a 300mm ƒ/2.8 lens attached, plus one to three additional lenses, a flash, tripod and memory cards. Estimated Street Price: $75. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.
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Moenkopi is a Native American name for a mudstone layer of rock common in the Moab area of Utah, and Unryu is a Japanese term that translates as “cloud dragon paper.” Moab Moenkopi Unryu 55 is a fine Japanese Washi paper made by adding long, coarse fibers to a wet layer of Kozo (mulberry) on the mould. The result is a beautiful and environmentally friendly paper designed for use with dye and pigment inks in archival inkjet printers. Estimated Street Price: $17-$255. Contact: Moab by Legion, (877) 259-3161, www.moabpaper.com.
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This D-SLR can do it all. Its 21.1-megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor provides for highly detailed landscapes and close-ups and easy wide-angle capability, while the 5 fps shooting rate and AF system make photographing wildlife action a snap. As Canon’s top-of-the-line pro camera, the EOS-1Ds Mark III features an extremely rugged build, with first-class weather- and dustproofing and a 300,000-cycle shutter. An excellent metering system, 3-inch LCD monitor with Live-View capability, sensor-dust remover, 1,800-shot rechargeable lithium-ion battery and pro lenses from 14mm to 800mm add to the versatility. Estimated Street Price: $7,850. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
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With a 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD display with Live View and an 11-point AF system, the Pentax K20D packs some very professional features into a very affordable body. The system is compatible with the entire Pentax lineup of highly esteemed lenses. The K20D includes in-body Shake Reduction Technology that works on a horizontal, vertical and rotational axis for minimizing image blur, even with analog lenses. Other features include in-camera Expanded Dynamic Range, customizable user dials and functions, and Dust Reduction and Dust Alert features, plus the unique Hyper Program, Sensitivity-Priority AE (Sv), and Shutter and Aperture-Priority AE (TAv) shooting modes. Estimated Street Price: $1,100. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.
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When the sun goes down over the horizon and there’s a great panorama in front of you, don’t rely on image stabilization or stiff handholding to use a slower shutter speed. Nothing replaces a good tripod for nature photographers when it comes to getting a steady shot. The Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 is a 100-percent carbon-fiber tripod that’s great for this kind of low-light photography. It can handle a pro-sized D-SLR and a heavy telephoto lens. The unique Q90° quick center-column system lets you switch in a matter of seconds between vertical and horizontal shooting, which is handy when you have your eye on a moving subject. Estimated Street Price: $325. Contact: Bogen Imaging, (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.
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Along with their small size, the popular compact digital cameras are known for their tiny image sensors. The Sigma DP1 may be compact, but it contains the same APS-C-format Foveon X3 image sensor found in the company’s SD14 D-SLR. The resulting big pixels (and the Foveon sensor’s unique ability to record red, green and blue data at every pixel site) make for excellent images. Image quality is also aided by a new TRUE processing engine and an SLR-quality 16.6mm lens (equivalent to 28mm on a 35mm camera) designed specifically for the DP1. Operation is simple, whether you choose automated or full manual control. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
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