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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In Focus: April 2010





This Article Features Photo Zoom
EXTENDED OPTICS
Boost the focal length of your lenses with Kenko’s DGX TelePlus series of teleconverters. The TelePlus MC4 AF 1.4X DGX multiplies the focal length of your lens by 1.4x, has a four-element design, and full autofocus is possible at apertures of ƒ/4 or brighter. The TelePlus MC4 AF 2.0X DGX and MC7 AF 2.0X DGX double the focal length of a lens, turning a 300mm lens into an equivalent 600mm lens. The MC4 features a four-element design while the MC7 has seven elements. For both, full autofocus is possible at apertures of ƒ/2.8 or brighter. Autofocus may be possible with lenses slower than ƒ/4 or ƒ/2.8, but it depends on the amount of light and contrast. The converters are available for Canon EOS EF and Nikon AF lenses. Estimated Street Price: $179 to $259. Contact: THK Photo, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.
SOLID SUPPORT
Capture images that are tack-sharp using Gitzo’s revamped Basalt collection of tripods that are up to 22 percent stronger than previous models. The lineup includes six tripods with maximum height ranging up to 44.7 inches, and up to 65.2 inches when the center column is extended. The heaviest model weighs six pounds and can support 33 pounds. Overall, basalt-rock fiber is about 20 percent lighter than aluminum. Three quick-release center ballheads, a monopod and boom round out the collection. The ballheads feature three independent leveling bubbles, including one in the ball stem. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: Gitzo, (201) 818-9500, www.gitzo.us.
SPEEDY STORAGE
With SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connectivity, the WD My Book 3.0 operates up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0 external hard drives, so files can be opened up and saved in much less time. Available in 1 TB and 2 TB capacities, the drive includes an optional USB 3.0 PCIe (gen2) adapter card, upgrading current PCs to USB 3.0. The SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port can then offer data-transfer rates of up to 5 GB/s. SuperSpeed USB 3.0 is backward-compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1. Estimated Street Price: $199 (1 TB); $279 (2 TB). Contact: Western Digital, (877) 934-6972, www.westerndigital.com.
MEMORY BOOST
Shoot with a faster, larger-capacity memory card using Lexar’s Professional 300x CF, Professional 223x CF or Professional 133x SDHC series. The 300x CF lineup now offers 32 GB of capacity, and the 233x CF lineup now comes in 16 and 32 GB. The cards deliver minimum sustained write speeds of 45 MB/s (300x) and 35 MB/s (233x). For SDHC users, the 133x lineup now has a Class 10 speed rating with 20 MB/s write-speed capability. Higher speeds are especially helpful for rapid-fire still photography and HD video. Image downloads are also much faster when a UDMA- or SDHC-compatible card reader is used. Estimated Street Price: $249 (300x 32 GB); $169 (233x 32 GB); $89 (133x 8GB). Contact: Lexar Media, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.
LIGHT UP
For macro shooters capturing tiny insects and close-ups of flowers, the even, flat light of a ring flash can be invaluable. The Orbis Ring Flash converts your DSLR’s dedicated flash unit into a ring light. Simply connect your flash to the camera via an off-camera cord or other off-camera firing means, slip the unit into the ring flash and you’re ready to go. The Orbis Arm makes the setup even more versatile by holding everything solidly in place as a single unit. The compact, lightweight bracket is four-way adjustable to work with a wide range of gear combos. Estimated Street Price: $199 (ring flash); $59 (arm). Contact: OmegaSatter, (410) 374-3250, www.omegasatter.com.

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