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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Focus: April 2012

Labels: In FocusGear
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Ideal for travel portraiture, sports action, video and any other situation when sharpness and speed are required, the new, updated version of the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm ƒ/1.8G lens from Nikon is compatible with FX-format (full-frame) and DX-format (APS-C-sized-frame) DSLRs. A new internal optical design consists of nine elements in nine groups, and the seven-blade diaphragm produces a circular bokeh for creating more natural-looking blurred backgrounds that put the focus on your subject. The fast, lightweight lens delivers an equivalent focal length of 127mm when attached to a DX-format DSLR camera body. The Silent Wave Motor (SWM) delivers fast, quiet autofocus operation, which is especially helpful when recording video. Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.

When experimenting with high dynamic range, there's a fine line between creating an image that has more oomph and one that looks like a cartoon. HDR Expose 2 from Unified Color Technologies helps you keep it real with more than 26 new or improved features. They include tone mapping and halo elimination algorithms, 32-bit contrast tone curve adjustment, and neutral dodge and blur tools. The program is based on the company's Beyond RGB technology, which keeps an image's brightness or contrast intact when colors are adjusted and vice versa. Estimated Street Price: $149. Contact: Unified Color Technologies, (855) 632-6567, www.unifiedcolor.com.

Hike with your photo gear securely in place using the Tamrac Evolution Speed Roller backpack. When you're traveling by air and would rather roll through the airport, the bag has smooth ball-bearing wheels and a telescoping handle. You simply untuck the Tuck-A-Way harness to wear it as a backpack again. The bottom part holds a DSLR with a 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 attached, several extra lenses and a flash. The foam-padded top section has adjustable, removable dividers for a second camera with up to a 6-inch lens attached and two small lenses. When a second system isn't needed, you can use that space to hold personal items. Another foam-padded compartment holds up to a 15.6-inch laptop. Estimated Street Price: $379. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.
Sony mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera shooters have a new lens option. With focal lengths that extend from wide-angle to telephoto, the Tamron 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di III VC lens has you covered no matter what you're planning to shoot. In 35mm format, the lens' equivalent focal length range is 27-300mm. It weighs 16.2 ounces, incorporates the lens maker's Vibration Compensation technology for sharp handheld shooting and has an autofocus drive with a stepping motor, which is ideal for the contrast-detect AF system used in the Sony mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera series. Operation is also quieter for shooting video. Another helpful feature is the Direct Manual Focus (DMF) function, which allows you to adjust manually after autofocusing. Estimated Street Price: $739. Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron-usa.com.

The Panasonic Lumix TS4 is one tough camera. It's waterproof down to 40 feet, shockproof from drops of up to 6.6 feet, dustproof and can operate in temperatures as low as 14º F. A GPS system, compass, altimeter and barometer are all included. There's a manual shooting mode so you can control aperture and shutter speed, as well as a Time Lapse Shot mode. With this feature, you set the start time, interval and the number of photos to shoot, and the camera automatically starts snapping away. When it's done, the TS4 condenses the shots and plays them back as a time-lapse sequence, cool for watching a flower bloom or clouds move across the sky. The camera has a 12-megapixel sensor, 2.7-inch LCD and 28-128mm (35mm equivalent) Leica lens. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.


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