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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Focus: April 2012

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Shooters who spend most of their time outside and on foot have different backpacking needs than other photographers. Designed specifically for birders and outdoor photographers, the Vanguard Kinray series of bags have enough room inside for a DSLR and spotting scope or a DSLR and an attached telephoto lens. The bag's exterior fabric can stand up to wet conditions, and there's a rain cover that provides even more protection. The shoulder straps and chest harness are adjustable for providing a comfortable fit. Depending on what's convenient, you can convert the bag from a daypack into a backpack by removing the cushioning and some dividers. Estimated Street Price: $149 to $249. Contact: Vanguard, (800) 875-3322, www.vanguardworld.com.

Convert your lens into a spotting scope with the Kenko Lens2Scope adapter. Like a traditional spotting scope, the lightweight body features a high-quality roof prism, optics and an eyepiece. Attach your lens and it becomes a spotting scope for viewing. Images are magnified by a factor of 10x so a 100mm lens would have the same magnification as a 10X spotting scope. The lens mount and housing for the optics are made from metal and the external barrels are polycarbonate. There are two versions: One has a straight eyepiece while the other's is angled up. They're both available in Canon EOS, Nikon, Pentax and Sony mounts. List Price: $279. Contact: Kenko (THK Photo Products), (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.

Head off on your next big shooting adventure with your equipment safely stowed in the Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+. Most DSLR bodies can fit inside, and there's enough room to carry up to a 500mm ƒ/4 lens. Lightweight and durable, the bag has a sturdy harness system with memory-foam shoulder straps, a vented back panel that's also padded, a removable waistbelt and shoulder straps that tuck away when they're not needed. It fits up to a 15-inch laptop with some 17-inch models, such as the MacBook Pro, able to work as well. All Kiboko backpacks have a convenient solution for carrying tripods. Estimated Street Price: $379. Contact: Gura Gear, (801) 823-2809, www.guragear.com.

If you gravitate toward shooting fast-paced scenes with a lot of action, like wildlife or sports, investing in a memory card such as the 128 GB SanDisk Extreme SDXC UHS-I is worth considering. With read and write speeds of 45 MB/s, the card can capture high-resolution images in full burst mode and quickly transfer those files to a computer. It also records up to 10 hours of full HD video. With the fast transfer speed, the card is capable of offloading an hour-long full HD video in five minutes or a batch of 500 high-resolution stills in as little as a minute, according to SanDisk. A built-in write-protect switch helps prevent accidental data loss. Estimated Street Price: $199 (64 GB); $399 (128 GB). Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK, www.sandisk.com.

With spring approaching, nature's tiniest details may become more of the focus when you're out shooting. Capture those early signs of life on the landscape with the Sigma APO Macro 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM. The lens is the successor to the 180mm F3.5 EX DG macro lens and includes upgrades such as a 1:1 magnification ratio, fast ƒ/2.8 aperture and Optical Stabilizer technology. With the stabilizing system, you can shoot at shutter speeds about four stops slower than you'd be able to otherwise for capturing sharp, close-ups handheld. The lens has a focusing distance of 18.5 inches. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.

If you're a wildlife photographer, you know that your subject has sharp eyes and can spot a lens moving from far away. A camouflage lens cover from LensCoat breaks up the shape and hides lens movements while providing protection for the lens. The covers are made from closed-cell neoprene, safeguarding the lens from bumps and nicks. With a thermal barrier, the cover also protects your hands from hot and cold lenses depending on the temperature. It slides on like a sleeve, is waterproof and includes a clear, flexible UV-PVC window for accessing controls. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: LensCoat, www.lenscoat.com.


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