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Saturday, December 1, 2007

In Focus: December 2007

Nikon Lenses
Go Long

Frame your wildlife shots with one of the big-lens additions to Nikon’s super-telephoto lineup. The AF-S Nikkor 400mm ƒ/2.8G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 500mm ƒ/4G ED VR and AF-S Nikkor 600mm ƒ/4G ED VR are designed for Nikon FX and DX format D-SLRs. All include the VR II Vibration Reduction system, which lets you shoot handheld at shutter speeds four times slower than would otherwise be possible. A Nano Crystal Coat, which is an extra-low refractive index coating, reduces potential ghosting and flare and nearly eliminates internal lens element reflections. Three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements minimize chromatic aberrations. To reduce the weight, the lens barrel is constructed out of rugged, die-cast magnesium. Estimated Street Price: $8,799 (400mm); $7,899 (500mm); $9,499 (600mm). Contact: Nikon USA, (800) NIKON-UX, www.nikonusa.com.

Pro Printer
Create dramatic, large-format prints of your landscapes with the 17-inch Epson Stylus Pro 4880, which uses innovative new print-head technology to deliver top-notch images. The MicroPiezo AMC print head handles eight separate ink channels, each with 180 nozzles. It produces different-sized droplets as small as 3.5 picoliters to decrease the print time and has an ink-repelling coating to reduce nozzle clogging. The UltraChrome K3 ink includes a higher-density form of magenta pigments for a wider color gamut of blues and purples. Advanced AccuPhoto HD screening technology produces a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1440 dpi. Estimated Street Price: $1,995. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com.

Epson Stylus Pro 4880

Palm-Sized HD Camcorder
On your next trip, capture high-definition video on the versatile Panasonic HDC-SX5, which records to a memory card or DVD. The camcorder produces rich, high-resolution images using a simpler version of the company’s 3CCD camera system, which is found in its pro broadcasting equipment. The Advanced Optical Image Stabilizer system uses gyro-sensors to detect hand shake, shifting the lens and adjusting the optical axis. The SX5 records to SDHC/SD memory cards and can copy recorded video from the card to a 3-inch DVD without connecting to a computer. Estimated Street Price: $899. Contact: Panasonic,
(800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.
Panasonic HDC-SX5

Raw Optics
Developed with a new RAW-conversion engine, DxO Optics Pro v5 is touted to produce images with fewer artifacts and more detail, especially for those shot in low light. The latest version of the image-enhancement software uses an advanced demosaicing algorithm to give digital photographs a more natural film look. And instead of applying noise reduction after the RAW conversion process, it’s now performed up front, before noise becomes amplified and absorbs fine details. Another nice feature is the Dust/Blemish Removal, which lets you mark and automatically remove spots. List Price: $169 (Standard); $299 (Elite). Contact: DxO Optics, www.dxo.com.
DXO Optics Pro 5

3-In-1 Jacket
As weather conditions change, so can the Tuckerman’s Jacket from L.L. Bean. The garment has a liner with 150-gram Thinsulate insulation that can be worn alone when it’s warm and dry. On wet days, the waterproof TEK2 lightweight nylon shell protects you from wind, rain and snow. For the harshest conditions, zip them together for maximum comfort. Other features include a detachable polyester balaclava, two zippered pockets on the shell and liner, and adjustable cuffs and hem for sealing out the cold winter air. List Price: $179. Contact: L.L. Bean,
(800) 441-5713, www.llbean.com.
Tuckerman's Jacket

Light up with the K2 LED Headlamp from Essential Gear. For enhanced precision, the lamp uses a focus-controlled LED illumination system that lets you adjust from a square-shared focused beam to flood mode by sliding a switch. The bulb produces 85 lumens of brightness and three night vision LEDs in red, blue and green. The K2 has three modes: high, low and flashing. List Price: $50. Contact: Essential Gear, (800) 582-3861 www.essentialgear.com.
K2 LED Headlamp

Superlight Tent
Set up camp in the eco-friendly Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL 2 tent, which uses strong, lightweight poles manufactured from a "green" anodizing process. Offering tons of space at minimal weight, the nylon backpacking tent has two doors, a large vestibule, a six-pocket gear loft and 29 square feet of interior space. There's also an optional vestibule for an additional 27 square feet if needed. You just zip off the standard vestibule and zip on the pole-supported version. It weighs 4.3 pounds. List Price: $349. (Accessory vestibule is $129). Contact: Big Agnes, (877) 554-8975, www.bigagnes.com.
Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL 2 Tent

Rugged Blade
Light, smooth and agile, the Buck/Mayo Kaala knife is well suited for all of your outdoor endeavors. The 63/4-inch blade weighs just 1.9 ounces and is made from top-quality steel with lightening holes that help reduce its weight. A dual-position molded nylon sheath keeps the knife firmly in place. The knife was designed with Edge2x technology, which helps it hold an edge longer and makes it easier to resharpen. List Price: $100. Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825, www.buckknives.com.
Buck/Mayo Kaala Knife
All-Season Trekkers
Tackle the snowy terrain this winter in the Torre GTX Classic hiking boots from Montrail. Whether you’re backpacking or hiking, the all-leather boots are built to keep you free from foot pain. Waterproof Gore-Tex lining blocks out moisture and breathes to keep your feet comfortable and dry. Seam-free heel lining and molded-foam heel pockets ensure a proper fit, while the microporous rubber midsoles provide long-lasting shock absorption. Estimated Street Price: $160. Contact: Montrail, (800) 826-1598, www.montrail.com.
Torre GTX Classic

Down Bag
Sleep well in the harshest of conditions by zipping up the Zephyr -15° from Kelty. The water-resistant, 650-fill down mummy has a deep, three-dimensional hood, a full-length two-way locking zipper and a zipper draft tube that helps keep the cold out. The fill power of a sleeping bag is important because it refers to the loft or "fluffiness" of insulation per unit of weight. The higher the fill power, the higher the loft and insulating value of the down. List Price: $300. Contact: Kelty, (800) 423-2320, www.kelty.com.
Kelty Zephyr sleeping bag



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