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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Focus: December 2009

Editors' Picks

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Tamrac Ultra Pro 7 Bag
When I’m traveling, even on short road trips, I like to bring most of my photo gear along. That means an SLR body, plus a couple of zooms and flash. Then there’s all the little necessities—chargers, cables, memory cards, filters—that you want on hand, but not in the way. The Tamrac Ultra Pro 7 has room for all of my gear, with smart organization. It includes a rain cover in case the weather goes south, and can slip over the handle of rolling luggage. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Tamrac, www.tamrac.com. —WP

Pentax K-7
I really liked the K20D’s weather/dustproofing, image quality and AF performance (with SDM lenses) on birds in flight. Its successor, the Pentax K-7, not only improves those great features, but adds a lot more. Among my favorites: In-camera 3-image HDR, cold resistance to go with the weather and dust resistance, a larger and higher-res 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitor, and automatic correction of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration with SDM lenses (which are weather- and dust-resistant like the camera body). There’s also 720p HD video capability, 5.2 fps shooting, effective sensor-shift shake reduction that works with all lenses, improved sensor-dust reduction, an intervalometer and more. And all this in a reasonably priced, very compact body. Estimated Street Price: $1,199. Contact: Pentax, www.pentaximaging.com. —MS
Sigma APO 120-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM
Wildlife photographers are always looking for long lenses, but long lenses cost a lot. Curiously, you generally can buy a super-tele-zoom for less than a fixed-focal-length lens of the zoom’s maximum focal length. The Sigma APO 120-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM zoom takes one well into supertele territory (especially when used on an APS-C-format D-SLR), performs well and carries a lower price than 400mm primes. It will focus down to five feet at all focal lengths (much closer than a 400mm prime lens), is relatively compact (3.6x8 inches, 61.7 ounces) and has a built-in optical stabilizer. It’s available in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma and Sony SLRs, film and digital. Estimated Street Price: $899. Contact: Sigma, www.sigmaphoto.com. —MS
Gitzo Ocean Traveler Kit
Featuring stainless-steel components, a first for tripods, the GK1581OT Ocean Traveler from Gitzo is built for photographers who spend a lot of time braving harsh elements. Stainless steel protects from salt water, sand, mud and high humidity, not to mention rust, and the Ocean Traveler also includes Ocean-Lock leg locks, specially constructed to keep water and debris from entering the legs and threads. The stainless-steel ballhead offers exact framing of a scene, and it also can be disassembled and relubricated for easy cleaning. Estimated Street Price: $1,200. Contact: Gitzo (Bogen Imaging), www.bogenimaging.us. —DW
onOne Software DSLR Camera Remote
One of the most buzzed about iPhone apps for photographers—and there were many that debuted this year—is DSLR Camera Remote from onOne Software. The program lets you control a Canon or Nikon D-SLR remotely using an iPhone or iPod Touch when the camera is connected to a WiFi-enabled computer. You can fire the shutter, review images, control camera settings and get a live viewfinder preview. I like the freedom that controlling the camera remotely gives, especially when trying to shoot from odd angles. The app comes in two versions—Lite and Professional (most features are in the pro version only). Estimated Street Price: $2 (Lite); $20 (Professional). Contact: onOne Software, www.ononesoftware.com. —KC
Mpix Gallery Wrap
Popular in art galleries, gallery wraps wrap a print around a 3-D frame, ready to hang. Mpix makes excellent gallery wraps. Just upload your image, and follow the simple on-screen directions. Estimated Street Price: From $55 for an 8x10 to $170 for a 24x36-inch gallery wrap. Contact: Mpix, www.mpix.com. —WP

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