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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In Focus: December 2013

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The versatile design of the flat-folding carbon-fiber Benro Travel Flat Transfunctional II CF Tripod Kit is perfect for photographers who need adaptability in the field. The four-section tripod legs feature weather- and dust-resistant rubberized locking grips and can be set at three positions for variable-angle shooting. It extends to 53.7 inches and supports 17.6 pounds. For complete shooting flexibility, one of the tripod legs unscrews and attaches to the Dual Action Ballhead (with Arca-Swiss-compatible quick-release plate) to become a full-sized monopod. With a carrying case included in the kit, the full tripod folds down to 22.2 inches and weighs only 3.4 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $379. Contact: Benro, www.benrousa.com. —AMT
Adobe Lightroom 5 is the standard image processor for many nature photographers, thanks to its intuitive interface and powerful features. As Photoshop has become more the providence of graphic designers, Lightroom is the only software many nature shooters use. The new features in Lightroom 5 include a new Upright tool, an Advanced Healing brush, Smart previews and more. The Upright tool will be welcome for many OP readers for its fine controls. Estimated Street Price: $149 ($79 upgrade). Contact: Adobe, www.adobe.com. —CR
Manfrotto has announced a new Pro bag line, including the Backpack 30. The pack features a rigid, multilayered Exo-Tough outer construction with thermo-formed areas and reinforced feet that protect against impact. The bag's interior Camera Protection System (CPS) center includes thickly layered core center dividers that mold to equipment and provide shock absorption. The top partially unzips for quick access to your camera, or can be unzipped completely, providing a flap that functions as a field mat with pockets for accessories and a tablet. The pack holds a pro-sized DSLR with lens attached, additional camera body and lenses, and strobe. Exterior zippered pockets carry accessories, personal items and a 13-inch laptop. The bag features a moisture-wicking padded back system with adjustable straps and a waist belt. A tripod may be attached on the front or side with a detachable strap. List Price: $199. Contact: Manfrotto, www.manfrotto.us. —AMT

With the pocket-sized 35mm ƒ/2 full-frame RX1R, Sony has taken advantage of the Exmor CMOS sensor's high-resolution power by removing the multi-segment optical low-pass filter (OLPF) that's part of the RX1. This gives the RX1R the ability to bring out more fine details in your subject. As with the RX1, the RX1R has an ISO range of 100-25,600, plus the low-light feature of combining six rapid-capture images to create one image with reduced noise equivalent to two steps of ISO sensitivity. The BIONZ image processor shoots at 5 fps for fast action shots. Estimated Street Price: $2,800. Contact: Sony, www.sony.com. —AMT
One of the most interesting developments in lens technology in years, Sigma's USB Dock and Sigma Optimization Pro software allow you to personalize lens performance to suit your individual preferences. Currently compatible with five of Sigma's popular lenses, you can adjust focus settings and update your lens firmware, and with the 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM, you can also fine-tune stabilization performance, AF speed and set a focus limit to reduce "focus hunting." Compatible with Windows 7 or later, and Mac OS X 10.7 or later. Estimated Street Price: $59. Contact: Sigma, www.sigmaphoto.com. —WP
This year, Adobe announced a huge shift to a subscription-based Creative Cloud product structure. Listening to photographer feedback, the company has followed up with a $9.99/month Creative Cloud membership offer created specifically for photographers who already own CS3 or higher. The membership includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5, 20 GB of online storage, Behance ProSuite training resources, as well as continued upgrades and updates. But this low-priced membership option is only available for a limited time. You must sign up by December 31, 2013 to qualify for the $9.99/month price! Contact: Adobe, www.adobe.com. —AMT


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