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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In Focus: January/February 2013

This Article Features Photo Zoom
As a nature photographer, you know the value of the 70-200mm focal-length range. With its AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm ƒ/4G ED VR lens, Nikon offers an impressive five stops of image stabilization through its Vibration Reduction technology. This not only helps at the longer telephoto end, but also in low-light situations that call for using slower shutter speeds. This model is smaller and lighter than Nikon's ƒ/2.8 version of the lens. When used with the D4, D800 series and D600 DSLRs, the 70-200mm ƒ/4 allows you to take advantage of Nikon's teleconverters for increasing focal length without sacrificing its AF and VR capabilities. Using the camera's cross-type focus points at ƒ/8 and below lets you double the focal length of the lens to 400mm while maintaining AF to capture clear subjects at a greater distance. Estimated Street Price: $1,399. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.

The Samsung NX1000 SMART mirrorless camera is loaded with features for taking great images. To start with, there's a 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, built-in WiFi connectivity and a 3-inch LCD screen. The camera is capable of 1080p HD movie recording, 8 fps continuous shooting and fast autofocusing. The unique i-Function lens button allows you to control the NX1000 by scrolling through the manual settings (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) and using the focus ring to change their parameters. Using the Smart Auto function, the camera analyzes, identifies and automatically selects the most appropriate scene mode for the best results. For more control, the Smart Panel feature delivers full manual-control settings for aperture, shutter speed and more in one convenient screen. The camera comes in a kit with a 20-50mm lens and an external flash. Estimated Street Price: $699. Contact: Samsung, (800) SAMSUNG, www.samsung.com.

If you're doing a ton of high-res still and HD video shooting these days, the Lexar Professional 400x SDXC UHS-I memory card could be a smart investment. With up to 256 GB of capacity, it's the first card to offer this much storage. Capturing, storing and transferring large volumes of high-resolution stills and extended video cuts is possible at a minimum guaranteed sustained read transfer speed of 60 MB/s. The Class 10 card comes with the latest version of Image Rescue 4 software, which helps you recover lost or deleted files. Estimated Street Price: $899. Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.
Ultra-wide-angle lenses are crucial for capturing dramatic landscapes, but can be problematic when using filters. The WonderPana 145 and WonderPana 66 filter systems from Fotodiox attempt to fix this by offering filters that completely cover the large front elements of ultra-wide-angles. The WonderPana 145 works with all Fotodiox 145mm circular filters, as does the WonderPana 66 system, which also accepts industry-standard rectangular 6.6-inch filters from Schneider Optics. For use with these systems, Fotodiox also has produced 10 new filters in its PRO line. Six of the filters are available in the 145mm round format, which is similar to a traditional round screw-in filter, only much larger. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $200 (145); $300 (66); $79 (filters). Contact: Fotodiox, (866) 812-1107, www.fotodioxpro.com.
Fans of the Moab Lasal inkjet paper lineup have a new option to choose from. Dual Semigloss 330 is the first dual-sided heavyweight (330gsm) paper in its class. Featuring the latest in coating technology, the paper delivers consistent image quality and dries instantly. You can handle prints immediately without worrying about fingerprints or scuffing—ideal for albums and portfolios. Moab offers several different kinds of its Lasal paper, including single-sided luster, gloss and matte, as well as the double-sided Photo Matte 235. Dual Semigloss 330 is compatible with pigment and dye inks, but pigment is recommended, and is available in 25-sheet packs of 8.5x11, 11x14, A3+ and A4 sizes. Estimated Street Price: $29 to $35. Contact: Moab, (800) 727-3716, moabpaper.com.

Give your heavy telephoto lens a solid base with the Sirui PH-20 Gimbal Head, which gets its strength from the combined use of cross-patterned, multilayered carbon fiber in the arm and aircraft aluminum in the L-bracket so it can handle up to 44 pounds, yet weighs just 2.4 pounds. You can smoothly move the camera horizontally 360° and tilt +150° to -60° (and stay in position without locking the head), with a slight touch. Carbon fiber delivers less vibration and is more tolerant of temperature changes. For added flexibility and convenience, the Sirui PH-20 can be converted from an L-bracket unit into a simpler side-mount system with the included quick-release platform and tools. Estimated Street Price: $529. Contact: Argraph, (201) 939-7722, www.argraph.com.


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