PHOTO EDITOR Adobe Photoshop CS5 is loaded with new features for improving images. One of the standout tools is Content-Aware Fill, which removes any detail or object, examines the surroundings and seamlessly fills in the space left behind. This allows for a sky with parts missing at the top or bottom to be filled in. Refine Edge makes challenging selections possible by precisely detecting and masking tricky edges, such as foliage, while eliminating background color contamination. HDR capabilities are better with advanced tone-mapping control over gamma, exposure and detail, as well as color control over vibrancy and saturation. Estimated Street Price: $699. Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.
Steady your camera using the compact Giottos MH 5000 and MH 5001 three-way pan/tilt heads. Both feature oversized, foam-covered handles, 360º panning, solid metal construction and support for up to 13 pounds. The MH 5001 has a built-in quick-release camera platform and two bubble levels and weighs 1.8 pounds. The MH 5000 has a single bubble level and a standard camera platform and weighs 1.7 pounds. The camera-mounting screw on the MH 5000 is lever-activated for a tight grip and also to make it easier to loosen the camera screw when desired. Estimated Street Price: $66 (MH 5000); $73 (MH 5001). Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
The unique Sigma 8-16mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 DC HSM is designed specifically for DSLRs with APS-C-sized image sensors. The lens is equivalent to 12-24mm in 35mm format and incorporates Sigma’s new FLD glass, which is comparable to fluorite glass and compensates for color aberration. Fluorite is less dense, too, making for lighter lenses. An inner focusing system produces high-definition images throughout the entire zoom range, and the Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting. The HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor) assures quiet, high-speed autofocus alongside full-time manual-focus capability. Estimated Street Price: $699. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
Carry the Tamrac Evolution 6 or 8 as a backpack or sling pack on either shoulder. With the Triple Access System, you can get to equipment through the central front door or using two side doors. For quick access when wearing it as a backpack, slip off the shoulder strap, swing the pack around to the front and open the side door to access your DSLR. To get to additional equipment, swing the pack around to the opposite shoulder and open the side door on the other side of the pack. To convert the backpack to a sling, simply cross-connect a single shoulder strap. The other shoulder strap tucks away. The internal dividers are foam padded and adjustable. Estimated Street Price: $149 (Evolution 6); $199 (Evolution 8). Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.
Using newly developed High-Rate Transparency film, the Hoya HRT Circular Polarizer passes more visible light through the filter while still filtering the same amount of polarized light. Transmitting as much as 25% more light through the polarizing film, the filter gives you about 1⁄3-stop more light than a standard circular polarizer, according to the manufacturer. The glass also has UV-absorbing properties. In addition to darkening skies, a polarizer reduces reflections caused by glass, water and other nonmetallic surfaces. Size availability is 49mm to 82mm. Estimated Street Price: $70 to $250. Contact: THK Photo, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.