MOVING PICTURES Shoot high-def video and take sharp 7.1-megapixel stills with the Canon PowerShot TX1, a high-performance, compact camera that uses a big zoom lens. The eight-ounce TX1 features an image-stabilized 39-390mm (35mm equivalent) 10x optical zoom, records 1280x720p high-definition movies at 30 fps and uses stereo sound. An improved DIGIC III image processor delivers faster startup, autofocus and shutter response times. Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
MEDIUM BABY Medium-format photographers now can achieve the cool focus effects created by the Lensbaby 3G. For the Mamiya 645, the lens is available in an 80mm fixed focal length with an aperture range of ƒ/3.4 to ƒ/39. The Pentax 67 has a fixed focal length of 100mm with an aperture range of ƒ/4 to ƒ/45. Lensbaby lenses use a flexible barrel that, when pushed, pulled or bent, creates images with a bending plane of focus. List Price: $390. Contact: Lensbabies, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbabies.com.
THICK-SKINNED Cover up your compact shooter with Snug-It skins. The flexible silicone rubber jackets fit snugly over your camera's most important parts, guarding against dust, fingerprints, scratches and impact, while allowing full functionality of all camera controls. A plastic LCD cover protects the screen from debris. For touchscreen LCDs, the cover opens for easy accessibility. Snug-It skins are available for all major point-and-shoot models. List Price: $20. Contact: Delkin Devices, (800) 637-8087, www.delkin.com.
DO-IT-ALL ZOOM Whether you're angling for close-up, wide-angle or telephoto shots, the Sigma 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 DC OS lens has you covered. Two Special-Low-Dispersion (SLD) glass elements and two aspherical lenses correct all types of optical aberrations for high image quality throughout the entire zoom range. The lens is equipped with Sigma's OS (Optical Stabilizer) technology to counteract unwanted camera movement. Estimated Street Price: $349. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
QUICK CHANGE Switching from vertical to horizontal center posting is now easier than ever on the redesigned 190XPROB tripodfromManfrotto. Just extend the center column to its highest vertical position and pull it down horizontally. Ergonomic improvements also have been made to the leg-angle release mechanism and the quick-action leg locks. The tripod weighs four pounds, with a maximum load capacity of 11 pounds. The minimum height is 3.3 inches, and the maximum height with the extended center column is 57.5 inches. List Price: $162. Contact: Bogen Imaging, (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.
HD HARD DRIVE CAM Record the beauty of the outdoors in high definition with JVC's latest-generation Everio GZ-HD7. For reproducing bright, true-to-life colors, the GZ-HD7 uses three 1/5-inch CCDs—one each for red, green and blue. The camera captures video directly to a built-in 60 GB hard drive, which stores up to five hours of 1920 x 1080i video at 30 MBps. Video then can be downloaded via the USB 2.0 port to a computer or the optional JVC DVD burner. Other features include a Fujinon lens with a 10x optical zoom and optical image stabilization. List Price: $1,799. Contact: JVC, (800) 526-5308, www.jvc.com.
VERSATILE SHOOTER Take the compact 7.1-megapixel Pentax Optio W30 on an afternoon hike or for a swim. The camera is waterproof down to 10 feet and works continuously for up to two hours. Zoom in close on your target using a 38-144mm (35mm equivalent) 3x zoom lens that can focus less than an inch away from your subject. Other features include a Digital Shake Reduction mode, a 2.5-inch LCD with anti-reflective coating, an enhanced movie mode (30 fps) and a full range of manual modes. List Price: $299. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.
SUPER ZOOMS The 8-megapixel Sony DSC-H7 and DSC-H9 cameras are designed for action photography. Both feature wide-ranging Carl Zeiss 31-465mm (35mm equivalent) 15x optical zoom lenses and an advanced sports shooting mode that focuses quickly on fast-moving subjects by predicting where they'll be in the frame. The DSC-H9 has a three-inch, flip-up LCD for easily framing shots close to the ground or over your head. Additional features of both cameras include Super Steady Shot optical image stabilization, a powerful processing engine and advanced noise-reduction technology. List Price: $400 (DSC-H7); $480 (DSC-H9). Contact: Sony, (877) 865-SONY, www.sonystyle.com.
HIGHLIGHT RECOVERY Recovering highlights is challenging with digital photography. DxO Optics Pro version 4.2 features a highlight recovery tool that helps optimally adjust bright highlights when working with RAW images by restoring lost tonal information. The software uses another new tool, the SmartVibrancy function, to let you selectively enhance color. Also included are several interface improvements, making tools easier to use. The upgrade is free for all Version 4 users. List Price: $149 (standard). Contact: DxO, www.dxo.com.
Books 'N Such
A Naturalist and Other Beasts: Tales From A Life In The Field by George B. Schaller (Sierra Club Books, 2007; ISBN: 1-57805-129-0). Wildlife Conservation Society vice president Schaller has observed wild animals and conducted landmark long-term studies since the 1950s. This collection features 19 short pieces gathered from the dozens of articles and books he has published over the years.
Photoshop Elements 5 Workflow: The Digital Photographer's Guide by Tim Grey and Peter K. Burian (Sybex, 2007; ISBN: 978-0-470-10086-8). This guide helps you learn how to create high-quality images by using a logical sequence of essential tasks. The book covers topics ranging from sorting images and RAW conversion to advanced editing.
Yosemite: Art of An American Icon edited by Amy Scott (University of California Press, 2006; ISBN: 0-520-24922-4). Two hundred works of art complemented by essays exploring the connections between art and nature in the Sierra Nevada wilderness. Paintings, photography, basketry and other works are included by artists from the 19th century to the present.
Photographing the Southwest: Volume 3: A Guide to the Natural Landmarks of Colorado and New Mexico by Laurent Martres (Graphie International, 2007; ISBN: 0-916189-14-7). Hundreds of color photographs show readers the beauty of these locations accompanied by helpful information on the best spots, how to get there and tips on how to shoot them.
Martha's Vineyard Seasons by Paul Rezendes (Tide-Mark Press, 2005; ISBN: 1-59490-124-4). Discover Martha's Vineyard through these revealing, colorful photographs of the island. From the colorful gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs to the Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah, Rezendes explores the whole island throughout the seasons.
Black & White Photography: A Practical Guideby Steve Mulligan (Photographers' Institute Press, 2007; ISBN: 1-86108-428-5). Learn the basics of traditional monochrome photography in this guide. From selecting equipment and materials to presenting finished work, Mulligan explains how it all fits together using his photos and case studies.