Taking a backup camera on a trip gives you a little insurance in case your primary shooter malfunctions. Given space constraints, a compact can be the most ideal way to go. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V, which comes with a 27mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonar T lens, packs plenty of high-end features. In 35mm format, the lens is equivalent to 27-810mm, allowing you to zoom in on far-off wildlife, and it has a manual control ring for adjusting focus or zoom. Optical SteadyShot stabilization keeps images steady at those long focal lengths. The controls on the 16.2-megapixel shooter are laid out much like an SLR. In Intelligent Sweep Panorama HR (High Resolution) mode, you can capture panoramic shots of up to 42.9 megapixels. Estimated Street Price: $450. Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669, www.sonystyle.com.
PRECISE HEAD Novoflex ballheads are known for their high precision, stability and compact construction. The latest model, the Ball NQ, is no different. The easy-to-move ball allows for 360º rotation, it can be locked in any position using a lever lock, and an integrated level helps to align the camera in just the right position. The head can support up to 15 pounds and is equipped with a quick-release Q-Mount, which accepts Arca-compatible plates. It weighs one pound and measures 3.1x2x3 inches. Estimated Street Price: $357. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketing.com.
Give your outdoor lighting setup a boost with the TritonFlash from Photoflex. Delivering up to 750 full-power flashes on a single charge, the strobe has a battery pack that weighs 22 ounces and can power two TritonFlash heads simultaneously without cutting the power output in half. Each head still produces 300 w-s of power. The strobe comes in a kit with an extra-small OctoDome Soft Box with connector, a second lithium battery, a FlashFire wireless kit for cable-free strobe firing and an international battery charger. Estimated Street Price: $1,499. Contact: Photoflex, (800) 486-2674, www.photoflex.com.
Sometimes nature doesn’t cooperate with shooting plans. If you find yourself trying to capture landscapes on a day when the natural light isn’t working, put the Heliopan High Transmission SH-PMC circular polarizer on your lens to help make colors pop. The filter maintains the same effect as the standard model, but loses less light with a filter factor of 2.0 instead of 2.5. This translates to a 1-stop light loss. The SH-PMC coating allows 99.8% of light to pass through to the image plane with the top layer repelling dust and moisture. Available in screw-in sizes of 46mm to 82mm in standard and slim brass mounts, the polarizer works without vignetting even when used with extreme wide-angles. Estimated Street Price: $135 (77mm). Contact: Heliopan, (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketing.com.
With the DSLR-sized FOVEON X3 sensor, the compact Sigma DP2x records images with all three primary colors (red, green and blue or RGB) at every pixel site. A new algorithm that produces images with rich tones and high definition powers the TRUE II image-processing engine. The fast 24.2mm ƒ/2.8 lens is equivalent to 41mm in 35mm format and has the Super Multi Layer Coating that Sigma uses on its lenses to reduce flare and ghosting. You can record stills in JPEG or RAW format, and a Movie Mode records in QVGA (320x240) format. Estimated Street Price: $800. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.