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Saturday, March 1, 2008

In Focus: March 2008


Sony DSLR-A200

ALPHA SHOOTER

Sony expands its α (Alpha) digital SLR system with the DSLR-A200. The 10.2-megapixel camera features continuous shooting of 3 fps, an integrated anti-dust cleaning system and an eye-level penta-mirror optical viewfinder with 0.83x magnification. The Super SteadyShot image-stabilization system helps prevent blurring caused by camera shake. It comes with an 18-70mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 zoom with a 35mm equivalent of 27-105mm. Estimated Street Price: $699. Contact: Sony, (877) 865-SONY, www.sonystyle.com.

ALL-WEATHER BAG Keep your equipment secure and dry no matter what the weather Conditions are with the Lowepro Vertex 300 AW backpack. Water-resistant zippers and a seam-sealed cover keep the interior dry. An eight-point adjustable harness system is designed to match your body type for comfort. It’s deep enough for a pro D-SLR with attached 400mm lens. Depending on the configuration, the backpack holds one to two pro D-SLRs, a large 35mm or medium-format system, six to eight lenses, a tripod or monopod, a 17-inch laptop and accessories. Estimated Street Price: $249.Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com. Lowepro Vertex 300 AW backpack

FISH-EYES
Go for a different look when shooting wide-angle landscapes using a couple of new fish-eye lenses from Sigma. The 10mm ƒ/2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM and the 4.5mm ƒ/2.8 EX DC Circular Fisheye HSM have a minimum focusing distance of 5.3 inches and a maximum magnification of 1:3.3 (10mm) or 1:6 (4.5mm), making them ideal for close-up work. Focus manually or via the highly responsive autofocus driven by the Hyper Sonic Motor. Each lens has a Super Multi-Layer Coating minimizing flare and ghosting. Designed for smaller APS-C-sized sensors, the lenses will vignette around the edges of the frame if used with larger sensors or 35mm SLRs. Estimated Street Price: $650 (10mm); $900 (4.5mm). Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
new fish-eye lenses from Sigma

NATURAL TOUCH
Use a pen to navigate programs and edit directly on-screen with the Wacom Cintiq 12WX. The beautifully designed 12.1-inch TFT LCD features 24-bit color depth, WXGA resolution (1280 x 800) and a wide 170-degree viewing angle. It’s compatible with more than 100 software programs. Five customizable ExpressKeys, located on each side of the LCD, can be set up for keyboard shortcuts and frequently used functions. Use the Cintiq 12WX as a standalone or with an existing display. The cordless, battery-free Grip Pen allows for precise moves, with 1,024 levels of pressure in the pen tip and the eraser. Estimated Street Price: $999. Contact: Wacom, (800) 922-9348, www.wacom.com.
Wacom Cintiq


SOFT TOP
Take your next hike wearing The North Face Cipher Windstopper jacket. The garment’s chest, tops of the arms and part of the back panel are armored with Gore-Tex® Windstopper fabric. The rest of the jacket is cut from a four-way stretch material that keeps it breathable and lightweight at just 18 ounces. Vents in the hood and mesh chest pockets help keep you comfortable regardless of the weather conditions. Estimated Street Price: $149. Contact: The North Face, (800) 447-2333, www.thenorthface.com.

North Face Cipher Windstopper jacket

FAST AND LIGHT
The Hubba HP and Hubba Hubba HP tents from MSR are lighter than earlier models, yet offer more protection from the elements. Ideal for lightweight backpackers and long-distance hikers, the tents feature a new, lighter technical fabric and less mesh for more protection from sand, snow and wind. There’s also a gear loft and adjustable, reflective stake loops. The Hubba HP fits one person and the Hubba Hubba HP fits two. Lightweight, reinforced clips allow for fast, easy setup and maximum ventilation. List Price: $349 (Hubba HP); $449 (Hubba Hubba HP). Contact: MSR, (800) 531-9531, www.msrcorp.com.
Hubba Hubba HP tent

STAY DRY
Waterproof your boots without changing how they look or feel using Ion-mask technology developed by Hi-Tec. The treatment works at the molecular level, binding invisibly to the surface of the shoe and allowing it to repel most liquids. Using patented plasma technology, the Ion-mask process coats three-dimensional objects with an invisible polymer mask that repels oil and water, without affecting the physical properties of the shoe. Boots retain their breathability, and they become lighter because they no longer retain water. List Price: TBA. Contact: Hi-Tec, www.hi-tec.com.
Hi-Tec Altitude Ultra

REST UP
Give your body a break from hiking around in cold weather with the Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro mattress. Touted as the lightest two-inch mattress the company has ever produced, it uses the same foam design as the ProLite mattress series. The regular version is 20x72 inches, and the large version is 25x77 inches. Weight ranges from two to three pounds. List Price: $79 (regular); $99 (large). Contact: Therm-a-Rest, (800) 531-9531, www.thermarest.com.
Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro mattress

FILM SCANNER
Bring your slides into the digital age with the Microtek ArtixScan M1. The flatbed film scanner is designed for 35mm, 6cm and 4x5-inch film formats, while also capable of scanning reflective art or prints as large as 8.5x14 inches. With 4800 dpi optical resolution, the scanner produces image files from 35mm scans that allow prints of up to 15x22 inches with 300 dpi resolution. Other features include 16-bit digital output and autofocus. List Price: $649. Contact: Microtek, (310) 687-5940, www.microtekusa.com.

Microtek ArtixScan M1

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