Take the size of a pocket point-and-shoot, add to it the interchangeable-lens capability of a DSLR, and what you get is the Olympus PEN E-P2. The second model in Olympus’ Micro Four Thirds camera series features the same compact size and 12.3-megapixel sensor as its predecessor, the E-P1. What’s new is an accessory port for accommodating an included articulating VF-2 Electronic View Finder to help you frame shots. Upgrades include a newly developed Continuous Autofocus (C-AF) Tracking System that simultaneously locks on a subject and tracks it from right to left or from back to forward. Estimated Street Price: $1,100 (with EVF and ED 14-42mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 lens, or EVF and 17mm ƒ/2.8 lens). Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, www.getolympus.com.
Capture all the wildlife action with Nikon’s fast-aperture super-telephoto AF-S NIKKOR 300mm ƒ/2.8G ED VR II. The lens features new technologies like optimized autofocus modes for better performance and Vibration Reduction II image stabilization that enables handheld shooting at up to four shutter speeds slower than would be possible otherwise. There are three autofocus modes (A/M, M/A and M) for fast, secure switching between auto- and manual focus. The lens focuses down to 7.2 feet in manual focus or 7.5 feet in autofocus. Also new is the TC-20E III teleconverter, which basically doubles the focal length of select lenses. It also features an aspherical element that helps eliminate coma and other aberrations, even at wide apertures. Estimated Street Price: $5,899 (300mm); $499 (TC-20E). Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.
RUNNER PACK Lowepro’s new Pro Runner AW series comprises six photo backpacks, ranging from smaller standard models to spacious units that convert to rolling cases. All feature built-in All Weather AW covers and rain-flap zipper covers for added protection from the elements. Padded adjustable shoulder straps and tuck-away waist straps enhance comfort on long hikes. Customizable main compartments and the Hideaway Tripod Mount system add versatility. The x350 AW and x450 AW models feature replaceable wheels and spring-loaded trolley handles for easy travel through airports. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.
With a large aperture, macro capability and anti-shake technology, the Sigma 17-70mm ƒ/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM is a handy lens for nature shooters. Featuring Sigma’s Optical Stabilization technology, this lens allows you to shoot handheld at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than would be possible otherwise. In 35mm format, the focal length is the equivalent of 24-105mm. Other key specs include a minimum focusing distance of 8.7 inches, a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2.7, and it comes in Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax mounts. Estimated Street Price: $680. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
The Manfrotto Carbon Fiber M-Y 732CY tripod weighs just two pounds, but can support more than triple that capacity. The 100-percent carbon-fiber tubes are constructed using an advanced manufacturing process that maximizes performance, torsion resistance and dependability. When folded, the 732CY is 16.7 inches, while its extended height is 53 inches. Ergonomically designed upper aluminum die casting with spring-loaded rotating selector dials allows you to individually adjust each leg angle. Estimated Street Price: $200. Contact: Manfrotto Distribution, Inc., (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.com.