LIGHTWEIGHT HD CAM Shoot 1080i high-definition video using the one-pound AG-HSC1Ucamcorder from Panasonic. The AG-HSC1U records natively in 16:9 widescreen format and has a 3-CCD color reproduction system for capturing accurate and richer color. Up to 41 minutes of video (in highest-quality mode) can be recorded on a high-speed 4 GB SDHC memory card. The camera comes with a portable 40 GB media storage unit for off-loading content from the memory card. The unit can hold the contents of 10 4 GB SDHC cards and has a built-in rechargeable battery. Other features include a 12x Leica Dicomar lens system with optical image stabilization, a 5.1-channel surround-sound five-microphone system and a three-inch widescreen LCD display. Estimated Street Price: $2,099. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com/broadcast.
AN ARTIST'S HAND Turn your landscape photographs into paintings and illustrations with Corel Painter X. The latest version of the software packs in a variety of powerful updates. The RealBristle Painting System features brushes with individual bristles that blend and splay like they would in the traditional medium. Among a slew of new composition tools are Divine Proportion, which helps you visually arrange your canvas the way a master artist would, and Layout Grid, which follows photography's Rule of Thirds. The program is faster and optimized for Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs along with running on Windows Vista. List Price: $429 (new); $229 (upgrade). Contact: Corel, (800) 772-6735, www.corel.com.
BACK IT UP The Iomega 120 GB Black Portable Hard Driveis the "little black box" of storage devices. Just 0.5 inches thick and weighing 5.8 ounces, the drive works at 5400 RPM with 8 MB of memory. Powered by USB 2.0 or FireWire, the device comes with backup software and uses Drop Shock technology to protect your files. The Mac-compatible drive can also be reformatted to work with a PC. List Price: $169. Contact: Iomega, (888) 516-8467, www.iomega.com.
IN THE BAG Protect your valuable gear using Lowepro's Apex All-Weather shoulder bags and camera pouches. The rugged, lightweight bags feature a single-compartment design that makes accessing your equipment quick and easy. There's room for your D-SLR, plus accessories, and the soft interior lining and dividers guard against weather, dust and scratches. List Price: $19 to $25 (pouches); $34 to $49 (shoulder bags). Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.
ZOOM IN Expand your range with the Pro-Optic 2X converter by Adorama. The converter works on analog lenses used with digital cameras and provides double magnification for superb optical results. The multicoated lens has seven elements positioned in four groups and a 43.5mm barrel length. It weighs 6.5 ounces and measures 2.7 inches long. List Price: $89. Contact: Adorama, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.
LIGHT, STYLISH CAM With 10 megapixels, a premium Schneider lens and a slim design, the Samsung NV11 is ideal for photography on the trail. An intuitive, smart-touch interface is designed for navigating easily through the camera's features. Simply slide your finger across the control buttons positioned around the 2.7-inch high-definition LCD. You also can capture moving pictures at 30 fps in TV-quality MPEG-4 VGA format. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Samsung, (800) 762-7746, www.samsungcamerausa.com.
QUICK SCANS Convert your old negatives and slides into digital files with the latest flatbed scanners from Hewlett-Packard: the Scanjet G4010 and G4050. Using a built-in media adapter capable of batch scanning, the G4010 scans five 35mm slides or six negative frames at once and the G4050 scans 16 slides or 30 frames. The scanners capture at 4800 x 9600 dpi resolution and use six-color, 96-bit scanning technology, resulting in images with great dynamic range and accurate color reproduction. They also support medium-format (120- or 220-roll film) and 4x5-inch film. List Price: $149 (G4010); $199 (G4050). Contact: Hewlett-Packard, (800) 752-0900, www.hp.com.
MEGA-COMPACT Sometimes it just isn't practical to take your D-SLR on a shoot. The palm-sized, 10.1-megapixel Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z1050 can easily go wherever you roam. The camera features a 2.6-inch LCD, 3x optical zoom (35mm equivalent of 38-114mm) and a new processing engine that increases ISO settings and shutter speeds to reduce blur in your images. A continuous shooting mode allows up to seven shots per second. List Price: $299. Contact: Casio, (973) 361-5400, www.casiousa.com.
Books 'N Such
Fish Face:Portraits by David Doubilet (Phaidon Press, 2007; ISBN: 978-0-7148-4757-3). The acclaimed underwater photographer shows some of the most colorful and bizarre fish that he has encountered over the past 25 years. Showing full-page pictures of close-up portraits, the book takes you from the beautiful to the quirky.
Bloom by Ron Van Dongen (Chronicle Books, 2007; ISBN: 0-8118-5756-5). Long celebrated for his black-and-white photographs of flowers, this is Van Dongen's first collection in color. He photographs flowers from around the world, capturing the palest powder pink of the Helleborus x hybridus to the wine-dark Papaver "Black Cloud."
Digital Photography Expert Techniques by Ken Milburn (O'Reilly Media, 2006; ISBN: 0-596-52690-3). Take a step-by-step course on how to shoot digitally with this all-inclusive guide, covering a range of how-to topics that include choosing the right equipment, organizing and editing images, and optimizing overall workflow.
Hummingbirds of Costa Rica by Michael and Patricia Fogden (Firefly Books, 2006: ISBN: 1-55407-163-1). Featuring 44 of the 45 hummingbird species that live in Costa Rica, the book depicts each bird and the flower with which it naturally associates. Hundreds of detailed close-ups show the birds' unique features.
The Ultimate Field Guide to Landscape Photography by Robert Caputo (National Geographic, 2007; ISBN: 978-4262-0054-0). This updated edition offers new information about digital cameras and digital software for landscape photography. Every picture shown gives details on shutter speed, aperture settings, camera types and more.
Magic Lantern DVD Guides: Canon EOS 30D, Sony A100 and Nikon D200 (Lark Books, 2006; ISBNs: 1-60059-079-9, 1-60059-091-8, 1-600-59-080-2). Shot in high definition, these 75-minute interactive videos are packed with instructions, real-world shooting examples and techniques, and detailed explanations showing you how to use the cameras.
Your Next Digital Darkroom Between the large image files today's new D-SLRs generate and the demands of the latest software tools, your old computer is probably starting to show its age. We have some suggestions when it's time for an upgrade. More »