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Thursday, April 2, 2009

In Focus: May 2009

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Giving you the classic view of a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, Nikon’s AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm ƒ/1.8G is the fastest DX-format (APS-C) lens as of its debut. This focal length offers a fast maximum aperture for low-light shooting and an angle of view that’s similar to that of the human eye. The compact lens, which is actually closer to 52mm, has a built-in Silent Wave Motor that provides quick and quiet autofocusing down to less than a foot. List Price: $199. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-UX, www.nikonusa.com.
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Canon’s TS-E 24mm ƒ3.5L II and TS-E 17mm ƒ/4L lenses are the widest of the lineup. Featuring the new TS Revolving System, the lenses can tilt and shift in parallel movements or at right angles to one another. Once the system has been set, the entire lens can be rotated through a range of +/-90 degrees. With their movements and image circles of 67.2mm (normal image circle for 35mm cameras is 43.2mm), the lenses provide the SLR user with the kind of versatility found in a view camera. List Price: $2,199 (24mm); $2,499 (17mm). Contact: Canon USA, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
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If you’re a Lensbaby fan, you now can convert the selective-focus special-effects lenses from a 50mm to a 21mm focal length using the 0.42x Super Wide Angle lens. It attaches to the front of any Lensbaby via a 37mm screw thread and is compatible with the Optic Swap System as well as older models. If you’re not familiar, these lenses allow you to control depth of field by surrounding a sweet spot of sharp focus by graduated blur. The 0.42x also has macro capability, allowing you to focus as close as 2.75 inches away from the lens. List Price: $79. Contact: Lensbaby, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbaby.com.
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The Sigma 10-20mm ƒ/3.5 EX DC HSM maintains a maximum aperture of ƒ/3.5 throughout its entire zoom range. This is Sigma’s widest zoom with a Hyper-Sonic Motor Drive, which allows for quiet, high-speed autofocus as well as full-time manual focusing capability. Other key specs include a 9.4-inch minimum focusing distance, a 1:6.6 maximum magnification ratio and a 102.4-degree angle of view. Mounts include Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax. List Price: TBA. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.at has an Arca-style system. The handle is cushioned for added comfort. List Price: $149. Contact: Kirk Enterprises, (800) 626-5074, www.kirkphoto.com.

in focusTokina’s AT-X 124 PRO DX II 12-24mm ƒ/4 AF is the 35mm equivalent of an 18-36mm lens. For Nikon users, the second generation of this lens features a built-in autofocus motor drive designed to work with the D40, D60 and other bodies. The Canon version already had a built-in AF motor. A new multicoating helps reduce reflections that can cause flare and ghosting. The one-touch focus clutch mechanism allows for quickly switching between auto and manual mode. List Price: TBA. Contact: THK Photo Products, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.

Take steady handheld shots in ultratelephoto range using the Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II VC LD Aspherical (IF) Macro lens. With Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism, the lens compensates for handheld shake over an extremely wide focal-length range. In 35mm format, the lens covers a 28-419mm range. It’s also capable of close focusing down to 19.3 inches from the subject over the entire zoom range with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.5 at 270mm. Estimated Street Price: $629. Contact: Tamron, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron.com.
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Designed for home network use, Western Digital My Book World Edition hard drives provide automatic and continuous backup for multiple computers. The 1- and 2-terabyte units automatically back up any changes to the files on the computers and are easy to set up. Features include simple recovery for damaged or lost files, centralized storage and sharing of digital content, a capacity gauge and more. List Price: $229 (1 TB); $499 (2 TB). Contact: Western Digital, (877) 934-6972, www.westerndigital.com.
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