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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In Focus: May 2012

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The EF 24-70mm ƒ/2.8L II USM is the latest from Canon. A durable build with weather sealing makes it good for the outdoors, plus the lens is dust- and water-resistant. The optical design consists of two Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) elements and one Super UD to reduce chromatic aberration at wide angles. This helps to deliver sharp-looking photos with high contrast. Additionally, three aspherical elements minimize aberration and suppress distortion, as well as aid in reducing the size and weight of the lens. A circular nine-blade diaphragm creates soft backgrounds and incredible bokeh. A zoom lock lever secures the zoom position for safe transit, and fluorine coatings on the front and rear glass surfaces reduce smears and fingerprints. List Price: $2,299. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.

The Novoflex lineup of lens adapters continues to expand with support now for the Nikon 1 and Pentax Q mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera systems. If you're considering a switch, the adapters allow you to use almost all of your old lenses on these cameras. Mirrorless camera systems have made lens adapters quite popular, partly because some camera makers don't offer a wide range of lenses for these systems yet. There are now more than 125 available models, including some to fit medium-format lenses to SLR, rangefinder and mirrorless cameras, so you can mount a Hasselblad 500mm to a Micro Four Thirds body. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.

Alien Skin Software Exposure 4 comes with tons of new features for simulating the look of historical photographic processes like cyanotype, lith printing and wet-plate photography. If you want to really get authentic, the program has tools for reproducing defects such as light leaks, dust and scratches—flaws that film photographers try to prevent. Alien Skin did extensive research into how grain should look, so it clumps and is strongest in the midtones, just like the real thing. It also scales with your image size. Estimated Street Price: $249. Contact: Alien Skin, (888) 921-SKIN, www.alienskin.com.

For many outdoor photographers, Really Right Stuff L-Plate brackets are as essential as a tripod, polarizer or weather cover. Really Right Stuff knows it, too. Every time a new camera model comes out, they produce a new bracket to support it. Simply put, the bracket allows you to change your DSLR's position from horizontal to vertical without affecting its stability by moving the ballhead. This is because in addition to the Arca-style mounting plate on the bottom, there's an extension arm for mounting the camera in a vertical position. With the camera mounted on the tripod, just reattach the quick-release plate in the vertical position on the bracket. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $120. Contact: Really Right Stuff, (888) 777-5557, www.reallyrightstuff.com.

A longtime favorite of photographers, the Billingham 335 SLR Camera Shoulder Bag has undergone a redesign. In the main compartment, there are four deep pockets for holding cords, memory cards and other important extras. The zipper opening was re-tooled so that the zip panels can lie out of the way behind the inside pockets forming the TukTop, which allows the main zip with its double pullers to be tucked out of the way when opened. When you're shooting, the zip can remain open, and your gear kept out of sight and protected with the main flap. The bag can carry two DSLRs, three lenses and accessories. It's constructed of soft-weave fabric, which helps eliminate abrasions. Estimated Street Price: $389. Contact: Billingham (R.T.S. Inc.), (631) 242-6801, www.rtsphoto.com.

The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD is an ideal focal length for nature landscape photography. This lens is highly anticipated because it includes the lens maker's Vibration Compensation technology. The moving coil mechanism in the VC system consists of a lighter coil that reduces the load on the drive system. Since the unit is more compact, the lens' overall weight and size have been reduced. Optically, the lens features 12 groups with a total of 17 elements. There are three high-grade Low Dispersion elements, three glass-molded aspherical lenses, one hybrid aspherical lens and two Extra Refractive Index glasses. All of that glass helps deliver top-notch image quality. It will be available for Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron-usa.com.


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