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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In Focus: November 2011

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Big-Ticket Gifts Over $1,000
With a bigger sensor, stronger audio capabilities and AVCHD 2.0 HD video support, the Sony NEX-VG20 is the second generation of Sony's Handycam interchangeable-lens camcorder. The 16.1-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor is roughly 20 times the surface area of that found in a conventional camcorder. It captures in 1080 at up to 24 MB/s with 24p, 30p and 60p frame rate options. Other additions include RAW still capability, a faster autofocus system, focus assist and your choice of 2ch stereo or 5.1-channel surround-sound audio. The VG20 is compatible with the Sony E-mount series of lenses. List Price: $1,599 (body only); $2,199 (with E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS lens). Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669, www.sonystyle.com.

With extensive manual controls, built-in lens filters and a large DSLR-sized sensor, the Fujifilm FinePix X100 is a worthy alternative when you don't want to carry a bulky camera. A 12.3-megapixel sensor and a fast 35mm-equivalent ƒ/2 Fujinon lens let you take top-notch quality pictures at fast shutter speeds with a shallow depth of field. The retro-looking camera delivers a classic rangefinder-like shooting experience with traditional controls. Turning a ring at the rear of the lens barrel sets aperture, and a dial on top of the camera controls shutter speed. The X100 captures 720p HD video at 24 fps and has a hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder. Estimated Street Price: $1,200. Contact: Fujifilm, (800) 800-3854, www.fujifilmusa.com.

Make photographs with greater depth of field using the Schneider Optics PC-TS lens family. Known for their fine precision, Schneider Super Angulon lenses are legendary among pro photographers. This new lineup includes three models: the Super Angulon ƒ/2.8 50mm and Makro-Symmar ƒ/4.0 90mm PC-TS for DSLRs and Apo-Digitar ƒ/5.6 120mm HM Aspheric for medium format. The lenses can shift laterally up to 12mm or tilt at an angle of up to 8º, which is enough movement to correct almost any scene or create just about any effect desired. These movements can be applied in 30º increments at any position within the 360º lens rotation. This is possible because of their large 90mm image circle (120º for the medium format). Estimated Street Price: $4,192 (50mm); $3,962 (90mm); $5,657 (120mm). Contact: Schneider Optics, (818) 766-3715, www.schneideroptics.com.

Change up the look of your landscapes by taking an exceptionally wide angle of view with the Canon EF 8-15mm ƒ/4L Fisheye USM lens, which delivers a 180º diagonal angle of view for all EOS SLRs. Features include UD glass for limiting chromatic aberration, a Subwavelength coating for reduced ghosting and a newly developed Fluorine coating that minimizes soiling, smears and fingerprints. The lens has full-time manual focus for instantly switching from AF to manual operation. Estimated Street Price: $1,399. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
The Sigma 105mm F/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro has a 1:1 reproduction ratio down to its closest working distance of 12.3 inches and incorporates Sigma's Optical Stabilizer technology for preventing motion blur from shaky hands. The Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting, resulting in images with high contrast, and the Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures quiet autofocus. List Price: $1,400. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.

Take higher-quality video clips on your DSLR with help from the Cine DSLR fluid head from Sachtler. The head's camera plate features an anti-twist retainer, which is part of what makes the unit so well suited for DSLRs. With a load capacity of up to 11 pounds, it can support heavier cameras and lenses. Other features include a 10-step counterbalance system, three vertical and three horizontal grades of drag for precise panning, and a tilt range of +90º to -75º. Estimated Street Price: $1,030. Contact: Sachtler, (845) 268-0100, www.sachtler.us.

Get your camera into the exact position you want using the innovative Arca-Swiss d4 and d4m pan-tilt heads. A turning device at the base of both models aligns the camera, and there's a panning device under the camera mount for shooting panoramas. Two bubble levels that sit at a 90º angle are under the panning device as well for aligning the camera. The d4 can be controlled manually or with micrometers while the d4m is manual only. The d4 and d4m weigh 1.7 and 1.4 pounds, respectively. Estimated Street Price: $1,102 (d4); $711 (d4m). Contact: Arca-Swiss International, P.O. Box 28450, Tempe, AZ 85285, (480) 755-3364, www.precisioncameraworks.com.


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