REFINED OPTICS Nikon has upgraded its popular AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm ƒ/2.8G ED VR II lens with several features designed to boost image quality. The Vibration Reduction system now allows you to shoot handheld at up to four shutter speeds slower than would be possible, an improvement over the three allowed by its predecessor. Seven Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements help you take sharp images with accurate color by minimizing chromatic aberration. The Silent Wave Motor enables fast, quiet autofocusing to 4.6 feet. Estimated Street Price: $2,399. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-UX, www.nikonusa.com.
PACK UP Set out on your next photo day hike with the Tamrac Velocity 9x sling pack. The bag holds a pro D-SLR with grip and 70-200mm zoom attached. It carries like a traditional backpack, but swings around to the front for faster access to gear without removing the pack. In the main compartment, the camera fits securely between two vertical, foam-padded dividers. There’s also room for a few additional lenses and a flash. A padded sling strap distributes the bag’s weight evenly. Estimated Street Price: $89. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.
CAMERA SUPPORT Take sharper shots with help from Slik’s PRO 340 BH tripod, which is composed of an aluminum-magnesium-titanium alloy that delivers a lightweight, yet sturdy frame. The compact tripod extends from 20 inches to nearly 58 inches and has four leg sections that collapse down to just over 20 inches for easy transport when traveling. The three-position, multi-angle leg locks make for easy setup on uneven terrain. Converting the center column to a short column allows you to shoot as low as 10 inches from the ground. The PRO 340 BH weighs just over three pounds, yet can support almost nine. List Price: $239. Contact: Slik (THK Photo), (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.
ULTIMATE ZOOM When space doesn’t allow for a lot of extra lenses, take the Sigma 18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM. In addition to steadying the image as conventional stabilizing lenses do when used with most D-SLRs, the Hybrid Optical Stabilizer compensates for shake and provides a stabilized image in the viewfinder of Pentax and Sony cameras, which stabilize in the body. This unique capability is available only with Sigma Hybrid Optical Stabilizer lenses. Estimated Street Price: $530. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
PHOTO BROWSER PLUS Simplify how you manage your image archive with ACDSee Pro 3. The latest version of the workflow app has a new streamlined interface with fewer icons and colors, keeping the focus on your photos. To make your workflow more efficient, the interface is built around three key areas—managing, viewing and processing images. You can categorize using a new check box feature in addition to dragging and dropping. Other notable features include an FTP uploader, flexible nondestructive processing presets and improved noise reduction. List Price: $169. Contact: ACD Systems, www.acdsee.com.