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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In Focus: October 2011

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Give your landscape photographs the look of a painting or sketch with Snap Art 3 from Alien Skin Software. You can replicate hundreds of styles, from oil paint and watercolor to pencil sketch and newly added crayon. The program produces individual brushstrokes to make the final composition look more authentic. In this latest version, more refined stroke placement creates cleaner edges and more natural stroke patterns. You can customize the brush size, paint thickness and other qualities to create your signature look. Estimated Street Price: $199 (new); $99 (upgrade). Contact: Alien Skin Software, (888) 921-SKIN, www.alienskin.com.

Setting a new standard for small, the retro-looking Pentax Q is an interchangeable-lens camera that measures just 2.3x3.9x1.2 inches and weighs only 7.1 ounces (without a lens). To achieve such a diminutive physical size, Pentax incorporated a backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor that measures just 1/2.3 inches, a fraction of the size of Four Thirds and APS-C sensors. This, in turn, allows for a smaller lens mount and more compact lenses. The 12.4-megapixel camera also features full 1080p HD video at 30 fps, in-camera HDR, a built-in pop-up flash and a scratch-resistant magnesium-alloy body. The Q-mount lens system includes prime, zoom, fish-eye and toy lenses. The camera ships with the prime lens. Estimated Street Price: $800. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.

Show your camera some support with the Cotton Carrier Steady Shot, a mounting plate with multiple holes for adding a quick-release plate or fluid head to comfortably pan and tilt your camera. Made from anodized, machined 6061 aluminum with all stainless-steel fittings, the Steady Shot can handle the weight of an HD video DSLR, plus an attached lens. If you own a Cotton Carrier Camera Vest, the Steady Shot slides into the vest’s Lexan receptacle, allowing you to support the camera whether you’re using a big lens to photograph wildlife or capture video. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Cotton Carrier, (877) 852-9423, www.cottoncarrier.com.

Make sure the colorful, dramatic skies you saw through the lens maintain their color on screen and in the final print with ColorMunki Display from X-Rite. The calibration system features an easy mode with a selection of one-click presets and an advanced mode with a wizard-based interface for more control. A built-in ambient light smart control measures, compensates and monitors ongoing ambient lighting conditions. The wizard helps correct white point, white luminance, contrast ratio, tone response and even flare, which is new in this generation of device. The all-in-one colorimeter combines ambient light measurement, display profiling and projector profiling. Estimated Street Price: $189. Contact: X-Rite, (800) 248-9748, www.xrite.com.

With By Pixel Super Resolution technology, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX55’s zoom range extends from 5x to 10x with full 16.2-megapixel resolution. In 35mm format, the camera’s zoom ranges from 26mm to 130mm. At 10x, the optical zoom reaches to 260mm. The TX55 records 1080i AVCHD video at 60 fps in video mode and delivers a 10 fps burst mode for stills. With dual record functionality, the camera can take 12-megapixel stills while recording full HD video. A 3.3-inch diagonal OLED touch screen handles most of the in-camera controls. Estimated Street Price: $350. Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669, www.sonystyle.com.

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