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Monday, September 1, 2008

In Focus: September 2008


BIG-RANGE ZOOM
Go from wide-angle to telephoto range with a constant ƒ/4 maximum aperture using the smc Pentax DA 17-70mm ƒ/4 AL [IF] SDM. The 17.1-ounce lens covers a 4.1x focal range of 26-107mm (35mm equivalent) on Pentax D-SLRs. Some of the standout features include a 0.31x maximum magnification, an 11-inch close-focus distance and a QuickShift Focus System for instant switching from auto to manual focus. Pentax SP coating protects the lens surface from grease, water and dust. List Price: $599. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.
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PRINT WIDE
Create impressive color and black-and-white prints using the Epson R2880, a 13-inch, wide-format printer that replaces the R2400 in the pantheon of Epson high-end photo printers. The R2880 continues Epson’s Stylus Pro line by using nine inks based on the UltraChrome K3 Vivid Magenta ink set for a wider color gamut. Improved reds, blues and purples, along with three levels of black, deliver better gray balance and tonal range. Radiance Technology enhances color transitions and reduces grain by improving highlight and shadow detail as well as color consistency. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com.
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HD SHOOTER
Record ultra-sharp, high-definition video of your next adventure with the Panasonic HDC-HS100. The camera records to both an SD memory card and its internal 60 GB hard drive. Depending on how much control you want, the camera offers full manual controls and an intelligent Auto mode. With this setting, several technologies like Optical Image Stabilization, Face Detection and Intelligent Contrast Control are activated automatically so you don’t have to make any adjustments. The HDC-HS100 records in the AVCHD codec at full 1920 x 1080 resolution and uses the Leica Dicomer lens system, which includes 12 lenses. List Price: $1,299. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.
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ADVANCED SPEEDLIGHT
On the heels of its newest FX-format (full-frame) D-SLR, the D700, Nikon has released an upgrade to the i-TTL Speedlight SB-800, the Speedlight SB-900. The flash improves on zoom range, with coverage from 17mm to 200mm for FX or as wide as 12mm for DX-format D-SLRs. The SB-900 allows you to set three different lighting distributions: Center-weighted for a center-dominant-based flash; Standard mode for the same distribution as the SB-800; and Even, which evenly covers the entire frame, from center all the way to the edges. It incorporates wireless i-TTL technology, which allows full control over the unit off the camera and syncing to multiple Speedlights. The SB-900 assists with autofocus with an AF assist beam that covers the D3, D700 and D300’s 51 focus points (when used with a focal range from 20mm to 105mm). Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.

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TWO-PERSON TENT
With more than 30 square feet of space, the Marmot Aura 2 Tent manages to stay light, weighing just four pounds. The creative utilization of the poles helps create a functional and versatile lightweight backpacking tent with a roomy vestibule for wet-weather living. Double doors and double vestibules create living comfort, and the optional Bare Bones Setup allows the fly to be used by itself with an optional ground sheet. Estimated Street Price: $250. Contact: Marmot, (888) 357-3262, www.marmot.com.
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GET IN THE BAG
The Chasseral Multi-Temperature Sleeping Bag from Wenger features a removable, insulated comfort top, which helps keep you warm in temperatures anywhere from 10° F to 40° F—ideal if you camp at varying elevations where temperature swings are common. The Chasseral is filled with Climashield XP insulation, which offers warmth, loft and durability, yet easily compresses for lightweight, compact transportation and storage. The bag measures 32 x 84 inches and has a carry weight of 3 pounds, 5 ounces. List Price: $199. Contact: Wenger, www.wengerna.com.
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MAP IT OUT
Know exactly where you’re going on your next journey by loading your GPS with DeLorme’s Topo USA 7.0 mapping software. In this latest version, there are four million searchable places of interest and new modes for creating car, bike and foot routes. An easy-to-use navigation bar provides quick access to often-used features like GPS settings and the Measure function for measuring distances and areas on a map. You can see the terrain of a place in vivid detail through 3-D map views and controls. List Price: $99. Contact: DeLorme, (800) 561-5105, www.delorme.com.
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SOLID HIKERS
Keep your feet comfortable regardless of the temperature in Bogs Boots Osmosis MT model. Using four-way stretch, waterproof and breathable neoprene, the boots keep water out and perspiration can escape. Under the outer shell is a breathable, perforated foam pad and a 2mm air mesh lining that removes moisture. A neoprene sock liner eliminates friction and adjusts to fit any foot width. List Price: $90. Contact: Bogs Boots, (800) 201-2070, www.bogsfootwear.com.
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