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More Outdoor Camera & Accessory Reviews


Stay in focus with our digital photography equipment reviews. You'll discover a wide range of information on nature photography in these informative articles.


Thursday, June 1, 2006

Tamron AF55-200mm f/4-5.6 Di II LD Macro Zoom

A fine hiking companion

I like to travel light on hikes. This means a light D-SLR body and a light but versatile zoom lens. The wide-range zooms (28-200mm or 28-300mm, or digital equivalent) provide the versatility but weigh enough to notice on a lengthy hike. A good solution is to decide whether I’m in a wide-angle mood or a telephoto mood, and "lens" accordingly.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Gadget Bag: Batteries

What you need to know for reliable power in the field

If you’ve ever wondered how the flashlight got its name, here’s the secret. When flashlights were first invented more than 100 years ago, the batteries that powered them were weak and the light lasted for very short periods of time. When turned off, the chemistry in the cells rejuvenated, and the batteries recovered a portion of their power. Then they were ready to flash again. Sounds puny, but considering that the height of portable lighting technology up to that point was a flaming torch, this was a real technological breakthrough. Thankfully, mobile power has come a long way since then.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Closer And Closer Macro

The OP Guide to close-up gear

Close-up photography lets you explore a whole new world of outdoor photo possibilities. You can fill the frame with tiny subjects or colorfully abstract small portions of larger subjects. While there are several definitions of close-up photography, we’ll go with the simplest one here: photographing subjects at closer range than the minimum focusing distances of standard lenses allow. Today, camera equipment manufacturers offer lots of ways to "get close."

Monday, May 1, 2006

Live LCD, True SLR

The Olympus EVOLT E-330 is the first D-SLR to offer a tilting TTL monitor and an optical TTL viewfinder

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the little digital cameras with the flip-out or tilting LCDs. Because these LCDs are "live" meaning they see what’s coming through the lens, they can be used as handy viewfinders for new shooting angles.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Nikon Wireless Close-Up Flash

Wireless is a great way to go for using flash with macro shots

Recently, I had the chance to work with Nikon’s new wireless close-up flash kit. The R1C1 breaks new ground, offering ease and convenience in close-up flash that we’ve never had before. The kit includes an SU-800 flash controller, two SB-R200 flash heads and a mounting bracket to fit the front of a lens (a macro, for example).

Monday, May 1, 2006

Gadget Bag: Sharpness Is Easy

Tripods are indispensable, and new, exotic materials and construction make them better, lighter and stronger than ever

We’ve said it before and we‚’ll say it again: If you‚’re looking to improve your photography, the single most useful tool you can use is a tripod. As photo gear goes, tripods fall somewhere between a sandbag and lens-cleaning tissue on the "cool equipment" scale. Compared to exotic optics, advanced filters and new ubertech SLRs, what‚’s less sexy than three sticks connected to a hinged plate? And yet the tripod remains the device that’s most likely to have an immediate, positive impact on your imagery.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Outdoor Gear Guide (Gadgets, Gear and Garments)

When it’s too cold for a shirt but not cold enough for a jacket, it’s just right for a Woolrich Shirt Jac. Available in several materials, including canvas, corduroy and chamois cloth, Shirt Jacs add warm, lightweight polyester fleece to the basic shirt, along with 40-gram Arctic Insulation for the sleeves, with quilted taffeta lining for easy on and off.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Gadget Bag: Teleconverters

Increase the focal length of your telephoto lenses

A teleconverter offers photographers the means to shoot at increased telephoto focal lengths without buying a completely new lens. With 400mm and higher lenses costing thousands of dollars, an optical accessory that delivers an increased focal length at a fraction of the cost has its obvious appeal.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Nikon D200

A new D-SLR with pro-level resolution and features in a durable body

Whenever a new camera hits the market, there’s an inevitable flood of information and misinformation surrounding the launch. In the case of the Nikon D200, the Internet rumor mills were fueled with all sorts of speculation about the camera’s specifications and capabilities, mostly centered around the image sensor. Would Nikon introduce its first model with a full-frame image sensor? The answer is no. The D200 is built with a Dx-sized sensor just like all other Nikon digital SLRs, but to focus exclusively on that is to miss the forest for the trees. Like the pricier D2x, which debuted in the spring of 2005, the D200 is built with refinements and technology that question the need for the full-frame sensor in the first place.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Custom Photo Transportation

OP's photo vehicle demonstrates ways to customize an SUV for photographic use

When our publisher, Steve Werner, directed us to outfit a vehicle that would demonstrate how one could use a four-wheel-drive SUV specifically for photography, it sounded intriguing, but what could we get together that would work in the field? And could we do it all-digital to reflect the keen interest our readers have in digital?

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Canon EOS 5D

A well-featured digital SLR drops the price for a full-frame sensor

The new Canon EOS 5D has a lot of photographers talking. What do you get with this $3,300 camera? Is the full frame worth it? How about the 12.8 megapixels? After shooting with this camera in the field, I have a few answers. First, I appreciate the way the camera handles. While the EOS 1D and 1Ds Mark II cameras offer superb image quality, they’re also big and heavy. They’re sturdy and durable, to be sure, but their size isn’t for everyone. The EOS 5D is a more manageable field camera. It’s just a bit larger than the EOS 20D, measuring 6x4.4x3 inches and weighing 28.6 ounces

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro

Put some distance between you and your macro subject

Close-ups are my favorite part of nature photography. I say that not because I love bugs more than waterfowl or flower parts more than rocky landscapes. I love close-ups because they can connect me with nature anywhere, anytime. I can shoot close-ups of spiders building webs outside my backdoor or of orchids in Peru, of flowering weeds outside of my office or lichens on the rocks of Arches National Park. With close-up gear, I’m good to go whenever I want, wherever I am. I was excited to get a sample of Tokina’s new 100mm ƒ/2.8 macro lens (officially named the AT-X M100 AF Pro D). At 2.9x3.7 inches and 19 ounces, this compact lens offers film and full-frame digital cameras 1:1 at 12 inches. For small-format digital SLRs, you get an equivalent of 150-160mm (still at the fast ƒ/2.8) and more distance to 1:1. The lens includes a newly engineered multi-coating to minimize reflections when using a digital camera’s sensor (which has a shiny protective surface).

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Epson Stylus Photo R2400

Impressive black-and-white prints are within your grasp

This past summer, some friends of mine bought a new condo in Southern California, although they must have promised their first born to the mortgage company with prices the way they are. The condo was a sizable step up from their rental apartment, and in addition to a lot more square footage of floor space, it has a lot more wall space than the former residence (along with a second full bath and a balcony). Suddenly, the collection of wall art that had filled the old place barely made a dent on the walls at the new one. I should have suspected there were ulterior motives when I found myself invited over for a big dinner (with plenty of good wine). Somewhere between grilled salmon and crème brûlée, the innocent question was posed, "So, Chris, do you have any prints of your photographs you could give us for the walls?" I don’t sell them, so why not give them away?


Thursday, December 1, 2005

Gadget Bag: Wireless Tools For The Outdoor Photographer

New technologies cut the cables and give us expanded creative options

Although photography is my medium of choice, I’ve always admired the simplicity of the painter’s toolbox. Canvas, brushes and paint—it doesn’t get less complicated.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

2005 Holiday Book Guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and, with so many good books being published and winter vacations approaching, we think it’s quite the season for book reading, too. If you’d like to lay off the eggnog and candied yams and indulge your senses in something with a little more sustenance and a lot less fat, there’s quite an array of books from which to choose.

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