In Focus: March 2009

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FEATURE-PACKED D-SLR
If you like to get creative with your wildlife and nature photography, the Olympus E-30 is loaded with features for going beyond the straight shot. Six Art Effect Filters, including Soft Focus, Pop Art, Grainy Film, Pale & Light, Pin Hole and Light Tone, can be activated using the camera’s mode dial, and you can see their effects in real time on the Live View LCD. Like other Olympus D-SLRs, the E-30 incorporates sensor-shift image stabilization that works with all lenses. The camera also includes Olympus’ proprietary Supersonic Wave Filter sensor-dust reduction system, Shadow Adjustment Technology and multiple wireless flash capabilities. Estimated Street Price: $1,299. Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, www.olympusamerica.com.
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FAST GLASS
Take sharp shots in low light using the Sigma 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG HSM lens, which delivers a fast, constant aperture in a compact body. The lens provides a wide-angle to moderate-telephoto focal-length range, a minimum focusing distance of 15 inches and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.3. Super Multi Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting, while the Hyper Sonic Motor ensures quiet, high-speed autofocus as well as full-time manual-focusing capability. Estimated Street Price: $900. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigma-photo.com.
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COLOREDGE LCD
Look at your images in high definition using the 24.1-inch widescreen EIZO CG242W LCD, which features 1920 x 1200 native resolution. Designed for still and video work, the monitor comes with ColorNavigator calibration software that sets target values for brightness, white point and gamma, and works with most color-measurement devices. The CG242W features 16-bit internal processing, which helps produce smooth grayscale tones to bring out more detail in the dark areas of an image. The monitor can be connected to two PCs. List Price: TBA. Contact: EIZO, (914) 347-3300, www.eizo.com.
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MEDIUM-FORMAT SHOOTER
If you like the rich detail achieved by shooting big image files, the Mamiya DL28 Digital Camera System is a high-performance pro package that combines the Mamiya 645AFD III camera body with the Leaf Aptus-II 6 28-megapixel Digital Back and a Sekor AF 80mm ƒ/2.8 D lens. The camera features 3-point phase-difference autofocusing, shutter speeds from 30 to 1⁄4000 sec., with flash sync up to 1⁄125 sec., and three metering systems (5-segment evaluative, center-weighted average and spot). The digital back features 28 megapixels on a 44x33mm CCD and a 3.5-inch touch-screen LCD monitor. Big 7.2-micron pixels help produce a 12-stop dynamic range. The 53 MB RAW files are 16-bit and measure 6144 x 4622 pixels. ISOs run from 50 to 800. Estimated Street Price: $14,999. Contact: Mamiya, (914) 347-3300, www.mamiya.com.
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HIGH-CAPACITY, HIGH-SPEED DRIVE
Delivering even faster performance now with a FireWire 800 interface, Western Digital’s My Passport Studio portable drives are a great backup solution for Mac users. The drive features up to 500 GB of storage capacity, weighs less than 7 ounces and features FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 optional interfaces. An illuminated capacity gauge shows how much space is available. The drives come formatted for Macs, but they can easily be reformatted for use with Windows PCs. Estimated Street Price: $249 (500 GB); $229 (400 GB). Contact: Western Digital, (949) 672-7000, www.westerndigital.com.
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JACKET PLUS
The three-in-one Glacier to Glade Parka from Columbia gives you some options when you’re out hiking around. The insulating liner snaps out so you can sport just the waterproof breathable shell if that’s more comfortable. If you’re still on the warm side, undo the pit zips. When the mercury takes a dip, the shell-and-liner combo keeps you from freezing. Wear the liner by itself on cold, dry days and you’ll still stay warm. Estimated Street Price: $229. Contact: Columbia, (800) 547-8066, www.columbia.com.
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H2O PACK
The performance-oriented, lightweight Cruz backpack from Hydrapak is designed with 420D ripstop fabric and an ergonomic harness system with extra padding in the shoulder straps and waist belt. Other convenient features include accessible pockets on the shoulder straps and waist belt, a new suspension-padded back with an airflow channel and zippered access to the reservoir compartment. The backpack comes in red or blue with a 70-ounce hydration pack. List Price: $79. Contact: Hydrapak, (510) 632-8318, www.hydrapak.com.
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CLASSIC TREKKERS

Hike into the backcountry with the Lowa Ranger GTX boots on your feet. Top-notch arch and heel support keeps you comfortable, while the Gore-Tex® waterproof lining helps your feet stay dry. Lowa’s proprietary Vibram MVS outsoles are sticky and stiff enough to handle difficult terrain but remain easy to walk in. The leather boots can handle a load of 40 to 60 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $220. Contact: Lowa, (888) 335-LOWA, www.lowaboots.com.
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GREEN SLEEPER
Rest comfortably even in cold, wet weather while on a backpacking trip using the EcoPro 15 synthetic sleeping bag from Marmot. The bag is built from recycled fabric and insulation, which is 80-percent recycled soda bottles. The polyester shell is made from 100-percent postconsumer materials. The hood cinches tightly, the two-way zipper provides enhanced ventilation, and the bag won’t take up too much room in your pack. List Price: $165. Contact: Marmot, (888) 357-3262, www.marmot.com.
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POWER TOOLS
Speed up your photo workflow by doing away with repetitive image corrections using onOne Software’s PhotoTools 2. Using the power of Photoshop’s Actions commands, the program has more than 270 photographic tools for creating effects, making corrections and performing other automated production tasks. A Preset Mode displays a list of presets or effects, while the Keyword Mode helps you narrow down the list of effects to those that match your search criteria. The pro version includes more than 300 effects along with support for Lightroom 2 and Aperture 2.1. List Price: $159 (Standard); $259 (Professional). Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.
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CLASSY BAG
Stay incognito when transporting your expensive camera gear using Lowepro’s Classified AW series. Designed with a slim profile, soft edges and leather detailing, the bag looks more like a briefcase than a typical camera bag. Collapsible interior padding lets you customize how you arrange your gear. Capacity ranges from fitting a D-SLR with attached zoom and an additional lens or flash to carrying one to two professional D-SLRs with attached 70-200mm zoom, two to three extra lenses or flash, and a 15.4-inch notebook. List Price: $169 to $259. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.
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SOLID LEGS
Take steady shots no matter what kind of environment you’re in using the Davis & Sanford ATPX10. The heavy-duty, all-terrain tripod features weather-resistant aluminum and stainless-steel construction with a black anodized finish. Height ranges from 23 to 61 inches, and it weighs seven pounds with a 35-pound load capacity. The removable 3-way head with quick release works for taking still photography or video. Estimated Street Price: $189. Contact: Tiffen, (800) 645-2522, www.tiffen.com.
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GET ORGANIZED
Keep your photo workflow efficient and fun with ACDSee Photo Manager 2009, which quickly displays more than 100 different file types, including many popular RAW formats. You can view images at full size or as thumbnails, plus the new Quick View feature previews e-mail attachments or desktop files. Drag and drop photos from Windows-based files, and use Photo Manager to add keywords and ratings, edit metadata and create your own categories. List Price: $49. Contact: ACD Systems, (866) 244-2237, www.acdsystems.com.
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WATER GUARD
Be ready for wet weather by throwing the Rainsleeve-Flash into your camera bag. The plastic weather cover is big enough to fit over your camera with a shoe-mounted flash and telephoto lens. The eyepiece opening adapts to most viewfinders so you can compose shots through the lens, not the plastic. It will fit any lens up to seven inches in diameter and up to 14 inches long. Rainsleeve-Flash comes with two in each bag. Estimated Street Price: $9. Contact: OP/TECH USA, (800) 251-7815, www.optechusa.com.
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GO LARGE FORMAT
Make beautiful fine-art prints of your scenics using the HP Photosmart B8550, a dye-based printer with a new five-ink printing system. The B8550 prints a range of sizes from 4x6 to 13x19 inches, with a 4x6-inch color photo printing in as fast as 30 seconds. You can view and print photos just by inserting your memory card into the built-in card slot. The 2.4-inch color display lets you review and enhance images. HP’s dual-drop volume technology helps enhance detail by using small ink droplets. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: HP, (800) 752-0900, www.hp.com.
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IN THE FRAME
Hitting the shelves is a slew of digital frames that do more than just display static images. JOBO’s Photo Display PDJ801 and PDJ800 have 8.4-inch screens and showcase pictures in an automatic slideshow presentation. Sony S-Frames DPF-D100 (10-inch) and DPF-D80 (8-inch) display images of up to 48 megapixels and have 200 MB storage capacity. ViewSonic’s DPG801BK and DPG807BK 8-inch frames feature SwifTouch touch-screen technology with hidden control buttons that give the displays a clean, clutterfree look. Estimated Street Price: $159 to $179 (JOBO); $180 to $280 (Sony); $129 (ViewSonic). Contact: JOBO AG, (734) 453-0300, www.jobo-usa.com; Sony, (877) 865-SONY, www.sonystyle.com; ViewSonic, (800) 888-8583, www.viewsonic.com.
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MOBILE MEDIA CENTER
Manage your images and other digital files using Argraph’s MemoryKick MediaCenter. Download photos from your memory card or other devices through a built-in card reader or via USB. Transfer speed is 7 MBps. With capacities of 30 GB or 60 GB, the 5.6-ounce device also acts as a portable hard drive, so it’s great for taking on the road. View your photos on the 2.2-inch LCD or export to a TV using the composite video output. It supports most popular memory-card formats. List Price: $299 (30 GB); $349 (60 GB). Contact: Argraph, (201) 939-7722, www.argraph.com.
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PLUG-IN SUITE
Optimize your images quickly and easily with Nik Software’s Complete Collection of plug-ins for Photoshop and Aperture. Nik has taken its most popular programs, which include Dfine 2.0, Viveza, Color Efex Pro 3.0, Silver Efex Pro and Sharpener Pro 3.0, and put them into a powerful box set for controlling noise, color, exposure, black-and-white conversions, sharpening and more. Editing is more intuitive through Nik Software’s progressive U Point technology, which allows you to make precise, localized adjustments by placing Control Points on an image. List Price: $299 (Aperture); $599 (Photoshop and Aperture). Contact: Nik Software, (888) 284-4085, www.niksoftware.com.
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FLASHPOINT CASE
Keep your valuable lighting equipment safe in the Flashpoint CS770 Lighting Kit Case. The bag’s exterior is made with rugged Softex material that’s weather-resistant. Although designed for lighting equipment, the case has smaller vertical dividers for storing other gear like tripods, lenses and SLR bodies. A heavy-duty zipper and large weather strip prevent moisture from entering the main compartment. On the inside, reinforced padded walls provide further protection. The bag measures 40x12x12 inches. Estimated Street Price: $170. Contact: Adorama, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.
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SENSOR SCORE
DxO Labs is looking to shed some light on camera sensor performance with its website, DxOMark.com. The online resource delivers detailed information by judging image sensors based on unprocessed RAW image files. Performance is measured by three metrics—color depth, dynamic range and low-light ISO. Those numbers create a composite DxOMark Sensor score, but other detailed measurements are provided as well. About 50 popular digital cameras are covered on the site now, with updates to come on a regular basis. Contact: DxO Labs, www.dxomark.com.
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SCAN AND SHARE
Convert an old photo into a digital file and display it instantly using the Skyla Memoir digital photo frame from Lite-On IT. A built-in 600 dpi scanner scans prints up to 4x6 inches. The frame’s 1 GB of internal memory allows for instant playback on its large 8-inch display screen featuring 800 x 600 resolution. The 5-in-1 card reader is compatible with most memory-card formats, and there are two USB ports. List Price: $219. Contact: Lite-On IT, (510) 687-1800, www.liteonit.com.
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ONLINE MARKETPLACE
Clickbooq now features RedCart’s popular shopping cart software as a new add-on service included in the site’s design and management software for pro photographers. The tool, which is called proofbooq powered by RedCart, allows you to sell prints and other specialty products online using a personal storefront, as well as proof images online and process customer orders. Using proofbooq, you can display images in password-protected galleries where customers can easily select print size and paper, along with previewing various tones, cropping and adding other services. List Price: $59 (month); $629 (annually). Contact: Clickbooq, Inc., (310) 264-0099, www.clickbooq.com
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BOOKS ’N SUCH
Backcountry Roads—Idaho by Lynna Howard and Leland Howard (Caxton Press, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-870-04459-5). If you’re planning a trip to Idaho anytime soon, this unique guidebook features GPS coordinates, expedition maps, detailed descriptions and 140 photographs that take a comprehensive look at the state’s rugged beauty.

Nature Photography: Insider Secrets from the World’s Top Digital Photography Professionals by Chris Weston (Focal Press, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-240-81016-4). Learn from masters like Art Wolfe, Jim Brandenburg, Joel Sartore and others about how to craft more compelling wildlife, macro and landscape photographs.

RAW Pipeline: Revolutionary Techniques to Streamline Digital Photo Workflow by Ted Dillard (Lark Books, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-60059-279-9). Discover new ways to shoot RAW images and handle workflow more efficiently. Topics include working with Smart Objects and Smart Filters, layers and masks, and color management.

Wild Birds of the American Wetlands by Rosalie Winard (Welcome Books, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-59962-034-3). For more than a decade, Winard traveled the United States taking pictures of large birds from Florida to California and Louisiana to North Dakota. The hardcover includes more than 80 stunning black-and-white photographs.

The Complete Guide to Night & Lowlight Digital Photography by Michael Freeman (Lark Books, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-60059-206-5). Figure out how to determine exposure, fine-tune white balance, control depth of field and reduce noise using this in-depth guide. Easy-to-follow tutorials show you how to create better low-light photographs.

3 Comments

    An alternative to the Trekkers by Lowa – Zephyr Coyote Mid Boot GORE-TEX?? Lined. Highly rated by both UK & US SF alike the Lowa Zephyr Mid Boot GORE-TEX?? desert boot fulfills the requirement for those operating in a lightweight role who require fully waterproof lining.
    Available in the UK from Task Force Distribution Limited.

    I am a long-time subscriber and montly I enjoy your Magazine’s articles, pictures and How-To guidance. Please keep up the good work.

    I had a hard time locating the InFocus section and although I am not sure if this is how to apply/vote for the Win This items,

    Again, thank you for a wonderful Magazine.

    Joe Zaia

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