In Focus: March 2012

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Sometimes a camera phone is all you need, especially if it's the camera in the iPhone. Now you can step up your iPhone photography with the iPro Lens System from Schneider Optics. Designed for the iPhone 4 and 4S, the kit consists of wide-angle and fisheye models. Using a bayonet mount, the lenses securely fasten to a standalone bumper case, twist on and off, and have metal lens barrels. The fisheye has a 165° field of view, which is equivalent to a 12mm lens, and the wide-angle has an 86° field of view, which is equivalent to a 19mm lens. A pocket-sized case serves as a protector, universal tripod mount and grip. List Price: $199. Contact: Schneider Optics, (818) 766-3715,
If you're using the HP Designjet Z3200 to do your printing, download the Large Format Photo Negative software package to produce fine-art-quality prints or hard-copy image archives. You can use a digital file from a film scan or a digitally captured file to create a photo negative on a transparent substrate. The negatives then can be used as masters to produce high-quality, black-and-white fine-art prints through a range of classic, alternative photographic processes such as cyanotype, photogravure, dye-transfer and more. An included paper preset ensures that the printer applies the correct amount and combination of inks for achieving the opacity and tonal gradations needed to create the negative specific to the type of paper used for the final print. Estimated Street Price: Free. Contact: HP, (888) 772-9897,

Getting high-quality wildlife shots requires a telephoto lens, but carrying it in a bulky bag may slow you down. The Tamrac Super Telephoto Lens Pack holds a pro DSLR with up to a 600mm lens attached and has a narrow profile, making it easier to navigate through crowds and in tight spaces. The foam-padded divider inside adjusts vertically to fit lenses of varying lengths, and you can carry a tripod in the front of the bag with the QuickClip tripod attachment system. The pack also meets airline carry-on size requirements. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717,
If you're planning a trip that makes taking a DSLR difficult, the Fujifilm X10 is a compact shooter with several advanced features that make it a serviceable backup to a DSLR. The 12-megapixel, 2⁄3-inch EXR CMOS sensor is larger than those found in comparable compacts. You can shoot with full manual control, and the Fujinon 4x zoom lens (28-112mm equivalent) can be operated manually by twisting the lens barrel to adjust focal length. A front-mounted dial allows you to choose between manual focus and autofocus, and the lens has maximum aperture settings from ƒ/2 at the wide end to ƒ/2.8 at the telephoto end. Estimated Street Price: $600. Contact: Fujifilm, (800) 800-3854,

Keep your DSLR system dry when shooting a snowy landscape with the LensCoat RainCoat. No matter what kind of elements you're facing, the RainCoat protects your gear while letting you access the camera controls to keep on shooting. It's made from a lightweight, waterproof and breathable poly tricot material. The RainCoat Pro fits DSLRs with 200-400mm telezooms or 300mm to 800mm primes, and the RainCoat Standard fits smaller lenses up to 100-400mm. Cinch straps make it easy to adjust the length of the cover and keep it snug around the lens. An arm sleeve folds out from a built-in pocket, providing you with access to the camera controls. Estimated Street Price: $79 (Standard); $99 (Pro). Contact: LensCoat,

This Article Features Photo Zoom
in focus 2009
Stay warm when exploring the frosty landscape by zipping up the Marmot Zion Jacket. The water- and wind-resistant Polartec Neo Shell fabric delivers the protection of a hard shell with the breathable and mobile qualities of a soft shell. Fully taped seams help protect you from uncertain weather, and the highly breathable fabric keeps you from overheating. A storm hood with laminated brim protects your face and eyes during a sudden storm. Multiple pockets with water-resistant zippers keep your extras safe and dry. Estimated Street Price: $375. Contact: Marmot, (888) 357-3262,

When the sun goes down, light up with the compact aluminum Pelican 1910 and 1920 LED flashlights. Powered by a single AAA battery, the 1910 weighs just 1.4 ounces and emits a 39-lumen beam, with a battery runtime of an hour. Weighing in at 2.2 ounces, the 1920 uses two AAA batteries and emits a 67-lumen beam for nearly three hours. Both lights feature a removable metal clip, and they're weather-resistant. List Price: $32 (1910); $35 (1920). Contact: Pelican, (800) 473-5422,

With a camera mount and legs, the Gerber Steady multi-tool can become a mini-tripod for mounting compact cameras or smartphone cameras. Add to that a fine-edge blade, serrated blade, three screwdrivers (Micro Flat, Square Cross and Medium Flat), a bottle opener, needle-nose pliers and wire cutters. The unit is six inches long when opened, four inches long when closed, and weighs 5.8 ounces. List Price: $64. Contact: Gerber, (800) 950-6161,

See in the dark with the MINOX NV 351 Night Vision Device. Thanks to advanced illuminator technology, it delivers sharp images from twilight into the nighttime with 2.5x magnification. The light-amplifying illuminator gives you a clear image, and with a range of 230 feet, the device allows you to see far-off objects in total darkness. It weighs 12 ounces, plus features a weatherproof design and a tripod socket for extended viewing. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: MINOX USA, (866) 469-3080,

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Stabilize your DSLR with the Giottos GTL9242-S2-630 tripod system, which includes the new MH7503 single-lever ballhead with the Giottos MH630 double-action lever lock quick release. Some of the top features include a reversible, nontwist center column with safety lock, a retracting spring-loaded weight hook and 3-position leg angle locks. The tripod has a minimum height of 16 inches and extends to 56.3 inches with the column. It can hold 6.6 pounds, yet weighs only 2.7 pounds. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373,

Alien Skin Software Blow Up 3 makes resizing images easy and fast with a user interface that works similarly to the resize command in Photoshop. Images stay tack-sharp, especially at the edges, and there are lots of presets for standard paper sizes, making the program even easier to use. Blow Up does output sharpening depending on your paper type to ensure that prints are crystal clear. There's also support now for Lightroom (version 2 or later), in addition to Photoshop (CS4 or later) and Photoshop Elements (version 8 or later). List Price: $199; $99 (upgrade). Contact: Alien Skin, (888) 921-SKIN,

Steady your DSLR on the Sachtler Telescopic TT 75/2 CF tripod. The lightweight carbon-fiber tripod weighs 5.1 pounds, yet it can support 44 pounds, and is designed for DSLRs that shoot high-definition video. Height ranges from 10.6 to 67.3 inches. The tripod features a 75mm bowl and 3-section, single carbon-fiber tubes. It's easy to set up, and the varying leg angles can be quickly deployed and adjusted. The tripod is available with the Sachtler FSB 4, Cine DSLR, FSB 6 or FSB 8 fluid head. Estimated Street Price: $1,224 (with FSB 4 fluid head). Contact: Sachtler, (845) 268-0100,

The PNY Professional High Speed SDHC memory cards have transfer speeds of up to 20 MB/s and capacities of up to 32 GB. Speed and capacity are crucial when shooting stills that involve a lot of action, such as sports and wildlife, and HD video. The cards perform in all temperatures, from -13° F to 185° F, and they feature shock protection, as well as RTV silicone coating added inside for protection against moisture and humidity. Estimated Street Price: $69 (32 GB). Contact: PNY,

The Optrix HD Sport Mount is a rugged waterproof case for the iPhone and iPod touch that mounts to a helmet, bike or just about anything else to shoot video. Your device's interface is easily accessible, allowing instant playback, editing and uploading. You can view a full-screen image of the framed shot, and a one-hand quick-release design allows you to adjust shooting angles quickly. The HD Sport Mount also comes with a variety of base mounts that safely adhere to any surface. List Price: $79. Contact: Optrix,

The Induro BHL Ballheads can support heavy loads, but come with comparatively low weights and size dimensions. The smallest is the BHL1, which weighs 0.9 pounds while supporting 44 pounds, and the largest is the BHL3, which weighs 1.5 pounds and supports 88 pounds. In the middle is the BHL2, weighing 1.1 pounds and supporting 66 pounds. So whether you shoot with a DSLR or view camera, these heads offer an ideal support solution. Features include oversized head lock knobs for a solid grip and smooth camera positioning, and an independent panning action lock. Estimated Street Price: $192 to $311. Contact: Induro, (914) 347-3300,

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Audio can make or break a video, so you may want to consider upping how you record it to an external recorder instead of relying on your DSLR's limited capabilities. The Zoom H2n has five microphones and four recording modes: Mid-Side (MS) stereo, 90° X/Y stereo, and 2-channel and 4-channel surround sound. With Mid-Side recording, sound is captured from directly in front of you by a Mid mic, and from the left and right by a Side mic. You can increase or decrease the level of the Side mic to control the width of the recording range. Recording in RAW allows you to adjust the range afterwards. List Price: $199. Contact: Samsung Technologies, (631) 784-2200,

Make your files accessible across all of your devices with the WD 2go Pro mobile app developed for the WD My Book Live. The NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive connects to your wireless router via Ethernet, creating shared storage that's accessible wherever you're online. With the app, this includes Android and Apple iOS mobile devices. You can download and automatically sync files from your phone or tablet, as well as email, print, open and share links of them with third-party apps. A 4-digit passcode adds an extra layer of security by locking mobile access to the My Book Drive. Estimated Street Price: $3 (WD 2go Pro); Starts at $149 (My Book Live). Contact: Western Digital, (877) 934-6972,

Turn your photos into elegant-looking greeting cards for all occasions with Miller's Signature Letterpress. Combining letterpress technology with press printing, the cards give your photos a classic, yet contemporary look. Design options include eight drag-and-drop templates and a variety of color choices. The 5x7-inch cards are printed on 100% premium cotton paper. List Price: Available upon request. Contact: Miller's, (800) 835-0603,

Depending on the season, working outside often can mean you'll get wet. Protect your camera, while continuing to shoot, using the Petrol Transparent Rain Cover, which is tailored specifically for DSLR cameras with up to a 70-200mm lens and an on-camera light attached. The cover has a rigid front hood section with a hot-shoe connector that stabilizes it on the camera. A 6-inch polypropylene track on top of the hood lets you add an on-camera light or wireless receiver. The cover is made of transparent polyurethane and black waterproof nylon with easy access to camera controls. It weighs about 14 ounces. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Petrol Bags, (845) 268-0100,

Arca-Swiss has designed some useful tools for Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5 shooters. The NEX Kit has a mini L-bracket and a shoe for attaching an optical finder. The NEX L-bracket is fully adaptable with the monoball Fix and monoball Classic quick-release systems and allows you to quickly switch between landscape and portrait positioning. The bracket also provides more secure handling when shooting handheld. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Arca-Swiss International, P.O. Box 28450, Tempe, AZ 85285, (480) 755-3364,

Keep your lenses free of dirt with the Hoodman Lens Cleanse natural cleaning kit. The towelettes are made of organic plant enzymes that break down grime without damaging the coatings on your glass or the environment. They're also constructed with soft natural wood fibers that won't scratch lenses or filters. There are wet and dry kits, and they come in single units or packs of 12. List Price: $9 (12-pack). Contact: Hoodman USA, (800) 818-3946,

If you do a lot of shooting from the car window, the Puffin Pad gives your DSLR a steady base. It's a lightweight alternative to a beanbag with a slot that fits over the car window and allows the camera to tilt up or down. Constructed of automotive closed-cell foam, the pad weighs just 3.4 ounces and measures 7x5x5 inches. When the window retracts into the door, it saddles most car doors. You can use it on other surfaces, as well, such as a fence post, table or gate. Estimated Street Price: $29. Contact: Puffin Pad, (407) 207-8198,

Copy and store up to 500 GB worth of imaging files on the Flashpoint DataBank 500. With a transfer rate of up to 5 MB/s, the storage drive safely copies 1 GB of data in about 3.5 minutes. It's compatible with most popular memory card formats and is small enough to be used as a portable drive out in the field. All image formats are supported, including RAW. When transferring files, the backlit screen lets you know the status, as well as remaining drive capacity and battery charge. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama), (800) 223-2500,

The circular shape of the Really Right Stuff Flash Ring flash bracket gives you more flexibility when shooting with an off-camera flash. Up to 240 degrees of rotational positioning is possible, allowing you to put your flash exactly where you want to. Two models are available: The FR-87 weighs 6.1 ounces and is ideal when shooting with a moderate telephoto lens; the FR-91 weighs 7.2 ounces and works when using a larger tele. Flash mounts from the Really Right Stuff B-series flash brackets are compatible with the new rings for each respective size. The brackets are available alone or bundled with the B87-QRFM or B91-QRFM flash mounts, which measure 2.6x1.9 inches and weigh four ounces. Estimated Street Price: $288 (FR-87 with head); $320 (FR-91 with head). Contact: Really Right Stuff, (888) 777-5557,


Tibet: Culture On The Edge by Phil Borges (Rizzoli, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-8478-3691-8). Combining stunning photography with firsthand accounts, the book explores the indigenous lifestyles of the Tibetan people, as well as their natural surroundings. Threatened by industrial development, climate change and political struggles, Tibet remains one of the most intriguing places in the world.

TIME Great Places of History: Civilization's 100 Most Important Sites: An Illustrated Journey edited by Kelly Knauer (TIME, 2011; ISBN: 978-1-60320-196-4). Take a tour of more than 100 places where history was made, from influential battles and artistic renaissances to important discoveries and religious events. Hundreds of photos fill the book's pages, with places such as the Kremlin, the Forbidden City and the Acropolis.

The Elements of Photography: Understanding And Creating Sophisticated Images
by Angela Faris Belt (Focal Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-240-81515-2). Improve your skills, learn new techniques and expand your creative boundaries using this practical guide. More than 300 images, including portfolios from more than 40 acclaimed artists, provide visual inspiration for taking your photography to the next level.

Temples of Cambodia: The Heart of Angkor by Barry Brukoff and Helen Ibbitson Jessup (Vendome Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0865652620). Experience these architectural wonders in the pages of this large-format hardcover. Originally built as modest brick structures in the 7th and 8th centuries, the temples gradually became more monumental as technology progressed.

Frozen Planet: A World Beyond Imagination by Alastair Fothergill and Vanessa Berlowitz (Firefly Books, 2011; ISBN: 978-1-55407-991-9). This is the third installment in the BBC Earth series, a companion book to the television series. It follows some of the world's top wildlife photographers as they capture rarely seen animal behavior and landscapes, including Antarctica's active volcanoes and the once-restricted Russian Arctic.

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