Every winter, the major manufacturers and distributors of photographic gear gather at the huge PMA trade show to announce and present their latest equipment. Put on by the Photo Marketing Association International, the event allows photo dealers and retailers to see all the gear in one place, which helps magazines like ours, too. This special edition of In Focus offers a sampling of the products we saw at the show in Las Vegas.
Head out into the field with a compact D-SLR that captures top-notch images while maintaining ease of use. The Nikon D40x is equipped with a 10.2-megapixel CCD imaging sensor—a big jump over the 6.1-megapixel D40. Further enhanced by an improved processing engine, the 16-ounce camera delivers sharp photographs with accurate color and clear detail. It powers up in just 0.18 seconds, can shoot up to 3 pictures per second nonstop for up to 100 shots, has a 2.5-inch LCD with a 170-degree angle viewing and features a new Retouch menu with a range of in-camera editing tools. Estimated Street Price: $729 (body only). Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-UX, www.nikondigitalusa.com.
Versatility and environmental awareness meet in the new Primus AW photo backpack from Lowepro. The bag is made of 51-percent recycled materials and designed to provide optimal comfort, protection and accessibility with minimal bulk. The main padded camera compartment holds a D-SLR pro body with attached zoom lens, plus a couple of extra lenses and flash units. You also can get to your gear without taking the bag off by using the expandable, side-zipped camera pockets. List Price: $279. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of the Primus AW are donated to Polar Bears International to raise awareness about and funding for the polar bear habitat and the effects of climate change. Visit the Lowepro website to find out how you can donate! Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.
Compose images effortlessly using the 10-megapixel Olympus EVOLT E-410, which features a 2.5-inch Live View LCD that lets you clearly preview and review shots from any angle. The E-410 packs a wide array of features into a newly designed, 13-ounce body. The 5x4x2-inch camera has an enhanced TruePic III image processor, ensuring the highest-quality image capture with vibrant color. Other features include a full range of manual controls, 20 scene mode settings and an ultrasonic dust reduction system that cleans the image sensor every time you turn on the camera. Estimated Street Price: $699 (body only). Contact: Olympus, (800) 622-6372, www.olympusamerica.com.
Explore the great outdoors without losing your way—take along the Mio DigiWalker H610, a handheld GPS device. Smaller than a deck of cards, the H610 has a sleek design with multiple navigation modes for getting accurate directions, whether you're driving, walking or bicycling. The device doubles as a feature-rich digital media player, allowing you to also enjoy digital video clips, music and photos when you're at home or on the go. Estimated Street Price: $449. Contact: Mio, www.mio-tech.com.
When the sun goes down, spot nocturnal wildlife and find your way with the Night Vision Travel Monocular NGM124x from National Geographic. The rugged, aluminum monocular weighs just eight ounces and is five inches long. You can choose from 1x, 2x or 4x magnification. A powerful Infrared Illuminator and all-glass optics make exploring possible from dusk to dawn. Adjust the Illuminator for on-the-spot illumination. List Price: $599. Contact: National Geographic, (800) 444-5994, www.ngtravelshop.com.
When you're on a camping trip, stay prepared for the unexpected by carrying Buck Knives' strong, lightweight Parallex Knife. The stainless-steel pocketknife features one-handed opening and closing with your choice of larger, partially serrated or smaller, non-serrated blades. The contoured handle provides a secure grip, and integrated lightening holes help reduce its weight to just 2 or 3.7 ounces, depending on the model. List Price: $18 to $33. Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825, www.buckknives.com.
Let your toes breathe by strapping on Chaco Z/1 sports sandals. With the company's BioCentric footbed to support your arches and a sock-friendly, open-toe design, performance and comfort are the top priorities. A single buckle and an easily adjustable pull-through strap system hold your feet securely in place. Colors include black, brick, cord, storm, turf and zinc. Estimated Street Price: $90. Contact: Chaco, (970) 527-4990, www.chacousa.com.
The DCF ED line of binoculars from Pentax uses extra-low-dispersion glass with multilayer optical coatings to deliver clear, vivid images. The durable, lightweight body is made from a magnesium alloy resistant to shock and impact. The waterproof binoculars can be submerged underwater to a depth of 3.3 feet. List Price: Under $900. An incorrect price was given in the April issue of OP. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.
Protect your eyes with Smith Optics stylish Shelter sunglasses. The company uses a tapered lens technology that contours the thickness of the lenses so light travels through without distortion. The lenses are constructed from highly scratch-resistant carbonic material and coated to keep you seeing clearly. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Smith Optics, www.smithoptics.com.
Mountainsmith's classic Tour Lumbar Pack is comfortable, durable and environmentally conscious, using new eco-energy recycled velocity and ripstop lining fabrics. Features include a removable shoulder strap with sliding pad, an air mesh foam back panel, two 32-ounce water bottle pockets, a compression system for load adjustment and a zippered main compartment. The bag is 10x11.5x5 inches and 1.5 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $70. Contact: Mountainsmith, (800) 551-5889, www.mountainsmith.com.
Shoot high-def video and take sharp 7.1-megapixel stills with the Canon PowerShot TX1, a high-performance, compact camera that uses a big zoom lens. The eight-ounce TX1 features an image-stabilized 39-390mm (35mm equivalent) 10x optical zoom, records 1280x720p high-definition movies at 30 fps and uses stereo sound. An improved DIGIC III image processor delivers faster startup, autofocus and shutter response times. Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
Medium-format photographers now can achieve the cool focus effects created by the Lensbaby 3G. For the Mamiya 645, the lens is available in an 80mm fixed focal length with an aperture range of ƒ/3.4 to ƒ/39. The Pentax 67 has a fixed focal length of 100mm with an aperture range of ƒ/4 to ƒ/45. Lensbaby lenses use a flexible barrel that, when pushed, pulled or bent, creates images with a bending plane of focus. List Price: $390. Contact: Lensbabies, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbabies.com.
Cover up your compact shooter with Snug-It skins. The flexible silicone rubber jackets fit snugly over your camera's most important parts, guarding against dust, fingerprints, scratches and impact, while allowing full functionality of all camera controls. A plastic LCD cover protects the screen from debris. For touchscreen LCDs, the cover opens for easy accessibility. Snug-It skins are available for all major point-and-shoot models. List Price: $20. Contact: Delkin Devices, (800) 637-8087, www.delkin.com.
Whether you're angling for close-up, wide-angle or telephoto shots, the Sigma 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 DC OS lens has you covered. Two Special-Low-Dispersion (SLD) glass elements and two aspherical lenses correct all types of optical aberrations for high image quality throughout the entire zoom range. The lens is equipped with Sigma's OS (Optical Stabilizer) technology to counteract unwanted camera movement. Estimated Street Price: $349. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
Switching from vertical to horizontal center posting is now easier than ever on the redesigned 190XPROB tripod from Manfrotto. Just extend the center column to its highest vertical position and pull it down horizontally. Ergonomic improvements also have been made to the leg-angle release mechanism and the quick-action leg locks. The tripod weighs four pounds, with a maximum load capacity of 11 pounds. The minimum height is 3.3 inches, and the maximum height with the extended center column is 57.5 inches. List Price: $162. Contact: Bogen Imaging, (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.
HD HARD DRIVE CAM
Record the beauty of the outdoors in high definition with JVC's latest-generation Everio GZ-HD7. For reproducing bright, true-to-life colors, the GZ-HD7 uses three 1/5-inch CCDs—one each for red, green and blue. The camera captures video directly to a built-in 60 GB hard drive, which stores up to five hours of 1920 x 1080i video at 30 MBps. Video then can be downloaded via the USB 2.0 port to a computer or the optional JVC DVD burner. Other features include a Fujinon lens with a 10x optical zoom and optical image stabilization. List Price: $1,799. Contact: JVC, (800) 526-5308, www.jvc.com.
Take the compact 7.1-megapixel Pentax Optio W30 on an afternoon hike or for a swim. The camera is waterproof down to 10 feet and works continuously for up to two hours. Zoom in close on your target using a 38-144mm (35mm equivalent) 3x zoom lens that can focus less than an inch away from your subject. Other features include a Digital Shake Reduction mode, a 2.5-inch LCD with anti-reflective coating, an enhanced movie mode (30 fps) and a full range of manual modes. List Price: $299. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.
The 8-megapixel Sony DSC-H7 and DSC-H9 cameras are designed for action photography. Both feature wide-ranging Carl Zeiss 31-465mm (35mm equivalent) 15x optical zoom lenses and an advanced sports shooting mode that focuses quickly on fast-moving subjects by predicting where they'll be in the frame. The DSC-H9 has a three-inch, flip-up LCD for easily framing shots close to the ground or over your head. Additional features of both cameras include Super Steady Shot optical image stabilization, a powerful processing engine and advanced noise-reduction technology. List Price: $400 (DSC-H7); $480 (DSC-H9). Contact: Sony, (877) 865-SONY, www.sonystyle.com.
Recovering highlights is challenging with digital photography. DxO Optics Pro version 4.2 features a highlight recovery tool that helps optimally adjust bright highlights when working with RAW images by restoring lost tonal information. The software uses another new tool, the SmartVibrancy function, to let you selectively enhance color. Also included are several interface improvements, making tools easier to use. The upgrade is free for all Version 4 users. List Price: $149 (standard). Contact: DxO, www.dxo.com.
|Books 'N Such
A Naturalist and Other Beasts: Tales From A Life In The Field by George B. Schaller (Sierra Club Books, 2007; ISBN: 1-57805-129-0). Wildlife Conservation Society vice president Schaller has observed wild animals and conducted landmark long-term studies since the 1950s. This collection features 19 short pieces gathered from the dozens of articles and books he has published over the years.
Photoshop Elements 5 Workflow: The Digital Photographer's Guide by Tim Grey and Peter K. Burian (Sybex, 2007; ISBN: 978-0-470-10086-8). This guide helps you learn how to create high-quality images by using a logical sequence of essential tasks. The book covers topics ranging from sorting images and RAW conversion to advanced editing.
Yosemite: Art of An American Icon edited by Amy Scott (University of California Press, 2006; ISBN: 0-520-24922-4). Two hundred works of art complemented by essays exploring the connections between art and nature in the Sierra Nevada wilderness. Paintings, photography, basketry and other works are included by artists from the 19th century to the present.
Photographing the Southwest: Volume 3: A Guide to the Natural Landmarks of Colorado and New Mexico by Laurent Martres (Graphie International, 2007; ISBN: 0-916189-14-7). Hundreds of color photographs show readers the beauty of these locations accompanied by helpful information on the best spots, how to get there and tips on how to shoot them.
Martha's Vineyard Seasons by Paul Rezendes (Tide-Mark Press, 2005; ISBN: 1-59490-124-4). Discover Martha's Vineyard through these revealing, colorful photographs of the island. From the colorful gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs to the Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah, Rezendes explores the whole island throughout the seasons.
Black & White Photography: A Practical Guide by Steve Mulligan (Photographers' Institute Press, 2007; ISBN: 1-86108-428-5). Learn the basics of traditional monochrome photography in this guide. From selecting equipment and materials to presenting finished work, Mulligan explains how it all fits together using his photos and case studies.
If you’re the type of shooter who takes a lot of high-res images, you’ll find no shortage of options in Secure Digital High Capacity cards this year. These cards look identical in size and shape to standard SD cards, but only SDHC-compatible cameras and devices can accept this format.
Kingston offers three new 8 GB SDHC cards with varying minimum data transfer speed rates of 2 to 6 MBps. Also available are two 4 GB SDHC cards with minimum speeds of 2 and 4 MBps. Estimated Street Price: $113 to $138 (8 GB); $58 to $98 (4 GB). Contact: Kingston, (877) KINGSTON, www.kingston.com.
The Lexar Professional 133x 4GB SDHC card is capable of minimum read and write speeds of 20 MBps, speeding up capture and image download times. The card includes image recovery software if files are accidentally erased or the card is corrupted. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Lexar Media, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.
PNY Technologies 4 GB SDHC card has a read and write speed of 4 MBps, which is ideal for recording video or images on the latest digital cameras. SDHC cards must be used with compatible SDHC devices and card readers. Estimated Street Price: $90. Contact: PNY Technologies, www2.pny.com.
SanDisk ships its new 8 GB Ultra II SDHC card with the MicroMate USB 2.0 reader at no extra charge. The MicroMate works with both SDHC and SD cards. The 8 GB card writes at 9 MBps and reads at 10 MBps. A 4 GB card also is available. List Price: $239. Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK, www.sandisk.com.
With Jobo's photoGPS, every time your camera takes a picture, the device records satellite data, allowing you to tag your images with country, region and district, city, street and longitude/latitude information. The small, lightweight receiver fits directly into the camera's hot shoe. It comes with PC- and Mac-compatible software and the database needed for post-processing. After downloading the data via USB and entering the directory name of the folder storing the images, the computer matches up the EXIF time recorded by the camera and GPS to update the longitude and latitude coordinates. Estimated Street Price: $149. Contact: Jobo AG, (800) 777-6634, www.jobo-usa.com.
A small, radio-controlled flash-triggering system, Elinchrom's Skyport provides handheld or computer wireless control of all Elinchrom RX power units. A Universal Set is available for flash synchronization with other flash systems. For multiple flash unit control, there are eight frequency channels and four workgroups. The device also works when objects are blocking its path. List Price: TBA. Contact: Bogen Imaging, (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.
Put your camera anywhere—on the ground, a rock, a wall or a tree branch—and get all of the support needed with the Omnipod. The 9x4.5x1.25-inch base provides stable support for any D-SLR and even long telephoto zoom lenses. The Omnipod is available in two configurations—bundled with a QRC-2 quick-release clamp or with a standard threaded screw to attach directly to your camera or lens. List Prices: $25 (standard); $75 (QRC-2). Contact: Kirk Enterprises, (800) 626-5074, www.kirkphoto.com.
The Sunpak Pistol Grip QR ballhead is ideal for capturing wildlife and adventure sports photos because it adjusts quickly in any direction using controlled, single-action movement. With a trigger-style head, it's easy to move and locks into place with one squeeze of the rubberized trigger release. There's also a quick-release plate for fast mounting and dismounting and a built-in bubble level for quick leveling of the camera. It weighs 1.2 pounds and supports up to 6.6 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $56. Contact: Sunpak, (973) 627-9600, www.sunpak.com.
ON THE BALL
Lend your camera some support with the lightweight, rugged V2 ballhead from Acratech. Weighing less than a pound, the head can hold more than 25 pounds at any angle and has fully adjustable tension control. The oil-free, greaseless ball won't attract or hold dirt and debris. The V2 fits all standard tripods. List Price: $329 (with quick-release clamp); $269 (without). Contact: Acratech Inc., (909) 394-1802, www.acratechusa.com.
Compose your landscape scenes with an artistic edge using the new Heliopan Infrared Filters. The filters are made from Schott glass and pass only the exact areas of the infrared spectrum. Additionally, the company has designed digital filters for imaging with sensors that have a significantly higher sensitivity in the infrared area than film. The filters block both UV and IR light for improved color separation and sharpness. List Price: TBD. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
PLUG IT IN
With onOne Software's Essentials for Adobe Photoshop Elements, you get four powerful, finely tuned software plug-ins that make image processing more efficient. Correct colors with Intellihance Pro, cut out and separate foreground and background objects using Mask Pro, add unique borders and edges around your photos with PhotoFrame Pro, and increase the size and resolution of photos for larger print sizes with Genuine Fractals. The software supports versions of Elements 4 and 5 for Windows and Elements 4 for Macs. List Price: $60. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.
Give your black-and-white digital images the look and feel of a genuine silver gelatin print using Ilford's Galerie FB Digital paper. The 315gsm fiber base baryta paper is designed for long-term archival use with the ability to be exposed in digital laser printers. Initially, the paper will be supplied in 100-foot rolls by 20-, 30-, 40- and 50-inch widths. List Price: Varies by size. Contact: Ilford Photo, (888) 372-2338, www.ilfordphoto.com.
The Colorado Fiber Gloss and Satine fine-art papers are the first of many products to debut from the new Moab by Legion Paper brand. Based on traditional F surface papers, Colorado Fiber is compatible with desktop and large-format printers. The medium-weight 245gsm paper produces vivid colors while the smooth surface is enhanced with a slight fiber texture and feel. It's available in both sheets and rolls. List Price: Varies by size. Contact: Moab Paper, www.moabpaper.com.
Carry M-Rock's Grand Canyon SLR Extreme bag any way you like—as a shoulder bag, backpack, pack, tummy bag or even as a fanny pack. The two shoulder straps with swivel snap hooks and six small, metal D-rings work as a harness system, allowing you to carry the water-resistant bag how you want to. Two deep pockets, along with multiple sub-pockets and sleeves, provide ample room for digital accessories. Smaller modular bags like the Niagra can be attached to the left and right side of medium and larger bags for even more storage. List Price: $70 (Grand Canyon #517); $28 each (Niagra modular #506). Contact: M-Rock, www.m-rock.com.
The Tamrac Velocity 8x Model 5768 sling wears comfortably like a backpack, but swings around to the front of your body for fast, convenient access. Ideal for carrying a pro digital or film SLR with attached 70-200mm zoom lens, the pack features adjustable, foam-padded dividers that protect your equipment. There's also room for a couple of additional lenses. The front pocket uses Tamrac's Memory & Battery Management System, which identifies used memory cards and batteries. List Price: $99. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.
Reduce noise in your images with the latest version of Nik Software's Dfine plug-in for Photoshop. Version 2.0 features U Point technology, which allows you to place Control Points on an image and selectively adjust the amount of contrast and color noise reduction. A newly designed, easy-to-use interface, new auto camera profile system and the addition of the Control Points help you improve image quality quickly and easily. List Price: $99. Contact: Nik Software, (619) 725-3150, www.niksoftware.com.