In Focus: June 2008

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Nikon Nikkor

FEATHERWEIGHT D-SLR
Weighing just 13.4 ounces, without battery or lens, the 10-megapixel Olympus E-420 is billed as the world’s smallest D-SLR. Top features include instant autofocusing of live images on the HyperCrystal II 2.7-inch LCD and Shadow Adjustment technology for capturing better detail in dark areas while keeping highlight detail. The 0.9-inch-thick Zuiko Digital 25mm ƒ/2.8 lens introduced with the E-420 matches its compact body, but it can use all Four Thirds System lenses. Estimated Street Price: $499 (body only); $699 (with 25mm lens). Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, www.olympusamerica.com.


FAST APERTURE
For Mac users, Apple’s first major update of Aperture packs in more than 100 new features that enhance efficiency and extend the capabilities of this powerful workflow application. Highlights of Aperture 2 include a Quick Preview mode for fast photo browsing, customizable keyboard shortcuts and improved RAW processing, thanks to an upgraded engine that better handles tonal-range extremes and noise reduction. A new streamlined interface includes Project, Metadata and Adjustments panes for switching quickly among commonly used functions. Aperture also now supports enhancement plug-ins. List Price: $199 ($99 upgrade). Contact: Apple, (800) MY-APPLE, www.apple.com.
Canon EF800mm


MEDIUM WIDE
With both medium-format digital and film shooters in mind, Mamiya developed the full-frame Mamiya Sekor AF 28mm ƒ/4.5 D lens. To address the color-shift problems sometimes caused by wide-angles when used with digital backs, the lens was designed to direct light onto a digital sensor at an ideal angle for digital photography. The ultra-wide lens works with digital and film backs, providing a 94-degree view with a digital back that’s equivalent to a 20mm lens in the 35mm format. It’s compatible with the Mamiya 645AFD, 645AFDII and 645ZD cameras. Estimated Street Price: $5,294. Contact: Mamiya, (914) 347-3300, www.mamiya.com.
Tamron SP AF70


COMPACT POWER
Hiking around with a D-SLR in tow isn’t always practical. The compact Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 is loaded with high-end features like a 25mm ultra-wide-angle Leica DC lens, HD video capabilities and a three-inch touch-screen LCD. The 10.1-megapixel camera uses a dual control system with joystick and touch-screen operation. In manual exposure mode, you can adjust aperture and shutter speeds using on-screen sliders. You also can set the autofocus and exposure in frames by simply touching the subject on screen while recording. List Price: $399. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.
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Pentax DA 35mm


SAFE ROLLER
When you’re jetting off to faraway places, know that your equipment is stowed securely overhead in the Think Tank Photo Airport International V2.0. The latest version of this midsized roller meets all international carry-on size requirements and includes enhanced security features like a TSA Security combination lock. The bag is designed to fit a 300mm ƒ/2.8, 400mm ƒ/2.8 or 500mm ƒ/4 lens with hood, multiple D-SLR bodies and accessories. A divider set also is available for accommodating a laptop. List Price: $329. Contact: Think Tank Photo, (866) 558-4465, www.thinktankphoto.com.
Sigma 18-125mm




ECO JACKET
The Marmot DriClime Catalyst Jacket is water- and wind-resistant, breathable and eco-friendly. The jacket is part of Marmot’s new UpCycle program with DriClime tricot lining that performs just as well as the original, but is made from natural, organic or recycled materials. Stretch paneling increases breathability, while the DriClime lining lightly insulates and moves moisture away to the outer face where it spreads out for quicker evaporation. Estimated Street Price: $110. Contact: Marmot, (888) 357-3262, www.marmot.com.
Marmot Super Hero Jacket


HANDY BLADE
Open up Buck Knives Model 750 Redpoint folder with one hand for faster, more convenient use when you’re out in the wild. The SafeSpin rotator, which is built into the end of the blade, allows you to open up the knife with one finger without touching the blade. Simply pull back the oversized button on the handle to disengage the lock and open the blade. The 2¾-inch blade is finished with Buck’s advanced Edge2x technology, which makes the edge longer-lasting and easier to resharpen. Estimated Street Price: $34. Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825, www.buckknives.com.
Columbia Titanium


HAVE A SEAT
After a long day shooting in the field, sit back and relax in the Crazy Creek Original Chair. You’ll stay comfortable on any kind of terrain, plus it’s lightweight and easy to carry. The chair adjusts for a wide range of sitting positions, has a zipper mesh pocket and water-bottle holder, and is insulated to protect you from wet ground. List Price: $37. Contact: Crazy Creek, (800) 331-0304, www.crazycreek.com.
Mountain Hardwear


PITCH THIS
The Shangri-La 3 tent from GoLite is ultralight, expedition-ready and easy to pitch. The four-season teepee-style shelter is built to cast off wind and adverse weather. Dual roof vents provide excellent air flow, reflective stake-out loops keep you from tripping in the middle of the night, and the hydrophilic thread at the seams expands when wet—sealing the seams and eliminating the need for liquid sealant. List Price: $225. Contact: GoLite, (888) 5-GOLITE, www.golite.com.
Kelty Light Year Down

FULL SUPPORT
When you’re on uneven terrain, steady your shot with the Manfrotto 190CX3. The tripod supports up to 11 pounds, yet weighs just three pounds, thanks to the 100 percent carbon-fiber tubes and aluminum die-castings used to build it. The Q90° quick center column lets you go from vertical to horizontal in one simple motion. The column also comes with a low-angle adapter at the bottom that can be used as a short column. Estimated Street Price: $250. Contact: Bogen Imaging, (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.
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Skooba Superbungee


SWIFT FIX
If you do most of your editing work with Adobe Photoshop Elements, an updated plug-in suite from onOne Software will help you further enhance photos quickly. Essentials 2.1 consists of four tools for correcting color, replacing backgrounds, and enlarging and adding frames. The Enlarge It plug-in is based on the powerful Genuine Fractals 5 engine, which lets you make poster-sized prints of your landscapes without losing detail or sharpness. Plus, there are new features for cropping and resizing at the same time. List Price: $59. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.
Cullman Universal Tripod


GREEN FLASH
ATP has designed the first biorecyclable USB drive. Available in 1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB and 8 GB capacities, EarthDrive was built from recycled materials. The rugged exterior is shock-, dust- and water-resistant. With each EarthDrive sold, ATP will donate a portion of the profits to help plant trees and restore the environment. List Price: $19 to $99. Contact: ATP Electronics, (408) 732-5000, www.atpinc.com.
Linhof Master Technika


BOOKS 'N SUCH
Books and Such
Photofile with introductions by various authors (Thames & Hudson, 2008; ISBN: 0-500-41091-2). This series brings together the best work of the world’s great photographers, including Araki, Guy Bourdin, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Elliott Erwitt. Each volume contains some 60 full-page reproductions, a critical introduction and chronology.

 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 Maximum Performance: Unleash the Hidden Performance of Elements by Mark Galer (Focal Press, 2007; ISBN: 978-0-240-52092-6). With step-by-step instructions and video tutorials, you’ll master the powerful tools in this popular program in no time. A DVD comes with the book for extended support.

The Essence of Photography with John Upton (Calumet Photographic, www.calumetphoto.com). This is a solid instructional DVD for beginners and advanced amateurs with discussion that includes understanding how cameras work, learning to see pictures, photographic history and the development of the photographic image.

Wild Acadia by Jerry and Marcy Monkman (University Press of New England, 2007; ISBN: 1-58465-524-0). Travel to New England’s oldest national park through the beautiful photographs and insightful prose found in this tribute to Acadia National Park. Historical photos are paired with present-day images showing how the park has changed.

Capture NX: Industrial-Strength Production Techniques by Ben Long (Peachpit Press, 2007; ISBN: 978-0-321-48999-9). The guide is packed with useful information on how to compose great images, correct color and tone with the software’s adjustment tools and create a comprehensive workflow for processing images.


ULTRA-WIDE ZOOM
Take those sprawling vista and scenic shots with the Tamron SP AF10-24mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) lens for a classic ultra-wide perspective. Special HID (High Index/High Dispersion) glass, a pair of Low Dispersion glass elements and four aspherical elements correct for a variety of optical aberrations, while helping to deliver superb sharpness, color and contrast. A minimum focusing distance of 9.4 inches across the entire zoom range helps get you closer to the subject. Designed for cameras with APS-C sensors, the zoom gives a 35mm focal-length-range equivalent of 16-37mm. Compatible mounts include Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Tamron, (800) 827-8880, www.tamron.com.
Olympus SP 570 Ultra Zoom


RAIN SLIP
Keep your long lenses out of the rain with the Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600 rain cover. The fabric is more water-resistant than other types because of a film that’s applied to its underside, as well as tricot mesh, basically creating a three-layer fabric. Ideal for outdoor photographers, the rain cover fits 300mm to 600mm lenses. It pre-mounts to the lens hood for easy deployment so you can continue shooting when it gets wet. A clear PU window lets you view the LCD and controls. Estimated Street Price: $150. Contact: Think Tank Photo, (866) 558-4465, www.thinktankphoto.com.
Nik Software Viveza


BIG MEMORY
Upping the ante of its Secure Digital High-Capacity lineup, PNY now offers a whopping 32 GB memory card. Depending on your camera settings, this means there’s enough space for up to 8,000 3.8-megabyte images when using a 10-megapixel camera. The card is available in two versions with data-transfer speeds of up to 4 MBps or 6 MBps. Estimated Street Price: $249 (4 MBps); $299 (6 MBps). Contact: PNY Technologies, (973) 515-9700, www.pny.com.
Giottos Series Tripods


UNIQUE UNIPOD
The Monostat RS monopods are nice alternatives to a tripod because they’re more portable, yet able to fully support your camera. The latest RS16 ART model features a more modern look with a foam handle and fine rubber twist locks. The ART stands for Anti-Rotation Tubing, which allows you to open and close the monopod in any position without the turning tubes. A single-stem design allows for fast setup, and the Swivel Toe Stabilizer provides steady shots at angles of up to 60 degrees. Estimated Street Price: $175. Contact: Accurate Sales, Inc., (718) 302-7063, www.monostat.us.
Lowepro

CONQUER COLOR
Make sure the dramatic skies you saw through the lens maintain their color on screen and in the final print. X-Rite ColorMunki Photo is a complete color-management suite with an all-in-one spectrophotometer that profiles monitors, projectors and printers. Use the easy mode with presets or if you’re looking for more control, an advanced mode lets you set white point, ambient light and other measurements. New printing technology optimizes specific colors, black-and-white, and flesh tones based on your photos. List Price: $499. Contact: X-Rite, (914) 347-3300, www.xritephoto.com.
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Fantom Drives


PAPER MAKER
Make fine-art prints of your scenics using Harman Gloss FB AL Warmtone paper. A Baryta coating helps give the paper a look and feel similar to that of traditional silver gelatin papers. Some of the key benefits are greater detail and definition, extended tonal range and solid archival properties. The warm tint is particularly nice for black-and-white prints delivering a richer look. It will be available in Letter, B, Super B and A2+ (17x25-inch) sheets, and 17-, 24- and 44-inch rolls. List Price: TBA. Contact: Harman Technology, www.harman-inkjet.com.
Tamrac


FUN PRINTS
Create photo calendars, cards and stickers using the HiTi 731PS photo printer from Hi-Touch Imaging. A powerful processing engine prints images fast, and Magic Coating technology ensures that they will last long by adding a waterproof layer. You can select and edit your images using the color TFT LCD Wizard Window. The 731PS makes 4x6-, 5x7- and 6x8-inch prints, and supports all popular memory-card formats. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Hi-Touch Imaging, (909) 974-0099, www.hitouchimaging.com.
Metz Mecablitz


SPEEDY DELIVERY
Get high-resolution scenics from your last trip to family and friends fast with YouSendIt Express. The desktop program features a built-in zipping feature for easily dragging and dropping in folders that automatically zip up before sending. The software works for Mac or Windows and includes password protection, certified delivery and file-expiration control. You get 2 GB of long-term storage space and can purchase more at $4.99 per GB. List Price: $9 per month. Contact: YouSendIt, (866) 55U-SEND, www.yousendit.com.
Blue2Can


BODA BAGS
Protect your lenses in foul weather with BODA DRY, a fully weatherproof line of lens bags that comes in two sizes. BODA DRY holds three to five lenses plus batteries and accessories, while the smaller BODA DRY Jr. stores two to three primary lenses. Both bags include a media wallet with space for eight memory cards. The line was created for active photographers by a pro shooter with input from hundreds of pros and permits easy one-handed access to gear. List Price: $195 (DRY); $165 (DRY Jr.). Contact: BODA Lens Bag, (206) 709-3829, www.goboda.com.
Giottos Series Tripods


LENS BRACKET
When you’re out shooting wildlife with a long telephoto lens, the CB Gimbal from Custom Brackets helps you pan smoothly from one direction to another. Featuring a true roller-bearing design, the support device has a separate drag adjustment and lock for both horizontal and vertical movement of lenses using soft rubber-coated knobs. It also can be used as a panoramic head with 360-degree markings for use with wide-angle lenses. List Price: $700. Contact: Custom Brackets, (800) 530-2289, www.custombrackets.com.
Lowepro


SILVER HALIDE
Get the look of a classic black-and-white print created in the darkroom using Epson Exhibition Fiber Paper. From the sample prints we’ve seen, the paper closely replicates the look and feel of an F-surface air-dried, silver-halide print. Images had a three-dimensional look, and the amount of detail reproduced in the highlights and shadows was remarkable. In developing the paper, Epson worked with professional photographer beta testers. Custom printing profiles can be downloaded at www.pixelgenius.com/Epson, along with more information about the paper and color management. List Price: Varies by size. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com.
Lowepro

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