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In Focus: April 2009

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Pentax is releasing its K2000 in a unique white version as a double-zoom kit. The entry-level model is aimed at those looking to move up from a compact camera to a D-SLR. The smc Pentax DA L 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 AL and 50-200mm ƒ/4-5.6 AL lenses that come in the kit also are white. The 10.2-megapixel camera features Pentax’s sensor-shift Shake Reduction that works with all lenses, a comprehensive sensor-dust removal system and a dedicated programmable Help button for the D-SLR newcomer. Continuous shooting of up to 3.5 fps (JPEG), a 2.7-inch LCD with wide-angle viewing and a compact 1.2-pound body round out the key specs. List Price: $679. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155,
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As a nature photographer, you don’t always have enough room in your backpack for a lot of extra lenses. With the Sigma 18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM, you get a wide-angle to telephoto zoom that produces excellent image quality throughout its entire range. The Hybrid Optical Stabilizer compensates for shake by providing image stabilization in the camera body and viewfinder. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 17.7 inches at all focal lengths and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.4, allowing you to take close-ups as well. Estimated Street Price: $530. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858,
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If you’re a Mac user, Western Digital continues to expand its external hard drive lineup to fit your needs. The My Passport and My Book drives come preformatted for Macs with an easy-to-use USB interface. Both are designed to work seamlessly with Apple’s Time Machine backup utility. My Passport is available in capacities of 320 GB and 500 GB, while My Book comes in a 1 TB capacity and preserves power by turning itself on and off with your computer. List Price: $129, $179 (320 GB, 500 GB My Passport); $179 (My Book). Contact: Western Digital,(949) 672-7000,
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As a backup or for when carrying an SLR isn’t practical, check out the Olympus SP-590 Ultra Zoom, which features a huge wide-angle to telephoto zoom range. In 35mm format, the focal-length range extends from 26mm to 676mm. The 12-megapixel camera comes with many of the technologies used in Olympus D-SLRs, including Dual Image Stabilization, Shadow Adjustment Technology, Perfect Shot Preview and shooting modes that let you soften the background focus, take multiple exposures and capture fast action. List Price: $449. Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448,
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Achieve looks that used to take hours to create in a traditional darkroom in just a few mouse clicks with the latest version of Tiffen’s Dfx Digital Filter Suite. Version 2.0 consists of more than 2,000 standard, exclusive and special-effects filters that include Ambient Light, Close-Up Lens, Haze, High Contrast, Warm Polarizer and Wide-Angle Lens. These all can be quickly and easily customized, then saved to a filter library for later use. Available as separate plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Apple Aperture, Dfx v2.0 features multiple masking and layering capabilities that can be performed without exiting the plug-in for faster and more efficient processing. List Price: $299 (plug-in); $99 (standalone). Contact: Tiffen, (800) 645-2522,
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Navigate safely with the improved GPS system and longer-lasting battery power offered in the Suunto X10. With a stronger signal, the GPS gets reception in the most difficult locations and is faster than the previous X9i. The watch monitors altitude and barometric pressure, plus recording speed, distance and any memory points you define along the way. Once at your destination, set it on Track Back mode to go back the way you came. Estimated Street Price: $549. Contact: Suunto, (800) 543-9124,
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Take shelter in GoLite’s Utopia 2+, a freestanding and ultralight tent that’s sturdy enough to be used for four-season backpacking. The lightweight aluminum poles are strong, and the two-pole design offers an easy setup. Made from SilLite silicone-impregnated ripstop nylon, the tent is durable and waterproof. Internal rip-and-stick tabs hold the poles in place. The tent features a tall zippered door and three full-length side vents for excellent airflow. List Price: $275. Contact: GoLite, (888) 5-GOLITE,
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The MSR Reactor is a fast-boiling, fuel-efficient stove designed to work in the most challenging outdoor environments. The Reactor’s radiant burner is enclosed by a heat exchanger, which helps it to perform in windy conditions, while an advanced pressure regulator provides optimal heat output over the life of each fuel canister. One liter of water boils in just three minutes. A collapsible handle locks the unique see-thru lid in place for safe and easy transport. List Price: $139. Contact: MSR, (800) 531-9531,
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Take a comfortable seat while you’re out camping using the HexaLite PowerLounger from Crazy Creek. This is the latest addition to Crazy Creek’s Adventurer series, which is its lightest line of multiuse chairs. The 1.5-pound chair serves as a sleeping pad and a lounge chair, in addition to an upright seat. The chair’s adaptability comes from an additional bottom flap, which can be folded in for extra-padded seat comfort or extended for lounging or sleeping. List Price: $56. Contact: Crazy Creek, (800) 331-0304,
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Shoot with one of the renowned Leica M lenses on a Micro Four Thirds camera using a new adapter from Novoflex. The lens adapter is designed to ensure exact infinity focus on these camera bodies, which include the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G1 and future models in development. With the G1, automatic exposure metering is possible as is aperture-priority auto exposure. Novoflex also plans to release adapters for Leica R, Contax/Yashica, Minolta MD, Nikon, Olympus OM and Pentax lenses. Estimated Street Price: $192. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373,
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A monopod is easy to maneuver, light to carry and provides a lot more stability than handheld shooting. The latest Monostat RS16SL Carbon ART monopod is extra-long, built with strong carbon-tubing construction and features a Swivel Toe Stabilizer that lets you shoot at up to a 60-degree angle from horizontal, a capability that conventional monopods don’t allow. The RS16SL extends from 23.6 to 71 inches, weighs 1.85 pounds and has a load capacity of 50 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $295. Contact: Monostat of Switzerland (Accurate Sales, Inc.), (718) 302-7063,
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Prevent glare from affecting how you view images on screen using the Seaport Digital i-Visor Pro LS Laptop Case. Along with safely transporting your computer from place to place, the case doubles as a visor hood that allows you to view the screen better, even under bright sunlight. The latest model has an added back compartment, waterproof zippers and extra pouches for hard-drive backups and cables. The case fits laptops with up to 17-inch screens. Estimated Street Price: $149. Contact: Calumet Photographic, (800) CALUMET,
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Handle your camera firmly using the Action Grip from Kirk Enterprises. The grip works with nearly any D-SLR and is particularly well-suited for the latest Canon and Nikon cameras that have HD video capability. The durable, lightweight handle is made from aluminum and stainless steel. Any camera with an Arca-style camera plate mounts rapidly to the quick-release clamp. The grip also mounts directly to any tripod that has an Arca-style system. The handle is cushioned for added comfort. List Price: $149. Contact: Kirk Enterprises, (800) 626-5074,
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With D-SLRs now capable of capturing high-definition video, you need a memory card that can keep up. The Lexar Secure Digital High Capacity Full-HD Video memory card is designed for camcorders, but works in SDHC-compatible video D-SLRs like Nikon’s D90. Available in capacities of 4 GB, 8 GB and 16 GB, the cards can record up to 90, 180 and 360 minutes of content, respectively. The cards also provide high-speed transfer of your video files from card to computer for backup or for sharing on popular sites like YouTube. List Price: TBA. Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418,
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When a tripod isn’t convenient, ground your camera on BushHawk’s Talon-Grip Clamp Pod. It attaches to nearly anything, and that includes tree branches, signposts, picnic tables and more. Fitted with a professional ballhead, the Talon-Grip Clamp Pod has an overall load capacity of 35 pounds and grabs onto anything up to three inches wide. The ballhead rotates a full 360 degrees and tilts 180 degrees. In addition to your D-SLR, you can use the device with a spotting scope, binoculars or a video camera. List Price: $99. Contact: BushHawk,(800) 325-8542,
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Look at those sweeping landscape shots in feet, not inches, using the Canon REALiS SX800 projector. With a bright, crisp, 3,000-lumens display and 900:1 contrast ratio, the 11-pound projector is an ideal option if you’re looking to upgrade to SXGA (1400×1050) resolution. The 1.5x zoom lens is designed to minimize flare and ghosting, while allowing you to easily change the screen size to adapt to different environments. You can pack up the projector as soon as you’re done, without having to wait for it to cool down. List Price: $2,499. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON,
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Make the colors in your nature photos pop in the final print using Moab by Legion Paper’s Kayenta Photo Matte 205. The double-sided, acid- and lignin-free paper works well with the latest archival pigment ink sets to deliver bright whites, velvety blacks and an expanded color gamut. The paper uses the same coating as the top-end Entrada Rag. Sizes range from 8½x11 to 17×22 inches, plus a new 17×25-inch sheet size developed for digital-sensor formats. Also available are 13-, 17- and 24-inch rolls. List Price: $24 to $116. Contact: Moab by Legion Paper,(800) 727-3716,
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Resurrection: Glen Canyon and a New Vision for the American West by James Kay and Annette McGivney (Braided River, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-898-86771-8). While celebrating Glen Canyon, the book explores the controversy and history of water politics in the American Southwest. It concludes with a list of recommended hikes.

Digital Photography: Available Light and Flash by Ibarionex Perello (Alas Media, 2008; Use this DVD to learn more about the qualities of light and how to use them to improve your photographs. Topics include direction, color, using reflectors, working with wireless flash and controlling contrast.

Birds In Flight: The Art and Science of How Birds Fly by Carrol L. Henderson
(Voyageur Press, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-7603-3392-1). Through 150 color photographs, the photographer and wildlife biologist illustrates and explains how birds’ bodies are structured for flight and how each species uses flight in its particular ecological niche.

Photoshop CS4: The Missing Manual by Lesa Snider King (Pogue Press, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-596-52296-4). Full of tips, tricks and lots of practical advice, this visually rich four-color guidebook offers something for everyone, from beginners to power users. Topics include the completely revamped workspace, smoother image display and quick zoom, and new Masks and Adjustments panels

Visions of Paradise (National Geographic, 2008: ISBN: 978-1-4262-0338-1). Stunning imagery taken from around the world makes up this large-format coffee-table book. The pictures are paired with the photographers’ own recollections about that particular place. More than 150 images from 82 photographers are shown.