In Focus: April 2011

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REBEL SHOOTERS
Shoot 18-megapixel stills and 1920x1080 HD video with the Canon EOS Rebel T3i. The 3-inch Vari-Angle Clear View LCD has 1,040,000-dot VGA resolution with an anti-reflective, smudge-resistant coating so you’re able to preview shots clearly even under bright sunlight. When shooting video, the Movie Digital Zoom function magnifies the center of an image by 3X-10X, and the Video Snapshot feature captures short video clips of 2, 4 or 8 seconds and then combines them into one video file as a snapshot. Also new to the lineup is the compact Canon EOS Rebel T3. Top features include a 12.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, 1280x720 HD video capture and a 9-point autofocus system. Estimated Street Price: $899 (T3i with 18-55mm IS lens); $599 (T3 with 18-55mm lens). Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.

LIGHT UP
The ikan iLED ONE is an on-camera LED light that’s small, lightweight and durable. The single, interchangeable bulb allows for daylight or tungsten LED bulbs and your choice of flood or spot light configurations, making the bulb versatile. It comes with a tungsten 60-degree flood bulb, a shoe mount and an inline power switch. Available accessories include a battery plate, a belt clip and 40- to 60-degree daylight or tungsten interchangeable LED bulbs with options of tungsten spot, daylight spot and daylight flood. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: ikan Corp., (713) 272-8822, www.ikancorp.com.
 


READ LIGHT
The Sekonic L-308DC DigiCineMate offers three different modes based on what kind of shooting you’re doing. If you’re recording video using a DSLR, you can make exposure readings, use shutter speeds and frame rates, and get accurate aperture settings in HD Cine Mode. For stills, Photo Mode delivers a shutter-priority display with a range of ambient and flash functions. Cine Mode contains more useful frame rates and shutter angles for digital cinematographers. The LCD readout can be customized to display only the specific functions needed for what you’re shooting. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Sekonic, (914) 347-3300, www.sekonic.com.
SLEEK BAG
Store a DSLR with up to a six-inch lens attached, extra lenses, a flash and accessories in the Tamrac Rally 6. Its slim, body-hugging profile and sleek look allow you to be discreet when hauling around your gear. The foam-padded compartment inside offers plenty of cushioned protection. A zippered front pocket and open back pocket provide extra storage for manuals, accessories and other items. A foam-padded adjustable shoulder strap provides more comfort when you’re on the go. Estimated Street Price: $59. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.
 

SHARP SHOTS
Whether you’re recording video or stills, avoid coming home with a bunch of blurry images by supporting your camera on the DAIWA DST-43 or DST-73 tripods. Both have all-metal, fluid pan heads, with one pan handle as well as handle mounts on both sides. The DST-43 has a 60mm ball mount, a maximum height of 59.4 inches, supports up to 8.8 pounds and weighs 7 pounds. The DST-73 has a 75mm ball mount, a maximum height of 62.4 inches, supports up to 15 pounds and weighs 10 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $349 (DST-43); $599 (DST-73). Contact: DAIWA (THK Photo), (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.

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in focus 2009
STAY WARM
Wrap up in the BTU ECO jacket from Sierra Designs. The waterproof shell is made from 100% recycled fabric and insulated with 800-fill goose down. Fully taped, PVC-free seams and water-resistant zips prevent water and melting snow from rolling down the fabric and sneaking in through the joints. With DWR coating, water beads up on the outer fabric’s surface and adds an additional layer of weather protection. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Sierra Designs, (800) 736-8592, www.sierradesigns.com.

COMFY PACK
The High Peak Adrenaline 70+10 backpack features a harness system that can be adjusted easily while you’re out on the trail. A button on the back of the pack unlocks the harness, allowing you to shorten or lengthen it to whatever position provides the most comfort. The harness length varies by 10 inches, with each centimeter marked along the central support rod. Once the length is set, simply push the button back to the locked position. The pack includes a rain cover, front-panel gear access, a detachable hip belt and an expandable top lid that also can be used as a fanny pack. Estimated Street Price: $150. Contact: High Peak, (425) 251-5106, www.highpeakusa.com.

HYBRID HIKER
Part running shoe and part light hiker best describes the Columbia Master of Faster Low Omni-Tech shoes. The mesh upper features waterproof-breathable technology for protection against the elements, welded seams for minimal yet strong support, and a Techlite collar and tongue for a comfortable fit. A three-part Techlite midsole with multiple density settings provides cushioning and support where you need it most, and a high-traction outsole has a built-in independent suspension system for a solid grip. Estimated Street Price: $130. Contact: Columbia, (800) 622-6953, www.columbia.com.
IN THE BAG
For cold-weather campers, The North Face Tundra sleeping bag is built to keep you warm in subzero temperatures. A firestorm cross-dyed shell repels rain and snow. When wet, the PrimaLoft Infinity insulation resists clumping to provide even warmth. Additional features include glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls, a welded shoulder-level zip pocket and a vaulted toe box that allows your feet to flex and move naturally. Estimated Street Price: $249 (regular); $259 (long). Contact: The North Face, (888) TNF-1968, www.thenorthface.com.

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B&W PLUG-IN
If you love the look of monochrome, Nik Software delivers a significant update to its black-and-white app. Silver Efex Pro 2 has a bunch of new features, including a History Browser for comparing previous image versions or different editing treatments, adaptive contrast and brightness controls, new presets and selective colorization. Amplify Blacks and Amplify Whites increase highlights and shadows, respectively, throughout an image to create a unique contrast effect. As with the previous version, Silver Efex Pro 2 uses Nik Software’s U Point technology for selective editing. Estimated Street Price: $199 (new); $99 (upgrade). Contact: Nik Software, (619) 725-3150, www.niksoftware.com.
FASTER FLASH
The latest SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash memory card has 128 GB of capacity and delivers write speeds of up to 100 MB/s. The card is built for taking high-resolution stills and recording full 1920x1080 HD video. When recording HD video, the card is capable of 20 MB/s sustained write speeds. Additional features include a bit rate of up to 50 MB/s and 4:2:2 color sampling. A silicone coating provides added protection from moisture and humidity. Estimated Street Price: $1,499. Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK, www.sandisk.com.
PRECISE MOVEMENT
The innovative Arca-Swiss d4 and d4m pan-tilt heads are designed for more precise camera movement. The d4 can be controlled either manually or with micrometers. With the d4m, all movements are manual only. Both models have a turning device at their base to align the camera, as well as a panning device under the camera mount for shooting panoramas. Under the panning device are two bubble levels that sit at a 90º angle for aligning the camera as well. The d4 and d4m weigh 1.7 and 1.4 pounds, respectively. Estimated Street Price: $1,102 (d4); $711 (d4m). Contact: Arca-Swiss International, P.O. Box 28450, Tempe, AZ 85285, (480) 755-3364, www.precisioncameraworks.com.
CLIP-ON LCD
Give yourself a nice big display to view your HD video footage with the Sony CLM-V55 External LCD Monitor. The five-inch, clip-on monitor has WVGA (800x480) resolution, tilt/swivel capability for viewing and framing shots at any angle, and color peaking and pixel magnification modes for precise focus confirmation. Adjustable settings include aspect ratio (16:9/4:3), volume, brightness, contrast, color tone (phase), color temp and auto dimmer. There’s also a headphone jack for accurate audio monitoring and a detachable LCD hood for more precise viewing under bright sunlight. Estimated Street Price: $400. Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669, www.sonystyle.com.
SLING IT
Swing around the Clik Elite Impulse Sling to quickly grab your camera and shoot. The fully padded camera compartment fits a pro-sized DSLR and lens. A tuck-away tripod attachment holds a small tripod, and a media organizer protects memory cards, cables and other items. Additional features include a padded shoulder strap with a quick-release sternum attachment for stability, a stash pocket with a compression cord and mesh side pockets for water bottles and other extras. Estimated Street Price: $125. Contact: Clik Elite, (888) 532-2545, www.clikelite.com.

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iPAD APP
Sharing photos using an iPad is becoming increasingly common so make sure your image library looks good on it with PADPORT. This presentation app lets you view video and stills side by side, pick custom splash and home screens with background images, create multiple portfolios, bulk-load images via iTunes file sharing and choose from multiple themes. You control the image order of each portfolio. All of your contact information can be included, and you can hide the user interface to block viewers from accessing your settings. Estimated Street Price: $9. Contact: PADPORT, www.padportapp.com; Apple, www.itunes.apple.com.
COMPACT TRIPOD
The Nivelo tripod from Vanguard helps you take clear images while keeping your camera bag from getting too bulky. It folds to 11.75 inches and weighs just 1.3 pounds. An open canopy lets you invert the Quick Fold Central Column, making the tripod a nice option for doing close-up photography. With a 360º rotating head and side-to-side tilting function, you can take smooth panoramas and shots from unique angles. Additional features include shock-absorbing contoured rubber feet and a bubble level. The Nivelo extends to 39.4 inches and supports 4.4 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Vanguard, (800) 875-3322, www.vanguardworld.com.
RUGGED SHOOTER
In case a technical glitch causes your DSLR to stop working, be prepared by taking along a tough and highly capable point-and-shoot as a backup. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 is waterproof down to 40 feet, can survive a fall from up to about 6.6 feet and handles temperatures as cold as 14º F. The camera even has a built-in compass, barometer, altimeter and GPS for geotagging. With a 12.1-megapixel Hi-Speed CCD and Venus Engine FHD processor, the TS3 takes 1920x1080p video and full-resolution consecutive stills at 3.7 fps. In 35mm format, the camera’s Leica DS Vario-Elmar lens zooms from 28-128mm. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.

SPEEDY SDXC
With bigger capacities and faster write speeds, memory cards continue to improve, especially for photographers who shoot HD video or rapid-fire stills. The Lexar Professional 133x SDXC cards come in 64 GB and 128 GB capacities and provide a minimum transfer speed of 20 MB/s. You can capture up to 48 hours of 1080p HD video and do sustained, rapid-fire still shooting. The Secure Digital Extended Capacity format has an official maximum capacity of 2 TB. The memory cards are only compatible with devices that support the SDXC format. Estimated Street Price: $399 (64 GB); $699 (128 GB). Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.

TIME WARP
If you’re nostalgic for the photographic look of days gone by, Viva La Vintage from Kubota Image Tools lets you bring back some of those old effects. TenSixties is a cross-process-style look. Fine Tooth Comb is a paint-in sharpening tool for revealing micro details. Image Grunge delivers an old, worn paper look, and Bleachy Peachy Warm results in deep darkness and bleached whites with a touch of peach. The program has a total of 25 effects. Also new from Kubota is a program called Pow Wow!, which contains 24 image enhancements, including black-and-white, soft lighting and red toning. Estimated Street Price: $109 (each); $179 (bundle). Contact: Kubota Image Tools, www.kubotaimagetools.com.

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IN DISGUISE
Stay under the radar while carrying your valuable photo gear in the Urban Disguise V2.0 bag series from Think Tank Photo. Five sizes are available, and each model features multiple pockets, YKK lockable zipper sliders, a comfortable, padded shoulder strap and a seam-sealed rain cover. The smallest holds a 13.3-inch laptop with a regular-sized DSLR or a 10-inch netbook with a pro-sized DSLR. The largest carries up to two pro-sized DSLRs with lenses attached in the main compartment. Estimated Street Price: $155 to $195. Contact: Think Tank Photo, (866) 558-4465, www.thinktankphoto.com.

TRAVEL BUDDY
Get through the airport smoothly with the rolling Roadie II Photo/Laptop cases from Tenba. The cases come in three sizes and all are designed to meet various sets of carry-on standards. The Compact case fits under the seat or in the overhead compartment. The Universal meets international standards, and the Large meets both domestic and international guidelines. The cases have enough room inside for medium to large pro DSLR bodies, large video cameras or medium-format cameras. Mid-range zoom lenses can be stored standing up. Supertelephoto 300mm to 600mm lenses fit with their hoods and tripod collars in place. There’s also room for 15- to 17-inch laptops. Estimated Street Price: $279 to $319. Contact: Tenba, (914) 347-3300, www.tenba.com.

CANVAS PAPER
Make sure your landscapes look as good on paper as they did from behind the lens using the latest canvas media in Epson’s Signature Worthy Collection. Manufactured from a polyester and cotton blend, Exhibition Canvas Gloss, Exhibition Canvas Satin and Exhibition Canvas Matte produce vibrant colors, rich blacks and smooth tonal gradations. The papers are heavy and can be stretched and coated to achieve an optimal combination of image quality and archival display life. All are available in roll widths of 13, 17, 24, 36, 44 and 60 inches, and 17x22-inch cut sheets. Estimated Street Price: $34 (13-inch x 20-foot Matte roll); $49 (13-inch x 20-foot Satin roll); $49 (13-inch x 20-foot Gloss roll). Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.proimaging.epson.com.
FIREWIRE HOOKUP If you’re a Mac user, you’ve probably noticed that the latest iMac, Mac mini and MacBook Pro models have just a single FireWire 800 port. Sonnet offers a solution with its Yin•Yang FireWire 800 to FireWire 400/800 Mini Hub. You can connect FireWire 800 and 400 devices to your Mac simultaneously through that single port. Concurrent data transfer speeds are 800 MB/s and 400 MB/s, respectively. Small and portable, the Yin•Yang measures 1.9x1.5x0.6 inches and requires no external power supply. Estimated Street Price: $69. Contact: Sonnet Technologies, Inc., (949) 587-3500, www.sonnettech.com.
CAMERA BRACKET
Reduce shadows and red eye in your nature and wildlife photography with the Flashpoint Camera Flip Bracket (FPBQA). Built from anodized aircraft-grade aluminum, with an articulated platform, the bracket allows you to rotate the camera between portrait and landscape while keeping the flash above the lens. The bracket fits a range of cameras, including APS-C and full-frame DSLRs. Estimated Street Price: $34. Contact: Flashpoint, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.

 

BOOKS ’N SUCH

The Blue Ridge Ancient and Majestic: A Celebration of the World’s Oldest Mountains by Charles W. Maynard and Jerry D. Greer (Mountain Trail Press, 2010; ISBN: 978-0982116227). Photography and essays combine in this large-format hardcover exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains. Stories range from the origins and heritage of the mountains to the present day.

Rivers of California: Nature’s Lifeline in The Golden State by Tim Palmer (Heyday Books, 2010; ISBN: 978-1597141291). With 176 photographs and original prose, Palmer showcases the diversity and majesty of small and large streams through all four seasons, from rain forest to desert, from the high country to the Pacific.

Decisive Moments: Creating Iconic Imagery by Scott Linstead (Bouquin Publishing, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-9867465-0-5). The Canadian wildlife photographer presents fascinating portraits of animals and insects, stories behind how the images were created and inspiration for getting out there and taking your own. Many of the images show animals exhibiting behavior that’s rarely witnessed.

The Photographer’s Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman (Focal Press, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-240-81517-6). Stay away from making repetitive, cliché images by learning about what makes a photograph great and how to achieve that repeatedly. The book contains more than 400 images taken on real photographic assignments, with schematic illustrations of how and why they work.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: The Ultimate Workshop by Martin Evening and Jeff Schewe (Focal Press, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-240-81483-4). From retouching work to creating offbeat compositions, this in-depth resource teaches you how to develop an efficient Photoshop workflow. The book is full of photographs and full-color screenshots as visual examples.

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