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How An Auto-Leveling Tripod Makes Life Easier For PhotographersGetting your tripod level can be...
5 Reasons To Buy A High-Quality And Adjustable TripodShopping for a tripod can be confusing....
Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG DN Art Lens ReviewNobody else makes a lens like the Sigma...
Choosing A Tripod For Your Style Of Photography
Contrary to what you might have heard, you do not need a tripod that can’t be moved without a forklift. Here's what to consider when choosing a tripod and head.
Using A “Normal” Lens
Mastering composition with standard focal length lenses.
Pumas Of Patagonia
Private lands adjacent to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, now opening to photographers, provide an unparalleled opportunity for observing wild puma behavior.
How To Use Histograms
For precise exposures that best capture a scene’s dynamic range, ignore what the image preview looks like and rely on the histogram.
Depth Of Field In Macro Photography
In macro photography, depth of field is especially important to ensure the details of your subject are sharp. Use these 5 tips to get the best results.
Landscape Photography Lenses
Our guide to wide-angle lenses, the most popular and useful optics for landscape photography.
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In Focus: April 2013
Sigma‘s DP-series digital cameras feature compact size and a built-in prime lens designed specifically for the camera and sensor. Each features the same 46-megapixel (three stacked 15.3-megapixel layers) Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor found in the Sigma SD1 Merrill DSLR. The latest to join the series is the DP3 Merrill, which has a dedicated 50mm ƒ/2.8 lens (equivalent to a 75mm lens on a 35mm or full-frame digital SLR). The DP1 and DP2 feature 19mm ƒ/2.8 and 30mm ƒ/2.8 lenses, respectively—thus, the DP1 Merrill for wide-angle work, the DP2 Merrill for normal view and now the DP3 Merrill for short telephoto work, all with the same Foveon X3 high-res APS-C sensor. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
With the trend to high-megapixel DSLRs, quick shooting rates and full HD video in still cameras, the need for faster memory cards is greater than ever. Lexar has introduced two new solutions. The 1100x XQD card comes in 32 GB and 64 GB capacities, with a read transfer rate of 168 MB/s. For cameras that take high-speed SD cards, the 256 GB Professional 600x SDXC UHS-I card is a Class 10 unit that has a read transfer rate of 90 MB/s. Both cards are suited to RAW sequence shooting and long 1080p full HD video clips. There’s also a new XQD USB 3.0 Reader that can keep up with the cards. Estimated Street Price: $299 (32 GB 1100x XQD); $579 (64 GB 1100x XQD); $999 (256 GB 600x SDXC); $44 (XQD USB 3.0 Reader). Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.
Olympus has announced the M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm ƒ/3.8-6.7 II super telephoto zoom for Micro Four Thirds System cameras. Due to the MFT sensor’s smaller dimensions, the 75-300mm frames like a 150-600mm supertele on a full-frame DSLR, yet measures just 2.7×4.6 inches and weighs a mere 14.9 ounces. Based on the original M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm, the new lens features a new ZERO (Zuiko Extra-Low Refraction Optical) coating for better performance in backlighting and was redesigned to match the popular OM-D E-M5 flagship Olympus MFT model. It can focus down to 35.1 inches at 75mm and 58.5 inches at all other focal lengths, contains 18 elements in 13 groups (including one SED, 2 ED and 3 HHR special elements) and takes 55mm filters. Estimated Street Price: $549. Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, www.getolympus.com.
Everyone has seen the dramatic extreme sports videos taken with GoPro HERO cameras, but these tiny, high-resolution video cameras are useful for so much more. The new GoPro HERO3 cameras are 30% smaller and 25% lighter than the HERO2 models. The White Edition has the same shooting specs as the original HD HERO (1080p30, 960p30 and 720p60 video, 5 MP still in 3 fps bursts), and it has built-in WiFi. The Silver Edition has the same shooting specs as the HERO2 (1080p30, 960p48 and 720p60 video, 11 MP stills in 10 fps bursts) and built-in Wi-Fi. The Black Edition is the most advanced of the new models, able to shoot 1080p60, 720p120, 1440p48, 4Kp15, 2.7Kp30 and WVGA at 240 fps, as well as 12 MP stills in 30 fps bursts. The HERO3 cameras can be mounted on a person or other supports in limitless ways. They record sound and come with a couple of mounts and a protective housing that can go underwater (good to 197 feet). Estimated Street Price: $199 (White Edition); $299 (Silver Edition); $399 (Black Edition). Contact: GoPro, (888) 600-4659, www.gopro.com.
Style-conscious outdoor photographers will want to check out the new camera straps and bags from Capturing Couture. They’re really unique. The company offers more than 50 adjustable camera straps, from one to two inches wide, combining fashionable designs (many featuring a Native American design) with durable materials, velvet lining and functional hardware. The camera bag line features tapestry patterns and intricate prints, a variety of pockets and fully-lined interiors with cushioned padding to keep gear safe. There are also velvet-lined wristlet straps for compact cameras with quick-release capability. Estimated Street Price: $25-$59 (straps); $179-$199 (bags); $25 (wristlets). Contact: Capturing Couture, (949) 858-8598, www.capturingcouture.com.
Pentax has introduced its 15th generation of “adventure-cams” for harsh outdoor conditions, the WG-3 and WG-3 GPS (the latter can record latitude, longitude, elevation or depth underwater and heading along with the image). Featuring a 16-megapixel back-illuminated 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, the stylish cameras are waterproof to a depth of 45 feet, shockproof to drops from 6.6 feet, coldproof down to 14°F and can withstand 220 pounds per square foot of crushing pressure. The 25-100mm (35mm-camera equivalent) zoom focuses down to 0.39 inches in Digital Micro Mode, and six LED lights surrounding the lens provide shadowless illumination. There’s a built-in flash unit, built-in sensor-shift image stabilization, 3.0-inch, 460K-dot LCD monitor and textured grip with colored accents. The cameras measure 4.9×2.5×1.3 inches; the WG-3 weighs 7.4 ounces, and the WG-3 GPS weighs 7.7 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $299 (WG-3); $349 (WG-3 GPS). Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.
Keep comfortable and look good outdoors with the Woolrich Men’s Classic Field Wool Coat. Made of 80% wool and 20% nylon, the coat is machine-washable. It features four outer snap pockets, hand-warmer pockets, an internal security pocket and a back storage pocket. The coat is rugged, sheds water, and has a tight weave to keep out wind and keep you warm. It’s available in red or green/black. Estimated Street Price: $229. Contact: Woolrich, (800) 966-5372, www.woolrich.com.
When you’re in the field in dim light—dusk, dawn or even night—a headlamp is a great asset. It helps you to see where you’re stepping or read maps, yet leaves your hands free. The new Petzl NAO LED headlamp automatically adjusts its beam shape and power to suit the situation—a wide, low-power beam for close-up map reading and boot-lace-tying, a medium beam and power for trail walking, and a focused beam when you look in the distance. It minimizes manual adjustments and saves power—the rechargeable Li-ion battery is good for 1:20 to 20 hours. The key is a sensor that detects the light level and distance to subject. An adjustable ZEPHYR headstrap fits stably on the head. Estimated Street Price: $175. Contact: Petzl, (801) 926-1500, www.petzl.com.
Sirui’s new P-324X and P-424X Photo/Video Monopods feature three sturdy, fold-down, built-in feet. You can stand on the feet to add stability, and pan the monopod 360° horizontally and tilt it up to 15° in any direction. You also can keep the feet locked flush against the leg, of course, and use the unit as a conventional monopod. The units feature eight-layer, carbon-fiber construction and are gorged rather than cast for light weight and strength. Half-turn locks make it easy to set the four-section legs to the desired height. The P-324X extends from 29 to 74.8 inches and can support up to 22 pounds; the P-424X extends from 29.5 to 74.8 inches and can support up to 33 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $274 (P-324X); $299.95 (P-424X). Contact: Argraph, (201) 939-7722, www.argraph.com.
It’s easy to apply the look and feel of a wide range of vintage films to your digital images with DxO FilmPack 3. It’s available as a standalone or as a plug-in for DxO Optics Pro, Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture, for both PC and Mac. There are two versions, Essentials and Expert, the latter providing more films and creative effects. The most recent upgrade, v3.2.3, includes support for Photoshop Elements 11 and Windows 8. Estimated Street Price: $79 (Essentials); $129 (Expert). Contact: DxO Labs, www.dxolabs.com.
If you do your outdoor shooting with a Sony NEX mirrorless still camera or HD camcorder, you’ll be interested in the company’s two new E-mount lenses. With an angle of view equivalent to a 30mm on a full-frame camera, the E 20mm ƒ/2.8 “pancake” lens is ideal for a wide range of shooting, such as street photography and landscapes, yet keeps the package pocketable. Designed as a kit lens for the NEX-VG30 camcorder, the E PZ18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 OSS superzoom is now available for all NEX cameras. It features power zooming and autofocusing, and optical SteadyShot stabilization, great for video, as well as still shooting. Estimated Street Price: $350 (20mm); $1,200 (18-200mm). Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669, www.sony.com.
Everyone needs a solid, reliable 70-200mm. The new Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD is a compact option at 3.4×7.4 inches and 51.9 ounces, and it has built-in stabilization to give you plenty of handholding options in the field. Optically, there are 23 elements in 17 groups, with an XLD and four LD units to minimize chromatic aberrations. Tamron’s VC Vibration Compensation provides steady handheld shooting, while the USD Ultrasonic Silent Drive AF motor provides autofocusing with continuous access to manual focusing. Minimum focusing distance is 51.2 inches for a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:8 (0.12X). Filter size is 77mm. Estimated Street Price: $1,499. Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron-usa.com.
Garmin has announced the Oregon 600/600t and 650/650t touch-screen handheld GPS devices with built-in, 8-megapixel AF digital cameras (the “t” models come with preloaded TOPO maps) that automatically geotag images as you shoot, making location scouting and recording notes easy. High-sensitivity WAAS/GLONASS-enabled GPS, a barometric altimeter and a 3-axis electronic compass provide precise locations; when using GLONASS satellites, locking on is 20% quicker than when using GPS. You can operate the touch screen with many types of gloves. The 650 series come with a rechargeable NiMH battery (optional with the 600 series); both also can operate on two AA cells. Estimated Street Price: $399 (600); $479 (600t or 650); $549 (650t). Contact: Garmin, www.garmin.com.
Do you have some great black-and-white images? Enter them in Digital Photo Magazine’s inaugural Black & White Photo Contest. Prizes include a camera, an Epson Stylus Photo R3000 inkjet printer, gift certificates from Roberts Camera, a one-year Zinio digital subscription to DP Magazine, your image showcased in a special multispread feature in the August 2013 issue of Digital Photo and published in the DP online Winners’ Gallery. To enter, go to www.dpmag.com/blackandwhite.
Hasselblad is noted for medium-format cameras, but has done a large thing for endangered African rhinoceroses. The company has established—via Hasselblad Chairman and CEO Dr. Larry Hansen (who also founded the still ongoing Carl Zeiss Tiger Conservation Award in India 14 years ago), and in conjunction with Ms. Xiaoyang Yu, founding partner of China New Enterprise Investment—the annual Rhino Conservation Awards to raise awareness of what’s being done in the fight against rhino poaching in South Africa and recognize those who make a significant contribution. Awards are presented in five categories: Best Conservation Practitioner, Best Judicial System & Policing, Best Media & Journalism, Best NGO, and Best Technology Invention/ Application. Contact: Hasselblad, www.hasselblad.com.
When hiking to those perfect photo spots, it’s essential to have appropriate footwear. The Merrell Phoenix Trek Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoe combines comfort with “hike-ability,” with a waterproof membrane to keep feet dry and a flexible sole that feels broken in the first time you wear it. A breathable mesh lining treated with Aegis adds comfort, while a bellows tongue keeps debris out. Available in men’s sizes 7-15. Estimated Street Price: $120. Contact: Merrell, (800) 288-3124, www.merrell.com.
Four onOne Software Perfect image-editing programs are now available as standalone Standard editions. Perfect B&W converts color images to black-and-white and provides presets and tools to control tone, contrast and moiré. Perfect Effects 4 provides instant-click and paint-on photo effects, with a library of 295 effects you can browse and preview on your images. Perfect Mask 5.2 makes it easy to remove and replace backgrounds, select subjects and isolate backgrounds. Perfect Portrait 2 makes portrait retouching fast and easy. The four programs are available for Mac and Windows by download only. Estimated Street Price: $29 each. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.
SealLine‘s EcoSee clear dry bags keep your gear dry and let you see what’s in the bag. Extra-tough urethane provides good abrasion resistance and cold-weather performance, along with light weight. It’s 100% PVC-free, good from an environmental standpoint. A Dry Seal top closure provides an effective seal. You can use the bag alone, put your camera bag in it for protection from the elements or put the bag inside your camera bag. Estimated Street Price: $12-$42 (depending on size). Contact: Cascade Designs, (206) 505-9500, www.cascadedesigns.com.