In Focus: April 2015

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Canon has developed the EOS 5DS and 5DS R models, which offer the highest resolution of any 35mm DSLR, to date. Both the 5DS and 5DS R use a 50.6-megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor and Dual DIGIC 6 processor, allowing quick 5 fps continuous shooting that captures full, sharp, detailed 50-megapixel resolution, and the 5DS R further maximizes sharpness with a cancelled low-pass filter. The cameras use 61-Point High-Density Reticular AF with 41 cross-type sensors and have a sensitivity of ISO 100-6400
(12,800 extended). The 5DS and 5DS R both have a built-in intervalometer, shoot 1080p full HD video and offer a creative Time Lapse Movie function, which automatically builds a time-lapse video from still images. While the cameras maintain the familiar 5D body, the chassis, baseplate and tripod lug have been reinforced for stability and to reduce camera shake. Go to to learn more about the new EOS 5DS cameras and what they offer nature photographers. List Price: $3,699 (5DS); $3,899 (5DS R). Contact: Canon,

Nikon‘s travel-friendly AF-S Nikkor 300mm ƒ/4E PF ED VR lens is 30% shorter and 1.5 pounds lighter than its predecessor. This size and weight reduction is due, in large part, to Phase Fresnel optical technology that also contributes to a correction in chromatic aberration. The lens utilizes 4.5 stops of Vibration Reduction for sharp images when handheld, with additional VR modes for Sports & Action and Tripod Detection. Extra low dispersion glass has a Nano Crystal Coating to prevent ghosting and flare, as well as a fluorine coating to repel dust, water, grease and dirt. New electromagnetic aperture control adds precision to continuous shooting. Silent Wave Motor offers quiet AF operation, with quick manual override from a focus ring spin. List Price: $1,999. Contact: Nikon,

Samsung has taken the core technology of the NX1 and packaged it in a small size, producing the powerful, yet portable NX500. The 28-megapixel, backside-illumination APS-C sensor and DRIMeV processor provide quick high-quality stills and video. The BSI APS-C sensor supports 4K and UHD video recording with a built-in HEVC codec, which compresses file size to maximize storage space without harming quality. The DRIMeV processor produces accurate color reproduction with improved noise reduction, and when paired with the Hybrid AF system, results in 9 fps continuous shooting. The NX500 also includes Samsung Auto Shot, which uses motion detection to predict perfect timing for capturing an action shot. The 3-inch touch-screen display has tilt and flip functionality. The NX500 also supports built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC capability. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Samsung,

Tamron continues to add to the company’s unique line of lenses for full-frame cameras with the SP 15-30mm ƒ/2.8 Di VC USD ultrawide-angle zoom. The 18 optical lens elements in 13 groups include an eXpanded Glass Molded Aspherical element and several Molded-Glass Aspherical and Low Dispersion elements, preventing geometrical distortion and ensuring lateral color correction throughout the zoom range. Utilizing Vibration Compensation, the lens corrects for slight camera shake in low-light and slow shutter-speed situations. The Ultrasonic Silent Drive maintains quiet autofocus action with high torque and precision. The Broad-Band Anti-Reflection coating and Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependancy coatings reduce ghosting and flare, while the fluorine coating repels dirt and water. List Price: $1,199. Contact: Tamron,

Ricoh has introduced a small, lightweight and rugged Pentax K-S2, featuring a retractable standard zoom kit lens. The 20-megapixel CMOS sensor without an anti-aliasing filter, combined with the Prime MII image processing engine, minimizes noise at high sensitivity up to ISO 51,200. The SAFOX X AF sensor module provides precise and responsive autofocus with subject tracking and 5.5 fps continuous shooting. The in-body Shake Reduction system keeps images sharp while handholding with longer lenses, while the Clarity Enhancement mode captures uneven texture to produce a more true-to-life textural reproduction. The K-S2 captures 1080p full HD video and has built-in WiFi and NFC connection. The weather-resistant body is sealed to protect against rain and dust. A 3-inch, variable-angle LCD screen rotates 180°. The kit includes the new retractable standard zoom HD DA 18-55mm lens, which adds only 1.5 inches in height to the camera body when fully retracted, keeping the body profile slim. The lens has a 7-blade rounded aperture and multilayer HD coating. List Price: $799. Contact: Ricoh Imaging,

Manfrotto has developed the new Off Road Collection designed to meet the needs of outdoor adventure photographers. In partnership with the Italian ski and trekking pole company Fizan, Manfrotto has created Off Road Walking Sticks with the ability to double as a convenient monopod. Weighing less than one pound for the pair, the walking sticks provide comfortable hand grips and wrist straps, with legs that close telescopically in three sections and that can be pulled apart for easy cleaning. One walking stick hand grip features a camera mount with quick wheel attachment, handling a 5.51-pound weight, covered by a protective cap when not in use. The feet have a spiked base and come with rubber covers and baskets for use in various terrain. Available in blue, green and red. List Price: $99. Contact: Manfrotto,

The new OM-D E-M5 Mark II by Olympus features a redesigned 16-megapixel, Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor combined with a TruePic VII Processor. The camera shoots with a 1⁄8000 mechanical shutter speed and a 1⁄16000 electronic shutter speed in Silent Mode. RAW files can be shot at up to 10 fps with S-AF and 5 fps with C-AF with tracking enabled. The 81-point Fast AF offers an expanded focus area, which the Small Target AF focuses on a small area across the entire frame. The 5-axis image stabilization provides 5 steps of compensation for sharp handheld shots as slow as a 1⁄4 sec. shutter speed. A 40-megapixel High-Resolution Shot mode employs a pixel-shift technique using the voice-coil motor IS unit to capture 8 sequential images, moving the sensor 0.5-pixel steps between each shot, then commingling images (use of a tripod is recommended). Video mode captures 1080p up to a 60p frame rate and includes an external audio input, as well as a headphone jack for audio monitoring. Movie Teleconverter, time-code settings and an external HDMI monitor connection are also supported. The camera features a dustproof and splashproof body, and when paired with some M.ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses, can be used in the rain. The Supersonic Wave Filter uses high-frequency movement to remove dust and debris from the sensor. The E-M5 Mark II also features a 3-inch, 1.04-million-dot vari-angle touch screen and 2.36-million-dot electric viewfinder, plus WiFi capability. List Price: $1,099. Contact: Olympus,

150-600mm SPORT LENS
Compatible with full-frame- and APS-C-sized sensors, Sigma has delivered a rugged 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sport lens ready to capture quick-moving wildlife. Using 2 FLD glass elements and 3 SLD glass elements, the lens maintains sharpness throughout the zoom range while controlling for chromatic aberration. Optical Stabilization features an accelerometer for improved horizontal and vertical panning. A zoom lock switch can lock on any focal length, and the optional manual override feature can be activated while in autofocus mode by rotating the focus ring. The body has a solid dustproof and splashproof construction. Compatible with the Sigma USB dock, the lens is available in Sigma, Canon and Nikon mounts. List Price: $1,999. Contact: Sigma,

The Aero Travel Tripod Kit for Video by Benro is a versatile and compact option for shooters who are constantly on the go. The Aero S2 supports up to 5.5 pounds and folds to a compact 18.3 inches, while the Aero S4 supports up to 8.8 pounds and folds to 21.7 inches. The tripods utilize a reversible folding leg design to maximize a mobile travel profile. When extended, the legs have three locked leg positions. The removable leg and center column can be combined to create a monopod, when needed. The removable fluid head features 360° panning and smooth tilting, plus a bubble level. The Quick Release plate uses a safety lock. The S4 also features a removable handle for mounting on either side of the fluid head. The Aero Travel Tripods include quick flip leg locks, a weight hook and carrying case. List Price: $199 (Aero S2); $259 (Aero S4). Contact: Benro,

Continually meeting the needs of the traveling photographer, LaCie has packed increased speed, capacity and safety into the company’s mobile and durable packaging with the Rugged RAID hard drive. The two internal hard drives have a combined 4 TB capacity (equivalent to 60 64 GB memory cards), reducing the number of drives you need to pack. When used in the preconfigured RAID 0 mode, speeds reach up to 240 MB/s. The drive can also be switched to RAID 1 mode for built-in safety. Powered through the integrated Thunderbolt cable, there’s no need for an external power source, and the additional USB 3.0 connection ensures usage with OSX and Windows computers. The drive is dustproof and splashproof, even during operation, and can withstand drops of up to 5 feet and 1 ton of pressure. LaCie Private-Public software allows for full-drive password protection or protection of certain volumes with AES 256-bit encryption. List Price: $449. Contact: LaCie,


After getting back from an adventure shoot using multiple action cams with high-quality video footage, the time spent downloading files before you can start viewing and editing may seem torturous. Luckily, Lexar has introduced the Professional Workflow UR1, a three-slot microSD UHS-I USB 3.0 reader that quickly transfers 4K video files from three cards at once. The UR1 reader is compatible with both the Professional Workflow HR1 and HR2 reader and storage hub systems for easy download directly to external drives or to use multiple UR1 readers to download footage from up to 12 microSD cards at once. List Price: $39. Contact: Lexar,

The Parallax Camera Backpack by Mountainsmith has proven itself a reliable full-kit bag for photographers such as Andy Mann when he’s on expedition for National Geographic. The padded back panel has a center airway to provide cooling while hiking. The back panel also unzips for access to equipment organized with customized dividers. The top of the bag has additional access to equipment. A side panel reveals access to a DSLR case that can be removed from the bag and front-mounted to the chest harness. Two front organizer pockets are joined by an additional pocket that has two separate sleeves for a laptop up to 17 inches and a tablet. A side-panel pocket with zip-out bottom can be used to carry a tripod and lightweight stand while still allowing access to equipment. The padded waist belt, side compression straps and dual-density shoulder straps with load-lifter suspension make it easier to tote a large kit. The Parallax includes a rain cover. List Price: $269. Contact: Mountainsmith,

The SpiderPro Camera Holster system has been developed to provide comfort and safety for photographers who tote pro DSLRs for full days of shooting. The patented ball-joint system keeps your camera secure at your side while still allowing for movement. The lens points back while the flash runs parallel to your hip so you can stand, squat and move freely without worrying about damaged equipment. Available in a single-camera or dual-camera system. List Price: $135 (single-camera system); $235 (dual-camera system). Contact: Shai Gear LLC,

Panasonic has announced the LUMIX DMC-GF7, which features a 16-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine, producing sensitivity up to ISO 25,600. The 3.0-inch, 1040-dot LCD rear monitor is touch-screen-sensitive and can be flipped up 180° for Self Shot Mode. The Contrast AF system provides a burst rate of approximately 5.8 fps, plus 40 fps using an electronic shutter. The GF7 shoots 1080p full HD video in AVCHD progressive and MP4 with stereo sound. Full-time AF and Tracking AF can be used, or employing the touch screen with Touch AF, offers the look of rack focus. WiFi connectivity is available in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet. Using the Panasonic app, the smart device can be used as a multi-capable remote shutter with monitor or set up with the instant transfer mode to send photos directly to the device as they’re shot. Estimated Street Price: $599. Contact: Panasonic,

Blackmagic Design has improved CinemaDNG RAW image processing and workflow with Avid editors with the DaVinci Resolve 11.2 software update. The free download update has updated the CinemaDNG tone curve and soft clip option for improved colors and realistic detail when converting to a reduced color space. New DNxHR encoding and decoding support allows for a fluid workflow with Avid editors by allowing high-resolution media and sequences to move between systems, and AAF import with timeline resolution gives accurate round-trip support with Media Composer 8.3. Additional features include flag and marker support in ColorTrace and support for Red SDK 5.3. Contact: Blackmagic Design,