In Focus: August 2009

This Article Features Photo Zoom

ALPHA SHOOTERS
Head out on your next photo journey with one of Sony’s smaller and lighter Alpha D-SLRs. The A230, A330 and A380 are more compact versions of their respective A200, A300 and A350 predecessors. Both the A330 and A380 incorporate Sony’s Quick Autofocus (AF) Live View technology by using a dedicated image sensor to maintain the fast response of a D-SLR while avoiding delay. All models have a 2.7-inch LCD, with the A330 and A380 featuring screens that can tilt up or down—nice for framing from high or low positions. The A230 and A330 have 10.2-megapixel sensors and the A380’s sensor is 14.2 megapixels. Weight ranges from 15.9 to 17.2 ounces. List Price: $550 to $850. Contact: Sony, (800) 222-SONY, www.sonystyle.com.
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SOLID LEGS
Support your video D-SLR on the sturdy Manfrotto 526,545BK or 701HDV,547BK Professional Video Tripod Systems. The 526,545BK is capable of holding up to 35 pounds. The 526 head gives you precise fluid movement while the 545BK legs gives you superior support and stability. The 701HDV,547BK weighs 8.6 pounds and supports up to 8.8 pounds. The 701HDV head gives you professional fluid movement at a very low cost. For greater rigidity, the 547BK was designed with techno polymers incorporated into its upper casting. Both systems feature a midlevel spreader for better stability and a KATA carry bag. The heads and the legs are also available separately and in different systems and configurations. Estimated Street Price: $1,875 (526,545BK System); $300 (701HDV,547BK System). Contact: Manfrotto (Bogen Imaging), (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.
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SUPER-WIDE ZOOM
Capture your next scenic landscape using the Tokina AT-X 16.5-135mm DX Wide-Range lens. Designed for digital SLRs with APS-C-sized sensors, the lens delivers a focal length range of 25-200mm in 35mm format. Aperture ranges from ƒ/3.5-6.5. Three aspherical elements, one all-glass precision-molded element and two compound elements, produce high contrast. Two Super-Low (SD) Dispersion glass elements correct chromatic aberration. List Price: TBA. Contact: THK Photo, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.
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360° PAN
Give your panorama shooting a boost with help from the Novoflex VR-System II. The all-in-one solution offers a full set of adjusting and rotational elements for positioning the camera so that the axis of rotation passes through the nodal point of the camera system. Depending on the camera and lenses used, a field of view up to 360 degrees horizontal and 120 degrees vertical is possible. Wide-angle lenses at a minimum of 10mm and standard tele-zooms up to 135mm are recommended. Estimated Street Price: $671 (ballhead not included; bubble level and software are included). Contact: Novoflex (HP Marketing Corp.), (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
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SLING PACK
Transport your gear in the Kata DT-213 when you’re out in the field. The main compartment holds an SLR with battery grip and up to a 70-200mm lens attached. Two pockets on the back and side of the pack hold memory cards, cables and other extras. When you’re out on a long hike, a second strap can be used for forming a triangle shape to the pack. This gives you more balance and better comfort. Estimated Street Price: $80. Contact: Kata (Bogen Imaging), (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.
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This Article Features Photo Zoom
in focus 2009
STEEL BLADES
BuckLite Max is a series of lightweight, durable and fixed-blade knives ideal for camping trips and other outdoor adventures. The soft, textured rubber handles have ridges and finger grooves for a comfortable grip. There’s a lanyard hole in the handle and a heavy-duty nylon sheath for multiple carrying options. The smallest model has a 2¾-inch blade and weighs just 1.6 ounces, while the largest is 5.5 ounces with a 4-inch blade. List Price: $20 to $25. Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825, www.buckknives.com.
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ROOMY TENT
The four-season Eureka! High Camp tent sleeps two, is designed to handle extreme weather conditions and has two storage vestibules. The front storage vestibule has bottom venting, and there are two roof vents in the tent and fly to help air flow. The rugged, heavy-duty aluminum frame can withstand wind and snow. The High Camp measures 7’9”x4’10”x3’8” high and weighs nearly 10 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Eureka!, (800) 572-8822, www.eurekatent.com.
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KEEP WATCH
The TraiLeader Pro from TECH4O does way more than just tell time. It monitors your heart and measures speed,
distance and caloric intake, along with acting as an altimeter, a barometer, a compass and a thermometer. The watch accurately monitors heart rate and syncs with a PC to monitor workouts over time. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: TECH4O, (800) 572-8822, www.tech4o.com.
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HI-TEC ADVENTURE
On your next hike, lace up the Hi-Tec Multiterra Targa HPI trainers. Using ion-mask hydrophobic technology, the shoe is highly resistant to water, and the TPR windows with thin mesh keep debris out so your feet stay cool and comfortable all day. The hikers also feature stretch cord lacing with locking toggle, an upper made of full-grain nubuck leather and neoprene, and a rubber toecap and heel for added protection. Estimated Street Price: $65. Contact: Hi-Tec, (800) 521-1698, www.hi-tec.com.
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This Article Features Photo Zoom
HOLD IT
The Really Right Stuff BH-25 ballhead is lightweight and easy to use, with an 8.8-pound load capacity. The T-shaped, spring-loaded control lever locks both panning and ball articulation simultaneously. The diameter is 25mm and comes in three versions with either a round platform, B2-mAS screw-knob mini-clamp or B2-40 LR lever-release clamp. List Price: $90 (no clamp); $175 (LR clamp). Contact: Really Right Stuff, (888) 777-5557, www.reallyrightstuff.com.
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REMOTE CONTROL
Synchronize your camera and flash units wirelessly from up to 150 feet away with the Calumet Four-Channel Radio Flash Trigger Kit. The transmitter has a hot-shoe for on-camera mounting, and the large digital read-out specifies which channel is selected. The transmitter also has a socket for connecting to your computer. The receiver comes with a standard 3.5mm jack, a 6.5mm photo jack adapter and a PC flash socket. It can be mounted with the included Velcro® strap or by using the metal hook. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Calumet Photographic, (800) CALUMET, www.calumetphoto.com.
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ZERO GRAVITY
When shooting on uneven terrain, give your D-SLR the sturdy support it needs using the VariZoom Zero Gravity tripod head. Vertical balance adjustment technology allows you to place the camera’s center of gravity directly on the tilt axis, avoiding balance problems. The head also has fluid pan and tilt capability for smooth motion when capturing high-definition video. The head is designed for 360-degree tilts and can handle heavy telephoto lenses. List Price: $549. Contact: VariZoom, (512) 219-7722, www.varizoom.com.
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LIGHTEN UP
The Litepanels 1x1 Low Profile LED lighting fixture is designed for mounting flat against a ceiling or wall. The bulbs are tilted 40 degrees off axis so thatlight is projected forward from the fixture to softly light the subject. Like other Litepanels 1x1 units, the Low Profile is dimmable using DMX or a control on the light itself with no noticeable shift in color temperature. It’s available in Flood (5600 and 3200 degrees K), as well as Spot and SuperSpot configurations (5600 degrees K). List Price: TBA. Contact:Litepanels, Inc., (818) 752-7009, www.litepanels.com.

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PRO PLUG-INS
The Kubota Image Tools Pro Pak is a bundle of plug-ins containing six of the most popular tools from Kevin Kubota’s professional image-enhancing tools for Adobe Photoshop. Included are Kubota Artistic Tools v1-4 special effects plug-ins, Production Tools, as well as a Formula Book containing 42 separate recipes to get just the look you want. Also helping to make your workflow more efficient is the new Dashboard, which is a floating palette within Photoshop that acts like a mini-search engine for the enhancement tools. List Price: $629. Contact: Kubota Image Tools, (877) 330-4330, www.kubotaimagetools.com.
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COLOR MANAGEMENT
X-Rite is combining elements of ProfileMaker 5 and MonacoPROFILER to create a streamlined, high-end color profiling solution that’s precise and affordable. The consolidated program allows you to build custom ICC profiles tailored to your specific workflow needs and output to a variety of printing options, including inkjet, laser, offset and flexo. X-Rite’s profiling software enables display profile creation, input profiles for cameras, scanners and other capture devices and output profiles. List Price: TBA. Contact: X-Rite, (914) 347-3300, www.xrite.com.
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CAMERA HOLSTER
With the Cotton Carrier, you have a secure way of carrying your camera without having to deal with a bulky backpack. The camera locks securely into the harness, but remains accessible for quick use. Regardless of lens or camera body size, the holster is designed to carry one or two SLRs. If just one does the job, the second carrier is removable and can be attached to any camera bag or belt. Estimated Street Price: $149. Contact: Cotton Carrier, www.cottoncarrier.com.
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Carbon Fiber
Support your D-SLR on the Sunpak PRO 523PX2 Carbon Fiber tripod with Pistol Grip QR ballhead. The ultralight tripod is constructed of super-strong and lightweight carbon fiber with seven-layer construction. Other features include leg warmers, a reversible 1/4”-20 / 3/8” threaded screw and a removable pistol-grip ballhead with quick release. Load capacity is 6.1 pounds. Height ranges from 12 to 64 inches, with a weight of four pounds. List Price: TBA. Contact: Sunpak (ToCAD), (973) 627-9600, www.sunpak.com.
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DAY PACK
The BackCountry Medium Nature backpack from Clik Elite is ideal for a photo day trip into the mountains or woods. The camera and lenses stay safely nestled between Cradle Dividers in a fully adjustable, Velcro®-lined camera bay with weather-resistant zippers. The shoulder straps are padded with attachment points for fastening small pouches and lens holsters. The LadderFit harness system adjusts to four different torso lengths for maximum comfort. Estimated Street Price: $235. Contact: Clik Elite, (888) 532-CLIK, www.clikelite.com.
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Power Grip
Improve stability when shooting handheld with the Flashpoint Professional Battery Grip. The version for the Nikon D700 holds up to two lithium battery packs or AA batteries, doubling the camera’s shooting time. The vertical shutter release makes shooting vertically just as simple as shooting horizontally. There’s also a version available for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. List Price: $79 (Nikon); $89 (Canon). Contact: Adorama, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.
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ALL-IN-ONE EDITING
The latest version of Serif’s PhotoPlus X3 Digital Studio comes with powerful features at an affordable price. RAW image processing, High Dynamic Range imaging and 48-bit color are some of the high-end tools found in this program. With the new Print Studio, you can print individual images in different sizes, multiple images in various layouts and contact sheets with image names. The QuickFix Studio is improved with fixes for noise reduction, exposure adjustment and a new histogram. List Price: $79. Contact: Serif, (800) 557-3743, www.serif.com.
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BOOKS ’N SUCH
in-focus
Digital Masters: Travel Photography—Documenting The World’s People & Places by Bob Krist (Lark Books, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-60059-110-5). The OP columnist takes a look at the technological aspects of shooting digitally on location and explains how to select the right gear. He also explores what it takes to capture the spirit of your subject.

Black and White in Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom: A Complete Integrated Workflow Solution for Creating Stunning Monochromatic Images in Photoshop CS4, Photoshop Lightroom, and Beyond by Leslie Alsheimer and Bryan O’Neil Hughes (Focal Press, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-240-52159-6). Learn new methods and tips for black-and-white conversions, plus explanations of key topics like color management, workflow optimization, soft proofing, nondestructive editing and more.

Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers by Harold Davis (O’Reilly, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-596-52988-8). Using his own images in each chapter, with technical information and an explanation of what he was trying to achieve, Davis demonstrates how to apply classic techniques and principles in the digital age.

Yosemite in Time: Ice Ages, Tree Clocks, Ghost Rivers by Rebecca Solnit, Mark Klett, and Byron Wolfe (Trinity University Press, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-59534-042-9). Blending beautiful photography with personal observations and historical perspective, this pictorial shows how Yosemite has changed over the years by combining classic pictures taken by the likes of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston with re-photographed versions.

The Adobe Photoshop CS4 Layers Book: Harnessing Photoshop’s Most Powerful Tool by Richard Lynch (Focal Press, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-240-52155-8). Master the fundamentals of using layers with this highly visual guide that offers step-by-step instructions and practical examples illustrating various techniques. A DVD is included.

3 Comments

    I have just come across this site and it has great content, information and is interesting.
    I do like that sling bag its big enough to carry everything yet still nice enough not to look bulky and draw attention to what you have inside.

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