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In Focus: January/February 2013

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This Article Features Photo Zoom

As a nature photographer, you know the value of the 70-200mm focal-length range. With its AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm ƒ/4G ED VR lens, Nikon offers an impressive five stops of image stabilization through its Vibration Reduction technology. This not only helps at the longer telephoto end, but also in low-light situations that call for using slower shutter speeds. This model is smaller and lighter than Nikon’s ƒ/2.8 version of the lens. When used with the D4, D800 series and D600 DSLRs, the 70-200mm ƒ/4 allows you to take advantage of Nikon’s teleconverters for increasing focal length without sacrificing its AF and VR capabilities. Using the camera’s cross-type focus points at ƒ/8 and below lets you double the focal length of the lens to 400mm while maintaining AF to capture clear subjects at a greater distance. Estimated Street Price: $1,399. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US,

The Samsung NX1000 SMART mirrorless camera is loaded with features for taking great images. To start with, there’s a 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, built-in WiFi connectivity and a 3-inch LCD screen. The camera is capable of 1080p HD movie recording, 8 fps continuous shooting and fast autofocusing. The unique i-Function lens button allows you to control the NX1000 by scrolling through the manual settings (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) and using the focus ring to change their parameters. Using the Smart Auto function, the camera analyzes, identifies and automatically selects the most appropriate scene mode for the best results. For more control, the Smart Panel feature delivers full manual-control settings for aperture, shutter speed and more in one convenient screen. The camera comes in a kit with a 20-50mm lens and an external flash. Estimated Street Price: $699. Contact: Samsung, (800) SAMSUNG,

If you’re doing a ton of high-res still and HD video shooting these days, the Lexar Professional 400x SDXC UHS-I memory card could be a smart investment. With up to 256 GB of capacity, it’s the first card to offer this much storage. Capturing, storing and transferring large volumes of high-resolution stills and extended video cuts is possible at a minimum guaranteed sustained read transfer speed of 60 MB/s. The Class 10 card comes with the latest version of Image Rescue 4 software, which helps you recover lost or deleted files. Estimated Street Price: $899. Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418,
Ultra-wide-angle lenses are crucial for capturing dramatic landscapes, but can be problematic when using filters. The WonderPana 145 and WonderPana 66 filter systems from Fotodiox attempt to fix this by offering filters that completely cover the large front elements of ultra-wide-angles. The WonderPana 145 works with all Fotodiox 145mm circular filters, as does the WonderPana 66 system, which also accepts industry-standard rectangular 6.6-inch filters from Schneider Optics. For use with these systems, Fotodiox also has produced 10 new filters in its PRO line. Six of the filters are available in the 145mm round format, which is similar to a traditional round screw-in filter, only much larger. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $200 (145); $300 (66); $79 (filters). Contact: Fotodiox, (866) 812-1107,
Fans of the Moab Lasal inkjet paper lineup have a new option to choose from. Dual Semigloss 330 is the first dual-sided heavyweight (330gsm) paper in its class. Featuring the latest in coating technology, the paper delivers consistent image quality and dries instantly. You can handle prints immediately without worrying about fingerprints or scuffing—ideal for albums and portfolios. Moab offers several different kinds of its Lasal paper, including single-sided luster, gloss and matte, as well as the double-sided Photo Matte 235. Dual Semigloss 330 is compatible with pigment and dye inks, but pigment is recommended, and is available in 25-sheet packs of 8.5×11, 11×14, A3+ and A4 sizes. Estimated Street Price: $29 to $35. Contact: Moab, (800) 727-3716,

Give your heavy telephoto lens a solid base with the Sirui PH-20 Gimbal Head, which gets its strength from the combined use of cross-patterned, multilayered carbon fiber in the arm and aircraft aluminum in the L-bracket so it can handle up to 44 pounds, yet weighs just 2.4 pounds. You can smoothly move the camera horizontally 360° and tilt +150° to -60° (and stay in position without locking the head), with a slight touch. Carbon fiber delivers less vibration and is more tolerant of temperature changes. For added flexibility and convenience, the Sirui PH-20 can be converted from an L-bracket unit into a simpler side-mount system with the included quick-release platform and tools. Estimated Street Price: $529. Contact: Argraph, (201) 939-7722,

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Carry and protect your DSLR system in one of the Pelican ProGear Sport Backpacks. Made from light rip-stop nylon, the packs use either a crushproof, watertight hard case or a rigid compartment to protect your camera gear. The Elite models feature an integrated crushproof case for protecting laptops, tablets and other extras that has many of the same military-grade qualities as other classic Pelican cases. The watertight O-ring seal with automatic pressure-equalization valve ensures that water stays out. A set of four adhesive memory foam buffers helps make sure that contents are secured for travel. Other helpful features include the SureGrip soft rubber handle, floating shoulder straps and lumbar pad, a chest clip and a removable hip belt. Estimated Street Price: $269 (S100 Elite). Contact: Pelican, (855) 604-8562,

Make sure your images are free of noise using the latest version of Noiseware from Imagenomic. Boosting speed was a major priority in version 5, as it includes 64-bit compatibility for Mac users, an improved algorithm, faster processing speeds and multi-core support that allows you to produce images up to four times faster than the previous version. The improved algorithm helps you retain more detail in your images and is 25% more effective in reducing noise. Also included are new preset manager and history control features. Noiseware 5 is fully compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Apple Aperture 3. The upgrade is free for existing Noiseware Pro owners. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Imagenomic,

Whether you’re out shooting before sunrise or after sunset, the LumiQuest SoLite 200 allows you to see what you’re doing with the camera. The LED lasts for more than six hours and is powered by a solar panel. It looks like a lightbulb, and it has a multi-switch (low-off-high) that shuts off automatically in bright light and pivots to direct light and charge the solar panel. Estimated Street Price: $19. Contact: LumiQuest, (800) 332-4644,
The Metz mecablitz 52 AF-1 is the first hot-shoe flash to feature a touch-screen-based user interface. That means far less button-pushing and much faster, more intuitive control over settings. The menus will rotate when switching from horizontal shooting to portrait shooting, and there are several models for syncing with the automatic TTL exposure abilities of camera systems including Canon, Nikon, Olympus/Panasonic, Pentax and Sony. With a high guide number of 52 at the 105mm position (ISO 100), the flagship flash from Metz also sports wireless abilities for use as a commanding master or a remote slave. List Price: TBA. Contact: Metz, (201) 818-9500,

Travel deep into the New Guinea rain forest through the pages of Birds of Paradise: Extreme, Bizarre, Extraordinary by Tim Laman and Edwin Scholes (National Geographic Books, 2012; ISBN 978-1-4262-0958-1). Many of the 39 species of birds revealed in this book have rarely or never been photographed. Laman and Scholes were able to document courtship dances, including the dance of the “ballerina bird,” peculiar mating calls and changing appearances. A detailed atlas of where each species lives in New Guinea is included, as well as field notes from Laman and Scholes’s research. Drawings of their camera setups show how they found and documented each type of bird in its natural environment. Estimated Street Price: $50. Contact: National Geographic Books, (800) 437-5521,

Expand your gear-carrying options using a pair of new straps from Sun Sniper. With the Back-Pack-Strap, you can carry your backpack while using it as an additional camera strap for a DSLR. The strap clips onto your bag and has a stainless-steel ball-bearing camera connector, as well as a steel wire that runs through the channels of the strap. The weight of your camera gear is evenly distributed through the backpack’s shoulder pad. With the Strap-Surfer, the camera rests by your side and is ready whenever you need it. Just clip the strap to your bag and attach the stainless-steel bearing connector to your camera’s tripod socket. Estimated Street Price: $67 (Back-Pack-Strap); $96 (Strap-Surfer). Contact: Sun Sniper,

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Offering a higher magnification than traditional macro lenses, the Nanoha, which is manufactured by Yasuhara, is designed for mirrorless cameras and can achieve up to 5X magnification with a minimum ƒ/11 aperture. There are four aperture settings: ƒ/11, ƒ/16, ƒ/22 and ƒ/32. A built-in LED system helps when you’re shooting insects and other tiny subjects. The removable lighting module consists of three LEDs. It screws onto the front and is powered when connected, via USB cable, to a computer or battery pack. The lens is available for Micro Four Thirds and Sony NEX cameras. Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: International Supplies, (800) 999-1984,

Featuring a color touchscreen interface, the Sekonic Litemaster Pro light meters provide quick access and intuitive control for working with light whether measuring flash or ambient, in incident or reflected light for video and stills. The touchscreen is a nice touch, literally, but what makes it so useful for photographers and cinematographers alike is that you can customize settings or hide modes from the menus for a capable lighting solution that can be tailored to your specific needs. Far more comprehensive for working with light settings and exposure than your camera’s histogram, you even can display exposure settings based on the specific dynamic range of your camera. Estimated Street Price: $398 (D); $469 (DR). Contact: Sekonic, (914) 347-3300,

Get a good night’s sleep in one of the High Peak Latitude sleeping bags. They’re available in three temperature ratings: 20°, 0° and -5°. The shell is constructed with Tactel rip-stop nylon, but the real technology lies in its Cozy Therm liner. The lightweight, breathable fabric radiates body heat, helping to regulate body temperature by removing excess moisture and still retaining body heat. The bag is insulated with Cozy Loft Micro-X, a blend of solid and hollow fibers, for added warmth and comfort. Estimated Street Price: $142 to $158. Contact: High Peak USA, (425) 251-5106,

Experiment with capturing blooming flowers and other time-lapse or action scenes using the Satechi WTR-A Wireless Timer Remote Control Shutter. It’s compatible with most advanced Canon cameras, including the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. The WTR-A can program multiple tasks, including delaying the capture of a photo, managing exposure time, setting a shooting interval and organizing a number of shots from 50 feet away. The remote is also helpful for capturing subjects that are difficult to approach, like wildlife, causing minimal vibration. Other features include a time remind speaker, which is a beeping alert that indicates the shutter is active and counts down the seconds until the shutter goes off. The LCD has a screen illuminator that helps in low-light situations. Estimated Street Price: $59. Contact: Satechi, (858) 268-1800,

Make sure the people you capture in your travel photo­graphs look as good as possible using Portrait Professional 10 from Anthropics. This incredibly powerful tool smoothes and perfects skin, as well as refines facial features quickly and easily. A step-by-step process walks you through the adjustments. Once you open an image, the program guides you through the process of adjusting facial features. For more fine-tuning, there are separate controls for adjusting facial dimensions and skin characteristics. Estimated Street Price: $62. Contact: Anthropics, (971) 238-0917,

 The Flashpoint F-2127 Version II Carbon Fiber tripod supports 17.6 pounds, extends to a maximum height of 57 inches and has 3-section legs. Besides the lightweight advantages—this tripod weighs just 2.7 pounds without a head—carbon fiber doesn’t transfer heat like aluminum, but does absorb vibrations so images look sharper. The F-2127 also comes with flip locks for fast operation, and the center column can become a low column for ground-level use. Estimated Street Price: $179. Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama), (800) 223-2500,