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In Focus: July 2014
Fresh on the heels of releasing the a7 and a7R, Sony has now announced an exciting addition to the family for the photo and video shooter with the a7S full-frame, interchangeable-lens camera. With a 12.2-megapixel 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor, it employs the same Fast Intelligent AF system as the a7R, with improved low-light sensitivity boasting a 100-102,400 (50-409,600 extended) ISO range. But the real excitement is for video shooters. The camera features a 35mm large pixel image sensor rated at 15.3 stops of dynamic range. Plus, 4K video capabilities utilize the full sensor width—no cropping or line skipping—which reduces aliasing, moiré and false color artifacts. A 120 fps shooting mode is supported in HD resolution. A multi-terminal interface shoe is compatible with the Sony XLR Adapter Microphone Kit. The a7S is compatible with E-mount lenses (many optimized for full frame) and can be used with A-mount and other systems with adapters. The a7S will be available in early July. List Price: $2,499 (body only). Contact: Sony Electronics, www.sony.com/a7S.
Designed for use with full-frame sensors, as well as APS-C sizes, the Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG HSM OS Sport lens is ideal for wildlife photography. The Hyper Sonic Motor provides quiet, fast autofocus, while the Optical Stabilizer compensates for any handheld camera shake. Inner Focusing and Zooming ensures ease of use. Two FLD glass elements perform similar to fluorite in conjunction with an SLD element to reduce color aberration and produce sharp images. Splash- and dustproof, the lens is compatible with the Sigma USB Dock & Mount Conversion Service. List Price: $3,599. Contact: Sigma, www.sigmaphoto.com.
Infuse your video with unique, fully stabilized aerial shots with the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+. This drone carries a 14-megapixel camera that shoots full HD video with slow-motion capabilities. Using 3-axis camera stabilization for smooth shots, the Phantom 2 Vision+ allows you to tilt as you fly, pointing the camera straight down. The integrated GPS autopilot system provides position holding, altitude lock and stable hovering for precise flight, ensuring you get your shot. The GPS system also includes radar parameters. When you fly outside the radar, the Phantom 2 Vision+ automatically returns. For more about aerial drone photography, see “Get Above It All, Parts I and II” at outdoorphotographer.com. List Price: $1,299. Contact: DJI, www.dji.com.
For large-format enthusiasts, Wanderlust has created the lightweight 4×5-format Travelwide camera system. At 9.7 ounces, lighter than a DSLR body, the Travelwide employs a high-impact, unibody construction. Using focus marks on the barrel for fine-tuning focus and composition from the back screen, the Travelwide focuses from infinity to 0.55 meters. Compatible with most 90mm lenses, a Pinwide pinhole is included. Three accessory cold-shoes for levels, rangefinders or viewfinders are featured. It accepts standard 4×5 film holders and Polaroid 545i holders. List Price: $149. Contact: Wanderlust, www.wanderlustcameras.com.
For active photographers, Cotton Carrier has created the Carry-Lite strap and holster system. Using a patented locking system, the camera hub slides in and securely mounts in the holster, then quickly releases when turned 90º. The removable side holster is made of durable 1680 Denier Polypropelene fitted with the Lexan camera receptacle. Included with the Carry-Lite is the Cotton Carrier Hand Strap and Universal Adapter Plate for quick and safe transitions from handheld to tripod use. List Price: $139. Contact: Cotton Carrier, www.cottoncarrier.com.
Panasonic has developed the LEICA DG SUMMILUX 15mm ƒ/1.7 ASPH Micro Four Thirds prime lens. With nine elements in seven groups, it includes three aspherical lenses that negate spherical aberration and distortion. The lens employs a nano surface coating that reduces reflection for clear images with a dramatic reduction of ghosting and flare. The new stepping motor makes focus action silent and smooth, ideal for shooting still photos and video. The lens includes an aperture ring and AF/MF switch. List Price: $599. Contact: Panasonic, www.shop.panasonic.com.
Designed specifically for a DSLR or smaller compact camera, the FH-350 fluid head by Really Right Stuff features a sinusoidal counterbalance system with infinite adjustability up to 10 pounds at five inches above the tilt axis for smooth 180º tilts. Proprietary damping grease provides consistent pans and tilts in weather ranging from 0º-140º F. Tilt damping is managed in three strength levels, plus an off position. The lever-release clamping system integrates with 1.5-inch dovetail rails for easy swapping between setups. It uses a 3⁄8″-16 threaded tripod mount. The handle utilizes a clutch-style locking system that’s less prone to wear and tear. List Price: $1,695. Contact: Really Right Stuff, reallyrightstuff.com.
The lightweight, 2.6-pound Gimbal Head by Zenelli utilizes a hollow carbon-fiber central body with additional aluminum and stainless-steel elements for high strength. With a 3⁄8″-16 thread and Acra-Swiss compatibility, the gimbal head provides panoramic and tilt rotation, plus tablet vertical adjustment. The Save lens lever locks the gimbal for camera body changes without risking gravity changes that can result in a setup nosedive. The head also includes a level and panoramic quick-lock lever. Estimated Street Price: $1,362. Contact: Zenelli, Charles Glatzer, [email protected].
Manfrotto has engineered the X Pro 3-Way Head for maximum precision while maintaining a small, travel-friendly size. The aluminum body weighs 2.2 pounds while withstanding a maximum load of 17.6 pounds. Arms retract when needed to fit in camera bags and other small spaces. When shooting images that need exacting attention, such as macro photography, it’s possible to leave the locking knobs open and increase the friction for slight frame adjustments. List Price: $156. Contact: Manfrotto, www.manfrotto.us/x-pro-3-way-tripod-head.
Nikon recently updated their popular go-to lens, releasing the Nikkor 18-300mm ƒ/3.5-6.3G ED VR DX-format lens with an impressive and versatile 16.7x zoom range while remaining compact at a lightweight 19.4 ounces. With 16 elements in 12 groups, the lens includes three aspherical elements and three extra-low dispersion glass elements to maximize contrast while minimizing ghosting and flares. The rounded 7-blade diaphragm provides a natural background blur. The Silent Wave Motor gives quick, accurate autofocus, even while handholding. List Price: $899. Contact: Nikon, www.nikonusa.com.
Ideal for rough terrain, small spaces and unusual setups, the 298g BallPod is a travel-friendly, compact camera support ready for adventure. About the size of an orange, it has a silicone outer shell and moldable inner filling, making it adaptable to your environment. List Price: $39. Contact: BallPod, www.omegabrandess.com.
The Photo Monopod by Benro uses a ball socket design with an extra-wide base and swivel pod foot that grips almost any surface for steady support. The closed-cell nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) grip provides a firm and comfortable way to carry the monopod. The leg-lock levers include an anti-rotation system, ensuring the legs won’t twist and swivel, and making sure you can adjust height quickly. Head mount threads are available in 1⁄4″-20 and 3⁄8″-16 sizes. Max load ranges from 39.6 to 55 pounds, depending on the model. List Price: $65-$173. Contact: Benro, www.benrousa.com.
The new TCL-X100 is a tele-conversion lens specifically for Fujifilm X100/X100S cameras. Increasing versatility, the lens mounts directly to the camera, multiplying the 23mm focal length by 1.4x to 33mm (or a 50mm equivalent) and offering a 5.5-inch macro shooting distance. The HT-EBC coating reduces ghosting and flare while maintaining the original X100/X100S lens characteristics. It’s compatible with the hybrid viewfinder. List Price: $349. Contact: Fujifilm, www.fujifilmusa.com.
Whether you’re using a DSLR for video shooting or prefer the LCD screen for still shots, the Zacuto Z-Finder is a must-have tool for your camera bag. By cutting out any extraneous light, it makes it possible to use the LCD screen for accurate manual focus. It also encourages you to hold the camera in toward your body for increased stabilization, reducing camera shake. All models provide magnification, anti-fog covers, extender frames, lens cap and lanyard hooks. Z-Finder Pro models also include diopters. List Price: $165-$395. Contact: Zacuto, www.zacuto.com.
For photographers constantly on the move, it has become important to have the ability to infuse mobile editing into your workflow. Adobe has released Lightroom mobile for the iPad, providing tagging and editing functionality that mirrors desktop editing behavior, allowing it to integrate seamlessly with desktop Lightroom 5 through cloud functionality. As you work, your mobile edit automatically updates to your desktop. Local download is available for offline editing, or view and share images directly through Lightroom.Adobe.com when you sign in with your Adobe Creative Cloud ID. List Price: Free (with Creative Cloud subscription). Contact: Adobe, www.adobe.com.
The well-styled Deluxe Moon Pro app provides rich information about the moon for night photography lovers. Available in 20 languages, the app offers a moon calendar with moonrise and moonset times for your specific location, timers, display for distance from the earth and elevation. The Phase Scan lets you know when the next phase will start and which areas will be illuminated. The app also includes both solar and lunar eclipse times. List Price: $2.99. Contact: Lifeware Solutions, www.deluxemoon.com.
So far, over one million travelers have shared 500,000 points of interest from 50,000 cities around the world, including restaurants, hotels and museum routes, using the photo- and video-sharing app Minube. Search the database for specific criteria—subject, color, distance, amount of time—and keep track of your desired experiences by creating a list. Then, share your new discoveries with the rest of the Minube community. List Price: Free (with in-app purchases dependent on location). Contact: Minube, www.minube.net.
Postagram makes it easy to send friends and family personalized postcards using your own photos while you travel. Select photos from your phone photo album, Instagram feed, Facebook or Dropbox and add a personalized note. Postagram creates a physical postcard on thick, glossy paper at 300 dpi resolution that’s delivered directly to your loved one’s mailbox. The image appears at 3×3 inches and can be punched out of the card to be saved individually. List Price: Free (app); $0.99/card U.S. postage; $1.99/card outside U.S. postage. Contact: Sincerely, www.sincerely.com.