In Focus: July 2015

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Ricoh Imaging has introduced the Pentax K-3 II camera. The K-3 II shares the K-3’s dustproof and weather-resistant magnesium-alloy casing and metal chassis, as well as the 24.35-effective-megapixel resolution, 27-point AF system and 8.3 fps shooting speed. The K-3 II incorporates new GPS technology with a GPS receiver and an electric compass logging image location, camera orientation, altitude, time and date. Images then can be transferred to a map like Google Earth. Pixel Shift Resolution utilizes the improved 4.5 EV-stop Shake Reduction system to move the CMOS sensor in single-pixel increments over four frames, then combines the frames into a single high-definition image. Adding the in-body Shake Reduction system to the GPS technology, plus magnetic and acceleration sensors, the Astrotracer feature calculates the motion of stars and planets, allowing you to capture the stars as points of light instead of light trails during long exposures. The K-3 II also includes a new high-speed AF algorithm, gyro-sensor panning detection and automatic horizon correction. List Price: $1,099. Contact: Ricoh Imaging,

Epson has delivered a 17-inch borderless professional printer with a compact design for desktop use. The SureColor P800 uses Epson MicroPiezo AMC printhead technology and UltraChrome HD eight-color pigment ink for improved black density and print preservation for both color and black-and-white images. The SureColor P800 has a sheet feeder for photo and matte papers, as well as a front-in and front-out paper path for fine-art papers and posterboards. An optional 17-inch-wide Roll Paper Adapter is available for canvas or panorama prints. The printer supports connections for USB 2.0, Ethernet, wireless, WiFi Direct, Apple Air Print and Google Cloud Print. List Price: $1,295 (SureColor P800); $199 (optional Roll Paper Adapter); $59 (UltraChrome HD 80 ml ink cartridge). Contact: Epson,

Finding wide-angle- and tele-portrait-length lenses to be the most popular focal lengths so far for the Sony a7 camera family, Zeiss has now developed two full-frame autofocus lenses for the E-mount. The Batis 2/25 and Batis 1.8/85 support manual focus with a rubberized focus ring, while also offering fast, reliable and quiet autofocus utilizing an AF drive with linear motors. Zeiss has emphasized a modern lens body design with smooth surfaces and has now included an OLED display showing the focal plane distance and depth of field. The Batis 2/25 has 10 lens elements in 8 groups, similar to the Zeiss Distagon optical design. Aspherical elements ensure sharpness to the frame edges. The Batis 1.8/85 has 11 lens elements in 8 groups similar to the Zeiss Sonnar optical design and includes optical image stabilization for a sharp image in difficult light situations. List Price: $1,299 (Batis 2/25); $1,199 (Batis 1.8/85). Contact: Zeiss,

Argraph has developed the Sirui R-X Series Photo/Video tripod for multimedia shooters looking to reduce their gear load. Each of the four tripods in the series comes with a 75mm bowl to replace the flat platform for desired video use and is compatible with the Sirui VH-10 and VH-15 video heads, as well as the Sirui K-40x professional ballhead and PH-20 gimbal head. The tripod itself has a reengineered spider using anodized, forged aircraft-grade components, increasing stability and load capacity, and includes a bubble level for horizontal alignment. Ten layers of carbon fiber have been used on the legs, increasing strength and vibration reduction while maintaining a lightweight, 6.2-pound total weight for the tallest 78.7-inch tripod. The Pull-Out Leg Angle Locking System allows for positioning at three different angles. Rubber feet can be replaced by stainless-steel spikes. List Price: $870-$1,171. Contact: Argraph,

Digital Director by Manfrotto is an Apple Certified interface for managing photo and video workflow by turning the iPad Air’s high-definition Retina display into an external monitor and controller. This allows exposure, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, focus, white balance and image quality to be viewed and controlled via the app’s Live View Mode. Digital Director shows a Dynamic Live Histogram and utilizes an interactive focus point, as well as displays Audio Levels for video use. It also provides the ability to download images directly to the iPad for quality check and instant photo editing. Downloaded images then can be shared via FTP, email or social-media networks. List Price: $500. Contact: Manfrotto,

Flashpoint has released a series of four travel-friendly on-camera LED lights. The 300 LED utilizes 300-diode LEDs for a superbright output. Automatic light levels deliver balanced light while moving between natural sources. It includes on-board stereo condenser microphones located on the top of the lights to isolate the mics from camera operation sound. The 198 LED Bi-Color provides a dial for adjusting color temperature from 3200K to 5600K. It’s flicker-free, with no color shift when dimmed. Outdoors it’s useful for brightening dark shadows. The 198 LED VariAngle offers the ability to focus light from 25º to 60º and comes with two interchangeable color panels to control light from 3200K to 5600K. The smallest of the on-camera lights is the Reporter Super Compact 150 LED. It’s about the size of a cell phone, with 900 lux output and a 60º light spread. List Price: $79 each (300 LED and 198 LED Bi-Color); $89 (198 LED VariAngle); $49 (Reporter Super Compact 150 LED). Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama),

For big jobs in the field, LaCie has doubled the capacity of the bus-powered Rugged Thunderbolt SSD. The 1 TB SSD delivers a transfer speed of 387 MB/s, allowing the drive to transfer 100 GB within five minutes. The drive has superior protection from drops of more than two meters, as well as dust, water, vibration and shock. A Thunderbolt cord is integrated into the drive so it doesn’t get lost. The drive also offers a USB 3.0 interface. List Price: $949. Contact: LaCie,

Spider Holster has developed the universal SpiderPro Hand Strap. Slipping between the bottom of the camera body and a tripod plate, the strap can be used with any camera without the need of proprietary connectors. The strap utilizes an “S” shape that moves over and away from the knuckles and closer to the wrist, allowing the hand to be at a comfortable 45° shooting position while still providing clear access to the camera’s battery door and memory card slot. The thin, yet durable materials form to the shape of each photographer’s hand for added comfort. List Price: $65. Contact: Spider Holster,

Transcend has developed a UHS-I Speed Class 3 microSD card in 32 GB and 64 GB capacities. Manufactured with top-tier MLC NAND flash chips, the cards provide added durability and are waterproof, staticproof, X-ray-proof, shockproof and temperature-proof from -25° C to 85° C. The cards have a read speed of up to 95 MB/s and write speed of up to 85 MB/s, supporting 3D, 4K Ultra HD and full HD video. Built-in Error Correcting Code protects against transfer errors. The cards come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. List Price: $29 (32 GB); $59 (64 GB). Contact: Transcend,

MindShift Gear has developed 13 action camera cases and case bundles to protect and organize GoPro cameras, attachments and accessories. All cases are made from fabric exteriors that have been treated with DWR coating and interiors treated with PU coating for water-resistance. Each case uses durable YKK zippers, 100D shadow rip-stop nylon, 200D polyester, nylon webbing, nylon cord and three-ply bonded nylon thread. Lightweight and flexible designs ensure the cases will fit easily in backpacks or pockets. The smallest case weighs less than one ounce and provides notched clear windows on interior pockets to view and access two to four microSD adapters or 20 microSD cards and two GoPro HERO3+/HERO4 batteries. The largest bundle provides multiple cases with pockets and clear windows to organize one to four GoPro HERO3+/HERO4 cameras in housings, one to two dual battery chargers, auto charger, wall charger and remote (with elastic ties for cable organization), assorted large mounts, four to eight microSD adapters or 40 microSD cards and four GoPro HERO3+/HERO4 batteries. List Price: Varies. Contact: MindShift Gear,

Photographers who work in the field will appreciate SKB‘s iSeries Waterproof Laptop Case with Sun Screen (3i-18135SNSC). The case stores up to a 17-inch laptop in its base with an accessory compartment underneath the laptop for storing a power supply and hard drives. The case lid contains a sun screen with a collapsible frame for secure storage. The bottom of the case has a 3⁄8-inch female thread reinforced by a heavy-duty metal plate to attach the case to a sturdy light stand or tripod. The entire case uses a complete gasket seal for waterproofing and is resistant to corrosion and impact damage. Estimated Street Price: $229. Contact: SKB,

The Side Holster, which has been an integral component of Cotton Carrier‘s Camera Vest and Carry-Lite systems, is now available individually. The Holster is paired with a sliding shoulder strap with a built-in safety tether for securely carrying a DSLR hands-free, eliminating neck strain. The Side Holster can be added to the Cotton Carrier lens bag and belt system to comfortably carry two cameras at once or to the Camera Vest system to carry three cameras at once. List Price: $49 (including the Side Holster, Sliding Tether and Camera Hub). Contact: Cotton Carrier,