In Focus: June 2010

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MICRO FOUR THIRDS

If you’re looking to lighten up your camera bag when hitting the trail, Panasonic has expanded its compact interchangeable-lens camera lineup with the 12.1-megapixel LUMIX DMC-G2 and DMC-G10. What’s most striking about the G2, other than its size, is the 3-inch touch-screen LCD, which allows you to adjust autofocus, change menu settings and even take a picture by simply touching the screen. But if you don’t want touch-screen navigation, the camera includes all the usual manual controls. The G2 shoots 720p high-definition video and has a dedicated movie record button for quickly switching to video. The G10, which is designed for those stepping up from a point-and-shoot, weighs less than 12 ounces (body only), includes Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode for easy shooting and records 720p HD video. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 405-0652, www.panasonic.com/lumix.
LONG LENS

For wildlife photographers, there’s a lot to like about Canon’s improved EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS II USM lens, which features better speed, performance and optical quality than its predecessor. A redesign of the internal elements to include a fluorite and fifth UD element helps minimize chromatic aberration, enhancing image quality with improved contrast and resolution through the entire zoom range. Thanks to a new focusing algorithm, autofocusing is faster and the minimum focusing distance has been reduced to 3.9 feet from 4.6 feet. You can stand nearly eight inches closer to the subject and achieve sharp focus and tight crops. Other improvements include enhanced image stabilization, a wider focusing ring and a sleeker design. Estimated Street Price: $2,499. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
INTERACTIVE PEN TABLET
The Wacom Cintiq 21UX’s Grip Pen has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity for greater accuracy. The pressure-sensitive eraser has two side switches that can be customized for commands such as double-click and right-click. Other workflow-oriented improvements include rear-mounted Touch Strips that are placed at your fingertips for better access while working. Each Touch Strip has a thumb-controlled toggle button that controls up to four functions per application such as zoom, scroll, brush size and canvas rotation. Estimated Street Price: $1,999. Contact: Wacom, (800) 922-6613, www.wacom.com.
BACK IN ACTION

They just couldn’t say goodbye. A group of Polaroid engineers and enthusiasts based in the Netherlands has reinvented instant film, giving new life to some old Polaroid cameras. The company, called The Impossible Project, will offer Polaroid PX 100 and PX 600 Silver Shade for SX-70 cameras made in the 1970s, as well as more recent cameras that take 600-series film. Each film pack produces eight black-and-white images, with color film to be introduced later this year. Polaroid stopped making instant film in 2008. Estimated Street Price: $21. Contact: The Impossible Project, www.the-impossible-project.com.
FREE PLUG-INS

Check out slimmed-down versions of onOne Software’s PhotoTools 2.5 and PhotoFrame 4.5 for free. PhotoTools 2.5 offers 15 effects, ranging from traditional darkroom classics like Bleach Bypass and Cross Process to reproducing Kodachrome and Velvia film stocks to skin smoothing and other more contemporary techniques. PhotoFrame 4.5 delivers 20 professional-looking edges, backgrounds, textures and more, with the ability to stack multiple effects and control opacity, size and color. Both are available for download at www.ononesoftware.com/free. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.

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in focus 2009
SOFT SHELL

Stay dry and warm in the Marmot ROM (Range of Motion). The jacket is constructed with air-permeable Gore Windstopper fabric, making it breathable, windproof, water-resistant and comfortable to wear. The attached hood is adjustable and secured with a Velcro® hood tab. “Angel-wing” movement allows full range of motion in your arms without causing the hem to rise. The Pack Pocket design delivers unobstructed access to pockets when wearing a backpack. Estimated Street Price: $175. Contact: Marmot, (888) 357-3262, www.marmot.com.
BUG OFF
Protect your skin and clothing from mosquito and other insect bites with SkinSmart, a new line of Coleman Repellents from Wisconsin Pharmacal Company. The formula is odorless, safe to use on a variety of clothing, including those with Gore-Tex®, and technical equipment. SkinSmart provides up to eight hours of protection against mosquitoes, deer ticks, biting flies and other insects. Available in a compact Go Ready spray pen, SkinSmart packs easily into a backpack. Estimated Street Price: $9 (3-pack). Contact: Coleman, (800) 558-6614, www.colemanrepellents.com.
STEEL BLADE
The Buck Knives Silver Creek Folding Fillet Knife has a 6½-inch blade that locks open to 13¾ inches and folds down to a compact 7¼ inches for easy carry. It weighs just six ounces, is made of stainless steel and is coated with titanium for added corrosion-resistance. A thumb-notch in the blade makes it easy to open with one hand. Buck’s reliable mid-lock mechanism ensures safe use. The glass-reinforced polypropylene base handle has a textured, soft rubber over-mold that’s ergonomically shaped for comfort with anti-slip ridges for a firm grip. Estimated Street Price: $36. Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825, www.buckknives.com.
OPEN TOES

Free your feet from those boots you wore all winter and still enjoy steady support, wearing the Hi-Tec V-Lite HNL HPi sandals. Features include a full-grain leather upper in an all-terrain sandal style, generously padded leather straps for comfortable all-day wear, full-length hook-and-loop closures and a sticky rubber, traction patterned outsole. The contoured and textured footbed has a leather inlay. Estimated Street Price: $70. Contact: Hi-Tec, (209) 545-1111, www.hi-tec.com.

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VIEW CAMERA

The Arca-Swiss RL3d viewfinder camera shoots high-resolution film and digital images of more than 200 MB in formats up to 4x5. This is the big brother to the Rm3d, and its compact, 3.3-pound body makes it ideal for those who spend a lot of time shooting on location. You can fit the camera with a wide range of film and digital backs, and it has a tilt-shift mechanism of up to 40mm horizontally, 50mm vertically and +/-5 degrees. Lenses are mounted using the Arca-Swiss R bayonet system. It has two built-in tripod mounts for regular or upside-down configuration, but also can be slid onto a monorail to attach a bellows for using longer focal lengths. Estimated Street Price: $6,490. Contact: Arca-Swiss, (773) 248-2513, www.precisioncameraworks.com.
VGR TRIPODS
Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “Vitruvian Man” drawing, the Giottos Vitruvian VGR series of tripods are lightweight and versatile. Designed with “reverse technology,” the legs, when collapsed, fold through 180 degrees to “surround” the tripod center column and head. This allows the unit to fold down to about 16 inches. Aluminum and carbon models are available, weighing in at 3.3 pounds and 2.8 pounds, respectively. Both have a maximum height of nearly 62 inches and a load capacity of nearly nine pounds. Removing and attaching the center column to one of the legs turns it into a full-sized monopod. The main tripod castings are made from a forged aluminum alloy for greater strength and durability but less weight. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
PORTABLE ULTRAZOOMS

Back up your DSLR system with the 14-megapixel Olympus SP-800UZ, which comes with an impressive 30x optical zoom lens, the equivalent of a 28-840mm ƒ/2.8-5.6 in 35mm format. The Dual Image Stabilization system combines sensor-shift stabilization with high ISO sensitivity and fast shutter speeds to compensate for camera shake. By simply hitting a button, the camera records 720p HD video. The three-inch LCD features a wide viewing angle and anti-glare technology, helping you compose and shoot even under bright sunlight. The 12-megapixel SP-600UZ has a 28-420mm ƒ/3.5-5.4 (35mm equivalent) lens, a 2.7-inch LCD and records video. Estimated Street Price: $349 (800UZ); $249 (600UZ). Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, www.getolympus.com.
HEAD SUPPORT
Quickly compose and lock your camera into position with the latest generation of Manfrotto joystick heads. The models were developed with a new type of ball joint to improve lightness, accuracy and locking strength. The 327RC2 weighs 1.4 pounds, has a load capacity of 12 pounds and its ergonomics have been optimized to improve control and precision. The 324RC2 weighs nearly a pound and supports just less than eight pounds. Both feature +/- 90-degree front tilt range and 360-degree panoramic rotation. Estimated Street Price: $211 (327RC2); $142 (324RC2). Contact: Manfrotto, (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us.
BOOK IT

Give your landscape and wildlife shots a sense of permanency by putting them in a book. AsukaBook has two new book lines, Zen Lay-flat and Neo Classic. Zen Lay-flat features a laminate finish to protect the pages that continues seamlessly into the binding of the book. The invisible binding allows for full image display with no gutter loss and is available in hard cover or EX formats, with a choice of laminate matte or glossy page finish. Neo Classic is more traditional, with thicker, board-type pages printed in 6-color. The book is showcased in a customizable slide-in presentation case. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: AsukaBook, (866) 330-1530, www.asukabook.com.

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CARRY ALL
Lugging heavy photo gear around the vast outdoors can turn tiresome quickly. To help ease the load, top wildlife photographer Andy Biggs has developed the Kiboko bag, the first model to debut from his Gura Gear line. Weighing in at four pounds, the durable and water-resistant bag is made from high-tech Dimension Polyant VX-21 material, which is what’s used on America’s Cup racing yachts. Fully customizable with extra dividers and a rain cover, the Kiboko is large enough to hold both 500mm and 600mm lenses. The bag was designed to handle between 25 and 35 pounds of camera equipment. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Gura Gear, (832) 295-0709, www.guragear.com.
COTTON PAPER
Put the same amount of effort into the final print as you did into capturing the image using Moab Somerset Museum Rag. The 300gsm paper is archival and acid-free. It’s mould-made using a traditional cylinder mould machine that creates a durable and consistent surface. The 100-percent cotton paper produces deep blacks and a wide color gamut. It’s available in 25-sheet boxes, including sizes of 8½x11, 11x17, 13x19 and 17x22 inches. Rolls of up to 60 inches wide by 50 feet long also will be offered. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: Moab, (800) 727-3716, www.moabpaper.com.
FULL VIEW

Look at your images in greater detail on the NEC MultiSync PA241W desktop display. The 24-inch screen delivers crisp, accurate images with improved color coverage, a sleeker design and enhanced connectivity. It covers 102 percent and 99.3 percent of the NTSC and AdobeRGB color spaces, respectively, and that’s a 72-percent increase over its predecessor. With a 38-percent smaller footprint size, the display frees up some space on your desktop. Improved cable management enables simpler setup, and a new 10-bit DisplayPort and USB hub increase input connectivity options. Estimated Street Price: $1,079. Contact: NEC Display Solutions, (866) NEC-MORE, www.necdisplay.com.
SECURE TRANSPORT
Make sure your equipment is stored safely whether you’re on the road or at home using the Pelican 0550 Transport Case. Two integrated automatic pressure-equalization valves keep moisture out and prevent vacuum lock, ensuring the case is easier to open at any altitude. Like all of Pelican’s Protector Cases, this model features open cell-core wall, polymer construction to protect sensitive equipment from severe conditions. Optional heavy-duty caster wheels are rated to handle up to 250 pounds. A robust “honeycomb” style, reinforced lid provides extra support for stacking multiple cases. Estimated Street Price: $909 (without foam). Contact: Pelican, (800) 473-5422, www.pelican.com.
SAFE STRAP
The CarrySafe 100 strap from Pacsafe is made of durable nylon, neoprene padding with high-tensile stainless-steel wire built in, making the strap slashproof. With universal webbing connectors, the strap easily attaches to most SLRs, binoculars or their carrying cases. The ends of the strap are triangularly shaped, making it easier to attach them to your camera. A lock/unlock latch on the D-Ring offers even more security. Spring-loaded metal clips allow the strap to be quickly clipped to a camera case without removing the webbing connectors from the camera. Estimated Street Price: $19. Contact: Pacsafe, (800) 873-9415, www.pacsafe.com.

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METALLIC INKJET
Add shine to your crisp, colorful spring and summer scenics with Red River Paper’s Polar Pearl Metallic photo inkjet paper. The paper has a high-gloss look and iridescent finish that closely matches the characteristics of photo lab metallic prints. It’s compatible with any inkjet printer and requires no special equipment, inks or finishing techniques to achieve the metallic effect. The paper is available in 10 sheet sizes, and rolls up to 42 inches wide will be available soon. Color profiles are available online for different printer models. Estimated Street Price: $26 to $149. Contact: Red River Paper, (888) 248-8774, www.redriverpaper.com.
TOUGH DRIVES

Keep your images safely with you, even when facing harsh outdoor elements, using Transcend’s sturdy storage solutions. The StoreJet 18M and 25M portable hard drives feature advanced two-stage, anti-shock technology that incorporates internal suspension and a vibration-absorbing silicone outer shell for protection against vibration and impact damage. The drives are rugged enough to meet U.S. military drop-test standards, so if there’s an accidental slip, no big deal. The 18M delivers a capacity of 120 GB and the 25M of up to 640 GB. The OneTouch auto backup button allows you to instantly store and synchronize data with your computer. Estimated Street Price: Up to $136. Contact: Transcend, www.transcendusa.com.
BELT HOLDER
Move around freely with your DSLR or camcorder in tow using the Adorama B-Grip. The belt-mounted holder keeps the camera connected to your body when you’re on the move and allows you to pull it out quickly for capturing a shot. Any configuration of the camera is possible, and it can support up to 17.5 pounds for accommodating a flash, zoom lens, additional batteries or big video cameras. Estimated Street Price: $49 (special price); $54 (regular price). Contact: Adorama, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.
COMPACT CLASSIC

When you want to travel light and still take high-quality pictures, check out the Minox Digital Classic DCC 5.1, a miniature replica of a classic 35mm rangefinder with a 5-megapixel sensor. While the exterior pays tribute to the past, the inside features high-performance digital technology for capturing tack-sharp images. The camera has a 2-inch display, can be outfitted with a detachable eye-level optical viewfinder and comes with other accessories, including a teleconverter and wide-angle converter for capturing different perspectives. The Minox 5.1 shoots video in AVI format, records to SD memory cards with capacities of up to 16 GB and weighs less than four ounces. Estimated Street Price: $249. Contact: MINOX, (866) 469-3080, www.minox.com.
LENS ADAPTERS

Novoflex has a new series of lens adapters to mount older film and digital lenses onto Micro Four Thirds cameras. Models include the Leica M (MFT/LEM); Leica R (MFT/LER); Nikon G and non-G (MFT/NIK); Contax/Yashica (MFT/CONT); Olympus OM (MFT/OM); Pentax K (MFT/PENT); Minolta MD (MFT/MIN-MD); Sony/Minolta AF (MFT/MIN-AF); Canon FD (MFT/CAN); M42 (MFT/CO) and T2 (MFT/T2) lenses. There are 13 adapters for Samsung’s NX camera series. For Nikon, Pentax and Sony/Minolta lenses, the adapters all have a built-in adjustable ring so you can control the aperture setting. Novoflex also offers a full range of adapters for most 35mm and DSLR cameras, as well as medium-format bodies. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.

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LARGE FORMAT PRINTERS
Make premium-quality prints using one of three new imagePROGRAF printers from Canon. The 44-inch imagePROGRAF iPF8300, 24-inch imagePROGRAF iPF6350 and 24-inch imagePROGRAF iPF6300 use advanced 12-color LUCIA EX pigment inks to deliver a 20-percent increase in color gamut over previous models. The ink produces crisp blacks, smooth gradations and replicates fine details in shadow areas using an innovative polymer structure offering greater scratch resistance and protection from color fading. For expanded options and improved proofing capabilities, the printers are bundled with Photoshop plug-ins and new media configuration tools to ease your workflow. Estimated Street Price: $5,995 (iPF8300); $3,995 (iPF6350); $3,695 (iPF6300). Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.

BOOKS ’N SUCH

Photographing Yosemite Digital Field Guide by Lewis Kemper (Wiley, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-4705-8686-0). This companion guide gives suggested locations for taking photos, recommended equipment, what camera settings to use, best times of day to photograph specific attractions, how to handle weather challenges and more. The book features Yosemite’s main attractions in alphabetical order, as well as thumb tabs on the pages for quick access to relevant information.

Digital Art Revolution: Creating Fine Art With Photoshop by Scott Ligon (Watson-Guptill, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-8230-9536-0). Starting with an overview of the fundamentals and how they apply to digital art, the guide then gives a detailed step-by-step summary of Photoshop basics. Each chapter presents a series of exercises and projects that start at basic photo manipulations and work up to creating cohesive compositions.

Bear Portraits by Jill Greenberg (Little, Brown and Company, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-316-03188-2). Greenberg applies her trademark style shooting celebrity portraits to bears in this unique pictorial. Full-grown brown bears, grizzlies, black bears, polar bears and bear cubs were photographed on location against a portrait backdrop.

Camera RAW 101: Better Photos with Photoshop, Elements and Lightroom by Jon Canfield (Amphoto Books, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-8174-3229-4). Learn how to convert RAW images using both basic and advanced techniques, as well as how to download and organize the images, and put the finishing touches on them after conversion. The book is packed with images, solid instructions and working examples.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 for Photographers by Philip Andrews (Focal Press, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-240-52189-3). This complete overview offers step-by-step instructions covering every aspect of Elements and is accompanied by helpful screenshots and colorful images. From basic techniques such as importing and simple editing to making panoramas and working with raw files, this guide covers every base.

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