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In Focus: May 2009
Every year, the photo industry assembles for the annual PMA Trade Show. This past March, the Las Vegas Convention Center was buzzing with manufacturers, distributors and photographers, all assembled to see the latest innovations and equipment to help photographers take better pictures and do more with them. There was a lot to see and learn about, and this special edition of In Focus offers a sampling of some of the impressive products from the show.
At just 16.7 ounces, the Olympus EVOLT E-620 is easy to take on your next trip. The 12.3-megapixel D-SLR incorporates many of the technologies used in the company’s more advanced cameras like a 2.7-inch LCD that swivels 270 degrees, multiple-exposure shooting, and in-body image stabilization. The E-620 also features the art filters introduced in the E-30. The filters give you more in-camera artistic control by allowing you to enhance colors, change lighting and more. With Autofocus Live View, you can preview these effects along with other settings like white balance and exposure. List Price: $699 (body only). Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, www.olympusamerica.com.
Go from wide-angle to tele to close-up using the Pentax X70, which packs a 24x optical zoom lens that’s equivalent to 26-624mm in 35mm format. The 12-megapixel camera incorporates three shake-reduction technologies, including a sensor shift mechanism, digital shake reduction via high ISO, and a function for capturing blur-free HD video. Other features include high-speed continuous shooting at 11 fps, a 2.7-inch LCD, and a Super Macro mode for getting as close as 1 cm from the lens. List Price: TBA. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.
The sensor technology developed for Fujifilm’s FinePix F200EXR is the first of its kind in the company’s F-series compact cameras. Using the EXR mode, you can adapt the sensor to the subject you’re shooting. There are three modes: high resolution (Fine Capture), high sensitivity and low noise (Pixel Fusion), and wide dynamic range (Dual Capture). So if you’re dealing with a lot of light and shadows, switch to Dual Capture to better handle those extremes. In low light, use Pixel Fusion to take the picture without a flash. The camera also features a 5x optical zoom lens equivalent to 28-140mm and a three-inch LCD. List Price: $399. Contact: Fujifilm, (800) 800-FUJI, www.fujifilmusa.com.
By reducing the size of the image sensor and circuitry, Casio introduces a couple of very small cameras that deliver high-speed 30-shot-per-second burst rates, and movies at a maximum of 1,000 fps. The card-sized Exilim EX-FS10 is just 3.8×2.3×0.64 inches and offers 9.1-megapixel resolution. While the palm-sized Exilim EX-FC100 measures just 3.9×2.3×0.9 inches and features a 9.1-megapixel CMOS sensor. List Price: $349 (EX-FS10); $399 (EX-FC100). Contact: Casio, (800) 435-7732, www.casio.com.
Building on its Micro Four Thirds camera lineup, Panasonic debuts the Lumix DMC-GH1. Similar to its predecessor, the Lumix DMC-G1, the camera can record high-definition video and features a lens designed to support that capability with a silent motor and continuous autofocus. The Micro Four Thirds system replaces the bulky mirror-and-prism mechanism that makes up an SLR’s viewfinder with an electronic one, allowing for even smaller and lighter designs. The “Live View Finder” allows you to preview exposure, aperture, shutter speed and other settings before taking the photo. List Price: TBA. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.
Capturing up to 224-degree panorama shots in a single motion, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 offers a new way of taking those ultrawide landscape photos. You simply press the shutter and pan the camera. The HX1 continuously shoots full-resolution images and stitches them together to create a single photograph. The 9.1-megapixel camera has a CMOS sensor adapted from Sony’s Alpha DSLR lineup and a Sony G lens that’s equivalent to 28-560mm ƒ/2.8-5.2 in 35mm format. Estimated Street Price: $500. Contact: Sony, (877) 865-SONY, www.sonystyle.com.
This Article Features Photo Zoom
Keep better track of birds and other wildlife on your next trip outside using the latest Coleman binoculars, which now use Olympus’ high-quality optics. The 10×50 standard model features high magnification with an expansive field of view. The 8×21 compact binoculars offer 8x magnification and are so small they easily fit in a jacket pocket, making it easy to roam around. The 8×25 binoculars are waterproof, dirt-proof and fog-proof. List Price: $69 (10×50); $39 (8×21); $129 (8×25). Contact: Coleman, (800) 835-3278, www.coleman.com.
Hike comfortably in Hi-Tec’s V-Lite Hornet HPi. Weighing just 16.4 ounces, the shoes are built on Hi-Tec’s signature V-Lite platform, a design concept that focuses on lightweight comfort and performance. This system combined with the exclusive Vibram trail-running outsole gives you the grip and traction needed for any adventure. With toe and heel abrasion for added protection, your feet will stay comfortable all day. Estimated Street Price: $115. Contact: Hi-Tec, (800) 521-1698, www.hi-tecstore.com
Marmot’s Mica Jacket is 100 percent seam taped, waterproof and highly breathable. With Marmot’s proprietary 2.5 layer MemBrain Strata fabric technology, the jacket is designed using micro nonorganic particles on the inside of the lamination to increase durability and breathability. Additional features include an attached adjustable hood and a water-resistant front zipper, and it packs neatly into its own pocket. List Price: $130. Contact: Marmot, (888) 357-3262, marmot.com.
Go camping this summer with the ultralight MSR Skinny Too Tent. The roomy two-person tent has a simple, single-wall design for quick setup and stays ventilated thanks to overhead mesh vents and a foot-level mesh window. With a 25-square-foot floor area, there’s ample room inside plus a large vestibule for storing gear. Also available is a one-person version that’s ideal for extended solo trips. List Price: $199 to $249. Contact: MSR, (800) 531-9531, www.msrgear.com.
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Giving you the classic view of a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, Nikon’s AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm ƒ/1.8G is the fastest DX-format (APS-C) lens as of its debut. This focal length offers a fast maximum aperture for low-light shooting and an angle of view that’s similar to that of the human eye. The compact lens, which is actually closer to 52mm, has a built-in Silent Wave Motor that provides quick and quiet autofocusing down to less than a foot. List Price: $199. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-UX, www.nikonusa.com.
Canon’s TS-E 24mm ƒ3.5L II and TS-E 17mm ƒ/4L lenses are the widest of the lineup. Featuring the new TS Revolving System, the lenses can tilt and shift in parallel movements or at right angles to one another. Once the system has been set, the entire lens can be rotated through a range of +/-90 degrees. With their movements and image circles of 67.2mm (normal image circle for 35mm cameras is 43.2mm), the lenses provide the SLR user with the kind of versatility found in a view camera. List Price: $2,199 (24mm); $2,499 (17mm). Contact: Canon USA, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
If you’re a Lensbaby fan, you now can convert the selective-focus special-effects lenses from a 50mm to a 21mm focal length using the 0.42x Super Wide Angle lens. It attaches to the front of any Lensbaby via a 37mm screw thread and is compatible with the Optic Swap System as well as older models. If you’re not familiar, these lenses allow you to control depth of field by surrounding a sweet spot of sharp focus by graduated blur. The 0.42x also has macro capability, allowing you to focus as close as 2.75 inches away from the lens. List Price: $79. Contact: Lensbaby, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbaby.com.
The Sigma 10-20mm ƒ/3.5 EX DC HSM maintains a maximum aperture of ƒ/3.5 throughout its entire zoom range. This is Sigma’s widest zoom with a Hyper-Sonic Motor Drive, which allows for quiet, high-speed autofocus as well as full-time manual focusing capability. Other key specs include a 9.4-inch minimum focusing distance, a 1:6.6 maximum magnification ratio and a 102.4-degree angle of view. Mounts include Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax. List Price: TBA. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.at has an Arca-style system. The handle is cushioned for added comfort. List Price: $149. Contact: Kirk Enterprises, (800) 626-5074, www.kirkphoto.com.
Tokina’s AT-X 124 PRO DX II 12-24mm ƒ/4 AF is the 35mm equivalent of an 18-36mm lens. For Nikon users, the second generation of this lens features a built-in autofocus motor drive designed to work with the D40, D60 and other bodies. The Canon version already had a built-in AF motor. A new multicoating helps reduce reflections that can cause flare and ghosting. The one-touch focus clutch mechanism allows for quickly switching between auto and manual mode. List Price: TBA. Contact: THK Photo Products, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.
Take steady handheld shots in ultratelephoto range using the Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II VC LD Aspherical (IF) Macro lens. With Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism, the lens compensates for handheld shake over an extremely wide focal-length range. In 35mm format, the lens covers a 28-419mm range. It’s also capable of close focusing down to 19.3 inches from the subject over the entire zoom range with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.5 at 270mm. Estimated Street Price: $629. Contact: Tamron, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron.com.
Designed for home network use, Western Digital My Book World Edition hard drives provide automatic and continuous backup for multiple computers. The 1- and 2-terabyte units automatically back up any changes to the files on the computers and are easy to set up. Features include simple recovery for damaged or lost files, centralized storage and sharing of digital content, a capacity gauge and more. List Price: $229 (1 TB); $499 (2 TB). Contact: Western Digital, (877) 934-6972, www.westerndigital.com.
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Based on how or what you’re shooting, you can adjust the way Lowepro’s Toploader Pro AW backpack is worn to fit your changing needs. Wear it three ways: holster-style with a shoulder strap, with a belt system, or with the Topload Chest Harness for hands-free use (sold separately). The shape of the bag is designed to follow the lines of a pro D-SLR for a secure fit. The Toploader’s easy-grip access means the camera sits sideways, making it easier for you to grab and shoot quickly. The bag is offered in three sizes and comes with an All Weather AW Cover. List Price: TBA. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.
Similarly, M-Rock’s Adventure Series Arches Sling Bag also can be worn as a backpack or messenger bag if desired. Multiple dividers can be configured for either horizontal or vertical loads with the bag capable of holding a pro D-SLR with up to a six-inch lens attached as well as four more six-inch lenses. The interior divider separating the lower camera compartment from the top accessory compartment can be removed for storing longer lenses. It includes a weather jacket, lens changing bag, lens cloth and more. List Price: $130. Contact: M-Rock, (800) 773-7067, www.m-rock.com.
Quickly customize white balance and capture more precise color when shooting in RAW by using Datacolor’s SpyderCube. The calibration device is spectrally neutral so it responds accurately to all lighting conditions and allows you to correct highlight and shadow details in RAW images. The white side of the device helps define highlights in relation to the catchlight, the gray side measures color temperature and midtone response, and the black side defines shadows. SpyderCube also can be used to improve JPEG images. List Price: $59. Contact: Datacolor, (800) 554-8688, www.datacolor.com.
Tenba spared no detail in designing its new handcrafted Black Label Camera Bag Collection. Made from a combination of ballistic nylon and open-cell foam, the leather bags are constructed to withstand abrasions, water, stains and tears. Movable, padded dividers inside the bags allow for a customized fit. The collection is launching with two pro-sized camera bags for multiple bodies and lenses, and three slim, lightweight satchels for single camera setups with room for a spare lens and flash. List Price: $114 to $179. Contact: Tenba, (914) 347-3300, www.tenba.com.
Enhance the sunlight in your landscape shots using Digital Anarchy’s Knoll Light Factory 3.0, a plug-in that creates lens flare effects. Improvements to the user interface help speed up your workflow with previews of light presets and access to editing functions in one window. The main preview window supports real-time manipulation, as well as the ability to resize and zoom in or out. With 16-bit color support, light effects render out to higher bit depths, which reduces banding and outputs better-looking glows and gradients. The software now is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and the 64-bit version of Windows Vista. List Price: $149. Contact: Digital Anarchy, (415) 586-8434, www.digitalanarchy.com.
Make sure that the rich details you captured on camera don’t get lost in the final print using Epson’s Signature Worthy Hot Press and Cold Press papers. Optimized for use with Epson inks, including the latest UltraChrome HDR ink technology, the paper produces rich blacks, smooth tonal transitions and an expanded color gamut. The Hot Press paper offers a smooth surface, while the Cold Press delivers a textured one. List Price: TBA. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com.
The LightRight Professional Reflector System allows you to reflect light from a light source to your subject from any angle, as if you had multiple lights. It consists of 11 folding cardboard reflecting panels with silver and white surfaces that can be resized and reshaped to aim output more precisely. You can customize the intensity and shape of the reflected light to match the surface that you’re illuminating. A sliding magnet system allows you to precisely adjust the panel’s angle of reflection. Estimated Street Price: $70. Contact: LightRight, www.lightrightreflector.com.
Take better low-angle shots with the Pro Optic Right Angle Finder II. Compatible with most film and digital SLR cameras, the unit also makes viewing a lot easier when doing macro work. Features include diopter correction with a range of +/-4, 1x and 2.5x dual magnification settings, and full 360-degree viewfinder rotation. List Price: $69. Contact: Adorama, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.
Macro Photography for Gardeners and Nature Lovers: The Essential Guide to Digital Techniques by Alan L. Detrick (Timber Press, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-088192-890-7). Learn the basics of close-up photography with helpful tips, definitions, exercises and case studies covering the features of current D-SLRs, how to compose and more.
Timberline: Landscapes from the Colorado High Country by David Smith (Krinder Mountain Photography, Inc.; 2008; ISBN: 978-0-09800411-0-1). Smith has been photographing Colorado’s mountains for 15 years. Filling the pages of this large-format hardcover are more than 50 images of that beautiful landscape.
Basic Photographic Materials and Processes by Nanette Salvaggio (Focal Press, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-240-80984-7). This is the third edition with new topics that cover digital processes such as sensor technology, tone reproduction, digital sensitometer and color management. The guide is a thorough resource on the science of photography.
Wonders of the Indian Wilderness by Erach Bharucha (Abbeville Press, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-7892-0999-3). Filled with gorgeous photography, the first half of this 800-plus-page volume is devoted to exploring and defining India’s ecosystems, while the second half offers brief descriptions and photos of wildlife sanctuaries and refuges.