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Explore the many opportunities for dramatic landscape photography on the sunrise side of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
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In Focus: May 2014
The Nikon D4S has been designed to meet the needs of the modern-day multimedia photographer. With a 16.2-megapixel, FX-format CMOS sensor and EXPEED 4 processor, the camera excels at shooting in low light with an ISO range of 100-25,600, expandable to a full 409,600. For capturing quick-moving wildlife, shoot 11 fps at up to 200 shots at full resolution. The D4S has increased video quality with 1080p60 capabilities, as well as a 2.7x crop mode to extend the reach of the lens. With the possibility of shooting in a small RAW size, there’s flexibility in storing more files while still maintaining full control in postprocessing. The 1000 Base-T wired LAN provides 10x faster transfer speeds. List Price: $6,499. Contact: Nikon, www.nikonusa.com.
For photographers who want more flexibility with less gear, Tamron has announced the “All-In-One” 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD macro lens, providing an 18.8x zoom ratio for DSLRs with an APS-C-sized sensor. Tamron has adopted a new design approach to make the lens particularly compact, using UXR glass, a 5-lens-group zoom design and precise mechanical engineering. The lens includes macro capabilities across the entire zoom range with a 15.3-inch focus distance and 1:2.9 magnification ratio. The Piezo Drive (PZD) ensures quick and quiet AF capabilities, and the Vibration Compensation (VC) enables handheld shooting at long focal lengths. List Price: TBA. Contact: Tamron, www.tamron-usa.com.
Ricoh Imaging has designed the lightweight HD PENTAX DA AF 1.4x AW Rear Converter for Pentax K-mount lenses. With a low profile of 20mm in length, the converter increases the focal length of a lens by 40% and has been designed specifically to maintain the AF systems inherent in the camera body and the lens. Its four elements in three groups feature HD coating for optimizing light transmission while reducing internal reflections, flare and ghosting. Three airtight seals work with weather-resistant DSLR/lens systems to create a versatile kit ready for any weather. List Price: $599. Contact: Ricoh Imaging, www.us.ricoh-imaging.com.
The still camera and video camera continue to intertwine as Panasonic releases the LUMIX GH4, a DSLM (digital single-lens mirrorless) camera system that shoots both stills and 4K video. The 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine image processor combine with an integrated noise-reduction system for detailed low-light shooting at ISO 25,600 and a quick 12 fps burst rate. Depth from Defocus technology increases the speed of the contrast AF system. The GH4 also shoots high-quality 4K and HD video without a recording time limit in MOV, MP4 and AVCHD at various frame rates. Video can be recorded to an external recorder in real time via HDMI. The DMW-YAGH Interface attachment unit provides four SDI outputs, two XLR inputs with LED-monitored audio levels, time code and an external power terminal. The GH4 also provides a 2,359K-dot OLED live viewfinder and 1,036K-dot rear monitor. The entire magnesium-alloy body is splash- and dustproof. List Price: TBA. Contact: Panasonic, www.shop.panasonic.com.
Cotton Carrier has created the Binocular Bracket to relieve shoulder and neck strain caused by binoculars swinging while you’re hiking. One side of the L-shaped Binocular Bracket attaches directly to the binoculars, allowing them to slide and lock into the hub with a 90° rotation. When used with the StrapShot holster, the Bracket can be attached to backpack straps or pant belts. The Bracket is also compatible with the Cotton Carrier Camera Vest and Carry-Lite. List Price: $39 (Binocular Bracket); $79 (with StrapShot). Contact: Cotton Carrier, www.cottoncarrier.com.
The Canon EOS Rebel T5 is loaded with an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 image processor to provide sharp images at an ISO range of 100-6400 (extended to 12,800). The 9-point AF system includes AI servo AF and 3 fps continuous shooting mode. The Rebel T5 also provides high-quality 1080p full HD video with various frame rates and recordinga sizes, as well as in-camera editing capabilities. List Price: $549 (with EF-S 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS II). Contact: Canon, www.usa.canon.com.
MindShift Gear has created the Filter Hive for photographers who utilize a variety of filters in the field. The water-resistant Filter Hive contains an accordion-style insert with color-coded, padded, felt-lined slots for storing glass and resin filters. The Hive can carry up to six flat 4×6-inch filters and six round filters up to 82mm in diameter, including 1.5cm thick Variable ND filters. The Hive has a belt mount for attaching to the rotation180° Panorama and rotation180° Professional backpacks, as well as a grab handle with SR buckle for hanging from a tripod. List Price: $54. Contact: MindShift Gear, www.mindshiftgear.com.
The M.Zuiko ED 14-42mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 EZ by Olympus is a slim travel companion. Designed for PEN and OM-D camera bodies, it’s less than one inch thick while providing a 24-48mm equivalent focal range. An Electronic Retraction system automatically extends and retracts the lens when the camera is powered on and off. The MSC (Movie and Still Compatible) focus system maintains a nearly silent focus mechanism. The Electronic Zoom gives you smooth and even control, which is particularly useful for video shooting. List Price: $349. Contact: Olympus, www.getolympus.com
The a6000 by Sony is a 24.3-megapixel, interchangeable-lens camera with a BIONZ X processor, designed for speed and detail accuracy. With 179 focal points of phase detection AF, as well as contrast AF, the Hybrid AF system delivers continuous shooting at 11 fps. The OLED Tru-Finder provides a live preview of your shot. For instant sharing and camera control from your smartphone or tablet, the a6000 has built-in WiFi/Xperia/NFC connectability. The camera is compatible with the growing line of E-mount lenses. List Price: $650. Contact: Sony, www.store.sony.com.
Sigma has announced the dp Quattro, a trio of compact cameras with sleek, minimalist bodies using weight distribution for a comfortable-in-hand feel. Each camera has a different fixed focal length—the dp1 Quattro, a 19mm wide-angle, the dp2 Quattro, a 30mm standard, and the dp3 Quattro, a 55mm telephoto (28mm, 45mm and 75mm equivalents, respectively). Most notably, the redesigned Foveon APS-C 30-megapixel Quattro sensor in each camera provides 30% higher resolution than its predecessor utilizing the quick TRUE III image processor. The dp2 Quattro will be the first camera in the series to be released; pricing and availability have yet to be announced. Contact: Sigma, www.sigmaphoto.com.
If you have your eye on the new Fujifilm X-T1, you’ll also want to pay attention to the SanDisk Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II card. The X-T1 is the first digital camera to integrate UHS-II technology, and the card increases the data-writing speed twofold from a conventional card while in continuous mode. The Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II has a write speed of 250 MB/s and a transfer speed of 180 MB/s. Additionally, it’s UHS speed Class 3 (U3)-enabled, making it ready to handle 4K and 3D video recording at 30 MB/s. List Price: $119-$299 (16 GB-64 GB). Contact: SanDisk, www.sandisk.com.
The ClearWhite white-balance system is designed to simplify your workflow and help achieve clean and accurate colors in all lighting situations. The system includes a durable neutral-gray card and white-balance filter on a neck strap with a soft fabric bag. The durable gray card has a texture-free surface to provide a spot for checking your sensor. It’s available in a 4×4-inch size for lenses up to a 95mm diameter or a 5×5-inch size for lenses larger than 95mm in diameter. List Price: $59 (4×4); $89 (5×5). Contact: ClearWhite White Balance System, www.digitalphotographykits.com.
For full flash power packed in a small and simple design, Nissin has introduced the new i40. The travel-sized strobe measures 3.5 inches high and weighs less than 8 ounces. With only two selector dials, one for function and one for power, it’s easy to use at any skill level. Functions include wireless TTL and two optical slave modes, as well as a video light mode with nine steps of adjustment and high-speed sync up to 1⁄8000 sec. The i40 has a 180° horizontal rotation and 90° tilt, and is powered by four AA batteries. Estimated Street Price: $269. Contact: Nissin, www.nissindigital.com.
The new Slinger BigBag Video Backpack provides a spacious 20x13x9-inch space with nine full-length and inner-adjustable dividers for carrying your camera, lenses and accessories on the trail. A contoured padded lining provides protection for your equipment, as well as added comfort for your back and shoulders. The pack includes a built-in tripod-holding system and a rain cover. List Price: $129. Contact: Adorama, www.adorama.com.
Tamrac‘s Mirage 6 uses a Dual Access System for quick access to your gear, either through the front panel like a traditional backpack or through the side door while worn on one shoulder. The Mirage 6 holds a DSLR with a 5.5-inch lens attached, an extra lens or two and a flash. A top compartment holds accessories and extra gear while a padded zippered back pocket protects a tablet. Padded shoulder straps with a quick-release sternum strap and tuck-a-way waist belt provide comfortable carrying support. The Quick Clip Tripod Attachment System secures a tripod to the center of the pack for hands-free transport. The Mirage 6 includes a removable rain cover. Estimated Street Price: $119. Contact: Tamrac, www.tamrac.com.
For photographers interested in comfort and durability, as well as style, HoldFast Gear‘s Ruck Strap is the camera strap you’re looking for. Leather fasteners secure the camera to the 2.3-inch-wide Duck Canvas strap. Two front pockets provide space to store memory cards, credit cards and IDs. A rear elastic band holds an additional battery or a roll of film. The strap is available in a variety of colors, all with leather detail and microfiber suede lining. List Price: $145. Contact: HoldFast Gear, www.holdfastgear.com.
As social media and mobile editing become more integrated into everyday use, image protection and branding are also becoming mobile-friendly. Marksta is an app for your smartphone and tablet that lets you easily watermark your images with your personal logo before uploading to your social-media outlets. You choose where your watermark is positioned, its size, shadow effects and what’s included, such as your website URL and Twitter handle, in addition to the copyright notice. List Price: $1.99 (full version); Free (Marksta Lite). Contact: Marksta, www.marksta.com.
Horizon is a mobile landscape shooter’s best friend. Using the gyroscope in the phone, it ensures that the landscape orientation is directly horizontal to the ground, preventing any crooked horizon lines, and prevents shake for video shooting. The app dictates a landscape orientation, regardless of how the device is being held (no more video accidently shot in portrait orientation). It includes multiple resolutions and aspect ratios, different filters, geotagging, AF/AE lock, and is compatible with front- and back-facing cameras. List Price: $1.99. Contact: Evil Window Dog, www.evilwindowdog.com.
If you’re a weather enthusiast and enjoy putting your meteorological knowledge to good use, you can start your own weather channel to share photos and videos displaying the weather in your area. The free Weathermob app combines real-time data with crowdsourcing to provide comprehensive weather mapping all over the world. Follow others in your area or in locations you’re planning to visit to get an idea about their weather patterns. Contact: Weathermob, www.weathermob.me.