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In Focus: May 2015

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Calling all astrophotography enthusiasts! Nikon has developed the D810A specifically to capture interstellar activity. Using the same basic architecture and 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor and EXPEED 4 processor as the D810, the D810A utilizes an infrared cut filter that optimizes the transmission of the hydrogen alpha spectral line, creating four times the sensitivity of the 656nm wavelength to better capture the red hue and detail of nebulae. A Long Exposure Mode provides the ability to set shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 15 minutes. Virtual Exposure Preview Mode shows an estimated preview image for shutter speeds longer than 30 seconds while in Live View, and the Electronic Front Curtain Shutter Mode minimizes vibration at slow shutter speeds. Nikon’s free Capture NX-D software includes an Astro Noise Reduction option for use with D810A files. However, the D810A is a specialized tool and isn’t recommended for general photography. List Price: $3,799. Contact: Nikon,

The wide-angle Panasonic LUMIX G MACRO 30mm ƒ/2.8 ASPH MEGA O.I.S. lens offers sharp and high-contrast image rendering to macro enthusiasts. The 1x life-size magnification and 4.13-inch focusing distance provide a deep depth of field, while the multicoated lens elements reduce ghosting and flare. Nine lenses in nine groups make up the 240 fps Drive AF and MEGA O.I.S. for accurate focus and stable framing. The durable metal mount ensures reliability for everyday use. List Price: TBA. Contact: Panasonic,

Nissin Digital has developed the new Nissin Air System (NAS), a 2.4 GHz wireless radio transmission system with a 98-foot range for flash communication. Utilizing this technology, the company has released the Nissin Di700A flash with built-in radio receiver and has announced a summer release of the Air 1 Commander and Complete Kit. The Air 1 Commander uses eight radio channels to control flashes in TTL or manual mode. Flashes can be controlled and divided among three groups—A, B and C—with multiple flashes in each group. From the Air 1 Commander, you can control the Di700A zoom head. List Price: $259 (Di700A for Canon, Nikon or Sony); $79 (Air 1 Commander for Canon, Nikon or Sony); $299 (Complete Kit). Contact: Nissin,

G-Technology has announced two new drives to the G-RAID line with up to 16 TB of space. Both the G-RAID with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 and G-RAID with USB 3.0 provide an all-aluminum enclosure for two removable 7200 rpm drives that can be configurable as RAID 0, 1 or JBOD. The housing uses quiet-cooling fan technology. The G-Raid with USB 3.0 offers transfer rates up to 400 MB/s, while the G-RAID with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 offers transfer rates of 440 MB/s for multistream HD, 2K and compressed 4K video workflows. List Price: $599-$1,199 (G-RAID USB 3.0); $799-$1,299 (G-RAID with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0). Contact: G-Technology,

Ricoh Imaging has announced the HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm ƒ/4.5-5.6ED DC AW supertelephoto zoom lens. Designed for use with current Pentax K-mount DSLRs and future Pentax sensor technology, the lens incorporates three extra-low dispersion glass elements and one super-low dispersion glass element to compensate for chromatic aberration. The high-grade HD coating provides extra-sharp high-contrast images with minimal flare and ghosting. The weather-resistant body withstands dust and moisture. List Price: $2,499. Contact: Ricoh Imaging,

After getting input from professional photographers, Lowepro has upgraded their Pro Trekker line, including the 650 AW. The bag is built using 630D high-density nylon Oxford fabric for the body and 1000D Cordura for the base to ensure a lightweight, durable body. The interior utilizes the MaxFit padded adjustable divider system to hold two to three DSLRs, one with up to a 600mm ƒ/4 lens attached, five to seven additional lenses and two flashes. An included 15-inch laptop sleeve loads into the front pocket for convenient travel. A protective top cover offers two zippered pockets and can be removed and utilized as a waist pack once you’ve arrived on location. A tuck-away tripod holder is on the back of the pack, tall mesh pockets are on each side, and a zippered side pocket fits a 70-ounce hydration reservoir. An improved ActivLift suspension harness system utilizes 10 adjustment points to adjust the pack to the length of your torso. Mimicking the natural S-curve of your back, the system moves weight from the waist to the hips and provides improved airflow channels. Throughout the pack, zippers have large rings for operation with gloved hands. List Price: $429. Contact: Lowepro,

Manfrotto has packaged their MVM250A aluminum monopod, MVA50A fluid base and MHXPRO-2W fluid video head into one MVM450A Kit for a versatile and travel-friendly video monopod. The MVM250A monopod is a light 2.5 pounds itself, yet supports up to 17.64 pounds, with a height of 26.38 inches up to 75.2 inches. The MVA50A fluid base converts the still photo monopod into a video monopod. It includes three rugged feet that support equipment on uneven terrain and can be folded up for compact transport. The final component of the kit is the MHXPRO-2W fluid head with a 200PL quick-release plate for switching between photo and video plates. The head offers a fluidity selector to easily switch between quick or slow tilt movements. The MHXPRO-2W weighs 1.54 pounds and supports 8.8 pounds. Each kit component is also available individually. List Price: $249 (Kit); $169 (MVM250A monopod); $109 (MVA50A fluid base). Contact: Manfrotto,

The Solmeta Geotagger Pro was originally designed for Nikon users as a way to geotag images and provide a real-time GPS track log. The system has been upgraded to the Geotagger Pro2 and expanded with the Geotagger Pro2-EOS counterpart for Canon users. The upgrade continues to include the original system’s six-axis electronic compass, which provides accurate headings, regardless of the camera’s tilt angle, and the In Door Lock functions, which tag the last known position when you move indoors or to a GPS-blocked area. The LCD screen has been improved with a higher contrast for increased visibility while in bright sunlight. The Pro2 also has a built-in 2.4 GHz wireless receiver, taking focus and shutter release commands from the shutter remote accessory. It stores 2 GB of internal memory, which records up to 4,900,000 location positions. Flash memory can directly copy a log to a computer via USB connection without the need of additional software. The built-in Li-ion battery is rechargeable and lasts for eight hours on a single charge. The power switches automatically to camera battery usage once the Pro2 battery is low. The Auto function turns the Pro2 on and off with the camera to save the battery. List Price: $199. Contact: Solmeta,

24mm F/1.4 ART LENS
Sigma has introduced the 24mm ƒ/1.4 DG HSM Art lens for full-frame DSLRs (38mm when used with an APS-C sensor). A fast, wide lens that’s versatile among many still photography genres, it’s also useful for video work. The nine-blade aperture provides a round bokeh, and the 15 optical elements in 11 groups include FLD and SLD glass for minimal chromatic aberration, particularly at the edges of the frame. An aspherical element has been placed at the rear of the lens to improve performance with shooting wide open by correcting axial chromatic aberration and sagittal coma flare. Easily switch from autofocus to manual focus by rotating the focus ring, a feature introduced in the 50mm Art lens. The 24mm ƒ/1.4 DG HSM Art lens is compatible with the Sigma USB dock and Mount Conversion service. List Price: $849. Contact: Sigma,

Sony has announced the Distagon T* FE 35mm ƒ/1.4 ZA to their lens lineup. The full-frame E-mount lens is a perfect match for the a7 series, as it’s designed specifically to pull double-duty as a lens for still shooters and filmmakers. The Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF Motor uses piezoelectric elements oscillating at ultrasonic frequencies to drive focus while remaining quiet enough for filmmaking. The aperture ring’s tactile click steps can be turned on for still photo use or turned off for reduced noise during video use. The wide nine-blade aperture provides a round bokeh and is optimal for low light and shallow depth of field. Zeiss brings high quality and resolution throughout the image, and the T* coating nearly eliminates lens flare. The body is water- and dust-resistant. List Price: $1,599. Contact: Sony,

Cotton Carrier has redesigned the original StrapShot camera strap, creating the new StrapShot EV1, which includes a tether and wrist strap to prevent any accidental drops of your compact, mirrorless or DSLR camera. The EV1 attaches to almost any camera bag or belt to provide quick access to your equipment while allowing you to remain hands-free for hiking, climbing or birding. The placement of the EV1 also reduces neck tension that comes with traditional camera straps. The EV1 is made from weatherproof 1680 Denier nylon. List Price: $79. Contact: Cotton Carrier,

The EzCam Post utilizes a universal mount to secure any camera while staying upright by attaching to a pole, seat post or railing. The universal mounting plate has a reversible thread, both ¼”-20 and 3⁄8″-16, for the ability to mount cameras, smartphones and accessories weighing up to 15 pounds. The stainless-steel post telescopes from 27 inches up to 6 feet in height. The Post secures to any stable round object 1.5 inches to 3 inches in diameter with ratchet buckle straps. This makes it ideal to attach to boat seats to shoot water sports, railings for skateboarding or snowboarding stunts, or other areas with tight space issues. Estimated Street Price: $150. Contact: EzCam Post,

SanDisk has just announced the development of the world’s current highest-capacity microSD card. The 200 GB Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card uses a new design and production process to increase storage capacity, storing up to 20 hours of full HD video. At the same time, the card maintains fast transfer speeds of approximately 90 MB/s, which accommodates a transfer of 1,200 photos per minute. The card has a 10-year limited warranty. List Price: $399. Contact: SanDisk,

Online print service WhiteWall has combined true-color high-quality printing with long-lasting durability with the new HD Metal Print option. Using a thermal sublimation process, the full color spectrum and maximum resolution of each print are transferred and sealed into the metallic surface. At 1mm thick and featherlight, the aluminum is UV-, scratch- and moisture-resistant, making it a great print option for outdoor spaces, bathrooms or kitchens. Prints may be smooth or brushed, and have a white or transparent primer. Sizes range from 3.5×3.5 inches to 59×39 inches, with a variety of frame options. List Price: Varies. Contact: WhiteWall,