In Focus: October 2011

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If you’re stepping up your travel photography from the point-and-shoot level to DSLR quality, the Canon EOS Rebel T3 is an intuitive camera that doesn’t sacrifice image quality for ease of use. Features include a 12.2-megapixel CMOS sensor with a DIGIC 4 image processor, HD video with in-camera movie-editing options, 3 fps continuous shooting and a 2.7-inch LCD with Live View. The in-camera Feature Guide gives descriptions or advice on various functions. The guide is displayed in each shooting mode, during Mode Dial operations and for Quick Control screen functions. The camera is available in three new color variations: red, brown and metallic gray. Estimated Street Price: $599. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON,


The AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm ƒ/2.8G lens from Nikon can focus as close as 6.4 inches, has a rounded seven-blade diaphragm and incorporates both manual-priority autofocus and manual focus for quickly and easily switching focus modes. The lens has the same effective angle of view as a 60mm lens on a full-frame camera and is capable of a 1:1 reproduction ratio. The lens also features Nikon’s Close-Range Correction System in which lens elements are configured in a “floating” design that causes each lens group to move independently, achieving critical focus at close distances. Estimated Street Price: $279. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US,

The latest generation of the Olympus PEN cameras are smaller and feature high-speed autofocus systems that improve on previous versions. The E-P3, the lineup’s flagship model, has a 3-inch OLED touch screen, an enhanced 12-megapixel Live MOS sensor and a new TruePic VI imaging engine. The autofocus system supports 35 individual focus points spread over nearly the entire sensor. In addition to touch-screen capability, the camera has traditional settings buttons and full manual controls. The E-PL3 features the same 12-megapixel sensor, fast AF system and image processor, as well as a tilting 3-inch LCD screen. This camera doesn’t have an integrated flash like the E-P3. The E-PM1 is a stripped-down version with the same features but no physical buttons, making it smaller. A back-mounted scroll wheel handles most of the camera’s controls. Estimated Street Price: $899 (E-P3); $699 (E-PL3); TBA (E-PM1). Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448,

Add some sparkle to your black-and-whites by printing them on Slickrock Metallic Pearl 260 from Moab. With a metallic, pearl-like coating, images can look more lifelike with almost a 3D quality. In black-and-white prints, highlights are brighter and blacks are deeper and darker. The microporous 260gsm paper has a glossy surface with instant dry time. The paper is named for the smooth, slick sandstone surface of the famous bike trail that winds through the desert plains of Moab. The paper is designed for printing with Photo Black inks. It’s available in 50-sheet boxes with sizes of 5×7, 81⁄2×11 and 13×19 inches, A2 and A4, and 17-, 24- and 44-inch rolls. Estimated Street Price: Varies by size. Contact: Moab, (800) 727-3716,

Back up your files using the WD My Book Studio drive for Mac, which comes with up to 3 TB of capacity. The newly designed drive features WD Caviar Green drives with WD GreenPower technology that eliminates the need for an internal fan. Without a fan, noise is reduced and the drive lasts longer. The brushed aluminum casing, which gives the drive its sleek look, also draws away heat so it stays cool. Additional features include FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0 interfaces, user-controlled automatic backup software and drive management, password protection and hardware encryption. The drive can be reformatted for use with Windows PCs. Estimated Street Price: $249 (3 TB). Contact: Western Digital, (949) 672-7000,

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in focus 2009
The MINOX BN 7×50 DC Nautic binoculars feature a fully integrated digital compass, an altimeter, a thermometer, and a clock and stopwatch. In addition to those extras, the binoculars use a multicoated lens system with 7-power magnification and a 50mm objective lens. A high twilight factor of 19 delivers sharp image visibility, even in dim light conditions. Twist-up eyecups, individual eyepiece adjustment, a robust rubber armored housing and nitrogen filling round out the top features. The binoculars are waterproof to 16 feet. Estimated Street Price: $699. Contact: MINOX, (866) 469-3080,

A button lock on the Buck Knives Revel blade makes it easy to open with just one hand. The knife locks open solidly for safe use and locks closed for safe carry. It weighs just 2.4 ounces with a 2 1⁄2-inch drop-point blade made of stainless steel for corrosion resistance. When closed, the knife measures 3 3⁄4 inches long and has a removable and reversible deep pocket clip for easy carry. The handle is made of textured glass-reinforced nylon with rubber for a sure grip. Estimated Street Price: $30. Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825,

For longer adventures, load up the High Peak Trango 65 backpack. Features include adjustable torso length, a divider between the main and sleeping bag compartments, a hydration sleeve and water bottle holsters. The pack is made of durable 420D Mini Rip Stop PU and 330D Double Rip Stop PU. It includes front-panel gear access, two side straps for maximum load compression, a rain cover and detachable hip belt. The bottom compartment also features an inner zippered pocket for additional storage. Estimated Street Price: $140. Contact: High Peak, (425) 251-5106,

With an innovative design, the Brooks-Range Alpini 15° sleeping bag keeps you comfortable and warm, while weighing just 23 ounces. Offset baffles provide maximum insulation with 850-fill goose down sandwiched between lightweight Pertex Quantum fabric. The Alpini 15° features a new “halo” draft tube and neck collar for additional warmth in colder temperatures, as well as a full-length side zipper that lets you easily get in and out. Estimated Street Price: $369. Contact: Brooks-Range, (510) 797-7980,

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Give your landscape photographs the look of a painting or sketch with Snap Art 3 from Alien Skin Software. You can replicate hundreds of styles, from oil paint and watercolor to pencil sketch and newly added crayon. The program produces individual brushstrokes to make the final composition look more authentic. In this latest version, more refined stroke placement creates cleaner edges and more natural stroke patterns. You can customize the brush size, paint thickness and other qualities to create your signature look. Estimated Street Price: $199 (new); $99 (upgrade). Contact: Alien Skin Software, (888) 921-SKIN,

Setting a new standard for small, the retro-looking Pentax Q is an interchangeable-lens camera that measures just 2.3×3.9×1.2 inches and weighs only 7.1 ounces (without a lens). To achieve such a diminutive physical size, Pentax incorporated a backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor that measures just 1/2.3 inches, a fraction of the size of Four Thirds and APS-C sensors. This, in turn, allows for a smaller lens mount and more compact lenses. The 12.4-megapixel camera also features full 1080p HD video at 30 fps, in-camera HDR, a built-in pop-up flash and a scratch-resistant magnesium-alloy body. The Q-mount lens system includes prime, zoom, fish-eye and toy lenses. The camera ships with the prime lens. Estimated Street Price: $800. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155,

Show your camera some support with the Cotton Carrier Steady Shot, a mounting plate with multiple holes for adding a quick-release plate or fluid head to comfortably pan and tilt your camera. Made from anodized, machined 6061 aluminum with all stainless-steel fittings, the Steady Shot can handle the weight of an HD video DSLR, plus an attached lens. If you own a Cotton Carrier Camera Vest, the Steady Shot slides into the vest’s Lexan receptacle, allowing you to support the camera whether you’re using a big lens to photograph wildlife or capture video. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Cotton Carrier, (877) 852-9423,

Make sure the colorful, dramatic skies you saw through the lens maintain their color on screen and in the final print with ColorMunki Display from X-Rite. The calibration system features an easy mode with a selection of one-click presets and an advanced mode with a wizard-based interface for more control. A built-in ambient light smart control measures, compensates and monitors ongoing ambient lighting conditions. The wizard helps correct white point, white luminance, contrast ratio, tone response and even flare, which is new in this generation of device. The all-in-one colorimeter combines ambient light measurement, display profiling and projector profiling. Estimated Street Price: $189. Contact: X-Rite, (800) 248-9748,

With By Pixel Super Resolution technology, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX55’s zoom range extends from 5x to 10x with full 16.2-megapixel resolution. In 35mm format, the camera’s zoom ranges from 26mm to 130mm. At 10x, the optical zoom reaches to 260mm. The TX55 records 1080i AVCHD video at 60 fps in video mode and delivers a 10 fps burst mode for stills. With dual record functionality, the camera can take 12-megapixel stills while recording full HD video. A 3.3-inch diagonal OLED touch screen handles most of the in-camera controls. Estimated Street Price: $350. Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669,

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Designed to look like a traditional doctor’s bag, the Dr. DSLR Camera Bag from Petrol Bags has two brackets on the bottom for hooking it into a wheel and trolley system when rolling is more convenient than carrying. Made of black 900D and ballistic nylon fabrics, the bag’s interior is shaped to fit a video DSLR with lens attached. A hinged, extra-wide opening provides fast, easy access. Removable dividers secure contents and create pockets for storing a mattebox, camera plate, follow focus, camera light, viewfinder, cables and spare lenses. Padded red fabric cushions your gear, and internal LED lighting illuminates the interior, making equipment easier to identify and organize. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Petrol Bags, (845) 268-0100,

Fix up your photos with Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Editor, the Mac App Store version of the popular imaging program. The app includes many of the same photo tools as the fuller version such as Content Aware Fill, Group Shot, Panorama and Style Match Photomerge. There are more than 50 tools for select cropping, painting, typing, retouching and adjusting along with hundreds of filters for unlimited options. Elements offers guided edit modes that walk you through how to use effects and clean up photos. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687,

Illuminate a dark foreground with the Nissin Di866 Mark II flash, which has been upgraded with a metal foot that replaces the previous model’s plastic foot for increased durability. The redesigned zoom head is quieter, and the range of the wireless sensor is improved. It also delivers a stronger sub-flash power ratio range for more control. The Di866 is compatible with Canon E-TTL and E-TTL II systems, and Nikon i-TTL, and can be used with Canon and Nikon flash units, either as a master or slave. TTL (through-the-lens) metering allows your camera to control flash output and automatically balances exposures. Estimated Street Price: $349. Contact: Nissin,

The sleek, compact Leica V-Lux 30 is a 15.1-megapixel (14.1-megapixel effective) camera that offers a focal length range equivalent of 24-384mm in 35mm format. Top features include a 3-inch LCD touch-screen display, integrated GPS functionality and video recording in 1080i AVCHD. For capturing fast action, the camera delivers 10 fps consecutive-burst shooting at full resolution or 60 fps at a reduced resolution. The V-Lux 30 comes with Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 and Premiere Elements 9. Estimated Street Price: $749. Contact: Leica, (800) 222-0118,

Use this Flashpoint bracket (FASRSHO) to mount a softbox to a shoe-mount flash. The unit allows you to mount your flash horizontally on top of a light stand and attach a Bowens mount light modifier. With a Bowens speed ring, any softbox can be attached. The unit is adjustable so it fits most shoe-mount flashes. Estimated Street Price: $24. Contact: Flashpoint, (800) 223-2500,


The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott: Unseen Images From the Legendary Antarctic Expedition by David M. Wilson (Little, Brown, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-316-17850-1). For the first time, Scott’s final photographs are collected in this special volume. Polar panoramas, geographical and geological formations, and action photographs of the explorers and their animals are shown in this iconic series of images.

Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo and Robert Llewellyn (Timber Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-1-60469-219-8). Each image in the book is comprised of more than 50 exposures taken at different focal points from a suspended, motorized camera. The exposures are then stitched together through microscopic software. The resulting images are full of detail.

Hidden Napa Valley by Wes Walker (Welcome Books, 2010; ISBN: 978-1-59962-080-0). A thorough portrait of California’s beloved wine country is captured in the pages of this book. From its stunning landscape to its culture and food, these images show the valley throughout the seasons. The photographs are accompanied by quotations from great writers and personalities, including Ernest Hemingway and Galileo.

Stay Cool: A Polar Bear’s Guide to Life by Jonathan Chester and Patrick Regan (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-7407-9137-6). Chester, an award-winning polar photographer, and Regan explore life lessons according to the polar bear. This heartwarming book illustrates that these wild creatures have something useful to teach us all.

Predators of North America by Dave Taylor (Boston Mills Press, 2009; ISBN: 978-1-55046-520-4). The renowned wildlife photographer showcases 300 images of North American predators in their natural habitats. Taylor offers interesting notes on each animal, including behavior, the role it plays in its ecosystem and how to observe.