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In Focus: October 2012
Canon enters the mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera category with the EOS M. The camera shares many of the same features found in the EOS Rebel T4i, such as an 18-megapixel APS-C hybrid CMOS sensor, which includes contrast and phase-detection autofocus. Like the T4i, this camera offers Movie Servo AF mode, which allows for continuous focus tracking of moving subjects, manual exposure control and the use of multiple resolution and frame rates. For still capture, the sensor delivers a shallow depth of field and solid low-light image quality. Touching the three-inch LCD lets you zoom or change images, access menus and settings, and control focus and the shutter release. New M-series mount lenses are designed for pairing with this camera, but any of the EF and EF-S lenses can be used with the optional Mount Adapter EF-EOS M, as well. With Canon’s Stepping Motor Technology, the EF-M 22mm ƒ/2 STM kit lens and the optional EF-M 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens deliver smooth and silent autofocus, ensuring that you only capture the sound of the scene you’re recording. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
Having an all-in-one zoom like the Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM on hand can be helpful when you’re out on a hike or on a trip and the goal is to keep your pack light. To make this lens smaller and lighter, Sigma used a material called Thermally Stable Composite, or TSC. Often compared to polycarbonate, it has a high degree of elasticity, and expansion and contraction of the internal barrel is less prevalent in extreme temperatures. The material also reduces the size and weight. So while Sigma’s nonmacro 18-250mm is about 22 ounces, this version of the lens weighs about six ounces less. Besides having your macro-to-telephoto needs covered, the lens includes Optical Stabilization technology for capturing sharp, steady shots. Estimated Street Price: $750. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.
Among the key features in HDR Efex Pro 2 from Nik Software is a new tone-mapping engine that improves color rendering and delivers more natural-looking high-dynamic-range images. The program benefits greatly from Nik’s U Point technology, which allows you to fine-tune color and contrast locally for a refined HDR effect. You can review your adjustments and experiment with different looks using the History Browser, which records every enhancement you make in an editing session. There are also new tools for adding depth and realism, reducing color fringes around objects and controlling white balance. An algorithm for ghost reduction was updated, as well, so artifacts created by moving objects can be removed with a single click. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: Nik Software, www.niksoftware.com.
The AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm ƒ/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens from Nikon has all the qualities a nature photographer could ask for—it’s sharp, has Vibration Reduction technology for producing blur-free images and sports a compact, lightweight body. Along with the VR image-stabilization system, which allows you to shoot handheld at shutter speeds up to four times slower than would be possible otherwise, the lens features an Auto Tripod detection mode. With this technology, the lens automatically reduces vibration caused by shutter release when the camera is mounted on a tripod, even during HD video recording. Adding to its versatility is the popular focal length range, which has you covered from wide-angle to medium telephoto. Estimated Street Price: $599. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.
Keep up with wildlife and other fast-moving subjects with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5. With the upgraded Light Speed autofocus system, the camera locks onto subjects faster than its predecessor, the G3. You can control focus through the three-inch touch-screen LCD by using your finger to move the AF area across the frame while framing shots through the large, bright viewfinder. The LCD screen’s 920,000-dot resolution is double that of its predecessor’s, and it rotates 180º to the side, tilts 270º up and down, and provides 100% field of view. High-speed-burst shooting is possible at six frames per second in full 16-megapixel resolution. The newly developed Live MOS sensor delivers improved high-ISO performance, which now goes up to 12,800. When shooting full HD video, the camera records in MP4 format, as well as AVCHD. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.
Steady your camera using the Davis & Sanford Magnum XG13 tripod and FX13 head. The combination is ideal for DSLR video shooting, as well as still capture of fast-moving wildlife and other scenes with a lot of action. The head is made from an aluminum alloy and can support loads of up to 13 pounds. There are three spirit levels, and the pan-and-tilt handle is designed for comfort. The three-way head has 360º pan and 90º downward and 60º upward tilt, plus landscape and portrait tilt modes. The tripod’s legs range from a maximum working height of 72 inches to as low as 8 inches. Estimated Street Price: $189. Contact: Tiffen, (631) 273-2500, www.tiffen.com.
Work with images in a more natural way using the latest Cintiq pen tablets from Wacom. By combining the precision of the pen with multitouch interaction and gesture support, you can pan, zoom or rotate images with one hand while using the other to sketch or paint. The Cintiq 24HD touch displays more than one billion colors and covers 97% of the Adobe color gamut. You can adjust the counterweighted stand to a position that you’re comfortable working in, with the display capable of reaching over the edge of the desk so that it rests in your lap, if desired. If you prefer just the pen, and no touch-screen functionality, the Cintiq 22HD is a solid option with eight ExpressKeys located on either side of the display. Estimated Street Price: $3,699 (24HD touch); $1,999 (22HD). Contact: Wacom, www.wacom.com.
Not every trip calls for taking a weighty DSLR. Sometimes an advanced compact camera can serve your photographic needs while saving space in your suitcase or backpack. The Samsung EX2F has a fast 24mm ƒ/1.4 wide-angle lens, which improves upon the ƒ/1.8 lens used by its predecessor, the TL500. The wide aperture is helpful, particularly if you do a lot of still and video shooting in low light. Along with the lens, the 12.4-megapixel EX2F offers a backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, full manual controls, 1080p video shooting at 30 fps, RAW support, an ISO range of 80-3200 (6400-12,800 extended), a three-inch swivel AMOLED display and integrated Wi-Fi functionality for sharing images remotely. Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Samsung, (800) SAMSUNG, www.samsung.com.
Sony adds the SAL55300 telephoto lens to its A-mount lineup. It’s designed for Alpha A-mount cameras that use Sony’s Translucent Mirror Technology and allows you to capture stills and full HD videos of wildlife and other distant, faraway subjects with razor-sharp focus. Features include the quiet Smooth Autofocus Motor system and an advanced optical design. The lens incorporates an ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) glass element, which is commonly found in the higher-end Sony G lens models, for reducing color aberrations, improving image quality and providing solid contrast and sharpness. Estimated Street Price: $300. Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669, www.sonystyle.com.
There’s a new size to choose from for fans of Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl 260. The popular paper is now available in 11×14-inch sheets. That size is considered a standard for portfolios and framing because it matches original large-format cameras, and as a result, became one of the default image-presentation formats. With a metallic, pearl-like coating, this paper adds shimmer to your black-and-whites. Highlights are bright, while blacks are deep and dark. The microporous glossy surface dries instantly, and the paper is designed for printing with Photo Black inks. This size comes in 25-sheet boxes. Also available are 50-sheet boxes of 5×7-, 8½x11- and 13×19-inch sizes, as well as 17-, 24- and 44-inch rolls. Estimated Street Price: Varies by size. Contact: Moab, (800) 727-3716, moabpaper.com.
The Phottix Odin TTL flash-triggering system is now available for Nikon shooters (the Canon-compatible version came out last year). You can wirelessly trigger TTL flashes, retaining full TTL functions, as well as remotely control power and flash zoom settings. It offers four operating channels and can wirelessly trigger and adjust up to three groups of remote Nikon flashes. You can manually adjust the flash head zoom from 20mm to 200mm and you can alter it as you adjust the lens. Other features include remote power control of groups in TTL with +/- EV adjustments (three stops in 1⁄3-stop increments, 18 different levels) and remote manual mode flash power control with 1⁄3-stop adjustments. Estimated Street Price: $350 (transmitter and receiver); $140 (receiver). Contact: OmegaBrandess, (410) 374-3250, www.omegabrandess.com.
A good landscape photograph often contains dramatic lighting. When natural light isn’t working, having some portable lighting tools on hand can be crucial. The Rogue Master Lighting Kit from ExpoImaging includes small and large versions of the Rogue FlashBender reflectors, which change shape to allow a single reflector to control bounce flash or create a snoot. The Rogue Large Diffusion Panel converts those reflectors into small softboxes. Another modifier in the kit, the 3-in-1 Honeycomb Grid, consists of stacking honeycomb grids to create 16°, 25° and 45° spot-lighting control. There are two colored-gel kits. Rogue Gels are made from high-quality Lee Filters and have the gel name and ƒ-stop loss printed onto each one. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: ExpoImaging, (800) 446-5086, www.expoimaging.com.
If storing files using a cloud-based system isn’t for you, GoodSync 9 connects and synchronizes computers directly without requiring online storage. After installing the software and setting up log-in information, you can connect multiple computers and devices through your GoodSync Connect account. With new block-level synchronization capability, this latest version offers improved transfer speed over its predecessor by synchronizing only the changed portion of individual files rather than the entire file. Estimated Street Price: $29 (Windows); $39 (Mac). Contact: GoodSync, (703) 218-1851, www.goodsync.com.
With a precision-machined, black-anodized aluminum frame, the Flashpoint Hollywood HD-DSLR Camera Cage allows you to add video lights, microphones, an on-camera monitor and other accessories for enhancing the video-making experience. The cage has openings that provide access to camera controls, the LCD screen and other parts of the camera. A hand grip on top makes it comfortable to hold when shooting from low angles or transporting to another location. An included bracket attaches to the base for holding the two 15mm rods, which allow you to mount a matte box or follow-focus system. Estimated Street Price: $149. Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama), (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.