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In Focus: October 2014
CANON EF 16-35mm F/4L IS USM
Canon recently announced the EF 16-35mm ƒ/4L IS USM wide-angle zoom for use with full-frame EOS cameras. Seemingly designed for landscape photographers, it’s particularly useful for low-light situations, with an Optical Image Stabilizer with shake correction up to four shutter speeds and an intelligent CPU, which can discern between panning and unwanted handheld movement. With a 9-blade circular aperture, it includes three GMo (Glass-Moulded) aspheric lens elements, correcting for aberrations, and two UD lens elements, reducing chromatic aberrations edge to edge. An enhanced fluorine coating on both front and rear repel dust, ensure color balance and minimize ghosting. Full-time manual-focus adjustment is an AF mode. List Price: $1,199. Contact: Canon, www.usa.canon.com.
SYSTEMATIC TRAVEL PACK
Manfrotto has added a Travel Backpack (MB MA-BP-TRV) to the Advanced Bags line. Divided into two sections, the durable nylon upper section provides ample room for personal belongings. The High Density Nylon Fabric bottom half gives you side access to a DSLR with lens attached, two additional lenses, flash and accessories. The Camera Protection System uses specifically structured 3D foam-encased dividers to reduce shock, provide protection and increase support in the center of the bag. A separate pocket holds a 13-inch laptop. The Travel Backpack also features an extendable side pocket for the Befree tripod or other compact tripod. List Price: $165. Contact: Manfrotto, www.manfrotto.us.
SONY AS20 ACTION CAM
Sony has added another POV camera to its action cam line. The AS20 Action Cam excels at low-light photo and HD video performance with the use of a back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor. The Zeiss Tessar lens gives a 170° ultrawide-angle view. The new SteadyShot electronic image stabilization reduces shaky POV shots. Built-in WiFi enables connectivity to a wearable waterproof RM-LVR1 Live View remote and compatible smartphones and tablets. Estimated Street Price: $200. Contact: Sony, store.sony.com.
Hoya EVO Antistatic professional filters feature a new antistatic coating that “acts like a force field around the filter to repel dust.” The high-performance optical glass is made in Japan using hand-selected silicates, and each filter features a 16-layer Super Multi-Coating that greatly reduces reflections, transmitting 99.8% of the light. The filters thus have virtually no effect on color balance, contrast or clarity of the final image, and thanks to the low-profile, one-piece aluminum frame, don’t vignette when used on ultrawide-angle lenses. Hoya EVO Antistatic Protective, UV and Circular Polarizer filters are available in sizes from 37mm through 82mm. Estimated Street Price: $45-$110 (UV and Protective filters); $85-$180 (Circular Polarizer). Contact: Kenko Tokina USA, www.kenkotokinausa.com.
TAMRON 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD
Tamron has upgraded the 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 full-frame lens, creating a smaller, quicker all-in-one zoom. The new PZD (Piezo Drive) AF system is both quick and quiet, while also more compact than the previous system. Combined with the specialized glass elements, this has allowed for space savings, making the lens smaller than its predecessor. VC (Vibration Compensation) also has been added for sharp handheld images. A BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) coating reduces flare and ghosting. Moisture-resistant construction has been added, and the upgraded lens body has a linear pattern rubber grip and tungsten silver brand ring to match the look of your DSLR. Estimated Street Price: $849. Contact: Tamron, www.tamron-usa.com.
Photographers eager for adventure need gear that can match their fortitude. Designed specifically for use in harsh environments, the Ocean Traveler Series 1 tripod kit GK1582OT by Gitzo utilizes aluminum parts with a corrosion-resistant finish. With a specialized Ocean G-Lock system, leg collars provide an air cushion to expel water trapped inside the legs while preventing sand, dust and mud from getting trapped inside. The center column can be removed or inverted, allowing you to set your camera at a 9.06-inch minimum height regardless of the terrain. The legs flip 180° for a compact 17.13-inch travel size. List Price: $1,956. Contact: Gitzo, www.gitzo.us.
Peak Design is ready to start shipping the much anticipated Slide Sling Strap and Clutch Hand Strap that took Kickstarter by storm earlier this year. Made from seatbelt-style webbing with padding, the Slide smoothly adjusts from shoulder to neck strap, matching your body shape and shooting style as it changes with your subject. The Clutch is made from premium hardware inspired by climbing gear. It quickly adjusts to your hand and loosens for full-camera access while maintaining a low profile. Both the Slide and the Clutch connect to your DSLR using the Anchor Link system. Each Vectran-corded Anchor is strong enough to withstand 200 pounds of force, yet engineered for ease of use to be removed with a single hand. The Anchor disks are also compatible with any standard 12mm wide camera strap. List Price: $60 (Slide Sling Strap); $40 (Clutch Hand Strap); $20 (Anchor Link). Contact: Peak Design, www.peakdesignltd.com.
ULTRA-WIDE ANGLE ZOOM
Ricoh Imaging has added the HD Pentax DA645 28-45mm ƒ/4.5ED AW SR to their medium-format DSLR lens lineup. The ultrawide-angle zoom has a 22-35.5mm equivalent to 35mm format. Utilizing two high-performance aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion elements, the lens has 17 optical elements in 12 groups. A multilayer HD lens coating and Aero Bright Coating optimize light transmission and minimize reflection. A newly designed Shake Reduction (SR) mechanism has been included, which compensates for up to 3.5 stops of camera shake. The lens holds up to rugged outdoor use with 11 seals, preventing dust and water from entering the lens body. List Price: $4,999. Contact: Ricoh Imaging, www.us.ricoh-imaging.com.
MindShift Gear‘s Filter Nest is a round, padded, zippered pouch for filter accessibility in the field, with a removable insert for compact packing. The Nest is belt-mountable (compatible with the rotation180° Panorama and rotation180° Professional backpacks) and also adaptable for tripod attachment using the grab handle with SR buckle. Color-coding easily organizes eight round filters up to 82mm, including two variable ND filters. The Nest includes a front pocket perfect for a lens cloth. List Price: $44. Contact: MindShift Gear, www.mindshiftgear.com.
Weighing less than three pounds, the Drobo Mini is an ultraportable all-flash RAID system using four 2.5-inch SSD drives. Quick speed is facilitated by the Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports. Highly versatile, the Mini is also compatible with HDDs up to 2 TB. In the event of a drive failure, Drobo’s BeyondRAID technology will repair the drive automatically and return it to a protected state without affecting performance. The Mini also contains a backup battery. If there’s a sudden power loss, the battery will power the drive to ensure data currently transferring will be safely written to the disk. Available in 1 TB, 2 TB and 4 TB kits. List Price: $1,199 (1 TB kit). Contact: Drobo, www.drobostore.com.
SIGMA 60mm F/2.8 DN A
Sigma has designed a 60mm ƒ/2.8 DN A Art lens for mirrorless, interchangeable-lens systems. The lens features SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass to minimize axial and transverse chromatic aberration. It also uses a newly designed linear AF motor, which moves parts directly without additional mechanical gears. This reduces the size and weight of the lens, while also making the AF system quiet and suitable for shooting video, as well as still photos. The lens uses a rounded 7-blade diaphragm and is available in black and silver. List Price: $209. Contact: Sigma, www.sigmaphoto.com.
Lexar has expanded its Professional Workflow line with the four-bay, dual-port Thunderbolt 2 reader hub (HR2), which provides four times the speed of the USB 3.0 reader hub (HR1). The HR2 is fully backward-compatible with the first generation of Thunderbolt and USB 2.0. For added flexibility, in addition to working with the previous SDHC/SDXC, CompactFlash and XQD readers, Lexar has designed a CFast 2.0 Thunderbolt 2 reader that can be used individually or with the hub. Lexar has also introduced 256 GB and 512 GB storage drives that work with the hub for simultaneously downloading assets to the drive and your computer. The hub and readers/drives are sold separately for complete system personalization. List Price: $199 (HR2 hub); $99 (CFast 2.0 reader); $139 (256 GB drive); $199 (512 GB drive). Contact: Lexar, www.lexar.com/workflow.
LUMINOSITY SPLIT PACK
Case Logic‘s Luminosity Medium DSLR Split Pack is a customizable camera backpack that can hold a DSLR body plus up to four lenses or flash and accessories. The split opening provides easy access to what you need as you work. Thickly padded air-mesh shoulder straps combine with a patented snug-fit waist band and adjustable sternum strap to provide comfort, while a patent-pending tripod attachment allows access to pack contents without removing the tripod. There’s a zippered lid compartment for personal items and a spacious front organizer for non-camera-related items, plus pockets for memory cards and more. External dimensions are 11×10.2×16.5 inches; weight is 4.4 pounds. List Price: $109. Contact: Case Logic, www.caselogic.com.
Transcend has released the ESD400, an SSD with capacities up to 1 TB. Using a USB 3.0 connection (backward-compatible with USB 2.0), the drive has a 410 MB/s read speed and 380 MB/s write speed. Utilizing solid-state technology, the drive is compact—about the size of a deck of playing cards—and a lightweight 56g. It’s also five times more shock- and vibration-resistant than a typical hard disk drive. The ESD400 comes with a three-year limited warranty. List Price: $109 (128 GB); $189 (256 GB); $349 (512 GB); $699 (1 TB). Contact: Transcend, www.transcend-info.com.
When shooting and processing on location, glare on your computer screen can impede your workflow. The HoodMac/HoodPC by Hoodman is a convenient sunshade that lays flat in a travel sleeve, then springs into a stiff box shape to protect your computer screen, when needed. The snaps at the corners customize the Hood to fit screen sizes from 13 to 17 inches. List Price: $39. Contact: Hoodman, www.hoodmanusa.com.
The 3POD H5 ballhead uses a CNC-forged aluminum construction to increase durability while decreasing weight and bulk for reliability coupled with portability. The H5 fastens to a tripod body or center column, or can be used alone as a tabletop mount. The 33mm ball has 360° panning capability and precise adjustment knobs for making measurements up to the millimeter. With a hydraulic damping system, the H5 supports up to 55 pounds of gear. The ballhead uses a rapid-locking, quick-release plate system and a ¼-inch mounting screw. List Price: $149. Contact: Adorama, www.adorama.com.
APPS FOR NATURE PHOTOGRAPHERS
Bring your previsualized images to life with the PhotoPills app. Utilizing tools such as 3D Augmented Reality, sun and moon calendars, and star trail simulators, the app provides valued scouting information with calculated times and angles to capture your composition. It also offers technical shooting information for time-lapse intervals, depth-of-field calculations and exposures for different types of light. Save each of your plans with images and send to your friends. List Price: $9.99. Contact: PhotoPills, S.L., www.photopills.com
Create slow-motion or high-speed video sequences on your smartphone or tablet with the Frame Rate Pro app by MEA Mobile. Choose a 4 fps to 120 fps input frame rate and 4 fps to 56 fps output frame rate. The app also provides adjustable video quality and easy export features for quick video sharing. List Price: $0.99. Contact: MEA Mobile, www.meamobile.com.
The Pro Camera 7 app offers high-quality professional shooting and editing control for mobile photography. With separate focus and exposure touch-screen tools, the app also offers an AntiShake tool, RapidFire Burst mode, 6x zoom, JPEG or TIFF format, 120 fps video capture (for iPhone 5s) and a QR Code Scanner, among other tools and settings. Editing features include basic brightening, saturation, contrast, cropping and a list of filters. The app also provides single-tap social-media sharing. List Price: $3.99. Contact: Cocologics, www.procamera-app.com.
The FolioBook app has created a professional way to promote your work while remaining mobile. After choosing a theme for your display, easily add folders of images, drag and drop into your preferred order, apply custom transitions and choose music, if desired. The app gives you the options of including videos (with a plug-in) among your still images, as well as hyperlinks to a website. The portfolio then can be locked so no alterations are made when viewing. Viewers can look through images at their own pace, pinch to zoom in and touch the screen to reveal caption information. Also quickly create email promos or instant web galleries of 20 images shareable via email, Twitter or Facebook. List Price: $12.99. Contact: Rocket Garden Labs Ltd., www.rocketgardenlabs.com.