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Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon.
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In Focus: September 2013
A compact camera with ultra-low-light capability, the Sony RX100 II with a 28-100mm Exmor R Sonnar T* ƒ/1.8 fixed lens fits in your pocket on days when you want to travel light. The one-inch CMOS reverse structure sensor increases the sensitivity by 40% from the RX100. The 3.0-inch White Magic LCD screen tilts 84º up and 45º down to aid in overhead and waist-level shooting. A 24p video option has been added to the 1080p60 standard included in the original RX100. A shoe-mount expands versatility, allowing the addition of a viewfinder, flash or clip-on LCD monitor. A shutter-release remote control may be added with a Multi Terminal. The RX100 II includes a built-in Wi-Fi connection and Near Field Communication technology for smooth one-touch asset transfer between devices, as well as Smart Remote Control functionality for previewing images and controlling shutter release via your smartphone or tablet. The RX100 II is compatible with Sony’s TRILUMINOS color technology when connected to a BRAVIA TV featuring a TRILUMINOS display. Estimated Street Price: $750. Contact: Sony, www.sony.com.
While Adobe Creative Cloud has been getting a lot of attention, it shouldn’t be overlooked that one of its standalone elements has been upgraded. Adobe Lightroom 5 covers your workflow from photo organization to edit to sharing. New features include an Upright tool to straighten skewed lines, a Radial Gradient for off-center vignettes, an Advanced Healing Brush to remove irregularly shaped objects and Smart Previews, which create stand-in files for on-the-go edits. The software includes location-based organization for grouping your photos by GPS location or creating photo journeys, advanced black-and-white and eight colors when converting to grayscale, and improved book creation with customizable templates. Lightroom 5 works tightly with both Photoshop CC and Premiere Pro CC in Creative Cloud. It can be licensed alone or as part of the Creative Cloud membership. Estimated Street Price: $149 (full license); $79 (upgrade). Contact: Adobe, www.adobe.com.
Photographers looking for a fast prime lens will take note of the Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens. Designed for a full-frame sensor and compatible with an APS-C sensor, the lens features a Hyper Sonic Motor for quick and quiet focusing, as well as a floating internal focusing system, allowing high performance, even at close shooting distances. SLD and FLD glass elements correct axial and chromatic aberrations. The lens is compatible with the Sigma USB dock for firmware updates and adjusting focus parameters. Estimated Street Price: $899. Contact: Sigma, www.sigmaphoto.com.
The new Pentax K-500 offers full features, making it a light DSLR to accompany you on the trail. With a 16-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, the K-500 has a low-light ISO sensitivity of 51,200. The 11-sensor autofocus system and Pentax’s in-body Shake Reduction system aid in precise sharp images. It shoots a quick 5 to 6 fps, ideal for wildlife photographers, as well as full 1080 HD video. While the K-500 may use an optional rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it’s also powered by four AA batteries, giving you flexibility and power options when recharging is impossible. Estimated Street Price: $599 (kit with 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 lens). Contact: Pentax, www.pentaximaging.com.
Capture 360º panoramas with the Novoflex VR-SYSTEM SLANT coupled with your fisheye lens. Easily set the system nodal point, attach the system to a monopod, raise it above your head and take up to four shots to the north, south, east and west. Using your editing software of choice, composite the images together for a full panorama. The system includes calibrated quick-release plates for accurate positioning of your nodal point and a pistol grip. The upper Q mount has a +/-15º tilt ability for composition choice. The upper mount is angled at 60º so when the camera is mounted to the diagonal, the image sensor will be vertical. Estimated Street Price: $429. Contact: Novoflex (HP Marketing Corp.), www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
The Tokina AT-X 12-28mm ƒ/4 lens has several features attractive to outdoor photographers. The superwide-angle zoom allows you to experiment with a new look for landscapes while still keeping a standard-angle lens and constant ƒ/4 aperture. It has been specifically designed for an APS-C sensor and corrects for aberrations and distortions out to the edges for sharp images. A new autofocus control sensor has been placed close to the drive unit to speed up the communication between the controller and the autofocus motor. In addition, a silent drive module maintains quiet autofocus functioning, reducing the noise and distraction your equipment may cause while capturing the moment. Mounts are available for Canon and Nikon bodies. Estimated Street Price: $599. Contact: Tokina, www.kenkotokinausa.com.
For increased visibility video shoots in the field, the 1280×800-pixel resolution Flashpoint 7-inch LED Field Monitor increases the size of your typical 3-inch on-camera LCD screen by five times. The 16:9 aspect ratio is ideal for shooting HD video and allows you to move between a black border and full-screen modes. View the screen from a wide range of positions with the 178º horizontal and vertical viewing angle. The housing is constructed from metal to ensure durability and includes a clip-on sun hood, which also provides screen protection. Full HDMI input and output, a headphone jack, a mono speaker, a 3-way power switch and a mini-ballhead shoe-mount bracket for adjusting position are included. Estimated Street Price: $400. Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama), www.adorama.com.
Keep a comfortable handle on your camera with the Hand Strap by Cotton Carrier. The Hand Strap is adjustable with heavy-duty Velcro®, so you can tighten and loosen your hand against the body of your camera, as needed. The strap attaches to the camera with a hard anodized aluminum Arca-Swiss-style plate that offers a ¼”-20 thread hole, which allows you to still attach the camera directly to a tripod or to a tripod quick-release plate. This way, you can move from the tripod to handheld shooting with ease. Estimated Street Price: $19. Contact: Cotton Carrier, www.cottoncarrier.com.
Layer multiple images in the creative Photoshop Touch app for iOS and Android. Use the Scribble Selection tool to choose elements to keep or remove from your image, refine the selection with the Refine-Edge and Edge-Aware painting tools, adjust tone and color with levels and curves, and easily add text. Send your image to the Cloud to access your image from a home computer or share with friends. Estimated Street Price: $4.99/phone; $9.99/tablet. Contact: Adobe, www.adobe.com.
The new Outpost Project line of camera bags by Crumpler provides a versatile selection of six bags that take you from an urban commute to an outdoor adventure. Each bag utilizes the rucksack design with water-resistant 600D Field Twill on the outer shell, as well as ultra-durable, anti-abrasive materials throughout the bags. The line is comprised of the Cobram Messenger Bag, Kashgar Shoulder Bag, Sebang Sling Bag, Karachi Backpack, Aso Commuter Backpack and Tondo Casual Backpack, ensuring that you’ll find the size and style of bag to fit your gear and shooting style. All bags come with the Crumpler lifetime guarantee. Estimated Street Price: $95-$265. Contact: Crumpler, www.crumpler.com.
Stay prepared with the ION lithium-ion pure sine wave inverter by Photogenic. The 7.5×4.4×3.3-inch ION converts DC battery power to AC power in a 3.5-pound pack that can power your various electronics in the field (laptop, tablet, smartphone, DSLR battery charger, etc.). The control panel includes two 3-pronged AC outlets, an LED battery power level monitor, charger receptacle, power switch and 0.5 amp USB port for cell phone and computer charging. The full kit includes the inverter, one lithium-ion battery, charger, light stand mount and carry strap. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Photogenic, www.photogenic.com.
When you’re working on a time-lapse project or experimenting with video, one of your most important tools is your tripod head. The monoball Z1g+ by ARCA-SWISS is now 30% smaller and lighter than its Z1g predecessor. With Motion Related Gravity Control (MRGC), it has variable and bidirectional drag, making it independently operative and stabilized in all directions. Horizontally, the level of friction remains constant, while vertically, the level of friction increases progressively for optimal control. Additionally, the Z1g+ includes a panorama above the ball, allowing smooth horizontal panning regardless of the tripod placement. Estimated Street Price: $749. Contact: Arca-Swiss, [email protected].
Made from ballistic nylon, the military-grade Pelican ProGear U160 Urban Elite Half Case Camera Pack includes an integrated Pelican case with a watertight O-ring seal with an automatic pressure-equalization valve that will keep your gear safe under all weather circumstances. Removable padded dividers in the main compartment keep your DSLR and lenses packed safely. A padded upper compartment has room for larger accessories such as hard drives, cables, light meters and chargers. The contrasting yellow interior has been designed for easy visibility. The pack includes a storage pocket for a tablet, multiple side accessory pockets and a tripod carrier strap. Pelican also designed the pack with ergonomics in mind. An aluminum S-curve spine, vented padding, a chest clip and waist belt aid in comfort and balance. Estimated Street Price: $325. Contact: Pelican, www.pelicanprogear.com.