In Focus: September 2013

This Article Features Photo Zoom
COMPACT SONY
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.

ADOBE LIGHTROOM 5
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.

PRIME GLASS
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.

PENTAX K-500
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.

PERFECT PANORAMA

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.


This Article Features Photo Zoom
SUPERWIDE ZOOM
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.
MAXIMIZING MONITOR
For increased visibility video shoots in the field, the 1280x800-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.

HANDLE WITH CARE

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.


APPS FOR NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY
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.
Camera Noir is an easy-to-use app for capturing and sharing monochrome images. Choose between the low-, mid- or high-contrast filters and simply tap on the screen to adjust the focus and exposure. A level line aids in balance. Square crop lines show your composition, so you can plan in advance for Instagram crops. Then share directly to Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Estimated Street Price: $1.99. Contact: Pacific Helm, www.pacifichelm.com.
WeatherBug by Earth Networks helps keep you updated on weather and storm activity. One particularly handy function of the app is the Spark feature, which detects lightning activity. Using the Total Lightning Network, cloud computing and smartphone technology, Spark can tell you the location and distance the nearest lightning is from your current GPS location or any saved locations. While this is a great application to have on hand for weather photography enthusiasts, it also provides information about lightning safety, with recommendations about when to seek shelter. Free. Contact: Earth Networks, www.earthnetworks.com.


This Article Features Photo Zoom
SmugMug recently acquired the successful Android app SmugFolio along with the app creator, Brian Wood, and has rebranded and updated the app as SmugMug for Android. The app now allows users to upload photos and videos to unlimited galleries and access your assets even while offline. You can upload your photos with geolocation and detailed photo information as you shoot and share your photo URLs with other Android apps. Or, switch to Read Only mode to avoid accidental edits. For new SmugMug users, sign up through the app and receive 25% off for your first year. Free. Contact: Google Play, play.google.com.
Keep a visual journal of your trip with the Trip Journal app. With full Google Earth and GPS integration, you can geotag and pin each of your photo, video and blog entries on a map. View this map later, or organize your entries by type of media. Share your journal with your friends on Facebook, Flickr and Picasa, or upload your videos directly to YouTube. Trip Journal is also compatible with blogging software for direct embedding with WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Squarespace and Tumblr. Available for iPhone and Android. Estimated Street Price: $2.99. Contact: iQapps, www.trip-journal.com.
OUTPOST PROJECT
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.

PHOTOGENIC ION
Stay prepared with the ION lithium-ion pure sine wave inverter by Photogenic. The 7.5x4.4x3.3-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.

CONTROLLED MOVEMENT
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]
PELICAN PROGEAR
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.

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