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In Focus: September 2015

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Ricoh has added built-in WiFi with easy NFC connection to its flagship compact model. The new GR II retains its predecessor’s compact dimensions (4.6×2.5×1.4 inches, 7.8 ounces), 16.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with no AA filter and 28mm (equivalent) ƒ/2.8 lens (with 9-blade diaphragm for natural bokeh). Seventeen effects include a new HDR Tone one. There’s a built-in flash unit, plus the ability to control certain Pentax flash units wirelessly off-camera. A web-based app lets you control camera settings via almost any browser. The GR II can shoot up to 10 fps (4 fps with AF), as well as 1080/30p video. The 3.0-inch, 1230K-dot LCD monitor can be supplemented with an optional shoe-mount optical finder. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Ricoh Imaging,

OP/TECH’s Rainsleeve protective plastic covers for cameras have been popular with outdoor shooters as an easy-to-carry, easy-to-use way to protect gear from rain, sand and snow. Now there’s a new size: the Rainsleeve – Small. It can fit a camera with a lens up to 4.5 inches in diameter and 8 inches long, yet fits easily in a pocket or camera bag. A unique viewfinder eyepiece opening adapts to most camera viewfinders, allowing you to compose through the lens, not the plastic. The Rainsleeve – Small comes two per package. Estimated Street Price: $8.95. Contact: OP/TECH,

DxO, best known for its advanced image-processing technologies (and sensor ratings), has introduced its first camera. The DxO ONE connects to an iPhone or iPad via the Lightning connector and uses the smart device’s screen as the camera monitor. Featuring a 20.2-megapixel, one-inch, backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, the ONE delivers good performance in dim light (100-51,200 ISO range), while its 32mm (equivalent) ƒ/1.8 lens can produce shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh for portraits. The camera also can do 1080/30p and 720/120p video. SuperRAW mode shoots four images in rapid succession and merges them (when connected to your Mac or PC) using the latest in spatial and temporal noise reduction for even better image quality. The ONE is 2.65 inches tall and weighs 3.8 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $599 (for a limited time including free licenses for DxO OpticsPro ELITE and FilmPack ELITE software). Contact: DxO,

SIGMA 24-35mm F/2 DG HSM | A
The newest member of Sigma‘s high-quality Global Vision Art lenses, the 24-35mm ƒ/2 DG HSM | A was designed specifically for full-frame sensors (but also can be used with APS-C DSLRs). It provides three popular focal lengths (24mm, 28mm and 35mm) with prime lens image quality, but the ability to change focal lengths at the twist of a wrist and no need to carry three lenses into the field. A difficult-to-produce, large-diameter aspherical element, an FLD element (equivalent in performance to fluorite) and seven SLD elements minimize field curvature and spherical and axial chromatic aberrations. An HSM AF motor and a new AF algorithm deliver quick, smooth AF, along with full-time manual focusing, when desired. The lens measures 3.4×4.8 inches and weighs 33.2 ounces, and takes 82mm filters. It will be available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma SA mounts. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Sigma,

TOKINA AT-X 24-70mm F/2.8 ZOOM
With DSLR megapixel counts hitting remarkable levels, Tokina has introduced the AT-X 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 high-performance zoom lens, designed for high-pixel-count, full-frame sensors. Among its 15 elements in 11 groups are three precision molded all-glass aspherical elements (one of Super Low Dispersion glass) to control spherical aberrations, plus three SD elements in the rear groups to minimize chromatic aberrations. The lens can focus down to 1.2 feet (0.21X maximum magnification) and features an SDM (Silent Drive Module) AF motor for quick, quiet autofocusing. It also features Tokina’s One-touch focus Clutch mechanism, while allowing you to switch between auto and manual focus simply by pushing the focusing ring forward (for AF) or pulling it rearward (for MF). The lens measures 3.5×4.2 inches and weighs 2.2 pounds. It’s available in mounts for Canon and Nikon full-frame DSLRs (it also can be used on APS-C cameras). Estimated Street Price: $999. Contact: Kenko Tokina USA,

LAOWA 15mm F/4 1:1 MACRO
There are lots of wide-angle lenses on the market and quite a few macro lenses. Now we have the world’s widest-angle 1:1 macro lens: The Laowa 15mm ƒ/4 takes in a 110° angle of view on a full-frame camera (85° on an APS-C camera) and will focus down to 4.7 inches (0.2-inch working distance), close enough to deliver a 1:1 magnification at the image plane. Superwide-angle macro photography opens up lots of photo ops for flower and small critter photographers. The manual-focus lens is available in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony A and FE digital cameras. Estimated Street Price: $479. Contact: Venus Optics,

Inspired by thunderstorm clouds and blacksmith tools, Tamrac‘s new Anvil backpacks are tough units designed and manufactured to carry your gear safely on tough treks. The packs feature a comfortable airflow harness, Cordura fabric, Duraflex buckles and YKK zippers, and come in six sizes. The largest will accommodate a pro DSLR with up to a 600mm lens attached. The belt is removable, so if you have an Anvil backpack, you also have a belt unit. Quick-release straps can carry a tripod. Estimated Street Price: $229.95-$329.95. Contact: Tamrac,

The flagship G-series Canon compact camera has a lot to interest the outdoor photographer. First, it’s the most rugged of the G-series, with dust and weather sealing about equal to that of the EOS 70D. Second, it has a built-in 24-600mm (equivalent) ƒ/2.8-5.6 zoom, which can cover everything from landscapes to distant wildlife. Built-in intelligent image stabilization helps keep things sharper at all focal lengths. The PowerShot G3 X features EOS-like control (a first for the G-series) and can shoot 5.9 fps with CAF. The 20.2-megapixel, one-inch CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 processor optimize image quality at ISO settings to 12,800. The 3.2-inch, 1.62M-dot LCD monitor can be supplemented with an optional 2.36-megapixel EVF (recommended for handheld shooting at longer focal lengths). The G3X does 1080p video at 60, 20 and 24 fps (with external mic and headphone jacks), and built-in WiFi with NFC adds versatility. Star Trail and Star Time-Lapse Movie modes will delight fans of night sky photography. Dimensions are 4.9×3.0x4.2 inches; weight is 24.0 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $999.99. Contact: Canon,

Cotton Carrier‘s Endeavor Belt makes it easy to carry your DSLR or mirrorless camera comfortably and hands-free. It holds the camera securely, yet provides easy access. Made of durable 1680 denier polypropylene and fitted with a Lexan camera receptacle, the device includes a shoulder strap with sliding safety tether and a small pocket for a wallet, cell phone or extra lens. Estimated Street Price: $89. Contact: Cotton Carrier,

The world’s only one-inch-sensor camera with Android OS and unlocked GSM smartphone functionality, Panasonic‘s DMC-CM1 features a 20.1-megapixel, one-inch, high-sensitivity MOS sensor, a 28mm (equivalent) ƒ/2.8 Leica DC lens and a huge 4.7-inch, 6220K-dot rear monitor. Besides full auto and manual camera features, the CM1 can do 3840×2160/15p 4K video and 1080/30p full HD, and shoot stills at 5 fps with live view, 10 fps without live view and 50 fps at 5-megapixel resolution. It has built-in WiFi with NFC, Bluetooth and high-speed LTE technology, as well as GPS. It measures 5.3×2.7×0.8 inches and weighs 7.2 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $999.99. Contact: Panasonic,

Sony‘s RX100 cameras have been hot sellers from the start, combining good image quality with a pocketable package. The RX100 IV continues that, and then some. The new 20.1-megapixel, one-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor features a stacked configuration, with the pixel area on top, the high-speed signal processing circuitry below and an on-chip DRAM memory chip below that. The 5X faster readout made possible by this provides 16 fps full-res still shooting with no blackout (but focus fixed at the first frame), a top shutter speed of 1/32,000, plus 4K video in-camera at 30p, super-slow motion up to 960 fps (40x) at 800×270 and full-pixel readout video with no binning or line skipping. The tilting 3.0-inch, 1229K-dot external monitor is complemented by a 2.35-megapixel EVF. AF performance also has been sped up. Dimensions are 4.0×2.3×1.5 inches, and weight is 9.6 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $1,000. Contact: Sony,

Think Tank Photo‘s Trifecta 10 DSLR Backpack can hold your DSLR with the three workhorse zooms (ultrawide, normal, tele)—for example, a Nikon D810 with a 70-200mm ƒ/2.8, 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 and 14-24mm ƒ/2.8—plus an iPad. And you can access them easily without removing the pack, via the left side, right side or rear panel. DWR coating protects against the elements, while the contoured design helps you move through brush. Estimated Street Price: $159.95. Contact: Think Tank Photo,

This is a very cool device for the outdoor photographer. At first, the BosStrap Generation 3 looks like other shoulder straps, but it attaches to the camera strap lug, not the tripod socket. This means you quickly can switch between tripod and handheld shooting—no need to detach the strap from the camera to get at the tripod socket. It also means the camera is always attached to you, the tripod, or both—minimizing the chances of an accident when transferring camera to or from tripod. Another great feature is the slide. When you bring the camera up to shooting position, the strap doesn’t move and chafe your neck: only the slide moves, along the strap. The strap was designed specifically for heavier DSLRs. Estimated Street Price: $47.95. Contact: BosStrap,