This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

In Focus: April 2008

Outdoor Photographer may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. Outdoor Photographer does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting Outdoor Photographer.

Capture sunsets with smoother transitions from light to dark colors using the 12.2-megapixel Canon EOS Rebel XSi, which has an enhanced 14-bit A/D converter, along with many other features and technologies found in the company’s pro models. A fast autofocus system, three-inch Live View LCD with two types of AF and a 35-zone metering system round out some of the top-of-the-line features. The XSi also has the optional Highlight Tone Priority and High-ISO Noise Reduction functions first introduced in the EOS-1D Mark III. Additionally, the camera comes with Auto Lighting Optimizer technology, which automatically corrects image brightness and contrast. Estimated Street Price: $800 (body only); $900 (with EF-S 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS Zoom). Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON,

The Nikon D60 is a compact D-SLR that you can easily take on your next hiking or camping trip. With intuitive, simple-to-navigate menus and 10.2-megapixel resolution, it’s an ideal option for beginners and enthusiasts. Features include a dual dust-reduction system and in-camera editing tools like color-intensifying filters, D-lighting, red-eye correction and Image Trim. The fast 0.18-second start-up time and minimal shutter lag mean less chance of missing those once-in-a-lifetime shots. And the D60’s Stop-Motion Movie mode expands your creativity by making stop-animation movie clips from a series of as many as 100 consecutive JPEG picture files. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Nikon USA, (800) NIKON-US,
compare prices
Nikon D60

The Samsung GX-20 takes a remarkable leap forward from it’s predecessor, the GX-10, with a high-performance CMOS sensor that produces 14.6-megapixel resolution and captures 14-bit RAW files with minimal noise, even at high ISO settings. Other features include sensor-based shake reduction, a double dust-removal system, a 2.7-inch Live View LCD and an accurate 11-point wide-area AF system. The camera can shoot continuously at 3 fps. Estimated Street Price: $1,400. Contact: Samsung, (800) SAMSUNG,
Samsung GX 20

The new entry-level Pentax K200D and advanced K20D share much of the same technology, including sensor-shift shake reduction, sensor-dust removal, 2.7-inch LCDs and the company’s proprietary high-speed PRIME image engine. The top-of-the-line K20D features a newly developed 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor, which produces images with low noise at ISO settings up to 6400. With Live View and 160-degree viewing angles, you can quickly compose shots in the LCD from a variety of positions. Designed for D-SLR newcomers, the 10.2-megapixel K200D has a smaller body, a simpler interface and easy-to-use Auto Picture and Scene modes. Estimated Street Price: $799 (K200D); $1,299 (K20D). Contact: Pentax Imaging, (800) 877-0155,
compare prices

Pentax K20D

Mamiya improved the popular Macro MF 120mm ƒ/4 lens with modifications specifically for digital capture. The Mamiya Sekor Macro MF 120mm ƒ/4 D lens is now fully compatible with the latest cameras, software and digital backs, along with film backs. To improve communication between the camera and the lens, Mamiya incorporated a 16-bit CPU; it’s predecessor used a 4-bit CPU. The 16-bit CPU can be overwritten with firmware upgrades required for future compatibility with cameras and digital backs. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Mamiya, (914) 347-3300,
Mayima Sekor Macro

Get crystal-clear views from the Carson XM-050HD 10x50mm full-sized binoculars. Thanks to a proprietary lens coating that combines phase-coated prisms with new HD optical coating technology, images are sharp and bright. Rubberized armor coating makes the binoculars rugged and shockproof. They’re also waterproof and fogproof. Estimated Street Price: $380. Contact: Carson, (800) 9-OPTICS,
Canon XM 050HD

Made from Mountainsmith’s recycled PET fabric, the Hiker backpack is designed for sustainability and convenience. Ideal for extended day trips and short hikes, the all-terrain pack features dual-density foam shoulder straps, an air mesh foam back panel for added comfort and a removable pivoting waistbelt that tucks away. The PET fabric is woven from thread produced from 100-percent recycled plastic beverage bottles. Estimated Street Price: $89. Contact: Mountainsmith, (800) 551-5889,
Mountainsmith Hiker Backpack

The upgraded Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking boots keep you on your toes for day hikes and weekend backpacking trips. With water-resistant leather uppers and Gore-Tex® lining, the boots are tough and breathable and provide solid footing, with a beefy Vibram outsole, on the roughest terrain. Estimated Street Price: $180. Contact: Lowa, (888) 335-LOWA,
Renegade Boots

Zip up the Inertia Hooded Jacket from Cloudveil on your next hike. A Cirrus-lined hood gives extra protection in harsh weather. Cirrus lining is a nylon taffeta that’s both down-proof and synthetic insulation-proof. It maintains a soft touch and is super-lightweight. Inertia Plus material with Primeflex is a 100-percent polyester double weave with mechanical stretch. The yarns are specifically processed to resist deformation. The resulting fabric has great stretch and no propensity to hold moisture. Estimated Street Price: $160. Contact: Cloudveil, (877) 255-8345,

The Sony A350 and A300 have a lot in common, like variable-angle 2.7-inch LCDs with Quick AF Live View technology for composing shots quickly. With the autofocus system’s two-sensor design, focusing speed isn’t slowed down when framing shots on the screen. Both D-SLRs feature Super Steady Shot image stabilization, High ISO Noise Reduction technology and Sony’s Dynamic Range Optimizer for capturing good tonal quality and rich shadow and highlight detail, even in high-contrast situations. Where they differ the most is in their sensors. The A350 has a 14.2-megapixel chip; the A300 has a 10.2-megapixel chip. Estimated Street Price: $900 (A350); $800 (A300). Contact: Sony, (877) 865-SONY,
compare prices

Sony A350

Get tough wildlife action shots with the compact Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300mm ƒ/4-5.6 lens. With a 35mm-equivalent focal-length range of 140-600mm, the tele-zoom is a nice option for your next adventure into the wild. Using advanced optical designs and high-quality glass, it incorporates three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements for sharp, high-contrast images with rich color. Weighing just over a pound, the lens is ideal for travel. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448,
compare prices

Olympus Zuiko

For glossy printing, the Epson Stylus Photo R1900 sets a high standard. The powerful, wide-format printer uses Epson UltraChrome Hi-Gloss two-pigment ink for vibrant prints up to 13 inches wide and 44 inches long. It features innovative new Radiance technology to maximize the color gamut, while optimizing print quality. This technology reduces grain for smoother transitions between colors and ensures they stay consistent in nearly any lighting condition. Direct CD/DVD printing is supported. Estimated Street Price: $549. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON,
compare prices

Epson R1900

Books and Such

Photographing Weather by Storm Dunlop (Photographers’ Institute Press, 2007; ISBN: 978-1-86108-449-1). Learn how to identify and capture cloud formations, optical effects and a wide range of other meteorological phenomena. The book shows you how to see the sky, utilize stereoscopic photography, capture lightning flash and more.

Photoshop CS3 RAW by Mikkel Aaland (O’Reilly Media, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-596-51052-7). Through easy-to-follow visual instructions, Aaland demonstrates how RAW data gives more flexibility and control during the editing process. Techniques covered include automating RAW workflow, correcting exposures and extending exposure range.

Digital Astrophotography: A Guide to Capturing the Cosmos by Stefan Seip (Rocky Nook, 2008; ISBN: 978-1933952161). Discover how to shoot for the stars with step-by-step instructions on capturing remote galaxies, taking bright images of planets with a webcam and shooting the sun, moon, star clusters and nebulae through a telescope.

A World History of Photography by Naomi Rosenblum (Abbeville Press, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-7892-0937-5). In this collection of more than
800 photographs are little-known and celebrated masterpieces. Rosenblum explores the diverse roles that photography has played in the communication of ideas. Profiles are given of photographers who have made notable contributions to the medium or epitomized a certain style.

Celestial Nights: Visions of an Ancient Land by Neil Folberg (Abbeville Press, 2008; ISBN: 978-0789209542). This series of compelling night imagery focuses on the ancient land and skies of Israel and the Sinai. Folberg emphasizes the singular and poignant presence of objects against the backdrop of the infinite.

With color-management solutions seamlessly integrated with Photoshop CS3, the HP Photosmart Pro B8850 Photo Printer helps those rich landscape shots burst with accurate color in the final print. A unified interface provides predictable, consistent results quickly and easily. The Electrostatic Drop Detection system monitors and self-cleans the printhead. With closed-loop calibration, print settings are automatically adjusted to maintain color consistency. The B8850 makes up to 13×19-inch prints. Estimated Street Price: $549. Contact: Hewlett-Packard,
(800) 752-0900,
HP Photosmart Pro B8850

Mac users now can upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Photoshop Elements. New features in Elements 6 include the Quick Selection Tool for making fast adjustments, three edit modes geared toward different experience levels and a Guided Edit function that walks you through how to improve your photos. A cleaner, streamlined interface has tabs that provide easier access to the application’s tools. Other features include advanced black-and-white conversion and enhanced support for RAW files. Estimated Street Price: $89. Contact: Adobe Systems, (800) 833-6687,

compare prices

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Having a fast, high-resolution camera is only part of the equation. If your memory card can’t keep pace, the camera might not be able to keep up with you. The PNY Optima Pro CompactFlash High Speed cards have sustained read and write speeds of 20 MBps, which is considerably faster than standard CF cards. Designed for high-performance D-SLRs, the cards are now available in 16 GB capacity, in addition to 2 GB, 4 GB and 8 GB. Estimated Street Price: $250 (16 GB). Contact: PNY Technologies,
PNY High Speed Cards

Make sure the image on your monitor and in print looks the way it did through the lens. The Datacolor Spyder3Pro is a display calibration tool featuring a colorimeter, with a seven-detector color engine that allows more control over white point and gamma. Ambient light control optimizes the monitor’s calibration according to the light in any given room. Spyder3Print is a print calibration tool that uses a spectrocolorimeter to read targets and create custom printing files. Estimated Street Price: $160 (Spyder3Pro); $499 (Spyder3Print). Contact: Datacolor, (800) 554-8688,
compare prices


Protect special or limited-edition prints with Desert Varnish Gel from Moab by Legion Paper, a water-based gloss coating for archival pigment inks used with canvas, fine-art and some photo papers. The gel dries highly flexible, has UV inhibitors and is waterproof and scratchproof. Especially useful for work not displayed under glass, the coating improves print longevity and can be applied with a brush, roller or spray gun. List Price: TBA. Contact: Moab by Legion Paper, (800) 278-4478,
Desert Varnish Gel

Support your camera on the Sunpak Pro 623P Carbon Fiber Tripod. At just under five pounds, this lightweight full-sized tripod has three leg sections for quick setup. It loads up to 11 pounds, and it has a height range of 13.5 to 63 inches. The 623P has a removable three-way photo/video panhead with quick release and three-position leg angle locks for low-angle photography. There’s also a second short center column for low-level photography. Estimated Street Price: $250. Contact: Sunpak, (973) 627-9600,
Sunpak Pro Tripod

Stay comfortable while hiking with heavy camera gear in tow using the Naneu Pro Adventure K-3L. With the backpack’s AirFlow Suspension System, air is allowed to circulate between your back and the pack itself, keeping you cool and comfy. The outer shell is made of water-repellent nylon. The K-3L has room for a pro-level D-SLR with a short zoom attached, four small or two long lenses, a flash and other extras. There’s also a weatherproof slot for a 15.4-inch laptop. Estimated Street Price: $160. Contact: Naneu Pro, (866) 806-2638,
compare prices

Naneu Pro Adventure

Lexar is boosting the capacity of it’s SDHC memory cards to 8 GB. All three of the company’s card lineups‚ Professional, Platinum II and standard‚ are receiving the upgrade. The high-end Professional 133x 8 GB SDHC cards deliver minimum sustained write speeds of 20 MBps, allowing you to take advantage of your D-SLR’s high-speed processor and accelerate image download times. The Platinum II cards are capable of 9 MBps write speeds, and the standard line is rated at 2 MBps. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Lexar Media, (800) 789-9418,
compare prices

Lexar Pro

Durable, scratch-resistant filters are essential for a smooth shoot in the field. The Tiffen Digital HT Hi-Trans Titanium Multi-Coated Filters resist scratching, are easy to clean and feature outstanding anti-reflective and high-transmission properties. They reflect less than one percent of the light hitting the front surface while transmitting nearly 99 percent. Capable of withstanding dirt, humidity and other challenging conditions, the filters are available in 52mm to 82mm sizes and formats ranging from haze to neutral-density. Estimated Street Price: Varies. Contact: Tiffen, (631) 273-2500,
Tiffen Digital Filters
If you edit images using a Wacom pen display, give yourself some elbow room with the 20.1-inch wide-format Cintiq 20WSX. With 1680 x 1050 resolution, a wide viewing angle and accurate color reproduction, you can edit big images in great detail. The work-area size allows your arm and hand to glide easily over the entire surface. Use it as a primary monitor or as a multi-monitor solution with features like a Display Toggle for easily switching between screens. Fourteen customizable ExpressKeys provide quick access to often-used keystrokes, mouse clicks and other time-saving operations. Estimated Street Price: $1,999. Contact: Wacom, (800) 922-6613,
compare prices


Shoot big images fast with the SanDisk Ultra II SDHC memory card, which now comes in capacities of 16 GB and 32 GB. The cards offer faster read and write speeds of 15 MBps, up from previous speeds of 10 MBps (read) and 9 MBps (write). The 32 GB Ultra II SDHC card is the highest-capacity card produced by the company. A SanDisk MicroMate USB 2.0 Reader comes with the cards. List Price: $349 (32 GB); $179 (16 GB). Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK,
compare prices

SanDisk Ultra II