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In Focus: December 2007

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Nikon Lenses
Go Long

Frame your wildlife shots with one of the big-lens additions to Nikon’s super-telephoto lineup. The AF-S Nikkor 400mm ƒ/2.8G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 500mm ƒ/4G ED VR and AF-S Nikkor 600mm ƒ/4G ED VR are designed for Nikon FX and DX format D-SLRs. All include the VR II Vibration Reduction system, which lets you shoot handheld at shutter speeds four times slower than would otherwise be possible. A Nano Crystal Coat, which is an extra-low refractive index coating, reduces potential ghosting and flare and nearly eliminates internal lens element reflections. Three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements minimize chromatic aberrations. To reduce the weight, the lens barrel is constructed out of rugged, die-cast magnesium. Estimated Street Price: $8,799 (400mm); $7,899 (500mm); $9,499 (600mm). Contact: Nikon USA, (800) NIKON-UX,

Pro Printer
Create dramatic, large-format prints of your landscapes with the 17-inch Epson Stylus Pro 4880, which uses innovative new print-head technology to deliver top-notch images. The MicroPiezo AMC print head handles eight separate ink channels, each with 180 nozzles. It produces different-sized droplets as small as 3.5 picoliters to decrease the print time and has an ink-repelling coating to reduce nozzle clogging. The UltraChrome K3 ink includes a higher-density form of magenta pigments for a wider color gamut of blues and purples. Advanced AccuPhoto HD screening technology produces a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1440 dpi. Estimated Street Price: $1,995. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON,
Epson Stylus Pro 4880

Palm-Sized HD Camcorder
On your next trip, capture high-definition video on the versatile Panasonic HDC-SX5, which records to a memory card or DVD. The camcorder produces rich, high-resolution images using a simpler version of the company’s 3CCD camera system, which is found in its pro broadcasting equipment. The Advanced Optical Image Stabilizer system uses gyro-sensors to detect hand shake, shifting the lens and adjusting the optical axis. The SX5 records to SDHC/SD memory cards and can copy recorded video from the card to a 3-inch DVD without connecting to a computer. Estimated Street Price: $899. Contact: Panasonic,
(800) 211-PANA,
Panasonic HDC-SX5

Raw Optics
Developed with a new RAW-conversion engine, DxO Optics Pro v5 is touted to produce images with fewer artifacts and more detail, especially for those shot in low light. The latest version of the image-enhancement software uses an advanced demosaicing algorithm to give digital photographs a more natural film look. And instead of applying noise reduction after the RAW conversion process, it’s now performed up front, before noise becomes amplified and absorbs fine details. Another nice feature is the Dust/Blemish Removal, which lets you mark and automatically remove spots. List Price: $169 (Standard); $299 (Elite). Contact: DxO Optics,
DXO Optics Pro 5

3-In-1 Jacket
As weather conditions change, so can the Tuckerman’s Jacket from L.L. Bean. The garment has a liner with 150-gram Thinsulate insulation that can be worn alone when it’s warm and dry. On wet days, the waterproof TEK2 lightweight nylon shell protects you from wind, rain and snow. For the harshest conditions, zip them together for maximum comfort. Other features include a detachable polyester balaclava, two zippered pockets on the shell and liner, and adjustable cuffs and hem for sealing out the cold winter air. List Price: $179. Contact: L.L. Bean,
(800) 441-5713,
Tuckerman's Jacket

Light up with the K2 LED Headlamp from Essential Gear. For enhanced precision, the lamp uses a focus-controlled LED illumination system that lets you adjust from a square-shared focused beam to flood mode by sliding a switch. The bulb produces 85 lumens of brightness and three night vision LEDs in red, blue and green. The K2 has three modes: high, low and flashing. List Price: $50. Contact: Essential Gear, (800) 582-3861
K2 LED Headlamp

Superlight Tent
Set up camp in the eco-friendly Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL 2 tent, which uses strong, lightweight poles manufactured from a “green” anodizing process. Offering tons of space at minimal weight, the nylon backpacking tent has two doors, a large vestibule, a six-pocket gear loft and 29 square feet of interior space. There’s also an optional vestibule for an additional 27 square feet if needed. You just zip off the standard vestibule and zip on the pole-supported version. It weighs 4.3 pounds. List Price: $349. (Accessory vestibule is $129). Contact: Big Agnes, (877) 554-8975,
Big Agnes Emerald Mountain SL 2 Tent

Rugged Blade
Light, smooth and agile, the Buck/Mayo Kaala knife is well suited for all of your outdoor endeavors. The 63/4-inch blade weighs just 1.9 ounces and is made from top-quality steel with lightening holes that help reduce its weight. A dual-position molded nylon sheath keeps the knife firmly in place. The knife was designed with Edge2x technology, which helps it hold an edge longer and makes it easier to resharpen. List Price: $100. Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825,
Buck/Mayo Kaala Knife
All-Season Trekkers
Tackle the snowy terrain this winter in the Torre GTX Classic hiking boots from Montrail. Whether you’re backpacking or hiking, the all-leather boots are built to keep you free from foot pain. Waterproof Gore-Tex lining blocks out moisture and breathes to keep your feet comfortable and dry. Seam-free heel lining and molded-foam heel pockets ensure a proper fit, while the microporous rubber midsoles provide long-lasting shock absorption. Estimated Street Price: $160. Contact: Montrail, (800) 826-1598,
Torre GTX Classic

Down Bag
Sleep well in the harshest of conditions by zipping up the Zephyr -15¬∞ from Kelty. The water-resistant, 650-fill down mummy has a deep, three-dimensional hood, a full-length two-way locking zipper and a zipper draft tube that helps keep the cold out. The fill power of a sleeping bag is important because it refers to the loft or “fluffiness” of insulation per unit of weight. The higher the fill power, the higher the loft and insulating value of the down. List Price: $300. Contact: Kelty, (800) 423-2320,
Kelty Zephyr sleeping bag


Sleek HD Shooter
Shoot high-definition video without tape or a disc on the Canon HG10, a camcorder with a 40 GB hard-disk drive. Compact in size, the HG10 records up to 15 hours of high-definition video and supports the new HD codec AVCHD. The crisp 10x zoom captures clear 1920 x 1080 resolution on a full HD CMOS image sensor. The miniSD card slot allows you to capture 3.1-megapixel stills, and a Photo Grab control takes 2-megapixel stills from your video footage. Other features include a 2.7-inch LCD and an HDMI terminal for plugging the camcorder directly into your HDTV. Estimated Street Price: $1,100. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON,
Canon HG10

Pocket Drive
Back up while you’re out in the field with the Iomega Portable Drive Hi-Speed USB 2.0. The drive is about 5x3x0.5 inches, coming in 200 GB and 250 GB versions. Equipped with Drop Shock technology, the device also features professional backup and disaster-recovery software for added security. Estimated Street Price: $215 (250 GB); $168 (200 GB). Contact: Iomega, (888) 516-8467,
Iomega USB Drive

Easy Access
Get to your camera quickly when carrying it in one of Lowepro’s Cirrus TLZ top-loading bags. The comfortable shoulder bags are made from water- and abrasion-resistant fabric. Inside, brushed tricot lining protects LCD screens from scratches, and there’s a built-in memory card pocket. The Cirrus TLZ 5 holds a compact digital camera or video camera. The Cirrus TLZ 15 protects a D-SLR with an attached lens, while the Cirrus TLZ 25 can house a D-SLR and short zoom. The TLZ 15 and 25 models have room for memory cards and other small accessories. List Price: $25 (TLZ 5); $30 (TLZ 15); $35 (TLZ 25). Contact: Lowepro,
(800) 800-LOWE,
Lowepro's Cirrus TLZ Camera Bag

With 16 GB of storage capacity, Panasonic’s latest Pro High Speed SDHC memory card is most suited for high-definition video shooters. Supporting the new AVCHD codec, it records about four hours of HD video in normal mode and two hours and 40 minutes of full 1920 x 1080i video in fine mode. The card has a fast data-transfer speed of 20 MBps—a nice feature if you want to minimize how many memory cards you take on the road. The card is also fast enough to put your D-SLR on continuous shooting without the buffer memory getting overworked. Estimated Street Price: $319. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA,

Panasonic 16GB SDHC
Card Keeper
Keep your memory cards safe, dry and in the same place using the Pelican Protector Memory Card Case. Holding up to 32 cards at a time, the case covers a wide range of types, including CF, SD/SDHC, xD and Memory Stick. Made from a polycarbonate shell, the case contains a silicon O-ring to keep water out. For added security, a strong latch with corrosion-resistant, nickel-plated brass pins keeps it shut even after accidental drops and hard knocks. List Price: $24. Contact: Pelican, (800) 473-5422,
Pelican Projector Memory Card Case

Filter Effects
Try out tons of authentic camera, filter and darkroom techniques with your nature images using PhotoTools from onOne Software. More than 150 effects (250 in the pro version) are designed to reproduce filters like neutral density, color correction and polarization, along with alternative processes like solarization and cyanotype. You can simulate the look of different films with a range of grain and contrast effects. Stack multiple effects as you would with lens filters, and save those combinations for future application or batch-processing multiple images at once. List Price: $159 (standard); $259 (pro). Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468,

PhotoTools onOne Software
Fine Art
For a classic look, print your colorful landscapes on Harman Professional Inkjet Gloss FB AL paper. A Baryta coating is applied to the fiber base of the paper before the emulsion layers. This process enhances details, tonal range and the archival properties of your images. Also applied is a nanoporous Alumina coating for more vibrant color photos and saturated black-and-whites. The paper is available in most popular sizes. List Price: Varies by size. Contact: Harman Photo,
Harman Inkjet Paper
Quick Fix
Speed up the time you spend making image adjustments with a couple of new plug-ins from Digital Film Tools. Power Stroke 1.0 uses a simple, stroke-based interface that lets you isolate a specific area in a few brushstrokes and apply changes to only that region. Strokes can be assigned multiple corrections and effects. With Power Mask 1.0, you can cut out objects in real time. Even if it’s as difficult as cutting out a reflection, as you paint along the edge of the object to be extracted, the program updates the mask or composite in real time. List Price: $120 (Power Stroke); $150 (Power Mask). Contact: Digital Film Tools, (818) 761-6577,
Power Stroke


Stable Legs
The Giottos MT II Classic Tripods feature three leg-angle positions and a reversible center column, allowing you more versatility in your shot selection, especially for low-angle and macro work. The column can be taken out and reattached upside down so the tripod head is between the legs. A retractable hanging hook lets you add weight for stability. Other features include a bubble level for leveling control, sandproof twisting leg locks and an anti-twist tube-lock system. The tripods are available in carbon fiber, lava or aluminum. List Price: $100 to $491. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373,
Giottos MT II Classic Tripods

Light Support
Carrying a high-quality backup camera in the field is always a good idea. Save yourself some space with a compact zoom like the Canon 12-megapixel PowerShot G9. The 6x 35-210mm (35mm-equiv.) lens is image stabilized. This latest G-series model has several upgraded features, including a 3-inch LCD, compatibility with Canon EOS Speedlites and a full range of recording modes, including RAW. List Price: $499. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON,
Canon PowerShot G9

Pocket Gear
Make room for all of your equipment in the Tenba Response Shoulder Bags, which can be internally expanded or retracted, depending on your needs. With the unique Pop-Out Pocket system, you get 20 to 25 percent more volume when necessary. Conversely, you can set up a more compact configuration when less equipment is needed. The Pop-Out pockets are usable outside or inside the bag. Divider walls can be folded and arranged in tons of ways for a truly customized fit. The bag comes in three sizes, in either black or khaki and black. List Price: $170 to $230. Contact: Tenba, (914) 347-3300,
Tenba Shoulder Bag

Fast Photo Manager
Process RAW image files as quickly as JPEGs with ACDSee Pro 2 workflow-management software. The new version features some powerful upgrades, including expanded RAW-processing power, more flexible cataloging and new, advanced editing features. The new interface is fully customizable and lets you quickly view, sort and compare photos with instant full-screen viewing and fast thumbnail browsing. Other additions include one-step cropping and rotating tools, and a Highlights Recovery slider that lets you recover up to two stops of lost highlight detail. Cataloguing is better with improved metadata features that include automated file-sorting capabilities. List Price: $129. Contact: ACD Systems, (888) 359-8449,

ACDSee Pro

Photo Cards
Just in time for the holidays, Mpix has created new winter holiday-themed greeting-card templates for you to personalize with your photos. Mpix, a division of Miller’s Professional Imaging, is an online lab for photographers to upload, store, and share images in albums and order prints or other specialty products like books and gallery wraps. Other new templates include thank-you, graduation and baby-announcement cards. List Price: Varies. Contact: Mpix,
Mpix Greeting Cards

Data Robot
Drobo is a fully automated data-storage solution that monitors and repairs problems that could put your data at risk. The device automatically controls all aspects of storage management and takes no configuration or setup. Drobo knows where your data is stored, so it finds the most effective way of protecting and repairing itself before there’s a disk failure or data corruption. You can add new drives, expanding capacity as your storage demands grow. It plugs in via USB 2.0. Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Data Robotics, Inc., (866) 997-6268,
Drobo Disk Storage

UV/IR Blocker
By preventing ultraviolet and infrared rays from affecting your D-SLR’s sensor, you get bluer skies, better reds and greens, and improved color separation. The Heliopan Digital Filter is designed to do just that with both sides receiving multiple dichroic coatings before it’s mounted in a slim brass ring. The ring is threaded on both sides, so other filters, screw-in hoods and snap-caps can be easily attached. Made from Schott (Zeiss) glass, the filter works with all digital cameras, backs and lenses, except for extreme wide-angle. Sizes range from 27mm to 82mm. List Price: Varies by size. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373,
Heliopan Digital Filter