OP Editors’ Picks ’07

Canon EOS-1D Mark IIIEvery year, the OP editors get to check out a variety of cool, new photo products, from feature-packed digital SLRs to must-have shooting accessories. With so many items to choose from, coming up with a short list is tough. We've chosen more than 25 of the year's most noteworthy products to highlight on the following pages. This collection of gear should serve you well in pursuing, capturing and sharing beautiful outdoor photography. Note: The initials show which editor has made that pick.


Canon EOS-1D Mark III

This pro D-SLR can shoot up to 110 large JPEG or 30 RAW 10.1-megapixel images at 10 frames per second, and features a built-in sensor dust remover, three-inch Live-View LCD monitor, 300,000-cycle shutter, 2,200-shot battery and lots more. Yet, the camera weighs nearly half a pound less than its predecessor—wow! Image quality is superb. It was a pleasure to find no dust on any of the 4,500 images I shot with our test camera despite numerous lens changes in the field, and while not perfect, it delivered the best AF performance on birds in flight of any of the 42 D-SLR models I've tested (in temperatures to the mid-90s). List Price: $4,499. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.—MS

Nikon D40x

Nikon D40x
If you're ready to start shooting with a D-SLR, the Nikon D40x is a great choice. A step up from its D40 predecessor, the camera offers more resolution, with a 10.2-megapixel sensor (the D40's is 6.1), a faster 2.5 fps burst rate and a wider ISO range. It retains that comfortable, lightweight build, while capturing top-notch photos with a user-friendly menu system and controls. The D40x uses the same engine as the D200 and the same 3D Color Matrix Metering II system as the D80. Estimated Street Price: $679 (body only). Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-UX, www.nikonusa.com.—KC

Panasonic PT-P1SDU ProjectorPanasonic PT-P1SDU Projector
Whether for entertaining family and friends with slideshows or giving professional presentations, the Panasonic PT-P1SDU is a little, high-resolution projector that generates 1,500 ANSI lumens of brightness so you'll have no problem seeing photos, graphics, movies or whatever you're projecting. At three pounds and 2.5x9.2x7.4 inches, the PT-P1SDU is easy to store and transport. It also has slideshow creation features, and you can plug in SD cards directly. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.—HM

Olympus PT-E03 Housing For The EVOLT E-410Olympus PT-E03 Housing For The EVOLT E-410
As a PADI scuba instructor and an avid underwater photographer, I'm constantly on the lookout for gear that's capable, easy to use and easy to travel with. The Olympus EVOLT E-410 is a compact D-SLR that takes the full collection of Zuiko lenses. Combined with the PT-E03 housing, the camera gives me excellent image quality in a reasonably compact package. I can go from wide-angle to macro by switching lenses and housing ports, and the camera has live-view on the LCD monitor, which is often easier to see than the viewfinder. And the setup can accommodate sophisticated flash units with full TTL metering in the camera! Whether you love diving like me or you want to be able to shoot your best snorkeling shots during your tropical vacation, the PT-E03 with an EVOLT E-410 is an excellent choice. Estimated Street Price: $749 (housing only). Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, www.olympusamerica.com.—CR

Tamron AF18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) LensTamron AF18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Lens
The remarkable focal-length range of the Tamron AF18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) lens makes it an ideal choice for outdoor photography. Optimized for APS-C-sensor D-SLRs, the lens touts a 28-388mm (35mm equivalent) range with a 13.9:1 zoom ratio for true wide-angle to super-telephoto coverage. Plus, it has a 1:3.5 macro magnification ratio for focusing on close-by subjects. The high-power zoom is just 3.3 inches long and weighs 15.2 ounces. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Pentax/Samsung and Sony/Maxxum mounts. Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron.com.—KC

Lowepro Vertex 200 AWLowepro Vertex 200 AW
When it's just you and your gear in the wild—with no shelter—protection from the elements is essential. Lowepro's Vertex series of backpacks is designed to keep your camera, lenses and accessories dry and padded, whatever the weather throws at you, with water-resistant zippers and a seam-sealed All Weather Cover that shields the pack when things get extreme. Available in three sizes, I like the midsized Vertex 200 AW, which has enough room for two SLR bodies and up to six lenses, plus a padded pocket for a 15-inch laptop. You can even attach your tripod to the pack. Estimated Street Price: $229. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.—WP

Lensbaby 3GLensbaby 3G
What began as more of a novelty for me has become a full-fledged, must-have, well-used photography accessory. While other versions of the Lensbabies are good tools, it's the Lensbaby 3G that I find indispensable. The 3G model has a lockable feature that allows me to create the tilt/shift effect I want, lock it down while I fine-tune focus and more easily hold the camera steady because I don't have to hold the Lensbaby while I'm shooting. The 3G can be used from ƒ/2 to ƒ/22, and the optics are low-dispersion and sharp. Estimated Street Price: $270. Contact: Lensbabies, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbabies.com.—CR


Sony Alpha A700


Sony Alpha A700

The just-released Sony Alpha A700 D-SLR is loaded with features, including an on-board HDMI connection for high-quality image playback on high-definition screens optimized for Sony's Bravia HDTV sets. The A700 has also transferred A/D conversion to the 12.2-megapixel CMOS sensor for a noticeable reduction in noise levels, and the shiny three-inch LCD features 200-plus dpi for sharp preview resolution. Compatibility with a wide range of lenses, including Sony's G lenses, Carl Zeiss lenses and Konica Minolta Alpha-mount lenses, provides extensive shooting options for every situation. List Price: TBA.
Contact: Sony, (877) 865-SONY, www.sonystyle.com.—DW

Sigma 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 DC OSSigma 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 DC OS
For a long time, lens-based image-stabilization technology was available only from camera makers, but now affordable third-party alternatives are coming to market. Designed for use with APS-C-sized image sensors, Sigma's 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 DC OS lens delivers a perfect range for most outdoor photography, from wide-angle to moderate telephoto. Sigma's OS (Optical Stabilizer) system detects vertical and horizontal movement and compensates for camera shake. It can also detect panning and correct vertical shake only for smoother shots when following action. List Price: $820. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com.—WP

Lexar 8 GB 133x CF cardLexar 8 GB 133x CF Card
Can you really have too much memory available when you're shooting? A couple of years ago, I was pretty excited to have a bunch of 512 MB and a couple of 1 GB CF cards in my bag. Today, I can go on a vacation with a single Lexar 8 GB CF card and practically never need to do a download. The 133x Lexar Professional CF card is fast enough to keep up with my professional digital SLR. Estimated Street Price: $209. Contact: Lexar, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.—CR

Wacom Intuos3 6x11 Widescreen TabletWacom Intuos3 6x11 Widescreen Tablet
Photoshop is even more powerful and pre
cise when you add a pressure-sensitive pen tablet to your digital darkroom tools. Designed specifically for the aspect ratio of increasingly prevalent widescreen displays, Wacom's Intuos3 6x11 tablet includes a pen tool for making pressure-controlled enhancements and a wireless mouse for added convenience. I especially like the ExpressKeys, which can be programmed for frequently used shortcuts, and the Touch Strips that allow you to zoom, scroll or change brush sizes with a quick slide of the finger. Estimated Street Price: $399.
Contact:
Wacom, (800) 922-9348, www.wacom.com.—WP

Tamrac Expedition 7 Photo Backpack

Tamrac Expedition 7 Photo Backpack
With so many camera bags to choose from, the rugged Tamrac Expedition 7 stands out because it's designed to keep you comfortable and your gear safe in the h
arshest weather. The foam-padded main compartment contains adjustable dividers (also foam-padded) to protect multiple pro SLRs, a full range of lenses and flash units. Three mesh pockets inside the front flap organize filters, film and other accessories, and the foam-padded platform at the bottom is shock-protected. Dual-Density Comfort Pads, a dual-pivoting waist belt and cinch straps on the shoulder harness maximize carrying comfort. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.—KC

Epson P-5000 Multimedia Storage DriveEpson P-5000 Multimedia Storage Drive
Weighing less than a pound, the Epson P-5000 Multimedia Storage Drive lets you review, organize, store and print thousands of images while you're in the field. The viewer features a high-capacity, 80 GB hard drive and a large four-inch, four-color LCD screen featuring 16.7 million colors. Impressive image quality and a handy zoom feature allow precise viewing of RAW files during any type of shoot. You'll also be free to transfer videos and music anywhere, anytime. It's the ideal on-the-go solution. List Price: $699. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com.—SW

Novoflex MagicBall 50 Universal BallheadNovoflex MagicBall 50 Universal Ballhead
A versatile unit for all types of photographers, the Novoflex MagicBall Universal is revolutionary in design and carefully constructed to allow an extensive range of adjustment of nearly 120 degrees in all directions. Recommended for equipment up to 15 pounds, this smooth and stable ballhead features integrated friction control that allows the unit to be adjusted to any camera weight. Estimated Street Price: $335. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com. —SW

Buck Knives 730 X-Tract Multi-ToolBuck Knives 730 X-Tract Multi-Tool
If you're going to spend time in the field, you're going to need a multi-tool, one of those handy all-in-one devices that incorporates tools like a knife blade, needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, Phillips and slotted screwdrivers, and even a can/bottle opener. The cool-looking 730 X-Tract contains all that in a form that allows for one-handed operation and good leverage and includes a metal lanyard loop. List Price: $50. Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825, www.buckknives.com. —MS


Mpix Gallery Wraps

Mpix Gallery Wraps
For high-quality prints and a fast turnaround without the hassle of heading to the lab, try Mpix, an online division of Miller's Professional Imaging that offers a host of solutions, including Gallery Wraps. Images are printed on premier art canvas substrate and wrapped around a 1.5-inch-wide wooden stretcher frame, a beautiful way to showcase your work, plus they'll arrive ready to hang. Sizes range from 11x14 up to 24x30 inches. A perfect fit for your home or office. List Price: From $70 to $150. Contact: Mpix, www.mpix.com. —SW

Kirk BH-1 Panning Ballhead

Kirk BH-1 Panning Ballhead
Superior feel and tension control are a couple of the reasons why the Kirk BH-1 Panning Ballhead earns such high marks. Weighing a mere 30 ounces and designed with the suggestions of photographers in mind, this light yet rugged precision ballhead features internal stainless-steel and brass parts to avoid corrosion with a hard aluminum exterior to protect from impact in the field. Solid, compact and easy to adjust, it may soon become your standard ballhead in an outdoor setting. List Price: $355. Contact: Kirk Enterprises, (800) 626-5074, www.kirkphoto.com. —SW

Nik Software Dfine 2.0Nik Software Dfine 2.0
Since noise is still an issue with digital imagery, especially when using higher ISOs in low-light conditions,this is a plug-in worth adding to your collection. I like to shoot a lot at night, especially during the last hour before dark, so I use this plug-in quite a bit to clean things up. This latest version uses U Point technology for placing Control Points on a photograph and selectively adjusting the amount of contrast and color noise reduction. List Price: $99. Contact: Nik Software, (888) 284-4085, www.niksoftware.com. —HM


Canon PowerShot G9

Canon PowerShot G9Even with the high-build quality of today's digital SLRs, it's still a good idea to carry a backup camera in the field. If you want to save space, a compact zoom like Canon's 12-megapixel PowerShot G9 is a small, lightweight alternative to an additional SLR body. The 6x zoom ranges from 35mm to 210mm and is image-stabilized. New to the G Series, this model offers a three-inch LCD, compatibility with Canon Speedlites and a RAW capture mode. It's also a perfect camera for casual shooting situations, when you don't want to carry your D-SLR. List Price: $499. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com. —WP

Tokina AT-X 107 DX AF 10-17mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 Fish-EyeTokina AT-X 107 DX AF 10-17mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 Fish-Eye
With 180 degrees of wide-angle fish-eye view, Tokina's AT-X 107 DX AF 10-17mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 Fish-Eye lens distorts images, creating an unusual peephole-like perspective. An ability unique to this fish-eye, the focus length can be zoomed in for the lens to function as a wide-angle. With one lens, I captured landscapes that began at my feet and extended to the sky, 100-degree wide-angles and close-ups of subjects that appeared entirely separate from backgrounds that were just inches away. Estimated Street Price: $529. Contact: THK Photo Products, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com. —DW

LaCie Big Disk Extreme+LaCie Big Disk Extreme+
Every time I buy a big new hard drive, I'm positive that it's the last one I'll need. Of course, a year's worth of images later, and I need more capacity. With a massive two terabytes of storage, the LaCie Big Disk Extreme+ may finally be the last external hard drive I'll need. With 32 MB of cache and triple-interface connectivity, including FireWire 800, large volumes of sizable files transfer quickly and securely. Not to mention that LaCie's body designs are just plain awesome. Estimated Street Price: $849. Contact: LaCie, (503) 844-4500, www.lacie.com.—DW

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