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In Focus: January/February 2009

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This Article Features Photo Zoom
Named for Ono no Komachi, a famous Japanese poet, Olympus delivers the limited-edition E-420 Komachi Kit, which includes the compact D-SLR and the ED 25mm ƒ/2.8 Zuiko Digital lens in a vintage-looking, handmade brown leather case. With the camera weighing just over a pound and the lens just 3.5 ounces, portability is the focus here. Billed as the world’s smallest D-SLR, the 10-megapixel camera incorporates Live View with instant autofocus, Shadow Adjustment technology and Perfect Shot preview. The kit also includes a 1 GB CompactFlash memory card. Estimated Street Price: $749. Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448,
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Maximize your focal length when photographing wildlife and landscapes using the Sigma APO 150-500mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM telephoto lens. The APO 150-500mm features Optical Stabilizer image-stabilization technology that lets you shoot at shutter speeds up to four stops slower and a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for fast autofocusing. The lens is constructed with special low-dispersion glass and a rear focusing system that helps minimize aberrations. It’s available for Canon, Nikon and Sigma mount D-SLRs. List Price: $1,450. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858,
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Give your video camera steady support with the Manfrotto 547B Professional Video Tripod. The unit weighs 5.1 pounds, yet can hold up to 33 pounds. To enhance its rigidity, the 547B was designed with technopolymers incorporated into the upper casting and on the leg collars, resulting in greater stability. Also included are a mid-level fixed spreader and retractable spiked rubber feet. The tripod is sold on its own or with the 701HDV professional video head. Estimated Street Price: $240 (547B); $300 (547B with 701HDV). Contact: Bogen Imaging, (201) 818-9500,
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The Lowepro Flipside 400AW is a backpack you can wear all day long and have easy access to your gear. It has the same design features as the smaller Flipside bags—such as getting to your camera through a unique back-entry compartment, adjustable dividers, padded waist belt and back pad—but the 400AW holds more with room for a professional D-SLR with attached 300mm ƒ/2.8 lens, plus four to six additional lenses, a flash and other extras. The bag also includes Lowepro’s patented, built-in All Weather Cover. Estimated Street Price: $189. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE,
in focus 2009
Camera white-balance presets aren’t always the most accurate. The BRNO baLens cap is designed to correct this even when you’re facing difficult lighting conditions. Simply squeeze both side tabs of the cap for easy placing on the lens. Take a reference exposure with the camera set on manual-focus/auto-exposure mode. The cap then allows the setting of a custom white balance based on the actual color temperature of the light source. The cap is available in standard 52mm to 77mm sizes. Estimated Street Price: $44 to $64. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373,
in focus 2009

This Article Features Photo Zoom

in focus 2009
Shells strike the perfect balance of comfort, warmth and mobility so you can stay outside when it’s cold. The Cloudveil Koven Plus is designed with a waterproof membrane that opens up to enhance breathability when you get hot and contracts when you cool down. The fabric seals out water, while stretchy material in the shoulders, elbows and sides changes form to become more breathable as your body temp rises. Estimated Street Price: $440. Contact: Cloudveil, (877) 255-8345,
in focus 2009
Head out on a weekend camping trip with the Kelty Locus 40 backpack. The top-loading pack fits your gear in one big compartment and boasts an impressive weight-to-capacity ratio. The mesh shoulder straps and hip belt enhance comfort. Its Aero Fly suspension system delivers four-way ventilation that helps keep you dry while hiking. Estimated Street Price: $150. Contact: Kelty, (800) 423-2320,
in focus 2009
Every outdoor enthusiast needs a solid pair of binoculars. The MINOX APO HG binoculars are rugged and lightweight, and come with a protective rubber armor coating. The glass is designed to deliver natural color, high contrast and minimal glare, with aspherical lenses inside the eyepieces providing consistent sharpness. A new multicoating developed for this model repels water, dust and dirt. With a single turn of the focus knob, you quickly can go from close-up to infinity. Estimated Street Price: $1,799 (8.5×43); $1,849 (10×43). Contact: MINOX, (866) 469-3080,
in focus 2009
The Command 20 Tactical Headlamp from FoxFury delivers ample panoramic lighting, hands-free use and a comfortable fit. With 20 LEDs providing 44.5 lumens, the light has three modes with various levels of intensity. An adjustable beam angle allows you to direct light where needed, reducing head or neck fatigue. The waterproof, impact-resistant lamp weighs 8.3 ounces and provides up to 32 hours of full power. Estimated Street Price: $74. Contact: FoxFury, (760) 945-4231,
in focus 2009

This Article Features Photo Zoom

The second generation of Tenba’s Shootout Convertible Photo Sling Bag is smaller, but still fits a D-SLR with mounted 300mm telephoto lens. What makes this bag great for wildlife and nature photographers is that, at a moment’s notice, you can swing the bag around to the front of your body, pull out the camera and shoot. Removable padded walls let you fit a variety of camera-lens combinations. Taking the walls out completely converts it into a long-lens bag. The Photo Sling is made from water-resistant nylon, uses weather-sealed YKK zippers on all outside openings and has protective rubber bottom treads. Estimated Street Price: $103. Contact: Tenba, (914) 347-3300,
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Carry the Kingston 32 GB Data Traveler 150 when you’re on the road as a simple, portable backup. The 32 GB of capacity is a real boon for photographers who take a lot of images when traveling. Measuring just 3x1x0.5 inches, the USB flash drive is compatible with Mac- and Windows-based operating systems. Estimated Street Price: $139. Contact: Kingston, (877) KINGSTON,
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Expand your landscapes to massive sizes using the upgraded Genuine Fractals 6 from onOne Software. A new batch-processing tool makes workflow more efficient, allowing you to select multiple files for resizing, changing file names, saving to a new location or file type and more. The app now includes texture presets that give you an easy way of fine-tuning the algorithm that powers the program. A cool tiling feature splits images into pieces for printing on smaller printers. The Pro version includes support for Lightroom 2 and Aperture 2.1. Estimated Street Price: $159 (Standard); $299 (Pro). Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468,
in focus 2009
Whether used as fill light to better illuminate the foreground of a landscape or for capturing more detail in macro shots, a flash can make a dramatic difference in your outdoor photography. The long-lasting wireless Qflash TRIO QF8 combines a Qflash head with a built-in FreeXwire TTL radio and QTTL adapter. It fits on the camera hot-shoe. The unit’s radio sends TTL commands to remote Qflash TRIO units. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Quantum Instruments, (631) 656-7400,
in focus 2009

Get the distance needed for photographing wildlife or sports using the compact and very affordable Pro-Optic 500mm ƒ/6.3 Mirror lens. The ultra-tele has a fixed aperture of ƒ/6.3, a minimum focusing distance of 6.1 inches and weighs just 25 ounces. Measuring less than five inches long, it won’t take up too much room in your backpack. A T-mount adapter screws onto the lens to fit almost any SLR. Estimated Street Price: $160. Contact: Adorama, (800) 223-2500,
in focus 2009
To capture spontaneous wildlife shots, you need quick access to your camera. The Tamrac Aero Speed Pack 85 allows you to do that with a convenient side-door entry option. When wearing the bag over your shoulder, you can bring it around to the front and use the side door to get your camera. Traditional front-panel access also is an option when the pack is removed. It fits a D-SLR with grip and attached zoom, two to three lenses and accessories. A foam-padded laptop compartment holds most 17-inch notebooks. Estimated Street Price: $149. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717,

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Convert those prized photographs shot on film to digital files using the HP Scanjet G3110 Photo Scanner. You can scan four 35mm slides at once, or one strip of film with up to five frames. The scanner features some impressive specs, with 4800 x 9600 dpi resolution and 48-bit color. There also are options for restoring color to faded photos, removing dust and scratches, and applying adaptive lighting to fix backlighting and other problems. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: HP, (800) 752-0900,
The next time you head out to capture the outdoors on video, protect your equipment in the Broadcast Trailer Professional Backpack from Petrol Bags. Designed for professional use, the bag has two padded main compartments along with six removable dividers that create pockets for organizing batteries, cables, filters and other accessories. You can remove the dividers in the lower compartment for storing personal items. Other features include nine exterior pockets for additional storage, plus the Viewfinder compartment is reinforced with cold-molded laminate panels for extra protection. List Price: $425. Contact: Camera Dynamics Inc., (845) 268-0100,
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Built with the needs of photographers in mind, the Lenovo ThinkPad W700 packs a ton of useful features into its eight-pound frame. A built-in digitizer that basically serves as a mini-Wacom tablet sits below an integrated color calibrator that automatically adjusts the display’s color. Other key specs include optional dual hard drives with RAID configurations, up to 8 GB of RAM and a 7-in-1 multi-card reader. The 17-inch screen delivers WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution. Estimated Street Price: $2,978. Contact: Lenovo, (866) 96-THINK,
Using the Microsoft Windows Home Server, you can get to your images from home, the office or the road. The software platform, which is based on the Windows Server 2003 operating system, gives you a central location to back up, access, share and store your digital content. The program is powered by hardware such as HP’s MediaSmart Server, which comes in 500 GB and 1 TB versions. Home Server comes with a secure, personalized website address for sharing images, and it’s easy to add storage as needed. Estimated Street Price: $599 (500 GB); $749 (1 TB). Contact: Microsoft, (800) 642-7676,; HP, (800) 752-0900,
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Give yourself some room when working with images on-screen using the bright, 26-inch LCD desktop monitor from NEC Display Solutions. The MultiSync Enterprise Advanced Series EA261WM widescreen display features 1920 x 1200 resolution, a 1000:1 contrast ratio and a 5 ms response time. Also included are built-in speakers, a headphone jack, 4-port USB hub and HDMI capability with an adapter. Estimated Street Price: $679. Contact: NEC Display Solutions, (866) NEC-MORE,
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The Skin Collection by Think Tank Photo is a series of thin, flexible bags designed for Think Tank Photo belts or regular belts. They lay flat when empty, freeing up space in your cases. The five-piece set is sized to hold a 16-35mm lens, a 70-200mm lens, up to two 70-200mm lenses, a pro-sized SLR and a flash unit. A front pocket provides room for accessories and a seam-sealed rain cover is included. Estimated Street Price: $149 (complete set). Contact: Think Tank Photo, (866) 55-THINK,
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Tweak white balance using the Sekonic PRODIGI COLOR C-500 color-temperature meter. It measures light and displays color temperature calibrated for both digital sensors and film. The device is particularly useful when dealing with difficult lighting. Ambient brightness is displayed in either footcandles or lux. The data display is electro-luminescent and automatically comes on to illuminate readings under low light. The C-500R incorporates a flash-triggering, radio-transmitter module. Estimated Street Price: $974 (C-500): $1,072 (C-500R). Contact: Sekonic, (914) 347-3300,
in focus 2009
in focus 2009
Impressions of Light—Digital Edition
by William Neill (Sadhna Press, 2008). OP columnist William Neill has spent the last few years working on this portfolio of his favorite images. The book was designed using Adobe’s InDesign. It’s delivered as two PDF files. The first contains single pages, while the second shows two-page spreads, allowing you to view the book as it was originally designed.

Inspiration Texas Style
by Wyman Meinzer (Badlands Blue Star Publishing, 2008; ISBN: 978-0979890703). Photographs showing a cross-section of Texans are paired with quotes about the state and what it means to them. Meinzer has been named the state’s official photographer and has published a variety of books about Texas.

Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure: Mastering Adobe’s Next-Generation Tool for Digital Photographers by Mikkel Aaland (O’Reilly, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-596-52101-1). The award-winning photographer uses hands-on knowledge from a recent photo trip to show you how Lightroom 2 can improve your workflow. He guides you step-by-step through all of the application’s modules.

Spiders: The Ultimate Predators by Stephen Dalton (Firefly Books, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-55407-346-7). Through 250 colorful, detail-rich photographs, the book chronicles various spider species, with the images arranged according to how they catch their prey. In-depth knowledge on spider anatomy, habitat and hunting techniques also is provided.

Pro Photographer’s D-SLR Handbook by Michael Freeman (Lark Books, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-60059-422-9). This comprehensive guide covers high-res sensors, image stabilization, dust reduction and more. You’ll learn about different file formats, explore valuable software tools and basic image-processing programs, and find out how to improve pictures using cropping and filtering techniques.