In Focus: September 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.
Go from wide-angle to telephoto range with a constant ƒ/4 maximum aperture using the smc Pentax DA 17-70mm ƒ/4 AL [IF] SDM. The 17.1-ounce lens covers a 4.1x focal range of 26-107mm (35mm equivalent) on Pentax D-SLRs. Some of the standout features include a 0.31x maximum magnification, an 11-inch close-focus distance and a QuickShift Focus System for instant switching from auto to manual focus. Pentax SP coating protects the lens surface from grease, water and dust. List Price: $599. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155,
photography gear

Create impressive color and black-and-white prints using the Epson R2880, a 13-inch, wide-format printer that replaces the R2400 in the pantheon of Epson high-end photo printers. The R2880 continues Epson’s Stylus Pro line by using nine inks based on the UltraChrome K3 Vivid Magenta ink set for a wider color gamut. Improved reds, blues and purples, along with three levels of black, deliver better gray balance and tonal range. Radiance Technology enhances color transitions and reduces grain by improving highlight and shadow detail as well as color consistency. Estimated Street Price: $799. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON,
photography gear

Record ultra-sharp, high-definition video of your next adventure with the Panasonic HDC-HS100. The camera records to both an SD memory card and its internal 60 GB hard drive. Depending on how much control you want, the camera offers full manual controls and an intelligent Auto mode. With this setting, several technologies like Optical Image Stabilization, Face Detection and Intelligent Contrast Control are activated automatically so you don’t have to make any adjustments. The HDC-HS100 records in the AVCHD codec at full 1920 x 1080 resolution and uses the Leica Dicomer lens system, which includes 12 lenses. List Price: $1,299. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA,
photography gear

On the heels of its newest FX-format (full-frame) D-SLR, the D700, Nikon has released an upgrade to the i-TTL Speedlight SB-800, the Speedlight SB-900. The flash improves on zoom range, with coverage from 17mm to 200mm for FX or as wide as 12mm for DX-format D-SLRs. The SB-900 allows you to set three different lighting distributions: Center-weighted for a center-dominant-based flash; Standard mode for the same distribution as the SB-800; and Even, which evenly covers the entire frame, from center all the way to the edges. It incorporates wireless i-TTL technology, which allows full control over the unit off the camera and syncing to multiple Speedlights. The SB-900 assists with autofocus with an AF assist beam that covers the D3, D700 and D300’s 51 focus points (when used with a focal range from 20mm to 105mm). Estimated Street Price: $499. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US,

photography gear

With more than 30 square feet of space, the Marmot Aura 2 Tent manages to stay light, weighing just four pounds. The creative utilization of the poles helps create a functional and versatile lightweight backpacking tent with a roomy vestibule for wet-weather living. Double doors and double vestibules create living comfort, and the optional Bare Bones Setup allows the fly to be used by itself with an optional ground sheet. Estimated Street Price: $250. Contact: Marmot, (888) 357-3262,
photography gear

The Chasseral Multi-Temperature Sleeping Bag from Wenger features a removable, insulated comfort top, which helps keep you warm in temperatures anywhere from 10° F to 40° F—ideal if you camp at varying elevations where temperature swings are common. The Chasseral is filled with Climashield XP insulation, which offers warmth, loft and durability, yet easily compresses for lightweight, compact transportation and storage. The bag measures 32 x 84 inches and has a carry weight of 3 pounds, 5 ounces. List Price: $199. Contact: Wenger,
photography gear

Know exactly where you’re going on your next journey by loading your GPS with DeLorme’s Topo USA 7.0 mapping software. In this latest version, there are four million searchable places of interest and new modes for creating car, bike and foot routes. An easy-to-use navigation bar provides quick access to often-used features like GPS settings and the Measure function for measuring distances and areas on a map. You can see the terrain of a place in vivid detail through 3-D map views and controls. List Price: $99. Contact: DeLorme, (800) 561-5105,
photography gear

Keep your feet comfortable regardless of the temperature in Bogs Boots Osmosis MT model. Using four-way stretch, waterproof and breathable neoprene, the boots keep water out and perspiration can escape. Under the outer shell is a breathable, perforated foam pad and a 2mm air mesh lining that removes moisture. A neoprene sock liner eliminates friction and adjusts to fit any foot width. List Price: $90. Contact: Bogs Boots, (800) 201-2070,
photography gear

Create the look typically produced by using special selective-focus or tilt-shift lenses with FocalPoint 1.0 by onOne Software. The FocusBug control allows you to quickly define the “sweet spot” either in a round shape or a plane and then control how much and what kind of blur you want to add. The same tool allows you to add vignettes, which lightens or darkens the area outside of the sweet spot. Both effects are designed to help viewers focus on the subject and not the background. Using the FocusBug, you can also tilt the sweet spot aperture in 3D, simulating the effect of a view camera or tilt-shift lens. List Price: $159. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468,
photography gear

Mac users now can take advantage of the sleek, smartly designed backup solutions offered by Western Digital with My Passport Studio. The portable drive comes in capacities of up to 320 GB, so you can back up images while out on the road. The drive supports Time Machine, Apple’s backup software utility in the Leopard operating system. Weighing less than five ounces, My Passport Studio comes with FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 interfaces. A smart capacity gauge lets you know how much space is left. List Price: $219 (320 GB); $159 (250 GB). Contact: Western Digital, (877) 934-6972,
photography gear

Nikon’s Capture NX2 imaging software takes a major step forward with improved Control Point technology and workspaces that make better use of the screen layout. Expanding from the first version’s Color Control Point tool, the Selection Control Point tool lets you make nearly any adjustment to a specific area by clicking on the image and using sliders to change it—D-Lighting, brightness, color, focus, correction and noise reduction all can be changed using this technology. The newly developed Auto Retouch Brush allows you to clear away spots and blemishes in a few mouse strokes. List Price: $179. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US,
photography gear

books n such

Canada by Daryl Benson (Cullor Books, 2008; ISBN: 978-0968457641). A collection of 144 color and black-and-white images fill this beautifully bound, hardcover edition. From the Queen Charlotte Islands of western British Columbia to the eastern edge of Cape Spear in Newfoundland and Labrador, Benson crisscrosses his homeland. He also includes a series of short stories on his travels and experiences while photographing.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6: A Visual Introduction to Digital Photography by Philip Andrews (Focal Press 2007, ISBN: 978-0-240-52099-5). Learn all of the ins and outs of the software’s latest version with step-by-step tutorials and a CD containing more than two hours of video lessons. There’s also a website,

Our Arizona by Kerrick James (Voyageur Press, 2007; ISBN: 978-0-7603-2837-8). From the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert to the Petrified Forest and Monument Valley, James captures and explores Arizona’s history, culture and natural beauty in this coffee-table book. He takes readers on a tour of historic towns, missions and forts.

The Creative Digital Darkroom by Katrin Eismann and Sean Duggan (O’Reilly, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-596-10047-6). Traditional darkroom techniques and concepts are translated into digital solutions using Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom. This how-to guide is ideal for intermediate and advanced photographers.

Great Smoky Mountains by Steve Kossack ( In his latest DVD, Kossack photographs the mountain range, capturing the beautiful colors of fall. Throughout the shoot, he delivers tips and techniques for improving landscape photos. The DVD is part of his Photographing the Great American Landscape series.

Known for giving its bags unusual names, Crumpler is just as creative when it comes to the design. The Rufous Whistler is a limited edition of the bag maker’s most popular photo bag, The 5 Million Dollar Home. The bag has a Velcro® silencing option for quiet, but quick access. Features include a padded and brushed nylon-lined main compartment, configurable dividers and a plastic stiffening base layer. There’s also an external pocket with an internal mesh pocket, two hidden internal side pockets, a mesh zip pocket under clip and a Velcro® release flap. The shoulder strap is adjustable. List Price: $90. Contact: Crumpler Bags, (718) 384-3020,

With nearly 10,000 cubic inches of space, you can store multiple camera bodies and lenses in the Pelican 1730 Transport Case with room left over for tripods, flash units and other accessories. If you’re going on a road trip, put the case in your car for safely storing gear or keep it at home. The design allows you to stack multiple units for more storage space. For easy manual transport, the case comes with two doublewide handles and rugged polyurethane wheels with stainless-steel ball bearings and nylon hubs for extended towing durability. An integrated automatic pressure equalization valve keeps moisture out. List Price: $549. Contact: Pelican Products,

Designed for cameras with M mounts, the Carl Zeiss C Biogon T* 2.8/35 ZM is a compact wide prime compatible with Zeiss and Leica rangefinder cameras. Weighing just 7 ounces and measuring 2.2 inches, the ƒ/2.8 lens has a minimum focusing distance of 2.3 feet. The company touts the lens as delivering practically distortion-free images because of a symmetrical Biogon construction with seven lens elements in five groups. List Price: $817. Contact: Carl Zeiss,

Capture fast-moving wildlife and action in high-definition video on your next trip with the light, sleekly designed Canon VIXIA HF10 camcorder. Offering plenty of cool features at a reasonable price, the HF10 is Canon’s first flash-based camcorder, meaning no moving parts, and that makes for a lighter, more compact body. You can record up to six hours of high-definition video to the 16 GB internal Flash drive with the option of recording to an SDHC memory card. (The less expensive VIXIA HF100 only features built-in memory.) Both models include a Genuine Canon 12x HD Video lens and a 3.3-megapixel CMOS sensor for full 1920 x 1080 capture. List Price: $1,099 (HF10); $899 (HF100). Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON,

Expand the creative possibilities of what you can do with your images using ACDSee Photo Editor 2008. Along with faster processing times and built-in How-To guides for all of the different features, there are some 70 artistic effects, including Sepia and Gaussian Blur, that can be added, deleted or customized. You also can crop images with shape tools, create your own curve with the Trim to Shape feature and blend images together using masks. List Price: $49. Contact: ACD Systems,

Give your photography a different look using Hahnemühle Art Print papers when it’s time to print. The lineup features Aquarello 170 gsm for watercolor-like prints, Pastell 170 gsm for pastel reproduction, Photo Velvet 170 gsm with a smooth surface for printing photos on art media, Photo Glossy Premium 200 gsm with great color saturation properties and Artist Canvas 340 gsm for replicating oil and acrylic paintings. The papers come in 8½x11-inch sheets in packs of five or 10. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $15. Contact: Hahnemühle, (815) 502-5880,