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In Focus: January/February 2011

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The Pentax K-5 is housed in the same water-resistant, weather-sealed body as its predecessor, the K-7, but it’s packed with pro-level upgrades that include a 16.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 7 fps frame rate and full 1080p HD video at 25 fps. The 11-point SAFOX IX+ autofocus system has a light-source-detection sensor that optimizes the camera’s autofocus based on light wavelength, so autofocus is faster, even in low light. The high-sensitivity, 80-12,800 ISO range is expandable to 51,200 with improved noise performance. Sound can be recorded with video via a built-in microphone or an external 3.5mm stereo microphone jack. In-camera HDR processing also has been enhanced with more blending modes and better image alignment of handheld shots. Estimated Street Price: $1,599. Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155,

Make prints that show all of the bright colors and sharp details you captured in-camera with the 17-inch Epson Stylus Pro 4900. Producing a wide color gamut at fast speeds, the printer incorporates many of the technologies found in the large-format Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900. It uses a one-inch-wide, 360-nozzle-per-channel MicroPiezo TFP printhead that delivers accurate dot shape and placement of the printer’s 10 separate ink channels. The 10-color, pigment-based UltraChrome HDR ink system includes orange, green and automatic switching between Matte and Photo Black. Ink-repelling coating and auto nozzle-verification technologies help to significantly reduce clogging. List Price: $2,495. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON,

The Sigma 85mm ƒ/1.4 EX DG HSM is a fast-aperture medium-telephoto lens designed for full-frame DSLRs. The lens also can be used on cameras with APS-C-sized sensors, which increases the focal length to 127.5mm. If you do a lot of low-light shooting, the ƒ/1.4 aperture makes this lens particularly worthy of consideration. SLD glass and a glass mold element ensure color correction is achieved for all types of aberrations. A rear focus system minimizes fluctuation of aberration caused by focusing, and the Super Multi Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting. List Price: $1,400. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858,
Carry your DSLR and iPad or netbook discreetly in the Tamrac Rally 5, which doesn’t look like a camera bag. It holds a DSLR with up to a six-inch lens attached, as well as additional lenses, a flash and accessories. An interior foam-padded compartment holds an iPad or a netbook with a 10.1-inch screen. The bag is designed with a body-hugging, slim profile to avoid slowing you down in a crowded or hectic setting. The zippered front pocket and an open back pocket provide extra storage for manuals, accessories and other extras. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717,
The next time you hit the road, take all of your digital content with you using the G-Drive Slim from G-Technology. Inside the sleek-looking, five-ounce unit is a rugged Hitachi GST 7mm Travelstar Z5K320 drive that provides 320 GB of storage and USB 2.0 connectivity in a 5x3x0.4-inch frame. A solid aluminum enclosure acts as a heat sink for keeping the internal drive cool and data protected. Shock protection and quiet acoustics make it ideal for using in the home, at work or on the road. The G-Drive Slim is formatted for Macs with Time Machine compatibility for added backup protection. Estimated Street Price: $99. Contact: G-Technology, (310) 449-4599,

This Article Features Photo Zoom
in focus 2009
Ideal as a mid- or outer layer, the Baffin jacket from Marmot is lightweight, yet still provides lots of warmth. It features Marmot’s durable Thermal R Eco insulation powered by Thermo°Cool Fibers sewn into light 15 Denier fabrics for warmth and comfort. The recycled synthetic insulation maximizes warmth and reduces the adverse effects of perspiration, condensation and humidity inside the garment. Other features include hassle-free elastic cuffs, a Napoleon zippered chest pocket and reflective logos. Estimated Street Price: $150. Contact: Marmot, (888) 357-3262,

The rugged, 130-lumen Gorillatorch Blade from Joby is just the kind of tactical LED flashlight needed in the outdoors. A high-efficiency, long-lasting LED provides intense light output that can be adjusted from spot to flood. With 360º pan/180º tilt capability, you can illuminate even the toughest-to-reach spaces. The flashlight is constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum, making it lightweight, durable and scratch-resistant. The lithium-ion battery is easily recharged using an included USB cable or AC adapter. Estimated Street Price: $59. Contact: Joby, (888) 569-5629,
The Minox MD 8×42 CWP monocular delivers powerful 8x magnification, an impressive field of view of 371 feet at 1,000 yards and an accurate, integrated analog compass. A fine reticle is included in the compass for determining the range of targeted objects and helping navigate you through unknown territory. The MD 8×42 is waterproof to 10 feet and weighs just 13 ounces, and its nonslip rubber body provides a solid, comfortable grip. Estimated Street Price: $109. Contact: Minox, (866) 469-3080,
The Tech4o Traileader Jet looks like a normal watch, but it offers so much more, packing in multiple tools for navigating the wildest of places. A precision altimeter and digital compass keep you headed in the right direction, while a barometer and thermometer monitor weather conditions. An onboard accelerometer measures speed and distance. The display features nonglare mineral glass housed in a compact, rugged stainless-steel case. Estimated Street Price: $159. Contact: Tech4o, (800) 572-8822,

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Perfect Resize is the next generation of onOne Software’s popular Genuine Fractals program. Some of the new features include sharper detail refinement when enlarging images, more gallery wrap and tiling options (Pro version), and interface enhancements. You can adjust the smoothness of curved edges to minimize artifacts, useful when resizing a
low-resolution file. Two new methods allow small details to be made sharper without causing halos on larger edges. The first technique targets out-of-focus images and the second adapts the sharpening amount automatically to the size of image details. The program supports Photoshop CS2 and higher and can be used directly from within Lightroom and Aperture. Estimated Street Price: $159 (Standard); $299 (Professional). Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468,

Keep your camera steady with support from the Manfrotto Pro Tripod 057. Features include a load capacity ranging from 26.5 to 39.7 pounds, a maximum height of nearly 80 inches and different configuration options for meeting your specific needs. Two sizes of leg extensions are available at 52 inches and 71 inches, and there are two different column types. One model features a gradual adjustment mechanism with an aluminum column for high precision, and the other features a classic rapid adjustment with a carbon column for quick changes. An innovative design and good ergonomics make the tripod easy to handle. Estimated Street Price: $751 to $912. Contact: Manfrotto, (201) 818-9500,

Wherever your photographic pursuits take you, make sure your gear is safe and protected by using a bag like the Camsafe 200 Camera Shoulder Bag from Pacsafe. The lower front and bottom panels feature eXomesh Slashguards, which provides a layer of stainless-steel wire mesh sandwiched between the bag’s exterior and liner. This prevents thieves from cutting the bag with a razor or knife and taking off with your stuff. The slash-proof adjustable shoulder strap has a built-in lock for anchoring the bag to something secure and locking it in place. The bag fits a DSLR with attached zoom, an extra lens and a flash. There are also pockets for storing memory cards, cords and batteries. Estimated Street Price: $109. Contact: Pacsafe, (800) 873-9415,
With video becoming such an important part of DSLRs, the way images are taken is changing along with the gear used for support. When you’re recording video, having a fluid head that can pan and tilt with precision is essential to getting good-looking shots. The Sachtler Cine DSLR fluid head has a load capacity of two to 11 pounds and a tilt range of +90º to -75º. A counterbalance in 10 steps and three vertical horizontal grades of drag enhance its operation. Other features include a special camera plate with an anti-twist retainer designed for HD DSLRs, finely graded three-step damping and a robust metal housing. List Price: $1,500. Contact: Sachtler, (845) 268-0100,
Porter Case luggage is known for its innovative built-in CART, or trolley, which folds out and allows up to 150 pounds of other luggage to be carried on top. The latest PCi cases have TSA combination locks, allowing you to lock and check them. Other features include four-inch ball-bearing wheels, a water- and dust-resistant gasket, spring-loaded side and end carrying handles, a new extension handle lock for the CART position and tough polypropylene construction. Four carry-on sizes are available with more than 20 interior configurations to accommodate your specific needs. Estimated Street Price: Starts at $136. Contact: Porter Case, (800) 356-8348,

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The Content-Aware Fill tool is one of the standout features of Photoshop CS5, and Adobe has adapted the tool for Photoshop Elements 9. The improved Spot Healing Brush removes large unwanted portions of an image, such as a telephone pole or tourists in a crowded scene, and fills in the background. The Photomerge Style Match feature changes the appearance of one image to match that of another by analyzing characteristics such as tone and contrast. Adobe also has released Premiere Elements 9 for video. Some of the features include easy uploading to Facebook and YouTube, and a new import dialog box for handling video from DSLRs. Estimated Street Price: $99 (each); $149 (bundle). Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687,

Relieve your neck of the pain that carrying a DSLR around it can cause using the Cotton Carry-Lite. The system consists of a cotton waist-belt with a shoulder strap and side holster for carrying a camera at your side while keeping it readily available so you don’t miss a shot. Stress is minimized on your shoulders, back and neck, thanks to the adjustable shoulder strap. You can add another holder (sold separately) and mount it on the opposite side for carrying two cameras. The Carry-Lite is available for pro and midsized DSLRs. List Price: Starts at $119. Contact: Cotton Carrier, (877) 852-9423,

Expanding its lineup of photo accessories, Carl Zeiss now offers optical filters that are customized to meet the high quality of its lenses for SLRs. The polarizing and UV filters are multicoated, like the prime T* lenses for which they’re designed, to minimize light reflections and improve transmission. With standard thread diameters of 58mm, 67mm, 72mm and 82mm, the filters work with lenses made by other manufacturers, too. Carl Zeiss also is now offering a camera strap with air-cell padding for SLRs. Estimated Street Price: TBA (filters); $41 (strap). Contact: Carl Zeiss,
Those of you using a DSLR to record video know how limiting a fixed LCD screen can be when composing shots. The Redrock Micro microEVF is an external electronic viewfinder that connects to the camera’s HDMI output, not to the camera’s rear LCD, and can be placed anywhere for maximum comfort and stability. The compact unit has a high-res, full-color display and weighs less than six ounces. A built-in HDMI loop-through offers support for multiple monitors. Additional features include an adjustable focusing diopter, fully coated optics and an oversized soft rubber cinema-style eyecup. Estimated Street Price: $595. Contact: Redrock Micro,
The Digibag DSLR Camera Bag from Petrol is designed for holding cameras equipped with HD video. The semi-hard cushioned carrier is made of black 900D and ballistic nylon fabrics with an upper section that’s shaped to fit your camera with a lens attached. The top flap opens wide for instant access to the main compartment. A hinged floor is capable of lifting to reveal two pockets for stashing lenses, batteries and other extras. Two levels of removable dividers help secure your equipment and create pockets for storing camera plates, a viewfinder, cables and more. Other features include an ergonomic carrying handle, padded shoulder strap and dual-directional, easy-glide zippers. List Price: $179. Contact: Petrol, (845) 268-0100,

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Minimize having to clean up unwanted spots on your images in Photoshop by making sure your camera’s sensor is free from dust. The LensPen SensorKlear Loupe Kit includes a loupe for detecting dust on the sensor’s surface and giving you a magnified view, the LensPen Hurricane Blower for removing dry dust and the SensorKlear II pen for removing sticky dust particles. Simply insert the angled tip of the pen through the access window on the side of the loupe to safely identify and remove dust. An internal light evenly illuminates the entire sensor for removing debris more effectively. Estimated Street Price: $89. Contact: LensPen, (877) 608-0868,

The Flashpoint iBoard Apple Bluetooth Keyboard kit contains Apple’s Original Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard that works with both the iPad and iPhone 4 (iOS 4) with special shortcut keys for quickly opening apps and select websites. The shortcuts are programmed into the keyboard via a proprietary app that’s free to all iBoard users from the iTunes App store. The keyboard is small and made to the standards of the official Apple BT keyboard. It ships with a silicone waterproof skin. Estimated Street Price: $64. Contact: Adorama, (800)223-2500,

When you’re out hiking and looking for good pictures, you don’t want a heavy, bulky backpack weighing you down too much. Vanguard delivers a solution with its Skyborne backpack. To keep you comfortable and your gear protected, the bag uses air-infused padding and an ergonomic harness system with easily adjustable, air-filled shoulder straps that help minimize fatigue. There’s a separate padded compartment with anti-theft buckles for holding a laptop, and a tripod can be attached to an adjustable strap and holder. Estimated Street Price: $229 to $289. Contact: Vanguard, (800) 875-3322,
Fire your Canon or Nikon DSLR from afar using the Hähnel Inspire LiveView Remote Control. A built-in, 3.5-inch color LCD on the handheld transmitter displays the live view, independent of the DSLR. You can see images up to 180 feet away from the camera, giving you visual confirmation of the scene as well as the photo taken, and you can play back pictures without going to the camera. The unit can control up to four different cameras remotely from one transmitter and then switch between the live-view images of each camera at the touch of a button. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: Hähnel (RTS Inc.), (631) 242-6801,


The Colors of Fall Road Trip Guide by Jerry and Marcy Monkman (Countryman Press, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-881508697). This is your guide for taking a fall foliage driving tour of New England, with hot spots listed by GPS coordinates. Trips vary from short drives on the coast to all-day excursions in the region’s mountains and forests. Detailed maps and itineraries also are included.

Planet Arctic: Life at the Top of the World by Wayne Lynch (Firefly Books, 2010; ISBN: 978-1-554076321). Experience the Arctic through the photographs of Lynch who has spent 30 years exploring and photographing the region. Accompanying the 150 images are thorough explanations of the area’s natural history. Musk oxen, tundra plants, birds, mammals, polar bears and other marine creatures are included.

Backcountry 4×4 Basic Training: Exploring the Backcountry with Your 4×4 by Don Alexander (CreateSpace, 2009; ISBN: 978-1-449555054). Learn the tools, tricks and techniques needed for exploring the backcountry in your 4×4. On these DVDs, you’ll learn to safely navigate thousands of miles of backcountry trails.

China: A Photographic Journey through the Middle Kingdom by Guang Guo and Ming Tan (Abbeville, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-7892-1080-7). The book contains 238 color photographs of China’s varied geography and noted monuments such as the Forbidden City, The Great Wall and the Terracotta Army. Extended captions at the back of the book provide a concise introduction to the history and significance of each location.

Microstock Money Shots: Turning Downloads into Dollars with Microstock Photography by Ellen Boughn (Amphoto Books, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-8174-2497-8). Topics covered include how to get started selling your photos, what sells and what doesn’t, how to cast and work with models, the fine print on permits and permissions, and how to reach specialty markets like advertising, retail, news and education.