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In Focus: July 2008
Catch fast-moving wildlife on the Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1. This hybrid camera can capture 6-megapixel stills at a whopping 60 fps or record 720p and 1080i resolution HD video at 1200 fps. Other top-notch features include a 12x optical zoom lens with a 35mm-equivalent focal-length range of 36-432mm, a 2.8-inch screen, manual controls and a maximum shutter speed of 1⁄40,000 sec. The Best Shot function matches the type of image you want to record and the camera then sets it up automatically. List Price: $999. Contact: Casio, (800) 435-7732, www.casio.com.
The latest Pentax D-SLR lenses deliver a variety of features tailored for the outdoor photographer. The DA 55-300mm ƒ/4-5.8 ED is an economy-priced tele-zoom, equivalent to 82.5-450mm on a 35mm SLR. The DA* 200mm ƒ/2.8 and 300mm ƒ/4 ED (IF) SDM pro lenses feature Pentax’s new smooth and quiet supersonic focusing motor along with a weather- and dust-resistant body to match those of the K10D and K20D cameras. A Quick-Shift Focus System instantly switches from auto to manual focus. All three lenses were developed for Pentax D-SLRs with SP coating to protect the exposed front elements. Estimated Street Price: $399 (55-300mm); $1,099 (200mm); $1,299 (300mm). Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, www.pentaximaging.com.
Take blur-free shots with the Olympus E-520, which features three modes of image stabilization. The first covers general shooting. The second is for use when panning with a moving subject while holding the camera horizontally to preserve that sense of motion. The third mode lets you pan holding the camera vertically, keeping the subject sharp against a blurred background. Other highlights include a 2.7-inch Live View LCD, Shadow Adjustment technology and Perfect Shot Preview, which allows you to view and select White Balance and Exposure Compensation on the LCD. This way you can preview how the image looks and make adjustments if necessary. List Price: TBD. Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, www.olympusamerica.com.
Tote your gear into the great outdoors using the M-Rock Zion backpack, which comes with a hydration bladder and mouthpiece in the back compartment. A vertical divider system provides room for an SLR with up to an 8.5-inch lens attached, plus four to six extra lenses and accessories. A medium-sized tripod can be mounted to the front. If you’re out on a long hike, the backpack’s neoprene waist belt and compression straps help you stay comfortable. A detachable bag in the top section holds additional gear and personal items. List Price: $180. Contact: M-Rock, (800) 773-7067 www.m-rock.com.
Take full advantage of Photoshop with onOne Software’s Plug-In Suite 4, which combines full versions of six software programs—Genuine Fractals 5 Print Pro, Photo Tools 1.0 Professional Edition, PhotoFrame 3.1 Professional Edition, Mask Pro 4.1, PhotoTune 2.2 and FocalPoint 1.0. This means you can resize images by more than 1,000 percent without losing detail or sharpness; reproduce a range of authentic camera, filter and darkroom techniques digitally; add border and edge effects; create masks; correct color; and simulate selective focus or tilt-shift lenses for more precision. List Price: $399. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.
When the sun goes down and the temperature dips, throw on Cloudveil’s featherweight Mountain Cache jacket. Weighing just six ounces, the garment folds into its own zippered pocket. Teflon coating and tightly woven Cyclone fabric shed moisture and buck wind. The jacket has a single zippered chest pocket, extended asymmetrical cuffs that keep wrists covered and an elastic toggle-cord hem. Estimated Street Price: $50. Contact: Cloudveil, (877) 255-8345, www.cloudveil.com.
Go trekking in the Garmont Kiowa Vegan XCR hiking boots. With waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex® lining and all-synthetic mesh uppers, the lightweight hikers block out moisture and absorb shock. Other features include hard-line traction, stability with agility and no weight penalty, running shoe flex, and a snug, performance fit. Estimated Street Price: $129. Contact: Garmont, (802) 658-8322, www.garmontusa.com.
As daylight fades, keep sight of the trail with the Surefire G2. This pocket-sized LED flashlight shines a smooth bright beam four times the light of larger two D-cell flashlights, and it lasts for 12 hours. The rugged G2 is constructed of lightweight, corrosion-proof Nitrolon and aerospace-grade aluminum. The body features a molded grid for a secure grip even in wet conditions. List Price: $65. Contact: Surefire, (800) 828-8809, www.surefire.com.
The tough Gregory Z 55 backpack features an all-new ventilated Jet Stream Suspension system, which delivers more airflow across your back for cooling without sacrificing fit and performance. The pack, a top-loader with an expandable front “bucket” pocket and floating lid, also uses perforated closed-cell foam padding in the harness and waist belt to wick moisture away from your body for a smoother, cooler, lighter ride. The pack is ideal for a weekend trek. Estimated Street Price: $189. Contact: Gregory, (800) 477-3420, www.gregorypacks.com.
Share pictures of your latest trip while still out on the road using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ50, featuring WiFi capabilities and standard 802.11b/g wireless LAN connectivity. Panasonic hooked up with the T-Mobile HotSpot service and Picasa, Google’s free online photo-sharing service. So after taking pictures, you can send them directly to a Picasa Web Album via one of the nearly 9,000 T-Mobile HotSpots throughout the United States and share them instantly. The 9.1-megapixel camera also has a 28mm wide-angle 10x optical zoom Leica DC lens (equivalent to 28-280mm in 35mm format) and records HD video. List Price: $449. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.
The next release of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is available as a public beta. Among the new features in Lightroom 2.0 is a Smart Collections tool that automatically updates collections with images that have matching criteria, such as keywords or metadata. The Suggested Keywords feature recommends what words to use based on keyword associations across a catalogue and in neighboring images. Other enhancements include dual-monitor support, localized dodge and burn correction, and 64-bit support for Mac OS X 10.5 and Microsoft Vista operating systems. To download a free 30-day trial, go to www.labs.adobe.com/downloads. Contact: Adobe Systems, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.
A slew of new storage solutions has just hit the market. From big drives offering up to 2 TB of capacity to the more portable variety that are ideal when you’re on the go, these new options make it easy for you to transport, back up and store your images.
The next time you’re out shooting in the rain or in the ocean, protect your compact camera in the Aquapac Hard Lens Camera Case. It’s submersible to 15 feet and floats if dropped. The case is designed for small and mini digital cameras with optical zoom lenses, providing enough space for the lens to move freely within a protective chamber. Durable, lightweight and UV-coated, the case has an integrated external, clear polycarbonate hard lens that’s built into the case. List Price: $45. Contact: Aquapac, (516) 628-8486, www.aquapac.net.
Play back full-motion video clips on the vibrant 2.4-inch TFT color screen of the SanDisk Sansa View. The media player comes in capacities of 8, 16 and 32 GB. Key features include 320 x 240 resolution for crisp images and built-in support for MPEG-4, WMV and H.264 video formats. It displays JPEGs, weighs 2.9 ounces and has a microSD/microSDHC card slot. List Price: $149 (8 GB); $199 (16 GB); $349 (32 GB). Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK, www.sandisk.com.
Grab the lens you need quickly using Shootsac, a stylish lens bag with a slim profile that can be worn comfortably while shooting. It holds three to six lenses, plus accessories. Shootsac is constructed of wet-suit-grade neoprene, with 13×13-inch interchangeable fabric flaps backed with lint-free microfiber that doubles as a lens-cleaning cloth out in the field. It folds completely flat for easy transportation and storage. List Price: $179. Contact: Shootsac, (310) 666-2499, www.shootsac.com.
Tag your photos geographically with the GPS Photo Finder from ATP. This portable gadget records the GPS coordinates of where your pictures were taken, allowing you to better track and organize your photos later. The device is universally compatible with digital cameras using JPEG files. There’s also no need for a computer. Simply plug your memory card into the Photo Finder’s built-in card reader, and it automatically finds and tags your images. Estimated Street Price: $120. Contact: ATP Electronics, (408) 732-5000, www.atpinc.com.
Display that dramatic sunset scenic you took in the Luxentia Digital Photo Frame Caddy, a handy gadget that also serves as a holder for desk items, like pens, memo pads and a calculator. Featuring a stylish, brushed-metal casing design, the ultra-thin display offers a 4.3-inch high-resolution screen, multiformat memory card reader and 1 GB of internal flash memory. List Price: $69. Contact: Luxentia, (877) 678-7340, www.luxentia.com.
Creating a panorama can be as simple as selecting a group of overlapping photos and clicking. ArcSoft Panorama Maker 4 Pro automatically orders and stitches pictures seamlessly to create horizontal, vertical, 360-degree and tile panoramas. For more control, you can manually align the stitching points and paths if necessary. Providing extensive RAW format support, the software works with the latest digital camera models and lets you alter brightness and contrast and make other adjustments. List Price: $79. Contact: ArcSoft, www.arcsoft.com.
Flower by Christopher Beane and Anthony Janson (Artisan, 2008; ISBN: 978-1579653521). This beautiful hardcover features 150 color and black-and-white photographs showing the veins of dehydrated petals, tiny antennae at the base of carnations and withered leaves curling. Beane also shares stories about the photos.
Cape Cod: Illustrated Edition of the American Classic by Henry David Thoreau and Scot Miller (Houghton Mifflin, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-618-75845-6). The book features the complete 1906 Houghton Mifflin edition text of Thoreau’s classic work, the beautiful photography of Scot Miller and a foreword from preeminent Thoreau biographer Robert Richardson.
Digital Photography from the Ground Up by Juergen Gulbins (Rocky Nook, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-933952-17-8). From helping the novice photographer understand basic principles and techniques to offering the advanced shooter in-depth guidance on workflow management, the book delivers loads of valuable tips and information.
Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage (Pogue Press, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-596-51936-0). Mac users who like the simplicity of Photoshop Elements will find that this latest version has a lot of powerful new features. The full-color guide explains how the new tools work, as well as whether and when to use them.
Seashells: Jewels from the Ocean by Budd Titlow (Voyageur Press, 2007; ISBN: 978-0-7603-2593-3). Titlow is a wetlands biologist and photographer, and here he showcases the beauty of these natural wonders and sheds light on the mollusks that inhabit and create them. Many different types are profiled, with close-ups highlighting curves, colors and patterns.
Snap Hoodman’s HoodCap onto your Nikon D3 and protect the LCD screen at all times. The cap is optically clear and comes with a scratch-resistant coating. It snaps into place using the mounting points already built into the D3. List Price: $24. Contact: Hoodman, (800) 818-3946, www.hoodmanusa.com.
Take care of your prints by storing them in Crystal Clear Bags made from biaxially oriented polypropylene, a plastic material that doesn’t rip, tear, wrinkle or fog. The bags protect photos from fingerprints and have reinforced seams to prevent tearing. They’re also acid- and lignin-free, making them ideal for photo archiving. List Price: Varies depending on size. Contact: Clear Bags, (800) 233-2630, www.clearbags.com.
Keep your camera, PDA and other devices powered up while out on the road using the Ansmann Digicharger Vario. The charger works with more than 100 battery types, including AA/AAA, NiMH or NiCd batteries, and lithium-ion and lithium-polymer battery packs, all without an adapter plate. Simply plug it into a power socket or car cigarette lighter. The device charges quickly and has an overcharge protection mechanism that protects batteries from damage. Estimated Street Price: $58. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.