Home Buyer's Guide 2012 Editors' Choice Awards
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2012 Editors' Choice Awards

Our annual collection of noteworthy gear and technology

Labels: Buyers GuideGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom
SAMSUNG SH100
This compact digital camera shoots 14.2-megapixel still images and 720/30p HD video. It features built-in Wi-Fi, which makes it easy to send photos wirelessly to friends and family directly from the camera, as well as download images wirelessly to your computer. The 3.0-inch LCD with Smart Touch 3.0 interface works similarly to a touch-screen smartphone. The 5X zoom provides a wide 26mm (35mm-camera equivalent) angle of view. Size dimensions are 3.7x2.5x0.7 inches and 3.9 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Samsung, (800) SAMSUNG, www.samsungcamerausa.com. —MS
REDROCK MICRO UNIVERSAL BUNDLES
The Redrock Micro Universal Bundles for HD video DSLRs can convert your still camera into a complete filmmaking system. Available in seven different kits, the system is totally modular so you can build the best kit for whatever type of video or photography you're shooting at the time. The systems are as simple or as complex as you want them to be, with configurations for anything from low-to-the-ground support to shoulder-stock stabilization to lightweight handholding with only a single grip. List Price: Begins at $1,276. Contact: Redrock Micro, (888) 214-3903, www.redrockmicro.com. —DW
SIGMA 12-24mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 DG HSM II
This super-wide zoom was designed for full-frame DSLRs, but also works well with APS-C cameras (on which it's equivalent to a 17-35mm zoom). It incorporates 17 elements in 13 groups, including four aspheric elements to enhance performance and reduce lens size, an SLD element and four of Sigma's new FLD elements, which provide performance equal to fluorite glass in minimizing chromatic aberrations. The lens can focus down to 11 inches, measures 3.3x4.7 inches and weighs 23.6 ounces. It's available in mounts for Canon, Nikon and Sigma DSLRs. Estimated Street Price: $949. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigmaphoto.com. —MS
TAMRON SP AF60mm F2 Di II 1:1 MACRO
A fantastic lens for portraits, I really like the Tamron SP AF60mm F2 Di II 1:1 Macro because it's a fast lens with a maximum aperture of ƒ/2—perfect for creating soft backgrounds. It's also great for close-ups of flowers, collectibles and more, making it one very versatile prime lens. Available for Canon, Nikon and Sony APS-C-sensor cameras, the lens features internal focusing and low dispersion glass elements to ensure optimum color fidelity. List Price: $599. Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron-usa.com. —WP
RODE VIDEOMIC PRO
Adding the affordable RODE VideoMic Pro shotgun to your video-capable DSLR will improve the audio on your project without becoming too complicated. With only half an inch in length and a weight of three ounces, you're adding very little weight to your camera while gaining superior sound. The super-cardioid directional abilities of the shotgun mic amplify cleaner audio from the source while reducing ambient noise. There's also a +20 dB level boost switch on the rear that has been designed specifically for use with DSLR mic jacks. Estimated Street Price: $229. Contact: RODE, (805) 566-7777, www.rodemic.com. —DW
RADIOPOPPER JRX
Shooting with a radio transmitter and receiver allows you to place flashes or strobe lights in any variety of places for unique and creative lighting solutions even on location. Compatible with cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony (with an adapter), the RadioPopper JrX is an inexpensive way of reliably triggering lights from around corners or near a distant subject, even when the camera is up to 1,500 feet away. With the optional RPCube adapter, you also can adjust for about eight stops of light output on TTL flashes right from the JrX transmitter on your camera. List Price: $79 (JrX Transmitter); $99 (JrX Studio Receiver); $169 (JrX Studio Kit); $29 (RPCube). Contact: Leap Devices LLC (RadioPopper), (360) 713-0776, www.radiopopper.com. —DW
MANFROTTO 050 BALLHEADS
The 050 Series are Manfrotto's best ballheads, featuring new ergonomic levers, 90°-105° portrait angle selection, lightweight magnesium bodies and self-lubricating rings. The 054 models are dedicated to Manfrotto 190 carbon-fiber tripods, and the 057 models are dedicated to Manfrotto 057 carbon-fiber tripods. Each comes in three versions: one with a standard mount disc, and two with different quick-release mounts (one featuring three leveling bubbles). Estimated Street Price: $189-$334 (depending on model and configuration). Contact: Manfrotto, (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us. —MS

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