Home Buyer's Guide 2014 Editors' Choice Awards
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2014 Editors' Choice Awards

Our annual collection of noteworthy gear and technology

Labels: Buyers Guide
This Article Features Photo Zoom
CAMRANGER
In my writeup on the Canon EOS 70D, I mentioned how much more motion shooting I'm doing these days. The CamRanger has become a favorite tool for me, for motion capture, in particular. The wireless system lets me control the camera from my iPad (you can use a variety of tablets or smartphones), and it gives me a large, live image that's reminiscent of working with a large-format view camera. I can manipulate camera settings and adjust focus, and the system works up to 150 feet away. That working distance also makes it a great option for remote setups. Check with CamRanger to confirm compatibility with your camera. Estimated Street Price: $299. Contact: CamRanger, www.camranger.com. —CR
HOODMAN CUSTOM FINDER KIT
There are two big problems with live-view shooting (which includes video)—it can be hard to see the image on the external LCD monitor in bright light conditions, and holding the camera out at arm's length to use the monitor isn't the most stable way to shoot. Enter Hoodman's Custom Finder Kit. The kit includes a HoodLoupe that fits over the LCD monitor, blocking extraneous light and providing convenient eye-to-camera shooting. Then there's the HoodLoupe Mag 3.0 eyecup, which provides 3X magnification. The kit also includes a Custom Finder Baseplate to securely attach the HoodLoupe to any DSLR, with or without battery grip. Kits are available for 3.2- and 3.0-inch LCD monitors. Estimated Street Price: $229; $129 (baseplate available separately for those who have a HoodLoupe 3.0 or 3.2. Contact: Hoodman, www.hoodmanusa.com. —MS
CANON EF 200-400mm F/4L USM EXTENDER 1.4x
If the 200mm-400mm zoom range wasn't enough, Canon's EF 200-400mm ƒ/4L IS USM telephoto zoom with 1.4x extender is the first lens to incorporate a built-in teleconverter. This extends the lens coverage to 280mm-560mm with a constant aperture that drops from ƒ/4.0 sans teleconverter to ƒ/5.6 when engaged. Canon claims up to four stops of shake reduction with three modes of image stabilization to compensate for such an extended telephoto range. The EF 200-400mm ƒ/4L is a highly capable L-series lens, so it offers very high MFT ratings for sharpness and color reproduction, while the minimum focusing distance of 6.6 feet is also remarkable for the short working distance with a telephoto zoom. All of this does come with a price point to match. List Price: $11,799. Contact: Canon, www.usa.canon.com. —DW
LENSCOAT RAINCOAT 2 PRO
Pros know that bad weather often creates dramatic light and stunning photographs. It's for just those photo opportunities that camera protection like the LensCoat RainCoat 2 Pro is essential gear, protecting your camera from stormy downpours, dust, dirt and oceanside salt spray. Two sizes are available to accommodate your camera and a standard zoom or a larger telephoto. Made from lightweight, waterproof poly tricot, the RainCoat 2 Pro is available in several colors, including camouflage options for wildlife photographers. Integrated pockets give you easy access to camera and lens controls without compromising protection. List Price: $125. Contact: LensCoat, www.lenscoat.com. —WP
PENTAX K-50
Like its K-30 predecessor, the affordably priced K-50 has a lot going for it. It's fully weather-sealed, cold- and dustproof (some DSLRs that cost $1,000 more aren't), it has a pentaprism viewfinder that shows 100% of the actual image area (other cameras in this price range have dimmer pentamirror finders), and its 16.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor delivers excellent image quality. The K-50 has a very effective sensor-shift shake-reduction system that works with all lenses, can shoot at 6 fps and provides a top shutter speed of 1⁄6000 sec. Video fans can shoot 1080 full HD at 30p and 720 HD at 60p. Like all Pentax DSLRs, the K-50 can use any Pentax lens (note that not all are weatherproof like the camera body). And you can get a K-50 in your choice of 120 color combinations. Estimated Street Price: $699. Contact: Ricoh Imaging, www.ricoh-imaging.com. —MS
METABONES SPEED BOOSTER LENS ADAPTER
Camera manufacturers have been knocking it out of the park when it comes to recent mirrorless camera designs, but mirrorless systems are still fairly new, so current lens lines are lacking quite a few of the focal lengths available for DSLRs. The Metabones Speed Booster line of lens adapters will let you marry a number of lens systems across different camera mounts, like Canon EF to Sony NEX (which includes camcorders), Sony A-mount to Sony NEX, Leica R to Fuji X, Nikon G to Micro Four Thirds and others. Highly regarded lenses from Contarex and Contax Yashica are also supported for bargain lens hunters. Speed Boosters widen attached lenses by 0.71x and increase the aperture by an entire stop to achieve faster shutter speeds and more shallow depth of field, as well. List Price: Begins at $399. Contact: Metabones, www.metabones.com. —DW
MANFROTTO PIXI
When you want the option of tripod stability, but don't have room for the tripod, the Manfrotto PIXI might be the answer, as the 8-ounce, stainless-steel mini-tripod measures only 7 inches when closed, making it compact, light and convenient to carry. The push-button ball joint releases quickly for camera positioning, tilting 35º vertically and 360º horizontally. It supports 1.4 pounds, and it's compatible with iPhones (using the KLYP case, available separately), compact cameras, mirrorless cameras and smaller DSLRs. Estimated Street Price: $28. Contact: Manfrotto, www.manfrotto.us/pixi. —AMT


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