January/February 2013


Hit the pavement for some candid, on-the-go shooting with the Olympus Stylus XZ-2. The 12-megapixel camera has a 1/1.7-inch backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, a 28-112mm ƒ/1.8-2.5 (35mm equivalent) zoom and ISO sensitivity up to 12,800 for solid performance in low light. The camera has a tilting 3-inch LCD with 920,000-dot resolution and supports touch control. There’s a removable hand grip and a "hybrid control ring" that’s built around the lens and allows you to assign function settings based on your preferences, as well as switch between analog and digital operation. Rounding out the top features are 1080p HD video recording and a TruePic VI image processor. List Price: $599. Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, www.getolympus.com.


The Pro-Optic Macro Zoomer is an extension tube that allows you to continuously adjust magnification without having to remove the lens and change tubes. The tube functions like a zoom lens. Rotating its "zoom" ring adjusts the magnification. Autofocus and auto-exposure operation are both preserved. The focusing range is between 46mm and 68mm. The Macro Zoomer is available for Canon and Nikon shooters. Estimated Street Price: $129. Contact: Pro-Optic (Adorama), (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.


If portraiture is your thing, you know how valuable the 70-200mm focal-length range is to your DSLR system. With its AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm ƒ/4G ED VR lens, Nikon now offers an impressive five stops of image stabilization through its Vibration Reduction technology. This not only helps at the longer telephoto end, but also in low-light situations that call for using slower shutter speeds. This model is smaller and lighter than Nikon’s ƒ/2.8 version of the lens. When used with the D4, D800 series and D600 DSLRs, the 70-200mm ƒ/4 allows you to take advantage of Nikon’s teleconverters for increasing focal length without sacrificing its AF and VR capabilities. Estimated Street Price: $1,399. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.


Control your flash the same way you do many of your devices, by touch. The Metz mecablitz 52 AF-1 is the first hot-shoe flash to feature a touch-screen-based user interface. This means less button-pushing and faster, more intuitive control over settings. The menus rotate when switching from horizontal shooting to portrait shooting, and there are several models for syncing with the automatic TTL exposure capabilities of camera systems including Canon, Nikon, Olympus/Panasonic, Pentax and Sony. With a high guide number of 52 at the 105mm position (ISO 100), the flagship flash also comes with wireless abilities for use as a commanding master or a remote slave. List Price: TBA. Contact: Metz, (201) 818-9500, www.metz.us.


Experiment with time-lapse photography using the Satechi WTR-A Wireless Timer Remote Control Shutter. It’s compatible with most advanced Canon cameras, including the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. The WTR-A can program multiple tasks, including delaying the capture of a photo, managing exposure time, setting a shooting interval and organizing a number of shots from 50 feet away. The remote is also helpful for capturing subjects that are difficult to approach, like wildlife, causing minimal vibration. Other features include a time remind speaker, which is a beeping alert that indicates the shutter is active and counts down the seconds until the shutter goes off. Estimated Street Price: $59. Contact: Satechi, (858) 268-1800, www.satechi.net.


Make your images look great in print using the newest member of the Moab Lasal inkjet family. Dual Semigloss 330 is the first dual-sided heavyweight (330gsm) paper in its class. Featuring the latest in coating technology, the paper delivers consistent image quality and dries instantly. You can handle prints immediately without worrying about fingerprints or scuffing. Moab offers several different kinds of its Lasal paper, including single-sided luster, gloss and matte, as well as the double-sided Photo Matte 235. Dual Semigloss 330 is compatible with pigment and dye inks, but pigment is recommended, and is available in 25-sheet packs of 8.5×11, 11×14, A3+ and A4 sizes. Estimated Street Price: $29 to $35. Contact: Moab, (800) 727-3716, www.moabpaper.com.


Give your DSLR some solid support with the Sachtler 75mm Ace L. The fluid head has a load capacity up to 13 pounds, a 7-step counterbalance, and three vertical and horizontal grades of drag. Other popular Sachtler features, such as an illuminated bubble level, are also included in this model. The head is available with a choice of two different carbon-fiber tripods. With the mid-level spreader, the system weighs 8.6 pounds. The head features clearly marked counterbalance settings and has a tilt range of +90° to -75°. List Price: $1,140. Contact: Sachtler, (845) 268-0100, .


Correct the edge distortion that can take place when shooting with a wide-angle lens using ViewPoint from DxO. The program fixes this flaw by automatically restoring the natural proportions of distorted faces and bodies, making them look as normal as those in the center of the image. Adjustments are made that take into account shooting parameters such as focal length and sensor size. The large workspace area includes intuitive toolbars and control palettes. There are also advanced controls for making manual fixes. List Price: $79. Contact: DxO Labs, www.dxo.com.


Position your camera smoothly and accurately using a pair of Arca-Swiss ballheads. The Monoball Z1g+ is lighter than its predecessor and uses a motion-control system that allows it to deliver stabilized movement in all directions. The Monoball Z2+ combines the features of a ballhead with those of a multi-axial
tripod head. It has two panning mechanisms, one at the base of the head and one located above the ball for precise and level panorama stitching. The Z2+ is also lighter. List Price: TBA. Contact: Arca-Swiss International, P.O. Box 28450, Tempe, AZ 85285, (480) 755-3364, rod.klukas@arca-swiss.com.


Expand your carrying options using a pair of new straps from Sun Sniper. The Back-Pack-Strap allows you to carry your backpack while using it as an additional camera strap for a DSLR. The strap clips onto your bag and has a stainless-steel ball-bearing camera connector, as well as a steel wire that runs through the channels of the strap. With the Strap-Surfer, the camera rests by your side and is ready whenever you need it. Just clip the strap to your bag and attach the stainless-steel bearing connector to your camera’s tripod socket. Estimated Street Price: $67 (Back-Pack-Strap); $96 (Strap-Surfer). Contact: Sun Sniper, www.sunsniperusa.com.


Add some new glass to your camera bag, as Tamron is developing two new lens options for you to consider. The Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD tele zoom will feature Vibration Compensation image-stabilization technology, XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) and four LD (Low Dispersion) elements to minimize chromatic aberrations, and construction that prevents moisture from getting into the lens. The SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD will feature redesigned optics and the VC system, as well as the lens maker’s newly created eBAND coating to reduce flare and ghosting. Both models will be available in Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts. List Price: $1,499 (70-200mm); $849 (90mm). Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron-usa.com.


Back up your files while still out shooting using the My Passport Edge from Western Digital. With 500 GB of capacity and a USB 3.0 interface that delivers fast read and write speeds, the drive allows you to quickly manage, share and work with your files from any location. The sleek design makes fitting it into your bag easy. Plus, there are additional security features for safeguarding your content such as password protection and hardware encryption that prevents unauthorized use or access. The all-aluminum exterior protects the drive from scrapes and bumps. Estimated Street Price: $109 (Edge); $119 (Edge for Mac). Contact: Western Digital, (949) 672-7000, www.wd.com.


Do some in-camera experimenting by changing up your focus using the Lensbaby Spark. More affordable than other Lensbaby models, the Spark allows you to create the same kind of effect, a "sweet spot" of sharp focus surrounded by blur. You squeeze the Spark to focus and tilt it to move the sharp area around the image. Like all Lensbaby models, the Spark has an articulated front section, which puts the front lens element at an angle toward the sensor plane, and simulates a tilt-shift effect. The 50mm lens works with the Lensbaby Optic Swap System, and it’s available for Canon- and Nikon-mount DSLRs. List Price: $80. Contact: Lensbaby, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbaby.com.


Make sure the people in your photos look as good as possible using Portrait Professional 10 from Anthropics. This incredibly powerful tool smoothes and perfects skin, as well as refines facial features quickly and easily. A step-by-step process walks you through the adjustments. Once you open an image, the program guides you through the process of adjusting facial features. For more fine-tuning, there are separate controls for adjusting facial dimensions and skin characteristics. Estimated Street Price: $62. Contact: Anthropics, (971) 238-0917, www.portraitprofessional.com.


Illuminate your stills and video with the Litepanels Luma, a continuous, on-camera daylight LED that outputs a soft, yet high-illumination fill light, in a 50° spread. It delivers accurate color temperatures, flicker-free output at any frame rate or shutter angle, and no color shift when dimming. The dimming knob lets you dial in the exact amount of light desired. The Luma weighs less than a pound, measures 6.5x4x1.5 inches and is powered by six AA batteries, DC from the camera or through an AC power supply. Estimated Street Price: $399. Contact: Litepanels, (818) 752-7009, www.litepanels.com.


Travel light using one of Leica‘s new compact cameras. The D-Lux 6 packs in a redesigned 1/1.7-inch, 12-megapixel CMOS sensor, 1920x1080p at 60 fps HD video recording and a 24-90mm (35mm equivalent) zoom with a fast ƒ/1.4-2.3 aperture. Automatic or manual settings are available, as well as an ISO range of 80-12800 and a 3-inch LCD. The V-Lux 4 uses a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor, can shoot at a burst rate of 12 fps at full resolution and has a zoom range of 25-600mm (35mm equivalent) with a constant maximum aperture of ƒ/2.8. Its HD video specs are the same as the D-Lux 6. Estimated Street Price: $799 (D-Lux 6); $849 (V-Lux 4). Contact: Leica, (800) 222-0118, www.leica-camera.com.


Take sharper shots with your mirrorless or compact shooter using the Sirui T-005X/025X tripod and C10 head kits. When folded, they measure just 11.8 inches long and weigh just a couple of pounds while offering load capacities up to 13.2 pounds (T-025X). The legs fold up 180°, making the tripods even more compact. For speed and convenience, each leg has an automatic leg angle lock mechanism. Maximum extended height is 54.5 inches. The T-025X has 8-layer carbon-fiber legs for increased load capacity and stability. The C10 and included quick-release plate are Arca-compatible. Estimated Street Price: $129 (T-005X); $219 (T-025X). Contact: Argraph, (201) 939-7722, www.argraph.com.


emove noise from your images using Noiseware 5 from Imagenomic. Boosting speed was a major priority in this update, which includes 64-bit compatibility for Mac users, an improved algorithm, faster processing speeds and multicore support that allows you to produce images up to four times faster than the previous version. Also included are a new preset manager and history control. You can save an unlimited number of custom presets, along with an unlimited number of categories that help you easily find frequently used settings. The upgrade is free for existing Noiseware Pro owners. Estimated Street Price: $79. Contact: Imagenomic, www.imagenomic.com.

Hard Copy

Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel (Little, Brown and Company, 2012; ISBN: 978-0-316-22770-4). Dog lovers everywhere will love Casteel’s playful take on man’s best friend. The award-winning photographer and animal-rights activist shot more than 80 portraits of dogs getting wet. Some of the photographs caused a lot of online buzz earlier this year, with millions of views on Facebook and Twitter.

Night and Low-Light Photography: Photo Workshop by Alan Hess (Wiley, 2011; ISBN: 978-1-118-13822-9). Boost the look of those photos that were taken in the dark with this informative guide. It fills you in on everything from choosing the right gear and camera settings to postproduction editing. There are assignments at the end of every chapter so you can practice your skills.

The Practical Zone System for Film and Digital Photography, Fifth Edition: Classic Tool, Universal Applications by Chris Johnson (Focal Press, 2012; ISBN: 978-0-240-81702-6). Johnson updates his classic manual on Ansel Adams’ landmark technique for the digital age. Along with step-by-step instructions, there are updated graphic and photographic illustrations for the digital photographer.

Looking At Ansel Adams: The Photographs and the Man by Andrea G. Stillman (Little, Brown and Company, 2012; ISBN: 978-0-316-21780-4). The book explores the photography legend’s life as an artist through 20 of his most significant images. Stillman examines them from a new angle, along with ancillary photographs, alternative versions, and letters and postcards that relate to the iconic shots. Stillman has edited several Ansel Adams books.

Life In Color: National Geographic Photographs by Annie Griffiths (National Geographic, 2012; ISBN: 978-1-4262-0962-8). Filled with 245 photographs, the book is organized so that each chapter is devoted to a color, beginning with a short essay that explores the qualities, meaning and symbolism of that color. Throughout, quotes and short insights in the captions give readers an entirely new look at the color in the world around us.

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