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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

March/April 2012

Labels: Buyers GuideNextGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom
ALL-IN-ONE ZOOM
Shoot from wide-angle to tele on your Sony mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera with the Tamron 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di III VC lens. Weighing just 16.2 ounces, this compact lens has you covered no matter what kind of pictures you're taking. In 35mm format, the equivalent focal length range is 27-300mm. The lens features Tamron's Vibration Compensation technology so images look sharp even when shooting handheld. The AF drive has a stepping motor that's ideal for the contrast-detect autofocus system used in the Sony mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera series (NEX-3, NEX-5). This also makes operation quieter when you're shooting video. Another cool feature is the Direct Manual Focus (DMF) function, which allows you to adjust manually after focusing by AF. Estimated Street Price: $739. Contact: Tamron USA, (631) 858-8400, www.tamron-usa.com.

STEADY SUPPORT
Ensure that your images look as sharp as possible by giving your camera some solid legs to stand on. Designed for DSLRs that can shoot high-definition video, the Sachtler Telescopic TT 75/2 CF tripod is made of lightweight carbon fiber, so it weighs 5.1 pounds, yet can support a hefty 44 pounds. Height ranges from 10.6 inches to 67.3 inches with additional features including a 75mm bowl and three-section single carbon-fiber tubes. The tripod is easy to set up, and the varying leg angles can be quickly deployed and adjusted. It's available with the Sachtler FSB 4, Cine DSLR, FSB 6 or FSB 8 fluid head. Estimated Street Price: $1,224 (with FSB 4 fluid head). Contact: Sachtler, (845) 268-0100, www.sachtler.us.

HDR MAKER
Make your high dynamic range photography look a little more realistic using HDR Expose 2 from Unified Color Technologies. With more than 26 new or improved features, the program is based on the company's Beyond RGB technology, which keeps an image's brightness or contrast intact when colors are adjusted and vice versa. By separating color and luminosity, you can change brightness, contrast and saturation independently from one another, preventing colors from shifting and allowing tones to look more natural. The program uses a real-time processing engine with automatic halo elimination and a 32-bit color-neutral dodge and burn tool to selectively lighten or darken areas of an image. List Price: $149. Contact: Unified Color Technologies, (855) 632-6567, www.unifiedcolor.com.

SUPERZOOM
Take the compact Leica V-Lux 3 on your next trip if you don't have room to pack a DSLR. With the Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 4.5-108mm ƒ/2.8-5.2 ASPH lens, you get a wide range of focal lengths that's equivalent to 25-600mm in 35mm format. The camera has a newly developed 12.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor, captures full 1920x1080 HD video in AVCHD format at 60 frames per second and includes a 3-inch LCD with 460,000-pixel resolution. You can twist and turn the LCD in almost any direction to shoot from more creative angles. List Price: $950. Contact: Leica, (800) 222-0118, www.leica-camera.com.

TELE PACK
Carry a long lens without having to deal with an awkwardly shaped bag using the Tamrac Super Telephoto Lens Pack. The bag's narrow profile makes it easier for you to navigate through crowds or in tight spaces. It holds a pro DSLR with up to a 600mm lens attached, and the foam-padded divider inside adjusts vertically to fit lenses of varying lengths. The QuickClip tripod attachment system lets you carry a tripod in front, and the pack also meets airline carry-on size requirements. List Price: TBA. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.

OPTICAL TOOL
Correct lens distortion and other optical problems with the latest version of DxO Optics Pro. Version 7 delivers faster batch processing, a simplified interface for a more efficient workflow and support for more cameras, including the Sony Alpha 77, NEX-C3 and NEX-5N. The software is based on technology that allows it to analyze specific camera and lens combinations for delivering top-notch image quality. Some of the notable features include the Lens Softness tool, which gradually corrects each image pixel to achieve a uniformly sharp look. Unsharp Mask has a new slider that applies sharpness from the center of an image to the edges. Three tabs guide the entire workflow, with a corrections preview in the first tab allowing you to get started quickly. List Price: $169 (Standard); $299 (Elite). Contact: DxO Labs, www.dxo.com.

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