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.
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.
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.
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 1920×1080 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.
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.
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.
Achieve sharp images even when taking a tripod isn’t doable with the Novoflex Survival Kit. There are a bunch of tools that come with it, including a mini-tripod, a clamp with a 13?4-inch opening that can be affixed to just about anything, a mini-ballhead, a suction-type clamp for adhering to smooth surfaces, a plastic clamp for holding objects other than a camera, a six-inch extension post that can extend any part of the kit, a 31?8-inch ground spike and the storage case. The kit can support camera weights of up to about 61?2 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $210. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
CLOSE-UP RING FLASH
Up the quality of your macro photography by adding the Nissin MF18 Macro Ring Flash to your lighting setup. Designed to support Canon E-TTL and Nikon iTTL systems, the flash has an expandable head and macro lens mount adapters from 49mm to 82mm with a guide number of 16. The MF18 has two flash tubes that can be controlled independently to give you lighting ratio control and four built-in LED modeling lamps for focus assist, and the power ratio can be adjusted from 1/1 down to 1/1024 power in Fine Macro mode. The basic setup includes 52mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm and 77mm lens mount adapters with available options of 49mm, 55mm and 82mm. List Price: $439. Contact: Nissin, www.nissindigital.com.
Do your black-and-white conversions using Seim Effects Silver Shadows 2. Designed for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the program features more than 100 presets that can be mixed and matched, customized and tweaked for creating your own unique l
ook without leaving Lightroom. You have total control of delicate tonality, shadows, highlights and hues. Silver Shadows 2 works side by side with other Seim Effects tools and is compatible with Lightroom 1, 2 and 3 for Mac and PC. List Price: $54. Contact: Seim Effects, www.seimeffect.com.
Capture images in 3D using the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-3D1, which features a twin-lens design for capturing stills and video simultaneously. The 25mm lenses record 8-megapixel 3D photos and 1920×1080 60i 3D HD video using a side-by-side method. There’s also a shooting option for capturing standard 12-megapixel photos and 1920x1080i HD video. The camera has two separate image-capture mechanisms so you can shoot HD video through one lens and traditional stills through the other. A 2D/3D switch on the back of the camera lets you easily switch between the two modes. The 3.5-inch Smart Touch screen controls the camera’s functions. List Price: $499. Contact: Panasonic, (800) 211-PANA, www.panasonic.com.
Stay discreet when carrying around your valuable photo gear in the Lowepro Pro Messenger AW. The bag is made of high-performance fabric that has a soft canvas-like feel and conforms to your body for a nice fit right at your hip. There’s enough room inside for a pro-sized camera body with grip and an attached 70-200mm zoom, as well as accessories. There are three available sizes, and all feature spacious main compartments with adjustable padded dividers that can be customized to suit your needs. A dual-purpose pocket on the back can be unzipped and converted into a trolley sleeve for travel on a suitcase roller with a retractable handle. List Price: $195 to $229. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.
THE BIG SCREEN
Give yourself plenty of space for reviewing and fine-tuning images with the 24-inch widescreen MultiSync P241W from NEC Display Solutions. Features include 1920×1200 native resolution, a 1000:1 contrast ratio and LCD technology that minimizes color shift when viewing images from the widest angle possible. Thanks to the DisplaySync Pro system, you can work across two computers simultaneously with one keyboard and mouse, using the display to switch between computers. Connectivity options include DisplayPort, VGA, two DVI-D inputs and a USB hub. Estimated Street Price: $749; $1,249 (with SpectraViewII color-calibration system). Contact: NEC Display Solutions, (800) 632-4662, www.necdisplay.com.
Keep your camera close the next time you board an airplane by stowing it in the Pelican 1510 Carry On Case. Watertight, dustproof and "nearly indestructible," the case is made from high-impact structural polymers. It comes with a retractable extension handle, strong polyurethane wheels with stainless-steel bearings and easy-to-open Double Throw latches. The rubber over-molded top and side handles make the case comfortable to carry. Pick N Pluck foam on the inside cushions your camera, lenses and accessories. At 19.7x11x7.6 inches, it meets the FAA’s maximum carry-on size. Estimated Street Price: $255. Contact: Pelican, (800) 473-5422, www.pelican.com.
Get a more expansive view with the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/25. The 25mm lens is constructed of 11 lens elements in 10 groups, and features a maximum aperture of ƒ/2 and an 81º diagonal angle of view. Available in Canon (ZE) and Nikon (ZF.2) mounts, both models include a CPU to provide aperture information to the camera, allowing the use of automatic exposure modes and the recording of EXIF data. Select types of glass and two aspheric surfaces prevent color fringes from appearing on high-contrast edges. Estimated Street Price: $1,699. Contact: Carl Zeiss, www.zeiss.com/photo.
The Pan and tilt your HD video DSLR smoothly when recording motion by supporting it on the Manfrotto 502 professional video head. Variable fluid mechanisms give you full control over how smooth those movements are, and a pan fluid drag system offers more ergonomic operation. The MVH502A has a 75mm ball base, and the MVH502AH has a flat base with a 3?8-inch thread. Both models use Manfrotto’s bridge architecture and support up to 8.8 pounds counterbalance and 13.2 pounds total payload. The 8.8-pound maximum counterbalance system provides you with more support for better control no matter how the camera’s weight is distributed. Estimated Street Price: $225 (MVH502A); $200 (MVH502AH). Contact: Manfrotto, (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us.
Turn your iPhone or iPod touch into a sports-action camera with the Optrix HD Sport Mount. The rugged waterproof case mounts to a helmet, bike or just about anything else to shoot video. Your device’s interface is easily accessible, allowing instant playback, editing and uploading. You can view a full-screen image of the framed shot, and a one-hand, quick-release design allows you to adjust shooting angles quickly. The HD Sport Mount also comes with a variety of base mounts that safely adhere to any surface. List Price: $79. Contact: Optrix, www.optrixhd.com.
Steady your camera on the Puffin Pad when shooting from a car window. A lightweight alternative to a beanbag, the pad has a slot that fits over the car window and allows you to tilt your DSLR up or down. Constructed of automotive closed-cell foam, the Puffin Pad weighs just 3.4 ounces and measures 7x5x5 inches. When the window retracts into the door, it saddles most car doors. You can use it on other surfaces, as well, such as a fence post, table or gate. Estimated Street Price: $29. Contact: Puffin Pad, (407) 207-8198, www.puffinpad.com.
PORTABLE HARD DRIVE
Store up to 500 GB of images on the Flashpoint DataBank 500. With a transfer rate of up to 5 MB/sec., the drive can safely copy about 1 GB of data in about 3.5 minutes. It’s compatible with most popular memory card formats and is small enough to be used as a portable drive out in the field. All image formats are supported, including
RAW. When transfering files, the backlit screen lets you know the status, as well as remaining drive capacity and battery charge. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama), (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.
Photography As Activism: Images for Social Change by Michelle Bogre (Focal Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-240-81275-5). Photography has played a critical role in bringing about social change. Bogre looks at the long history of activist photography, from its very beginnings to today. She offers advice on how to work with NGOs and nonprofits, how to work safely in conflict zones and how to distribute work on websites, blogs, etc.
The Elements of Photography: Understanding And Creating Sophisticated Images by Angela Faris Belt (Focal Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-240-81515-2). Improve your skills, learn new techniques and expand your creative boundaries using this practical guide. More than 300 images, plus portfolios from more than 40 acclaimed artists, provide visual inspiration for taking your photography to the next level.
TIME Great Places of History: Civilization’s 100 Most Important Sites: An Illustrated Journey edited by Kelly Knauer (TIME, 2011; ISBN: 978-1-60320-196-4). Take a tour of more than 100 places where history was made, from influential battles and artistic renaissances to important discoveries and religious events. Hundreds of photos fill the book’s pages, with places such as the Kremlin, the Forbidden City and the Acropolis.
Light: Science & Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua (Focal Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-240-81225-0). This book covers a range of topics, including the theory and physics of light, and how to light difficult subjects such as surfaces, metal and glass, with a new chapter on equipment.
Tibet: Culture On The Edge by Phil Borges (Rizzoli, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-8478-3691-8). Combining stunning photography with firsthand accounts, the book explores the indigenous lifestyles of the Tibetan people, as well as their natural surroundings. Threatened by industrial development, climate change and political struggles, Tibet remains one of the most intriguing places in the world.