Tuesday, February 9, 2010
New Tools Of The Trade
Nikon’s fast-aperture AF-S Nikkor 300mm ƒ/2.8G ED VR II lens features new autofocus modes for better performance and Vibration Reduction II image stabilization, which enables handheld shooting at up to four shutter speeds slower than would be possible normally. There are three autofocus modes (A/M, M/A and M) for fast, secure switching between manual and autofocus. The lens focuses down to 7.2 feet in manual focus or 7.5 feet in autofocus. Also new is the TC-20E III teleconverter, which basically doubles the focal length of select lenses. It also features an aspherical element that helps eliminate coma and other aberrations, even at wide apertures. Estimated Street Price: $5,899 (300mm); $499 (TC-20E). Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com
Canon’s wireless file transmitters allow you to fire up to 10 cameras simultaneously using the new Camera Linking function. The WFT-E2 II A, WFT-E4 II A and WFT-E5A are designed for the EOS-1D Mark IV, EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D, respectively. Up to 10 “slave” cameras can be wirelessly hooked up to a “master” camera, with all 11 firing at the same time for multiple images shot from different angles. The WFT units also enable geotagging through GPS devices, and you can add coordinates to an image’s EXIF data. Additionally reliable transfer options, such as FTP Mode, allow for instant file transfer across a local network from anywhere in the world. The transmitters deliver a wide range of wireless compatibility options, including IEEE 802.11a connectivity. Estimated Street Price: $699. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
High Speed Drive
One of the most significant advancements in external storage drives lately is the debut of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connectivity. WD’s My Book 3.0 is one of the first desktop drives to include the new interface, which is up to 10 times faster than the previous-generation USB 2.0. Available in 1 TB and 2 TB capacities, the drive includes an optional USB 3.0 PCIe (Gen2) adapter card, upgrading current PCs to USB 3.0. The SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port can then offer data transfer rates of up to 5 GB/s. SuperSpeed USB 3.0 is backwards-compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1. Estimated Street Price: $199 (1 TB); $279 (2 TB). Contact: Western Digital, (877) 934-6972, www.westerndigital.com.
Higher capacities and faster data-transfer speeds are what you get with Lexar’s latest roundup of memory cards. The Lexar Professional 300x CF lineup now offers 32 GB of capacity, and the Professional 233x CF lineup now comes in 16 GB and 32 GB. The cards deliver minimum sustained write speeds of 45 MB/s (300x) and 35 MB/s (233x). For those using SDHC cards, the Professional 133x lineup now has a Class 10 speed rating with 20 MB/s write-speed capability. High speeds are ideal for rapid-fire still photography and HD video shooting. Image downloads also are much faster when a UDMA- or SDHC-compatible card reader is used. Estimated Street Price: $249 (300x 32 GB); $169 (233x 32 GB); $89 (133x 8 GB). Contact: Lexar Media, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com.
The six-model Lowepro Pro Runner AW series gives globetrotting photographers plenty of options for carrying their gear. Ranging from smaller standard backpack models to more spacious units that convert to rolling cases, all feature built-in All Weather AW covers and rain-flap zipper covers for added protection from the elements. The smallest model fits a DSLR with attached lens, plus two or three lenses and accessories, while the largest fits a pro DSLR with an attached 300mm, four to six extra lenses, accessories and up to a 15.4-inch widescreen laptop. The two largest models feature replaceable wheels and spring-loaded trolley handles for easy travel through airports. Estimated Street Price: $89 to $379. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.
The Manfrotto Carbon Fiber M-Y 732CY tripod weighs just two pounds, but can support more than triple that capacity. The 100-percent carbon-fiber tubes are constructed using an advanced manufacturing process that maximizes performance, torsion resistance and dependability. When folded, the 732CY is 16.7 inches while its extended height is 53 inches. Ergonomically designed upper aluminum die casting with spring-loaded rotating selector dials allows you to individually adjust each leg angle. Estimated Street Price: $200. Contact: Manfrotto Distribution, Inc., (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us.
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