New gear that has impressed our editors
Did somebody say "Digital"?
Everybody knows this lens. Or at least its predecessor. After all, Tamron's AF 28-300mm is one successful optic that combines a compact size and a good price with range and resolution. See our Lens Test in the October 2002 issue (or at PopPhoto.com) for the details. Now, to optimize this lens for digital SLRs (and still have it work great on film bodies), Tamron brings even tighter manufacturing tolerances and adds its "Di" multicoating to reduce flare and ghosting caused by lens aberrations. Like the earlier version, the new AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Aspherical XR Di (IF) Macro ($365 street) is only 3.3 inches long at 28mm and 6.4 inches at 300mm, and measures 2.9 inches at its widest point. Constructed of 15 elements in 13 groups, it comes in Canon AF, Nikon AF-D, Konica Minolta AF-D, and Pentax AF mounts. The lens takes 62mm filters, and ships with a flower-shaped lenshood. (Tamron; 631-858-8400; www.tamron.com)
Call for backup
As memory card capacities grow and the price per MB drops, who doesn't fear losing images to a memory-card mishap? Unless you carry a laptop wherever you shoot, the best way to calm your nerves is with a portable backup device, such as MicroSolutions' RoadStor ($270 street). Combining a five-in-one card reader, CD burner, and DVD player, this silver box (the size of a trade paperback) not only backs up your images straight from your memory card to a CD-R/RW (at up to 24X speed), but also can display them on a TV. The detachable, rechargeable lithium ion battery keeps the RoadStor running for up to two hours when you're away from a power outlet (extra batteries are $50 each). Audio, S-Video, and composite video outputs let you connect to a TV, while the USB 2.0 jack plugs into a computer. The card reader has slots for MultiMedia, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, SmartMedia, CompactFlash Type I/II, and Microdrives. The RoadStor includes everything from cables to a carrying case-even CD-burning software so you can use it as an external drive with your computer. (MicroSolutions; 800-890-7227; www.micro-solutions.com)