Articles from September 2008

September 30
Olympus, Nikon & Canon Firmware Updates
Olympus, Nikon and Canon have announced firmware updates. Canon’s firmware update for the Canon WFT-E3/E3A wireless transmitter will now make it compatible on the 50D. The firmware update for Nikon D80 and D200 corrects the problem of light flashing empty, inspite of it being fully charged, commonly known as the ‘Dead Battery Syndrome’. Meanwhile, firmware v1.1 for the Olympus E-520 and E-420 improves the brightness level of AF target points in the Viewfinder.
September 29
Vivitar Europe makes staff redundant
Vivitar's European arm has gone into administration, making its 26 staff in France and the UK redundant after its parent company in US sold the brand name. Vivitar's parent company, Syntax Brillian, entered Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in July and sold the Vivitar brand name to Sakar, a consumer electronics manufacturer in August. Under the sale agreement the name, along with intellectual property and goodwill was sold, leaving Vivitar France S.A. unable to continue to trade under the Vivitar name.  
Photokina wrap-up
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Photokina is now over for another two years, so as we return to some semblance of normality it's time to reflect on what Photokina 2008 tells us about the state of the industry and to look at some of the emerging trends in digital cameras and digital imaging in general. We've updated our show report to include not only our thoughts on the exhibition itself but also our usual top 10 pick of the products on show.
Just posted! Olympus 50mm F2.0 Macro lens review
Just posted! Our new lens review of the Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm F2.0 Macro. With the excitement of Photokina over, it's back to the daily grind at DPReview.com's subterranean nerve-centre, and first off the review production line comes Olympus's stalwart short tele macro. We've long sung the praises of this lens in our camera reviews, but what do our studio tests reveal about it's true capabilities?
September 25
Cross-industry body publishes metadata guidelines
Photokina 2008: The Metadata Working Group, an alliance between Adobe, Apple, Canon, Microsoft, Nokia and Sony has published its first guidelines on the use of image metadata. The guidelines suggest methods to increase interoperability and storage of shooting settings and other associated data in digital images. It aims at standardizing the availability of metadata across all applications and devices, making it easier for users to create, organize and share their pictures.
September 24
Lexar UDMA 300x CF cards now in 16GB
Pre-Photokina 2008: Lexar has announced a 16GB version its Professional-grade UDMA 300x Compact Flash Card. This is the first 16GB UDMA card to be formally announced and offers a writing speed of 300x (about 45Mbps), supporting the new generation of high-resolution UDMA-enabled DSLRS. It will be available later this month.
Tokina to add in-lens AF motors for Nikon users
Photokina 2008: Lens maker Tokina is working towards adding autofocus motors to its Nikon-mount versions, which will enable AF with the budget D40/D40x/D60 bodies. The first optic to benefit will be the popular AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm F4 (IF) DX wideangle (gaining a 'II' suffix in the process), and a motorised version of this lens is being exhibited for the first time at Photokina; more lenses in the lineup are expected to be updated in due course.
Eye-Fi doubles upload speed
Photokina 2008: Eye-Fi has announced enhancements to its range of WiFi-enabled SD cards. Upload speeds from camera to computer are now twice as fast, and existing owners will be able to avail themselves of this benefit by simply downloading a firmware update. Also from October 5th, users will be able to add on features such as web sharing, geotagging and hotspot access to their cards. In addition, Apple’s MobileMe and AdoramaPix have been added to the list of supported online services.
Kodak introduces advanced CCD sensors
Photokina 2008: Kodak has designed a new line of advanced CCD image sensors to power the latest medium format DSLRs, including the Leica S2, Sinar HY6-65 and Hasselblad H3DII-50. The Leica S2 features the KAF-37500 37.5MP sensor with an imaging area of 45mm x 30mm, bringing in a completely new format; interestingly it also includes a novel slimline infrared filter, which we'd guess could eventually find its way into a future Leica M sensor. The Sinar Hy6-65 sports the KAF-31600 34.6MP sensor with an imaging area of 46mm x 35mm, and the Hasselblad H3DII-50's KAF-50100 50MP, 48mm x 36mm sensor sets a new benchmark in medium format camera resolution.
September 23
SanDisk announces upgraded CF cards
Photokina 2008: SanDisk has today introduced new Compact Flash cards which offer increased storage capacity and faster read/write speeds. The Extreme III CompactFlash card now comes in a 32GB version with a speed of 30MB/s, and the Extreme IV CompactFlash card now comes in a 16GB version with a speed of 45 MB/s. In addition, the rest of the Extreme IV range has been upgraded to a read/write speed of 45MB/s.
Adobe unveils Creative Suite 4
Photokina 2008: Adobe has lifted the lid on Creative Suite 4, the latest version of its huge design and production suite. Of most interest to photographers will of course be Photoshop CS4, which brings some interface changes (tabbed windows) as well as 64-bit Windows support and OpenGL support to use graphics cards to speed up operations (and provide nifty zoom and rotation tools) and a new non-modal approach to adjustment layers. We've been using Photoshop CS4 in Beta form since May and will bring you more extensive coverage of all the new features once Photokina is behind us.
Three new lenses from Lensbaby
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Photokina 2008: Lensbaby has introduced three new lenses for selective focusing, and has named them the Composer, the Muse and the Control Freak. The Muse and Control Freak replace the current Lensbaby Original, 2.0 and 3G lenses. The Composer is first of its kind and is based on a ball and socket assembly, offering greater precision and ease of use. All the lenses feature a new Optic Swap System allowing the user to choose from four interchangeable optics (double glass, single glass, plastic and Pinhole).
Fuji promises better than F31 performance
Photokina 2008: Fujifilm says its new Super CCD EXR technology will allow its next generation of premium compacts to produce high-ISO images "superior to the F31fd," while also offering improved dynamic range in other shooting conditions. The technology is already fully developed and will be integrated into the first camera in time for a spring 2009 launch.
Pretec unveils 64GB and 100GB CF Cards
Photokina 2008: Pretec has today introduced the highest capacity and fastest CompactFlash cards in the world. Under the highest capacity come the 64GB and 100GB, 233X CF cards with a read and write speed of 35MB/s. And the 333X CF cards in 32GB and 50 GB capacities have broken the record of the fastest read and write speed with 50 MB/s. Both the cards will start shipping this month.
Sigma announces DP2 large sensor compact
Photokina 2008: Sigma has announced the DP2, a large sensor compact camera that will sell alongside the DP1. The new model's specifications are largely identical to the DP1's but it comes with a 41mm (35mm equiv.) lens, rather than the 28mm equiv. lens of its sister model; the new lens is also a stop faster at F2.8 as opposed to F4. The DP2 additionally includes the True II image processing engine that appears in the new SD15 DSLR, which the company says offers improved processing speed, operation and performance.
Sigma announces SD15 DSLR
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Photokina 2008: Sigma has today announced the SD15 digital SLR as a successor to the SD14, which was originally announced in Photokina 2006. The SD15 uses a 14Mp Foveon X3 sensor, and incorporates a new True II processor for improved image processing speed, operation and performance. This camera also features a larger 3.0” LCD than its predecessor.
Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM
Photokina 2008: Sigma has today announced a new HSM version of its popular 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG lens. This large aperture standard zoom is considerably more compact than its predecessor, thanks to a brand new optical design which features 14 elements in 12 groups, including three aspherical, one ELD and two SLD elements. The HSM focusing motor promises fast and silent focusing coupled with full-time manual focus, and the minimum focus distance is 38cm allowing a maximum magnification of 1:5.3. The lens will be available in Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony mounts.
Other announcements from Sigma
Photokina 2008: Sigma has also announced the introduction of a number of existing products in new mounts. These are the 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM medium telephoto lens for the Four Thirds System, the APO Tele converter 1.4x EX DG and APO Tele converter 2x EX DG for Sony cameras, and the 4.5mm F2.8 EX DC Circular Fisheye HSM and 10mm F2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM lens for Sony and Pentax. In addition, the EM-140 DG macro flash will also be made available for Sony and Pentax users.
Leica S2 with 56% larger sensor than full frame
Photokina 2008: Leica has today unveiled a brand new autofocus DSLR system designed for professional users, which is configured around a 30x45mm sensor (i.e. 56% larger than 35mm full-frame). The S-system will utilize an advanced new dual shutter, with both an in-body focal plane shutter for fast lenses, and in-lens leaf shutters for high flash sync speeds. The first camera, the S-2, will feature a 37.5 megapixel CCD sensor in a weatherproof body which is similar in size and handling to conventional 35mm-type DSLRs. The new ‘Maestro’ image processing system provides twice the operating speed of current medium-format backs, significantly reduced power consumption, and allows production of in-camera JPEGs. The company has also developed a range of nine new lenses, including macro, ultra-wideangle, and tilt-and-shift designs. New images added.
September 22
Welcome to Photokina 2008
Photokina 2008: It's finally here and so are we (actually some of us have been here since Saturday). Cologne, Germany is playing host both to the Photokina 'World of Imaging' exhibition and the largest (to date) roving contingent of the dpreview staff. Many of the stands are still being built but we've already managed to post some images live from the stands. Over the next couple of days we'll be posting live from the floor of the show to bring you the highlights of the show without the need for you to elbow excitable Europeans out of the way.
Fujifilm announces Super CCD EXR
Pre-Photokina 2008: Fujifilm's second technology announcement of the day is the latest development of its Super CCD sensor, Super CCD EXR. Designed as a 'three in one' sensor combining the benefits of high resolution, high sensitivity and wide dynamic range, Super CCD EXR uses a totally new color filter array and has the ability to process half the pixels separately. This should, according to the press release, get Fujifilm closer to the holy grail of compact camera design; small sensors that don't sacrifice noise and DR for resolution. Again there's no product this time around.
Fujifilm to develop 3D digital photography system
Pre-Photokina 2008: Fujifilm has announced the devlopment of the FinePix Real 3D System. Built around a newly-developed 3D processor and a twin-lens camera concept, the system features not only 3D capture, but 3D printing and display with a selection of new technologies. Nothing in the way of product as yet.
Olympus develops Micro Four Thirds camera
Pre-Photokina 2008: Olympus has announced the development of its first Micro Four Thirds digital camera that will be compatible with the Four Thirds standard, and which will 'bring dramatic reductions in size and weight to the E-system'. A mock-up of the new camera will be shown at Photokina in Cologne, Germany today. See here for pictures of the prototype.
Olympus announces development of Four-Thirds DSLR
Pre-Photokina 2008: Olympus has today announced the development of a new Four Thirds system DSLR aimed at advanced amateur photographers. The fabled ‘tweener’ is an addition to the range positioned between the E-3 and the E-520 models, and inherits a number of the E-3’s professional-level features including its advanced high-speed 11-point autofocus system, built-in image stabilization system with up to 5 stops correction, and somewhat cryptically ‘a new and updated feature to replace the current splash- and dust-proof function’. Olympus will be exhibiting the camera at Photokina, and it is due to for release in the first quarter of 2009.
Lightweight kit lenses for Pentax K-m
Pre-Photokina 2008: To accompany the anouncement of its K-m DSLR, Pentax has launched the 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 DA-L and 50-200mm F4-5.6 DA-L lenses. The new DA-L lenses are re-engineered, lightweight versions of existing lenses. Plastic lens mounts and the removal of the manu focus-override mechanisms help reduce weight. They will only be available in kits with the new K-m.
Pentax announces two DA Star lenses
Pre-Photokina 2008: Pentax has, amongst its latest announcements, launched two new lenses in the DA Star series; the smc PENTAX-DA 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM telephoto zoom lens and smc PENTAX-DA 55mm F1.4 SDM medium-telephoto lens. Both lenses include extra-low dispersion glass elements and sport a water and dust resistant body with 35mm equivalent focal length of 92-383mm and 80mm respectively.
Pentax announces ultra-wide angle lens & Teleconverter
Pre-Photokina 2008: Pentax has announced the smc PENTAX DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited* ultra wide angle lens and smc Pentax-DA 1.4X Rear Converter SDM* teleconverter. The lens is the fifth model of the DA limited series and sports an aluminium body. The telecomveter is the first of its kind to work with autofocus mode in Pentax DSLR’s and features the SDM mechanism for quieter and smoother focusing. Both the lens and converter are currently under development, we will update the news as soon as we hear more form Pentax.
Pentax introduces AF160FC Macro flash
Pre-Photokina 2008: Pentax has launched the AF160FC dedicated auto macro flash for shadowless macro flash photography. It is designed to work with the P-TTL, TTL and Manual flash modes of PENTAX DSLRs and includes features like contrast-control auto flash, ISO range of 100-6400 and guide number of 16 at 100 ISO.
Pentax K-m / K2000 announced and previewed
Pre-Photokina 2008: Pentax has announced the Km (or K2000, in the US), a new DSLR that will compete in the entry-level market. The camera, which is built around an image stabilized 10 megapixel sensor has been designed to be small, light and easy-to-use. The two lenses available in kits with the camera have also been re-engineered to be lighter. We've had a chance to use an early example and have prepared an in-depth, ten page preview of the new camera.
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens
Pre-Photokina 2008: Nikon has today announced a new standard prime lens, the AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G. Headlining the new features is a built-in Silent Wave Motor which enables autofocus with the D60/D40x/D40 DSLRs, but the lens also boasts a brand-new optical system with 8 elements in 7 groups for improved image quality, a circular aperture diaphragm for more attractive background blur, and a barrel design which does not change length on focusing. The lens will be available from December 2008.
September 21
Panasonic shows HD Micro Four Thirds prototype
Pre-Photokina 2008: Panasonic has shown a prototype of an HD video micro Four Thirds camera. The camera, which will be part of what Panasonic is calling its Micro G sytem, was shown alongside prototypes of the lenses set out in its Micro Four Thirds lens roadmap. It features a stereo microphone and dedicated movie record button but is of similar dimensions to the already announced G1.
Vincent Laforet on the EOS 5D Mark II, video soon
Renowned (Pulitzer Prize-winning) photographer Vincent Laforet managed to get his hands on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and seems to be pretty impressed with the results, "...what you can see with your eye in the worst light (such as sodium-vapor street lights at 3 a.m. in Brooklyn) - this camera can capture it with ease." However he seems even more impressed with the Mark II's video capture, "It produces the best video in low light that I’ve ever seen - at 1080p". There are a few downsampled images on his site but perhaps of more interest to many is the fact that Vincent is planning to publish a video produced using the 5D Mark II, we'll update this article once it's live.
September 20
Leica M8 firmware 2.00
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Leica has today posted firmware 2.00 for the M8 digital rangefinder. This update adds support for SDHC cards (up to 32 GB) as well as adding an Auto-ISO option (a new feature touted for the M8.2). Installation is carried out by dropping the file onto an SD card.
Exclusive Canon EOS 5D Mark II Samples Gallery
Pre-Photokina 2008: We've had a Canon EOS 5D Mark II for a few days now and the London weather has been kind enough to give us one sunny afternoon in which to grab a quick (40 image) samples gallery. Note that this gallery was shot with a Beta (pre-production) camera and so may not be fully representative of a final camera. All samples are provided as JPEG straight from the camera (we don't currently have any RAW conversion software which supports the EOS 5D Mark II). Enjoy!
September 19
Carl Zeiss launches  Distagon T* 2.8/21
Pre-Photokina 2008: Carl Zeiss has launched a modernized version of its highly-regarded Distagon T* 2.8/21 super-wideangle lens. Promising exceptional sharpness across the frame coupled with extremely low chromatic aberration and superior control of flare due to its T* coating, this manual focus-only lens also boasts a floating element design for excellent results across the entire distance range. It will be available in Canon, Nikon and Pentax mounts at the end of 2008.
September 18
Ricoh introduces GRDII and accessories bundle
Ricoh has launched an accessory bundle based around the GR Digital II compact camera. The 'Creative Set' includes the cameras, a 0.75x wide angle converter, lens hood with adapter, external viewfinder and a leather camera case to use with attached viewfinder and neck strap. The Creative Set is available now in the UK for £599.99.
Adobe releases Camera RAW 4.6 beta
Adobe has release a beta of v4.6 of its Adobe Camera Raw plugin. The latest version, that works with Adobe CS3, includes coverage for the Nikon D700 and D90 DSLRS. The Fujifilm FinePix IS Pro is also catered for, alongside the Nikon Coolpix P6000 compact camera. Update: Cameras from Sony, Olympus, Canon and Sigma receive preliminary support.
Mamiya launches ZDb Digital Back
Pre-Photokina 2008: Mamiya has announced the ZDb 22 MP Digital Back; a revised version of its ZD model. The buffer has been doubled, enabling users to shoot up to 22 full-quality RAW files, rather than 10. Support for SDHC cards has also been added. In addition, Mamiya has launched a beta version of its Remote Capture software for tethered shooting.
September 17
Exclusive: Canon EOS 5D Mark II hands-on preview
Pre-Photokina 2008: The much-anticipated launch of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II has prompted much discussion this morning. A full frame 21MP sensor, 1080p HD video and ISO 25,600 equivalent mode are the headline specs. Phil has dragged himself out of the server room, dusted himself off and has had the entire dpreview staff furiously scouring the spec tables and delving through the menus to help get behind those headlines. And here is the result - our hands-on preview of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
SanDisk board rebuffs Samsung offer
SanDisk's board has rejected a take-over approach from South Korean giant Samsung. A letter from SanDisk's Chairman and CEO to Samsung says the board considers the offer from the World's second-largest chip maker to undervalue its business. SanDisk announced, on September 5th, it had held talks with Samsung but described the latest offer as 'unsolicited' and 'opportunistically timed.' The offer would value the California, US-headquartered flash card maker at $5.8bn and would help Samsung reduce the technology licence fees it currently pays to SanDisk.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II: 21MP and HD movies
Pre-Photokina 2008: After a week or so of teaser ads Canon has finally unveiled the successor to the venerable EOS 5D, the world's first 'compact' full frame digital SLR. The EOS 5D Mark II boasts a new 21MP CMOS sensor, an expanded ISO range of 50-25,600 and a wealth of improvements and new features including full 1080p HD movie recording, live view, 3.0" 920k dot LCD, DIGIC IV processor, increased battery capacity and sensor dust reduction. UPDATE: Body-only prices: US: $ 2,699, EU: € 2,499, UK: £ 2,299.
Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II USM lens
Pre-Photokina 2008: Along with the EOS 5D Mark II, Canon has announced its latest addition to the EF lens family, the 24mm f/1.4 L II USM fast aperture wide angle prime. The new lens has undergone a complete redesign and now features 13 elements in 10 groups, including two high-precision glass-molded aspheric elements and two UD glass elements, plus a floating focus mechanism to maintain performance across the entire distance range. It also features Canon’s brand-new ‘Sub Wavelength structure Coating’ technology to minimize flare and ghosting, and is sealed against dust and inclement weather.
UPDATE: Exclusive images added of the new lens on the 5D Mark II.
Two new Canon Superzooms including first CMOS PowerShot
Pre-Photokina 2008: Canon has announced a pair of 10 megapixel successors to its PowerShot S5IS 'super zoom' compact digital camera. Both the PowerShot SX10 IS and PowerShot SX1 IS feature 28-560mm (equivalent) 20x zoom lenses, DIGIC IV processors, improved image stabilization system and wealth of new features. The SX1 IS is particularly interesting as it is the first PowerShot to feature a Canon CMOS sensor, which allows the camera to offer 4.0 fps (full resolution) continuous shooting and true 1080p HDTV movie capture at 30fps. UPDATE: The SX1 has now been launched in the US and RAW capability added for existing users.
Canon PowerShot G10: 15MP & 28mm wide
Pre-Photokina 2008: Canon's PowerShot range has a new flagship in the form of the much anticipated G10, successor to the G9. Key changes include a new 14.7 megapixel CCD sensor and, more usefully, a new 28-140mm wide zoom and increased screen resolution - plus a DIGIC IV processor. A new top panel layout adds a dedicated AE compensation dial and there's an improved grip, but overall externally the changes are subtle.
Canon SD 990 IS and SD 880 IS
Pre-Photokina 2008: Canon has launched the Digital IXUS 980 IS and Digital IXUS 870 IS, including the first IXUS with manual controls. The models, which will be known as the SD 990 IS and SD 880 IS in North America, replace the Digital IXUS 960 IS and 860 IS respectively. The 14.7MP IXUS 980 features a 36 - 133mm equiv optical zoom, 2.5” LCD and is the first IXUS to offer manual controls. The 10MP IXUS 870 IS features a 28-112mm equiv optical zoom and a larger 3.0” LCD. Both cameras use Canon’s new DIGIC 4 processor for faster image processing.
September 16
Sony updates A700 firmware and processing software
Sony has issued a firmware update for its A700 DSLR. The firmware, widely distributed having been posted on the company's Japanese site, makes a number of changes, including a noise-reduction 'off' setting that may address some of the criticisms originally leveled at the camera. Other modifications include changes to bracketing, white balance and dynamic range optimization. Related updates have also been made to Sony's processing software.
Casio announces Exilim EX-FH20 high speed camera
Casio has launched the Exilim EX-FH20 high speed digital compact camera. Building on the interest in its EX-F1 model, the FH20 offers a burst rate of up to 40fps and movies at 1000fps. The camera is built around a 9.1MP, 1/2.3” CMOS sensor and 20x zoom lens (26-520mm equiv) Priced at £399, the EX-FH20 is considerably less expensive than the EX-F1 and will be available from October.
September 15
Three Prime lenses launched by Leica
Pre-Photokina 2008: Leica has, amongst its latest announcments, launched three new prime lenses - the SUMMILUX-M 21 mm f / 1.4 ASPH, SUMMILUX-M 24 mm f / 1.4 ASPH and Elmar-M 24 MM F / 3.8 ASPH Lens. Ideal with the M8/8.2, the all three lenses are specifically designed to keep vignetting and distortion to a minimum.
Leica offers World's fastest Aspherical lens
Pre Photokina 2008: Along with the M8.2, Leica has unveiled the world’s fastest asphercial lens, the NOCTILUX-M 50 mm f/0.95 ASPH. offering the market a faster lens than the SUMMILUX-M 50 mm f /1.4 ASPH. The wide maximum aperture gives extremely shallow depth of field and very low light capability. Priced at £6290 it will be made available in February 2009.
Leica announces M8.2 rangefinder update
Pre-Photokina 2008: Leica has launched an updated version of its M8 digital rangefinder camera. The M8.2 features the same body as the M8, but includes the previously optional upgrades announced at PMA in January 2008. These include a low vibration, extra quiet focal plane shutter with the option to re-cock the shutter at a more convenient moment. The camera body also sports a new vulcanite finish and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal cover glass for LCD protection.
Leica announces D-Lux 4 and C-Lux 3
Pre-Photokina 2008: Leica has announced the D-Lux 4 and C-Lux 3 digital compact cameras. D-Lux 4 features a 1/1.63” CCD image sensor, 3.0”, 460,000 dot LCD monitor and a 24 to 60mm (equiv) lens. Compared to D-Lux-4, C-Lux 3 has a smaller 1/2.33” CCD sensor, 2.5”, 230,000 dots LCD monitor and zoom range of 24 to 125mm (equiv). Both include 50MB internal storage, support SD/SDHC storage and video recording.
Carl Zeiss lenses for Canon SLRs
Carl Zeiss has confirmed that the mysterious 'ZE' mount it will start making lenses for is the Canon EF mount. Initially the company will make its Planar T* 50mm and 85mm F1.4 manual focus lenses available. Both will be available by the end of 2008. The range of lenses in the Canon mount will be expanded in future. Now with US prices.
September 12
Two Micro Four Thirds System Lenses by Panasonic
Pre-Photokina 2008: To coincide with the announcement of Lumix DMC-G1, Panasonic has also announced two new  Micro Four Thirds System zoom lenses; the LUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S. and LUMIX G VARIO 45-200mm/F4.0-5.6/MEGA O.I.S. Both lenses offer Image Stabilization and produce an equivalent field of view of 28-90 mm and 90-400 mm respectively.
Exclusive: Panasonic Lumix G1 previewed
Pre-Photokina: Panasonic has unveiled what it is calling the World’s First Full-time Live View Digital Interchangeable Lens Camera - the Lumix DMC-G1. Utilizing the Micro Four Thirds standard announced last month, the G1 drops the mirror / prism optical viewfinder that has been standard in SLR cameras for over half a century in favor of a newly developed high resolution electronic viewfinder. Squeezed into the diminutive body are a new 12MP Four Thirds Live MOS sensor with SSWF, new processor (Venus Engine HD) and a comprehensive combination of DLSR and compact camera features (though surprisingly, no movie mode). We've had a prototype G1 in the office for a week or so and have produced a detailed hands-on preview to whet your appetite whilst we wait for reviewable sample.
September 11
32GB SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash Card
Pre-Photokina 2008: SanDisk has announced a 32GB version its Extreme III CompactFlash Card. It offers a read and write speed of 200x (30 MB/s), supporting the new generation of high-resolution DSLRs. Priced at $299; it will be available in the month of October.
September 10
Leaf AFi-II 10, 7 and 6 Medium Format Cameras
Pre-Photokina 2008: Leaf has announced the AFi-II 10, 7 and 6 digital medium format cameras and corresponding Aptus-II 10, 7 and 6 digital backs. AFi-II 7 and 10 have the first 90° tilting LCD screens on medium format cameras. In addition, the AFi-II 10 and Aptus‐II 10 use a 56 megapixel, 56 x 36mm wide imaging sensor. All of the new cameras backs feature 3.5" touch screen LCD displays, 12-stop dynamic range, 50-800 ISO range and 16-bit output.  Leaf has also introduced a new version of its capture software, Leaf Capture version 11.2.
Just posted! Nikon 50mm 1:1.4D lens review
Just posted! Our new lens review featuring Nikon's stalwart standard lens, the AF-Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D. In the third instalment of our latest series in which we've also recently examined the equivalent fast primes from Sigma and Canon, we see how this ageing optical design stands up under the scrutiny of our exacting studio tests.
September 9
Sony DSLR-A900, Preview and Gallery
Pre-Photokina: Nearly 18 months after it first appeared as a prototype at trade shows, Sony has announced its eagerly anticipated flagship digital SLR, the Alpha 900 - finally giving Minolta/Konica Minolta users a full frame option. Featuring the 24.6 MP CMOS sensor announced in January, the Alpha 900 offers several enticing features, including sensor-shift image stabilization, a super 100% coverage viewfinder and the same high resolution screen as the Alpha 700 (the new model also inherits most of the 700's features, menus and external controls). We've had an Alpha 900 for a few days now, just enough time to produce a detailed hands-on preview and a quick gallery of sample images.
Sony launches 70-400mm F4-5.6 and Carl Zeiss 16-35mm F2.8
Pre-Photokina 2008: Alongside the A900 announcement, Sony has introduced two new high-end lenses to augment its full-frame lens range. The addition of the Carl Zeiss Series 16-35mm F2.8 and G Series 70-400 F4-5.6 means Sony now offers premium grade zooms all the way from 16mm to 400mm. The 16-35mm complements the recently introduced Carl Zeiss Series 24-70mm F2.8 and means F2.8 zooms are available from 16mm to 200mm. Both the new lenses feature customizable AF stop buttons that can operate the A900's 'Intelligent Preview' function.
September 5
New 5D to eclipse competition?
Canon has just added a mysterious teaser to its US website. The page shows a silhouette of a camera with the words 'Destined Evolution.' Maybe it will be updated to include more detail in the future, we don't know. It's almost as if the company is building up to the launch of a camera to replace one of its older models. We have no specific information but it doesn't require any profound market insight to predict an EOS 5D replacement is coming.
September 4
Phase One introduces 3.5/45mm TS lens
Pre-Photokina 2008: Phase One has announced the 3.5/45mm TS, a tilt-shift lens developed in collaboration with Hartblei. The 45mm lens offers up to 12 mm shift (combined with a 360 degree rotation) and 8 degrees tilt. In addition, it is bundled with Phase One’s Capture One 4 Lens and Focus optical correction technology.
September 3
Photokina 2008 show report preview, predictions
Pre-Photokina 2008: In just under three weeks time Photokina, the biggest photography trade show will get under way. As usual the lead-up is long and drawn out with announcements of 'Photokina products' stretching back to the beginning of August. To help you make sense of these and the coming swathe of new products we have activated our Photokina 2008 show report page. This provides you with an index of new product releases as well as a placeholder for our live 'from the show floor' reporting as it happens. We've also added a short preview / predictions list. Bookmark our show report page or subscribe to our Photokina 2008 RSS feeds.
Ricoh GX200 firmware update
Ricoh has released a firmware update for the GX200 compact digital camera. Version 1.14 fixes two minor errors that occur in very specific conditions. This update closely follows the Version 1.10 update that was released in mid-July.
September 2
Other news from Tamron
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Pre-Photokina 2008: Tamron has also announced the availability of the AF18-270MM Di II VC ultra high power zoom lens in Canon and Nikon mounts (with AF motor for Nikon) and the recently reviewed SP AF70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD [IF] Macro  zoom lens in mounts for Pentax and Sony SLR cameras.  Both the lenses will be initially launched in Japan later this month.
Tamron macro focuses on mini-Nikons
Pre-Photokina 2008: Tamron has announced a revised version of its popular 90mm macro lens with an autofocus motor for Nikon cameras. The move allows the use of this venerable lens design as a telephoto macro with the Nikon D40, D40X and D60 models. The lens will be available from the late September in Japan with other markets following.
Tamron ultra-wide released for Canon and Nikon
Pre-Photokina 2008: Tamron has announced the availability of the SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) lens for Canon and Nikon APS-C DSLRs. This ultra wide-angle lens offers a minimum focus distance of 0.24m throughout its range and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5 at 24mm. The lens will be available later this month, initially in Japan. Pentax and Sony versions will follow at an unspecified date.
Just Posted! Canon EOS 50D Sample Gallery
Just posted! We've now got a full production pre-production Canon EOS 50D and over the weekend produced a quick sample gallery to add to our preview of this 15 megapixel update to the EOS 40D. We're still waiting for a production quality copy of the new EF-S 18-200mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS lens; we'll add samples from it as soon as we've got one. Update: we've just been informed that contrary to our original understanding, this is actually not a final production camera, so please consider these samples as 'pre-production' Beta quality.
Canon fixes firmware for 450D
Canon has posted a firmware update for the EOS 450D / Digital Rebel XSi. The latest version (1.0.9) fixes Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) problems, errors with the Live View Exposure Simulation warning indicator and playback problems after continuous shooting when a printer or a video display is attached.
Just posted! Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM lens review
Just posted! In the second instalment of our latest series of lens reviews, we focus on Canon's mid-range standard prime, the EF 50mm F1.4 USM. With a distinctly traditional optical formula dressed up in a modern AF body, and designed as a standard lens for 35mm film but now more frequently serving as a short portrait lens on APS-C, how does this relative veteran compare to Sigma's brand new 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM which we reviewed last month?
September 1
Pentax K200D review
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Just Posted! We've just posted our in-depth review of the Pentax K200D entry-level digital SLR. The new model replaces the K100D and comes with a higher sensor resolution, a larger screen and a dust reduction system. Are these upgrades enough to let the K200D stand its ground in a fiercely competitive segment of the market? Find out after the link.
Just Posted! Nikon D90 Sample Gallery
Just posted! We've spent a couple of days with a full production Nikon D90 and have put together a gallery of samples shots taken with the new camera and its new kit lens, the 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 G ED VR. There are also a few short sample movies after the click...