Just posted: Our lens review of the Pentax smc DA* 55mm F1.4. This lens is marketed by Pentax as a fast portrait prime for APS-C format digital SLRs, and the spiritual successor to the film-era FA 85mm F1.4. It certainly ticks all the right boxes, with weatherproof construction and a 'Supersonic Drive motor' for autofocus, but how well does it work when actually attached to a camera? Find out in our detailed review.
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July 2009 news and reviews
Canon has posted a firmware update for its EOS 50D digital SLR. Version 1.0.7 corrects the a magenta cast that can appear on images in specific shooting modes. It also fixes incorrect indications on the Arabic, Romanian, Spanish and Ukrainian menu screens. The firmware is available for immediate download from Canon's website.
In a move that won't surprise anyone that has been listening out for rumors, Nikon has launched the D300S, a refreshed version of its successful mid-level DSLR. Compared to the D300, It offers full 720p HD video recording, a faster 7 fps continuous shooting and Dual CF and SD card slots. It also sees an addition of a new Quiet drive mode and a dedicated Live View and Info button. The camera's recommended selling price is $1799.
Not all of the changes made to create the D300S will be immediately apparent from looking at the specification sheets. Thankfully Nikon has loaned us a D300S which we've pored over and peered into, in an attempt to get to the bottom of the less obvious changes that have been made to its APS-C flagship. Click here for more information.
Nikon has also unveiled the D3000, its latest compact DSLR. It will be the company's least expensive DSLR and inherits the 10.2 MP DX-format CCD sensor and 3fps continuous shooting rate from the D60. It also adds a larger, 3.0 inch LCD and the 11-point AF system with 3D tracking we saw in the D5000 and D90. Targeted towards beginners and experienced compact users, the camera features a new Guide mode to help learn how to get the most out of a DSLR. The recommended selling price will be $599 with 18-55mm VR lens.
In addition to its camera releases, Nikon has unveiled the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F/2.8G ED VR II, a completely redesigned version of its workhorse professional telezoom. It features an entirely new optical formula which is designed to deliver sharp images all the way into the corners of the frame even on FX format cameras, using no fewer than 7 ED elements to minimize aberrations and Nano Crystal coat to combat flare. 'VR II' Vibration Reduction technology offers a claimed four stops benefit, and a new A/M focus mode provides autofocus priority when the manual focus ring is handled during shooting; however the lens loses the AF stop buttons of the original. It's also shorter but heavier than its predecessor and incorporates extensive sealing against dust and moisture. It will be available from November 2009 at an RRP of £1999 / €2430 / $2399.95.
Nikon has also revealed an update to its popular DX-format superzoom, in the shape of the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR II. The revised version features a new zoom mechanism to combat 'zoom creep' (one of the most common user complaints about the original lens), along with a zoom lock switch to keep the lens compact when carried. Improved 'Super Integrated Coating' promises to reduce flare and ghosting, while size, weight and optical construction remain unchanged. The lens will be on sale from September 2009 at an RRP of £729.99 / €887.00 / $849.95.
Leica has said its S2 autofocus medium format DSLR will be available in October for a recommended selling price of $22,995/£15,996. The camera is built around a 37.5 megapixel 30x45mm sensor (56% larger than 'full frame'), that puts it squarely into the apparently troubled medium format sector. Customers willing to spend an extra $5,000/£3,096 will receive an S2-P featuring a sapphire glass monitor screen and 'Platinum Service' support package. The company has also revealed the prices of the first four S-series lenses, announced alongside the camera at the Photokina 2008 exhibition in Germany.
Just Posted: Our in depth review of the Olympus E-P1. Olympus has generated quite a buzz with its compact, mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera. Its metal body, styled to evoke memories of the company's successful Pen series of half-frame film cameras contains a 12MP image stabilized sensor mated to the company's latest image processing engine. So, is this 'Digital Pen' the perfect carry everywhere camera? Read our 37-page in-depth review to find out!
Pentax has released a firmware update for its K-7 mid-level DSLR. Version 1.01 adds a new custom function that defines the default behavior of the the four way controller when in manual AF-point-selection mode. The default can be switched between AF point selection and direct access to four key functions. The update also claims to make stability improvements to its general performance.
Kodak has announced three 12 megapixel compact cameras. The Z950 offers 10x image stabilized lens, 3 inch LCD and HD video recording. No indication is given of the range of its Schneider-branded lens, leading us to suspect it has no wide-angle capability. The company has also refreshed its 'M' range, adding the M381 and M341 with 5x and 3x zooms, and 3.0" and 2.7" LCDs, respectively to slot nicely into popular price points. All three cameras have Kodak's Smart Capture scene recognition and exposure system.
Panasonic has launched the Lumix DMC-ZR1 (ZX1 in Europe) incorporating the world’s first 0.3mm aspherical and spherical lens elements. The super-zoom compact with an 8x optical zoom lens starting at a wide 25mm equivalent, features a 12.1MP sensor and and 2.7 inch LCD. It includes Panasonic's latest Power OIS image stabilizer that the company says offers twice the shake suppression capability of the previous Mega OIS stabilizer.
Panasonic has released the Lumix DMC-FZ35 (DMC-FZ38 in Europe) super-zoom digital compact camera with AVCHD lite HD video recording. Successor to the DMC-FZ28, it features an 18x optical zoom lens (27- 486mm equiv.), the new Power OIS image stabilizer and a faster Venus Engine HD processor. The 12.1 MP camera also features a Quick AF system that claims to be two times faster than that of the DMC-FZ28.
Panasonic has released the Lumix DMC-FP8 digital compact. Sporting a new card style body design, it incorporates a 28-128mm equivalent lens with folding optics. It features the industry's fastest autofocus and a start-up time of 0.95 seconds. The 12.1MP camera with a 2.7 inch LCD also features the new Power OIS image stabilizer and offers HD video recording.
Ricoh has released the GR Digital III premium compact camera with a fast f1.9 28mm equivalent prime lens. Successor to the GR Digital II, it uses a new 10MP sensor with larger pixel pitch than its predecessor. It continues the Ricoh tradition of high resolution screens, becoming one of the first compact to offer a 920,000 dots VGA panel. A new imaging engine, in combination with the more sensitive sensor promises to improve high ISO performance. It also gains faster AF and a 'full-press snap' mode that jumps to a preset focus distance for fast street shooting. It can also shoot a burst of up to 5 RAW files in continuous or bracketing mode.
Just posted! Our updated waterproof camera group test. Following the publication of our waterproof camera group test, we were inundated with requests to include the Panasonic FT1/TS1. At around the same time, Pentax launched the W60's successor, the Optio W80. So we donned our swimming trunks again to see how these cameras would perform.
Fujifilm has introduced the FinePix F70EXR featuring a new half-inch 10 megapixel Super CCD EXR sensor. It has a 10X image-stabilized zoom starting at 27mm equivalent and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. The EXR technology uses the sensor in three different ways to optimize resolution, dynamic range or low-light performance. The camera features a new Pro-Focus and a Pro-Low light mode which use multiple exposures in an attempt to mimic DSLR depth-of-field and low light performance.
Fujifilm has unveiled the FinePix S200EXR advanced super zoom - a successor to the FinePix S100FS. Incorporating a 12MP Super CCD EXR sensor and an optically-stabilized 14.3x (30.5-436mm) manual zoom lens, it offers CCD-RAW (EXR) and JPEG shooting and three bracketing options. It also includes a new Pro Focus and Pro Low Light mode and improved battery life. It features a 2.7 inch LCD and an electronic viewfinder.
Canon has developed a 'Hybrid Image Stabilizer' that corrects for both linear and rotational shake. The system, which the company claims is a world's first for SLR lenses, will be incorporated into a lens that will be released before the end of 2009. It is designed to offer improved stabilization performance at closer subject distances, and particularly for macro shooting.
Fujifilm have launched the world's first three dimensional digital imaging system which includes the FinePix Real 3D W1 digital camera, FinePix Real 3D V1 picture viewer and 3D print capability. The W1 uses two CCD sensors and blends the information into a single symmetrical image and can produce both stills and movies.
Olympus has released the Stylus 7010 ultra-compact camera. It is built around a 7x optical zoom lens starting at 28mm equivalent and a 12 megapixel image stabilized sensor. It has a 2.7 inch LCD and offers features such as AF tracking and an Intelligent Auto mode. It also includes a set of 'magic filters' including Pop Art, Pin Hole, Sketch and Fish-Eye filters.
Olympus has announced the latest additions to its FE range of budget compact cameras. The FE-5020, FE-4000, FE-46, FE-26 all include 12 Megapixel CCDs, 2.7 inch LCDs, but vary in lenses. They all include a 'One button, one Function' design principle, AF tracking and an Intelligent Auto mode. The FE-5020 and FE-4000 also include a set of Magic Filters. The new cameras will start shipping next month.
Olympus has announced the addition of Stylus Tough 6010 (µ TOUGH-6010 in Europe) to its rugged compact camera series. It is claimed to be waterproof up to 3 meters, freeze proof up to -10 degrees and shockproof up to 1.5 meters. The camera has a 12MP sensor, a 2.7" LCD with Tap Control, 3.6x zoom lens starting at 28mm and offers features such as Dual Image Stabilization and built-in 'Magic' filters.
Nikon has released a service advisory for its D5000 DSLR. It addresses power issues with a specific batch of D5000's. Affected cameras can be identified by their serial numbers, which will apparently be added to Nikon's website next week. These cameras will be repaired for free by contacting the company's customer support center.
Just posted! Our latest lens review featuring the Canon TS-E 24mm F3.5 L II. This tilt and shift lens caused something of a stir on its introduction earlier this year, with its new barrel design (shared with the TS-E 17mm F4L) that allows the directions of the tilt and shift axes to be freely rotated with respect to each other and the camera body. But behind this headline feature the lens also features an all-new optical design and Canon's latest coating technologies. So how does this all translate into real-world performance?
The past month has seen probably the biggest wave of changes made to the site since it was established over ten years ago. These improvements have been introduced to make the site easier to use, provide new features to play with and generally make the experience more enjoyable. Now that these features have been rolled-out and the dust is beginning to settle, we wanted to run through the updates, to make sure you're not missing out on any of the new facilities.
Samsung has released the SL720 (PL70 in Europe) digital compact camera with 720p HD video recording. Sporting an 12.2MP sensor, 3 inch LCD and a 5x image stabilized zoom lens starting at 28mm. It includes the ability to pause and re-record HD movie clips and has an HDMI connector. Priced at £199 it will become available in August 2009.
Samsung has announced the SL502 (PL55 in Europe) digital compact camera. It has a 5x zoom but starting at 35mm equivalent, so no wide-angle capability. With a 12.2MP sensor and 2.7 inch LCD, it includes features such as Smart Auto mode, Smart Album, Face, Smile and Blink detection. Priced at £149, it will start shipping in August 2009.
Cosina has today announced Voigtländer-branded adapters to connect F and K mount lenses with Micro Four Thirds camera bodies. The adapters are designed for Voigtländer and Carl Zeiss lenses with Nikon F or Pentax K mounts. They provide only a mechanical connection between the lens and body so only lenses with a manual aperture ring will be compatible.
Sony has announced a 32GB variant of its Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX memory card. With the largest storage capacity in its line and fast recording speeds, it can record up to 225 minutes of HD videos, and is ideal for use in digital cameras with high speed burst modes. It also offers fast PC transfer speeds of 20MB/s using the included USB adapter. The Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX is also available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities.
Just Posted: Our in-depth review of the Panasonic DMC-GH1. After the G1 the GH1 is the second model in Panasonic's G-series of interchangeable lens cameras with a large (Four Thirds size) imaging sensor. It adds an HD-video mode, a multi-aspect sensor and a video-optimized lens to the G1's successful formula - it all looks very tempting on the spec sheet but how does it perform in the hands of the dpreview testers? Find out in our full review.
ACD Systems has released a beta version of its ACDSee Pro 3 image browsing software. It features an improved interface, more online publishing tools and advanced image processing options allowing both non-destructive and pixel-level editing on most file formats. It is now available for beta testing, with a full version to follow in Autumn 2009.
Canon has announced the MP560 and MP490 wireless all-in-one inkjet photo printers. Along with the print, copy and scan options, both include features such as Auto Photo Fix II, Duplex and Wireless Printing. The MP560 is also Canon's first Pixma printer with the ability to print out pictures directly from a USB flash memory device. The MP560 and MP490 are priced at $149.99 USD and $99.99 USD respectively.
Just Posted: Our in-depth review of the Olympus E-620. The E-620 takes most of the features from the semi-pro E-30 and fits them into a body only slightly larger than the E-420, making it the most powerful entry-level Four Thirds camera yet. It has been a little overwhelmed by the buzz about E-P1, but does the little DSLR deserve a second look? Find out in our full review.
Sigma has released an update to its Photo Pro image-editing software. Version 3.5.2 for Windows and v3.3 for Mac claim to improve processing of highlight areas in RAW images and now offer the 'ProPhoto RGB' color space. Exposure warning is also displayed for RGB channels in the histogram in the Windows version.
Hasselblad has announced the CFV-39 digital back to be used in conjunction with its V series of camera bodies. Featuring a 39 megapixel sensor, it offers two capture formats: 4:3 and square (at 29MP). It allows tethered shooting and offers a capture rate of 0.7fps. The bundled image processing software features digital lens correction for Carl Zeiss lenses that corrects distortion, lateral chromatic aberration and vignetting.
Firmware development for all Nikon digital cameras and interchangeable lenses will now be undertaken by a new company named Nikon Imaging Systems. The new company is a joint venture between Fujitsu Broad Solution & Consulting Inc. and Nikon Systems, a subsidiary of Nikon Corporation. The initial investment will be around $1m and the company will employ 100 people.
Just posted! Our waterproof camera group test. Summer time means visiting the seaside, riverside, or your local pool - these are times for fun in and out of the water. And your camera should be able to keep up with you every step of the way. In our latest group test we look at five waterproof cameras to see which is the most deserving of your hard-earned cash so you can enjoy a summer of worry-free shooting.
Olympus has released an update to its Master and Studio image-editing software. Version 2.2 of the Master and v2.3 of Studio enable users to apply Art Filter effects to RAW files, rather than having to choose them as you shoot. It also extends RAW support to the E-P1 and now includes a video editor to edit that camera's HD videos.