Just posted! Our lens review of Panasonic's ultra-wideangle zoom for Micro Four Thirds, the Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH. This lens takes advantage of the downsizing possibilities offered by the mirrorless format to deliver a huge angle of view in a body that's scarcely larger than a typical DSLR kit zoom. But this comes at a pretty steep price, so with the Olympus M Zuiko Digital 9-18mm F4-5.6 now available as a lower-cost alternative, we look to see what extra the 7-14mm has on offer to tempt the wideangle enthusiast.
Articles from May 2010
Pentax and Nikon have released firmware updates for the Optio H90, I-10, W90, X90 and Coolpix S230 compact cameras. The updates to version 1.0.1 for all Pentax compacts offer additional settings while using Eye-Fi wireless memory cards. The firmware v1.1 for the Nikon S230 fixes a minor bug. The latest versions are available for immediate download from the Pentax and Nikon websites.
Just posted: our look behind the scenes of in-camera lens corrections. It's become increasingly common for manufacturers to design cameras that perform some degree of lens correction. So what are manufacturers playing at? Why are they releasing lenses with distortion, what effect does it have, and should dpreview review the distorted or the corrected output? We spoke to a series of leading camera and lens makers, as well as the creators of leading RAW converters to find out just what's going on.
Sony has detailed the double-layer microlens technology it used to maintain imaging performance in its chip featuring the industry's smallest pixel size. Its latest Semiconductor and Components online newsletter explains the structure of the ICX681SQW 14.2 MP 1/2.3" type CCD sensor that adds convex lenses beneath the existing microlenses to improve optical condensing (the process of directing more light onto the photodiode). The chip is used in the Cybershot H55 and several recent W Series compacts. The newsletter also gives details of the company's 3:2 aspect ratio, 1.03 million dot LED-lit LCD panel that sounds a lot like the one used in Canon's Rebel T2i.
Phase One has announced its acquisition of Microsoft's Expression Media digital asset management software. The software enables users to import, browse, organize and share images and videos. The company is running a special offer for users of its Capture One 5 image editing software and existing users of Expression Media entitling each to a copy of the other piece of software until June 30th.
Samsung has posted a firmware update for its NX10 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Version 1.15 adds features including selectable manual focus assist. It also claims to enhance overall stability of the camera amongst other improvements. The firmware is currently available via the Samsung Imaging website and requires users to register before downloading. As firmware v1.15 addresses some of the criticisms raised in our review of the camera, we plan to revise the review to reflect this.
Canon and Fujifilm have released firmware updates for the EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR and FinePix HS10 manual superzoom compact camera. Firmware v2.0.7 for the Canon 5D Mark II fixes bugs pertaining to movie mode, differences between LCD and viewfinder information in manual mode, and the use of wireless file transmitters. The firmware v1.02 for the Fujifilm HS10 also fixes a few bugs. The updates are available for immediate download from the Canon and Fujifilm websites.
Voigtländer has announced the European price and availability of its Apo-Lanthar 90mm F3.5 SL II close focus lens in Canon, Nikon and Pentax mounts. Announced in February 2010, the lens is priced at €549 for all the three mounts. In the UK market it is priced at £487.62 for the Canon EF mount and £464.12 for the Nikon Ai-S and Pentax KA mounts. The lens has been redesigned with a smaller body while maintaining the same optical construction and 50cm minimum focusing distance of the previous, SL version.
Adobe's image processing rival DxO Labs has highlighted potential pitfalls in allowing users to profile their own lenses using Adobe's recently announced Lens Profile Creator utility. The company has expressed concerns about the accuracy and number of measurements taken to achieve an accurate profile. In response, Adobe has explained the reasoning behind encouraging users to profile their own lenses and says it has tried to mitigate the potential errors.
All existing examples of the Sony E-mount 16mm F2.8 lens for its NEX system are non-production specification, the company has informed us. Tetsuya Numata, General Manager, Digital Imaging Europe told us: '[Sony] Japan noticed that all 16mm samples were actually pre-production samples and not showing the final performance of the lens. The design was modified from pre-production stage.' The statement came following discussions we'd had with the company over the image quality displayed in our own samples and others on the Internet. The company has promised us a production specification lens and we will post images with it as soon as we have it.
Just Posted: Our review of the Olympus E-PL1. The E-PL1 is essentially a simplified and cut-down version of the company's E-P2 Micro Four Thirds camera. The 12MP camera adopts many features from its big brothers and adds a built-in flash and an interactive point-and-shoot mode. But has all this economizing blunted the 'Digital Pen'? Find out in our review.
Ricoh has announced firmware updates, adding functions to its GXR and GR Digital III cameras. To be released on May 19, updates for both include two more noise reduction settings and an additional incandescent white balance preset. Both cameras will also feature an Auto Shutter Speed Shift function in shutter priority mode, which when selected changes the shutter speed where it would otherwise have no choice but to over or underexpose. There are also further improvements and additional features available for individual cameras.
Leica has announced a revised version of the Summilux-M 35mm f1.4 ASPH lens for its M series of rangefinder cameras. It promises improved close distance performance through the use of a floating focus design, in which the lenses behind the aperture change position relative to the front group on focusing. The lens also comes with a compact rectangular screw-mount hood. It will be available in July 2010 at authorized Leica dealers for a recommended price of $4,995/£3,375.
Sigma UK has announced its APO 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM optically stabilized lens will be available soon in Sony and Pentax mounts. Currently available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts, the Pentax version will start shipping from May 21, 2010 followed by the Sony version from May 28, 2010 at a suggested retail price of £766.30.
Adobe has released a 'Release Candidate' of its Camera RAW 6.1 raw processing software for immediate download from Adobe Labs. Based around a revised processing engine first seen in v6.0, it includes the Lens Correction feature that applies profile-based corrections. It also extends RAW support to the same cameras that were supported in v5.7, with additional support to the Olympus E-600. According to the company, the term 'Release Candidate' means the download is well tested but not yet final version.
Sony has created Memory Stick-Pro HG Duo HX cards with read speeds increased to up to 30MB/s, from 20MB/s. The write speed remains at a minimum of 15MB/s (on HG-compatible devices), as per the previous generation cards. The faster read rates will speed up processes such as the transfer of large images or playback of HD video. The latest cards are available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities.
Canon is celebrating the production of its 40 millionth EOS camera, including both film and digital SLRs. The Electro Optical System (EOS) series was introduced in 1987 with the launch of EOS 650 which incorporated the world’s first fully electronic mount. A press release from the company stresses milestones in its history.
Just posted! Our preview samples gallery from the Sony Alpha NEX-5. We have just received a production sample NEX-5, and decided to venture out of the office for a saunter around London in the spring sunshine to bring you a quick gallery. All the images have been shot with the optically stabilized 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 kit zoom lens. The gallery includes a mix of shots using various ISOs and under different lighting conditions. We've even added a video to watch and download. UPDATE: When we produced this sample gallery we were told that the E 16mm F2.8 lens we were using was a production sample. However, Sony has today (May 18th) informed us that all E 16mm F2.8 lens in circulation are not of production specification and image quality should not be taken as indicative of final production quality.
Hasselblad has released a Mac update for its Phocus image processing software which extends RAW support to third party camera files. Version 2.5 allows processing of files from manufacturers including Canon, Nikon, Leica, Sony, Fujifilm and Olympus. It also includes a host of new features, and supports common file formats such as JPEG, DNG, PNG and TIFF. The company says that the Windows version of Phocus 2.5 will be released by mid-June and will include all the latest improvements excluding support for third party files. The Mac version will be available as a free download from May 19th from Hasselblad's website.
Leica has announced the Summarit-S 35mm f/2.5 ASPH lens for its S2 professional DSLR. The first wide angle lens designed for its S system offers a 28mm equivalent field of view. It joins the existing 70mm f/2.5 ASPH and 180mm f/2.5 lenses. Leica says it will available from May 2010 at a suggested retail price of US $5295.
Along with the Alpha NEX-5 and NEX-3, Sony has announced it will develop an AVCHD camcorder that will be built around the new E mount system. Due to be launched in Autumn/Fall 2010, it will include the Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor seen in the NEX models and will be compatible with existing Alpha lenses via an adaptor.
As expected, Sony has unveiled the NEX-3 and NEX-5 mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The two cameras are both built around the 14.6 megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor announced at the PMA 2010 exhibition in February and the new, mirrorless E-mount. Both offer high-resolution tilt/flip screens, fast continuous shooting and HD video capture, with 720p from the NEX-3 and 1080i, AVCHD from the NEX-5. Also announced are three E-mount lenses: a 16mm F2.8 pancake, offering a 24mm equivalent field-of-view, a standard 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 stabilized kit zoom, with a 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 stabilized superzoom to follow. We've been using both NEXs for a while and have delved beyond the raw specifications to prepare hands-on previews of both models.
Canon has released the PowerShot SD4000 IS (IXUS 300HS in Europe) ultra-compact camera. It features the company's new 'HS' system that promises better low-light performance and high-speed photography through a combination of a 10MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 processor. It sports a 28-105mm equivalent f/2.0-5.3 stabilized zoom lens (offering the same range as the S90 but for a smaller sensor), 3 inch LCD and P/A/S/M shooting modes. The camera also features a Super Slow Motion movie mode that records 340x240 movies at 240fps, as well as 720p HD movies capture.
As previously announced, firmware updates for the DMC-GF1, DMC-GH1 and DMC-G1 Micro Four-Thirds cameras are now available for download. These promise improved autofocus performance with third-party lenses and recognition of the new 14-42mm kit zoom, plus enhanced flash performance for the GH1 and G1. The updates can be downloaded via Panasonic's website.
DxO Labs has updated its DxO Optics Pro raw converter to version 6.2 for both Windows and Mac. The latest versions add support for the Canon 550D and Sony Alpha DSLR-A450 in both Standard and Elite editions. The Elite edition also supports the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and Nikon D3s, and comes with 85 additional optical modules. Versions for both operating systems also offer a number of new features including automatic noise reduction and a default sharpening preset.
Olympus has announced the availability of its PEN E-P2 Micro Four Thirds camera in silver. Previously only available in black (in most markets), the silver version of the camera will start shipping from next week including the M. Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 lens. The European recommended selling price will be €799.
Ricoh has unveiled the P10 28-300mm equivalent F3.5-5.6 VC lens module for the GXR system with a 1/2.3" back-illuminated CMOS sensor. The image-stabilized unit includes features such as RAW capture, HD video recording and 5 fps continuous shooting (120 fps at VGA). The P10 is the third module available for GXR users, with the A12 28 mm equivalent F2.5 prime lens module currently under development.
In addition to its latest GXR module announcement, Ricoh has shown us a series of concept prototypes for non-camera modules that could be developed for the system. The eight mockups, first shown at the CP+ show in Japan in March 2010, include a GPS unit, a wireless kit for underwater photography, storage and projector units. The company says it will first concentrate on producing camera modules but wants to demonstrate the potential of the system.
Just posted! Our latest lens review, featuring the Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS II USM. This lens was announced at the start of the year as Canon's replacement for its flagship fast telephoto zoom - the workhorse of many professional photographers - promising improvements in almost every aspect of its design. We've been putting it through its paces for the last couple of weeks, click through to read how it fared in our tests.
Topaz Labs has released the latest version of its DeNoise noise reduction plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. It incorporates the company's latest 'IntelliNoise' noise reduction technology that aims to remove noise from images while maintaining detail. It is available as a free upgrade for existing users or $79.99 for first-time buyers.
As you may already have guessed dpreview.com has a new design. The biggest changes are the homepage, which has been totally redesigned, and the new site-wide widgets on the right hand column. From a user interface point of view the biggest change regular readers will need to adjust to is that the menu has moved from the left-hand side (where it's lived for a decade) to the top of the page. This will allow us to use the full width of your screen for some of our future developments. We hope you like it, and that you'll bear with us today as we iron out the inevitable bugs that will creep in after deploying such a significant code change. Find out more after the link.
Adobe has posted a prerelease version of its Lens Profile Creator utility that enables creation of custom lens profiles for Photoshop CS5, ACR 6.1 and Lightroom 3. The process involves downloading and printing a checkerboard test chart from Adobe Labs, and shooting a series of RAW or non-RAW images. These can then be imported to the Lens Profile Creator to generate custom profiles for the Lens Correction feature in Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3. Furthermore, these profiles can also be shared via the company's user community.
Olympus has officially announced the E-PL1, a simplifeid, less expensive addition in its Micro-Four Thirds camera range. With an MSRP of $599/€599/£549 the latest PEN ncludes many of the features of its big brothers, the EP-1 and EP-2 and also adds a built-in flash. We've had an E-PL1 for the past few days and have put together a hands-on preview that we hope will provide a little more insight than the bare specs and press images carelessly left lying around the internet.
Samsung wants to 'own' the mirrorless camera sector, according to Seung Soo Park, Samsung’s Vice President, Strategy Marketing and Digital Media. This will include enhanced communication with customers and firmware updates for its cameras based on their requests, he said, in an exclusive interview with dpreview.com.
Just Posted: Our review of the Sony DSLR-A850. This camera was launched in August last year as a slightly down-specced companion to Sony's full-frame flagship DSLR, the A900. The A850 is in terms of specification very close to its bigger brother and Sony says both cameras share the same imaging pipeline. Click through to our review and see all the differences between the two models.
Just Posted: Our quick review of the Olympus E-P2. The second-generation PEN was launched just five months after Olympus unveiled the E-P1. The biggest difference is the addition of an accessory port, allowing the attachment of an electronic viewfinder and making it the perfect candidate for our quick review format that looks at the differences between this and its sister model. We've been testing the firmware announced today to ensure the review highlights all the changes made since our E-P1 review.
Just Posted: Our review of the Canon PowerShot S90 compact digital camera. Canon's answer to the popular Panasonic LX3 offers a sophisticated set of photographic controls in a very compact body and promises to be the perfect pocket camera for the enthusiast shooter. We've been using it fairly heavily for several months now and have finally got round to finishing our full review (yes, yes, we know - apologies for the delay in getting this one out). So is the S90 the perfect compact for the serious photographer or just another point and shoot with pretensions? Find out what we thought after the link...
Panasonic has announced the first professional camcorder with a Micro Four Thirds sensor. Capable of recording full 1080p HD videos at various frame rates, the AG-AF100 is compatible with the company's line up of Lumix G lenses, filters, and adapters. Building on the success of the DMC-GH1 camera with videographers, the company says this higher-end model is 'targeted at the video and film production communities.'
Panasonic has announced firmware updates for its DMC-G1, GH1 and GF1 Micro Four Thirds cameras. To be released on May 10, the latest updates for all the cameras promises improved autofocus performance with third-party lenses and recognition of the new 14-42mm kit zoom. Amongst other improvements the updates promise improved flash performance for the GH1 and G1.
ACD Systems has released its ACDSee Photo Manager 12 image editing and management software for beginners and hobbyists. The latest version focuses on sharing images online with features to directly upload images to social networking sites, an FTP uploader and an Online mode, which connects users to a free 2 GB account on ACDSeeOnline.com. The software is available for US $69.99 for first time buyers and $35 as an upgrade to existing users.
Just Posted: Our in-depth review of the Canon Rebel T2i/EOS 550D. The EOS 550D combines high-end features adopted from the 7D, with the low-cost, user-friendly ergonomics of previous entry-level models like the EOS 500D. On paper its the most compelling Rebel-series DSLR to date, so can it span the bridge between first-time DSLR buyers and more experienced users? Read our full test to find out.
Just Posted: Our review of the Samsung NX10. It's been just over a year since Samsung announced its NX mirrorless interchangeable lens camera system, the first to feature an APS-C sized sensor as used in the most popular DSLRs. It packs a 14.7MP sensor and 'VGA resolution' LED screen into a small, DSLR-like body that exactly resembles the mockup shown by the company back in March 2009. We've been thoroughly testing it to see whether its combination of high resolution sensor and small body is enough to win over people who would otherwise buy a DSLR or Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera.
On the eve of the release of Photoshop CS5 - the twelfth version of Photoshop, we got a chance to speak to its product manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes. He told us what's in store for photographers and how will they benefit from the new features. 'We have incorporated many exciting features and improvements in this new version,' he said: 'It is our most innovative release to date.'
A Canon 5D Mark II has become the first video-capable DSLR to film a whole episode of a US primetime series. Greg Yaitanes, director of FOX broadcasting company's medical drama series 'House', used the camera, a selection of Canon's prime lenses and, the 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses to shoot its season finale. Speaking via Twitter, he said that this was to achieve a shallow depth of field and a 'richer look'. He also said he 'feels it’s the future'.
Olympus has announced the Viewer 2 image and video editing software for its E-system and PEN cameras. Successor to Master 2 and Studio 2, it offers movie selection and editing as well as improved compatibility with the latest operating systems. These come in addition to features such as RAW processing and control over Art Filter effects offered by the existing packages. It will be available as a free download from Olympus's website from May 2010.
Panasonic has announced the price and availability of its latest Lumix G series Micro Four Thirds cameras. The DMC-G2 and DMC-G10 with 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH Mega O.I.S. kit lenses will be available from the next month at suggested retail prices of $799.95 and $599.95 respectively. The G2 will come in red, blue and black, while the G10 will be available only in black. In the UK the G2 will cost £629.99 with kit lens while the G10 kit will sell for around £499.99. Body-only and two lens kits will also be available for the G2.
Leica has unveiled its first compact superzoom, the V-Lux 20 which also features built-in GPS tagging. A near-identical twin of the Panasonic ZS7/ TZ10, but with a more expensive price tag of US $699/£495 GBP, the camera includes almost all of the features including a 12.1MP sensor, 460k dot 3" LCD and 12x optical zoom (25-300mm equiv.). Like the ZS7 it also features 720p HD video recording, however it can only shoot it in a less sophisticated Motion JPEG format than the Panasonic's AVCHD Lite format.
As announced, firmware updates for the Olympus PEN series are now available for download. The updates can be downloaded via the Olympus Digital Camera Update software application. We've been testing the final version of firmware v1.1 for the E-PL1 and here include the autofocus tests from our forthcoming review of the camera.
Nikon has announced the AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 ED VR II, a revised version of its super telephoto zoom lens. The VR II version gains an improved image stabilization mechanism, nano crystal coating and the A/M focus mode that has appeared in recent Nikon lenses. The VR II supersedes the original VR lens, launched in 2003. It is expected to go on sale in May 2010, for a estimated price of $6,999.95/ €7400.00.
Pentax has announced the Optio M90, a 5x zoom compact camera. The lens on the 12 megapixel camera offers a zoom range equivalent to 28mm to 140mm. Pentax says it includes improved face recognition, along with smile capture, blink detection and twenty scene modes. The M90 features a 'soft-feel' rubber finish over an aluminium body. The M90 will only be available in Europe.
Adobe has released 'Release Candidates' of Photoshop Lightroom 2.7, Camera Raw 5.7 and DNG Converter 5.7 for immediate download from Adobe Labs. Both provide additional RAW support for 9 more cameras, including the Canon EOS 550D, Panasonic G2 and Olympus E-PL1. According to the company, the term 'Release Candidate' means the downloads are well tested but not yet final versions.
Canon Europe has relaunched its after-sales support system for professional photographers and videographers. The Canon Professional Services (CPS) program is open to owners of multiple Canon bodies and high-end lenses, and offers benefits including direct support and a priority repair service. The revised program includes multiple levels of membership and better support. Existing CPS community members are required to update their details to the new system before June 2010.
As rumored, Adobe has launched Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended - the latest versions of its image manipulation software. They will be available separately or as components of the Creative Suite 5 family of design and production software bundles. Both include revised interfaces and a host of new tools and refinements (discussed in the accompanying story). Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended are expected to begin shipping next month for around US $699 and $999. Licensed users of the previous versions can upgrade for $199 and $349 respectively.
Sigma UK has announced its latest 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC ultra wide angle lens will be available soon in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts. Announced at PMA 2010, the lens is designed for APS-C cameras and offers a wide angle of view of 121 degrees. It will be available in all three mounts from the end of this month for a retail price of £799.99.
Olympus has announced a firmware update for all three of its PEN Series cameras (The E-P1, E-P2 and E-PL1). To be released on April 22, the latest updates promise faster auto focusing speeds and improvements when using the recently announced 9-18mm lens. There are also improvements and bug fixes for individual cameras. The company has also announced a stand-alone Digital Camera Update software application exclusively for camera and lens firmware updates.
Olympus Japan has announced its latest M Zuiko Digital 9-18mm F4-5.6 wide-angle zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras will be available soon. Priced at ¥71,000 (~US $700), the lens will start shipping from April 23. The company has also announced that the 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 will start shipping from the end of next month.
Samsung has announced production of the first flash memory cards to use its 20-nanometer (nm) process technology. It will incorporate the new 32 gigabit MLC NAND chips into memory cards ranging from 4GB through 64GB capacities. According to the company, the 20nm-class MLC NAND chips deliver 50% higher productivity level and 30% faster write speeds than the previous generation 30nm chips. Samsung has started shipping 20nm-class 32Gb NAND based SD card samples to customers and plans to expand production later this year.
Adobe has released Photoshop Lightroom 2.7, Camera Raw 5.7 and DNG Converter 5.7. These are final versions of updates that were originally posted as 'release candidates' on the Adobe Labs site, and are now available for immediate download. The latest versions provide final RAW support for nine recent cameras, including the Canon EOS 550D, Panasonic G2 and Olympus E-PL1.
Apple has released a Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update for Aperture 3 and iPhoto '09. Update 3.2 extends RAW support to nine additional cameras and addresses processing issues of files from the Canon EOS 30D, Pentax K-x and K-7 digital SLRs. The update is available for immediate download from Apple's website.
Leica has released a function-enhancing firmware update for its S2 medium format DSLR. Version 184.108.40.206 adds a white balance preset for working with HMI (Hydrargyrum Medium-arc Iodide) lamps, provides additional viewfinder information and offers selectable OLED screen standby time. It also brings in a host of improvements including more options for customization of buttons. Registered users can download the latest firmware via the Owner's Area on Leica's website.
Adobe has released the final versions of its Creative Suite 5 software bundles that include Photoshop CS5. The five bundles contain various tools selected for use at different levels of print, web and video design and editing. Many of these tools, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premier and After Effects are also available separately. Trial downloads of all the suites are available from the Adobe website. Refer back to our interview for more details of the changes made for photographers in Photoshop CS5.
Just posted! Our world-first review of the Olympus M Zuiko Digital 9-18mm F4-5.6 wideangle zoom for Micro Four Thirds. We've had an early production sample of this tiny collapsible lens for the last week or so, and been been putting it through its paces both in the studio and out in the big wide world. Click through to find out how it fared, and how it compares to the alternative options available to Micro Four Thirds users.
Color technology specialist X-rite has announced two free online color workflow demonstrations for Adobe Camera Raw using its ColorChecker Passport color calibrator. The one hour demos will cover a number of topics including creation of camera profiles and color editing in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. They will take place on April 15 at 13:00 EDT (17:00 UTC) and 15:00 EDT (19:00 UTC).
Carl Zeiss has introduced a set of cine prime and zoom lenses that offer interchangeable mounts for use with video enabled DSLRs. With a choice of Canon EF, Nikon F and Arri PL mount for professional cine cameras, the CP.2 compact primes offer a choice of 18mm to 85mm focal lengths with maximum apertures ranging from T2.1 to T3.6 and can be used on full frame cameras such as Canon 5D Mark II. The LWZ.2 lightweight zoom lenses cover the 'ANSI Super 35' image area (24.9 x 18.7mm) that is a fraction larger than APS-C sensors (24 x 16mm). The lenses will be available from June 2010.