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« September 2011 | November 2011 »
October 2011 news and reviews
Ichikawa Soft Laboratory has released updated versions of its Silkypix raw conversion software, for both Windows and Mac users. The latest versions, Silkypix Developer Studio Pro Ver 220.127.116.11 and Silkypix Developer Studio Ver 18.104.22.168, add raw support for the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 and the Sony Alpha NEX-5N.
The interviews are done, the pictures have been taken, the video footage is awaiting editing, and the dry sandwiches and warm coke have been consumed. We're heading home from PPE 2011 now, but here's a taste of some of the things that didn't quite make it into our other coverage.
Just Posted: Our Fujiflm X10 Hands on preview and video. We've been using Fujifilm's enthusiast level compact camera for a couple of days and have prepared a hands-on preview article and video. The X10 combines a bright 4x stabilized zoom lens with extensive direct control and the attractive rangefinder-esque styling of its big brother, the X100. We take a closer look at the camera and what it offers and we'll supplement the article with a samples gallery next week.
Image sensor engineer and primary inventor of the CMOS sensor, Eric Fossum, has given the second annual Victor M. Tyler Distinguished Lectureship in Engineering at Yale University. Fossum's talk: 'Photons to Bits and Beyond: The Science & Technology of Digital Image Sensors' covers a wide range of subjects, from the basis of the way sensors work to the potential risks to society of the ways technology can be used. He touches on noise, demosaicing and how 'the force of marketing is greater than the force of engineering.' Yale has put a video of the presentation on YouTube and it's well worth watching if you have any interest at all in the physics and engineering that make your camera work. (via Image Sensors World)
Carl Zeiss has announces the Distagon T* 2/25 fast wide-angle lens in ZE (Canon) and ZF.2 (Nikon) versions. The manual focus lens will cost around €1217 excluding VAT and is the first Zeiss 25mm for the Canon EF format. The ZF.2 version for Nikon includes a CPU to provide aperture information to the camera, allowing the use of automatic exposure modes and the recording of EXIF data. The company says the existing Distagon 2.8/25 ZF.2 for Nikon will continue to be available. The lens design, featuring 11 elements in 10 groups is more complex than the 9 element, 7 group design of the Sony/Zeiss 24mm F2 announced in July 2010.
Leica has announced the Elmarit-S 30mm f/2.8 ASPH fast wide-angle lens for its S-system medium format DSLR. The lens, which offers a 24mm equivalent field of view, can focus down to 0.5m. The company suggests the lens is likely to find use for interior, architectural and landscape photography and that its fast maximum aperture also enables 'available light' shooting.
Canon USA has announced the Pixma Pro-1 printer, first unveiled by Canon Europe earlier this week. The 12-ink A3+ printer can produce a 13" x 19" standard quality print in 4 minutes, 20 seconds. The Pixma Pro-1 will sell for around the company's estimated selling price of $999.99. (Canon Europe's MSRP is £799/€899)
Adam Koplan takes a closer look at Thames & Hudson’s Photofile series - a sort of Reader’s Digest of coffee table books. The volumes in this series are well-produced paperbacks containing approximately 60 decent reproductions each and provide a strong sense of an artist's vision. Currently the series comprises 22 books.
The market for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras in the UK fell for the first time in September according to research from GfK Retail and Technology. The number of units sold fell 1% while price competition saw the value of those sales reduced by 17%, compared to the same time in 2010. DSLR sales, by comparison, rose 6%, though value fell 1%. The picture across Europe was mixed, though. Click here to read more.
Phone maker Nokia has launched a range of Windows Phone-based models, including the Lumia 800 with Carl Zeiss-branded lens. The range-topping Lumia 800 includes an 8MP sensor that sits behind a 28mm equivalent lens with F2.2 maximum aperture. The phone's camera features include manual exposure and white balance control as well as continuous AF and dual LED flash. Video recording is only 720p30, however.
Just Posted: our in-depth review of the Sony SLT-A77. Sony's latest flagship APS-C camera is the long-awaited replacement for the well-respected A700 DSLR and the most sophisticated camera to use the company's SLT design. We've paid particular attention to the benefits offered by its two key features: its 24MP CMOS sensor and its autofocus system that continues to operate at the camera's maximum 12fps shooting speed. We also had a look around for signs of the infamous 'ghosting' glitch that put some people off previous SLT models. Click here to see what we found.
Michigan photographer Tyler Card has turned himself into a DSLR for Halloween. Not content with building a wearable DSLR costume, Card proceeded to install his real Nikon DSLR, a Speedlight and a laptop into the design to allow himself to shoot the event. He had the foresight to shoot a video of the process, which we thought was too good to not share. (via PopPhoto)
Olympus has updated the firmware for its range-topping PEN E-P3 mirrorless camera. Firmware v1.1 corrects a bug that stopped the buttons working if the touch screen was contacted when an optional electronic viewfinder is used. It also corrects the fault by which the AF points were not shown when the camera is used with an Eye-Fi card. Users must download the Olympus Digital Camera Updater software to apply the update.
GoPro has launched the HD Hero2, an updated version of its sports video camera. The latest version features an 11MP sensor (up from 5MP) and can now shoot 1080p30 video at a choice of 170deg, 127deg or 90deg angles-of-view (the original Hero could only shoot 1080 at 127deg or lower resolutions at 170deg). The redesigned lens is claimed to be twice as sharp as its predecessor. It also gains an external mic port and Mini HDMI socket. The company has also launched the WiFi BacPac accessory allowing live streaming from the camera from the Hero2. It can also be used to control either HD Hero via the included remote or using an App on a smartphone or tablet.
Fujifilm has released updated firmware for its X100 premium large-sensor compact camera. Firmware v1.11 improves autofocus performance at close range and corrects a couple of bugs with the camera's operation. Meanwhile, Japanese company Aki-Asahi has begun offering custom coverings for the camera, including wood and leather covers in a variety of colors and textures. (Via PetaPixel)
Canon has announced the Pixma Pro-1, the first A3+ (13") printer to use 12 separate inks. The Pro-1 uses remote, tube-fed ink tanks to provide 12 inks plus a 'Chroma Optimizer' that coats the print to give an even finish and improved black density. The printer features a new, 12,288 nozzle print head (up from the 7,680 used on the 5200 II), and can produce an A3+ print (11x14") in 2 minutes, 55 seconds at standard quality. The 'Pro' designation indicates it is the first Canon printer whose purchase counts towards Canon Professional Service (CPS) membership. The MSRP is £799/€899.
Just Posted: Hands-on preview and real-world shooting experience with the Nikon 1 system. Launched last month, the Nikon J1 and V1 small-sensor mirrorless cameras have created a lot of discussion among our readers. We've been using both the Nikon J1 and V1 for some time, and ahead of our usual full review treatment we have prepared a brief hands-on preview, preview video and a 3-page article about using the higher-end V1 model.
Adam Koplan reviews 'Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography.' Edited by curator and art historian Tamar Garb to accompany an exhibition at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, the book looks at the work of 17 photographers who have been pushing forward the country's burgeoning post-apartheid photographic scene.
We've just posted our review of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V. This Sony superzoom features a 16MP 'Exmor' back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 10fps burst capability, a 30x (27-810mm equiv.) optical zoom and the ability to output 1080p60 HD video. This latest model also includes some very useful scenes modes including Backlight Correction HDR for capturing scenes with a wide dynamic range, and Hand-held Twilight mode for cleaner low-light images. How does this camera stack up against the competition? To find out, we've taken this opportunity to publish studio comparison samples for both the Nikon Coolpix P500 and the Olympus SP810 UZ.
Adobe Senior Product Marketing Manager Chris Quek explains the company's cloud-based Carousel image sharing and editing service. When Adobe Carousel was announced, back in September 2011, the initial responses were that it looked like an expensive cloud storage service. But it's a little more ambitious than that. Quek talked us through what Adobe Carousel offers and where it might go next.
Pop singer Rihanna has settled the copyright dispute with photographer David LaChapelle. LaChapelle had claimed the music video for the singer's single 'S&M' contained elements similar enough to his photos for it to infringe his copyright. In July a New York judge rejected Rihanna's lawyer's attempts to have the case dismissed on the basis of 'fair use.' Terms of the settlement were not made public.
Sony USA says it is too soon to know what effect the floods in Thailand will have on A65 and NEX-7 shipments. In response to reports from Japan that the launches will be delayed, a spokesman said: 'In Japan, a press announcement was made on October 20th regarding launch delays to the Japanese market. This does not apply to the US market, as the impact of the flood on US product shipping is still under investigation.' He also said that, as a: '"temporary emergency operation", Sony is planning to move production of Alpha / NEX to another factory facility in Thailand that was unaffected by the flood.' Nikon, meanwhile, has made no further comment, beyond confirming that its sole factory making APS-C DSLRs is currently out of action. So far the company's Chinese-made 1 Series mirrorless models and lenses appear unaffected. Updated: Nikon issues revised statement.
Photography/software author Ellen Anon takes a look at some of the best software techniques for getting the excellent detail out of your shots. From Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom to Topaz Labs and Nik, there is no shortage of software tools that can be used to enhance detail in an image, so Ellen walks us through the most efficient ways to use these applications, and where they each excel.
In Part Four of his series on creating compelling macro photographs, Erez Marom talks about composition and timing. Taking photographs from a similar point-of-view to that of the subject gives a more natural image, he argues. He also considers the importance of capturing not just an interesting subject, but an interesting moment, to create a captivating image.
Lytro Founder and CEO Ren Ng showed us the Light Field Camera and talked us through some of what it can do. Having played with the camera, we've written an overview in which he discusses the shooting and sharing experience, gives some more details about using Light Field images and tells us about 'Camera 3.0.'
Plenoptic camera maker Lytro has unveiled its first product - the Lytro Light Field Camera. Available in early 2012, the camera will come in 8Gb and 16Gb versions, costing $399 and $499, and capable of storing 350 and 750 images respectively in their internal memory. The cameras feature a 35-280mm equivalent, constant F2 lens with what the company is calling an 11 megaray sensor, that captures photos that can be refocused after shooting. Company Founder and CEO Ren Ng showed us the camera and talked us through the shooting experience.
Google and Samsung have announced the Galaxy Nexus smartphone - the first to use the latest version of the Android operating system. Android 4.0 (also known as Ice Cream Sandwich) features a series of enhancements for photographers, including support for what the companies are claiming is a 'zero shutter lag exposure.' The camera app included in the software also supports digitally stabilized zoom, single-motion panorama shooting and the ability to take HD snapshots as video is being shot. Ice Cream Sandwich also features a redesigned album layout and a photo editor, allowing cropping, rotation and simple image corrections. The Galaxy Nexus handset has a 1280x720 screen and 5MP camera capable of using Android 4.0's 'zero shutter lag' feature.
Adobe has admitted an image used in its 'image deblur' presentation was artificially blurred for the purposes of the demonstration. The company said the blur on the image was 'more complicated than anything we can simulate using Photoshop's blur capabilities.' It described the move as 'common practice in research' and defended the use of the image because 'we wanted it to be entertaining and relevant to the audience.' The other images shown were the result of camera shake, it said.
Former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford has launched a scathing attack on the company, following his removal from his post. Olympus had said Woodford was removed from his post over a difference in strategic direction between him and the rest of the Board of Directors. In a frank interview with the Financial Times, Woodford calls this 'utter nonsense' and states his belief that his removal relates to an investigation he had commissioned, into unusual payments and his suggestion that the board's Chairman and Vice Chairman should stand down over the issue. In response to suggestions that Olympus may try to prosecute him for disclosing this information, Woodford says: 'Bring it on.'
Canon has unveiled the Pixma MG4120, MG3120 and MG2120 photo printers. The wireless MG4120 and MG3120 printers offer 4800 x 1200dpi 4-ink printing at rates of up to 9ipm for black and white text documents, and 6 and 5ipm for color documents respectively. Both can be operated wirelessly with the latest version of the company's Easy-PhotoPrint App for iOS or Android smartphones and feature Auto Duplex (double-sided) printing capabilities. The MG2120 leaves out Wi-Fi and prints documents at 4ipm color (8ipm mono). All three printers will be available at an estimated retail price of $129.99, $79.99 and $69.99 respectively.
Canon has announced the launch of the EOS-1D X, its latest flagship professional DSLR. The 18MP camera is built around a full-frame sensor capable of shooting at up to 14 frames per second (12fps with AF), allowing it to replace both the 1D Mark IV and 1DS Mark III in Canon's lineup. Despite looking like previous 1D cameras, it's been extensively reworked (it includes more professional video features than any other Canon DSLR), so we took the opportunity to talk to Canon USA's Technical Advisor, Chuck Westfall about the camera and its features.
Just Posted: Still and video samples from the Nikon V1 with 1 Nikkor 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens. We've had a Nikon V1 in the office for a few days now, and we've spent that time shooting with, and getting to know the camera. To whet your appetite ahead of a detailed preview and full review, we've published a 30-image samples gallery from the V1 with the unusual 10-100mm power zoom lens, as well as three video samples shot using the same combination.
Adobe has released videos from its AdobeMAX event, including coverage of the image deblur feature for removing camera shake that has generated so much excitement. The company's video shows feature in much better detail than the audience-shot version currently on the web. Shown as a prototype of a technology that is being considered for future versions of Photoshop, the function analyses the movement of the camera during an exposure and then corrects for it. Videos are also available for the other projects demonstrated at the show, but it's the image deblur clip that is likely to really interest photographers.
We've just posted studio test samples from the Nikon V1 - the Japanese manufacturer's enthusiast-targeted small sensor mirrorless camera which is built around what the company is calling a 'CX' format 10MP CMOS sensor. In the process of working on the forthcoming in-depth review of the V1, we have shot our standard studio test scene. To allow easy comparison with its peers, we have now added these shots - both out of camera JPEGs and processed RAW files (with Adobe ACR 6.6 Beta) - to our comparison tool, found in our existing reviews. The V1 can now be selected from the pull-down list within any review or in our standalone comparison tool.
We've recently introduced a few small but, we hope, welcome improvements for dpreview members. You may have stumbled across them whilst browsing, but we thought it would make sense to bring them to everyone's attention. In brief: you can now edit comments you've made on news stories, articles and previews, we've introduced a 'Gear List' to your profile, and you can now feature your articles in your chosen forum(s). To find out more check out the full story after the link.
Just Posted: Our hands-on video preview of the Sony NEX-7. The NEX-7 is Sony's enthusiast mirrorless camera, combining a 24MP CMOS sensor with a 2.4M dot OLED electronic viewfinder and more physical controls than on any of the previous NEX cameras. There's been a lot of interest in camera, so we've prepared a hands-on preview video to show what it can do. There will be a more extensive written preview published next week, as part of the process of writing a full review but, in the meantime, we hope this video helps give you an idea of what to expect.
We've just published our review of the Epson Stylus Photo R3000. The R3000 is the top of Epson's non-Pro photo inkjet lineup. It's a 13" / A3+ format printer with nine pigment-based inks that can handle a variety of media, including roll-fed paper and CD/DVDs as well as board up to 1.3mm thick. As with our multi-function printer group test, this review was produced in collaboration with Vincent Oliver of Photo-i.co.uk.
The myth that focus-locking phase-detection autofocus is an open-loop control system is "Busted!" This article provides tests you can use to prove it is not only a closed-loop control system, but that it's fundamentally the same process as continuous-focus and always has been.
Apple has released an updated version of its Aperture Raw-conversion and photo management software. Version 3.2 adds compatibility with the company's iCloud online storage functionality and the latest iOS 5 operating system. The update also resolves minor bugs and adds miscellaneous improvements. It is available for immediate download from Apple's website.
A week after posting a firmware update for its G-system cameras, Panasonic has announced firmware updates for its DMC-G3 and GF3 Micro Four Thirds cameras. Version 1.2 improves compatibility of both cameras with Four Thirds lenses when mounted via the DMW-MA1 adapter. The updates are available for immediate download from Panasonic's website.
Sony has released firmware v1.03 for its SLT-A77 and A65 cameras. Currently only available via the company's Asia site (the first region in which the cameras are widely available), the upgrade promises to improve the responsiveness of the control dials and function buttons, along with the speed of switching between EVF and LCD modes. It also adds support for the HVL-MT24AM macro flash accessory.
Sigma Germany has announced a wood-veneered version of its SD1 high-end DSLR. The 'Wood Edition' emphasizes the camera's premium appeal by adding a casing made from Amboyna Burl, an expensive and decorative veneer taken from complex growths on a Southeast Asian tree. The case takes around 60 hours to cut, mill and polish. Ten examples of the special edition will be available, body-only, for a recommended selling price of €9,999. (From PhotoScala)
We've just added Leica M9 studio shots to our comparison tool. As part of our forthcoming review of the Sigma SD1, we'll be comparing it to a range of large-sensor, high-resolution cameras, which meant including the Leica M9. The shots, actually taken with an M9-P, should not be seen as a signal of a full review of the camera but do help put its image quality in context against its peers.
While searching through his archive for some pictures to print, dpreview.com Reviews Editor Barnaby Britton uncovered a twilight portrait from 2008 that stirred a few memories. In this article he explains how he approached creating and editing this photograph, of a lone nighttime traveller in the Pacific Northwest.
Photos taken in fog often appear dull and unattractive. This is because the fog decrease the contrast and color saturation. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that with the appropriate adjustments we can turn the problem into an advantage and obtain surprisingly satisfying results.
Fujifilm has announced its X10 enthusiast compact will start shipping from November 2011 at a recommended retail price of $599.95. Announced last month, the retro-styled camera features a bright F2.0-2.8, 28-112mm-equivalent lens and is built around the company's 12MP 2/3" (6.6 x 8.8mm) EXR CMOS sensor.
How well your subjects are posed can make the difference between a photoshoot that looks professional, and one that looks amateurish. Richly illustrated, Michelle Perkins' book '500 Poses for Photographing Women: A Visual Sourcebook for Portrait Photographers' provides hundreds of examples of female portraits. Click through to read Adam Koplan's review.
Sigma has released version II of its 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM superzoom lens. The latest version adds Sigma's FLD glass, the 'fluorite-like' glass co-developed with Hoya and features a revised design (it now features a narrower body and 18 elements in 14 groups, rather than the 13 groups of its predecessor). The lens will be available for Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Pentax and Sony systems (without optical stabilization on the last two mounts). MSRP will be $720.
JVC has announced the GC-PX10, a 12 megapixel/1080p60 hybrid stills/video camera with 10x optical zoom. The model, which combines a 1/2.3" back-illuminated CMOS sensor can shoot 1080p60 video at bitrates of up to 36Mbps, full-resolution images at 30fps or 8.3MB images at 60fps. The camera, which appears to be a US version of the previously-announced, Japan-only GC-PX1, can also capture slow-motion video at 300fps. It includes 32GB of built-in memory, as well as accepting SDXC, SDHC and SD cards.
Ellen Anon looks at the various techniques used to overcome dynamic range limitations.The dynamic range of a scene often exceeds the capturing capabilities of our cameras. Ellen explains how we we can use digital graduated neutral density filters and single image HDR Toning, as well as multi image HDR processing, to effectively even out the exposure within images.
An in-depth discussion about Auto-ISO, we explore the way Auto-ISO functions, the rationale behind its use, and its advantages.
Roger Cicala of LensRentals has written an article about lens and camera sample variation. The latest article builds on the several excellent pieces he's already written by subjecting a series of lenses to studio testing. As one of the few independent people in a position to test and assess sample variation with a reasonable sample size, it's well worth a read. As with all his posts, it does a good job of explaining and demonstrating the inherent variability and inconsistencies in lens behavior. It also addresses the reasonable desire (and sometimes unreasonable behavior) of photographers to get a 'good copy' of a lens.
What does the rise of the smartphones mean for the camera market? Smartphones are becoming increasingly popular and, in combination with processing apps, this is encouranging more people to turn to their phones to take and share photographs. Joanne Carter of TheAppWhisperer.com takes a look at what this means for 'conventional' photography.
Fujifilm has announced the X-S1 high-end superzoom and confirmed its intention to build a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The X-S1 is an addition to the company’s X-series and is built around the same 2/3” EXR CMOS sensor as the recently announced X10. Meanwhile, company president and CEO Shigetaka Komori said it will create a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera built around a larger sensor with ‘resolution and low noise [that] will surpass the 35mm full size sensor.’ We’re not taking this to mean it will be a full-frame camera. More details will be announced nearer the Spring 2012 launch. The X-S1 features a 26x, 24-624mm equivalent F2.8-5.3 zoom and will be available from early 2012. (via DCWatch) Updated
Instagram has updated its image effects/sharing app, adding features and adjusting two filters to look more like their version 1 equivalents. Instagram 2.0.1 offers the chance to add geotags images taken from your photo library or on your phone camera. This information is only kept on on your high-res files, not the shared version. The Earlybird and Brannan filters have also been tweaked to look more like the original versions, in response to user feedback. The update is available for download immediately.
Just Posted: Olympus PEN Mini preview and video. Behind the bluster of the latest announcements, the Olympus E-PM1 has started hitting the shelves. In many respects it's pretty similar to the E-PL3 (and it features most of that camera's enhancements over the previous PEN models). It's built around the familiar 12MP sensor, shoots 1080i60 HD video and features an array of Olympus' Art Filters. It stands out in one respect though - it's the least expensive mirrorless interchangeable lens camera we've yet seen (in terms of list price). We're working on a review but, in the meantime, have put together a preview article and video.
Apple has announced its latest iPhone model, featuring an 8MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor. The iPhone 4S features faster image capture (down to 0.5s shot-to-shot time and 1.1 second 'time to first photo'), and captures more light as a result of the new sensor. It also gains 1080p video, is said to have better auto white balance performance and adds face detection for the first time. The 4S will first be available in the US, UK and five other countries on October 14th, with 22 more countries following two weeks later.
Adobe has expanded its range of photographic apps - including the launch of Photoshop Touch for the Android platform. The latest app offers a range of selection and editing tools, along with processing effects for images up to 1600 x 1600 pixels. It also supports layers that are retained if you move to the desktop version of Photoshop. There is also close integration with Facebook and Google (including a color and copyright-aware search option) for finding images to edit. An iOS version for the iPad 2 will follow. The app is part of a series of mobile releases that can use the company's 'Creative Cloud' internet-based sharing and storage service that will also integrate with its desktop software.
Just Posted: Our review of the Sony NEX-5N. The 5N is the second generation of Sony's more enthusiast-focused mirrorless models. It offers the well-respected 16MP APS-C sensor and the option to fit an external electronic viewfinder. Although the bodywork is near indistinguishable from the original NEX-5, the latest model gains a touch-screen interface and in-camera lens correction processing as two of the most obvious of its many changes. We've spent some time getting familiar with the 5N, to see if it delivers on the NEX concept's considerable promise.
Tamron is offering an F2.8 zoom to the winner of a Travel and Nature challenge on dpreview.com. The competition, open to any registered dpreview member, runs until October 24th. The winner will be decided by public vote over the following seven days. The winning photographer will receive a Tamron SP 17-50mm F/2.8 Di II XR VC LD Aspherical (IF) in Canon or Nikon mount (Full-frame shooters can request an unstabilized 28-75mm F2.8 instead), making this the first dpreview challenge with a competition prize.
The rule of thirds is an easy way for beginning photographers to improve the composition of their photographs. This article explains how to break away from a center-oriented composition and create a more dynamic image.