Articles from August 2011

August 31
On the desperate measures some camera PR companies will take to create a story...
Studio comparison widget
Our studio samples 'widget' is a fully interactive way to look at 100% crops from different cameras at different settings side by side. This article explains how it works and includes a short video that shows you everything the tool has to offer.
Print workflow
In this article learn how color management can improve your print workflow so that your prints match what you see on your monitor.
Quick guide to pocket camcorders
Pocket camcorders have become one of the fastest growing areas of the imaging market in the past year or so which, considering their simplicity and easy connectivity, is no surprise. Read this article to find out about the features on offer and what you should you be looking for.
Beginner's guide to HD video
Read this beginner's guide to HD video for an overview of the technology used in the latest generation of HD DSLRs and compact cameras. We also explain the differences to digital camcorders and give you shooting style, focus and exposure advice.
Video compression, codecs and transcoding
We need video compression to handle the massive data we get from a 1080p video stream but on the flip side, video compression reduces the possible image quality we can get. This article helps you better understand how we deal with the implications of compressed data.
The art of HDR photography part 3
The third chapter of this series covers HDR workflow essentials. Future chapters will cover advanced HDR techniques.
The art of HDR photography part 2
The second chapter of this series covers the challenges faced by HDR photographers. Future chapters will cover capture, workflow and advanced HDR techniques.
The art of HDR photography part 1
The first chapter of this series covers the basics of High Dynamic Range photography. Future chapters will cover capture, workflow and advanced HDR techniques.
Choosing a photo printer
In this buying guide to photo printers we explore the many options available for making professional quality digital prints.
Web Images
In this article we take a look at how to optimize your photographic images for the web.
Behind the scenes: extended highlights!
Sensors, sensitivity, exposure and dynamic range (blog post)
Ricoh updates features of GXR camera modules
Ricoh has announced a firmware update for its GXR camera units, increasing the available range of features and functions. The updates bring many of the advances made in the recently-announced M-mount module, including improved manual focus magnification. There are also a number of small additions and corrections to other features, including the ability to specify both the ISO limits and minimum shutter speed limit for Auto ISO. The A12 units also gain Bulb and Time exposure modes. The updates can be downloaded from the company's website.
Lens Reviews Help
An introduction to the unique dpreview.com lens review widget. This article relates to reviews produced using our 'version 1' widget from 2008 to 2010.
How dpreview.com measures noise in reviews.
The Art of HDR Photography Part 4: HDR Workflow
In the fourth chapter of Uwe Steinmueller's guide to the art of HDR photography we look at workflow, tools and techniques.
Panasonic creates HDC-Z10000 AVCHD 2.0 compatible 3D HD camcorder
Panasonic has announced the HDC-Z10000 an integrated twin-lens 2D/3D camcorder that can shoot in the AVCHD 3D/Progressive standard. The camera features a parallax-barrier LCD that allows the 3D footage to be reviewed on-camera without the need for special glasses. Its adoption of the latest AVCHD standard allows it to shoot 1080p60 footage in 2D and up to 1080i60 in 3D, as well as offering 30p and 24p options. The camera essentially combines two of the company's 3MOS camcorders in a single body, offering 30-369 equivalent F1.5-2.8 zooms (32-320mm in 3D mode), stabilized for both 2D and 3D shooting.
Panasonic shows prototype of twin-lens 3D HD compact camera
Panasonic has said it will develop a twin-lens 3D digital camera and has unveiled a prototype at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Germany. The camera uses twin image-stabilized 4x folded-optics zoom lenses (much like the examples in the company's FP series cameras, we suspect). As well as allowing 3D HD videos to be shot, you can also choose to use one lens for shooting 2D still images while the other lens simultaneously shoots video. Image stabilization will be available whether shooting stills or video and regardless of the number of dimensions being captured.
August 30
Sony DSC HX100V 16.2MP superzoom samples added to studio comparison tool

Just Posted: Studio comparison shots from the Sony DSC-HX100V. We've just got hold of Sony's latest superzoom, the 16.2MP HX100 and shot our standard test scene with it. It's built around the latest 1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55mm) back illuminated CMOS sensor and offers a vast 27-810mm equivalent 30x zoom. Being Sony's top-of-the-range superzoom, it features a manual control ring that can be switched between controlling zoom and or manual focus. We also have one of its main rivals - the Panasonic DMC-FZ150 in the studio and will add that to the comparison tool as soon as we can.

August 29
JPEGMini promises smaller files - PetaPixel shows Photoshop quality quirk

Technology company ICVT has developed an method to optimize JPEG compression. The company's JPEGMini system analyses each image to assess the maximum compression that can be applied to an image without loss of perceptible quality. The company says you can expect a 50-80% reduction in filesize over a JPEG that hasn't been intelligently optimized. At present the system can only be used via the company's online service. Meanwhile, the news has prompted blog PetaPixel to reiterate the little-known quirk of Photoshop's JPEG quality slider that means your images may be better saved at quality 6 than 7. (via PetaPixel)

Panasonic gives details of power zoom-enabling firmware v1.1 for GH2, G3, GF3 and GF2
Panasonic has provided details of a firmware update for its recent G-system cameras to provide full compatibility with the newly-announced Lumix X power zoom lenses. The firmware, which will be available at 'the beginning of October' will work with the DMC-GH2, G3, GF3 and GF2, and will provide several additional options for how the powered zoom is controlled. By a process of elimination, it seems reasonable to assume these are the functions that won't be available to older G-series users (G1, GF1, GH1, G2, G10), and possibly Olympus PEN users.
Richard Franiec grip coming soon for Olympus PEN E-PL3

Accessory grip maker Richard Franiec has announced he is developing a grip for the Olympus PEN Lite (E-PL3). The grip closely mimics the designs he already makes for the Canon S90/S95, Olympus XZ-1, Leica D-Lux 4 and 5, and the Sigma DP series. The anodized aluminium grip attaches to the front of the camera using industrial-grade adhesive tape and provides a hand hold very similar to the one offered by the Panasonic GF2 and GF3. The first batch of grips will be available from mid-September at a cost of $34.95 plus shipping.

August 26
Just Posted: Panasonic DMX-FZ150 preview stills and HD videos samples
We've been using a pre-production Panasonic DMC-FZ150 superzoom for a couple of days and have put together a previews samples gallery from the camera. We've selected a 39-image samples gallery shot in a variety of situations and at variety of ISO settings, to give a taste of how this latest 12MP MOS sensor performs. We've also uploaded three videos shot in the camera's 1080p60 Full HD mode. As always, as well as being able to view the images and videos, you can download the full-size originals.
Panasonic launches Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 OIS pancake
Panasonic has announced the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 OIS collapsible power-zoom lens. The pancake zoom represents a series of firsts for Panasonic and the Micro Four Thirds system - it incorporates a lever-operated powered zoom and similarly controlled manual focus system. It is also the first lens to gain the company's 'Lumix X' branding that it will use to denotes high-end performance. The power zoom design with quiet focus and zoom motors joins the stepless aperture design to help optimize the lens for HD video shooting. The company will be pairing the lens with its diminutive DMC-GF3 camera body, or selling it separately for around $399. We've been using one of the first pre-production examples of the lens and have prepared a preview that demonstrates its behavior.
Panasonic reveals Lumix DMC-FZ150 12MP 24x 1080p60 MOS superzoom
Panasonic has announced the DMC-FZ150 CMOS-powered 24X superzoom. The FZ150 is a replacement for the slightly unloved FZ100 and incorporates a lower-resolution 12MP sensor thatthe company says will outperform its predecessor's 14MP chip. The camera retains a 25-600mm equivalent lens but now incorporating 'Nano Surface Coating' to mitigate the effects of internal reflections. And, just like its predecessor, the FX150 retains the ability to record Raw images. The FZ150 also shoots 1080p60 HD movies in the recently-created AVCHD Progressive standard.
Panasonic launches Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH OIS
Panasonic has revealed the Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH Power OIS power zoom. The telephoto zoom carries the company's 'Lumix X' branding that it will be using to denote premium quality lenses. Along with the PZ 14-42mm, it features a quiet variable-speed power zoom for smooth zooming during movie recording but, unlike the collapsible standard zoom, the 45-175mm also features 'by-wire' dials for direct control of zoom and focus. The lens features a compact, lightweight design and uses an internal zoom mechanism, meaning it stays the same length at all times.
Panasonic DMC-LX5 firmware 2.0 brings image and handling improvements
Panasonic has updated the firmware for its LX5 high-end enthusiast compact. The update promises faster AF times and improved noise reduction for images shot at ISO 1600 or 3200. White balance under artificial light has also been tweaked, as well as a series of operational and handling improvements being made. There are revisions too for image stabilization in movie mode, the addition of a 'Miniature mode' processing mode. Coming 13 months after the camera's launch, the move continues Panasonic's habit of continuing to invest in its enthusiast models well into their lifecycle. The firmware will be available from September 13th.
Lumix FX90 Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen compact camera
Panasonic has announced the Wi-Fi-compatible Lumix DMC-FX90 touchscreen compact camera. The FX90 is based around a 12MP high-speed CCD that uses dual readout channels to allow 1080i60 video from its 30p output. It also features a 24-120mm equiv, F2.5-5.9 stabilized lens. The camera can connect to Apple and Android smartphones running a 'Lumix Link' app and use their 'phone to upload images, via Panasonic's 'Lumix Club' internet portal, to sites such as Facebook and Flickr. The camera can also connect to Lumix Club via any Wi-Fi connection that doesn't require a web browser to connect.
August 25
Olympus US announces PEN Mini (E-PM1) pricing
Olympus has announced pricing and availability for its forthcoming PEN E-PM1 entry-level mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The camera with the latest MSC II R version of the company's collapsable 14-42mm kit lens will cost $499.95. The smallest of the PEN familiy of Micro Four Thirds cameras, the PEN Mini includes many of the features of the more expensive E-PL3 but with a simplified user-interface. It will be available in the US from September 2011.
Just Posted: Nikon CoolPix P7100 preview samples gallery
Updated: Nikon CoolPix P7100 hands-preview with image samples. Following the launch of the Nikon CoolPix P7100 yesterday, we've updated our hands-on preview with a small gallery of image samples. These pictures were taken in the brief time that we spent with a late pre-production P7100, prior to its announcement. We're expecting a production sample soon, and we will update this gallery with more images at the earliest possible opportunity.
Sony announcements: content updated
Sony content updated. In the light of the level of interest in Sony's latest launches, we've gone back and added more information to much of our content. Now our servers have cooled down a bit, we've gone back and, in response to the questions you've been asking, we've updated our coverage. Most noticeably, we've added some 1080p60 movie samples to the A77 preview. We've also added improved illustrations to our NEX-7 first look to make it easier to see how the control system is going to work.
August 24
Sony NEX-7 press release and specifications
Sony has made public the much rumored NEX-7 high-end, enthusiast mirrorless compact camera. It manages to squeeze vast amounts of the A77's capabilities into a body barely bigger than the existing NEX models. It packs a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor and 2.4M dot OLED electronic viewfinder into its magnesium alloy body and yet still finds room for a pop-up flash and Alpha hot shoe. It may be one of the most expensive mirrorless models we've yet seen but it's also currently unmatched, in specification terms, by any of its peers. This is clearly Sony's response to its discovery that it's not just upgraders from point-and-shoot compacts that are interested in this type of camera.
Sony launches NEX-VG20 Handycam Camcorder
Sony has announced the NEX-VG20, an updated version of its VG-10 Handycam Camcorder capable of 1080p60 recording. The camera captures its AVCHD 2.0 footage on the same 16.1 MP Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor that is also in use in the NEX-5N and C3 consumer still cameras. Upgrades include improved manual controls and grips that have been modified for better low-angle shooting. The camera's a Quad Capsule Spatial Array Microphone that now supports stereo and 5.1 channel surround. VG20 users will be able to choose from seven E-mount lenses or use the optional LA-EA2 lens mount adaptor to attach Sony's A-mount optics to the camera. The VG20 will be available at retailers in November for $2,199 with the 18-200 F3.5-6.3 E-mount lens or $1,599 as a body-only version.
Sony NEX-7 high-end APS-C mirrorless camera first look
Sony has announced the much leaked NEX-7 enthusiast-targeted mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Working samples of the NEX-7 have not been made available to the press anywhere in the world, so we have not been able to prepare a hands-on preview. However, we have seen and handled an early pre-production unit and have interrogated Sony about its operation. We have used this to prepare an overview of the camera, which we will expand to a preview when cameras with functioning firmware are available.
Sony unveils four lenses for A and E mounts
Sony has announced four lenses, one Alpha mount and three E mount for its NEX system. The first is the DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM (SAL1650), a dust- and water-resistant fast standard zoom with a range equivalent to 24-75mm on full frame. NEX users get a premium fast prime, the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA (SEL24F18Z), plus the E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS telephoto zoom (SEL55210), and last but not least the E 50mm F1.8 OSS (SEL50F18) - the fastest optically-stabilized lens available for interchangeable-lens cameras. Click through for more details on availability and specifications.
Sony launches NEX-5N APS-C mid-range mirrorless compact
Sony has announced the Alpha NEX-5N a successor to the popular NEX-5. Although the NEX-5N looks nearly identical to the NEX-5, it shares very few components. It features a 16MP APS-C CMOS sensor and a touch-screen interface. It also takes advantage of the newly-published AVCHD 2.0 standard to offer 1080p60 HD video. We've had our hands on a pre-production NEX-5N and have prepared a preview looking at the features it's gained. We've also shot a real-world samples gallery to give a taste of what it can do.
Sony unveils SLT-A77 flagship APS-C DSLR-rival
Sony has released the SLT-A77, a successor to its A700 semi-pro DSLR. The long-promised A77 makes use of Sony's translucent mirror technology to offer an impressive 12 frame-per-second shooting rate, despite its 24MP APS CMOS sensor. In addition has the highest-resolution electronic viewfinder we've ever encountered, with a 2.4M dot OLED viewfinder that rivals the company's full-frame A900 for size. We've been using a pre-production A77 for just over a week and have prepared a hands-on preview including real-world sample gallery. Has it been worth the wait for the Alpha faithful?
Sony announces Alpha SLT-A65 consumer-level DSLR-competitor
Sony has also launched the Sony Alpha SLT-A65, a consumer-level DSLR-competitor. Making use of the company's translucent mirror technology, the A65 offers many of the features of SLT-A77 at a considerably lower price. It includes the same 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor and 2.4M dot OLED viewfinder. It can shoot at up to 10 frames-per-second and includes all the lens correction capabilities of its big brother. We've been using the A65 for the last week and have prepared a hands-on preview, detailing its features.
Nikon CoolPix P7100 announced and previewed
Nikon has announced the CoolPix P7100 - an updated version of its P7000 enthusiasts' compact. The P7100 addresses many of the faults that held back its predecessor in our round-up late last year. So, while the specifications improve by gaining an extra control dial and a flip-out LCD, the biggest improvement is to the camera's responsiveness (the image quality never really being in question). We had a chance to use the P7100 and have prepared a brief hands-on preview.
Nikon releases CoolPix S1200pj, S8200, S6200 and S100 compacts
Nikon has extensively refreshed its CoolPix 'S' series with the launch of the S8200, S6200, S1200pj and S100 compact cameras. The S8200 is a an updated version of the S8100, now featuring a 16MP CMOS sensor but retaining the impressive 25-350mm equiv lens. Meanwhile the S6200 has a 16MP CCD sensor with 25-250mm lens. The S1200pj is the latest in Nikon's line of projector cameras and features a brighter, higher-contrast projector. This too is built around a CCD (albeit only a 14MP example), offering the same 720p24 video as the S6200. Finally, the S100 is a card-style camera built around the same 16MP CMOS chip as the S8200 and consequently also capable of 1080p24 video capture. It features an 810k dot OLED touch screen.
Nikon introduces CoolPix AW100 rugged compact camera
The Nikon AW100 rugged waterproof camera has surfaced. It features a 5x image stabilized zoom lens (28-140mm equivalent in 35mm terms) and a 16MP CMOS sensor. It is waterproof to 10m (33ft) and drop-proof from 1.5m (5ft) and features built-in GPS. It's the first time Nikon has dipped its toe in the waterproof sector since its famous Nikonos series was discontinued in 2001.
August 23
Adobe issues Lightroom 3.5 and ACR 6.5 release candidates
Adobe has released 'Release Candidates' of its Camera RAW 6.5 and Lightroom 3.5 raw processing software. The updates cover 12 additional cameras including the Olympus E-P3, E-PL3 and E-PM1, Panasonic's G3 and GF3, Sony's NEX-C3 and SLT-A35 and Fujifilm's F600 EXR. Also included are 26 additional lens profiles. Both are available from the company's Adobe Labs site and also address a number of issues reported via customer feedback. The company uses the term 'Release Candidate' to denote software that is well tested but not yet the final version.
Canon announces ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS compact superzoom
Canon has unveiled the ELPH 510 HS (IXUS 1100 HS) - a super-slim compact superzoom in the ELPH/IXUS family. Despite its small size, it manages to fit a 28-336mm equivalent, image stabilized lens in front of its 12.1MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor. It also has a 460k dot 3.2" (8.8cm) touchscreen LCD on its reverse. Unlike most previous Canon ELPHs, it includes the ability to shoot in 16:9, 3:2 and 1:1 image ratios. Beyond that there are the usual Digic 4-powered creative effects such as Miniature and Toy Camera, the ability to shoot high-speed bursts, slow-motion movies and 1080p24 HD capture. The 510 HS is also compatible with a new optional external flash.
Canon introduces ELPH 310 HS/IXUS 230 HS compact camera
Canon has launched the ELPH 310 HS (IXUS 230 HS in Europe), a surprisingly long zoom style compact. The squeezes an 8x zoom into the sort of tiny, colorful body we expect of the ELPH/IXUS series. The extra zoom (out to an impressive 224mm equiv), comes at the expense of the wide-angle capability, with the 230 HS's lens starting at a still fairly handy 28mm equiv, rather than the 24mm equivalent featured on recent comparable models. The lens also features the company's latest 'Intelligent' image stabilization. Beyond that there's a 12.1 back-illuminated CMOS sensor and 3.0" 460k dot LCD. It can also shoot 1080p24 HD video.
Canon launches PowerShot SX150 IS superzoom
Canon has updated its budget SX compact superzoom with the launch of the PowerShot SX150 IS. The SX150 IS adds a 14.1MP CCD in the place of the SX130's 12MP chip. Beyond that the specs are familiar - a 12x 28-336mm equivalent image stabilized lens, 720p30 HD video recording and a comparatively low-resolution 230k dot 3.0" LCD screen. Canon brings its latest 'Intelligent' image stabilization technology to bear on the SX150, with the camera automatically selecting from seven different modes, based on its understanding of the type of shooting being conducted.
Canon introduces Pixma MG8250 & MG6250 all-in-one printers
Canon has introduced the PIXMA MG8250 and MG6250 all-in-one printers for photographic printing. The MG6250 builds on the specifications of the co-released MG5350 by offering 6-ink printing with a 9.3ipm color printing (12.5ipm mono). Scanning resolution jumps to 4800x4800dpi and an Ethernet connection is added. Over and above this, the MG8250 gains a 4800x9600dpi film-scanning option and an 8.8cm (3.5") touch-panel LCD screen. Both include an Easy-PhotoPrint plug-in for controlling printing from Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements or Canon Digital Photo Professional software. They also share the PIXMA Cloud Link and Easy-PhotoPrint App compatibility of the less expensive models.
Canon announces Pixma MG5350 wireless all-in-printer
Canon has announced the PIXMA MG5350, a mid-range all-in-one printer/scanner. Unlike the models below it, the MG5350 gains 9600x2400dpi 5-ink printing, along with a 7.5cm (3") LCD panel. The printing rate is increased to 9.3ipm in color (12.5ipm in mono), and the scanning resolution also increased to 2400x4800dpi. There is also the option to print directly on BluRay Discs, DVDs and CDs. It also gains the PIXMA Cloud Link that allows you to directly print images from Canon's Image Gateway or Google's Picasa image hosting service.
Canon announces Pixma MG3150 & MG2150 budget all-in-one printers
Canon has unveiled the PIXMA MG3150 and MG2150 budget-orientated all-in-one printers. The MG2150 is the most basic model, offering 4800x1200dpi 4-ink printing at rates of up to 4.8ipm color (8.4ipm mono). The MG3150 improves on this by adding Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing its use with the Easy-PhotoPrint App that allows simple printing from and scanning to iOS or Android smartphones. It also offers duplex (double-sided) printing and increased printing speeds of 5.0ipm color (9.2ipm mono). Both feature the latest version of Canon's Easy-PhotoPrint EX software that now includes the ability to add 'Fun Filter Effects' such as Toy Camera to your images before printing.
August 22
Just posted: Our review of the Sony NEX-C3
Just Posted: Our review of the Sony NEX-C3. The third model in Sony's innovative NEX line, the entry-level C3 brings a host of improvements, headlined by a new 16.2MP sensor - an adapted version of the one used in the SLT-A55. An addition, the C3 also boasts expanded customization and a revised 'Creative Control' user interface, designed to appeal to compact camera upgraders. So does its higher-resolution sensor and tweaked interface make the NEX-C3 the ultimate beginner-friendly interchangeable lens camera?
August 19
Sony launches pair of Full HD and 3D digital binoculars
Sony has launched two pairs of digital binoculars capable of recording Full HD and 3D video. The DEV-3 and DEV-5 binoculars feature 10x optical zoom lenses, pairs of EVFs and compact-camera-sized 7MP CMOS sensors. They take advantage of the recent extension of the AVCHD standard, enabling them to record 1080p video. The autofocus, image-stabilized binoculars can record up to two-hours of 2D footage on a single battery charge, recording to Memory Stick cards and allowing output via an HDMI connector. The DEV-5 model allows digital zoom, includes GPS and comes with a host of accessories and, at $2000, a $700 higher price-tag.
August 18
Lytro's Ren Ng sheds some light on the company's ambitions

Lytro's announcement that it will be launching a plenoptic 'light field' camera that allows images to be re-focused after they've been taken, was met with equal amounts of interest and skepticism. Interested to find out more, we spoke to the company's founder and CEO, Ren Ng, to hear just what he has planned and how far towards a product the company has got.

August 17
Just posted: Our in-depth review of the Olympus E-P3
Just Posted: Although it retains its predecessor's styling, the Olympus PEN E-P3 shares very little else with its forebears. There's still a 12MP Four Thirds-sized sensor at its heart, but its autofocus, rear screen and movie capabilities have all been radically overhauled. Crucially, Olympus has also managed to squeeze a flash into the body. Now sitting at the top of a three-model range, the E-P3 is clearly positioned as a camera for enthusiasts. So, do its third-generation refinements and promises of world-beating AF performance make the E-P3 into the camera that the PEN series always promised to be?
Just posted: Our group test of waterproof compact cameras
Just Posted: Our group test of waterproof, rugged compact cameras. It's been two years since we last published a review of this class of cameras and a lot has happened in the meantime. Today's crop of rugged compacts are better specified and more competitively-priced than ever and, while most still look distinctly utilitarian, some are positively stylish. We've subjected six current models to our usual studio and real-world testing, on both dry land, and underwater. Click the link below to find our what we thought, and which cameras prevailed.
August 12
Samyang announces 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC lens
Samyang Optics has announced a 24mm F1.4 lens in Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Samsung NX, Sony Alpha and Four-thirds mounts. This manual focus lens, with its large f1.4 aperture, is made up of 13 elements in 12 groups including 4 low-dispersion elements (ED). The lens is likely to start shipping by the end of this year at a price to be confirmed.
Heliopan ships Vario ND variable filters in sizes from 55 to 82mm
Heliopan has started shipping variants of its Vario ND variable neutral density filters in sizes from 55 to 82mm, according to its US distributor, HP Marketing. The filters provide 1–6.6EV filtration and include numerical markings to allow you to precisely dial-in the desired density. The filters feature brass construction and are shallow enough to be used with lenses as wide as 16mm equivalent.
Just updated: For Sale and Wanted forum features improved
Just updated: Features added to 'For Sale and Wanted' forum. It's been three weeks since we introduced the long-requested For Sale forum and, at launch, we said we'd add features to improve the experience, if it was popular. Well it's been a big success, so we've developed a range of special features specifically to make the forum more useful and easier to use. Not only have we added the ability to withdraw or close threads (and an option for hiding closed threads), we've also created a feedback system that allows buyers and sellers to rate one another.
August 11
Just Posted: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 in-depth review
Just published: Our in-depth review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3. With the touchscreen-equipped GF3, Panasonic goes further to embrace compact camera upgraders, but makes yet another break from the chunky, enthusiast-friendly ergonomics of the GF1. The smallest Micro Four Thirds camera yet introduces some new features, including all-area AF system and slightly improved JPEG image quality at high ISO settings. We have also taken the opportunity in this review to publish studio comparison shots from the Sony NEX-C3 and Olympus PEN E-PL3, both of which will be reviewed in the coming weeks.
Fujifilm launches FinePix F600 EXR travel zoom
Fujifilm has announced the FinePix F600 EXR, an updated version of its F550 raw-capable compact superzoom. The F600 features the same back-illuminated 1/2" EXR CMOS sensor and 24-360mm equivalent zoom lens but gains a series of feature improvements, allowing users to make more of the camera's capabilities. The biggest advance is a motion detection mode that allows the camera to increase the ISO to better capture moving subjects. If motion isn't detected, the camera will use a lower ISO to maximise image quality. The camera's GPS is also better utilized, with the addition of a Landmark Navigator mode that informs you of nearby landmarks as well as tagging them in your photos. It also features an 'Intelligent Digital Zoom' context-sensitive sharpening feature when up-sizing the cropped images shot in digital zoom mode, to reduce the loss of image quality. The camera retains the F550's raw capability and 1080p30 HD movie shooting.
Fujifilm announces FinePix JX370 sharing-friendly budget compact
Fujifilm has announced the FinePix JX370 budget compact camera designed for photo sharing. The JX370 fits a usefully wide-angle 28-140mm equivalent lens in front of a 14 megapixel CCD sensor. The rear screen is a 2.7" 230k dot panel and the lens is unstabilized, but the camera features face, smile and blink detection modes to make it easier to get good photos. There are also features to make sharing photos and videos easier to sites such as YouTube or Facebook.
August 10
Sony makes brighter/lower power 'WhiteMagic' LCD panel
Sony has developed the 'WhiteMagic' high-resolution LCD panel that can be brighter or consume less power than existing units. The 3.0" LCD uses an additional white 'dot' at every position to provide a brighter image for use in bright light. Alternatively, the unit can be used in a low power mode that offers the same brightness as conventional monitors but using half the power. The RGBW design uses 1.24M dots to produce a VGA display (640x480 pixels), rather than the 920k dots used in current (RGB VGA LCD) designs. Sony supplies LCD panels to many of the big camera makers, so it could appear in a variety of cameras. It could be particularly useful in the Mirrorless sector, where the rear screen is the primary means of composing an image and any improvements in battery life or screen brightness for outdoor use would be especially valuable. Sadly a shipping date of October is likely to mean it's too late for any releases this side of Christmas.
August 8
Major 3D industry companies look to standardize glasses
Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and 3D technology company X6D have announced they will devise a standard for 3D glasses. The 'Full HD 3D Glasses Initiative' will develop and license Bluetooth radio frequency (RF) communication protocols as well as standardizing the various infrared (IR) systems that have been individually developed. Glasses incorporating the standards will be available in 2012 and should be compatible with 2011 TVs. Although the move is primarily movie-related, the standardization is likely to offer some confidence for shooters of 3D material worrying which viewing system to invest in.
August 6
Chainfire creates Android tethered control app for Canon DSLRs
App developer Chainfire has created a program for tethered shooting of Canon DSLRs using Android 3.0-powered tablets. Its 'DSLR Controller' app uses a USB connection to provide a high level of control over Canon DSLRs. In addition to Android 3.0 (also known as Honeycomb) tablets, DSLR Controller can also be used on Samsung's Galaxy S2 smartphone. Beta version 0.5 of the app is currently available for around $8.50 from the Android Market and offers a wide range of control options, including touch focus, histogram, bulb capture and the ability to change many of the camera's shooting settings. Additional functions, including time lapse, video recording and image playback are still being worked-on. Chainfire says it plans to provide Nikon support once the Canon features are complete. (via PetaPixel)
August 5
Ricoh M-mount GXR Mount A12 module announced and previewed
Ricoh has announced a Leica M-mount unit for its modular GXR camera system. The GXR Mount A12 features a 12MP APS-C CMOS sensor with the ability to fit a wide range of M-mount lenses or a still wider choice if used in combination with an adapter. And, unlike the majority of digital cameras, it features no low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter. The Mount A12 module includes all the usual GXR features (such as toy camera and miniature processing modes), but also gains a silent electronic shutter mode, several manual focus assist options and a series of lens correction parameters. The module will be available from early September, at an MSRP of $649. We've been using a pre-production Mount A12 module for the past few days and have prepared an hands-on preview with real-world samples.
August 4
Ricoh GXR and GPS-equipped Panasonics get firmware updates
Ricoh and Panasonic have announced firmware updates for their cameras. Ricoh has released firmware v1.37 for its GXR module, while Panasonic promises improved GPS accuracy for several of its recent cameras. Installing firmware version 1.2 should increase the positioning accuracy of the DMC-ZS10/TZ20, TZ22 and FT3/TS3. Meanwhile, v1.37 for the GXR modules corrects a minor error with focus mode reporting, and a glitch in manual mode for the S10 module.
August 3
Just posted: Panasonic DMC-FZ47 preview samples gallery
Just Posted: Panasonic DMC-FZ47 preview real-world samples gallery. We've had Panasonic's latest FZ-series superzoom for the past few days. The FZ47 (FZ48 in Europe) is based around a 12MP CCD sensor and offers a 24x zoom, covering a range equivalent to a 25-600mm lens. We shot in a variety of situations, including a floodlit football match, to show what that combination can and can't do. We've also prepared a series of images at all the camera's different ISO settings and taken test shots using several of its noise reduction settings, to give a feel for the image quality options available on this JPEG-only model.
Nik Software reduces Viveza 2 pricing and opens up Snapseed
Nik Software has released an updated version of its Snapseed image processing app and lowered the price of its Viveza color and light control software. Viveza 2, launched in 2009 will now be available for €99.95 (down from €199.95), with upgrades from Version 1 also halved to €49.95. Meanwhile, the company has also released a 'universal' version of its Snapseed image processing app, allowing it to run on the iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as the iPad.
August 1
Match Technical launches Thumbs Up EP-5S thumb rest for Fujifilm X100
Chinese accessory maker Match Technical has introduced a version of its 'Thumbs Up' accessory grip for the Fujifilm X100. The Thumbs Up EP-5S is an updated version of the grip we featured in our Leica M9 preview, and slots into the camera's hot shoe. It features a revised, 'ergonomic profile' thumb rest, includes a silicone insert to cushion the join between the grip and the camera, and is available in either black or silver. (via DCWatch)
Kenko-Tokina launches NDX variable neutral density filter
Kenko-Tokina has announced a variable neutral density (ND) filter that can be adjusted fro ND2.5 to ND1000. The Kenko NDX filter can darken the scene by anywhere from 1.3 to 10 EV. The filter allows the use of wide apertures while keeping the correct exposure within the shutter speed range of your camera, or of very long shutter times to emphasise motion. The company suggests its use for shooting video with shallow depth-of-field, for instance. Its variable nature allows the amount of filtration to be reduced for focusing, then increased to the desired amount, without having to remove the filter. The filters can vignette when used with lenses wider than 28mm equivalent and are available in 77mm and 82mm filter thread sizes.
Vimeo launches pro-focused video hosting options
Video hosting site Vimeo has launched a service allowing more professional presentation of videos. The Vimeo PRO service allows videos to be presented with customer or no branding, and allows videos to be shared with password protection. The service will cost $199/year for 50GB of storage and up to 250,000 plays. Additional views or capacity can be bought for $199, which buys either 100,000 plays or 50GB of storage. Videos stored with 'Pro' accounts do not, by default, appear within the Vimeo website, giving greater control over where they appear. There is also an option to allow comments from users who aren't registered with Vimeo.