News archive for February 2011
Samyang has released a version of its 8mm F3.5 Fish-eye lens optimized for the Sony NEX-VG10 camcorder. The 8mm f/3.5 Fish-Eye CS VG10 manual focus lens features the same optical construction as the still photography version, but has been adapted for smoother focusing. The company also plans to introduce a smaller f/2.8 E-mount optically redesigned version of the lens for the NEX-5/3 cameras.
Just Posted: Our beta samples gallery from the Fujifilm FinePix X100. We've been lucky enough to have been able to borrow a pre-production sample of Fujifilm's hotly-anticipated large sensor, retro-styled compact camera, and have put together a samples gallery to give an initial flavour of its capabilities. This includes images shot in a variety of lighting conditions, in both colour and black and white, and across a range of ISOs, apertures and subject distances.
Just Posted: Our review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Micro Four Thirds camera. Although resembling the GF1 with its compact, flat-body design, the GF2 has been re-targeted at point-and-shoot upgraders through the addition of a simplified touch-screen interface. It is built around a 12MP CMOS sensor but with a more powerful processor than its predecessor, allowing AVCHD video recording of 1080i60 movies from 1080p30 capture. Are these features enough to make it stand out in this competitive market? Read our full review to find out.
Casio and Ricoh have released firmware updates for the Exilim EX-H20G and G700SE digital cameras respectively. Firmware version 1.02 for the EX-H20G extends the storage of GPS position logs from seven days to fourteen days, while also improving other GPS-related functions. The G700SE update fixes a minor fault when using the optional GPS unit amongst other small changes. Both are available for immediate download.
Nikon and Hasselblad have announced updated versions of their ViewNX and Phocus software. ViewNX v2.1.1 fixes a series of minor bugs in both Mac and PC versions. Hasselblad's Phocus v2.6 adds new features such as image rating and dust removal. The company has also released 'Quick' and 'Mobile' versions of Phocus.
Samsung has announced details and release dates of five lenses for its NX interchangeable camera system. The latest additions include three prime lenses, alongside two movie-optimized zooms. The previously announced 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OIS will be joined by a 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 in December 2011. Meanwhile the previously discussed 16mm F2.4, 60mm F2.8 OIS Macro and 85mm F1.4 will be launched between July and October 2011. All five lenses are compatible with the company's i-Function focus-ring-as-function-dial feature.
Samsung has released more details of future NX system plans to the South East Asian market. A Korean blog is reporting the company as planning three NX body types, including a higher-end model, along with six lenses including a 700mm prototype. The additional lenses include the 16mm and 85mm lenses discussed at the time of the NX100 launch and build on the details shown to a Taiwanese blog in September 2010. As usual, Samsung has made no formal announcement for the US or European markets. Several of the proposed lenses were shown at the CES trade show in January.
Bibble Labs has announced an updated version of its Bibble 5 RAW workflow software. Version 5.2.1 extends RAW support to the recently released Canon Rebel T3/EOS 600D and Rebel T3i/EOS 1100D digital SLRs. Both the Pro and Lite versions also bring stability improvements, resolve specific lens identification issues and fix an issue related to cropping images in Multi-View mode.
Leaf has released an updated version of its Capture workflow software. Version 11.4.5 adds the company's SensorFlex technology support to a number of its digital medium format cameras and backs that were not previously supported. SensorFlex technology allows photographers pre-select image size and capture speed. It is available for immediate download from the company's website.
Apple has released a digital camera RAW compatibility update for Aperture 3 and iPhoto '11. Update 3.6 extends RAW support to six additional cameras including the Canon Rebel T3/T3i, Olympus E-5 and Pentax K-5. It also addresses processing issues for four already supported cameras. The update is available for immediate download from Apple's website.
NEC has announced its noise suppression technology has been integrated into the Casio Exilim EX-ZR10 digital compact camera. The technology, a development of the work first touted back in 2009, records the sounds of zoom and focus motors and subtracts them in real time, from any recorded audio. The technique starts with a reference set of lens and motor sounds and adapts to take into account the characteristics of the individual camera's motor sounds and microphone behavior. The system allows motors to be run at full speed, rather than having to be slowed in an attempt to reduce noise.
Panasonic has announced the HX-WA10 and HM-TA20 weatherproof pocket camcorders. Both are designed to be waterproof up to depths 3 meters while the smaller TA20 is also dustproof and shockproof. The WA10 is part of a range of pistol-grip zoom pocket camcorders that also includes the non-weatherproof HX-DC10 and HX-DC1 models. The HX-TA20 meanwhile sits alongside the less resilient HX-T2. The pistol-grip models offer 1080 Full HD recording while the smaller pocket models shoot 720p.
Just Posted: Our review of the Olympus E-PL2 beginner-friendly Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera. The PEN E-PL2 offers a very similar specification to the E-PL1 but there certainly have been changes - improved build quality, a higher-resolution rear screen and a completely redesigned, faster-focusing kit lens all make an appearance. The camera also gains a control dial (one of the things that will have put enthusiast shooters off the PL1). However, since we reviewed the E-PL1, the easy-to-use mirrorless sector has attracted the attention of Sony, Panasonic and Samsung, so just how does the E-PL2 perform as a creative tool and compact upgrade option?
CP+ 2011: Japaneses websites capture the flavor of the show and ferret-out some interesting mockups. Local websites covering the CP+ camera show in Yokohama have been showing some of the prototypes and concept models on display. Dpreview.com isn't attending the show, so we've collected together a few of the more interesting items that haven't been formally shown to the wider world.
DxO Labs has updated its DxO Optics Pro raw converter for Windows and Mac. Version 6.5.4 extends Raw support to Olympus E-PL2, Panasonic DMC-LX5 and Sony DSLR-A580 in the both Standard and Elite editions. It also includes 69 additional camera/lens optical modules. It is available as a free download to existing users or a 30-day trial.
CP+ 2011: Sigma has announced that it intends to make lenses for Micro Four Thirds and Sony E-mount (NEX) system cameras. In a brief statement on its website the company says that 'specifications, product names, pricing and launch schedules will be announced in due course'. A mockup lens will be displayed during the CP+ trade show that's currently being held in Yokohama, Japan.
CP+ 2011: Nikon has released the Coolpix P300 compact with manual controls and an F1.8-4.9 lens. It incorporates a 1/2.3" 12MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 920K dot 3.0" LCD and features 1080p30 Full HD movies and P/A/S/M shooting modes. It will be available next month at an estimated retail price of $329.95. We've had access to a pre-production example of the P300 and have prepared a brief hands-on preview.
CP+ 2011: Nikon has announced three Coolpix superzoom compact cameras, two of which incorporate 12MP CMOS sensors. The P500 and S9100 offer wide-angle 36x (22.5-810mm equiv.) and 18x (25-450mm equiv.) optical zoom lenses, 920K dot 3.0" LCDs and record 1080p Full HD videos. The P500 also features the company's latest Expeed C2 dual image processor. The 14MP CCD-based L120 offers a 21x zoom lens starting at a wide 25mm, 920K dot 3.0" LCD, records 720p HD videos and is powered by AA batteries. All three cameras will be available from March 2011 at estimated retail prices of $399.95, $329.95 and $279.95 respectively.
CP+ 2011: Nikon has announced five Coolpix compacts. Top of the range is the S1600 with a 16MP sensor, a 460K dot 3.0" LCD and 7x (28-196mm equiv.) zoom lens. Next come the S4100 and S3100 with 14MP sensors and 5x (26-130mm equiv.) zoom lenses and 3.0" and 2.7" LCDs respectively. Last comes the 14MP L24 that is powered by AA batteries and offers a 37-134mm equiv zoom lens. All four can record 720p HD videos and offer SDXC compatibility. They will be available from next month at estimated retail prices of $199.95, $179.95, $139.95 and $119.95 (available late February 2011) respectively.
CP+ 2011: Olympus is showing a mockup of a 'high-end' M.Zuiko Micro Four Thirds prime lens it says it will release later this year. The mockup is being shown at the CP+ 2011 trade show in Yokohama, as the company celebrates 75 years of Zuiko-branded lenses. The lens is being displayed alongside a Semi-Olympus II from 1938, the second camera to feature the Zuiko name. The company gives no further details of the lens' focal length or maximum aperture.
CP+ 2011: Major lens makers have backed Sony's decision to share 'basic specifications' of its E-mount with lens and mount adapter manufacturers. Sony has issued a press release which includes endorsements of its decision by leading lens makers. Sigma, Carl Zeiss, Tamron and Cosina have all thrown their weight behind the move. Following the recent announcements of new inductees to the Micro Four Thirds group, it looks like the mirrorless camera sector could be about to benefit from a major expansion in lens availability. Unlike the Micro Four Thirds announcements, Sony's move appears to have the support of the two biggest makers of third-party autofocusing lenses.
Sony has officially confirmed it will be sharing 'basic specifications' of its E-mount for free to manufacturers of lenses and mount adaptors starting April 1, 2011. A company statement says 'this move will open the way for manufacturers of various lenses and mount adaptors to develop products conforming to 'E-mount' specifications, allowing users of the NEX-3, NEX-5, NEX-VG10 and other 'E-mount' compatible Sony digital imaging products to be launched in the future to be able to use interchangeable lenses from both Sony and other manufacturers.' The company has not specified whether these 'basic specifications' will extend to the AF protocols or just the physical construction of the mount.
CP+ 2011: In addition to its latest lens announcements, Sigma has announced the price and availability of its 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM and Macro 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM weather-resistant lenses. Announced at Photokina 2010, the lenses will start shipping from the end of this month and next month respectively at suggested retail prices of $4700 and $1600. The company has also announced the DP2x digital compact, an OS version of its 50-150mm F2.8 and 105mm F2.8 Macro, and a redesigned 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 ultrawideangle for full frame.
CP+ 2011: Five months after first showcasing it at the 2010 Photokina trade show, Fujifilm has announced the commercial release of the X100, a large-sensor compact camera aimed at professional and enthusiast photographers. Based around a 12MP APS-C CMOS sensor, Fuji EXR processor and a 23mm F2 Fujinon lens (equivalent to a 35mm semi-wideangle), the classically-styled camera features traditional analogue controls for shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation. Of particular note is the 'hybrid' viewfinder system which allows the user to switch between optical and electronic viewfinders and project detailed shooting information into the OVF. It will be available from March 2011 at a suggested retail price of $1200 in the US market and €1000 in Europe.
CP+ 2011: In a group of releases, Sigma has unveiled an optically stabilized version of its 50-150mm F2.8 fast telephoto zoom for APS-C DSLRS. The 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM gives a field-of-view range equivalent to around 75-225mm on a 35mm system, but in a design that is smaller and lighter than full frame 70-200mm F2.8 designs. The latest, 'OS' version is claimed to offer the ability to get stable shots at shutter speeds four stops slower than without it. It features a completely revised optical design with 21 elements in 15 groups.
CP+ 2011: Olympus has announced the SZ-10 superzoom with 18x (28-504mm equiv.) optical zoom lens. Sporting a 14MP CCD sensor and a 460k dot 3.0" LCD, it features 720p HD recording , a 3D capture mode, AF tracking and HD output. It also includes the latest set of Magic Filters for both stills and videos. Priced at $249.99, it will be available from March 2011 in black and silver.
CP+ 2011: Olympus has announced the VR-320 and the Europe-only VR-330 compact superzooms, the first in its latest VR series of affordable compacts. Both feature 24-300mm equiv. zoom lenses, 14MP sensors and include features such as 720p HD recording, image stabilization, the latest set of Magic filters and HD output. The only difference between the two is the VR-330 offers 3D capture mode, an HD output and a 460K dot 3.0" LCD, while the VR-320 has only a 230K dot display.
CP+ 2011: Olympus has launched the VG-110 budget compact. Priced at $99.99, some way below the $139.99 asking price of last months' VG-120, this latest V-series camera offers a 12MP sensor, 2.7" LCD, 4x (27 - 108mm equiv.) lens and VGA video recording. This represents the expected step down from the VG-120's 14MP sensor, 3.0" LCD, 5x zoom lens and HD video. Like the VG-120 it offers Magic Filters for both movies and stills, and AF tracking.
CP+ 2011: Sigma has announced the DP2x digital compact camera, a revised version of its DP2 large-sensor compact camera that captures three-color information at 4.7M positions (14M total data points). It features new AF algorithm for faster auto focus, first seen in the DP1x. Other features remain the same including a 2.5" LCD, True II processing engine, and P/A/S/M shooting modes.
CP+ 2011:Sigma has introduced the 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM II, an updated version of its ultra-wideangle zoom for full frame SLRs. It uses a revised optical formula which now incorporates now fewer than four elements made from its latest 'F' low dispersion glass, plus one SLD element, to minimise chromatic aberration. Four aspheric elements (three glass mold and one hybrid) are also employed to reduce distortion and other aberrations. The lens features an integrated hood and splash-proof design.
CP+ 2011: Sigma has announced an entirely redesigned version of its 105mm F2.8 macro lens that incorporates optical image stabilization. The 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM offers true 1:1 macro reproduction, and uses a floating focus system to maintain high optical performance at all distances. It also features a splash-proof barrel design and Sigma's Hypersonic Motor for fast, silent autofocus coupled with full-time manual focus capability. The lens is designed for use on both full frame and APS-C SLRs.
CP+ 2011: Pentax has unveiled the GPS-enabled Optio WG-1 GPS and the WG-1 rugged compacts. Tougher than the Optio W90 released last year, both are designed to be crushproof against pressures of up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds), dustproof, waterproof up to 10 meters (33 ft), coldproof down to -10°C (14°F) and shock-resistant for drops of up to 1.5 meters (5 ft). Features-wise the 14MP cameras incorporate the same 28-140mm equiv. zoom lens, 2.7" LCD and 720p HD recording capability as the W90.
CP+ 2011: Pentax has announced a limited edition silver version of its K-5 DSLR and three prime lenses. The silver K-5 comes with a redesigned grip and shock-resistant, scratchproof reinforced glass on the rear LCD and top status panels. Priced at $1699.95, the K-5 Limited Edition silver body will be available in April 2011. Pricing and availability information for the silver smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL, smc DA 40mm F2.8, smc DA 70mm F2.4 lenses is to be confirmed.
CP+ 2011: Canon has unveiled the Rebel T3i (EOS 600D) upper entry-level DSLR. It continues to use the 18MP CMOS sensor seen in the Rebel T2i (550D) but gains a tilt and swivel 1,040k dot LCD monitor like the one offered on the more expensive 60D. It also gains the ability to remotely control flashguns using its internal flash, a feature previously only featured on higher-end models. Alongside the camera, Canon is also launching the 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS II, a cosmetically revised version of its optically stabilized kit lens. We've had a chance to use pre-production versions of both and have prepared a Hands-On Preview of the EOS 600D including beta samples gallery.
CP+ 2011: Canon has unveiled the Rebel T3 (EOS 1100D) entry-level DSLR. Built around a 12MP CMOS sensor and the latest Digic 4 processor, the new baby-Rebel is also capable of 720p HD movie recording. It gains the 9-point AF sensor previously used in more expensive models and the iFCL color-sensitive metering sensor first seen in the EOS 7D. It also gains the Basic+ non-technical interface that allows creative control without specialist photography knowledge. The camera will be sold either with the revised, version II 18-55mm IS lens or an updated Mark III non-stabilized version. We had the chance to get out hands on a pre-production EOS 1100D and have prepared a preview with a beta samples gallery.
Lens maker Carl Zeiss has joined the Micro Four Thirds group, adding yet another prestigious optics marque to the format. Just days after the news that Schneider Kreuznach had joined the system, it has been announced that Zeiss will start making its HD Video lenses available in the Micro Four Thirds mount. This sudden influx of high-end cine and photographic prime lens makers (Voigtländer maker Cosina joined in August 2010), suggests that format founders Olympus and Panasonic have been working hard behind the scenes to bring some high-end lustre to the system.
Samsung has announced two budget compacts, the PL20 and ES80.The PL20 is a 14MP compact that features 27-135mm equivalent 5x zoom. The ES80 meanwhile shares the same lens but instead offers a 12MP sensor. Both cameras are based around CCD chips and offer internal, USB-based charging of their Lithium Ion batteries. The PL20 is capable of shooting 720p24 HD movies. They will be available from March and April respectively.
CP+ 2011: Pentax has announced the smc D FA 645 25mm F4 AL [IF] SDM AW ultra-wide lens for the 645D medium format digital camera. The second lens designed for the camera, following the DFA 55mm 645 SDM lens kit lens, the 25mm weather-resistant lens offers a field of view equivalent to a 19.5mm lens on a 35mm system. Priced at $4999.95, it will be available from April 2011.
CP+ 2011: Canon has released the ELPH 500 HS (IXUS 310 HS in Europe) ultra-compact with manual control, stainless steel body and touch screen interface. An enhanced version of the the IXUS 300HS (SD 4000 IS) released last year, the latest model features a 12.1MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor, a wider-angle F2.0-5.8 24-105mm equiv. lens and a larger, higher-resolution 460K dot 3.2" LCD. Features-wise it is capable of 1080p24 Full HD capture compared to the 720p HD recording of the 300HS, and can also shoot Super Slow Motion 340x240 movies at 240fps. It will be available at a retail price of $299.99 in the US market and £299 in the UK.
CP+ 2011: Canon has introduced its first GPS-enabled camera, the PowerShot SX230 HS compact superzoom and a Europe-only non-GPS version, the SX220 HS. Both compact superzooms feature 28-392mm equivalent 14X zoom lenses, 12.1MP sensors and 460k dot 3.0" LCDs. They come with P/A/S/M shooting modes, a Super Slow Motion movie mode that records 340x240 movies at 240fps, as well as 1080p24 Full HD movies capture. The compacts also feature a Movie Digest mode that records videos around 4 seconds before every still image taken which is later stitched together into a VGA-resolution movie. The only difference between the pair is the SX230 HS's built-in GPS. The SX230 HS will be available at a retail price of $349.99 in the US market and €299 in the European market. The SX220 HS is priced at €269.
CP+ 2011: Canon has released the ELPH 300 HS (IXUS 220 HS in Europe) premium ultra-compact with back-lit CMOS sensor. Measuring just 19.5mm at its thinnest point, it sports a 12.1MP sensor, 2.7" LCD and 5x (24-120mm equiv.) zoom lens. It records Full HD 1080p 24fps movies with stereo sound, and can also shoot Super Slow movies. The CMOS-derived 'HS system' is claimed to lower noise levels by up to 60% at all ISO speeds. It will be available at a retail price of $249.99 in the US market and £199 in the UK.
CP+ 2011: Canon has released the ELPH 100 HS (IXUS 115 HS in Europe) ultra-compact. It features a 12.1MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 3.0" LCD and 4x zoom lens starting at 28mm equiv. Similar to the other compact cameras announced today it is capable of recording Super Slow 340 x 240 movies at 240fps and 1080p24 Full HD videos, and features the latest Movie Digest mode. The camera comes with 32 scene modes and 6 creative filters including Miniature and Toy Camera effects. It will be available at a retail price of $199.99 in the US market and £179.99 in the UK.
CP+ 2011: Canon has announced updated versions of its 500mm and 600mm f/4L IS USM professional lenses. Similar to the EF 300mm and EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lenses released last August, the EF 500mm F/4L IS II USM and the EF 600mm F/4L IS II USM feature completely new optical designs and water-repellant Fluorine coatings along with lighter weight construction. A new IS mode has been added that activates stabilization only during exposure. The lenses also offer optional long or short foot tripod mounts suitable for monopods or tripods and an improved tripod collar rotation mechanism for smoother rotation from portrait to landscape orientation. The lenses will be available at retail prices of $9,499.99 and $11,999.99 in the US market, and £8999 and £11299 in the UK market respectively.
CP+ 2011: Canon has announced it is developing the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens, which features a built-in switchable 1.4x teleconverter. With the converter engaged, it becomes a 280-560mm F5.6 lens. Designed for sports and wildlife photographers the lens will feature weatherproof construction and is scheduled for launch later this year.
CP+ 2011: Canon has introduced the Speedlite 320EX and Speedlite 270EX II flashguns. With a guide number of 32 and a bounce, swivel and manual zoom head, the 320EX is the company's first Speedlite model to feature a video light complementing its HD-enabled DSLRs. It also gains the ability to be wirelessly operated by a controller such as the one built into the 600D. It can be controlled on one of four 'channels' to allow groups of flashes with different output levels. The 270EX II meanwhile, replaces the 270EX, and also gains wireless slave mode but without the ability to work in channels. Both models also feature a built-in infrared Remote Release function to trigger the shutter release of compatible EOS models. Powered by four and two AA batteries respectively, the flashguns are compatible with all recent Canon DSLRs. The flashguns will be available at retail prices of $249.99 and $169.99 in the US market, and £249.99 and £179.99 in the UK market respectively.
Casio has announced a price drop for its EX-H20G compact camera in the US market. The MSRP is reduced to $299.99, down from $349.99. The camera was the first to incorporate the company's Hybrid GPS technology that uses motion sensors to allow the camera to track its position when indoors or away from the GPS satellite signals. It is built around a 14.1MP sensor, 10x (24-240mm) zoom lens and 3.0" LCD.
Just Posted: Our (much-awaited) in-depth review of the Olympus E-5. The E-5 is the company's range-topping DSLR and successor to the popular E-3. The company's third-generation flagship DSLR is built around a weather-sealed body and offers a 12MP Live MOS sensor, 3.0" 920k dot LCD, Live View with Contrast AF, HD video recording and shutter speeds of up to 1/8000th sec. Click on the link to read how it stacks up to the competition and how it fared in our studio tests.
German lens maker Schneider-Kreuznach has announced it is joining the Micro Four Thirds system standard established by Olympus and Panasonic. The company has not announced what it plans to contribute to the system - whether it will adapt its existing cine primes or develop entirely new designs for the system. The move follows Japanese maker Cosina joining in August 2010 which has resulted in the launch of the Voigtländer Nokton 25mm F0.95.
JVC has announced the GC-PX1 hybrid camcorder that records 1080p60 Full HD videos at 36Mbps and 10MP stills. It incorporates a 10x zoom lens, a 1/2.3" back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 3.0" tilting touchscreen LCD and the company's latest 'FalconBrid' processor. Features include P/A/S/M shooting modes, 32GB of internal memory and up to 300fps continuous shooting. It will be released end of February in Japan at a price to be confirmed, we have no details of US plans.
Ricoh has announced it is developing a lens mount module for its GXR interchangeable camera system. The module will combine a 12.9MP APS-C CMOS sensor with a Leica 'M' mount, allowing the use of a large variety of classic rangefinder manual-focus lenses. Details are limited at present but a mock-up is to be shown at the CP+ trade show in Yokohama on Feb 9-12. The company has also reasserted its plans to make non-camera modules for the system.
Sony has announced another two Cyber-shot compacts using its latest 16.2MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor. Both the GPS-enabled DSC-HX100V and DSC-HX9 are capable of recording full 1080p60 HD videos and offer 10fps continuous shooting. The HX100V superzoom with 30x (27-810mm equiv.) zoom lens and the DSC-HX9 compact superzoom with 16x (24-384mm equiv.) zoom both offer 921k dot 3.0" LCDs, can shoot high resolution panoramic images and generate 3D images.