News archive for November 2011
Nikon has announced the SB-910, the flagship flashgun in its Speedlight range. Replacing the SB-900, the 910 gains the simpler graphic user interface (GUI) of the less powerful SB-700. Its more advanced thermal protection system slows the flash recycle time, rather than it simply shutting down to prevent overheating. It comes with hard filters for matching fluorescent and tungsten lighting and automatically switches the camera's white balance to match the filter. Similarly it adjusts the available zoom steps to suit the body (FX or DX) that it's attached to. The SB910 will be available from mid-December, priced around $549.95.
Leica has launched a website to showcase the work of users of its S2 medium-format DSLR. The S-League website allows users to show-off their work to an International audience and see what other users are doing with their equipment. Leica S users can also use the site to apply for a free loan of Leica S equipment. Meanwhile, the company has also announced it has created a 2012 calendar made up of images shot by photographers from the Magnum co-operative, using the M-9 rangefinder. The 16.5 x 28.3" calendar will feature six mono and six color images and will cost €45.
Sony has released the long-rumored firmware v1.04 update for its A77 and A65 SLT models. The updates add two more lenses to the list that the cameras can correct for and also promise to improve image quality, response time and 'usability.' The updates are currently available in Asia and Europe but haven't been formally announced in the US. Following our reviews of the A77 and A65 we will install the latest firmware and update the reviews as necessary. Update: Firmware v1.04 now also available from Sony US.
Nature photographer Erez Marom explains the role that magnification plays in successful macro photography. In this latest installment of his instructional series, he examines the relationship between a subject's actual size and the size at which it is projected onto the imaging sensor. He also details an accurate method for determining the magnification capabilities of your lens.
Ricoh has added a 24-85mm equivalent zoom camera unit, based around an APS-C sized CMOS sensor, to its product roadmap. The roadmap on the company's Japanese site shows the module, scheduled for an 'Early 2012' launch, will be built around a 16MP APS-C CMOS sensor. Given the company's use of 12MP Sony sensors in its A12 modules, it seems likely this zoom module will be built around a version of Sony's impressive 16MP chip that underpins several recent Sony, Nikon and Pentax models. No details are given on price or aperture range. (via DC Watch)
Samyang has updated its 8mm F3.5 fisheye lens in Nikon mount, adding a CPU to allow better-integrated operation in auto exposure modes. The Samyang AE 8mm 1:3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fish-eye CS allows for full control over exposure from the camera, enables i-TTL flash exposure control, and records lens-related data into image EXIF data. Like its predecessor, the optical design includes 10 elements in 7 groups, with one hybrid aspheric element. The lens is manual focus only, and is designed for use on DX format SLRs. It will be priced at €325 (approx $430 / £280).
Fujifilm has announced the X-S1, a premium-grade superzoom compact. The X-S1 is part of the company's high-end 'X Series' and is built around the same 12MP 2/3" CMOS sensor as the X10 compact. Despite the comparatively large sensor, it manages to include a 26X 24-624mm equivalent F2.8-5.6 zoom lens. It also features Raw shooting, a 1.44M dot electronic viewfinder and 460,000 dot rear LCD along with a rubberized coating and metal dials to emphasize its premium 'Made in Japan' status.
We've just published our review of the Olympus E-PM1: the PEN Mini. The Mini is the least expensive, and most compact-camera-user orientated, Micro Four Thirds model yet released. It's built around the long-serving 12MP sensor but includes the latest, impressively fast AF system from the most recent PENS. In keeping with its point-and-shoot ethos, the PEN Mini features few external controls, yet has extensive customization if you want a camera to grow into. Does this result in a model with broad appeal or a camera with an identity crisis? Read our review to find out.
We've successfully migrated dpreview.com to its new web servers. And, now that most of the teething problems have been ironed out, we're confident that the errors and degraded performance that some users have been experiencing over the last few weeks are well behind us. We've also got a couple of minor feature updates to tell you about - and the winners of the Tamron Prize challenge are revealed after the link.
Wildlife photographer and tour operator Dallas Dahms explains how to choose the most appropriate photo gear when embarking on an African safari. His article shares camera lens and accessory combinations best suited to particular modes of transport and specific types of photo opportunities. He also supplies a handy tip for safely carrying your gear aboard in-country flights.
DxO Labs has announced that Optics Pro 7, the latest version of its Raw processing and optical correction software, will be available from November 30th. The company says version 7 has been extensively re-written to make it faster - up to four times faster in the case of batch processing. Version 7 also includes support for popular enthusiast cameras, such as Fujifilm's X100 and Sony's A77, as well as more than 300 additional camera/lens Optics Modules. Refinements include an improved lens softness tool that attempts to correct for inherent lens softness without interfering with bokeh in out-of-focus regions. DxO Optics Pro 7 will be available with a 33% discount until December 24th (and free to users who bought version 6 after September 1st).
Photoshop trainer and author Scott Kelby has published an ‘open letter’ to Adobe requesting it re-thinks its product upgrade policy. The company, in a recent blog post about its ‘Creative Cloud’ online computing service, revealed that it will only allow owners of the most recent versions of Photoshop and Creative Suite to upgrade to the CS6 versions, when they become available. This moves away from its traditional position of allowing owners of the previous three versions a discounted upgrade. The company is offering a 20% discount for these owners to bring themselves up-to-date in time for the policy change.
US photographic trade body PMA and dpreview.com are conducting a survey looking for the views of dedicated amateur photographers. The ten minute survey asks about your photographic use, the features you'd like to see in cameras and your use and experience of photo sharing sites and printing services (as well as helping us make dpreview a better place). It aims to get a clearer understanding of what committed non-professional photographers want from their cameras and related services and may even result in those things getting a bit better. Responses will be discussed at the forthcoming 6Sight conference. As a reward one lucky respondent will be sent a shiny new Apple iPad 2. Update: the survey has now closed. We will announce the winner of the iPad soon.
Just posted: JPEG and raw studio samples from the Nikon Coolpix P7100. In preparation for a forthcoming review, we have shot our standard studio test scene with the Nikon Coolpix P7100. To allow easy comparison with its peers, we have now added these shots to our comparison database. As such the P7100 can now be selected from the pull-down list within both our standalone studio comparison tool and the comparison pages in any review.
Nikon has released firmware updates for its Nikkor 1 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6, 30-100mm f/3.8-5.6 and 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 lenses. The 10-30mm and 30-100mm lenses are upgraded to firmware v1.02, which corrects a bug which causes an incorrect aperture value to be recorded. Meanwhile the 10-100mm power zoom firmware moves to v1.01 that, like the 1.01 upgrades for the other two lenses, addresses a problem by which images could 'be blurred when shot immediately after the camera was shaken or moved quickly'.
Digital Outback Photo has published 'The Art and Craft of HDR Photography' by Uwe and Bettina Steinmueller. The 100 page e-book, written and published by the authors of dpreview.com's 'The Art of HDR' series of guides, can be downloaded as a printable pdf. It is available for an introductory price of $15.95, rather than the usual $19.95.
Planned site maintenance will mean the site will be temporarily unavailable for a period today (Saturday November 19th). For around an hour from 20:00 GMT / 15:00 ET / 12:00 PT, it will not be possible to log into the site. This will mean commenting, forums and challenges will be read-only during this period. A banner across the top of the page will make clear when this work is in progress and we hope to bring an improved user experience as a result of the work. We appreciate your patience.
Update 15:44 PT: We've completed the necessary maintenance, and site functionality has been restored. However, due to the inherent latency in DNS (Domain Name System) propagation, a very small percentage of users may be unable to post to our forums for the next 24-48 hours. If these issues persist, or if you continue to experience performance or functionality problems with other areas of the site, please feel free to send feedback via the link at the bottom of this page.
Just Posted: JPEG and Raw studio samples from the Canon Powershot S100 and Nikon J1. In preparation for our forthcoming reviews, we have shot our standard studio test scene with both the Canon Powershot S100 and Nikon J1. To allow easy comparison with their peers, we have now added these shots to our comparison tool. Both the S100 and J1 can now be selected from the pull-down list within any review or in our standalone comparison tool.
Product advice/market research website 'MyProductAdvisor' is claiming that US customers are willing to pay more for Nikon than for other camera brands. Strong consumer engagement with camera brands will come as no surprise to anyone who's spent time on camera forums, but it's interesting to see figures suggesting this translates to a willingness to spend more. The company's figures suggest Canon can command the second-largest price premium with customers showing some willingness to pay more for Olympus, Panasonic and Fujifilm. This could explain the logic behind Nikon's comparatively high pricing of its 1 System.
Leica has announced the Oskar Barnack Award 2012 international photo competition will open for entries from January 16, with a first prize worth €15,000 (~ $20,200). The 2012 winner will receive an M9-P digital rangefinder and lens in addition to a €5000 cash prize. To enter, participants need to submit a portfolio of up to twelve images expressing 'the interaction between man and the environment.' In addition, the Newcomer award, open to photographers under 25 years of age, offers an M9-P and lens as prize. Submissions are open until 1 March 2012.
We've published our roundup of ten of the most interesting third-party lenses for enthusiast photographers. There are a huge number of lenses available from third-party manufacturers that at least match, and sometimes exceed the quality of more expensive models from camera manufacturers. In this four-page roundup, Matt Golowczynski highlights ten stand-out lenses by category.
Just Posted: A few weeks back we spent a little time with the Pentax 645D - just long enough to grab a small gallery of 'real world' samples using the FA 645 55mm F2.8 standard lens. The 40 megapixel 645D, which took an unprecedented 5 years to progress from announcement to production, is the company's first digital medium format camera. We wanted to see how practical it was to use the 645D 'in the field' as a replacement for a smaller sensor SLR, and - aside from an aching shoulder after a day of lugging it around - we were pretty impressed with what we saw. Until we get the 645D back into the studio to complete our testing, check out our quick 24-shot gallery after the link (or click here to jump straight to the gallery page).
Just Posted: our review of the Sony SLT-A65. When the SLT-A65 was launched it risked being overshadowed by the flagship A77 model. However, the A65 could prove to be the more significant camera in the SLT line-up as it offers many of the A77's features at a more attainable price point. Offering 24MP capture, a 10fps continuous shooting rate, full-time live view with phase-detection AF as well as a raft of other innovative features, the A65 is unique in its market segment. On paper, it appears significantly more capable in some respects than peers such as the Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i and Nikon D5100. Click here to jump straight to the the review and see if it lives up to this promise.
Canon has released updated firmware for its EOS 5D Mark II full-frame DSLR. Firmware v2.1.1 corrects a bug that meant only a single image was captured in continuous shooting mode or AE bracketing continuous mode. It also corrects some menu errors for Dutch language users. Click here to find out more and download the firmware.
Casio Japan has announced the Exilim EX-ZR200, a 16MP compact superzoom with a back-lit CMOS sensor. No details of a US or European launch have yet been given but, with its 24-300mm equivalent zoom lens and 30fps full resolution shooting and PASM modes, it's extremely likely it will replace the EX-ZR100. Like the ZR100, it can shoot 1080p30 movies with H.264 compression. It also features multi-image modes to capture ultra-wide angle shots and create background blur. (from DCWatch)
Sony USA has confirmed reports that production of its SLT and NEX cameras has resumed, following the devastating flooding in Thailand, last month. Production has been moved from its affected Ayuthaya site to the Chonburi plant, further south in the country. A spokesman said there was no further information about the effect on product shipments, as this was still being determined.
Ricoh has announced the CX6, the latest in its line of compact superzoom cameras. It features a 10MP back-lit CMOS sensor and the familiar 10.7x 28-300mm equivalent image stabilized zoom lens. The latest model features improved processing and hardware to offer faster focusing (with claimed AF times as fast as 0.1 sec), as well as a dedicated movie shooting button. It also gains Aperture and Shutter Priority exposure modes and the Sony WhiteMagic 1.23M dot VGA LCD screen.
DxO Labs has announced FilmPack v3.1 Essentials and Expert, the latest versions of its film simulation software. The biggests changes are to the more expensive, Expert edition with the addition of 25 'Creative Renderings' that offer stylized effects rather than just simulating film. These preset renderings can be user-adjusted, exported and imported so that they can be shared, or packages of presets from DxO added. The interface has also been improved in both versions, including the addition of a full screen view and a resizable filmstrip view, as well as a handful of minor updates.
We've published a gallery of 32 JPEG images shot with the 12MP Fujifilm X10. The X10 is Fujifilm's first foray into the luxury end of the enthusiast compact camera market, and takes many of its styling cues from the APS-C format X100. Key features include a 28-112mm (equivalent) f/2-2.8 zoom lens and Fujifilm's unique 'EXR' sensor technology. Our samples were taken in a range of different environments and in a range of different modes, including the 6MP noise and dynamic-range optimized 'SN' and 'DR' EXR modes.
German videographer Michael König has compiled a breathtaking HD video from footage shot from the International Space Station. The original video clips, that König has processed and set to music, were created from a series of time-lapse stills of the Earth at night and include footage of Aurora Borealis and Australis. Viewing the original still images on NASA's 'The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth' website reveals they were shot with a Nikon D3S with 17-35mm F2.8 and 14-24mm F2.8 lenses (via Daily Mail).
Accessory grip maker Richard Franiec has announced an add-on grip for the Canon PowerShot S100. The grip differs from his existing wrap-around designs to avoid blocking the port door on the side of the camera. Instead the raised, textured design mounts on the front plate of the camera, over its existing hand-grip. The accessory will be available from late November at a cost of $29.95, plus shipping.
Panasonic has announced upcoming firmware updates for its Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 Power O.I.S. pancake and Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm F4.0-5.6 Power O.I.S. Micro Four Thirds lenses. The latest firmware versions for both lenses enhance Touch Zoom operation with the recently released Lumix DMC-GX1, and improve AF performance while recording stills and videos. The update for the 45-175mm lens also improves its image stabilization function. Both will be available for download from Panasonic's website from 06:00 GMT on November 17th.
At the recent Photo Plus Expo show in New York we spoke to Chuck Westfall, Technical Adviser at Canon U.S.A's Pro Engineering and Technical Solutions division about the future of DSLRs and the recently-announced EOS-1DX in particular. The full-frame EOS-1DX is intended to satisfy the needs of photographer that want high speed, high resolution, and HD video. During our interview Chuck went into more detail about how the requirements of professional photographers are evolving, and what Canon is doing to address their needs.
At the recent Photo Plus Expo show in New York we spoke to Jay Kelbley, Senior Marketing Manager of the Imaging Division at Samsung U.S.A. We asked Jay about the 20MP APS-C format NX200, and Samsung's new NX range of prime and zoom lenses. Jay took us through the new products, and explained why consumers should be excited by the high-resolution, 'premium'-styled NX200, and what makes Samsung's NX system unique.
Apple has released a Digital Camera RAW compatibility update for Aperture 3 and iPhoto '11. Update 3.9 extends raw support to eleven additional cameras, including the Canon Powershot S100, Olympus PEN E-PL3 and E-PM1, and Sony Alpha NEX-5N, SLT-A65 and SLT-A77. The update is available for immediate download from Apple's website.
Hong Kong-based SLR Magic has formally announced its HyperPrime 12mm F1.6, a manual focus lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. This fast wideangle prime, which has been doing the rounds of testers and reviewers for the past few months, features a traditional aperture control ring and metal-bodied construction. Its optics include three Tantalum glass elements for 'superior cinematic performance'. It will be on sale from the end of November.
Olympus's woes have deepened after the Tokyo Stock Exchange placed its shares 'under supervision' and warned of possible delisting. The news follows the admission that senior executives colluded for decades to hide investment losses from the market, and a subsequent statement from Olympus that it would not be able to submit its quarterly earnings report on schedule. The TSE has warned that the company will be delisted if the report is not submitted by 14th December, prompting a further fall in its shares which have now lost almost two-thirds of their value over the past month.
Mobile photography and app blogger Joanne Carter takes a look at the growing number of iOS and Android apps that are designed as photography tools. Whether you need to plan a sunset shoot, manage legal forms for your models, calculate flash exposure, or transfer files to your mobile device while you are shooting wirelessly, this article looks at some of the best apps currently available for both enthusiast and professional photographers.
UPDATE: Following the provision of Beta raw support from Adobe, we've updated our previously published studio samples from the Samsung NX200 to include Raw files. Also, we've recently got our hands on Samsung's new NX 60mm F2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA and we've taken the opportunity to replace our existing samples with a completely new set, taken on the newer lens. In future, the 60mm macro will become our standard studio lens for the Samsung NX system.
Olympus has dismissed its executive vice president after admitting concealing losses on investments. In the most serious revelation since the departure of former chief executive Michael Woodford, the company said that funds from previous acquisitions had been used to hide losses on securities investments since the 1990s. The news saw Olympus shares fall in value by up to 30% during Tuesday's trading.
Just Posted: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 hands-on preview and video. We've spent a few days with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1, the long-awaited successor to the popular GF1. The enthusiast-oriented GX1 features a 16MP sensor, touchscreen interface and an abundance of external buttons and dials. We take a closer look at Panasonic's newest Micro Four Thirds camera, including a hands-on video highlighting some of the main features.
Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-GX1, an enthusiast-oriented model that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Lumix DMC-GF1. The GX1 sports a 16MP 'Live MOS' sensor, a maximum ISO sensitivity setting of 12,800, a touchscreen interface and a revamped AF system. The GX1 is also the first camera compatible with Panasonic's brand new high-resolution LVF2 viewfinder, sold separately. The GX1 is available in a black or silver body with MSRP starting at $699.99 / £499.99 / €599.99 without lens.
Panasonic has announced a firmware update for its Lumix DMC-GH2 video-orientated interchangeable lens camera that will offer a range of improvements and new features. First and foremost is a high bitrate (24Mbps) movie mode that's designed for video editing purposes. Extended compatibility with the company's latest 'X' series powerzoom lenses is also included, as is the ability to turn all touchscreen features completely off. An update to the PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 software will also be available to handle the GH2's new video mode. Both updates will be available at the beginning of December.
Red Digital Cinema has released the Scarlet-X professional video camera with Canon EF or PL mount. With 4K video from 1-30 fps and burst modes up to 12 fps at 5K resolution, it enables users to capture motion footage and still content simultaneously. Available for pre-orders, the basic kit (which is primarily the body, or as Red calls it "The Brain") is priced at $9750 while the Scarlet-X AL Canon Mount Package is priced at $14,015 and includes such essentials as a power adaptor, 5" touch LCD, and hand grip.
Just posted: our JPEG studio test samples from the Samsung NX200. In preparation for our forthcoming review of the NX200, we have shot our standard studio test scene. To allow easy comparison with its peers, we have now added these shots to our comparison tool, found in our existing reviews. The NX200 can now be selected from the pull-down list within any review or our standalone comparison tool. Only JPEG comparison is available at the moment, as we are waiting on ACR Raw support for the camera.