News archive for June 2012
Scientists in Texas have demonstrated a way of 'painting' rechargeable lithium-ion batteries onto surfaces, greatly expanding the potential for future development of portable electronics. The team, from Rice University, has succeeded in painting batteries onto a range of different surfaces, including common household objects, with 'no surface conditioning'. The batteries are made up of five layers measuring just 0.5mm thick in total and, according to the scientists that developed the technology, can be fabricated using conventional spray-painting equipment and techniques.
Lytro's founder Ren Ng has stepped down as CEO to focus on 'product vision, technology, and strategic direction for the company' in his new role as Executive Chairmen. The innovative California-based company was formed by Ng in 2006, and earlier this year released its first product, the Lytro light field camera. In a blog post on the company's website, Ng makes it clear that he will remain on staff as a full-time employee, '100% focussed on Lytro'. In the meantime, an interim CEO - former Executive Chairman Charles Chi - has been appointed ahead of a full-time replacement for Ng.
Just Posted: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS15/TZ25 review. We've collaborated with Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page to bring you a 9-page review of the 'little brother' to Panasonic's top-end ZS20 travelzoom, the more affordable ZS15. The 12MP ZS15 features a 16X optical zoom range that spans 24-383mm (equivalent) but lacks the built-in GPS of its more expensive sibling. So how does it perform overall? Read our 9-page review to find out.
According to a report in the British Journal of Photography, press photographers in the UK are being called on to boycot the high-profile reunion tour of 80s/90s rock band The Stone Roses over the conditions of contracts being handed out at shows. The National Union of Journalists is backing a call for photographers to boycott the concerts over shooting contracts that appear to remove the right of the signee to sell their images for editorial use. Former professional music photographer Barnaby Britton gives his take on the brewing controversy.
Sigma USA has announced the price and availability of its DP2 Merrill large sensor, fixed lens 14.6x3MP camera. The DP2 M will be available from July 12th at an estimated street price of $999 (this being the price you're likely to pay, rather than the sometimes fanciful MSRP figures). The DP2 M is major step forward for the DP2 concept, featuring a larger, APS-C sized Foveon sensor, high resolution, 921k dot LCD and a newly-developed telecentric 30mm F2.8 lens, giving a 45mm equivalent field of view.
Just Posted: Fujifilm X-Pro1 review. The X-Pro1 is Fujifilm's first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera and it aims straight for the high-end camera enthusiast as the equally classically-styled X100 before it. However, far from simply being a 16MP X100 with interchangeable lenses, the X-Pro1 also features characteristically adventurous Fujifilm technology: a X-Trans CMOS sensor. This uses a non-standard color filter array which promises less susceptibility to moiré, avoiding the need for a low-pass filter - promising sharper images. Fujifilm has announced an impressive XF lens roadmap, so is it done justice by the first X-mount body? Read our review to find out.
Canon has announced a firmware update that will add a series of features to the EOS 7D. In an unusual move for a camera that has been on the market for almost three years, Canon is performing the most comprehensive firmware upgrade we can remember. This includes improved continuous-shooting buffer depth (to 25 Raws, up from the original 15), customizable Auto ISO, control of audio recording level for video and the ability to re-process Raws and rate images in-camera. The update will also enable the use of the GP-E2 GPS module. It will be available from August 2012.
Just posted: Canon EF40mm F2.8 STM pancake prime lens sample images. We've been using Canon's latest diminutive prime lens for the last couple of days and have prepared an image gallery of both full-frame and APS-C samples. These have been shot at a variety of apertures in a range of lighting conditions, using the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Mark II for full-frame images, with APS-C shots taken with the Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i and 600D / Rebel T3i.
Apple has issued a Raw Compatibility Update that includes support for Canon's Rebel T4i (EOS 650D) and the Sony SLT-A37. The update provides support in iPhoto, Aperture and third-party software such as ACDSee Pro2 that uses the operating system's Raw decoding. Raw Compatibility Update v3.14 is available from the Apple website immediately.
A licensee of the Polaroid brand name has created the Z2300 Instant Digital Camera - a compact camera with built-in Zink printer. The Z2300 produces 2x3" prints using the Zink 'zero ink' system that uses heat to control the development of full-colored images from layers of dye encapsulated in specially prepared paper. No details of sensor size or lens are available for the Z2300 but it appears not to offer a zoom, so it might be best thought of as a Zink printer with 10MP phone camera built in.
Nokia's 808 Pureview, the smartphone built around a 1/1.2" 41MP sensor can now be pre-ordered from Amazon in both the UK and US. This is despite Nokia originally saying it would not be launched in the US. In both instances the phone will be available unlocked and without a contract. As a result, the cost isn't subsidized by a carrier, meaning the handset will set you back £499 or $699 in the US (where it can be used on the AT&T or T-Mobile networks). Amazon says the phone will ship from the June 30th in the UK and July 8th in the US. We've had a brief chance to use the large-sensor smartphone and will be posting a report in the coming weeks, once we have a chance to shoot a samples gallery.
Fujifilm has announced an XF14mm F2.8 and XF18-55mm F2.8-4 zoom lens for its X-Pro1 camera. It has also published a roadmap for the system, detailing an additional five lenses that will follow by the middle of 2013. The XF14mm F2.8 offers a 21mm equivalent field of view, while the 18-55mm offers a 27-84mm semi-fast standard zoom. Prices and availability have not yet been announced for these lenses that will arrive towards the end of 2012. Other forthcoming lenses include an 84mm equivalent F1.4 portrait lens and walkaround options of a 35mm equiv. F1.4 or a 41mm equiv. F2.8, with zooms to follow in mid 2013.
Ricoh has issued a firmware update for all the camera modules of its GXR modular camera system. Version 1.51 is supposed to improve image quality in photos taken when combining negative exposure compensation with the multi-area 'Multi-P Auto' white balance setting. There are additional big fixes when the firmware is intalled on the GXR M-mount module and the A16 zoom module. Downloads are available from Ricoh immediately.
Adam Koplan takes a look at David Nightengale's 'Practical HDR: A Complete Guide to Creating High Dynamic Range Images with Your Digital SLR'. This updated second edition demonstrates software techniques for processing images that exhibit the wide range of light and dark tones characteristic of HDR photography.
Just Posted: our review of the Nikon Coolpix P310 mid-level compact camera. The P310 builds on the groundwork done by its predecessor, the Coolpix P300 - offering the manual control of its more expensive enthusiast peers, such as Canon's S100 but using a smaller sensor to keep the cost down. The P310 features a 24-100mm equivalent, F1.8-4.9 lens in front of a 16MP back-lit CMOS sensor capable of 1080p30 video. Click here to see what we thought.
Sony has said it will invest ¥80bn (around $1bn) to allow for the production of its next-generation, 'stacked CMOS' image sensors at its Nagasaki Technology Center. The investment will see the plant's production capacity rise to 60,000 wafers per month (from 50,000 at the end of March 2012). The announcement includes ¥45bn already committed in the company's capital expenditure plans in May 2012.
A gigapixel camera developed for the US Department of Defense's research agency provides an insight into the challenges that will need to be overcome to offer super-high-resultion cameras. A team from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, has described its 960 megapixel (0.96 gigapixel) 'AWARE-2' camera in a letter to scientific journal Nature. The team says small, efficient electronics are the key to being able to miniaturize the camera, which currently sits in a 0.75 x 0.75 x 0.5m frame.
Dpreview.com is seeking keen writers immersed in the mobile technology and photography world. As an external contributor to the world's leading digital photography website, you'll produce top-quality, well-researched, and innovative articles about smart phones, tablets, photography apps and photo sharing communities.
Lensrentals' Roger Cicala has just tested Canon's EF 40mm F2.8 STM pancake prime lens, with interesting results. Cicala has tested eight copies of the $199 lens, to see what compromises have been made to offer a video-optimized lens in a small package for such a low price. His initial impressions are worth reading if you're one of the people considering this lens.
Intel has announced the 'A Momentary Lapse' competition, seeking entries that can then be used to advertise its products. Prizes include Dell XPS Ultrabooks and Canon DSLRs, with the chance to win an EOS 5D Mark III. To promote the competition, Vincent Laforet has made a 'How to make time-lapse photography' video tutorial. Both the stills and video (time-lapse or slow-motion) competitions require entries around the themes 'music, style, entertainment or sports,' and are open to residents of the USA and Canada. The competition offers $50,000 worth of prizes, spread across 18 weekly stills contests and three 40-day video contests.
Nokia has shown-off an app including photographic features unlike anything yet available in compact cameras - suggesting camera makers will need to consider apps if they're to remain competitive. The Camera Extras app includes a 'Smart Group Shot' mode that takes five images and chooses the 'best' faces for each of the subjects. It's also possible to manually select which face you want for each of your subject. It's a useful and consumer-friendly feature that helps to underline the challenge that compact camera makers face - competing not just with the convenience and connectivity of smartphones, but also their app-based approach that allows extra features to be offered, separately from the normal model development cycle.
DxO Labs has released DxO Optics Pro v7.5.1, adding support for four extra cameras to both the Elite and Standard editions of the software. The Elite edition also gains support for the Nikon D800E, with fine-tuning to optimize the performance of the Remove color moiré tool. Both versions can now also process files from the Nikon D3200, Sony SLT A35 and A57, and the Panasonic DMC-GX1. As usual, a 30-day free trial is available, along with roughly 40% discounts available if purchased before June 30th. The update is free for recent Optics Pro purchasers.
ACD Systems has launched ACDSee Pro 2 for Mac, a combined file management, photo editing and workflow tool. The latest version is designed to make handling and processing large numbers of files as simple as possible - with shortcuts provided to allow your existing workflow to be sped up, rather than imposing a new way of working on you. These include the ability to create import presets that rename, move and apply metadata as you add them. There's also full integration with the company's online storage and sharing service, which includes 10Gb of storage in the $139 price tag.
Canon has announced updated firmware for the EOS 5D Mark III. Firmware v1.1.3 makes an unspecified change to accommodate the EF40mm F2.8 STM pancake prime lens announced earlier this month. Beyond this, the update fixes a series of bugs and corrects a series of linguistic errors in menu screens. The firmware is available for download from your local Canon support site now.
Canon has issues a firmware update for the EOS 60D mid-level DSLR and 60Da astrophotography camera. On the 60D, firmware v1.1.1 corrects a bug that placed the wrong serial number in image EXIF. On both cameras it also fixes language errors in some menus. The company will announce updated versions of its software at a later date to correct existing images with the incorrect serial number. The firmware is available for download from your local Canon support site now.
As soon as you venture outdoors, a decent camera bag quickly becomes a key consideration. Wildlife and Landscape photographer Carsten Krieger spent some time with the Gura Gear Kiboko 30L - a lightweight bag developed by fellow landscape shooter, Andy Biggs. Does this insight into the demands of the traveling photographer result in the perfect bag, and justify the price-tag? Read Krieger's article to find out.
Digital Outback Photography has published the Lightroom 4 Artistry: Develop by Bettina and Uwe Steinmueller. The 90-page e-book comes in the form of a printable PDF and covers the tools in the Develop module of the latest version of Lightroom. This includes a look at the Highlights and Shadows tools introduced with Adobe's 'Process Version 2012.' The e-book is available directly from the company at a discounted introductory price of $16.95.
Sometimes a single photo doesn't convey the experience of your eye exploring a scene, or you find your wide-angle lens simply isn't as wide as you'd like. In such situations, it can be interesting to think beyond a single frame and consider a photo collage. In an article we hope might provide some inspiration for your shooting this weekend, Barnaby Britton looks at the steps to make your own creative digital collages.
Sigma has announced a compact 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 'Macro' superzoom lens for APS-C DSLRs. The latest version is an entirely new design, smaller than the existing lens and incorporating 'Thermally Stable Composite' (TSC) construction. TSC is a material currently used exclusively by Sigma, designed to minimize barrel expansion or contraction with extreme temperature variation. The lens will be available from July, starting with the Canon-mount version, with Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Sigma to follow.
Schneider Kreuznach has said it will begin making lenses for mirrorless systems, and has shown renderings of a 14mm F2.0 lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. The move will make Schneider one of the few independent lens makers building autofocus lenses for mirrorless systems, following the launches of lenses for Micro Four Thirds and Sony NEX from Sigma and a NEX 18-200mm from Tamron. As part of its annual review, Schneider says it will introduce a range of lenses for mirrorless cameras 'this fall,' which we're expecting to mean around the Photokina show in Cologne, this September. (via Photoscala)
Nikon has announced the AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR, a comparatively affordable, stabilized, variable aperture standard zoom lens for full frame cameras. It comes as Nikon celebrates the sale of the 70 millionth Nikkor lens since 1933, and the 30 millionth silent-wave motor lens since the system's introduction in 1996. It's hard not to interpret the announcement as lending weight to the rumors of an affordable full-frame body, since it's hard to imagine large numbers of D800 owners using such a lens (with its recommended price of $599) as their everyday lens.
Nikon has launched the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR lens, a 16.7x superzoom for APS-C DSLRs. The 18-300mm offers the highest ever zoom ratio for a Nikon interchangeable lens, giving a 27-450mm equivalent range on one of the company's DX-format cameras. The lens is a much more complex design than the existing 18-200mm - utilizing 19 elements in 14 groups and, at 120mm long, is 23% longer. It features a 77mm filter thread and will be available from June 2012 at a price of around $999.
Photo hosting site Fotki has said all its subscribers’ photos, galleries and comments are safe and that the site will continue, following cash concerns. Subscribers will also be able to download their full-size original images or have the option to pay ‘a small fee’ for continued storage or faster, FTP downloads. Founder and owner Dmitri Don said the support of the Fotki community has ensured the site’s survival.
The first step in creating a compelling wildlife macro shot is simply finding your subject. Nature photographer Erez Marom continues his macro photography series with a discussion of how to increase your odds of capturing the natural behavior of insects in the wild. Learn where and when to explore as well as how to observe these creatures from very close distances without causing any harm.
Olympus has acknowledged the banding that can appear in high ISO OM-D E-M5 images shot with the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 lens and says it is working on a fix. In the meantime, the only solution is to avoid high ISO settings when using that lens, for now. It says that it has tried 'every possible combination of body and lens,' and has not found the problem with other lenses.
Just Posted: We've just added in-depth analysis of the Nikon D800E to our D800 review. We've spent some time testing the D800E alongside the conventional D800, shooting real-world samples and high-precision studio test shots. We've added four extra pages of content and analysis to the D800/D800E review showing exactly what the differences are between the cameras, both for stills and video work. We've added a 32-image D800E sample gallery and subjected the D800E to our scoring process. We've also used the time with the two cameras to look at the benefits of shooting uncompressed HD video footage.
Samyang has announced an 8mm F2.8 fish-eye lens for Samsung NX and the Sony E-mount used on its NEX mirrorless cameras. The 8mm F2.8 version comes in addition to the existing F3.5 fish-eye intended for the NEX VG10 camcorder. The F2.8 features ten lens elements in eight groups (rather than the F3.5's 10/7 design), including one aspherical element and two ED (extra low dispersion glass) elements. Pricing and availability details have not yet been announced.
Apple has announced Aperture v3.3, which features a series of updates including sharing its catalogue with the simpler iPhoto program that comes with iOS. Other improvements include support for AVCHD video, a revised Highlight & Shadows tool and more sophisticated white balance options. The software has also been designed to make use of the MacBook Pro's 'Retina' display. Aperture v3.3 is free to existing v3 users or can be bought for $79.99 from the Mac App Store.
Apple has updated its MacBook Pro with the addition of the highest-resolution screen currently used in a laptop. As rumored for some time, the latest Pro model features a 2880x1800 pixel 15.4" display panel. The screen, which equates to a resolution of 220 pixels per inch, is being branded as a 'Retina' display - Apple's name for a display with pixels too small to discern at a sensible working distance. The cheapest version, which features a 2.3GHz quad-core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM, will cost $2199. The MacBook Pro is likely to herald a wave of high-resolution screens on laptops and mobile devices, with companies such as Sharp developing high-res, low-power displays.
Lighting in videography is every bit as important as it is for stills work and requires a similar amount of thought, if your results are going to look good. Video production professional Evan Pugh highlights the importance of setting up your shoot and provides a explains a basic setup that will make your videos look more polished. Click here to read what he has to say.
Just Posted: We've been shooting with Canon's latest entry-level DSLR - the Rebel T4i (EOS 650D), and have prepared an hands-on preview. The T4i shares many of the headline specs (18MP CMOS sensor, 9-point AF system, 1.0M dot flip-out LCD) with its predecessor, the EOS 600D / Rebel T3i, but significant changes have been made to every one of those features. The result is the first touch-screen DSLR and the first EOS to offer continuous AF in movie shooting mode. Read our preview to find out more about the 650D's features and what its 'Hybrid AF' really offers. The preview includes real-world samples and low-light studio shots.
Canon has announced the EOS 650D (known as the Rebel T4i in North America), and 18MP touch-screen DSLR with a sensor-based hybrid AF system for improved focus in movie and live view modes. The camera gains the all-cross-type 9-point AF sensor from the EOS 60D and can now shoot at 5fps. It also adds stereo mics for its Full HD video recording, which is available at 30, 25 and 24fps. The camera will be available from the end of June at a price of $849, body only, $949 will the 18-55mm IS lens or $1199 with the co-announced 18-135mm STM IS lens.
Canon has developed the EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM and EF 40mm F2.8 STM lenses with stepper motors for fast, quiet operation when shooting video. The 18-135mm STM is an extended standard zoom for APS-C DSLRs, while the 40mm STM is a pancake prime lens for full frame and APS-C cameras. Both lenses feature stepper motors, to enable fast, quiet focus, particularly with the contrast-detection method of autofocus used for live view and video. They also both have electromagnetic diaphragms - allowing smooth and accurate control over aperture for video shooting. The lenses will be available from late June 2012, with the 18-135mm STM costing $549 and the 40mm F2.8 STM costing $199.
We've been using a Sony DSC-RX100 for the last few days and have prepared a hands-on preview of the 20MP, 1" sensor compact. Its 13.2 x 8.8mm sensor is over twice the size of most of its peers and, despite this being the same size as Nikon's 1 system cameras, the RX100 is genuinely pocketable. We've used our time with the camera to prepare a detailed preview, looking at the camera's key features, and have also shot a gallery of real-world samples in a variety of shooting situations.
Panasonic is finalizing a substantial investment in troubled medical and camera company Olympus, according to reports from Japan. The Kyodo news agency is saying that Panasonic will invest around ¥500bn ($630m) in the business - making it the company's largest shareholder. Panasonic has little presence in the medical market, so it seems likely the move is as much about ensuring the continuation of its partner in the Micro Four Thirds collaboration, which could have been jeopardized if the much-needed tie-up had been with a rival camera maker. Update: Panasonic denies plans.
Sony has announced the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100, an enthusiast compact camera based around a 20MP 1" CMOS sensor. It features a 28-100mm equivalent lens with F1.8-4.9 aperture range and image stabilization and is the first Sony compact to capture Raw files. It can shoot 1080p60 and capture 17MP (16:9 crop) stills simultaneously. It features a lens control dial and a 3:2 aspect ratio sensor (the same proportions as most DSLRs). It's also the first Sony compact to feature the company's 'WhiteMagic' LCD technology, promising a brighter or lower-power display. The RX100 will be available from July at a price of around $649.
Just Posted: Canon PowerShot SX260 HS review. We've collaborated with Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page to bring you an 8-page review of Canon's latest travel zoom. The SX260 HS features a 12MP sensor and a 20x optical zoom spanning an effective range of 25-500mm. It also offers inbuilt GPS and a Smart Auto mode which can select from 58 scene modes automatically depending on the shooting environment. So how does it perform overall? Read our 8-page review to find out.
Corel has announced Service Pack 2 for PaintShop Pro X4, the company's photo editing solution. With this update Corel has added bug fixes, Raw file support for 18 additional cameras and improved support for PSD files. Click through for a link to the download and a full list of the newly supported cameras.
Canon USA, Inc. has announced its annual series of summer photography workshops hosted at a select number of US National Parks. Dubbed the 'Canon Photography in the Parks Program', it provides participants with free equipment loans and professional-led instruction during guided photo walks. Attendees will also be able to make prints of their images and bring home their image files on a CD. This year's program also includes video workshop sessions, using Canon VIXIA camcorders and EOS DSLRs.
The 2013 Sony World Photography Awards are now open for entries, and include categories for 3D and filmmakers. The competition has categories for both amateur and professional photographers and prizes that include both cash and Sony photographic equipment. Submissions must be received before January 4th 2013, with the professional category closing on January 9th. The student competition provides the chance to win 40,000 worth of Sony equipment for the winner's university.
Woven, a free app for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook allows you to browse all of your photos from services such as Flickr, Facebook, Picasa and Smugmug in a single place. Once you've logged into each of the services, through the app, it downloads thumbnail versions to your mobile device, allowing you to scan through all your pictures. The app maintains the folder or grouping structures from each service, so you can easily find images and work out where you uploaded them to, even when you're offline.