December 13
Unified Color launches HDR Expose 2 and 32Float v2

Unified Color has announced second-generation versions of its HDR Expose software and its 32Float HDR plugin for Photoshop. The latest versions add color dodge and burn tools, and tone curve adjustment, all the while using the company's 32-bit colorspace that separates color and luminance information to avoid color shifts when changing brightness. The latest version also includes presets, which can be created and modified, to speed up the blending process. Version 2 also gains the ability to batch merge images, using one of these presets. A free 30 day trial of both the 32 Float v2 plugin and standalone HDR Expose 2 software is available.

Adobe releases Lightroom 3.6 and ACR 6.6

Adobe has released Photoshop Lightroom 3.6 and Camera Raw 6.6. These are final versions of updates that were originally posted as 'release candidates' on the Adobe Labs site, and are available for immediate download. The latest versions provide RAW support for 9 additional cameras, including the Canon Powershot S100, Fujifilm X10, Nikon 1 V1 and J1, Panasonic DMC-GX1, Samsung NX5 and NX200, and Sony NEX-7, alongside over 30 new lens correction profiles. 

December 12
Retro photography part 1: 'Lo-fi' photo apps

We've rounded-up the most interesting mobile apps to give you that classic 'lo-fi' film photo feel from your digital images. These apps, both paid and free, can help you view your photography in a new light and, in many cases, allow you to share them with a growing community of photo-bloggers. This is the first article in a series about the increasing popularity of the 'lo-fi' style and how to achieve it through different techniques and processes.

December 11
Free download of Wildlife Photography e-book: Sunday Dec 11th

Wildlife photographer and dpreview.com contributor Uwe Skrzypczak is making his book 'Wildlife photography: On Safari with Your DSLR: Equipment, Techniques, Workflow' available as a free download. The download will be available for 12 hours on Sunday December 11th. The German-language version of the e-book will be available exactly one week later. As a goodwill offering, Uwe Skrzypczak and his publisher Rockynook will be making the English language version of the book available again on Sunday December 18th (There will be another news story nearer the time). This will be the only legal method of getting the book for free, so please do not share other download links.

December 9
SLR Magic announces 23mm F1.7 for Sony NEX's E-mount

Hong Kong-based lens maker SLR Magic has announced a 23mm F1.7 lens for Sony NEX cameras as part of its 'HyperPrime' range. The E-mount lens offers a 35mm equivalent field-of-view and a minimum focus distance of 0.15m to offer a good degree of control over depth-of-field. It becomes the company's forth E-mount lens (in addition to the recently announced 35mm F1.7, 50mm F0.95 and 28mm F2.8), which it claims it is the fastest APS-C lens of this focal length. The company is seeking volunteers to provide feedback, who will be able to buy the lens at a discounted price.

December 8
Apple chooses Instagram and Snapseed as Apps of the Year

Apple US App Store has selected two photographic apps, Instagram and Snapseed, as its Apps of the Year for iPhone and iPad. The choices, which appear to be region-dependent, are part of its 'Rewind 2011' annual roundup. The free image processing and sharing app has been selected as iPhone App of the Year, while more detailed processing suite Snapseed ($4.99/£2.99/€3.99) was awarded the title for iPad apps. Meanwhile the CEO of Instgram's publisher, Burbn, is reported as saying development of the app for Android is underway.

Article: Photoshop Beauty Retouching

Photographer and Photoshop professional Jean Miele demonstrates advanced retouching techniques that eliminate wrinkles and blemishes in much less time than you'd expect. In this article he shares tips on creating effective layer masks. He also shows how to use the red channel data from your image to create smooth, natural looking skin tones.

Tamron supports Sony NEX with E-mount 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di III VC

Tamron has announced the 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di III VC superzoom for the E-mount used on Sony's NEX cameras. The lens, which comes in two colors, makes it the first third-party manufacturer to offer an autofocus lens for any mirrorless camera system. Unlike the existing, DSLR version, the E-mount lens uses a stepping motor designed specifically for working with contrast-detection AF. The lens offers an image-stabilized 27-300mm equivalent field-of-view on the NEX and comes as an alternative to the Sony 18-200mm. Sales will start in Japan on December 15th.

Leica Announces V-Lux 3 superzoom

Leica has announced the V-Lux 3, a 24x superzoom with 12.1MP CMOS sensor. The camera has a 4.5 - 108mm F2.8-5.2 image stabilized lens, equivalent to 25-600mm in 35mm film terms. The camera is also capable of 1080p60 video capture with stereo sound and 12fps shooting at full resolution. Unlike the otherwise similar Panasonic DMC-FZ150, the Leica comes with both Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements. It will be available from January 2012. We've been using a production V-Lux 3 for a few days and have prepared a samples gallery that will be published shortly.

Just Posted: Leica V-Lux 3 samples gallery

Just Posted: Leica V-Lux 3 samples gallery. We've published a selection of images from the V-Lux 3 superzoom that was announced today. We've put together a selection of 38 images, shot in a variety of situations and using a range of camera settings to give an idea of what the camera's 24x lens and 12MP CMOS sensor can do.

Sony NEX-7 deliveries in USA to start soon - availability still limited

Sony USA has said the NEX-7 will begin to ship this month to some customers who pre-ordered it, following a halt in production cause by flooding in Thailand in October. Production is still limited but the company says it will 'aggressively pursue all efforts to restore full capacity' for the NEX-7 and other affected models (which is thought to include the NEX-5N, A65 and A77).

December 7
First Impressions: Using the Canon PowerShot S100

We've just published our first impressions of the Canon PowerShot S100. Our full review of the S100 is being delayed by concerns that the samples we've used may not be representative of final product. In this article Reviews Editor Barnaby Britton explains the delay, and shares his personal impressions of the camera's handling, operation and image quality.

Compact Flash Association announces XQD card format

The Compact Flash Association has announced the development of the XQD memory card format. The smaller XQD format is based around the PCI Express specifications, allowing write speeds of 125MB/sec and beyond. The association says the first example cards will be shown at the CP+ trade show in Japan, in February 2012. No details of capacities or which camera makers are likely to support the standard are given.

Panasonic GH2 firmware v1.1 with 24Mbps shooting now available

Panasonic has released its promised firmware update for the DMC-GH2, enabling 24Mbps video to be captured at 1080p30 (25p for European units). Firmware also makes a number of other changes including the option to deactivate the touch screen control (which we suspect videographers in particular will welcome). The download is available now from the company's website.

Fujifilm plans X10 firmware in response to 'white disc' concerns

Fujifilm has said it will attempt to address the problem of X10 images showing 'white discs' with a firmware update in response to customer concerns. The company statement comes in response to our enquiries about the problem, and confirms the phenomenon is caused by sensor 'blooming.' It claims the camera is working within prescribed tolerances and that the problem is not uncommon in other cameras but says that it plans updated firmware to 'lessen the effects' of the blooming. We have prepared a quick test of the issue (which we will cover in greater depth in the full review), showing the effects of Fujifilm's suggested ways of mitigating the issue.

Update: We have published a report on the effect of firmware v.1.03 on the orbs issue (Feb 25th 2012)
 

December 6
Nikon updates firmware for discontinued CoolPix P7000

Nikon has taken the unusual step of updating the firmware of its discontinued CoolPix P7000 enthusiast compact. Firmware v1.2 offers a broad selection of improvements and bug fixes, ranging from improved AF targeting to the correction of an error that meant the color temperature scale was reversed when correcting White Balance during in-camera Raw processing. The updated firmware can be downloaded from Nikon's websites.

Olympus report finds management 'rotten' and proposes legal action

Legal action should be taken against the responsible members of a board of directors that was 'rotten to the core,' says the independant report into financial irregularities at Olympus. The report confirms the use of an elaborate scheme to move around $1.7 billion investment losses from the 1990s off the company's balance sheet. Those losses were then disguised as excessive transaction fees when Olympus bought other companies, and in write-downs on the value of newly purchased assets.

Leica issues firmware v1.176 for M9 and M9-P

Leica has announced a firmware update for its M9 and M9-P full-frame digital rangefinders. Firmware v1.176 addresses what the company says is a rare fault that can occur when formatting some SanDisk memory cards. It says it has tested 'all types' of SanDisk card and that the latest firmware guarantees their proper function.

Book review: The Passionate Photographer

Adam Koplan takes a closer look at Steve Simon's 'The Passionate Photographer.' Seasoned photojournalist Simon has deep knowledge of photographic technique and, as a veteran teacher and podcaster, he is adept at explaining its facets. The book is structured as 10 steps toward becoming a more powerful photographer and along the way the author addresses both the art and the craft of creating a gripping photo.

December 5
Ricoh GR Digital IV Preview Samples

Just Posted: Ricoh GR Digital IV Preview Samples Gallery. We've been using a Ricoh GR Digital IV for some time, just long enough to get a quick gallery of samples together. As usual, our 24-image gallery contains images taken at a mixture of different camera and lens settings, in a variety of different shooting conditions. As well as 'straight from the camera' JPEGs we've also included a number of images converted from raw files, using Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and processed 'to taste'.

Sony gives more details of OLED EVF from A77, A65 and NEX-7

Sony has published details of two OLED displays, giving more detail about the electronic viewfinders used in its SLT A65, A77 and NEX-7 cameras. The displays are based on white LEDs shining through color filters, rather than direct-emitting colored LED technology, helping them to offer higher resolutions combined with 90% coverage of the NTSC color gamut. The company also claims a contrast ratio of 10,000:1 - ten times greater than that offered by its latest WhiteMagic rear LCD screens, also detailed in the company's latest semiconductor newsletter. Their appearance in the newsletter is likely to mean they are available for sale to other manufacturers, raising the prospect of other makers' cameras appearing with high-resolution OLED EVFs.

TriggerTrap universal camera trigger goes into production

The crowd-funded universal camera trigger, TriggerTrap, has gone into production its creator has announced. TriggerTrap is a light, laser and sound-sensitive programmable camera trigger with built-in time-lapse function. It also has an auxilliary input and is built around Arduino open-source architecture, meaning it can be programmed to trigger a camera in response to almost any electrical input. The TriggerTrap is compatible with a large range of cameras, via cable or infra-red communication, it will be available from February at a cost of $125.

December 4
Photographers can have lots of different kinds of portfolios. With the advent of Apple's iPad, we can now have app portfolios. This article discusses how to make your very own app portfolio, to advertise your business, garner revenue from app purchasers, or simply show off your photography.
Article: Creating and adding textures to your photographs

Photographer and author Ellen Anon explains how to add textures to your images for a more 'painterly' effect. She takes you step-by-step through the process of combining and blending individual image layers in Photoshop. She also provides helpful tips and resources, whether you want to create your textures from scratch or begin with pre-existing material.

December 2
Buyer's Guide: 10 Essential Color Management Devices
Matt Golowczynski examines ten of the best color management devices on the market. A color-managed workflow is vital if you want to maintain accuracy between camera capture, your computer monitor and your prints. This three-page Buyer's Guide investigates the options from kit-bag accessories to full calibration and profiling suites.
Sigma to launch non-stabilized 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC HSM for Sony and Pentax

Sigma is launching a non-stabilized version of its 17-50mm F2.8 EX DG HSM for Sony and Pentax. The lens replaces the existing OS versions for these two mounts, for which most cameras have built-in stabilization. The latest version will be available from December 9th. The Japanese recommended selling price remains the same as for the OS version.

December 1
Nikon resumes DSLR shipments, full production expected by March 2012

Nikon has re-started limited production of DSLRs, following the flooding of its Thai factory, but does not expect to reach full production volumes again until March 2012. 'Alternative and limited production at our partner factories in Thailand has started earlier than expected,' a company statement says: 'we have started shipment of certain digital SLR camera and interchangeable lenses since November 30th.' The company also says the industrial park in which its main factory is based has now been pumped-out, allowing its preparation for resuming production. Nikon still estimates its lost sales at ¥65bn (around $840m).

Former CEO Woodford quits Olympus board to call for new management

Olympus' former CEO Michael Woodford has resigned his position as director of the company and called for a shareholder meeting to dismiss the rest of the board. The company's share price had started to recover some of the 88% value it had lost in the weeks since Woodford was removed as CEO for highlighting unusual payments by the company (he remained a director). Since then the company has admitted using these payments to cover up losses on earlier investments. An independent committee established by the company has reported it has found no evidence of the rumored involvement of organized crime syndicates in the deals. However, three board members, including the President and Vice-President have resigned over the issue. (via Reuters)

Roundup: Portfolio Apps For iOS

Joanne Carter of theappwhisperer.com examines eight leading portfolio apps currently available for Apple's iOS. Smartphones and tablets can be useful for photographers in all sort of ways, but its easy to overlook one of the things that they're best at: showing off your images. So which app should you use to show your best shots in their best light?

November 30
Leica highlights its customers' work, on a calendar and on the web

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.

2
Easily make silky, cotton candy waterfalls, streams, or fountains, straight out of your camera. It's easier than you think, and the results are beautiful.
Nikon announces SB-910 high-end Speedlight

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.

November 29
Sony releases firmware v1.04 for SLT-A77 and SLT-A65

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.

November 28

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 to make 16MP APS-C GXR zoom module

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)

November 25
Roger Cicala looks at lens variation and getting a 'good copy'

Roger Cicala of LensRentals has written an article about why 'soft' lenses occur and how you'll know if you have one. The article summarises his experience and testing of the phenomenon and explains how the pursuit of a 'perfect' lens is a fool's errand.

Samyang updates 8mm F3.5 fisheye with CPU for Nikon

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).

November 24
Fujifilm releases X-S1 premium EXR 26X superzoom

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.

November 23
Site updates & Tamron Challenge Winners

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.

Just Posted: Olympus PEN Mini review

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.

Article: Gearing up for an African safari

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 announces Optics Pro 7 with faster performance

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).

Going Professional, Where to Begin?
With a decade of experience in the business, here are some tips on what it takes to get started in professional photography. It might not be what you think...
November 22
Adobe faces criticism for change of upgrade policy

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.

November 21
Just Posted: Nikon Coolpix P7100 studio comparison samples

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.

Book review: The Photographer's Mind

Adam Koplan takes a closer look at Michael Freeman's 'The Photographer's Mind'. In this follow-up to his widely regarded book, 'The Photographer's Eye', documentary photographer Freeman has published a fascinating text that aims to help photographers to be more thoughtful in their picture-making.

Digital Outback Photo publishes The Art and Craft of HDR Photography

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.

Complete our survey for the chance to win an iPad 2

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.

Nikon updates firmware for Nikkor 1 zoom lenses

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'.

November 19
Buyers' Guide: 10 photography accessories for under $250
Affordable accessories roundup published. Photography can be an expensive hobby, but there are plenty of photographic accessories available that won't break the bank. In this buyers' guide Matt Golowczynski focuses on ten accessories for less than $250 that deserve a place on your holiday season shopping list.