January 31
Panasonic launches rugged DMC-TS4 / FT4

Panasonic has announced the DMC-TS4 (FT4 outside North America), the latest in its rugged series of compact cameras. The TS4 gains an altimeter, compass and barometer in addition to the GPS that appeared in the TS3. The camera comes with a DVD of maps that can be loaded onto the camera, helping the camera add better location data to its pictures' EXIF. Beyond this it's a pretty familiar affair, with a 12MP CCD capable of 1080p video housed in Panasonic's familiar industrial-looking tough-camera body and a 4.6x 28-128mm equivalent zoom.

Panasonic makes DMC-TS20 semi-rugged compact camera

Panasonic has updated its less rugged, more stylish tough model - the DMC-TS20. The TS20 (FT20 outside North America) replaces the TS10 and offers a more useful 25-100mm equivalent lens than its predecessor's 35-140mm equiv unit. It's built around a 16MP CCD sensor that limits it to 720p video but this does come in the easy-to-use MP4 format. Despite its less butch styling, the TS20 is still waterproof to 5m (16') and shockproof from a height of around 1.5m (5'), which should see it withstand relatively carefree use.

January 30
Sony announces three CMOS-based compacts including 18MP DSC-TX200V

Sony has announced three CMOS-based compact cameras - the Cyber-Shots DSC-TX200V, DSC-WX50 and DSC-WX70. The TX200V is a GPS-equipped card-style touch-screen waterproof camera with Sony's latest 18MP back-lit CMOS sensor. It also includes the company's fast AF system that aims to reduce focus times down as low as 0.1 sec and 0.2 sec in low light. It can also grab 13.5MP stills while shooting 1080p60 video. It also has an WVGA-equivalent OLED touch screen and glass front panel, spoiling the whole thing only slightly by using Micro SD cards. The WX50 meanwhile offers the older 16MP and 5x, 25-125mm zoom.

Sony Japan creates TX300V TransferJet/WiFi camera with inductive charging

Sony Japan has launched a more capable variant of the TX200V announced today in the US, offering contactless charging and data transfer, and Wi-Fi. The Cyber-shot DSC-TX300V comes with a TransferJet-compliant inductive charging and data transfer station, allowing images and video downloading, as well as charging, just by placing the camera on the pad. It also features DNLA-compliant WiFi that allows direction connection to iOS and Android smartphones, for transferring 2MP images. No announcement of either model has yet been made for Europe. (From DCWatch)

January 28
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Beginners repeatedly ask the question "Photoshop or Lightroom". This article tries to summarise the rationale behind using either or both programs
January 27
MicroOLED promises even greater electronic viewfinder resolution

French manufacturer MicroOLED has announced a 5 million dot OLED suitable for use as an electronic viewfinder - far beyond the resolution of the current best units used in recent Sony cameras. The 5.2M effective dots mean it can display 1280x1024 pixel resolution in color, assuming a four-dots-per-pixel layout. Imaging Resource has written an  article in which they suggest it could spell the end of the optical viewfinder. (From Imaging Resource)

Daminion launches Daminion Server network-based digital asset manager

Software maker Daminion has announced Daminion Server, a network-friendly digital asset management program. The software allows multiple users to access a centrally-held archive of images, with version control and user access controls to ensure images are kept safe and only edited or accessed by authorized people. It also ensures multiple people don't work on the same file simultaneously, avoiding data loss. It includes extensive control of metadata in a wide range of file types to help manage files within the archive. It is designed to integrate with standalone image and document editors such as Photoshop and InDesign, to allow users to continue to use their preferred editing tools.

Tokina adds focus motor to create AT-X 116 Pro DX II wide-angle for APS-C DSLRs

Tokina has announced an updated version of its highly-regarded 11-16mm F2.8 wideangle zoom for APS-C SLRs. The AT-X 116 PRO DX II adds a 'Silent Drive-Module' (SD-M) focus motor that enables it to autofocus on all Nikon SLRs. The latest version also includes improved surface coatings (which are particularly important for wide-angle lenses) and adds a 'GMR' sensor to locate the focus element's current position, to speed up autofocus - a technology first introduced on the AT-X 16-28 F2.8 PRO FX full-frame wide-angle. US distributor THK Photo tells us the Nikon version should be available around April with a Canon version following around August.

It is with great sadness that we receive the news that Sigma's founder and CEO Michihiro Yamaki has died of liver cancer at the age of 78. Yamaki founded Sigma in 1961 and was still head of the company when it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. In that time he took it from being a maker of converter lenses to one of the largest independent lens makers in the industry. His passion for photography also saw Sigma create one of the first large sensor compact cameras. Everyone at dpreview.com would like to offer our deepest condolences to his family at this sad time.

Wedding photographer explains the reasons behind 'unrealistic' prices

PetaPixel has published an excellent response from a photographer to a Seattle-area bride criticizing the pricing of wedding photographers. In a remarkably calm response, Nikki Wagner details the expenses connected to her wedding photography business, dismissing the idea that wedding photographers set their prices high simply because they can. After reading Wagner's response it's understandable why the bride is having so much trouble finding an 'exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer' that she also deems 'decently priced.' (From PetaPixel)

January 26
High-end video maker Astrodesign joins Micro Four Thirds

Astrodesign, a high-end Japanese video manufacturer has signed-up to the Micro Four Thirds system. It offers a 4K camera system (including separate camera head, processor and control unit) that captures 3840×2160 4K video at 60p. The company suggests its use for movie and broadcast shooting, live monitoring of medical operations and other applications requiring super-high resolution video. While the move is unlikely to directly affect most Micro Four Thirds camera users, it could boost the system's position within the video industry, encouraging the creation of an eco-system of accessories for video makers using the system.

Tamron and Tokina join Micro Four Thirds

Tamron and Tokina have joined the Micro Four Thirds group, meaning all three major third-party lens makers are likely to produce optics for the system. No further details of their intentions have been given. The announcement comes just after Sigma announced its first lenses for both Sony's E-mount and Micro Four Thirds - both lenses that we think make more sense on APS-C than the Micro Four Thirds format. It will be interesting to see whether Tamron and Kenko Tokina develop lenses specifically for the smaller format. Meanwhile high-end video manufacturer Astrodesign has also joined the consortium, and released a Micro Four Thirds mount 4K video camera head.

January 25
GIMP Skin Smoothing with Wavelet Decompose
There are many methods of approaching skin retouching and smoothing, but few that provide as much power and capability as frequency separation in GIMP through the Wavelet Decompose plugin.
Pentax announces Optio VS20 20x zoom with twin shutter buttons

Pentax has announced the Optio VS20, possibly the first compact camera with a second shutter button and zoom lever for portrait-orientation shooting. Beyond that it's a pretty well-specified 20x compact superzoom, featuring a 28-560mm equivalent zoom lens with sensor-shift image stabilization for its 16MP CCD. It's not the smallest 20x zoom camera we've seen but it manages to include a anti-glare-coated 460k dot 3.0" LCD and costs $249/£199, so it's not uncompetitive.

DxO Optics Pro v7.2 extends Panasonic G-series support and adds Canon S100

DxO Labs has added the Canon S100 and Panasonics' GF3, G2 and G1 to the list of cameras supported by its DxO Optics Pro software. The cameras are added to both the Standard and Elite versions of the Optics Pro v7.2, that the company says are more stable than before. Version 7.2 also gains the ability to import Optics Pro v6 databases containing the image processing settings for existing images.

Similar, but not copied, image found to breach copyright

Amateur Photographer magazine has published an interesting story about a copyright infringement case of similar, but not directly copied, images. The issue of copyright is thorny, contentious and often misunderstood but this case sheds some light on the current attitude of courts in the UK. Despite significant differences between the two images (there was no implication that the second image was a duplicate of the first), the court found that the second image copied substantially from the 'creative expression' of the first (that is the elements that can be protected by copyright in the original image, including a consideration of the composition, lighting and processing of the image).

January 24
Lytro meeting suggests Apple looking beyond conventional photography

Steve Jobs met Lytro founder Ren Ng to discuss the photographic aspects of Apple products, according to a new book about the company. Details are understandably sparse but, according to Adam Lashinsky's book 'Inside Apple,' Jobs asked Ng to prepare a list of three things he'd like Lytro to do with Apple. If nothing else, the story is interesting as it suggests Jobs was as excited by the Lytro and its effect on photography as the rest of the tech community has been. It also suggests Apple's approach to mobile photography might overlap with Lytro's aim of creating something fun, shareable and engaging, rather than attempting to replace conventional photography. Such an approach would certainly be in keeping with Apple's 'disruptive' approach to technology. (from 9-to-5Mac) [Updated with response from Lytro]

Japanese news service lends support to Olympus OM rumors

Kyodo News International, a Japanese news service, is reporting that Olympus will introduce a 16MP camera based on its classic OM series. The news would tie-in with a recent Olympus press advert in the UK that highlighted the letters 'O' and 'M' in the text. The report suggests such a camera would sell for over ¥100,000 (around $1300) and feature 'high-speed autofocus and image stabilization functionality.' Meanwhile, Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei is reporting that Sony is considering investing in Olympus and forming a business alliance. Fujifilm which, like Olympus, has extensive medical interests is also rumored to be interested.

January 23
Sony redesigns back-lit CMOS for improved smartphone cameras

Sony has developed CMOS designs to offer improved performance on small sensors and is planning three such sensors for smartphones and similar devices. The 'Stacked CMOS' design builds on the backlit CMOS idea by building the light-sensitive photo element on top of the processing circuitry, rather than combining them in a single layer. This creates a greater light-sensitive area while also making more space for processing circuitry. The company has also demonstrated two feaures that use the extra circuitry space of the design.

Technique Article: Automating Photoshop

In addition to its powerful editing capabilities, Photoshop's actions and batch processing tools can help increase your productivity by performing tasks with little or no user intervention. Photographer and author Ellen Anon explains how to make the most of this automation, taking you step-by-step through the process of recording individual actions and incorporating them into automated routines that can be applied to multiple images in a single go.

January 22
Exhibition Review: Yul Brynner - A Photographic Journey

As well as starring roles in films such as 'The King and I', and 'The Ten Commandments', Yul Brynner was an accomplished photographer whose subjects were some of the most acclaimed actors of the 20th century. 'A Photographic Journey', in London's The Little Black Gallery showcases some of his most famous images, and Matt Golowczynski went along to take a look.   

January 20
Just Posted: Nikon 1 V1 and J1 review

Just Posted: Our review of the Nikon 1 V1 and the simpler J1. Nikon's first foray into the mirrorless market has produced two point-and-shoot targeted small-sensor cameras, the V1 and the J1. The more expensive V1 offers an electronic viewfinder and higher-resolution screen, while the smaller J1 features built-in flash and significantly lower price tag. Nikon's decision to use a small, 10MP sensor (with the speed benefits that can bring) caused vigorous debate when the cameras were first announced but this hasn't stopped the company's vast marketing effort persuding a lot of people to buy them. So, after painstaking investigation, we ask: 'are the Nikon 1 cameras any good?'

Adobe has clarified that its upgrade offer for CS3 and CS4 owners does apply to users of individual Creative Suite programs, such as PhotoShop. Our earlier news story has been corrected to recognize this.

Eye-Fi contests SD Association's Wireless LAN standard

The legality of the SD Association's Wireless LAN standard for SD cards is being challenged by wireless SD maker Eye-Fi. The company says the standard, announced at CES, uses elements of its intellectual property that it hasn't agreed to license. 'Essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing this draft specification.' Eye-Fi says the SD Association's own process for approving the standard has not been completed and the draft standard should not have been announced.

Article: Landscape Photography Primer

Professional photographer Carsten Krieger introduces the practice of landscape photography, looking at the various equipment choices and composition options that any budding landscape shooter should be familiar with when embarking in this popular genre. He also explains the importance of pre-trip research and planning to put you in the right place at the right time.

January 19
Olympus updates PEN E-P3, E-PL3 and E-PM1 firmware for power zooms

Olympus has issued updated firmware for its latest PEN models to better cope with the recently launched Micro Four Thirds power zoom lenses. Firmware v1.2 is supposed to result in a more accurate display of focal length on the camera display, in EXIF data and in playback. Firmware can be downloaded either via the Olympus camera software or by using the 'Digital Camera Updater' utility downloaded from the company's website.

Kodak files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

As film giant Kodak files for bankruptcy protection, everyone from photographers to economists is looking back at the company that was, for so long, synonymous with American photography. The company has entered the US 'Chapter 11' process by which a court oversees its restructuring and protects it from its creditors as it attempts to reorganize into a profitable business. However it emerges from the process, Kodak will never again be the photographic titan it was during the film era. This has prompted many retrospective articles, including a heartfelt and personal piece by New York Times writer and photography blogger David Gonzalez.

January 18
Sigma Interview: 'we must prepare a camera for our loyal customers'

'We have to prepare a camera [for our loyal customers],' said Sigma COO Kazuto Yamaki when we spoke to him at the CES 2012 trade show. In the interview, he explained: 'I personally feel bad that some of our loyal customers couldn't [afford] the SD1' and promised that, in addition to making 'exciting' future products, the company would do all it can to reduce manufacturing costs. Yamaki also explained the approach it has taken with it Digital Neo lenses for mirrorless cameras. Click here to read the full interview.

Panasonic updates firmware for GX1 and 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 Mega OIS

Panasonic is offering updated firmware for its DMC-GX1 enthusiast Micro Four Thirds model, and its 100-300mm telephoto lens. The GX1 update adds a series of interface and function improvements, including enhanced auto white balance and continuous autofocus. Meanwhile the 100-300mm lens' image stabilization is improved. The firmware will be available at the end of January.

January 17
Mamiya and Leaf brands and lineups consolidate

Medium format makers Mamiya and Leaf, both partially owned by Phase One, are to co-brand their operations and co-ordinate product development. The two companies' products will be sold as a single product line to create a comprehensive medium-format system. Digital backs will still be branded as Leaf, which Phase One and the Israeli company's managers bought from Kodak in 2009. Camera bodies and lenses will still be made by and branded as Mamiya, the Japanese manufacturer in which phase One has a controlling stake. However, all marketing and support efforts will be brought together, and product development integrated. [Story corrected to clarify that the move comes from the individual companies, not Phase One]

Metabones and Conurus create Canon EF to Sony E-mount 'smart adapter'

Canadian lens interface experts Conurus and Sino-Japanese adapter maker Metabones have created an electronic 'Smart adapter' for using Canon EF lenses on the Sony NEX's E-mount. The adapter is manual focus-only but allows control of aperture and the use of the image stabilization on Canon IS lenses. Full lens information, including focal length, aperture and lens IS is reported back to the camera for EXIF, allowing the use of all P,A,S and M modes. The adapter also features a 'Wide Open' button that opens the aperture up for fine focusing, with the lens otherwise stopped-down to the chosen aperture, giving accurate depth-of-field in live view. It will cost $399.

January 16
Just Posted: Canon PowerShot G1 X samples gallery

Just Posted: We've spent a couple of days shooting with a pre-production Canon PowerShot G1 X. We've prepared a 30 image gallery, shot in a range of lighting conditions and using a variety of focal lengths, ISO settings and apertures, in addition to the studio examples we've already posted. The G1 X may look like an existing G-series compact but fits a near DSLR-sized sensor into its slightly brick-like body. So what does this mean for image quality and does its f/5.8 maximum aperture at the long end of the zoom rob it of its low-light potential? Click here to judge for yourselves.

Adobe's Tom Hogarty talks about the extra features in the Lightroom 4 beta

We spoke to Tom Hogarty, Lightroom's Principal Product Manager, about the changes being previewed in the latest public beta of Adobe's processing workflow software. The beta version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 introduces a wide range of additional functions, tight integration with a third-party vendor and significant changes to some fundamental image editing tools. Hogarty explains how these features came about, their impact on Lightroom users and what Adobe hopes to learn from user feedback during the beta process.

January 13
Lytro shooting event shows off possible extra features

CES 2012: Light field camera maker Lytro has been demonstrating early versions of potential features during a shooting event at CES. The event gave journalists the chance to use the cameras and try the 'Advanced Light Field Mode' that the company is experimenting with. We went along and have written this report about what it's like to use a Light Field camera.

CES 2012: Casio stand report
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Casio is another one of the larger stands in the Central Hall, presenting a variety of product categories at CES.
CES 2012: Lytro Photowalk
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Lars Rehm goes on a photowalk with Lytro and gets the chance to shoot with the company's Light Field Camera.

Canon G1 X preview updated, ISO samples added, gallery to come

We've spent a bit more time with the Canon PowerShot G1 X, and will be publishing a samples gallery from a pre-production camera in the near future. In the meantime, we've taken the chance to expand our preview based on our further experience and some real-world shooting with the camera. This includes observations about its behavior and a chart showing the camera's maximum aperture at key focal lengths. If you have any burning questions about the camera's behavior, write a comment and we'll do our best to answer when we publish our samples gallery (but do please read the updated preview first, to see if the answer's there). [Updated with studio images at all ISO settings - with real world shots coming on Monday]

January 12
Polaroid shows remarkably phone-like Android-based 3x zoom camera

CES 2012: Lifestyle photo brand Polaroid has been showing an Android-based camera with a 3x zoom on its stand. The company insists the device is a camera or, when pushed, says it can be thought of as a small tablet computer with a camera. This is despite its apparent similarity to a smartphone shown by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Altek late last year. The 16MP Wi-Fi compatible Polaroid camera features a 3x, 6.5-19.5mm lens and 1/2.33" CCD sensor to give a 36-108mm equivalent lens range.

Fujifilm: more X-mount cameras and X10 firmware on their way

CES 2012: Fujifilm has confirmed in a discussion with dpreview, more details about its plans for the X-system. It also said a firmware update for the X10 aimed at reducing the 'white-orb' problem is due in early February, if not before. The firmware update, that addresses the hard-edged white discs or orbs generated when highlight regions clip, will reduce but not completely remove the effect. Meanwhile, the company hinted the X-Pro1 will be accompanied by at least one less expensive model.

CES 2012: Sigma stand report
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Sigma has a small stand at this year's CES but as always, it has brought a lot of products for delegates to admire, including three new lenses.
Wireless LAN standardized for SD cards

CES 2012: The Secure Digital Association has announced a standard for wireless communications from SD cards. The standard builds on the work done by Toshiba, which has been showing compliant cards at CES. The standard includes two communications systems, denoted 'W' and 'D.' 'W' cards can communicate with other devices (such as tablets and televisions), in a peer-to-peer fashion, or can upload to 'cloud' services.  The 'D' section of the standard aslo allows connection to home networks. 'W+D' cards that allow both communication types will also be available.

Adobe offers CS6 upgrade for CS3 and CS4 users, and rebrands Carousel

Adobe has announced a special offer allowing CS4 and CS3 users to upgrade to Creative Suite 6, when it is released. Adobe upset many CS4 and CS3 users when it announced that it was changing its upgrade policy so that only owners of the most recent versions would be entitled to discounted upgrade pricing. Although it has not formally gone back on this policy, the offer will provide an upgrade route for CS3 and CS4 users until December 31st 2012. Users of individual packages will also benefit from the offer. Meanwhile, the company has also renamed its 'Carousel' cloud-based image processing, sharing and hosting service 'Revel.' The company says it 'plans to offer additional photography solutions on the platform in the future, so the new branding more broadly encompasses these offerings.'

CES 2012: Panasonic stand report
Panasonic is one of the biggest manufacturers of consumer electronics in the world. We took a look at Panasonic's new compacts and the recently-announced Lumix DMC-GX1.
January 11
CES 2012: Olympus
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Olympus opted for a small presence at CES and its camera announcements were largely limited to an updated range of its compact models.
CES 2012: Nikon stand report
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Nikon was a large presence at CES and although they had no product announcements tied to the show, this was a first opportunity for many to see and hold the company's yet-to-be released flagship D4.
Fujifilm produces limited edition of 10,000 black X100s

CES 2012: Fujifilm has said it will produce a Black Premium Edition of its X100 large sensor, fixed lens camera in a limited edition of 10,000 cameras. The black X100s will come with matching lens hood, adapter ring, protective filter and leather 'ever-ready' case. Each will come in a presentation case with a numbered certificate encouraging buyers to use the camera. Beyond the color scheme and accessories, it will remain the same as the standard X100. Pricing hasn't been announced.

Panasonic shows 12-35mm F2.8 and 35-100mm F2.8 concept lenses for Micro Four Thirds

CES 2012: Panasonic is showing mockups of two large-aperture zoom lenses for Micro Four Thirds. The Panasonic stand plays host to mockups of a 12-35mm F2.8 and a 35-100mm F2.8 lens, prominently badged 'Concept' lenses. Next to the models is a lens roadmap confirming the company's intentions to build a 12-35mm (24-70mm equiv) and 35-100 (70-200mm equiv) 'X' grade zooms, but with a note that the maximum apertures are 'to be determined.' The diagram appears to suggest both lenses will arrive later in 2012.

Casio updates range with EX-ZS150, EX-ZS20, EX-ZS12 and EX-ZS6

CES 2012: Casio has released the Exilim EX-ZS150, EX-ZS20, EX-ZS12 and EX-ZS6, refreshing its compact camera range. The four cameras are all based around 16MP CCD sensors and feature the company's 'easy Mode' interface, which offers which offers to guide the user to the optimal setters, as well as providing the ability to simply point-and-shoot. The ZS150 includes a stabilized 12.5x, 24-300mm equiv lens, similar to the one in the flagship ZR200 but the CCD chip means it can't offer that camera's high-speed features. The ZS20 has a 6x unstabilized zoom, starting at 26mm equiv, and including the company's Premium Auto mode. The ZS12 and ZS6 lose both these features, instead including 5x, 26mm equiv zooms.

Casio releases Exilim EX-ZR200 flagship compact beyond Japan

CES 2012: Casio has released the Exilim EX-ZR200, its range-topping compact camera to the US and European markets. The ZR200, announced in Japan in November 2011, features a 12.5x zoom covering a 24-300mm equivalent range, with a maximum aperture range of f/3.0-5.9. It features the company's Premium Auto Pro mode, an extension of its Premium Auto mode. Rather than simply assessing the scene and using the appropriate shooting mode, the Premium Auto Pro mode will also use the multi-shot HDR and low-light shooting modes in an attempt to offer better images in a wider range of shooting situations.

CES 2012: Samsung stand report
CES 2012 Samsung Stand Report