July 9
Nik Software announces HDR Efex Pro 2 with improved tone-mapping

Nik Software has announced HDR Efex Pro 2, an update of its high dynamic range software package. The latest version features a range of updates, including an improved tone-mapping engine that promises better color rendering. The user interface and workflow have also been re-worked to make the process simpler, with a host of features added to provide increased control and image quality. HDR Efex Pro 2 will cost $99.95/€99.95, with upgrades around half that price and free upgrades for customers who bought version 1 after June 9th.

Behind the photo: Apple's Retina MacBook Pro zebras...

When Apple's new MacBook Pro with 'retina' screen was launched recently, it was displayed with an arresting image as a desktop background, showing zebras galloping through long grass. In this article the photographer behind the photograph, UK-based Steve Bloom, explains how he got the shot.

Zebras on the MacBook Pro - how the picture was taken
You may have seen the picture of zebras being used to demonstrate the incredible quality of Apple‘s new MacBook Pro Retina display. Here is the story behind the making of the picture as told by the photographer, Steve Bloom.
July 6
Photographer explains controversial Team USA Olympic Portraits

Photographer Joe Klamar's portraits of US Olympic atheletes have caused a lot of controversy this week, especially in the USA. Many commentors have dismissed his images as unprofessional at best, and at worst unpatriotic. Others have defended Klamer, arguing that his apparently unpolished images represent a deliberate attempt to challenge the conventions of portrait photography. The truth, it turns out, is more mundane. Click through for the full story, in his own words. (via Petapixel)

Photoshop CS6: Martin Evening's Top 5 Features for Photographers

The latest release of Photoshop - CS6 - included a range of additional tools likely to be handy for photographers. In this article, photographer and Photoshop expert Martin Evening builds on our walk-through article with a more detailed look at how he uses Photoshop CS6's photography-oriented features. If you've not yet grasped the additional creative options and time savings that CS6 can bring, through tools such as context-aware patch or the adaptive wide-angle filter, Evening shows where they can be used.

Firmware updates from Nikon and Sigma: D4, SD1 and SD1 Merrill updated

Nikon has updated the firmware of its D4 professional SLR to version 1.02, allowing more-vivid display of images shot in the Adobe RGB colour space, improving the stability of FTP upload connections and fixing various other minor issues. Meanwhile Sigma has released firmware updates for its SD1 and SD1 Merrill SLRs (versions 1.07 and 1.02 respectively), both of which promise to improve startup times, allow a dedicated flash to be used in manual mode with mirror lockup, and fix various bugs. Click through for links to download the updates.  

July 5
Just Posted: Nikon Coolpix P510 Review

Just Posted: Nikon Coolpix P510 review. The 16 megapixel Nikon Coolpix P510 sports a 42X optical zoom, covering a currently unmatched focal range of 24-1000mm (equivalent). As well as an extended zoom range compared to its predecessor the P500, the new model also features a new 16MP BSI CMOS sensor, and a handful of new features and enhancements, including GPS with logging and (according to Nikon) improved image stabilization compared to the P500. So how does it stack up? Click here to find out.

Reuters to use robotic DSLRs for Olympics coverage

Two photographers for international news agency Reuters are taking robotically-controlled DSLRs to the London Olympics, which starts later this month. Fabrizio Bensch and Pawel Kopczynski are rigging the cameras into fully-articulating mounts, which they will be able to control remotely by computer, using a joystick. As well as camera orientation, they will also be able to zoom the lenses attached to the cameras and - of course - trigger exposure. (via Petapixel)

July 4
Do-It-Yourself lights for product photographers: step-by-step tutorial
This step-by-step "behind the scenes" tutorial shows how to produce a stunning product shot on a very modest budget using ONLY household lights from a home improvement store plus some creativity.
Canon EOS 650D preview updated with studio and real-world samples

Updated: We've had a production sample Canon EOS 650D/Rebel T4i for a few days now, and we've been busy running it through our usual studio and real-world tests, ahead of a full review. We've updated our previously-published preview with a gallery of 27 real-world samples from the production camera, both JPEG and converted Raw, and included some Raw files for you to examine yourselves. We've also added the 650D to our studio comparison database, allowing you to check out how it compares to its peers and predecessors in our standard studio test scene. Click through to see the additional samples.

July 3
Samsung releases 12MP EX2F 'Smart Camera'

Samsung has launched the EX2F, sucessor to its EX1 high-end compact camera. The magnesium-bodied EX2F features a 1/1.7" 12.4MP BSI CMOS sensor and the fastest lens of any compact camera on the market - F1.4 at its widest 24mm equiv setting (slowing down to F2.7 at the 80mm equiv end). ISO sensitivity can be extended up to ISO 12,800 and as well as various still image modes the EX2F can also capture full HD 1080/30p video. The 'F' in the model name designates Wi-Fi and, as we'd expect from Samsung in 2012, the EX2F features the full complement of 'Smart' options offered by its high-end NX cousins, including Mobile Link, Remote Viewfinder, Email and Auto Backup. The EX2F will be priced at $549 and will be available in August.

July 2
Weekend Site Issues

As a result of technical failures resulting from the storms that hit the eastern United States this weekend, some users may have experienced various problems with the site over the past 72 hours. Issues may have included slow page loading times, missing image thumbnails, dead links and temporary unavailability of our forums. We've been working hard to return everything to normal, but 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.

Canon issues product advisory for PowerShot S100

Canon has issued a product advisory for the PowerShot S100 compact camera. According to Canon, some cameras are prone to a lens defect which is caused by a component part coming loose in the interior of the lens. This is more likely to happen in certain environmental conditions such as high temperature and/or humidity. Canon promises to repair affected cameras regardless of the warranty status. This appears to be a separate issue to the lens decentering problems that plagued our experience with the S100 when we reviewed it late last year.  

Sony announces 168MB/s 'S Series' XQD cards for Nikon D4 shooters

Sony has launched second-generation 'S' series XQD memory cards capable of sustained read-write speeds of 168MB/s, making them the fastest cards of any format. A 64Gb card will be available from July 2012, with a 128Gb version following in September/October. Sony talks about sports photographers achieving their best performances this summer - suggesting the company isn't an Olympic sponsor and hence isn't allowed to associate itself with the games. Prices have not been announced.

July 1
Just Posted: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f1.8 Sample Images

Just posted: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f1.8 prime lens sample images. We've been using the Olympus prime lens for the last few days and have prepared a quick sample gallery using the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and GX1. These samples have been shot at a variety of apertures in a range of lighting conditions, intended to highlight the lens' portraiture capabilities.

June 30
Scientists demonstrate 'paint-on' batteries

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.

June 29
Lytro's Ren Ng steps down as CEO to 'focus on product vision'

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

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. 

Sigma USA announces price and availability of DP2 Merrill

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.

Music photographers rebel over 'rights grabbing' contracts

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. 

June 28
Just Posted: Fujifilm X-Pro1 review

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 significantly improves EOS 7D with firmware v2

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.

June 27
Just Posted: Canon EF40mm F2.8 STM sample images

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.

Polaroid launches Z2300 'instant' digital camera with built-in printer

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.

Apple adds Raw support for Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D and Sony SLT-A37

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.

June 26
Nokia 808 Pureview 1/1.2", 41MP sensor smartphone coming soon to UK and US

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.

Ricoh issues firmware 1.51 for GXR modules

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.

Fujifilm confirms XF14mm F2.8 and XF18-55mm F2.8-4 with X-mount roadmap

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.

June 24
Book review: Practical HDR
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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.

June 22
Just Posted: Nikon Coolpix P310 review

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.

One-shot gigapixel camera offers a future beyond flat sensors

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.

Sony to invest $1bn in stacked-CMOS production for smartphones

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.

June 21
Wanted: Mobile photography fanatics with sharp writing skills

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.

Roger Cicala looks at the Canon 40mm F2.8 STM pancake lens

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 contest seeks photos, time-lapse and slow-mo clips for future adverts

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.

June 20
Nokia app increases pressure on camera makers to smarten up

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 Optics Pro 7.5.1 adds four cameras, plus D800E support for Elite users

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.

June 19
Canon updates EOS 60D and EOS 60Da firmware to v1.1.1

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.

Canon issues EOS 5D Mark III firmware v1.1.3, adding 40mm F2.8 support

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.

ACD Systems launches ACDSee Pro 2 editing and workflow tool for Mac

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.

Digital Outback Photography publishes Lightroom 4 develop module e-book

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.

Gura Gear Kiboko 30L - a landscape photographer's perspective

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.

June 15
Technique: Digital Photo Collages

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 launches 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM superzoom for DSLRs

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.

June 14
Schneider Kreuznach plans lens range for mirrorless and shows 14mm F2.0

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 launches AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR superzoom 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.

Nikon announces AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR affordable full-frame lens

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.

June 13
Troubled Fotki thanks subscribers for support and says photos are safe

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.

June 12
Article: Finding Macro Wildlife

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 acknowledges E-M5 / 20mm banding and is working on fix

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.