February 8
Sigma SD1 becomes SD1 Merrill and gains (much) keener price tag

Sigma's new CEO, Kazuto Yamaki has announced the re-branding and re-pricing of the company's flagship camera. The SD1 DSLR will now be know as the SD1 Merrill, in honor of Dick Merrill, inventor of the Foveon sensor technology on which it is based. The price will also be revised, falling to what should be a street price of around $2,299, which Yamaki attributes to work conducted to reduce production costs of the sensor. Despite these changes, his letter promises the performance and characteristics of the sensor have not changed. To avoid disappointing existing SD1 customers, Sigma will offer a support program with 'points' that can be exchanged for Sigma products.

Cosina announces Nokton 17.5mm F0.95 lens for Micro Four Thirds

Cosina has announced the Voigtländer Nokton 17.5mm F0.95 manual focus prime lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. The lens gives a 35mm equivalent field-of-view on the system and has been designed with silent, stepless aperture control for videography. The lens offers a wider-angle alternative to the company's Nokton 25mm F0.95. The Japanese price translates as around $1500. (via DCWatch)

Olympus adds 75mm F1.8, 60mm F2.8 Macro and flash to Micro Four Thirds lineup

Alongside its E-M5 enthusiast-class mirrorless camera, Olympus has launched the M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 and M.Zuiko Digital 60mm F2.8 Macro lens to its Micro Four Thirds lineup. It's also announced the FL-600R the latest in its range of wireless-compatible flashguns and its first to feature an LED continuous lamp for video work. The 75mm lens is a higher-end portrait lens than the existing 45mm F1.8 we rather like, and features the same solid build-quality as the premium 12mm F2.0. Meanwhile the 60mm Macro offers true 1:1 magnification and is weather-sealed to match the E-M5.

Olympus announces TG-820 back-lit CMOS rugged camera

Olympus has updated its rugged offerings with the TG-820 iHS. It's based on a 12MP back-lit CMOS sensor, which allows it to keep up with the recent trend of Full HD-capable underwater cameras. The back-lit sensor has prompted the company to apply its 'iHS' branding, indicating 'Intelligent High-Sensitivity and High Speed' capabilities.

Just posted: Olympus OM-D E-M5 hands-on preview (and video)

The E-M5 is the first of Olympus' OM-D range of Micro Four Thirds cameras and is styled to look like the its classic OM series SLRs. We've had a chance to use one of the most rumored and speculated-about cameras of recent years and have prepared a full, hands-on preview. We take a look at the camera's features and explain its levels of customization. Click here to find out more about what goes on behind the E-M5's pretty exterior.

Olympus announces SZ-31MR iHS high-end compact superzoom

Olympus has launched the SZ-31MR iHS, a 24x superzoom featuring the company's iHS intelligent high-sensitivity / high-speed technology. This stems from its use of a 16MP back-lit CMOS sensor that allows high-speed capture and 1080p Full HD video capture. The camera features a 25-600mm equivalent zoom lens and twin TruePic V processors and a high-res 920k dot touchscreen.

Olympus announces OM-D E-M5 weather-sealed Micro Four Thirds camera

Olympus has finally announced the long-rumored E-M5, the first of its OM-D range of Micro Four Thirds cameras. The E-M5 is built around a 16MP sensor and features the company's latest 5-axis image stabilization system that works for both stills and movies. It can shoot 1080i60 movies in MOV format (h.264 compression) and includes a 1.44M dot EVF in its weather-sealed magnesium alloy body.

February 7
Pentax gets tough with Optio WG-2 and WG-2 GPS rugged cameras

Pentax has beefed-up its compact camera lineup with updated versions of its rugged models, the WG-2 and WG-2 GPS. The WG-2 is built around a 16MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor, allowing 1080p30 Full HD movies to be captured. Both versions build on Pentax's macro light design by adding an extra LED for illuminating objects close to the lens, they also feature upgraded 460k dot LCD screens. As before the WGs offer 28-140mm equivalent stabilized zooms. The GPS version features the latest GPS chip to improve acquisition times and reduce battery consumption.

Pentax Ricoh shows off lenses in development for K, Q and 645 mounts at CP+

Pentax will use the CP+ show in Japan to show a series of lenses and accessories it has in development, including a 50mm F1.8 for the K mount and a thin lens for the recently launched K-01. There are also super-telephoto lenses for the K mount, three additional lenses for the Q camera and a 90mm F2.8 for the 645D, many of which the company says will be available before the end of the year.

Pentax adds tethered shooting to 645D medium-format DSLR

Pentax has announced tethering software to allow the 645D to be triggered from a computer and its images transferred across to a designated location. The Pentax Image Transmitter software, available for both Mac and Windows, doesn't allow any other camera control over the camera but is still likely to broaden the camera's appeal for studio work. It will be available from March 2012 at a recommended price of $199.99.

Nikon D800 preview updated with side-by-side comparisons

We've managed to get a bit more information about the Nikon D800E and have had a little longer to prepare our side-by-side comparison images, so have updated our preview. Nikon has given us more detail about how the D800E cancels-out the effect of its optical low-pass filter and we're now able to show how the D800 compares to the D700 and Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Click here to read our updated preview.

Canon renews  full-frame lenses with 24-70mm F2.8 II and stabilized wide-angle primes

Canon has released three EF lenses, including an updated 24-70mm F2.8 II USM. The latest version features what is promised to be a more durable body, despite being a little smaller. In addition to this high-end full-frame standard zoom, there are completely redesigned semi-fast 24mm  and 28mm F2.8 primes, both of which feature USM focus motors and image stabilization. Ultimately, the most interesting thing about these launches is the fact that Canon feels the need to update various full-frame lenses, almost as if something likely to test the quality of its existing versions was in the offing.

Canon unveils ELPH 530 HS and ELPH  320 HS Wi-Fi touchscreen models

Canon has launched the ELPH 530 HS and ELPH 320 HS, Wi-Fi and touchscreen versions of its recently released style compacts. The cameras, sold as the IXUS 510 HS and IXUS 240 HS respectively outside North America, have several different ways to allow wireless sharing to home networks, smartphones or the internet. The ELPH 320 HS, like its non-Wi-Fi  ELPH 110 HS brother, is a 16MP camera while the smaller ELPH 530 HS uses a 10MP section of the same 16MP sensor. The 530 HS uses Micro SD but this is less problematic, thanks to its wireless capabilities.

Canon A series updated to include slim, stylish A2300, A2400, A3400 and A4000

Canon has launched six 16MP A-series entry-level PowerShot cameras, completely refreshing the lineup. The models are best understood as three distinct groups within the range: the A810 and A1300 are traditional AA-battery A-series cameras with 5x, 28-140mm equivalent zooms, the A2300, A2400 and A3400 are slim cameras with the same lens and lithium ion batteries, and the A4000 tops the range with an 8x zoom.

Canon ventures back in the water with the rugged D20

Canon has launched its second waterproof rugged camera, the 12MP D20. It has a 5x, image stabilized 28-140mm equivalent zoom lens, featuring the company's latest 7-mode IS system. It also includes GPS and a 460,000 dot 3.0" LCD. The camera's back-lit CMOS sensor allows the D20 to shoot 1080p24 movies accessible with a dedicated movie record button. Unlike the company's D10, the D20 is a relatively small, periscope-lens card camera. It is waterproof to a depth of 10m and shockproof from a height of 1.5m.

Canon announces SX260HS 20x superzoom with GPS and SX240HS without

Canon has launched two SX series compact superzooms, the SX 260 IS and SX 240 IS. The difference between the two is that the SX 240 IS doesn't include GPS and isn't being announced by Canon USA, so may not be widely available if it reaches North American shores. Beyond that, both are 20x compact superzooms with 25-500mm equivalent lenses featuring the company's latest 7-mode image stabilization system. They feature 460k dot screens and the ability to shoot burst of images at 10.3 frames per second. Both use 12MP back-lit CMOS sensors.

Just Posted: Nikon D800 hands-on preview

We've had some time with a pre-production D800 and have prepared a detailed in-depth preview. Nikon's latest DSLR boasts core technology borrowed from the top-end D4, married with a 36.3MP CMOS sensor that comfortably eclipses the rest of the DSLR market in resolution terms. As well as first impressions of handling and operation, and an in-depth look at the D800's specifications we've also dived a little deeper into the D800E, the D800's sister model, which cancels-out the effect of its anti-aliasing filter.

Nikon D800 and D800E 36MP full-frame DSLRs announced

Nikon has announced the D800 and D800E 36MP full-frame DSLRs. The pixel count of the long-awaited replacement for the D700 means it also trumps the D3X as the highest-resolution camera in Nikon's lineup. As well as the 'stock' D800, Nikon has also revealed a more expensive model, the D800E that will be free from the effects of an anti-aliasing filter. Aimed at studio and landscape professionals the D800E should theoretically begin to rival medium format digital equipment in terms of resolution.

February 6
Tamron releases image-stabilized 24-70mm F2.8 zoom

Tamron has announced a 24-70mm F2.8 zoom for full frame cameras that features inbuilt optical stabilisation - a first in this class of lens. The SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD, to give it its full name, also incorporates an Ultrasonic Silent Drive motor for autofocus, which allows full-time manual focus. The lens is moisture-resistant and features a circular aperture diaphragm for the attractive rendition of background blur. It will be produced in Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts, with price and availability to be confirmed at a later date.

Article: An introduction to OLED displays

Until recently, LCD was the only technology used for digital camera displays. This is beginning to changes with the emergence of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technogy. OLED offers a series of advantages over LCDs, particularly for photographers. Whether it's the display panels on the back of the Olympus PEN E-P3 or the microdisplays used as electronic viewfinders in Sony's SLT-A77, OLED is starting to make an impact on the camera market. Ron Mertens, editor-in-chief of OLED-Info, explains some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of display, and gives an insight into some of the latest developments in this emerging field.

February 5
Square Format: not so weird
The square format has gotten a reputation of being weird, difficult, and generally just not done. But it's not all that. Here's some background on square format, and guidance on when and how to take advantage of it.
February 3
HDR used properly is appropriate for photojournalism, says Unified Color's Omvik

Are High Dynamic Range photos appropriate for illustrating news? That's the debate that's been started by the Washington Post's use of an HDR image on its front page in January. Sean Elliot, president of the National Press Photographers Association came down firmly against it, saying, 'HDR is not appropriate for documentary photojournalism.' John Omvik, Marketing VP with HDR software maker Unified Color understandably disagrees. He's written us a response arguing that what we see is closer to HDR than, say, a mono photo shot with Tri-X film.

Kenko-Tokina Reflex 300mm F6.3 compact telephoto for Micro Four Thirds

Kenko-Tokina has added the mirrors back into mirrorless with the launch of an ultra-compact Reflex 300mm F6.3 for Micro Four Thirds. This fixed-aperture, manual focus lens revives the catadioptric lens design that was especially popular in the 1970s and '80s for producing small high-magnification telephoto lenses. With a 55mm filter diameter and weight less than 300g, this is possibly the smallest lens of this type that's ever been made for stills cameras. The spec is rounded-off with a minimum focus of 0.8m and 0.5x maximum magnification, making the lens potentially interesting for chasing insects and the like, just as long as you can hold it steadily enough.

Kenko-Tokina exhibits mockup of image-stabilised 70-200mm F4 at CP+

Kenko-Tokina will exhibit a mockup of a 70-200mm F4 telephoto zoom that features both a ring-type ultrasonic autofocus motor and optical image stabilization at the CP+ trade show in Japan. The AT-X Pro SD 70-200 F4 (IF) FX will be the company's first stabilized lens, and will likely be especially interesting to Nikon SLR users who currently have no option that's directly comparable to Canon's popular and highly-regarded 70-200mm F4 designs. Further details are limited, but the lens appears to feature both internal zoom and focus mechanisms, and has a usefully-close minimum focus distance of 1m. (via Megapixel.il)

February 2
Fujifilm says X-Pro1 will set you back around $2300. UK probably £1980

Fujifilm USA has announced its recommended pricing for the X-Pro1 high-end mirrorless camera. The MSRP will be $1699 for the body and $599-$649 for the lenses, meaning you can expect it to create around a $2300 dent in your pocket if you want to be able to take pictures with it. Canadian prices will be dollar-for-dollar equivalents. Fujifilm UK meanwhile hasn't yet announced pricing, but one of the country's retailers is taking orders at £1429 for the body and £549-599 for the lenses, which gives a good idea of how much you'll need to scrape together.

Pentax reveals K lens roadmap for 2012 and 2013

Alongside the announcement of the K-01 mirrorless camera, Pentax has updated its K-mount lens roadmap to include planned releases for 2012 and 2013. In a PDF document published on the company's website, it indicates that three lenses will be introduced during the course of this year - a 50mm 'standard' lens, a superzoom in the 18-200mm class, and a super telephoto in the 500-600mm range. Four zooms covering the full wideangle to telephoto range are projected to follow later, alongside a 1.4x teleconverter.  

Pentax announces K-01 K-mount APS-C mirrorless camera

Pentax has formally announced the K-01 K-mount mirrorless interchangable lens camera and a revised 40mm F2.8 pancake lens to match. Built around a 16MP APS-C sensor, the camera can mount most of the lenses the company has ever made. It features sensor-shift image stabilization, a 920k dot rear LCD and can shoot at up to 6 frames per second. The rather interesting design is the work of respected product designer Marc Newson and features a logo of his signature on the base of the camera. The K-01 (which the company says should be pronounced 'kay-zero-one'), will cost around $749 body-only and $899 with the 'XS' version of the 40mm lens.

Ricoh launches standard zoom GXR module with 16MP APS-C sensor

Ricoh has released a 24-85mm equivalent F3.5-5.5 zoom module with a 16MP APS-C sensor for its GXR system. The latest camera unit offers a flexible focal length range that starts slightly wider than the average kit zoom, without making the camera excessively large. It's the first GXR module to be built around a 16MP sensor. Announced back in November, it is the first zoom module for the system to offer APS-C image quality. If our suspicions are correct and it uses the excellent Sony 16MP sensor, this promises a lot both in terms of image quality and focus speed (the faster readout of the sensor helps contrast-detection systems to more quickly ascertain correct focus).

iOS App Review: Disposable Hipstamatic
Hipstamatic, an iOS app which mimics the look of classic 'toy' cameras is one of the most sucessful photography apps on the market. The latest variant, Disposable Hipstamatic, also builds on the appeal of the unpredictability of 'toy' cameras but includes built-in Facebook integration with a unique twist. Joanne Carter of theappwhisperer.com takes a closer look.
February 1
Nikon replaces high-end Coolpix 'P' series with P510 and P310

Nikon has updated its photographer-friendly P series with the Coolpix P510 and P310. The P510 gains GPS and an extended zoom, now reaching from 24-1000mm equivalent. This 42x range is likely to be quite a challenge for its VR image stabilization system, so we'll be interested to see how it performs. The P310 is a more subtle upgrade of the P300. Like the P510 it gains a 920k dot LCD and moves to using a 16MP back-lit CMOS sensor, with all the high-speed, multi-shot image processing modes it enables. More than any of the technology changes, we're most interested to see the addition of a 'Fn' button on the front - if this can be set to control useful functions, it may improve the handling of an already pleasant-to-use camera.

Nikon refreshes Coolpix S series with 16MP CMOS and CCD cameras

Nikon has refreshed its line of S series style compact cameras, which ranges from $140 6x zoom models through to bells-and-whistles-including 18x compact superzoom. The range is topped by the S9300 which offers that 18x, 25mm-450mm equiv. stabilized lens, 16MP back-lit CMOS sensor, 1080p30 with stereo sound recording and built-in GPS. The S6300 is a slim, 10x 25-250mm equiv camera built around the same sensor. The S4300 and S3300 are more modest, CCD-based affairs with 6x, 26-156mm equivalent zooms.

Nikon updates compact lineup, including Coolpix S30 entry-level rugged camera

Nikon has updated several of its simpler compacts with the launches of the Coolpix L810, L26 and S30. The L810 is a mid level 26x superzoom with a 920k dot LCD and 23-585mm equiv zoom. A 16MP CCD helps keep the cost down to around $279.95 but also means the L810 can only capture 720p video. Meanwhile the S60 is a shock- and water-proof 10MP camera with 3x, 29-87mm equiv lens. Finally, the L26 is a pretty standard AA-powered entry-level camera with a 16MP CCD and 26-130mm equiv stabilized lens.

First full-res Fujifilm X-Pro1 images appear on the web

Four full-size images from the Fujifilm X-Pro1 have been released by the two photographers commissioned to shoot with the camera (apparently using a pre-production unit). Australian photojournalist Michael Coyne and landscape photographer Christian Fletcher are shooting with the camera and have published four images taken with the 18mm lens, alongside a video explaining their first impressions. All the images, shot at a range of ISO settings, have been passed through Photoshop, according to the EXIF, but are said to be unprocessed. (via PetaPixel) Following a request from Christian Fletcher, we've removed links to the images.

January 31
Apple's Final Cut Pro X v10.0.3 starts to regain pro features

Apple has updated Final Cut Pro X, its high-end video editing package, to v10.0.3 with the ability to import projects from Final Cut Pro 7. The upgrade includes several pro-level options, such as multi-camera syncing, that were not included when the first release replaced the more expensive and complex Final Cut Pro 7. Initially its different way of handling clips made look like Apple wouldn't be able to get Pro 7 projects to work in Pro X but a $9.99 Apple app called 7toX has found an xml-mediated method of doing so.

Nikon promises 'brighter lenses  for better total performance' from 1 system

Nikon plans to develop 'brighter lenses for better total performance' from its 1 system, says Tetsuya Yamamoto, General Manager of Nikon’s Development Headquarters, Imaging Division. In an interview at this year’s International CES show in Las Vegas, he talked to us about some of the functions the company hopes to enhance on future models and offered some surprising news about the CX sensor's video capabilities.

Panasonic goes that bit further with DMC-ZS20 and ZS15 travel zooms

Panasonic has updated its range of travel zoom cameras with the DMC-ZS20 and DMC-ZS15. The 14MP ZS20, sold as the DMC-TZ30 outside North America, is the slimmest 20x zoom camera on the market. Its lens covers a 24-480mm equivalent range and features the company's latest Power O.I.S stabilization. The 16x, 12MP ZS15 will appear as the TZ25. The high-speed MOS sensor allows the ZS20 to offer autofocus taking as little as 0.1 seconds, and it can shoot at up to 10 frames per second (5fps with AF-tracking). It also has GPS and an updated mapping function to show photos on a map with greater detail.

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
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.