August 23
Olympus Stylus 1200
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The Stylus 1200 tops off that particular range - known as mju in markets beyond the US. Combining 12 Megapixels with the latest and greatest innovations including Face-Detection, Shadow Adjustment Technology and the new TruePic III image processor. The 3x 35-105mm equivalent zoom is a little tame but you can't deny it's one cool-looking little digicam.
Olympus Stylus 830
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Next we have the Stylus 830 which shares most of it's features with the 820 but adds Dual Image Stabilization - a combination of optical stabilization and ISO boost. Available in silver or black, the casing is weatherproofed as a Stylus (or mju as they are known outside the US) should be.
Olympus Stylus 820
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The Olympus Stylus 820 squeezes 8.0 Megapixels, a healthy 5x 36-180mm equivalent zoom lens and a 2.7" LCD into it's sleek, weatherproof* frame. We have Face Detection with Smile Shot to trip the shutter only after your subject cracks a grin and Shadow Adjustment Technology to pull a little more detail from murky areas.
Olympus Stylus 790 SW
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Olympus is known for its robust SW line of ruggedized digital cameras and has today added the 7.1 Megapixel Stylus 790 SW - known as the µ [mju:] 790 SW outside the US. According to Olympus this tough little digicam will withstand falls of 1.5m and a dip in the water down to 3m so it should survive even the most exciting night out. ISO 1600, A 3x zoom and Face-Detection round out the headline features and an LED Macro Illuminator could come in handy for close-ups.
Olympus FE-300
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Well here we go with the big pixel counts. The FE-300 packs 12 miliion of them and ISO settings up to 6400 - albeit with the assistance of pixel-binning so you won't be gettng the sensor's full resolution, ISO 1600 is the limit at 12 MP. The rest of the specs are pretty standard with a 2.5" LCD, 3x zoom starting at 35mm equivalent and the Face-Detection with added Smile Shot mode.
Olympus FE-290
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Wider is better with the Olympus FE-290. Bringing a 28-112mm (35mm equiv.) lens within reach of the masses, it also sports a generous 3" LCD and 7.1 Megapixel sensor. Concentrating on usability and versatility, we can only hope that cameras like the FE-290 will set a trend towards more practical lens specifications at the lower end of the market.
Olympus FE-280
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Next up we have the 8 Megapixel FE-280 which ups the 'bling factor' with a stainless casing available in four colors for those who simply can't abide plain old silver. The technology is here too with Face-Detection and - wait for it - smile detection (we predict this to be the next must-have feature now that just about every camera can track faces). Also making it's debut appearance is a new TruePic III processor to make the most of all those pixels.
Olympus FE-270
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Olympus today announced the FE-270 - a no-frills entry level digital camera aimed at providing an higher quality alternative to cellphone cameras. That's right, it seems the manufacturers are finally admitting that these devices are cutting into their market. That said the FE-270 should comfortably exceed the performance of even the fanciest phonecam with its 3x zoom lens and - crucially larger - 7.1 Megapixel sensor.
August 22
Seam Carving for content-aware image resizing
Thanks to a forum member 'teabore' for spotting this pretty amazing new resizing technique from Dr Ariel Shamir and Shai Avidan of the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science. Revealed at SIGGRAPH this new method of image resizing looks for seams (not simple columns or rows) of pixels with the 'least energy' (least contrast / change in detail) both vertically and horizontally in the image and then uses this to enable resizing without losing important image content such as human subjects or other detail. This technique can be used for reducing and enlarging images as well as removing items from the image which are not wanted (by manually painting 'negative weight' over an area of the image). But less of my waffle just jump in and watch this video of the algorithm in use, I assure you it will make considerably more sense. (Purist photographers look away now).
Sony DSC-H3
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Sony has today announced its competitor in the 'pocket superzoom' sector. Featuring an 8.0 megapixel 1/2.5" sensor and 10x optical zoom, the Cyber-Shot DSC-H3 brings plenty of technology to the table with Super-Steadyshot optical stabilization, Face-Detection and Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer. In a bid to speed up response whilst photographing fast-moving subjects, Advanced Sports Shooting mode with predictive AF is here too. Finally, If the camera's 2.5" monitor isn't quite big enough for your tastes, there is also HDTV output at full 1080 line resolution so expect the imminent return of post-vacation slide shows.
Sony DSC-T200
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Sony has today announced a couple of updates to its T-Series of slim digital cameras, replacing the DSC-T100 and DSC-T20. First off we have the DSC-T200 with 8.0 Megapixels and 5x optical zoom. Taking up pretty much the whole of the camera's rear we find a 3.5" touch screen which may be used to choose between focus targets identified by the Face-Detection system. Sony also has an interesting twist on this now-common feature - smile detection! The DSC-T70 carries mostly the same specification but downsizes the zoom and monitor to 3x and 3.0" respectively.
August 21
Canon Picture Style Editor, a quick look
One briefly mentioned addition to the software bundle included with both the Canon EOS 40D and Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III is the new Picture Style Editor. This tool (as the name implies) allows you to edit and create custom Picture Styles based on the predefined ones (including color look-up tables). We've just updated our preview of the Canon EOS 40D to include a quick look at this tool and explore some of its features and functionality.
August 20
Sony 12.5 MP APS-C CMOS sensor, 10 fps
The sensor war between Sony and Canon continues, on the day Canon announce their new 10 megapixel CMOS powered EOS 40D Sony Corporation reveal its latest CMOS sensor, the twelve-point-five megapixel APS-C size IMX021. Sony is positioning this new chip with new technologies which are designed to deliver low noise and yet maintain high continuous shooting rates (10.39 frames per second with 12-bit output to be precise). Who knows where we will see this sensor next but a fairly safe bet must be the next Sony Digital SLR.
Canon PowerShot G9 samples gallery
We've had a production Canon PowerShot G9 for a few days now and have just posted a brief samples gallery in advance of our in-depth review which will follow in the next couple of weeks. Dive in to see if the step up to twelve megapixels has affected image quality and what this bridge camera can deliver in its first outing with us. (Sadly no RAW converted shots yet, updated Canon software is not yet available).
Canon EOS 40D, previewed
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As anticipated Canon has today announced the successor to the hugely popular EOS 30D digital SLR. Enter the EOS 40D, headline improvements are a more robust build with weather-proofing, ten megapixel CMOS sensor, DIGIC III and 1D style menus, 6.5 fps continuous shooting, three custom user modes on mode dial, 3.0" LCD monitor, Live View with optional mirror-drop auto-focus, larger brighter viewfinder with interchangeable focusing screens, much shorter viewfinder blackout and a quieter mirror mechanism, a all new AF system with all nine points cross-type with F5.6 or faster lens and a new optional combo vertical / WiFi grip. UPDATED: Detailed preview posted.
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, previewed
Canon has today tipped digital SLR resolution over the twenty megapixel barrier with the new EOS-1Ds Mark III. The much anticipated Mark III version of the full-frame EOS-1Ds delivers medium-format threatening resolution; 5616 x 3744 (21.1 million) pixels to be precise, in a portable and robust five frames per second Canon EOS body. From a built, function and usability point of view the EOS-1Ds Mark III is identical to the EOS-1D Mark III apart from the full frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor, (naturally) larger viewfinder and UDMA support (up to 45 MB/sec) for Compact Flash cards. At full tilt (at five frames per second) the Mark III is processing an mighty impressive 185 MB of data every second. UPDATED: Detailed preview posted.
Canon EF 14 mm F2.8 L II USM
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Canon has revealed an updated version of their EF 14 mm F2.8 L USM lens, this 'Mark II' release has undergone a complete optical redesign and now features two aspherical elements and one UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) element. This specialized lens delivers an impressive rectilinear 114° field of view on a full frame camera (such as the new EOS-1Ds Mark III). This lens should be available in October for US$ 2199.
Canon EF-S 18-55 mm IS and 55-250 mm IS
Canon has today announced two new Image Stabilized EF-S lenses. Utilizing an all new and considerably simpler stabilizer system these two lenses are virtually the same size and weight as the lenses they replace / upgrade. These two lenses in a 'combined kit' form would provide you with approximately 28 to 400 mm equiv (14.3x) field of view, with image stabilization, on an EF-S compatible Canon digital SLR (such as the Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D). No word on price for the 55-250 mm IS at this point but the 18-55 mm IS should be $199 when it arrives in October.
Canon PowerShot G9, with RAW
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Almost exactly a year after the PowerShot G7 was announced Canon has lanched its successor, the PowerShot G9 digital camera. Key changes include the much-requested inclusion of a raw shooting mode, a bright new 3.0-inch screen and a new 12.1MP 1/1.7-inch sensor. The face detection, focus and handling have also been improved (the latter through a redesign of the grip and the addition of a small thumbgrip) and the G9 is now compatible with Canon's ST-E2 wireless flash transmitter. One thing we have all asked for has now returned; RAW capture. The 6x optically-stabilized zoom remains the same. We've had a production quality G9 for a few days and have produced a small gallery of sample shots.
Canon PowerShot SX100 IS
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Perhaps the most surprising of Canon's PowerShot announcements today is the SX100, the first in a new series of budget super zoom compact digital cameras. The PowerShot SX100 IS features a 10x optical zoom lens with optical Image Stabilizer, 8.0 Megapixel image sensor (1/2.5") and DIGIC III processor. It's also got face detection (of course) and a full complement of auto and manual exposure modes, plus a 2.5" LCD screen (there is no eye level viewfinder). It's not the prettiest camera Canon has ever made but it has a suprisingly comprehensive spec for a 'budget' model.
Canon PowerShot SD950 IS
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Canon is calling it the 'ultimate Digital IXUS' (or IXY or ELPH or whatever it's called where you live), and the titanium-cased IXUS 960 IS / SD950 IS - successor to last year's IXUS 900Ti (aka SD900) - certainly scores highly on the bling factor. We're pleased to see image stabilization arriving (the lens range has been stretched to a 3.7x zoom) on the flagship IXUS, but we doubt anyone really looked at last year's model and thought 'if only it had 12 megapixels - ten just ain't enough'. Megapixel and lens boost aside, there's a few minor tweaks here and there, and a new intervalometer, but the essential spec and features remain roughly the same.
Canon PowerShot SD870 IS
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Next up in Canon's new camera frenzy is the Digital IXUS 860 IS, successor to the IXUS 850 IS. If you live in North America that sentence should read: 'Next up in Canon's new camera frenzy is the SD 870 IS Digital ELPH, successor to the SD800 IS'. Confused yet? You should be. The new model shares its predecessor's 28-105mm wideangle zoom but ups the sensor resolution to 8.0MP and the screen size to a massive 3.0" (it almost fills the rear of the camera).
Canon PowerShot A650 IS & A720 IS
After months of rumours, Canon's big announcement day has finally arrived, with a raft of new PowerShot and EOS models and a handful of new accessories, We start with a couple of additions to the popular 'A' range of affordable digital compacts, the PowerShot A650 IS and PowerShot A720 IS, replacing the A640 and A710 IS respectively. The A650 IS boasts 12MP resolution, 6x optical zoom, vari-angle 2.5" screen and - in a welcome upgrade to the A640 IS - image stabilization. The A720 IS is a less dramatic upgrade, increasing resolution to 8.0MP, adding face detection and an optional underwater housing, and (like the A650 IS) upping the top sensitivity setting to ISO 1600.
August 19
Nikon Capture NX 1.2
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Nikon has updated its Capture NX software to version 1.2. Including a great number of fixes and improvements, the update is available via the Nikontech support website. Links and a list of changes after the click.
August 15
Olympus releases updated firmware for E-410 & E-510 DSLRs
Olympus has updated firmware available for its E-410 and E-510 digital SLRs. The E-410 software corrects whitebalance preview whilst using Live View and stops the filename sequence from being reset when images are deleted as well as improving CompactFlash write performance. The E-510 release meanwhile includes the performance improvements only. Both updates are available from Olympus via the links coming up after the click.
August 9
Nikon's new full-color RGB sensor?
Kudos to one of our forums posters, 'imagewest' for spotting US Patent 7,138,663, assigned to Nikon Corporation of Japan. This patent describes a new type of image sensor which uses three small dichroic mirrors below an opening to direct red, green and blue light to separate photodiodes. This design would provide full color detail at each photo sensing location, a bit like Foveon's X3 sensor (although this design is quite different). A single 'pixel' of light passes first through an element which reflects blue light to the blue photodiode but allows red and green light to pass, the next element reflects green light to the green photodiode but allows red light to pass and the final element reflects red light to the red photodiode but absorbs infrared. Of course this design has all of the advantages we have seen from full-color sensors including , the primary disadvantages must be the complexity of the design and the poor 'fill factor' (which is mitigated somewhat by the use of microlenses). This patent was filed in 2003 so we will have to wait and see if it ever comes to fruition.
August 7
Just posted! Ricoh Caplio GX100 review
Just Posted! Our review of the Ricoh Caplio GX100 compact digital camera, nominally the successor to the GX8 but in spirit a lot closer to the GR-Digital. Key features for the keen photographer include a 24-72mm equivalent wide zoom, full manual control and the world's first removable tilting electronic viewfinder. Oh and there's a tiny 10MP sensor stuffed into the ultra-slim body too. Looks fantastic on paper, but what's it like in the real world? Check out the review after the link to find out...
August 6
Pentax Photo Gallery (dot com)
Pentax US has today announced the opening of PentaxPhotoGallery.com a stylish and sophisticated online photo gallery dedicated to photographs taken with Pentax equipment. With a frankly beautiful Flash interface Pentax Photo Gallery allows you to browse images in collections, categories, artists and even by camera or lens. The entire site is available in six languages and already hosts over 2500 images by 300 photographers. Even if you're not a Pentax owner I recommend you checkout this site.
Ricoh GX100 firmware 1.1.6
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Ricoh has released firmware 1.1.6 for its GX100 digital compact. The major fix implemented in this release is an improvement in exposure when using flash in bright light. Also attended to are a couple of minor glitches relating to the OSD - namely misalignment of the location window when zooming 3:2 or 1:1 format images and a confusion of Step Zoom and manual focus scales. This latest firmware incorporates all previous changes so may be installed over any earlier version and is available now via Ricoh's support site - link after the click.
August 3
Leica Summarit-M lenses, F2.5, a new range
Leica has today announced a completely new range of compact M series lenses; the 35 mm, 50 mm, 75 mm and 90 mm Summarit-M, all with a maximum aperture of F2.5. These lenses are clearly aimed at being more 'affordable' than previous M lenses and will be ideal companions to the M8 digital rangefinder. On the M8 these lenses provide equivalent fields of view (rounded) of 47 mm, 67 mm, 100 mm and 120 mm respectively. These lenses do not feature any aspherical elements.
Digital camera market grows 27%, DSLRs up 75%
According to data from CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) digital camera shipments by CIPA members (the majority of digital camera manufacturers) are up 27% overall in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. The largest growth coming from DSLRs, a total of 3.5 million units, up some 75% compared to the first half of last year. Despite strong growth price pressures mean that growth by value is less at around 11% for a total of $5.9 billion.
Sony recalls Cyber-Shot DSC-T5
Sony has issued a recall on its Cyber-Shot DSC-T5 digital camera after identifying a manufacturing fault. Affecting just over 400,000 cameras worldwide with serial numbers between 3500001 and 3574100, the fault relates to the metal skin covering the base of the camera. Due to an 'irregularity' in the adhesive bonding it to the substructure of the camera this is at risk of peeling away and presenting a sharp edge which may cut or scratch the skin of the user. Sony will fix any affected cameras free of charge, link after the jump.
July 31
Just posted! Leica M8 review
Just posted! Our detailed in-depth review of Leica's first digital rangefinder, the M8. Fifty-two years after the first M series camera (the M3) Leica bring their classic rangefinder design into the digital age with a ten megapixel CCD (with specially designed offset microlenses) and a full range of digital controls. From the front you'd probably not guess this was a digital and in use Leica have done as much as they can to maintain the advantages of rangefinder photography. See how the M8 performed and learn about some of its quirks in our review.
Canon EOS-1D Mark III firmware 1.1.0 now available
Ten days ago Canon announced that they would make new EOS-1D Mark III firmware available at the end of this month. Today, true to their word they have announced what is now being called version 1.1.0 which has the following changes; improves the look of images when played on the LCD monitor; fixes a problem in the operation of the dials; reduces the tendency to autofocus on the background when using AI Servo AF in certain conditions; corrects errors in the Italian and Simplified Chinese menus; fixes a rare phenomenon where the camera will not start after the battery is inserted.
July 30
Samsung NV range updated
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Samsung has announced a trio of new compacts in its NV (New Vision) series, upping the resolution in the range-topping NV20 to 12 megapixels with 8 and 10 MP sensors available in the NV8 and NV15. All three feature the same attractive styling and innovative 'Smart Touch' interface as before - albeit with tweaks. The NV20 is the first camera from Samsung to feature a new and improved image processing system - it will be interesting to see how that performs when the cameras arrive at the end of August.
Samsung i85
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Samsung today announced its latest multimedia camera - the i85. Following on from previous i-series devices by combining music and video playback alongside its photographic abilities, the i85 has a few new tricks up its sleeve such as an inbuilt travel guide which may be updated online and a generous 450MB of internal storage.
July 27
Just Posted: Canon PowerShot S5 IS review
Just posted! Our review of the PowerShot S5 IS, the latest in Canon's enduringly popular 12X 'super zoom' digital camera range. The new model ups the resolution and top ISO and adds face detection (of course), but also sports a swathe of feature enhancements including a larger screen and - for the first time - a flash hot shoe. But is it any good, and can it still compete with the 15x and 18x zoom models from Sony, Panasonic, Olympus et al? Find out in our full review after the link...
July 26
Kodak Sues Panasonic Over Patents
Kodak today filed a suit against Panasonic (and JVC) claiming that they are infringing Kodak patents which cover image compression, storage, color image sensors, selectable image size and preview. Apparently Kodak is seeking damages and an injunction against Matushita (Panasonic) and its subsidiaries. An interesting suffix to this story is that apparently Sony already settled a similar case with Kodak in January which requires them to pay Kodak royalties (something Olympus and Sanyo already do).
Fujifilm FinePix S5800: Small camera - Big pictures
Also announced today was Fujifilm's successor to its S5700 compact superzoom. Packing a 10x zoom and 8 megapixels, the S5800 also boasts ISO1600 capability and a 1cm Super Macro mode. Budding film-makers are well catered for with 640x480, 30fps movie capture featuring Electronic image stabilization and smooth 60fps LCD monitor and EVF. The S5800 will be available in Europe and Asia only from September 2007.
Fujifilm FinePix Z100fd
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In addition to the Z10fd, Fujifilm has announced another slim and stylish yet feature-packed digicam. Shoehorned into the 19.8mm (0.8 in) shell of the 8 megapixel Z100fd we find a 5x zoom, Face Detection, intelligent red-eye removal and CCD-shift stabilization. This frankly gorgeous little camera is also available in four two-tone color schemes including 'Tuxedo Black' as pictured here - just the ticket for a night on the town.
Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd - 18x zoom
Fujiflm has joined the 'big zoom' brigade with a camera designed to go head-to-head with the Olympus SP-550UZ and the new Pansaonic FZ18. Sporting an 18x (27-486mm equiv.) zoom, 8MP sensor and - for the first time in a Fujifilm 'bridge' camera - image stabilization (CCD-shift), the new FinePix S8000fd is Fujifilm's most ambitious S series to date. Other features of note include face detection, 15fps shooting (at reduced resolution) and sensitivity settings of up to ISO 6400 (again, at reduced resolution). Like most recent FinePix digital cameras the new S8000fd accepts both xD and SD/SDHC media.
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd, Image Stabilized
The Fujifilm F50fd has a lot to live up to, its the model to replace the F31fd, a camera we have raved about ever since we reviewed it as about the only compact camera you can use confidently at high sensitivities. The F50fd takes quite a jump from the F31fd's six megapixels, it now has twelve megapixels and that only makes us wonder if it will be able to match the F31fd's high ISO performance. The F50fd also features a mechanical CCD-shift image stabilization system, improved face detection, ISO 1600 at full image size and a 2.7" LCD monitor. The F50fd should be available in September at around $300.
Fujifilm FinePix Z10fd; Face it, Beam it, Blog it
Carrying the slightly odd 'Face it, Beam it, Blog it' tagline the new seven megapixel three times zoom ultra-compact Z10fd digital camera from Fujifilm looks very cool, especially in black (it is available in four more neon-like colors). Face it refers to face detection technology, which is kind of expected in a compact camera these days. Beam it indicates support for IrSimple InfraRed communication and Blog it, well pretty much goes without saying, it allows you, "the bloggers of the world", to produce 640x480 or 320x240 images straight in the camera (this used to be called email mode). The Z10fd should be available in September at around $200.
Fujifilm FinePix F480, wide-angle zoom
Fujifilm adds to its F-series line with the new all-black F480, a wide-angle zoom (28 - 112 mm equiv.) eight megapixel digital camera with a 2.7" LCD monitor, an easy-access mode / scene dial and internal memory as well as support for xD or SD card storage. One noteworthy item on this camera must be the direct access to 'Baby mode' from the mode dial which hints at the target market for this camera. The F480 should be available in September at around $180.
Fujifilm FinePix A920
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Fujifilm's latest entry level digital camera is the A920, it features a nine megapixel SuperCCD sensor, up to ISO 800 sensitivity, a four times optical zoom lens and 2.7" LCD monitor. In addition it doubles up on storage (as we have seen from most recent Fujifilm announcements) by providing a dual xD / SD card slot. The A920 should be available in September at around $200.
July 25
Sigma HSM lenses for Nikon mount
Sigma has today announced that it is to release updated HSM motor driven versions of the DC 17-70 mm and DC 18-50 mm lenses on the Nikon lens mount. For those unfamiliar with the numerous lens acronyms, HSM stands for Hyper Sonic Motor, (also known as Ultrasonic motor, Silent Wave Motor or even Sonic Direct-drive Motor) and is a faster, quieter and often more compact motor system for lenses. Essentially this should mean quieter and faster focusing.
Kodak's first CMOS compact
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Kodak yesterday quietly announced the EASYSHARE C513 - its first digital camera based on CMOS sensor technology (well aside from 2001's mc3). Kodak say the CMOS sensor is capable of providing "excellent color reproduction and dynamic range with low electronic noise" but have - for this model at least - limited sensitivity to ISO160 (enabling the 'Digital IS' mode yields a dizzying ISO200!). The main specs are nothing to write home about with a 5MP resolution and the obligatory 36-108mm equivalent lens typical of low-end compacts backed up with the usual EASYSHARE bells and whistles. However as a glimpse at the future of sensor technology this humble little digicam may prove to be very important indeed. The C513 ships in August 2007 with an MSRP of $99.
July 24
Panasonic DMC-FZ18
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In addition to two new 'pocketable' compacts Panasonic has revealed the latest FZ series 'super zoom' model, the eighteen times optical zoom FZ18. This camera mates its (tiny) eight megapixel CCD to a lens which provides the equivalent of 28 to 504 mm on a 35 mm camera, plus it's optical image stabilization. Just like the compacts the FZ18 gets 'Intelligent Auto Mode', Face detection and automatic LCD backlight control. The FZ18 is (on paper) a compelling option considering how much glass you'd have to carry around to match it with a digital SLR (ignoring other factors such as high ISO performance, lens quality and focusing speed).
Panasonic DMC-FX55 and FX33
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Panasonic has today launched two new eight megapixel FX series digital cameras, the DMC-FX55 and FX33. These two cameras are essentially the same albeit for the FX55's little front grip and larger three inch LCD monitor. Both cameras feature a 3.6x wide angle (28 - 100 mm) zoom lens with optical image stabilization and ISO sensitivity of 100 to 1600 at full image size (or for the very brave ISO 6400 'binned'). New features include an auto-brightness LCD (although it judges this from scene brightness, not a secondary sensor), face detection and 'Intelligent Auto Mode' which does almost everything (automatically selecting the correct scene mode, sensitivity, face detection etc.) except say 'cheese'.
July 21
Canon EOS-1D Mark III firmware 1.0.9, soon
Recently the EOS-1D Mark III has been the buzz of various Internet discussion forums, but not for the right reasons. Over the last few months a problem with Auto Focus has come to light which causes it to either mis-focus or slightly front or back focus, especially noticeable when tracking a moving subject in Ai Servo mode. Canon has announced that it will make a new firmware release (version 1.0.9) available for download at the end of this month (or if you prefer you can have your camera serviced right now) which is supposed to address at least part of the problem. However some detailed analysis by Rob Galbraith indicates that this firmware isn't the panacea many Mark III owners will be hoping for.