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December 2006 news and reviews
Hoya, a very familiar name in the photographic industry (not least because they supply lens blanks to many manufacaturers) and Pentax have jointly today announced their intention to merge and become Hoya Pentax HD Corporation (actually Hoya are 'merging' Pentax into their business). This merger is due to be completed by October 1, 2007. Once complete Fumio Urano (current PENTAX President & CEO) will become Chairman of the Board and Hiroshi Suzuki (current HOYA President and CEO) will become President & CEO. The major conclusions in this announcement are that the Pentax name will remain, that Pentax's optical business will merge with Hoya's but that Pentax's current imaging systems division (that which is responsible for digital cameras) will continue.
Just posted! Our detailed in-depth review of Nikon's new entry level digital SLR, the D40. Announced just about three weeks ago the D40 generated a lot of interest, it's the smallest and lightest Nikon digital SLR not to say also the most affordable. It may not have as wider feature set as its bigger brother the D80 but then also isn't aimed at the same audience. See how the D40 shaped up and how it compared in our review.
Clearly today is SDHC firmware update day, Pentax has also introduced new firmware for the *ist DS (ver 2.02), *ist DL (ver 1.03), *ist DS2 (ver 1.02), *ist DL (ver 1.02), K100D (ver 1.02) and K110D (ver 1.02). All of these updates simply "improve SDHC support" over previous versions. Currently the new firmware is only available on the Pentax Japan website, we would recommend waiting until the firmware becomes available in your region before attempting to update.
Canon has today issued new firmware for the EOS-1D Mark II (ver 1.2.6), EOS-1D Mark II N (ver 1.1.2) and EOS-1Ds Mark II (ver 1.1.6). These updates deliver the same improvements to all cameras, support for SDHC cards of 4 GB and more as well as correcting the detected capacity of Compact Flash cards of 12 GB and more. These updates can be installed by the user by simply loading the update file onto a storage card and selecting the firmware update option from the camera menu.
Just Posted! Our Review of the Canon PowerShot A640 - 10MP successor to the popular A620. Aside from an increase in resolution and a larger screen, it's a fairly minor upgrade to what was already a very capable camera offering a full range of photographic features and a useful 4x optical zoom. Find out what we thought of the new A series flagship after the link...
Peter iNova, author of several popular model-specific eBook's has just released his new Nikon D80 eBook, a must-buy for any Nikon D80 owner (or potential owner). As iNova says, "Encounter every feature, every button, every menu, every quirk, every secret opportunity hidden away inside your D80. And there are plenty of them. Here you experience each interaction as a means to an end." (Also includes RAW materials by Uwe Steinmueller).
Just posted! Twelve days after our Pentax K100D review we have a detailed review of its bigger brother, the ten megapixel K10D. Announced just before Photokina this year the K10D garnered a lot of interest from a wide audience as a serious alternative to the 'obvious choice' of Canon or Nikon digital SLR's. The K10D brings a lot of new features to the table as well as Pentax's in-camera Shake Reduction and dust/weather seals. For just under $1000 it's pretty clear Pentax intend to make a big splash with this camera. See how it shaped up and how it compares in our review.
As expected Adobe has today announced that a Beta version of Photoshop CS3 will be available for download tomorrow (15th December). To use CS3 you will need a valid CS2, Creative Suite 2, Creative Suite Production Studio, Design Bundle, Web Bundle or Video Bundle serial number. Without a serial number this Beta of CS3 will expire in just two days. As well as a range of improvements and user interface changes the biggest news with CS3 is Universal Binary support for Mac OS X, providing much performance relief to Mac Intel owners.
At Photokina earlier this year Leica made a surprise announcement that they had purchased the controlling share (51%) in Sinar from Jenoptik. In a rather strange twist to this story Jenoptik has today announced that it is now rescinding the sale of the shares to Leica and that they will maintain the controlling share of the company. The press release issued states that this will not affect the working relationship between Leica and Jenoptik, the later of whom were responsible for some of the image processing for the new M8 digital rangefinder.
Just Posted! Our Concise Review of the Canon PowerShot A710 IS, successor to the A700. Aside from a design facelift and a few feature tweaks the biggest - and most welcome - change is that the new model adds optical image stabilization, something we bemoaned the lack of on the A700. There's also an extra million pixels and the usual A series mix of manual and automatic features. Find out what we thought after the link...
SanDisk and Sony have today announced the development of the new 'Pro-HG' Memory Stick format which is designed to deliver faster continuous write speeds (up to 60 MB/sec) and larger capacities. This new format appears to be aimed more at future flash based video recorders. It would appear as though this new format will only be available in the 'Duo' size.
Sigma has today announced the postponement of the SD14 digital SLR which was initially due to ship in November, this was later put back to December. The new date of availability for the SD14 is March 2007, this due to "one issue that occurred occasionally and only under certain circumstances." Sigma go on to say that, "Initially, we felt that this could be solved with a programming or processing solution. However, after careful investigation and many attempts at a solution, we have come to the conclusion that we need to make a hardware change to fix this issue completely."
Just Posted! Our Review of the Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd (also known as the S6500fd). The S6000fd has several key features of interest; top of the list being the 6.3MP, 1/1.7" Super CCD sensor used to wide acclaim in the F30 and F31fd and offering 'full resolution' shooting at up to ISO 3200. It also has a new hardware based face detection system and a useful 28-300mm zoom range. But is it any good? Find out after the link...
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Pentax K100D (and K110D if you ignore the Shake Reduction test). The K100D is the latest in line of Pentax compact digital SLR's which started with the *ist DS (the *ist D being larger and more semi-pro targeted). The K100D comes to the table with in-camera Shake Reduction, a six megapixel CCD, improved image processing, a Penta-mirror viewfinder and a wide range of manual controls. See how the K100D performed and how it shapes up to the competition.
CIPA, the Japanese Camera & Imaging Products Association is made up of all major Japanese camera manufacturers including Canon, Casio, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Ricoh, Sigma and Sony. Every month they publish statistics on the production an export of digital cameras, film cameras and photo printers. As we head towards the end of the year we thought it would be interesting to look at the Shipment figures for the first three quarters of this year and how they compare to the same period last year.
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