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November 2007 news and reviews

November 30
Just posted! Fuji FinePix S8000fd review
Just posted! Our review of FujiFilm's FinePix S8000fd. The S8000fd strives to offer point-and-shoot convenience with the option of manual controls in a body with an unfeasibly long 18x zoom lens. In what has already become a crowded market segment, can the S8000fd be all things to all people? Find out after the link.
Sigma DP1 official statement
The Sigma DP1, the world's first digital compact camera featuring an APS-C sized imaging sensor, was first presented as a concept prototype at Photokina 2006. Since then prospective users have nervously been waiting for its release to market - in vain. Sigma has today published an announcement in which the company explains the delay by unforeseen image quality problems which resulted in a requirement to change the specification of the camera's imaging pipeline. Luckily things seem to be back on track now with alpha testing of the final design having started in November. Click through for a link to the official announcement.
November 28
Canon EOS-1D Mark III firmware V 1.1.3
Canon has released firmware version 1.1.3 for its EOS-1D Mark III DSLR. Available now via Canon Japan's website, the update increased transmission speed when using high-speed SD cards, improves AF-tracking in certain situations and fixes a couple of bugs. Click through for a list of changes and the all-important download link.
November 27
Nikon D3 and d300 now support 'D2X mode'
Nikon, obviously realizing that many users of its previous flagship DSLR will be migrating to its successors, has made available 'Picture Controls' aiming to emulate the color reproduction of the D2X(s) on the new D3 and D300. There are three such controls, mirroring the original color modes I to III. These settings may be used as a base point to add further tweaks and should prove a major time-saver to photographers wishing to upgrade their camera bodies and continue with their existing workflow. The Picture Controls are available now via Nikon's website, links after the jump.
November 23
Olympus EVOLT E-510 review

Just posted! This one's long overdue, but we've finally finished our in-depth review of the Olympus EVOLT E-510 digital SLR, a camera we've been using for a few months now. An upgrade to the E-500 and 'big brother' to the E-410, the E-510 offers a compelling mix of features in a compact body, including CCD-shift stabilization, 10MP LiveMOS sensor and a wide range of customization options. So does the E-510 offer as much in use as it does on paper? Find out after the link...

November 22
Ricoh GR Digital firmware v2.40
Ricoh has released firmware v2.40 for its GR Digital camera. Highlights of this quite comprehensive update include the addition of flash compensation, variable color toning and compatibility with the GT-1 1.43x teleconverter. Kudos to Ricoh for giving its existing cameras a new lease of life with regular firmware updates. Download link after the click.
Ricoh Caplio RR770
Ricoh has snuck a new camera onto its global site - the Caplio RR770. A 7.1 megapixel sensor is served by a 34-102mm (35mm equiv.) lens and results may be viewed on a 3.0" 230k pixel LCD. Image storage is taken care of by SD cards or the 32MB internal memory - best reserved as a last resort - and the camera accepts standard AA batteries for effortless replacement wherever you may be. So okay, the specifications aren't going to set the world aflame but it looks like a solid little camera for younger members of the family or glovebox duty. Prices and availability are to be announced.
November 20
Olympus firmware updates
Got an Olympus E-System DSLR? Having trouble with focusing accuracy when using the EC-20 teleconverter? You'll be needing one of these new firmware updates then. Users of the E-1 through E-510 can all benefit from this round of tweaks, with the E-510 receiving an extra bonus in the form of improved Image Stabilization at slower shutter speeds. As usual the firmware is updateable via your Olympus software - Master, View or Studio depending on your model.
Canon 40D firmware V 1.0.5
Canon has released firmware version 1.0.5 for its EOS-40D DSLR. Available now via Canon Japan's website, the update contains bug fixes and a couple of modifications to the camera's image playback. Click through for a list of changes and the all-important download link.
Nikkor updates 18-55 kit lens with VR
Nikon today updated its 18-55mm 'kit' lens to include Vibration Reduction (VR). The lens also features a Silent Wave Motor aka AF-S, Super Integrated Coating and hybrid aspherical elements in its design. The optical design is 11 elements in 8 groups - slightly more complicated that its predecessors' formulae to allow for the VR system. Despite the extra features the lens is set to hit the shelves for around US $199 (£179.99 / €270.00) and will eventually filter down to be bundled with DSLRs. More after the click.
November 16
Nikon to include Capture NX with D3, D300
Nikon UK has announced that for the first time it is to bundle Capture NX with initial shipments of its D3 and D300 DSLRs. The very first cameras to arrive will include a product key to unlock the trial version which may be downloaded from the Nikon UK website whilst shipments from December will include a CD in the box. Whilst this offer will be available for a limited time only, it does partially answer one of the fundamental criticisms of Nikon's DSLR policy thus far. We shall update this story with further details as we receive them. Updated
Adobe updates

Adobe has released updates for many of its imaging software packages. Photoshop and Bridge CS3 receive bug fixes whilst Camera Raw 4.3 offers support for Canon's sRAW format and EOS-1DS Mark III as well as Nikon's latest D3 and D300 DSLRs and the Olympus E3. Lightroom 1.3 gains the same additional camera support and will now work with Mac OS X 10.5 aka 'Leopard'. Also available for download is an SDK - in preview status - allowing software developers to write export modules compatible with Lightroom. Download links after the click.

Tokina AT-X M35 Pro DX
Tokina has announced a new macro lens for Canon and Nikon crop sensors, the AT-X M35 PRO DX. Equivalent to a 53.5mm focal length on Nikon DX and 56mm on Canon APS-C, this lens revives the 'normal' macro segment which has been sadly absent in recent years, at least for crop sensors. A focus limiter is present, accelerating operation when used for regular photography, and Tokina's Focus Clutch design makes switching from automatic to manual focus a snap - literally. The lens is due to be available from December 21st at a price of ¥68,000 (approx US $600). Pricing and availability for markets outside Japan are yet to be announced.
Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX
Another interesting lens announced by Tokina is the AT-X 116 Pro DX, a wide zoom for Nikon and Canon crop sensor cameras boasting a focal length of 11-16 mm and constant f/2.8 maximum aperture. Whilst the zoom range is not exactly what you might call extensive, this lens is likely to generate considerable interest with its 17-25 mm approx. equivalent focal length (on Nikon DX, Canon APS-C users will get around 18-26 mm). Priced at ¥90,000 (around US $800), the lens will be available in Japan from December 21st.
November 14
Sigma 4.5mm EX DC Circular Fisheye HSM
Sigma has for the first time marketed a true fisheye optic for crop sensors, projecting a circular 180° image onto APS-C sensors. The new lens sports a focal length of 4.5mm and maximum aperture of f/2.8, HSM silent focusing and SLD low-dispersion lens elements. Aside from the 'edgy' skateboarding shots and frankly unflattering portraits often seen, circular fisheyes are actually quite useful for astrophotography and scientific applications. Pricing and availability is yet to be announced.
10mm F2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM
The other type of fisheye lens available is the diagonal variety which squeezes a 180° angle of view into a standard rectangular format. This new 10mm F2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM from Sigma is just such a lens. That said, it captures a true 180° vista only when mounted in front of a Nikon DX sensor - users of Canon and Sigma DSLRs make do with 167° and 154° respectively. A built-in lens hood and HSM focusing are here and the lens will focus down to 1.8cm (0.7 in) from the front surface of the lens giving a reproduction ratio of 1:3.3.
November 12
Just posted! Nikon Coolpix P5100 review
Just posted! Our review of Nikon's flagship compact camera. Offering manual exposure controls in a small, magnesium alloy body, the P5100 is probably best considered a 'photographers' compact.' The extra manual controls don't come at the expense of the face detection and vibration reduction features seen on most contemporary compact though. At its launch, Nikon promised improvements over the slightly disappointing P5000 and it is the first compact to have Nikon's Expeed branding applied to it. So can it cut it in a world of competitive compacts and budget-priced DSLRs? Read our review to find out
Leica M8 firmware 1.110
Leica has updated M8 firmware available from its service website. Version 1.110 adds lens coding for 35, 50, 75 and 90mm Summarit-M lenses and shortens the interval between pre and main flashes when using M-TTL mode with Leica's SF24 D and SCA compatible flashguns. Battery capacity display is also improved as is the action of the central control wheel, helping to prevent accidental scrolling of the menu. The update is available now from Leica, link after the jump.
November 8
Zeiss introduces ZF-I industrial lens range for Nikon F-Mount
Zeiss has introduced a new line of lenses aimed at the industrial and scientific sectors but certain to appeal to a certain section of the photographic community with their high performance and retro styling. Zeiss has chosen to release these new optics with Nikon's F-mount as this is "the most commonly used standard camera adapter in the technical area". The first available designs will be the 25mm f/2.8, 28mm f/2 and 35mm f/2 with more to follow. Aside from the rather fetching satin chrome finish and locking screws for focus and aperture, this premium line is also sealed against dust ingress and water spray. Prices and availability have not yet been announced but don't expect them to be cheap. Click through for a peek at the Distagon T* 2.8/25 ZF-I.
HP to outsource camera business, concentrate on Print 2.0
In a move which will be of no surprise to many Hewlett Packard has outlined plans for the future of its digital camera business, announcing that it is to licence an OEM partner to design, source and distribute HP-branded cameras. This shift in strategy is intended to allow the technology giant to concentrate on developing its Print 2.0 initiatives, strengthening its position in the home and commercial printing markets. The current range of cameras is expected to remain on sale for the remainder of this year with the new partnership deal to follow in the early part of 2008.
November 6
Casio unleashes firmware bonanza
Casio today made available firmware updates for no less than TEN cameras. There are improvements to movie white balance for seven models and 8GB+ SDHC support for a further three. The updates are available now via Casio's support site, link after the jump where you'll also find a breakdown of the changes implemented.
November 5
Just posted! Panasonic DMC-FZ18 review
Just Posted! Our review of the latest Panasonic 'super zoom', the Lumix DMC-FZ18. Essentially an upgraded version of the FZ8 the new model is one of several models released this year to sport a whopping 18x (28-504mm equiv.) zoom lens and an 8MP CCD sensor. We were slightly underwhelmed by the last 18x / 8MP camera we reviewed, but Panasonic has an excellent track record when it comes to image quality and usability, so we had high hopes for the FZ18. Did it live up to them? Check out the comprehensive review after the link to find out!...
November 2
Voigtländer Nokton and Ultron for Nikon and Pentax

Cosina has announced two Voigtländer-branded lenses which it will be making available for Nikon and Pentax DSLR mounts. The Voigtländer Ultron 40mm F2 SLII Aspherical - to give its full title - is a 'Pancake' type lens protruding a mere 24.5mm from the lens mount. The optical design comprises six elements in five groups including a double-aspheric element and high-refraction glass. The Nokton 58mm F1.4 SLII meanwhile is based on a Topcor design with seven elements in six groups and when mounted on an APS-C camera replicates the angle of view of an 85mm making it an ideal choice for portrait photography. The Nikon-mount examples are Ai-s specification and feature a CPU to allow metering on modern bodies whilst the Pentax mounts are KA compatible. Only Japanese pricing and availability has been announced thus far with both lenses expected to retail for around ¥50,000 when they arrive on shelves over the next two months.

November 1
Canon EOS-1D Mark III AF: Canon Europe issues statement
Canon Europe today released an official statement on the AF problems experienced by some users of its EOS-1D Mark III DSLR. It seems the sub-mirror assembly is to blame for focus and tracking inaccuracy in AI servo continuous mode particularly when working in high ambient temperatures. Bodies with serial numbers 501001 through 546561 are said to be affected, and Canon are preparing to offer free repairs from late November.
Just posted! Eye-Fi card review
Announced just yesterday we have our review of a production Eye-Fi card. The Eye-Fi card is a two gigabyte SD card with built-in WiFi capability. The provided Eye-Fi Manager software allows you to associate the card with wireless access points and choose to have images automatically uploaded to your computer and also any one of seventeen online photo sharing sites including Facebook, Flickr, Fotki and Picasa. Once setup you can put the card into (virtually) any camera supporting SD and have your images automatically upload. We've had an Eye-Fi card for a few days now and have had a good opportunity to test it. So dive in to our review to see how the Eye-Fi card shapes up.