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January 2008 news and reviews

January 31
PMA 2008: Live from the Sony Press Event
PMA 2008: PMA 2008 is almost underway and to kick things of we're at the Sony press conference. We'll update this story as and when we have any information about new announcements. Updated with pictures of new sensor and flagship model mockup.
Sigma announces DP1 to be available spring 2008

Pre-PMA 2008: Sigma has announced the imminent availability of the greatly anticipated DP1 digital camera. The DP1 has a sensor around the size of those found in most DLSRs - although it is greatly different in terms of design - and aims to offer equivalent image-quality and specification in a compact format. In common with Sigma's DSLR offerings it utilizes Foveon's direct-image-sensor technology which detects three colors at each of its 4.6 million pixels (collecting the same amount of color data as a conventional 14 megapixel sensor). Our contacts at Sigma say it will be available in "spring." Production spec after the jump...

Sigma 18-125mm f/3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM
Pre-PMA 2008: Kit lens owners seeking added stability without external support will welcome the launch of an image-stabilized 'walk round' lens from Sigma. The 18-125mm f/3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM combines a useful focal length range with a hypersonic focusing motor and optical stabilization in a remarkably compact package. Click through to find out more...
Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 with focus motor for Nikon
Pre-PMA 2008: Sigma offers Nikon D40 and D60 DSLR owners more reach for less outlay with the launch of two tele zooms with built-in focus motors. The popular 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro lenses in both standard and APO flavors have been motorized for owners of Nikon's D40 and D60 which lack support for tradition screw focusing. More details after the link...
Sigma 70-200 and 50-150 f/2.8 APO EX DG  for Pentax and Sony
Pre-PMA 2008: Sigma has announced the launch of 70-200mm and 50-150mm constant f/2.8 lenses for Pentax and Sony owners wanting lovely bright, sensibly-priced telephoto zooms. Both are part of Sigma's premium EX range and include hypersonic focusing motors and apochromatic design.
Sigma 10-20mm and 70-200mm for Four Thirds
Pre-PMA 2008: Four Thirds users far and wide will appreciate the wide angle and telephoto zooms today announced by Sigma. The company's popular 10-20mm F4-5.6 and 70-200 F2.8 lenses have been converted to fit Leica, Panasonic and Olympus DSLRs. Both lenses include Sigma's HSM hypersonic focusing motors. More information follows...
Sigma APO 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM
Pre-PMA 2008: Sigma has announced an optically stabilized 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens. The lens will be available for owners of Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony DSLRs. A maximum magnification of 1:4.2 also makes it useful for users who want to get a little closer. The DG designation means the lens will work equally happily on 35mm or APS format SLRs.
Sigma APO 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM
Pre-PMA 2008: To satisfy photographers who are absolutely terrified of the things they like to photograph, Sigma has introduced the frankly enormous 150-500mm f/5-6.3 zoom. It's packed with Sigma's technological goodies, including Optical Stabilization and Hypersonic autofocus motor and will be available in Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony mounts.
Sigma 200-500 f/2.8 EX DG
Pre-PMA 2008: As part of Sigma's bumper lens launch, it has announced what might be the ultimate wildlife lens. Sigma claims the APO 200-500 f.2.8 is the world's first lens to offer an f/2.8 aperture at 500mm focal length. It comes with an "attachment" to give users a handy 400-1000mm f/5.6 option. The lens (which is cosmetically reminiscent of a piece of military hardware) weighs nearly 16kg and uses a dedicated Li-ion battery to provide power for focusing and zooming. It will be available in Sigma, Canon and Nikon mounts.
January 30
Sony announces Alpha 300 and 350
Pre-PMA 2008: Sony has announced another two DSLRs to join its Alpha range. In between the recently announced A200 and flagship A700 come the A300 and A350 live view-enabled DLSRs. Here are the specifications of the cameras that show just how seriously Sony is taking the camera market.
Sony A350 brief hands-on
Sony's plan to aggressively attack the entry-level DSLR market with a raft of new SLRs is no big secret. We've had a chance to get our hands on the new Alpha 350 and the recent Alpha 200. Here are our first impressions of this tight-knit family, including Sony's interesting take on solving the problem of extended exposure cycle time with live view.
Sony announces 70-300 f4.5-5.6 G and Zeiss T* 24-70 f/2.8
Pre-PMA 2008: Sony has announced two new zoom lenses to accompany its latest DSLR releases. One is a premium-grade long tele-zoom of 'G' designation, the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6. The other is the Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 24-70mm f/2.8 ZA. Both feature Sony's Super Sonic wave motor (SSM) and further boost the range of alpha-mount lenses available for Sony DSLR owners.
Sony announces development of 35mm CMOS sensor
Pre-PMA 2008: In a surprise move Sony today announced its entry into the rapidly-expanding 24x36mm imaging sensor market with its own 24.81 megapixel CMOS offering. Joining Canon and Nikon in the full-frame market, this new chip promises to output all pixels at 6.3 fps with lower noise than other designs of similar pixel-pitch thanks to its “Column-Parallel A/D Conversion Technique” whereby each column of photosites is given its own Analogue to Digital Converter. The ADCs themselves are 12-bit, flying in the face of current trends which are toward 14-bit devices but the combination of speed, dynamic range and sheer resolving power displayed by this sensor make it one to watch for when Sony puts into full production hopefully before the year is out.
January 29
Pentax showcases development lenses at PMA
Pre-PMA 2008: Pentax has announced that it will exhibit three forthcoming lenses both at PMA 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada and Photo Imaging Expo 2008 in Tokyo, Japan. Two - a 55mm F1.4 and 60-250mm F4 - are part of Pentax's flagship DA* line whilst the third, a 17-70mm F4, is a standard DA lens. All three lenses will feature SDM ultrasonic focusing.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35
Pre-PMA 2008: The Lumix DMC-FX35 packs a rather handy 25-100mm equiv. 4x zoom to squeeze expansive scenes onto its 10.1 megapixel sensor. 720p HD video is here as is Intelligent Exposure Function which is said to help avoid blown highlights and blocked shadows. Also making its debut in 2008 is the Venus Engine IV image processor - Panasonic says that the noise reduction is handled in a more sophisticated fashion than in previous incarnations.
Panasonic Lumix TZ4 & TZ5
Pre-PMA 2008: Two new compact superzooms from Panasonic - The Lumix DMC-TZ4 and TZ5 - were announced today. Both feature the now-familiar 28-280mm equiv. 10x zoom with the TZ4 recording 8.1 megapixels and the TZ5 9.1. The TZ5 also adds 720p HD video recording and component HD output as well as a 3.0" 460k dot LCD for high resolution in-camera playback. More after the click...
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ8 & LZ10
Pre-PMA 2008: Panasonic has upgraded its Lumix DMC-LZ6 and LZ7 with wider lenses, manual and semi-automatic exposure modes and - surprise, surprise - more megapixels to create The LZ8 and LZ10. Also new is Venus Engine IV, promising better image quality and more sophisticated noise reduction. The LCD monitors are the same size but pack twice the dots for image review that's far easier on the eye. Click through for the full story.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS5 and FS20 announced
Pre-PMA 2008: Panasonic has today further expanded its brand new Lumix FS series of digital compact cameras by announcing the DMC-FS5 and DMC-FS20. Both cameras feature a 10.1 MP sensor and a 4x Leica branded zoom lens (30 - 120mm equiv.) with the main distinction between the two models being the size of the 230K pixels screen (3.0" on the FS20, 2.5" on the FS5).
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS3
Pre-PMA 2008: Panasonic has today launched an entirely new line of Lumix compact digital cameras - the FS series. This appears to be conceptually similar to the FX line but slightly below that premium range in terms of specification and possibly build quality. The first model to slot into this segment is the FS3, an 8.1 megapixel 3x zoom compact with the typical Panasonic blend of fully automatic control with user overrides should the camera misread the prevailing conditions.
Dpreview launches lens reviews
Pre-PMA 2008: Dpreview is pleased to announce the launch of a new section dedicated to testing and reviewing digital SLR lenses. Designed to offer the same class-leading testing standards as its legendary camera reviews, dpreview’s new lens reviews are the result of months of intense research, development and testing, including the development of new test charts and proprietary analysis software designed to overcome the limitations of existing systems. Find out more after the link...
Retro lens focus in new Olympus firmware
Owners of Olympus E3 and E510 can use their cameras' in-body image stabilization with pre-four-thirds lenses with the latest firmware update. The long called-for addition lets users specify the focal length of the lens being attached so that the camera can apply appropriate stabilization. For more, click the link...
Nikon D60 brief hands-on
Pre-PMA 2008: We've had a little bit of a chance to play around with and handle the Nikon's latest digital SLR, the D60. Here we line it up against the camera we suspect it replaces: the D40X and see what Nikon has done to refresh one of its recent successes.
Nikon announces D60
Pre-PMA 2008: Nikon has announced its latest consumer-level DSLR, the D60. It's a 10.2MP digital camera that will look and feel remarkably familiar to users of the D40X. It includes an anti-dust system that incorporates a self-cleaning sensor unit that shakes off dust, coupled with an airflow system designed to channel dust away from the sensor. The model also adds active d-lighting, a stop-motion recording mode and Expeed branding.
AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Pre-PMA 2008: Another new Nikkor was announced today - the AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR. Representing a range roughly equivalent to a 24 - 127.5mm lens for 35mm or FX cameras this new optic incorporates a Silent Wave Motor, two ED glass elements and VR II stabilization and should make an ideal high-quality 'walkaround' for DX-format dSLRs.
AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED
Pre-PMA 2008: Nikon today replaced the Micro Nikkor 60mm F2.8, adding two aspherical elements to control aberrations - a world's first for SLR micro lenses. A Silent Wave Motor, ED glass lens element and the latest Nano Crystal Coat technology have also been added to bring this lens bang up to date.
PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED
Pre-PMA 2008: Nikon today announced a new Nikkor unlike any before it and likely to prove an effective 'halo' product as well as an invaluable tool. The PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED is a wide angle lens offering both tilt and shift movement. Also announced was the development of two further PC-E Nikkors in 45mm and 85mm focal lengths which shall be on show at PMA 2008.
Pre-PMA 2008: The Nikon Coolpix P50 intrigued with it's combination of (relatively) low price, 'mini P5100' styling and 28mm wideangle lens. The 8 megapixel P60 is no less alluring but for different reasons; for a start the wide lens is gone, replaced with a 5x 36-180mm equiv. unit backed up by sensor shift stabilization. Then there is something we don't see very often in non-superzoom compacts - an electronic viewfinder. A (decent) EVF is arguably better than the rather crummy optical viewfinders usually seen in mid-range compacts, at the very least in terms of accurate framing. Of course, Any type of viewfinder is preferable than trying to compose on a sun-splashed LCD. More after the click.
Nikon announces the Coolpix S600
Pre-PMA 2008: Nikon has today announced another model in its S-series of ultra compact digital cameras. The S600 sports a 10MP sensor and a 4 times stabilized Nikkor zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 28-112mm, all wrapped up in an attractive metal body. The camera is expected to hit the shelves in April.
Nikon Coolpix S550
Pre-PMA 2008: Apparently the Nikon Coolpix S550 is the smallest 10 megapixel compact with a retractable 5x zoom (as of time of publication etc etc). Very nice, but what we would like to know is how many compromises have to be made to chase such a pointless accolade. The lens covers 36-180mm equiv. but the 'stabilization' is electronic - lens or sensor-based optical systems are more effective. Click through for the full story.
Nikon Coolpix S520
Pre-PMA 2008: The Coolpix S520 is a 8.0 megapixel, 3x zoom compact with lens-shift stabilization. It's also rather dinky and cute if that sways your decision one way or the other. A 2.5" screen with 153k dots occupies the rear of the camera along with the typical Coolpix array of buttons and you can choose your favorite three scene modes to store for quicker access. Obviously an array of colors will be available if the pictured 'Urban Black' doesn't tickle your fancy.
Nikon Coolpix S210
Pre-PMA 2008: The entry-level Coolpix S210 offers an 8.0 megapixel sensor and 3x 38-114mm equiv. lens. Electronic VR takes care of camera shake issues - though not as effectively as the lens and sensor based systems offered higher up the range. A 2.5" 230k dot LCD on the rear of the camera displays photos crisply enough and the brushed-aluminum and chrome casing gives it a touch of class. Click through for the details.
Nikon Coolpix L16 and L18
Pre-PMA 2008: Nikon has today announced two new models in its 'L' series of entry level digital compact cameras. There aren't any earth-shattering innovations to be found on the spec-sheet; the L16 combines a 3x Nikkor zoom lens with a 7.1 MP sensor while the L18 has a slightly higher resolution of 8 MP. The L18 is available in a range of colors while the L16 is available in black or gray only.
January 24
Canon EOS 450D / Rebel XSi: what's changed
Pre-PMA 2008: We've had a little more time to really dig around in the new features of Canon's latest baby DSLR, the 450D (Digital Rebel XSi). You can read some further details about the features it offers over the 400D / XTi after the link...
Canon Pixma ip2600
Pre-PMA 2008: The PIXMA ip2600 replaces both the ip1800 and ip2500 at the entry-level end of Canon's printer range and offers 4-ink A4 printing at 4800 x 1200 dpi with class-leading 2pl (picolitre) droplet size for finer detail and color gradation. ChromaLife100 dye-based ink formulation promises longer life prints too, with Canon claiming up to 100 years of fade-free enjoyment if the prints are stored in a suitable album. The ip2600 will be available from February for around $49.99.
Canon unveils new PIXMA all-in-ones
Pre-PMA 2008: Alongside its camera releases Canon has also announced new PIXMA all-in-one devices. First up is the MX7600, showcasing a new ink technology - PgR (Pigment Reaction). This pre-treats the media with a clear layer ahead of the ink, effectively turning plain paper into coated and offering many benefits in terms of durability and quality - clever stuff. The MX850 is more conventional in terms of print technology but features such as automatic duplexing of both scanned sources and printed output make it a useful tool to have around your SoHo (Small or Home Office).
Samsung GX-20 brief hands-on
Pre-PMA 2008: We managed to get an early sample of the new Samsung GX-20 into our studio for a few hours for a brief 'hands-on' look at the latest model from the new kid on the DSLR block. Check out the pictures and a quick look at the differences between the GX-20 and its 'separated at birth' twin, the Pentax K20D, after the link...
Samsung GX-20
Pre-PMA 2008: After last night's launch of Pentax's replacement for the K10D it comes as no surprise to see Samsung unveiling its own version in the shape of the GX-20. Essentially it's the same camera with a very slightly different body design, different menus and - according to Samsung - it's own JPEG processing. Key changes are identical to the Pentax; 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor (jointly developed, manufactured by Samsung), live view and a larger 2.7 inch LCD.
Fujifilm S100FS: new flagship
Pre-PMA 2008: Today is the day Fujifilm has chosen to reveal the new models it is launching at the PMA show next week. There's 7 models in total, but the most intersting is undoubtedly the FinePix S100FS, which the company is describing as its most advanced consumer digital camera to date and its latest attempt to offer a viable DSLR alternative. Headline features include a large 2/3 inch 11 megapixel Super CCD sensor, all-new optically-stabilized 14.3x (28-400mm) manual zoom lens and a version of the 100-400% wide dynamic range and film simulation (hence 'FS') options seen on the FinePix S5 Pro SLR.
Fujifilm updates 18x S8000fd to S8100fd

Pre-PMA 2008: The second new camera from Fujifilm today is the FinePix S8100fd, a minor update to the FinePix S8000fd (itself only announced 6 months ago). The main differences are an increase in pixel count (from 8 to 10 megapixels), some new continuous shooting modes and an increase in the maximum sensitivity to ISO 6400 (at reduced resolution). The other changes and new features are all relatively minor.

Fujifilm launches world's smallest 12x zoom camera
Pre-PMA 2008: Next up from Fujifilm is another addition to the FinePix 'S' range of budget-priced SLR-styled 'big zoom' compacts. The S1000fd is claimed to be the world's smallest digital camera with a 12x optical zoom (33-396mm equiv.), though there's no optical stabilization (only high ISO). Other features of note include a 2.7-inch LCD, electronic viewfinder, face detection, 2cm macro, sensitivity up to ISO 3200 (of course) and a new panorama shooting mode.
Fujfilm launches F100fd 'utimate' compact
Pre-PMA 2008: Fujifilm has unveiled what it is calling the 'ultimate F Series' digital camera, the F100fd. Positioned as the flagship model (above the recently announced F50fd), the 12 megapixel F100fd sports a 5x 28-140mm zoom lens, Face Detection 3.0 and sensitivity settings of up to (cough) ISO 12800. More interestingly the F100fd is claimed to offer Wide Dynamic Range capabilities similar to those found on the S5 Pro digital SLR. Updated 25/01/08 with spec changes.
Fujfilm updates Z10fd to Z20fd
Pre-PMA 2008: Fujifilm's second new camera is an upgraded version of the Z10fd, featuring four new color schemes, 10MP sensor and an improved face detection system with automatic red-eye removal. The Z20fd now also features MPEG-4 movie recording and a variety of novel features designed to tickle the fancy of its intended 'generation Z' market.
Fujfilm launches budget 'J Series'
Pre-PMA 2008: Fujifilm has today annouced a new range of affordable FinePix digital cameras. The 'J' Series kicks off with two new models, the J50 and J10. Both sport 8MP CCD sensors, with the J10 a slim 3x zoom compact with a 2.5" screen and the J50 adding a 5x zoom and a slightly larger 2.7 inch LCD. Both feature Li-Ion rechargeable batteries, scene modes and Fujifilm's 'Picture Stabilization' mode (aka high ISO).
Canon EOS 450D / Rebel XSi brief hands-on
Pre-PMA 2008: We had a quick chance to get our hands on Canon's latest DSLR, the EOS 450D (Rebel XSi). It's a bigger step forward than the 400D was from the 350D, adding a host of useful improvements as well as the predictable feature tweaks. Based on our brief look at it, here's a rundown of the new features. UPDATED: Now includes battery grip information.
Canon EOS 450D / Digital Rebel XSi
Pre-PMA 2008: Canon has today announced a new compact digital SLR, the twelve megapixel EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi). On the surface a very similar camera to the EOS 400D, however there are a range of significant improvements; twelve megapixel CMOS sensor, 3.0" LCD monitor, Live View with both AF modes (contrast-detect and passive), 14-bit processing and RAW, spot metering, improved AF, 3.5 fps continuous shooting, a larger viewfinder, SD/SDHC storage and a new higher capacity battery. All in all a fairly impressive range of usage oriented improvements and refinements.
Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS ELPH / Digital IXUS 80 IS
Pre-PMA 2008: Canon today announced another addition to its stylish ELPH/IXUS range of ultra compact digital cameras. The Canon Powershot SD1100 IS DIGITAL ELPH (DIGITAL IXUS 80 IS in Europe, IXY DIGITAL 20 IS in Japan; can you spot the hidden logic in Canon's global camera naming strategy?) comes with all the features you would expect from a camera of such a pedigree. It sports a 8MP sensor, 3x zoom, Face Detection and optical Image Stabilization, all nicely wrapped up in Canon's 'perpetual curve' design.
Canon PowerShot A470, A580 & A590 IS
Pre-PMA 2008: Canon's Powershot A-Series of digital compacts today swelled with the addition of three new models featuring brand new technology for 2008. The A470 is a $149 7.1 megapixel, 3.4x zoom entry-level digicam whilst the $179 A580 and $199 A590 IS (basically the same camera with lens-shift stabilization) pack 8.0 megapixels and 4x optics with the practical, ergonomic body shape we've come to expect from a Canon 'A'. The Powershot A470, A580 and A590 IS should be in stores from late February /early March.
January 23
Pentax K20D brief hands-on
Pre-PMA 2008: Pentax has been kind enough to let us spend a little time with an early sample of its latest DLSR, the K20D. It'll be familiar to anyone who's held a K10D but has a number of added features to keep it competitive in its increasingly crowded market segment. We run down the changes and that Pentax has wrought.
Pentax K20D
Pre-PMA 2008: Pentax has unveiled its latest mid-priced DSLR - the K20D. The camera is based around the successful K10D body with the addition of a 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor and sees the addition of live view for the first time on a Pentax DSLR. It also features this season's de rigueur feature: an expanded dynamic range function.
Pentax K200D
Pre-PMA 2008: Pentax has today announced its new entry level DSLR, the K200D, as a replacement for the K100D. Despite being targeted at the beginner DSLR photographer the K200D boasts an impressive list of features including a weather-sealed body, CCD-based anti-shake and dust removal. Almost inevitably Pentax has also increased the resolution, with the APS-C sized sensor now capturing images at 10.2 MP.
New Pentax lenses
Pre-PMA 2008: Pentax has added some interesting new lenses to its line-up. The 300mm F4 and 200mm F2.8 compact telephotos incorporate Sonic Drive Motor for quiet and swift focusing. The 35mm F2.8 macro looks to be a variation on the recently-announced Tokina (or is it the other way around?). A couple of general purpose zooms - 18-55 and 55-300 - should keep the soccer moms happy although they are likely to be excellent performers in their own right.
Pentax Optio S12
Pre-PMA 2008: The Pentax Optio S12 shoehorns 12 megapixels into a slim and slinky casing along with 3x optical zoom. Unfortunately there's no optical stabilization but if you enable the 'Shake Reduction' mode the camera will bump up the ISO to 3200 in an effort to achieve high shutter speeds. Face Recognition helps the camera set the focus and exposure optimally for those all-important friends and family members and DiX video compression ensures you'll be able to capture plenty of embarrassing moments in high quality. £199 is all you'll need to hand over for this little beauty come March 2008.
Pentax Optio M50
Pre-PMA 2008: The M50 slots into the middle of the Optio range with 8.0 megapixels and a 36-180mm equivalent lens, 'Shake Reduction' bumping up the ISO to 6400 (!) if light gets low. The monitor is a 2.5" LCD and as per usual with Pentax there are plenty of helpful scene modes to ensure the camera is set up correctly for every situation. Pop down £149.99 on the counter from March 2008 and it's yours.
Pentax Optio E50
Pre-PMA 2008: Pentax's entry level offering for 2008 is the Optio E50. This 8.1 megapixel compact digital camera sees the world through a 3x 37.5 - 112.5 mm (equiv.) lens and a 'Shake Reduction' system increases the sensitivity to ISO 1600 to increase shutter speeds and help prevent both camera shake and subject motion from ruining low-light images. Priced at £99, the Optio E50 should be in shops come February 2008.
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H10
Pre-PMA 2008: Sony today announced the CyberShot DSC-H10, a fairly mild update to the DSC-H3 'compact superzoom' released in August 2007. Still with 10x optical zoom, 8 megapixels and no viewfinder, the LCD has been upgraded with a 3.0" 230k dot screen - dubbed 'Clear Photo LCD Plus™ - replacing the 2.5" 115k panel in the previous model. Available to pre-order from 31 Jan, the DSC-H3 will relieve you of $300.
Sony updates Cyber-Shot S series
Pre-PMA 2008: Sony today announced the latest models in its entry-level S-Series - the Cyber-Shot DSC-S750 and S780. 3x zoom and sensors featuring 7.2 and 8.1 megapixels respectively are pretty standard fare but crucially, Sony has dropped AA batteries and fitted these new models with a lithium power source. Besides promising improved performance - particularly flash recycle time which generally suffers when using AAs - the move allows a slimmer design much more in keeping with Sony's image. Expect to see the S750 hitting the shelves toward the end of February with the S780 following around a month later.
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T300
Pre-PMA 2008: Sony today announced its DSC-T300 - the latest in its line of touch-controlled slim digital cameras. You could almost describe it as a 'tablet camera' as all controls bar the shutter release have been dispensed with and replaced with a gargantuan 3.5" touch panel filling the entire rear surface of the device. Whilst not a buttonfest in the traditional sense, Sony has certainly not held back on cramming it full of gadgets and gizmos. They've taken advantage of the unique interface to present such features as Child/Adult priority Face Detection, Face Search and DRO Plus (Dynamic Range Optimization) as well as a whole raft of retouching tools so one can perfect (or ruin) images all without them ever leaving the camera. $399 will secure a T300 when it hits the shops. More after the jump.
Sony raises a smile with new W-Series
Pre-PMA 2008: Too many grumpy facial expressions in your family snaps? Do not despair! Sony has today announced 4 new models in its W-series of digital compact cameras, all of which are featuring Sony's 'smile shutter' mode. When set to this shooting mode the camera automatically releases the shutter when the subject smiles. The DSC-W170 and DSC-W150 (available in April) sport a 5x Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar lens while the smaller sister models DSC-W130 and DSC-W120 (available in March) come with a 4x zoom. All cameras will be offered in a range of colors.
Faster xD Picture Cards launched
Pre-PMA 2008: In a scene reminiscent of a once-respected prize fighter climbing back into the ring, the xD-Picture Card format has been given a revamp. Olympus has launched the "Type M+" that offers higher speeds in the format's largest capacities. The disappearance of the Type-H, fast (by xD standards), cards and Fujifilm's move to accepting the cheaper and potentially faster SD format looked like knock-out blows to the xD format. But the little card appears to have picked itself up off the canvas for the benefit of Olympus owners wanting to make the most of their cameras' continuous shooting and movie modes.
January 22
Olympus SP-570 UZ
Pre-PMA 2008: Olympus has today announced its 20x zoom SP-570 UZ as a replacement for the SP-560 UZ and by doing so reconquered the sole number one spot in the race for the longest superzoom lens on a compact camera. The lens has 'grown' at both ends and is now covering the astounding range of 26-520mm (35mm equivalent). Inevitably there has also been an increase in resolution, from 8 to 10M
Stylus range now up to 7x zoom
Pre-PMA 2008: Looking at Olympus diminuitive Stylus (mju) range, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the 5x zoom range currently employed was the biggest which would fit. However, Olympus has other plans and has shoehorned a whopping 7x 37-260 mm equivalent optic onto the front plate of the 10.1 megapixel Stylus 1010 and 1020. Also announced was the Stylus 840 with 8.0 MP and a 36-180 mm range. Catch all three on the shelves from February.
Olympus announces new Stylus SW models
Pre-PMA 2008: Olympus today announced two new models in its 'heavy duty' Stylus SW series. SW range cameras are (within limits) shock- and water proof and generally well known for their ruggedness. The 1030SW sports a 10MP sensor and comes with a 3.6x (28-102mm equiv.) zoom lens, the 850SW features an 8MP imaging sensor and a 3x (38-114mm equiv.) zoom. Both cameras will be available from February.
Olympus announces new additions to FE range
Pre-PMA 2008: Olympus today announced the latest additions to its FE-range of compact digital cameras. All sporting 8 megapixel sensors, the new cameras differ in zoom range, with the FE-310 and FE-340 packing 5x 36-180 equiv. optics and the FE-350 Wide extending the wide end and reigning in the tele for a useful 28-112. All will be available from February.
January 21
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LS80
Pre-PMA 2008: Panasonic has quietly announced the LUMIX DMC-LS80, an economical model featuring a 33-100 mm equivalent zoom and 8.1 megapixel sensor. Also featuring - as it does on every single Panasonic camera - is Mega O.I.S. optical stabilization. Slightly worryingly the LS80's maximum ISO is quoted as 6400 so expect a sea of noise or an image devoid of fine detail. Either way, ISO ratings this high on a compact serve almost no practical purpose. That aside the LS80 seems a solid entry-level offering. More after the click.
January 18
Olympus E-Series price drops
Pre-PMA 2008: Olympus UK today announced price reductions of up to £150 on its E410 and E510 DSLR kits. Packages now start at £319.99 for the E410 body and rise to £549.99 for the E510 double lens kit with a focal length range of 28 - 300mm (equiv.)
onOne to scale-up resizing technology
Pre-PMA 2008: onOne Software, a maker of software and plug-ins for photographers has bought the Liquid Resize technology we reported on in August 2007. Stand-alone software using the technology, which allows images to be resized and reproportioned without geometric constraints while retaining the key image features, will be available in late January as part of a free public beta test. A Photoshop plug-in should follow later in the year.
January 16
SD-compatible GPS makes geotagging easy
Pre-PMA 2008: Memory maker ATP has launched what it describes as: "the World's most easy-to-use Geotagging device." The Photo Finder is a portable GPS receiver that can automatically sync its data with the photos from your digital camera, without the need for a computer.
January 15
FotoNation revolutionizes the self-timer
Pre-PMA 2008: Perhaps you've never heard of FotoNation but chances are if you bought a digital camera in the past couple of years it may well be using technology developed by the Burlingame, CA based firm. Automatic red-eye reduction, face recognition, smile shutter...get the idea? Now these clever folks have combined that old recipe for disaster - the self-timer - with the latest advances in facial recognition to create FaceTime™. Essentially this delays the countdown until the photographer has positioned themselves in the frame. It will recognize a group of people and only start the timer once that final straggler reaches position. Clever stuff and they will be holding demonstrations at PMA too.
Just Posted: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3 review
Just Posted! Our review of the latest addition to Sony's H series of 'High Zoom' compact digital cameras. This 'baby-brother' of the Cyber-shot H7/H9 offers a 10x zoom and 8MP sensor in a very compact body. The H3 enters the market at a very attractive price point which - together with its specification - puts it into direct competition with the Canon Powershot SX100 IS and the Panasonic DMC-TZ3. Can the H3 cut the mustard in the battle with these established rivals? Find out in our concise review, after the link...
Jobo announces PMA 2008 line-up
Pre-PMA 2008: Jobo today announced its PMA line-up including a brand new product line - camera and camcorder batteries. Image storage and viewing solutions are catered for by the GIGA range of hard drive storage devices and 7 to 15-inch digital picture frames. The new battery range, dubbed PREMIO, comprises 300 different types of both Li-Ion and Ni-MH cells with the most popular 60 - taking care of 400 of the most popular applications - being 'readily available' and the remainder presumably requiring special production runs. More after the jump.
PMA 2008 show report preview, predictions
Pre-PMA 2008: In just over two weeks the most important photography trade show of the year will kick off. The Photo Marketing Association show begins in Las Vegas on 31st January and will open the floodgates on a raft of new digital cameras and other digital photography related products. So that you can keep up to date with his growing list of new products we have enabled our show report and new product index which will also provide direct access to our live 'from the show floor' reports as they happen. We've also added a little preview / predictions list. Bookmark our show report page or subscribe to our PMA 2008 RSS feeds.
January 14
Eye-Fi announces enhanced Mac compatibility
Eye-Fi, makers of wireless SD cards for digital cameras, has announced enhanced Mac functionality with the card now able to import photos directly into iPhoto. In addition the device is now compatible with OS X 10.5 aka Leopard and Safari 3 may be used to access and change settings. The updated software is available for download via the Eye-Fi site and will be included with new cards. Click through for the links.
Olympus Europe extends free E-3 grip offer
Olympus Europe has again prolonged its offer of a free HLD-4 grip to existing E-System users purchasing a new E-3. Originally scheduled to end on Dec 31st 2007, the promotion was first extended to Jan 31st and the folks at Olympus now say customers have until the end of March to get their claims in - most generous. Full details on how to 'get a grip' coming up after the jump.
January 11
'Big two' continue to dominate Japan
Nikon is expected to be Japan's DSLR market leader for 2007 says a leading Japanese market research company. But Canon's compact sales ensure it retains the top-spot for overall digital camera sales in the country. DSLR sales are expected to continue to grow as more manufacturers join the fray.
Panasonic expands sensor production
Panasonic is to expand its semiconductor plant in Tonami, Japan in a move to boost image sensor production. The ¥94 Billion (US $860 million) investment will allow the 48,000 sqM plant to process up to 30,000 8" silicon wafers per month, meaning total device production is likely to be in the millions. construction begins in September 2008 and the facility is expected to be fully operational by August 2009.
Olympus releases far-sighted firmware update
Olympus has released updated firmware for the Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD lens, announced in October 2007. The update offers improved focusing precision on distant subjects when using continuous autofocus mode. Firmware updates are downloaded through Olympus Master software.
January 10
Matsushita to adopt Panasonic brand across company
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. has today announced its decision to adopt the Panasonic name across the entire company. The firm, founded by Konosuke Matsushita in 1918 as 'Matsushita Electric Housewares Manufacturing Works', has used its current moniker since 1935. Brands affected by the change include National, the name used for household goods in Japan and Technics, producer of Hi-Fi equipment and turntables beloved of DJs the world over. The changeover is scheduled to begin October 1st with rebranding of National to be completed by March 31st 2010.
Adobe PSE Mac: Now available for pre-order
Adobe has made the latest release of Photoshop Elements available for pre-order with release scheduled for early Q2 2008 priced at $89.99. Version 6, which was released for Windows users back in September, is compatible with Mac OS X 10.4.8 and higher including 10.5 aka Leopard. The software is to be demonstrated at next week's Macworld Expo.
January 9
Just Posted: Canon Powershot A720 IS review
Just Posted! Our review of latest in Canon's popular A Series range of affordable feature-rich compact digital cameras. The A720 IS represents a fairly minor upgrade to the A710 IS, upping the resolution by a megapixel and throwing in a couple of new features, but retaining the useful 6x zoom range and full range of photographic controls. Find out if it's a worthwhile upgrade in our concise review, after the link...
Photosimile 5000 "Office photography machine"
CES 2008: Ortery Technologies has announced the world's first first example what it describes as an "Office Photography Machine" and designed to make product photography - in particular 360-degree product animations - as painless as using a photocopier. The system consists of an illuminated box housing a turntable and curved rail which allow the camera (included) to be positioned within a hemispherical area around the object to be photographed. The really clever bit is that both box and camera may be controlled remotely from an attached PC, live view and all. This means that it is possible to simply place an object in the box and - without touching either it or the camera - create a full 3D view. More after the jump.
January 8
8GB SDHC cards from Lexar
CES 2008: Swift shooters supported with superior speed SDHC. Lexar has launched 8GB SDHC cards in all its products lines, including Professional 133X cards with their category defying 20MB/sec minimum sustained write performance.
Panasonic 32GB class 6 SDHC
CES 2008: Egg consolidation fans will delight at the launch of the World's first 'class 6' 32GB SDHC memory card. Panasonic unveiled a prototype of the capacious card, capable of sustained write speeds of at least 6MB/sec and maximum data speeds of up to 20MB/sec.
Sony 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo
CES 2008: Miniature memory for Sony compact consumers. Sony has launched a 16GB variant (the largest yet) of its Memory Stick PRO Duo memory card format used in its compact digital cameras.
Pretec introduces first 48 GB CompactFlash
CES 2008: Pretec, which has quite a history of pushing forward flash media capacities, has announced new CompactFlash cards available in sizes up to 48 GB. The speed ratings are also good with 2 - 24 GB cards available in 233x (35 MB/sec) and 1 - 48 GB in super-fast 333x (50 MB/sec). Release dates and pricing are yet to be announced but don't expect the largest cards to be cheap - at least for a while.
Via Engadget.
Kodak M1033, M763, M863 and M893 compacts
CES 2008: Kodak has used CES 2008 to launch a phalanx of compact digital cameras. All feature the ability to output their stills in both 720p and 1080i HD formats. Here we look at the M763, M863, M893 and M1033, the last of which is able to record 720p30 HD video. (This may not be as fast as 720p60 or as high res as 1080i, but it's still a big jump from the VGA that is standard issue on most compacts).
Kodak Z1085 IS, Z1285 and Z8612 zoom compacts
CES 2008: The latest Z series digital cameras from Kodak, the Z1085 IS, Z1285 and Z8612 all feature the ability to output their stills in both 720p and 1080i HD formats. The Z1085 IS and Z1285 are also able to record 720p30 HD video. (This may not be as fast as 720p60 or as high res as 1080i, but it's still a big jump from the VGA that is standard issue on most compacts).
Kodak V1273 and V1073 IS touch screen compacts
CES 2008: The V1273 and V1073 are the latest ultra compacts from Kodak. Both can record video at 720p30 HD resolution. They also feature optically stabilized lenses and the ability to output their stills in both 720p and 1080i HD formats.
January 7
Panasonic to develop wireless camera
CES 2008: Panasonic has announced development of a wireless camera with the ability to upload directly to Google's Picasa Web Albums. Thanks to a deal with T-Mobile, the camera will include twelve months' free use of the network's HotSpot service which is available in selected Starbucks, Borders, Hyatt hotels and airports. There are currently no details on the hardware aspect nor timeframe for introduction but we shall, of course, keep you up to date with more details as we receive them.
Sony announces "Transferjet" wireless data transfer
CES 2008: Sony has unveiled its Close Proximity Wireless Transfer Technology system: "TransferJet". Essentially, this is a data transfer system which relies on close proximity - 3cm maximum - and will deliver up to 560 Mbps when two compliant devices are brought together. Aside from the obvious benefits of a standardized, no-contact means of communication between AV devices the new technology promises minimal electromagnetic interference due to the low intensity of the radio waves employed. Click through for Sony's press release.
Casio EX-Z100, EX-Z200: First 28mm equiv. for Casio
CES 2008: Casio's EX-Z100 and EX-Z200 are 10.1 megapixel compacts featuring, for the first time on a Casio, 28 - 112mm equivalent zoom lenses. Both models feature Auto Shutter and Auto Best Shot, whereby the camera analyses the scene and shooting conditions and selects the appropriate exposure settings. The EX-Z200 also includes CCD-Shift image stabilization. The pair will be available from March 2008, the EX-Z100 priced at $279.99 and the EX-Z200 $329.99.
Casio EX-Z80
CES 2008: The new EXILIM EX-Z80 is a smart looking little camera: 8.1 megapixels and a 3x zoom wrapped in a compact and solid shell. Interesting features on this model include Auto Shutter to delay taking a picture until there is minimal camera shake and/or the subject has cracked a smile - face detection also makes an appearance. A new system of focus confirmation allows the user to choose an image which coalesces when focus has been achieved or breaks up if the camera will not lock on. Availability is scheduled for March 2008 with a price of $199.
Casio EX-S10: World's slimmest 10MP compact
CES 2008: Casio has launched the world's slimmest 10 megapixel camera today in the form of the EXILIM EX-S10. A mere 15mm thick, this latest 'Wearable Card Camera' sports a 3x optical zoom and the usual complement of Casio scene modes including YouTube™ Capture Mode, using H.264 encoding for high quality movies with small file sizes. A 2.7", 230k screen fills the rear of the camera and a shutter release control ensures camera shake has subsided before taking a picture. You may also set smile detection and have the shutter trip based on the quality of your subject's grin. The EX-S10 will be available in Red, Blue, Silver and Black when it hits US shores in February priced at $249.99.
Samsung i8
CES 2008: Last but not least from Samsung is the i8 - a blend of camera and media player with a 2.7" touch-sensitive screen and a 'World Tour Guide' covering 30 countries. 195 MB internal memory stores the 8.1 megapixel images or you can slot in an SD card for more space. ISO 1600 and Digital Image Stabilization help to keep things steady and Intelligent Face Recognition ensures faces are correctly focused and exposed. Interested? You'll find it in the shops from February for £149.
Three new Samsung L series cameras
CES 2008: More from Samsung with three new L series compacts - all taking advantage of Digital Image Stabilization and Intelligent Face Recognition. They also share a 3x optical zoom - the L210 taking the resolution lead with 10.1 million to the L100 and L110s 8.2 megapixels. The L100 will be available from February for £99 with the L110 (£129) and L210 (£149) following in March.
Three new Samsung NV series additions
CES 2008: Alongside the NV24HD, Samsung also launched three new NV cameras without the high definition recording capability but featuring the latest processing technology for improved image quality and faster operation. First up is the NV40 - 10 megapixels and a 3x zoom are backed up with dual image stabilization. The display is a generous 2.5" and adapts to changing light conditions whilst the controls take the grid form known as 'Smart Touch'. The NV30 drops the pixel count to 8 million and omits the optical stabilization in favor of an all-electronic system. The 'baby' NV4 has a non-protruding 3x zoom lens and 8 megapixels and also uses a more conventional button arrangement. All three will be available from February 2008 priced at £149, £179 and £199 for the NV4, NV30 and NV40 respectively.
Herbert Keppler, 1925-2008
Herbert Keppler, one of the most influential and respected figures in the post-war photographic industry, died on Friday night after a short illness at the age of 82. Keppler, known as Burt to friends and associates, was the former publisher of two of the biggest photography magazines in the world; Modern Photography and Popular Photography, and continued to work until just before his death. In a career spanning more than 50 years Herbert Keppler was instrumental in the success of the Japanese camera industry and in establishing objective laboratory testing for cameras and lenses.
Photo: Popular Photography
Samsung NV24HD

CES 2008: Samsung has announced its first camera capable of recording 720p HD video at 30 fps. The 10 megapixel NV24HD is happy to display images via HDMI or on its 2.5" OLED display and incorporates a combination of electronic and optical stabilization systems. ISO 3200 also makes an appearance as does local contrast control which aims to balance shadow and highlight detail. The Samsung NV24HD should be available from March for £249.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A200
CES 2008: Sony has today revealed it latest Alpha digital SLR, the A200. This new entry-level digital SLR has a ten megapixel APS size CCD (note the switch back from CMOS), Super SteadyShot (sensor-shift image stabilization), three frames per second continuous shooting, Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) and a 2.7" 230,000 pixel LCD monitor. The A200 is set to ship in February for $700 with the 18-70 mm lens or $200 more for a dual-lens kit which adds the 75-300 mm. This model appears to be very similar to the A100 apart from higher sensitivity, faster AF, a slightly larger LCD, a new Fn button and other subtle control changes.
January 6
Casio EXILIM Pro EX-F1: 60fps
CES 2008: Casio today announced its EXILIM EX-F1 - a six megapixel camera with 12x zoom and some very impressive burst shooting capabilities. Capturing up to 60 frames per second at full resolution and a staggering 1200 fps if you drop the image size to 336 x 96, this innovative camera will also shoot 1920 x 1080 Full HD movies at 60fps. Helping to ensure the moment isn't missed is a buffer system which continually updates then saves the contents to card when the shutter is released. Illumination is taken care of by a conventional strobe which works at up to 7 fps and a cellphone-style LED for 10-60 fps. The EX-F1 will be available from March 2008 priced at $999.99.
January 3
Ridata Smart CompactFlash
Pre-CES 2008: Ridata has announced a new line of CompactFlash cards designed to minimize the risk of data loss by leveraging technology usually found in magnetic hard drives and RAM memory. SMART or 'Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology' provides a standard method for checking the health of mass-storage devices whilst Error Correction Code (ECC) verifies the datastream to catch and correct any errors. The cards will be available in two product lines - Supreme 150x with capacities of 4 and 8GB and Lightning (speed unspecified) up to 16GB.