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May 2008 news and reviews

May 30
Tomorrow we will be transitioning the entire site to a completely new rack of equipment at our new hosting provider. This process will begin at 9 AM GMT (31st May 2008) and will mean some disruption, primarily in the form of forums downtime (which may be up two hours). Once the switchover is complete it will take some time for the DNS changes to fully propogate and so you may for a short time be redirect to the new servers by URLs with the word 'new' in them, once all downstream DNS caches pick up the changes these URLs will begin to clear. Any issues with the site after the end of the switchover (about 12 PM GMT) should be reported using the Feedback page. Updated: maintenance complete.
May 28
Fujifilm launches A850
Fujifilm has added another model to its popular 'A' series of competitively-priced compact digital cameras. The 8MP Fujifilm A850 is based around a 1/2.5" sensor and has a 3X zoom. There are 14 scene modes, including museum mode for those pictures in which you actually want artifacts to appear.
May 23
Just posted! Canon EOS 450D / Rebel XSi review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the latest in the popular 'Rebel' line of digital SLR cameras from Canon (rather later than we planned, it took a little longer to complete than we expected). The EOS 450D (Rebel XSi) builds on the success of the EOS 400D (Rebel XTi), adding live view, a new 12MP CMOS sensor and a smattering of new features (including boosted continuous shooting and spot metering). So does the EOS 450D have what it takes to stand out in the increasingly crowded (and competitive) entry-level digital SLR market? Read the in-depth review after the link to find out...
Add-on lens for Sigma DP1 draws close
Sigma has announced a close-up lens that can be mounted to its DP1 large-sensor compact. The AML-1 attached to the optional hood adapter (HA-11), and offers closer minimum focusing distances. The lens will be available from June 2008.
May 22
Fujifilm launches Finepix Z200fd
Fujifilm has today announced the Finepix Z200fd, a new addition to its range of ultra compact digital cameras. The Z200fd features 10 megapixels resolution and a 5x (33-165mm equiv.) zoom lens. It also brings us exciting new features such as the 'couple' and 'group' self timer modes, all wrapped up in an attractive metal body.
News updates: We've followed up some of our recent news stories to bring you up-to-date. Sigma gives updated details on lens availability for Sony and Pentax, and Adobe's Photoshop Express updates Flickr into life.
May 19
Just posted! Sigma DP1 review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Sigma DP1. It's been a long wait indeed. Sigma displayed a first concept prototype of the DP1 at Photokina 2006 but it took until March of this year for the first production models to hit the shelves. The DP1 sports the rather unusual Foveon X3 sensor (just like the Sigma SD14 DSLR) and comes with a 28mm F4.0 prime lens - quite an exotic combination in today's world of superzooms and smile modes. Sigma claims the new model has the soul of a DSLR in a compact body. Is it right in saying so? Find out after the link...
May 16
Just posted! Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS  lens review

Just posted! Our new lens review of Canon's top-end fast telezoom, the EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM. This is Part Two in our planned tetralogy of reviews featuring 70-200mm F2.8 lenses tested on both APS-C and 35mm full frame cameras (coming soon! 'The Tamron Menace' and 'Revenge of the Sigma'). In our last review we found the Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 VR performing superbly on DX but struggling on the 35mm full-frame FX format, so how does Canon's equivalent stand up to our exacting tests?

Olympus E-420 Gallery posted

We've just posted a gallery of samples from the new Olympus E-420 digital SLR, including a selection taken with the new Zuiko 25mm F2.8 'pancake' lens. The E-420 updates the 'world's smallest SLR' (the E-410), whilst the new lens offers an equally compact alternative to the more common 14-42mm zoom kit lens.

May 15
Adobe seeks International recognition for DNG
Adobe is submitting its DNG 'universal RAW' format to the International Standard's Organization (ISO), in a move aimed at increasing acceptance and usage. The format is being proposed as part of ISO's TIFF/EP (electronic photography), standard. We spoke to Adobe about the move.
Tamron 28-300mm VC for Nikon
As well as adding motors to its existing lenses, Tamron has also started building motors into its new Nikon-compatible lenses. The 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 VC lens offers a 10.7x zoom range with the company's proprietary optical stabilization system. DX-format users get fields of view equivalent to 43-465mm (in FX terms).
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 gains motor for Nikons
Tamron has continued its process of adding in-lens motors to its Nikon-mount lenses, with its 28-75mm f/2.8 being the latest recipient. This makes the lens fully compatible with the Nikon D40, D40x and D60, offering their owners fields of view equivalent to a 42-112.5mm lens (in FX/35mm terms). The magnificently named 'SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO' can focus as close as 33cm throughout its zoom range.
May 13
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4 - 5.6
Olympus has launched a consumer-level wide angle lens for the Four Thirds system: the Zuiko Digital 9-18mm f/4-5.6. The lens, that offers fields of view equivalent to 18 - 36mm in 35mm terms, makes extreme wide-angle zoom more accessible to users of the Olympus E-System, Panasonic DSLRs and selected Leica Digilux cameras.
Olympus launches E-520
Olympus has launched the E-520, an update of its E-510 DSLR. The E-520 represents continuity, rather than revolution within the E-System camp. This process of orderly transistion sees the arrival of contrast detection AF at the E-5XX level of camera. This feature does not represent all the camera's new talents, however, with a larger LCD and Face Detection doing their utmost to add buyer appeal.
May 8
Adobe signals delay to Photoshop Express
Adobe has delayed an update that will add support for Flickr users to its Photoshop Express online image editing and storage service. The service, currently at the Beta stage, allows images to be stored or pulled from the users' other websites and edited without over-writing the original. The latest update, which also adds a 'Save As...' feature and the ability to embed slideshows in other websites, has been postponed to allow bugs found late in the development process to be fixed.
May 7
FujiFilm firmware puts F100fd in the pink
FujiFilm has released a firmware update for its F100fd compact camera. The update is a response the 'pink banding' issue that has been the subject of heated discussion on the FujiFilm Talk forum. FujiFilm says the modification will "reduce" the pinkish colored banding reported by some users.
May 2
Just posted! Nikon 70-200 lens review
Just posted! Our new lens review of Nikon's top-end fast telezoom, the AF-S VR-Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8G ED-IF. This is the first in a series of reviews in which we'll be comparing it with similar lenses from Canon, Sigma and Tamron, using both APS-C and 35mm full frame cameras. The 70-200mm F2.8 VR has long been a favourite of Nikon DX format shooters, but how well does it stand up on the new full-frame D3? Read on to find out.
May 1
Firmware updates for Canon's big guns
Canon has released firmware updates for its range-topping EOS 1D Mark III and 1Ds Mark III cameras. The updates, to versions 1.2.3 and 1.1.2 respectively, provide new custom functions to provide direct access to autofocus points and additional ways to apply exposure compensation. They also promise to: "improve the stability of AF accuracy in AI servo AF mode when shooting extremely low-contrast subjects."