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July 2008 news and reviews

July 31
Nikon buffs up D3 shooting
Nikon has announced a memory upgrade for its flagship D3 DSLR. The service, which is already available, will increase the continuous shooting buffer from 16 to 36 shots for those people shooting 14-bit lossless NEF raw files. In most filetype/compression permutations, users can expect to see around a doubling of shooting buffer. Owners wishing to upgrade are advised to contact their local service center. The price will be £300+VAT in the UK, and $500+tax in the USA.
Pentax launches Optio M60
Pentax has launched the Optio M60, a 10 megapixel compact camera with a 5x optical zoom. It's got all the features you'd expect, including revised face detection technology that can locate the faces of the best part of a coach-party. The lens covers a range equivalent to 36mm - 180mm, so lacks any wide angle. The camera does offer an Auto Picture mode that automatically selects the scene mode it thinks most relevant for the shot being taken, helping to make the most of 8 of its scene modes.
Pentax Optio E60
Pentax has announced the Optio E60 digital compact camera. This entry-level model comes with a 10.1 megapixels sensor and sports a 3x zoom lens (32-96mm, 35mm equivalent). It uses widely available AA batteries and should therefore appeal to those amongst us who tend to leave their battery chargers at home when going on holidays.
July 30
Tamron announces 15x zoom lens
Superzoom specialist Tamron has today announced the development of its most ambitious lens yet, the characteristically snappily-titled AF 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) Macro. Designed exclusively for digital SLRs with APS-C sensors, this optic offers a 35mm-equivalent range of 28-419mm, perfect for owners of megazoom compacts looking to upgrade to an SLR, and incorporates the company's 'Vibration Control' optical image stabilisation system. To achieve the spectacular zoom range (billed as the longest in the world),Tamron has used all its design nous, including the use of aspheric elements and low dispersion glass to keep chromatic aberration under control.
July 29
Adobe green lights Lightroom 2
Adobe has launched version 2 of its Lightroom raw processing and workflow tool. The result of feedback from professionals and a public beta process, version 2 of the software follows the basic structure of its predecessor but with a variety of tweaks and additions. The most obvious change is an increased ability to make localized changes. This include a gradient tool that allows alterations to be applied selectively across an image. Adobe Camera Raw has also been updated with support for the Olympus E420 and E520.
July 25
dpreview seeks ninja web-developers
Impressed by the lens data presentation widget? Think you can do better? dpreview.com is looking for standards-savvy, photography-loving web developers to form a new web development team. Impress your friends and confound your enemies by spending your days building cool features for a massive (and growing) community. It'll mean working in London (UK), and it's an opportunity to play a pivotal role in the future of the world's leading digital photography website.
July 22
Just posted! Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D review
Just Posted! Our review of the Canon EOS Rebel XS / EOS 1000D. The latest entry-level DSLR from Canon has a lot to live up to and some fierce competition to face so can the baby Rebel make as big an impact on the market as its forebears. And, more importantly, does it deserve to? Read our in-depth review to find out.
July 21
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28
Panasonic has today announced the Lumix DMC-FZ28. The new camera is the successor to the popular FZ18 and comes with a slightly increased resolution (10.1 vs 8.0 MP) and all the zoom range you could ever need (27-486mm, 35mm equivalent). However, if that's still not enough there is also an optional 1.7x tele converter available. The Lumix DMC-FZ28 will be available in the UK from August for £329.99.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150
Panasonic has today announced the Lumix DMC-FX 150. The new camera offers a whopping 14.7 megapixels effective resolution which makes it (together with the Samsung NV100HD/TL34HD) the currently highest resolving compact camera on the market. Other features include Panasonic's new Venus IV imaging processor, a 28-100mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens and not one but two baby modes! The Lumix DMC-FX150 will be available in the UK from August for £299.99.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
Panasonic has today announced the Lumix DMC-LX3. The camera is aimed at DSLR users who are looking for a compact camera to complement their existing SLR gear. Consequently the LX3 comes with comprehensive manual controls and a fast F2.0-F2.8 24-60mm (35mm equivalent) Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens. Images are captured on a 1/1.63-inch CCD sensor sporting 10.1 million effective pixels. The Lumix DMC-LX3 will be available in the UK from August for £399.99.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37
Panasonic has today announced the successor to the FX35 digital compact camera - the FX37. The new model comes with Panasonic's Venus IV imaging processor and an enhanced Intelligent Auto mode which is now capable of tracking an object once the AF has locked onto it. All this fancy new technology has been built around a 10.1 MP sensor and a 25mm (35mm equivalent), 5x zoom lens. The Lumix DMC-FX37 will be available in the UK from August for £249.99.
July 17
Just Posted! Sony DSLR-A200 review
Just Posted! Our review of the Sony Alpha 200. The simplified version of the ambitious A350, the A200 does without Sony's clever live view system but comes instead with a very competitive price tag. The result is a more conventional DSLR that boasts a feature set almost the equal of the older A100 at a fraction of the cost. So is this enough to make it the ideal DSLR for users looking to upgrade from their compact digital cameras? Read our full review to find out.
Just posted! Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 lens review

Just posted! Our new lens review of Sigma's latest iteration of its popular fast telezoom, the snappily-entitled 70-200mm 1:2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II. Offering fast and silent autofocus to users of all brands of DSLR via its HyperSonic Motor (HSM) autofocus, and with a closest focus distance of just 1m, this certainly looks like a strong contender on paper, but with a parent design dating back to 1999, how does it match up to the current state of the art?

July 16
Samsung NV100HD offers high density specification
Samsung has announced the NV100HD (Known as the TL34HD in the US), which it describes as "The World's highest 14.7 megapixel 28mm Wide angle lens digital camera." And even without the qualifiers, that's an awful lot of pixels. More impressively, it can record 720p HD video and incorporates a high-resolution, 460K dot, touch screen. It also features optical image stabilization alongside Samsung's digital stabilization system and many of the company's other image processing features.
Samsung tops-up NV range with new NV9
Samsung's distinctive NV range gets another member with the announcement of the NV9 (TL9 in North America). It's got a 5x optical zoom, 10.2 megapixel sensor and the ability to play MP3 music files. It also contains all sorts of metering and image processing cleverness to help optimise photographs of social situations, with tricks and tweaks to help ensure well-exposed, smiley faces with smooth skin and open eyes. There are even fuel-gauge-style indicators for battery life and memory card space on the top of the camera that we think will polarize opinion into either 'cool' or 'entertaining'.
Samsung L310W widens range's appeal
Samsung has announced the L310W (Known as the SL310W in the US), a 13.6 megapixel camera with a 28mm equivalent wide angle lens. The camera includes all sorts of features to help take photographs of friends and family, and an Auto Contrast Balance feature to boost dark area of back-lit scenes.
Samsung announces S1070
As part of Samsung's new model onslaught, it has released the S1070. The S1070 is a compact camera with a 3x optical zoom and what the company describes as a "premium quality" 10.2 megapixel sensor. A large 2.7" LCD screen, face-detection mode and 10 scene modes are provided to help capture and review the best possible images.
Samsung launches L201
Samsung has announced the L201 (SL201 in the US), a 10.2 megapixel compact camera. It has Samsung's Auto Contrast Balance feature to brighten dark areas in high-contrast and back-lit scenes. It also has the potentially handy ability to charge batteries, in-camera. Photography purists will be able to buy the camera in black or silver, while more adventurous purchasers can splash out on the pink, turquoise or lime green versions.
July 9
Kodak fits 50MP into dynamic range
Kodak has announced the creation of a new medium format 50MP chip, to be used in the newly-unveiled Hasselblad H3DII-50. The KAF-50100 Image Sensor offers a sensitivity range of ISO 50 - 400 and the highest resolution currently available in the 36 x 48mm format. The company spoke to us to explain the chip and the technologies behind it.
Hasselblad assembles megapixel monster
Engineers at Swedish medium format specialist Hasselblad have cooked-up the highest resolution 48 x 36 mm camera: the H3DII-50. The company has announced its intention to produce a 645 format sensor. Continuing the company's long history of collaboration with Kodak, the new camera is based around the US company's new 50MP sensor. The new body is also designed to accomodate the company's HTS 1.5 Tilt/Shift cradle that allows traditional lenses to be tilted and shifted.
July 8
Canon invests in XS capacity
Canon USA has announced the EOS Rebel XS, launched in other markets as the EOS 1000D on June 10th. In the United States, the camera will be available in a choice of black or silver but will not be available as body-only, with all units coming bundled with the EF-S 18-55mm IS lens. Canon has also announced its plans to build its first new Japanese camera factory for over a quarter of a century.
July 1
D3 and D300 get firmware fixes
In addition to the announcement of the D700, Nikon has revised the firmware of the D3 and D300. The latest D3 firmware adds new function button customization options though not the ones featured on the D700. In addition to these and a virtual horizon in live view mode, Nikon has also addressed the problem that some users experienced in which the battery indicator would incorrectly register an empty battery.
This problem, which has come to be known as 'Dead Battery Syndrome,' has also been addressed in new firmware for the D300.
Nikon D700 plus hands-on preview
Perhaps the worst kept secret of any recent announcement Nikon has now officially revealed the compact, professional, twelve megapixel, full-frame (FX format) Nikon D700. From the outside the D700 is virtually identical to the D300, albeit for its larger 'full frame' viewfinder, internally it's almost identical to the D3, except for a slightly slower shutter (five frames per second up to eight frames per second with the MB-D10 battery grip). By comparison it also includes several function improvements over the D3 including Image Sensor cleaning ('sensor shake'), more flexible 'hard button' programming, virtual horizon in Live View and different DX mode indication on the focusing screen. The D700 also becomes the first professional Nikon DSLR to sport a built-in flash. As far as competition is concerned the D700 really only faces the Canon EOS 5D (and any replacement that may be in the works). On sale in July for US$2999 or €2599 body only. We've had a D700 for a few days now, just enough time to produce a detailed hands-on preview.
Nikon PC-E Micro 45 mm and 85 mm lenses
Nikon has confirmed two tilt and shift (also known as perspective correction) lenses we first heard of in January this year. There is the 'normal focal length' PC-E Micro Nikkor 45 mm F2.8D ED and 'medium telephoto' PC-E Micro Nikkor 85 mm F2.8D, both of which provide ±8.5° tilt, ±11.5mm shift and 90° axial (rotation) movement and also have the much touted 'Nano Crystal Coat'. When used on the D3, D300 (and we presume D700) these lenses also provide automatic aperture control as well as manual override using the aperture ring on the lens.
Nikon announces Speedlight SB-900 flashgun
Nikon has today announced its new top-of-the-range flashgun - the Speedlight SB-900. The new model features a Multi-step auto zoom covering a 17-200mm zoom range, three illumination patterns (standard, center-weighted and even) and automatically detects if you are using the Nikon FX or DX format. The SB-900 will be available from the 25th of July.

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