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January 2009 news and reviews

January 30
Just Posted: Our Pentax K2000 / K-m review
Just Posted: Our full review of the Pentax K2000 (or K-m to the Europeans amongst us). Pentax's latest baby DSLR enters the ring with much of the K200D's capability slimmed down into an even smaller, lighter, more use-friendly format. But the flyweight end of the DSLR market is home to some plucky competitors, so can the K2000 do enough to fight its corner? Read our 35 page review to find out.
January 28
Just posted! Canon 50mm F1.8 II lens review
Just posted! Lens reviews on DPReview are one year old today, and we're celebrating this auspicious anniversary with appropriate aplomb. Our 25th review features the Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II, a bargain offering that sells for less than $100, yet features an optical design refined over decades of service as the standard lens supplied with 35mm film SLRs. So how does it measure up against F1.4 lenses costing three times as much?
January 27
Panasonic premieres ZS3 / TZ7 with AVCHD lite video
Pre-PMA 2009: Panasonic has announced the release of the DMC-ZS3 (DMC-TZ7 in Europe), the first of six new digital compact cameras, and also the first camera to record AVCHD lite HD videos. The ZS3 is also packed with some impressive video and audio features such as 48kHz sample rate and Dolby Digital Stereo Creator for high quality audio, a Wind Cut function and Intelligent Auto mode for video recording. This 10MP camera (10MP output from a 12MP sensor) also comes along with a 3 inch hi-resolution LCD, 12x optical zoom (25-300mm equiv), Optical Image Stabilizer, and Advanced Face Recognition.
Panasonic unveils DMC-TS1 rugged compact camera
Pre-PMA 2009: Panasonic has launched the DMC TS1 (DMC-FT1 in europe), its first rugged digital compact and the world's first to feature AVCHD lite HD video recording. The TS1 is designed to be dustproof, waterproof up to 3 meters and shockproof up to 1.3 meters. It incorporates AVCHD Lite video compression in 3 quality levels to allow longer HD video recording. A Wind Cut function helps block out background wind noise during video recording. Sporting a 12.1MP sensor, 28-129mm equivalent lens and 2.7" LCD, the camera also includes features such as Intelligent Auto Mode, Optical Image Stabilizer and Face recognition.
Panasonic introduces DMC-FX48 ultra-compact camera
Pre-PMA 2009: Panasonic has also introduced the DMC-FX48 ultra-compact digital camera (FX40 in Europe). It incorporates a 12.1MP sensor, 2.5 inch LCD and a 25mm wide-angle lens with 5x optical zoom (25 - 125mm equiv). The FX48 also sports Panasonic's latest Venus Engine V processor and includes features such as Intelligent Auto mode, Face Detection with Face Recognition, Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) and Intelligent Scene Selector.
Panasonic announces DMC-ZS1 (TZ6) with 12x zoom
Pre-PMA 2009: In Panasonic's fourth announcement of the day comes the the DMC-ZS1 compact digital camera (DMC-TZ6 in Europe) , successor to the DMC-TZ5. The new camera's lens has been extended to offer 12x optical zoom, starting at 25mm equiv. and the sensor resolution increased to 10MP. The ZS1 features the Intelligent Auto Mode that combines Intelligent Scene selection with AF tracking, Intelligent Exposure, Face Detection, optical image stabilization, and Intelligent ISO Control for ease of use.
Panasonic unveils the touch-screen DMC-FX580
Pre-PMA 2009: Next in the line is the Panasonic DMC-FX580 (FX550 in Europe) digital camera. It incorporates a high-resolution 3.0-inch touch-screen interface for easier navigation of options, combined with a faster Venus Engine V processor. Along with a 12.1 megapixel sensor and a 25-125mm equivalent zoom, it features a host of Panasonic’s latest compact camera features such as Intelligent Auto mode and Face Recognition.
Panasonic releases the DMC-FS25 digtal camera
Pre-PMA 2009: Last of the Panasonic announcements is the DMC-FS25 digital compact camera. This 12.1MP camera is designed with a prominent grip and an Intelligent 3.0" LCD that adjusts its brightness according to the lighting conditions. Other features include an Intelligent Auto mode and  a new ‘Photo Frame’ mode that lets users put borders around the pictures taken.
January 24
Adobe offers Lightroom and ACR 'release candidates'
Adobe has released 'Release Candidates' of Photoshop Lightroom 2.3 and Camera Raw 5.3 for immediate download from Adobe Labs. Both provide additional Raw support for the Nikon D3X and Olympus E-30 DSLRs. Lightroom is also now available in 8 new languages. The 'release candidate' label means the downloads are 'well tested' but not yet final versions.
January 23
Just posted! Sigma 18-200mm OS lens review
Just posted! Our latest lens review, featuring Sigma's 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM. Completing for the moment our mini-series of APS-C format image-stabilized superzooms, we see how this lens measures up against similar designs which we've also reviewed in the course of the past year. With the likes of Canon and Tamron entering this market in the past few months, how does Sigma's two-year old offering measure up against the competition?
January 20
Canon and Nikon update firmware
Canon and Nikon have released firmware updates for the 40D, D3 and D700 DSLRS. All three updates correct rare errors and make minor changes to camera behavior. The 40D is updated to firmware v1.1.1. The Nikon D3 moves to v2.01 and the D700 to V1.01. Full details of all the issues resolved are made on the relevant company's websites. Click here for direct links to the downloads.
January 19
Just posted! Panasonic G1 review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, the world's first 'Micro Four Thirds' system camera. Updating the digital SLR (DSLR) for the 21st century, the mirrorless G1 replaces the tried-and-tested optical viewfinder with a new high resolution electronic version and aims to offer the quality and versatility of an SLR combined with the user-friendly ease of use of a compact camera. Does it succeed? Find out in our review after the link. Apologies for the delay on this one; the Christmas holidays, group tests and challenges launch got in the way, but full reviews are back up to speed now.
January 16
Panasonic updates firmware for DMC-LX3
Panasonic has released a firmware update for the Lumix DMC-LX3 digital compact camera. With version 1.2, the EXIF data is correctly displayed on all JPEG files. It also improves the white balance in flash mode when connected to the DMW-FL220 flash unit. Furthermore, the shutter speed is now correctly set while the image stabilization is turned on in the Intelligent Auto and Scene mode.
Panasonic introduces DMC-FS15 ultra compact
Panasonic has introduced the DMC-FS15 ultra compact digital camera. This 12.1 megapixel camera with a 2.7 inch LCD incorporates a Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens with 5x zoom starting at 29mm equiv. It includes features such as AF tracking, Intelligent Exposure, Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector, Mega O.I.S. (optical image stabilizer) and Intelligent ISO Control.
Panasonic launches DMC-FS7 & DMC- FS6
Panasonic has launched the DMC FS7 and FS6, a pair of budget-level digital compact cameras. Both feature 4x zoom lenses, starting at the slightly wide-angle 33mm equivalent. Both the 10.1 megapixel FS7 and the 8.1 megapixel FS6 feature Panasonic's Mega O.I.S image stabilization system and the latest, fourth generation of the company's Venus Engine image processor.
Panasonic announces DMC-LS85 compact camera
Lastly, Panasonic has released the DMC-LS85 digital compact camera, a successor to DMC-LS80. Similar to the LS80, it is bundled with an 8.1 MP sensor and 2.5 inch LCD with 230,000 dot resolution. The optical zoom has been increased to 4x (33-132mm equiv) and the image processor has been upgraded to Panasonic Venus Engine IV. The camera also includes features such as MEGA O.I.S, Intelligent ISO Control, Face Detection and Intelligent Scene Selector.
January 15
Canon unveils PowerShot A480
Canon has introduced the PowerShot A480 digital compact camera, replacing PowerShot A470 with a more compact body and easier operation. Twenty five percent smaller than its predecessor, the A480 includes a new simplified button layout for ease of use. This entry-level compact houses a 10MP sensor, 2.5" LCD, Canon's DIGIC III processor and includes features such as Motion detection and Face Detection.
Super Zoom Camera Group Test

Just posted! The fifth and final installment of our compact camera roundup looks at 'big zoom' SLR-styled compact cameras. The appeal of being able to shoot everything from a sweeping landscape to a tightly framed telephoto shot with a single affordable - and relatively compact - camera is easy to understand; finding your way through the sea of seemingly very similar models is more of a challenge. We decided to look at seven of the latest models to find out if they are as similar in performance as they are in specification and design.

Sigma launches 18-250mm DC OS HSM lens
Sigma has announced the 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM superzoom lens. Offering a 13.9x zoom range in a body only slightly longer than the company's current 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OS lens, this new model features an optical design of 18 elements in 14 groups, including four Special Low Dispersion elements and three aspherical elements to minimise aberrations. Designed for use on cameras with APS-C / DX sensors, the lens is expected to be available from March, for Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Sony mounts.
January 14
Breeze Systems offers remote control for more Nikons
Breeze Systems has announced the availability of its NKRemote 1.0 remote capture software for Nikon DSLRs. Building on its products for the Nikon D90 and D300, the software now expands coverage to the D3, D700 and D200. It enables users to control focus from a PC, shoot time-lapse sequences and display live images.
January 12
Challenges beta: First winners
The votes have been cast and the winners of the first five dpreview.com challenges have been announced. The response to the initial challenges has been incredible, and the standard of entries shows just how much photographic creativity and talent there is in the dpreview community. We'd like to thank everyone who enterered images and those who voted for helping us to iron out any wrinkles in this exciting new site feature. There's still plenty of challenges open and the second wave of voting starts soon, so please continue to try out the system as we prepare to move into the next phase of the Challenges Beta program, when the first user generated challenges will be announced.
January 9
Pretec releases CFast card with SATA interface
CES 2009: Pretec has introduced a 32GB CFast, the smallest solid-state drive (SSD) to feature a SATA interface. The SATA interface should allow CFast cards, the next-generation devices from the CompactFlash Association, to reach speeds of up to 375MB/s. The 32GB Pretec card is capable of transfer speeds of up to 160MB/s (300% faster than the fastest CF card today), and will be available next month, with a 64GB version to follow soon. There are no cameras at present that accept the CFast format.
Sigma sets price for 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM lens
Sigma has set the suggested retail price of the new 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM at £799.99. Initially announced at Photokina 2008, this HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) lens will be sold alongside the current Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG. It will be available in Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax mounts.
January 8
Casio unveils six Exilim compact cameras
CES 2009: Casio has announced six new Exilim compacts with some interesting new features. The EX-FS10 and EX-FC100 offer burst shooting at 30fps and movies at 1000fps. They also feature a Slow Motion View option that lets the user watch the movement of the subject in slow motion before capture. Next up are the EX-Z400, EX-Z270 and EX-S12, which feature the Dynamic Photo function to cut-and-paste moving subjects on to new backgrounds. Last comes the EXILIM EX-S5 offering a new body design, customizable focusing frames and wide-screen video recording.
Sony introduces Wi-Fi enabled Cyber-shot DSC-G3
CES 2009: Sony has introduced the Cyber-shot DSC-G3, the first Wi-Fi enabled digital camera with a built-in web browser. By clicking on the WLAN button, the user can open the web browser and directly upload images and videos online. Along with a 10MP sensor, 3.5" touch-screen LCD and 4GB built-in memory, the G3 includes features such as Intelligent Scene Recognition and Face Detection with Anti-Blink function.
Challenges beta: Vote Now!
The second phase of the Challenges beta has begun, so it's time for you to help find our first winners. The beta is going well, with a large number of excellent photos being submitted and a small number of bugs, quirks and missing features being identified. But to really understand how votes are going to work, we need a lot more of them. So we invite you to take a moment to look at the challenges, vote for the images you like and help both to improve the system and select some worthy winners.
SDXC expands SD into Terabyte territory
CES 2009: The SD Association has announced the new SDXC format offering greater capacities and speeds. The 'Extended Capacity' format increases maximum capacity to 2TB (2000GB), from the current 32GB of SDHC. Speeds will reach 104 MB/s by the end of 2009 with a target of 300 MB/s in the future. Although it is primarily aimed at the camcorder market, we wouldn't be surprised to see it become popular for holiday and travel photography.
Canon updates firmware for 5D Mark II
Canon has released updated firmware for the EOS 5D Mark II. Firmware v1.0.7 addresses the 'black dot' and vertical banding issues experienced by users of firmware 1.0.6. The latest version can be downloaded from Canon's website. The company also asks users to update their DPP and Picture Style Editor software.
Sony unveils Cyber-shot DSC-W220
CES 2009: Sony has announced a new addition to its W-series of digital compact cameras. The entry-level DSC-W220 sports a 12MP sensor, 2.7" LCD, 4x optical zoom and incorporates features that were initially seen only in the premium W models including Intelligent Scene Recognition, Dynamic Range Optimizer, Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, Smile Shutter technology and HD output. Priced at around $190, the camera will start shipping in March 2009.
January 7
Olympus introduces FE-5000, FE30-10 & FE-45
CES 2009: Lastly, Olympus has announced three new budget cameras; the FE-5000, FE3010 and FE-45. They all include the 'One button, one Function' design principle and a built-in camera guide for easy operation. The 12MP FE-3010, 10MP FE-5000 and FE-45 all incorporate features such as Dual Image Stabilization, Intelligent Auto mode, Advanced Face Detection and a number of shooting modes. Available in a choice of colors, the FE-5000 and FE-45 will become available in late January, and the FE-3010 in early March 2009.
Olympus creates the Stylus 7000 and Stylus 9000
CES 2009: Olympus has announced three new 12 megapixel Stylus compact digital cameras. The Stylus 9000 (mju 9000 in Europe) is the smallest 12MP 10X zoom digital camera on the market, the company says. There's also a 7X version, the Stylus 7000 (mju 7000 in Europe) and, in Europe only, so far as we can tell, the mju 5000. All three feature 'Beauty Mode' that aims to smooth people's complexions in portraits.
Olympus unveils Stylus Tough 6000 and 8000
CES 2009: Olumpus has announced two new models in its Stylus TOUGH (µ TOUGH in Europe) series of shock-, water- and freezeproof compact cameras. The Stylus TOUGH-8000 features a 12 megapixel sensor while the sister model TOUGH-6000 captures 10 megapixel images. Both cameras come with a 3.6x (28-102mm equivalent) zoom lens and feature Olympus' TAP control technology for easy operation when wearing gloves, ideal for all sorts of outdoor activities.
Olympus launches Stylus 550WP
CES 2009: Next in the line from Olympus is the Stylus 550WP. It incorporates a robust body and boasts of being water-resistant up to 3 meters. This 10MP digital compact with a 2.5" LCD includes features such as the Perfect Shot Preview, Perfect fix for in-camera retouching and Intelligent Auto mode. Available in a choice of Crystal Blue, Pure White or Midnight Black, the camera will start shipping in February 2009.
Olympus announces SP-590UZ with 26X zoom
CES 2009: Olympus has announced the SP-590UZ ultra-zoom digital camera. Trumping Kodak's 24X zoom, the SP-590UZ features a 26X zoom lens that covers a 26-676mm equivalent focal length range. Thankfully there's image stabilization to help prevent camera shake at the long end of the zoom. Like previous recent Olympus UZ cameras, the SP-590UZ can record RAW files.
January 5
Pentax releases Optio E70
Pentax has released the Optio E70 digital compact camera. This 10 megapixel camera features a simple to use interface with large buttons. Continuing the simplicity theme, it also includes Pentax's 'Green' shooting mode, where the camera takes control of all the key shooting settings. Although the camera promises simplicity, it is packed with features such as Triple Anti-Shake Protection, Super-Fast Face Detection and 7 shooting modes.
Pentax launches Optio P70
Pentax has also launched the Optio P70 digital compact camera. Sporting a 12 megapixel image sensor, 2.7" LCD and 4x optical zoom that starts at 28mm equivalent. It also features Triple Anti-Shake protection (digital image stabilisation), advanced face detection of up to 32 faces and HD video recording. There's also an interesting Vertical Snap Mode whereby all icons on the LCD automatically rotate vertically for easier operation of the camera in a portrait mode.
Kodak unveils Z980 with 24x zoom
Kodak has announced the Z980 mega-zoom digital camera. This 12 MP camera sports a 26mm wide angle lens with 24x zoom, a detachable vertical grip with shutter release and is capable of HD recording. Kodak has also announced the addition of three new models to its EasyShare M series. The M380 features a 10 megapixel sensor, a 2.7" LCD and 5x optical zoom. The 10MP M340 and the 9MP M320 feature 2.7" LCDs and 3x optical zoom.
Phase One releases Capture One 4.6
Phase One has announced an updated service release of its Capture One 4, PRO and DB RAW workflow software. Version 4.6 of Capture One and Capture One PRO extends RAW support to the Canon G10, Nikon D3X, Olympus E-30 and Phase One P 65+ cameras. It also provides improved camera support for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 50D. Capture One 4.6 PRO also supports tethered shooting using most of the current Nikon DSLRs.