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April 2009 news and reviews

April 30
Just Posted: Fujifilm FinePix F200 EXR review
Just Posted: Our review of the Fujifilm FinePix F200 EXR. Fujifilm has built up a reputation for following its own path when it comes to sensor technology, which has resulted in cameras such as the F30, F31fd and S5 Pro that have developed devoted followings. Now we have the FinePix F200 EXR, the first camera to incorporate the company's Super CCD EXR technology. So does this latest wizardry live up to the promises of improved low-light performance and greater dynamic range? And, just as importantly, what's the camera like to use? Find out the answer to both questions in our in-depth review.
April 29
Phase One announces P40+ medium format system
Phase One has announced the P40+ medium format digital back. The new system incorporates the company's Sensor+ technology that offers both a full 40MP resolution capture mode and a second 10MP 'Sensor+' mode for faster image capture. The Sensor+ mode also increases maximum sensitivity from ISO 800 (in full resolution mode) to ISO 3200. The camera has started shipping at approximately €14,990 for the digital back and €16,990 for the camera system.
Phase One releases Capture One 4.8
Phase One has announced version 4.8 of Capture One 4, PRO and DB RAW workflow software. The latest update provides support for the P40+ and Olympus E-620. It also provides improved camera support for the P65+, Leica D-Lux 4 and Olympus E-30 digital cameras.
Nikon updates Camera Control Pro 2
Nikon has released an updated version of Camera Control Pro 2, its remote control software for its DSLRs. Version 2.5.0 extends support to the latest D5000 digital SLR. It also resolves minor issues pertaining both to Windows and Mac users.
April 28
Canon releases service notice for PowerShot G10
Canon has announced a service notice for its PowerShot G10 compact camera. It addresses the appearance of lines in certain images shot with a specific batch of G10's. Affected cameras can be identified by their serial numbers, where the 4th and 5th digits correspond to the numbers listed in the notice. These cameras will be repaired for free by contacting the company's customer support center.
PictureCode releases Noise Ninja v2.2.0
PictureCode has updated the standalone version of Noise Ninja, its noise analysis and reduction software. Version 2.2.0 features a new Sidekick mode enabling external image-editing applications such as Photoshop Lightroom to send files for automatic batch processing. This update also fixes a bug in the Mac version.
April 24
Just posted! Pentax 15mm F4 Limited lens review
Just posted! Our lens review of the Pentax smc DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited. Following our recent tests featuring many of the wideangle zooms currently on the market, we turn our attention to Pentax's latest design: a compact wideangle prime for APS-C DSLRs. As a member of Pentax's 'Limited' range, it has the undeniable attraction of finely-engineered aluminium construction, but does the quality of the optics match the build?
Cosina announces M adapter for Micro Four Thirds
Cosina has today announced a Voigtländer branded adapter to connect M-mount lenses with Micro Four Thirds camera bodies. The VM Micro Four Thirds adapter only provides a mechanical connection (no electronic data transfer) for lenses from Leica, Carl Zeiss and Voigtländer. It can also be used in conjunction with the company's M/L adapter to allow the use of Voigtländer L lenses. Click through for further infomation on the Cosina website (in Japanese) and a list of compatible lenses.
April 23
Canon updates firmware for EOS 50D, 450D & 1000D
Canon has released firmware updates for its 50D, 450D and 1000D digital SLRs. Firmware versions 1.0.6, 1.1.0 and 1.0.5 for EOS 50D, Rebel XSi (450D) and Rebel XS (1000D) respectively, support the AF assist beam feature of Canon's latest Speedlight 270 EX flashgun. Additionally, the 50D update rectifies other issues including vertical banding noise.
April 22
Just Posted: Sony Cybershot DSC-HX1 Review
Just Posted: Our review of Sony's new superzoom: the HX1. Superzoom is a fitting name for a camera that features a 20X zoom range of 28mm to 560mm equiv. It also features ultra-fast 10 fps continuous shooting speed, 1080p HD video recording and a sweeping panorama mode. All this built around a new 9 Megapixel CMOS sensor. How does this impressive sounding package perform? Find out in our review.
Ricoh releases firmware update for GR Digital II camera
Ricoh has released a firmware update for the GR Digital II compact camera. Version 2.30 includes manual flash control as well as the ability to to save white balance compensation values under 'my settings'. A new feature, 'Today's Shots' displays the number of images recorded on a particular date when the power is turned off. The update follows the recent firmware update (v1.16) for the CMOS-based CX1 which rectifies a few minor issues.
April 20
Nexto announces NVS2500 backup storage device
Nexto, a manufacturer of portable backup storage devices, has announced the NVS2500 backup device claiming to offer back up speeds of up to 80MB/s. Primarily designed for video professionals, it is compatible with Compact Flash, SDHC and MemoryStick Pro, though its fastest speeds are reserved for SxS media. Built around a 2.5” SATA hard drive, it offers eSATA/USB and FireWire support. It also allows simultaneous backup to both its internal HD and an external USB hard drive. It also features a 2.4" preview LCD, rugged construction and a free-fall sensor for maximum drive protection. The NVS2500 is available in 160GB, 250GB, 350GB and 500GB storage capacities.
April 17
Panasonic releases Lumix DMC-FS12, FS62 & FS42
Panasonic has announced the addition of three new compact cameras to its Lumix FS series. The 12MP FS12 with 4x (31-124mm equiv.) optical zoom and a 2.7" LCD incorporates Intelligent Auto mode, Optical Image Stabilization and Face Detection. The FS42 and image-stabilized FS62 are both packed with 10 megapixel sensors, 2.5" LCDs, 4x (33-132mm equiv.) zoom lenses and include features such as Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector and Face Detection. We expect the FS62 to be widely available, the other two models through select retailers.
April 15
Nikon updates firmware for D40 and D40x DSLRs
Nikon has released a firmware update for its D40 and D40x DSLRs. Version 1.12 for the D40 and Version 1.01 for the D40x improve compatibility of both cameras with Nikon's new EN-EL9a batteries. With the updated firmware, the D40 should deliver approximately 510 shots in single-frame shooting mode using the EN-EL9a, according to CIPA standard tests, rather than 470 with the original EN-EL9 pack.
Apple releases Aperture v2.1.3
Apple has released an updated version of its Aperture image processing software. Version 2.1.3 fixes minor issues related to the image library and improves the overall functioning of the software. The update also rectifies an error in thumbnail display of Nikon camera files when the camera is connected directly to the computer.
April 14
Pentax posts firmware update for K20D DSLR
Pentax has released a firmware update for its K20D digital SLR. Version 1.03 improves operation of the Shake Reduction (SR) function of the camera. K20D users can download and install the latest firmware from the Pentax website.
Nikon D5000 preview sample images
We've posted samples images from the Nikon D5000 DSLR. We borrowed a production specification version of Nikon's latest digital camera and made the best of the London weather. Most of the shots have been taken using the Nikkor 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 VR and at default settings. However, we've tried to use a range of the camera's ISO settings, two of its scene modes (including the new Silhouette mode) and even tried turning Active D-Lighting off for some of the low-light samples. We've added these samples to the end of our hands-on preview.
Nikon D5000 DSLR: Announced and Previewed
Nikon has unveiled the D5000 upper-entry-level DSLR and we've prepared a full preview of the camera and its features. Sitting between the D60 and D90, the D5000 appears to go head-to-head with Canon's EOS 500D, aiming at upgrading DSLR owners and experienced compact users. It combines many of the features of the D90 in a slightly smaller, simpler body and includes a 12.3 MP CMOS sensor, live view, 720p movies and a 2.7 inch, 180 degree Tilt/Swivel LCD.
Nikon announces 10-24mm F3.5-4.5G ED lens
Nikon has announced the AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm F3.5-4.5G ED, an ultra-wideangle zoom for DX format DSLRs. This mid-range optic offers a minimum focus distance of 0.24m through the entire zoom range, and includes a built-in AF-S motor that enables autofocus on entry-level Nikon bodies (including the D5000 also announced today). The optical formula consists of 14 elements in 9 groups, including 3 aspherical elements and 2 ED glass elements to combat aberrations. It will be available from May at a cost of €849.
April 9
Olympus releases firmware update for E-3 DSLR
Olympus has released a firmware update for its top-of-the-range digital SLR, the E-3. The update notes specify that Version 1.4 improves the autofocus performance of the camera. As usual, users can download and install the latest firmware using Olympus Master or Studio software.
April 8
Nik Software announces Silver Efex Pro for Lightroom
Nik Software has announced the availability of the Silver Efex Pro, its advanced Black and White conversion plug-in for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Silver Efex Pro is the third of Nik's plug-ins that it has developed for Photoshop Lightroom. The plug-in is compatible with Lightroom v2.3 and higher and is available for immediate download for a suggested retail price of $199.95 or free to existing users.
April 6
Just posted! Tokina 12-24mm lens review
Just posted! Our new lens review featuring the Tokina AT-X PRO SD 12-24mm F4 ED (IF). Continuing our series examining ultra-wideangle zooms, we take a look at Tokina's five year old offering in this popular category. Can it still compete with newer designs, or does its relatively narrow angle of view compared to 10mm zooms rule it out of serious contention?
April 3
Phase One releases Capture One 4.7
Phase One has announced an updated version of its Capture One 4, PRO and DB RAW workflow software. Version 4.7 introduces a new Enhanced Image Package (.EIP) file format that combines Capture One changes with lens calibration data and the original RAW data in a single file. Furthermore, JPEG and TIFF files can now be edited directly in Capture One. It also supports tethered shooting with Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D3x DSLRs.
April 2
Olympus posts firmware update for E-30 DSLR
Olympus has released a firmware update for the E-30 digital SLR. Version 1.1 rectifies minor issues with image playback and quietens operation of the Image Stabilizer when used with Imager AF and Hybrid AF modes of the camera. The latest firmware can be installed via Olympus Master or Studio software.
April 1
Play a part: community-generated challenges are here
The latest phase of our Challenges system is underway - community-generated challenges. Following a successful roll-out, bug-fixing and lesson-learning phase, we're starting to open the Challenges system up so that you can create new series of challenges to test your peers' visions and creativity. The first community-generated challenges begin accepting entries from tomorrow and there's a page for you to volunteer as a series host.