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June 2009 news and reviews

June 30
Lexar incorporates Micron's NAND chips
Micron Technologies has announced the first flash memory cards to use its 34-nanometer process technology. Its subsidiary, Lexar, will incorporate the new 32Gb NAND chips into its 32GB Platinum II SDHC memory card. A 16Gb microSDHC card (commonly used in mobile devices), will also make use of the 34nm technology NAND chips. Lexar has said it will incorporate the technology into an increasing proportion of its flash memory card range.
Cooliris V1.11 brings '3D Wall' to browser tabs
Cooliris has released the latest version of its image browsing plug-in. Version 1.11 allows the Cooliris 3D Wall to be used within a browser tab, enabling toggling between tabs of image walls. Users with Flickr accounts can now browse images complete with title, author, description and tags, and can choose to view their own sets and pools. It also supports MySpace, Facebook and other social networking websites.
June 29
AgfaPhoto announces DC-600uw rugged compact
AgfaPhoto has announced the DC-600uw rugged compact camera. It is claimed to be water-resistant up to 10 meters and can withstand pressure of up to two bar (29psi). Its exterior is designed to protect against dust and dirt. The camera has a 6MP sensor, a 2.4" LCD and includes Face Tracking and video recording for easy sharing on YouTube. Priced at €149, it will be made available next month.
June 25
Phase One and Leaf managers look to buy Leaf assets
Phase One and product managers of medium format maker Leaf are in the process of buying key elements relating to the Leaf brand from owners Kodak. These brand rights, research and development and production capabilities are being bought by a new company called Leaf Imaging Ltd which is 100% owned by Phase One. The new entity will have access to Kodak's intellectual property portfolio via a licensing agreement. The new company will continue to make and develop the Leaf Aptus range of digital backs but will not initially sell the AFi-II camera system. We spoke to Phase One's President and CEO who explained what the deal will mean for Leaf users.
SanDisk launches world's fastest 32GB SDHC card
SanDisk has introduced the world's fastest 32GB SDHC card. It reads and writes at speeds of up to 30 megabytes per second and adheres to the new SD Association Class 10 specification. The card can record up to 160 minutes of 1920x1080 pixels HD videos at 24Mb/s data transfer rate. It will start shipping in August.
Pentax introduces Optio W80 rugged camera
Pentax has announced the Optio W80 rugged compact camera. It's certified waterproof at depths of up to 5 meters for two hours, shockproof for drops of up to 3.3 feet (1m) and coldproof up to -10 degrees Celsius. It's got a 12.1MP sensor, 5x optical zoom and a 2.5" LCD, and includes features such as HD movie recording and Pixel Track digital Shake Reduction.
June 24
DNG updated to allow RAW corrections

Adobe has updated its DNG digital negative specification to allow a series of image corrections to be embedded in the file. Version 1.3 of the non-proprietary RAW file format allows a series of 'corrections and enhancements', which Adobe is calling opcodes, to be defined in DNG files. These opcodes include the ability to specify corrections for lens aberrations such as geometric distortion and lateral chromatic aberration that should be made to the RAW data when it's processed.

Adobe releases Lightroom 2.4 & Camera Raw 5.4
Adobe has released Photoshop Lightroom 2.4 and Camera Raw 5.4. The full, release version of the ACR update, that was originally posted as a release candidate on the Adobe Labs site, is now available for immediate download along with the Lightroom update. Both provide additional Raw support for Canon EOS 500D, Nikon D5000 and 18 Hasselblad models.
June 23
Sigma posts firmware update for DP2
Sigma has posted a firmware update for its DP2 large-sensor digital compact. Version 1.02 improves autofocus performance and allows you to access magnified live view with a single button press when in manual focus mode.
June 22
Panasonic updates GH1, G1 & 14-140mm HD firmware
Panasonic has released firmware updates for its Lumix DMC-GH1 and DMC-G1 Micro four thirds cameras and the Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm F4.0-5.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens. Firmware v1.1 for the GH1 makes a series of performance improvements, while v1.3 for the G1 improves compatibility with the 14-140mm lens. v1.1 for the HD lens improves image stabilization while shooting videos and improves camera compatibility.
June 19
Just posted! Nikon 50mm F1.4G lens review

Just posted! Our lens review of the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G. This version replaces the AF-Nikkor 50mm F1.4D we reviewed last year, bringing entirely new optics and a built-in AF-S motor which allows autofocus on all of Nikon's DSLRs. On its introduction Nikon hailed it as 'redefining the standard lens concept', so how well does it live up to these lofty claims?

June 18
Sigma 18-250mm DC OS HSM for Sony &  Pentax
Sigma has said that its 18-250mm F3.6-6.3 DC OS HSM superzoom lens is now available in mounts for Sony and Pentax SLRs. This lens incorporates a Hybrid Optical Stabilisation system, which can be used on bodies which have built-in anti-shake (the camera's stabiliser must however be switched off). It also has a hypersonic motor for fast and quiet autofocus, and a minimum focus distance of 45cm for close-up photography. The MSRP is $800 in the USA, and £559.99 in the UK.
Sigma: price and availability for 10-20mm F3.5 DC
Sigma has announced the price of the 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM lens it announced in March 2009. The new lens, that will be sold in parallel to the older, variable aperture design, will cost £649.99. Sigma, Canon and Nikon versions will be available in July, with Pentax and Sony variants to follow in August.
PocketWizard introduces ZoneController
PocketWizard has announced the development of ZoneContoller, a multiple light controller. It adds to the company's radio transmitters to offer independent control over three lighting zones. Each zone can be adjusted to ±3EV in 1/3EV steps and switched to manual, TTL auto or turned off. The ZoneContoller will be made available in late summer.
Casio enables tethered shooting in EX-F1 digital camera
Casio has released a software enabling tethered shooting with its EX-F1 high-speed superzoom compact. The software allows the camera to be controlled from your computer via a USB cable. Casio recommends updating camera firmware to v2.00 before using the software.
June 17
Nik adds Lightroom support to Complete Edition
Nik Software has updated the Complete Collection, that bundles all of its imaging software tools, to support Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2. The updated edition also include installers for Adobe Photoshop and Apple Aperture. Priced at $299.95 for new users or free to existing users, it is available for immediate download from the company's website or in a boxed version.
Kingston announces world's first 128GB USB flash drive
Kingston Technology has announced the world's first 128GB USB Flash drive. DataTraveler 200 sports a cap-less design and includes a built-in Password Traveler security software for data protection. It also comes in 32GB and 64GB capacities. The 128GB version is priced at $546, while the 64GB and 32GB drives are priced at $213 and $120 respectively.
Panasonic issues 'battery safety' firmware
Panasonic has released firmware updates for its latest digital cameras including the GH1, G1, ZS3 and TS1. The new firmware can identify genuine Panasonic batteries and prevents the use of any third party battery packs. The company says it has taken this move to ensure safety of its users against possible injuries because of overcharging, internal heating or short circuit in third-party batteries.
June 16
Just posted! Olympus E-P1 movie samples
We've just got back from shooting a quick gallery of movies using the new Olympus Pen E-P1, so if you want to see for yourself how the 720p videos look then check out the gallery of 14 clips after the link.
More in the Micro Four Thirds pipeline

The E-P1 has undoubtedly created quite a stir as the first genuinely compact interchangeable-lens digital camera, but what does Olympus have up its sleeve for Micro Four Thirds in the future? We caught up with Akira Watanabe, product planning manager of Olympus's SLR division at the E-P1 launch event in Berlin, and asked him about the company's plans for the system.

Olympus E-P1 'digital Pen' - in depth preview + samples
After a carefully constructed teaser campaign Olympus has officially launched the E-P1, its first Micro Four Thirds camera and the worst kept secret in the photography industry, thanks to a deluge of leaked information ahead of launch. It's a compact mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that mimics the styling of the company's Pen range that was popular in the 1960s and 70s. The camera is built around an image-stabilized 12 megapixel sensor and incorporates a 3.0" LCD. The E-P1 is available with a 14-42mm kit lens that retracts into its barrel when not in use, much like the lens of a compact camera. Check out the news story, lots of samples and our full hands-on preview after the link. Update: Second gallery of shots from the European launch in Berlin, including the new 17mm pancake lens now added.
June 15
Mamiya announces M18, M22 and M31 digital backs
Mamiya has announced three new M series digital backs for its 645AFDIII medium-format camera. The M18, M22 and M31 backs are based on 18MP, 22.1MP and 31.6MP sensors respectively, and incorporate 2.2" LCDs featuring a Live Preview mode. With the fastest capture rate of the line (0.8 fps), the M18 uses a 44.2 x 33.1mm CCD with 9 x 9 micron photosites. The M22 features a larger 48.9 x 36.7mm CCD with 9 x 9 micron photosites, and the M31 has a 44.2 x 33.1mm with 6.8 x 6.8 micron photosites. Each digital back can be purchased separately or in a system kit with the 645AFDIII camera and Sekor 80mm F2.8 D lens.
Cosina announces Voigtländer Nokton 50mm F1.1 lens

Cosina has announced a Voigtländer branded Nokton 50mm F1.1 high speed lens for the Leica M mount, in a launch which marks the 10th anniversary of Cosina's Bessa series of rangefinder cameras. The Nokton becomes the second-fastest lens currently available for the M mount after the Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95, yet despite its speed weighs in at a relatively manageable 15 ounces and uses 58mm filters. The lens is constructed with 7 elements in 6 group and has minimum focusing distance of 1m. It will start shipping from the end of this month at a retail price of approximately 130,000 yen.

June 12
Fujifilm Finepix Z300 with touchscreen shooting
Fujifim Japan has released the Finepix Z300, its first camera that offers touchscreen shooting. With this new feature, users can focus and shoot images by touching the subject on the LCD screen. This 10MP camera with its 3.0" LCD and 5x (36-180mm equiv.) optical zoom incorporates features such as Image Stabilisation, an improved macro mode and Infrared Connectivity. The camera is available in Pink, White Gold, Purple and Glossy Black, but currently only in the Japanese market.
Just Posted: Nikon D5000 in-depth review
Just Posted: Our in-depth review of the Nikon D5000. Nikon has been on something of a roll with its recent DSLRs and, with the D5000, we see much of the technology from the D300 trickle down to the entry-level for the first time. In addition to that 12 megapixel CMOS sensor, the D5000 gains a tilt/swivel LCD monitor to help make the most of its 720p HD movie capabilities. Is this enough to fend off the very competent cameras it will be up against? Find out in our full review.
June 11
Casio unveils Exilim EX-H10 ultra-compact superzoom
Casio has unveiled its first ultra-compact superzoom in the shape of Exilim EX-H10. Its 10X optical zoom starts at an extremely wide 24mm equivalent. Its battery can shoot an impressive 1000 images on a single charge (using standard CIPA tests). The 12.1MP camera also has a 3.0" LCD and features such as Auto Best Shot and Make-up Shot.
June 10
Eye-Fi creates wireless SDHC card for pro market
Eye-Fi has developed a version of its wireless SDHC memory cards aimed at the pro market. The Eye-Fi pro supports RAW file transfer and allows the creation of ad hoc connections to a computer or mobile device (without the need for a wireless router or internet connection). It also incorporates a new selective transfer feature that downloads only images that the user has marked as locked or protected. The Eye-Fi Pro is now available for a retail price of $149.
Canon introduces Selphy CP790 photo printer
Canon has introduced the Selphy CP790 compact dye-sublimation photo printer. With a print speed of 47 seconds for postcard size images, it sports a 3.0" LCD, memory card slots for a selection of popular media and a Pictbridge port. It comes with a built-in carry handle, storage basket and an optional battery pack to enable portability. The printer includes Auto Image Correction functions and built-in templates and layouts for customizing images before printing.
Canon announces Selphy CP780 photo printer
Canon has also announced the Selphy CP780 compact dye-sublimation photo printer. Replacing the CP760, it offers faster print speed of approx 47 seconds per print and features a 2.5" LCD with image preview and takes a selection of memory card formats. It will be available in pink, blue, silver or white.
June 8
Just Posted: Canon EOS 500D / Rebel T1i review
Just Posted: Our review of the Canon EOS 500D (Digital Rebel T1i in the United States and Kiss X3 Digital in Japan). Canon's xx0D series has for many years been one of the industry's most successful products. This latest incarnation comes with a (yet again) higher resolution sensor, a 920k pixel 3.0 inch LCD and 1080p HD video recording. Are these upgrades enough to defend one of the top spots in the 'entry level' segment of the market? Click through and find out in our review.
June 5
Apple releases RAW compatibility update
Apple has released a Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update for Aperture 2, iPhoto '08 and iPhoto '09. Update 2.6 supports RAW files from the Canon Digital Rebel T1i (EOS 500D in Europe and EOS Kiss Digital X3 in Japan), Nikon D5000 and Olympus E-30 digital SLRs. The update is available for immediate download from Apple's website.
June 2
Olympus marks 50 years of Pen Series
Olympus has published the third installment of its video series celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Pen cameras. The compact, cropped-format cameras evolved into the Pen-F, one of the smallest mass-market interchangeable lens cameras ever made. The site says there will be another installment next week but, with few milestone Pen series cameras left to cover, its layout appears to leave room for more videos. Coincidentally, Olympus has said there would be more news this summer about its Micro Four Thirds camera, a distinctly retro mockup of which has been shown at recent trade shows. Update: Olympus UK has told us there will be a public hands-on event in London on June 25th.
June 1
Tamron 10-24mm for Sony and Pentax coming soon
Tamron has announced that the availability of Sony and Pentax versions its 10-24mm wide-angle zoom APS-C cameras. The lens, which received a Recommended rating when tested in its Nikon mount guise, will be available in Japan from June 12th, the company says, with sales then expanding to other markets.