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August 2009 news and reviews

August 31
Leica to unveil new products on 9.9.09
Pre-IFA 2009: Leica has today revealed that we will know about 'the next generation of Leica Cameras' in just over a weeks time. According to an official video (presented by Rudi Spiller, CEO) there will be a live webcast at 9.00 AM EST on 09/09/09, there could be some numerical hint there. We will of course be reporting this live and bringing you full details on the day. Click through to watch the video.
August 27
Sony DSLR-A550 hands-on preview
Just Posted: Our hands-on preview of the Sony DSLR A550. The recently announced (and reviewed) A380 and its A330/A230 variants were not met with universal approval. With the launch of the DSLR-A500 and A550, the bigger picture starts to become clearer, with Sony producing five sub-$1000 DSLRs tailored to a variety of needs. The Alpha 5 series is much more clearly aimed at the photography enthusiast, so we have prepared a 10-page preview detailing its specifications, features and changes. Is this the camera to put smiles back on the faces of the Alpha crowd?
Sony launches DSLR-A850 full-frame digital SLR
Pre-IFA 2009: Sony unveiled its second full-frame digital SLR in the shape of DSLR-A850. It offers almost all features of the company's flagship full frame DSLR A900, but at a more affordable price. It is built around the same 24.6MP CMOS sensor and incorporates A900's 3.0 inch 921k LCD, sensor-shift image-stabilization and Dual Bionz processors. The only compromise is a 98% viewfinder coverage against A900's 100% and slower continuous shooting. To complement the A850, Sony has also announced a mid-priced 28-75mm constant F2.8 SAM lens to fit with the A850's affordable full-frame ethos. The A850 will start shipping from September 2009 with the 28-75mm lens available from November 2009.
Sony unveils DSLR-A550 and DSLR-A500
Pre-IFA 2009: Sony has also added to its consumer-level DSLR range, with the A500 and A550 taking the count to five cameras. The DSLR-A550 and DSLR-A500 digital SLRs are based around new CMOS sensors and add a manual focus confirmation live view mode using the main imaging sensor, in addition to Sony's secondary-sensor Quick AF live view system. Both cameras feature Sony's better noise reduction, include an Auto HDR mode and offer sensitivity of up to ISO 12800. The 14.2 MP A550 features a high resolution 921k dot 3" tilt-angle LCD, while the 12.3 MP A500 comes with a 230k dot resolution 3"tilt-angle LCD.
Sony announces 28-75mm F2.8 SAM lens
Pre-IFA 2009: Sony has released a full-frame 28-75mm F2.8 SAM lens to accompany its new Alpha DSLR-A850 digital SLR. The constant F2.8 lens offers a less expensive alternative to the Sony Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8 ZA for A850 and A900 owners looks for a fast standard zoom. Construction is made up of 14 elements in 16 groups, including four aspherical elements. It features the SAM (Smooth Autofocus Motor) in-lens autofocus technology, rather than the SSM system used in the ZA lens. Priced approximately at around $800 USD, it will start shipping from November 2009.
August 24
Just Posted: Sony DSLR-A380 in-depth review
Just Posted: Our review of the Sony DSLR A380. This is our first review of one of Sony's latest trio of entry-level DSLRs. Although the specification hasn't changed significantly compared to its predecessor, the A350, its intent has - it's a DSLR clearly designed to reach out to compact camera users thinking of making the leap to the world of large sensors. So how comfortable did we feel in its embrace?
August 21
Sony issues DSC-W170  service notice
Sony has issued a service notice for its Cyber-shot DSC-W170 camera. In some cameras, small particles of metal plating peel off from the casing surrounding the lens, resulting in splinters. Sony will offer a free service to replace the front panel, including the bezel, on units that fall within the affected serial number range.
August 20
Adobe offers ACR and DNG v5.5 Release Candidates
Adobe has announced release candidates of Photoshop Camera Raw 5.5 and DNG Converter 5.5 for immediate download from its Adobe Labs site. The latest versions extends RAW support to the Nikon D300s, Nikon D3000, Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic DMC-FZ35. In addition, the ACR update also includes a correction for sensors with non-conventional color filter arrays. The 'Release Candidate' label indicates the update is tested, but not yet the finalized version.
Ricoh unveils CX2 CMOS compact super-zoom
Pre-IFA 2009: Ricoh has unveiled the CX2 compact super-zoom. Featuring the same 9 MP CMOS sensor inherited from its predecessor CX1, it offers a larger 10.7x zoom range at 28-300mm equivalent, a faster continuous shooting range of 5 fps, Pre- and Continuous-AF modes and additional scene modes. The rest of the features mirror the CX1 including the 3.0 LCD with 920k dot resolution and the faster Smooth Imaging Engine IV processor.
August 19
Canon refreshes Pixma Printer series
Pre-IFA 2009: Lastly, Canon has announced seven Pixma All-In-One printers, an A4 photo printer and an A3 office printer. The Pixma iP4700 photo printer offers 1pl (picolitre) drops, 9600dpi printing and supports direct printing from compatible cameras. The entry level Pixma MP250, MP270 and MP490; mid-range Pixma MP550 and MP560; and the higher end Pixma MP640 and MP990 All-In-Ones incorporate the Auto Photo Fix II image correction function and an Auto Scan Mode that recognises different kinds of documents and processes them accordingly. Last comes the Pixma iX7000 Business printer with PgR (Pigment Reaction) Technology resulting in water- and smudge-resistant, longer lasting prints.
Nikon explains recall of serviced D5000s
Nikon has released a statement explaining why some D5000 owners have been asked to return their cameras for a second time. The company says it developed an enhanced preventative maintenance procedure after it had started servicing cameras so 'a small number' of customers will need to send their cameras back again. It has also updated its list of affected serial numbers under the original service notice.
Canon PowerShot S90 brief hands-on
The Canon's PowerShot S90 appears to represent exactly the sort of compact we like - a bright lens, good screen and easy access to a selection of manual controls. Then we discovered the control ring around the lens and thought it worth publishing our first impressions. Click here to have a read of our brief hands-on with Canon's latest photographers' compact.
Canon unveils PowerShot G11 high-end compact
Pre-IFA 2009: Canon has announced a handful of compact cameras including models aimed squarely at keen photographers. Top of the line is the PowerShot G11, successor to its flagship PowerShot G10 compact released last year. The G11 replaces the G10's 14.7MP sensor with what it describes as a high sensitivity 10 MP CCD though it still uses the same 28-140mm equivalent stabilized lens. The camera also gains a tilt and swivel LCD, though the size drops to 2.8 inches. Flash sync speed increases to 1/2000th of a second and HDMI output is also added. Other features include Dual Anti-Noise System (more sensitive sensor and Digic 4 offering a claimed 2-stop improvement over the G10), RAW shooting and P/A/S/M shooting modes.
Canon reintroduces S-series with PowerShot S90
Pre-IFA 2009: Next comes the PowerShot S90 digital compact, resurrecting Canon's S-series of compact 'photographers' cameras. It features a 28-105mm F2.0-4.9 stabilized lens with a control ring built around it that enables control of camera settings such as exposure compensation. It also offers a 3 inch LCD with 461k dot resolution in a slim, compact body. Like the G11, it includes the high sensitivity 10MP sensor and Digic 4 noise reduction to make up a 'Dual Anti-Noise System.' In keeping with the photographers' camera brief, the S90 includes manual control and RAW shooting.
Canon premieres SD 980 IS and SD 940IS
Pre-IFA 2009: Then come Canon's first touch-screen camera, the SD980 IS (Digital IXUS 200 IS), and its slimmest wide-angle compact, the SD 940 IS (Digital IXUS 120 IS). The SD 980 IS features a 3 inch touch-screen LCD and an optically stabilized 5x zoom lens starting at a wide 24mm equivalent. The SD 940 IS is bundled with a wide-angle 28-112mm equivalent lens with optical stabilization and 2.7 inch LCD in a slim body design. Both cameras feature 12.1 MP sensors and offer HD video recording.
Canon announces PowerShot SX20 IS super-zoom
Pre-IFA 2009: Canon has announced the PowerShot SX20 IS super-zoom digital compact, successor to the the SX10 IS. Featuring the same wide angle 20x (28-560mm equiv.) zoom lens and 2.5 inch vari-angle LCD of its predecessor, the latest model features a 12.1MP sensor and offers 720p HD video recording.
Canon launches PowerShot SX120 IS super-zoom
Pre-IFA 2009: Canon has also launched the super-zoom PowerShot SX120 IS. Featuring the same 10x zoom lens (36-300mm equiv.) and 3 inch LCD of its predecessor (SX110 IS), but has seen the resolution increase to 10MP. The rest of the features are similar to the the SX110 IS including P/A/S/M shooting modes but with faster Face Detection that can detect up to 35 faces.
Canon introduces Selphy ES40 speaking photo printer
Pre-IFA 2009: In addition to its camera announcements, Canon has introduced the Selphy ES40 compact dye-sublimation photo printer with built-in voice guidance. Offering an option of seven different languages, the voice guidance helps users through the printing process and also informs them of common printing issues. It features a similar design of its predecessor, the ES30, including the Easy Scroll Wheel and large buttons, but with a larger 3.5 inch LCD.
August 18
Casio introduces EX-450 & EX-Z90 digital compacts
Pre-IFA 2009: Casio has announced a pair of Exilim Zoom series digital compacts. The EX-Z450 and EX-Z90 feature an Intelligent AF function that attempts to identify photographic subjects beyond just looking for humans as faces. The Z450, which has a 4x zoom lens starting at 28mm equivalent, also incorporates an enhanced version of the company's Dynamic Photo mode that now allows a moving subject to be cropped from a single shot, as long as the background flat and of a single color. Both feature 12.1MP sensors and offer HD recording.
August 16
Leica S system specifications
Leica has revealed specifications and a release date for its medium-format 'S system'. The S2 as a 37.5 megapixel Kodak CCD sensor which measures 45 x 30 mm, sensitivity is pegged from ISO 80 to 1250 and the camera can shoot 1.5 fps for up to 8 RAW DNG files. Around the back you'll find a three inch LCD with 460,000 dots (surprisingly not the higher resolution 920,000 dot screens found on other DSLRs). Everything else is pretty much to be expected; three metering modes, four exposure modes, integral metal shutter provides 32 to 1/4000 sec and a flash sync of 1/125 sec, optional lens leaf shutter delivers flash sync up to 1/500 sec. A basic 'kit' (S2 and one lens) will set you back around $30,000 and the first units should ship in October.
August 14
dpreview.com challenges forge links with forums
Our Challenges system has become increasingly popular since its launch eight months ago but we've always said we would continue to develop it to make it more useful and fun to use. In response to the brand- or technique-specific challenges that are now being created, we've developed a system to link those challenges with their relevant forums. Associated challenges will be given greater prominence within the communities that use those forums.
August 13
Samsung unveils CL65 wireless compact with 1152k LCD
Samsung has released three compacts with a smattering of 'world's first' features. Top of the range is the CL65 (ST1000 in Europe), the first compact to offer a 3.5" touch screen LCD with 1.2 million dot (megadot?) resolution and multi-wireless connectivity. It features Bluetooth 2.0 and Wi-Fi connectivity allowing wirelessly connections to internet routers or DLNA compliant devices. Built-in GPS enables geo-tagging of images with location data. The camera, which uses MicroSD memory cards, also features built-in Intelli-Studio PC software to directly upload images online or e-mail them. The 12.1 MP camera also offers an optically stabilized 5x zoom lens (35-175mm equiv.) and HD video recording.
Samsung releases world's first compacts with front & back LCDs
Samsung has also released the TL225 and TL220 (ST550 and ST500 in Europe), the world's first compact cameras with front and rear LCDs. The 3.5" touch screen LCD (1.2m dot resolution) of the TL225 and the 3.0" LCD (230k dot resolution) of the TL220, incorporate a Smart Gesture User Interface technology, enabling users to tap and browse through features. In addition both feature 1.5" 61k dot front LCDs for shooting challenges such as self-portraits. Both 12.2 MP cameras, which use the MicroSD memory format, sport optically stabilized wide-angle 4.6x optical zoom lenses starting at 27mm equivalent.
August 12
Ricoh GR Digital III samples gallery
Just Posted: Our preview sample gallery from the Ricoh GRD III. Ricoh has been kind enough to lend us its latest photographer's compact, the GR Digital III. It combines an F1.9 28mm-equivalent lens with one of our favorite compact camera user interfaces so we've all been keen to have a go. We're unlikely to have a chance to review the camera in the near future but wanted to give a flavor of what it's like.
August 7
Ricoh releases firmware update for GR Digital II
Ricoh has released a firmware update for its GR Digital II compact camera. Version 2.40 improves playback features and assigns more functions to the ADJ lever of of the camera. It also fixes minor issues related to orientation information.
August 6
123di launches 'The 123 of digital imaging' Version 6

123di.com has announced Version 6.0 of Vincent Bockaert's 'The 123 of digital imaging Interactive Learning Suite'. 123di is an interactive learning application for Windows and Mac that includes user controllable animations and simulations. It aims to cover all aspects of the digital imaging workflow, including photography techniques, in three selectable user levels. Editing techniques are centered around Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2, Elements 7, CS4, and Camera Raw. Reduced-price upgrades are available for existing users.

Olympus E-P1 review updated with lens tests
Update: We've just posted an update to our in-depth review of the Olympus E-P1 'Digital Pen', adding lens tests for the 14-42mm and 17mm pancake kit lenses. Find out if Olympus's first two Micro Four Thirds lenses can match the E-P1's sensor - and maintain the standards set by its existing Four Thirds optics - check out our updated review after the link...
It's my Party-shot and I'll smile if I want to
Sony has announced the Party-shot personal photographer, an automated photo-taking cradle. The device uses the DSC-WX1 and DSC-TX1's face- and smile detection functions to detect photo opportunities in social environments. The Party-shot sits on a table or tripod and tilts and pans to locate and follow potential subjects. It will also recompose its shots based on the rule-of-thirds.
Sony releases DSC-WX1 & TX1 with Exmor R sensor
Sony has announced the Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 and DSC-TX1 digital compacts, the first to use back illuminated CMOS sensors. According to Sony, its 'Exmor R' sensor offers low-light performance with approximately twice the sensitivity of traditional image sensors. The sensor has been incorporated into familiar W and T series bodies. The WX1 features a 5x zoom starting at 24mm equivalent and f/2.4. The TX1 is a touch screen camera with 4x zoom lens (35-140mm equiv.). Like the existing, conventional CMOS-based HX1, both cameras offer HD video recording and a Sweep Panorama mode.
Sony unveils 'Exmor R' back-illuminated CMOS technology
Sony's latest TX1 and WX1 compacts are the first to make use of the back-illuminated CMOS technology that the company has developed. Initially announced in June 2008 the technology, dubbed Exmor R, essentially involves exposing what would be the underside of a conventional CMOS chip, meaning that the light doesn't first have to travel past the chip's electronic circuitry to reach its light-sensitive region. The result is a chip with a greater light-sensitive area that the company says is more than twice as sensitive as conventional CMOS sensors.
August 5
Pentax unveils Optio WS80 waterproof camera
Pentax has released three new compacts. From the top, we have the Optio WS80 waterproof compact. More of a lifestyle camera, it is not quite as resilient as its sister model, the W80 (though is still certified to depths of up to 1.5 meters for two hours). The 10MP camera features an SP (Super Protect) coating on its 35-175mm zoom lens. It also has a 2.7 inch LCD and offers interval shooting, HD video recording and a digital panorama mode.
Pentax launches Optio P80
Next up is the Optio P80 ultra-compact camera. Incorporating most features of the earlier released P70 into a lighter body, the 12MP camera comes with a 4x zoom lens (27.5-110mm equiv.) and 2.7 inch LCD. It offers features such as HD video recording and a new 'Small Face filter', which makes the subject’s face appear smaller in relation to the body. Interesting.
Pentax releases Optio E80 budget compact
Last in the line of Pentax's announcements comes the Optio E80, expanding the company's affordable E series of digital cameras. It sports a similar interface to its predecessor, the E70 but with larger buttons, a larger 2.7 inch LCD, 3x zoom lens starting at a slightly wider-angle 32mm and HD video recording.
August 4
Nikon unveils S1000pj - the world's first projector camera

Nikon has unveiled the world's first compact camera with an in-built projector. The S1000pj projects images up to 40 inches in size with a VGA resolution and at a maximum distance of 2 meters. The camera is supplied with a remote control and stand for ease of use. It features an optically stabilized wide angle 5x zoom lens (28-140mm equiv.), 2.7 inch LCD and a 12.1MP sensor.

Nikon announces CoolPix S70, S640 and S570

Nikon has also announced three new Coolpix S-series compact cameras. The Coolpix S70 is built around a 3.5 inch touch-sensitive OLED screen. New screen technologies can register multiple touchs and should make the camera more responsive, easier on batteries and easier to view than its predecessor. It features an optically stabilized 5x zoom lens (28-140mm equiv.), 12.1MP sensor and HD video recording. Next comes the S640 - the fastest Coolpix to date, which Nikon says offers 'DSLR-like focus speed.' It also features an 'air gapless' screen which fits the protective outer panel more closely to the LCD for improved contrast. Along with the less expensive S570, it features a 5x optically stabilized zoom lens starting at 28mm, 2.7 inch LCD and 12MP sensor. The S570 does without the S640's air gapless screen, fast AF and USB charger, helping keep its MSRP €50 lower.

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