September 2009 news and reviews
Sensitivity (ISO) in digital imaging is the subject of quite a lot of confusion - it's becoming common to hear talk of manufacturers 'cheating with ISO.' Here we look at why sensitivity can be hard to pin down, why we use the definition we do and how it's really as complicated as it can seem.
We've just posted the second part of our blog post about ISO and Sensitivity. Last week we looked at what the ISO standard is supposed to tell us (the key thing being that it's based on JPEG middle gray and therefore is dependent on the manufacturer's chosen tone curve). This week we have a little look at what's going on behind the scenes when many modern cameras try to boost their ability to capture highlights.
Just posted! Our lens review of the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH (also known, somewhat cyptically, as the H-H020). There's little doubt that this year's small-bodied Micro Four Thirds cameras have attracted a lot of attention, and by way of an appetiser for our upcoming Panasonic GF1 review, we take a look at its compact, large aperture kit lens. True to the system's spirit of cross-brand co-operation, we've also taken the opportunity to shoot an extensive samples gallery using the Olympus E-P1. Click through to discover whether we found the lens to be up to standard.
Just Posted: Our preview sample gallery from the Canon PowerShot G11. It's the first time in the G-series' history that the nominal resolution has decreased on a new model. We've got hold of a production version of Canon's latest flagship compact camera and so you can see for yourself what impact this move has had on the image output. As usual we've made sure to include a variety of light situations and ISO-settings.
We're seeing an increasing number of posts on our forums expressing confusion about ISO and asking why we don't test cameras based on their 'true' ISO values. So we've just posted the first of a two-part explanation of ISO, what it means, the role it plays in photography and how apparent discrepancies in reported values can occur.
Swiss medium format manufacturer Sinar has been hived-off into two companies with its Swiss distributor Tekno AG taking over development, sales, service and support for the brand's products and manufacturing passed to Femron, a management buyout of its production facilities. A new company called Sinar Photography formed by Teckno will take over the relevant assets. Former owner Jenoptik withdrew from the medium format market in July 2009 following the collapse of its partner in the Hy6 system: Franke & Heidecke.
Leica has officially revealed the M9 - a full frame version of its M-mount rangefinder. The Leica M9, with its 24 x 36mm, 18 megapixel sensor is, according to the company: 'the world's smallest full-frame system camera.' The body is available in a new 'Steel Gray' finish and offers minor button re-arrangement over the M8 - all the major changes relate to the internals. The Kodak-developed CCD sensor features improved offset microlenses to optimize performance at the edges of the frame along with a sensor cover with improved filtering of infrared light so lens-mounted IR filters are no longer needed. Most importantly, the 35mm film-sized sensor means every Leica M-mount lens provides the originally intended field of view.
Pre-IFA 2009:Hot on the heels of Canon's announcement of its Hybrid IS technology comes the first lens to sport this feature and, to no great surprise, it's a 100mm F2.8 macro. The Hybrid IS system is claimed to provide up to 2 stops stabilization at 1.0x magnification, and up to 4 stops at longer shooting distances. This, Canon's third-generation EF 100mm F2.8 macro lens, is also the first to gain the flagship 'L' designation and comes with such goodies as ultra-low dispersion glass elements, a nine blade circular aperture and weathersealing. The Canon EF 100mm F2.8L IS USM macro will supplement, rather than supplant the existing 100mm F2.8 USM macro.