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February 2010 news and reviews

February 26
Sigma launches interactive website with lens finder
Sigma US has revamped its website with new interactive features. It now includes a Lens Finder section that is aimed at guiding users to select the right lens according to their camera system, price and skill level. Other features include a photo share gallery, blog and social media tools.
Sanho releases HyperDrive Album with RAW preview
Storage device manufacturer Sanho has announced the HyperDrive Album, a portable backup device that can preview RAW files from digital cameras. It's claimed to offer UDMA transfer speeds of 40MB/s, backing up 2GB of data in a minute. Featuring a 4.8" WVGA preview LCD and CF/SD memory card slots, it also includes built-in data recovery tools and a longer-lasting battery that promises up to 200GB of backups per battery charge. The HyperDrive Album is available in 640GB, 500GB, 320GB, 250GB and 160 GB storage capacities - or you can buy the device on its own and install your own hard disk.
February 25
UK Photo competition offers chance to win EOS DSLR
The UK government funded Science: [So what? So everything] campaign has announced a photo competition with a chance to win a Canon EOS 500D digital SLR and lenses worth £1150. To enter the Living Science competition, UK residents above 18 years of age are required to submit a photograph accompanied by a brief description to illustrate the 'life-changing impact of medical science'. The competition will run until March 11, 2010.
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 VR II review

Just posted! Our lens review featuring Nikon's re-mastered version of its professional workhorse fast telezoom, the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 G ED VR II. When we reviewed its predecessor a couple of years ago we were mightily impressed by its performance on DX cameras, but rather less so on the then-new FX format. On its release Nikon claimed the new version was designed to address such concerns, and give 'excellent edge to corner quality on today’s FX format cameras' - so does the lens live up to its billing?

Apple releases Aperture v3.0.1
Two weeks after releasing Aperture 3, Apple has released an update to its raw-conversion and photo management software. Version 3.0.1 improves overall stability and fixes a number of bugs. The update can be accessed via the Software Update feature or is available for immediate download from Apple's website. The company has also posted a Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update v3.1, extending RAW support to additional cameras including the Panasonic DMC-GF1 and Olympus E-P2.
February 24
Pentax unveils Optio W90 rugged compact camera
Pentax has released the Optio W90 rugged compact sporting a tougher body than its predecessor, the W80. It is designed to be dustproof, waterproof up to 6 meters, coldproof down to -10°C (14°F) and shock-resistant for drops of up to 1.2 meters. An interesting Digital Microscope mode claims to deliver magnified images of tiny objects aided by three LED lights in front of the lens barrel. The camera features 12MP sensor, 28-140mm equivalent lens, 2.7" LCD and includes HD video recording and pet detection that apparently 'makes it simple and effortless to capture the delightful faces of active pets.'
Pentax releases X90 digital superzoom
Pentax has released the X90 superzoom with 26x optical zoom lens. Featuring the same 12MP image stabilized sensor inherited from the previously released X70, it offers a slightly longer zoom range at 26-676mm equivalent, an electronic viewfinder with dioptre adjustment and a longer lasting battery. Rest of the features mirror the X70 including the 2.7 inch LCD, P/A/S/M exposure modes and HD video recording.
Samsung Digital Imaging to merge with Electronics
Samsung Electronics has confirmed its planned merger with Samsung Digital Imaging, which will bring the Korean conglomerate's camera division under the same roof as its other consumer electronics businesses such as mobile phones and printers. From April 1, 2010, the camera business will become part of Samsung Electronics with an objective 'to increase management efficiency of the digital camera business and to maximize synergy between businesses'. A year ago the imaging division spun-out from the company's affiliated machinery division, Samsung Techwin, to form an independent camera and optical devices company. Since then it's released a series of ambitious new products, including the mirrorless interchangeable-lens NX system and the enthusiast-orientated TL500/EX1 recently unveiled at PMA.
February 23
Novoflex shows adapters for Samsung NX
PMA 2010: Novoflex has unveiled a series of mount adapters for Samsung's NX mirrorless cameras. The German manufacturer is showing nine adapters to various lens mounts, including Sony Alpha, Pentax K, Olympus OM and Leica R. There is also a Nikon F mount adapter featuring the aperture control ring the company includes on its Micro Four Thirds to Nikon F adapter. So far there are no details on price or availability.
Nikon will provide 'better balance' of ISO and resolution
Future Nikon models will provide a better balance between resolution and high ISO image quality than in the recently launched D3S, according to Nobuaki Sasagaki, General Manager of the Marketing Department of Nikons Imaging Division, speaking in an exclusive interview with dpreview.com.
Olympus still committed to Four Thirds DSLRs
Olympus is still committed to the Four Thirds DSLR standard and will continue to develop it in tandem with its Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras, says the company's US DSLR product manager. In response to press speculation, John Knaur told dpreview.com: 'We still plan to develop full size DSLRs and both, side-by-side.'
Canon posts firmware update for Rebel T1i / EOS 500D
Canon has posted a firmware update for its Rebel T1i / EOS 500D digital SLR. Version 1.1.0 brings improvements to live view shooting and fixes bugs in the English, Arabic and Swedish language menus. The firmware is available for immediate download from Canon's website.
Ricoh develops two more lens units for GXR
PMA 2010: Ricoh has announced the development of two more lens modules for its GXR interchangeable unit camera system. First comes the image-stabilized P10 28-300mm equivalent F3.5-5.6 VC zoom unit, with a back-illuminated CMOS sensor and features such as RAW capture and 120 fps high-speed continuous shooting. The company has also said it will create the A12 28 mm equivalent F2.5 prime lens unit, with 12MP APS-C CMOS sensor, a faster 'GR Engine III' processor and manual focus ring.
February 22
Tokina plans 16-28mm F2.8 for full-frame
PMA 2010: Lens maker Tokina is set to produce a 16-28mm F2.8 ultra wide angle zoom lens for full-frame DSLRs. The lens, called the SD 16-28 F2.8 (IF) FX is being shown in mockup form on the stand of US distributor THK at the PMA show in Anaheim, California. Specifications and availability are as yet unknown.
Sigma interested in interchangeable lens compact
Sigma hopes to make a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera with one of its Foveon sensors, the company's Chief Operating Officer has told dpreview.com. Speaking in an exclusive interview, Kazuto Yamaki also said the company is considering producing lenses for mirrorless systems such as those from Panasonic, Olympus, Samsung and announced by Sony.
SanDisk releases 64GB SDXC memory card
PMA 2010: SanDisk has released its first SDXC (Extended capacity) memory card in 64GB capacity. It offers Class 4 speed with maximum data transfer speed of up to 15MB/s and complements the release of the many SDXC compatible cameras released this year. The 64GB Ultra SDXC card is currently available online at a retail price of $349.99.
CompactFlash cards to offer petabytes of storage
The CompactFlash Association has announced the availability of its new CF5.0 specification, offering greater capacities and speeds. Enabling 48-bit support (as against the current 28-bit), the new specification theoretically allows for an increase in the maximum capacity to 144 petabytes (1PB = 1000 terabytes), up from the current limitation of 137GB and also increases data transfer unit size from 128KB to 32MB. Although it is primarily aimed at the camcorder market, we expect to see compatibility added to future HD-enabled DSLRs.
Just posted - Canon EOS-1D Mark IV in-depth review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, successor to the Mark III and latest in a long line of sports-oriented professional DSLRs that has its roots way back in the days of film. The Mark IV's predecessor was dogged by reports of autofocus problems early in its life, and Canon is anxious to win back confidence with a complete overhaul of the focusing system. The new model also gets an inevitable megapixel boost (to 16 MP), a full HD movie mode, 921K pixel screen and Dual DIGIC 4 processors. Find out how it performed in our comprehensive review after the link...
Phase One releases Capture One 5.1
Phase One has released an updated version of its Capture One 5, PRO and DB RAW workflow software. Version 5.1 extends RAW and tethered shooting support for additional cameras and digital backs including the Nikon D3s, Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and Leaf Aptus-II 10. The Pro version brings in new features such as advanced noise reduction, one-click spot removal and workflow accelerators to handle large number of files. The basic version also adds a few advanced features such as selective color adjustment and an option to add metadata. The update can be accessed via Capture One's update feature for existing users or is available as a free 30 day trial.
February 21
Sony bosses 'pushing' for 3D camera
PMA 2010: Sony bosses are 'pushing' the company to produce a 3D digital camera, according to Masashi 'Tiger' Imamura President of Sony’s Personal Imaging and Sound Business group.
Sony shares its digital imaging strategy
PMA 2010: Sony has decided to keep no secrets and has outlined its forthcoming plans for 2010, including an APS-C competitor for micro Four Thirds. The company has mockup images of a compact, slimline camera, plus three lenses including a currently-fashionable pancake prime. Alpha SLR enthusiasts will be heartened by a promised successor to the highly-regarded A700 that will shoot AVCHD video, shown alongside an as-yet unidentified, smaller video-capable body. Finally the high end is catered for by an upcoming Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2 wideangle lens, and a 500mm F4 G telephoto in what appears to be the same silver finish as graces the 70-400mm F4-5.6.
Live blogging from the Sony press conference
PMA 2010: The show is about to start but first there's a press conference on the Sony stand. We're blogging live from the site to bring you all the latest news about their intentions. Click through and refresh the page for the latest updates.
Casio releases EX-S7 & EX-Z35 digital compacts
PMA 2010: Casio has announced the Exilim EX-S7 and EX-Z35 digital compacts. Both offer 12MP sensors, 3x (35-106mm equiv.) zoom lenses and feature direct web upload options. The EX-S7 comes with 720p HD video recording and has a slightly larger LCD size of 2.7” compared to the EX-Z35’s 2.5". They also feature a Dynamic Photo option that enables users to add graphics and create e-greetings in camera.
February 20
Sigma launches stabilized 70-200mm F2.8 telezoom
PMA 2010: Sigma has launched into PMA with a veritable salvo of interesting new products. First up is the APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM, an image-stabilised fast telezoom with ultrasonic-type silent focusing that provides a direct alternative to recent arrivals from Canon and Nikon. The all-new optical design uses two elements made of Sigma's newly-developed 'FLD' glass (plus three of SLD glass) to reduce aberrations, a 9-blade circular aperture for attractive bokeh, and features full-time manual focus override. The Optical Stabilisation system promises up to four stops benefit when hand-holding, and like other recent Sigma lenses, can be used by owners of Sony and Pentax cameras (the lens will also be available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts). Last but not least, a dedicated adapter that extends the length of the hood for APS-C users is supplied as standard.
Sigma releases 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM
PMA 2010: Sigma has announced the 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, a large-aperture short telephoto lens which is bound to pique the interest of budding portraitists. Featuring a hypersonic focus motor with full-time manual focus override, the lens uses a 9-blade diaphragm for attractive background blur, and has a minimum focus distance of 85cm. It comes with a lens hood adapter for ASP-C/DX users that extends the length of the hood to give more effective shading, and will be available in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma and Sony SLRs.
Sigma releases 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM
PMA 2010: Third on Sigma's long list of introductions is an image-stabilized fast standard zoom for APS-C SLRs. The 17-50mm EX DC OS HSM offers a slightly wider angle of view than the company's previous models in this class, and alongside optical stabilization also adds a hypersonic autofocus motor for users of all mounts (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma and Sony). It uses two elements made from Sigma's new 'FLD glass', plus two glass mold and one hybrid aspherical elements, to reduce aberrations. The minimum focus distance is 28cm across the entire zoom range, giving a maximum magnification of 0.2x, and the 77mm filter thread does not rotate on focusing.
Sigma introduces DP2s large sensor compact
PMA 2010: Sigma has released the DP2s compact camera with a 14MP FOVEON  X3 CMOS sensor. With almost identical specifications to its predecessor, the DP2, it offers a new AF algorithm for faster autofocus, a Power Save mode and a slightly revised rear design with more visible labeling of the buttons. The camera will ship with the company's latest Photo Pro 4.0 raw processing software.
Sigma announces DP1x compact camera
PMA 2010: Sigma has announced the DP1x digital compact camera, a revised version of its DP1 large-sensor compact camera. Featuring the same sensor and wide angle lens as the DP1, it inherits the faster True II processor from the DP2 and a new AF algorithm for faster auto focus. It also shares the revised rear design of the DP2s, with a dedicated 'QS' (Quick Set) button and more visible labeling of controls.
Sigma goes ultrawide with 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC
PMA 2010: Continuing our way through Sigma's bag of goodies, we come to the widest-angle rectilinear lens yet made for APS-C DSLRs, in the shape of the 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM. Essentially an equivalent of the company's 12-24mm lens for full-frame, this features a disorientatingly-wide angle of view of 121 degrees for exaggerated perspectives. It has a built-in petal shaped hood, HSM focusing with full-time manual override, and a minimum focus of 24cm. Again, it will be available to fit Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma and Sony SLRs.
Sigma stabilizes 50-500mm ultra-telezoom
PMA 2010: Last but not least of the lenses, we come to Sigma's upgrade for its popular 50-500mm ultra-telephoto zoom which now incorporates Optical Stabilisation - a hugely welcome addition to such a long lens. Again Sigma claims the OS offers up to four stops benefit, and works with Sony and Pentax SLRs as well as Canon, Sigma and Nikon models, with the stabilized viewfinder image aiding in focusing and composition. The all-new optical design uses 22 elements in 16 groups, including four SLD glass elements, but the filter size has grown to a whopping 95mm.
Sigma re-introduces SD15 digital SLR
PMA 2010: More than a year after first showcasing it at the 2008 Photokina trade show, Sigma has re-announced the SD15 digital SLR. Successor to the SD14, it incorporates a 14MP Foveon X3 sensor, the same True II processor as the latest DPx models, and a larger 3.0" 460k dot LCD. Other features include SD card compatibility, ISO 100-1600 (50-3200 extended) sensitivity, 21 shot raw buffer at 3fps and 5 frame auto bracketing for HDR-enthusiasts.
Sigma adopts 'FLD' glass
PMA 2010: Sigma has also taken the opportunity to reveal a bit more about its new 'FLD' glass, which is used in several of the company's lens designs simultaneously unveiled at PMA. Standing for 'F' Low Dispersion, the material is claimed to have performance equivalent to fluorite glass, but at a more affordable price. Its optical characteristics apparently allow excellent correction for residual chromatic aberration, while its lower density compared to traditional optical glass allows lighter lenses. It's used in the company's new 70-200mm, 17-50mm and 8-16mm designs.
Nikkor AF-S 24mm F1.4 sample images
PMA 2010: Samples images from Nikon's 24mm F1.4 AF-S wide-angle prime lens. We're not sure if these are the world's first indepent sample shots with this lens but, given how hard it was to wrestle it away from the guys on the Nikon stand at the PMA Sneak Peek event, there can't be many others.
PMA 2010 - We're here
PMA 2010: A splinter group from the dpreview.com editorial team has touched down in Anaheim to cover the announcements from the PMA 2010 show. We'll be wandering from stand-to-stand, bringing you pictures and insight about all the latest launches, including live blogging from some of the press conferences. Stay tuned over the next few days for all the latest news.
Samsung unveils TL500/EX1 with fast f/1.8-2.4 lens
Pre-PMA 2010: Samsung has released the TL500 (EX1 in Europe) premium compact camera with a fast f/1.8-2.4 wide angle 3x (24-72mm equiv.) image stabilized zoom lens. It comes with an 1/1.7" 10MP CCD sensor and a 3.0" multi-angle AMOLED display. The camera also offers full manual control, RAW capture, VGA video recording in H.264 format and a new faster DRIMeIII processor.
Five more NX lenses from Samsung in 2010
Samsung has announced that it plans to roll-out five more lenses for its NX system in 2010. The new range includes a 20mm f/2.8 pancake, 60mm f/2.8 macro, 20-50mm compact zoom, 18-200mm superzoom and another version of the 18-55mm kit lens without image stabilization (O.I.S.). The lenses will be released through the course of this year.
Samsung releases AQ100/WP10 waterproof compact
Pre-PMA 2010: Samsung has released the AQ100 waterproof ultracompact (known as WP10 outside the US). It has been designed to operate underwater to a depth of 3 meters and features a dedicated Aqua mode, that optimizes camera settings for underwater photography. The 12MP camera comes with a 2.7" LCD, 5x (36-180mm equiv) internal zoom lens and 720p HD video recording.
Samsung announces TL350/WB2000 with 1080p HD
Pre-PMA 2010: Samsung has announced the TL350 (WB2000 in Europe) with full 1080p HD video recording. The camera comes with a 10MP CMOS sensor and offers P/A/S/M shooting modes, RAW capture and high-speed video recording at up to 1000 fps. It also features an 'advanced panorama' mode with object tracking, and a dual capture mode that allows users to capture stills whilst recording videos. A 3" AMOLED screen rounds off the specification.
February 19
Bibble Labs announces Bibble 5 Pro v5.0.2
Bibble Labs has posted another update to its Bibble 5 Pro software just three weeks after posting the previous version. v5.0.2 fixes bugs and extends RAW support to additional cameras including Leica M9 and Ricoh GXR. It also adds a Soft Proofing option that enables users to check previews of prints for color accuracy, amongst other improvements. The latest version is currently available as a free upgrade for existing v5 customers from Bibble's support forum.
February 18
Pentax posts  K-7 firmware update
Pentax has posted a firmware update for its K-7 mid-level DSLR. Version 1.03 provides lens correction compatibility for additional FA lenses, improves movie recording stability with specific SDHC cards and offers minor usability improvements. The firmware is available for immediate download from Pentax's website.
Sony releases  DSC-H55 compact superzoom
Pre-PMA 2010: Sony has released the DSC-H55 compact superzoom, featuring an image stabilized 10x (25-250mm equiv.) zoom lens. A simplified version of the recently released HX5, it features a 14MP CCD sensor rather than a back-illuminated CMOS sensor, standard 720p HD video recording and leaves out the HX5's GPS and compass. It incorporates a 3 inch LCD and features such as Sweep Panorama and SD card compatibilty.
Adobe Photoshop turns twenty
Adobe will celebrate 20 years of its flagship Photoshop image editing software on February 19, 2010. Since the launch of version 1.0 in 1990, the software has been developed and features added to take into account the changing needs of different industries (not least the arrival of the Internet), helping it to become the de facto industry standard. To mark its anniversary, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) in the US will host an event, presided over by the company's senior management and the co-creators of the software, Thomas and John Knoll.
Sony unveils world's slimmest rugged compact
Pre-PMA 2010:Sony has released the world's slimmest rugged compact in the shape of the DSC-TX5. Measuring 17.7mm (0.69") on its thinnest side, it features a 10.2MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a 3.0" touchscreen LCD that works underwater. The company's first rugged compact, it is designed to be dustproof, waterproof up to 3 meters, coldproof down to -10°C (14°F) and shock-resistant for drops of up to 1.5 meters. Offering a range of optional weatherproof accessories, the camera will be available from March 2010.
February 17
Seitz speeds up Roundshot VR panorama head
Swiss manufacturer Seitz Phototechnik AG has announced the Roundshot VR Drive 's', a faster version of its motorized panorama head. Capable of capturing both cylindrical and spherical panoramic images, it can complete a 360° revolution in 8 seconds. It also features a 'quality mode' for High Dynamic Range work, and is billed as compact and lightweight at 1.65kg. Existing users of the Roundshot VR Drive can upgrade to the speed (s) version for €333, while new buyers can avail themselves of it for €1870.
Cosina releases Voigtländer Apo-Lanthar 90mm SL II

Cosina has announced the Voigtländer-branded Apo-Lanthar 90mm F3.5 SL II close focus lens for Canon, Nikon and Pentax mounts. Maintaining the same 50cm minimum focusing distance and optical construction of the previous, SL version, the lens has been redesigned with a smaller body. Additionally, by mounting the included close up lens, its closest focusing distance can be reduced down to 32cm, giving a magnification ratio of 1:1.8. Priced at ¥58,000 (~ US $645) for the Canon EF mount and ¥55,000 (~ US $610) for the Nikon Ai-S mount and Pentax KA mount, it will be available in Japan from early March 2010.

February 16
Samsung updates firmware for NX lenses
Samsung has released firmware updates for all of its NX lenses. Firmware v1.1 improves autofocus accuracy of the 18-55mm kit lens, 50-200mm telezoom and 30mm F2 pancake lens. The updates are available for immediate download from Samsung's website.
Just posted - Our Nikon D3S in-depth review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Nikon D3S. The successor to the highly regarded D3 offers improved high ISO performance and a new HD video mode. Can these additions, plus a host of more minor refinements combine to keep the D3S competitive against newcomers such as Canon's EOS-1D Mark IV? Read our 34-page in-depth review to find out.
Sigma releases 17-70mm OS for Sony & Pentax
Sigma has announced the OS version of its 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro lens will be available soon in Sony and Pentax mounts. Currently available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts, the Sony version will start shipping from February 27, 2010 followed by the Pentax version from March 19, 2010.
February 15
Pentax Europe offers K-x in eight more colors
Pentax has announced eight more colors of its K-x digital SLR for the European market. Limited numbers of the camera will be available in Beige, Chocolate, Metal Fuchsia, Pink, Metal Turquoise, Metal Dark Grey, Olive green and Soft brown. The cameras will start shipping from March 2010 at a suggested retail price of £599, including the 18-55 kits lens.
February 12
Leaf releases Aptus II 8 digital back
Leaf imaging has released what it says is the industry's fastest medium format camera back, in the shape of Aptus-II 8. This latest back can capture a frame in under 0.8 seconds (1.25 fps) and can shoot 60 full resolution frames in a minute. The 40MP camera back is available at a retail price of €13.995.
Panasonic announces Lumix DMC-GF1 in pink
Panasonic has announced a special edition of its Lumix DMC-GF1 in Sakura pink. It joins the currently available color choices of black, red, silver and white. The company has confirmed that the pink model will be available in Japan, Hong King, Singapore, France and some Nordic countries.
Olympus announces forthcoming E-P1 firmware update
Olympus has announced a forthcoming firmware update for its E-P1 Micro Four Thirds camera. Version 1.3 will address the occasional freezing of the camera display while manually focusing.
February 11
Submerged camera's memory card retains photos
Photos captured by a digital camera thought to have spent over a year in the Atlantic ocean have been discovered. According to the BBC, trawlerman Benito Estevez fished the camera out with five holiday pictures intact on its SD card, off the west coast of Europe. One picture includes the cruiseliner QE2, that made its last voyage in 2008, helping date the images. Although no details of the camera model is available, it reflects well on the resilience of solid-state memory.
Camera makers amongst world's top patent applicants
Samsung, Canon and Panasonic have ranked second, fourth and fifth in the list of top fifty recipients of US patents in 2009. Panasonic, which makes greater use of the international patents system, topped the list of International Applications with Samsung and Canon coming in seventeenth and twenty seventh respectively. Fujifilm and Ricoh which both have interests beyond cameras also feature in the top 20 of the US list, while the smaller Nikon comes fifty-second in terms of international applications. Canon's lofty position in the US list, despite operating in fewer product areas than the two consumer electronics giants, prompted it to issue a press release highlighting its performance.
February 9
Exclusive! Olympus E-PL1 Sample Gallery
Just posted! The world's first independent, final firmware samples from the Olympus E-PL1. We've put together a gallery of 25 images to add to our preview. These have been shot with a variety of lenses and make use of several of the camera's Art Filters. There are also examples of the high-saturation iEnhance picture mode that is applied when the camera is in iAuto mode.
Apple unveils Aperture 3 raw workflow software
Apple has unveiled Aperture 3, the latest version of its raw-conversion and photo management software. It promises faster organization of large number of images and offers over 200 new features. Changes include a new Faces and Places option that enables Face detection and geotagging, an improved slideshow feature that combines photos and HD videos, and a new Brushes feature to 'paint' effects on images. Mac users who already own Aperture will be able to upgrade for US $99, while new customers can buy it for US$199.
Nikon posts firmware update for D3S pro DSLR
Nikon has released a firmware update for the D3S professional DSLR that fixes a series of bugs. Firmware v1.01 rectifies errors pertaining to movie recording, exposure preview, live view and the 'CHA' error message displayed while using some CF cards. It also revises the simplified Chinese menu. The firmware is available for immediate download from Nikon's website.
zoomMediaPlus announces SD card reader for iPhone
Mobile applications company zoomMediaPlus has announced the zoomIt SD card reader for Apple's iPhone or iPod. Files including photos, videos, music and documents can be transferred in both directions using the included zoomIt application. Priced at $59.95, the card reader will start shipping from April 2010. It is unclear whether Apple's camera connection kit announced alongside the iPad will be able to perform a similar role.
Nikon 16-35mm f/4 G ED VR stabilized ultra-wide zoom
Nikon has announced the worlds first image stabilized ultra-wide angle zoom for full frame cameras. The AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR lens includes a Silent Wave autofocus motor and VR II technology, which Nikon claims gives up to four stops benefit against camera shake when hand-holding. Other goodies include Nano Crystal coating to combat flare, a magnesium alloy barrel, and weather sealing.
Nikon releases 24mm f/1.4 G ED fast wideangle lens
Nikon has released the AF-S Nikkor 24mm F/1.4G ED wide aperture prime lens for full-frame DSLRs. It features an anti-reflective Nano Crystal coating and both ED and aspherical lens elements to help minimize distortion and chromatic aberration. The lens comes in a weather-resistant body and includes a Silent Wave Motor for quieter autofocus operation.
February 8
Canon develops EOS E1 video plug-in
Canon has announced the development of the EOS E1 plug-in for Apple's Final Cut Pro video-editing software. It will enable EOS 5D Mark II, 7D and 1D Mark IV users to log and mark videos with timecode, reel names and metadata before importing into the software. A free Beta version of the plug-in will be available to download for testing in March 2010.
Canon releases PowerShot SD1400 IS & SD1300 IS
Canon has released the PowerShot SD1300 IS (IXUS 105 in Europe) and the SD1400 IS (IXUS 130), its slimmest PowerShot model to date. Both offer image stabilized wide-angle 4x (28-112mm equiv.) optical zoom lenses, 2.7" LCDs and incorporate 12MP and 14MP sensors respectively. The 17.8mm deep SD1400 IS also features 720p HD video recording using H.264 compression and an HD output.
Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i , previewed with samples
Canon has unveiled the latest in its long line of consumer digital SLRs, the Rebel T2i (EOS 550D). Highlights include 1080p HD video recording (with full manual control), an 18MP CMOS sensor, 3 inch 3:2 LCD with 1040k dot resolution and the 63-point iFCL metering system first seen on the EOS 7D. The new Rebel also offers a handful of less attention-grabbing upgrades, including redesigned buttons, 3.7 fps continous shooting, +/-5 stops exposure compensation and UI support for Eye-Fi cards. We spent a little time with a pre-production EOS 550D last week and have produced a detailed hands-on preview and (quick) gallery of Beta samples - check it out after the link...
Canon introduces PowerShot SX210 IS
Canon has introduced the PowerShot SX210 IS compact superzoom that replaces last year's SX200 IS. Key changes include the ability to stow the pop-up flash, a flat body design, a 14.1MP sensor and increased, 14x (28 - 392mm equiv.) optical zoom range. It also features a dedicated video recording button and supports SDXC memory cards.
Canon announces SD3500 IS with touchscreen LCD
Canon has released the SD3500 IS (Digital IXUS 210 in Europe) ultra-compact featuring a 3.5 inch touchscreen LCD with 460k dot resolution. It offers a 5x optical zoom lens starting at a useful 24mm and a 14MP sensor. The interface recognizes gestures for some commonly used features.
February 4
Topaz releases Detail 2 plug-in for Photoshop
Software maker Topaz Labs has released Detail 2, its detail enhancement and sharpening plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. The latest version features a redesigned interface, more editing tools and promises faster processing speed. It is available as a free upgrade for existing users or $39.99 for first-time buyers.
February 3
Samyang announces 14mm f/2.8 lens availability
Samyang Optics has announced its 14mm f/2.8 lens will be available from March 2010 at a retail price of €329. After a brief production delay last year, the final version will be made available in Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony and Olympus four-thirds mount.
Unified Color releases HDR Photostudio for Mac
HDR software maker, Unified Color Technologies has announced its HDR PhotoStudio software now available for Mac. It is based on the company's 'Beyond RGB' color model that attempts to separate the brightness and color components of the image data to allow the brightness levels from multiple exposures to be combined without abberent color shifts. The software saves images in its native .BEF format that can be opened in Adobe Photoshop via a plug-in for further editing. The Mac version of the software is available for an introductory price of $99.00.
Ricoh releases CX3 with back-illuminated sensor
Ricoh has released the CX3 compact superzoom with a 10 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. It offers the same 10x (28-300mm equiv.) optical zoom lens and 920k dot, 3 inch LCD as the CX2 compact, but sees the addition of 720p HD video recording, a 'Pets' scene mode and enhanced noise reduction.
Olympus unveils the affordable Pen
Olympus has officially announced the E-PL1, a simplifeid, less expensive addition in its Micro-Four Thirds camera range. With an MSRP of $599/€599/£549 the latest PEN ncludes many of the features of its big brothers, the EP-1 and EP-2 and also adds a built-in flash. We've had an E-PL1 for the past few days and have put together a hands-on preview that we hope will provide a little more insight than the bare specs and press images carelessly left lying around the internet. Had we been told by Olympus that if you leak materials you still get a hands-on then we would have published all this much earlier.
Olympus 9-18mm and 14-150mm for Micro Four Thirds
Olympus has given more detail of the two Micro Four Thirds lenses it announced in November 2009. First is the tiny 9-18mm F4-5.6 wideangle zoom, which becomes the second lens to feature Olympus's clever collapsing barrel design, making it less than half the size of the corresponding Four Thirds lens for carrying. It offers a 100 percent degree angle-of-view and will be available in May 2010 for about $700. Second is the 14-150mm F4-5.6 superzoom, which again is much smaller and lighter than the equivalent SLR lens; it will be available in June 2010 priced around $600. Both lenses feature lightweight single-element internal focus units for quieter, more responsive autofocus.
Nikon unleashes five Coolpix compact cameras
Nikon has released five Coolpix compacts. First comes the P100, the company's first Full 1080p HD enabled camera. It incorporates a 26x optical zoom lens starting at 26mm, a 3 inch LCD and a 10MP CMOS sensor. Next comes the L110 with 15x (28-420mm equiv) optical zoom lens, image stabilized 12MP CCD sensor and 720p HD video recording. Then comes the S4000 ultra-compact with a 3 inch touchscreen LCD, 12MP sensor and 720p HD recording. Last comes a pair of budget compacts, the 10 megapixel L22 and 8 megapixel L21 that offer 3.6x optical zoom lenses 3 inch and 2.5 inch LCDs respectively and operate with AA batteries.
Nikon launches Coolpix S8000 compact superzoom
Nikon has released the world’s slimmest 10x superzoom in the shape of Coolpix S8000. Measuring 27.3mm on its thinnest side, it incorporates a 14.2MP sensor, a 3 inch LCD with 921,000 dots resolution and includes features such as in-camera editing and 720p HD video recording.
Nikon releases S3000 ultra-compact camera
Nikon has released the Coolpix S3000 ultra-compact camera. Successor to the S220, the 12MP S3000 comes with a wide-angle 4x optical zoom lens starting at 27mm, a 2.7 inch LCD and includes features such as AF tracking and a Smile Timer mode that captures images only when the subject smiles. It will be available from March 2010 in black, 'champagne' silver, red, blue, orange, magenta and green.
February 2
Hasselblad releases H4D-40 medium format camera
Hasselblad has launched the H4D-40, 40 megapixel medium format camera. It incorporates a 33 x 44mm CCD sensor (almost twice the size of a full-frame 35mm DSLR sensor) and includes the 'True Focus' AF system introduced in the H4D-50 and 60. The H4D-40 kit, including camera body, 80mm lens and viewfinder is available at a retail price of US $19,955 (£12,995) and includes the company's Phocus 2.0 software.
Fujifilm releases 3D Printer in the UK
Fujifilm has released the 3D Print System, a three dimensional dye sublimation printer in the UK. The printer joins the company's 3D imaging system that includes the W1 digital camera, V1 picture viewer and 3D prints. It will start shipping from Summer 2010.
Olympus unveils Tough 8010 & 6020 rugged compacts
Olympus has unveiled the Stylus Tough 8010 and 6020 rugged compact cameras. Compared to previous generation Tough series, both cameras features tougher bodies that are waterproof up to 10m, shockproof against a drop of up to 2m and freezeproof down to -10°C. With 14MP image-stabilized sensors, 28-140mm lenses and 2.7 inch LCDs with advanced Tap control the the Tough 8010 and 6020 come with 2GB and 1 GB internal memory respectively and feature HD video recording. The 8010 also comes with a built-in manometer for water pressure calculation. They will available from March 2010.
Olympus SP-800UZ & SP-600UZ with 30x & 15x zoom lenses
Olympus has announced the addition of two superzooms to its SP series. First comes the SP-800UZ with a 30x ultra-telephoto optical zoom (28-840mm equiv.), 2GB internal memory, 3 inch LCD and a 14MP sensor. Next comes the SP-600UZ with 15x zoom lens starting at 28mm, 1GB internal memory, 2.7 inch LCD and a 12MP sensor. Both cameras come with SD card slots, Dual Image stabilization, HD video recording and AF tracking.
Fujifilm introduces FinePix HS10 with 30x optical zoom
Fujifilm has introduced the FinePix HS10 advanced superzoom which combines a huge 30x (24-720mm equiv.) optical zoom lens with a 10MP back illuminated CMOS sensor. It includes full HD 1080p video recording, RAW capture, P/A/S/M shooting modes and a Motion Remover mode that removes unwanted objects from photographs. The HS10 also offers 10 fps full resolution continuous shooting with AF Tracking and high speed movie recording at 1000 fps.
Fujifilm unveils FinePix F80EXR with Super CCD EXR
Fujifilm has unveiled the FinePix F80EXR with a 12MP Super CCD EXR sensor. Successor to the F70EXR released last year, the new camera with switchable sensor technology sees the addition of HD video, 10x (27-270mm equiv.) optical zoom lens and a larger 3.0 inch LCD. The camera also features a Pet Detection mode and orientation sensor.
Fujifilm announces FinePix Z700EXR & Z70 compacts
Fujifilm has released the FinePix Z700EXR and FinePix Z70 premium compacts. The Z700EXR is built around a 12 megapixel Super CCD EXR sensor and a 3.5" advanced touchscreen LCD. Next comes the FinePix Z70, successor to the Z35 that features a one touch button to directly upload images online and HD video recording. It incorporates a 12MP sensor, 2.7 inch LCD, 5x (36-180mm equiv.) optical zoom lens.
Fujifilm launches FinePix XP10 rugged compact
Fujifilm has launched its first rugged compact in the shape of Finepix XP10. Sporting a similar slim, curvy body design of the company's Z33 waterproof camera, the XP10 is designed to be dustproof, waterproof up to 3 meters, shockproof up to 1 meter and freezeproof to - 10 degrees. It incorporates a 12MP sensor, 2.7 inch LCD, 5x (36-180mm equiv.) optical zoom lens and features 720p HD video recording, AF tracking and an Easy Web Upload option.
Fujifilm releases S1600, S1800 & S2500HD superzooms
Fujifilm has released the FinePix S1600, S1800 and S2500HD lightweight superzoom compact cameras. All three cameras come with 12MP image-stabilized sensors, wide angle 15x (S1600) and 18x (S1800 & S2500HD) optical zoom lenses starting at 28mm, 3 inch LCDs, and electronic viewfinders. The new S models also feature HD video recording, but only the S2500HD comes with an HD output.
Fujifilm releases a range of budget compacts
Fujifilm has announced a range of budget compacts. Six cameras mark the introduction of the new JZ, JX and JV series. The JZs are compact superzooms while the JX and JVs are ultra-compacts. The more expensive models offer lenses starting at 28mm equivalent while the JVs join the simpler AA-battery-powered AV and AX models making do with no real wide-angle capability. All the modes have at least 12MP and can shoot 720p HD movies.
February 1
Developing a new rating system
We're updating - or rather overhauling, our ratings system and we thought some of you might be interested to see the direction we're moving in. We're still ironing out a few wrinkles and fine-tuning a few aspects but we're more or less ready to roll with the new ratings and scores as soon as we publish our next review. To find out a little more about where we're headed and the thinking behind it, check out the blog post after the link...
Sigma 18-250mm DC OS HSM review

Just posted! Our lens review of the Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM. Sigma's latest superzoom is essentially an extension of the company's older 18-200mm design, but now sports both optical image stabilization and an in-lens hypersonic autofocus motor for users of Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony DSLRs. But in this popular segment of the market it faces stiff competition, not only from the camera manufacturers' own offerings but also from Tamron's superzoom designs. So how does it measure up?

Tokina 11-16mm becomes first Alpha mount lens
Tokina has launched its first lens in Sony's Alpha mount. The AT-X 116 Pro DX 11-16 mm f/2.8 lens will be available in Japan from from February 24th, 2010 at an approximate retail price of ¥94,500 (around US $1046). This announcement means Tokina becomes the last of the big three third-party lens makers to support the Sony format.
Canon releases Pixma iP2700 photo printer
Canon has released the PIXMA iP2700 photo and document printer. It promises grain-free printing at resolutions of up to 4800 x 1200 dpi and can print 10 x 15cm borderless photos in approximately 55 seconds. It also includes two software packages to correct underexposed images and for combining sections of web pages into single documents.