March 2010 news and reviews
Leaf has announced the availability of its latest Aptus II 10R digital back equipped with an internal rotating sensor. Previously available in its AFi-II cameras, the system can change from portrait to landscape orientation without removing the back. Priced at €24,995, the back includes a 56 x 33mm sensor (with 56MP on an area over twice the dimensions of a 'full-frame' sensor), 3.5" touch screen LCD, 80-800 ISO range and is compatible with most medium and large format cameras.
Print-on demand book publisher Blurb has announced its third annual international Photography Book Now competition with a chance to win a US $25,000 cash prize. Participants must design a photo book in one of three categories, using the company's software. A soft copy or three hard copies must then be submitted with an entry fee of US $35 per category. Category winners will receive a Sony DSLR-A850 plus 28-75mm f/2.8 lens amongst other goodies, with the top prize awarded to the best of those three winners. Entries need to be submitted before July 15, 2010.
Just posted! Our Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G lens review. Sony's fast telephoto zoom is the reincarnation of a Minolta design which first appeared in 2003, and features goodies such as professional-level build and quiet ultrasonic autofocusing. But like many camera makers' own-brand lenses, it costs much more than third-party alternatives from the likes of Sigma and Tamron, without (on paper at least) offering a huge deal more. So does it justify this premium, and how does it measure up to the standard set by Nikon's latest 70-200mm F2.8 VR II we reviewed last month?
Carl Zeiss is celebrating 120 years of camera lens production this month. The German company started off in 1846 manufacturing microscopes before moving onto lenses in 1890. A press release from the company stresses milestones in its history, including its lenses being used in man's first lunar expedition and Hollywood movies such as Barry Lyndon (which famously used an f/0.7 Zeiss lens to shoot scenes by candlelight). Along the way, Carl Zeiss's notable technical achievements have included the Planar and Tessar lens designs, its T* anti-reflective coatings and the development of MTF testing to measure lens quality.
Technology developer InVisage Technologies has announced sensors it says can offer four times better performance than conventional CCD and CMOS sensors. The company's 'QuantumFilm' technology uses the unique electronic behavior of quantum dots (precisely-sized nano-scale crystals trapped in a polymer film) to replace conventional silicon photodiodes. The company says the quantum dots themselves are twice as sensitive to light as conventional photodiodes and that their placement on the sensor surface offers a further doubling of sensitivity over front-illuminated CMOS designs. The film can be positioned on conventional circuitry, allowing the chips to be produced more cheaply than CMOS or CCD designs. The first application will be in mobile phones sensors later this year.
Five years after announcing its development, and following a month-long online campaign trailing the launch, Pentax has finally unveiled its much anticipated 645D medium format digital camera. The first digital version of the company's 645 medium format camera system, it features a 40MP, 44 x 33mm CCD sensor, 921k dot 3.0" LCD and is compatible with the existing 645 system lenses. The camera will initially be available only in the Japanese market at a suggested retail price of ¥850,000 (~ US $9,400) from May 2010.