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December 2010 news and reviews

December 29
Samsung releases WB700 ultra-compact with 18x zoom lens
Pre-CES 2011: Samsung has released the WB700 ultra-compact with 18x optical zoom. The camera offers an equivalent zoom range of 24-432mm, optical image stabilization, P/A/S/M shooting modes and Smart Filters. It can also shoot 720p HD movies in H.264 format and offers HD output. It will be available from April 2011 at a retail price of $299.99 in the US market and £249.99 in the UK.
Samsung announces NX11 mirrorless camera with i-Function
Pre-CES 2011: Samsung has announced the NX11 large-sensor mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The update to its existing NX10 model features support for its i-Function feature, introduced with the NX100. The camera will come bundled with an updated version of the company's 18-55mm kit lens, now featuring an i-Fn button. The company also says it has updated the camera's grip.
December 28
Sigma posts firmware update for SD15
Sigma has released a function enhancing firmware update for its SD15 digital SLR. Firmware v1.01 adds a second Quick Set (Qs2) option for additional access to commonly used functions. It also adds a Key Sound cancellation function and improves the display quality of the LCD. The firmware is available for immediate download from the company's website.
December 27
Sony to invest $1.2 billion in CMOS production
Sony has announced it is investing $1.2 billion in production of CMOS sensors. The announcement includes the purchase and refurbishment of a a production facility it previously operated as a joint venture with Toshiba. With this move and other recent investments, the company aims to double its total monthly production from approximately 25,000 wafers to approximately 50,000 wafers per month by the end of March 2012.
December 25
Happy holidays from dpreview
The entire team at dpreview would like to wish all our readers Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, Merry Christmas or whatever you say in your part of the world. As we celebrate our 12th anniversary we're thrilled with the changes we've made to the reviews and community tools in 2010 and are looking forward to another exciting year in 2011, with even more new features in the pipeline and of course even more of the high quality content that made this site what it is today. Whatever you're doing today, enjoy yourselves and thank you for being a part of dpreview.com!
December 22
The art of HDR photography - part 1
Today we're publishing the first in a series of articles by Uwe Steinmueller of Digital Outback Photo on the art of HDR photography. The first chapter (of what will eventually become Uwe's next E-book) covers the basics of dynamic range and the basics of High Dynamic Range photography. Future chapters will cover capture, workflow and advanced HDR techniques. For now, enjoy this exclusive first part of what we hope will develop into a useful manual for anyone interested in getting more of the dynamic range they see in the scenes they photograph into the images and prints they produce.
Nikon posts firmware update for D7000
Nikon has released the promised firmware update for it's Nikon D7000 digital SLR in response to concerns raised about video. Firmware v1.01 aims to reduce the occasional occurrence of bright spots while recording videos or in the live view mode. The firmware is available for immediate download from the company's website.
Leica releases firmware update for S2
Leica has released a function-enhancing firmware update for its S2 medium format DSLR. Version adds lossless DNG compression, boosts burst rate to 1.5 frames per second and increases maximum exposure time to 125 seconds. The update also adds more options for AF/AE button, extends compatibility to 64GB UDMA cards and brings in improvements to the AF performance and preview histogram. Registered users can download the latest firmware via the Owner's Area on Leica's website.
Ambarella releases Android-based iOne processor for hybrid cameras

Image processor manufacturer, Amabarella has announced the iOne Android-based camera System-on-Chip (SoC). The iOne combines the company's image and video processing experience with Android's data communication capabilities, offering camera makers the ability to make more easily connected devices. The three-core processor is capable of simultaneous encoding of both a 1080p30 HD video stream and either still photos or a smaller video stream for fast broadcast via methods such as WiFi. The chip can also decode most popular video formats for streaming and replaying HD content amongst other features that could add significant functionality to future devices.

December 21
Just Posted: Nikon D3100 in-depth review

Just Posted: Our review of the Nikon D3100. The latest in Nikon's popular line of entry-level DSLRs addresses the most obvious criticisms aimed at its predecessors - the lack of live view and video modes. There are also a series of tweaks and upgrades, including a 14Mp sensor, aimed at keeping the camera near the top of the sales charts. However, this beginner-friendly offering faces more competition than ever from the burgeoning mirrorless camera sector, so how does the little Nikon stack up?

Bibble Labs offers Bibble 5.2 Release Candidate
Bibble Labs has released a 'Release Candidate' of its Bibble 5.2 RAW workflow software, extending support to twelve additional cameras including the Nikon D7000, Panasonic DMC-GF2, Pentax K-5 and Olympus E-5. Both the Pro and Lite versions of Bibble 5.2 also include improvements and bug fixes. According to the company, the release candidate version adds significant new features and camera support, but has not completed testing. The update is free to existing customers.
December 20
dpreview.com is hiring
Dpreview.com is looking for a writer/reviewer to join its growing editorial team based in Seattle, WA. Responsibilities will include testing and producing reviews of digital SLR and compact cameras and other photographic equipment, producing news stories and other articles and helping to develop new content areas, so if you'd like to help shape the future of the world's biggest digital photography website, check out the details after the link.
December 18
Just Posted: Pentax K-5 in-depth review
Just Posted: Our review of the K-5, Pentax's new semi-pro DSLR. The design and control layout of the K-5 are identical to those of the K-7, released last year, but the K-5 comes with a new 16.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, faster continuous shooting and a very high maximum sensitivity of ISO 51200 (the highest in an APS-C camera so far). It also boasts a revamped AF system and a host of other, more minor improvements. Is this Pentax's best DSLR to date? Read our full review to find out.
December 17
Apple releases RAW compatibility update
Apple has released a digital camera RAW compatibility update for Aperture 3 and iPhoto '11. Update 3.5 extends RAW support to seven additional cameras including the Nikon D7000, Canon PowerShot G12 and Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GF2 and DMC-GH2. The update is available for immediate download from Apple's website.
December 16
Fujifilm releases firmware update for FinePix Real 3D W3
Fujifilm has released a firmware update for its FinePix Real 3D W3 twin-sensor 3D compact camera. Version 1.10 adds an Economy mode under then HD video recording menu that is optimized for long continuous recording of 3D HD movies. The firmware is available for immediate download from the company's website.
Canon updates firmware for EOS 60D
Canon has released a firmware update for its EOS 60D mid-level DSLR. Firmware v1.0.8 fixes the phenomenon where some captured images tend to overexpose when using the camera’s built-in flash or an external Speedlite in combination with specific lenses. The firmware is available for immediate download from the company's website.
December 14
Nikon posts Coolpix P7000 firmware v1.1
Nikon has posted a firmware update for its CoolPix P7000 high-end enthusiast compact. Version 1.1 reduces the recording time for raw images and fixes bugs relating to zoom operation, lens control and image preview with Active D-Lighting enabled. The firmware is available for immediate download from the company's website.
DxO Labs releases DxO Optics Pro v6.5.2 for Win & Mac
DxO Labs has updated its DxO Optics Pro raw converter for Windows and Mac to include more cameras. Version 6.5.2 extends Raw support to the Pentax K-5 and Sony's NEX-3 and 5 in the both Standard and Elite editions. It also includes 50 additional camera/lens optical modules. Recent purchasers get the upgrade for free or there is a 30% discount available until Christmas Day.
Understanding Video compression & codecs
We've just added another article to our growing collection of guides. This one is designed as a primer on Video Compression, Codecs and Transcoding and has been produced for us by Uwe Steinmueller of Digital Outback Photo. So if you've ever found yourself confused by M-JPEGs and MPEGs and Long GOPs, check out the link after the click.
December 13
Fujifilm posts firmware update for FinePix F300EXR
Fujifilm has posted a firmware update for its Super CCD EXR sensor based FinePix F300EXR digital compact camera. Firmware v1.01 fixes instability of the camera's volume level during movie recording. The firmware is available for immediate download from company's website.
Fujifilm reveals more details of X100 large-sensor compact
Fujifilm has released more details regarding its Finepix X100 large-sensor compact camera. The company is revealing more information about the camera's behavior via a special website. The latest update includes information about the autofocus modes and the dedicated Raw button (which engages Raw+JPEG when shooting JPEG or starts in-camera Raw conversion when in playback mode). Announced at Photokina 2010, the camera is scheduled for release early next year.
December 10
Topaz Labs releases ReMask 3 plug-in for Adobe Photoshop
Topaz Labs has released ReMask 3, the latest version of its masking plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. Compared to the previous version, it offers a re-engineered masking engine, enhanced color decontamination technology and an updated user interface including new brushes, toolsets and split-screen viewing options. Compatible with Windows and Intel-based Mac OS, it is available at an introductory price of $49.99.
Apple releases Aperture v3.1.1
Apple has released an updated version of its Aperture raw-conversion and photo management software. Version 3.1.1 addresses a number of bugs, fixes compatibility issues with the company's recently released i'Life '11 suite and improves overall stability of the software. The update is available for immediate download from Apple's website.
December 9
Sekonic announces DigiCineMate L-308DC light meter
Sekonic has announced the DigiCineMate L-308DC light meter for photographers and videographers. The lightweight entry-level light meter offers HD Cine, Cine and Photo metering modes and three options to measure incident and reflected light - both ambient and flash. It will be available from January 2011 at a retail price of £239.99 in UK. The US price is to be confirmed.
Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD with Piezo Drive AF
Tamron has announced the 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD superzoom lens, the first to incorporate the company's Piezo Drive (PZD) technology that promises faster and quieter autofocus. A completely revised, smaller and lighter version of the popular AF 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) Macro, it offers an enhanced Vibration Control (VC) image stabilization system, uses a new optical formula with fewer lens elements and takes 62mm filters. The lens will be available in Canon and Nikon mounts from December 20 followed by a Sony version next year.
December 8
Epson & Thinxtream's PrintJinni to be available as a free app
Epson and software company Thinxtream Technologies have announced their PrintJinni mobile printing app will be available as a free application from the end of December. Currently priced at $6.99, the app for Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad wirelessly connects Epson printers and allows preview and printing of images and documents.
December 7
Panasonic updates firmware for 14-140mm lens
Panasonic has announced a firmware update for its Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm / F4.0-5.8 ASPH/ Mega O.I.S. Micro Four Thirds lens. Firmware version 1.4 promises improved autofocus and image stabilization performance in movie mode. The update is available for immediate download from the company's website.
Adobe releases Lightroom 3.3, ACR 6.3 & Lens Profile Downloader
Adobe has released Photoshop Lightroom 3.3, Camera Raw 6.3 and DNG Converter 6.3. These are final versions of updates that were originally posted as 'release candidates' on the Adobe Labs site, and are now available for immediate download. The latest versions provide final RAW support for fifteen recent cameras, including the Canon S95 and G12, Nikon D7000 and D3100, Pentax K-5 and K-r, Olympus E-5, and Panasonic GH2, alongside profiles for over 60 new Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Sigma lenses. Also available on the Adobe Labs site is the brand-new Lens Profile Downloader 1.0, which allows users to download, rate and provide feedback on user-generated profiles
December 6
Casio updates firmware for EX-H20G compact camera
Casio has released a firmware update for its Exilim EX-H20G Hybrid GPS-enabled compact camera. In addition to its usual geotagging capability, Version 1.01 adds the ability to record GPS data logs in Google's KML format. These can then be imported into Google Earth or similar software to track locations. The firmware is available for immediate download from the company's website.
December 4
Just Posted: Pentax 645D sample images

Just Posted: Comparison samples from the Pentax 645D. We've had Pentax's long-awaited 40 megapixel medium format DSLR in the office for a couple of days and have used it to shoot our standard test scene. The $10,000 camera is the highest resolution camera ever to be pointed at our test subjects and its huge 44x33mm sensor has certainly done an impressive job. As well as providing a range of image settings for the studio scene, we've also prepared a small gallery of sample images. All the images and their raw files (DNG format for the 'real-world' samples) are available for download.

December 3
Samyang ships 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC for Samsung NX
Samyang Optics has announced its 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC manual focus lens is now available in the Samsung NX mount at a retail price €329. Previously available in Nikon F mount, the lens' electronic contacts allow full support of automatic exposure modes of Samsung NX cameras and ensure the inclusion of lens-related data in the EXIF metadata.
Nikon preparing firmware for D7000
Nikon has announced it is working on a firmware upgrade in response to concerns raised about video from the D7000. The statement confirms the occasional occurrence of bright spots while recording videos as reported by some owners. The firmware will aim to reduce this occurrence. The company says these spots may be noticeable especially when recording movies of dark scenes or subjects and 'do not indicate a problem with practical use'.
onOne Software starts shipping Perfect Photo Suite 5.5
Plug-in maker onOne Software has announced its Perfect Photo Suite v5.5 bundle is now available. The latest version of the suite includes seven of the company's image-editing plug-ins and offers better compatiblity with Lightroom and Aperture. It is available as a free upgrade to existing users and $499.99 for first time buyers.
December 2
Topaz Labs releases InFocus blur reduction plug-in
Topaz Labs has released the Infocus sharpening and blur reduction plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. The software uses advanced deconvolution technology aiming to reverse the effect of blur in images. Compatible with both Windows and Mac OS, it is available at an introductory price of $29.99.
Sony updates firmware for DSLR-A900 and DSLR-A850
Sony has announced function enhancing firmware updates for its DSLR-A900 and DSLR-A850 full-frame cameras. The latest versions for both cameras promise faster AF and broaden both exposure compensation range (to -/+5 from the current -/+3) and the exposure bracketing range (from up to -/+2EV to a maximum of -/+3EV). It also adds a new menu option allowing shutter release without an attached lens.
December 1
Canon offers locking mode dial for EOS 5D Mark II and 7D
Canon has issued a service notice for the EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D offering a paid-for option to replace the cameras' mode dial with a redesiged lockable version. Similar to the one seen the company's latest EOS 60D DSLR, the mode dial features a centre button which has to be pressed to allow a change of exposure mode. This option will be available from December 6 and for a cost of $110 in the US. The European service charge is to be confirmed.
DxO Labs releases DxO Optics Pro v6.5.1 for Win & Mac
DxO Labs has updated its DxO Optics Pro raw converter for Windows and Mac. Version 6.5.1 extends Raw support to Nikon D7000 and Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 in the both Standard and Elite editions. It also includes 120 additional camera/lens optical modules. Recent purchasers get the upgrade for free or there is a 30% discount available until Christmas Day.
Phase One announces Capture One 6
Phase One has released version 6 of its Capture One raw processing and editing software. Capture One 6 gains the ability to make local changes to images without affecting the underlying raw file, amongst other additions. Based around what the company calls 'the world's most advanced image processing engine,' it also adds keystone distortion correction that attempts to reduce perspective effects (e.g. converging verticals), without overly distorting the dimensions of the objects in the scene. These come in addition Capture One's standard organizing, browsing and conversion tools.
Just Posted: Nikon D7000 in-depth review
Just Posted: Our review of Nikon's D7000 mid-range DSLR. Nikon surprised many people by pushing its enthusiast DSLR distinctly up-market just as Canon was doing the opposite with its 60D. The result is such a highly specified camera that it's generated almost as much interest from existing and would-be D300S customers as from the traditional D90 audience. So, after our usual in-depth testing and real-world use, what do its 16 megapixels, 39 AF points, 6 frames per second and 14-bit RAW add up to? Read our full review of the Nikon D7000 to find out.