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March 2011 news and reviews

March 31
Just Posted: Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D in-depth review
Just Posted: Our review of the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D enthusiast DSLR. Canon's latest Rebel boasts an 18MP CMOS sensor and an articulated LCD screen in a body shell that combines elements of its predecessor the T2i and the higher-end EOS 60D. As well as the usual complement of manual and auto exposure modes for still photography, the T3i also features 1080p video recording (up to 30fps) with an external microphone socket. On paper, the T3i looks like a bargain - the 60D's internals in a smaller, less expensive body. Is there any reason to still consider its big brother? Read our in-depth review to find out.
March 30
Carl Zeiss CP.2 primes for E-mount to be available from June
Carl Zeiss has announced the E-mount versions for its CP.2 compact prime cine lenses will be available from June 2011. The announcement comes ahead of the NAB videography trade show to be held in Las Vegas from April 9-14.
March 29
Canon updates firmware for EOS 60D
Canon has released a firmware update for its EOS 60D mid-level DSLR. Firmware v1.0.9 fixes bugs relating to Live View shooting in specific conditions. The latest version also changes name of the Art Filter feature in the Japanese market to Creative Filters keeping it consistent across all regions. The firmware is available for immediate download from the company's website.
Bibble Labs releases Bibble 5.2.2 Pro & Lite
Bibble Labs has announced updated versions of its RAW workflow software. Version 5.2.2 extends RAW support to Canon's sRAW and mRAW format, Nikon's D1x, and Sony's A390 and A290 cameras. Both the Pro and Lite versions also fix minor bugs, improve stability and enhance interaction with third party plug-ins. They are currently available as a free upgrade for existing Bibble 5 customers.
March 28
Leica announces firmware update for X1
Leica has announced a function-enhancing firmware update for its X1 APS-C sensor-based compact camera. Available from March 29, the updated version brings a host of improvements and additional features to the manual focus function, enhances AF performance in low-light conditions and promises improved JPEG quality.
Sigma to ship DP2x large sensor compact from April
Sigma has announced its DP2x large-sensor compact will start shipping from late April at a suggested retail price of $800 in the US markets and £516.65 in the UK. A revised version of the DP2 camera that captures three-color information at 4.7M positions (14M total data points) it features a new AF algorithm for faster auto focus, first seen in the DP1x.
Fujifilm resumes production for X100 large-sensor camera
Fujifilm Japan has announced it has now resumed production of its X100 large-sensor compact. The company says that, after a brief interruption caused by the combined earthquake and tsunami that hit its Japanese plant, it has now resumed production and the camera should reach stores from the first week of April.
New product pages, feature search, lens data and user reviews
We’re pleased to announce a major upgrade of our product database, search, and camera compare pages. The wide-reaching changes bring a number of benefits, making it easier than ever to gain access to everything we know about a product. Two of the biggest changes are the addition of brand pages and the complete redesign of the individual product pages. These bring together all dpreview's content, along with images, user reviews and external resources in a single ‘dashboard.'
We've also spent 6 months enhancing our database so that it not only includes more detailed specifications for all the latest cameras but also gains an entry for virtually every currently available mainstream lens. In turn, this has also allowed us to make our product search function into a much more powerful tool for finding the camera or lens that provides the functions you want.
You'll find the new Camera and Lens search pages (and all the other new goodies) under the Product Database menu at the top of the site. This has been a major development project and, until we iron out all the creases, please consider it to be in beta status, and let us know if you spot any errors or problems.
March 24
Ricoh posts firmware update for GXR system & GR Digital III
Ricoh has announced function-enhancing firmware updates for its GXR interchangeable lens cameras and the GR Digital III compact. In response to user feedback, the GXR firmware adds five processing filters, a subject tracking focus and exposure mode, and a revised magnified playback option. The GR Lens A12 28mm and 50mm modules also gain an option to assign white balance or exposure compensation to the zoom buttons. The GR digital III also gets 5 additional functions including an electronic level and Target Follow function. The firmware updates will be available for download on March 28 from Ricoh's website.
March 23
Just Posted: Panasonic DMC GH2 in-depth review
Just Posted: Our review of Panasonic's DMC-GH2 video-optimized Micro Four Thirds camera. The GH2, launched back at Photokina 2010 is the replacement for the company's GH1 and retains a position as one of the most flexible HD shooters in the stills/video crossover market. In addition to subjecting it to our standard tests, we've looked at the GH2's video capabilities in more depth than we've ever done, including contributions from respected film-maker Uwe Steinmueller. We have also partnered with video sharing site Vimeo to offer embedded previews of video footage for the first time, while still making the original files available for download. Follow the link to read our 21-page in-depth review.
Sony unveils NEX-FS100 E-mount professional camcorder
Sony has launched the NEX-FS100 E-mount professional camcorder. The model, whose development was originally announced in November last year, is the latest addition to the company's NXCAM line-up of broadcast-standard camcorders. It features an Exmor CMOS sensor in what the company describes as Super35 format (essentially the same size as the APS-C sensors seen in existing E-mount cameras). It records 1080p Full HD videos at various frame rates depending on region (60, 30 and 24fps in NTSC countries, 50 and 25 in PAL) at bitrates of up to 28Mbps. Other features include a 3.5" LCD, built-in GPS, SDXC compatibility and Slow-motion video recording. TThe camcorder also features industry-standard XLR audio connectors. It will be offered as a kit with the Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS lens at a suggested retail price of $5850. The company has also launched the world's first dust- and rain-proof professional HD camcorder in the shape of HXR-NX70.
DxO Labs releases DxO Optics Pro v6.5.6 for Win & Mac
DxO Labs has updated its DxO Optics Pro raw converter for Windows and Mac. Version 6.5.6 extends Raw support to Canon's 600D/T3i and 1100D/T3, and Olympus's E-PL1 in the both Standard and Elite editions. It also includes 48 additional camera/lens optical modules. The latest version is available as a free download to existing users or as a 30-day trial.
March 22
Apple releases Aperture v3.1.2
Apple has released an updated version of its Aperture raw-conversion and photo management software. Version 3.1.2 improves overall stability, enhances iPhoto compatibility and fixes minor bugs. The update is available for immediate download from Apple's website.
Nikon posts firmware update for Coolpix P100 superzoom
Nikon has posted a firmware update for its CoolPix P100 back-illuminated CMOS based superzoom. Version 1.2 resolves glitches with LCD display after the camera was switched back on from its stand-by mode in specific settings. The firmware is available for immediate download from the company's website.
Nikon updates ViewNX for Windows
Nikon has released a Windows-only update for its ViewNX image viewing and editing software. Version 2.1.2 resolves the issue related to the incorrect display of the 'my Picturetown' photo sharing and storage service when previous versions were not uninstalled before updating.
March 17
Just posted: Apple iPad 2: Tool or Toy?
Just Posted: It seems like everybody is talking about tablet computers at the moment, and one of the most talked-about - Apple's iPad 2 - launched last week here in the US. We thought this was a good opportunity to take a look at the iPad 2 from the point of view of enthusiast photographers. Apple's App Store contains hundreds of photography-related applications for the iPad - is Apple's latest shiny gadget just a toy, or can it be genuinely useful as a photographic tool? Read our 3-page article to find out...
March 16
Pentax releases Optio RS1500 with changeable covers
Pentax has announced the Optio RS1500 compact camera with interchangeable, user designable covers. Identically specced to the RS1000 launched last year, it features a simpler, snap-on system for attaching different covers, rather than the screw-on system of the older model. The RS1500 ships with 10 skins, with the option to download or create your own cover that secures behind a transparent front-plate. Features include a 14MP sensor, a 27.5-110mm equivalent lens and 720p HD movie recording capabilities.
Adobe releases Photoshop Express 2.0 for iPad, iPod & iPhone
Adobe has released an updated version of its Photoshop Express image-editing and preview application for Apple's iPad, iPod and iPhone. Version 2.0 introduces the optional Adobe Camera Pack available via an 'in-app' purchase that adds noise reduction, self-timer and Auto-Review functions for $3.99. Photoshop Express 2.0 is available as a free download from Apple's App Store for new users and as an update for existing users.
March 15
Lexar starts shipping 128GB & 64GB SDXC memory cards
Lexar has started to ship its Professional 128GB and 64GB 133x SDXC memory cards. Announced at CES 2011, they offer guaranteed read speeds of 20MB/s speeding up transfer of HD videos and hi-res images images to a computer. The 128GB card is the industry's first card of that size and, with a recommended retail price of $329.99, is for sale alongside the $199.99 64GB version.
March 14
Japan earthquake and tsunami - how to donate

As the full effects of Friday's combined earthquake and tsunami become apparent, dpreview would like to extend its sympathies to the people of Japan being affected. dpreview works closely with several companies in the affected region and our thoughts are with their employees at this difficult time. However, while it's clear that these events will have an impact on the photographic industry, we feel now is not the time to be speculating on such issues. Instead we would like to draw attention to ways of contributing to relief efforts, via organizations such as the Japanese Red Cross. Click through for a link to donate.

March 11
Just posted: Pentax K-r full review
Just Posted: Our full review of the Pentax K-r upper entry-level DSLR. When we reviewed the Pentax K-x in December 2009 we thought it was a little cracker. The K-r builds on this by adding visible AF points, a higher ISO range and faster continuous shooting to the K-x's already successful feature mix but the competition has not been standing still. Click on the link to read how the Pentax K-r fared in our studio tests and how it stacks up to its latest peers in the upper entry-level bracket of the market.
Sigma asks public to select scholarship contest finalists
Sigma is inviting the public to select five finalists from its annual scholarship contest. The company's second annual scholarship contest was launched in November 2010 and offers prizes of cash and equipment to students seeking higher education in a photo-related field. Anyone registering with an email address can help narrow-down the field from 167 to the final five from which a winner will be sleected by a panel of Sigma executives. Voting is open until April 1 2011.
March 10
Adobe issues Lightroom 3.4 and ACR 6.4 release candidates
Adobe has released 'Release Candidates' of its Camera RAW 6.4 and Lightroom 3.4 raw processing software. The updates cover 7 additional cameras including Canon's 600D/T3i and 1100D/T3, Olympus's XZ-1 and E-PL2, and Samsung's NX11. They are available from the company's Adobe Labs site and also address a number of issues reported via customer feedback. The company uses the term 'Release Candidate' to denote software that is well tested but not yet the final version.
Pentax releases firmware updates for K-5 and 645D
Pentax has released firmware updates for its K-5 digital SLR and 645 medium format camera. Version 1.03 for the K-5 improves overall stability as well and AF accuracy in low-light conditions. Firmware v1.03 for the 645D brings in a series of minor feature improvements to the camera. The latest firmware versions are available for immediate download from the company's website.
March 9
Canon Rebel T3i and Pentax K-r sample images posted
Just Posted: Studio Samples from the Canon Rebel T3i/EOS 600D and Pentax K-r. We're working away on a series of enthusiast-level DSLRs at the moment and have just finished processing the shots from our standard studio scene. Both cameras have been added to our comparison tool and can be accessed from all of our recent reviews. We've added a couple of comparison pages to our Rebel T3i / EOS 600D preview that pit the two cameras side-by-side and against two of their peers.
March 8
Fujifilm faces shortage of X100 large-sensor camera
Fujifilm Japan has announced a shortage of its FinePix X100 large-sensor compact camera and accessories because of higher than expected demand. The company says it is attempting to boost production to meet demand. The latest word from Fujifilm USA is that cameras will be available in the US during the last week of March or first week of April.
Samyang shows prototype Micro Four Thirds 7.5mm fisheye
Samyang Optics has shown a prototype 7.5mm F3.5 fisheye lens for the Micro Four Thirds system at the Focus on Imaging trade show in Birmingham, UK. The new lens is considerably more compact than the company's existing 8mm fisheye designed for SLR cameras. In a brief press release, the company also reveals that this lens is intended to be the first in a new series of optics designed specifically for interchangeable-lens compact system cameras.
March 7
Samyang announces final version of 35 mm f/1.4 AS UMC lens
Samyang Optics has released the final version of its 35mm F1.4 lens in Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Samsung NX, Sony Alpha and Four-thirds mounts. Announced at Photokina 2010, the company said it has revised its design since then. It retains the underlying 12 element in 10 group design announced at that time. It will sell at a recommended retail price of €379.
March 6
Phase One introduces Profoto Studio plug-in for Capture One
Phase One and lighting maker Profoto have announced the Profoto Studio light-control plug-in for the Capture One Pro 6 raw processing and editing software. Currently available only to Mac users, the free plug-in works with the $499 Profoto Air USB transceiver to wirelessly control Profoto lighting equipment.
March 3
Olympus updates firmware for E-5, E-PL2 and XZ-1 cameras
Olympus has released firmware updates for its E-5 DSLR, E-PL2 Micro Four Thirds camera and XZ-1 enthusiast compact. The latest versions for the E-5 and XZ-1 resolve minor bugs relating to LCD display and external flash units respectively. Version 1.1 for the E-PL2 changes default setting of the image stabilizer to 'On' when used with the add-on Fisheye, Wide-angle or Macro lenses.
dpreview.com is hiring (Editorial and Development)
Dpreview.com is looking for another three team members to help expand what the site can offer. We're looking to recruit two editorial staff and a development engineer to join our team in Seattle, WA, and increase both the quantity and variety of content. The editorial positions are for writer/editors and will involve testing and reviewing cameras and other photographic equipment with opportunities to write news stories and develop other content areas, while the software engineering role will help develop smarter ways to deliver content and services. 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.
March 2
Pentax launches Optio S1 digital compact camera
Pentax has launched the Optio S1 digital compact camera in three apparently 'gem-like' finishes. Sporting a 14MP sensor, 2.7" LCD and 5x optical zoom that starts at a wide 28mm equivalent, it features 720p HD video recording, sensor-shift image stabilization and a High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode. The camera also comes with the latest set of image-processing filters including Miniature and HDR filter.
DxO Labs releases DxO Optics Pro v6.5.5 for Win & Mac
DxO Labs has updated its DxO Optics Pro raw converter for Windows and Mac. Version 6.5.5 extends Raw support to Sony SLT A33 and Nikon Coolpix P7000 in the both Standard and Elite editions. It also includes 51 additional camera/lens optical modules, taking the total to over 3000 combinations. It is available as a free download to existing users or as a 30-day trial.
Olympus announces SZ-30MR with multi-recording function
Olympus has announced the SZ-30MR compact, which allows simultaneous capture of 1080p HD videos and full resolution stills. The 24x superzoom is built around a 16MP CMOS sensor and is capable of 9 fps full-resolution continuous shooting and can generate 3D images. It features a 3.0" LCD and zoom lens stretching from 25 to 600mm equivalent. The spec is rounded out with the company's Magic Filters for both stills and videos, AF tracking and image stabilization. Also announced is the UK-only SZ-20, which houses a 12.5x (24-300mm equiv.) zoom in a slightly smaller body. The SZ-20 loses the multi-record function but is otherwise essentially the same specification.
Olympus releases Tough TG-810 rugged compact
Olympus has released the Tough TG-810 rugged compact featuring built-in GPS, electronic compass and manometer (air/water pressure gauge). It features the same 14MP sensor, 28-140mm equivalent zoom lens and 920K dot 3.0" LCD of the recently released TG-610, but in a tougher body. It is dustproof, waterproof to 10m (33 ft), shockproof to 2m (6.6 ft) and freezeproof to -10 C (14 F). The camera features 720p HD video recording and a two-shot 3D option that can even be used in underwater mode. It will be available from April 2011 at a retail price of $399.99.
 Panasonic DMC-GH2 studio comparison samples
Studio test samples from the Panasonic DMC-GH2 Micro Four Thirds camera. In the process of working on the forthcoming in-depth review of the GH2, we have shot our standard studio test scene. To allow easy comparison with its peers, we have now added these shots to our comparison tool, found in our existing reviews. The GH2 can now be selected from the pull-down list within any review. At the same time, a full ISO-range set of Adobe Camera Raw 6 files has also been added for Panasonic's GF1.
March 1
Lensbaby releases Sweet 35 optic with internal aperture
Lensbaby has introduced the Sweet 35 optic for its selective focus lens system. With a focal length of 35mm, it features an internal 12 blade aperture controlled by a dial on the front of the lens with an available range of f/2.5 to f/22, in contrast to previous optics which used drop-in aperture discs. The optical unit is composed of 4 multi-coated glass elements in 3 groups, has a 46mm filter thread and is compatible with the Composer, Muse, Control Freak and Scout lens bodies.