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January 2012 news and reviews

January 31
Apple's Final Cut Pro X v10.0.3 starts to regain pro features

Apple has updated Final Cut Pro X, its high-end video editing package, to v10.0.3 with the ability to import projects from Final Cut Pro 7. The upgrade includes several pro-level options, such as multi-camera syncing, that were not included when the first release replaced the more expensive and complex Final Cut Pro 7. Initially its different way of handling clips made look like Apple wouldn't be able to get Pro 7 projects to work in Pro X but a $9.99 Apple app called 7toX has found an xml-mediated method of doing so.

Nikon promises 'brighter lenses  for better total performance' from 1 system

Nikon plans to develop 'brighter lenses for better total performance' from its 1 system, says Tetsuya Yamamoto, General Manager of Nikon’s Development Headquarters, Imaging Division. In an interview at this year’s International CES show in Las Vegas, he talked to us about some of the functions the company hopes to enhance on future models and offered some surprising news about the CX sensor's video capabilities.

Panasonic goes that bit further with DMC-ZS20 and ZS15 travel zooms

Panasonic has updated its range of travel zoom cameras with the DMC-ZS20 and DMC-ZS15. The 14MP ZS20, sold as the DMC-TZ30 outside North America, is the slimmest 20x zoom camera on the market. Its lens covers a 24-480mm equivalent range and features the company's latest Power O.I.S stabilization. The 16x, 12MP ZS15 will appear as the TZ25. The high-speed MOS sensor allows the ZS20 to offer autofocus taking as little as 0.1 seconds, and it can shoot at up to 10 frames per second (5fps with AF-tracking). It also has GPS and an updated mapping function to show photos on a map with greater detail.

Panasonic launches rugged DMC-TS4 / FT4

Panasonic has announced the DMC-TS4 (FT4 outside North America), the latest in its rugged series of compact cameras. The TS4 gains an altimeter, compass and barometer in addition to the GPS that appeared in the TS3. The camera comes with a DVD of maps that can be loaded onto the camera, helping the camera add better location data to its pictures' EXIF. Beyond this it's a pretty familiar affair, with a 12MP CCD capable of 1080p video housed in Panasonic's familiar industrial-looking tough-camera body and a 4.6x 28-128mm equivalent zoom.

Panasonic makes DMC-TS20 semi-rugged compact camera

Panasonic has updated its less rugged, more stylish tough model - the DMC-TS20. The TS20 (FT20 outside North America) replaces the TS10 and offers a more useful 25-100mm equivalent lens than its predecessor's 35-140mm equiv unit. It's built around a 16MP CCD sensor that limits it to 720p video but this does come in the easy-to-use MP4 format. Despite its less butch styling, the TS20 is still waterproof to 5m (16') and shockproof from a height of around 1.5m (5'), which should see it withstand relatively carefree use.

January 30
Sony announces three CMOS-based compacts including 18MP DSC-TX200V

Sony has announced three CMOS-based compact cameras - the Cyber-Shots DSC-TX200V, DSC-WX50 and DSC-WX70. The TX200V is a GPS-equipped card-style touch-screen waterproof camera with Sony's latest 18MP back-lit CMOS sensor. It also includes the company's fast AF system that aims to reduce focus times down as low as 0.1 sec and 0.2 sec in low light. It can also grab 13.5MP stills while shooting 1080p60 video. It also has an WVGA-equivalent OLED touch screen and glass front panel, spoiling the whole thing only slightly by using Micro SD cards. The WX50 meanwhile offers the older 16MP and 5x, 25-125mm zoom.

Sony Japan creates TX300V TransferJet/WiFi camera with inductive charging

Sony Japan has launched a more capable variant of the TX200V announced today in the US, offering contactless charging and data transfer, and Wi-Fi. The Cyber-shot DSC-TX300V comes with a TransferJet-compliant inductive charging and data transfer station, allowing images and video downloading, as well as charging, just by placing the camera on the pad. It also features DNLA-compliant WiFi that allows direction connection to iOS and Android smartphones, for transferring 2MP images. No announcement of either model has yet been made for Europe. (From DCWatch)

January 28
Beginners repeatedly ask the question "Photoshop or Lightroom". This article tries to summarise the rationale behind using either or both programs
January 27
MicroOLED promises even greater electronic viewfinder resolution

French manufacturer MicroOLED has announced a 5 million dot OLED suitable for use as an electronic viewfinder - far beyond the resolution of the current best units used in recent Sony cameras. The 5.2M effective dots mean it can display 1280x1024 pixel resolution in color, assuming a four-dots-per-pixel layout. Imaging Resource has written an  article in which they suggest it could spell the end of the optical viewfinder. (From Imaging Resource)

Daminion launches Daminion Server network-based digital asset manager

Software maker Daminion has announced Daminion Server, a network-friendly digital asset management program. The software allows multiple users to access a centrally-held archive of images, with version control and user access controls to ensure images are kept safe and only edited or accessed by authorized people. It also ensures multiple people don't work on the same file simultaneously, avoiding data loss. It includes extensive control of metadata in a wide range of file types to help manage files within the archive. It is designed to integrate with standalone image and document editors such as Photoshop and InDesign, to allow users to continue to use their preferred editing tools.

Tokina adds focus motor to create AT-X 116 Pro DX II wide-angle for APS-C DSLRs

Tokina has announced an updated version of its highly-regarded 11-16mm F2.8 wideangle zoom for APS-C SLRs. The AT-X 116 PRO DX II adds a 'Silent Drive-Module' (SD-M) focus motor that enables it to autofocus on all Nikon SLRs. The latest version also includes improved surface coatings (which are particularly important for wide-angle lenses) and adds a 'GMR' sensor to locate the focus element's current position, to speed up autofocus - a technology first introduced on the AT-X 16-28 F2.8 PRO FX full-frame wide-angle. US distributor THK Photo tells us the Nikon version should be available around April with a Canon version following around August.

It is with great sadness that we receive the news that Sigma's founder and CEO Michihiro Yamaki has died of liver cancer at the age of 78. Yamaki founded Sigma in 1961 and was still head of the company when it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. In that time he took it from being a maker of converter lenses to one of the largest independent lens makers in the industry. His passion for photography also saw Sigma create one of the first large sensor compact cameras. Everyone at dpreview.com would like to offer our deepest condolences to his family at this sad time.

Wedding photographer explains the reasons behind 'unrealistic' prices

PetaPixel has published an excellent response from a photographer to a Seattle-area bride criticizing the pricing of wedding photographers. In a remarkably calm response, Nikki Wagner details the expenses connected to her wedding photography business, dismissing the idea that wedding photographers set their prices high simply because they can. After reading Wagner's response it's understandable why the bride is having so much trouble finding an 'exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer' that she also deems 'decently priced.' (From PetaPixel)

January 26
High-end video maker Astrodesign joins Micro Four Thirds

Astrodesign, a high-end Japanese video manufacturer has signed-up to the Micro Four Thirds system. It offers a 4K camera system (including separate camera head, processor and control unit) that captures 3840×2160 4K video at 60p. The company suggests its use for movie and broadcast shooting, live monitoring of medical operations and other applications requiring super-high resolution video. While the move is unlikely to directly affect most Micro Four Thirds camera users, it could boost the system's position within the video industry, encouraging the creation of an eco-system of accessories for video makers using the system.

Tamron and Tokina join Micro Four Thirds

Tamron and Tokina have joined the Micro Four Thirds group, meaning all three major third-party lens makers are likely to produce optics for the system. No further details of their intentions have been given. The announcement comes just after Sigma announced its first lenses for both Sony's E-mount and Micro Four Thirds - both lenses that we think make more sense on APS-C than the Micro Four Thirds format. It will be interesting to see whether Tamron and Kenko Tokina develop lenses specifically for the smaller format. Meanwhile high-end video manufacturer Astrodesign has also joined the consortium, and released a Micro Four Thirds mount 4K video camera head.

January 25
GIMP Skin Smoothing with Wavelet Decompose
There are many methods of approaching skin retouching and smoothing, but few that provide as much power and capability as frequency separation in GIMP through the Wavelet Decompose plugin.
Pentax announces Optio VS20 20x zoom with twin shutter buttons

Pentax has announced the Optio VS20, possibly the first compact camera with a second shutter button and zoom lever for portrait-orientation shooting. Beyond that it's a pretty well-specified 20x compact superzoom, featuring a 28-560mm equivalent zoom lens with sensor-shift image stabilization for its 16MP CCD. It's not the smallest 20x zoom camera we've seen but it manages to include a anti-glare-coated 460k dot 3.0" LCD and costs $249/£199, so it's not uncompetitive.

DxO Optics Pro v7.2 extends Panasonic G-series support and adds Canon S100

DxO Labs has added the Canon S100 and Panasonics' GF3, G2 and G1 to the list of cameras supported by its DxO Optics Pro software. The cameras are added to both the Standard and Elite versions of the Optics Pro v7.2, that the company says are more stable than before. Version 7.2 also gains the ability to import Optics Pro v6 databases containing the image processing settings for existing images.

Similar, but not copied, image found to breach copyright

Amateur Photographer magazine has published an interesting story about a copyright infringement case of similar, but not directly copied, images. The issue of copyright is thorny, contentious and often misunderstood but this case sheds some light on the current attitude of courts in the UK. Despite significant differences between the two images (there was no implication that the second image was a duplicate of the first), the court found that the second image copied substantially from the 'creative expression' of the first (that is the elements that can be protected by copyright in the original image, including a consideration of the composition, lighting and processing of the image).

January 24
Lytro meeting suggests Apple looking beyond conventional photography

Steve Jobs met Lytro founder Ren Ng to discuss the photographic aspects of Apple products, according to a new book about the company. Details are understandably sparse but, according to Adam Lashinsky's book 'Inside Apple,' Jobs asked Ng to prepare a list of three things he'd like Lytro to do with Apple. If nothing else, the story is interesting as it suggests Jobs was as excited by the Lytro and its effect on photography as the rest of the tech community has been. It also suggests Apple's approach to mobile photography might overlap with Lytro's aim of creating something fun, shareable and engaging, rather than attempting to replace conventional photography. Such an approach would certainly be in keeping with Apple's 'disruptive' approach to technology. (from 9-to-5Mac) [Updated with response from Lytro]

Japanese news service lends support to Olympus OM rumors

Kyodo News International, a Japanese news service, is reporting that Olympus will introduce a 16MP camera based on its classic OM series. The news would tie-in with a recent Olympus press advert in the UK that highlighted the letters 'O' and 'M' in the text. The report suggests such a camera would sell for over ¥100,000 (around $1300) and feature 'high-speed autofocus and image stabilization functionality.' Meanwhile, Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei is reporting that Sony is considering investing in Olympus and forming a business alliance. Fujifilm which, like Olympus, has extensive medical interests is also rumored to be interested.

January 23
Sony redesigns back-lit CMOS for improved smartphone cameras

Sony has developed CMOS designs to offer improved performance on small sensors and is planning three such sensors for smartphones and similar devices. The 'Stacked CMOS' design builds on the backlit CMOS idea by building the light-sensitive photo element on top of the processing circuitry, rather than combining them in a single layer. This creates a greater light-sensitive area while also making more space for processing circuitry. The company has also demonstrated two feaures that use the extra circuitry space of the design.

Technique Article: Automating Photoshop

In addition to its powerful editing capabilities, Photoshop's actions and batch processing tools can help increase your productivity by performing tasks with little or no user intervention. Photographer and author Ellen Anon explains how to make the most of this automation, taking you step-by-step through the process of recording individual actions and incorporating them into automated routines that can be applied to multiple images in a single go.

January 22
Exhibition Review: Yul Brynner - A Photographic Journey

As well as starring roles in films such as 'The King and I', and 'The Ten Commandments', Yul Brynner was an accomplished photographer whose subjects were some of the most acclaimed actors of the 20th century. 'A Photographic Journey', in London's The Little Black Gallery showcases some of his most famous images, and Matt Golowczynski went along to take a look.   

January 20
Just Posted: Nikon 1 V1 and J1 review

Just Posted: Our review of the Nikon 1 V1 and the simpler J1. Nikon's first foray into the mirrorless market has produced two point-and-shoot targeted small-sensor cameras, the V1 and the J1. The more expensive V1 offers an electronic viewfinder and higher-resolution screen, while the smaller J1 features built-in flash and significantly lower price tag. Nikon's decision to use a small, 10MP sensor (with the speed benefits that can bring) caused vigorous debate when the cameras were first announced but this hasn't stopped the company's vast marketing effort persuding a lot of people to buy them. So, after painstaking investigation, we ask: 'are the Nikon 1 cameras any good?'

Adobe has clarified that its upgrade offer for CS3 and CS4 owners does apply to users of individual Creative Suite programs, such as PhotoShop. Our earlier news story has been corrected to recognize this.

Eye-Fi contests SD Association's Wireless LAN standard

The legality of the SD Association's Wireless LAN standard for SD cards is being challenged by wireless SD maker Eye-Fi. The company says the standard, announced at CES, uses elements of its intellectual property that it hasn't agreed to license. 'Essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing this draft specification.' Eye-Fi says the SD Association's own process for approving the standard has not been completed and the draft standard should not have been announced.

Article: Landscape Photography Primer

Professional photographer Carsten Krieger introduces the practice of landscape photography, looking at the various equipment choices and composition options that any budding landscape shooter should be familiar with when embarking in this popular genre. He also explains the importance of pre-trip research and planning to put you in the right place at the right time.

January 19
Olympus updates PEN E-P3, E-PL3 and E-PM1 firmware for power zooms

Olympus has issued updated firmware for its latest PEN models to better cope with the recently launched Micro Four Thirds power zoom lenses. Firmware v1.2 is supposed to result in a more accurate display of focal length on the camera display, in EXIF data and in playback. Firmware can be downloaded either via the Olympus camera software or by using the 'Digital Camera Updater' utility downloaded from the company's website.

Kodak files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

As film giant Kodak files for bankruptcy protection, everyone from photographers to economists is looking back at the company that was, for so long, synonymous with American photography. The company has entered the US 'Chapter 11' process by which a court oversees its restructuring and protects it from its creditors as it attempts to reorganize into a profitable business. However it emerges from the process, Kodak will never again be the photographic titan it was during the film era. This has prompted many retrospective articles, including a heartfelt and personal piece by New York Times writer and photography blogger David Gonzalez.

January 18
Sigma Interview: 'we must prepare a camera for our loyal customers'

'We have to prepare a camera [for our loyal customers],' said Sigma COO Kazuto Yamaki when we spoke to him at the CES 2012 trade show. In the interview, he explained: 'I personally feel bad that some of our loyal customers couldn't [afford] the SD1' and promised that, in addition to making 'exciting' future products, the company would do all it can to reduce manufacturing costs. Yamaki also explained the approach it has taken with it Digital Neo lenses for mirrorless cameras. Click here to read the full interview.

Panasonic updates firmware for GX1 and 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 Mega OIS

Panasonic is offering updated firmware for its DMC-GX1 enthusiast Micro Four Thirds model, and its 100-300mm telephoto lens. The GX1 update adds a series of interface and function improvements, including enhanced auto white balance and continuous autofocus. Meanwhile the 100-300mm lens' image stabilization is improved. The firmware will be available at the end of January.

January 17
Mamiya and Leaf brands and lineups consolidate

Medium format makers Mamiya and Leaf, both partially owned by Phase One, are to co-brand their operations and co-ordinate product development. The two companies' products will be sold as a single product line to create a comprehensive medium-format system. Digital backs will still be branded as Leaf, which Phase One and the Israeli company's managers bought from Kodak in 2009. Camera bodies and lenses will still be made by and branded as Mamiya, the Japanese manufacturer in which phase One has a controlling stake. However, all marketing and support efforts will be brought together, and product development integrated. [Story corrected to clarify that the move comes from the individual companies, not Phase One]

Metabones and Conurus create Canon EF to Sony E-mount 'smart adapter'

Canadian lens interface experts Conurus and Sino-Japanese adapter maker Metabones have created an electronic 'Smart adapter' for using Canon EF lenses on the Sony NEX's E-mount. The adapter is manual focus-only but allows control of aperture and the use of the image stabilization on Canon IS lenses. Full lens information, including focal length, aperture and lens IS is reported back to the camera for EXIF, allowing the use of all P,A,S and M modes. The adapter also features a 'Wide Open' button that opens the aperture up for fine focusing, with the lens otherwise stopped-down to the chosen aperture, giving accurate depth-of-field in live view. It will cost $399.

January 16
Just Posted: Canon PowerShot G1 X samples gallery

Just Posted: We've spent a couple of days shooting with a pre-production Canon PowerShot G1 X. We've prepared a 30 image gallery, shot in a range of lighting conditions and using a variety of focal lengths, ISO settings and apertures, in addition to the studio examples we've already posted. The G1 X may look like an existing G-series compact but fits a near DSLR-sized sensor into its slightly brick-like body. So what does this mean for image quality and does its f/5.8 maximum aperture at the long end of the zoom rob it of its low-light potential? Click here to judge for yourselves.

Adobe's Tom Hogarty talks about the extra features in the Lightroom 4 beta

We spoke to Tom Hogarty, Lightroom's Principal Product Manager, about the changes being previewed in the latest public beta of Adobe's processing workflow software. The beta version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 introduces a wide range of additional functions, tight integration with a third-party vendor and significant changes to some fundamental image editing tools. Hogarty explains how these features came about, their impact on Lightroom users and what Adobe hopes to learn from user feedback during the beta process.

January 13
Lytro shooting event shows off possible extra features

CES 2012: Light field camera maker Lytro has been demonstrating early versions of potential features during a shooting event at CES. The event gave journalists the chance to use the cameras and try the 'Advanced Light Field Mode' that the company is experimenting with. We went along and have written this report about what it's like to use a Light Field camera.

CES 2012: Casio stand report
Casio is another one of the larger stands in the Central Hall, presenting a variety of product categories at CES.
CES 2012: Lytro Photowalk

Lars Rehm goes on a photowalk with Lytro and gets the chance to shoot with the company's Light Field Camera.

Canon G1 X preview updated, ISO samples added, gallery to come

We've spent a bit more time with the Canon PowerShot G1 X, and will be publishing a samples gallery from a pre-production camera in the near future. In the meantime, we've taken the chance to expand our preview based on our further experience and some real-world shooting with the camera. This includes observations about its behavior and a chart showing the camera's maximum aperture at key focal lengths. If you have any burning questions about the camera's behavior, write a comment and we'll do our best to answer when we publish our samples gallery (but do please read the updated preview first, to see if the answer's there). [Updated with studio images at all ISO settings - with real world shots coming on Monday]

January 12
Polaroid shows remarkably phone-like Android-based 3x zoom camera

CES 2012: Lifestyle photo brand Polaroid has been showing an Android-based camera with a 3x zoom on its stand. The company insists the device is a camera or, when pushed, says it can be thought of as a small tablet computer with a camera. This is despite its apparent similarity to a smartphone shown by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Altek late last year. The 16MP Wi-Fi compatible Polaroid camera features a 3x, 6.5-19.5mm lens and 1/2.33" CCD sensor to give a 36-108mm equivalent lens range.

Fujifilm: more X-mount cameras and X10 firmware on their way

CES 2012: Fujifilm has confirmed in a discussion with dpreview, more details about its plans for the X-system. It also said a firmware update for the X10 aimed at reducing the 'white-orb' problem is due in early February, if not before. The firmware update, that addresses the hard-edged white discs or orbs generated when highlight regions clip, will reduce but not completely remove the effect. Meanwhile, the company hinted the X-Pro1 will be accompanied by at least one less expensive model.

CES 2012: Sigma stand report
Sigma has a small stand at this year's CES but as always, it has brought a lot of products for delegates to admire, including three new lenses.
Wireless LAN standardized for SD cards

CES 2012: The Secure Digital Association has announced a standard for wireless communications from SD cards. The standard builds on the work done by Toshiba, which has been showing compliant cards at CES. The standard includes two communications systems, denoted 'W' and 'D.' 'W' cards can communicate with other devices (such as tablets and televisions), in a peer-to-peer fashion, or can upload to 'cloud' services.  The 'D' section of the standard aslo allows connection to home networks. 'W+D' cards that allow both communication types will also be available.

Adobe offers CS6 upgrade for CS3 and CS4 users, and rebrands Carousel

Adobe has announced a special offer allowing CS4 and CS3 users to upgrade to Creative Suite 6, when it is released. Adobe upset many CS4 and CS3 users when it announced that it was changing its upgrade policy so that only owners of the most recent versions would be entitled to discounted upgrade pricing. Although it has not formally gone back on this policy, the offer will provide an upgrade route for CS3 and CS4 users until December 31st 2012. Users of individual packages will also benefit from the offer. Meanwhile, the company has also renamed its 'Carousel' cloud-based image processing, sharing and hosting service 'Revel.' The company says it 'plans to offer additional photography solutions on the platform in the future, so the new branding more broadly encompasses these offerings.'

CES 2012: Panasonic stand report
Panasonic is one of the biggest manufacturers of consumer electronics in the world. We took a look at Panasonic's new compacts and the recently-announced Lumix DMC-GX1.
January 11
CES 2012: Olympus
Olympus opted for a small presence at CES and its camera announcements were largely limited to an updated range of its compact models.
CES 2012: Nikon stand report
Nikon was a large presence at CES and although they had no product announcements tied to the show, this was a first opportunity for many to see and hold the company's yet-to-be released flagship D4.
Fujifilm produces limited edition of 10,000 black X100s

CES 2012: Fujifilm has said it will produce a Black Premium Edition of its X100 large sensor, fixed lens camera in a limited edition of 10,000 cameras. The black X100s will come with matching lens hood, adapter ring, protective filter and leather 'ever-ready' case. Each will come in a presentation case with a numbered certificate encouraging buyers to use the camera. Beyond the color scheme and accessories, it will remain the same as the standard X100. Pricing hasn't been announced.

Panasonic shows 12-35mm F2.8 and 35-100mm F2.8 concept lenses for Micro Four Thirds

CES 2012: Panasonic is showing mockups of two large-aperture zoom lenses for Micro Four Thirds. The Panasonic stand plays host to mockups of a 12-35mm F2.8 and a 35-100mm F2.8 lens, prominently badged 'Concept' lenses. Next to the models is a lens roadmap confirming the company's intentions to build a 12-35mm (24-70mm equiv) and 35-100 (70-200mm equiv) 'X' grade zooms, but with a note that the maximum apertures are 'to be determined.' The diagram appears to suggest both lenses will arrive later in 2012.

Casio updates range with EX-ZS150, EX-ZS20, EX-ZS12 and EX-ZS6

CES 2012: Casio has released the Exilim EX-ZS150, EX-ZS20, EX-ZS12 and EX-ZS6, refreshing its compact camera range. The four cameras are all based around 16MP CCD sensors and feature the company's 'easy Mode' interface, which offers which offers to guide the user to the optimal setters, as well as providing the ability to simply point-and-shoot. The ZS150 includes a stabilized 12.5x, 24-300mm equiv lens, similar to the one in the flagship ZR200 but the CCD chip means it can't offer that camera's high-speed features. The ZS20 has a 6x unstabilized zoom, starting at 26mm equiv, and including the company's Premium Auto mode. The ZS12 and ZS6 lose both these features, instead including 5x, 26mm equiv zooms.

Casio releases Exilim EX-ZR200 flagship compact beyond Japan

CES 2012: Casio has released the Exilim EX-ZR200, its range-topping compact camera to the US and European markets. The ZR200, announced in Japan in November 2011, features a 12.5x zoom covering a 24-300mm equivalent range, with a maximum aperture range of f/3.0-5.9. It features the company's Premium Auto Pro mode, an extension of its Premium Auto mode. Rather than simply assessing the scene and using the appropriate shooting mode, the Premium Auto Pro mode will also use the multi-shot HDR and low-light shooting modes in an attempt to offer better images in a wider range of shooting situations.

CES 2012: Samsung stand report
CES 2012 Samsung Stand Report
CES 2012: Canon stand report
Report from Canon's stand at CES 2012.
January 10
CES 2012: Fujifilm stand report
The Fujifilm booth at CES 2012 had an assortment of compact cameras but the real star of the show was the just announced X-Pro1.
CES 2012: Sony stand report
Sony CES 2012 Stand Report
Phase One updates Media Pro management software to V1.2

Professional photography company Phase One has released v1.2 if its Media Pro asset management software. Formerly developed as Microsoft Expression Media, the latest version improves and extends the software's metadata handling and export, ensuring compliance with the IPTC-Extended standard. There are also bug fixes for both the Mac and Windows versions. Version 1.2 is free for Media Pro users or costs $199/€139 for newcomers.

Fujifilm says leaked lens roadmap is a 'close estimate,' more models to follow

CES 2012: Fujifilm has said the leaked lens roadmap for the X-mount used in its X-Pro1 is close but not finalized. Fujifilm's Kayce Baker, speaking to dpreview at the CES show in Las Vegas, said the leaked roadmap was 'a close estimate' of its plans but that some decisions, such as how fast the lenses maximum apertures will be, have not yet been made. The official line remains that there will be nine lenses in the next two years. Meanwhile, in an interview with Amateur Photographer magazine, Fujifilm Digital Imaging director Adrian Clarke has said the X-Pro1 will be part of a range of X-mount cameras. [Updated: video walkthrough of X-Pro1 added]

Nik Software makes Snapseed for Mac and 'Tegra' Android tablets

CES 2012: Nik Software has announced its award-winning Snapseed image editing and sharing software will be available for both Macs and Android tablets based around NVIDIA Tegra processors. The Mac version will be available from the Apple App Store for a price of around $19.99, while the Android version, that will work with tablets running Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) on Tegra 2 or 3 processors, will cost $4.99 or the equivalent in other currencies.

CES 2012: Hands-on with the Canon G1 X and Nikon D4

CES 2012: Hands-on shots of the Canon PowerShot G1 X and Nikon D4 mark the start of our CES coverage. The Pepcom Digital Experience event at the start of the huge CES 2012 tarde show provided a chance for us to take an even closer look at two of the most exciting cameras to be announced in 2012 so far: Nikon's professional D4 DSLR and Canon's enthusiast-targeted G1 X large-sensor compact. We'll be publishing our usual stand reports and full show coverage over the coming days, but we thought this would help whet your appetite for the rest of CES 2012.

Corel announces Bibble-based AfterShot Pro Raw workflow tool

CES 2012: Corel has announced AfterShot Pro, a Raw processing and workflow tool based on Bibble's technologies. Coming just a week after the announcement that Corel had bought Bibble Labs (though several months after the deal was done), AfterShot Pro provides the kinds of photo management and non-destructive editing that products such as Adobe's Lightroom offer. The software, available for Mac and Linux as well as Windows, will cost $99 or $79 for existing Bibble 5, PaintShop Pro X2, Lightroom or Aperture customers. A free trial is available from Corel's website.

Kodak announces Easyshare M750 Wi-Fi compact alongside other cameras

Pre-CES: Kodak has announced the Easyshare M750 Wi-Fi enabled compact cameras, along with its release of four other compacts. The M750 is a 16MP camera from which images can be pulled, wirelessly, from the camera using the Easyshare Camera App on iOS, Android or Blackberry devices. It can also connect to Wi-Fi networks, to allow simple uploading to social networks such as Facebook and YouTube. The company also says it is releasing the M215 and M565 14MP 5x zoom compacts, the C135 rugged camera and the Z5120 superzoom to its Easyshare range.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Public Beta hands-on preview

Adobe has released a public beta version of its Photoshop Lightroom 4 workflow and image editing software and we've prepared a comprehensive article looking at the changes it brings. Available immediately for free download from Adobe Labs, the beta features a books creation module, increased support for video files, soft proofing capability and a Google Maps-powered geo-tagging module. What do these changes mean for new and existing Lightroom users? Find out in our hands-on preview.

Olympus releases VR-340 mid-range 10x compact superzoom

Pre-CES: Olympus has released the VR-340, an affordable 10x compact superzoom. It features a 24-240mm equivalent zoom and stands out from most of today's other Olympus announcements by being based around a 16MP, stabilized CCD sensor. It also offers a very respectable 460k dot LCD despite its recommended selling price of $149.

Olympus unveils SZ-12 compact superzoom with 24x lens

Pre-CES: Olympus has unveiled the SZ-12, a 24x compact superzoom camera. The camera is based around an image-stabilized 14MP sensor and adds a 25-600mm equivalent zoom lens. Like the other releases it includes the company's Magic Art Filters, but it also features a well-specified 460k dot 3.0" LCD. The SZ-12 will sell for around $199 from March 2012.

Olympus announces SP-620UZ 21x 'Ultrazoom' camera

Pre-CES: Olympus has announced the SP-620UZ, the latest in its long-running 'ultrazoom' series of cameras. The SP-620uz has a lens covering a 25-525mm equivalent range, mounted in front of a 16MP stabilized CCD sensor. It features the company's Magic Art Filters and a multi-shot 3D imaging mode for playback on 3D monitors and televisions. The SP-620UZ has a recommended selling price of $199.

Olympus reveals VG-160 stylish entry-level compact

Pre-CES: Olympus has revealed the VG-160 affordable style compact. The VG-160 combines a 14 megapixel sensor with a 5x optical zoom covering the 26-130mm equivalent range. It has a 3.0" LCD screen and features the company's iAuto, automatic exposure mode that will identify and use any of the 29 scene modes that it recognizes. It can capture movies at up to 720p quality and includes the company's Magic Art Filter processing options. It will cost around $99.

Olympus launches TG-320 rugged compact

Pre-CES: Olympus has launched the TG-320, an affordable rugged compact camera with 3.6x zoom lens. The lens covers a range equivalent to a 28-102mm lens on a 35mm film camera. It is waterproof to a depth of 3m (10ft) and is also shockproof, freezeproof and dustproof. It features a 14 megapixel sensor and can capture 720p HD movies underwater.

Sony announces DSC-W650, DSC-W620 and DSC-W610 budget compacts

Pre-CES: Sony has announced the DSC-W650, DSC-W620 and DSC-W610 entry-level company cameras. The DSC-W650 features a 16MP CCD sensor and 5x stabilized zoom lens that covers the 25-125mm equivalent range, it also features a 3.0" LCD. The W620 has a 14MP sensor, unstabilized 5x, 28-140mm equiv. lens and 2.7" LCD. The W610 has the same 14MP sensor and 2.7" screen but with a 4x, 26-104mm lens. All three offer the company's 360° Sweep Panorama mode, while the W650 and W620 also get 4 'Picture Effect' creative filters.

Preview: Fujifilm X-Pro1 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera [Updated]

Just Posted: Our preview of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujifilm's X system lenses. The X-Pro1 is, in many respects, the camera that many people hoped the X100 was foreshadowing: interchangeable lenses and a cutting-edge sensor combined in a classically-styled body and retaining the excellent hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. We've had a chance to get our hands on the X-Pro 1 and the 18mm F2, 35mm F1.4 and 60mm F2.4 primes that are being launched alongside it, to get to really make sense of the camera, its capabilities and that unusual color-filter array. Click here to read what we think. [Updated with approx price]

Preview: Canon PowerShot G1 X large sensor zoom compact

Just Posted: Our hands-on preview of the Canon G1 X large sensor zoom compact. Canon is swimming against the tide somewhat with the G1 X - a camera that embraces the large-sensors used by most mirrorless cameras, but foregoing the interchangeable lenses to create a relatively compact all-rounder. The camera combines a 28-112mm equivalent, F2.8-5.8 stabilized zoom with a 14MP sensor just a fraction smaller than those in Canon's DSLRs. Could this be the photographers' compact that we always wanted the G series to be? Read our preview to find out.

Sigma announces 19mm F2.8 and 30mm F2.8 Digital Neo lenses for mirrorless systems

Pre-CES: Sigma has launched the Digital Neo range of lenses for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, with the announcement of the 19mm F2.8 and 30mm F2.8 lenses for Micro Four Thirds and Sony NEX. The two relatively compact prime lenses offer 38mm and 60mm equivalent fields of view, respectively, on the Micro Four Thirds system and, 28.5mm and 45mm on the Sony E-mount. At F2.8, neither lens is spectacularly fast, but both systems benefit from the Sigma beginning to make mirrorless-specific lenses. Pricing and availability information has not been announced.

Sigma reveals APO Macro 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM full-frame 1:1 macro lens

Pre-CES: Sigma has announced the APO Macro 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM, an image stabilized telephoto macro lens. The company claims it is the first 180mm macro to combine 1:1 reproduction with an F2.8 maximum aperture. It offers a closest focusing distance of 47cm (18.5 inches) and includes the company's optical stabilization and 'FLD' fluorite-like glass elements. An internal focus design and ring-type HSM focus motor allow full-time manual focus override. Pricing and availability will be announced later.

January 9
Panasonic unveils conversion lenses for Micro Four Thirds

Pre-CES: Panasonic has unveiled a range of converter lenses that attach to its Micro Four Thirds kit lenses. The range includes a wide-angle converter, a macro converter and a fisheye converter, each of which is compatible with both the company's 14mm F2.5 prime lens and its Lumix X 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 power zoom. There's also a telephoto converter designed for working with the power zoom. The DMW-GWC1 wide-angle added to a 14mm lens gives the field of view of an 11mm lens (22mm equiv.). The DMW-GMC1 macro reduces the minimum focusing distance of the lenses to around 14cm. The DMW-GFC1 fisheye converter gives a 120° angle-of-view while the DMW-GTC1 extends the zoom's maximum reach to 84mm (168mm equivalent). Prices are not yet available.

Panasonic announces DMC-SZ7 and DMC-SZ1 mid-level compact superzooms

Pre-CES: Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-SZ7 and DMC-SZ1, two 10X 'style zoom' cameras. Both cameras feature 25-250mm equivalent stabilized zoom lenses, 3.0" automatically adjusting LCDs and USB charging. The SZ7 is built around a 14MP MOS sensor with 1080i60 video and has a 460k dot LCD, whereas the SZ1 features a 16MP CCD sensor that captures 720p30 and has a 230k dot LCD.

Panasonic unveils LUMIX DMC-FH8 and DMC-FH6 mid-level compacts

Pre-CES: Panasonic has unveiled the DMC-FH8 (DMC-FS45 in Europe) and DMC-FH6 (DMC-FS40 in Europe) mid-level compact cameras. Both cameras are built around 5x, 24-120mm equivalent F2.5-6.4 stabilized lenses. The FH8 has a 3.0" LCD screen while the FH6 makes do with a 2.7" unit.

Panasonic launches DMC-S2 budget compact camera

Pre-CES: Panasonic has launched the Lumix DMC-S2, the latest in its range of inexpensive compact cameras. Despite its lowly position in the range, the S2 offers a 4x, 28-112mm equivalent image stabilized zoom lens. Beyond this, it has a 14MP CCD sensor the ability to shoot 720p movies.

Samsung announces Wi-Fi capabilities of 'SMART Camera' range

Pre-CES: Samsung has given more details about the capabilities of its 'SMART Camera' range of Wi-Fi enabled compacts and camcorders. The range includes the WB850F, WB150F and ST200F compacts announced today, as well as the DV300F announced on Jan 2nd. All can be used with Samsung's Remote Viewfinder app on Android smartphones (an iOS version is due later in 2012). All the cameras can also automatically backup their images and video to your home PC when you're within Wi-Fi range, and feature 'log-in' browsers for connecting to public networks. The SMART Cameras also allow easy uploading to social networks, Samsung's AllShare Play or Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud services.

Samsung reveals WB850F, WB150F and ST200F Wi-Fi-connected cameras

Pre-CES: Samsung has revealed the WB850F, WB150F and ST200Fa trio of Wi-Fi-enabled compact superzooms. The WB850F has a 16MP backlit CMOS sensor, 23-483mm equiv. F2.8-5.9 lens and GPS. The WB150F has an 18x, 24-432mm equiv, F3.2-5.9 lens and 14MP interline CCD, allowing 1080p video capture, while the ST200F is a 10x, 27-270mm equiv. zoom camera with a 16MP CCD chip. All three cameras feature the company's 'SMART' Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing easy upload, backup and remote control.

Samsung unveils ST76 and ST66 budget compact cameras

Pre-CES: Samsung has unveiled the ST76 and ST66 5x zoom budget compact cameras. Both feature 25-125mm equivalent lenses that start at an impressively bright F2.5 maximum aperture (before settling down to a rather less note-worthy F6.3 at the long end of the zoom). Both also make use of 16MP CCD sensors, giving 720p video, and feature 2.7" LCDs. The ST76 adds optical image stabilization and an extra $10 to the asking price.

Samsung announces Q20, W300 and F80 camcorders

Pre-CES: Samsung has announced three camcorder models: the Q20, F80 and the W300 pocket camcorder. The Q20 shoots 1080i HD footage and incorporates a 20x zoom lens. The company is also offering a Wi-Fi capable QF20 variant. The less expensive F80 model shoots 720p30 video and a 52x optical zoom lens. Finally, the W300 is a rugged pocket camcorder that can shoot 1080p30 movies.

Casio announces Exilim EX-ZR15 high-speed CMOS compact camera

Pre-CES: Casio has announced the Exilim EX-ZR15 high-speed compact camera. The EX-ZR15 features a a 7x, 28-196mm equivalent, F3.0-5.9 stabilized zoom lens and a 16MP CMOS sensor. Casio promises a responsive experience, quoting 0.99 sec startup, 0.13 sec autofocus and shot-to-shot times as low as 0.29 seconds. The camera also makes use of the fast readout from its CMOS chip to offer a range of multi-shot features, such as in-camera HDR, a blurred background effect and stitched-image wideangle function.

Canon announces ELPH 520 HS and ELPH 110 HS style compacts

Pre-CES: Canon has announced the ELPH 520 HS (IXUS 500 HS in Europe) and the ELPH 100 HS (IXUS 125 HS in Europe). The 520 HS is the World's slimmest 12x zoom camera and offers a 28-336mm equivalent lens range. It features a 10MP CMOS sensor, Intelligent Image Stabilization and a 460k dot rear LCD, it uses MicroSD memory cards. The ELPH 100 HS meanwhile, is built around a 16MP CMOS sensor and offers a 5x, 24-120mm equivalent lens. Both offer multi-area white balance for improved results when using flash.

Canon releases six Vixia HF camcorder models

Pre-CES: Canon has updated its camcorder range with three M-series and three R-series Vixia HF models. The more advanced M-series cameras feature an enhanced version of the HD CMOS Pro chip used in last year's models and share a 10x optical zoom lens. The Vixia HF M52 and M50 feature DNLA-compliant Wi-Fi connectivity along with 32Gb and 8Gb of internal memory, respectively. The less expensive M500 misses out on both features. The R-series models follow a similar pattern, with the R32 and R30 offering Wi-Fi capability and 32Gb and 8Gb of memory, with an R300 model stripping out both. The R-series models have smaller sensors, allowing a 32x optical zoom. There will also be an optional waterproof case for the M-series models.

January 8
Article: An Introduction to Food Photography

Matt Golowczynski introduces food photography as an opportunity for creativity. Capturing successful images of food doesn't need to be complicated, he says, and doesn't require any specialist equipment. Have a read to see what potential subject matter might be lurking in your grocery bag.

January 6
Bibble Labs purchased by Corel

Pre-CES: Bibble Labs, the maker of the Bibble Pro Raw conversion software, has been purchased by Corel, maker of CorelDraw and PaintShop Pro. The announcement was made by Bibble President Jeff Stephens on the company's blog. According to Stephens' post, Bibble 5.2.3 is the last planned release of Bibble 5. The entire Bibble team has now joined Corel where they are working on developing of an image workflow solution based on Bibble technology. He says the company will continue to support both Mac and Linux. Bibble and Corel will be making an official announcement next week at CES.

Sony announces range of XQD memory cards

Pre-CES: Sony has become the first company to offer a range memory cards in the XQD format. XQD was recently announced by the Compact Flash Association and is based around the PCI Express specifications, allowing write speeds of 125MB/sec and beyond. Sony claims that, when used in the brand new Nikon D4, (currently the only camera supporting the format), the cards can record up to around 100 frames in RAW format in continuous shooting mode. The first cards will be available from the end of January. Sony has also announced a USB 3.0 card reader for the format.

King Camera v2.5 - iOS App Review

Joanne Carter of theappwhisperer.com takes a closer look at the King Camera app for iOS. King Camera is one of the growing number of all-in-one apps for the iPhone combining both image capture and enhancement. Following a recent price adjustment, King Camera is now available for free. Should you download it? Read our review to find out.

Just posted: Nikon D4 Overview

Just posted: our overview of the Nikon D4, looking at the changes, improvements and additional features of the camera. We've had a chance to handle the Nikon D4 and discuss its features with some of Nikon USA's product experts. From this, we've prepared an overview that looks at the camera, what it offers and what its new capabilities might mean for existing D3 and D3S owners.

Nikon announces D4 'multi-media' DSLR

Pre-CES: Nikon has announced the D4, its latest professional DSLR. The 16MP full-frame camera is capable of shooting at 10 frames per second with full autofocus. In addition to a host of ergonomic improvements, the D4 also sees the expansion of its video capabilities, to the extent that Nikon is describing it as a 'multi-media DSLR.' The cameras gains an Ethernet port, a 91,000 pixel metering sensor and an uprated AF sensor that can work in lower light and with smaller aperture lenses. Its sensitivity range can be expanded to the equivalent of ISO 204,800 and adds illuminated controls to make it easier to work in the low-light situations in which such a setting becomes useful. The D4 also becomes the first camera to make use of the XQD memory card format.

Nikon launches AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 G

Pre-CES: Nikon has launched the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 G, an updated version of its popular moderate telephoto prime lens. The AF-S version of the lens is a completely new optical design and features a built-in focusing motor to allow it to autofocus on all Nikon DSLRs. The lens features an internal focus design and 7 rounded aperture blades. It can focus down to a distance of 80cm (2.6ft). The lens will be available from March 2012 for a price of around $499.

Datacolor launches Spyder4 range of colorimeters

Pre-CES: Color calibration company Datacolor has launched the Spyder4, the latest in its range of affordable colorimeters. The Spyder4 range includes Express, Pro and Elite versions that vary in terms of the complexity of calibration you can conduct and how many devices you can calibrate. Datacolor claims the latest versions offer 26% better color accuracy than the Spyder3 models. Prices range from $119 for the Spyder4 Express to $249 for the Elite version.

Former CEO Woodford ends Olympus takeover battle

Former CEO Michael Woodford has issued a statement saying he will no longer seek to regain his position in the company. Woodford was removed by the company when he uncovered a financial cover-up aimed at hiding loses of over $1bn. He has subsequently campaigned to have the company's existing management board removed but has given up on the fight, having failed to win similar levels of support from Japanese shareholders as he received from overseas investors.

January 5
Book Review: Private Views by Barbara Crane
Adam Koplan reviews 'Private Views' a collection of work by Barbara Crane. In the early 1980’s, Barbara Crane attended crowded summer festivals and fairs in the parks of Chicago. Koplan concludes that, while none the individual images appear particularly masterful, together they add up to a well-executed and wonderfully idiosyncratic body of work.
Ambarella offers Wireless Camera Developer's Kit to create connected cameras

Pre-CES: Chip-maker Ambarella has announced a Wireless Camera Developer's Kit that will enable the development of cameras that can connect wirelessly to smartphones.The kit allows camera makers to provide features such as smartphone-based remote viewfinder apps and the ability to stream HD video to web broadcasting sites such as Qik and Ustream as well as uploading images to sites such as Facebook. The kit is a result of a collaboration with Qualcomm Atheros, the networking and connectivity subsidiary of Qualcomm, whose chips underpin many mobile devices.

Fujifilm USA announces price for X-S1 high-end superzoom camera

Pre-CES: Fujifilm USA has announced the price and availability of the X-S1 high-end superzoom announced back in November. The X-S1 is part of the company's premium 'X Series' and is built around the same 2/3" type 12MP CMOS sensor as the X10 enthusiasts' compact. It also features a 26X 24-624mm equivalent F2.8-5.6 zoom lens. It also features Raw shooting, a 1.44M dot electronic viewfinder and 460,000 dot rear LCD along with a rubberized coating and metal dials to emphasize its premium 'Made in Japan' status. It will be available later this month at a recommended price of $799.

Fujifilm announces F770EXR and F750EXR raw-capable 20x CMOS compact superzooms

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has announced the FinePix F770EXR, a 20x, raw-capable compact superzoom with GPS. The F770 uses a 16MP CMOS sensor that offers the company's dynamic range or noise-optimizing EXR technology. Fujifilm says the latest iteration offers 30% less noise than existing 16MP EXR models. The camera's stabilized lens offers a 25-500mm equivalent range at apertures of F3.5-5.3. It can also capture 1080p movies and offers P,A,S and M shooting modes. The F750EXR is the same camera without the GPS functions.

Fujifilm releases FinePix F660EXR 15x compact superzoom

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has released the FinePix F660EXR, a 15x compact superzoom built around the company's EXR technology. It features the same 1/2" type 16MP CMOS sensor as the co-announced F770EXR, along with the same 3.0" 460,000 dot LCD but loses the more expensive camera's zoom range, GPS and Raw-shooting capability. It still offers an impressive 24-360mm equivalent stabilized zoom and 1080p movie shooting.

Fujifilm reveals HS30EXR 30x CMOS superzoom with Raw

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has revealed the HS30EXR, the latest in its range of Raw-capable EXR superzoom cameras. The HS30 features a redesigned 16MP back-lit CMOS sensor and gains a series of improvements over the existing HS20 model. These include not only interface features such as electronic level gauge and manual focusing during video capture, but also more fundamental changes, such as the use of a lithium-ion battery and the addition of a high resolution electronic viewfinder. It retains the 24-720mm equivalent, F2.8-5.6 lens.

Fujifilm unveils FinePix Z1000EXR Wi-Fi-connected card camera

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has unveiled the Z1000EXR, a Wi-Fi compatible card style camera with 5x optical zoom. The Z1000 is built around the same 16MP back-lit EXR CMOS sensor as the F770EXR but adds sensor-shift image stabilization. It also gains the ability to connect to iOS and Android smartphones for quick uploading of images to social networking sites. It is built around a 3.5" touch screen and a 28-140mm equivalent F3.9-4.9 lens.

Fujifilm develops FinePix T400 10x entry-level compact superzoom

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has developed the FinePix T400, an entry-level compact camera with a 10X zoom lens. The camera is built around a stabilized 16MP CCD sensor and a 28-280mm equivalent lens to offer flexibility at an accessible price point. Its CCD underpinnings limit its video capability to 720p but this is easily accessed with a direct movie record button.

Fujifilm launches XP150 and XP100 rugged, waterproof compacts

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has launched the XP150 and XP100, two waterproof, rugged compact cameras. Both are based around 14MP CMOS sensors and 28-140mm equivalent lenses. They are both waterproof to a depth of 10m, shockproof for drops of up to 2m, freezeproof to –10°C and are dust/sand proof. The difference between the models is that the US-only XP100 model doesn't offer GPS, which it uses to offer features such as electronic compass or photo-based navigation.

Fujifilm releases FinePix XP50 tough compact camera

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has released the FinePix XP50 tough compact camera with 14MP CMOS sensor. The XP50 it's not as durable as the XP150 and XP100 but, being waterproof to a depth of 5m and shockproof from a height of 1.5m, it's still a lot more resilient than most compacts. It's built around the same 28-140mm equivalent zoom as its tougher brothers and, thanks to its use of the same CMOS sensor, is able to capture 1080p movies.

Fujifilm unleashes FinePix SL300 and SL240

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has unleashed the FinePix SL300 and SL240 mid-range superzoom cameras. The 30x zoom FinePix SL300 and 24x zoom SL240 sit beneath the manufacturer's X-S1 and HS30EXR models but above the co-announced S4500 and S4000, to offer a heartily-bezoomed camera for any pocket. Both cameras are based around 14MP stabilized CCD sensors and offer comparatively high-resolution 460,000 dot LCDs. They also feature hot-shoes to allow use with external flash guns.

Fujifilm announces the FinePix Z110 card-style compact

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has announced the FinePix Z110 card-style compact camera. The Z110 is based around a 14MP CCD sensor and offers the same 28-140mm equivalent zoom as the more highly-specced Z1000EXR but doesn't include that model's sensor-shift image stabilization. The CCD sensor means the camera is limited to 720p HD movies capture.

Fujifilm releases FinePix S4500 and S4200 entry-level superzooms

Pre-CES: Fujfilm has released the S4500 and S4200 entry-level superzoom cameras. The S4500 and S4200 are built around the 30x and 24x zoom lenses that also appear in the company's 'SL' cameras, and are based around the same 14MP CCD sensors. The major difference is the exterior design and the inclusion of lower-resolution LCDs (230k dots). The S-series cameras also lose the SL's flash hot-shoes.

Fujifilm dispatches FinePix JZ200 and JZ100 metal-bodied compacts

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has dispatched the FinePix JZ200 and JZ100 metal-bodied, 8x zoom compact cameras. Both use CCD sensors, with the JZ200 featuring a 16MP chip, while the JZ100 has a 14MP version. Both have optical image stabilization and 25-200mm equivalent zoom lenses. Their small bodies mean there's only room for 2.7", 270k dot LCDs on the back.

Fujifilm offers FinePix JX550 and JX500 budget compacts

Pre-CES: Fujifilm has released the FinePix JX550 and JX500 budget compacts. The JX550 is a 16MP model, while the JX500 is a 14MP camera. Both feature 26-130mm equivalent F3.5-5.6 unstabilized lens. They also feature direct movie record buttons to trigger 720p movie capture.

January 4
Kodak reported to be preparing for bankruptcy protection

Financial paper the Wall Street Journal is reporting that former photography giant Kodak is preparing for 'Chapter 11' bankruptcy protection. The company's shares fell below $1 per share yesterday, with the New York Stock Exchange announcing that the price must rise above this level within the next six months if the company is to avoid being de-listed (the share price must exceed $1 at the end of a calendar month and have averaged above $1 for the preceding 30 days). Reports claim that the company is planning to enter the court-administered Chapter 11 process if it cannot find a buyer for its portfolio of 1,100 patents covering many aspects of digital imaging.

Challenge of Challenges 2011 Winner announced

Congratulations to 'elroyie' for winning our Challenge of Challenges 2011’with the image ‘The Last Drop’. Elroyie has won our annual contest for the second time, having also won our inaugural competition, in 2009. As promised this year we also have a special prize to the voter who most closely matches the final scoring. This goes to 'IdeaChaser,' who, along with elroyie, will receive a framed exhibition print from Custom-Digital. Both winners will be contacted via email for further information regarding the print and shipping details.

January 2
Samsung announces DV300F Wi-Fi-connected 'dual-view' camera

Pre-CES 2012: Samsung has announced the DV300F, a Wi-Fi compatible compact camera with its twin LCD 'DualView' feature. The DV300F has a 5x, 25-125mm equiv, F2.5-6.3 stabilized zoom lens and a 16MP CCD sensor. It also features a 1.5" LCD on its front plate to allow easy self-portraits. Its stand-out feature, though, is its Wi-Fi capability, that allows it to be remotely controlled from an Android smartphone (an iOS version is being developed). It can also automatically backup your images to your home computer via a Wi-Fi network, every time you walk into the house, or to a 'cloud' service such as Microsoft's SkyDrive or Samsung's All Share Play, avoiding the need to remove the camera's MicroSD card. The DV300F also includes a 'log-on browser' that allows its use with public WiFi hotspots that require you to log in.

January 1
SLR Magic announces HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95  M-mount lens

Hong Kong lens maker SLR Magic has announced the HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 lens for the Leica M mount. The lens, which can be easily adapted for Micro Four Thirds or Sony NEX cameras, is designed for low light and shallow depth-of-field videography and available-light photography. The lens features 12 elements in 7 groups and, the company says, is optimized to be shot with the aperture wide open. The lens won't be available until September 2012. In the meantime, the company has also announced a spotting scope that mounts directly to Micro Four Thirds cameras.