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July 2012 news and reviews

July 31
Facebook pushes photo prominence in timeline

Facebook has updated the way photos are presented in the timeline section of users' profiles - devoting more page space to the images and making it easier to give some images prominence. The result is an awful lot like the Google+ gallery view, and the Flickr interface for viewing contacts' images but appears to crop all images to square format. The Facebook update gives the ability to 'highlight' specific images (making them four times larger) but doesn't just present your own images - images with you tagged in them will be intermingled with your own shots, so it's not an optimal way to showcase your photography, unless you ruthlessly de-tag yourself from other peoples' photos.

As a retired business manager and consultant for many known successful photographers, I am always asked how I can advise young talented photographers to start and grow their photography business to a full-time profession. The photography industry has changed drastically over the past 20 years, and

July 30
Gariz leather half-case for Sony RX100

Korean accessory maker Gariz has introduced a leather half-case for the Sony RX100. Setting it apart from the other examples on the market is its metal base plate. This not only allows the attachment of the company's 'Gun Shot' strap system but also repositions the tripod mount into line with the lens's optical axis. The cases can be bought directly from the company, though it's not clear what additional shipping costs will add to the Korean price of 76,000 Won (around $67). (From DCWatch)

Photojournalists discuss the ethics of non-intervention

The photojournalistic tradition of trying not to play a role in the scene you're shooting doesn't answer every ethical dilemma. While the viewing audience of news images would hope that the photographer hasn't intervened or staged the image, does that mean the journalist should simply observe acts of violence and crime? British newspaper The Guardian has spoken to eight photographers who've had to make the decision whether to shoot or act in such situations. Their perspectives (and regrets) are presented alongside a slideshow of the often harrowing images they've taken. (from The Guardian)

Just Posted: Nokia 808 PureView Review

We've just posted a six-page review of the Nokia 808 PureView, focusing on its photographic features and performance. On paper, the 808 offers the most advanced camera features of any smartphone, including manually selectable ISO sensitivity from 50-1600, exposure bracketing, and five white balance presets. Then, of course, there's the unique way it uses its large, high pixel-count sensor. So just how much of a threat does this represent for conventional compact cameras? Read our six-page review to find out.

July 29
Book Review: Sketching Light by Joe McNally

Bestselling author Joe McNally (The Moment It Clicks and The Hotshoe Diaries) has written another accessible, entertaining book - Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash. In contrast to his earlier volumes, which were often rich with images and reminiscences from his storied editorial career, his latest book is more technical, covering methods for creating and shaping light using all manner of strobes. This is far from a prescriptive 'how to' guide though, says Adam Koplan.

July 28
Nikon D3200 in-depth review updated to include WU-1a Wi-Fi adapter

We've just updated our in-depth review of the Nikon D3200 entry-level DSLR to include a page of information about Nikon's WU-1a Wi-Fi adapter. The WU-1a arrived in office as we were preparing the review for publication so we've spent the past 48 hours using it, before adding it to the review. The WU-1a allows both wireless image transfer to a an Android smartphone or tablet, or to use the device as a remote shutter trigger (release of an iOS version is planned for fall 2012). Click here to read our updated 21-page review.

July 27
Metabones creates second-generation Canon EF to Sony NEX 'Smart Adapter'

Metabones has announced an updated version of its Canon EF adapter for Sony NEX E-mount. The second version of the Smart Adapter will feature a screw-on Arca Swiss-style tripod mount, improved anti-reflection shieding and a mode that releases the aperture and stops image stabilization to reduce battery consumption. As with the original version, the Second Edition Smart Adapter offers aperture control, image stabilization and EXIF reporting compatibility with most EF and EF-S lenses. It will be available from August 2012 at the same $400 list price as the existing version.

Pro shooter to cover London 2012 using Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5

Panasonic has announced that Getty Images sports photographer Dean Mouhtaropoulos will be covering the London 2012 Olympic Games exclusively using its recently-announced Lumix DMC-G5. His images will be displayed both at the Getty Gallery next to London's Olympic Park, and on Panasonic UK's homepage. With sports photography traditionally the preserve of large SLR cameras, the company is hoping to showcase the capabilities of its mirrorless model in this notoriously-demanding field. We suspect the press release has more to do with making the most of its Olympic sponsorship than swaying other pros, but it should be interesting to see the results.

July 26
German Designer Unveils Concept for 'Instagram' Glasses

German designer Markus Gerke has unveiled a design concept for wearable glasses that could simulate the effect of Instagram filters. In one of the weirdest design concepts that we've ever seen, Gerke's 'Instaglasses' would feature a built-in 5MP camera and microcomputer, and would be able to simulate the effects of different Instagram effects filters at the push of a button, before capturing and uploading the scene to Instagram. We'd be very surprised if Gerke's idea comes to fruition any time soon, but it's a fascinating concept. Click through for the full story (via Mail Online)

Five Friends Take Same Picture for 30 Years

Every five years since 1982, high school friends John Wardlaw, John Dickson, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney and John Molony have taken the same photograph of themselves, in the same place - Copco Lake in California. The original photograph was taken on a holiday the group took when they were teenagers at Wardlaw's family cabin, and every five years since, they have returned to the same spot and meticulously recreated the original pose. (via CNN)

Just Posted: Nikon D3200 in-depth Review

We've just posted our in-depth, 20-page review of the Nikon D3200 entry-level DSLR. The D3200 builds on the the company's line of simple, accessible beginners' DSLRs by adding a higher-resolution screen, boosting its continuous shooting rate and adding details such as a microphone jack and infrared remote sockets. And then, of course, there's the 24MP CMOS sensor, making it by far the highest pixel-count camera in its class. Does its impressive specification translate into class-leading performance? Read our review to find out.

July 25
Fujifilm announces F800EXR - 20x compact superzoom with Wi-Fi

Fujifilm has announced the FinePix F800EXR, a 20x raw-capable compact superzoom with built-in Wi-Fi. The F800 uses a 16MP CMOS sensor that offers the company's dynamic range or noise-optimizing EXR technology. Its 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. A near-twin of the still-current F770EXR, the F800 omits the older camera's GPS feature, but introduces Wi-Fi Wireless Image Transfer for Android and iOS devices via the free 'Fujifilm Photo Receiver,' app.

Sony releases DT 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 SAL Telephoto Zoom for Alpha

Sony has announced the DT 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 SAM, a budget telephoto zoom designed to complement the 18-55mm 'kit' lens. It's optimized for Sony's APS-C Alpha SLTs and DSLRs, and features the company's Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM) for fast, quiet focussing. Billed as an ideal lens for capturing stills and video of distant subjects, it features an ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) element, which should reduce aberrations and increase sharpness. It will be available in September for around $300.

July 24
Site Updates and New Features

Eagle-eyed visitors will have already noticed we've made a few changes to the homepage and added a couple of new features (both of which are still very much at the beta stage). First (and most obvious) is the new menu bar, which we hope will make finding what you're looking for easier and more logical - and allows us the horizontal space we need for some exciting forthcoming features. We've also added a comprehensive selection of software to our database and introduced a completely new feature, the Link Database. More after the jump...

Updated: our Canon EOS M hands-on preview

We've updated our initial preview of the Canon EOS M with lots more information, including our own hands-on pictures of the camera and a video illustrating the shutter sound. So if you're interested in finding out more about Canon's first mirrorless offering, it's worth having a glance through to see if there's anything you missed first time around. Click through for the link.

Kipon develops electronic adapters for Canon lenses on mirrorless bodies

Chinese accessory manufacturer Kipon says it has developed mount adapters to use Canon EOS lenses on Micro Four Thirds and Sony NEX bodies with full electronic control of the aperture setting. There's no word on whether other functions such as image stabilization or autofocus have any chance of working, and as yet Kipon is only showing unfinished-looking examples on its website. There's also no information on availabililty or pricing, but we'd expect it to be very competitive. 

Sigma UK launches Olympics-themed photo competition

Sigma UK has launched a 'Spirit of the Games' photographic competition, with the chance to win an SD1 Merrill SLR with 17-50mm F2.8 lens, or a DP2 Merrill large-sensor compact. Running from the start of the Olympic Games on the 28th July to the 31st August, photographers are invited to submit up to five of their images capturing the Spirit of the Games. The overall winner will be selected by Sigma's own judges, while 20 runners-up will be entered into a publicly-judged Facebook competition to win the DP2 Merrill. Click through for a link on how to enter. 

Lytro Light Field Camera now works with Windows

Lytro, the maker of the Lytro Lightfield Camera, has today announced that its 'Lytro Desktop Application' - the software that allows you to 'refocus' light-field images after they have been taken, is now available for Microsoft Windows. You'll need to run the 64bit version of Windows Home, Professional or Ultimate on a computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo or better processor and at least 2GB RAM. At the same time the company announced two new accessories - a USB wall charger and a tripod mount, which are available for around $20 each.

July 23
Canon EOS M: hands-on preview of Canon's first mirrorless EOS

Canon has, as expected, announced the EOS M - its first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Based around the same 18MP APS-C sensor as the recent EOS 650D/T4i, the EOS M is the first model to use a new, smaller 'EF-M' lens mount. It is launched alongside two EF-M lenses that use STM stepper motors optimized for use with the camera's hybrid AF system. As we've seen before in the mirrorless sector, the EOS M is predominantly aimed at the point-and-shoot upgrader market looking for DSLR quality and makes greater use of a 650D-style touch-screen interface. We've been using the EOS M for a little while and have prepared a preview, looking in more detail at Canon's first mirrorless EOS camera and how it handles.

Canon announces two EF-M lenses to accompany EOS M mirrorless camera

Canon has announced two lenses for the EF-M mount used for the first time by its EOS M mirrorless camera. The first lenses will be a EF-M 22mm F2.0 STM 'pancake' prime and an EF-M 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom lens. Both are built around a STM linear stepping motors to drive focus. The EF-M 22mm F2.0 offers a field-of-view equivalent to a 35mm lens on a 135 film camera, while the 18-55mm offers around 29-88mm equivalent coverage. Both feature metal lens barrels and focus-by-wire manual focus.

July 22
Just posted: Quick Pentax K-30 samples gallery

We've prepared a quick samples gallery using the Pentax K-30 - Pentax' latest mid-level DSLR with a 16.3MP CMOS sensor. We're working on a review but recently technical writer Lars Rehm had the chance to take the camera and the 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 lens on a road trip down the coast on Highway 101 and to Crater Lake in Oregon, taking a lot of pictures along the way. The review is in the pipeline, but in the meantime we hope you enjoy these pictures, which should give you a taste of what the camera can do. 

July 21
Just Posted: Sony Cyber-shot DSC HX20V Review

Just Posted: Sony Cyber-shot HX20V review. We've collaborated with Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page to bring you a 10-page review of Sony's latest travel-zoom compact camera, the 18MP HX20V. The new model boasts 18MP resolution, a 20X optical zoom lens and built-in GPS. So how does it perform overall? Read our 10-page review to find out. 

July 20
New Hipstamatic tools inspired by photojournalist Ben Lowy

Mobile photography app Hipstamatic is embracing its growing popularity among photojournalists by creating a new digital lens and film pack named after photojournalist Ben Lowy. Lowy made headlines when his Hipstamatic images documenting life in Afghanistan were published in the New York Times Magazine last fall. The lens and film effects were a collaborative effort between Lowy and Hipstamatic, and will be released later this year as a 'GoodPak' - available for purchase (price TBC) within the iPhone app. (via the British Journal of Photography)

Rob Galbraith puts Digital Photography Insights website on hiatus

Photography expert Rob Galbraith has said he is putting his well-respected 'Digital Photography Insights' website into 'deep hibernation mode,' as he accepts a photojournalism teaching role. Galbraith has become known as an engaging and knowledgeable writer, particularly from the sports and photojournalism perspective, and was one of the first people to identify and begin to characterise the autofocus problems with the Canon EOS-1D Mark III. The site will remain accessible but will no longer be updated. We would like to wish him every success in his new role at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Flickr responds to 'Dear Marissa Mayer' appeal with an appeal of its own

When Marissa Mayer was named new CEO of Yahoo recently, Los Angeles-based journalist Sean Bonner posted an appeal for her to 'please make Flickr awesome again', signing it 'the Internet'. On his blog, Bonner commented that Flickr, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2005, needs someone to 'put some support behind it, bring it up to date, give it an actually functional mobile app and commit to keeping it alive'. That appeal went viral, and today Flickr posted a response. Click through to read Bonner's appeal and Flickr's humorous reply. (via wired.com)

July 19
Is Instagram 'debasing photography'?

Mobile apps like Instagram are 'debasing real photography'. That's according to writer and broadcaster Kate Bevan, in an opinion article on British newspaper The Guardian's website. In the article, Bevan argues that filter effect apps like Instagram 'spoil pictures - they get in the way of the image and they distort the story the picture is telling'. Bevan calls these filter effects 'the antithesis of creativity'. What do you think? Click through for a link to the full article, and a chance to have your say. (via The Guardian)

Richard Franiec creates accessory grip for Sony RX100

Accessory maker Richard Franiec has unveiled his design for a custom grip for the Sony RX100. As usual for one of Franiec's grips, the anodized aluminium accessory is held in place with 3M VHB tape, which holds it firmly in place but can be removed, without damage, later. The design follows the pattern of his existing grips and doesn't protrude beyond the camera's retracted lens barrel, so that pocketability isn't reduced. The grip will be available from August 2012 at a cost of $34.95, plus shipping.

July 18
Canon creates on-screen user-guides for EOS-1D X

Canon USA has published a series of user guides for its flagship EOS-1D X full-frame DSLR, in the form of HD videos that are designed to be played-back on the camera's rear LCD. There are 18 topics covered, including a series of videos looking at how to get the best out of the AF system. Canon video tutorials are also available for the EOS-1D Mark IV, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark II, 7D and 60D. (From UnitedByPhotography, via CanonWatch)

Samsung launches MV900F flip-screen Wi-Fi compact

Samsung has announced the MV900F - a flip-screen 'MultiView' camera that adds the company's range of WI-Fi-capable 'Smart' models. The MV900F is built around a 16.3MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a 5x, 25-125mm, F2.5-6.3 zoom lens. It also features a 3.3" OLED screen that can tilt up through 180° to allow for simple self-portraits. This capability is complemented by the addition of the company's app-mediated smartphone connectivity, allowing images to be easily transferred for upload to the Internet. The camera will be available from August at a recommended price of around $349.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and DMC-FZ200 previewed, DMC-LX7 with samples

We've had a chance to use Panasonic's latest models, and have prepared previews of the DMC-LX7, DMC-G5 and DMC-FZ200. The LX7 is the company's latest pocketable enthusiast model, featuring an impressive F1.4-2.3 lens covering a 24-90mm equivalent range. We've included a real-world samples gallery, to show how it performs. We've also taken a detailed look at the G5, seeing how it compares to the G3 and what its more comprehensive feature set offers for photographers. Finally we look at the most interesting superzoom we've seen in quite some time - the DMX-FZ200 - a camera that puts lens brightness (and hence usability) ahead of offering the biggest possible zoom number. Click here for links to our previews

Panasonic announces Lumix DMC-LX7 with F1.4-2.3, 24-90mm equiv. lens

Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-LX7 - the long-awaited update of its pocketable enthusiast compact camera. The LX7 features a slightly smaller sensor than the LX5, allowing it to offer the brightest lens of any compact camera with a really impressive F1.4-2.3 24-90mm equivalent range. The LX7 is based around a 10.1MP MOS sensor, rather than its predecessor's CCD, allowing it to offer 10 fps continuous shooting and 1080p60 movies (50p for European examples) in AVCHD Progressive format, or half that rate in MP4. It also gains an aperture ring around the lens, a 920k dot LCD, and finds room for stereo mics and a larger accessory port, allowing use with an optional high-res electronic viewfinder.

Panasonic launches Lumix DMC-G5 16MP mid-level mirrorless camera

Panasonic has formally unveiled the LUMIX DMC-G5, a mid-level mirrorless interchangable lens camera. The G5 is built around a 16MP LiveMOS sensor that the company implies hasn't been used in a G-series camera before. This, combined with the company's latest 'Venus Engine' allows the capture of 1080p video at 60 frames per second (50p in European examples). It also gains an additional control lever, higher-resolution 920,000 dot rear LCD and regains the eye-sensor to automatically switch between LCD and electronic viewfinder. In principle the G5 will sit above the existing G3 in the company's lineup. For more information, read our hands-on preview.

Panasonic reveals DMC-FZ200 high-end superzoom with constant F2.8 lens

Panasonic has revealed the Lumix DMC-FZ200 - a 24X superzoom with an impressive constant-F2.8 lens and high-resolution electronic viewfinder. That fast lens means that it should be easier to capture high-quality images at the full extent of the zoom, without having to use high ISO settings. It also has a 1.3m dot equivalent electronic viewfinder, as featured in the company's more expensive mirrorless cameras. It also has the ability to shoot at 12 frames per second and can capture 1080p video at 60fps or 720p at up to 120fps. The camera's 25-600mmm equivalent lens features an improved version of the company's highest-grade Power OIS stabilization system and 'Nano Surface Coating' to minimize lens flare. We've prepared a hands-on preview of the FZ200, which looks at what these features mean in the real world.

Panasonic develops 45-150mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH tele-zoom for Micro Four Thirds

Panasonic has announced the LUMIX G VARIO 45-150mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS, a compact entry-level telephoto zoom for Micro Four Thirds cameras. At just 73mm/2.9" in length and weighing a mere 200g/7.1oz, it's the smallest lens in its class. It features a metal-clad barrel reminiscent of Sony's NEX lenses, includes optical image stabilization and Panasonic's Nano-Surface Coating to minimise flare, and will be available in either silver or black.

Panasonic creates DMC-FZ60 and FZ62 mid-price 16MP superzooms

Panasonic is to offer the Lumix DMC-FZ60, a mid-priced 24X superzoom with MOS sensor. The FZ60 doesn't retain the FZ200's constant-F2.8 lens or high-res viewfinder but its sensor allows it to capture full-resolution images at 10 frames per second and shoot 1080i60 movies (from 30p sensor output). European versions (called DMC-FZ62) will offer 1080i50 recording from 25p capture. The camera promises 450 shots per charge and features 'Nano Surface Coating' to minimize internal reflections in its 25-600mm equivalent lens.

Panasonic unveils Lumix DMC-SZ5 Wi-Fi capable compact superzoom

Panasonic has created the Lumix DMC-SZ5, a budget-conscious Wi-Fi compatible compact superzoom. The SZ5 is built around a 14MP CCD and a 10X, 25-250mm equivalent stabilized zoom, with the aim of offering the kind of zooming flexibility that a mobile phone can't match. The CCD means it can only produce 720p video at up to 30 frames per second. The SZ5 also features USB charging.

Panasonic offers Lumix DMC-LZ20 budget 21X CCD superzoom

Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-LZ20, a 21x superzoom camera offering a 25-525mm equivalent lens range. The camera is based around a 16MP CCD sensor, limiting its video capabilities to 720p video at 30 frames per second. This, combined with a mid-resolution 460k dot rear screen suggest Panasonic is aiming for the more modestly-priced end of the market (though prices haven't yet been announced).

July 17
ACD Systems adds raw support for 14 cameras to Pro 5 and ACDSee 14

ACD Systems has announced updates bringing support for 14 additional cameras to ACDSee Pro 5 and ACDSee 14 for Windows. ACDSee Pro v5.3 and ACDSee v14.3 both gain support for recent cameras such as the Nikon D800, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Canon PowerShot G1 X, Sony Alpha SLT-A57 and Pentax K-01. The latest builds, featuring the expanded Raw format support can be downloaded from ACD Systems' website now.

Pentax Ricoh: no decision made on future of Pentax compacts

Pentax Ricoh Imaging has said no decision has yet been made about dropping the Pentax name from compact cameras. Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported the company's President Noboru Akahane as saying that the Pentax name would be used only for DSLRs. This prompted much internet speculation about Pentax stopping compact camera production. However, the company says the quote that's been widely discussed was part of a fuller discussion and that 'the final decision has not been made.'

July 16
Samsung confirms lower price for 12MP EX2F 'Smart Camera'

Samsung has confirmed a lower MSRP for the 12MP EX2F, launched earlier this month. Previously, the Korean manufacturer had indicated a US price of $549 but this has been revised to $499. The magnesium-bodied EX2F features a 1/1.7" 12.4MP BSI CMOS sensor and the fastest lens of any compact camera on the market - F1.4 at its widest 24mm equiv setting (slowing down to F2.7 at the 80mm equiv end). It will be available in August.

Just Posted: Nikon Coolpix S9300 Review

Just Posted: Nikon Coolpix S9300 review. We've collaborated with Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page to bring you a 9-page review of Nikon's latest travel-zoom compact camera, the 16MP S9300. We liked last year's S9100, and the newer model features the same 18X optical zoom lens, with the addition of a higher resolution sensor and GPS. So how does it perform overall? Read our 9-page review to find out. 

Portraiture exhibit that omits the subject

A celebrity portraiture series by photographer Robert Weingarten is on display at Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian museum. Weingarten's work is unusual in that his portraits do not include his famous subjects. Instead, he photographs individual objects and scenes that have informed the lives and achievements of his subjects and uses them to create a composite image in Photoshop, seeking a metaphorical, rather than representational portrait. Click here to see a video of Weingarten explaining his process and motivation.

Cosina announces Voigtländer Color Skopar SL II 28mm F2.8 lens

Cosina has announced the Voigtländer Color Skopar SL II 28mm F2.8 manual focus prime lens for Nikon and Canon DSLRs. The latest in Voigtländer's SL II range, it offers a wideangle 74.8° field-of-view on full-frame DSLRs or short-normal angle of around 53° on APS-C cameras. The lens will sell with a recommended retail price of €529 for Nikon, which includes an AIS chip to allow use of all metering modes, or €549 for the Canon version. No US price is yet available but we'd expect prices around $500.

July 13
Sigma US gives price for APO Macro 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM

Sigma US has given details of the price and availability of the 180mm F2.8 macro lens for APS-C and full-frame DSLRs it announced in January. Featuring the company's Optical Stabilizer system, and three of its fluorite-like FLD glass elements, the APO Macro 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM is billed as the world's first 1:1 180mm F2.8 optic. It will be available in the US from July 27th, at a street price of $1699.

July 12
Concert Footage from Nokia 808 Pureview

Nokia-centric site All About Symbian has posted live concert video footage shot on-stage with the Nokia 808 PureView smartphone. The Nokia 808 has made headlines for its unusually large 41MP imaging sensor and 'PureView' technology, which oversamples to give high-quality 3-8MP output or crops to give effective zoom without having to drop to low pixel counts or upsample. It can also capture full HD video footage and its inbuilt stereo microphone can handle audio up to 140db (louder than a military jet). We'll be posting a report on the 808 soon but, in the meantime, click through to get a taste of the 808's video capabilities in a very challenging (and loud) environment. (via All About Symbian). 

Fujifilm gives more details of X-system lenses and accessories

Fujifilm has published a brochure giving more details of the lenses and accessories it has planned for the X-Pro1 and and any future X-system cameras. The brochure gives more details about the forthcoming XF lenses previously included on the company's lens roadmap, including images and specifications for the XF 14mm F2.8 R and XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 OIS. A revised version of the lens roadmap also includes ghosted images of the promised 23mm and 27mm lenses. It also reveals that the XF 14mm will have a focus distance scale - suggesting it may eschew the system's troubled focus-by-wire system.

July 11
Just posted: Fujifilm X10 in-depth review

Just Posted: Our in-depth review of the Fujifilm X10. It's been a long time coming, but we recently got our hands on a modified X10, which incorporates the sensor fix for the much-publicised 'white orbs' blooming issue. Since then, we've been working hard to incorporate our experiences with, and samples from the modified camera into this unavoidably-delayed review. Click here to read our full report on Fujifilm's flagship compact. 

Lexar promises XQD cards later in 2012

Memory card maker Lexar has announced it will start to offer XQD format cards later this year. The company says the cards will support the Nikon D4 and 'future XQD-based camera models,' and will be available from the third quarter of 2012. The XQD format was developed by companies including Sony and has been promoted through the Compact Flash Association. Despite this, Nikon is the only camera maker to have made use of the format so far. The format's popularity is likely to be defined by the level of manufacturer support seen at the forthcoming Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany, this September, around which major models are usually launched.

DxO Optics Pro 7.5.2 gains Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic GF5 support

DxO Labs has released DxO Optics Pro v7.5.2, with this latest update adding support for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic DMC-GF5. The addition means the software can now process files from all Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds cameras. In addition, v7.5.2 brings support for Panasonic's CMOS-based DMC-FZ150 superzoom. As usual, a 30-day free trial is available and the update is free for all Optics Pro 7 customers and anyone who bought Optics Pro 6 after September 1st 2011.

Olympus issues OM-D E-M5 firmware v1.2

Olympus has announced a firmware update for its flagship OM-D E-M5 mirrorless camera. Firmware v1.2 promises to improve the camera's performance at re-waking from sleep mode and display the tracking focus point when shooting in low-speed continuous drive mode with continuous focus tracking enabled. Other listed fixes include the addition of features for use in underwater mode with the 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ lens. The update can be downloaded and installed via the Olympus Camera Updater software.

Nikon announces development of 800mm F5.6 VR super-telephoto lens

Nikon has announced it is developing an 800mm F5.6 image-stabilized super-telephoto lens for professional photographers. Details are sparse, beyond a couple of images and an intention that it will suit field sports, news and wildlife photographers. It will include an AF-S silent-wave focus motor and the company's Vibration Reduction stabilization system, as you might expect for a lens of this type. A prototype will be demonstrated at the Open Golf Championship in Lancashire, England between July 19th and 22nd, but no details of availability or price have been announced.

July 10
Canon launches Selphy CP900 Wi-Fi compact 4x6" photo printer

Canon has unveiled the Selphy CP900, a Wi-Fi-enabled dye-sub compact photo printer. The CP900 can print borderless 4x6" photos in as little as 47 seconds. The built-in screen and control interface allows you to browse computers on the same Wi-Fi network to locate your images. There are also iOS and Android apps that allow direct printing to the CP900. In addition to it Wi-Fi capabilities, the CP900 is also smaller and lighter than the existing CP800 model. An equivalent model has not been announced for Europe (though a non-Wi-Fi CP810 variant exists). The CP900 will cost around $100.

Canon announces Pixma MG4220, 3220 and 2220 all-in-one printer/scanners

Canon has announced three lower-end Pixma all-in-one printer/scanners - the MG4220, MG3220 and MG2220. All three are capable of 4800 x1200 dpi printing at up to 5 pages per minute (ISO) and scanning at 1200 x 2400 dpi. The MG4220 includes an integrated SD/MS card reader and 2.5" LCD screen, and is Wi-Fi compatible. The MG3220 keeps the Wi-Fi capability but loses the card reader and screen. Like the 4220, it can be used with both the Google Cloud Print service and Apple's AirPrint system. Finally, the MG2220 is a low-cost, non-Wi-Fi model. The models will sell for around $130, $80 and $70 respectively. No equivalent models have yet been announced for Europe.

Canon issues allergy warning for EOS 650D/Rebel T4i

Canon has issued a warning to owners of the EOS 650D/Rebel T4i that the rubber hand-grips of some models may turn white, and produce a chemical that can cause an allergic reaction. According to Canon, the chemical, zinc bis (N,N’-dimethyldithiocarbamate), is not used in the production of the camera but is a potential by-product of a chemical reaction between other substances found in the hand-grip. Click through for full details. 

July 9
Researchers follow the noise to find composite images

Researchers at the University of Albany have developed an efficient and automatic process for identifying composite images, based on the different noise patterns between the two images. In a paper presented at the IEEE's International Conference on Computational Photography, a team led by Siwei Lyu showed they were able to find and locate composited material in images from an online 'Photoshopping' contest site worth1000.com. The team's algorithm exploits the tendency for image noise (regardless of source) to have a characteristic shape (kurtosis). Scanning the image for areas with different noise patterns allows the system to identify non-original content.

Nik Software announces HDR Efex Pro 2 with improved tone-mapping

Nik Software has announced HDR Efex Pro 2, an update of its high dynamic range software package. The latest version features a range of updates, including an improved tone-mapping engine that promises better color rendering. The user interface and workflow have also been re-worked to make the process simpler, with a host of features added to provide increased control and image quality. HDR Efex Pro 2 will cost $99.95/€99.95, with upgrades around half that price and free upgrades for customers who bought version 1 after June 9th.

Behind the photo: Apple's Retina MacBook Pro zebras...

When Apple's new MacBook Pro with 'retina' screen was launched recently, it was displayed with an arresting image as a desktop background, showing zebras galloping through long grass. In this article the photographer behind the photograph, UK-based Steve Bloom, explains how he got the shot.

Zebras on the MacBook Pro - how the picture was taken
You may have seen the picture of zebras being used to demonstrate the incredible quality of Apple‘s new MacBook Pro Retina display. Here is the story behind the making of the picture as told by the photographer, Steve Bloom.
July 6
Photographer explains controversial Team USA Olympic Portraits

Photographer Joe Klamar's portraits of US Olympic atheletes have caused a lot of controversy this week, especially in the USA. Many commentors have dismissed his images as unprofessional at best, and at worst unpatriotic. Others have defended Klamer, arguing that his apparently unpolished images represent a deliberate attempt to challenge the conventions of portrait photography. The truth, it turns out, is more mundane. Click through for the full story, in his own words. (via Petapixel)

Photoshop CS6: Martin Evening's Top 5 Features for Photographers

The latest release of Photoshop - CS6 - included a range of additional tools likely to be handy for photographers. In this article, photographer and Photoshop expert Martin Evening builds on our walk-through article with a more detailed look at how he uses Photoshop CS6's photography-oriented features. If you've not yet grasped the additional creative options and time savings that CS6 can bring, through tools such as context-aware patch or the adaptive wide-angle filter, Evening shows where they can be used.

Firmware updates from Nikon and Sigma: D4, SD1 and SD1 Merrill updated

Nikon has updated the firmware of its D4 professional SLR to version 1.02, allowing more-vivid display of images shot in the Adobe RGB colour space, improving the stability of FTP upload connections and fixing various other minor issues. Meanwhile Sigma has released firmware updates for its SD1 and SD1 Merrill SLRs (versions 1.07 and 1.02 respectively), both of which promise to improve startup times, allow a dedicated flash to be used in manual mode with mirror lockup, and fix various bugs. Click through for links to download the updates.  

July 5
Just Posted: Nikon Coolpix P510 Review

Just Posted: Nikon Coolpix P510 review. The 16 megapixel Nikon Coolpix P510 sports a 42X optical zoom, covering a currently unmatched focal range of 24-1000mm (equivalent). As well as an extended zoom range compared to its predecessor the P500, the new model also features a new 16MP BSI CMOS sensor, and a handful of new features and enhancements, including GPS with logging and (according to Nikon) improved image stabilization compared to the P500. So how does it stack up? Click here to find out.

Reuters to use robotic DSLRs for Olympics coverage

Two photographers for international news agency Reuters are taking robotically-controlled DSLRs to the London Olympics, which starts later this month. Fabrizio Bensch and Pawel Kopczynski are rigging the cameras into fully-articulating mounts, which they will be able to control remotely by computer, using a joystick. As well as camera orientation, they will also be able to zoom the lenses attached to the cameras and - of course - trigger exposure. (via Petapixel)

July 4
Do-It-Yourself lights for product photographers: step-by-step tutorial
This step-by-step "behind the scenes" tutorial shows how to produce a stunning product shot on a very modest budget using ONLY household lights from a home improvement store plus some creativity.
Canon EOS 650D preview updated with studio and real-world samples

Updated: We've had a production sample Canon EOS 650D/Rebel T4i for a few days now, and we've been busy running it through our usual studio and real-world tests, ahead of a full review. We've updated our previously-published preview with a gallery of 27 real-world samples from the production camera, both JPEG and converted Raw, and included some Raw files for you to examine yourselves. We've also added the 650D to our studio comparison database, allowing you to check out how it compares to its peers and predecessors in our standard studio test scene. Click through to see the additional samples.

July 3
Samsung releases 12MP EX2F 'Smart Camera'

Samsung has launched the EX2F, sucessor to its EX1 high-end compact camera. The magnesium-bodied EX2F features a 1/1.7" 12.4MP BSI CMOS sensor and the fastest lens of any compact camera on the market - F1.4 at its widest 24mm equiv setting (slowing down to F2.7 at the 80mm equiv end). ISO sensitivity can be extended up to ISO 12,800 and as well as various still image modes the EX2F can also capture full HD 1080/30p video. The 'F' in the model name designates Wi-Fi and, as we'd expect from Samsung in 2012, the EX2F features the full complement of 'Smart' options offered by its high-end NX cousins, including Mobile Link, Remote Viewfinder, Email and Auto Backup. The EX2F will be priced at $549 and will be available in August.

July 2
Weekend Site Issues

As a result of technical failures resulting from the storms that hit the eastern United States this weekend, some users may have experienced various problems with the site over the past 72 hours. Issues may have included slow page loading times, missing image thumbnails, dead links and temporary unavailability of our forums. We've been working hard to return everything to normal, but if these issues persist, or if you continue to experience performance or functionality problems with other areas of the site, please feel free to send feedback via the link at the bottom of this page.

Canon issues product advisory for PowerShot S100

Canon has issued a product advisory for the PowerShot S100 compact camera. According to Canon, some cameras are prone to a lens defect which is caused by a component part coming loose in the interior of the lens. This is more likely to happen in certain environmental conditions such as high temperature and/or humidity. Canon promises to repair affected cameras regardless of the warranty status. This appears to be a separate issue to the lens decentering problems that plagued our experience with the S100 when we reviewed it late last year.  

Sony announces 168MB/s 'S Series' XQD cards for Nikon D4 shooters

Sony has launched second-generation 'S' series XQD memory cards capable of sustained read-write speeds of 168MB/s, making them the fastest cards of any format. A 64Gb card will be available from July 2012, with a 128Gb version following in September/October. Sony talks about sports photographers achieving their best performances this summer - suggesting the company isn't an Olympic sponsor and hence isn't allowed to associate itself with the games. Prices have not been announced.

July 1
Just Posted: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f1.8 Sample Images

Just posted: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f1.8 prime lens sample images. We've been using the Olympus prime lens for the last few days and have prepared a quick sample gallery using the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and GX1. These samples have been shot at a variety of apertures in a range of lighting conditions, intended to highlight the lens' portraiture capabilities.

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