Thursday, January 24, 2013
The winners of the 5th Annual International Loupe Awards have just been unveiled. The 2012 International Loupe Awards Open Image of the Year is by Andreas Smetana of New South Wales, Australia, who has won a cash prize of $15,000 and a place on the upcoming Creative Asia Vietnam & China Photography Tour. The 2012 International Loupe Awards Amateur Image of the Year is by Suellen Cook (see picture above).
Plustek UK has announced the immediate availability of the Plustek OpticFilm 120 scanner, which is capable of scanning both 35mm and 120 format negatives and slides. Boasting a high-quality metal case, the Plustek OpticFilm 120 uses a custom-designed 8-element glass lens and a high-resolution CCD sensor. Capable of achieving a dynamic range of 4.01 - in tandem with SilverFast’s Multi-Exposure technology -, the OpticFilm 120 from Plustek comes with adjustable-pitch film holders that feature unique sliding inter-frame dividers to ensure film flatness. The sliding dividers also enable users to scan various frame sizes from 6x4.5cm to 6x12cm, while the 35mm film holders allow for the scanning of twelve 35mm film frames or five mounted slides in a batch. The scanner’s hardware resolution - based on the specification of its stepper motor and the number of pixels on its CCD - is 10600dpi, with the optical resolution (which also takes into account the resolving power of the optical system) specified at 5300dpi. Other highlights include automated IT8 calibration and a motorised film transport for batch scanning. Bundled with SilverFast Ai Studio 8, the Plustek OpticFilm 120 is available for £1950-£1999.
The Book of GIMP: A Complete Guide to Nearly Everything is a new title from No Starch Press. Written by Olivier Lecarme and Karine Delvare, this 676-page, full-colour guidebook begins with step-by-step tutorials that cover the most useful features of GIMP 2.8, like retouching photographs, creating illustrations, and website design. The second part of the book offers a comprehensive reference to nearly every aspect of the software, so that users can find what they need without hours of trial and error. This two-pronged approach makes the book suitable for readers of any skill level—the tutorials will help new users get started with GIMP, and the extensive reference portion will answer the questions that pop up for even the most seasoned GIMP users. Distributed worldwide by O’Reilly Media, The Book of GIMP: A Complete Guide to Nearly Everything is available for $49.95.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The new Fujifilm FinePix S4200 super-zoom camera boasts a 24x zoom lens, 14 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies, all for under under $150 / £150. Does the S4200 cut too many corners though? Find out by reading our in-depth Fujifilm FinePix S4200 review...
DxO Labs have released DxO Film Pack 3.2.3, which now integrates automatically with Adobe Photoshop Elements 11. The software now also officially supports Windows 8. This update is free for all owners of DxO FilmPack 3.
Epson has begun volume production of its latest, XGA-resolution Ultimicron panel designed for use in electronic viewfinders. Measuring just 0.48 of an inch diagonally, the latest in the Ultimicron series boasts increased surface luminance of 520cd/m2. Previous generations of Epson Ultimicron panels have been used in the viewfinders of top-of-the-line digital cameras including the critically acclaimed Olympus OM-D E-M5, which has recently won the coveted PhotographyBLOG Camera of the Year 2012 award. The new panel will be exhibited at Epson’s booth at CP+ 2013 in Yokohama, Japan, from 31 January to 3 February 2013.
Reallusion has released FaceFilter3, the latest version of its acclaimed photo retouching and beautification toolkit. The template-based system allows users to quickly and easily apply “extremely detailed and natural-looking” makeup styles for each specific facial feature, then customise and save them for future use. The ability to selectively morph and adjust individual facial features allows for precise facial enhancement and subtle changes in expression. FaceFilter3 PRO version is available at the Reallusion Store for £69.99. The add-on bundle package with FaceFilter3 PRO, Makeup PRO, and bonus content is available for £99.99.
The 2013 Fotoura International Street Photography Awards competition is now open for entries. Open to photographers all over the world, the awardsl include Open and Student categories and are centred around the theme, “Hometown.” Entrants may upload between 5 and 8 images to the competition’s website, and the deadline for entries is 12 February 2013. The entry fee is £30 (£15 for students), with all entrants receiving a £30 voucher to print their own Blurb book. The winners and a selection of the best entries to this competition will be shown in an exhibition in central London in Spring 2013. The first prize winner will receive £2000 cash, an exhibition of their work in London, a camera and £100 book publishing voucher. As always, we suggest that you read the rules before entering your work.
On 31st January the Manfrotto School of Xcellence will host a free webinar presented by award-winning photographer Steve Gosling. Beginning at 4pm GMT, the online seminar entitled Floral Art – Creative Flower & Plant Photography will centre on the theme of how to move beyond a botanical record shot of plants and flowers to produce an image that concentrates primarily on shape, form, colour, texture and pattern. In this webinar, Steve will cover the aesthetics of photography (composition and design) as well as describe a variety of creative techniques. He will also provide some practical hints and tips on the technical challenges faced by the flower & plant photographer. The event is free to attend but advance registration is required.
Sony has expanded its E-mount lens range with a pancake lens, the 30mm equivalent Sony E 20mm f/2.8. Featuring an optical formula comprising six elements in six groups and a seven-bladed iris diaphragm that stops down to f/16, the lens weighs in at a mere 69 grams. Claimed to produce “excellent contrast, resolution and clarity across the frame for both still image and full HD video shooting,” the Sony E 20mm f/2.8 SEL20F28 wide-angle prime lens will be available this April for about $350.
Furthermore, Sony has announced that the 18-200mm OSS power zoom, originally offered only as a kit lens for the NEX-VG30 camcorder, will now be available for purchase as a stand-alone product, starting this March for about $1200.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The Olympus SZ-14 is a budget travel-zoom compact camera, featuring a 24x lens, 14 megapixel sensor, 720p HD video recording, and 3 inch LCD screen. With a current street price of less than £150, read our detailed Olympus SZ-14 review to find out if it's all the camera you need...
Competition: Win a Sony NEX-7KB and Accessories
Buy John Lewis Travel Insurance from £37 for your chance to win a Sony NEX-7KB and accessories with a combined value of £1,000.
Travel insurance ensures that you won’t lose out if you have to cancel or cut short your trip and gives you confidence in knowing that your personal belongings are protected – including replacement or if they’re lost, stolen or damaged. And wherever you’re heading on holiday, it’s easy to find the right protection for your trip.
The prize is the well-received Sony NEX-7KB Compact System Camera with 18-55mm Lens, a Sony LCSBBFB Camera Case for NEX Compact System Cameras, and an Integral Ultima SDHC Class 10 Memory Card, 16GB + 8GB, with a combined value of approximately £1,000.
Annual cover starts from £37 so head over to John Lewis Travel Insurance for your chance to win.
This promotion closes on 31st January 2013.
Lomography has launched a new transparency film in 110 format. The the first “pocket” format colour reversal film to hit the market in years, the Lomography Peacock 110 X-Pro can be used in vintage 110 format cameras as well as Lomography’s new Fisheye Baby and Diana Baby 110 models. Suitable for both standard E-6 processing as well as cross-processing, the Lomography Peacock 110 X-Pro film is available in the Lomography Online Shop for €7.90.
Nikon has relaunched its image sharing/storage service under the name Nikon Image Space. Previously known as myPicturetown, this free service has gone through a complete overhaul. Available online from 28 January 2013, Nikon Image Space is open to everyone, regardless of what camera they own. Users of Nikon digital cameras have the additional option of upgrading to a Special account, however, which gives them access to 20GB of online storage (versus the 2GB offered by a Basic account) free of charge. “Greater collaboration with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter expands the possibilities for sharing photos of your own special moments, and posting images from Nikon Image Space is easier than ever,” the company claims. Further information on the service will be available at the Nikon Imaging Japan booth at the CP+ 2013 camera and photo imaging show.
Pentax Ricoh has posted a firmware update for the Ricoh GR Digital IV compact camera. Version 2.21 adds an Auto option to the dynamic range compensation function, improves the effectiveness of noise reduction at high sensitivity settings, and modifies the behaviour of the zoom feature in Playback mode. Additionally, it incorporates the following modifications and bug fixes.
To celebrate the launch of its Niko Camera Bag line, Chrome is calling for entries from street photographers everywhere for its Streets of Chrome photo contest, which runs from 22 January – 14th February 2013. Finalists will be chosen by Chrome’s panel of expert judges - including legendary street photographers Rickey Powell, Tod Seelie and Ken Goto -, and the winner will be determined by open voting on streetsofchrome.com from 7th-14th February. The grand prize is a Fujifilm X-Pro1 compact-system camera with a Fujifilm X-Pro1 35mm f/1.4 lens and a Chrome Niko Camera Backpack.
The Photographic Museum of Humanity is the first Internet museum dedicated to high-quality photography. The museum’s galleries are curated by a team of editors guided by Giuseppe Oliverio, the project founder, and World Press Photo Award-winning photojournalist Alejandro Kirchuk. On show until 28 February 2013, the inaugural exhibition presents four galleries centered around the theme, “The way we live.” The Photographic Museum of Humanity can be accessed at the website below.
Photography education and entertainment site PhoozL has announced the inaugural 2012 PhoozL Awards. The awards are based on a point system by which PhoozL Points were awarded to photographers who were chosen as Winners or Honourable Mentions by 26 different contest judges in 44 different contests and challenges after PhoozL’s revamped website launched in May. In all, 6,000 photos were submitted to the free contests by hundreds of photographers and photo enthusiasts from more than 50 countries. The 2012 PhoozL Photographer of the Year title has been awarded to Talya Arbisser who won a year’s subscription to APERTURE magazine, $50 Gift Card from Frame Destination, and $25 Gift Card and Sample Kit from Red River Paper.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Ahead of our full review, here are 24 sample JPEG photos taken with a final production version of the new Sony E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens.
The Sony E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS is a new standard zoom lens for the Sony NEX camera range. This new lens is a power zoom model that retracts to save storage space and be more portable. Other features include Steady Shot image stabilisation, high-performance optics with ED glass elements, smooth and quiet aperture adjustment and high-speed auto-focusing.
The Nikon Coolpix L310 is a super-zoom compact with an affordable price-tag. Less than $200 / £200 buys you the 14 megapixel L310 complete with 21x optical zoom, 3 inch screen and 720p HD movie recording. Read our Nikon Coolpix L310 review to find out if this budget super-zoom is worth a closer look...