Monday, January 30, 2012
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX200V is an 18.2-megapixel dust-and waterproof ultra-compact camera with extremely fast auto focus, 5x optical zoom, optical Steady Shot functionality and Full HD movie capture. The high-speed Exmor CMOS sensor and BIONZ branded processor enable the camera to record 18-megapixel stills at 10 frames per second. The sensor’s fast signal throughput also enables the camera to achieve “DSLR-like focusing speeds,” the company claims. Waterproof to a depth of 16 feet (nearly 5 metres), the camera features a sleek, polished glass camera front without protruding lenses or control buttons, making it one of the thinnest cameras in its class. Other highlights include an internally stacked zoom lens, on-board GPS and compass, as well as a background defocus filter that allows the camera to simulate the shallow depth of field achievable with larger-sensor cameras and fast/long lenses. In the US the Sony TX200V will be available from March, at an MSRP of $499.99. At the time being, Sony has no plans to launch the camera in the UK.
The Sony Cyber-shot WX70 and WX50 are two new 16.2-megapixel compact cameras with 5x optical zoom, optical image stabilisation and Full HD video. The easily pocketable Sony WX50 ($200/£190, pictured) and WX70 ($230, US only) feature Extra High Sensitivity technology that expands your photo opportunities, especially in dimly-lit conditions. With these cameras, Sony claims a massive reduction in noise levels, adding that “you’ll see the difference with crisp, beautifully natural low-light shots”. Other highlights include a number of digital filter effects such as Toy Camera, Partial Colour, Pop Colour, HDR Painting, Miniature, Illustration, Watercolour, Soft High-key and Rich-tone Monochrome; plus features like 3D Sweep Panorama, 3D Still Image and an “Xtra Fine” LCD touchscreen (DSC-WX70 only - the Sony WX50 has a 2.7” rear monitor with half the resolution and no touch-based functions). Both cameras come with PlayMemories Home software pre-installed. Availability is slated for mid-March.
Sigma has announced the passing of Sigma Corporation’s founder and CEO Michihiro Yamaki. He died of liver cancer on 18th January at the age of 78. In 1961, Yamaki developed the first-ever rear attached lens converter and founded Sigma to commercialise the product. At that time, most photo enthusiasts believed that a lens converter could only be attached to the front of a camera lens and the 27-year-old optical engineer turned conventional optical theory on its head. In the next five decades, Yamaki grew the family-owned organisation into a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of lenses, cameras and flashes. The company is now known as the largest, independent SLR lens manufacturer in the world, producing more than 50 current lens models. Sigma Corporation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011 with Yamaki still at the company’s helm.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Kata has launched a photographic contest calling for entrants to submit shots of their Kata camera bag “in action”. The photo could be of the bag itself, carried, worn, looped on a belt or slung over a shoulder, in an exotic location or an everyday environment. This is a juried competition - the judges will choose three photos out of all submissions, and the lucky entrants will receive one of the latest Kata bags. As usual, we suggest that you read the terms & conditions before entering your work.
Map-A-Pic for Android has been updated to include a new feature called Public Pictures. “With the Map-A-Pic location scouting app, you can remember every great place you come across, so you can return to it later,” the developers say. The app allows users to keep a database of their favourite locations, along with their pictures, notes and tags. The new Public Pictures feature, powered by Panoramio, lets you see the pictures taken by other people at any given place (where available). Map-A-Pic Location Scout is available as a free download from the Android Market.
Topaz Labs have just released Topaz Star Effects, a Photoshop plug-in that manipulates and enhances light sources to create radiant lighting and star effects. “With an advanced detection algorithm powering Star Effects, we have developed a simple and intuitive way to recognize hundreds of light sources at once, along with the choice to selectively amplify sources,” says Dr. He Yang, Senior Software Designer at Topaz Labs. “Star Effects has the most comprehensive tool set available, allowing for users to create both natural, accurate renditions or more dramatic, graphic effects.“The program is $29.99, with a trial version available for free.
Celebrity photographer Nick Saglimbeni has announced the return of his PhotoKamp workshop to Los Angeles. Taking place from 20-22 April, PhotoKamp is a two-and-a-half-day intensive learning workshop, with special emphasis on both studio and location lighting as well as the business of photography. The studio lighting sessions will be held at the world famous SlickforceStudio in downtown LA. The photoshoots will take place on location in the city. By the end of the weekend, participants will have the chance to light and photograph their own photoshoot with professional models, with the supervision of Nick and his team. The full price is $2,699. Early registration pricing is available for students who register by 15 February. For more pricing and information, visit the website below.
Digital Anarchy has recently released version 5.1 of its Primatte Event plug-in for Apple Aperture 3.0 and higher. Primatte Event is designed primarily for photographers who work in high-volume or live environments, and often process thousands of green screen images for events, little league and school portraits. This release adds the ability to use Primatte Event in a live green screen photoshoot utilising Aperture’s tethering and batch capabilities, and also includes a number of improvements to existing features. “Our new Primatte Event plug-in was designed specifically for Aperture, and opens new possibilities for photographers who shoot a lot of green screen images,” said Jim Tierney, President of Digital Anarchy. “The tethering and batch features in Aperture make productivity and output much easier, and allow us to offer features that we can’t do in Photoshop.” Primatte Event 5.1 is regularly priced at USD $299, and is on sale for $199 through 1st February.
Fujifilm has posted the English-language manual of the X-Pro1 compact system camera on its website. The 120+16-page instruction booklet is available in Adobe Portable Document Format. You can download the PDF file from the website below.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
A mysterious new Canon DSLR has been spotted in the wilds of Africa. As well as snapping the local wildlife, Stephen Oachs of the website Aperture Academy also photographed what could potentially be the new 5D Mark III, 5D X or the 7D Mark II whilst on safari in Kenya. Being used by a Canon employee, the new camera looks rather like a cross between the existing 5D Mark II and 7D models. Only time will tell if this very polished prototype ever sees the light of day…
The Kodak Easyshare M5370 is a new entry-level compact camera with some advanced features, including a 3 inch LCD touchscreen interface, wide-angle 5x zoom lens, 16 megapixel sensor, and 720p HD video. Retailing for £109.99 / $159.95, read our expert Kodak Easyshare M5370 review to find out if it's worth the modest investment.
The new X-Circle kit by LockCircle allows Nikon F-mount manual-focus lenses to be used for cine-style work on any Canon HDSLR camera. Expensive cinematography lenses have one important feature that still photography lenses cannot offer: markings on an angled surface of the lens barrel, making it easy to read focus and aperture settings from the side or behind the camera. Using X-Circle, any Nikon F-mount manual-focus lens can be mounted on any Canon HDSLR camera with a 90° rotation. This allows camera assistants / focus pullers to see the aperture and focus markings better for improved performance. X-Circle is based on a high-precision collimation ring and a stainless steel bayonet, available in kits supplied with all the necessary screws for easy assembly. The kits will start shipping in February for $159.
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 will officially be released in Japan on February 18th, priced at around ¥135,000. Fujifilm Japan have revealed the launch date for the much anticipated X-Pro1 compact system camera in an online statement. Meanwhile, Amazon Japan have started accepting pre-orders for the X-Pro1 body, priced at ¥135,000 (approx. $1,745). Fujifilm Japan (or any other country) have yet to reveal the actual recommended retail prices for the X-Pro1.
Sony has developed a new next-generation back-illuminated CMOS image sensor with higher image quality, faster speeds, lower power consumption and better functionality. This image sensor layers the pixel section containing formations of back-illuminated structure pixels onto chips containing the circuit section for signal processing, which is in place of supporting substrates for conventional back-illuminated CMOS image sensors. Models have been developed with Sony’s unique “RGBW Coding” function, which facilitates low noise, high quality image capture even in low light condition, and the proprietary “HDR (High Dynamic Range) Movie” function, which achieves brilliant color even when taking pictures against bright light. Samples of the new Sony BSI sensor will be shipped from March 2012.
TetherPro Cables, a division of Tether Tools, have introduced a range of high-quality cables that eliminate two of the greatest challenges photographers face when shooting connected: equipment security and port compatibility. The orange coloured high-visibility USB Male-A to Mini-B and Active Extension tethering cables (pictured) and high-visibility Cat6 network cables help ensure cables can be seen throughout the studio or during on-location shoots. Additionally, TetherPro’s new low-profile casing for FireWire 800 9-pin to 9-pin cables ensures photographers shooting with digital backs from Phase One, Hasselblad or Mamiya will have properly sized tethering cables that fit their equipment.
Rollei has announced three new Bullet HD action camcorders. The Rollei Bullet HD Pro (€199.95) is a Full HD device in a waterproof black aluminium housing boasting a 170-degree fisheye lens and the capability to take stills at an (interpolated) resolution of 20 megapixels. The Rollei Bullet HD 2 (€149.95) is a 720p HD camcorder that’s also shock- and waterproof, and comes with a similar lens and a 12-megapixel sensor. Finally, the Rollei Bullet HD Lite 2 (€99.95) is an HD camcorder with a 135-degree ultra-wideangle lens and a 5-megapixel sensor. Each new Rollei Bullet HD model ships with a travel case and a comprehensive accessory pack, and each is compatible with the optional (€69.95) Rollei Bullet Remote kit. Availability is slated for April.
Nikon Japan has quietly added the Nikon D700 and Nikon D300s to the official list of discontinued cameras. This means that the Japanese manufacturer has ceased the production of these DSLRs, but they are still available from a number of on- and off-line vendors around the world. The cameras are being phased out without any successor in sight (although as you’d expect, rumours abound about a D800 being just around the corner).
Source: Nikon Japan
In a statement released today, Olympus has reaffirmed its commitment to developing new products for both Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds (MFT). Welcoming the newly announced support of the latter by three new companies, including Astrodesign, Kenko Tokina and Tamron, Olympus declared that “[a]s the originator of the Four Thirds System and Micro Four Thirds System standards, Olympus Imaging Corp. will continue to develop and enhance the product lineup for both standards” to meet the “diverse needs” of their customers. N.B.: while Olympus has been busy expanding its range of MFT product offerings throughout the last couple of years, the last major addition to the “regular” Four Thirds system was the launch of the Olympus E-5 digital SLR camera (read review) back in 2010.
Pentax Ricoh has announced a new superzoom camera called the Pentax Optio VS20. The 16-megapixel Optio VS20 features a 28-560mm equivalent zoom lens and a second vertical shutter-release button with zoom lever for effortless portrait oriented shooting. The Optio VS20 even includes a vertical tripod socket for better vertical support. Other highlights include sensor-shift image stabilisation, a digital level gauge, a 3” display, a new Handheld Night Snap mode and a range of creative digital filters. The Pentax Optio VS20 will be available in February for $249.95 / £199.99.
Tokina has announced a new version of its 11-16mm f/2.8 DX lens. Available for Nikon (in March) and Canon (July), the Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX ? 11-16mm f/2.8 (IF) Aspherical comes with a newly developed Silent Drive Motor for quiet auto focus and a GMR magnetic AF sensor similar to the one found in the 16-28mm FX lens. The optical formula comprises 13 lens elements arranged in 11 groups, including aspherical and ultra-low-dispersion elements as well as improved multi-coating. In Japan, the lens carries an MSRP of 90,000 yen including a petal-shaped hood but excluding taxes.