Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Manfrotto Befree Tripod

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Manfrotto has rolled out its new Befree tripod, which was designed for photographers who love to travel. Thanks to the tripod's unique folding mechanism, the legs fold perfectly around the head and quick-release plate attachment into a closed position, where it is only 40cm in length. The tripod’s lightweight aluminium construction makes it especially easy to carry, weighing 1.4kg, less than the average laptop. The Manfrotto Befree also comes with a dedicated shoulder bag, protecting it from any accidental damage, while also making it more portable for traveling and convenient to store in luggage. Offering a maximum load capacity of 4kg and a maximum height of 144cm, the Befree tripod comes with an aluminium ball head and 200PL-14 quick-release plate, and sells for £174.95.

Nokia Lumia 925

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Camera Phones
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Nokia has announced yet another Windows Phone 8 powered smartphone called the Nokia Lumia 925, which features a new Smart Camera mode. Outfitted with a six-element 26mm (eq.) f/2.0 Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, 1/3"-type 8.7-megapixel BSI sensor, dedicated camera button, optical image stabiliser, dual LED flash, 4.5" WXGA display with Touch Focus functionality and a resolution of 334ppi; the Nokia Lumia 925 offers auto- and manual exposure, auto and manual white balance, Full HD video recording, and photo sharing over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi with NFC (Near-Field Communication) technology. The preloaded Nokia Smart Camera app allows you to shoot a sequence of ten photos at a slightly reduced resolution of 5 megapixels, making it "easier to capture great moments," the company claims. You can choose your best shot or combine the photos into one picture, make a strobe effect to emphasise motion, remove unwanted objects or choose the "best faces" for group shots. The Nokia Lumia 925 will be priced around €469. In addition to Europe, the Nokia Lumia 925 will be introduced into the US by T-Mobile and into China by China Mobile and China Unicom.

Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Lenses
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The Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 is an ultra-fast short telephoto lens for Nikon 1 System cameras. The 85mm equivalent lens, whose development was announced last October, is ideal for portraiture and boasts a compact, contemporary design as well as a silent-wave auto focus motor. A seven-blade rounded diaphragm promises a pleasing bokeh, and this is the first 1 Nikkor lens to feature Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat, which is claimed to "greatly reduce" ghosting and flare even in backlit situations. Available in June, the 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 lens can be yours for $899.95.

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Lenses
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Canon today officially announced its EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens. For a new product, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x already has quite a bit of history. Canon first issued a development notice in February 2011. A "hand-built" (prototype) version was used at the 2012 Summer Olympics by sports photographer Jeff Cable, and we firrst delivered a set of hands-on photos in March 2013, during the Focus on Imaging show held in Birmingham, UK. Key features include a built-in 1.4x teleconverter to extend the reach to 560mm with very little loss of quality (easily activated by a switch on the lens barrel), a built-in filter holder, 2 customisable function buttons, and an innovative stepped focusing ring designed especially for video. The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens will go on sale in June, priced at £11,999.99 / €13,999.99.

Canon Develops New Picture Style for its DSLRs

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital SLR Cameras
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Canon has released a new in-camera Picture Style, called Video Camera X-Series Look, for its range of digital SLR cameras. Similar to that available in Canon’s range of X-series camcorders, the new Picture Style works by lowering colour saturation levels and contrast during filming. This makes it ideal for videographers during post production grading processes, especially if complementing with pre-existing footage shot with Canon’s X-series models. The new Picture Style can be downloaded now from the website below.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Samsung NX300 Review

Mark Goldstein
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The Samsung NX300 is a new mid-range compact system camera featuring a 20.3 megapixel APS-C sensor, hybrid AF system, 3.3-inch tilting AMOLED touchscreen, 8.6fps continuous shooting, Wi-fi and NFC connectivity, full 1080p video, and an ISO range 100-25,600. Read our in-depth Samsung NX300 review now...

Lastolite Ezybox II Octa Quad Kit

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Manfrotto Lighting has released the new Lastolite Ezybox II Octa Quad Kit. The kit incorporates the Ezybox II Quad Bracket (previously known as the Ezybox Quad Bracket) and the new Ezybox II Octa softbox. Working in the same manner as its predecessor, it allows the photographer to attach up to four flashguns to the bracket along with one of the Lastolite Ezybox II Octa softboxes or umbrellas. The Ezybox II Octa Quad Kit includes 1x Ezybox II Quad Bracket, 1x Ezybox II Octa (Medium or Large), 1x Spigot Tilthead, 2x four to one sync cables (PC connection and 3.5 Jack connection. The medium sized version costs £240, the large size can be had for £265.

BatchPhoto 3.7

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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Bits & Coffee have released version 3.7 of BatchPhoto, which lets photographers enhance photos quickly and efficiently. New features in version 3.7 for Mac include the Enterprise edition with the new Monitor component, greatly improved speed for the annotate filters, updated user interface, and some additional improvements and fixes. BatchPhoto 3.7 runs on Mac OS X Mountain Lion (10.8), Lion (10.7), Snow Leopard (10.6) as well as Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP. It comes in three editions: Home, Pro, and Enterprise priced at $34.95, $59.95 and $149.95, respectively.

“Mirrorless Mover” Camera Bags

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Think Tank Photo has just  released a new camera bag collection scaled to fit today’s mirrorless cameras. The Mirrorless Mover 5 fits one small size compact system camera (CSC) body with a small lens attached. The Mirrorless Mover 10 accommodates one medium size CSC plus one to two lenses and additional accessories. The Mirrorless Mover 20 houses one medium size mirrorless body plus two to three lenses and additional accessories. The Mirrorless Mover 30i holds one medium to large size compact system body plus two to four lenses. Click through / read on for the details.

Nissin MG8000 Extreme Wins TIPA Award

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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The Nissin MG8000 Extreme flash has been named 'Best Portable Lighting System' in the 2013 Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) Awards. Offered in both Canon and Nikon fit, the Nissin MG8000 Extreme sparked mass interest amongst the industry when shown for the first time at Focus-on-Imaging in March 2012 due to its unique quartz-based flash tube which ensures the unit remains cool, even in extreme-use conditions. When tested, the Nissin MG8000 can produce over 1000 full flashes without any fear of overheating, the company claims. The Nissin MG8000 Extreme boasts a recycle time of just 3 seconds for the first 200 shots, and then 5 to 7 seconds for subsequent frames, maintaining its guide number throughout the burst. Other highlights include an included external diffuser, tilt-swivel head, guide number of 60 (in metres at ISO 100/21° with the head zoomed to the 105mm position), full support for Canon’s and Nikon’s wireless TTL flash control systems, high-speed synchronisation and a stroboscopic flash mode. Weighing in at 400g, the Nissin MG8000 Extreme has a guide price of £545.40.

Sony Xperia XR

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Camera Phones
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Sony Mobile Communications have just revealed their latest smartphone, the Sony Xperia ZR, which is claimed to offer the "highest level of water-resistance" for capturing photos underwater. The Android-powered Xperia ZR, which is capable of shooting Full HD videos, comes with a 13-megapixel camera module and a 4.6-inch, 1280x720-pixel "HD Reality" display featuring an "OptiContrast" panel that reduces reflections and provides clearer viewing even in bright sunlight. The built-in camera's burst mode allows users to shoot an unlimited number of images at 10 frames per second at a somewhat reduced resolution of 9 megapixels. The Sony Xperia ZR will launch in various global markets from Q2 2013.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Nokia Lumia 928

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Camera Phones
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The Nokia Lumia 928 is a new Windows Phone 8 powered smartphone with wireless charging, an 8.7-megapixel main camera and a Carl Zeiss Tessar 26mm (eq.) f/2.0 lens. Other highlights include optical image stabilisation, a xenon flash for stills, a LED light for movies, and 1080p Full HD video capture at 30 frames per second. A second, front-facing camera module is also present, with a 1.2-megapixel sensor and 720p video. In the USA, the Nokia Lumia 928 is exclusive to Verizon Wireless, with sales starting on 16th May. The price is $99 after a $50 mail-in rebate, with a new two-year customer agreement.

Official Olympus E-PL6 Sample Images

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Compact System Camera
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Olympus has posted six high-resolution sample photos taken with the new Olympus PEN Lite E-PL6 Micro Four Thirds camera. Shot at a variety of sensitivity settings between ISO 100/24° and ISO 400/27°,these Olympus E-PL6 samples were captured using an array of lenses including the M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8, 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R, ED 9-18mm f/4-5.6, ED 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 and ED 12mm f/2. Successor to the PEN Lite E-PL5, the new Olympus E-PL6 is a mid-range model that borrows a few features from the range-topping (and also new) PEN E-P5.

Website: Olympus E-PL6 Samples

Olympus E-PL6

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Compact System Camera
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Olympus has announced a successor to the E-PL5 PEN Lite via the Olympus Global website. Logically named the Olympus E-PL6, the new model inherits the core functionality and feature set of its immediate predecessor but gains a so-called Short Release Time Lag mode with a shutter lag of just 44 milliseconds, an ISO 100/21° equivalent "ISO LOW" setting, a new interval shooting function, a dual-axis electronic level gauge, a "small AF target" mode and the ability to create time-lapse movie clips in-camera. Availability is slated for the end of June. Do note that unlike the also-new PEN E-P5, the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL6 has not been announced by Olympus America, Olympus UK or Olympus Europe - which suggests that it might be intended for Asian markets only, at least for the time being.

Official Olympus E-P5 Sample Images

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Compact System Camera
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Olympus Japan has released half a dozen high-resolution sample photos taken with the new Olympus PEN E-P5 Micro Four Thirds camera. Shot at a variety of sensitivity settings between ISO 200/24° and ISO 1600/33°, and shutter speeds ranging from 1/8000th of a second to 4 seconds, these Olympus E-P5 samples were captured using an array of lenses including the M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8, 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R, ED 9-18mm f/4-5.6, ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro, ED 12mm f/2 and 17mm f/1.8.

Website: Olympus E-P5 Samples

Olympus E-P5 Hands-on Photos

Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera, Lenses
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Want to see exactly what the new Olympus E-P5 compact system camera looks like in the flesh?

Check out our extensive hands-on gallery of photos of the Olympus E-P5 compact camera. We've included all three colours of the EP5, the new black versions of the 17mm, 45mm and 75mm lenses, and the E-P5 with the optional VF-4 electronic viewfinder fitted.

Olympus E-P5 vs OM-D EM-5

Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera
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Want to see exactly how the new Olympus E-P5 compact system camera compares to the flagship OM-D EM-5?

Check out our  hands-on gallery of photos of the Olympus E-P5 compact camera alongside the popular OM-D EM-5. We've included the E-P5 with the optional VF-4 electronic viewfinder fitted, which actually makes it larger than the EM5.

For the history buffs, there's also some side-by-side shots with the PEN F film camera, which was clearly a big inspiration for the design of the EP5.

Olympus PEN E-P5

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Compact System Camera
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The Olympus PEN E-P5 is a new compact system camera with a top shutter speed of 1/8000th second, 5-axis image stabiliser and built-in Wi-Fi; encased in an all-metal body reminiscent of the 50-year-old PEN F half-frame film camera. Other highlights include a Four Thirds sized, 16-megapixel "Live MOS" sensor lifted from the critically acclaimed OM-D E-M5, a tiltable 1.04-million-dot touchscreen, fast contrast detect auto focus with Touch AF functionality and a new Super Spot AF feature, a Focus Peaking option for manual focus enthusiasts, a 9fps continuous shooting mode, 1/320th second flash sync, and a remarkable 2x2 Dial Control system. The body is available for £899.99/$999.99 from the end of June 2013, or with a choice of interchangeable lenses and accessories. Kits start at £999.99 for the 14-42mm lens and £1349.99/$1449.99 for a bundle including a 17mm f/1.8  prime lens and new VF-4 high resolution, 2.360.000-dot viewfinder, which comes with the option to fit a distinctive real-wood grip at the time of ordering.

Olympus E-P5 Exclusive Preview Events

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Compact System Camera
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Although the new Olympus PEN E-P5 will not be available in stores till late June, Olympus UK will be holding exclusive preview events at selected stores throughout May, where you can see the camera, try it out and pre-order. Click through / scroll down for the exact dates and locations.

Iridient Developer 2.1

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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Iridient Digital has released Iridient Developer 2.1 a major update to its critically acclaimed image processing software for Mac OS X. "This update features a total overhaul of the noise reduction functionality including three all new, state of the art, noise reduction methods along with optional auto noise adjustment levels based on ISO and other image parameters," says programmer Brian Griffith. The application now provides support for use of Apple's raw conversion libraries as an alternate raw conversion method and as a way to provide support for some unique camera models (such as Fuji's X-trans cameras) that Brian has not yet found the time to support with his own custom demosaic routines. A new monochrome conversion option, "Raw Colour Channel Mixer" has also been introduced, which provides direct colour mixing of the sensor colour planes direct from the demosaic process without any prior color conversion. Finally, the update adds support for 22 new camera models from a variety of manufacturers.