Friday, December 16, 2011
The new Pixel Blend Pro iPhone app enables users “to manipulate their digital photos in dramatic ways previously only possible with film”, says developer Michael Valdez. Pixel Blend was inspired by Polaroid SX-70 time zero film manipulation, a process that used original tools such as paperclips to distort the film’s soft emulsion into a beautiful new look. In the app, photographers can choose from unique tools to manipulate their photos. Based on the iPad app Pixel Blend HD, Pixel Blend Pro for the iPhone adds many new features including changing tool sizes, applying new textures, and an eraser tool. The app sells for $1.99 on iTunes.
The new Addonics 2.5 inch Flash Drive family allows common flash memory cards to be used like 2.5-inch SSDs (or 3.5-inch ones with the optional Addonics Snap-In 25 adapter). There are three models in the range, one for Compact Flash, one for CFast and one for mSATA-SSD media. The drive frame and the connector mimic the exact size and connector location of a 2.5 inch SATA hard drive. The price for the 2.5 inch flash drive is $24.95-$26.95 depending on which model you choose. The Snap-In 25 adapter is $15.99. For more information, visit the website below.
Zeiss has launched a photo contest with the theme “Every Moment Tells a Story”. Anyone can enter the contest provided the photos are shot with a Zeiss lens - any Zeiss lens, whether fixed-mount, interchangeable or one that’s built into a camera phone. Carl Zeiss encourages photographers from around the world to look for moments that fit the theme, and to submit their best image. “We look forward to seeing how the participants of our photography competition capture the moments of everyday life in their own individual style,” said Martin Dominicus, Head of Marketing of the Carl Zeiss Camera Lens Division. Photographers and photo enthusiasts have until Sundaym 15 January 2012 to upload their images to the official Carl Zeiss group on Flickr. The first prize is a Zeiss ZE or ZF.2 lens of the winner’s choice with exclusive engraving, a Carl Zeiss T* UV filter, camera strap and lens cleaning kit.
Sony Digital Network Applications have released Photo Movie Creator HD, an Android tablet app that allows you to present your photos in the form of a movie. All you need to do to make a “photo movie” is select a group of photos from the image files stored on your tablet. The movie is then automatically generated by adding music and animations/transitions to the photos you have chosen. Available now in the Android Market, Photo Movie Creator HD is priced at £4.99/$7.49.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Our third award is for the Lens of the Year 2011.
This goes to the lens that we feel is a must-buy for the particular system that it’s part of, be that DSLR or compact system camera, Canon or Nikon, and so on. Olympus have been a big part of the growing popularity of the compact system camera market, and it’s not surprising when they’re releasing fantastic products like the M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 lens, a fast and unbelievably small portrait lens that every Micro Four Thirds should take a good hard look at.
”“Pancakes” aside, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 is one of the smallest lenses in the Micro Four Thirds system, which is no mean feat considering that this is a fast-aperture telephoto lens. One might think that this miniaturisation may have had some negative side effects on its performance but thankfully, this is not the case. Optically, the lens excellent with centre sharpness being commendable even wide open, and overall sharpness being nothing short of astounding in the f/2.8-f/8 range.”
Congratulations to Olympus and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8!
The Pansonic Lumix DMC-FX90 is a cutting-edge compact camera that offers an almost entirely touch-screen interface and wi-fi connectivity. The FX90 also offers a bright f/2.5, 5x zoom lens, 12 megapixel CCD sensor, 3 inch LCD screen and 1080p HD video. Read our expert Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 review complete with sample images and video.
Hong Kong based SLR Magic, also known as Noktor, has announced the HyperPrime 23mm f/1.7 lens for E-mount cameras. Billed as the world’s fastest interchangeable camera lens with APS-C coverage in this focal length, the manual-focus SLR Magic HyperPrime 23mm f/1.7 has an angle of view similar to that of a 35mm lens on a full-frame camera. Available from authorised SLR Magic dealers from the end of January 2012, the HyperPrime 23mm f/1.7 comprises 8 lens elements (including five “Tantalum” glass elements) arranged in 7 groups, and offers a minimum focus distance of 15cm.
Rollei has added three new models to its Powerflex digital camera family. The ultra-slim Rollei Powerflex 400 (€79.90) is a 14-megapixel compact with a 25-125mm equivalent zoom lens, 720p HD movie recording and 32 scene modes. The 16-megapixel Rollei Powerflex 500 (€99.90) features a 28-140mm equivalent lens, 35 scene modes, HD video recording and a 3-second pre-recording function. Finally, the 14-megapixel Rollei Powerflex 600 (€129.90) has a three-inch display and a 25-200mm equivalent 8x zoom lens with optical image stabilisation. Like the Powerflex 400 it comes with 35 scene modes, a 3-second pre-record function and 720p HD video recording capability.
Verbatim has announced its new USB 3.0/USB 2.0 Universal Card Readers ($14.99 / $24.99) and USB 2.0 Pocket Card Reader ($9.99). Both Universal Card Readers feature a sleek, modern design. The USB 3.0 device, which is claimed to deliver transfer speeds of up to 5GB/second, boasts a silver finish while the USB 2.0 version comes in classic piano black finish. Memory cards supported by both the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 Universal Card Reader include: CF Type I & Type II, SD, SDHC, miniSD, microSD, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, M2, MMC and xD-Picture Card. The Pocket Card Reader is a pocket-sized multi-functional reader that supports a wide variety of formats.
The website MyBestShot.com has been launched with the ambitious aim of creating the most beautiful collection of photos on the Web. To that end, every contributor is allowed to upload their single most beautiful photo only. “It doesn’t matter if you are an amateur or a pro, as long as you have a truly beautiful photo, we want to have it,” says My Best Shot founder Rick van Haasteren. “We already have some really cool photos on the website, and we hope to get a lot more!” Interested readers are encouraged to visit the website using the link below.
Website: My Best Shot
The new Sony FDA-EV1S high-resolution electronic viewfinder for the Sony NEX-5N compact system camera is now available for purchase. Featuring a resolution of 2,359,000 dots, this OLED viewfinder provides a similar user experience as the built-in EVF of the Sony NEX-7, except that it’s tiltable and detachable. The Sony FDA-EV1S sells for $349.99.
With special thanks to Mr Ron Mertens of OLED-info.com
Voies Off has issued a call for entries for the 2012 Voies Off Prize. For the past 17 years, the Voies Off Prize has been awarded by a jury of renowned professionals to an artist for the clarity of his vision and the high quality of his work. Voies Off night projections during the opening week of the Rencontres d’Arles festival (first full week in July) have become an international reference for the discovery of emerging authors and the alternative venue that it creates for international photographic creation. You have until 20th January to enter the 2012 contest, whose overall winner will receive €2,500. Click through / scroll down for more information including contest rules, entry fees and Web links.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Our second award is for the Printer of the Year 2011.
In the fast-changing world of photography, printers are one of the slowest-moving sectors of the market, with relatively few major releases each year. Epson updated their A3+ range for 2011 with the new R3000, building on their past successes and hitting the sweet-spot of pro-level features at a still affordable price.
”...the R3000 is definitely the one to choose thanks to the addition of wi-fi and internet connectivity, more intuitive LCD control panel interface, wider range of media handling options, much bigger ink cartridges and the dual installation of both photo and matt black. The Epson R3000 ultimately offers fantastic print quality and a better user experience at a slightly higher price than its predecessor, and is therefore well deserving of our Highly Recommended award.”
Congratulations to Epson and the Stylus Photo R3000!
The M.ZUIKO Digital 45mm f/1.8 is a new portrait lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Offering a 90mm focal length, fast and near-silent focusing and a bright maximum aperture of f/1.8, this short tele-photo lens is perfect for head and shoulder portraits. Read our Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 45mm f/1.8 review to find out if it's a must-have for all Micro Four Thirds users.
ACD Systems have launched two new products, acdVIDEO Converter (for Windows and MacOS) and ACDSee Duplicate Finder Standalone Edition (MacOS only). acdVIDEO Converter converts HD video files for playback on all popular media devices including an iPod, iPhone, PSP, Zune, mobile phones from Blackberry and Nokia; and game consoles including PS3 and Xbox 360. “While there are currently several open source programs that offer a degree of this functionality, they are often unreliable and do not cover the same breadth of formats as acdVIDEO Converter,” the company claims. The program is available for purchase at the ACDSee website for a limited time offer of $14.99. ACDSee Duplicate Finder - the standalone Mac-only version of a popular feature currently integrated into ACDSee Pro 5 and ACDSee 14 - helps people with large photo or video libraries locate hard-to-find duplicate files. Duplicates can then be eliminated, freeing up valuable disk space. Though the MSRP is $9.99, it will be available in the Mac App Store starting Thursday, 22th December at a discount of $4.99 through 9th January.
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ is a new dust- and splash-proof, 24-100mm equivalent power zoom for the Micro Four Thirds system. Aimed at both videographers and photographers, the lightweight (211g) M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-5.6 comes with a new ultra-smooth, variable-speed, near-silent electromagnetic zoom mechanism and offers “blazing quick” AF speeds. The optical formula comprises 10 elements arranged in 9 groups, including 1 ED (extra-low dispersion), 1 HR (high refractive index), 1 DSA (dual super aspherical) and 2 aspherical lens elements. Offering up to 0.36x maximum magnification that allows users to fill the frame with a subject that measures just 48mmx36mm, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED f/3.5-5.6 EZ also doubles as a quasi-macro lens. Priced at £349.99 / €399.00 / $499.99, the lens will sell separately and as part of a kit with one of the three newest PEN cameras: the E-PL3, the E-PM1 and the flagship PEN E-P3.
Unified Color has released today announced the latest upgrade to itsr HDR image editing software offerings, HDR Expose 2, and 32 Float v2. HDR Expose 2 is a standalone application, while 32 Float v2 is a Photoshop plug-in. Built upon Unified Color’s Beyond RGB colour technology platform, both HDR Expose 2 and 32 Float v2 separate an image’s colour component from its luminosity component, enabling photographers to adjust each independently; thereby preventing the tell-tale colour shifts often associated with HDR photography and producing much more natural-looking tone mapped results, the company claims.“With these upgrades, Unified Color has reengineered its base architecture to significantly improve performance and expand the programs’ tool sets to offer additional fine control over global and local tonal adjustments,” said Alfred Zee, CEO of Unified Color Technologies. “This new architecture powers a real-time processing engine that enables image adjustments to be visualised immediately while applied to the full image, not just a proxy or scaled down preview version.” The program and the plug-in are available for direct purchase through the company website.
Sigma Corporation of America has teamed up with underwater photographer, sculptor and conservationist Jason deCaires Taylor to help photograph the artist’s oft-unseen work and share it with the world. Taylor is the mastermind behind the underwater sculpture park, known as the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) in Cancun, Mexico. The museum, which consists of more than 400 of Taylor’s permanent, life-size sculptures, is designed as an artificial coral reef that provides a new habitat for sea creatures, while drawing attention – and tourist traffic – from the region’s overtaxed natural reefs. Because the project can only be viewed by scuba divers, snorkellers and people aboard a glass-bottom boat, photographs of the museum are essential in helping Taylor share this work. “Sigma lenses have become a vital tool for me to document my work and portray the beauty and fragility of the underwater world,” he says. “I have been photographing underwater for more than 10 years and have tried many different camera setups, however, using Sigma’s wide angle 10-20mm has been a turning point.” For information about on Taylor, MUSA or his artwork, visit the website below.
Shaped by War is the largest ever UK exhibition about the life and work of one of the world’s most acclaimed photographers, Don McCullin. On show at IWM London until 15 April 2012, the exhibition brings together McCullin’s frontline work from conflicts all over the world including the confrontation between East and West Berlin, Vietnam and Cambodia, the conflicts of the Middle East and the intense human suffering in Biafra and Bangladesh. These are displayed alongside McCullin’s photographs of more recent conflicts such as the Gulf War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. The exhibition is accompanied by a book, Don McCullin: Shaped by War, published by Jonathan Cape in association with IWM. The 208-page hardback has an RRP of £25.
Photography game and education site PhoozL has released version 1.1 of its photo IQ quiz app, PhoozL IQ for iPhone and iPod touch: The free edition of PhoozL IQ includes 50 challenging questions and allows a longer time period for answering the questions. The pro version ($0.99) includes 100 more-difficult questions and a shorter time clock. An optional “Extended Play” mode in the pro version enables players to answer all 100 questions in one, intense, non-stop game session.