Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Syncing a Flash with the Olympus E-M1 at 1/500s?

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Compact System Camera
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According to the user's manual, the maximum synchronisation speed of the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 is 1/320th of a second when using the clip-on flash, and 1/250 sec when using a separately sold external flash unit. As we now have a review unit in hand, we can confirm that the latter is indeed true with an Olympus FL-36 flash attached - in TTL, Auto and Manual modes alike. (Of course, in "FP TTL" and "FP Manual" modes, the flash can be synced at any speed right up to the camera's top shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second - with the usual loss of working range this "trick" mode entails.) We do not have the entire Olympus flash line-up at our disposal to test if the 1/250s top sync speed holds true for all of them - but we have found something really interesting about using the camera with a third-party flash attached to the camera via the PC sync terminal or the hot-shoe*. Apparently, the E-M1's X-sync speed is faster than advertised! Click through / read on to find out more.

Sony A-Mount Not Dead, but NEX Is…

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Sony have announced that a new mid to high-end Alpha mount camera body is currently under development. Due to be released in 2014, the new body confirms that Sony are still committed to the A-mount system. No further details about the new body have been released at today's London press briefing.

Meanwhile, it seems that the company's NEX branding is to be officially ended, as Sony focuses on promoting the Alpha naming convention for all of its mirrorless cameras. So expect to see future E-Mount cameras without that familiar NEX nomenclature...

Sony 35mm Full-frame E-Mount Lens Roadmap

Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera, Lenses
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Sony have unveiled the roadmap for their new range of FE branded, 35mm full-frame E-Mount lenses. Having announced 5 new lenses today, Sony have promised to release 5 more in 2014, with 15 lenses in total due to be available by the end of 2015. These will include an f/4 ultra-wide-angle zoom, large aperture prime, and macro lens.

The new LA-EA4 A-mount Adapter has also been announced today, which will provide compatibility with 54 lenses in total from day one (including A/E Mount and the new lenses).

Carl Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8

Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera, Lenses
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Carl Zeiss will release a new 50mm f/2.8 Touit lens at the beginning of 2014. The Carl Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8 will have a magnification ration of 1:1. Expect to see Sony E-Mount and Fujifilm versions, as with the previous two Touit lenses.

A spokesman for Carl Zeiss also revealed that one more Touit lens will be released in 2014, although no more details were forthcoming.

SIGMA 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM

Mark Goldstein | Digital SLR Cameras, Lenses
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The SIGMA 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM is a wide to mid-telephoto for 35mm full-frame DSLR cameras. The Sigma 24-105mm can pparently "bring out the potential of a high-resolution sensor" and boasts a constant aperture of F4, OS (Optical Stabilizer), HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), and a 9 blade rounded diaphragm. The price and availability of the SIGMA 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM will be announced shortly.

Sony A7R

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Compact System Camera
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The Sony A7R (α7R) is a compact system camera with a 35mm full-frame sensor offering 36.4 effective megapixels and no optical low-pass filter. The sensor emplys a new ‘gapless’ on-chip microlens design which eliminates gaps between adjacent pixels. These advances increase light collection efficiency, achieving outstanding resolution, sensitivity and low noise while circumventing the challenge of decreased pixel size due to the extremely high pixel count. Other highlights include a Sony E bayonet mount (designed to be used primarily with the company's new full-frame E-mount lenses), a dust/moisture-resistant magnesium alloy body, newly-developed fast intelligent auto focus, an improved XGA OLED electronic viewfinder, NFC and Wi-Fi capabilities, Full HD movie recording and 4K photo output for viewing on Ultra HD displays and TVs. Priced at £1600 / $2299 and available for pre-order, the Sony α7R will go on general sale in UK from mid-late November.

Sony A7

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Compact System Camera
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The new Sony A7 (α7) is a compact system camera with a 35mm full-frame sensor. Headline specifications include a 24x36mm CMOS imager with a resolution of 24.3 megapixels, a Sony E lens mount (to be used primarily with the company's new full-frame E-mount lenses), an improved XGA OLED "Tru-Finder," tiltable LCD screen, enhanced Fast Hybrid auto focus, a dust/moisture-resistant magnesium alloy body, Full HD video recording and 4K Ultra HD photo output. With both Wi-Fi with NFC, the Sony α7 offers effortless one-touch wireless connections with your NFC-compliant Android smartphone or tablet. PlayMemories Camera Apps further enhance your photo experience with a growing range of free and paid apps. In addition to E-mount lenses, the Sony A7 can also take A-mount optics via a new-generation mount adapter. Now available to pre-order for £1300 / $1699 - or £1500 / $1999 with a 28-70mm lens -, the Sony A7 will go on general sale in UK from mid-late November.

Five New Full-frame E-mount Lenses from Sony & Zeiss

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Lenses
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To complement the new A7 and A7R compact system cameras, Sony has introduced five new E-mount lenses that project an imaging circle large enough to cover a 35mm full frame sensor. These include the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA, the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA (pictured), the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS, the Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS and the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS. In addition, the company has also taken the wraps off a new A-mount lens, the ‘Mark 2’ version of the coveted 70-200mm f/2.8 G optic. The Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM II features a super-quiet SSM focus motor that is approximately four times faster than the one in its predecessor, offering improved AF tracking of moving subjects. Most of these lenses go on general sale in UK from the end of November, except for the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8, FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS, which will be available in January 2014, and the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS, which will be launched in Spring 2014.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Compact Cameras
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The Sony RX10 is a new bridge camera with a 20.2 megapixel 1.0-type back-illuminated CMOS imager and a 24-200mm (eq.) f/2.8 OSS lens. The newly developed Eye AF ensures crisp portraits with the sitter’s eye always in sharp focus, even if they’re not looking directly at you. Movie footage can be captured at selectable 50p (AVCHD progressive) or 25p frame rates, with full control over P/A/S/M exposure modes. A ‘clear’ HDMI output allows video to be reviewed on an external monitor or recorded to a separate storage device. With a high resolution of 1440k dots, the new high-contrast OLED Tru-Finder offers crisp edge-to-edge visibility of your subject, while the clear, bright 3.0" LCD tilts up or down for easy framing with the camera held high up or low down. On-board Wi-Fi allows easy one-touch connection with your NFC compliant Android smartphone or tablet. The compact, all-in-one Cyber-shot RX10 digital camera from Sony is available for pre-order now for £999, and goes on general sale in UK from mid-November.

Samyang Ready for E-mount Full Frame

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Lenses
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Samyang has announced that five of its full-frame lenses will shortly be available for Sony's E-mount compact system cameras. These include the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC, 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC, T-S 24mm f/3.5 ED AS UMC Tilt-Shift, 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC and 85mm f/1.4 AS IF UMC. All of these products are manual-focus lenses originally designed for SLR cameras.

Nikon UK Launches Christmas Cashback Promotion

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Nikon UK is launching a bumper Christmas promotion, offering cashback on a huge amount of products including selected digital SLR cameras, selected lenses and speedlights and selected Nikon 1 cameras. The promotion is limited to one claim per person per product and will run from today until 26th January 2014 (inclusive) and all claims must be received by 28th February 2014. Click through / read on for the details.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nokia Lumia 1020 Sample Images

Mark Goldstein
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Ahead of our full review, here are 55 sample photos and a 1080p movie taken with the new Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 41 megapixel backside-illuminated sensor, fast f/2.2 Carl Zeiss lens with optical image stabilization, a 4.5-inch OLED screen, and also features optical image stabilisation, a mechanical shutter, and a built-in flash.

Sony A3000 Sample Images

Mark Goldstein
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Ahead of our full review, here are 44 sample JPEG photos and a HD movie taken with the new Sony A3000 compact system camera, including the full ISO range.

The Sony A3000 is an affordable 20 megapixel DSLR-like camera that actually uses the E-mount lens system.

Nikon View NX 2.8.1

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Software
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Nikon has updated View NX 2, its free raw converter and image editor, to version 2.8.1. Modifications enabled in this edition include support for the Nikon D610 digital SLR and the Nikon 1 AW1 compact system camera (pictured), and additional frame rate settings for the Create movie dialogue box in Nikon Movie Editor. You can download the update from the website below.

Website: Nikon Support

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nikon Coolpix L620 Review

Matt Grayson
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The Nikon Coolpix L620 is an affordable travel-zoom compact camera. Featuring a 14x zoom lens with a focal range of 25-350mm, the Nikon L620 has an 18 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 3-inch LCD screen, Full 1080p HD video and uses AA batteries. Read our in-depth Nikon Coolpix L620 review now...

Three New Kits from Gary Fong

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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To coincide with the launch of the new Speed Snoot and Lightsphere Collapsible Speed Mount, Gary Fong is rolling out three new product kits to customers worldwide. The new Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible Wedding & Event Lighting Kit ($99.95) includes the Lightsphere Collapsible Speed Mount, WhiteDome, AmberDome, GrayDome, Instructional DVD and a gear bag. The Lightsphere Collapsible Portrait Lighting Kit ($129.95) consists of the Lightsphere Collapsible Speed Mount, Speed Snoot with PowerGrid, WhiteDome, GrayDome, Instructional DVD and gear bag. Finally, the Lightsphere Collapsible Fashion & Commercial Lighting Kit ($149.95) comprises the Lightsphere Collapsible Speed Mount, Speed Snoot with PowerGrid, WhiteDome, AmberDome, GrayDome, Colored Gel Kit, Instructional DVD.

London and Paris at Dawn

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books
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Husband and wife team Anthony Epes and Diana Bird are marking the launch of their new book, Paris at Dawn, and a revised edition of their first volume, London at Dawn, with a unique exhibition at St Pancras International. Taking place from 16-30 October 2013, the exhibition will portray two cities in a way rarely seen by its inhabitants – at dawn. The book launch will coincide with the opening of the exhibition on 16 October 2013, and both volumes will be available from Foyles bookshops in London and online at the website below, priced at £20 each.

Celebrity Cruises Launch “Smartsnaps” Photography Contest

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Competitions
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Celebrity Cruises have announced a new photography competition to find the "best smartphone photo ever taken." The company has partnered with professional photographers Stuart Franklin, Ian Berry, Art Wolfe, Massimo Vitali and Oliver Lang who will judge the entries. The winner will be appointed Celebrity Cruises ‘Photo Ambassador for 2014’ and embark on a 14-night Scandinavia & Russia cruise in May 2014. To enter, submit your picture via the website below. The deadline for submissions is 15 November 2013. As always, we suggest that you read the terms and conditions before entering your work.

Flickr Previews New Photo Page

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Websites
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Yahoo is previewing a new Flickr photo page to some of its customers. Changes versus the current layout include a bigger photo, a redesigned sidebar (marked with an A in the image above), more intuitive controls (B), relocated and rearranged comments (C), optional extra information on the photo (D), and a couple of new navigation tools (E & F). The changes are being rolled out gradually, with the company saying that "if you haven't seen a button allowing you to opt-into the new experience yet, stay tuned."

Friday, October 11, 2013

David and Goliath - Olympus E-M1 v Canon EOS 5D Mk III

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We've just got the Olympus OM-D E-M1 in for testing, and thought it would be a Fun Friday thing to do to compare its size directly alongside the full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mk III.

The Canon EOS 5D Mk III is fitted with the excellent Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens, and the Olympus OM-D has the original version of the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 mounted, so they offer a similar angle of view - the Olympus/Panasonic pairing actually provides a slightly longer focal length of 40mm, in 35mm full-frame terms.

David and Goliath, eat your heart out...