Wednesday, January 7, 2015

House of Cards

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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MindShift Gear’s new House of Cards is a lightweight memory card wallet which offers convenient storage and protection for six CF and three SD memory cards. The built in business card holder makes for easy identification. Its orange coloured elastic band offers silent access plus additional wallet security. The House of Cards’ removable tether clip allows it to be worn on the outside for quick access. The product is available now for $19.99.

MindShift Gear Filter Hive Mini and Filter Nest Mini

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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MindShift Gear has announced two new additions to its line-up of filter carrying solutions for outdoor photography. The Filter Nest Mini (pictured) fits four round filters (up to 82 mm) including a variable ND. The Filter Hive Mini fits four square/rectangular filters (up to 4 x 6 or 100 x 150 mm). “Their superior materials and design insure that photographers have durable and compact solutions to filter storage for many years to come,” said MindShift’s president and lead designer Doug Murdoch. “They are another indication of our commitment to serving the needs of serious outdoor photographers.”

Compact Camera of the Year 2014

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This week we’re revealing our favourite products from last year in our annual awards, looking back at the essential photography kit that helped to define 2014.

The Compact Camera of the Year 2014 award goes to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100.

“The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 is the most capable compact camera that we've ever reviewed, offering a mouth-watering combination of cutting edge technology, excellent image quality, and intuitive handling.”

Read the Full Review

Congratulations to Panasonic and the Lumix DMC-LX100!

New Davis & Sanford Traverse Tripod and Ball Head

Zoltan Arva-Toth
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Tiffen has expanded its Davis & Sanford Traverse Tripod line to include a new carbon-fibre four-section grounder tripod and ball head. Debuting at CES 2015, the new model features the lightweight and compact form factor the Traverse models are known for, while its sturdy structure and adjustable grounder leg system can navigate just about any landscape terrain. The tripod folds to 18.5” for optimum storage and transport, and extends to a full height of 65". The maximum load capacity is 15lbs, while the tripod itself weighs in at 3.25lbs. The new Davis & Sanford Traverse Tripod and Ball Head are available today for a street price of $169.98.

Wacom Cintiq Companion 2

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Wacom have introduced the Cintiq Companion 2, a powerful touchscreen tablet for professional creators of digital content.. The new mobile solution from Wacom works either as a fully fledged Windows 8 tablet with all the creative input capabilities of a Cintiq or, when the need arises, will connect, via Cintiq Connect to the home or office computer and function as a primary or secondary graphics tablet. With 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition, the Cintiq Companion 2’s Pro Pen performs like a traditional brush, pen or marker when used in combination with creative software applications. The pen and high-resolution screen (2560 x 1440) interact to provide a realistic pen-on-paper feel with limited glare that allows artists and designers to quickly produce detailed and accurate material, the company says. The Cintiq Companion 2 will be available at the Wacom eStore in several configurations this February – Value (64GB SSD, £1199.99), Standard (128GB SSD, £1299.99) and Premium (256GB SSD, £1599.99). The Enhanced (512GB SSD, £1999.99) and Enterprise (customisable, prices TBC) versions are expected to begin shipping this coming spring.

Wacom Cintiq 27QHD and Cintiq 27QHD touch

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories

Wacom have launched the Cintiq 27QHD and Cintiq 27QHD touch 27" graphics tablets. Both versions of the new flagship product feature a 27” 2560 x 1440 seamless edge-to-edge glass screen which displays 1.07 billion colours and 97% of the Adobe RGB colour space. The extra wide viewing angle enables designers, artists, game or film developers to create rich, detailed, large-scale work directly on the screen. To help support a natural and intuitive workflow, the Cintiq 27’s new ExpressKey Remote, which can be placed anywhere on the screen or desk, gives users more flexibility and power as to how, when and where customisable keyboard shortcuts and modifiers are implemented. The Cintiq 27QHD (£1799.99 / $2299.99) and Cintiq 27QHD touch (£2099.99 / $2799.99) replace the Cintiq 24HD models and will be available later this month.

Asus Zenfone Zoom

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Camera Phones
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Asus has unveiled an 11.95mm thin smartphone with a 13-megapixel imager, 3x optical zoom and optical image stabilisation. The Asus Zenfone Zoom's rear camera features a 10-element 3x zoom lens and a "revolutionary" laser auto focus system, and comes with a camera app that allows the user to set shutter speed and ISO sensitivity manually. Other highlights include a 5.5" IPS screen with 1920x1080 pixels and a resolution of 403ppi, a dual-colour Real Tone flash and a 5-megapixel front camera with an f2 lens. The Asus Zenfone Zoom is powered by a 3,000mAh lithium-polymer battery and runs on Android 5.0.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Flashpoint Zoom Li-on

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Adorama has expanded the Flashpoint lighting line with the launch of Zoom Li-on, a collection of on- and off-camera flash products with internal lithium-ion batteries. Products include the Zoom Li-on speedlight flash (available in manual, Canon TTL and Nikon TTL models), and the Zoom Li-on Flash Commander Transmitter and Receiver Set. The Zoom Li-on speedlight flash has a full-power recycle time of less than 1.5 seconds, allowing for near-instant continuous shooting. One battery charge holds up to 650 full-power shots, and even more for lower-powered use. The flash head rotates 360°, tilts over 90°, and zooms from 24mm to 105mm. In addition to TTL automatic output, the Zoom Li-on models for Canon or Nikon TTL offer all the extra features of a system flash, such as HSS, exposure compensation, exposure bracketing, automatic zooming and flash exposure lock. Additionally, they offer complete integration with proprietary TTL strobe IR remote control systems, and can be used to control or be controlled by Canon or Nikon flashes as a master or slave, as well as for group control. The Commander Transmitter and Receiver Set allows remote power control from 150+ feet, enabling users to view and change flash output at any time. Other flash functions can also be adjusted remotely. With 16 channels and 16 groups, you can remotely control individual units or groups of flashes. The Flashpoint Zoom Li-on Flash is available now in three models – manual ($99.95), Canon TTL and Nikon TTL ($179.95). The Zoom Li-on Flash comes with a li-ion battery pack, battery charger, mini stand, protective case and instruction manual. The Flashpoint Zoom Li-on Flash Commander Transmitter and Receiver Set is now available for $69.95.

Canon Announces hdAlbum

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books
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Canon USA today announced hdAlbum, a new premium and professional lay-flat photo album service that allows professional photographers and consumers to create customisable photo albums. Printed exclusively on the Canon DreamLabo 5000 photo printer that uses FINE high-density printhead technology, hdAlbum offers five album sizes including portrait, 8 inches by 11 inches; landscape, 11 inches by 8 inches; and square, 8 inches by 8 inches, 10inches by 10inches, and 12 inches by 12 inches. With paper selections of Premium Canon Luster or Glossy inkjet media, all albums are produced using a post printing hinge-style binding process and can include up-to-100 pages. Customers can learn how to create their own personal photo album by visiting Canon Booth #13304 at CES 2015.

Lexar Announces New Professional 1000x microSD UHS-II Cards

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Lexar today announced the new Lexar Professional 1000x microSD UHS-II cards, offering read transfer speeds up to 150MB per second. Designed for sports camcorders, tablets, and smartphones, the new microSD cards leverage Ultra High Speed II (U3) to provide faster capture, play back, and transfer of photo and video files. The cards are also an excellent choice for photographers needing multiple memory cards for extended use to capture aerial content with a quadcopter. Available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities, the Professional 1000x microSD UHS-II cards are backwards compatible with UHS-I cameras and readers at UHS-I speeds, as well as non-UHS-I devices at Class 10 speeds. Lexar Professional 1000x microSD UHS-II cards will be available in the first calendar quarter of 2015 with a MSRP of £46.99 (32GB), £84.99 (64GB), and £145.99 (128GB).

Toshiba FlashAir III Wireless SD Card

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Toshiba today introduced the FlashAir III Wireless SD Card, a third-generation memory card that serves as its own wireless LAN access point, allowing users to share images, videos and other files wirelessly. The FlashAir III Wireless SD Card’s Internet pass-through feature allows users to access the card and Internet (via your separate wireless router) simultaneously – enabling the ability to upload images in real-time. Using a wireless LAN chip, The FlashAir III Wireless SD Card is accessible to any wireless capable computers, smartphones or tablets, and can support simultaneous access from up to seven devices. In addition, the built-in Wi-Fi access point also allows for transfers without an Internet connection, as before. The Toshiba FlashAir III Wireless SD Card will be available for purchase in March for $79.99 for 16GB and $99.99 for 32GB.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR Review

Zoltan Arva-Toth
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The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR is a new superzoom lens for DX-format DSLR owners. Offering a 16.7x zoom ratio and a 27-450mm equivalent focal range, can this £629 / $896.95 lens really cover all the bases? Read our in-depth Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 lens review to find out...

Lens of the Year 2014

Mark Goldstein | Lenses, PhotographyBLOG
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This week we’re revealing our favourite products from last year in our annual awards, looking back at the essential photography kit that helped to define 2014.

The Lens of the Year 2014 award goes to the Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R.

“The Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R is a superb addition to the X-series range, offering a classic portraiture focal length and an ultra-fast aperture that produces simply beautiful background bokeh with a minimum of fuss.”

Read the Full Review

Congratulations to Fujifilm and the XF 56mm F1.2 R!

Panasonic Announces SDXC/SDHC UHS-I Speed Class 3 Memory Cards

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories
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Panasonic is introducing its new lineup of UHS-I type SDXC/SDHC memory cards by upgrading to the latest "SDUD" that boasts maximum read speed of 95MB/s and maximum write speed of 90MB/s, in addition to compliance with UHS Speed Class 3 specifications. Additionally, the lineup now includes a 128GB model (pictured).

Sony Handycam FDR-AXP33

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Video Cameras
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The Sony Handycam FDR-AXP33 is a compact 4K camcorder featuring Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology. This powerful image stabilisation system keeps 4K video exceptionally smooth and stable, the company claims. About 30% smaller and 20% lighter than the existing FDR-AX100, the new FDR-AXP33 can record 4K video at a bit rate of 100 megabits per second, and sports a manual ring and button that can be assigned to functions like zoom, focus and exposure. The EVF boasts three times the detail of predecessor models such as the HDR-PJ810 and 820. The FDR-AXP33 also features an ISO-compatible Multi Interface shoe which accepts a variety of add-ons and expands the creative opportunities for the videographer. There's even a built-in projector with auto keystone adjustment and a 50-lumen brightness. The Sony Handycam FDR-AXP33 will be available in February, priced at £1,079.

Sony FDR-X1000VR Action Cam

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Video Cameras
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The Sony FDR-X1000VR is a wearable action camera that can record 4K footage at 30/25/24fps, Full HD at 120/100fps and 720p HD video at up to 240fps. In an Action Cam first, the FDR-X1000VR can capture high-bitrate recordings at up to 100 megabits per second,provided you have a microSDXC UHS-I Class 3 memory card inserted.. Newly-enhanced advanced SteadyShot ensures footage is clear and stable –– great for aerial shots with Action Cam rigged on a drone. The high-quality stereo microphone now features new Wind Noise Reduction. With the free Action Cam Movie Creator application, you can overlay GPS data to see your exact route and use the Video Merge function to simply bring together the best of your videos. You can also add favourite music to the edited video. Built-in Wi-Fi connects the camera with the new RM-LVR2 Live-View Remote. This waterproof wrist-mount accessory lets you check shooting angles, start/stop recording, review recorded footage and delete any scenes you don’t want. The new Action Cam FDR-X1000VR from Sony will be available from April, priced at £359.

Nikon D5500

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital SLR Cameras
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The Nikon D5500 is a new digital SLR camera featuring a 3.2" Vari-angle touchscreen, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and a 24.2-megapixel DX-format sensor with no optical low-pass filter (OLPF). Intuitively designed for easy menu navigation and intelligent operation, the D5500 allows the user to choose their focus point via Touch AF, pinch in to check focus and even activate the shutter with the touch of a fingertip. Additionally, a new Fn touch feature gives one-touch access to important settings like AF point selection, aperture, ISO sensitivity, AF area mode and more. The camera features a 39-point auto focus system with 9 cross-type sensors and 3D Focus Tracking, as well as continuous shooting speeds of up to 5fps. When shooting in low-light, D5500 users can also take advantage of an expanded wide-ranging ISO spanning 100-25,600. The Nikon D5500 will be available in early February, in black and red, as a body-only offering for £639.99 / $899.95 and in two different kit configurations: alongside the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens for a suggested retail price of £719.99 / $999.95 or with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens for £899.99 / $1,199.95.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Lenses
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The AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR from Nikon is billed as the world's lightest 300mm full-frame fixed-focal-length AF lens. Almost 30% shorter and 1.5 lbs. lighter than its predecessor, the new 300mm f/4E PF boasts Phase Fresnel optical technology to  help correct chromatic aberration and reduce the overall size and weight of the lens. The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR features electromagnetic aperture control - hence the E designation in the product name - a VR Sport mode, VR tripod detection as well as a Silent Wave Motor for quiet AF operation, ED glass for further controlling chromatic aberrations and Nano Crystal Coat for superior image quality. The optical formula comprises 16 elements in 10 groups and a 9-bladed iris diaphragm. The lens takes 77mm filters and offers a minimum focus distance of 1.4m.  The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR will be available in late January / early February for £1639.99 / $1,999.99.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II

Zoltan Arva-Toth | Lenses
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Compact and lightweight, the new retractable-design AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR II telezoom presents an affordable way to get closer to the action. The optical formula comprises 13 elements in 9 groups - including one extra-low dispersion (ED) glass element -, with Super Integrated Coating and a 7-bladed iris diaphragm. The lens takes standard 52mm filters and has a minimum focus distance of 1.1m.  The AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR II will be available from 5th February, priced at £279.99 / $349.95.

Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

Mark Goldstein | Compact System Camera, Lenses
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The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is a weather-resistant zoom lens with a constant aperture of F2.8 across the focal lengths equivalent to 24mm at wide-angle through to 84mm at medium-telephoto.

The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR lens will be available in the UK from February 2015 with a Suggested Retail Price of £899.99.