Sunday, November 20, 2016

Alpine Labs Pulse


As a camera remote you can really do much better than this. The Alpine Pulse began life as a project on kickstarter, a project which was very successful. The Pulse is a great looking little device, which simply hooks up to your camera’s USB port and then once connected you can remotely shoot photos, video or time-lapse footage from your smartphone or tablet from up to 100 feet away.

Use the smartly designed app to access basic settings such as aperture, shutter and ISO, or play with advanced features that include time-lapse, long exposure and HDR bracketing. You can even control several cameras at once via the app. The pulse is small, cool looking and will last more than 24 hours on a full charge. It supports both iOS and Android platforms, the device will work with Over sixty Canon, Nikon and Panasonic cameras.

alpinelaboratories.com

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Manfrotto launches new XPRO+ range





Manfrotto launched a new XPRO+ monopod family for video. The range is made up of six high-performance models. It features Manfrotto’s new detachable Fluidtech Base, which has a spherical joint located inside the base for smoother movement in all directions. Visit www.manfrotto.co.uk for more details.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

DJI introduces folding 4K drone


DJI has introduced the Mavic Pro, a portable drone that be folded down to fit into a backpack. It features a stabilised 4K 12 megapixel camera, a visual navigation system, a 4.3-mile (7km) range and up to 27 minutes of flight time on standard batteries. The Mavic Pro can be operated via a dedicated long-range remote controller, or through your smartphone for shorter distances. The Mavic Pro will retail for around £999.00.

Visit www.dji.com for more.

Ricoh reveals Theta SC


Ricoh have announced the arrival of their Theta SC. Ricoh have said that the SC enables ease of use for first-time 360° camera users’ and offers ‘high-resolution, fully spherical images with an output of approximately 14MP. Its large-aperture, twin-lens folded optics and a large image sensor, also offer improved sensitivity over the original Ricoh Theta, which was launched in 2013, and was the world’s first consumer 360° camera. The Theta SAC will be available from this month, priced at around £249.99.
For more info visit: theta360.com


Sony Release the A6500 and the RX100 Mk V in time for Christmas

Sony have launched their A6500 SYSTEM camera, and also a ‘Mark V’ version of their RX100 flagship compact, have been launched in time to make the Christmas market. The 20.1 megapixel RX100 Mk V has what Sony claims is the world’s fastest AF acquisition at 0.05 seconds and also uses the world’s highest number of AF points on a sensor: 315 in total. Its one-inch sensor has been developed specifically for this model. The lens is a 24-70mm zoom with an f/1.8 maximum aperture. Sony have also added 4K video.

The new A6500 features a ‘4D Focus’ system and comes with 425 phase-detection points. It has a capture rate of 11fps with continuous auto focus and supports up to 8fps in live view shooting mode. It also features five-axis in-body image stabilisation and a 24.2 megapixel APS-C sized sensor. 4K-video is available for shooters in Super 35mm format.
www.sony.co.uk

Friday, October 21, 2016

KODAK announce EKTRA, A Smartphone Designed for Photographers


Eastman Kodak Company and Bullitt Group announced their KODAK EKTRA Smartphone, a photography-led smartphone designed for those with a passion for photography, from enthusiasts to experts. Kodak are drawing on their vast experience in digital imaging to create a Smartphone which uses innovative technologies and the robust Android OS to appeal to the photo enthusiast. The EKTRA will be launching soon across Europe. The Smartphone draws on retro looks and even has a number of nice looking cases which will enhance that classic appeal. Below is some of the text from Kodak's announcement detailing the specs and capabilities.

The EKTRA is designed to capture the best in image quality and features excellent media management capabilities.

At the heart of the KODAK EKTRA Smartphone is a 21-megapixel fast focus camera sensor with f2.0 aperture, and an industry leading 13-megapixel front-facing camera with Phase Detection Auto Focus PDAF and f2.2 aperture. The custom built camera app is controlled by an intuitive haptic touch, SLR-style Scene Selection Dial, where adjustments are made in real time via a range of settings including HDR, Landscape, Portrait, Macro, Sport, Night-time, Panorama and Bokeh, alongside a Smart Auto mode which auto-selects the best conditions for your photographs. In Manual mode, more advanced users can adjust exposure, ISO, focus, white balance and shutter speed, with the results being visible on the screen as changes are made.

The KODAK EKTRA Smartphone has an ergonomically weighted and high quality industrial design, underlining its camera styling and featuring a dedicated dual press shutter button in the horizontal style of traditional cameras. The device also features a Super 8 app, providing professional effects reminiscent of Kodak’s iconic Super 8 film stocks.A lightning-fast HELIO X20 Decacore processor powers the ANDROID Marshmallow smartphone.

The KODAK EKTRA Smartphone includes editing software from SNAPSEED, providing exceptional tools to edit images on-the-go, without having to download any additional apps. This enables users to transform images with professional results similar to many popular desktop image editors. Sharing the results in real time is also easy with integrated social media apps and the Prints app is a simple way to select your best shots to be professionally printed.



KODAK EKTRA Smartphone key features:

ANDROID 6.0 (Marshmallow)
Professional results from a 21MP fast focus camera sensor with F2.0, PDAF, OIS, Dual LED Flash
13MP phase detection auto focus front-facing camera with F2.2 PDAF
Helio X20 2.3GHz Decacore processor with 3GB RAM
32GB memory, expandable with MicroSD cards
Advanced Manual Mode – adjustable on Exposure, ISO, Focal Length (Manual/Auto), White Balance, Shutter Speed, Aperture (fixed f2.0 main camera)
Familiar scene selection dial experience – includes scene modes Smart Auto, Portrait, Manual, Sports, Bokeh, Night-time, HDR, Panorama, Macro, Landscape, Film / Video
Integrated high quality printing app
Super 8 Video Recorder
Integrated social media sharing
3000mAh, with USB 3.0 Type C fast charger
The KODAK EKTRA Smartphone will be priced at £449 and available across Europe later this year.

To find out more visit; KODAK EKTRA
Register for updates on www.kodakphones.com

I look forward to trying out the EKTRA when it is release and will report back on my first impressions.

Kodak and Ektra are trademarks of Kodak.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Creative Imaging News Relaunch

Hello All

I've decided that I've missed working on this blog, and that it is high time I refocused my attention here. I've missed looking at new imaging, design, art and photographic technologies and products, as well as exploring the world of creative imaging. Look for more updates on a regular basis.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apple's iPad and a missed opportunity...

Apple announced their newest iPod - OK its a little more than an iPod but not much. The iPad represents Apple's third tier in their iPod line and in many peoples eyes has failed to meet the expectations of many in the Mac world. People were hoping that Apple would release a tablet/slate type computer with some level of support for pen based computing and also one which supported a tablet enhanced Mac-OS.

My colleague Howard Carson over at Kickstartnews summed up many peoples response and assessment of this poor showing by Apple. I use Macs and iPods on a daily basis and what I have been hopinf for is that they would lead the pack. Instead of which we have a big expensive and barely portable iPod Touch. This combined with less than complete support for web standards like Flash and other technologies and you have a recipe for disappointment. Add to this the burden of DRM and other problematic content restrictions like regional licensing and you really have to wonder "what the hell are they thinking?"

Will I buy one ... not likely ... back to the drawing board, Apple.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Photokina 2008 round-up

This year's Photokina looks to have been one of the busiest ever. With new releases and some interesting developments, I'm looking forward to what the next year will bring in the way of both software and hardware. The barriers between technologies are now looking greyer than ever as convergence is continuing to be something to be reckoned with. Several DSLRs are now offering super high pixel counts and HD quality video. This is a feature which you will no doubt see more of as journalists start using the cameras which combine photo & video in one chassis. You'll no doubt start seeing the top range models incorporating this feature as well.

The resolution issue is rapidly disappearing and as good as the capabilities and potential of non-Bayer-based technologies appear to be (e.g., Foveon), I've yet to see anything approaching the pixel counts of conventional chip technologies in these competing systems. There were, however, several new professional and medium format type cameras featuring resolutions which were in the 50 megapixel area.

For the average person the capabilties of their camera phone is proving to be a real winner, because requirements are being met more than adequately. Apple have fallen behind here because the iPhone is way behind the resolution camera phone standard of 5 megapixels. Newer mobile phones are incorporating video more and more and again convergence is making its presence felt. I mention mobiles because many sites have remarked on the reduction in the number of compact digicams being shown. To be honest I've alway felt there were way too many models offered, the less-is-more school being my favored approach to dealing with the market. Manufacturers have been forced to pay attention and adapt.

Hardware seems to have been the primary focus for a lot of the coverage from other sites, but there has also been a lot of activity in areas of software and services aimed at both the amateur and professional photographer. One growth area has been print-on-demand sevices and products where many photographers are now able to produce short run editions of their photography in bound and folio versions. There has also been much movement in large format output services, making it easy for photographers and imageers to reproduce their work for resale and display. Photokina had a number of these service providers present and showing their wares and services.

The growth in the number of software solutions on offer for handling RAW files and processing images is now making it a real chore to try and figure out which way to go, when picking tools to work with. Adobe (Photoshop CS 4, Photoshop Elements 6 & 7, Lightoom), Corel (Paint Shop Pro), Apple (Aperture) and many others (e.g., Nik Software, ACD Systems, etc., etc.), announced and/or showed their photography workflow and editing tools.

We’re not going to attempt to even look into things in too much depth, as there were over 1600 exhibitors at Photokina this year, but we will cover as much as we can.


Adobe Corp
Adobe have released a whole range of new products including both consumer and pro level tools. At the consumer end they have released Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 and Premiere Elements 7, both of which offer some innovative ways for consumers to interact and work with their content. At the pro level they have released CS4 of their toolkit. This of course includes the latest versions of Photoshop Creatuve Suite 4 and CS4 Extended. New features include enhanced 3D support, tabbed document Windows, enhanced support in Bridge, enhanced viewing & handling of panoramic content, and faster application start-up.


BenQ
BenQ showed their E1050 which is according to them the world’s slimmest camera with a 3-inch LCD screen.


Canon
This year's offering from Canon has seen some of my past predictions come true. I'm a current user of the Canon 5D and with the Mk II introduced and seeing what it has to offer I've gottten itchy with anticipation. The combination of high ISO and enhanced resolution, combined with 1080P video capture is burning a hole in my wallet. Canon have also introduced the following new products;

Digital SLRs
Canon EOS 50D

Lenses
Canon EF 24 mm F1.4L II
Canon EF-S 18-200 F3.5-F5.6 IS

Consumer Digicams
Canon PowerShot SX1 IS
Canon PowerShot SX10 IS
Canon PowerShot G10
Canon PowerShot SD990 IS / IXUS 980 IS
Canon PowerShot SD880 IS / IXUS 870 IS
Canon PowerShot SX110IS
Canon PowerShot E1
Canon PowerShot A2000 IS
Canon PowerShot A1000 IS


Carl Zeiss
Carl Zeiss showed the compact Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM, which is a new addition to the ZM line of rangefinder camera lenses. They also showed their Distagon T* 2.8/21 - 21mm super wide angle lens for SLR cameras. Carl Zeiss are also expanding their manual focus SLR lenses to include the Canon EF mount on the new ZE range.


Casio
Casio intro'd a number of consumer digicams including the Casio Exilim EX-Z85, Exilim EX-Z300, Exilim EX-Z250 and the Exilim EX-FH20.


Epson
Epson showcased a variety of products including their portable storage solutions, the P-6000 and P-7000. They also showed the brand new Artisan line of all-in-one inkjet printers including the Artisan 800 and 700. The Epson Stylus NX100/NX200/NX300 all-in-one consumer models were also on show. For those of you who have stuff to scan the Epson Perfection V300 was presented as a unit to consider with its 4800 x 9600 dpi maximum hardware resolution, 48-bit color scanning and 3.2 dynamic range.


Fujifilm
Fuji intro'd their new FinePix 3D which is a twin lens/sensor camera and print/display system which allows recording and display of 3D images. Fuji also showed the latest version of Super CCD, EXR, using a new color filter array to improve pixel binning which offers the twin benefits of high resolution and expanded dynamic range. They did show the following new Consumer Digicams:

Fujifilm FinePix F60fd
Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD
Fujifilm FinePix J150W
Fujifilm FinePix J110W
Fujifilm FinePix J120
Fujifilm FinePix J100


GE
GE showed their A1030, a slim 10 megapixel digicam which has a 2.5 inch LCD screen, 3x optical zoom and uses AA batteries. The E1055W features a 10 megapixels sensor, wide-angle 5x zoom lens and a 3-inch LCD screen. GE also showed the E1050TW which in addition to a 3.0" touch screen LCD and 28 mm wide-angle, 5x zoom lens, offers 1280 x 720 pixel HD movie recording, plus Face, Blink and Smile detection functions.


Kodak
Just to prove that film isn't completely dead Kodak showed their Professional Ektar 100 a new ISO 100 smooth-grain color film which has high saturation and ultra-vivid color, and offers the finest, smoothest grain of any color negative film available today.


LaCie
LaCie showed their 730, 724 and 720 Monitors which offer Ultra-wide gamuts of up to 123 percent of Adobe RGB colorspace. A must see for anyone involved in imaging and photography.


Leaf
Leaf have intro'd a number of medium format cameras and digital camera backs. These are the AFi-II 10, 7 and 6 digital medium format cameras and the related Aptus-II 10, 7 and 6 digital backs. The AFi-II 7 and 10 feature the first 90° tilting LCD screens. The AFi-II 10 and Aptus-II 10 uses a 56 megapixel, 56 x 36mm sensor. The AFi-II 7 and Aptus-II 7 use a 33 megapixel, 48 x 36mm sensor, whilst the AFi-II 6 and Aptus-II 6 use a 28 megapixel, 44 x 33mm sensor. All of the new cameras/backs feature 3.5" touch screen LCD displays, 12 stop dynamic range, a 50-800 ISO range and 16-bit output. Another new feature is Leaf Verto which is an internal sensor rotation dial on the side and bottom of the AFi-II 7 and 10 that allows photographers to rotate the sensor without removing the digital back.


Leica
Leica showcased their new S2 Digital SLR which features a larger medium format 37 megapixel sensor. This camera is about the size of the Canon 1DS MKIII. Leica's other camera and lens offerings were somewhat overshadowed by this camera, but include the digital rangefinder based Leica M8.2 and the D-LUX 4 and C-LUX 3 consumer digicams. Leica also showed the Leica NOCTILUX-M 50 mm f /1, SUMMILUX-M 21 mm f / 1.4 ASPH, SUMMILUX-M 24mm f / 1.4 ASPH and the ELMAR-M 24 mm f / 3.8 ASPH as well as some prototypes including the rather nice looking 30mm Tilt & Shift CS lens.


Lensbaby
Lensbaby showed three new lenses called Composer, Muse and Control Freak. The Muse and Control Freak replace the current Lensbaby Original, 2.0 and 3G lenses. The Composer is interesting in that it features a ball & socket type assembly, which according to Lensbaby offers greater precision and ease of use. All the new lenses feature a new Optic Swap System which allows the user to choose from four interchangeable optics — double glass, single glass, plastic and Pinhole — and which also extend the future capabilities of the system.


Mamiya
Mamiya unveiled the ZDb digital back and the recently announced 645 AF DIII featuring their 22 megapixel Dalsa CCD sensor. Mamiya also showed some of its high-end glass including the new leaf shutter based Sekor AF 80mm F2.8 D L/S and their Mamiya Remote Capture software.


Microsoft
Microsoft showed the recently released Photosynth. This innovative product allows the association of images to create 3D scenes. Photosynth allows you to relate these images and analyses each image for similarities. Photosynth then uses this data to build a 3D model of where the photos were taken.


Minox
Minox showed the DC 1033 a 10 megapixel digicam with 5x zoom lens and the Minox DCC Leica M3 Gold Edition which is a 5 megapixel digicam based on the Leica M3 featuring a striking design in black and gold.


Nikon
Nikon sort of jumped the gun with its product announcements but its showing didn't disappoint. Nikon showed their new D90 DSLR featuring a 12.3 MP CMOS sensor and the D3/D300/D700's 3.0-inch screen with live view and continuous shooting at up to 4.5 frames per second, and 720P high definition video mode. Nikon also showed several other products, including:

Consumer Digicams
Nikon Coolpix P6000
Nikon Coolpix S710
Nikon Coolpix S610c
Nikon Coolpix S610
Nikon Coolpix S560
Nikon Coolpix S60

Lenses
Nikon 18-105 mm F3.5-F5.6G VR


Olympus
Olympus surprised a lot of folks at Photokina with a mock-up of their Micro Four Thirds camera concept. The mockup measured around 4.7" x 2.5" x 1.2" and looks like it'll appeal to a lot of folks who want something versatile but compact. Olympus also showed another prototype of a DSLR which will fit between the E-520 and E-3 models. They also showed several consumer digicams in the form of the 10 megapixel Mju/Stylus 1050SW and the 10 megapixel Mju/Stylus 1040. At the lower end they showed three new 'FE' models; the FE-20, FE-360 and FE-370.


Panasonic
Amongst its product showcase Panasonic showed its new Micro 4/3 Camera, the Panasonic DMC-G1 and several new lenses including the 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6/O.I.S. and the 45-200mm/F4.0-5.6/ O.I.S, and a Micro Four Thirds adapter.


Pentax
Pentax showcased its brand new K2000(K-m) and the associated lenses. This camera features an image stabilized 10 megapixel sensor and is small, light and easy to use. Pentax showed the following lenses: the DA 60-250mm F4 ED IF SDM, the DA 55mm F1.4 SDM, the DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited, the DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6AL and the DA L 50-200mm F4-5.6AL. They also showed the DA 1.4X REAR CONVERTER SDM prototype.


PhaseOne
Lens Sep 4 PhaseOne 45 mm F 3.5 TS


Sigma
Sigma showed its SD15 Digital SLR and the worthy Sigma DP2 consumer digicam, both of which feature sensors based on Foveon technology. Sigma showed a number of lenses including the 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM, the 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, 4.5mm F2.8 EX DC HSM Fisheye Lens, 10mm F2.8 EX DC HSM Fisheye Lens and the Sigma APO 1.4x EX DG and Sigma APO 2x EX DG Tele Converters. Sigma also showed the Macro EM-140 DG flash for Pentax and Sony.


Sinar
Sinar showed their Hy6 65 medium format system which includes the eSprit65 back which is first to produce DNG files onboard. Sinar also showed a dedicated architecture camera, the arTEc, which was developed in collaboration with architecture photographer Rainer Viertlboeck. The 1.5Kg, relatively compact camera offers +/- 5 degree tilt, rotatable through 360 degrees and +25mm/-15mm shift vertically and +/-20mm horizontally. The Sinar eXposure software developed with architecture photography in mind is available from the company's website.


Sony
Digital SLRs
Sony Alpha 900 [preview]

Consumer Digicams
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500

Lenses
Sony SAL1635ZA
Sony SAL70400G


Tamron
Lens Sep 2 Tamron SP AF90 mm F2.8 Di Macro
Lens Sep 2 Tamron SP AF10-24 mm Di II
Lens Sep 2 Tamron SP AF70-200 mm F2.8 Di LD IF Macro [review]
Lens Sep 2 Tamron SP AF18-270 mm Di II VC


Tokina
Lens Sep 24 Tokina 16.5-135mm F3.5-5.6 [review]


Zeiss
Lens Sep 19 Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21
Lens Sep 15 Zeiss Planar T* 1.4/50
Lens Sep 15 Zeiss Planar T* 1.4/85


On the storage front there have been a few new developments but nothing noteworthy speedwise. The biggest advances have been in the way of storage capacity and format.

Delkin
Delkin released its new USB external 4X Blue-Ray Disc drive and a line of archival quality Blu-ray discs. The discs have 25GB capacity and purportedly have a 200 year lifespan. A 25GB disk can be burned in 30 minutes using this drive.


Kingston
Kingston released its 32GB Class 4 SDHC card.


Lexar
Lexar 16 GB UDMA CF card


Pretec
Pretec 64 GB CompactFlash, 233x
Pretec 100 GB CompactFlash, 233x
Pretec 32 GB CompactFlash, 333x
Pretec 32 GB CompactFlash, 333x


SanDisk
SanDisk showed their new Extreme III 32 GB CF card, Extreme IV 16 GB CF card and the Extreme III SDHC card.


Digital Foci
Digital Foci announced Photo Safe II, a portable storage solution which can act as a portable card reader and USB hard drive. It copys all data off memory cards including RAW and video files.


Lenovo
ThinkPad W300


Lowepro
Lowepro announced a number of bags including the Terraclime; The PrimusMinimus AW and CompuPrimus AW which are made from 51 percent recycled materials. The compact PrimusMinimus can haul a DSLR with a moderate-range zoom attached in addition to one or two extra lenses. The CompuPrimus AW, which has space for a DSLR, up to five lenses, and features a laptop compartment large enough for a 15.4" notebooks, The Primus line feature an all-weather cover and tripod attachment hardware. Also new is the Flipside 400 backpack which will easily fit a DSLR with pro-grade zoom and up to six extra lenses, the SlingShot 330 AW which is a side-opening bag that can accommodate a DSLR and several lenses alongside a 15" laptop.

The most comprehensive coverage of the show can be found at http://www.photokina-show.com/ which has been put together by LetsGoDigital.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Canon Eos 5D Mark II

The 21.1 megapixel EOS 5D Mark II is Canon’s first DSLR camera to offer a High Definition video capability. The new camera features a newly designed Canon CMOS sensor with ISO sensitivity up to 25600, a new DIGIC 4 processor, a 3.0” Clear View LCD with VGA resolution, and 3.9 frames per second continuous shooting. The HD Capture Mode features a full 1080 resolution at 30fp for up to 30 minutes video or 4GB whichever comes first.

The EOS 5D Mark II has a body-only price SRP of $2,699 / €2,499 / £ 2,299 and will be available from the end of November. It will also be available in kit form with the EF 24-105mm f4.0L IS USM lens for an SRP of £3049.99 / €3999.99.

Canon Announce New Models

Canon have announced the Powershot G10, Powershot SX1 IS, the Digital Ixus/Elph 980 IS and the 870 IS.

The Canon PowerShot G10 features a 14.7 megapixel sensor and a 5x, 28-140mm zoom. This successor to the G9, also offers a large 3.0” PureColor LCD screen, a DIGIC 4 image processor, Canon’s new i-Contrast system to increase the dynamic range, and a Servo AF mode to continually adjust focus on a moving subject. It also like the G9, supports RAW.

The Canon PowerShot G10 will be available from October for an SRP of £499.99 / €649.99.

The PowerShot SX1 IS and PowerShot SX10 IS replace the PowerShot S5 IS, both the SX1 and SX10 feature a 20x wide-angle zoom lens, with USM and VCM for fast, silent, zooming, and optical Image Stabilizer. The Canon SX1 IS features a fast CMOS sensor which allows it to shoot full-resolution JPEGs at speeds up to 4fps. Both models also use Canon’s new DIGIC 4 processor, and feature full HD movie capture and full manual control over both aperture and shutter speed.

The Canon PowerShot SX1 IS will be available from December for an SRP of £519.99 / €679.99, whilst the Canon PowerShot SX10 IS will have an SRP of £359.99 / €469.99.

The 14.7 Megapixel Digital IXUS 980 IS features several exciting ‘firsts’ – including a Manual Mode that allows for control of shutter speed and aperture. It also comes in "stylish, head-turning" black and the traditional IXUS silver. The 10 Megapixel Digital IXUS 870 IS features a 4.0x wide-angle (28mm) optical zoom, a high-resolution 3.0” PureColor LCD II, and comes finished in gold or silver. Both cameras use Canon’s new DIGIC 4 processor. Both cameras offer smooth, 30fps VGA video shooting. Superior compression technology allows them store up to 40% more footage to memory card than their predecessors.

The IXUS 980 IS will be available from late September for an SRP of £349.99 / €459.99. The IXUS 870 IS will be available from late September for an SRP of £269.99 / €349.99.

The Photography Blog has published a hands on look at all these models at the links found below.
Canon PowerShot G10
Canon PowerShot SX1 IS / SX10 IS
Canon Digital IXUS 980 IS and 870 IS

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leica Announce M8, D-LUX 4 and C-LUX 3

Leica M8, D-LUX 4 and C-LUX 3
Leica has announce a trio of digital cameras today. The cameras include the C-LUX 3, D-LUX 4 and the M8.2. The C-LUX 3, is a compact pocket-sized digicam that features 10-megapixel sensor, 25 to 125mm 5x optical zoom lens, all-metal chassis, optical image stabilization, face detection and a 2.5-inch LCD monitor. Available in black or white from October 2008, the LEICA C-LUX 3 will have an SRP of £420.

The D-LUX 4, is a 10.1-megapixel compact camera which can extend its zoom range of 24 to 60-millimeters via lens adapters. It also features a choice of either an additional flash or a 24-millimeter optical viewfinder. Available from October 2008, the LEICA D-LUX 4 will have an SRP of £590.

The M8.2, which keeps the current 10.3 megapixel sensor found in the M8 , but also features a new metal blade focal plane shutter, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal coverglass for the LCD, a "snapshot mode," redesigned bright frame lines in viewfinder and a Quick Override setting. The M8.2 should be available this month for an SRP of £3390. Authorised Leica dealers are also offering a £400 Leica M8 trade up incentive which is currently scheduled to end on 30th September 2008.

Friday, September 12, 2008

SanDisk Intro 32GB Extreme III CF Card

SanDisk's have added a 32GB CompactFlash card to their 30MB/s Extreme III line of flash cards. SanDisk just announced the 32GB Extreme III CompactFlash card for $299. If you're a pro photographer shooting high-speed RAW images or a film maker producing a HD masterpiece, check it out. The new card should be available in October.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Nik Software Announce Sharpener Pro 3.0

Nik Software have announced the latest version of their Sharpener Pro photographic plug-in for use with Adobe® Photoshop® and Apple® Aperture™. Sharperner Pro is designed for professionals and photo enthusiasts, and features Nik Software's patented U Point technology, which allows photographers to selectively sharpen objects and uses Control Points to offer precise control over sharpening.

“Sharpener Pro 3.0 has been dramatically improved with a range of new features, including powerful creative sharpening tools, a soft proofing option, and integrated U Point technology,” said Michael J. Slater president and CEO of Nik Software. “This new version of Sharpener Pro offers the most comprehensive tools for optimally sharpening images for any output device while also offering photographers the complete control they expect,” Slater concluded. Key Features include:


• New U Point Powered Control Points—Enables precise, selective sharpening control

• Updated Output Sharpening—Provides the ultimate control to create perfectly sharpened images on all devices and media types such as display, inkjet, continuous tone, half tone, and hybrid tone

• New Creative Sharpening—Enhances fine details and textures with new structure, focus, and local contrast tools for drawing attention to desired areas within the image

• New Industry-First Sharpening Soft Proof—Allows detailed inspection of sharpening results on screen before printing, eliminating costly test prints

• New Output Presets—Enables custom settings to be saved for consistent, professional results

• Updated RAW Presharpener—Retains and enhances sharp details within images without amplifying noise and other artifacts

• Updated Powerful Selective Tool (Photoshop only)—Enables the use of Photoshop’s brush tools to paint in sharpening selectively

• New Smart Filter Support (Photoshop only)—Provides compatibility with Adobe Photoshop’s Smart Objects enabling adjustments to sharpening after Sharpener Pro has been applied

• New Multi-Image Support (Aperture only)—Provides compatibility with Aperture’s multiimage support, allowing photographers to easily copy and paste settings between images to maintain consistency

Sharpener Pro 3.0 will be available in September for electronic delivery directly from (Nik Software) in four languages (English, French, German, and Spanish). It will be available through specialty camera retailers in October of 2008. The SRP will be € 199.95, with upgrades from any previous version will be available for € 99.95. For more information about Sharpener Pro 3.0, including video tutorials showing the software running within Photoshop and Aperture and a free 15-day fully functional trial version, please visit www.niksoftware.com/sharpenerpro.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Canon Tease With Possible 5D Successor


Canon are showcasing a number of ads using the old silhouette in the dark teaser ads. The photo doesn't really show much but you can see the first teaser at a page titled Destined Evolution, featuring the silhouette of a canon dslr against an image of the moon. Some sites are guessing its a new Canon 5D. The image below is what comes out of the teasers when you process the image in photoshop - silhouette certainly looks like that of a 5D.

processed 5d mkII teaser

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sony Ads Reveal 24 Megapixel Full Frame DSLR

Sony A900 DSLR
Sony's revealed the A900 DSLR, which features a full frame 24.6 megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor, via an ill timed ad. It will also features Sony's Dual BIONZ image processing engine, a 3-inch Hybrid LCD with "Intelligent Preview," 5 fps continuous shooting, and Sony's SteadyShot image stabilization. There is no price or release date mentioned in the Ad but all should come clear as we approach Photokina.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nikon Unveil D90 DSLR

Nikon have unveiled their new D90 DSLR. The D90 features a new 12.3 megapixel Nikon DX-format CMOS image sensor with an Integrated Dust Reduction System. The DSLR has a Low-noise capability which ranges from ISO 200 to 3200, it also has support for ISO 6400. The camera can also record video using their D-Movie mode, which records in AVI format at 320 x 216, 640 x 424 or 1,280 x 720.
Other features include:
Scene Recognition System based on 420 pixel RGB sensor for improved autofocus, autofocus and auto white balance, in addition to Face Detection.
Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus with 11 AF points.
3-inch, VGA Live View LCD.
4.5 fps continuous shooting
0.15 second startup
65ms shutter release lag.
SD / SDHC storage.
HDMI output
The Nikon should be available in kit form for around $1,299. For more info visit Nikon.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Canon Eos 50D Announced

Canon EOS 50D
Canon have officially unveiled the EOS 50D. The 15.1 megapixel DSLR features an APS-C sized CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 image processor, up to ISO 12800 support, a 3.0-inch LCD with Live View, face detection, HDMI output, 6.3fps burst mode. It also uses the same AF system found in Canon's 40D but with a new Microadjustment feature. This Prosumer centric model should have an SRP of $1,599 with Canon's EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens -- $1,399 for the body only.

Monday, August 18, 2008

How People Kill Their Cameras

Amateur Photographer have released an article detailing some of the ways in which the public destroy their cameras. The details come from data which has been released by insurance group Domestic & General in the UK. It seems that around a sixth of us blame children or dog, 3% of claims run over their camera with a car, about three quarters drop their cameras, either onto a "hard surface", into water, or other wise damage the camera by falling onto it and using it to cushion their fall. The article is worth a read.

Xara Xtreme Pro 4 Review

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, August 2008
Published by: Xara Group Limited
Requires: Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Pentium processor or better, 128MB RAM, 100MB available hard drive space
MSRP: US$249.00, £125.00 GBP
Xara has long been one of the "other" programs artists can use for creating designs and illustrations. It also has one very attractive capability in that it is much faster at rendering than comparable programs, in some cases it is much faster than Adobe Illustrator at rendering the same illustrations. Xara Xtreme Pro can be used very effectively to create logos, brochures, websites and photographic panoramas. It is very fast at all these tasks and comes with an array of professional level controls. Version 4 is an improvement over earlier versions in that it not only features new capabilities but also includes support for multicore processors.

Added to this new version are 3D capabilities and bitmap editing features which help make it a hybrid creative solution. The editing of bitmaps is in itself different from software like Photoshop in that Xara Xtreme Pro isn't a pixel editor but uses non-destructive kind of element editing which lets you re-edit and modify at a later date.

There were some problems with some of the bitmap handling in that when I used filters and plug-ins, Xara had a tendency to get bogged down. Some other problem areas include compatibility with newer Adobe Illustrator and PDF formats, an issue which can be bypassed by exporting the problem file in an earlier revision from the native application. The import of RAW files is also supported, though I haven't tested all available formats.

Xara Xtreme Pro provides a comprehensive environment for vector editing, animation and web design all without changing applications. The layer capabilities are well designed and allow you to layer elements for easy editing and tracing. The software features an excellent array of vector editing and creation capabilities including Bevel, Contour, Drop Shadow, Extrude, Fill, Polygon, Transparency and many others.

The handling of text is really easy — simplified but powerful. Things like text flow and styling can be done in a flash. Text can be resized, skewed, rotated and more, and it is even possible to apply effects like bevelling, drop shadows, and make the entire text block transparent. Xara Xtreme Pro supports Unicode making it easy to create documents in multiple languages. The Text extrusion tool is used to create and edit extruded text with textures in real time by simply placing and dragging the text. You'll also find controls and settings for creating multipage documents, along with desktop publishing features which include text flow around graphics and the kerning and editing of text.

Xara Xtreme Pro 4.0's web capabilities can export documents to HTML for use on a web site. CSS styles are used format your page elements and text and while the code isn't the cleanest, it does the job. One thing for Xara to focus on for the next version of Xara Xtreme Pro would be to offer an option to clean up the HTML code on export.

The files generated by Xara are pretty compact and suffer little of the bloat I’ve come to expect from other software in the same class. The PDF export capabilities include support for high resolution PDFs which support Pantone PMS colors and font embedding.

Cons: File import could be more versatile. Xara Xtreme Pro is not available for Mac OS X. No pixel editing.

Pros: Very fast rendering. Inexpensive in comparison to other competing software. Flexible and powerful. Unlike dedicated software, Xara has a great many features which are useful for the non-designer. Xara Xtreme Pro facilitates the easy creation and editing of documents which can be used by the business user who want to make quick work of their creative business documents (promotions, presentations, marketing, etc.). Using Xara Xtreme Pro you will soon come to appreciate its speed and flexibility. You can add photos, vectors and apply all sort of effects to your documents without having to learn five different programs. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Polaroid Reveal Future Instant Camera Plans

Polaroid are set to release an digital camera which includes an on-board printer which uses the Zink printing technology. The camera/printer will be able to produce 4 x 3 inch prints. It also looks likePolaroid are looking for consumer feedback on the devices final form factor. Visit amateurphotographer.co.uk for more information.

Monday, August 11, 2008

HP Launches New Laptops & Displays

HP launched a few new products at SIGGRAPH today. Firstly a few new laptops in the form of the 17" EliteBook 8730w and 15.4" EliteBook 8530w and 8530p. The 8730 features a 17-inch DreamColor display, a quad-core Intel CPU, 8GB of RAM and NVIDIA's 1GB Quadro FX graphics card. The EliteBook 8530w and 8530p, feature 8GB of RAM, a Core 2 Duo chip (the 8530w supports an optional quad-core chip) and HP's brushed anodized aluminum DuraCase.

HP also announced 22 and 24 inch displays. The 22-inch LP2275w lights up 92 percent of the NTSC color gamut across its 1680 x 1050 pixels, whilst the new 24-inch LP2475w puts 102 percent across its 1920 x 1200 pixels. Both displays feature 1000:1 contrast ratios, extra-bright panels and adjustable stands. The LP2275w will be avaialble immediately, while the LP247w will come next month. Retail pricing will be between $459 and $649 respectively.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Lowepro Announce Slingshot 350 AW

The SlingShot 350 AW
Lowepro, announced the launch of their SlingShot 350 AW. The 350 has larger carrying capacity that other sligshot models and includes a protective space for a widescreen notebook.
The SlingShot 350 AW features a main compartment that comfortably fits a professional DSLR fitted with a 70-200. It also accommodates 5-6 extra lenses or accessories.
The padded notebook compartment will fit a 15.4” widescreen notebook, it also features a fully adjustable, padded waistbelt; a built-in microfiber cloth to protect LCD screen; Hypalon SlipLock attachment loops for adding accessories; and Lowepro’s patented All Weather Cover. For more information about 350 AW or other Lowepro products, visit http://www.lowepro.com/.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Dell Vostro 2510 Now Configurable

Dell have rolled out their Vostro 2510. Their new, slab like, 15.4-inch laptop comes in a two-tone black and red body, incorporates a slot-load drive and a cooling system that vents heat away from the bottom of the notebook. It uses current-generation Core 2 Duo processors, supports a slot-load Blu-ray burner, a minimum 1440x900 resolution display with a built-in webcam, a GeForce 8400M GS for video and a 160GB hard disk. you can increase the display to 1920x1200 and increase storage to 320GB. The laptop won't ship till mid-august but look for more goodies when it becomes available.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dell Release Studio Hybrid Desktop

Dell Studio Hybrid Desktop
Dell went live with their Studio Hybrid Desktop product page yesterday. The Page shows the Studio Hybrid in a range of colours and offers the unit for a base configuration at $499 (UK prices start at £399). A bamboo version is available for an extra $130. The display will add at least $200 and for an extra $50 you can upgrade to 2GB of RAM. Bluray and Hifi will cost extra. Dell are offering some "Instant Savings," for preconfigured models but no idea if its gonna be a long term deal. These cool little units can be viewed and configured online at Dells product page.

Dell Studio Hybrid Desktop Variants

Adobe Release Lightroom 2.0

Adobe have released Lightroom 2.0. They' ve added a few new features and improved the overall performance since it's brief public beta. New features since 1.0 include:
Local adjustment brush
Enhanced organizational tools
Volume management
Extensible architecture
Multiple monitor support
Flexible print package functionality
Streamlined Photoshop CS3 integration
Enhanced output sharpening
64-bit support for Windows® and Mac OS
Adobe has also released Camera RAW 4.5 to support the additional Lightroom 2 adjustments within Photoshop and Bridge. Lightroom 2 will cost £175 in the UK and $299 in the US. Upgrades from existing versions will cost £69 and $99. UK Pricing excludes VAT.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Moment It Clicks: Photography Secrets From One Of The World's Top Shooters

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, July 2008
Author: Joe McNally
Published by: New Riders & Peach Pit Press
ISBN-10: 0321544080
ISBN-13: 978-0321544087
Requires: Amateur or pro interest in photography
MSRP: US$54.99 USD, £29.99 GBP, $59.99 CAD

(Ed. Note: Books like this often tell readers about more than the apparent subject. Most often, a semi-autobiographical book of this type provides examples for success which transcend the categories of life, career, technique and business into which we tend to slot ourselves, others and our efforts throughout our lives. I love reading about the details, techniques and events, told from a personal perspective, which have occured and affected skilled, successful people because the knowledge helps me organize and make sense of the details, techniques and events in my own life. I hope you feel the same way.)

Joe McNally's book “The Moment It Clicks” has received a lot of press and acclaim, so when I received it for review, I already felt that it would be a book which would provide a challenge. There has been a lot of hype about it from all over the photography world. The book has become a bestseller and nothing I say will add to or take away from that. The Moment It Clicks tells a story which is essentially all about the 30 year photography career of Joe McNally, his life, and experiences both professional and personal. The book was written to provide an insight into the world of commercial photography and photojournalism.

The Moment It Clicks is not a biographical tome, but more about the pictures McNally has taken, the events in his life and how they have been shaped by his career. The book doesn't really take a chapter type approach (typically, photography books are always organized into traditional chapters and sub-sections), taking instead a more subjective approach. McNally uses a picture and then tells the story behind the picture and details how it was shot. This isn’t a step-by-step approach either, focusing rather on the more important details and insights which will add to your experience of McNally's photography as well as adding to the critical appreciation of your own photography efforts and learning process. The "How It Was Shot" section accompanying each photo provides varying detail with respect to subjective items such as lighting, camera positions, supporting elements, technical and aesthetic considerations key to learning about particular subjects.

McNally details the events which surrounded or led up to the moment of each photo. He frequently relates stories about how events affected his life, the adventures and often the misadventures related to the photography he's produced. Some of the stories are highly insightful and others somewhat sentimental. None of this takes away from one's experience of this book and the story it tells. Like many other great storytellers, McNally talks about his mistakes and the things he has learned which have added to his experiences and his art.

The Moment It Clicks is well put together and features many excellent images, it also features quite a few images which failed to inspire me. Overall the book is clearly aimed at those of you who are looking for or already involved in photography which is of a more commercial nature.

There are some other annoyances such as the frequent repetition of certain terms throughout the book and in the footnotes. As well, the photo in which McNally shows all his kit is a bit of overload. The reality is that it's quite unlikely that Joe would carry all that kit around with him all the time. In fact, he'd need a retinue of Porters to carry it all. It would have been more useful if he showed the various kit he carries on different assignments.

All that aside, Joe McNally tells his story well, and leaves you with some very memorable, useful and inspiring insights. This kind of book stays with you a lot longer than most technically based, how-to books, because it humanizes the process of learning and the process of involving yourself in photography. There is a folkloric nature to it, which you can identify with much moreso that any technical manual or step-by-step type of book. Life, after all, is experiential and the best way to relate those experiences is to tell stories.

Cons: Very few. Definite bias toward commercial photography. Frequent repetition in footnotes.

Pros: Humanistic approach to storytelling. Storytelling that engages and educates the reader. Joe McNally tells his story in a manner which allows the reader to identify and learn from his own personal experiences in photography. As a book on commercial photography it is a book you must have. If you are looking for a book on fine art photography this may not be it. The allegorical nature of the teaching in this book is engaging and will leave the reader with much to think about. Highly recommended.

Canon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer's Guide

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, July 2008
Author: Christopher Grey
Published by: Focal Press
ISBN-10: 0240520408,
ISBN-13: 978-0240520407
Requires: An interest in Canon cameras
MSRP: US$39.95, UK £22.99

Christopher Grey has produced a reference book which covers most Canon digital SLR (DSLR) cameras and is squarely aimed at improving your use of your DSLR. The title of the book includes the phrase "The Ultimate Photographer's Guide" which is quite a boast. So as usual when we encounter this sort of thing, our initial goal during the review is to establish whether or not the substance of the book lives up to the 'hype' of the title.

The book begins by looking at the basics of photography and then briefly at the concepts of workflow. It continues by covering many of the existing workflow models and then looks into the common technology and features used in all Canon's Cameras. In the Common Ground section, Christopher Grey introduces the first of his many Photographer Spotlights found throughout the book in which he interviews and looks at the working practices of a large number of professional photographers

Grey then looks at the Zones — Basic and Creative — which allow users either easy choices for shooting under different conditions or, as in the Creative zone, a more technical approach requiring some knowledge of the features and capabilities of your Canon camera. The Basic Zone uses icons to allow the user to easily select a preferred shooting mode. With shooting mode selections in Canon DSLRs for Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports and Night Portrait, it's easy enough for most people (especially casual photographers, more serious but still novice photographers, and even many intermediate photographers). A Basic Zone selector is missing from the dial on all prosumer and pro Canon DSLR models.

Canon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer's Guide then looks at the focus, exposure and style, examining the use of external light meters, color temperature, focus methodologies and preferences. It is here where some excellent lessons are imparted regarding the judicious use of the excellent focusing technologies found in Canon cameras.

Grey then takes a look at Canon lenses. The coverage here is good, firmly establishing the practical uses of a wide variety of Canon lenses and examining the where and why of lens use too. In the next chapter, the use of Canon flashes is covered including built-in pop-up flash, accessory flash, off-camera flash, studio flash and location lighting.

The book's penultimate chapter looks at one of the most important parts of your toolkit: The use of the Canon Digital Photo Professional software. In this chapter the handling of your images — more specifically the Digital Negative or RAW file — is covered in some depth. Although Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) is mentioned, neither it nor Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, ACDSee Pro 2 or any of the other RAW acquisition solutions are covered. The book finishes with a look at the works of a number of photographers from around the world.

Cons: No coverage of other RAW software.

Pros: Excellent layout and information throughout the book. Easy to follow. Although the book is aimed at the beginner and intermediate user there are many pros out there who use it instead of the manuals supplied with their Canon DSLR. Canon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer's Guide is a book which should easily be updated as newer DSLR models are released. If you own a Canon Digital SLR camera then this excellent book from Focal Press is a worthy addition to your library. A must have for almost any serious photographer's reference library (because you never know when you might need to use a Canon). Highly recommended.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Nik Software Announce Free Update For Color Efex Pro 3.0

Nik software have released an update for Color Efex Pro 3.0. The 3.1 update includes support for Aperture and Capture NX 2, and compatibility with Photoshop® Smart Filters.

UK Government To Discuss Photography Guidelines With Police

The BJP have posted an article which details the Governments plans to discuss the issue of Photography in Public Places and recent behaviour by Police and Private Security Guards when it come to dealing with Photographers.