This week: Getty Leica’s the X1, Fuji Bags Sensia, Rollei Regresses, Sony and Tamron zoom further, an inventive Google Maps mashup, new rugged digicams, and “Photographers-as-terrorists” gets turned on its head.
Leica X1 Gets Getty’s Seal of Approval
Getty has designated the Leica X1 as the first and only compact camera approved for use by Getty Images photographers. The news of this APS-sensor-based, 24mm f/2.8 lensed compact came to me via an indirect route (an unofficial Leica posting on Facebook) but it doesn’t surprise me. Jason Schneider reviewed the X1 in April, and the full-sized images he got in low light at ISO 3200 blew both of us away. Yes, the camera is quite expensive for a compact, but look at the results and you’ll realize this camera may be small, but it’s serious. Read Jason Schneider’s review of the X1.
Meanwhile, if you already own the X1’s big sibling, the M9, you may want to download the latest firmware, Version 1.138. It improves auto white balance and compatibility with SDHC memory cards (a problem that Jason Schneider ran afoul of when he reviewed the M9), and fixes a few minor bugs.
Sensia: Another Film Bites The Dust
Fujifilm announced this week that its Sensia slide film line has been discontinued. A general-purpose slide film designed for the ever-shrinking consumer market, Sensia was often overlooked by slide shooters. The more specialized Velvia and Provia emulsions, continue to be made, for now, but perhaps it’s this kind of news that prompted Ken Rockwell to ask, rhetorically, if film is going away http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/filmgoingaway.htm. The answer, Ken, is that it isn’t going away, it’s just hiding from digital enthusiasts. No worries, though: Adorama still has Sensia 100 in stock: http://www.adorama.com/FJRA36.html along with just about every other film still being made.
Rollei Regresses With A Kiddie Cam
Rollei, apparently wistful for its youth after announcing its 90th anniversary last week, has announced the Kids 100, an entry-level camera designed for children. Rated appropriate for kids ages 4 and up, the camera is ruggedized against dropsies, has a built-in flash and 64MB of internal memory, good enough for 500 images, and a 1.5-inch LCD display which the little tykes likely won’t object to. It’s being introduced to the Euro crowd but if it comes here it will likely cost under $100.
Sony Unveils Superzoom for NEX MILCs
Sony has just increased the range of its NEX interchangeable-lens compact cameras with the introduction this week of the 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS lens, which will provide a 27-300mm equivalent focal range. Features include an optical stabilization system that’s optimized for smoother videos and steadier stills. US availability hasn’t been announced; in Japan, it’ll go for 99,750 yen, which works out to around $1,160.
Tamron 70-300mm Tele is Nikon-Friendly
Speaking of longer-range lenses, Tamron has just released a Nikon-mount version of its 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 Di VC USD zoom lens. Designed to work with both APS and full-frame DSLRs, it is the first Tamron lens to feature an Ultrasonic Silent Drive AF motor with manual focus override. Features include Vibration Compensation (Tamron’s version of anti-shake tech), and low-dispersion and extra-low dispersion lens elements to provent chromatic aberrations. When used on an APS sensor camera, the lens’s focal range is 109-465mm. Sony and Canon versions are in the works.
A Google Maps Photographic Mash-Up
Ron Risman has come up with a really clever idea: before going on location or a photo walk, check out the spot using Google Maps Street View. Keep in mind that when Google shoots a street, it provides a near-360-degree view, which includes straight up. In a city among skyscrapers, that could come in quite useful indeed. Very clever, Ron!
Full HD Underwater Camera: Sanyo’s Last Gasp, or...?
Panasonic, which owns just over 50% of Sanyo stock, is looking to buy up the rest of it at a bargain price. They might or might not get it: The day after announcing its intentions, Sanyo stock jumped a bit more than Panasonic expected. If the deal goes through, Panasonic may shut down Sanyo’s camera division and concentrate on its other strengths, such as batteries. But if Sanyo's stock continues to rise, a deal is less likely.
The above high finance moves may mean that the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA102YL, a waterproof camera capable of capturing 14MP stills and 1080p HD videos, might be one of the last of the Sanyos. The new camera can handle depths down to ten feet, has a funky trigger-like shape, and a fixed 35mm equivalent wide-angle lens. It takes SDXC cards with up to 2TB storage capacity, and has a flip-out, 2.7-inch LCD monitor.
You Want Rugged? We’ll Give You Rugged!
Oregon Scientific is probably a company you’ve never heard of. But the HD ATC9K All-Terrain Video Camera shoots up to 1080p HD videos, has a fixed-focus wide-angle lens that covers 130 degreees and an f/3.2 aperture, and can be dropped, drowned (waterproof down to 65 feet) and generally abused and still deliver the goods. Shoot videos while hang gliding, kayaking, or diving? No problem. Autoexposure and fixed focus mean its limited in some ways but as far as getting out in the muck, mire, and mountains, it’s a pro at $300.
The last laugh
In these days when some police mistakenly treat us photographers is if we were a national security menace, we could use a laugh. Not just any old laugh, but a good, hearty belly laugh, or perhaps a nice, loud guffaw. Thanks to Jeff Nicols of Newsarse, a UK spoof news site, for meeting this need.
The lead 'graphs:
"Terrorist organisations have hit out at the police crackdown on citizen journalism which has led to radical extremists across the country being treated like common photographers.
"Police forces have been taking an extremely tough stance against any members of the public wishing to take photographs of public buildings and public places, leaving many would-be terrorists unhappy at the implication they are also photographers."
Read the rest of “Terrorists ‘sick of being treated like photographers.'”
That’s a wrap. Have a great weekend!