Weekend Wrap for December 3, 2010

We gidayap around the Web and lassoo the latest news


Flashpoint redesignes its PZ Softboxes and Octaboxes

Here's an Adorama exclusive: A new line of Flashpoint PZ series Softboxes  has been announced, featuring a unique, patented design that uses a zipper to relieve the pressure on the inner rods, making it so much easier to assemble and close them up compared to most other softboxes. They are available in sizes from 12" X 36" to 40" X 60". Flashpoint also unveiled new Octaboxes, which are available in 3’ and 5’ sizes.  All Softboxes and Octaboxes come with a baffle, recessed front and a convenient  carry bag. Softboxes are priced $59.95 - $149.95, Octaboxes are $99.95 and $164.95. Speed rings (sold separately) are available for most strobe units. Flashpoint products are exclusively available at Adorama. See Mark Wallace's video review.

DSLRs banned in Kuwait...or not

The Internet was abuzz last week on a report that Kuwait has banned amateur use of digital SLRs (pros were still allowed to use them, according to the rumor), getting many photographers just a wee bit bent out of shape. Turns out the story was wrong. The Kuwait Times, had originally reported that various ministries had decided that photography should be used for journalism purposes only, and came to the bizzare decision to ban DSLRs from public places. But the Times apparently failed to do its journalistic due diligence. The Times posted a notice saying it "regrets failing to verify the information," and that "in a follow-up investigation, it was proved that no such ban has been issued." Here's the retraction.

Canon Offers Mode Dial Lock for DSLRs

Has this ever happened to you? You're shooting away with your Canon EOS 5D Mark II or EOS 7D and at some point you brush against the mode dial...and it moves, changing the mode. You may or may not notice this in time to move it back before the next shot. Well, Canon's got a solution: For $100 per camera, they'll add a new Mode Dial locking mechanism. No more accidental mode shifts. Interested? Get the details here.

Nikon extends photo contest deadline

If you thought you missed the Nikon Photo Contest International 2010-2011 deadline, which passed on November 30, you've been granted a reprieve. Nikon says that its entry system was so overloaded by entries that they needed to extend the dealdine. Talented procrastinators, rejocice—and submit your work no later than 1:00 PM Japan Standard Time on December 9. 




Sigma announces Scholarship Contest

For the second year in a row, Sigma is having a Scholarship contest for high school photography students, with one winner recieving $5,000 in cash and $1,000 in photo gear. Since many students take advantage of their end-of-year vacation week to take pictures for the contest, now's a good time for high schoolers to start planning. Last year's prize went to Jamie Russel, a 17-year-old student from the suburbs of Buffalo, New York. You can see a shot from her winning portfolio above. Visit the Sigma contest site for more info.


Lensbaby's got a Brand New Bag

If you've been accumulating Lensbaby's funky line of lenses and Optic Swap accessories, accessing the right lens (Muse, Control Freak, Composer, Scout and Composer with Tilt Transformer), your growing collection may be getting a bit hard to manage. Now Lensbaby has introduced a new gadget bag dedicated to organizing and carrying Lensbaby lenses. I'm calling it Lensbaggy. The bag, which will cost under $40, is customizable, and has mesh sleeves pockets for storing apertures and memory cards as well as compartments for individual lenses.http://www.adorama.com/LBSB.html

DxO Optics Pro adds Sony A390, Nikon D7000

DxO Optics pro, which provides optics correction for a wide variety of lens and camera combinations, has been updated to include the recently announced Sony A390 and Nikon D7000. In addition, 120 new optics modules were made available covering many Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji and Pentax cameras. Version 6.5.1 comes out less than a month after version 6.5 was introduced, reflecting DxO's goal of updating more frequently to keep up with new camera and lens releases.

Pentax announces cartoonish version of K-r

So, Pentax is making a limited edition of the K-r (thankfully, only 100 are being made, available in Japan only) that look like something out of an Anime cartoon. I showed this picture of the Korejanai-Robo edition of the K-r to my 13-year-old daughter. Her one-word comment: "Cool!"

Hasselblad H4D gets high-priced paint job

Not to be outdone by Pentax, Hasselblad is apparently going after a very different audience with the Ferrrari Edition of the H4D. Adding a bright red paint job and the distinctive race car logo apparently adds $10,000 to the camera's price, because that's what Hasselblad's charging for this limited (499 pieces) edition version of a camera that's already $18,500 without any special edition stuff. Look, drool, move on.

Firmware Updates Round-Up

Here's a look at firmware updates released in the last couple of weeks:

Fujifilm Finepix HS10/HS11 Version 1.04 improves custom white balance with mounted flash, and adds an HDMI interface feature.

Ricoh CX4 Version 1.5 fixes a minor bug that occurs when shooting in Night Landscape Multi-shot mode.

Panasonic FZ100, FX700, FX75's firmware update improves image quality of Motion Deblur in iA Mode for all three cameras. AF performance while recording videos has been improved in the FX700 and FZ100.

Canon 7D version 1.2.3 fixes interface problems between the camera and the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E and ST-E2, as well as with the Macro Ring Light where cretain settings don't work properly.

And finally...didja hear about the guy who had a camera surgically implanted in the back of his head?

Wafaa Bilal, an art professor at New York University who does performance art, has had a small digital camera implanted in the back of his head, as "an allegorical statement about the things we don't see and leave behind," according to an Associated Press report.

I kid you not.

The camera will remain mounted on his head for a year, and will take pictures once a minute, 24/7, starting mid-December.

Called "The 3rd I", Bilal's implant is raising concerns at NYU about privacy issues. The camera will be turned off when, ironically, he's teaching a photography class.


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