Weekend Wrap for Feb. 4, 2011

Our weekly round-up of news of the photographic world


Ricoh Announces Leica M-Mount Module for GXR Camera

This is Pretty Big News: Ricoh, a company that rocked the photo world last year with the potential of the unique, interchangeable lens/sensor module-based GXR camera system, announced this week a GXR Lens Mount Unit which will include an APS-C-sized, 12.9MP CMOS sensor with a focal plane shutter, and a lens mount that can accomodate Leica rangefinder manual-focus M-Mount interchangeable lenses. A mock-up version will be showed at a photo trade show in Japan next week, and Ricoh says the module should be  available in Autumn 2011. In addition, Ricoh says it has non-camera modules in the works for the GXR.  (Speaking of Leica, the German camera company announced this week that sales increaded 73% in the last nine months, thanks to demand for the M9, S2 and related lenses and accessories.)

Ricoh also announced the CX5, a 10.7x optical zoom (28-300mm 35mm equivalent) camera with a claimed faster AF speed thanks to a new hybrid focusing system. A passive AF system continuously measures distances while contrast AF  seeks contrasty targets. The camera has a back-illuminated 10MP CMOS sensor, which they claim will produce lower noise at higher speeds thanks to a combination of hardware and firmware improvements. Other features include 6 creative art-filter shooting modes, 14 Scene Modes (including Golf Swing Continuous and Cooking modes), a 920k 3-inch LCD monitor, subject tracking, scene auto, and Eye-Fi card compatibility.


Peter Gabriel Gives Cameras to Human Rights Video Activists

Can a Flip be a tool for change? A consortium of rock legends including Peter Gabriel, Sheryl Crow and others, has formed Witness, an organization that provides pocket-sized HD video cameras and training to local groups around the world to help them use video to record human rights violations. And scores of videos have already been posted on The Hub http://hub.witness.org/, a web site set up for Witness participants to post their videos and shed daylight on violence and abuse by governments and corporations around the world. Visit Witness to learn more.

Panasonic Announces Trio of Compact Digital Cameras

Panasonic this week announced three new compact digital cameras:


Panasonic Lumix TS3:
The rugged TS3 is a waterproof (to 40 feet), shockproof (to 6.6 feet), freezeproof (to 14 degrees F), dustproof camera that can record full 1080p HD Videos and has a 3D mode, along with Facebook and YouTube upload modes. It has built-in GPS (and has over a million landmarks from 78 countries in a built-in database), a 12MP sensor, a 28mm wide-angle 4.6x optical zoom lens. To get a 3D image, the camera takes 20 consecutive photos and overlays the two best to create a 3D image that can be played back on a Panasonic Viera 3D TV or any other MPO-compatible display. Available in March, price to be announced.


Panasonic Lumix FX78:
The stylish, 12MP CCD-based FX78 is dominated by a 3.5-inch 16:9 aspect ratio touch-screen operated LCD, a 24mm f/2.5 5x optical zoom, and a fashionably slim design. AF, Intelligent Scene Selector, Macro and other modes are controlled via the touch screen. It can shoot 3D images (see the TS3's description for how it does it), and records 1080p HD Videos in AVCHD mode. Shutter release time is claimed to be a zippy 0.005 second. Other features include Art Retouch (which lets the user make changes in brightness and saturation after the fact) and Beauty Retouch (which cleans up skin complexion and does other flattering stuff to portraits), iA intelligent Auto, face detection, and more. Available in March, price to be announced.


Panasonic Lumix ZS10:
The ZS10 offers a long-range 16x optical zoom lens that starts at 24mm (35mm equivalent), has touch screen control, 1080p HD video, built-in GPS, 3D Photo Mode, touch autofocus, touch shutter and touch playback. It uses a 14MP CMOS sensor, boasts a 10fps burst rate at full resolution, 60fps in 3.5 megapixel. As with the TS3, GPS has over a million locations built-in for easy geotagging. Available in March, price to be announced.

Murdoch Launches first iPad Newspaper

In a move that could have long-term ramifications for photojournalists, Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has launched The Daily, a new newspaper that is designed to be viewed and read on the Apple iPad.  With no printing press or physical delivery system to worry about, Murdoch plans to operate The Daily for $500,000 per week, run the paper with a staff of about 100, and a 30 million investment—and plans to sell the paper for 99 cents a week. Just to get you addicted, the first two weeks are free. Video, still photography, and interactivity with Twitter and other social networks are integrated throughout. The front page of the first edition, which was published on Wednesday, was about the crisis in Egypt. Is this a gimmick, or the future of newspaper publishing? Download it and discuss!

Sony announces a pair of long-zoom compacts

Sony this week announced two more 16MP digital cameras that feature 1080p/60p HD Video capture. The DSC-HX100V and DSC-HX9V Cyber-shot cameras offer zoom lenses that start at 27mm (35mm equivalent) and zoom out to 30x and 16x, respectively.

The HX100V is an EVF camera with a 27-810mm  (35mm equivalent) f/2.8-f/5.6 optical zoom lens, an ISO range of 100-3200 (16MP compact and ISO 3200? Be afraid!) as well as Intelligent Sweep Panorama HR that can stitch together humungus panorama images measuring up to 10,480 x 4,096 pixels in-camera. Other features include GPS receiver and compass, 3-shot HDR, and a 3-inch, 921k dot LCD. The HX100V will be available in April for $450.

The HX9 is a more compact affair, with a 16x 24-384mm (35mm equivalent) f/3.3-5.9 optical zoom range, ISO 100-3200, and mostly the same features as the HX100. It will be available in April for $350.

Delete—Oops! 4,000 Flickr photos go bye-bye

This was a really bad, no good week for a Flickr user—a paying account holder—named Micro Wilhelm. For five years, Wilhelm has been faithfully posting his photos on Flickr (which is owned by Yahoo), carefully tagging each shot, building it up to over 4,000 shots. Last week, he complained about another users whom he suspected of posting “obviously stolen material.” and some bozo over at Flickr accidentally hit a button that didn't delete the offending user's account...it deleted Wilhelm's, along with all 4,000 photos. Mind-bogglingly, the Flickr staffer who informed Wilhelm of the mistake added that he could not retrieve the deleted images.

Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed and after Wilhelm's story went viral, a more competent Flickr staffer apparently found the back-up files and restored Wilhelm's photos—and gave him a 25-year long Pro account. So all's right with the world.

And finally...Large-Format Snow Job?

Dear camera expert: I'm using this big, white view camera, and am rather surprised that, although it's a film camera, it keeps freezing up! What's going on? (Photo by Steve Rosenblum of his entry into the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture competition, via The Online Photographer.)

And that's a Wrap. Have a great weekend!


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