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Weekend Wrap for Feb. 11, 2011

Weekend Wrap for Feb. 11, 2011

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No PMA this week, but plenty of PMA-type new product announcements.

February 11, 2011

This is the time of year the photo industry would head to Las Vegas for PMA…except this year, they’ve moved the show to September and renamed it CliQ. Major new product announcements were made this week anyway.

Call it “the ghost of PMA” week. Nearly every major camera maker rolled out new models this week, as if PMA were taking place in Vegas anyway. Kinda spooky, but  there’s really no mystery here: This week an international photography trade show, CP+, took place in Japan and just like at the PMAs of old, the new product announcements came fast and furious. There’s lots to cover in addition to the announcements earlier this week from Fujifilm, Pentax, Nikon, and Canon. Let’s go—and be sure to visit Adorama's Facebook page to discuss these new products.

 

Flashbus update: Have You Registered Yet?

First things first...As everybody should know by now, registration is underway for the Flashbus tour, sponsored by Adorama. Stroboscopic legends David Hobby and Joe McNally will be going across the country, running one-day flash photography workshops in 29 cities. Workshops in Seattle, Portland, Washington DC, New York City, Boston and Chicago are sold out and there are just a handful of seats left in San Francisco, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Raleigh/Durham, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. Register now!

Sigma: DP2x Foveon Sensor Compact camera, 3 weather-resistant lenses

Sigma announced an update to its APS-sized, Foveon-sensor-based DP2, the DP2x. The camera has the same 4.64 effective MP Foveon X3 sensor, and uses the same 41mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 lens. The company claims an analog front end in the image pipeline and improved AF algorithms, boosted ISO to 3200 in RAW (800 in JPEG). Otherwise the features appear to be unchanged.

 

The bigger Sigma news is three new lenses, the pro-oriented APO 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM zoom lens ($4,700; available later this month) and the APO Macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM ($1,600; available in March), and the 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 II DG HSM superwide zoom  (April delivery, $1,400).. All three lenses are built to be splash-proof  Sigma also announced a redesigned 105mm f/2.8 macro, adding optical stabilization. The lens offers true 1:1 macro and has a splash-proof design.

 

Lens Companies announce Micro Four Thirds, NEX mount agreements

This was a big week for the EVIL (or MILC, depending on which acronym you prefer) empire. Carl Zeiss, Sigma, and Schneider Kreuznach announced this week that they would be making lenses for Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras. Sony revealed specifications for it APS sensor-based NEX system of mirrorless compact cameras, and Sigma announced its intentions to make lenses for that mount as well.

 

 

Speaking of Micro Four Thirds lenses, Olympus showed mock-ups of high-end lenses for its diminutive format. Their press release was short on details (like focal lengths and apertures) but the pictures, shown here, got our attention.

Olympus: New compact cameras

As for actual products, Olympus had plenty.

First, there’s the Tough TG-610, the latest in Olympus’s line of rugged compact cameras. The 14MP camera includes 720p HD video,  8 magic filters,  and is waterproof to 5 meters, freezeproof down to -10 degrees Celsius, and drop-proof to 1.5 meters. The camera is backed by a 3-inch, 920k dot LCD monitor. Other features include 3D image capture, Beauty mode, Beauty Make, and Pet Mode, plus Eye-Fi card compatibility.

Other features include:
•    Shadow Adjustment Technology that detects faces of subjects and optimizes focus and exposure accordingly
•    Scene Modes for one-touch shooting adjustment in difficult environments including dedicated underwater scenes such as; Underwater Snap, Underwater Wide 1, Underwater Wide 2, and Underwater Macro, as well as in standard conditions
•    HDMI output control for operations including picture selection and frame-by-frame advancement using a TV's remote control
•    Face Detection AF with which the camera detects and focuses on human faces automatically
•    iAUTO function that analyzes the current composition and optimizes camera settings automatically
•    In-body panorama composition function that lets you shoot a panorama picture by simply panning the camera as guided
•    USB battery charging enables the camera battery to be recharged from a PC while automatically storing and organizing recorded data in the PC
•    AF Tracking to keep a moving subject in focus by tracking it automatically
•    Photo-surfing allows you to search desired pictures according to recording keyword such as "date" or "subject".
•    Metal barrier to protect the lens
•    A new sliding double lock mechanism
•    Macro LED
•    Tap control and Control keys

 

The VR-330 and VR-320 are 14MP compacts with a 12.5x optical zoom lens with a 24-300mm (35mm equivalent) range, 720p HD video, and a 3-inch 460k LCD monitor in the 330 and a 3-inch 230k LCD monitor in the 320. Features include 7 Magic Filters and 3D shooting.

Other features include:

•    Shadow Adjustment Technology that detects faces of subjects and optimizes focus and exposure accordingly
•    Scene Modes for one-touch shooting adjustment in difficult environments as well as in standard conditions
•    Face Detection AF with which the camera detects and focuses on human faces automatically
•    iAUTO function that analyzes the current composition and optimizes camera settings automatically
•    USB battery charging enables the camera battery to be recharged from a PC
•    AF Tracking to keep a moving subject in focus by tracking it automatically

The SZ-10 is a slim, lightweight 14MP camera with a 28-504mm (35mm equivalent) optical zoom lens.

Key features:
•    14 Megapixel CCD
•    F3.1-4.4, 18X optical zoom lens, equivalent to 28 - 504 mm
•    Sensor-shift image stabilization
•    3-inch LCD display with 460,000 pixels
•    Point-and-shoot operation, with scene-selecting Intelligent Auto mode
•    Magic Filters (such as pop art, fisheye, and watercolor) can be used for both stills and movies
•    Can create panoramas simply by pointing the camera to designated positions
•    Capable of taking 3D photos automatically
•    In-camera help system
•    Records videos at 1280 x 720 (30 fps) with sound
•    HDMI output
•    SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot
•    Uses LI-50B lithium-ion battery, 200 shots per charge
•    Available in black and silver
•    Ships in March for $249


Animoto Relaunches

Animoto, the stills-to-video online rendering service which we reviewed recently, has just relaunched with what they say is a 10x faster rendering time and an easier interface (not that the previous interface was so shabby), plus the ability to create 720p HD videos. For you geeks out there, Animoto has moved from a CPU to a GPU rendering engine that’s been built around Amazon’s GPU-driven cloud. Check out the new Animoto.

 

And finally….Ilford announces new darkroom paper. Yes, a darkroom paper

Chris Cheesman at Amateur Photographer broke the news that Ilford is launching its first new traditional darkroom paper in 13 years—with a twist. Multigrade Art 300 is a 300gsm paper with a textured feel and a neutral-to-warm tone and a cool base, with what is being described as an “eggshell sheen.” It is said to have reduced wash time, which is good for the environment. Meanwhile, Hahnemühle will introduce a similar paper with identical features (dare we say, a digital analogue?) for digital printers this summer. Read the original article.

 

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