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Photo News in Review
It seems like some Monty Python wannabe took over the Weekend Wrap last week, but this week, we get serious again. On to new business!
Lensbaby Goes Pro, Boasts Sturdier Construction
Lensbaby continues to refine its different-thinking line of SLR lenses: This week, the Oregon-based company announced the Composer Pro, which features a metal swivel ball design and improved focus mechanism for smoother operation and control over selective tilt-focus control. Compatible with the Optic Swap system (which now includes a variable-aperture optic, the Sweet Spot), the Composer Pro will accept Fisheye, Soft-Focus, Pinhole, Plastic and Single Glass optic inserts. Pre-orders are being taken now; credit cards will not be charged until order ships. More info here.
Delkin Announces 633x SDHC Card, 80 Mbps transfer speed
There's a race for speed among SD card makers, and if you're shooting hi-res stills or HD Video (and who isn't these days?), that's a good thing. Yesterday, Delkin announced the Elite 633x, a line of SDHC memory cards boasting zippy transfer speeds of 633X—which they say works out to 95MB/s read and 80MB/s write speed and is triple previous Class 10 capabilities. If you're using camras like the Canon T3i or Nikon D7000, Delkin says you'll notice the difference. Available now in 8, 16, and 32GB capacities for $80, $170 and $330, respectively. Read Delkin's press release.
Has Kodak Rediscovered its Mojo?
After months of bad financial news, Kodak stock has risen after the company won a patent infringement suit against Apple, followed by the company's decision to sell its microfilm division to Eastman Park Micrographics, and one of its sensor manufacturing divisions to Omnivision (which now makes Omnivision a bigger player in the imaging sensor world). These are big moves that should make Wall Street happy. Now that Kodak has some money in its corporate pockets for a change, what's going to be the next big thing from our friends in Rochester?
Fujifilm Announces Finepix FZ900 EXR Glam Cam
Fujifilm this week announced a new 16MP fashionista camera that packs an internal periscope-design 5x internal zoom lens (28-140mm 35mm equivalent) that is operated via a 3.5-inch “tap and shoot” touch screen that dominates the camera back. Features include 1080p HD video, 12fps burst rate, multi-frame technology, which combines multiple shots done in rapid succession, and a back side illuminated CMOS sensor for what Fujifilm says is better image quality in low light. For specs and details, read the Fujifilm press release.
In other Fujifilm news, if you've been chomping at the bit to get your hands on the Fujifilm FinePix X100, your wait is almost over. The company announced this week that production has resumed on the eagerly anticipated $1,200 high-end compact after a 3-week interruption caused by the Tsunami, just as the camera was supposed to become available. The Taiwa-Cho factory, located 20 miles from Sendai City, sustained some damage which has since been repaired; no Fujifilm employees were injured. Shipments are expected to resume this month.
Leica X1: Major update includes improved manual focusing, manual focus lock, depth of field scale displayed during manual focus, improved AF speed in low light, and improved JPEG image quality. Download update here.
Carl Zeiss: 5 DSLR Lenses in a Suitcase
Next week at the NAB Show in Las Vegas Carl Zeiss will introduce a bundled set of lenses in its own specially-designed waterproof suitcase in Nikon or Canon mounts. The highly-regarded manual focus lenses are the Distagon T 21mm f/2.8, Distagon T 28mm f/2, Distagon T 35mm f/2, Planar T 50mm f/1.4, and Planar T 85mm f/1.4. Designed primarily in response to the needs of HD Video photographers who want precise manual focus, the German-made lens kit will be available in May for only $6,063.
Panasonic: 4 Low-End HD Video Cameras, 2 Go Glug-Glug
Panasonic announced three Dual video/still cameras that can capture 1080p HD videos and 14 or 16MP stills. All three models have a similar vertical-hold design and a fixed focal length lens; one model, the HX-WA10, is waterproof and can be submerged down to 10 feet. Both the WA10 and the HX-DC10 use Back Side Illuminated sensors, which may improve low-light image quality. The cameras will be available in June for prices to be announced but expect them to be in the sub-$300 range. Panasonic also introduced a pocket-sized HD Video camera, the HM TA20, which shoots 1080p videos and is waterproof down to 5 feet and dustproof, and is operated via a 3-inch LCD touch screen. Price to be announced, available in June.
And finally...Pentax Superhero Camera Saves the Day!
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Pentax-Person! Armed with super-powers endowed via an agreement with Warner Bros./DC Comics, Pentax's new DC Super Heroes RS1500 Camera Pack includes a mild-mannered 14-MP compact camera with a 4x optical zoom, 720p HD Video and 3-inch LCD monitor...and seven changeable skins depicting Batman, the Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman, and others. It may not be faster than a speeding locomotive (curse that supervillian, Dr. LagTime), but it can photograph tall buildings in a single shot!
And by the way...holy megapixels, Batman!
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