Weekend Wrap For July 8, 2011

The latest in photo news and innovations

Tokina Launches 17-35mm f/4 AT-X PRO X Wide Zoom Lens, 10-17mm Fisheye zoom

has just announced a pair of zoom lenses, the AT-X 17-35mm f/4 Pro FX, a constant-aperture wide zoom for full-frame DSLRs and the 10-17mm f/3.5-4.t ATX NH, a fisheye zoom for APS and full-frame DSLRs. The 17-35mm lens is said to have an optical formula with 13 elements in 12 groups, and has a nine-blade diaphragm, which is an indicator of good Bokeh. The focus ring snaps forward or back to activate manual or autofocus. The lens will be available for Canon in July and Nikon in September. The 10-17mm lens can provide up to an 180-degree field of view with full corner-to-corner coverage on APS sensor cameras. Unlike the DX version of this lens, the NH's lenshood can be removed to provide a simi-circular view when used with 35mm-sized sensor cameras. The front element has a WR (Water Repellant) optical coating, which makes spots left from water or fingerprints easier to clean. It will be available in Canon and Nikon mounts.


Who's next in the MILC race? How about Fuji or Canon?

In recent weeks, with the introduction of the Pentax Q, the third generation of the Olympus Digital Pen lineup, the Panasonic GF-3 and the Sony NEX-3C, things have suddenly heated up again in the mirrorless interchangeable lens compact (MILC) camera space. This week, in an interview with Reuters, the head of Fujifilm's camera division strongly hinted the company may launch a MILC and go head-to-head with Sony. But wait—what's this we hear from the head of Canon's camera division? First off, according to another interview with Reuters, Canon is back to pre-quake production levels, and that's good news. But Masaya Maeda coyly announced that Canon  “will launch an interesting product next year,” and that it would be small. When asked if it would be a MILC, he just as coyly responded "We are considering the technical aspects."



Sekonic Announces Rainbow of Limited Edition Meters

To celebrate its 60th anniversary, meter maker Sekonic has announced that its popular L-308S Flashmate meter will be available in red, green and blue anniversary editions. They've done this sort of thing before to commemorate important corporate milestones. “in the past these limited editions have become collector's items,” notes spokesman Phil Bradon. Sekonic is also running a contest: write a 250-500-word story about how you “fell in love with light.” Three winners get an anniversary L308S. Learn more.

Billion-pixel camera to photograph galaxy

Carl Sagan used to say in his PBS program that the universe consisted of “billions and billions of stars.” So it makes sense, then, that a new project to photograph the Milky Way Galaxy will be shot with a specially-built camera that will capture a billion pixels. The European Space Agency announced the Galaxy Mapping Gaia Mission, which will launch in 2013, using a camera that is moasicked together from 106 separate electronic detectors. With a billion pixel image capture, resolving power will be astronomical. If it were on earth, according to an ESA spokesperson, it could measure the thumbnails of a person standing on the moon. According to ESA's web site, “Gaia’s goal is to perform the largest census of our Galaxy and build a highly accurate 3D map. The satellite will determine the position, colour and true motion of one thousand million stars. Gaia will also identify as many as 10 000 planets around other stars, and discover several tens of thousands of new bodies - comets and asteroids - in our own Solar System.” Carl Sagan would be proud.


New pen turns laptops into touch-screen tablets

Do you have a laptop, but have touch-screen envy? PenAndFree has launched Duo pens, a wireless pen system that will work with your laptop monitor as if it were a regular stylus touch screen with what the company claims is a real pen on paper sensation complete with different levels of pressure sensitivity. A transciever and sensor mounted atop the laptop screen with a USB attachment detects movement and pressure and translates it into cursor movement on the computer. Learn more.



GE brings 3 new General Imaging Cameras to Light

General Electric's General Imaging line has announced three new low-end cameras, all featuring a 14MP sensor. The GE100 Power Pro has a 15x optical zoom, optical stabilization, 10fps burst shooting, 1080p HD video, a 3-inch LCD, HDR with image blending, object tracking, and multi exposure. The E1410SW offers many of the same features but in a thinner, stylish package. Both models will be available in October. The J1456W is a basic camera with a 5x optical zoom, smile, face and blink detection, red-eye removal, 720p HD video, and panaorama mode, available in August.



Apple addresses Final Cut Pro X issues

In its recently-announced, ambitious rewrite of Final Cut Pro, Apple's flagship video editing software created some concern among video professionals and its release generated more complaints than praise. As a result, Apple has posted a FAQ to answer common concerns. One of the revelations is that Apple's not done with version X. Upcoming features will include direct import for Final Cut 6/7 projects, better XML workflow, and multicam capabilities. If you have concerns about Final Cut Pro X, read the Apple FAQ first.

Firmware Updates

Sigma SD1: Version 1.01 improves evaluative metering and AF accuracy, corrects intermittent camera. Download

Leica M8: Version 2.014 adds support for new Super Elmar M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH lens. Download



And finally...Rollei Launches a Bullet Camcorder

Meanwhile in Europe, Rollei has rolled out a durable action camcorder that's shaped like a bullet, something that's almost certain to get the attention of Homeland Security and those well-trained TSA inspectors in the United States. The camera, similar to the Rollei Action Cam 100, is capable of 720p video capture, is dust- and waterproof and is lightweight, making it well suited for extreme sports photography. But it gives a whole new meaning to “point and shoot.”

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