Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II Asph. Mega OIS review at DXO Mark: Surprisingly good for what it costs.

"The Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II Asph. Mega OIS has a very long name, for a fairly small lens. With a Micro 4:3 mount, it will fit on cameras from both Panasonic, its Lumix G range, and Olympus, its Pen range and the OM-D.

This 14-42 is the second model covering this zoom range, both also having the same aperture range. The design of this new version consists of 9 elements arranged in 8 groups, two of the elements being aspherical. At the wide end of the zoom range the lens has an aperture of f/3.5 and closes down to f/5.6 at the telephoto end. The 4x zoom ratio covers the ‘Standard’ range, making this an ideal general purpose lens."

. . . read more

Leica X2 Review @ Photographyblog " it is capable of delivering shots that are lovely enough for you to consider leaving the DSLR at home"

"The Leica X1 is a 16 megapixelcompact camera with a 36mm fixed lens and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. The X1 has an APS-C sized, 23.6x15.8mm CMOS sensor with a 3:2 aspect ratio, which promises to deliver similar image quality to a DSLR camera. The image-stabilized Leica Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 lens provides a focal length of 36mm in 35mm terms, there’s a pop-up flash and a hot shoe, and the X2 offers a full range of advanced controls from manual exposure to manual focus. Other key features of the Leica X1 include an improved autofocus system, a sensitivity range of ISO 100-12,500, maximum shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second, JPEG and DNG RAW file support, and a continuous shooting rate of up to 5 frames per second. The recommended retail price of the Leica X1 is $1995 / €1550. Also new to the X series is an optional Viso-Flex high-resolution electronic accessory viewfinder with 1.4 million dots and a 90° swivel function for shooting from unusual angles, and a bright-line optical viewfinder which provides a bright and clear view at all times, with no impact on thecamera’s battery power."

Nikon releases new firmware upgrades for the D800 and D600

The new firmware adds support for the new AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR for both cameras, and several image and AF performance issues for the D800 are resolved. In D600 it also changes the HDMI frame output size  from 95% to 100%

D800 firmware A: 1.01 / B:1.02 addresses the following issues:

  • Support for the AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR has been added.
  • Subject tracking performance in AF-C (continuous-servo autofocus) autofocus mode with framing using the viewfinder has been improved.
  • Gamut for Adobe RGB images displayed in the camera's monitor has been changed. This enables more vivid display of images.
  • With live view photography in [M] (Manual) exposure mode, exposure preview was always on.  This issue has been resolved.
  • In some very rare cases when certain memory cards were used, movie recording would stop, even when the time remaining display indicated remaining recording time.  This issue has been resolved.
  • With shooting at an image quality setting of TIFF (RGB) and an image size setting of Small, the right edge of images contained a purple line.  This issue has been resolved.
  • In some rare cases, images recorded in JPEG format could not be opened by some software applications.  This issue has been resolved.
  • In some very rare cases, colors would change with shooting when white balance was set to a specific color temperature, as with Preset manual or Choose color temp.  This issue has been resolved.

Nikon Coolpix A gets its DxO Mark "offers similar or better image quality to many entry-level or mid range DSLRs"

"Launched in March 2013 the $1097 Coolpix A is Nikon’s first compact camera with an APC-S sensor and features the same 16.2-megapixel DX sensor from Nikon’s D7000 DSLR but with its optical low-pass filter removed. Utilizing a fixed NIKKOR 18.5mm f/2.8 prime lens (equivalent to 28mm in 35mm terms) the Nikon Coolpix A has the right ingredients for great image quality so let’s see how it performs.       

Not wanting to undermine their DSLR sales Nikon have used a smaller 1-inch sensor in their 1 Series of Hybrid cameras but it seems with the Nikon Coolpix Athey’re looking to gain market share in the high-end compact market, too. With less versatile fixed lenses and high price tags it’s a niche segment of the overall camera market however and one that’s already brimming with options like the $1299 Fujifilm X100S,  $2798 Sony RX1 and $999 Sigma DP3."

Panasonic releases a new firmware Update for the Lumix DMC-GH3

A new firmware update for the Panasonic GH3 is now available for download from the Panasonic.jp. The new firmware (Ver.1.1) enhances the camera performance in the following areas:

  • Connecting to PC via Wi-Fi by inputting the computer name (the NetBIOS name for Apple Mac computers) is enabled.
  • 1920 x 1080, 60p[NTSC]/50p[PAL], 28Mbps mode is added in the video recording option of [MP4].
  • Speed of AF, consecutive shooting performance of AFC is enhanced in use with H-PS14042 and H-PS45175.
  • *Please update the firmware of the lens to its latest version.
  • The monitor continues to display images during HDMI output even while [Auto LVF/Monitor OFF] is set.
  • Instability of shutter interval during interval shooting is improved.
  • When [Shutter AF] is OFF, operation is changed not to enlarge the image while using [Pinpoint AF] when even if shutter button is half-pressed.
  • Performance of image signal processing is enhanced during video file playback.

Fujifilm X-E1 review @ imaging-resource, "The X-E1 produces superior image quality that's better than many DSLRs"

Fujifilm X-E1

"The Fuji X-E1 may be the baby brother to Fuji's flagship X-Pro1, but in many ways is its equal. Most importantly, the two cameras share the same impressive 16.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor, which produces image quality superior to most APS-C-sensor-based digital SLRs, but in arguably more attractive camera body designs. The X-E1 is also significantly less expensive than its older sibling, while boasting many of the same features. We loved the X-E1's look, which marries the design of a classic rangefinder camera with a smart and sophisticated CSC. We wished the camera grip was larger and more comfortable; it's not a great camera to handhold over long periods of time, but if you're just going out for a day of street shooting, it should be fine. The Fuji X-E1's polycarbonate-and-magnesium build make it quite light and highly portable, especially when compared to the X-Pro1. The X-E1's shutter button, which has a nice old-school look to it (minus the film winder), unfortunately is mushy to press and doesn't feel very responsive.

. . . read more

Fujifilm X20 Review @ Photographyblog "... a much faster version of the original X10, with a few handling tweaks that make it even more intuitive to use"

"The Fujifilm X20 produces images of outstanding quality. It recorded noise-free JPEG images at ISO 100 up to 800, with a little noise and slight colour desaturation at ISO 1600 and more visible noise at ISO 3200 at full resolution, an excellent performance for a camera with such a small sensor. Even ISO 6400 is worth using, although the same can't be said about the range-topping ISO 12800. The RAW files were also excellent, with usable images throughout the entire range of ISO 100-3200, and they are noticeably sharper than on the original X10."

Nikon D7100 tested by the DXO Mark "A standout among APS-C shooters that holds its own against full-frame competitors"

Nikon's latest and more featured packed APS-C camera, the D7100 replaced the successfully D7000 adding more resolution, as well as the "advantage" of not having an antialiasing filter. At first there was concerns about the number of megapixels as well as the absence of the antialiasing filter. The DXO testing reveals class leading performance not only to the APS-C size DSLR's but some interesting results compared with the newest Full frame size Cameras.

"Although the new Nikon D7100 looks fairly similar to its predecessor (the popular Nikon D7000), Nikon has made some significant changes under the hood that belie the surface similarity. The D7100 not only includes a higher-resolution CMOS sensor, but even more significantly, the company chose to use a sensor without an anti-alias filter for the first time on a non-full-frame DSLR. While this should enable better sharpness and resolution, it may also result in more moiré patterns in some images."

Fujifilm Finepix X-E1 with the Fujinon XF 18-55 mm 1:2.8-4 OIS lens reviewed at Cameralabs, the X-E1 shares the X-Pro1's excellent image quality and low noise performance

Fujifilm Finepix X-E1

"The Fujifilm X-E1 is the second of the company's mirrorless compact system cameras to use the X-mount and the 16 Megapixel X-Trans CMOS sensor debuted in the groundbreaking X-Pro 1. It's smaller and less expensive than the X-Pro 1 but lacks one of its key selling points - the hybid optical / electronic viewfinder. But in most other respects the X-E1 offers the same, and in some cases a better level of features and functions as the flagship model, making it a great buy for anyone who loved the X-Pro 1, but couldn't afford it.

. . . read more

Sony NEX-6 Review @ Dpreview "It performs as well or better than other mirrorless cameras on the market, and offers some unique features that are genuinely useful"

"While it doesn't break a lot of new ground, the Sony Alpha NEX-6 provides two features that E-mount enthusiasts have been asking for: a physical mode dial, and an ISO standard hot shoe. Add the beautiful OLED electronic viewfinder from the NEX-7 and new Hybrid AF and Wi-Fi features from the NEX-5R to Sony's already impressive offerings, and you've got a pretty compelling product.

Like the other NEX models that share versions of its 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor, the NEX-6 produces very good quality images. Exposure is accurate, with the D-Range Optimizer providing just the right amount of contrast. Colors are vibrant and will be pleasing to the NEX-6's target audience. Photos don't display a lot of 'grainy' luminance noise, though that's at the expense of fine detail, such as hair or grass (even at low ISOs). For best results, you'll want to shoot RAW, which not only brings back some of that detail, but it also gives you access to shadows and highlights that were otherwise lost. The NEX-6 automatically reduces various lens issues, such as chromatic aberrations, distortion, and vignetting."

DXO Mark almost a year after the release of the Nikon D800, publishes a four part review trying to discover the best lenses for the 36 megapixel beast

“Nikon D800 functions as Nikon’s flagship camera” according to DXO Mark, and it is currently the top camera on their Sensor Scores. The 36mp image sensor is an extremely demanding piece of photography both to the photographer and the lens. The resolution advantage is easily lost when it's not focused properly, or the quality of the lens does not meet the highest standards. Only when using lenses like the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR, Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED and the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR  will get some decent zoom performance wile the best results will only come when using prime lenses like the Carl Zeiss Distagon 15mm f/2.8, Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G and will shine with the new Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM.

"Announced in 2012, the Nikon D800 is the current undisputed king of DxOMark, with results that eclipse every other camera from all other manufacturers. However, with so much resolution on tap, the question is, which lenses should you use to make the best of what you’ve got? The DxOMark labs have tested 61 different lenses on the D800 to bring you an unparalleled resource of which lenses are best and which should be avoided. . . . read more

Fujifilm releases the deep-going Finepix XP200 rugged camera.

The good news: Wi-Fi and extreme waterproofing (up to 15 meters). That makes it a good value alternative choise for not-so-extreme divers. The Bad news: Another rugged camera with a tiny sensor, isn't it time for someone to release a prosumer specced rugged camera?

Valhalla, N.Y., March 22, 2013 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation announces the latest addition to the popular rugged XP Series, the FinePix XP200. The new XP200 uses an improved 16MP CMOS sensor for enhanced image quality, a reinforced 5x FUJINON lens, and is Waterproof to 50ft (15M), Shockproof to 6.6ft, Freezeproof to 14°F (-10°C) and Dustproof*1. The XP200 also has a newly redesigned battery door lock with double . . . read more

The Panasonic LUMIX G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8 zoom lens gets DXo Marked: Not exceptional, nor bad, and very expensive for what it does.

The DXO reviewers are not going easy on Panasonic's 12-35mm f2.8 zoomer. The lens seems quite good compared to the (very few) other high-end m4/3 zoom lenses, but Panasonic is riding high on its f2.8 zoom monopoly when it comes to the price:

"Micro 4:3 is a popular format, there is a wide range of cameras and lenses on the market, letting you choose the most appropriate equipment for the type of photography that you want to do. There are definitely combinations that will compete well with APS-C. However, in these examples there does seem to be a strong emphasis on the quality being weighted towards the wider apertures which may not always be what you want. The Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S is the best lens of it’s type by quite a long way, but at a price that would buy better . . . read more

Sigma DP3 Merrill review by Mark Goldstein at Photography Blog

The DP3 Merrill is something out of a short tele-range fan's fetichist dreams. It comes with a 75mm equivalent f2.8 lens:

"Image quality is the DP3 Merrill's star turn, indeed the principal reason to put up with its numerous other shortcomings. The Foveon X3 sensor, be it 46 megapixel or 15 megapixels, and the prime 50mm lens deliver stunningly sharp, high-resolution images that are a joy to behold. Chromatic aberrations like purple and green-fringing are simply non-existent on the DP3 Merrill, testament to the excellent prime lens, which is also the . . . read more

Canon updates its Photo Enthusiasts line of DSLRs with the EOS 700D (REBEL T5i ) and adds a Hybrid CMOS AF system especially designed for fast Auto Focus during Live View Image capture and Video

And, whatever is in the title pretty much sums up the new features to this very lackluster fillowup to the T4i/EOS 650D. Really, Canon?

Canon Press Release

MELVILLE, N.Y., March 21, 2013

Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is proud to introduce a new flagship model to its popular EOS Rebel line, the EOS Rebel T5i Digital SLR Camera. The incredible image quality and performance starts with an 18 megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor and Canon’s superb DIGIC 5 Image Processor. Combined with an extensive ISO range of 100–12800 (expandable to 25600 in H mode), the EOS Rebel T5i boasts crisp, detailed images, even in low-light conditions. With a continuous shooting speed of up to 5.0 frames per second (fps) united with 9 all cross- type AF focus points, the new EOS Rebel T5i allows photographers the opportunity to shoot with ease, even in challenging shooting situations. . . . read more

Canon releases the smallest and lightest EOS Digital SLR camera, the EOS 100D (Rebel SL1)

(Press release) MELVILLE, N.Y., March 21, 2013MELVILLE, N.Y., March 21, 2013 –

Continuing the quest to deliver superb product innovations, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the world’s smallest and lightest DSLR* camera: the EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR Camera. It features a newly developed 18.0- megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor and high-performance DIGIC 5 Image Processor for exceptional image quality and speed. With its combination of lightweight size, ease of use and outstanding image quality, the EOS Rebel SL1 is perfect for users looking for the ideal camera to bring sightseeing on vacation or to capture the everyday . . . read more

DXO Mark compares the best full frame 35mm prime lenses for the Nikon D800, and the winner is. . . .

This is not the winner

"After years of unadventurous, unexciting “slow” speed zooms “fast”, high-quality primes are experiencing a comeback thanks to the popularity of full-frame DSLRs and the merging of video capture. The moderately wide 35mm focal length has seen numerous new versions from most lens makers over the last two years or so, including this ultra-high speed offering from Sigma. . . . read more

The Leica M (type 240) hits the DXO Mark Bench: Finally, a Leica that can be proud of it's sensor.

Despite the impression given by Leica fanboys and girls, all, and including the previous generation Leica rangefinder cameras, the M9 (amd M9-P) sported a really horrible sensor-by any current standards. The new M Leica is manages to turn this trend around, coming with a sensor that is pretty much comparable to the best of today's cropped sensors by other manufacturerers, but as expected, is still far behind any current full frame sensor equipped camera: 

Featuring a new higher resolution sensor and updated functionality expectations are high for the new Leica M and it doesn’t disappoint. Although . . . read more

Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens review by Gary Wolstenholme at EPZ

Gary tests this lens with a Canon 5D Mark II Full Frame dslr body:

"This telephoto zoom from Tamron certainly delivers. Sharpness is excellent from maximum aperture through much of the zoom range, plus chromatic aberrations and distortion are kept well in check. The suggested retail price may come as a shock for many, who may be expecting this lens to be considerably cheaper than lenses from camera manufacturers. Even so, the performance of this lens is on a par with those lenses, and suggested price at launch is rarely the price a lens will eventually retail for." . . . read more

Steve Huff Reviews the new Leica M 240

Q: What's the difference between Steve and Ken? 
A: One of them is actually a descent photographer

"One thing I found is that it took a few days of using the new M 240 to realize what it can do. I had to relearn processing of the RAW files as they do not work like the M9 files did. Different sharpening levels are needed and there is so much more DR my usual tricks for the M9 files only made the M240 files look worse. Once I figured out my workflow it all started to come together. I started seeing the benefits of the new sensor. . . . read more

Pentax K5II review by Jim Keenan at Digital Camera Review: Flagship imaging features and quality at a prosumer level price.

"Persons for whom video is a major selling point in a DSLR may want to look at a brand other than Pentax. While the K-5II produces a fairly decent quality full HD video image, the full HD is available only at 25 fps, which may impact faithful rendition during capture of fast moving subjects. More significantly, the AF system does not feature a continuous autofocus and, unlike the K-30 doesn't even allow the user to reestablish a second autofocus point, albeit slowly, during any single video capture. Like the K-30, the K-5II is a little slow to transition to live view after switching the mode dial into video. Arguably, the entry-level/prosumer model K-30 offers a superior video component to the company's flagship. . . . read more

Mastering Lightroom: Post-Processing Portraits, by Romanas Naryškin at Photography Life

In this installment of the excellent 'Mastering Lightroom" series, Romanas deals with the tricky portrait processing issue in Lightroom:

"The portrait we will be working on, thankfully, doesn’t require too much editing. We will not be playing with Spot Removal Tool, nor will we use any External Editors. The steps we are going to take are quite simple and thus quick. Quick is good – the less time you spend processing your work, the more time you have for photography. Some light usage of Local Adjustment Brush as well as HSL Panel will be needed, and neither one of these have been covered in our Mastering Lightroom series yet. Bear with me if you’ve never used these tools before – I will make sure every step taken is explained in enough detail. In-depth articles about these and other features are to come soon, too. . . . read more

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 14mm review by Klaus Schroiff at Photozone

The XF 14mm is the most expensive fujinon lens, and fortunately, it shows:

"The Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R is a highly attractive ultra-wide lens with few shortcomings. The most important factor for an ultra-wide lens is certainly image sharpness and the Fujinon delivers here. It is bitingly sharp in the image center and good to very good in the outer image region. The very low CAs contribute to the high quality perception. Distortions are basically absent - even in RAW data - which is surprising for such a wide lens and even more so for a mirrorless one. . . . read more

Fujifilm's XF1 gets DXO Marked: "Stylish, creative controls and image quality amongst the best compacts"

"Introducing a new XF product line, Fujifilm looks set to launch more options in to the ever-popular small camera with high image quality category. The first camera in the new range, the XF1 uses the 2/3-inch type sensor that’s smaller than the APS-C, Micro Four Thirds or 1-inch type sensors used in interchangeable lens Hybrids, but it’s a little bigger than the 1/1.7-inch type predominantly used in more expensive compacts.

. . . read more

ACD Systems releases ACDSee 15.2 and Pro 6.2, adds support for 19 new Raw capable cameras, fixes some bugs.

ACD Systems Press release

Seattle, WA – March 7, 2013 – ACD Systems International Inc. today announced the availability of ACDSee Pro 6.2 and ACDSee 15.2. Both products incorporate the company’s patented technology and user-focused design which have made ACD Systems the photo editing and management products of choice for over 50 million users worldwide. This update includes Performance improvements to Hierarchical Keywords and support for RAW file formats of the following camera models: . . . read more

Nikon unveils the Coolpix A, a DX sized fixed lens prosumer camera.

Nikon's much rumored DX entry in the prosumer segment is finally here, and if you ask me, its quite underwhelming. For $1100/£1000/€1200 a prospective buyer gets a metal prosumer body camera with a fixed yawny 28mm f2.8 lens, the same sensor that was used in the D7000, but sans the antialiasing filter, and that's pretty much it. Notably missing from this 1000+ camera are features like GPS, WiFi, and an articulated screen. Furthermore, Nikon does 'a Sony' here and prices the optical viewfinder at almost $500. I Can't see this camera selling in serious numbers at anywhere near its initial price, maybe Nikon chose to put the Coolpix A at this price to make its entry level Dslr cameras look cheap by comparison.  . . . read more

Nikon announces AF-S NIKKOR 80–400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, the next generation FX-format telephoto zoom lens

AF-S NIKKOR 80–400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

Nikon UK Press release

London, UK, 05th March 2013: Nikon today announces a new FX-format telephoto zoom lens with broad 80¬–400mm focal range and superior optical design.

A highly anticipated update to Nikon’s immensely popular AF 80–400mm telephoto lens, the new AF-S 80–400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR telephoto zoom lens boasts an improved optical construction that easily meets the demands of today’s D-SLRs.

Well-suited to subjects such as wildlife, landscapes or sports, this lens covers everything from mid- to super-telephoto. It offers superb optical performance in diverse conditions, and Nikon’s Vibration Reduction system allows for up to 4-stop compensation throughout the zoom range, even at 400mm. . . . read more

Kai W. tries to find the worst lens in the world, is it the Olympus 15mm Body Cap lens?

Digital Rev TV takes a step back from reviewing expensive lenses and now jump on a camera body cap, with a hole in it: 'It makes you smile, part laughing, part amazement, but the best feeling is that it works'

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens Review at the photography Blog

Zoltan Arva-Toth tests the lens on a Nikon D7000 Dslr body:

​"When compared to the superzoom competition, the Nikon 18-300mm lens certainly holds its own. Centre sharpness is generally adequate to good, approaching very good levels at certain zoom settings. The borders and especially the corners tend to be soft but improve upon stopping down (to varying degrees, depending on focal length). Vignetting is fairly well controlled except at 18mm f/3.5, where the corners are approximately 2 stops darker than the centre of the frame, assuming an evenly illuminated scene. Chromatic aberrations and geometric distortions are relatively strong, but both can be . . . read more

Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.4G lens review at Photozone.de

Markus Stamm reviews the lens with a Nikon D7000 DX format Dslr camera:

"Nikon has a winner here, the AF-S 85/1.4 performs on a very high level. Sharpness is excellent in the image center from f/2 onwards, border and corners follow only slightly behind wide open, reaching excellent resolution stopped down, too. For a portrait lens, this is a quite rare performance characteristic. For the intended usage, portraiture, a lack of sharpness towards the borders and corners usually would not be an issue, but having the extra sharpness available opens up new creative options. . . . read more

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