Fujifilm X-E1 in-depth review by Shawn Barnett and Andy Westlake at DPreview: "Good for any application requiring critical image quality, the X-E1 turns out excellent pictures, but movie mode and fast action shooting are subpar"

Just after Adobe enhances its support for the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor based cameras with the updated Lightroom and ACR versions, comes DPreview's verdict on the X-E1. A very interesting read, even though parts of it comes from the previously published X-Pro1 review:

"Overall, we really enjoyed shooting with the Fujifilm X-E1, and I'm very pleased with the images I got out of it. The camera crashed on occasion (it wouldn't be a new X-series camera if it didn't have some bugs...), leaving buttons unresponsive, and focus and exposure sometimes delivered odd results, but powering off usually cleared the error. . . . read more

Fujifilm XF 14mm f2.8 R Lens Review by Mark Goldstein at Photography Blog

"The Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R's auto-focus system is its minor weak-point, with a slight delay before locking focus and a rather loud mechanism. On the plus side it offers a generously wide focusing ring, a very welcome aperture ring which makes it quick, easy and precise to set this key element of exposure, and an innovative focus collar for quickly switching between auto an manual focus, the latter coming complete with a focusing distance scale with depth-of-field markings that makes it easier to zone-focus. The lens mount is made of metal and, thanks to an internal focusing (IF) system, the front element and filter thread do not rotate on focus, which is very good news for those using polarisers and ND grads on a regular basis. . . . read more

Adobe posts Lightroom 4.4 and ACR 7.4 release candidades, promises proper Fujifilm X-Trans sensor support at last. Also, bug fixes and some new cameras and lenses supported.

It is not every day Adobe goes back and changes the de-mosaicing algorithms for previously supported cameras, but this time they've done it, and the first preliminary reports are in. DPreview's Amadou Diallo runs some tests with a couple of X-Pro1 raw files: 

"Capture One Pro 7 produces more crisp results than ACR with contrast and saturation defaults that more closely mimic the in-camera JPEG. Having said that, however, ACR 7.4 RC avoids the edge halos and even more obvious aliasing patterns that exist in the Capture One Pro 7 renderings of our real world and studio test scene. Overall, the ACR 7.4 RC files deliver more realistic, natural results in areas of organic low-contrast detail like the foliage in the street scene above and the fuzzy balls in the studio scene below." . . . read more

A behind the scenes look at the worlds largest photo: How the 320 Gigapixel London panorama was made, by LJ Rich at the BBC

I had some fun poking around the pano when it was first unveiled, looking for fun curiosa and crazy artifacts, and sure enough, everything from kitchen coops on balconies and image stitching mishaps on an Agmageddonian scale, its all there. But looking at the sheer scale of preparations makes one appreciate the hard work done by the 360cities team behind the pano. Some quick facts: 4 Canon 7D's were used, each with a 2x converter and a 400mm EF lens. Each camera took around 13.000 pictures, while mounted on a sturdy robotic Class Rodeon VR pano-head. The work was finished after only 4 days of shooting, and 3 months of stitching, done in Autopano Giga from Kolor.

Phase One announces Capture One Express 7

Capture One Express 7 may have the same raw processing engine as its much more expensive Capture One 7 Pro sibling, but is seriously crippled otherwise. Here's a partial list of some important things missing: Tethering, Sessions, Focus mask/tool, Local adjustments, Skin tone enhancer, Spot removal, ICC profiles/soft proofing, Multi-monitor support and Customization. While I it is understandable that not all photographers would want to use all of these features, its hard to see how someone could seriously do some Raw workflow on Capture one with all of the above features missing. Price: $ 99/€ 69

Phase One press release: 

COPENHAGEN, February, 25 2013 — Phase One, the world’s leader in open-platform, high-end camera systems and solutions, today released Capture One . . . read more

Pentax K-01 goes out of production, is the company withdrawing from the Aps-c mirrorless segment altogether?

Seems a sensible question to ask if you put together 2+2. On one hand no followup model has been announced, and on the other hand Pentax executives have time and again stated that the K-01 sold very poorly. That leaves the Q10 toy camera as the only mirrorless option offered by Pentax, hardly a presence worthy of its historic brand name. In any case, R.I.P Pentax K-01, we'll hardly miss you.

Nikon 1 S1 review by Joshua Waller at EPZ: "The Nikon 1 S1 has a number of impressive high speed feature built into a very compact and stylish body."

"The Nikon 1 S1 is a capable camera, producing pleasing images with lots of detail despite only having a 10 megapixel sensor, and it shoots at 60fps with a number of potentially useful high speed shooting modes, including the ability to save the best 5 shots taken in Smart Photo Selector mode, or see the scene in slow motion and pick a photo from it. Full HD video with stereo sound is included, as well as high speed video recording, although the lack of image stabilisation could be an issue for some. For someone looking for a fast, compact, and good looking compact camera, the Nikon 1 S1 could make a good choice, particularly if you'd be interested in changing lenses at a later date." . . . read more

Sigma releases Photo Pro 5.5 software update with Monochrome mode and several fixes.

Sigma Press Release

Ronkonkoma, New York —February 21, 2013 — Sigma Corporation of America a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of some of the world’s most impressive lines of lenses, camerasand flashes, is pleased to introduce Sigma Photo Pro 5.5 software, which includes upgrades and updates for both Mac and Windows platforms, as well as a new Monochrome Mode processing interface. This updated software is now available for download for both Mac and Windows operating systems. . . . read more

Fujifilm posts sample images from the X100S and X20

And they sure look good. This being Fujifilm, they're all shot in a film simulation mode, and only go as high as Iso 800. Links: X100s image samples gallery, X20 image samples gallery. . . . read more

Nikon 1 S1 review at DxO Mark "The S1’s image quality isn’t better than their 14Mp J3 or V2 offerings"

"The Nikon 1 S1 features the same 10.1-megapixel resolution found on most Nikon Hybrids with the exception of the 14.2-megapixel V2 and J3. There’s also an increased 100 – 6400 ISO sensitivity range, 15 fps continuous shooting with autofocus and an Advanced Hybrid Autofocus system, but no hotshot or EVF.

The Nikon 1 S1 does have a few things going for it most notably the rapid 15fps burst shooting, advanced hybrid autofocus system and, for Nikkor glass owners, compatibility with F mount lenses. The 1-inch CX sensor also means the native 1 Nikkor lenses should be more compact than many Hybrid systems which is great if you want to travel light.   

In the DxOMark Scores however the Nikon 1 Series does not hit the usual heights for Nikon cameras and the S1’s Image Quality is disappointing. With no Image Quality improvement over existing 10-megapixel Nikon 1 Series Hybrids the extra $100 the S1 costs is only buying extra features."

Nikon D7100 unveiled, another one that skips the optical low-pass filter.

The D7100 seemingly comes with substantially upgraded innards, with 4 features standing out: The new sophisticated 51-point (15 cross-type) Autofocus system, employing the same focusing and tracking algorithms as the much more expensive D4.  The ditching of the anti-aliasing filter, allowing the D7100 to join the ever growing 'no-filter' club, together with the Nikon D800E, Pentax K-5IIs et al. Another stand out feature is the new 1.3x cropping mode that extends the reach of lenses, and spreads out the AF points to the very edges of the frame. For example, the full frame 80-400mm now becomes a 160-800mm lens on the D7100. Couple this with a high 7 fps speed, and you've got yourselves a wildlife/soccer mom/paparazzi dream. . . . read more

A set of nude portraits shots with the Sony RX1 (and the A99 and NEX-6), by photographer Wataru M, at 500px.

This must be the first set of nude shots by the Sony RX1 posted on the Interwebs. A mix of portraits and sensual nudes. It is kind of possible to distinguish the files from the RX1 without looking at the exif info to the right of the images, there's something special in its rendering of skin tones. Disclaimer for our American public: Only click the link if you're an adult/mature person, warning explicit nude images, yadda yadda. Here's Wataru's artist statement:

"I'm looking to explore visuals that inspire and challenge me. As a huge videogame geek, my themes mostly revolve around strong female characters. I also love a great traditional portrait."

Haunting night photos of Nazi bunkers, by Jonathan Andrew at Wired.

For some reason, this set reminds me of the Night Photographer's (a.k.a Larrie Thomson​) work, minus the colored gels. Jakob Schiller writes:

"Photographer Jonathan Andrew came across these relics while driving around the Netherlands on assignment. With walls up to 9 feet thick, some have withstood the test of time only to be covered in graffiti or converted into livestock barns by local farmers. Andrew was drawn to the bunkers as photo subjects by their strange architectural design. “It was a visual thing first, but I was also fascinated with their history,” says Andrew, a commercial photographer who was born in England but now lives in Amsterdam. . . . read more

Samsung NX300 hands-on review by Richard Sibley at Amateur Photographer: "Looks like a step in the right direction"

"Although at first glance there is very little to distinguish the NX300 from other cameras in the NX range, it does promise to address some of the problems that enthusiast photographers have raised with the performance of the cameras. The AF speed and operation seem faster, which is a big advantage, and I hope the improved image quality and faster Wi-Fi connectivity are as good as Samsung has stated. . . . read more

Sony NEX-3N versus NEX-3F side by side features and size comparison by Joshua Waller at EPZ

Gosh, look at how tiny the NEX-3N newcomer is! Unfortunately it gets smaller on some features too: Lower LCD resolution, far lower FPS speed,  and lower max Iso sensitivity, although the latter is probably a good thing, Iso 16000 should be more than enough for every high-Iso watercolor artifacts fan.

"The new Sony NEX-3N is this year's update to the Sony NEX-F3, and features a whole new body, as well as improvements to image quality thanks to a new BOINZ image processing engine. The new body is much more compact than other Sony NEX-3 series cameras, and is designed to look less "plasticy" than . . . read more

Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM lens review at the Lens Tip.

The lens was tested in conjunction with a Canon 1Ds Mark III Full-Frame Dslr Camera.

"The Canon EF 35 mm f/2 IS USM is undoubtedly a well done instrument, in every respect better than the elderly (presented in 1990) Canon EF 35 mm f/2. The problem is that it is also as much as three times more expensive. The price point of over 3000 PLN, and so much you must currently pay for the new Canon, is really dangerously high for two reasons. One of these reasons is called the Canon EF 35 mm F/1.4L USM. Many people might decide to add a bit and purchase a faster L series instrument which is renowned of its excellent properties; mind you, the price of second hand specimen, still in good working . . . read more

Nikon D600 review by Ivo Freriks at Camera Stuff Review

Ivo's lens of choise for this review was the Nikkor 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G VR lens.

"Is the Nikon D600 a game-changer? When you look at the image quality, the Nikon D600 still has to acknowledge the superiority of the Nikon D800E. But that is the best camera we've tested to date. Both cameras are more or less equal in terms of dynamic range, color reproduction in daylight and signal / noise ratio. The Nikon D800E trumps the Nikon D600 in our lab actually only with the automatic white balance in tungsten light and in resolution. The latter is not surprising, because the Nikon D800E has 24 megapixels, and not 36 megapixels like the Nikon D800. . . . read more

Sony announces trio of new alpha mount lenses, a new compact flash, and a wired remote commander.

Availability for these new products has only been announced for Europe (March 2013), rest of the world is TBA

Sony Press Release: 

Full-frame G Lens 70-400mm telephoto zoom; Full-frame Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm F1.4; DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 standard zoom; compact add-on flash and remote commander. . . . read more

Sony Announces the NEX-3N, hitherto the smallest and lightest Aps-c sized mirrorless camera, clocking in at an astonishing 210 grams.

Yes, this thing weights as much as a McDonalds quarter pounder-without the cheese. Sony has even managed to squeeze a pop-up flash and a 180° tiltable 3-inch LCD screen in there, but that's pretty much the end of the fanciness list, after all this is the entry level model of the NEX range. Sony Press Release:

Easy to handle, easy to use - the new Sony NEX-3N puts pro-quality images in everyone’s reach

The world’s smallest, lightest interchangeable lens camera*, weighing just 210g . . . read more

Sony SLT-A58 DSLT camera announced

Lots of new goodies in this one: A new 20 Megapixel sensor, a Oled SVGA (800x600) EVF, lock-on focus feature, and some 'Auto Object Framing' mode, but no built-in GPS, something that was available on the older A55. The A58 well replace both the A57 and A37 cameras, and will come with a new kit lens, the video friendly DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II. Availability is set for April 2013 in Europe, TBA for the rest of the world. 

Sony Press Release

Never miss a moment with the new α58 from Sony . . . read more

Sony RX1 in-depth review by Richard Butler and Lars Rehm at DPReview: "If a fixed 35mm lens will fulfill any of your shooting requirements, then there's nothing to touch the RX1."

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 full frame camera with zeiss 35mm f2 lens front view

The Sony RX1 could be the ultimate 'Decisive Moment Camera' if it wasn't for some major niggles, like the lack of a built-in viewfinder, the subpar AF system, and that horrible orange bling ring around the lens. Common Sony, this isn't  a Hyundai Coupe, the owners of this camera already know they got a '35mm full frame CMOS image sensor' camera, no need to have a screamy text reminding them of it.

"At the start of this review we asked if the RX1 was a good enough camera to play in the same league as Leica. The answer is yes. The lens is excellent, as is the sensor (something that's not been true of digital Leicas so far), meaning it'll more than hold its own against the M-series cameras in image quality terms, even if it's not quite as engaging as a true rangefinder. Or, put another way, it's arguably the camera the Leica X-series aspires to be. . . . read more

A simple way to improve your OM-D's FL-LM2 or FL-LM1 mini flash, by Henavs at the Club Snap forum.

Ok, photographers of all levels have been doing variations of this theme for as long as I can remember, so this is just a reminder for anyone less antique than me. Club Snap furum user Henavs has made this nice little tutorial, complete with a with/without bounce card shot:

"The more reflective the surface, the less loss of light. I use glossy photo paper on this, it can be improved with mirror (as dereth mentioned below) or gold/silver reflector. You can make the bounce card any size you want & keep the card in your pocket or bag. For me, I just keep it small & stick it on top of the flash when not in use, easier to store."

Pentax MX-1 review by Mark Goldstein at the Photography Blog: "If you're looking for a good-looking, well-built, advanced compact camera, and you can afford to take a more leisurely view of the world, then the Pentax MX-1 is well worth considering."

The first buyers of the MX-1 have noticed the painfully slow RAW file processing times, and Mark Goldstein verifies this. I'm completely flabbergasted as to why Pentax couldn't address this issue before releasing the camera, did all of their testers only shoot in Jpeg modes? Its a big shame, because this brass laden gem seems to otherwise be a very capable and feature-rich compact shooter:

"Quite apart from its obvious retro appeal, the MX-1 ticks a lot of the boxes that any experienced photographer is looking for in a serious compact - a “sensible” 12 megapixel count, a very fast lens, raw file support, a reliable 25 multi-point AF system, and a high-resolution, tilting LCD screen. It's a shame then that the excruciatingly slow Raw processing times would ultimately force us to shoot in JPEG format, especially since you can also edit the Raw files in-camera.

. . . read more

Panasonic Lumix LX7 review by Barry Smith at the Digital Photography School: An ideal companion shooter to a Dslr.

"In typical fashion I kicked on the power before reading the manual, selected Program as my exposure mode, then spent some time scratching my head as to how to alter the lens aperture. Voila! Twirl the lens ring! With the LX7 you get direct access to the f numbers. Simply ‘mazing. While this camera could easily serve as day-to-day snapshot camera, it would be wasted. It would be ideal as a companion shooter to a DSLR. IMHO it would not be ideal as a travel companion due to its limited zoom range." . . . read more

Sony RX1 in-depth review by Duncan Davidson

"Despite any quibbles and the outrageous prices of the accessories, I don’t have any qualms about purchasing the RX1 and the optional EVF. The RX1 gives me no-compromise images in a package that comfortably goes with me anywhere. I’ll go so far as to say that if anything happened to it, I’d replace it with another one without so much as a second thought. Of course, it doesn’t replace my Nikon D800 or my D4 and my collection of Nikkor lenses for lots of uses, but it has replaced my Fuji X100 as my everyday carry about camera. . . . read more

Canon EOS 7D Mark II almost final spec list posted by Canon Rumors

Yes people, things seems to be heating up a bit on the 7D MkII front. The list is claimed to originate from a 'trusted source':

24.1mp APS-C Sensor
Dual DIGIC V
10fps
Dual Memory Card Slots (Unknown configuration)
61 AF Points (I wonder if we’ll get red focus points in AIS?) . . . read more

Olympus E-PL5 short review at Camera Hoarders

"Everything I wrote on E-PM2 can be said for E-PL5 again. Sensor and image quality are superb, a real step forward from old Olympus 12MP sensor used in preceding models. Auto focus is amongst the fastest in mirrorless world and can compete with any similarly priced DSLR. The two main differences which might make E-PL5 more interesting than cheaper E-PM2 are the external mode dial and tilt-LCD. It is way easier composing shots and shooting video with tilt-screen and this might be the sole reason to spend extra $ 100 for E-PL5 compared to E-PM2."

. . . read more

Steve Huff reviews the Nikon V2: "The more things change..the more they stay the same"

"If you are interested in the Nikon V1 system TODAY, even with killer competitors out there then I highly recommend going with a V1 deal while they last. They may be and probably will all be gone within a week or two of this review posting but at $399 for a V1 and two lens kit, that is steal compared to the same V2 kit at under $1000. IQ is pretty identical between the V1 and V2 and most shots you will not even notice any difference in real world shooting. I was enthusiastic about the V1 because at the time there was nothing out there with the size, build, speed, metering and AF capabilities to match it and even with the small sensor, results were great. Today it is a different story (OM-D) and Nikon just has not done enough with the V2 to up the ante or make . . . read more

Nikon ViewNX 2.7.2 update released.

Here's what's new:

  • Support for the COOLPIX P520, COOLPIX S9500, COOLPIX S9400, COOLPIX S5200, COOLPIX S31, COOLPIX AW110, COOLPIX L820, and COOLPIX L27 has been added.
  • With the renewal of Nikon's image storage and sharing service, my Picturetown (launched as NIKON IMAGE SPACE on January 28, 2013), ViewNX 2 has been modified to provide collaboration with NIKON IMAGE SPACE.
  • The my Picturetown tab in the Browser palette has been changed to a NIKON IMAGE SPACE tab.

Panasonic's LX-7 lays its sensor on the DXO Mark Bench: "The LX7 represents a serious challenge to both the Canon PowerShot G15 and the Nikon Coolpix P7700"

The review fails to mention that the LX-7 is currently priced at $299 at various U.S outlets, and as such, it is the best prosumer camera currently available at that price:

"From the time of its introduction in 2005, the high-end Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX series has provided an attractive alternative to the mainstream (and longer running) G-series from Canon as well as the popular and more recent Nikon CoolPix P7000 series. Apart from the diminutive dimensions and low weight, the LX series offered very high image quality from the combination of a high-grade image-stabilized Leica-branded zoom and what was originally a wide-aspect ratio (16:9) 1/1.65-inch sensor.

. . . read more

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