Olympus releases OM-D/EM-5 firmware version 1.6, doesn't fix much, and adds nothing new.

To be fair, most of the shortcomings of the E-M5 cannot be fixed with a firmware upgrade, except maybe for the custom user settings implementation.  Firmware version 1.6 only addresses these issues:

1.The highlight and shadow control function was modified so the exposure settings are applied correctly at ISO 2000 or higher.
2.The issue that occasionally prevented operations during long exposures was resolved.

You need the Olympus Camera Updater in order to upgrade your firmware to version 1.6

Panasonic GH3 Review by Ken McMahon at Camera Labs: "It handles beautifully, focuses very quickly and accurately, is tough and weatherproof and produces still images of a very high quality..."

Ken makes some extensive comparisons to the NEX-6 and the E-M5 in this review, two of the most capable mirrorless cameras in existence:

"The Panasonic Lumix GH3 is a worthy succesor to the GH2. The redesigned sensor and updated processor provide a raft of enhancements to its video capabilies which will delight existing GH series owners, some of whom have been relying on firmware hacks to provide the high bit rates and extended encoding options now available. These improvements will unquestionably cement the GH3's position as the darling of the professional video community.

But though some view it as such, the GH3 is more than just a highly capable movie camera. It handles beautifully, focuses very quickly and accurately, is tough and weatherproof and produces still images of a very high quality that can be fairly painlessly uploaded wirelessly to a wide range of destinations. . . . read more

Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens review at SLR Gear: "Given the few options available (as of February 2013) for Canon EOS-M users, having this prime lens as an option is a no-brainer."

'Few options'? Yeah right, when it comes to mirrorless cameras the options given by Canon are even fewer, so far their only offering is the EOS-M 'slug-o-matic' camera:

"The Canon EF-M 22mm ƒ/2 STM provided surprisingly sharp results. When used wide open at ƒ/2, there is some corner softness to speak of, but the majority of the frame is very sharp. Stopping down to just ƒ/2.8 provides very sharp images - for practical purposes, we would say it's tack-sharp from corner to corner. According to the raw numbers you'll have to stop down to ƒ/4 to see the sharpest results, but to the naked eye I doubt you would see the difference. The lens is sharp all the way to ƒ/8, where diffraction limiting begins to set in, but there isn't a significant impact on sharpness until ƒ/11, and even then it's just a slightly overall decrease. Images start to lose their sharpness at ƒ/16, and become moderately soft at ƒ/22." . . . read more

FUJINON XF14mm f/2.8 R opinions, hand-on, user reviews, and 'oohs and aahs' roundup.

The X-Transians have gotten their first wide angle prime, and the reports keep pouring in. Here are 6 of the most memorable-almost religious experiences, to be found around the Interwebs: 

First, we've got Ray from FujiXspot, who takes the 14mm Fujinon for a full workout on the streets of Philadelphia, and ends up with some decision dilemmas:
"So, there's no doubt in my mind that the 14mm is an excellent lens in any respect that matters. My only hesitance is still based on a combination of price and wondering if I'll use it enough to justify it. The other lenses I have similar costs into are the Olympus 12 and 75. The 12 is probably my most-used lens, so no question there." . . . read more

Leica D-Lux 6 (a.k.a Panasonic LX-7) Review by Joshua Waller at EPZ: "The Leica D-Lux 6 packs many useful features with superb image quality, although the price is high."

The 'Price is high' can be roughly translated to 'it costs almost twice the money it is worth'. This Panasonic LX-7 rebranding costs for example more than the Fujifilm X100, or the Sony RX100, so, it is aimed for 'special' kinds of people. 

"The Leica D-Lux 6 is a superb camera with many DSLR features packed into a compact body with a number of external controls, which produces excellent images. If you have a good budget to spend and aren't concerned by large amounts of optical zoom, but want a serious camera capable of great results, you can't go wrong, although the price will be off-putting to many. You can shoot at full resolution at 11 fps, battery life is excellent, there is low noise up to ISO 3200, and full manual controls with RAW shooting. The camera has a more subtle design than the Panasonic Lumix LX7, the prestigeous Leica red dot, as well as a a number of bundled extras." . . . read more

Sony: 3 new lenses, 1 Dslt camera, and one NEX camera pics leaked ahead of official launch.

Source is as usual our favorite suspect,the Japanese Digicame.info site. List of goodies: The NEX-3n, entry level NEX camera, the A58 aps-c sized 20 Megapixel Dslt camera, and 3 new lenses: Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM II, 70-400mm f/4-5.6G SSM II and the Sony Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ZA SSM. Compared to the prototypes displayed at CP+ the final versions of the lenses appear to have at least some cosmetic differences, such as in color, and name plate position. . . . read more

Nikon 1 J3 does not impress the DXO Markers: More 'Boo' than 'Woo' again for Nikon's 1 series.

"Although the new Nikon 1 J3 has been updated over its predecessor with the higher-resolution sensor found in Nikon’s top-of-the-line interchangeable lens model, its overall performance scores haven’t improved over the J2. The camera seems to be hampered by the reduction in overall sensitivity range and most notably scored 2/3 stop lower than the J2 for color depth. Given that cameras such as the Olympus PEN E-PL5 and Pentax K 01 perform significantly better than the J3 despite being priced equivalently or less, the J3 doesn’t seem to provide a good value per dollar for those seeking the best image quality from an interchangeable lens camera. . . . read more

Nikon D600 vs Canon 6D Epic Shootout Comparison by Michael Andrew

Epic indeed, the introductory scenes are shot with a Canon 5D Mark III. Michael Andrew, A.K.A Michal the Maven, A.K.A Michal the Mentor is very careful in his review not to offend fanbois of either camp: 

"This is my long awaited review of the Nikon D600 vs the Canon 6D in an Epic, side to side shootout testing some of the most important aspects of the two cameras. As I mention on the video, these are 2 very different cameras. D600 is better as an "all round" camera, the 6D excels in low light (wedding photographers are going to love the 6D). You can check out the Crash Course DVDs I have for both cameras on my products page, they are available both as DVD & immediate download: http://www.michaelthemaven.com/products/ . . . read more

Fujifilm XF1 camera review by Ben Pitt at expert Reviews

"The Fujifilm X10 is an excellent alternative, and currently available for around £310. It has better controls, an optical viewfinder and a brighter aperture at the long end of the zoom. Then there's the forthcoming Fujifilm X20 with the promise of sharper detail, and the Panasonic LX7 with its superior videos, faster performance and even brighter lens. However, we'd be tempted to trade all of this for the XF1's slimmer design and integrated lens cap, which makes it much easier to slip in and out of a pocket. With its lower price and gorgeous design, the XF1 is at least as good as the LX7, and fully deserves our Best Buy award."

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review by Laura Hicks at Digital Camera Review: Love at First Click

Laura's camera of choice for this lens review was the Olympus E-M5:

"This one is a keeper. I am a big fan of this lens -- mainly due to my love of all things macro. The autofocus was generally fast, the color quality was very good and the images were pretty sharp. I found the image quality to be excellent for this price range. As a portrait photographer I could easily utilize this lens in traditional shooting mode. As a macro fanatic, the macro setting of this lens was extremely fun to play with. My only real concern with the 60mm f/2.8 macro lens is the double edge effect I noticed especially at wide open apertures. At times I did not notice it much, but sometimes it was far too obvious and quite distracting. That being said, I still recommend this lens. For me, it's simple. This lens makes me want to use it. For those who are not used to macro

. . . read more

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens Review by Bryan Carnathan at The-Digital-Picture.

Bryan is very impressed by the macro mode this lens provides:

"Canon has been turning out impressively-performing zoom lenses recently and I was quite excited to see a repeat performance from this lens. After evaluating three retail-purchased copies of this lens, here are my observations. With a wide open f/4 aperture: At 24mm, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM Lens is very sharp in the center with good sharpness extending to the periphery of the full frame image circle. The 24-70 f/4 L IS gets very slightly softer at 35mm and modestly softer yet (especially in the mid and peripheral image circle) at 50mm f/4 where the lens performs its worst. Sharpness improvement by 70mm . . . read more

DXO Optics 8 review at PC Pro: "This software isn’t as multitalented as Lightroom, but it’s more streamlined and just as polished"

'Streamlined'? Last time i gave it a try, I was forced to hop back and forth like a rabbit, but that last time was also my first time with image editing software from France. Maybe, after so many years, i should give it one more try. The reviewer is Ben Pitt, and the edition he is reviewing is the Plebs 'Standard' one, meaning it doesn't support any full frame Dslr cameras, nor any Leicas:

"DxO’s Organise module gives direct access to your PC’s folders, so there’s no need to go through a convoluted import process. Sorting and filtering options are limited, and it’s possible to create virtual folders inside Optics Pro to bring photos together from disparate sources. A star rating system is used, but the ratings we’d added in Lightroom and embedded in the files weren’t recognised. The lack of a visible undo history is also disappointing. All edits are non-destructive so it . . . read more

The Panasonic GH3 Gets DXO MARK'ed, comes out as very similar to the Olympus E-M5, do they use the same sensor?

"The Panasonic Lumix DMC GH3 is a very good camera, among the best tested by DxO Mark in this format. It is small and light and will make an excellent camera to travel with and fulfils all of the requirements that a serious enthusiast is likely to have. However, it is pricey for a hybrid and it has competition from several directions. The Olympus is even smaller and lighter and scores slightly higher but it does lack a viewfinder. For a similar price you could be buying either the Pentax K 01 or the K-5 IIs, both of which have scores consistently higher than the Lumix but obviously with the overhead of a bulkier and heavier piece of . . . read more

Nice, high-quality, and free, photography e-books at Photowhoa.

So, what's the catch you say? Wondering that myself, I went ahead and downloaded a few, no catch yet, beyond the making of an account at Photowhoa. There  are 10 free titles at the moment, and most are high-street quality material, such as 'The Heart of Portraiture' by Don Giannatti, 'Beautiful Macro Photography Techniques' by Michael Erlewine, and one for the videographers among you, the 'DSLR Cinematography Guide' by Ryan Koo. Depending on your browser, you may have to scroll down to the 'free' section to view these deals.  . . . read more

David Egers Mashes up Star Wars as no one else: Star Wars Mashup Master Retells Original Trilogy Through Famous Artworks, at Wired

Jakob Schiller at Wired's Raw File, writes:

"To create the photos Eger is using the same techniques he’s used from previous projects. Almost all the pictures are staged in his basement studio using the 500 or so Star Wars figurines he’s collected since he was a kid. He has toys from the original release, a re-release in the 1990s as well as contemporary figures. The original toys are valuable as collector’s items but Eger prefers the newer ones for photos because their articulation points can be wrangled into more creative positions. . . . read more

EIZO ColorEdge CS230 Monitor review at Photo Review: A good choice, if you're not after 100% Adobe RGB gamut coverage.

The EIZO ColorEdge CS230 is an entry level photography oriented 23 inch monitor that features a in-built SelfCorrection sensor and a few other goodies:

"ColorEdge monitors represent the cream of Eizo's line-up and provide the most advanced features, highest build quality and best performance available. They are also the only models in Eizo's range that include direct hardware calibration, which uses high bit depth processing through built in ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) and LUTs (look-up tables) in the monitor itself. Because the calibration is monitor-specific and carried out with high-order calculations, it can encompass a wider range of hue and tonal levels and produce smoother calibrations, particularly in deep shadows and for subtle gradients. If you're serious . . . read more

Nauticam introduces the NA-G15 underwater camera housing for the Canon G15 compact camera.

For those that want to stay on the compact side, the Canon G15 seems to offer a lot of photography goodness in a small package, and Nauticam manages to retain much of the compactness, despite the fully featured NA-G15 aluminum underwater camera housing. Nauticam USA Press Release:

Nauticam is proud to introduce the NA-G15 aluminum camera housing for the latest version of Canon’s iconic G series of compact cameras: The Canon Powershot G15. Once again, Nauticam brings the power of professional quality engineering and cutting edge design to those who enjoy the attributes of compact imaging systems. The NA-G15 should prove to be the ultimate housing for fans of Canon’s compact G15 camera. Both camera and housing are loaded with heavyweight features packaged in a lightweight, rugged and easy to operate system. . . . read more

Huge lot of 1000-2000+ (seller doesn't know exactly) old cameras for sale on Ebay, time to start that camera museum you've always dreamt about.

I don't think there are any Leicas hidden in there, even if the magnitude of this collection is chaos itself. From the seller's description:

Life time Collection of Vintage Cameras! Have been collecting it for 50 year. 1,000+ pieces of cameras, lenses, and accessories. (definitely more than 1,000; maybe more than 2,000 pieces, never count it) All brands, All kinds, All types of cameras. SLR, RF, TLR, Medium Format, P&S, etc. Canon, Nikon, Rollei, Yashica, Ricoh, Polaroids, Kodak, Fuji, Pentax, Petri, Pax, Mamiya, etc. You name it. Can't list the specific models and specification due to large amount of collection. . . . read more

Nikon D5200 review by Ken Rockwell: "The D5200 is an excellent camera that weighs next to nothing"

I'll refrain from any comments this time, after all, Ken's reviews DO have a school of followers. His lens of choice for this review is the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX and he provides some full-ress image samples too:

"The Nikon D5200 is a swell little camera, but I wouldn't pay $800 for a D5200 when I can get the pretty much identical Nikon D5100 new or refurbished for about half price as of the beginning of 2013. I don't see anything significant to make it worthwhile to throw more money at the newer D5200 if you can still get the D5100 instead, but if you want the newest, sure, the D5200 is a great camera.

. . . read more

Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f4 ultra wide-angle zoom lens review at Camera Labs

Gordon Laing tests this camera with a Panasonic GX1 camera:

"The Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f4 may be one of the earliest native lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, but remains one of the most compelling, delivering superb quality across its focal range from standard wide to extreme wide angle.

With coverage that's equivalent to 14-28mm in the full-frame format, the Lumix 7-14mm is ideal for capturing expansive landscape views and enormous buildings inside and out. It conveniently starts where most general purpose lenses stop, providing the photographer with wider and wider coverage until . . . read more

DxO Optics Pro v8.1.3 released, 6 new cameras supported: The Leica M-E, M9, and M9-P, the Nikon D5200, the Canon SX50 HS, and the Panasonic FZ200

Also, 261 new Lens/Camera combinations, among wich is plenty of Leica Super-Elmar, Summilux and Summicron goodness. A Trial Version of DXO Optics can be downloaded here

Fron DXO:

The Elite edition of DxO Optics Pro 8 to support three Leica cameras with telemetric viewfinders: the M-E, the M9, and the M9-P. Three other cameras complete the list of equipment supported by both the Standard and Elite editions of this new version: the Nikon D5200, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200, and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. . . . read more

Sony RX1 vs Canon 5D Mk III with Sigma 35mm f/1.4 sharpness comparison at the Photography Blog

Can't really understand the narrow focus or the scope of this comparison, but it is an interesting one, not many people get to have their hands on both these lenses at once :)

"The sharpness tests for this review were carried out using a real-world subject rather than a test chart. Both the Sony RX1 and the Canon EOS 5D Mk III DSLR / Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens were mounted on a sturdy tripod. The camera's self-timer mode was activated to avoid camera-shake. Tonal and colour variances across the crops are due to changes in natural light during the session. Centre sharpness is very good from f/2.8 onwards on both the Sony . . . read more

Sigma DP1 Merrill review at PC Mag: "The Sigma DP1 Merrill is capable of producing amazing images, but you'll have to put a lot of time and effort in to get the most out of this pricey point-and-shoot."

Reviewed by Jim Fisher, who clearly needs to read up on the 'point and shoot' definition:  

"To say that the Sigma DP1 Merrill is not for everyone is an obvious statement. If you're a casual snapshooter who simply wants a point-and-shoot camera that produces excellent images, you'll want to take a close look at the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100—its 1-inch image sensor and zoom lens are better suited to the task. But if you are serious about photography, keen on the advantages of the Foveon sensor, and willing to live with the workflow that goes along with it, the DP1 Merrill is an appealing camera. It's also the only one of its class to offer a 28mm equivalent prime lens—the Fujifilm X100s, Leica X2, and Sony . . . read more

The Nikon FT1 Adapter: how to use Nkkor F-mount lenses on a Nikon 1 compact system camera, by J.Meyer at NPhoto.

This guide will be useful until Nikon unveils its APS-C (or larger!) mirrorless system sometime in the near future, and most serious Nikon shooters will forget that the 1 series has ever existed :)

"Nikon 1 cameras use a different lens mount – and different lenses – to the Nikon D-SLR range, but the FT1 adapter, which sells for around £200, provides the missing link. With this gadget, you can connect any of your Nikon SLR lenses to a Nikon 1 compact system camera. There are technical differences between these two types of camera. The Nikon 1 uses a much smaller, ‘CX’ format sensor, measuring just 13.2×8.8mm. This gives the Nikon 1 cameras a crop factor of 2.7x, which means that you must multiply the focal length of any lens by 2.7 to arrive at its ‘effective’ focal length. . . . read more

Roshan Vyas: Ditching a Nikon D7000 DSLR camera for a Fuji X-E1 and Leica Summicron-M 50mm lens

This whole, 'moving from Dslr to the greener pastures of Compact System Cameras' issue has picked up a lot of steam lately, and as someone that sits firmly in between the two, I think its now worthy of its own Estiasis 'Moving from DSLT to CSC' tag. Roshan Vyas is one of the switches, and so far, seems happy with the choice:

"I mentioned earlier that I sold off my Nikon D7000 and three lenses last month. The main reason was size: Having traveled around Europe with the whole kit for a month, I didn't see myself carrying all of that weight on a trip again. And around San Francisco, I prefer my Fuji X100 for street photography. Even more, I didn't find myself being as deliberate with my photos with a DSLR compared to the more manual and sometimes slower X100. I just enjoyed the Fuji photos more, and it was nice to not end up editing hundreds of quickly shot burst photos. I also figured that if I ever actually wanted to use a DSLR for a . . . read more

Canon EOS 6D in-depth review at DPReview: Despite the silver lining, in the end it is only worthy of a silver award.

I've read the review twice, and mostly agree on its conclusion. There's a red line when it comes to cutting corners, and Canon has crossed it many times. Not that they care, the 6D will still sell like hot cakes, especially during the discount rushes. Review done by Amadou Diallo and Andy Westlake: 

"The EOS 6D ticks off many of the things an APS-C DSLR owner could want in a full frame upgrade: great image quality, excellent handling, light weight and a sub-$2100 price tag. The challenge for Canon, of course is that the 6D does not exist in a vacuum. It faces very stiff competition from the Nikon D600, which for the same price boasts a slightly higher resolution sensor, a more robust AF system, dual card slots, built-in flash (which can act as a wireless flash commander) and weather-sealing comparable to the much more expensive Nikon D800. . . . read more

A good introductionary guide to lens adapters, by Ian Plant, at Pop Photo.

These guides don't come often. Ian has written an extensive introduction and tutorial on the how and what of lens adapters, and has also included a rundown of his favorite lenses: 

"These days, there seems to be no shortage of lens adapters available on the market—some good, some not so good. There are a number of reputable manufacturers making adapters, including Adaptimax, Bower, CameraQuest, Fotodiox, Novoflex, Vello, Voigtländer, and others. You can find cheap adapters on places such as eBay, many of which are quite good—but you can also find many adapters that will be inadequate for critical use. . . . read more

Does size matter? The Pentax Q10 droppes into Hotel DXO Mark, leaves a "cute, but tiny" impression.

"The Pentax Q10 puts in a reasonable performance, but there has not been significant enough improvement in image quality since the Pentax Q to make it a worthwhile upgrade. If you’re looking for a first camera within this segment, and are not drawn to having the very smallest hybrid camera, then there are better performing cameras available at a similar price point. Finally, if you’re undecided between the best high-end compact cameras or a hybrid camera, then in our comparison here, your choice will be whether you want fractionally higher image quality, the compact models, or the benefits that come with interchangeable lenses – the Pentax Q10. The other benefit of the Q10 is the recently added K-mount adaptor that allows older Pentax lenses to be used . . . read more

Dell releases trio of photography oriented Ultrasharp series monitors, and the Ultra-Wide U2913WM.

Dell has just announced the availability of 3 new monitors, the 30-inch Dell UltraSharp 3014 ($1499), the 27-inch U2713H ($999) and the 24-inch U2413 ($599). All feature 99% Adobe RGB and 100% sRGB coverage, a 14-bit Look-Up Table (LUT) and a 12-bit processor, calibrated at the factory. Each monitor comes with a certification with calibration details. Its good to see Dell retaining the 1920x1200 pixels resolution in the 24-incher, whereas most other manufacturers (except for HP, EIZO, and maybe Lacie) have moved down to the common 1920x1080 deal. These must be the lowest introductory prices for monitors with such delicious specs.

Dell Press Release . . . read more

Pentax MX-1 hands-on field test by Chris Niccolls at the Camera Store TV

The Pentax retro styled, brass laden MX-1 prosumer camera is poised to take on such household names as the Canon G15 and the upcoming Fujifilm X20. Is it up to the task? Oh yes, Chris seems mightily impressed by the MX-1's optical performance and unusual array of features: 

"We weren’t planning on doing a video on the MX-1, the specs looked good but it didn’t stand out to us as a hugely exciting camera.  Then we had a chance to play with the camera for a bit, and both Chris and I were impressed with the quality of the camera in every respect.  Also, after a number of weird design missteps, the MX-1’s retro design does exactly what we’ve been hoping Pentax would embrace.  It brings back fond memories of great classic Pentax . . . read more

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