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January 6th, 2014

CES 2014: Sigma Intros 50mm F/1.4 and 18-200mm Lenses

Sigma-50mm-1-1.4-DGSigma introduced two new lenses at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today. The company says the 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM is “improved and redesigned” from the previous model, while the 50mm F1.4 DG HSM has been “reengineered and redesigned” from its predecessor.

Pricing and availability has not been announced for either lens, which, as per usual, are expected to be available in a variety of lens mounts including for Canon and Nikon digital SLRs. More info in the press release after the jump.

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January 6th, 2014

CES 2014: Canon Announces New PowerShot Compact Cameras

Canon announced three new PowerShot compact cameras in Las Vegas Canon-PowerShot_N100_White_02this morning as part of this week’s Consumer Electronic Shows (CES).  The point-and-shoot cameras include these models: the PowerShot N100, PowerShot SX600 HS and ELPH 340 HS.

The PowerShot N100 will go on sale in May 2014 in white or black for $350. The PowerShot SX600 HS will go on sale at the end of February 2014 in red, white or black fro $250. The PowerShot ELPH 340 HS will ship in March 2014 in purple, silver, or black for $200. More details on these three point-and-shoot cameras in the press releases after the jump.

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January 2nd, 2014

CES 2014: Samsung Announces 20.3MP NX30 Mirrorless Camera, Lenses and Galaxy Camera 2

Samsung-NX30-18-55mm_003_Right-Angle1_blackSamsung was first out of the gate this morning with new photo announcements ahead of next week’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The company just unveiled four new photo products: the 20.3-megapixel NX30 mirrorless compact system camera; two new lenses for the NX camera system; and a new wirelessly connected Galaxy Camera 2.

The NX30, which uses an APS-C-size CMOS sensor similar to what you’d find in entry-level digital SLRs, is the follow-up to the NX20 we reviewed in 2012. Like its predecessor, the NX30 offers a variety of WiFi-connectivity features including new Dropbox and Flickr integration.

The NX30 also has a fully swiveling 3.0-inch AMOLED display on back to help you compose images from a variety of angles. Samsung says the new rear screen is 30% brighter than the previous model.

The NX30 also, for the first time, features a pull-out electronic viewfinder, which you can lift away from the camera body and tilt at up to an 80-degree angle. The pull-out EVF and a new 3.5-inch microphone port are designed to help you shoot richer movie clips with the camera’s full HD video function. There’s also an in-camera Audio Level Meter and Input Level Adjustments for better sound. The NX30 lets you live stream your video via the HDMI port to share your footage on an external monitor.

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November 5th, 2013

Profoto Announces Powerful but Portable B1, a Battery-Powered, Cordless Flash with TTL Functionality

Profoto-B1Profoto has just unveiled a very interesting new concept in portable lighting: a powerful, battery powered flash with TTL functionality.  Called the B1, the folks from Profoto described it to me as an “off-camera flash,” during an NDA meeting I had on the new product at PhotoPlus Expo. But that description doesn’t quite sum the B1 up, since it’s not a speedlight nor a monolight, but a new lighting product that combines some of the attributes of the two.

Along with its cordless portability, the B1 gives you TTL control thanks to a patent-pending invention from Profoto designed to integrate the flash with your camera. It works by attaching Profoto’s Air Remote TTL-C to the hotshoe of your camera. When you photograph your subject, the B1 will automatically adjust the blast of light to optimize exposure. If you want more control, you can switch to full manual control with the press of a button on the B1.

Read more of this Profoto B1 news story and see another image of the product here.

November 4th, 2013

Nikon Unveils Retro-Style Nikon Df Full-Frame DSLR with No Video Capture Mode (Hands-On Preview)

Nikon-Df_SL_50_1.8_SE_frttopA few days after the U.S. “fell back” and ended Daylights Saving Time for the year, Nikon turned back the clock in its own way with a new camera announcement: the distinctly retro, 16.2-megapixel, full-frame Nikon Df, which looks more like a classic Nikon film SLR than any digital SLR we’ve seen so far. The camera, which has been widely leaked in the last few days, uses the same FX-format (35mm-sized) sensor as Nikon’s flagship professional D4 DSLR but resembles a Nikon FM or FE film SLR from the 1970s or 80s.

I got some hands-on time with the new Nikon Df at a press briefing, under NDA, during PhotoPlus Expo last month, and found the camera to be an intriguing but slightly befuddling new DSLR for professional photographers and enthusiasts. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take photos of the Nikon Df cameras shown to me during the briefing, so all the product images included here have been provided by Nikon.

Read more of my hands-on preview of the new Nikon Df here.

November 1st, 2013

Hands-On Test with Sony’s Alpha 7 and 7R, the World’s First Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

John-with-Sony-Alpha-7-close-mIf you’ve been anxious to find out if the new Sony Alpha 7 and 7R full-frame mirrorless cameras live up to the hype, Rangefinder magazine (our sister publication) has just posted an excellent hands-on review of the cameras.

According to photographer and Rangefinder columnist John Rettie, who tried out these much discussed mirrorless models, they certainly show a lot of promise.

“Overall I came away impressed with these two cameras,” Rettie writes. “It’s difficult to argue against the benefits of doing away with the flipping mirror in a DSLR camera. I feel that the benefits outweigh the disadvantage, which is more psychological, as the OLED EVF is just about as crisp as an optical finder and refreshes fast enough for just about every use other than perhaps fast action sports like football.

“Should Canon and Nikon be worried? Perhaps not right away but maybe in the future.”

Read his full hands-on test with the Sony Alpha 7 and 7R and see sample shots at Rangefinder’s PhotoForward blog.

October 29th, 2013

The Best Photo Gear at PhotoPlus Expo 2013

PhotoPlus Expo 2013 took over Jacob Javits Center in New York City last week and, as Senior Technology Editor for PDN and Rangefinder magazines, I spent a lot of time visiting with photo manufacturers at the show to check out the latest photo gear. There were, of course, tons of cool new photo gadgets to touch and try, not the least of which were all the new cameras unveiled in the days leading up to PPE 2013.

I covered those cameras in stories on Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, and Panasonic, prior to PhotoPlus, so at the show I decided to focus mostly on photo accessories with a couple of new cameras thrown in for good measure.

To read my round-up of some of my favorite photo gear from PhotoPlus Expo 2013, click here.

October 18th, 2013

Fujifilm Introduces X-E2 Mirrorless Camera and High-End XQ1 Compact

Fuji-X-E2_Black_Front_High_angle_18-55mmFujifilm has just introduced the 16.3-megapixel X-E2, a sequel to its popular X-E1 mirrorless, compact system camera from last year. Fuji also announced the new 12MP XQ1, a premium pocket camera with an F/1.8, 4x zoom lens.

While it has the same resolution as its predecessor, the Fuji X-E2 uses a new APS-C, X-Trans CMOS II image sensor. The retro-style, interchangeable lens camera is powered by the new EXR Processor II, which produces a reported, lightning quick autofocus speed of 0.08 seconds.

Fuji clocks the X-E2′s start-up time at 0.5 seconds, shutter lag at 0.05, and high-speed continuous burst mode at 7 frames per second.

To optimize resolution and produce photos with more detail, the Fuji X-E2 forgoes using an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) over its imaging sensor (a common trend in cameras these days). The X-E2 can shoot full 1080 HD videos at 60fps with autofocus tracking. The camera features a dedicated Wi-Fi button to help zap photos and movies to smartphones, tablets, and computers for easier sharing on social media sites.

The X-E2 has a 3-inch LCD screen on back with 1.04 dots of resolution and a 2.36-million dot OLED viewfinder. The Fujifilm X-E2 goes on sale in November for $999 (body only) in black or two-tone silver and black.  The X-E2 also sells as a kit in November with the XF18mm-55mm (27-84mm) f/2.8-4 lens for $1,399.

The sleek and stylish XQ1 uses a 12MP, X-Trans CMOS II sensor with phase detection autofocus combined with the new EX Processor II to deliver a reported AF speed of up to 0.06, making it one of the fastest models in the pocket camera category.

Fuji-X-Q1_LineupLike the X-E2, the XQ1 also does away with the OLPF over its sensor to maximize resolution. The XQ1 uses a new Fujinon F1.8 4x zoom (25-100mm) lens built with 4 aspherical and 3 extra low dispersion lenses.  Each lens surface is reportedly coated with HT-EBC to reduce flare and ghosting. The XQ1 also has a wide sensitivity range from ISO100 to ISO12800 for low light photography.

The Fuji XQ1 goes on sale this month in silver or black for $499.

October 17th, 2013

Nikon Announces 24.2MP D5300 DSLR and Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G Lens

Nikon-D5300_BK_18_140_frontNikon has just announced two new products for photographers: the prosumer-friendly 24.2MP, APS-C sensor-based D5300 digital SLR, and the pro-worthy AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G portrait lens.

The Nikon D5300 will go on sale this month as a kit with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens for $1,399. It will come in black, red, and gray color options, if you like your DSLR to have a little pizzazz.

The NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G, which is the higher end product of the two and designed for both full-frame (FX-format) and APS-C (DX-format) cameras, goes on sale this month for $1,699.

Read the rest of the story about this Nikon news here.

October 17th, 2013

Panasonic Announces Small and Retro Lumix GM1 Compact System Camera

Panasonic-Lumix-GM1If you like your cameras small, retro-styled, and downright cute, then you may love the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1. This 16-megapixel, mirrorless, compact system camera with the miniature, throwback design, recalls sharpshooters of yesteryear but with some modern, picture-taking skills.

The Panasonic GM1, which can fit in the palm of your hand or slide into a coat pocket, comes with a 12-32mm interchangeable kit lens and will retail for $749. The GM1 uses a Micro Four Thirds-format sensor, which is bigger than what’s in point-and-shoot cameras but smaller than the imaging chips in most digital SLRs.

The Panasonic GM1′s sensor and processing engines are identical to those used in the popular and generally well-reviewed GX7 compact system camera, which we had a chance to test drive this past summer.

While the GX7 was small, the GM1 is even more petite and has to be seen to be believed. It has a 3-inch touchscreen on back and comes equipped with Wi-Fi for wireless sharing of images and HD videos. With the help of the free Panasonic Image App for Android and iOS mobile devices, you can remotely trigger the GM1 with your smartphone or tablet.

The main appeal to this camera, however, is its snazzy, compact design. It comes in silver and black, in the U.S., and weighs just over six ounces. We haven’t had a chance to test the Panasonic Lumix GM1′s image quality yet, but based on looks alone, it’s a real head-turner.

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