June 13th, 2013
June 11th, 2013
Have you been looking for a camera that offers 120 color combinations? Then Pentax has got some news for you with both DSLR and Mirrorless bodies that can be configured in all sorts of beautiful or garish color combos.
Pentax has announced two new 16MP DSLR bodies, the K50 and the K-500, that are both essentially updates to its existing K-30 DSLR. The K-50 replaces the K-30 “edgy” styling with a more traditional DSLR look along with adding improved image processing and upping maximum ISO to 51200. “The K-50 introduces features that raise the bar in the mid-level DSLR class,” said Jim Malcolm, executive vice president, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICA. “Not only do the hardware and software specs outclass competitors, the Color to Order system is an industry first making it a truly unique offering among a sea of similarity.” The K-500 is similar to the K-50, with lack of weather sealing being the main difference.
Pentax also announced a new body in its Q mirrorless lineup, the Q7. The Q7 sees a number of new features, an advanced shake reduction system, a new electronic level, an improved Quick dial, and so on. But the most promising feature of the Q7 is that its sensor has been increased from 1/2.3-inch to 1/1.7-inch chip. This isn’t a small thing, it’s a 52% increase in surface area, and is the same size sensor used in Canon’s widely loved s110. “Don’t be fooled by the Q7’s small size and 120 color combinations,” said Jim Malcolm, executive vice president, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING. “As the smallest and lightest compact system camera in the world, this tiny gem is packed with serious specs and capabilities including a number of digital filters and smart effects.”
The Pentax K-50 and Q7 are available now via pentaximaging.com (and nationwide retailers in July/Aug) in 120 color combos for list prices of $499 and $699 respectively. The K-500 will be available next month and has a list price of $599.
June 11th, 2013
Samsung has announced a new 10/3.5 fisheye lens for its NX mirrorless system. They claim that it is “the smallest AF fisheye lens on the market” that it is “half the size and weight of its competitors”. At 2.5 ounces and barely over an inch deep (including its mount), the 10/3.5 looks to be tiny indeed. With a 180 degree diagnosed angle of view, it is a true fisheye lens that should give the same look as the 15/16mm DSLR fisheyes from Nikon and Canon. The 10/3.5 fisheye will be available in July in white or black. Pricing was not announced.
June 11th, 2013
Adobe has released Camera Raw 8.1 and DNG Converter 8.1. ACR 8.1 works with both Photoshop CC and Photoshop CS6 to add support for 7 additional cameras along with profiles for 16 new lenses. Customers of previous versions of Photoshop can utilize DNG Converter 8.1 to receive raw file support for the newly added cameras. The Olympus PEN E-P5 and E-PL5, Ricoh GR and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 are the most noteworthy of the newly supported cameras. Finally, ACR 8.1 fixes bugs in the previous redeye, sharpening, and and fill light tools.
Download ACR 8.1/DNG 8.1 for Windows
Download ACR 8.1/DNG 8.1 for Mac
June 7th, 2013
So the Mini-M that Leica has been teasing on its Facebook page has been announced. It is the Leica X Vario, a 16.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor fixed lens compact camera. Its lens is a Vario Elmar 18-46mm f/3.5-6.4 ASPH lens and Leica is claiming that the X Vario is the first large sensor compact with a zoom lens.
The X Vario is a nice looking camera with a reasonable zoom range. But the large slow f/3.5-6.4 lens is bound to disappoint many Leica fans as it has none of the “low-light photojournalism” cachet that Leica has built a reputation on over the years. To make matters worse, the bulk that the Vario Elmar adds to the X Vario detracts from its compact nature and makes one wonder why a small mirrorless system body wouldn’t be a better choice. When you factor in the top-shelf price tag, one has to wonder how successful the Vario X will be with the Leica faithful.
June 5th, 2013
Despite its many years of successful use by outdoor and wildlife photographers, the beanbag is a highly under-rated stabilization tool. Gura Gear aims to change that opinion with its new Sabi Sack. The Sabi is a compact stable support system designed by photographers simply trying to hold still while they shoot. The clever double-pillow design lets you adapt to multiple shooting situations without the bulk of traditional beanbags. When you’re shooting from the car, rocks, tree stumps, or even simply on the ground, the Sabi can hold your gear steady even when tripod use is not possible or advisable.
The two sizes of the Sabi are made in the USA of heavy-duty PU-coated Cordura fabrics and reinforced with double stitching. Its construction features a concealed zipper with a leak-stop tab to keep the fill where it belongs, in the bag.
June 5th, 2013
DxO has released Filmpack 4, the newest version of its popular effects software. Filmpack 4 adds 65 new effects including emulations of famous films such as Kodak Ektachrome, Fuji Superia and Agfa APX. Available in two editions, Essential and Expert, a single FilmPack 4 license can be used as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Apple Aperture, and DxO Optics Pro, and as a standalone application for Mac and Windows. Special upgrade pricing is available for owners of Filmpack 3.
The controls panel has also been entirely redesigned; a search engine and a “Favorites” feature have been added as well.
For more about the new features on the latest version of Filmpack, and to find a link to a trial version, see our full story on the Gear page of PDNOnline.com.
May 27th, 2013
With no press release and seemingly out of nowhere, a $99 bare-bulb flash has appeared on Amazon: the Polaroid PL-135. This is a good $300 less than even the cheapest bare-bulb flash and $700 less than the most basic Quantum Qflash kit. But what do you get for $99? Essentially, you get a generic AA powered speedlight with a guide number of 52 that has been turned into a bare-bulb flash. You do get basic Canon or Nikon TTL, or so it is claimed. There is a “power receptacle for an available external power pack,” but no details are given about what kind of a connection it uses or what power pack they may be referring to. A reflector and diffuser are included, as are a bag to carry the whole kit in. You won’t find the Polaroid PL-135 on Polaroid’s website, so don’t even look. These days, Polaroid is a shell of its former self. The Polaroid PL-135 is just the brainchild of one of their licensees, very likely designed and built without Polaroid having anything to do with it.
Does it work? Initial reports from around the web seem to say “Yes.” The quality of light is said to be nice, just like you expect from a bare-bulb flash. But you will have to deal with the slow recycling time and low power of a speedlight and the mediocre quality of a $99 off-brand product.
So will working pros rush to fill a void in their toolkit with the Polaroid PL-135? Doubtful. But at such a low price, it might just work for a one-off production piece for a particular job.
Price: $99 (as of this writing)
6 Top-Notch Camera Flashes
May 22nd, 2013
Leica has updated its Facebook page with a header image hinting at a new camera, the Mini-M, coming June 11th. Details on the Mini-M are virtually non-existent. But the rumor mill seems to suggest that it’s likely to be either a fixed-lens large sensor compact similar to the Sony RX1 or a live view M-mount camera.
Both scenarios have some validity to them. The large sensor compact segment, while not staggeringly popular with point and shoot consumers, has a place in the heart of many professionals and enthusiasts who cannot stomach the thought of accepting the limitations that a small-sensor brings. This is a mindset that has historically described Leica’s core demographic. A live view M-Mount body would make a lot of sense as well, offering access to Leica’s excellent lenses without the cost or complexity of the rangefinder assembly that many of today’s younger photographers care little about.
May 17th, 2013
An odd name to be sure, but Pelican’s new ProGear U160 Half Case Camera Pack is built to take any abuse that life might throw at it. Essentially, the folks at Pelican have added padded dividers to one of their famous hard cases and then built that case into the lower half of a backpack.
The waterproof, crushproof lower section protects your camera and lenses and movable dividers allow customization without picking out foam squares as is required with some other Pelican cases. The upper section looks to have a decent amount of space for accessories, lunch or a jacket. It also has a tablet pocket for your iPad or android device. Wearing a hard box on your back has never been the most comfortable way to carry gear. But Pelican has addressed this with a solid s-curve spine, load lifters to keep the pack close to your back, a sternum strap and a removable waist belt.
It looks to be a pretty solid option if your photographic adventures require hardcore protection for your gear.
Priced at $325 and available now at www.pelicanprogear.com.
Fotodiox, a company more commonly known for its adapters and lighting accessories, has announced the release of their new 600 watt incandescent equivalent high-intensity LED studio light, the LED100WA. LED lights give off almost no heat and thus are considerably more comfortable for subject and photographer, particularly in indoor studio settings. The size, weight, output power, and 0-100% dimmer of the LED100WA make it a logical option for on-location video as well. The light comes in both 5600K (Daylight) or 3200K (Tungsten) color temperatures and is styled after traditional studio monolights. The LED100WA is equipped with a standard Bowens (S) bayonet mount for light modifiers and other accessories such as softboxes and barndoors.
The LED100WA lights are priced at $324.95 and are available now at www.fotodioxpro.com.