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September 18th, 2012

Hasselblad Partners with Sony to Launch Luxury “Lunar” Mirrorless Camera; Plans Full-Frame DSLR in Next Year

If you thought Hasselblad only designed medium-format cameras for professionals, you are mistaken. At a standing room only press conference at photokina in Germany today, the company announced it had formed a partnership with Sony and would begin producing an “ultimate luxury” mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera called Lunar.

The Italian-designed camera will ship in the first quarter of 2013 and sell for 5000 Euros, or approximately US $6527. (An image of the Hasselblad Lunar taken at the press conference is shown at the right.)

But Hasselblad doesn’t intend to stop with just a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera. More cameras in other segments will follow.

In addition to the Lunar model, Hasselblad will launch a full frame digital SLR in the next year and a digital compact camera, a line of tripods and luxury accessories in the years that follow, said Larry Hansen, Hasselblad’s Chairman and CEO.

“As I said before, for Hasselblad this is ‘the new dawn,'” Hansen said. “The plan is to move very quickly. Our plan is to show cameras and launch cameras in every sector of the market.”

Read more of this story and see more photos of the new Hasselblad Lunar here.


September 18th, 2012

Hands-On Preview of Canon’s Svelte Full-Frame 6D DSLR for Prosumers (NEW PHOTOS)

We got some hands-on time with the new 20.2-megapixel Canon EOS 6D at a press event on the eve of the photokina show in Germany last night and came away impressed. Priced at $2,099, the slimmed-down 6D is Canon’s attempt to entice photo enthusiasts to buy a full-frame digital SLR.

It seems a compelling argument, at least based on our brief time shooting with the 6D at the press event.

Like the 24.3-megapixel Nikon D600, which was announced last Thursday and was slated to go on sale this week also for $2,099, the Canon 6D feels like a slightly smaller version of the step-up model. So, if you’re in the market for a full-frame DSLR and can’t afford the Canon 5D Mark III — or simply want something slimmer and lighter — Canon is offering the 6D as an alternative.

But, as one commenter pointed out in our original story about the 6D yesterday, the new camera is not designed for serious professionals working in a studio environment. The 6D has a maximum flash sync speed of just 1/180th of a second, which doesn’t make it ideal for freezing motion using ambient lighting in the studio and/or strobes.

And while the 6D is 20 percent lighter than the 5D Mark III and weighs just over 24 ounces (body only), it has a more plastic build and feels slightly less sturdy. (In an effort to make the camera smaller and lighter, Canon has also eliminated the pop-up flash on the new camera.) The 6D is built with an aluminum chassis inside but the outer body is made of polycarbonate.

Read more of this story and see more photos here.


September 17th, 2012

Leica Launches 24.3MP Full-Frame Leica M Digital Rangefinder with Full HD Video (NEW PHOTOS)

Along with the new Leica S professional DSLR-style medium format camera, Leica also introduced the 24MP, full-frame Leica M digital rangefinder tonight. The Leica M uses a CMOSIS image sensor and can shoot full 1080p HD video.

This is a breaking story. News of the new Leica M digital rangefinder is currently be announced at Leica’s Das Wesentliche event tonight in Cologne, Germany before photokina begins tomorrow. We’re attending this event — and the photokina show — and will post more info and images when they become available.

For now, here are two photos of the new Leica M we captured at Das Wesentliche event in Cologne.

What do you think of the camera so far?

Check out the official press release on the 24MP Leica M rangefinder after the jump.

September 17th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Leica Announces New Leica S DSLR Medium Format Hybrid Camera (NEW PHOTOS)

Leica unveiled its newest S-System professional camera in Cologne, Germany at its Das Wesentliche event tonight, the day before the photokina imaging show here begins. Called, simply, the Leica S, the camera is the follow up to the 37-megapixel Leica S2 from 2008.

Along with the new Leica S camera body, three lenses will be announced to join the S-System cameras: the Leica Super-Elmar-S 24 mm f/3.5 ASPH. super-wide, the Leica Vario-Elmar-S 30-90 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. and the Leica TS-APO-Elmar-S 120 mm f/5.6 ASPH. tilt/shift lens.

Details of the new Leica S camera remained sketchy but should become more clear in the next day when the Leica S makes its official appearance at the photokina show. In the meantime, we have received the following press release, which also mentions a new Leica M rangefinder.

We are currently attending the Das Wesentliche event in Cologne and snapped these photos of the Leica S on this page and after the jump.


September 17th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Fuji Unveils Small and Snazzy XF1 Compact Camera with Fast Lens

If you like your cameras small, stylish, and retro-looking — but still powerful — you may want to take a look at the snazzy Fujifilm XF1.

The XF1, which along with seemingly a bazillion other photo products, was introduced the day before the photokina imaging show in Germany.  The camera features a 4x “manual” zoom lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 and a 2/3-inch 12 Megapixel EXR CMOS sensor.

The pocket-friendly XF1 has three different exterior looks: “a dimpled synthetic black leather, a smooth synthetic tan leather and an elegant synthetic red leather,” according to the Fuji press release.

It will start selling in October for $499.

More info in the press release after the jump.

September 17th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Phase One/Mamiya Intro New 645DF+ Medium-Format Camera & Schneider Kreuznach 28mm Aspherical Lens

Phase One introduced the new 645DF+ medium-format camera today, saying the revamped platform supports 50 different medium format digital backs and 80 different lenses from a variety of brands.

The new 645DF+ platform also has a new, more powerful, Li-ion rechargeable battery that will let you shoot up to 10,000 images on a single charge.

The Phase One 645DF+ will sell for $5990. It is also available with the Mamiya Leaf brand name — if that’s your pleasure — but is essentially the same camera system at the same price.

Phase One also announced the Schneider Kreuznach 28mm LS f/4.5 Aspherical lens for medium-format  cameras today. It is also priced at $5990 and is shown on the 645DF+ camera to the upper right.

More info in the press release after the jump.


September 17th, 2012

Canon Announces New High-End Compact PowerShot Cameras Including G15 and S110

Canon showed that it’s not done building up its line of small but powerful compact cameras this morning by announcing the portable PowerShot G15 and slim S110 models, both of which use a newly designed 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor.

The Canon G15, which is the follow-up to the Canon G12 from 2010, uses a faster f/1.8-2.8 5x optical zoom lens than the previous model. It also had intelligent IS image stabilization for steadying shaky shots. The G15’s 1/1.7-inch sensor is capable of shooing at up to ISO 12,800 and can record full 1080p HD video at 24fps.

(It should be noted that the latest flagship PowerShot model, the Canon 14.3 G1 X uses a 1.5-inch CMOS sensor that’s significantly bigger than the one in the G15.)

The G15 had a dedicated movie record button and, reportedly, faster autofocus.

Unlike its predecessor, the Canon G15’s 3.0-inch 922,000-dot LCD display does not flip out, and articulate to help when compose low-angle or high-angle shots. (The G12’s vari-angle screen was one of its more popular features.)

The Canon G15 will sell for $499 when it ships in October.

The slim Canon PowerShot S110 features built-in WiFi and uses the same 1/1.7-inch 12.1-megapixel “High-Sensitivity” CMOS image sensor as the G15 and also has a maximum ISO speed of 12800. It has a 5x optical zoom that can go as wide as 24mm-equivalent and has a maximum aperture of f/2.0

Canon says it’s improved the AF system for the S100, reducing the shutter lag and ramping up its high-speed burst mode to 10 frames per second continuous shooting at the full 12.1MP.

The Canon S100 can also shoot full 1080p HD video and features a built-in stereo microphone, optical zoom while shooting, and HDMI output. It will sell for $449 in October.

More info on those two cameras and on the new superzooming PowerShot SX50, which features a 50x zoom (!) in the press release after the jump.


September 17th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Canon Launches Slimmed-Down 20.2MP 6D Full-Frame DSLR for Prosumers

The nascent full-frame prosumer digital DSLR market got a little more crowded this morning when Canon introduced its own small-size full-framer: the 20.2-megapixel Canon EOS 6D digital SLR. The announcement of the Canon 6D, which comes the day before the photokina imaging show in Cologne, Germany is set to kick off, follows closely on the heels of Nikon debuting its 24.3MP, D600 FX-format (aka full-frame) DSLR for photo enthusiasts last week.

The Canon EOS 6D will be priced nearly identically to the Nikon D600 at $2,099. However, while the Nikon camera is expected to go on sale this week, the Canon 6D will not ship until December.

We just arrived in Cologne for photokina and hope to take a look at the Canon 6D (shown in the upper right with an optional battery grip) later this afternoon. For now, here’s a rundown and official press release, on Canon’s new full-frame prosumer model.

Canon EOS 6D Preview
If the Canon 5D Mark III is too big or too expensive for your tastes, Canon has launched a smaller full-frame alternative: the 20.2-megapixel EOS 6D ($2,099, body only). The 6D is 20 percent lighter than the 5D III, weighing in a just over 24 ounces (body only).

While it looks very similar to its stablemate, the 6D’s about 7mm shorter in height and a few millimeters thinner. To help create this slimmer profile, the 6D has no built-in flash.

Along with being a full-frame DSLR, the 6D offers built-in WiFi and GPS functionality. It also features a brand new autofocus system with 11 focusing points and one cross-type point in the center; and Canon’s tried-and-true iFCL 63-Zone dual layer metering system. The camera is powered by a Digic 5+ image processor and can fire off 4.5 frames per second in continuous mode.

The individual pixels on the 6D’s newly developed CMOS sensor are slightly bigger than the 5D Mark II at 6.55 microns, which should help this camera perform well in low light. ISO range is expandable to 50-102,400.

According to Canon, the 6D’s sensor is a full stop more sensitive in low light than any previous EOS model. The camera has a 3-inch Clear View 1,040,000-dot resolution flat (aka non-articulating) LCD screen on back with 100% coverage and an optical viewfinder with 97% coverage.

The 6D’s video skills are on par to the 5D Mark II, with 1080p HD shooting at 24, 25 and 30fps; a choice between ALL-I or inter frame (IPB) compression; time code; and manual audio and exposure controls. The 6D’s built-in WiFi is 802.11 B/G/N capable with a range of 100 feet.

For its built-in GPS, the 6D records longitude, latitude, elevation and universal time code and has GPS logging function. The 6D is built with an aluminum chassis inside but the outer body is made of polycarbonate, making it touch less sturdy than the magnesium alloy-bodied 5D III


September 13th, 2012

Photokina 2012: Nikon Debuts Smaller, 24.3MP Full-Frame D600 DSLR for Photo Enthusiasts

Nikon unveiled a small, full-frame digital SLR for photo enthusiasts and prosumers tonight: the 24.3-megapixel Nikon D600. At 26.8 ounces, the Nikon D600 is 16% lighter than the 36.3MP Nikon D800, which is Nikon’s professional studio, commercial, and landscape photography camera.

The D600 is also slightly smaller physically, than the D800. Dimensions (w x h x d) of the Nikon D600 are 5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 inches, making it just a hair more svelte all around than its stablemate, and more in line with the size of the Nikon D7000, which uses a smaller, APS-C-size image sensor.

The D600 will also be nearly $1,000 cheaper than the D800, when it goes on sale on September 18th for $2,099.95, body only. The DSLR will also be sold as a kit with the AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens for $2,699. (It’s worth noting that tonight’s announcement and next week’s ship date mark one of the quickest product availability turnarounds for a DSLR we have seen in quite some time.)

The Full-Frame Flood
Until earlier this year, no new full-frame, aka 35mm-size image sensor-based digital SLR had been released since 2008. Since the beginning of this year, however, the floodgates have opened for full-frame DSLRs but the Nikon D600 is the first model to be unveiled that does not seem to be aimed directly at a professional photography audience.

Instead, the company is gearing the D600 towards emerging photographers and consumers who want to graduate up from their entry-level DSLRs with APS-C size chips.

The Nikon D600 also appears to use a 24.3MP full-frame (35.9 x 24mm), CMOS image sensor that’s very similar to Sony-manufactured chips in the recently announced Sony A99 DSLR and the Sony RX1 compact camera. Both those models also use 24.3MP full-frame sensors.

At a press preview of the camera earlier today, Nikon officials would not say that the Nikon D600 uses the same chips as the pair of Sonys.

“It’s an original design by Nikon,” Lindsay Silverman, Nikon’s Senior Product Manager for Pro DSLRs said of the full-frame sensor in the D600. “Even though the resolution of one (sensor) to another might be the same, the performance is very different.”

During our hands-on time with a prototype of the D600 today, we were struck by how closely it resembles other recent DSLRs in Nikon’s lineup. (Just.. ya know… slightly smaller and less expensive.) Some of our photos of the camera are included in this story.

The D600 offers an expanded ISO range of 50-25,600; 2,016 pixel, 3D Color Matrix Metering; full 1080p HD video recording at 30p with 20 level audio control and uncompressed output via HDMI; a 39-point AF system with the new MultiCAM 4800FX AF module; Nikon’s Scene Recognition System, and the EXPEED 3 image processor.

The camera offers cropping flexibility, letting photographers shoot in either full-frame FX mode or the smaller, cropped APS-C size DX mode, both for still images or movies. The D600 has a similar control layout to the D800 though a new dial on top of the D600 also features two programmable user settings.

Read the rest of this story here.


September 12th, 2012

Sony Intros New Pro-Level 24.3MP Full-Frame A99 Digital SLR

Sony introduced the 24.3-megapixel A99 tonight, the company’s first pro-level, full frame DSLR after a long hiatus. The A99 will go on sale in October for $2,800, body only.

Sony debuted its previous full-frame camera, the A900, way back in 2008 and a lot has changed in four years. What hasn’t changed, though, is resolution. While the A99’s 24.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS Exmor sensor has just a tick less resolving power than its predecessor, the chip itself has been totally redesigned to produce less noise at high ISOs. (ISO range on the new camera is 100-25,000.)

Like other recent cameras in Sony’s SLT lineup, the A99 uses the company’s Translucent Mirror Technology, which simultaneously directs light to both the image sensor and the Phase Detection AF sensor for faster speeds. On the downside, the technology prevents placing an actual optical viewfinder in the camera but there is Sony’s crisp 2359K-dot, XGA OLED electronic viewfinder, which is clear and accurate.

You can also compose shots using the tilting, 3-inch vari-angle, 912K-dot LCD screen. The A99 boasts a dual autofocus system with 19 points (11 cross points) plus an additional 102 points if you need them. It can shoot at 10fps with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000ths of second.  Other still features include 14-bit RAW output and a new multi-segment low pass filter.

For movies, the A99 can capture full 1080p HD at super smooth 60p and record sound via a built-in stereo microphone. Images and videos can be recorded to two memory slots for SD and/or SD+MS cards. All these features are housed in an extremely light, weather sealed magnesium alloy body.

We got to check out the A99 in person recently. At the top of this story is shot we captured of the new flagship, full-frame DSLR from Sony.

Read more of this story here.