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Multiblitz Glamkit

Friday, October 28, 2011

Multiblitz has recently introduced the Glamkit monolight-battery bundle in the US market. The Glamkit is perfect for glamour and wedding photoshoots. The bundle consists of the TIPA Award winning PROFILUX PLUS studio flash system with a choice of 200 Ws (7 f-stops), 400 Ws (7 f-stops), or 800 Ws (8 f-stops), the Multiblitz PROPAC 1 battery pack, and the 3 ft. octagonal softbox GLAMBOX 90. Priced at $1,899, the Multiblitz Glamkit will be available exclusively in the US market via the Multiblitz USA online store. [Press Release]

Tiltpod Camera Support – Not a tripod

The tripod is one of the great accessories for your camera for rock steady photos, low light/night shots, and also to get yourself in the picture.  The problem is even a miniature tripod is a pain to carry around with you and dig out and attach when you need it.  The Tiltpod hopes to alleviate this issue. Consisting of a rounded stainless steel pivot point and a grippy, magnetic base that holds to  inclined surfaces like  wood and metal, the pivot is either inserted into the normal tripod screw hole on your camera or stuck on if the screw would block the battery/memory door. The base measures  2.125 x 1.5 x 0.25 inches and can be attached via a lanyard to your camera so it's always available.  Connecting the two via the high strength magnet allows the camera to be tilted and adjusted quickly even on uneven surfaces.

It's only designed to work with compact cameras, and I'd be a little wary about putting the magnetic base near your wallet and credit cards.

Available from Amazon for $14.95 (currently with free shipping on two or more).

Fujifilm announced the FinePix JX420, a new affordable 16Mpix Point & Shoot

Fujifilm released this morning in Japan a new 16Mpix compact shooter with the FinePix JX240. Schedule for a launch early November, the JX420 will comes in four different colors including the usual Black, Silver as well as Pink and red for a market price announced at around 13,000 Yen.

The JX420 comes with a 16Mpix CCD, a 28mm Wide lens with a 5x optical Zoom, a 10cm macro mode, an ISO Speed ranging from 100 up to 1600 expendable to 3200, a 2.7" screen, support of SDHC and SD cards, a 720x30p video mode for a total weight of 124g and a size of 95.2×57.2×24.3mm.

Veho VCC-001 Kuzo Ultra Slim Pocket HD Camcorder

This ultra slim pocket HD camcorder ‘VCC-001 Kuzo' from Veho sports a 5.0-megapixel CMOS image sensor, an 8x digital zoom, a 2.5-inch LCD display, an 64MB of flash storage, an SD/SDHC card slot, an MP3 player, a voice recorder, a USB port, an HDMI port and 720p HD video recording capabilities. If you're interested, the VCC-001 Kuzo will set you back $109.99. [Product Page]

Canon EOS-1D X first hands-on

Professional photographers know the drill: every few years, Canon or Nikon announces a game-changing DSLR, often prompting top photogs to unload their complete kits and switch to another system in a never-ending attempt to shoot with the best. This time, Canon is first out of the gate, with its flagship EOS-1D X - the latest in a series that dates back to 2001 with the EOS-1D. As you've probably noticed, the company's new top model looks virtually identical to its decade-old ancestor, but is otherwise a far cry from that four megapixel CCD sensor-sporting dinosaur. We've been anxiously awaiting an opportunity to check out Canon's new $6,800 18.1 megapixel full-frame model since first getting word of the beastly camera last week, and just had a chance to go hands-on during the company's Pro Solutions event in London. Jump past the break for our impressions and a video walkthrough.

Though Canon's 1D series caters to the entire pro gamut, from sports and news photojournalists to wedding and commercial photographers, those two major demographics were previously split between a parallel set of bodies - most recently the EOS-1D Mark IV, which offered high-speed shooting and catered to the former group, and the four-year-old EOS-1Ds Mark III, which packed a full-frame sensor and higher megapixel rating, appeasing commercial shooters who prefer higher-res images over high-speed shooting. The X replaces both models, however, providing enough power for both categories.

Like the nearly identically-sized models that came before, the EOS-1D X is massive. If you haven't already gathered from the price tag, this isn't the camera for your next trip to the beach or even a casual African safari - it's absolutely geared towards pros, who care far more about speed, accuracy and image quality than physical appearance and body size. The X feels very familiar, and since we've shot with every pro model that Canon's released since the 1D, we had no problem picking it up and firing off a few images without taking even a second to get accustomed. It feels heavy - and does in fact have more heft than the models that came before it - there's no question that your arm will get quite a workout during a full day of shooting. For photographers that demand quality, however, that trade-off is expected, and quite worthwhile.

Canon says that it's still a few months out from allowing anyone to shoot and save images from its pre-production models, so we weren't able to walk away with samples, unfortunately. We did take a look at a printed shot at the top native ISO of 51,200, which looked quite crisp and clean, though there was a noticeable jump in noise from an identical frame shot at ISO 25,600. We did notice an element of noise with a grid-like pattern in the higher-sensitivity version, which isn't ideal, but the sample we saw had been shot with a pre-production model, so Canon still has some time to work out any kinks before these hit the assembly line. The top extended ISO is 204,000 (!), which is a full stop higher than the 1D Mark IV - the equivalent of jumping from f/4 to f/2.8, for example - allowing you to get crisp images in very low light. Canon didn't have any images on hand shot at that sensitivity, however.

The X may be virtually identical in size to every previous model in the 1D series, but its button layout has changed a bit. Canon has added dedicated controls at the bottom of the camera, enabling easy access to additional functions when holding it vertically. The system menu has also been completely redesigned, and is simpler to navigate, as you'll see in the gallery below.

We're just as anxious to take home sample images as you are to see them, so we'll be reporting back just as soon as Canon gives us the green light to start shooting. The same goes for 1080x30p video - no samples just yet, but there's no question that the X will be a popular choice among DSLR video shooters as well. Canon U.S. has estimated pricing at $6,800, but currency fluctuations could cause that sticker price to jump between now and the camera's expected March release.

Pentax Q interchangeable lens camera review

Most of the interchangeable lens cameras we've seen to date seem to follow a standard mold: they have similarly sized bodies, comparable designs and either an APS-C or Micro Four Thirds sensor at the core. But recently, some manufacturers - namely, Nikon and Pentax - have begun shrinking camera bodies in an attempt to make them even more appealing to point-and-shoot users. The result: a smaller, lighter, more fashionable ILC - that also happens to have an itsy bitsy image sensor. Sensor size, not megapixel rating, translates directly to image quality, but also lens and body size, so you can either have an incredibly small body with an incredibly small sensor, or a larger body with a larger sensor. Are you willing to pay a premium for the "world's smallest" interchangeable lens camera, even if it has the same size sensor used in many point-and-shoot cams available for a fraction of the cost? Pentax seems to think that you are - to the tune of $800.

The 12.4 megapixel Pentax Q is tiny - it's so small, in fact, that you wouldn't be alone in mistaking it for a toy. There is a fully functional camera inside that petite magnesium alloy housing, though it's admittedly not as powerful as you'd expect an $800 camera to be. The pricey kit ships with an 8.5mm f/1.9 lens, and you can grow your collection from Pentax's modest selection of Q-mount lenses, which also happen to have laughably small focal lengths (a 3.2mm fish eye, anyone?), due to the 1x2.3-inch backlit CMOS sensor's massive 5.5x multiplication factor. So how does the Q fare when it comes to performance and image quality? Jump past the break to find out.

Hardware We would be doing the Pentax Q a disservice by not focusing on its adorably compact size, since, after all, that's by far its strongest selling point. Measuring 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2 inches, the Q is absurdly small - even advanced point-and-shoot cameras like the Canon G12 tower over it. But despite its modest size, the camera is still quite usable, with a handful of dedicated buttons offering direct access to key settings, and a customizable front dial launching a variety of creative modes.

The camera's rear is dominated by a 460,000-dot, 3-inch LCD with a 100-percent field of view and roughly 170-degree viewing angle. The display is recessed slightly, so while you can see it fairly clearly when viewed from above or below, some on-screen indicators may be blocked by the camera housing, depending on the angle. The display is bright enough for use in sunlight, and offers an adjustable color temperature - though you'll want to take any adjustments made into account when previewing white balance settings. Oddly enough, the live and playback images you'll see on the display don't appear very sharp, despite its moderate resolution, making it difficult to use the LCD to manually focus or verify sharpness in playback mode.

To the right of the LCD, you'll find exposure compensation, delete, ISO, info and menu buttons, along with a five-position selector with dedicated buttons for flash mode, ISO, shutter release timer, white balance and an OK button. Up top, there's a flash release, playback and power buttons, and an elevated shutter release. A front dial offers direct access to shooting modes, including auto, program, shutter-priority, aperture-priority, manual, Blur Control and scene modes. An identically sized dial is positioned directly behind, and serves multiple functions depending on the mode - in Blur Control, for example, turning the dial to the right decreases the depth of field (we'll revisit this later on).

There's an SD card slot on the right side of the camera and a battery slot on the left. A micro-HDMI port and proprietary PC / AV connector are secured beneath a protective rubber flap on the button, just to the left of the tripod mount. As you'll find on any ILC, there's a tiny lens release button on the front of the camera - pressing it lets you rotate an attached lens counterclockwise for removal.

Like the Nikon J1, the Q includes a clever retractable flash. Flipping the flash slider releases a three-position arm, allowing the flash to rise above the lens for unobstructed coverage, while reducing the amount of space it occupies when docked to the left of the full-size hot shoe. Unlike the J1, however, the Q's flash also functions while retracted, and you can tilt it vertically as well - overall, it's a very impressive design.

Like any interchangeable lens camera, the Pentax Q is only as good as its glass, and the lens it ships with looks and feels like a showroom mockup. It's constructed of plastic, though it does employ a metal mount. It's so lightweight, however, that you can toss it in your shirt pocket and easily forget that it's there - that would be great if it performed well, but unfortunately that isn't the case.

The Pentax 01 Standard Prime that ships in the box is just one of the five lightweight plastic silver lenses that are compatible with the Q. The 02 Standard Zoom Lens ($300) includes a 27.5-83mm equivalent focal length with an f/2.8-4.5 maximum aperture - it weighs just 3.39 ounces. The 03 Fish-Eye ($130) offers a 17.5mm equivalent focal length and a fixed aperture of f/5.6, while the 04 Toy Lens Wide ($80) offers a 35mm equivalent focal length with an f/7.1 fixed aperture. Looking to have some fun while getting a bit closer to the action? The 05 Toy Lens Telephoto (also $80) packs a 100mm equivalent focal length and an f/8 fixed aperture. That means three out of the five available lenses are intended for casual shooting, though as you'll find after reading the rest of this review, it's quite clear that the Q isn't destined for any pro's kit.

Performance Mediocre cameras don't carry $800 price tags, right? They cost $150, or $99, or $39 in the "As Seen on TV" bin at your local pharmacy. When you spend nearly a grand on a camera, you expect the very best, and we think you should get it just the same. The Pentax Q is not the very best, however. It's small. It's cute. It's diminutive and light enough that a child can likely hold it quite comfortably. But it is not the best. No, not even close.

There's nothing impressive about the Q's performance. It's sluggish to boot and focus, and while it offers a continuous shooting mode that captures up to five frames per second, its buffer only support five continuous captures - in other words, you can capture five frames per second, but only for one second. There's also a 1.5 fps mode that lets you snap 100 consecutive images - both speeds support full resolution JPEGs, though only the slower mode also allows for RAW capture. The Q's boot speed is noticeably slow, taking five full seconds from power-on to first image capture. Shooting a frame after the camera is already on can take up to a second from the time you press the shutter release. In other words, if you're trying to capture a photo in the moment, there's a very good chance it'll be over before the camera even fires (see photo below for an example).

We're also slightly perplexed by a few issues we've had while trying to record video. The first is quite a doozy - fairly often, pressing the shutter release in record mode will simply cause the camera to lock up. A video file is created, but no footage is captured. Pulling out the battery is the only option for recovery, so if you happen upon a scene that you want to capture right away, having a camera that occasionally fails is far from ideal. For example, when "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon was accidentally blasting throughout the newsroom last week, our attempt to capture the excitement was foiled by a Q that decided to get an early start on the weekend, taking a long unapproved nap.

The second issue is also quite significant, but can likely be fixed with a firmware update. Even when holding it perfectly still, the camera appears to be tracking subjects that walk into the frame, resulting in the video to jump to the left or right, as you can see in the clip below. And finally, the Q doesn't begin recording audio immediately at the start of a clip. You can correct this by cutting your clip in a video editor, but the first second or so of each clip gets the silent treatment.

One of the most frustrating performance issues with the Pentax Q is the camera's absolutely pitiful battery life - worse than any cam we've used in recent memory. During one day of shooting, the 940 mAh battery lasted for fewer than two hours, allowing us to capture about 230 photos and roughly five minutes of 720p video. It's lightweight enough to carry around on a full day of touring, but if you tend to shoot more than a couple photos every few minutes, 230 stills certainly won't cut it.

Image quality

When reviewing images produced by the Q, there's nothing to indicate that they were shot with an interchangeable lens camera. Everything in the frame is in focus at f/1.9 - most of the time - though not overwhelmingly sharp. Images shot at lower sensitivity settings (ISO 100-200) appear clean and free of noise, even in the shadows, while noise becomes noticeable though not overpowering at ISO 500, likely due to the camera's auto noise reduction feature, which compensates for noise by reducing sharpness. The built-in flash is small, but reasonably powerful - it was able to light our sizable workroom. The camera did a fine job white balancing in bright daylight, but indoor shooting didn't yield the same result - most images appeared with a slight yellow tint. Images shot in low light were also often out of focus and underexposed. Noise was even an issue outside, as you can see in the image below, shot at ISO 500.

Advanced shooters will be relieved to find that the Q does in fact shoot RAW, even taking its uncompressed shooting abilities a step further, adding the unique option to save a RAW version of the last captured image, even if you're shooting only JPEGs. It won't work for high-speed continuous shooting, but if you happen to snap a frame that you really don't want to lose, but failed to properly adjust the exposure or white balance, you have the option to save a buffered RAW version, essentially letting you step back in time to right a wrong. We haven't found a need for this function during our test shoots, but we can definitely see how it could come in handy at some point. It's a clever addition either way - one that we'd love to see other manufacturers adopt as well.

Shooting modes

The Pentax Q includes auto, shutter- and aperture-priority, program and manual modes, just like any other interchangeable lens camera. But it also features a handful of scene modes - some typical, like macro and Night Scene, but a few that we haven't seen before, like Forest, which "enhances colors of trees and sunbeams through foliage and produces a vivid color image." Hovering over each scene mode brings up a complete description, though most graphics are quite accurate - a fork and knife for the Food shooting mode, for example.

One of the effects synonymous with DSLR shooting is shallow depth of field - crisp subjects with smooth, creamy backgrounds. Despite the kit lens's f/1.9 aperture, however, the Q is quite limited when it comes to this feature, due to its incredibly small sensor. Pentax has added a Blur Control mode to help battle this issue, which contrary to its name doesn't reduce blur, but instead increases the blur amount by capturing multiple frames with different focus positions, compiling them into a single image. You can use the rear "e-dial" to adjust the amount of blur. It works fairly well, keeping your focal point sharp while blurring the rest of the image, but advanced photographers won't have any issue noticing that a digital filter was used.

User interface

For one reason or another, manufacturers always seem to struggle with system menus - even some of the most powerful (and most expensive) DSLRs have frustrating menu layouts that leave you constantly searching for obscure (and even some often-used) settings. The Pentax Q's no-frills interface isn't pretty, but it's generally intuitive and easy to use. The main system menu is arranged on a simple grid. You need only navigate to the left or right to load a new page of settings (there are a total of ten) - scrolling up and down lets you select only the options already visible on the page. Most of the functions have dedicated controls, as we've already outlined, so you should only need to visit the main menu to adjust top-level settings.

The competition

So, you've saved up your $800, and you're ready to buy a new interchangeable lens camera. Do you take the plunge and pick up a tiny Q? Do you opt for a much less expensive point-and-shoot camera with image quality that rivals Pentax's ILC runt? Or do you put it all towards a competitor's model that's not quite as slim, but will almost certainly make up for what it gains in size with excellent performance? If you need a camera to always have around, then you'll probably want to opt for a point-and-shoot, but if you're set on adding a new mirrorless cam to your collection, you're surely not without some top-notch options.

Sony's NEX-C3 has been, and still remains, our first choice in the mirrorless category. While still compact, it's significantly larger than the Pentax Q, though its APS-C-size sensor offers far superior image quality, shallow depth of field and improved low-light performance. Oh, and it costs just $600. While a bit pricier at $900, the Olympus PEN E-P3 remains our second choice, with a top-notch focusing system and an attractive design. And if style's what you're after, we were far from blown away by the Nikon J1's performance, but it's hard to argue that the $600 ILC is ugly. Just don't get it in white (or pink).

Wrap-up Pentax really has managed to design the world's smallest interchangeable lens camera - and yes, it does work. But there's no magic at play here. The Q is small because all of its components were downsized - Pentax took everything from the lens to the image sensor to the mode dial and shutter release and gave them the shrink ray treatment. Everything but the full-size hot shoe, LCD and SD card slot are miniature versions of what you'll find on larger, more capable cameras. The result is an attractive, pocketable ILC that doesn't quite follow its powerful pedigree.

The Q is a very unique camera - one of a kind, even - but that doesn't mean it's the one for you. If money is no object and you're not keen on capturing incredible images and video footage, then perhaps you'll still consider picking up a Q. As for the rest of us - we're perfectly happy with our larger, much more capable ILCs, and wouldn't dare consider making such a sacrifice just to carry a bit less weight on our shoulder.

Go Pro Hero 2

GoPro has just announced its new HD Hero2 camera.  Twice as powerful as the original Hero, it now supports 1080p HD video and 11 megapixel photos.  It has a newly designed 170º wide angle lens and is capable of snapping 10 photos per second.   The GoPros are the camera of choice for adventurers and extreme sports fanatics due to their ruggedness and unique mounting systems.  Also announced was their Wi-Fi Remote and Wi-Fi BacPac  giving the ability to remotely control up to 50 GoPro cameras and allowing live streaming of videos and photos to the web.

Available for $299.99  in 3 starter packs( Outdoor, Motorsports, Surf ) from GoPro's online store and selected retailers.

Fujifilm FinePix JX420 Compact Digicam

Fujifilm is ready to launch the FinePix JX420 16-megapixel compact digicam in the Japanese market. Available in black, silver, pink and red, the camera has a 16-megapixel CCD sensor with a 28mm wide-angle lens, a 5x optical zoom, a 2.7-inch LCD display, up to ISO 1600 (expendable to ISO 3200) and an SDHC/SD card slot. Measuring 95.2mm x 57.2mm x 24.3mm and weighing 124 grams, the Fujifilm FinePix JX420 will be released next month for 13,000 Yen or approx. $170.

Adobe Carousel now available for Mac OS and iOS

Adobe Carousel, Adobe's new photo editing and sharing app that's based off Adobe Lightroom was announced in September, and after more than a month of waiting, the app is finally available to the public. In case you're unfamiliar with Carousel, it is an app that lets users access their entire photo library from their iOS devices or Mac OS computers without having to worry about manual syncing. A lot of times we can take photographs on our various devices and forget to transfer them to our main computers, and sometimes they end up being forgotten. With Carousel, Adobe aims to solve that problem.

But Carousel doesn't just help you automatically sync photographs, the app can also be used to edit the pictures, i.e. adjusting exposure, shadows, highlights, white balance, vibrance, clarity and contrast, preset “Looks” and more. And what's great about the app is that it automatically saves your edits across all devices as well - Carousel makes having to remember to sync a thing of the past.

While the Adobe Carousel apps are free (currently available for Mac OS and iOS only - Android and Windows support in 2012), the service costs $99.99/year or $9.99/month thought Adobe is having an introductory promotion until January 31st where you can use the Carousel service for $59.99/year or $5.99. Find out more.

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2x25 Wide-Angle Lens

Carl Zeiss has just unveiled their newest wide-angle lens, the Distagon T* 2x25. Available in both Canon (ZE) and Nikon (ZF.2) versions, this new 25mm lens offers a maximum aperture of f/2, a diagonal angle-of-view of 81 degrees and a filter thread size of 67mm. The Distagon T* 2x25 will start shipping by the end of the year for 1,217 Euro / $1,726 (excluding VAT). [PhotographyBlog]

Canon S100 hands-on

We managed to sneak in a bit of hands-on time with the Powershot S100 here at PhotoPlus in Manhattan.The followup to Canon's S95 is a fairly slick point-and-shoot. It's not the most compact camera in its space, but the new Powershot is surprisingly lightweight. It's got a healthy 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor with improved low-light performance and a 5x optical zoom, the latter of which could certainly do with a bump. The S100 captures 1080p HD video and sports a convenient, dedicated movie button (no switching modes here). The high-end point-and-shoot doesn't pack too many surprises, but it certainly seems like a worthy successor to the highly-regarded S95. Sadly, Canon still wouldn't commit to a firm release date, only saying that it's due out in November for around $430.

YouTube could be launching original content channels next week

With more of us watching videos on the go, streaming from Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, we guess it's a natural progression that eventually production studios start turning their attention at producing shows designed for these media outlets, and according to the Wall Street Journal, YouTube could finally be launching their professionally produced, original content channels next week.

This move by YouTube was announced earlier this year, with YouTube pledging to spend about $100 million in creating original content for their site. This original content will be created in partner with several of the major media companies, such as IAC/InterActiveCorp.'s Electus, News Corp.'s ShineReveille, RTL Group's FremantleMedia, along with some celebrity names like Tony Hawk and the creator of the CSI series, Anthony Zuiker.

What sort of original content will be created still remains unknown, and it is unclear if YouTube will start charging for access to these original content channels, or if they will keep to their model and just rely on advertisements for their revenue stream. Either way we guess we will wait until next week to see if this piece of news pans out.

RoundFlash, A Ring-Flash and Soft-Box in One

It's round. It's a flash. It's RoundFlash!

The RoundFlash is — not surprisingly — a round flash. To be more specific, it's a tent-like collapsible ring-flash adapter that also works somewhat like a softbox. The trouble is, the results aren't really what you'd expect from either.

A ring flash is a donut of light that sits around the camera's lens. Because the light comes from all directions, the shadows cancel each other out. Almost: One of the signs of a ring flash is a dark halo of shadow around the edge of the subject.

A softbox works by making the light much bigger, thus softening the shadows it casts and flattering the subject.

The RoundFlash kind of does both, but ends up looking a lot like a regular on-camera flash with a diffuser. A few of the sample shots are impressive, though, and if you regard this as whole new kind of light modifier then you're likely to have some fun.

The unit weighs just 227 grams, or 8 ounces, and folds out from a pocket-sized pouch into a 44cm (17-inch) diameter cylinder. It's held taught by removable rods, like a tent, and is light enough to just slip over the lens and flash and hang there via its pentagram-shaped web of shock cords.

I'd certainly play around with one. Or rather, I'd certainly consider making my own, as the RoundFlash costs $160. Available now.

RoundFlash product page [RoundFlash via PetaPixel]

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Lens Price Cut

The Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM ultra wide-angle lens is now available for just $2,199. FYI, the original price was $2,359, so you can save $160. The lens features completely redesigned optics such as two high-precision Aspherical elements and two UD-glass elements. These redesigned optics enables the lens to provide a better contrast and sharpness at the outer edges, as well as a reduction in chromatic aberrations. [Product Page]

Nikon Coolpix L21 8MP Digital Camera For Only $79

Here's another hot deal from Amazon, they're offering you this Nikon Coolpix L21 for only $79 (normal price $179.95), meaning you could save up to $100.95. This compact camera features an 8.0-megapixel image sensor, a 3.6x optical zoom lens, a 2.5-inch 230k-dot TFT LCD display, an SD/SDHC card slot and can capture 640 x 480 video at 30fps. [Product Page]

Lytro Camera, More Like Kaleidoscope, Unveiled

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Lytro camera, which has the power to fix the image's focus after it shoots, was formally introduced by no less than its CEO and originator Ren Ng at an event in San Francisco. In the traditional sense, the Lytro comes with a lens and LCD screen, but it is designed very much like a kaleidoscope.

The “camera” measures 4.4 inches long, weighs just 8 ounces, and features an F/2 lens with 8x zoom on one side and a 1.46-inches LCD touchscreen that lets you frame the shot and browse previous images. The device only has two buttons, one for the shutter and another to turn the camera on or off, as well as a slider for zoom.

The Lytro will comes in two models: The 8GB version, which comes in blue or gray and holds 350 shots for $399; and the red 16GB version that holds 700 images for $499. This makes the camera eat about 22 megabytes per shot, similar to many RAW shots of today's DSLRs. These images can be hosted on Lytro's website for free.

Shipping is expected in early 2012. It is now available for pre-order at Lytro's site.

DXG-5F9V makes home video memories a 1080p HD affair, 3D glasses not required

Who said all the 3D perks had to be reserved for Hollywood? DXG's making the home video fun a virtual en vivo experience with the release of its 3D and 2D camcorder, set to hit the company's online store today. For $299, you're getting a 5 megapixel still camera and glasses-free, 1080p HD video recording at 30fps, viewable on either the handheld's autostereoscopic 3.2-inch LCD display or the flatscreen of your choosing via an included HDMI cable. The DXG-5F9V only ships with 128MB of storage inbuilt, so if you're aiming to immortalize your Jackass-worthy shenanigans, you'll want to secure a 32GB SD card for additional capacity. With the holidays fast approaching, this might be your best bet to relive those looks of disappointment on Christmas morning.

The Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium: for people who prefer it pointed at them

Oh Leica, what do you take us for? First, you re-branded a Panasonic LX5 and sold it as the "D-Lux 5" with an inflated price tag. Now, you're releasing the aging ten megapixel, 1x1.63-inch (read: small) CCD shooter yet again, but this time with an anodized titanium coating and an apparently unmentionable rrp. The $26,500 M9 Titanium at least had a full frame sensor, but this latest release proves that your corrosion-resistant dimorphic allotropes are only skin-deep.

Samsung MultiView MV800 Camera Released In India

The Samsung MultiView MV800 digital camera is currently available in India. It has a 3-inch wide flip-out MultiView touch display that allows you to capture the perfect self-portrait or extreme low- and high-angled shots. The camera also features a 16.1-megapixels CCD sensor, a 5x optical zoom lens, 720p video recording capabilities and an ISO sensitivity up to 3200. The Samsung MV800 retails for Rs. 15,990 or around $320. [SammyHub]

Vivitar DVR528R-TA HD Camcorder

Check out this budget-friendly HD camcorder from Vivitar, the DVR528R-TA. Priced at only $49.99, this compact video camera sports a 5.1-megapixel image sensor, an 8x digital zoom, a 2.0-inch color TFT-LCD screen, a 32MB of internal memory, an SD card slot, a built-in speaker, a USB 2.0 port and 720p HD video recording capabilities (30fps). [Product Page]

Cross Section Shows Lytro Light Field Camera's Insides

The Lytro camera features an '11 megaray' sensor

The funniest thing about the new Lytro Light Field Camera is the obsession with megapixels. Despite the fact that the megapixel myth has long been shattered, people still want to know many pixels the Lytro's sensor contains.

This seems absurd. The Lytro — which lets you refocus photos after you have snapped them — may use a standard sensor underneath its fancy micro-lens array, but it uses this information to feed the “Light Field Engine” that actually creates the image. Counting pixels in this case is like counting the bristles on an artist's paint brush.

Which brings us to this cool cutaway picture of the Lytro's insides, which shows us the ƒ2 lens, the sensor itself and the mystery-meat Light Field Engine. It looks a lot like a standard camera design on the inside, with only the outside sporting an unusual, flashlight-like design.

We can also guess at the physical size of the sensor. Michael Zhang of PetaPixel did the math, measuring the image and comparing it to the size of the camera as listed in Lytro's specs. He puts the sensor at between 7.5 and 10.5mm on a side, similar to those used in high-end compacts.

There is one spec for the number weenies, though. Lytro's blurb lists the resolution of the camera as “11 megarays.” That makes it sound like something Ming the Merciless would unleash on the world. Awesome.

The Science Inside Lytro [Lytro via PetaPixel]

Leica-Like: The Leather-Clad Fujifilm X100 Special Edition

'Call that a camera? This is a camera.' The special edition, leather-clad Fujifilm X100 is the camera Crocodile Dundee would carry

You know how the Fujifilm X100 looks suspiciously similar to a certain brand of rangefinder cameras? Well, it just got even more blatant about copying the Leica look, and this 200-strong special edition is almost Samsung-esque in its copyist ambitions. It is also very, very hot.

The camera is a stock X100, complete with the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder everybody is so excited about. The difference is that the special edition is swaddled in light tan leather, and comes with a matching leather case.

The camera has been announced on Fujifilm's Facebook page, and is devoid of pricing information. Don't expect it to cost the same $1,200 as the regular version, but don't expect it to reach the $20,000+ heights of Leica limited editions either.

If you want one, you'll have to fly to Hong Kong, or be prepared to pay a premium to somebody on Ebay.

Fujifilm X100 SE [Facebook]

Samsung ES-ST90 14.2MP Digital Camera On Sale For $98

Normally priced at $149, the Samsung ES-ST90 is currently on sale over at Amazon for $98, meaning you could save up to $51 (34%). This slim camera (16.5mm thick) sports a 14.2-megapixel image sensor, a 26mm wide-angle lens, a 5x optical zoom lens, a 3.0-inch color LCD display, a 32MB of internal memory, a microSDHC card slot and 720p HD video recording capabilities (30fps). [Product Page]

Hoya PRO1 Digital ND32 And ND64 Neutral Density Filters Now Available Stateside

THK Photo Product has announced the availability of the new HOYA PRO1 Digital ND 32 and ND64 neutral density filters in the US market. Both DSLR camera lens filters feature the DMC multi-coating to reduce reflections. The ND32 is a 5-stop neutral density filter, while the ND64 is a 6-stop neutral density filter. No word on pricing at this time. [PhotographyBLOG]

Sony NEX-7 Menu and Control Overview Video

Steve Huff from STEVEHUFFPHOTO.com has just made a new video ‘Menu and Control Overview' of the Sony NEX-7. You could check it out after the break. As a quick reminder, this compact camera sports a 24.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, a 3.0-inch Xtra Fine 921k dots LCD monitor, an OLED electronic viewfinder, Sony's BIONZ image processor, 3D Sweep Panorama mode and 1080x60p Full HD video capture.

Lomography La Sardina Pattern Collection

Lomography has recently released four film cameras, which are part of the La Sardina Pattern Collection. Dubbed as the Domino, Mobius, Quadrat and Cubic, these new 35mm film cameras support multiple exposures on a single frame using an independent MX switch and feature a 22mm f/8 wide-angle lens. If you are interested, you can buy the Lomograpy La Sardina Pattern Collection at the Lomography online store.

GoPro launches HD Hero2 helmet cam, announces video streaming Wi-Fi pack for winter

Want to catch every frame of your next extreme sports wipeout in all of its grotesque glory? GoPro knows where you're coming from, and has updated its line of high definition helmet cams to help you capture every bone-breaking moment. The HD Hero2 competitively boasts that it's twice as powerful its 2009 predecessor, the original HD Hero. The new helmet cam promises to capture 1080p 16:9 footage from atop your sweaty noggin at both narrow (90-degree), wide (170-degree) and medium (127-degree) angles, and can snap up to ten 11 megapixel photos per second. The camera's mini-HDMI port, composite out, USB, SD card and HERO ports will help you share the spoils of your spills when your adventure ends - at least until this winter, when GoPro's WiFi BacPac promises to enable live broadcasting and camera control over WiFi. Best of all? The Hero2 kills the original HD Hero's confusing 3-digit code interface in favor of a simple language-based menu.

The HD Hero2 comes in three $300 configurations: outdoor, motorsports, and surf editions, all of which are compatible with existing accessories. Too rich for your blood? Then you'll be happy to know that the previous models are getting price drops - $200 for the original HD Hero and a paltry $150 for its "960" variant. Hit the break for the official PR and a full list of features.

Fujifilm X100 gets a special edition

What is a classic textbook case of increasing the sales figure of a particular piece of hardware before a successor is released? Why, roll out a limited or special edition of the current model – it is that easy. Nintendo's been doing it with great success for a long time now, and perhaps Fujifilm wants to follow suit with a special edition of their Fujifilm X100. The imaging company's Facebook page shows off the special edition of their X100 camera model, where only 200 of these puppies will be released.

What other hardware changes will there be, if any? Sorry to disappoint you, but the only ‘special' thing about this special edition would be the tan leather on the case, as well as a leather case to match the original, making it look as though it was some distant relative of a Leica camera at times.

Just in case you cannot remember the hardware specifications of the X100, here they are – this is a 12.3-megapixel shooter with an APS-C CMOS sensor, sporting an EXR processor and a 23mm F2 Fujinon lens, a hybrid viewfinder and a 2.8″ LCD display. Fujifilm has slapped a $1,200 price tag on this special edition model if you are interested.

DV70 HD Family Camcorder

Check out this affordable HD family camcorder from Chinavasion, the DV70. Priced at only $99.78, this video camera sports a 5.0-megapixel CMOS image sensor, a 3.0-inch flip out LCD touchscreen display, a 32MB of internal memory, an SD/SDHC card slot (up to 16GB), a USB 2.0 port, a TV-out, an HDMI port, a rechargeable 1230mAh Li-ion battery and 720p HD video recording capabilities (30fps). [Product Page]

Fujifilm X100 Special Edition

Fujifilm is ready to launch the X100 Special Edition. For your info, the camera features an exclusive tan leather casing and a leather carrying case. The Fujifilm X100 Special Edition comes equipped with a hybrid viewfinder that works in both optical and electronic modes. The camera also supports a 12.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor that is combined with an EXR processor, a 23mm F2 Fujinon lens, a 2.8-inch LCD display, an ISO range of 200 to 6400 and a memory card slot. Fujifilm will release only a limited number of just 200 Fujifilm X100 cameras. Unfortunately, there is no info on pricing so far. [DeviceMag]

200-inch auto-stereoscopic Full HD 3D display from NICT and JVC Kenwood

NICT and JVC Kenwood have pitted their brains together to roll out the 200″ auto-stereoscopic Full HD 3D display that is touted to show video from 57 – yes, count ‘em, 57 different angles! Basically, this means different people are able to walk right around the screen and actually see around corners or even better – behind objects.

According to a representative, this is what he had to say about this revolutionary new display, “This display lets you watch video from 57 different angles. And no matter which angle you're viewing from, you can see a Full High Definition resolution image. With an ordinary display, the viewing range is basically around 180 degrees, but with this one, it's 13 degrees, which is very narrow. But within that range, for example if you look from the right edge, and from the left, you can see the picture from different angles. So for example, if you're looking at a square box, you can see the sides at well.”

It will require Incredible Hulk to move such a massive display – the entire setup will tip the scales at around half a ton, where a condenser lens works to focus light in order to create a sharp image, while a special diffuser film helps lower the horizontal diffusion angle so that a smooth transition is created between the different viewing angles. I can't wait to see such a setup used for advertising purposes – it'd clearly blow the mind away.

Hasselblad H4X makes a brief appearance


Is it just me, or do companies love to tease their fans by putting up an image or placeholder of a yet unreleased device if only but for a moment, only to pull it down afterwards when some buzz about the particular subject is up? I guess so, especially when you consider Hasselblad putting up the H4X for a while over at their website, complete with the description below.

"The H4X provides a fantastic successor or upgrade to your H1 or H2/H2F body and supports all H System lenses, most third party backs*, and even features a film back option. The H4X also provides a technological bridge to our faithful H1 and H2/H2F customers enabling them to take advantage of all the features that photographers have come to expect from a Hasselblad H4 series camera, including Hasselblad's world-acclaimed True Focus technology, which allows you to concentrate completely on creativity without worrying about focus mechanics, and the ability to use the HVD 90x viewfinder optimized for the 36x48mm format."

A cached version of the website is already stored on Google's servers, yet again proving the point that the Internet has a memory now. Why not just roll out the press release already!

GoPro Hero2: Faster, Bigger, WiFi-er

Tough, good-looking and versatile. The new Hero2 is the James Bond of cameras

GoPro has launched a big update to its sports cam line. The HD Hero2 jumps from 5MP to 11MP, will shoot 1080p video at all angles of view (90, 127 and 170-degrees) and can now beam video via Wi-Fi to a new accessory.

Apart from being rugged and sport-friendly, the Hero line will also mount on just about anything. Reflecting this, the camera can be had in three $300 kits: Outdoor, Motorsports and Surf. These give various combinations of fixings: helmet mounts adhesive pads, bungee cords, pivot-arms, a waterproof housing and even the terrifying-sounding “floaty backdoor.”

Thus secured, the camera will shoot action video and output it through a new mini HDMI port and slurp sound through a jack for an external mic. And if the situation is too dangerous for actual people, the soon-to-be-launched BacPac will come in handy. This clips to the back of the Hero2 and not only streams live video but allows remote control via smartphone app (you'll need to have some kind of Wi-Fi network to use it).

The GoPro Hero2 HD is available now, BacPac coming soon.

Hero2 HD product page [GoPro]

Wi-Fi BacPac product page [GoPro]

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