Showing posts from July, 2009

Nikon make D3000 and D300s a reality

After months of rumor and speculation, Nikon has today officially released the entry-level D3000 and D300s. Announced alongside are two lenses, both updates to existing models; the long-rumored AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G VRII, and the AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II.

Despite a ground swell calling for the company to release new primes, no fixed focal length lenses were announced at this time.

Nikon UK press release:

The DSLR made simple

D3000 body only: £429.99 /€522.00
D3000 + 18-55mm VR: £499.99 / €607.00
Sales start date: 28th August 2009

Nikon UK is pleased to announce its simplest, most accessible DSLR to date, the D3000. The new model is packed with user friendly, intuitive features which have been designed to guide DSLR first timers towards capturing professional looking images at the click of a button.

Jordi Brinkman, Product Manager for Nikon Europe says: “The D3000 dispels the view that DSLR cameras are complicated and makes taking great …

Leica announce S-system availability and pricing

Leica Camera has today announced pricing and availability of the eagerly-awaited medium-format Leica S2 system. Originally slated for a September release, the first shipment is expected in October, with the S2 camera body retailing at £15,966 inc VAT (at 15-percent)/€18,624 /$22,759. Announced Sept 2008, the 37.5 megapixel Leica S2 DSLR has a 30x45mm sensor (1.5x the size of a 35mm FF sensor) in a highly portable 35mm-sized body.
Leica Camera also announced the S2 will be fully supported by a professional users servicing scheme, the details of which have to still to be confirmed. Jon Sareen, UK commercial manager, Leica S-System, added, "The eagerly-anticipated Leica S-System is a very new and different challenge for Leica Camera Ltd, in comparison to other products in our range. We have engaged new experts, and arrangements regarding leasing and rental facilities are well under way. Service and support will be very hot topics for Leica S-System users, and we can confirm that we…

Canon announce new Hybrid IS system

Canon has today announced the development of a new Hybrid IS (Image Stabilization) system that compensates for both rotational movement (tipping or pitching) as well as linear movement (caused by shaking, or vibration). Existing anti-shake systems reduce blur caused by horizontal and vertical (linear) movement only. Canon say the new Hybrid IS system will be introduced in a DSLR lens sometime before the end of this year.

Canon EF lens range, 2008
My own thoughts are that we'll see this implemented in a new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L first. Alongside the 16-35mm f/2.8, this lens type is by far the most important and widely used among professional photographers and is often showcased by manufacturers. Shortages and rumors of an update have been circulating on this lens for sometime (as have that of the Nikon equivalent, who won't want to be seen to lag too far behind again).
We will then most likely see the systematic updating of every current IS lens, and after starting with the 70-200m…

Induro C414 tripod review

Serious competition, the Induro C414
Induro C414 $669 / £460 (inc VAT), head extra

SPEC (exc ball-head)

Max Height (column down): 66.8 in (170cm)
Max Height (column up): 77.2 in (196cm)
Min Height: 23.1 in (58cm)
Leg Sections: 4
Closed Length: 25.2 in (64cm)
Weight: 6.2 lbs (2.8kg)
Load capacity: 26.5 lbs (12kg)

Quality 5/5
Features & Design 4/5
Value for Money 5/5
Overall 4.5/5

The Induro C414 is the top-of-the-range model with 4-section legs and column made of carbon fiber while the body casting is magnesium alloy for low weight. Both the tubing and twist lock leg design resemble that of Gitzo, as does the build quality generally. In terms of tubing diameter the legs fall somewhere between the 3 and 5-series carbon fiber Gitzo in size (series 4 is aluminium). It’s very impressive.

Like the pricey rival, the C414 uses the usual three-position lock for adjusting the leg spread, up to a full 80 degrees from closed to nearly horizontal. This allows a good deal of versatilit…

Olympus Pen advert

While we wait for the Pen to arrive, I thought I would post an advert for it. According to several sites, the original idea can be attributed elsewhere (look for 'Stop motion with wolf and pig'), but it's still neat all the same. Must admit my attention wanes after a minute twenty, but you've got to like it up to there. Catchy tune too, don't you think?

Olympus E-P1 review coming shortly

Just had an email from Olympus this morning (yes it's Sunday morning here in the UK) to say an E-P1 is coming my way. Another camera to add to the long list of reviews, but the Pen will be with us shortly and we hope to post some comparisons with a Leica M8.2. Check back later in the week.

Induro tripod reviews coming soon

Induro CX213 + Markins M10

I've been testing some Induro tripods and I'm mightily impressed. The above is the Carbonflex CX213 complete with a Markins M10 Q-ball, RRS plate and Pentax K-7 with 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited. I hope to post a short review later today, or tomorrow. Also to be reviewed is the top-of-the-range C414.

Update August 01, 2009: The C414 review can be found here.

Pentax K-7 HDR examples

Pentax K-7 + 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited, HDR capture 'Strong'
With all its exposure mode options, many unique to Pentax (such as Sv, TAv and Hyper Program choices including options for the program lines), the new K-7 is a sweet camera for sure. I was also intrigued by the HDR (High Dynamic Range) option.
Somewhat clumsily selected from the main menu, this feature allows the K-7 to take three successive shots (JPEG only) using either Standard or Strong options and processes them in-camera to deliver a single HDR image.
I've posted some examples and comparisons above and below, and while the results are mixed (the softness is due to some movement in the trees - it was a little windy), the feature is an interesting addition; I've just got to find the right subject for it.

Pentax K-7+ 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited, HDR capture 'Standard'
Pentax K-7 + 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited, HDR 'Off' , additional D-range settings off.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of shortcomings…

Julius Shulman passes away, aged 98

Julius Shulman, one of the most influential architectural photographers of the modernist era, has died at the age of 98.

(Taschen) - A resident of Los Angeles since 1920, Julius Shulman documented modernist architecture in Southern California and across the globe for nearly eight decades. His images of Pierre Koenig's Case Study House No. 22 (1960) in Los Angeles and Richard J. Neutra's Kaufmann House (1947) in Palm Springs are among the most recognizable and iconic architectural photographs of the 20th century. Shulman's interest in photography developed into a career when he photographed Neutra's Kun Residence in Los Angeles with his Kodak Vestpocket camera in 1936. Neutra admired young Shulman's images and continued to commission his work. Other leading architects of the time followed suit, as did hundreds of magazines, newspapers, and book publishers. Shulman's numerous awards include the Architectural Photography Medal from the American Institute of Archite…

Olympus outs Stylus Tough 6010

Olympus has added a new 12mp Mju model to the range that's claimed to be waterproof (to 10M), freeze-proof and shock-proof. Known as the Mju Tough 6010 in Europe, it's also known as the Stylus Tough 6010 in the USA. This model appears to replace the 10-megapixel Mju/Stylus Tough 6000.

Press release:

The µ TOUGH with Magic Filters

The Olympus µ TOUGH-6010: an action hero

London, 17 July 2009 – From adrenaline packed days to activities with the family, the Olympus µ TOUGH-6010 is ready for action. Whether enjoying a day at the beach or out carving on the slopes, this 12 Megapixel powerhouse is the ultimate companion. Shockproof, waterproof, and freezeproof just like the rest of the µ TOUGH series, it ensures extreme fun. Aspiring artists can even find their fill with a new set of Magic Filters. Featuring a 3.6x wide optical zoom, the µ TOUGH-6010 is of course also packed with the latest in Olympus opto-digital technology. Boasting everything from Dual Image Stabilisation to Tap Cont…

Hasselblad ships HCD 35-90mm f/4-5.6 zoom

Hasselblad has announced the new HCD 35-90mm f/4-5.6 zoom, introduced at Photokina, is now shipping. For more info, including stockists, please follow the link.

New Nikon D300S to be announced shortly?

Source, Nikon Rumors
I don't normally report on scuttlebut*, but the Nikon Rumors site is showing photos of the long-wished for HD video equipped D300s. Guess it won't be long before we'll find out if this and the D3000 are real or vapour-ware.
What I really would prefer to see are some new fixed focal length primes. The thing is that Nikon has positioned their pro-level bodies as 35mm full-frame (FX format) cameras and are unlikely (or able) to split resources introducing DX (APS-C) format primes.
Sure, we've seen the 35mm f/1.8 DX (50mm equivalent) introduced recently, but it's a damage limitation exercise. New primes, of interest to pros and enthusiasts, will likely be FX format.
That's the problem when you run two formats, and why makers like Pentax are able to channel their efforts into lenses like the DA (APS-C) format Limited lens range.
Makes it difficult for people to choose, doesn't it?

* Navy slang for hearsay.

Along the Water's Edge: The photographs of Tim Wolcott

Big Bear Lake Gallery owner and fine art photographer, Tim Wolcott, has today announced the availability of his new book, Along the Water's Edge. With essays by Michael Reichmann publisher of the Luminous Landscape website and writer Matthew Jaffe, formerly senior writer at Sunset Magazine, Along the Water's Edge features striking photographs taken over the last 20 years of some of America's most beguiling lakes, rivers, waterfalls and oceans.

Big Bear Lake, CA (PRWEB) July 15, 2009 -- Along the Water's Edge, published by the Gallery of the American Landscape, is a volume of exceptional photographs made over the past twenty years. Timothy Wolcott, a fine art landscape photographer and pioneer in pigment photography, has captured images of rivers, streams, waterfalls and oceans like you have never seen them. Shooting with medium and large format camera systems, Wolcott's talents for composition and timing evoke the elusive spirit of a place.

Tim is considered one of t…

NAPP announce World Wide Photo Walk

15th July 2009, London:
This Saturday, NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Pros) –co-sponsored by Adobe - has organised a worldwide event – over 900 photo walks (33 across UK and Ireland), an expected 17,000 photographers will attend with over 1 million photos taken all on the same day.

What: Photo Walk - social event, photographers walk the streets, shoot photos, interact with other photographers

NAPP –co-sponsor Adobe- is hosting its second-annual day

Post-walks, photographers will process photos in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and post to NAPP site for a chance to win a grand prize.

Last year, more than 1,017,125 photos were taken on walks that day

Where: Taking place across the world, 900 walks worldwide, 411 outside US, 33 locations across UK & Ireland

When: SATURDAY – 18 July 2009 - same day worldwide, different times - each Photo Walk lasts 2 hours

How much: FREE!
For further details please visit here.

James Ravilious: An English Eye exhibition at National Theatre

The National Theatre on the south bank has a rather timely exhibition of James Ravilious' English Eye. It's open from 13th July through to 13th September.

For more details visit the NT here.

Buy a Hasselblad H3DII and meet Buzz

Hasselblad are celebrating the 40 year anniversary of the lunar landing (and the launch of the new H3DII-60) by inviting a limited number of photographers to meet Buzz Aldrin and the Hasselblad design team at the Kennedy Space Centre. For more details including qualification (you'll need to buy a H3DII 50 / 60; no trifling matter in itself, before the 21 August) follow this link.

Portrait Professional Studio 8 review

Anthropics’ Portrait Professional enhancement software sounds promising but is there a place for another retouching utility?

Professional Standard £39.95 (£34.74 plus VAT @ 15 percent)
Professional Studio £59.95 (£52.13 plus VAT @ 15 percent)
Anthropics Technology 0870 2247990,
System Requirements
Intel Mac & OS X 10.4 or later, Windows Vista, XP, or 2000


Handling 4/5
Spec 4/5
Performance 4/5
Value for Money 5/5
Overall 4/5

With the release of version 8.0, Anthropics’ Portrait Professional image enhancement utility adds overdue support for the Mac OS, and a host of new and improved benefits over previous versions. If you’re not familiar with the software, the simple to use retouching utility analyses an image and applies correction and enhancement filters based on a number of criteria within a database of facial features.

Garnered from extensive scientific study at various respected universities in the U…

Mikhael Subotzky wins Leica Oskar Barnack Award, 2009

copyright, Mikhael Subotzky
9 July 2009: Leica Camera has announced that this year’s prestigious ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Award’ has been awarded to photographer Mikhael Subotzky.
The 28-year-old’s prize-winning portfolio, entitled ‘Beaufort West’, impressed the panel of judges – which included the internationally known singer and Leica photographer Seal – for its scenes from the South African town of the same name.
Second place in this year’s competition was taken by Dominic Nahr. The Swiss-born photographer was awarded the new ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award’ for his photographic essay from the Congo, entitled ‘The Road to Nowhere’.
The images captured by Mikhael Subotzky amply document the main feature of Beaufort West: the main N1 national road, connecting Johannesburg and Cape Town. For many of the residents, the road is their only connection to the outside world, where, in the evening hours, many residents line the sides of the road to peddle their wares to travellers. Mikhael Subot…

An English Eye: The Photographs of James Ravilious

James Ravilious was one England's greatest photographers, yet he and his work remains largely unknown. Coming late to photography in life, he devoted his last 17 years to documenting a small community in north Devon, contributing over 80,ooo photos to a project that later became known as the Beaford Archive.
The collection, one of the most extensive in the country, revealed a way of life that many, myself included, thought had long disappeared.
Back in print as a paperback, due largely to a recent and compelling BBC documentary, An English Eye: The Photographs of James Ravilious, promises to be a real treat, and I've got it on my list. Ravilious was no ordinary documentary photographer, he elevated his work to an art-form, that, to my mind, parallels Cartier-Bresson.
Amazon US: An English Eye: The Photographs of James Ravilious

Amazon UK: An English Eye: The Photographs of James Ravilious

Topaz Fusion Express brings Aperture compatibility to the Topaz Photoshop plug-ins free of charge

Topaz Labs has today announced the availability of Fusion Express, a free Apple Aperture plug-in that allows the use of Topaz image adjustment plug-ins normally intended to be used with Photoshop. If you use Aperture and Topaz plug-ins, you can download the free Fusion plug-in and start using it immediately.

For those not using the Topaz plug-ins yet, use the coupon code “NEWFUSION” for an instant 15% off of the Photoshop bundle. (Expires Aug 1 09.)

For more information including including the free Fusion download please see the link below.


Free shoulder strap offer when buying new Quantum Turbo battery

Quantum distributor Flaghead Photographic is giving away a FREE shoulder strap with the purchase of certain Quantum batteries.

Anyone buying a new Quantum Turbo, Turbo SC, Turbo 2x2, QB1+ and QB2 battery pack from an authorized UK retailer will receive a FREE Quantum shoulder strap QB60, worth £21.85 + Vat.

The strap is made from black leather with ballistic nylon end pieces.

The Quantum QB60 shoulder strap is available separately at £21.85 + Vat from Quantum retailers, see WWW.FLAGHEAD.CO.UK for details.

Leica makes D-Lux 4 Safari official

Pictures have been circulating the interweb for ages, but today Leica finally make the existance of the olive green D-Lux 4 Safari official:

7 July 2009: Leica Camera will launch the limited edition LEICA D-LUX 4 SAFARI this Autumn.

From Scotland to South Africa, from London to Lima – the new LEICA D-LUX 4 in Safari Green is the perfect companion for urban, rural or adventure safaris alike. With a slick, anodised aluminium green body, and contrasting chrome lens, this camera not only feels and looks good but also packs a photographic punch.

The LEICA D-LUX line has already received rave reviews, guaranteeing outstanding picture quality each time thanks to a high performance lens and fast image processing.

So what are you waiting for? Book your Autumn trip away and grab a LEICA D-LUX 4 SAFARI whilst you can, the hottest arm accessory in the coolest colour this season. The LEICA D-LUX 4 SAFARI will be a timeless addition to any collection – a limited edition camera that is built to last, …

New Nikon Next website launched

Nikon have launched a new website showcasing talent from around the globe as well as including some insights to the company.

While obviously a marketing led exercise, I always think it bodes well to see directors taking a personal interest in the products that represent the company's heritage.
Maybe that's why we have the D3 and D3x now, but there's no saying what's coming next.
Incidentally, the Nikon F eyelevel in the foreground is a very early example, No 6400078 (I think it said in the text). Either way the first 300 models are said to be unique using the Nikon SP's fabric shutter, wind-on lever and other components.
Subsequent models dropped the fabric shutter for the titanium foil type that was also used on the later F2, and F3 models, albeit slightly modified.
You can see the rangefinder Nikon SP behind and to the right of the model F. Although I own one of the first 3000 in chrome, complete with the first version 5cm f/2 'tick mark' lens. I for one wo…

Apple Juicz; refreshing the parts of your MacBook Pro that others can't reach

That title is probably misquoted, but Peartree Photo, one of the few official Leaf dealers in the UK are promoting a external battery pack for those power-hungry MacBook Pro's (mine never strays further than the length of the power-cable to the wall-socket).

Called apple juicz, the system is meant to remove the nightmare of power management when proofing and editing on location. It's claimed to deliver up to 8 hours power to the 17-inch MBP, and 10 hours for the 13 and 15-inch models.

There's no mention of weight or size (lets hope for your assistants' sake the picture above isn't to scale) but the system can provide as many 1000 recharge cycles and costs £450, presumably excluding our beloved VAT. For further information call Peartree Photo on 020 7033 7371or email them on info (at)

Hasselblad intros 39MP back for V-series

Hasselblad announced, on 26 June, the CFV-39, a new 39-megapixel back for the V-system cameras. Not only is it designed to match the appearance of the classic V- system, it has a rectangular 36.7 x 49.0 mm sensor (100-per-cent larger than a 35mm full-frame DSLR), with a lens factor of 1.1x. A second shooting option using a square format produces a 5412 x 5412 pixel (29-megapixel) image with a lens factor of 1.5x.
Also of note for users of the V-system (Carl Zeiss) lenses is the inclusion of automatic fringing (lateral chromatic aberration), distortion and vignetting correction, using the bundled Phocus software. The software also allows tethered shooting.
Further details, including the full technical specification, stockists and to order a demo can be found here.

Carl Zeiss Lens News July

copyright, Shoot Studio
This month's CZ lens newsletter is online now, and features some intriguing street shots of New York City taken with the Distagon T* 21mm f/2.8 (or 2.8/21 in Zeiss speak). The 2.8/21 is one of the more recent additions to the expanding range of full-frame manual focus Zeiss lenses, made under license by Cosina in Japan.

It's available in Nikon (ZF) and soon to come Pentax (ZK) and Canon (ZE) mounts but the Distagon T* 2.8/21 is not for the faint-hearted, after all it has a front filter diameter of 87mm and weighs in at a trifling 600g (21.6 oz).
Needless to say all that hefty teutonic glass and T* coating is capable of delivering the finest color and that legendary Zeiss high contrast rendering. Just look here for the T* coating's intolerance of flare and ghosting.
What a brute, and what a contrast to the diminutive Cosina Voigtlander 20mm f/3.5 Color Skopar. Still, as they say, 'you pays your money...'
Links (and credits):
Carl Zeiss Lens Ne…

Pentax USA post pdf download of K-7 DSLR manual

Pentax USA has kindly posted a pdf download of the instruction manual for the new K-7 DSLR, available here.
That reminds me, Canon are another company that rarely send out instruction manuals with review cameras, or maybe there's another reason altogether.
Either way, their distribution company told me where to find English manuals to download. Take a look here, but don't tell everyone, or they may take it away.

Nikon UK announce D5000 cashback

Nikon UK is celebrating 50 years of its pioneering F-Mount lens system by offering up to £75/€90 cashback on D5000 and lens combination purchases, until 31st August 2009.
Customers are entitled to claim £50/€60 cashback on purchases of a D5000 single lens kit (camera body plus any single AF-S NIKKOR lens) and £75/€90 on a D5000 twin lens kit (camera body plus any two AF-S NIKKOR lenses).

The promotion will run from the 1st July 2009 until the 31st August 2009 (inclusive), and all claims must arrive by 30th September in order to qualify.

For more information on the promotion, and how to submit your claim, please visit:

Terms and conditions apply. Offer is subject to availability.

Pentax K-7 first impressions

Much has been said around the interweb about the size of the Pentax K-7. And, as I had a sample delivered from Pentax the other day for review, I thought I would share my initial impressions; it's not as small as I thought it would be.
With that out of the way, it's smaller than any other semi-pro model out there, but anyone thinking it's as diminutive as the firm's K-m is in for a surprise. If I get chance, I'll try post some photos showing the size in comparison with rival offerings.
The sharp-eyed among you will notice that's not a Pentax strap but an Op/Tech USA Super Classic strap, just like the one I said I used.
US link: Op/Tech USA Super Classic