Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Apple updates Final Cut Pro X

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Apple has addressed some of the earlier criticisms leveled at FCP X by adding new functionality. The update adds multi-cam editing, multi-monitor support using either Thunderbolt or traditional PCIe cards (i.e. DisplayPort and DVI variants) while additional controls including color sampling, edge adjustment and light wrap have been added for chroma keying. The press release also mentions a new $9.99 / £6.99 7toX app that allows FCP 7 projects to be imported into FCP X - one of the major shortcomings of previous versions, but it's still odd Apple didn't build this functionality into the utility, relying on a third-party developer instead.

 

Press release:

Apple Updates Final Cut Pro X 

CUPERTINO, California—January 31, 2012—Apple today released Final Cut Pro X v10.0.3, a significant update to its revolutionary professional video editing application, which introduces multicam editing that automatically syncs up to 64 angles of video and photos; advanced chroma keying for handling complex adjustments right in the app; and enhanced XML for a richer interchange with third party apps and plug-ins that support the fast growing Final Cut Pro X ecosystem. Available today as a free update from the Mac App Store, Final Cut Pro X v10.0.3 also includes a beta of broadcast monitoring that supports Thunderbolt devices as well as PCIe cards.

Final Cut Pro X v10.0.3 includes a collection of groundbreaking new tools for editing multicam projects. Final Cut Pro X automatically syncs clips from your shoot using audio waveforms, time and date, or timecode to create a Multicam Clip with up to 64 angles of video, which can include mixed formats, frame sizes and frame rates. The powerful Angle Editor allows you to dive into your Multicam Clip to make precise adjustments, and the Angle Viewer lets you play back multiple angles at the same time and seamlessly cut between them. 

Final Cut Pro X builds upon its robust, one-step chroma key with the addition of advanced controls including color sampling, edge adjustment and light wrap. You can tackle complex keying challenges right in Final Cut Pro X, without having to export to a motion graphics application, and view your results instantly with realtime playback. 

In the seven months since launch, the third party ecosystem around Final Cut Pro X has expanded dramatically. XML-compatible software like DaVinci Resolve and CatDV provide tight integration for tasks such as color correction and media management. The new 7toX app from Intelligent Assistance uses XML to import Final Cut Pro 7 projects into Final Cut Pro X. In addition, some of the industry’s largest visual effects developers, including GenArts and Red Giant, have developed motion graphics plug-ins that take advantage of the speed and real-time preview capabilities of Final Cut Pro X.

Broadcast monitoring in Final Cut Pro X is currently in beta and allows you to connect to waveform displays, vectorscopes, and calibrated, high-quality monitors to ensure that your project meets broadcast specifications. Final Cut Pro X supports monitoring of video and audio through Thunderbolt I/O devices, as well as through third party PCIe cards.

Pricing & Availability 
Final Cut Pro X v10.0.3 is available from the Mac App Store for £199 to new users, or as a free update for existing Final Cut Pro X customers. A 30-day free trial of Final Cut Pro X is available at www.apple.com/finalcutpro/trial. Full system requirements and more information on Final Cut Pro X can be found at www.apple.com/finalcutpro

Monday, 30 January 2012

Hasselblad UK offers day's studio time with purchase of H4D

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Hasselblad's Pro Centre is offering a day's studio facility normally worth £650 ex VAT, plus all-day access to a professional digital operator for any photographer buying H4D-40, H4D-50 and H4D-60 models bought before June 30, 2012. The offer is not applicable to the 'entry-level' H4D-31.



Press release:

Buy a Hasselblad camera and get central London photo-studio hire free for a full day

Photographers who buy a new Hasselblad camera at London’s E2-based Pro Centre will automatically qualify for a full day’s studio time worth hundreds of pounds, plus all-day access to a professional digital operator.
The Pro Centre exclusive offer applies to H4D-40, H4D-50 and H4D-60 models bought before June 30, 2012.
Explained Pro Centre general manager Renny Lee: “There has never been a better time to buy a new Hasselblad – and with this unique offer photographers will also gain access to a full-day’s free shoot at Hasselblad’s popular, fully equipped studio at Fanshaw Street N1. This alone is worth hundreds of pounds – but as part of this deal we are also offering free access to an experienced digital operator all through the day of the shoot, to enable the photographer to familiarise himself/ herself with the Hasselblad platform.”

He added: “And there’s a further bonus for buyers. They will automatically be eligible for all future Hasselblad studio sessions at highly discounted rates – from just £260 a day (excl. VAT) - and that’s a huge saving against the rates of other London studios. Hasselblad’s studio hire offer extends to any registered Hasselblad owner; photographers hiring a Hasselblad camera, or even those using a Hasselblad body with a third party digital back.”

For more in formation please visit, www.hasselbladstudio.com

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Tokina to release new AT-X 116 Pro DX II

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Kenko Tokina Japan has announced an update to the popular 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro. The new model adopts a high speed and silent DC motor (SDM) as well as a GMR sensor (to improve AF accuracy from wear over time), first seen on the full-frame AT-X Pro 16-28mm f/2.8. The company says the optical construction has been improved with the inclusion of an asphere in the front group (in addition to the second at the rear) and the inclusion of two low dispersion glass elements (denoted as SD/ FK03 in the image below). Interestingly, the new lens also adopts a new multi-coating process that delivers smoother gradation of the shadows, the company adds. The lens retains the 77mm filter diameter of the original.

With no direct equivalent from Canon or Nikon, it's the equivalent to a 17-24mm f/2.8 on a APS-C camera, the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 is very popular with press photographers and HD filmmakers. The new model will be available in Nikon first (as it has the longer focal flange distance) in March 2012, followed by a Canon mount version in late July. Both are priced initially at 90,000 Yen ($1,173), excluding Tax. A Sony mount version hasn't been mentioned but it's perhaps unlikely, given the tie-up with Tamron.
The current version is available for $659 after a $40 mail-in-rebate from Adorama, please follow the link here.
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The above MTF chart shows some curvature of field and the resolution and contrast falls off at the edge, presumably this is at maximum aperture.
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Better edge performance at 16mm is hardly surprising. Resolution appears high, centrally at least, though it's difficult to tell at what spatial frequencies the lens has been tested (unless you can read Japanese, that is). I'm assuming 10 and 30 lp/mm, respectively.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Fuji X-Pro 1 user manual available online

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Fuji USA has posted a copy online of the user manual for the eagerly awaited X-Pro 1. To download a copy please follow the link from here (Safari appears to have an issue, though).

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Gitzo discontinue current Systematic tripod range

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A firm favorite of professional photographers, the Systematic range of tripods has been discontinued and won't be replaced until mid-Feb, a spokesperson for Gitzo told the DJP today. There are no details of the new range, and how they might differ, but those left on dealers shelves are likely to be the last of the current models.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Adobe offer 50-percent off Lightroom 3

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UPDATE; extended through to 02 March, 2012.

For a limited period, Adobe are offering 50-percent off Lightroom 3. Please follow the link here to find out more or to buy. The offer only applies to customers in Europe and finishes was 05 February 2012.

Update: Amazon UK are offering Lightroom 3 for just £95.00 inc VAT (£98.30 inc p&p for the boxed version), and cheaper than the above offer from Adobe.

Lightroom Beta 4 is available to try for free, but will expire when version 4 is formerly released. You will be able to update from v3 to v4 for a fee.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Kodak files for bankruptcy protection

According to Press Association reports earlier today, Eastman Kodak has filled for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it seeks to bolster its finances and stay in business. According to the report, Kodak say it has secured 950 million US dollars in financing from Citigroup during the inevitable reorganization period. Kodak has struggled during the changeover from film to digital and despite some encouraging signs earlier in the year, the Rochester, New York based company has seen its share price plummet over the last quarter.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Taschen unwraps Architecture Now! volume 8

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Press release:

Architecture Now! 8
Philip Jodidio
Flexicover with flaps
7.7 x 9.8 in., 480 pages
£ 24.99 / € 29.99
DKK 299.90
ISBN 978-3-8365-2681-4
Multilingual Edition:
English, French, German

 

Currents in architecture around the world

Architecture Now! 8 reviews new and exciting projects completed and under construction in the whole world. No style, no building type is ignored, making this volume a true compendium of what anybody interested in buildings today needs to know. From well-known figures such as Zaha Hadid, Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA fame and Thom Mayne of Morphosis, to rising stars like Joshua Prince-Ramus (REX) and Sou Fujimoto and on to less-known architects who are the “stars” of tomorrow, like the Indians of Studio Mumbai, the Norwegian Todd Saunders, the Burkinabe Diébédo Francis Kéré, and the Colombian Giancarlo Mazzanti, or the Chinese architect Li Xiaodong, they are all here and many more as well. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the best of what architecture has to offer… Now!

For anyone interested in the zeitgeist and building design in the 21st century, the Architecture Now! series is an essential work of reference. Easy-to-navigate illustrated A–Z entries include current and recent projects, biographies, contact information, and websites

Contact

For more information, please visit Taschen at www.taschen.com

Sales

Buy from Amazon here.

New OConnor 1030 fluid heads used in filming endangered tigers

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Indian cinematographer Sabyasachi Patra films tigers and relies on the smooth panning of OConnor's 1030HDs fluid head during filming. © Sabyasachi Patra / www.indiawilds.com

 

PRESS RELEASE

TIGER DOCUMENTARY IN INDIA

OConnor 1030 Helps Capture Rare Shots in the Rainforest

Burbank, January 2012 – Indian cinematographer Sabyasachi Patra is a passionate animal rights and environmental activist. He campaigns, in particular, for the rescue of tigers and the conservation of their habitat. For this reason he founded the website India Wilds (www.indiawilds.com) where, as a nature and wilderness photographer, he contributes to the protection of this threatened species by providing spectacular pictures and information. A blog and a member forum supplement the website and offer a platform on which more than 1,800 people discuss environmental protection in India. In addition, Sabyasachi films adventurous documentaries. During the making of his newest film "A Call in the Rainforest", he worked with the 1030HDs fluid head from OConnor, a Vitec Group brand, for the first time.

Equipped with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, the OConnor 1030HDs fluid head, and large telephoto lenses, he set off for the Anamalai Tiger reservation in the Western Ghats to shoot his film. Deep in the rainforest where the endangered Macaca Silenus tigers live, Sabyasachi documents the reasons for their threatened existence: in particular the fast growth of the nearby city of Valparai. Tea plantations, increasing tourism, and street construction are destroying the rain forest and, consequently, the natural habitat of the tigers.

Reliable support in adverse conditions
Filming was done in intense sunlight as well as during heavy rainfall. "Despite the frequent fog and light drizzle in the rain forest, the fluid head worked flawlessly in every situation," says Sabyasachi. "Filming in the wilderness also means struggling on difficult-to-access terrain. That's why I prefer light DSLR cameras to save space. In contrast to many products the OConnor fluid head is perfectly suited for use with light camera set-ups. This makes it an ideal companion for me." Featuring a counterbalance of 0 to 18.6 kg (0 to 41 lbs), the 1030 range of products offer maximum versatility for filming with a wide variety of lenses, cameras and accessories.

Smooth movement thanks to professional camera support
The quality of the camera support is absolutely crucial for capturing clean shots. "At the beginning of my career I often worked with photo tripods. However, after filming more and more often with large and heavy telephoto lenses on DSLR cameras, I discovered the lenses were too heavy for conventional photo tripods and I couldn’t achieve the smooth movement I required. With the OConnor 1030HDs, I am now able to use larger lenses to follow a tiger walking stealthily through the rain forest. While doing so I can perform completely smooth pans horizontally and vertically with the OConnor," says Sabyasachi. "The robust construction and the solid legs of the tripod complement the precision work of the head perfectly."

The investment has paid off for Sabyasachi: "OConnor allows for the best shots at an optimal price/performance ratio," says the cinematographer when summing up his first project with OConnor.

For more information, go to www.ocon.com

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Contact and Sales

For more information, go to www.ocon.com

To buy (from B&H Photo) please follow the link here. Thank you for ordering through this site's links.

Panasonic announces firmware update for Lumix GX1

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Although the camera has only been on dealer's shelves for a few weeks, Panasonic has issued an update to the firmware of the Lumix GX1. The update is said to enhance AWB, AAF (AF Flexible) and AFC modes and adds a step zoom option in the customizable Fn menu, as well as addressing other, more minor, issues with the UI. The update also is said to improve the image stabilizer function of the LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm f/4.0-5.6 zoom.

Press release:

Panasonic Announces the Firmware Update Program for DMC-GX1 and LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. (H-FS100300) to Enhance Performance and Usability
 
Panasonic announces the new firmware update program for the digital interchangeable lens system camera DMC-GX1 and LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. (H-FS100300) of LUMIX G Micro System. The firmware will be released to enhance the performance and usability in its control.
 
The following functions will be available with the new firmware:

DMC-GX1
-Enhancement in the performance of AWB
-Enhancement in the performance of [AFF] (AF Flexible) and [AFC] (AF Continuous)
-Improved stability when used with the SD Memory Card complying with UHS-I
-Addition of [STEP ZOOM] and [ZOOM SPEED] in the setting of [Fn] (Function) button and [Q.MENU]
-Reflection of [DRIVE MODE] settings to [CUSTOM SETTING]
-[MENU RESUME] in each menu tab
-Page flip in the menu tab with [DISP.] (Display) button
 
LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. (H-FS100300)
-Improved performance of O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer)
 
 
The firmware program will be available in the end of January at Panasonic’s Customer Support Site http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

B&H accepting pre-orders on Canon EOS C300

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B&H Photo are accepting pre-orders on the EOS C300 and Cinema lenses, Canon's latest Cinema Super 35mm-Size CMOS sensor camera. The price is listed at $15,999. Please follow the link here to pre-order. B&H say the camera and lenses will ship after Monday, January 30th.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2012 competition open

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German camera maker Leica has announced the Leica Oskar Barnack competition is open. Entry submissions must be a standalone sequence of 10-12 images where the photographer "perceives and documents the interaction between man and the environment with acute vision and contemporary visual style – creative, groundbreaking and unintrusive".The winner of the prestigious award receives a Leica M9-P camera and a lens worth 10.000 Euros in addition to a cash prize of 5,000 Euros.

Press release:

 

Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2012 competition now open
 
Entries now being accepted for annual Leica photography competition
 
16 January 2012: Leica Camera AG has announced that entries are now being accepted for the 2012 Oskar Barnack Award. Photographers interested in submitting entries can apply from now until 1 March 2012. Full details, entry criteria and terms and conditions can be found at www.leica-oskar-barnack-award.com
 
The Leica Oskar Barnack Award will be presented for the 33rd time this year. The winner will receive a Leica M9-P camera with lens worth approximately Eur 10,000 in addition to a cash prize of Eur 5,000. A further prize will be awarded – the ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award’ – for (prospective) professional photographers aged 25 and under. The winner of this section will also be awarded a Leica M9-P complete with lens.
 
The members of this year’s international jury include: Bruce Gilden, Magnum photographer, Stephan Erfurt, Director of C/O Berlin, Valérie Fougeirol, Creative Director of the Magnum Gallery in Paris, Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Artistic Director of the Leica Galerie in Salzburg and Brigitte Schaller, Art Director of Leica Fotografie International magazine.
 
The awards will be presented in the course of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie photography festival to be held in Arles, France from 2 to 8 July 2012.

Mamiya, Leaf make it official

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Japanese camera maker Mamiya has officially 'tied the knot' with Leaf, the digital back makers once owned by Kodak. Leaf is already a Phase One company and is believed to have shares in Mamiya. It looks likely that Mamiya branded cameras will use Leaf backs, while the Phase One branded (Mamiya-made) 645D will continue to use P1 backs. I'd expect to see a new Phase camera this year, but I can't see Mamiya adopting the same body, strictly due to differentiation.

Press release:

Mamiya Digital Imaging, a trusted manufacturer and developer of medium-format cameras and optics, and Leaf Imaging Ltd., a leading manufacturer and developer of digital backs for the medium and large-format photography markets, today announced that they have created a new, worldwide Mamiya Leaf brand that integrates both companies’ product lines into one complete medium-format digital camera system offering, streamlines new product development and establishes more efficient customer sales and support.

The new Mamiya Leaf brand represents a synergy of the best that these two companies can offer as highly competent suppliers of comprehensive, fully-integrated high-end digital photography systems comprising digital camera backs, bodies and lenses. Together, the companies are focusing on delivering new Mamiya Leaf camera systems. Unified support from worldwide Mamiya Leaf partners/distributors is also expected to be a major advantage for photographers; they will now be able to enjoy one-stop expert service for all of the various components of a Mamiya Leaf medium format digital camera system.

“Creating a new Mamiya Leaf brand represents a win-win situation for photographers” said Dov Kalinksi, Leaf General Manager. “Not only will photographers be able to immediately benefit from a highly advanced, fully-integrated medium format system from the industry’s leading suppliers, but they will also be able to enjoy powerful new products emerging from a unified R&D effort.”

“We are aligning our resources to ensure that customers will benefit from the extensive expertise residing in both Tokyo and Tel Aviv,” said Mamiya Digital Imaging President Toshio Midorikawa. “We are confident that the synergy created and the efficiency gained by simplifying our operations will enable us to serve our customers faster and better.”

Mamiya Leaf medium format digital systems comprise a broad range of equipment -- from 22 to 80 megapixels. Camera bodies are manufactured by Mamiya; digital backs are manufactured by Leaf. Also available are Mamiya focal plane shutter lenses and Schneider Kreuznach-designed leaf shutter lenses. Cameras, lenses and backs will retain their respective Mamiya and Leaf labels and they will still be sold as individual components.

Included with all Mamiya Leaf systems are two native software options: the award winning Phase One Capture One and Leaf Capture.

Contact

For more information, please visit www.mamiyaleaf.com

Related Posts

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Berlebach Report 3042 tripod in for review

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Wooden tripods are said to be extremely resistant to vibration, and so should be high on the list of priorities for serious photographers, but how many makes do you know? I searched and found Berlebach, a German tripod maker who are practically unknown in the UK and I suspect also the US, though I noticed Adorama stock them.

They're made from renewable ash, which has been stored for two years prior to processing to eliminate tension (and thereby reduce splitting and fracturing during manufacture). I asked a spokesperson for the company which tripod they recomended for stability and general professional use and they recommended and sent me the 3042 for review. The quality and finish is excellent (without it being unaffordable, though that is relative - it costs $279.95). It has just two sections, making it extremely stable (a pro DSLR with a 300mm f/2.8 is about it's maximum) but not terribly compact. Three section versions are available, however. The 3042 Report also has a centre column with a leveling feature and spirit level. I'll be adding a review in due course, but I can say vibration levels are extremely low, possibly the lowest I've ever encoutered.

For more infomation, please visit www.berlebach.de.

Sales

To buy please follow the links at Adorama and B&H Photo.You can also find them for sale new on eBay UK, here. Thank you for buying through this site's links.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Nikon revises pricing on WT-5 for new pro D4 DSLR

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Nikon UK has revised the price on the WT-5 wireless transmitter, announced alongside the new pro D4 DSLR. The price has been revised upwards, unfortunately, from £499 to £649 (inc. VAT).

Pre-order at Adorama (US) here at $877.00. Thank you for buying through this site's links.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Canon PowerShot G1 X available to pre-order at Jessops

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Announced only yesterday, the intriguing* PowerShot G1 X is available to pre-order at Jessops (UK) for £699.95 (inc VAT). Please follow the link here to order.

North American readers can pre-order through Adorama Camera ($799.00). Amazon are also taking pre-orders at $799.00 (with an estimate of 31st March 2012 delivery).

Thank you for ordering through this site's links.

* It's intriguing because I think we'll see more cameras from Canon using this sensor size, which is, for all intents and purposes, the same as Micro Four Thirds.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Fuji announces X-Pro 1

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As expected, Fuji has officially announced the rumored X-Pro1 camera today at the CES. Three autofocus lenses have also been announced, equivalent to 28 f/2, 50 f/1.4 and 90mm f/2.4 macro focal lengths (Fuji has stated a Leica M adaptor will follow, though there will doubtless be third-party options). Each Fujinon-branded lens features a manual aperture ring (as well as a manual focus ring). The Fuji X-Pro1 is equipped with a 16.2-megapixel APS-C format sensor with a unique filter array negating the adoption of a AA (Anti-Aliasing) filter, and promises very high resolution. The X-Pro 1 will be available in February 2012 and the price for the body, while not confirmed, is expected to retail in the region of $1,599 / £999 (ex VAT) with lenses in the $600-900/ £450-600 bracket.

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Press release:

FUJIFILM INTRODUCES THE REVOLUTIONARY X-PRO1 INTERCHANGEABLE LENS DIGITAL CAMERA SYSTEM

Featuring the New X-Trans CMOS sensorTM, FUJIFILM original X-Mount and New Hybrid Multi Viewfinder, the X-Pro1 Delivers Outstanding Image Quality that Rivals Current DSLR Cameras

Valhalla, N.Y., January 9, 2012 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation proudly introduces the debut of its newest and most advanced addition to its premium, high quality X-Series digital camera line-up – the FUJIFILM X-Pro1 interchangeable lens digital camera system.

With a brand new, custom developed 16MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensorTM, incorporating a newly developed filter array and Fujifilm’s proprietary EXR Processor technology, the FUJIFILM X-Pro1 is poised to deliver superlative image quality that will rival currently available mid and high-end DSLR models. Taking another decisive step into the premium camera market, Fujifilm has taken the X-Pro1 to the next level featuring a New 2nd Generation Hybrid Multi Viewfinder and three prime interchangeable FUJINON lenses.

The FUJIFILM X-Pro1 digital camera not only promises to carve out a distinct position in the premium camera category, but it also promises to reward X-Series loyalists with a camera system that surpasses their expectations. “Fujifilm puts great emphasis on producing outstanding image quality, and with the X-Pro1, we are proud to offer an interchangeable lens system that performs to the highest professional caliber,” said Go Miyazaki, division president, Imaging and Electronic Imaging Divisions, FUJIFILM North America Corporation. “Each element is the product of Fujifilm’s commitment to uncompromising quality. With its custom APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensorTM, unique Hybrid Multi Viewfinder and three interchangeable lenses, the X-Pro1 is poised to become the new standard for photographers.”

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Setting new standards in image resolution
Fujifilm has developed a new CMOS sensor called the X-Trans CMOSTM. The X-Trans CMOS sensor is capable of delivering resolution that is superior to other APS-C sensors and equal to even some full frame sensors. The new color filter array paves the way for an ideal sensor that does not need an optical low-pass filter. While the optical low-pass filter is indispensable for the reduction of moiré and false color generated by conventional sensors, it also degrades resolution. Fujifilm has developed a new color filter array that is inspired by the random arrangement of fine film grain, removing the need for an optical low-pass filter to solve moiré and false color issues. In the array, RGB pixels are arranged in 6x6 pixel sets with high aperiodicity (randomness). Increasing the degree of randomness eliminates the fundamental cause of moiré and false colors – a problem that occurs in conventional arrays when shooting stripes and other repeating patterns. The presence of an R, G and B pixel in every vertical and horizontal pixel series minimizes the generation of false colors and delivers higher color reproduction.As a result of using a film-inspired array, a more powerful processor is required to process the image signal data. So Fujifilm has developed the EXR Processor Pro. This technology will maximize the full potential of the X-Trans CMOS sensor, delivering high speed and high precision image processing.

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Prime FUJINON XF lenses deliver the highest image quality
FUJINON lenses have long been associated with delivering high quality images, with optics used for both broadcast TV and medium format cameras. Now the expertise borne out of this enviable optical heritage has been put into lenses for the FUJIFILM X-Pro1.

Three compact XF FUJINON fast aperture prime lenses will be available at launch. The “XF18mmF2 R” (27mm equivalent) f/2.0, “XF 35mmF1.4 R” (53mm equivalent) f/1.4, and “XF60mmF2.4 R Macro” (90mm equivalent) F/2.4 are all bright and compact and designed to deliver sharp, clear images of uncompromising quality. They offer precise control over depth-of-field and deliver excellent bokeh effects thanks to the design of the molded aperture diaphragm blades. The blades are curved to create a circular image at all aperture settings, while the very edges of each blade are meticulously rounded off rather than simply cut off, which delivers a sharper image. In addition, the solid feel of the high-quality metal barrel and detailed exposure setting in 1/3 step increments using the aperture ring fuel your desire to capture more photos with every shot.

FUJIFILM original “X-Mount” maximizes lens performance
Specifically designed to maximize the mirrorless design of the body the X-Mount has a short flange back distance of just 17.7mm. This means the rear lens elements are as close as possible to the sensor. The wide opening allows the lens to be mounted deeper within the body – up to 7.5mm (approximately) from the mount surface – reducing the back focus distance of each lens to the minimum possible, thus achieving high resolution all the way to the edge of the image.

Hybrid Multi Viewfinder – seeing is believing
First introduced in the FUJIFILM X100 digital camera, Fujifilm’s revolutionary Hybrid Viewfinder has the ability to instantly switch between an Optical Viewfinder and Electronic Viewfinder. The Hybrid Viewfinder has added a new dimension to the pleasure of composing photographs. For the brightest viewing image, and to keep shutter lag to a minimum, users should choose the Optical Viewfinder. Those wanting focus confirmation, exposure information, white balance information and depth of field indicators should switch to the Electronic Viewfinder.

The Electronic Viewfinder provides an excellent “Live View” of your composition. This fusion of technologies allows users to enjoy composing their images through a bright viewfinder, but has the option to overlay vital picture taking information should this be required.

Changing between the two viewfinders is simple, thanks to the switch on the front of the X-Pro1 body. When attaching a FUJINON XF-series lens on the X-Pro1, both the viewfinder magnification and bright frame size automatically switch to support the lens focal length. Viewfinder magnification switches to 0.37x for the 18mm lens, and to 0.60x when the 35mm or 60mm lens is mounted, letting you compose your shot with the bright, crystal clarity of an optical image. The X-Pro1 also gives you the freedom to manually set a focal distance and switch between viewfinder magnifications.

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Cutting edge technology in a beautiful camera body
The X-Pro1’s magnesium alloy chassis and improved user interface is a testament to Fujifilm’s unyielding attention to quality and the photographic needs of the professionals. From the exact and deliberate placement of the buttons to the precision milled dials, the X-Pro1 beautifully encompasses all that is needed to deliver high quality photography. The top and base are made from die-cast aluminum alloy which, combined with high quality touches like precise engraving on the top-plate and hand-enameled lettering on the lenses, illustrates how the entire X-Pro1 system was designed and built without compromise.

This eye for detail extends to the shutter speed dial and exposure compensation control that is precision milled from solid metal. Details like the shutter speed dial lock mechanism and the recessed exposure compensation dial are designed to prevent accidental movement of settings. The knurled finish on the sides of the dials feature rows of minutely milled squared pyramids for superb grip and confidence.
As a well-known mark of quality, the “Made in Japan” printing confirms that every part of the construction has had to meet Fujifilm’s highest standards.

The lightweight, precision-milled lens hood (included with the lens) has been exclusively designed and machined from aluminum for the FUJINON XF lens. Its compact size delivers superb light shading performance in a design that perfectly matches X-Pro1 styling. Diameters of the aperture ring and focus ring of the three FUJINON XF-series interchangeable lenses are only slightly larger than the barrel for sleek uniformity of design. Precision machined from metal, the reassuring click of the aperture ring at each setting and the comfortable torque resistance when operating the focus ring enhances the shooting experience.

The X-Pro1’s leather-like finish is designed for a quality look and durability. The synthetic leather offers resistance to the elements and high durability, while an original manufacturing process produces a texture with the look and feel of authentic leather. The X-Pro1 has also been designed with the photographer’s comfort in mind. The natural fit of the eyepiece provides excellent shielding from light leakage, and an optional dioptic adjustment lens can also be attached.

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Extending Fujifilm’s photo film legacy
In film cameras, capturing multiple exposures is the unique photographic technique of superimposing one image on another by double exposing a single frame of film. Through advanced digital processing the X-Pro1 can simulate this technique by simply selecting the Multiple Exposure mode and taking the first shot. By viewing the image via the Hybrid Multi Viewfinder or on the LCD screen, you can see how the finished multiple exposure will look and then precisely frame the second shot.  Further enhancements have been made to the Film Simulation modes with the new Professional Color Negative Film Modes (Pro Neg. Std and Pro Neg. Hi) designed for X-Pro1 users working in the studio. The X-Pro1 also offers Film Simulation bracketing, along with AE, Dynamic and ISO bracketing; plus the ability to capture the colors and tonal qualities of popular FUJIFILM emulsions through the vibrant colors of Velvia, the softer skin tones of ASTIA and the natural look of PROVIA.

Replicating the effects of monochrome film photography the X-Pro1 lets you use color filters to expand your photographic interpretation. Heighten contrast with the yellow filter and red filter, or brighten greens and deepen reds with the green filter. Just as professional film photographers once selected a filter and printing paper to complement their creative vision, you can easily fine tune image quality with these filters. For those after a more nostalgic theme there is also a sepia filter.

Premium Accessory Lineup
The FinePix X-Pro1 has these additional premium accessory options that are sold separately:

Hand Grip, HG-XPro1 - Giving you more secure and balanced handling of the camera, the X-Pro1 accessory grip smoothly molds to the lines of the camera body for a uniform look. The grip helps balance the weight of the camera body, allowing for a more comfortable hold.

Shoe Mount Flash EF-X20 – Designed to match X-Pro1’s distinctive styling, a single dial lets you choose between two modes: AUTO - automatically optimizes flash for both outdoor daylight and dark indoor shots; and MANUAL - for hands-on control. In addition, the built-in flash diffuser has an easy one-touch process to soften harsh flash effects.
Leather Case LC-XPro1* - Beautifully molded to protect the X-Pro1, this leather case is designed to allow fast access for easy shooting. Attention has been given to every detail, from the color and spacing of the stitches to the use of a hidden magnet rather than a snap for closing the case. The premium case is complete with the authentic leather neck-strap and hood case.

Protector Filter 39mm and Protector Filter 52mm – These protection filters have high transmissivity without affecting the visible light, and the Super EBC coating effectively controls harmful borrowed light. The frame of the filters has a semi gloss black finish, keeping with the high sense of design, while the inner filter ring is finished in a matte black in order to minimize reflections.

Pricing and Availability
The FUJIFILM X-Pro1 will be available in February 2012, and the price will be announced in late January 2012.
*Case not suitable for FUJINON XF60mm lens

Sample Images

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18mm f/2R, image courtesy of Fujfilm

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35mm f/1.4R, image courtesy of Fujfilm

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60mm f/2.4R Macro, image courtesy of Fujfilm

Contact

For more information please visit the link here.

Epson launches Artisan 1430 wide-format printer

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New Epson Artisan 1430 Takes Wide Format Photo Printing to the Next Level of Performance with Wireless Connectivity
 
Latest Artisan Printer Offers Gallery-Worthy Prints up to 13” X 19” for a Range of Creative and Professional Projects
 
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Jan.  9, 2012 – Epson America, Inc., a leading provider of superior performing desktop printing solutions, today introduced the Epson Artisan® 1430 wide-format printer.  Offering brilliant, Ultra Hi-Definition prints as large as 13”x 19”, convenient wireless networking and mobile printing, the Artisan 1430 enables photo enthusiasts and professionals alike to complete a wide range of creative and professional projects.

The Artisan 1430 delivers professional quality photos by leveraging Epson’s exclusive Advanced MicroPiezo® print head with DX5™ technology for accurate ink placement, smooth gradations and amazing skin tones. The Artisan 1430 offers Wi-Fi CERTIFIEDTMn1 wireless networking to easily share the printer with anyone on the network – as well as Epson iPrint app – to print and share from a smartphone, iPhone®, tablet or other device. With superior media handling capabilitiesto create gallery-quality prints on a host of popular borderless sizes –including 4”x6”, 13”x19” and 12”x12” – and Adobe® Photoshop® Elements bonus software, the printer is ideal for a range of projects– from brochures and posters to photo enlargements andpersonalized CDs/DVDs.

“The Artisan 1430 was designed with the creative professional and photo enthusiast in mind, delivering superior photo quality, unprecedented media handling capabilities, and convenient wireless connectivity that continue to set the Artisan line apart from the competition,” said Gregg Brunnick, group product manager, Epson America, Inc.  “Consumers will be amazed at the level of performance and results they are able to achieve with the all new Artisan 1430 wide-format printer.”

Additional High-Performance Epson Artisan 1430 Features:
·         Ultra Hi-Definition photos that are smudge, scratch and water resistant2
·         PC-free printing and sharing documents and photos from a smartphone, iPhone®, tablet or other mobile devices3 with Epson iPrint
·         Photos last up to 200 years in storage and up to 98years on display under glass4
·         Customized photo enlargements, brochures, posters and scrapbook pages
·         Professional-looking ink jet printable CDs/DVDs
·         Image enhancement tools for automatic color and lighting correction and red eye removal
·         Range of eco features and environmental qualifications including, ENERGY STAR® and RoHS compliance, and is designed to be recycled5

Pricing and Availability
The Epson Artisan 1430 ($299.99*) will be available in February through major computer, office and electronic superstores, a variety of retail stores nationwide and Epson’s retail site, www.epsonstore.com. For more information, please visit www.epson.com.

Canon announces PowerShot G1 X

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Canon unveils The Master Compact – the revolutionary PowerShot G1 X

United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, 9th January 2012 – Canon today introduces the PowerShot G1 X – a revolutionary new compact camera with a large CMOS sensor, designed to produce DSLR levels of image quality and control in a highly portable metal body. Created for professional and serious photographers, the PowerShot G1 X creates a prestigious new category at the top of Canon’s legendary G-series line-up, and redefines the performance achievable from a compact camera.
A high-quality camera in its own right or the perfect complement to a professional DSLR, the PowerShot G1 X combines EOS sensor technology with DIGIC 5 processing power, a new precision Canon lens and extensive manual control – creating the finest compact camera Canon has ever produced. Designed to be highly portable, the PowerShot G1 X features a zoom lens which retracts into a discreet, robust metal body, providing photographers with an unimposing camera that delivers high quality images and superior handling.
Professional levels of image quality
Incorporating Canon-developed technologies and expertise trusted by professionals worldwide, the PowerShot G1 X offers a level of image quality previously only possible with a Canon DSLR. It’s Canon’s first compact camera to feature a large, 4:3 aspect, 14.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor measuring 18.7mm x 14mm – similar in height to the APS-C sensors used within EOS DSLR models. Featuring the same pixel size and structure as the EOS 600D, and a surface area approximately 6.3 times larger than the sensor in the acclaimed PowerShot G12, it provides DSLR image quality in a body small enough to carry anywhere.
The increased sensor size allows photographers to have greater control over the depth of field, with increased potential to creatively and artistically isolate a subject from its background. Improved dynamic range enables users to accurately capture shadows and highlights within the same frame, while the 14.3 Megapixel resolution allows for the output of large-sized prints, or permits images to be cropped for more powerful compositions.
The PowerShot G1 X also features a range of benefits that result from the advanced CMOS sensor technology developed within Canon’s EOS range. On-chip noise reduction ensures images are clear, even at high ISO speeds, while a 4-channel read-out provides high speed image capture – ensuring fast, responsive performance in all conditions.
Combining the large sensor with the DIGIC 5 image processor, the HS System in the PowerShot G1 X sets new standards for low-light performance, with a maximum full-resolution ISO range of 100 to 12800 – a level never before seen in a Canon compact. Photographers can shoot using the ambient light in even the darkest of conditions, capturing natural shots with incredible detail and low noise – providing a powerful basis for low-light photography.
Precision lens technology
Developed using the same design, manufacturing and quality processes as the world-renowned EF lens range, the lens in the PowerShot G1 X is built to achieve professional levels of image quality. Utilising Ultra high refractive index Aspherical (UA) elements and precision glass moulding technology, the lens achieves both a compact size and pin-sharp clarity for the most discerning of photographers. The lens retracts compactly into the camera body while offering a flexible 4x optical zoom range of 28mm – 112mm, giving photographers the option to use the zoom creatively and change the framing and perspective of their shot. A 6 blade aperture also combines with the large-sized sensor to produce beautiful background blur.
To help ensure optimum image and Full HD movie clarity, the lens features a 4-stop optical Image Stabilizer (IS), allowing photographers to shoot in darker conditions and use shutter speeds up to four stops slower than would be possible without IS. The optical Image Stabilizer is supported by Intelligent IS which analyses the focal length, focal distance and type of camera movement and applies the most appropriate Image Stabilizer mode from seven possible settings: Normal IS, Macro IS, Panning IS, Powered IS (in Movie mode only), Dynamic IS, Dynamic and Macro IS and Tripod Mode. For example, when a panning motion is detected, Panning IS is activated and stabilises in only one direction for more artistic capture of movement across the frame. Hybrid IS technology is also included to capture macro subjects without the blur associated with shift camera shake.
The lens also includes an in-built 3-stop Neutral Density (ND) Filter, permitting the use of wider apertures in bright light to achieve a shallower depth of field, or to use slower shutter speeds to intentionally blur motion.
Extensive control
Following on from the control historically offered by the PowerShot G-series, the PowerShot G1 X offers Full Manual Control with shooting mode and exposure compensation dials for quick and intuitive access to a range of settings. For maximum control over the final image, the PowerShot G1 X fits seamlessly into the EOS photographer’s workflow, supporting 14-bit RAW capture for smooth gradations and natural colours which can be fine-tuned using the supplied Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software.
Giving photographers the option to capture split-second action, the PowerShot G1 X features High-speed Burst HQ, capturing bursts of six full-resolution shots at 4.5fps to freeze fast-moving action. Alternatively, users can shoot continuously at 1.9fps right up to card capacity in JPEG format – ensuring longer sequences of action are captured.
High quality, Full HD movies
The PowerShot G1 X supports Full HD (1080p) movie capture instantly at 24fps, via a dedicated movie button. Taking advantage of the camera’s large CMOS sensor, users can experience high quality movies, even in low light conditions, with the shallow depth of field associated with a larger sensor. Additionally, the 4x optical zoom can be used whilst filming, offering versatility, while stereo sound is also captured.
Professional handling
With its robust, stainless steel chassis and compact design, the PowerShot G1 X offers professional-quality handling. A large vari-angle, 7.5cm (3.0”) PureColor II VA LCD screen allows photographers to shoot from virtually any angle or position, to get the composition they desire. The bright, high-resolution, 920k dot LCD provides a sharp, detailed platform for image framing and review, while an optical viewfinder (OVF) with dioptre adjuster gives photographers the option to shoot according to their individual style. A newly-integrated manual pop-up flash provides the option to add additional light to a scene, and, using the hotshoe, external Canon Speedlite flashes can also be used.
Advanced shooting modes
A range of advanced shooting modes are provided to assist photographers in capturing challenging scenes and situations. When shooting in very dark conditions without a tripod for example, Handheld Night Scene captures a high-speed sequence of shots, combining the data to produce one well-exposed image with minimal blur. Additionally, High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode captures scenes with a particularly high range of bright and dark tones, taking multiple exposures and combining them to deliver rich detail in shadows and highlights.
Expanded potential through accessories
Ideal for EOS DSLR users, the PowerShot G1 X is compatible with a range of EOS System accessories, allowing photographers to instantly expand the potential of the camera. Canon’s EX Speedlite flash units can be used for creative lighting, while the WP-DC44 waterproof case provides protection to a depth of 40m – ideal for shooting in the heavy rain or taking shots underwater – with full access to all controls.  
An optional lens Filter Adapter, FA-DC58C, also enables photographers to use a range of filters, such as a circular polariser to enhance blue skies or remove reflections. For more even lighting when shooting macro subjects, a Macro Ring Lite adapter
(MLA-DC1) allows Canon’s Macro Ring Lite or Twin Lite flash units from the EOS System to be used.
Offering truly advanced levels of professional control alongside unprecedented image quality, the PowerShot G1 X is the ideal camera for professional and serious photographers who demand DSLR flexibility and quality from a compact camera.
PowerShot G1 X – key features:
Large 14.3 MP CMOS, DIGIC 5, HS System
Compact 4x zoom; Intelligent IS
7.5 cm (3.0”) vari-angle LCD; OVF
Full Manual, RAW, DPP
Full HD, HDMI
High-speed Burst HQ
Smart Auto
Extensive accessories
HDR mode and ND filter
Optional 40m waterproof case
Pricing and Availability
The PowerShot G1 X is available from late February, priced at £699/Eur799 RRP incl. VAT.

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Sunday, 8 January 2012

Nikon D4 available to pre-order at Jessops

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UK retailer Jessops is taking pre-orders for the new D4 at £4,799.95 (inc VAT), please follow the link here.

Amazon aren't taking preorders currently, it appears, but Wex Photographic (Warehouse Express) are at £4,799.00.

US readers can pre-order from Adorama ($5,999.5) here.

Thank you for buying through this site's links.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Nikon D4 AF telephoto, teleconverter lens compatibility

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At the press conference at a London hotel on Thursday, Nikon UK's presentation mentioned the D4's autofocus compatibility with various lens combinations. From this slide it appears the D4 has 11 line sensors (most likely vertical rather than horizontal) and one cross (horizontal and vertical) sensor which are sensitive to f/8.

Canon has been widely criticized over the recently announced rival EOS-1DX, which has a 61-point AF sensor but with none more sensitive than f/5.6, to the displeasure of bird photographers. Canon say every point is vertical line sensitive at f/5.6 or greater (faster), which is very impressive but it negates AF with any f/4 or f/5.6 telephoto lenses used in-conjunction with a 2x converter. It appears Nikon has listened to this specific request, but it remains to be seen just how effective it is in real world use. It's also possible that Canon are being very conservative, this is common on pro level equipment.

Nikon don't have a super-tele at f/5.6 in the range now, but I still think we'll see a limited quantity of these in time for the Olympics in London - it won't allow AF with a 2x converter but will likely work fine with the TC-14E II.

Slide courtesy of Nikon UK.


UPDATE: UK retailer Jessops is taking pre-orders for the new D4 at £4,799.95 (inc VAT), please follow the link here.

US readers can pre-order from Adorama ($5,999.5) here.

Thank you for buying through this site's links.

Related Posts


Nikon announces new flagship D4

Friday, 6 January 2012

Lexar Introduces Industry-First 256GB CompactFlash Card

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Lexar has announced the industry first 256GB CF card - it's 400x speed-rated card with a minimum guaranteed read speed of 60MB per second - lower than yesterday's new (1000x)CF cards. The 256GB Lexar Professional 400x CF card is expected to be released for consumer purchase in the first half of 2012.
UPDATE 11th Feb, 2012: The price is $799.95, and it's available now.
US readers please follow the link to Adorama, here.

Lexar Introduces Industry-First 256GB CompactFlash Card
Fremont, CA, 6 January, 2012 – Lexar, a leading global brand of flash memory products, today announced new Lexar® Professional 400x CompactFlash® (CF) card capacities, including the industry’s first 256GB memory card. Also available in 64GB and 128GB capacities, the increased capacity options provide enormous storage capabilities and impressive performance for photographers and videographers to capture large volumes of high-resolution images and high-definition video. These increased capacities also open the door for new uses in the industrial and commercial markets where higher capacity hard disk drives have previously been used. For additional information about the Lexar Professional 400x CF card, visit www.lexar.com.
 
The new Lexar Professional CF card capacities are speed rated at 400x and provide a minimum guaranteed transfer speed of 60MB per second, allowing professionals and advanced photo and video enthusiasts to enjoy extended capture of 1080p full-HD video and sustained, rapid-fire shooting.* When paired with UDMA 7-compatible devices, like the Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader, the new Professional 400x CF card capacities provide rapid transfer of content from card to computer, significantly accelerating the digital workflow and enabling photographers to spend more time creating and less time waiting.
 
“With enhanced quality available now in the HD video format, I know just how quickly memory space can disappear! My work style is fast and spontaneous and storage capacity is a big issue for me. Having the freedom to keep shooting without having to stop to change cards helps my creative flow tremendously,” said Scott Duncan, Lexar Elite Photographer. “Lexar Professional cards have always given me the large capacities I need to focus on my shooting, and the performance I require to get my footage onto my computer for editing.”
 
All Lexar product designs undergo extensive testing in the Lexar Quality Labs to ensure performance, quality, compatibility, and reliability with more than 800 intended digital devices.
 
“More professional photographers and enthusiasts are embracing the fact that they can capture high-quality images and HD video with their digital SLR. As a result, they’re shooting longer and longer, and need a storage solution that won’t interrupt the creative process,” said Manisha Sharma, director of product marketing for cards, Lexar. “The new capacities of the Lexar Professional 400x CF card empower photographers to just keep shooting, without the need to change cards or risk missing once-in-a-lifetime shots or footage.” 
 
The Lexar Professional 400x CF card includes a free copy of the latest version of award-winning Image Rescue® software to help recover lost or deleted photos and videos, even if they have been erased or the card has been corrupted.** Additionally, the Lexar Professional 400x CF card comes with a limited lifetime warranty and free, dedicated professional technical support. The new 64GB and 128GB capacities of the Lexar Professional 400x CF memory card will be available in January, with MSRPs of £269.99, and £479.99 respectively. Lexar is currently sampling the 256GB capacity of the Professional 400x CF memory card to commercial and industrial customers, as well as strategic imaging industry partners, to assure compatibility and reliability with current and future applications. The 256GB Lexar Professional 400x CF card is expected to be released for consumer purchase in the first half of 2012.

Contact

For more information, please visit www.lexar.com

Nikon announces AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G

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Nikon has released a new 85mm f/1.8, replacing the old version originally introduced in the late 80's. As expected it has a SWM a new optical construction and lacks an aperture ring, being a G-series lens but it also lacks the Nano crystal coat, which while not unexpected is a pity - it's likely to flare without a hood. All the same, the optical quality looks good at f/1.8, if the MTF chart below is to be believed.

To buy from Jessops UK at £469.95, please follow the link here. US readers can buy from Adorama at $499.95, please follow the link here.

Press release:

AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G — Master of Character
 
RRP: £469.99 / Eur 554.00
Sales start date: 22nd March 12 (tbc)
 
London, UK, 6th January 12:  Nikon today announces a new fast aperture medium-telephoto lens – the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G.
 
The combination of the classic focal length, large (f/1.8) aperture and re-designed optical system that meets the requirements of today’s D-SLRs, delivers superb image quality whilst offering photographers an affordable way to take advantage of Nikon’s rich legacy of renowned 85mm NIKKOR optics.
 
Kentaro Kusakari, Product Planning Manager, Nikon UK says: “This new lens is ideal for photographers looking to experience the benefits of a fast medium-telephoto lens, whether they are shooting portraits in a studio or on location making the most of natural light.”
 
Classic character
The classic 85 mm focal length allows for tight head and shoulder shots with extreme detail. The fast f/1.8 aperture perfectly balances sharpness and bokeh, so you can single out subjects beautifully, and it provides a bright viewfinder image that makes it easier to compose your shots. An excellent choice when shooting in low light, the fast aperture also helps you shoot with available light and still capture striking, sharp images.
 
New optical design
The new 85mm f1.8 lens is an ideal portrait lens that features an all-new optical design that has been optimised to meet the requirements of today’s D-SLRs. Compromising 9 elements in 9 groups, it offers superb image quality and makes an attractive choice for videographers. The dedicated Silent Wave Motor (SWM) ensures discreet but accurate autofocus.
 
Ergonomics
Weighing in at only 350 grams, this weather-sealed compact new 85mm lens is lighter than its predecessors. Compatible with Nikon FX-format D-SLRs, it offers a 127.5mm (equivalent) focal length when used with Nikon DX-format D-SLRs, and is fully compatible with entry level D-SLRs that do not have a built in autofocus motor.
 
The lens is supplied with a lens hood HB-62, and a soft pouch CL-1015.

Construction

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MTF Chart

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Interesting MTF chart, shows maximum aperture only, but in terms of resolution the edges are are almost as sharply defined as the centre, though that drops right in the corners as you might expect. What's interesting is the drop between the edges and centre, showing some curvature of field (though it's unlikely to have any real world effect). The top (red) lines closely correlate to visible lens contrast, and are technically the more important for most photographers (resolution isn't everything). This chart shows the lens should possess excellent contrast across the frame and, perhaps, even outstanding bokeh (remember though we're talking about max aperture only, a second MTF chart stopped down would give us more information). Comparing the MTF chart with that of the AF-S 85mm f/1.4G (see link here), it appears the new lens has slightly better resolution, contrast and bokeh, at least at their respective maximum apertures (though, it should be noted, we're not comparing the same aperture).

Sample image

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AF-S 85mm f/1.8G at f/2.2. Image courtesy of Nikon.

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100-percent crop at f1.8, using a D700. Image copyright of this site.

Nikon announces new flagship D4

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After a series of unfortunate leaks, the successor to the Nikon D3 was launched yesterday at a press conference in London. With a full frame 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and extended video capabilities, the new D4 is the new flagship model and update to the D3s - with the new naming convention it seems unlikely now that we'll see a D4x (but you never know, a D4s could be introduced in 12-months time with the D4x to follow). However, just in time for the Olympic Games in London, the new D4 has several important features (remote control over WLAN with new WT-5, AF with the 600mm f/4 and 2x converter, uncompressed HDMI output for external recording) and the adoption of a new card format, XQD, though after this announcement about CFast, I'm a bit surprised. I hope either to expand on them here or at a later day in a review. A spokesperson for Nikon UK confirmed to the DJP that the new camera will be available in March, not mid-Feb as advised at the launch, at £4,799.99.

UPDATE 8th Jan: UK retailer Jessops is taking pre-orders for the new D4 at £4,799.95 (inc VAT), please follow the link here.

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Press release:

The Nikon D4 – Built to push limits
 
RRP: £4,799.99 / Eur 5,658
Sales start date: 16th February 2012 (tbc)
 
London, UK, 6th January 2012: Nikon today announces the launch of the D4, its new flagship D-SLR for photographers who are looking for the ultimate digital SLR camera to revolutionize photography.
 
Designed to push the limits and realize every shooting opportunity, this new professional FX-format camera brings new levels of image quality, speed and precision to both still photography and video.
 
Equipped with a 16.2-megapixel FX-format sensor, phenomenally high ISO and Nikon’s powerful EXPEED3 image processing engine, the new model offers uncompromised performance and unrivaled versatility in extreme lighting and environmental conditions.
 
“The introduction of the Nikon D4 sets a new benchmark for photography,” says Kentaro Kusakari, Product Planning Manager, Nikon UK. “We’re proud to be launching a new flagship model that exceeds the capabilities of its world renowned predecessor, the Nikon D3. This new camera has been designed for class leading professionals looking to push the limits of photography and improve their workflow. We’re confident that the Nikon D4 will help take them to the next level.”

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Uncompromised Image quality—Exceptional speed
Engineered to deliver remarkable image integrity in the most diverse lighting conditions, the D4 offers blisteringly fast fps performance and sets a new benchmark in low-noise performance. The 16.2 megapixel FX-format (full-frame) CMOS sensor with fast channel readout delivers up to 11 fps—faster than any other Nikon DSLR camera.
 
Images of remarkable quality with low noise and wide dynamic range can be realized even at high ISO sensitivities thanks to the optimized noise reduction design and 14-bit A/D signal processing built into the sensor. The phenomenal ISO range sets a new benchmark of ISO12800 and extends the range one EV further to make ISO 100 a standard. For more challenging conditions, equivalent ISO 50 and ISO 204,800 sensitivities make the D4 the camera of choice for photographers who typically face extreme lighting challenges.
 
Super-charged EXPEED3 image processing engine
Thanks to Nikon’s next-generation EXPEED 3 image-processing engine, the D4 makes light work of multiple data-rich tasks without sacrificing the speed and quality that pros are accustomed to. High-speed 16-bit image processing follows the 14-bit A/D conversion to deliver submission-ready JPEGs straight out of the camera. Performance is never compromised, even when undertaking the most data-intensive tasks. Images boast faithful, well-saturated colour and natural depth. Even when shooting in dim lighting at high ISO sensitivities, the camera’s intelligent, performance-proven noise reduction lowers noise without degrading image sharpness.
 
Broadcast quality video
For professionals whose workflow demands video, the D4 offers all the flexibility required for a wide variety of movie applications. It’s large format movie shooting at its best, with a comprehensive variety of frame rates.
 
Frame rates: Full HD (1080p) movies can be recorded in 30p, 25p and 24p, with 60p, 50p, 30p and 25p options at 720p. Movie clips can be close to 30 minutes long (approx. 29.59 min).
 
Multi-area mode: Full HD (1080p) recording is possible in both FX and DX based formats as well as in native Full HD (1920x1080) crop.
 
High-fidelity audio control: responding to feedback from the industry, the D4 introduces new possibilities for D-SLR audio recording that enable your movies to sound as good as they look. Aside from the external stereo microphone input, an audio out for external headphones lets you fine tune audio in isolation.
 
Uncompressed HDMI output: for those who need the purest video output for professional quality editing, the D4 offers the possibility to output the uncompressed live view to external recorders and monitors. The first time this has been possible in an SLR camera, data is output at 1080i (Full HD) at the designated image size and frame rate. Data output can be scaled down if necessary and is clean of the information overlay that can be simultaneously displayed on the camera’s TFT monitor. 
 
Convenient custom controls: live view operation is enhanced thanks to convenient custom controls. Instead of rotating the command dial, power aperture enables smoother aperture control via assigned buttons on the front of the camera. Index marking enables important frames to be tagged in the timeline during movie recording, which makes for easy location during editing.
 
New levels of speed and accuracy
When it comes to nailing decisive moments, the D4’s enhanced auto operation gives photographers a clear advantage.
 
Advanced scene recognition with 91K-pixel RGB sensor: Nikon’s revolutionary Advanced Scene Recognition System now incorporates the newly designed 91,000-pixel RGB sensor that meticulously analyses each scene for outstanding accuracy.
 
3D-subject tracking is particularly improved when shooting and tracking smaller subjects. Human faces are detected with startling exactness even when working in real time through the optical viewfinder. This level of detailed scene analysis is also utilised to support more accurate autofocus and auto exposure, even under the most challenging lighting conditions.
 
Advanced Multi-CAM3500FX AF Sensor Module: Nikon’s highly acclaimed Multi-CAM 3500FX AF system  —with individually selectable or configurable 9-, 21- and 51-point coverage settings — has been re-engineered for faster subject detection.
 
The autofocus sensor module and algorithms significantly improve low light acquisition sensitivity capabilities down to -2 EV (ISO 100, 20°C/68°F). All 51 focus type sensors are fully responsive with any AF NIKKOR lens f/5.6 and—for the first time—this superb performance does not end at f/5.6 apertures. 
 
Powerful AF sensors compatible up to f/8: the D4 maintains the power of the eleven central AF sensors, including one cross-type even if the combined open aperture value is f/8. A big plus for shooting sports and wildlife, this delivers a new level of detection potential when combining, for example, a 600mm f/4 AF-NIKKOR lens with a NIKKOR 2.0x teleconverter. If the combined aperture value is between f/5.6 and f/8, you even have the power of fifteen central AF sensors available, of which nine are cross type sensors.
 
Faster total workflow speed
The D4’s speed runs across its entire workflow.
 
Newly developed Kevlar/carbon fiber-composite shutter unit: the new, highly durable shutter unit offers a standard life cycle rating of 400,000 releases, with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 to 30s and flash synchronization at up to 1/250 sec.  An intelligent self-diagnostic shutter monitor and a drive unit reduce the demand on power when the shutter is raised for extended periods during movie shooting.   
 
Fast response: start-up is approx. 0.12 seconds[1], release time lag is minimised to approx. 0.042 seconds[2] (equivalent to that of the D3S), with approx. up to 11 fps capability in FX-format and all crop modes.
 
Storage media: the D4 offers two card slots. One for high-speed CF (UDMA 7) cards and one for high-speed, high-capacity XQD card slot.
 
Connectivity: a powerful data communication and control system makes both wired and wireless LAN file transfer faster and easier than ever. Wireless LAN support is available via the compact, newly designed WT-5 Wireless Transmitter, which features HTTP and FTP connection modes and also allows for the simultaneous release of several cameras equipped with WT-5. HTTP mode has also been designed to work with iPhone screen resolutions. For the first time in a Nikon camera, a wired LAN connection is integrated into the camera body.
 
Always up to the job
Every millisecond can count, and the D4’s improved operability helps photographers respond quickly to changing situations.
 
Intuitive horizontal and vertical control: each orientation has identically laid-out controls, conveniently placed so that the camera may quickly become an extension of your hand whether you shoot in landscape or portrait. 
 
Simplified AF and AF-area mode selection: now possible without taking your eye away from the viewfinder.

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Precision 8-cm (3.2-in.), approx. 921k-dot, wide-viewing-angle LCD monitor with automatic brightness control. The monitor delivers bright, crisp image playback with a much wider colour reproduction capacity. LCD brightness is automatically adjusted according to the viewing environment and images can be magnified up to 46x during playback, which can be a big help for spot focus confirmation.
 
Glass prism optical viewfinder: offers approximately 100% frame coverage and 0.7x magnification (50mm f/1.4 lens at infinity, -1.0m-1). The high eyepoint design of Nikon’s viewfinders is renowned for minimizing visual fatigue when using the camera for extended periods of time.
 
Dual-axis electronic virtual horizon: offers accurate confirmation of level shooting by letting you check the LCD monitor, or the viewfinder, for both the camera’s position in relation to the horizontal plane and its pitch (forward or rear rotation).
 
Direct access to Picture Controls: via a dedicated button, rather than the menu. Picture Controls let you customize the look of your stills and videos by fine-tuning parameters such as sharpness, saturation, and hue.
 
Complete control over workflow
The D4 is built for speed, but not for speed alone. Readiness and versatility go hand in hand with control options that can deliver a real advantage when time is of the essence.
 
Time-lapse movies: the D4 extends the popular time-lapse photography function by saving images as a movie file in the camera. With playback rates from 24 to 36,000 times faster than normal.
 
HDR (High Dynamic Range): shoots one overexposed and one underexposed frame in a single shutter release. The range can be widened by up to 3 EV for different looks, full of saturation and tonal gradation. The smoothness of the edge where the two exposures meet can be adjusted for a more natural look.
 
Refined colour temperature control: enables minute control over white balance. The monitor hue of live view and the resulting image’s white balance can be adjusted so that the two are aligned. Colour temperature can be manually set in 10-Kelvin increments, or in mired units.
 
Four image area options: you can choose from a variety of image crop modes, all visually masked in the viewfinder. 5:4 (30.0 x 24.0 mm), 1.2x (30.0 x 19.9 mm), and DX-format (23.4 x 15.6 mm).
 
In-camera editing: captured images and movies can be altered and edited in camera and on the fly if required. Retouch menus include an array of useful features such as NEF (RAW) processing, resize, distortion and perspective control just to name some of them. On top of that it has the ability to designate the start and end point of movie clips all at once, in order to save them more efficiently.
 
Accessories
Compact WT-5 Wireless Transmitter (optional): attaches to the camera’s designated interface connector and is powered by the camera body. It features HTTP and FTP connection modes and allows for the simultaneous release of several cameras equipped with WT-5.
 
GP-1 GPS unit (optional): records location information such as latitude, longitude, altitude and time (UTC) as ‘geotags’ in the image data (Exif) and allows simultaneous operation together with the WT-5.
 
Compact Stereo Microphone ME-1 (optional): records clear sound while significantly reducing mechanical noise.
 
Nikon SB-910 (optional)—Unparalleled lighting performance: offers versatile i-TTL for on-camera or wireless flash control, refined operability and a powerful guide number of 34/112 (ISO 100, m/ft, STD, FX format, zoom 35mm). Menus and controls have been improved for more operational ease. Hard-type incandescent and fluorescent colour filters are included, which can adjust your D4’s white balance instantly.
 
Capture NX 2 (optional)—Fast, powerful and creative image processing: to accommodate the imaging power of the D4, Capture NX 2 is faster than before and boasts full 64-bit compatibility. 
 
Camera Control Pro 2 (optional)—Versatile remote camera controls: aside from controlling exposure mode, shutter speed, and aperture, this software now offers numerous improvements to make the D4’s live view operation exceptionally smooth. New creative controls include remote start and stop for movie shooting and the option to switch quickly between stills and movies in live view.
 
ViewNX 2 (supplied)—Browse, edit, share and more: bundled, all-in-one software implements an easy-to-use interface and an array of editing functions, including basic editing of RAW files and D-Movies. Seamlessly integrates with my Picturetown, Nikon’s photo sharing and storage service
 

Additional Images

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Storage media: the D4 offers two card slots. One for high-speed CF (UDMA 7) cards and one for high-speed, high-capacity XQD card slot.
 

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As this particular perspective shows, the D4's curvaceous body is a departure for Nikon. Their top-of-the-range model is looking more like rival offerings.

Contact

For more information, please visit www.nikon.co.uk

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