Posts Tagged ‘release’

Sony Unveils the A290 and A390 DSLRs

Looks like the leaked photos of the Sony A290 we published last month were of the real thing. Sony has just announced the A290 and A390, two entry level DSLR cameras that replace the A230 and A380. The new cameras are nearly identical, with both boasting 14.2 megapixel sensors, but the A390 offers an extra “Quick AF Live View” and tilt-LCD for more flexible shooting. Aside from increasing the megapixel count from 10 to 14, redesigning the grip and button layout, and adding the “Quick AF Live View” to the A390, there does not seem to be too much of a difference between these cameras and their predecessors.

The cameras will be priced at $500 and $600 respectively (which includes a 18-55mm kit lens), and will be available starting in July.

Pentax Unleashes Rainbow DSLR on Japan

Pentax has unveiled a new “Rainbow” version of the K-x DSLR camera. The limited edition camera will only be available in Japan through Tower Records starting on July 23, 2010.

Only 1,000 of these units will be made, and each one will set you back ¥74,800 (~$800). Aside from the funky colors, the technical specifications of this camera are exactly the same as other K-x DSLRs:

The camera is part of a 2010 campaign with a “Rainbow” theme by Tower Records that also includes footwear, t-shirts, and backpacks.

Selling strange looking cameras is nothing new to Pentax — they already allow you to customize your colors, and last year they released a limited edition “robotic” themed camera.

Canon SD4000 Boasts 240fps and ISO 6400

Canon isn’t letting Sony have all the fun today — they’ve announced their latest Digital ELPH camera, the SD4000 (also known as the IXUS 300HS outside the US). The 10-megapixel camera has two features that really popped out to us: 240 frame per second slow motion video at 320×240, and ISO 6400 for low-light shooting. It can also capture 720p HD video, just not in slow-motion. If you’ve always wanted to play around with slow motion, this camera can enable you to do so (just for lower-res videos). The camera is priced at £379 (~$560) in the UK, and US pricing has not been announced yet.

Sony Announces New Interchangeable Lens Cameras and Camcorder

Sony officially announced their new EVIL cameras, the NEX-3 and NEX-5. There wasn’t really anything in the announcement that we didn’t know before today. After all, the actual camera was spotted in an Asian bar at the end of last month, and official photos and specs started appearing online yesterday.

Both cameras are intended to compete with the Micro Four Thirds format, and use Sony’s new E-mount interchangeable lens system. They boast 14 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensors, and have tilting 3 inch LCD screens. The NEX-5 offers 1080i AVCHD video on top of the 720p found on the NEX-3. For more specs, check out our post about the camera yesterday.

Now onto the surprising news… Sony is developing an interchangeable lens camcorder!

The camcorder will use the same sensors found in the NEX cameras and the same E-mount lenses. Additionally, it will accept any of the lenses designed for the Alpha range of Sony cameras with an adapter.

Imagine if Canon or Nikon released a camcorder that accepted their DSLR lenses! I’m guessing they’re already working on such things, and that Sony simply wanted a slight head start by announcing their efforts earlier.

What are your thoughts on these new cameras? Do you think Canon and Nikon should jump into these markets?

Olympus Launches Online PEN Magazine

Olympus just launched a new online publication called “PEN – The Magazine“. It’s available through a Flash viewer online (sorry iPad users), or as a PDF you can download. The first issue features six users of the Micro Four Thirds PEN system, and also an advertisement for why you should be using the system too (gasp!). Now all the other camera companies need to release free online magazines for their camera systems as well.


By the way, yesterday Olympus launched the “PEN your story competition“. All you have to do is submit a proposal through YouTube for what you would do with a PEN camera and a $5,000 budget. Judges will select 6 videos from the top 20 most “thumbs uped” by the community, and those individuals will receive the camera and money to bring their vision to life.

Photoshop CS5 Free Trial Now Available

For those of you who have been itching to try the new Content Aware Fill and Puppet Warp features in Adobe Photoshop CS5, today’s your lucky day. CS5 became available for purchase through the Adobe website, and you can now download a 30-day free trial of the software just to play around with the amazing new features if you’re not sure yet you want to upgrade.

If you’ve tried it out already, do you think the new features live up to the hype?

Nikon Announces New 200-400mm f/4 Lens

If you have deep pockets, Nikon has a wonderful new $6,999.95 lens for you. They’ve just announced the new Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II, a super telephoto lens for sports, nature, and travel photographers. Nikon claims that the latest Vibration Reduction technology, VR II, provides the equivalent of an extra four stops of light, which is one stop more than the previous version of this lens released in 2003. Additional improvements include Nikon’s proprietary Nano Crystal Coat, which reduces ghosting and flaring, and Automatic Panning Detection and an Active VR Mode, which allows the lens to be used at unstable locations such as in a moving vehicle.

The old lens is still being sold for ~$6,000 online, but you can expect the price to plummet once this lens is available in late May 2010. For more information on this lens, check out the press release put out by Nikon.

Carl Zeiss Unveils Cine Lenses for DSLRs

In his recent Twitter Q&A session regarding House being filmed with a 5D Mark II, director Greg Yaitanes answered a question about differences of the new setup by saying, “focus was hard with these lenses but more “cine-style” lenses are being made as we speak.” Lo and behold, new cine lenses are being announced!

Carl Zeiss has just announced the first set of prime and zoom lenses designed specifically for HDSLR cameras. The new Compact Prime CP.2 and Lightweight Zoom LWZ.2 lenses have interchangeable mounts and can be used on F (Nikon), EF (Canon), and PL (traditional cine camera) systems.

The primes range in focal length from 18mm to 85mm and can be used on full frame cameras, while the zooms are limited to crop sensor bodies. Here’s an interesting quote from the press release:

The trend of filming in high definition using a digital SLR camera is unstoppable. Moviemaking today is unthinkable without this technique, whether for independent filmmakers, television producers or professional still photographers who wish to expand their services.

Pricing was not unannounced, but the lenses will be available starting June 2010.

Apple Releases New Version of Aperture

This morning Apple introduced the latest version of their photo editing software: Aperture 3. The $199 program ($99 for existing users) adds over 200 new features to the previous version, including the Faces and Places features that were popular in the latest release of iPhoto. In addition, there is now a Brushes feature that allows you to “paint” adjustments onto photographs, much like the feature that was added to Adobe Photoshop CS4. The new version will also run in 64-bit mode, which Apple claims will allow it to run an “order of magnitude” faster.

Canon Announces the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

The mystery of the disappearing Canon lenses deepens. Today, Canon announced the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. The first version of this lens is among Canon’s most highly regarded (and expensive) lenses, so if this second version delivers on all its improvement claims, then it’s sure to be another home run.

Here are some of the important improvements you should be aware of:

Durability

Canon claims that the new lens has been redesigned for better strength and durability without a significant increase in weight. The weight is increasing from 3.24lb/1.47kg to 3.28lb/1.49kg, and increase of about one percent.

Optics

The internals of the lens have been redesigned and added to, leading to less chromatic aberration and higher contrast and resolution. Canon has pretty lofty goals for this lens, and claims that it will become “the leader of Canon’s L-series lenses,” a title arguably attained by the first version.

Focusing

The algorithm behind focusing has been improved, leading to faster AF speeds. In addition, the minimum focusing distance of this lens has been reduced from 4.6ft/1.4m to 3.9ft/1.2m, which allows you to get significantly closer to your subject than you could before. This give the new lens the same minimum focusing distance as the f/4 versions of the 70-200mm.

Design

A common complaint with the first version of the lens was that the auto/manual focus switch gets bumped easily. Some photographers worked around this problem by covering up the switch with tape. While it’s unknown whether this particular annoyance has been resolved in the new lens, the “UI” of the lens has been redesigned, and the thickness of certain components such as the switch panel has been reduced, leading to a sleeker-looking lens.

Pricing and Availability

The lens will be available at the end of February 2010, with the price reportedly set at £2,799.99, or roughly $4,500.

Conclusion

It looks like the rumors going around about big Canon announcements are starting to come true. However, Canon is acting somewhat unusual in announcing such a significant lens so quietly before CES, which starts Thursday. Even more curious is the fact that Canon will not be attending PMA next month, which is where pro-oriented gear is usually announced.

Regardless, we expect more announcements coming from Canon in the near future (possibly the 24-70mm f/2.8 IS?), so stay tuned!