Posts Tagged ‘News’

Sony Announces Two New Alpha Series D-SLRs

Sony has announced two new a(Alpha) D-SLRs: the a290 and the a390. Both 14.2MP cameras are  regarded as entry-level or first-time D-SLRs because of affordability (Sony is calling the a290 “the most affordable new DSLR from Sony”—though they have not released official pricing. However, CNET.com reports that the a290 18-55mm kit will cost $499.99 and the a390 will be a hundred dollars more)—and because of the intuitive interface and features that they offer. Sony says, “Both cameras offer the speedy shooting responses that are prized by DSLR users. The α390 adds the extra benefit of Quick AF Live View.” The a290 and a390 will be available this summer. See the press release below.

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Panasonic Announces Lumix DMC-FX75

Panasonic has announced the 14.1MP LUMIX DMC-FX75—a “slim and stylish hybrid” digital camera that shoots High Definition video. The camera boasts a super wide 24mm f/2.2 LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens with 5x optical zoom, which  can be used while shooting HD video in AVCHD Lite format. To complement the high-quality video, the LUMIX FX75 also features Dolby Digital Creator to record high quality audio. Pricing and availability will be announced 30 days prior to the shipping date. Check out the full release from Panasonic below.

From Panasonic:

SECAUCUS, NJ (June 1, 2010) – Panasonic announced today the new LUMIX DMC-FX75, a super-slim digital camera that packs big features, including a 24mm ultra-wide-angle F2.2 bright LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens with 5x optical zoom, which  can be used while shooting High Definition video. The slim and stylish LUMIX FX75, a 14.1-megapixel digital camera is one of Panasonic’s high-performing hybrid models with the ability to not only take high-quality still photos, but can also record HD video in the AVCHD Lite format.

“The Panasonic LUMIX FX75’s 24mm ultra-wide-angle lens is a rare feature to have on a compact camera – especially one this small, so we are packing a lot of value and quality into this slim and stylish digital camera,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “Most consumers value the benefits of a long zoom, but understanding the importance of a wide-angle isn’t as known. With a 24mm ultra-wide angle like the one on the LUMIX FX75, photographers have a wider range of composition possibilities with approximately 213% larger viewing space compared to that of a 35mm camera.”

The LUMIX FX75 can record HD video in the AVCHD Lite format, which allows almost double the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format.  When recording in AVCHD Lite, the content is perfect for viewing on an HDTV, like a Panasonic VIERA Plasma.  To complement the high-quality video, the LUMIX FX75 also features Dolby Digital Creator to record high quality audio. For those users who are recording HD video to view on a computer screen, they also have the option to record in Motion JPEG, as well as WVGA (848×480) and VGA (640×480).

The LUMIX FX75 adopts full touch-screen operation, which allows for Auto Focus (AF) to quickly be set to the subject by simply touching the large 3.0-inch 230,000-dot LCD. Also, the user can click onto a subject with a single touch, and the FX75 then tracks the subject with the AF tracking feature – even when moving. The touch-screen operation is fluid and smooth – whether in record or playback mode.  While recording, once the frame is composed, users can simply touch the area they want focused before pressing the shutter button. In playback mode, users can drag the image across the screen with their finger to browse the collection of photos, as though it is a page in a book.

Panasonic’s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode, a hallmark on all LUMIX digital cameras, is further advanced in the LUMIX FX75 with the addition of a new Motion Deblur mode*1  by updating the motion detection (Intelligent ISO Control) and brightness control (Intelligent Exposure) to gain the highest shutter speed possible. Combined with the outstanding brightness of the lens and the POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), the LUMIX FX75 reduces blur created from handshake or the subject moving. The iA suite of technologies include: POWER O.I.S., Face Recognition, Face Detection, AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent Exposure – all which are engaged when in the iA mode.  Panasonic’s iA is also available while shooting video and include: AF Tracking, POWER O.I.S., Face Detection and Intelligent Scene Selector.

The Panasonic LUMIX FX75 features the Venus Engine HD II image processor, which helps assure superb image quality in both photo and video recording. It also incorporates Intelligent Resolution technology to perform the optimum signal processing based on the part of a picture to give a whole image outstanding, natural clearness with fine details.  At the same time, the multi-task image-processing engine Venus Engine HD II supports a super-fast response time. The shutter release lag time is as short as approximately 0.005 of a second in 1-area AF, and the camera’s quick response makes it easier to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities together with the Sonic Speed AF.

With the Intelligent Resolution technology, three areas – outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation – are examined pixel by pixel and automatically detected to enhance any degradation created during the digital zoom process or in high-sensitivity shooting. The outline areas are enhanced effectively to give the edges more clarity, while simultaneously giving a moderate accent to the textured areas so they look accurately detailed. To soften gradation areas, such as a face, the increased noise reduction system of the Venus Engine HD II is applied to make it appear smoother.  As a result of Intelligent Resolution, images are naturally clear and crisp in both photo and video recording.  The Intelligent Resolution technology powers Panasonic’s new Intelligent Zoom feature, which extends the camera’s zoom ratio by approximately 1.3x while maintaining picture quality – and enhancing the digital zoom and making it comparable to the quality of an optical zoom. With Intelligent Zoom, the Panasonic FX75 can reach up to 6.5x.

Other features include:

* Cosmetic Mode – takes portraits with the user’s favorite skin tone (soft skin, natural skin, summer look) and can add a degree of transparency of skin detail (low, standard, high), making it possible to take portraits with different skin tones, for example, look more sun-tanned.
* Happy Mode – option in iA that optimizes color, saturation and brightness to make both photos and movies more vivid and true to the color of the scene you memorized.
* Battery Life – the high performance Venus Engine HD II is also more energy efficient compared with the conventional Venus Engine HD, extending the battery life up to 360 shots (CIPA) on a single charge.

Pricing and availability for the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FX75 will be announced 30 days prior to shipping date.  For more information on these LUMIX models, please visit: www.panasonic.com/lumix.

*1The picture size may be reduced.

*Leica is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH.

*The LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lenses are manufactured using measurement instruments and quality assurance systems that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company’s quality standards.

*Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories.

*HDMI, the HDMI logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.

*YouTube is a trademark of Google Inc.

*All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations.

*This unit is compatible with both SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. You can only use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are compatible with them. You cannot use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are only compatible with SD Memory Cards. (When using an SDHC Memory Card on another device, be sure to read the operating instructions for that device.)

*Some accessories are not available in some countries.

*The use of recorded or printed materials that are protected by copyright for any purpose other than personal enjoyment is prohibited, as it would infringe upon the rights of the copyright holder.

*Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.

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Leica Announces SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH Lens

Leica has announced the SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH—a “revised version of the Leica M rangefinder system’s popular wide-angle lens.” New features include a full-metal, rectangular, screw-mount lens hood and a floating element, described as, “the lenses behind the aperture blades are constructed as a floating group that changes its position relative to the front lens group during focusing.” The lens will be available in July for $4,995. More from Leica below:

From Leica:

Solms, Germany (May 16, 2010) – Leica Camera AG presents the LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH, a revised version of the Leica M rangefinder system’s popular wide-angle lens. The LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. sets a whole new standard in the fast wide-angle lens portfolio, utilizing the latest developments in the fields of optics and precision engineering. Regardless of the situation, from selective focus in the close-up range, high-contrast available light applications or landscape shots with immense depth of field, the lens delivers incomparable results.

The LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. differentiates itself from its predecessor by offering a floating element:  the lenses behind the aperture blades are constructed as a floating group that changes its position relative to the front lens group during focusing. This ensures outstanding imaging performance at closer focusing distances.

Additionally, the new LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. features a full-metal, rectangular, screw-mount lens hood that significantly contributes to the compact dimensions of the lens. The optical design has been optimized for use on the digital Leica M models and reveals the full extent of the lens’ superior performance, especially when mounted on the LEICA M9. The LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. also delivers excellent results on analogue M models and is predestined to become an indispensible component of every M system.

“Thanks to the sum of its qualities, this 35 mm lens is a universal tool for every photographer,” says Stefan Daniel, Head of Product Management at Leica Camera AG. “Its moderate wide-angle characteristics, on the one hand, and its natural reproduction of perspectives, on the other, make it ideal for a particularly broad spectrum of photographic uses ranging from portraiture to landscapes. Having produced countless iconic images in the history of photography, lenses of this focal length are counted among the classical entry-level lenses for building an M camera outfit.”

Even wide open, the LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. offers an optical quality without precedent in the field of compact 35 mm lenses: outstanding imaging performance over the entire focusing range, from infinity to minimum focus, excellent contrast even in the finest structures, superb rendition of details across the entire image field, good field flattening and, stopped down to f2 and onwards, almost complete freedom from coma effects.

The LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. is a nine-lens design, five of which are manufactured from glasses with a high refraction index. One lens element has an aspherical (non-spherically formed) surface that makes a significant contribution to the compact construction of the lens. Combined with its light weight of only 11 ounces, this lens is an ideal choice for a light travelling outfit or reportage assignments.

Like all other Leica lenses, the LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. was designed and developed by Leica’s optical specialists in Solms , Germany , and represents a perfect combination of optical and technical expertise. A particularly reliable product with enduring value, the LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. is manufactured from only the best materials and assembled in an elaborate process entirely by hand. The combination of cutting-edge technologies and meticulous manufacturing procedures guarantees the consistently excellent quality of every single Leica lens.

The LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. is sold with a particularly high-quality, all-metal lens hood. The hood not only protects the lens effectively against reduction of contrast by extraneous light but also against damage and accumulation of dirt on the front lens element. The lens hood should always remain mounted whenever the lens and camera are in use.

The LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH. will be available in July 2010 at authorized Leica dealers for $4,995. For more information on Leica, please visit www.leica-camera.us.

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Canon Announces PowerShot SD4000 IS

Canon has announced the latest in their Digital ELPH lineup of compact cameras, the PowerShot SD4000 IS. According to Canon, “This new powerhouse point-and-shoot camera is the first of the Digital ELPH series to offer a high-sensitivity system, known as Canon’s HS SYSTEM, with a CMOS sensor and bright f/2.0 lens.” The SD4000 IS will be available at the end of May for an estimated MSRP of $349.99. See the full release from Canon below.

From Canon:

Placing top-level Canon features in a modern, stylish frame, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, today announced the newest addition to the PowerShot Digital ELPH camera series- the Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS Digital ELPH camera. This new powerhouse point-and-shoot camera is the first of the Digital ELPH series to offer a high-sensitivity system, known as Canon’s HS SYSTEM, with a CMOS sensor and bright f/2.0 lens. Offering consumers the most enhanced image quality available in an ELPH series camera, these features help to capture those wonderful moments in low-light conditions. The PowerShot SD4000 IS Digital ELPH camera also has high definition (HD) movie-shooting capabilities, providing an additional option for cataloging memorable events. Primarily, the new PowerShot SD4000 IS is great for any user with an attention for up-to-date functionality and style.

Whether attending a relative’s sunset wedding or meeting friends in a dimly lit restaurant, these are times where the new PowerShot SD4000 IS showcases its best attributes. The new 10-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, in conjunction with the DIGIC 4 image processor creates Canon’s HS SYSTEM to enhance image quality in low-light situations and helps reduce noise at high ISO speeds. Along with Canon’s HS SYSTEM, the f/2.0 lens allows more light to enter, permitting higher shutter speeds, for further reducing the effect of camera shake and increasing image sharpness and quality. In addition, the combination of Canon’s HS SYSTEM and the f/2.0 lens enables users to take photos without a flash, resulting in a more natural look while providing greater depth of field, making it an exemplary tool for portrait photography. In addition, the PowerShot SD4000 IS has the fastest high-speed burst rate to date* in a Canon PowerShot Digital ELPH camera with 8.4 frames per second (fps). New to the ELPH cameras, the PowerShot SD4000 IS has aperture and shutter controls allowing for enhanced flexibility and creative control, making this camera great for shooters who are interested in getting even more out of their photography.

“With the introduction of the new PowerShot SD4000 IS, Canon is putting the power of high-quality photography in an ultra-compact size to amplify the experience and quality customers see when shooting with a Canon camera,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A. “The two functions in the HS SYSTEM allow our customers to capture the clearest pictures in any setting, resulting in more of a professional look.”

For the Design-Centric
A treat for the eyes, the PowerShot SD4000 IS has beautifully crafted curves, texture and a modern look that appeals to a design-savvy user. With all of its new features, the Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS elevates the current ELPH series, offering advanced settings in a polished, sculpted, compact frame, making it an essential item to tote anywhere.

Get Creative with HD Movie
The addition of the HD Movie feature in the new PowerShot SD4000 IS is one of the most distinguished characteristics that makes this camera a must-have for anyone. This dual-purpose camera allows users to creatively compose video, helping to capture unforgettable moments from a child’s first baseball game to a son or daughter walking up to the podium on Graduation Day. Users can also have more fun with HD movie footage by using the My Color function, composed of Color Swap and Color Accent options. In addition, video content is easily downloaded from the camera via USB connection and can be easily played back on your HDTV via an HDMI output connector.

Timing is Everything
As an added bonus, the new Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS has a new Super Slow Motion movie function that allows users to record video at a very high frame rate, possessing the appearance of slow motion when played back at regular speed. The Super Slow Motion movie function captures a subject at 240 frames-per-second (fps), and later plays back the footage at 30 fps, allowing each moment of footage to be appreciated in super slow motion while maintaining great image quality.

Additional Features
# A 3.0-inch wide angle (28mm equivalent) wide screen LCD allows for easy on-camera previewing and reviewing of menus and images.
# A 3.8X optical zoom with optical image stabilization helps to ensure images will be clear and how they were meant to be captured.
# Support of the high-spec SDXC memory cards with the maximum storage of two terabytes (TB) in SDA standard.
# Eye-Fi memory card connectivity, where wireless data can directly transfer to PCs.
# New scene modes, such as miniature and fish-eye effects help to increase overall creativity.
# Smart Shutter technology, which automatically takes pictures when a person smiles or winks; resulting in less re-takes.

The new Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS is available in three different color variations: red, black and silver. In addition, while supplies last, there will be an exclusive, limited edition white PowerShot SD4000 IS model available direct from Canon (www.shop.usa.canon.com). Scheduled to be available at the end of May, the Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS Digital ELPH camera retails for an estimated price of $349.99.

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Sony Announces NEX-3 and NEX-5 Compact Interchangeable Lens Cameras

At PMA in February, we brought you the news that Sony had plans to unveil a compact interchangeable lens camera this year. Well, that time has come. Sony has just announced two new mirrorless a (alpha) compact interchangeable lens digital cameras—the NEX-3 and the NEX-5. Both offer the image quality of a D-SLR with the portability of a compact camera. According to Sony, “these models are the world’s first interchangeable lens cameras with an APS-C sensor to continuously adjust focus and exposure while recording video.” They will be compatible with three new E-Mount lenses. An optional LA-EA1 Mount Adaptor extends compatibility to the α family of 30 lenses, plus a huge range of other legacy A-mount lenses (Manual Focus only). The cameras and lenses will be available in July. Find additional images and the full press release from Sony below for specs and pricing.

From Sony:


SAN DIEGO, May 10, 2010 – Sony today introduced two innovative α (alpha) compact interchangeable lens digital cameras (models NEX-5 and NEX-3) that provide the quality of a digital SLR in a compact body that is easy to slip into a small purse or jacket pocket for ultimate portability.

“Consumers want better picture quality in a smaller form factor. Sony has made that a reality with these cameras. The NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras truly embody Sony’s make.believe spirit,” said Kristen Elder, director of Sony’s alpha digital imaging business. “These new cameras are the game-changers everyone has been waiting for and will revolutionize the consumer experience by offering outstanding picture quality with a totally pocketable size.”

With breakthrough video performance, these models are the world’s first interchangeable lens cameras with an APS-C sensor to continuously adjust focus and exposure while recording video. The NEX-5 camera offers Full HD movie capture (1080i AVCHD and 720p MP4) with Full HD 60i recording.

These cameras are perfect for point-and-shoot users looking to advance from snapshots to creative photography as well as existing DSLR users searching for a no-compromise compact alternative.

Innovative Design


Unlike conventional DSLR models, the “mirrorless” construction of the new models reduces the thickness of both camera bodies to just about an inch at their slimmest point (excluding grip and mount portions). The NEX-5, constructed from magnesium alloy, and the NEX-3, with a polycarbonate casing, offer a newly developed 14.2 megapixel Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor. About 60 percent larger than the sensor in micro four-thirds cameras, this sensor is key to the exceptional image quality, extremely low image noise and creative defocus background effects that are familiar to DSLR users.

HD Movie Recording and Fast, Silent Autofocus


The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are the first α  cameras to offer the extra convenience of high definition video recording. In addition to 720p HD recording, the NEX-5 also captures

Full HD (1920 x 1080i) video in high-quality AVCHD files that can be easily enjoyed on a compatible HD television via the cameras built-in HDMI™ terminal (cable not included). The NEX-3 shoots 720p HD video as compact MP4 files.  Both Sony cameras include built-in stereo microphones for high-quality audio recording.

Still and video image quality is further refined by Sony’s powerful BIONZ® processor that ensures quick DSLR-style shooting response with fast, precise autofocus and minimal shutter lag. Both cameras can also capture fast-moving action with a high-speed burst of full-resolution images at up to 7fps (AF/AE fixed from first frame).

Sweep Panorama
The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are the first α  cameras featuring Sweep Panorama. Capturing large group shots is as easy as press-and-sweep. Sweep Panorama mode lets consumers capture breathtaking shots up to 226-degree horizontal or 151-degree vertical shots.

Both models will be ready for 3D Sweep Panorama this July (with firmware update). With 3D Sweep Panorama mode, these cameras can shoot 3D panoramic still images with a single lens. The high-speed burst of frames is stitched together using innovative processing techniques to automatically create detail-packed 3D panoramas. These files can be enjoyed in stunning 3D on compatible 3D televisions (other accessories may be required).

These cameras provide the advantages of multi-frame capture featured in Cyber-shot® cameras, including Hand-Held Twilight and Anti-motion Blur modes, which offer extraordinary low-light performance.

Simple To Use
Overcoming the complexity and intimidation that often come along with DSLR use, the NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras have a new easy-to-use interface. It makes their performance advantages and features—including the techniques of creative photography—simple to master for consumers stepping up from compact digital still cameras and simultaneously offers easy access to the important camera controls that DSLR users demand.

Images and camera settings are displayed on the 3-inch (diagonal) wide-type Xtra Fine LCD™ display with TruBlack™ technology and 921k dot high resolution LCD that tilts up or down for comfortable viewing in any shooting position. The screen features an auto-brightness control function for excellent visibility, even outdoors. TruBlack screen technology enables an even more vivid, high-contrast view of images and camera settings.

E-Mount Lenses

Three new E-mount lenses are being introduced, including a 16mm F2.8 wide angle prime lens (model number SEL16F28), an 18mm-55mm F3.5-5.6 standard zoom lens (model number SEL1855) and an 18mm-200mm F3.5-6.3 (model number SEL18200) high magnification zoom lens.

The E-mount lenses provide the cameras with extreme compactness as well as the performance required for quiet continuous auto focus and auto exposure during HD video capture.  These all new lenses are of premium construction, with brushed aluminum barrels and steel mounts.  An optional LA-EA1 Mount Adaptor extends compatibility to the α family of 30 lenses, plus a huge range of other legacy A-mount lenses (Manual Focus only).

Ideal for everyday shooting, the low-profile E 16mm F2.8 lens minimizes bulk, allowing the camera to easily be carried in a coat, pants pocket, or purse. This lens’ creative possibilities can be expanded even further by the VCL-ECU1 Ultra Wide Converter which provides a 12mm view, and VCL-ECF1 Fisheye Converter that delivers impressive curvi-linear distortion.

Featuring in-lens Optical SteadyShot™  image stabilization for clearer handheld images, the E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS zoom is a perfect travel partner. The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are available in kit form with either the 16mm prime or the 18mm-55mm lens.  The E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS zoom lens offers a powerful 11x magnification range plus Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with Active mode that is used in the most advanced Handycam® camcorders.

Accessories

Both cameras are supplied with a super-compact clip-on flash that attaches via the smart accessory terminal when needed. Other optional accessories include the FDA-SV1 Optical Viewfinder plus stylish cases and shoulder straps.

As an option, the accessory shoe on both cameras accepts a compact ECM-SST1 Stereo Microphone that captures even more high-quality sound for HD video recordings than the cameras’ built-in stereo recording.

The new cameras accept both Memory Stick PRO Duo™ (including Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™) and SD (including both SDHC and SDXC formats) media (all sold separately). Sony’s new Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX offers 30MB per second transfer rates that save you time when downloading images.

Pricing and Availability
The NEX-5A and NEX-3A cameras, which are supplied with SEL16F28 lens, will cost about $650 and $550 respectively. NEX-5K and NEX-3K cameras, supplied with SEL1855 lens will cost about $700 and $600 respectively. The NEX-3 will be available in silver, black and red, and the NEX-5 in silver and black.

The SEL16F28 and SEL1855 lenses will be available for about $250 and $300. (The SEL18200 zoom lens will be available this fall for about $800.)

The cameras, lenses and a range of accessories will be available in July at Sony Style® retail stores (www.Sonystyle.com/retail) and at authorized dealers nationwide.

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