Weekly briefing: a round-up of this week's technology news
In the first of a new series we present our pick of newly announced cameras, lenses, accessories and software that have caught our eye this week.
Cameras and lenses
Towards the end of last week, news broke about the latest addition to the Leica stable – the M-P rangefinder. Billed as a camera that is “photography stripped back to the essentials”, the M-P is based on the Leica M (Typ 240), but has an enlarged buffer memory of 2GB – twice the size of that of the Leica M.
For selfie fans, there is the new Olympus Pen E-PL7. With a flip-down, tiltable LCD touchscreen, the Pen E-PL7 has a 16.1 megapixel sensor and built-in wifi, which allows users to share images via their (compatible) smart phone and the bundled Olympus Image Share app.
Pentax announced the K-S1, the latest digital SLR to join the Ricoh Imaging UK family. Aimed at enthusiasts, the lightweight, compact and portable camera features “outstanding imaging performance, progressive design and an innovative illuminated body,” says the company. The camera, which is available in 12 colours, has a newly developed CMOS sensor with approximately 20.12 effective megapixels, LED body illumination, a three-inch, high-resolution LCD monitor, and full HD movie recording with stereo audio. Other key features include a top sensitivity of ISO 51200, top shutter speed of 1/6000 second, and a high-speed continuous shooting function with a top speed of 5.4 images per second. Available mid-September, the Pentax K-S1 is priced £550 (body-only). It costs £600 with a SMC DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, and £680 with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and SMC DA L f4-5.6 AL 50-200mm optics.
Fujifilm announced a new premium compact camera – the X30 – boasting “new controls and faster performance”. Aimed at enthusiast and professional photographers, the X30 comes with a f/2.0-2.8 4x manual barrel zoom lens, and has a 12MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor with phase-detection AF, new real time 2.36M-dot organic EL viewfinder, (“the largest and fastest viewfinder in its class”), Live View display and high speed continuous shooting of 12fps. In addition, the X30 now includes two rings on the lens: a manual zoom ring and control ring. The latter, positioned behind the manual zoom control, is designed to allow users to easily change aperture and shutter speed settings while fine-tuning image composition. Photographers will also be able to assign functions including ISO sensitivity, film simulation, white balance and continuous shooting via the control ring setting button at the front of the camera. For those interested in shooting moving image, the X30 is equipped with full HD video 1080p at 60fps and a bit rate of 36Mbps, (there is also an output for stereo microphone). The new compact camera also has a remote application and wireless communication function that allows users to shoot remotely using smartphones and tablets. The Fujifilm X30 is available mid-September, and is priced $600.
Samyang has said it will present a new 50mm f/1.4 AS UMC lens at Photokina next month. As DPReview reports, the company will also introduce a new cine lens V-DSLR 50mm T1.5 AS UMC, “for videographers using DSLR and mirrorless cameras”. Both lenses are designed to cover a full frame sensor, writes DPReview, and will each “come in 10 mounts to cover Nikon, Canon EOS, Pentax K, Sony Alpha, Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Sony E, Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds bodies,” according to the company’s website.
This week also saw the release of a new Manfrotto carbon fibre tripod, the Befree Carbon, which retails at £280. With carbon fibre foldable legs and weighing 1.1kg, the new tripod is lightweight, making it easy to transport, but also stable and quick to set up.
German lighting manufacturer, Hensel, has also announced a number of products ahead of next month’s Photokina, including: the Hensel EH speedlight adapter; EH Mini P LED speed flash head; Visit UV flash dry C1 – UV drying unit; Softdish 80 – collapsible beauty dish; and Power max L – battery power supply. For more information on these Hensel releases visit the press page on the Photokina website or the Hensel website.
Corel has introduced the latest editions of its professional quality photo editing and design software. Pitched as alternatives to Photoshop, PaintShop Pro X7 and Pro X7 Ultimate offer “superior usability, enhanced power and new creative editing tools,” says the company. New and enhanced features include Magic Fill, which allows users to erase unwanted areas of their images, and replace with content that matches the background area; Text and Shape Cutter tools; Materials Palette featuring Color Harmonies through which users can customise palettes for individual projects; and 30% faster brush performance. The company has also made improvements to its Selective Focus, Graduated filters, Depth of Field, and Digital Noise Removal tools, among others.
This week also saw Instagram announce its Hyperlapse app for iOS, which Instagramers can use to create smooth, streamlined time-lapse videos. As reported on Time Lightbox yesterday, Instagram wants the app to be “another way of seeing”. Hyperlapse, “converts videos of up to 45 minutes (10 minutes on the iPhone 4) into smooth and stable time-lapses with a speed of up to 12x faster than the original,” writes DPReview Connect. Featuring built-in stabilisation technology, Hyperlapse lets users create handheld time-lapses while moving that “result in a cinematic look, quality and feel,” says Instagram on its blog.
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