Wednesday, August 19, 2009

PENTAX Optio E80

HOYA CORPORATION PENTAX Imaging Systems Division is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX Optio E80 digital compact camera. This new entry-class model offers a large 2.7 inch color LCD monitor and simplified operation to enhance image-viewing comfort and operability. The Optio E80 comes equipped with a host of user-friendly features and functions to make high-quality digital photography effortless, even for first-time digital camera users. These include the use of world-standard AA-size batteries as a power source, large, easy-to-press control buttons, and the PENTAX original Auto Picture mode that automatically selects the most appropriate shooting mode for a given subject or scene. It also delivers high-resolution still images thanks to its 10.0 effective megapixels, as well as high definition movie clips (equivalent to 720p at 15 fps) making high-quality digital photography available to everyone.

Major Features

Large 2.7 inch LCD monitor for effortless image/menu viewing
Despite its compact body, the Optio E80 features a large, bright 2.7 inch color LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 dots. This monitor allows the photographer to clearly review images and menus on the screen.

User-friendly operation with large buttons and large menu text
All of the Optio E80’s control buttons, including the shutter release button on the top panel, are designed to be large and easy to press. Coupled with the large letters, numerals and icons used in the on-screen menus, this assures outstanding operability while minimizing the risk of erroneous operation.

Auto Picture mode for automatic selection of the ideal shooting mode
The Optio E80 features an upgraded version of PENTAX’s original Auto Picture mode, which automatically and instantly selects the most appropriate shooting mode for a given subject or scene simply by pointing the camera at the subject and pressing the shutter release button halfway down. In addition to conventional modes (Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Standard, Flower, and Sport), the Optio E80 also features a new Candlelight mode that makes automatic, high-quality digital photography possible with a broader range of subjects and scenes.

PENTAX Optio P80

HOYA CORPORATION PENTAX Imaging Systems Division is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX Optio P80 digital compact camera. Its ultra-slim, lightweight design allows it to be carried along anywhere, anytime — more like an accessory than a camera.

The new Optio P80 is the latest model of the popular Optio digital compact series, and features a compact, lightweight body. It provides a host of advanced features for the capture of brilliant, sharply focused portraits. These include: an upgraded version of the Face Recognition AF & AE function, which lets the photographer capture the subject’s face in optimum focus and exposure, even from diagonal angles and in different poses; a new Small Face filter, which helps produce a more attractive, better-proportioned subject image by making the face appear slightly smaller in relation to the body; and a more responsive version of the Auto-Tracking AF function, which helps keep an active subject in constant focus.

Major Features

Stylish, ultra-slim camera body
The Optio P80 sports a compact, ultra-slim body that makes it ideal for bringing along not only on trips and leisure events, but also on daily outings and business meetings. Combining many design elements — including a high-grade aluminum-alloy housing and delicately-contoured chrome-plated parts that sparkle from every angle — the body has a beautiful elegant finish that is a statement of the quality within.

PENTAX’s innovative Sliding Lens System* and space-efficient high-density mounting technology have significantly contributed to a downsizing and weight reduction of the camera body, making the Optio P80 extremely compact and lightweight — the thinnest part of the body measuring a mere 16.5mm in depth, despite the incorporation of an optical 4X zoom lens and a large 2.7 inch LCD monitor.


HOYA CORPORATION PENTAX Imaging Systems Division is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX Optio WS80 digital compact camera. The combination of a compact, lightweight body and outstanding waterproof and dustproof capabilities makes the new Optio WS80 an ideal choice for casual, day-to-day applications, including a variety of outdoor activities.

Within its compact body, the Optio WS80 offers a number of advanced, user-friendly features. These include: the assurance of high-quality, high-resolution image reproduction thanks to 10.0 effective megapixels; an optical 5X zoom lens; a large 2.7 inch LCD monitor; HDTV-proportioned movie recording; and a state-of-the-art Face Recognition function. Its airtight body also allows underwater photography to a depth of 1.5 meters for up to two hours continuously. This eliminates worries in situations where water or dirt can be a concern, such as outdoor events, in the garden or kitchen, or on a rainy day.

Major Features

Exceptional waterproof performance for worry-free underwater shooting
Despite its compact, palm-sized body, the Optio WS80 assures reliable waterproof performance conforming to IPX 8 (or JIS Class 8) standards, allowing underwater photography at a depth of 1.5 meters for up to two hours continuously.

It also features the PENTAX-exclusive, highly water-repellent SP (Super Protect) coating on the protective glass element installed at the front end of the zoom lens. As a result, the Optio WS80 can be simply rinsed clean with fresh water if it becomes covered with dirt or sand. Coupled with remarkable dustproof capabilities equivalent to JIS Class 6, the Optio WS80 can be used without worry in many different situations where water or dirt can be a major concern, including water and winter sports.


Sony today introduced the Party-shot™ personal photographer (model IPT-DS1)—an innovative camera dock that pans 360 degrees and tilts 24 degrees, automatically detects faces, adjusts composition and takes photos for you.

The Party-shot camera accessory uses the camera's BIONZ™ image processor with its Face Detection and Smile Shutter™ features to take photos without the user needing to snap the shutter button. This device makes it easy to capture more natural expressions and fun, candid moments of you, your family and friends without having to hire a photographer.

“With the Party-shot personal photographer, you no longer have to worry about taking photos when you are with your family or friends,” said Shigehiko Nakayama, manager of the digital imaging accessories business at Sony Electronics. “Party-shot captures candid moments that tell natural life stories and also offers a new style of photography that enriches time with your family and friends.”

Compatible with the DSC-WX1 and DSC-TX1 Cyber-shot® digital cameras, the Party-shot camera accessory is mountable on nearly any tripod, so you can set it up in a convenient location in your home, especially when you are entertaining. With two AA batteries, the Party-shot camera accessory captures photos for up to 11 hours and is portable, so you can enjoy taking pictures outdoors. You can also use an AC adaptor (sold separately).

Sony develops back-illuminated CMOS image sensor, realizing high picture quality, nearly twofold sensitivity*1 and low noise

Sony Corporation today announced the development of a back-illuminated CMOS image sensor (pixel size: 1.75µm square pixels, five effective mega pixels, 60 frames/s) with significantly enhanced imaging characteristics, including nearly twofold sensitivity*1 and low noise. This improved performance has been achieved by illuminating the backside of the silicon substrate, in contrast to conventional CMOS image sensors based on front-illumination technology.

The newly developed CMOS image sensor achieves a signal-to-noise ratio of +8dB(+6dB sensitivity, -2dB noise) in comparison to existing Sony CMOS image sensors of the same pixel size. Sony will apply this back-illuminated CMOS technology in consumer digital video camcorders and digital still cameras to deliver an even higher quality image experience. Conventionally, consumer digital video camcorders and digital still cameras have been required to combine high resolution capable of capturing every detail of the subject matter, and miniaturization oriented to portability. In order to meet these needs, image sensor development has focused on miniaturizing pixel size, while maintaining imaging characteristics. However, in addition to these ongoing requirements, in recent years demand for improved levels of minimum subject illuminance and rapid image capture has also increased. This has led to the requirement of image sensors with improved signal-to-noise ratio and other features capable of realizing improved overall picture quality.

Sony has retained the advantages of CMOS image sensors such as low power consumption and high-speed operation, while radically realigning their fundamental pixel structure from front-illumination to back-illumination to successfully develop a prototype, back-illuminated CMOS image sensor (pixel size: 1.75µm square pixels, five effective mega pixels, 60 frames/s) with improved sensitivity and noise reduction - the key factors to enhancing image quality.

With a conventional front-illumination structure, the metal wiring and transistors on the surface of the silicon substrate that form the sensor's light-sensitive area (photo-diode) impede photon gathering carried out by the on-chip lens, and this has also been an important issue in the miniaturization of pixels and widening optical angle response.


SAN DIEGO, Aug. 5, 2009 – Sony today announced two new Cyber-shot® cameras (DSC-TX1 and DSC-WX1 models) that provide unprecedented advances in low-light performance with approximately twice the sensitivity of cameras with traditional image sensors.

These Cyber-shot cameras are the first to employ Sony’s new “Exmor R” back illuminated CMOS sensor technology to improve shooting in low-light scenarios, enhancing image clarity and drastically reducing grain.

“With these new “Exmor R” CMOS sensor cameras, Sony has vastly improved the customer experience for taking pictures with digital still cameras in low-light scenarios,” said Phil Lubell, director of the digital imaging business at Sony Electronics. “We’ve all taken pictures in dimly lit areas, where the results were grainy and unclear. By redesigning the way these cameras capture light, Sony is leading the industry by creating this easy way to take amazingly clear, vibrant photos in low lighting scenarios.”

“Exmor R” Sensor Optimizes Low-Light Performance
Conventional image sensor architecture has required wires and other circuit elements to be positioned above the light sensitive photo-diodes, limiting the imager’s light gathering capability. Positioning these elements behind the photo-diodes, Sony’s “Exmor R” image sensors can gather more light, resulting in approximately twice the sensitivity compared to conventional sensors.

To further extend low-light shooting performance, the TX1 and WX1 cameras incorporate the hand-held twilight and anti-motion blur multi-shot modes introduced in Sony’s breakthrough Cyber-shot DSC-HX1. Using “Exmor R” CMOS sensor’s high speed, these modes capture six separate images in less than a second and utilize Sony’s BIONZ™ processor to combine the shots into a single image of extraordinary detail and low noise.

123di launches The 123 of digital imaging Version 6

123di Version 6.0 Integrates Photography Techniques with Post-processing
Post-processing rarely turns wrongly exposed or badly composed images into winners. Even the most sophisticated editing techniques and software are simply no substitute for excellent photography. On the other hand, photographers who ignore post-processing are not making full use of the potential of digital imaging, even if they are professional photographers using the best equipment. Post-processing makes it possible to bring even award-winning images to the next level by allowing the photographer to capture the entire dynamic range of the scene, allocate tonal detail exactly where it is desired, adjust perspective, correct for lens imperfections, tweak the color to the gamut of the monitor or print, add the right amount of sharpening depending on the desired output, etc.

Precisely with this in mind, 123di Version 6.0 advocates a three-step integrated approach to create winning images: capture the best possible picture by focusing on the correct camera settings and applying the right photography techniques, and bring the results to the next level with post-processing, preferably in RAW. Instead of treating these as three sequential and separate steps, the holistic 123di approach recommends shooting with the post-processing abilities in mind.

Three-step Interactive Learning Experience
While camera manuals state “how” to configure your camera, 123di explains “why”, “where”, and “when” certain settings are needed to achieve the desired photographic objectives. Among other things, a unique “interactive simulation” makes it incredibly easy to understand how aperture, shutterspeed, and sensitivity affect exposure, depth of field, motion blur, noise, and diffraction in the various exposure modes. One single interactive page simulates hundreds of scenarios and replaces days of practical experience, hours of video, and hundreds of pages in a conventional book. This “hands-on” interactive learning experience is backed up by theoretical background information.

Creating amazing images is not just about getting the camera settings right, it is also about finding the little “extra” that sets the extra-ordinary image apart from the ordinary one. This requires evolving from a “point-and-shoot” to a “move-around-and-shoot” photographer who applies proper composition techniques and always pays attention to the lighting at the scene. 123di illustrates this through practical examples, often showing an “average” way and a “unique” way to capture the same scene.

Olympus E-P1 review updated with lens tests

We've just posted an update to our in-depth review of the Olympus E-P1 'Digital Pen', adding lens tests for the 14-42mm and 17mm pancake kit lenses. Find out if Olympus's first two Micro Four Thirds lenses can match the E-P1's sensor - and maintain the standards set by its existing Four Thirds optics - check out our updated review after the link...

Ricoh GR Digital III samples gallery

Our preview sample gallery from the Ricoh GRD III. Ricoh has been kind enough to lend us its latest photographer's compact, the GR Digital III. It combines an F1.9 28mm-equivalent lens with one of our favorite compact camera user interfaces so we've all been keen to have a go. We're unlikely to have a chance to review the camera in the near future but wanted to give a flavor of what it's like.

There are 21 images in the samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. A reduced size image (within 1024 x 1024 bounds) is provided to be more easily viewed in your browser. As always the original untouched image is available by clicking on this reduced image.


Samsung Digital Imaging, leaders in innovation and technology, today announced the arrival of the ultra slim and stylish ST550 and ST500 compact cameras which boast yet another ‘world first’: front and back LCD display technology.

Delivering an unrivalled user experience, the hidden 1.5” LCD located on the front of the camera allows consumers to take accurate portraits using the front image as a guide – whether it’s a group shot with friends or a snap of yourself on holiday. There is no need to even press the shutter button – just a big smile will trigger the cameras to take the picture.

On the reverse, the Samsung ST550 features the world’s highest resolution 3.5” wide touch screen LCD* , almost four times the size of many other cameras, complete with haptic feedback for ease of use.

Complementing this, the 12.2 mega pixel cameras also use the perfect combination of a 27mm wide angle Schneider KREUZNACH lens with 4.6x optical zoom. This gives the photographer a wider shooting range from a shorter distance, producing clear, clean images with even resolution from the centre of the picture right to the edges.

“These cameras are the very first of their kind,” said Steve Mitchell, General Manager Marketing, Samsung Digital Imaging Division.

“The use of digital imaging technologies has evolved and we are offering functionality and capabilities that no other digital camera manufacturer has yet addressed. These cameras will be must-haves for those individuals that use popular social networking websites and for families that want to get everyone, including the photographer, in the picture.”

Smart Gesture User Interface (UI)
Showcasing further innovations, a Smart Gesture User Interface (UI) with built-in orientation sensor, means a simple tap or hand gesture allows users to access key features quickly. A simple tap can also turn the front LCD on instantly, ready to take the perfect self portrait photo.

One touch shooting and Auto-Focus
Sometimes the focal point of your picture is not always in the centre of the frame. The ST550 and ST500’s One Touch Auto Focus feature allows you to focus on a different part of the shot by simply touching the desired area. Once you’ve selected the focal point, you can simply leave your finger on the screen for two seconds or push the shutter button to take the picture.


Samsung Digital Imaging, leaders in innovation and technology, today unveiled the ST1000 camera with never before seen built-in geo-tagging, Bluetooth 2.0 and Wi-Fi* connectivity. Offering consumers an ‘always on’ experience, users can now send and post pictures almost as quickly as they take them, whilst the GPS capabilities will keep track of exactly where each picture was shot.

Multi-Wireless Connectivity
Thanks to the in-built GPS, the ST1000 displays the city name and region on the camera’s LCD screen, providing users with a real-time display of their location and reference for when they are reviewing and managing images.

Using Bluetooth 2.0 technology, users can wirelessly beam their favourite images to other compatible mobile phone devices. With the Wi-Fi technology, users can email photos direct from their camera and upload their photos or videos to selected popular social networking websites including Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, without needing to connect to a PC. The ST1000 is also DLNA compliant (Digital Living Network Alliance), allowing users to wirelessly connect the camera to other DLNA compliant devices, such as HDTVs, digital picture frames, media servers or gaming systems in their networked home to view and share their precious moments.

The ST1000 comes with the ‘intelli-studio’ PC software package embedded in the camera itself. The software can be used for viewing, editing and managing pictures and the clever part of it being built into the camera means it automatically loads onto your computer when you connect your camera to it. Through the intelli-studio software users can then easily pinpoint their images and link to popular social media photo-sharing sites, such as Google Earth, Google Maps, and Flickr**.

“This new powerhouse point-and-shoot camera will raise the bar for innovation and set a new standard by which all other manufacturers will be measured,” said Steve Mitchell, General Manager Marketing for Samsung Digital Imaging.

“Never before has a manufacturer provided such a range of technologies in a compact digital camera, giving consumers unprecedented flexibility when it comes to how, when and where they share their digital images,”

Packed full of innovation and encased in a sleek compact frame, the ST1000 sports the world’s highest resolution 3.5” Wide touch screen LCD*** at 1152k pixels, with almost four times the size of many other cameras, giving an enhanced viewing experience.

Leica S system specifications

Leica has revealed specifications and a release date for its medium-format 'S system'. The S2 as a 37.5 megapixel Kodak CCD sensor which measures 45 x 30 mm, sensitivity is pegged from ISO 80 to 1250 and the camera can shoot 1.5 fps for up to 8 RAW DNG files. Around the back you'll find a three inch LCD with 460,000 dots (surprisingly not the higher resolution 920,000 dot screens found on other DSLRs). Everything else is pretty much to be expected; three metering modes, four exposure modes, integral metal shutter provides 32 to 1/4000 sec and a flash sync of 1/125 sec, optional lens leaf shutter delivers flash sync up to 1/500 sec. A basic 'kit' (S2 and one lens) will set you back around $30,000 and the first units should ship in October.
Camera typeDigital single-lens reflex camera for use with Leica S lenses
Image sensor • Low-noise Kodak CCD sensor
• 37.5 megapixels (7,500 x 5,000)
• 45 x 30 mm
• 6 µm pixel spacing
• 3:2 aspect ratio
• Dynamic range: 12 stops
• Color depth: 16 bits per pixel
• Low pass filter: none (moire suprresion using digital processing)
Sensitivity rangeISO 80 to 1250 (manual or automatic control)
Data storage (format) • DNG (approx. 75 MB per image)
• JPEG (basic or fine)
Memory cards • Compact Flash (up to 64 GB)
• SD cards (HC)
Maximum frame rate• 1.5 images/s
• 1 GB buffer
• 8 images in a burst (DNG)
Control monitor• 3-inch TFT
• 460,000 pixels
• 16 million colors
• Cover glass: highly abrasion and scratch resistant sapphire glass (only with the LEICA S2-P)
Connections • High-speed USB 2.0 (robust connection with strain-relief, cable included
• Remote release
• X sync
• SCA3002
Exposure metering • Multi-field metering (5 fields)
• Center-weighted integral metering
• Spot metering (3.5%)
Exposure control • Program mode (with Shift function)
• Shutter priority, aperture priority, manual metering
Shutter 1/500 s to 32 s, flash synch time: All speeds
Flash operation • Metering method: TTL (multi-field, center-weighted, spot)
• TTL-HSS rapid synchronization up to 1/4000 s with focal plane shutte,
• Fully compatible with LEICA SF 58 and devices with SCA3002 adapters
Auto Focus • Central crosshair sensor
• Focusing drive in lens
Operating Modes • AF Continuous
• AF Single
• MF (with override)
Viewfinder• High eye-point pentaprism viewfinder
• Coverage: 96%
• Magnification: 0.86x
• Diopter: -3 to +1
• Focusing screen: Matte with cross-hairs (interchangeable)
Power supply • Li-Ion battery
• 7.4 V, 2150 mAh
Body • Die-cast magnesium
• Resistant to dust and dripping/splashing water
Dimensions • 160 x 120 x 81 mm (6.3 x 4.7 x 3.2 in)
Weight (no lens) • 1.4 kg (3.1 lb)
Supplied accessories • Software: Adobe Lightroom, Leica Image Shuttle
• Battery
• Charger
• USB cable


DOVER, NJ — AUGUST 18, 2009 — Casio America, Inc. and its parent company, Casio Computer Co., Ltd., announced the release today of two new additions to the EXILIM digital camera lineup. The EXILIM Zoom EX-Z450 and EXILIM Zoom EX-Z90 both are equipped with Intelligent AF, a new function that can detect even a non-human photographic subject, allowing the models to automatically determine the focus and exposure area. In addition, Casio’s unique Dynamic Photo function, for composite moving image creation, is now faster and easier to operate, allowing users to produce animated electronic greeting cards and other digital creations.

New to the Casio EXILIM lineup is the Intelligent AF feature which, in addition to the line’s usual face detection technology, automatically detects non-human photo subjects in the whole composition and determines the focus and exposure area. By simply pointing the camera at a desired shot, Intelligent AF ensures a focused, crisp picture without an out-of-focus subject. Taking pictures of your family pet or even beautiful scenery can be done in a snap, utilizing Intelligent AF to help minimize the number of photos that need to be taken to get a perfect picture. Thanks to the high-speed image processing technology and image analysis technology of the EXILIM Engine 4.0, users can enjoy taking quality photographs with ease.

Further advancements have been achieved for Dynamic Photo, which enables users to cut out images of a moving subject and combine them with a different still image. In the past, it was necessary to take photos twice*in order to cut out the moving subject, but now a moving subject can be cropped from a single shot, as long as the background is flat and in one color.

The EXILIM Zoom EX-Z450 is built with a stylish design, producing a 12.1 effective megapixel image while boasting a wide-angle 28 mm 4X optical zoom lens. In addition to a CCD-shift image stabilization mechanism, the EX-Z450 features a Landscape Mode for taking enhanced scenery shots, and a Makeup Mode that enhances the beauty of a person’s face. The high performance features Casio is known for are evident in this camera, while the image quality is never sacrificed with the addition of new functions.