Casio Updates EX-FH20 Firmware, Already

After less than a month on the market, the EX-FH20 has a firmware update. Casio has made the update for its speedy new camera available on its website. The update will improve the performance of the EX-FH20′s memory card storage when shooting movies. A CLASS6 equivalent transfer speed memory card is recommended for the camera.

The firmware update is version 1.01, and Casio has posted a special warning for EXILIM owners updating their cameras:

If firmware update installation is interrupted due to low battery power, your camera will no longer be able to operate. Be sure to load a fresh set of new batteries into the camera before starting the firmware update installation procedure. Note that you perform firmware update at your own risk.

Pentacon Lines Up Four New Cameras

Pentacon has unveiled four digital cameras in two different lines:

  • The Praktica luxmedia 8403 (8 megapixels)
  • The Praktica DCZ 8.3 (8 megapixels)
  • The Praktica DCZ 10.2 (10 megapixels)
  • The Praktica luxmedia 10-TS (10 megapixels)

Pentacon has relied on some of the characteristics that made older Praktica models popular, such as Domiplan lenses. The company has also added a few new features to update their Praktica cameras. The Praktica luxmedia 8403, for instance, has 22 different shooting modes as well as an automatic panorama mode. Each of the four new models has face tracking and smile detection. Pentacon has put together some quality attributes for the new Praktica cameras.

Salgado’s Leica Goes On Sale

Photo-Arsenal has Sebastiao Salgado’s Leica for sale on eBay. The camera is priced at $140,183 — plus $42 for shipping.

This camera set was made specially to commemorate serial number 3,000,000 and presented to Salgado to honor the Brazilian photographer’s work. Looking at this camera, however, I don’t think Salgado put many miles on it.

While I doubt Salgado’s camera will bring in the sort of notice that the sale of Ansel Adam’s Hasselblad set did in its 1998 auction, his documentary work continues to grow in reputation. I know that I’m not going to be picking up the commemorative set, I do find Salgado’s work worth revisiting.

Limited Edition Kit Available for E-420

The E-420 Komachi Kit puts together Olympus’ E-420 body with the Zuiko Digital 25 mm 1:2.8 pancake lens in a combination that is definitely outside of the ordinary. Together, the camera body and lens measures an exceptionally compact 76.5 mm in length. The kit is named for Ono no Komachi, a Japanese poet renowned for her beauty.

The Komachi Kit contains:

  • E-420 camera body
  • ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:2.8 pancake lens
  • Hand-made brown leather case with strap
  • 1GB CompactFlash card
  • Lens cloth
  • LCD protector

It just became available, although Olympus is only offering the Komachi Kit as a limited edition. It’s priced at 699 euros.

ACD Debuts ACDSee 2009

ACD Systems unveiled the latest version of its photo organization and sharing software. ACDSee Photo Manager 2009 has a number of new features, including a new import tool with extended categorization and tagging functions. The 2009 version also has a new set of upload tools that streamline the process of adding photos to Flickr and other sites. According to ACD, the changes are based on input from users.

ACD offers a free 30-day trial for ACDSee Photo Manager 2009. It’s available for purchase for $49.99 through ACD’s website. It is also available bundled with ACDSee Photo Editor 2008 for $79.99.

Olympus Updates E-520 and E-420 Firmware

Olympus released a firmware update for the E-520 and E-420 DSLR cameras. This firmware update is version 1.1. The update improves the brightness level of optical viewfinder AF target points — a relatively minor update, but one that can be quite useful. The update comes after requests from users, who have found the brightness level lacking in some of the more extreme situations to which the E-520 lends itself.

If you have an E-520 or E-420, you’ll need to hook it up to your computer and use the provided installation program to update your camera. More information is available through the Olympus website.

Microsoft Discusses Digital Photography

While at Photokina, Microsoft’s Kostas Mallios took a moment to discuss the company’s efforts to help photographers solve problems. According to Mallios, Microsoft has been focusing on providing applications that help pros and advanced amateurs, such as Expression Media 2 (a professional asset management tool that comes bundled with Capture One).

Mallios also pointed to the investments Micorsoft is making to new ideas, such as Photosynth. He also discussed the Metadata Working Group:

The Metadata Working Group is dedicated to the preservation and seamless interoperability of digital media metadata and to interoperability and availability to all applications, devices, and services. When we started looking into some of the leading technology problems that digital photographers faced, we realized we needed to address the interoperability issues that still exist with metadata. For example, you may use metadata tags to rate your photos in Expression Media but if you use different applications, devices or services to process or share photos, that information may not be preserved. We knew we couldn’t solve the problem alone, so about a year ago Microsoft assembled leaders in the industry, including Adobe, Apple, Canon and Nikon to form a group with broad expertise. I’m pleased to say that Sony also recently joined us and that the group, led by Chairman Josh Weisberg of Microsoft, has already delivered its first metadata specifications.

Nikon Updates D80 Firmware

Nikon has released version 1.11 of the firmware for the D80. The firmware update resolves an issue with the battery indicator: in certain circumstances, the battery indicator light blinks regardless of the actual battery charge. If you did not update to version 1.10, that firmware update is included in the new version.

You can download the update from the following pages if you are in the U.S:

If you are located in the E.U, updates are available on the following pages:

Shooting Small

(Shirley Owens).jpgNikon’s annual Small World Photomicrography Competition has reached the judging stage. Entrants have been narrowed down to just 20 amazing images. You can vote for the People’s Choice Award on the competition’s site until October 10. Winners will be announced on October 15.

This image was taken by Dr. Shirley Owens and is gladiola pollen under a fluorescent microscope at 2500x magnification. These images are simply stunning. While the photographic equipment necessary to create such images is fairly specialized, the subject matter seems to make the price worth it.

If you’re interested in entering next year’s competition, entries will be accepted up through April 30, 2009.

Tokina Adds AF Motors for Nikon

Tokina has announced that it will adding in-lens autofocus motors to its Nikon-mount versions. This change will enable autofocus for the budget D40, D40x and D60 bodies. Tokina will start by adding the new motors to the AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm F4 (IF) DX wideangle lens — the new lens will have a ‘II’ tacked on the end. Tokina is exhibiting a motorized version of this lens at Photokina and will be updating other lenses in its lineup in the future.

Tokina has also announced that it will be delaying the recently announced AT-X M35 PRO DX for the Canon. The release date has been pushed back to late January because of development difficulties with the focus system. The Nikon version is unaffected and on schedule.