High ISO in Compact Cameras

If you’ve not read this article over at DPReview.com, you need to.

It’s a very well written article that explains the problems and limitations of high ISO settings in compact digital camera.  It’s got some comparisons of the rather popular compact cameras that show just how these high ISO settings aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

After seeing these results, the Fuji FinePix F30 (at $289, it’s a steal) just moved up to the top of my shopping list.

[tags]high iso, digital camera, fuji, finepix, f30[/tags]

Sony Alpha Pro and Semi-Pro Preview

Back at PMA 2007, Toru Katsumoto gave the following presentation at a press conference regarding Sony’s Alpha line of DSLRs, with particular attention being given to the then newly announced Pro and Semi-Pro bodies. Mr. Katsumoto is the head of the Sony Corporation’s AMC Division in the Digital Imaging Business Group. Somewhere in the mix of all the PMA buzz, I missed this little nugget. I don’t think there’s anything truly ground breaking in here, but its still an interesting read on a slow news day. (Due to the length, rather than place it in quoted format, I’ve left it in normal font for readability.)

When Sony and Konica Minolta joined forces to create a new digital SLR camera business unit, the AMC Division was created and I have been heading the business unit since then.

Given that we were in the midst of transition last March, I would say this is the first PMA in terms of Sony’s digital SLR business.

As many of you know, we have launched our first digital SLR camera in July 2006 under the α (Alpha) brand. The first wave of our products launched together with the “α100” camera included 21 pieces of interchangeable lenses and more than 45 pieces of accessories. Our desire to deliver the total system solution has led us to launch relatively large number of products during the first year.

The “α100” has enjoyed solid market acceptance worldwide thanks to high picture quality and in-camera image stabilization. It has received numerous Imaging industry awards, including the C-E-A’s 2007 Innovations and Design award, Popular Photography & Imaging’s “2006 Camera of the Year” and EISA “Best Product” award.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude for your support of the “α100.” As Shigeki Ishizuka mentioned earlier, we need to further solidify our market position and to do that, we must cater to varying degrees of customer requirements. Therefore, we are now working on the second wave of α (Alpha) products in order to expand the world of α (Alpha) and meet the demands of a broader user base.

We would like to show a glimpse of the second wave of products in this year’s PMA. Specifically, we are now developing two new products targeted at higher market segments compared with the α100. One of the two is expected to come to the market during this calendar year. When both products are launched, we will have three products that enable us to cover wider spectrum of the market. Also, this gives our customers more options and allows them to trade up products as their skills mature.

Now, let me explain the products briefly.

The first product targets the high amateur market. It will have a higher level of performance than the α100. The core strength of this camera is high picture quality. Sony’s vast technology and expertise, including a newly-developed image sensor and BIONZ processor, have been adopted for this product to achieve superb picture quality. Also, the ”Super SteadyShot” feature, the hallmark ofα (Alpha), is included and the existing-compatible lenses can be used with this camera.In addition, we are planning to incorporate features that meet the demanding performance and specification requirements of High Amateur photographers.

The next product is set to become our flagship product. The image sensor and Bionz processor are both being developed specifically for this product. And the ”Super SteadyShot” feature is of course part of it. We position this product to be the highest-end camera that meets the demanding performance and specification requirements of even Professional photographers.

Our second wave of products is not only camera bodies, but interchangeable lenses are also being developed. Five or more lenses, including models suitable for High Amateur and Professional use, to be launched within the next 12 months.

This chart includes such lenses ranging from Large Aperture Standard Zoom lens, Telephoto Zoom lens, High Magnification Zoom and more to come.

With these new lenses added to the 21 pieces of existing portfolio, broader and more diversified system configuration will become possible. Thanks to the added choice of camera bodies according to customers’ photo lifestyles coupled with enlarged portfolio of lenses and accessories, we believe α (Alpha) is set to spur the creativity of our customers.

By launching these new products swiftly, we would like to provide solutions with which people can fully leverage the potential of digital SLR. Therefore, the phrase which expresses our mission this year is “α (Alpha) Unlocks the Full Potential of D-SLR.”

Thank you very much.

[tags]sony, alpha, dslr, news, pma, 2007, lens, bionz, processor, super steadyshot[/tags]

Citizen Photojournalism Contest

Sounds like a cool new photo contest . . . at first.

May 24, 2007 – Sony and news agency Reuters have launched the “Take Your Best Shot” photo contest. Citizen photojournalists can submit photos and videos online to the You Witness News website for the chance to win a Sony camcorder, digital camera, or trip to New York to accompany a Reuters photographer. Read More. . . .

Enter the contest here.

Read the fine print though:

OWNERSHIP OF ENTRIES: By entering, each entrant unconditionally assigns and transfers to Sponsor a nonexclusive, unlimited license in the photo or video, including, without limitation, the right, in Sponsor’s sole discretion, to edit, composite, morph, scan, duplicate, or alter, the photo or video for any purpose which Sponsor deems necessary or desirable, and each entrant irrevocably waives any and all so-called moral rights they may have in the photo or video submitted by him or her. Each entrant agrees that Sponsor may, without any limitation or further compensation, use his or her name, voice and/or likeness in any and all media for the purpose of advertising and promoting the Website, the Contest, or any other promotion, contest or sweepstakes sponsored by the Releasees, unless prohibited by law. Neither entrants nor winners shall be entitled to receive any compensation or credit for use of entries, other than that disclosed in these Official Rules.

Holy cow!  By simply entering the contest, you’re giving Reuters to use your photo in any way shape or form that they please for $0, forever.


[tags]photo contest, photography, scam, ?, sony, reuters[/tags]

Nikon’s Picturetown, the Best Products, Photography Workshops and More . . .

More props for Nikon and Picturetown.

The 100 Best Products of 2007 from PC World. Notable photography product mentions include: the Nikon D40x (23rd); Google Picasa (36th); Nikon D80 (37th); Flickr (44th); Nikon Coolpix S50c (46th); Canon 30D (51st); Fuji Finepix F40fd (64th); Adobe CS3 (72nd). Unless I missed’em, suprisingly absent from the list is Canon’s Rebel XTi or 1D Mk III, Sony’s Alpha A100, anything from Pentax or Olympus (what about the crazy long 550UZ?), or any other processing software that CS3 (Lightroom’s not in there right?).

Learn what lens acronyms really mean.

Why you should take a photography workshop.

Check out why the color tool is so cool in Aperture.

Thinking about taking an online class at betterphoto.com? Think again. While you’re thinking, explore the rest of Jim Atwood’s site. Good stuff.

[tags] nikon, picturetown, best products, 2007, d40x, google, picasa, d80, flickr, coolpix s50c, canon, 30d, fuji, f40fd, adobe, photography, workshop, aperture, color tool, betterphoto.com, online class[/tags]

New Sony Alpha Pics

There’s some new shots of the 2 new Sony Alpha DSLRs that were announced at PMA 2007 over at PhotographyBLOG. Check out PhotographyBLOG’s take on it with some hi-res close-ups. Still looks like a pro level and a pro-sumer level camera is coming from Sony. Note the pop-up flash on the smaller of the two.

[tags]sony, alpha, dslr, digital camera, new, rumor, announcement, photos, pics[/tags]

Learning Adobe Lightroom

If you’re like me, you love Adobe Lightroom. If you’re not like me, you should give it a try. The learning curve is easy. The controls are intuitive. It blows through RAW files as seamless as iPhoto does with JPEGs. It’s not quite the power hog that Aperture is either.

I feel rather comfortable in the Lightroom world now that I’ve been tinkering with it since Beta 1. However, I think I’m a little too comfortable. I don’t push the software to do all the things that its capable of. Why? Part of the reason is that I don’t have the time to mess around with the volume of images I shoot. I’m still plugging away at shots from the Tour de Georgia in April, not to mention all the family and friends stuff that I’ve shot since then. I just need to get through them.

I need something different though. Something to spice things up.

That’s why I just ordered The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby. I haven’t read a single review about this book, but I trust Mr. Kelby to deliver nothing but the best and inspire me to take my Lightroom processing to the next level.

Why such blind trust?

Well, last year, I was looking for a window into the intimidating world of Photoshop. I picked up a book call The Adobe Photoshop CS Book for Digital Photographers at my local book store and found that window. I shelled out my $40 (I know, don’t rub it in, had I bought it at Amazon it would’ve been about $26) and opened the world of Photoshop to my images. Granted, I’m no master at Photoshop, or photography for that matter, but I can use Photoshop somewhat effectively now. Prior to Mr. Kelby’s book, it was simply too daunting of a task to navigate those menus.  My earlier thoughts of Mr. Kelby, among others.
So there. I gladly invest my $26 in Mr. Kelby’s new Lightroom book. Maybe something new and inspiring will come out of it . . . . I expect that to be the case.

I’ll let you know what I think of it after giving the book its due consideration. Don’t feel that you need to wait for my opinion though. If it’s anything like his prior books, you should get yours now if you use Lightroom.

[tags]adobe, lightroom, photoshop, scott kelby, book, review, deal[/tags]