New Sony Alpha DSLR Update

The three new DSLR Alpha models from Sony now appear to be all-but-official with leaked images on the Sony Style sites now making their rounds on blogs and forums accross the Interwebs.  Again, the models appear to be the Sony A380, Sony A330 and Sony A230, which would obviously replace the existing Sony A350, Sony A300 and Sony A200, respectively. [Read more...]

Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Review

The Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom is one of the more recent additions to the popular Gorillapod line.  The previous Gorillapod SLR offered the ability to mount your DSLR and small lightweight lens onto it with a maximum capacity of 1.75 pounds.  The new Gorillapod SLR-Zoom allows you to drop a big lens on the camera (like the 70-200mm f/2.8 above) for a maximum capacity of 6.6 pounds. [Read more...]

Kingson 4GB 133x CF Card for $13.97 at Buy.com

Buy.com always has some great sales each week.  This week is particularly exceptional, leading off with a 4GB 133x CF card for $13.97 w/ free shipping.  Better stock up!

Kingston 4GB 133x Elite Pro CompactFlash Card
FREE BUDGET SHIPPING
Buy.com price: $13.97

Nikon D40 Kit w/ 18-55mm Lens
FREE BUDGET SHIPPING
Buy.com Price: $439.72

Olympus FE-340 Digital Camera – Pink
FREE BUDGET SHIPPING
Buy.com Price: $97.99

Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS 10 Megapixel Digital Camera
FREE BUDGET SHIPPING
Buy.com Price: $229.99

Fujifilm FinePix F100fd Digital Camera
Buy.com Price: $278.36

Reader Question: Wide Angle Digital Cameras?

Here’s a reader question that asks for recommendations for wide angle digital cameras suitable for real estate appraisers.  Do you have some advice to offer this experienced real estate appraiser to help him get better images?

I’ve been a real estate appraiser for twenty years. Finding a true wide angle camera with a decent zoom capability, is very difficult. Most appraisers and real estate agents need a well made camera that will shoot interiors and exteriors and produce a quality photo.

Optical view finders have been replaced by LCD screens that are impossible to see in the bright sun light.  I’ve tried the dual lens camera and the latest wide angle camera are not as wide as needed. I have a number of cameras but the one I use more than others, is a Kodak DC5000 with a 28mm lens.

There must be a good market for a wide angle camera of this type. I would like to hear from some folks with a similar problem and some good ideas that will resolve this dilemma. Helpful ideas?

I’m going to start off with a recommendation to visit the Photography for Real Estate Blog and browse around for useful tips and techniques.

Now, the spotlight is on Photography Bay readers.  I’ll let you guys handle the camera recommendations. What are architecture and real estate shooters using out there?  Based on his question and current gear, let’s think about mostly point and shoot solutions and perhaps some useful suggestions on low-end DSLRs.

Fire away with your advice, recommendations and thoughts in the comments below.

New GE Point and Shoot Cameras at PMA

GE has released 9 new point and shoot cameras touting at least 9 megapixels and featuring bells and whistles such as a touch screen LCD, panoramic shooting modes and a waterproof version.  The cameras have a very “me too” kind of feel in an industry that is crowded with multiple models from the big, established companies.  Sorry, but nothing really makes them stand out from the huge crowd.  Additional details are below. [Read more...]

Fuji FinePix S1500 Reviews and Resources

The Fuji FinePix S1500 is a 10 megapixel superzoom camera that features a 2.7″ LCD and a 12x optical zoom lens with sensor-based image stabilization. It also offers a full manual mode for those who like to get the most out of their point and shoot cameras.  The S1500 can shoot up to 15 frames at 7.5 fps at 2MP and six frames at 3.3 fps at 5MP. It will be available in March 2009 for $249.95.

The Fuji FinePix S1500 is available at trusted online retailers like Amazon.com.

Fuji FinePix S1500 Reviews

Cameras.co.uk

Overall the Finepix S1500 puts in a decent performance. It does not quite hit the heights of the top of the range super zoom cameras, but then again it does not cost as much as the more advanced models.

PhotographyBLOG

Don’t get too ambitious, shoot in sunny conditions and the Fujifilm FinePix S1500 won’t disappoint however.

Trusted Reviews

Additional features including sensor-shift image stabilisation, scene recognition and tracking AF, as well as some minor image quality tweaks make the S1500 a worthwhile upgrade over the S1000fd.

Fuji FinePix S1500 Press Release

Valhalla, NY, February 17, 2009 – FUJIFILM U.S.A. Inc. today announced the successor to the wildly popular FinePix S1000 with the introduction of the FinePix S1500.

Ideal for advanced amateur photographers who are looking for an affordable, SLR-styled digital camera, the 10-MegaPixel FinePix S1500 is wrapped with an eye-catching black casing and has a Fujinon 12x optical zoom (33mm-396mm equivalent) offering great range and flexibility. Building on the legacy of Fujifilm’s S-series digital cameras, the FinePix S1500 includes Fujifilm’s Dual Image Stabilization and SR Auto (Automatic Scene Recognition).

Automatic Scene Recognition
SR Auto (Automatic Scene Recognition) enables the FinePix S1500 to intelligently recognize six types of scenes automatically. For each picture taken in this mode, the S1500 will optimize the ideal exposure, focus, white balance and ISO for the scene to ensure the best quality picture is captured with ease.

Dual Image Stabilization
Dual Image Stabilization is a marriage of mechanical sensor shift stabilization, to steady the photographer’s hand, and Fujifilm’s Picture Stabilization Technology, which uses fast shutter speeds with ISO high sensitivity, to prevent virtually all types of image blur. As a result, an increase in clarity and sharpness is achieved, even in low lighting conditions.

Rounding out the FinePix S1500 powerful feature set is a large 2.7″ high-resolution (230k dots) LCD, electronic viewfinder (EVF) and ISO levels of up to ISO 1600 at full resolution.

Fujifilm’s FinePix S1500 also offers the following useful features:
Full Manual Photographic Control: Photo enthusiasts and advanced photographers have total control with manual adjustment options for various camera settings including resolution, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and more.
Face Detection with Automatic Red Eye Removal: Face Detection operates by identifying and prioritizing faces in a framed scene, and then adjusting the focus and exposure accordingly to ensure the sharpness and clarity of human subjects in the picture, regardless of background. After a shot is captured, each detected face is instantly checked for red eye. If it is found, it is corrected automatically, saving the time-consuming process of fixing it later.
Instant Zoom: Instant Zoom makes it easy to frame and compose shots with moving subjects at high zoom settings. A selectable frame on the LCD screen lets you bracket and track the subject in standard wide view. When the shutter is released, Instant Zoom boosts the zoom ratio and captures only the enlarged area as a full-sized image, keeping the subject in the frame.
Continuous High Speed Shooting mode: This mode allows moving subjects to be captured by shooting high-speed shots of up to 15 frames at 7.5 fps at 2MP and six frames at 3.3 fps at 5MP.
Panoramic Shooting mode: Users can capture, combine and save a maximum of three consecutive shots at 3MP resolution each as a panoramic picture.
Movie Recording: VGA quality at 30 frames per second with sound.
14 Pre-programmed Scene Modes: The FinePix S1500 features 14 pre-programmed scene modes that offer a one-touch setting for almost any situation.
SD / SD-HC Compatible slot: A single media slot that accepts SD/SD-HC media cards.
Operates on 4xAA Batteries: The ultimate in convenience and accessibility, using AA batteries means in a pinch, more batteries are just moments away. Four x AA alkaline battery power delivers 300 shots and up to 700 shots using lithium AA battery.

“Fujifilm’s FinePix S1500fd offers advanced amateur photographers an affordable, SLR-styled digital camera,” said David Troy, marketing manager, Consumer Digital Cameras, Electronic Imaging Division, FUJIFILM U.S.A., Inc. “Sporting a Fujinon 12x Optical Zoom for greater range and flexibility and Automatic Scene Recognition, the FinePix S1500 offers its user an efficient, feature-rich digital camera making it easy to capture amazing images.”

The FinePix S1500fd will debut in March 2009 at a retail price of $249.95.

Sony Cyber-shot H20 – Sony Cyber-shot W230 – Sony Cyber-shot W290 – Sony Cyber-shot T90 – Sony Cyber-shot T900

Sony has added 5 more point and shoot digital cameras to its lineup.  The Cyber-shot models, without their DSC designation are: T900, T90, W290, W230 and H20.  As you can probably guess, Sony is keeping with the trend of an abundance of megapixels – most are 12 megapixel cameras, with one camera at 10 megapixels. The key features and images are below.

Sony Cyber-shot T900

  • 15.1mm thick
  • 12.1 effective megapixels
  • 3.5-inch wide Xtra Fine LCD touchscreen
  • Carl Zeiss 4x optical zoom lens
  • 720p HD movie clips
  • Optical SteadyShot
  • Enhanced Face Detection and Smile Shutter technology
  • Price $380

Check availability at Amazon.com.

Sony Cyber-shot T900 Reviews

Cameras.co.uk

There is a lot to like about the Sony Cybershot DSC T900. It scores highly for ease of use and build quality as well as more innovative and advanced features.

Sony Cyber-shot T90

  • 13.9mm thick
  • 12.1 effective megapixels
  • 3.0-inch wide Clear Photo LCD Plus touchscreen
  • Carl Zeiss 4x optical zoom lens
  • Records 720p HD movie clips
  • Optical SteadyShot for clearer handheld shooting
  • Enhanced Face Detection and Smile Shutter technology
  • $300

Check availability at Amazon.com.

Sony Cyber-shot W290

  • 12.1 effective megapixels
  • Carl Zeiss 5x optical zoom
  • 28mm wide angle lens
  • Record 720p HD movie clips
  • Optical SteadyShot
  • Enhanced Face Detection and Smile Shutter technology
  • Price $250

Check availability at Amazon.com.

Sony Cyber-shot W230

  • 12.1 effective megapixels
  • Carl Zeiss 5x optical zoom
  • 30mm wide angle lens
  • Optical SteadyShot
  • Enhanced Face Detection and Smile Shutter technology
  • Price $200

Check availability at Amazon.com.

Sony Cyber-shot H20

  • 10.1 effective megapixels
  • Carl Zeiss 10x optical zoom lens
  • Record 720p HD movie clips
  • Optical SteadyShot
  • Enhanced Face Detection and Smile Shutter technology
  • Price $280

Check availability at Amazon.com.

Sony CyberShot DSC-H20 Reviews

Cameras.co.uk

The Sony Cybershot DSC H20 gets most things right. There is plenty of competition, but this camera provides a reliable alternative to models from Panasonic and Canon.

PhotographyBLOG

With this camera, Sony has demonstrated that it is a company which listens to user feedback, as most of the issues we criticised the H10 for have been addressed.

For additional info see the press release below.

PRESS RELEASE

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 17, 2009 – Sony today announced five new Cyber-shot® cameras (models DSC-T900, DSC-T90, DSC-W290, DSC-W230 and DSC-H20) that make it easier to take the best pictures without changing settings.

The intelligent auto mode, available on the T900, T90, W290 and H20 models helps “think” for you and detect scene conditions then adjust settings, especially in difficult lighting scenarios.

“This camera provides a seamless experience,” said Karim Noblecilla, senior product marketing manager in Sony Electronics’ Digital Imaging Division. “You can go from a walk in the park to taking pictures of a flower and then back to beautiful landscapes or indoor birthday parties, and the camera will know what to do to get the best shot.”

Additionally, intelligent auto mode enhances pictures of faces to capture natural skin tones, identifies when your subject has closed eyes, and helps reduce blur without damaging image quality.

Sony has combined three key technologies to make these cameras smarter.

Intelligent scene recognition (iSCN) detects up to eight scenes, recognizing objects, faces and lighting conditions (e.g. low light and backlight). Then, in one-thirtieth of a second, it changes the setting to get the best shot.

Face detection registers up to eight faces; adjusts focus, exposure, white balance and flash; and detects motion. This intelligent camera combines face detection with iSCN, featuring blink detection. It takes two pictures and saves the one in which the subject’s eyes are the least shut.

The W290 and H20 cameras also have selected-face memory, allowing you to zero in on the main subject’s face. The next time the camera detects the priority face in the frame, it will automatically focus on that person.

The W230 model has iSCN that detects up to five scene conditions, face detection with child and adult priority, and the Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization feature. You can turn on these features in auto mode to make the W230 camera intelligent.

All of the new cameras have the Optical SteadyShot feature and Smile Shutter™ technology. The Optical SteadyShot image stabilization feature helps prevent blur due to camera shake without impacting image quality. Equipped with Sony’s Smile Shutter technology, these cameras automatically capture a smile the moment it happens.

Another advanced feature that sets these cameras apart from most digital still cameras is iSCN advanced. Noblecilla said the iAuto feature increases the chances of getting a great shot. You can also set up iSCN advanced as a permanent feature. When the scene has difficult lighting such as backlight or low light, the camera will take two shots within a fraction of a second using two alternative settings, so you can select which picture you prefer.

HD Movies

The W290, H20, T90 and T900 cameras feature wide and full-screen 720p movie recording at 30 frames per second in fine, standard and VGA recording modes. The 720p movie resolution is three times higher than VGA movies.

The movie function is based on the MPEG4 codec for video compression. Plus the T900 has a stereo microphone. Benefits of the format include high-quality video as well as PC-friendly files that are easy to download, upload and share.

Style and Color

With a compact design for easy on-the-go portability, the DSC-T90 and DSC-T900 cameras are 15 millimeters and 16.3 millimeters thin, respectively. 2009 line of W and T colors come in a pallet of colors to match your unique style.

Powerful Core Features

The W230 camera has 12.1 megapixels, 4x (30mm) Carl Zeiss® Vario Tessar optical zoom lens and 3-inch (measured diagonally) LCD screen. The W290 model adds a 5x wide (28mm) optical zoom lens.

The T90 camera also has 12.1 megapixels and a 4x Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar optical zoom and 3-inch (measured diagonally) wide touch-panel LCD screen. The T900 camera adds a larger 3.5-inch Xtra Fine LCD screen that delivers high resolution images (921,600 dots), which is approximately four times higher than conventional LCD screens.

The H20 model features 10.1 megapixels, a 10x Carl Zeiss optical zoom lens and a 3-inch (measured diagonally) LCD screen.

Easy navigation

Sony has simplified the display of options on most of these cameras to make it easier for customers to use them. The most commonly used features include shooting mode, zoom, play, delete and Smile Shutter. These are available at a click or touch of a button. More sophisticated users can select other shooting modes or change the settings using the menu button.

Tools to Edit, Archive and Share

These cameras are equipped with tools to edit, archive and share. They have in-camera retouch features like red-eye correction and image management to easily sort through thousands of photos in calendar view or album view. You can group favorites and filter by baby, adult, all faces or smiles. The PhotoMusic feature offers an HD slideshow mode with transitions and music for viewing on the camera or television.

The HD output feature lets you view images in high-defintion, although HDMI and component cables are not included. The T900 camera is bundled with a camera stand that allows HDMI connectivity, but the cable is not included.

Bundled Picture Motion Browser (PMB) software allows you to quickly organize images on a compatible PC and upload images to the Web. You can search and organize images by event, smile or face, including children and infants. Then you can display them in calendar or chronological views organized into folders.

Pricing and Availability

Consumers can start pre-ordering these cameras in March at www.sonystyle.com. They will be available for purchase in April online at sonystyle.com, at Sony Style® retail stores (www.sonystyle.com/retail ), at military base exchanges and at authorized dealers nationwide.

  • The T900 camera will be available in silver, black, red and bronze for about $380.
  • The T90 model will be available in silver, black, pink, blue and brown for about $300.
  • The W290 model will be available in silver, black, blue and bronze for about $250.
  • The W230 camera will be available in silver, black, blue and red for about $200.
  • The H20 camera will be available in black for about $280.

3 Great Last Minute Photography Gift Ideas

Ok, you’ve got a day before you’re in big trouble.  What do you do?  Here’s three last minute gift ideas that you can take care of right now.  No gift wrapping, no mall, no ugly sweater – just cool photography gifts.

1. Amazon Gift Card. Amazon.com is packed full of tons of great cameras, lenses, accessories and books.  You can take care of the gift card (without the hassle of shipping) by doing the one of the following – (1) E-mail a personalized gift card for immediate delivery; or (2) Print a personalized gift card on your own printer.  Best of all, you pick the price.

2. SmugMug Membership. You can set up a photographer with one year account for $34.95 by using the coupon code (7jCtURK05RxCQ) in the “Referred by” field at signup.  SmugMug offers unlimited storage and unlimited traffic – even on the basic accounts.

3. Flickr Pro Upgrade. Flickr makes it easy to give the gift of a Pro Account to any other Flickr member.  Just go to their profile page and click where it says “Buy [username] a Pro Account”.  It’s good for a year and it only runs $24.95.