Mobius: the Canon C300 / C300PL

There really isn’t anything new to say about Canon’s new “for–Hollywood” C300. We already know it’s going to be another industry–changing camera like the 5D Mark II. So I’ll just share with you Vincent Laforet’s video made with the C300, “Mobius”, screened at the camera’s official launch.

Here’s his blog post that goes into details about just how great the Canon C300 could be.

How are Leica lenses made?

Ever wondered how Leica lenses are made, and what makes them so special? Leica just released a video of their manufacturing process, detailing the intricate method of producing some of the world’s best optical instruments.

But it makes me wonder, considering how well the video was made: was it shot with a Canon 5D Mark II? ;)

Knowing that their process involves a lot of skilled human hands (and eyes), how much would Leica lenses cost if they used cheap labor from China or third–world countries like the Philippines?

Lensbaby Composer Pro + Sweet 35 Optic

Lensbaby Composer Pro+ Sweet 35

The Lensbaby grows up, finally. With the release of their new Sweet 35 Optic and the updated (and renamed) Composer Pro, what was used as an “occasional alternative lens” may now be a more “mainstream alternative.” With the tilting capabilities available in all lensbabies, it has typically been used as a cheap tilt/shift lens substitute. And now with more precise controls paired with a sharper optic option, it should be capable of producing sharper images with larger sweet spots while allowing for easier fine–tuning.

The Sweet 35 Optic is unique being the first in their optic swap system to have its own aperture diaphragm, thus allowing you to change the aperture without the clumsy swappable aperture rings/plates the older optics used to utilize. If you’re wondering what the Sweet 35 is capable of, here’s a sample from this user review, shot with a Nikon D3s full–frame camera:

DSC_2027

The sweet spot and surrounding blur is definitely better now, right? Getting a new Lensbaby Composer Pro paired with the Sweet 35 comes out to 400 USD. Not cheap, but definitely more affordable than getting a true tilt/shift lens. Is it worth the money? Maybe we’ll soon find out.

Fuji X100: Exceptional But Frustrating

Fujifilm FinePix X100

Nothing beats a real–world user review, right? Michael Reichmann (luminous-landscape.com) recently had a go with a Fujifilm X100, which he summarized as “exceptional but frustrating.”

The review highlights what we’ve all been anticipating about the X100, but with a few caveats. Here’s his noteworthy observations:

  • This is a no nonsense camera. None of the various dummy modes in consumer cameras are available.
  • Build quality and handling is good, while keeping weight ideal.
  • Autofocus performance is good, but not as fast as a Panasonic GH2.
  • Manual focusing is a little disappointing, confirming that the manual focus ring is fly–by–wire and not mechanical. The optical and electronic viewfinders both have their downsides and may not be as good as everyone expects.
  • Despite being just 12 megapixel, the APS–C sensor is “comparable to a Nikon D3.”
  • The rear control dial is not as useful as it needs to be and seems to be just an afterthought after the camera’s initial design.
  • The software’s menu system (and rear controls) is rather not as user–friendly as expected.

There’s a lot more in the said review so you’d probably want to check it out. For now, this helps us see the Fuji X100 in its true form, with less of the nostalgia magic it has been so full of.

Nikon D5100 Announced

Nikon D5100

With so many digital cameras released every few weeks, it wouldn’t be easy to notice the better ones, right? The Nikon D5100 is different though, mainly because of the new things it has to offer. Despite being an entry–level DSLR, the D5100 is one of the first Nikon cameras to offer 1080p Full HD video recording. And to make that more fun, it incorporates a new system that allows for continuous autofocus while recording video.

The Nikon D5100 also features a “Night Vision” mode, effectively equivalent to ISO 102400, which should be a nifty selling point for first–time buyers. No word yet though on how effective it will be, considering how much noise APS–C sensors produce at such ridiculous boosted sensitivity levels.

The camera will come with a new vari–angle (flip–out) LCD with 921k-dot resolution; along with the optional ME-1 stereo microphone accessory, the Nikon D5100 clearly shows a strong leaning towards being a competitive “HDSLR”—digital SLRs with strong HD video capabilities.

Would the Nikon D5100 sell as much as Nikon has positioned it for? We’ll know soon.

iPhone Documents the Afghanistan War

You’d think only high–end digital SLR cameras can only take photos in war–torn Afghanistan, but these photos from AP shooter David Guttenfelder show that even an iPhone can tell the story.

Fujifilm FinePix X100: 1,000 USD

Fujifilm FinePix X100

Yes, what you’re seeing is a new digital camera. It is not from 20 or 30 years ago. In fact, it is not yet in production and will not sell until March 2011.

It is the Fujifilm FinePix X100, perhaps the best camera Fuji has tried to produce in the past few years. Equipped with a 12.3–megapixel APS–C sensor, image should be as good, if not better, than cropped–frame digital SLRs you can buy now. The lens is 23mm f/2 Fujinon that would effectively be a 35mm fast prime, a good mate for this camera since it will not be removable.

  • ISO range will be from 200 to 6400
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 720p HD video
  • 2.8 inch LCD

The X100 shoots in full manual or aperture priority, with the aperture adjustable through a proper aperture ring in the lens itself! Old school shooters will be very pleased indeed. I can fully understand the appeal having been shooting with the LX3 for almost two years now. But at 1,000 USD, that’s twice the money I paid for the LX3, or the current LX5. It’s even more than you’d pay for a more usable Canon or Nikon entry–level digital SLR. If Fuji cuts the price to a reasonable level, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes everyone’s must–have compact shooter.

For more details, Engadget had a brief hands–on with the X100 at Photokina.

New DSLRs: Canon EOS-60D, Nikon D3100, Sony Alpha A33 & A55

A bunch of new digital SLRs have been released in the past weeks but I never got the chance to write about them. Here are the more important ones:

Canon EOS-60D

The Canon EOS–60D marks a new delineation in Canon’s digital SLR market. The 18–megapixel 60D (not to be confused with the EOS–D60) slots in just below the 7D and above the entry–level 550D. Effectively, Canon has demoted the 50D’s successor and it loses some of the features now only found in the more expensive 7D, notably the magnesium–alloy–based body. In line with the changes, they have also introduced various “newbie” features into the 60D, now with a more robust inline help system for the camera’s settings and functions. A first for Canon DSLRs is a flip–out LCD, suggesting this camera’s video inclinations.

Nikon D3100

Being an entry–level camera, the Nikon D3100 is not supposed to make headlines. But because of its advanced video capabilities, this camera marks a first for Nikon. The D3100 shoots 1080p video with continuous autofocus, something not found (yet) in other HD–shooting digital SLRs.

Sony Alpha A55

Sony’s Alpha A33 and A55 makes the news for reasons beyond the first two cameras above. These cameras use “Translucent Mirror Technology” which is similar to Canon’s pellicle mirror system in the Canon EOS RT, a film camera from way back 1989. Curiously, it was Nikon who first came to market with the same technology in 1976 in the Nikon F2H. Because a translucent mirror does not need to move out of the way when capturing a frame, the A33 & A55 are capable of shooting fast, 7fps and 10fps fast. And because mirror slap will no longer be a concern, these Sony Alpha cameras should allow for slower shutter speeds with minimal shake.

Panasonic DMC-LX5 Sample Photos

We all know that Panasonic unveiled the LX3’s successor a few days ago, called the Lumix LX5. (Initially labeled as the LX5K, it is now simply the LX5.) If you’re wondering if this thing can take good photos, DPReview (as always) has a gallery of photos from a pre–production LX5.

iPhone 4 DSLR with OWLE Bubo & EnCinema Adapter

It seems too many people are busy not calling with their iPhone 4 that they’d rather use it for crazy things, like recording DSLR–like videos. These guys over at iPhone DSLR mated their iPhone 4 with the OWLE Bubo and an EnCinema 35mm Adapter to produce HD video from their franken–camera. A neat feat, though I doubt if it beats just getting a cheap Canon EOS–550D which offers better exposure control anyway.

Panasonic DMC-LX5K: LX3 Made Better

Panasonic DMC-LX5K

Finally, the LX3’s true successor is finally here! Panasonic has taken the wraps off the DMC–LX5K, a new camera designed to improve on their bestselling LX3.

The LX5K sports a “high sensitivity” 10 megapixel CCD, no doubt based on the LX3’s class–changing sensor. In many ways, the new camera is still very much an LX3, though fitted with a longer zoom range that goes from 24mm to 90mm. This time, an optical and electronic viewfinder are available as addon options. Ergonomically, they also changed the handgrip that’s sure to help the camera’s feel.

(via wouter28mm)

Holga D: A digital Holga?

Holga D Concept

Would you buy a digital Holga? One with older generation digital technology, paired with the vintage plastic lens of the original Holga? Saikat Biswas thinks you just might.

Nikon D4 leaked?

Nikon D4

Has the Nikon D4 been leaked? There have been some reports of some individuals having had a chance with the upcoming D4, but details are rather bleak and unconfirmed. Do you think this is the new Nikon D4?

Behind the Scenes with Fashion Photographer Mario Testino

Ever wondered how it is to work with the world’s top photographers? You’d be surprised how some things are kept so simple without the fuss, you’d think the others are overdoing it. (via petapixel)

Cellphones Make Great Cameras

We often hear from photography purists that the best camera is the one you have with you when you need it. This puts camera–equipped mobile phones as the perfect candidate as it’s the device you’re most likely to carry with you anywhere. Then again, not all phone cameras are great. But Gizmodo shows us that cellphones make great cameras, with 395 user submissions.

Next time you’re lugging around your heavy digital SLR, think again.

Mugtug Darkroom

The pool of free photo editing apps has steadily been growing but we could all use another alternative, right? Mugtug Darkroom is a browser–based photo editor that provides basic editing capabilities through HTML5. For now, it works only on Firefox 3.6 and possibly other HTML5–compliant clients. Mugtug Darkroom looks just what you might need when you need a photo editor in a pinch and all you’ve got is a browser.

Canon EOS–5D Mark II Dissected

Ever wondered what the Canon EOS–5D Mark II looks like deep inside? Someone was crazy enough to actually do it, with the aim of modifying it into a mirror–less camera optimized for video shooting. Note how the lens mount was also modified to accomodate what appears to be old-school screw–type Pentax lenses.

PX100 Film for Polaroid now available!

PX100

We mentioned the Impossible Project a few months back and their mission to produce a new instant film for use in Polaroid cameras after the Polaroid company officially stopped production of their instant film. The mission is now a reality with the PX100!

Here’s a sampling of what this film looks like.

Pros & Cons: Quick-Draw Straps

With the continuous growth of the digital SLR market, camera accessories have been quick to piggyback on it. One particular product type that has seen much innovation is the basic camera strap. Recently, there has been an interest in what could be classified as quick–draw straps, with BlackRapid’s R–Strap and Luma Labs’ Luma Loop coming into prominence.

The main benefit of these straps is that they allow to quickly raise your camera to eye level without the strap’s material sticking to your clothes. Their design allows the camera to simply slide along the length of the strap, thus eliminating the need for a “moving strap”.

I’ve personally a similar system recently, and though I agree how it helps you get from resting to shooting stance much faster, I cannot live with the side effect of having an expensive camera moving around as you walk fast (or run) as you move locations. This problem becomes clear when you’re carrying other gear with your left and right hand, leaving the camera to move dangerously with the motion. It has a negative psychological effect, making you feel that your camera is somehow less safer.

There are also some online threads you might want to consider regarding their reliability:

And regarding the “quick–draw” advantage: if you’re fairly experienced in the type of photography you practice, 90% of the time you’d probably know when to raise your camera and when you can just let it rest on your side, or below your neck. Additionally, both straps require you to “wear” the camera in an across–the–body fashion; you can’t wear it in the traditional “like–a–necklace” style.

I’m sure there’s a market for these quick–draw straps, but their advantages are somehow overhyped. And that’s if you can live with it’s quirks.

Canon EOS-5D Mark II Firmware 2.0.3 released

In case you missed it, the upgraded firmware for the Canon EOS–5D Mark II that was announced recently was made available yesterday. Version 2.0.3 of the firmware has been in development for a few months now and adds a 24p (24 frames per second) option for a more film–like output. The 30fps version has been tweaked to conform to industry standards, which is actually 29.97fps.

Audio recording is now at 48KHz, up from 44.1KHz, along with the option to manually adjust the recording level.

Here’s the download page for firmware v2.0.3, but be sure to check the upgrade instructions (PDF) beforehand.