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Olympus compacts

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Olympus says the Stylus 7030 is its most powerful premium Stylus model. It offers High-Definition (HD) video, 14 megapixels and features like Magic Filter (you should see what this does), and AF tracking. The 7030 has a 7x (28-196 mm equivalent) lens.

The icing on the cake is a new graphical user interface (GUI) for easy operation. This is worth the price of admission alone. The camera adds new software for rapid downloading and improved photo organization with geotagging and face recognition.

There’s even a specially designed AF Tracking “Pet Mode” for animal lovers.

About that Magic Filter capability. In-camera Art Features debuted on the company’s DSLRs last year. A similar feature, Magic Filter has been developed for the 7030: Pop Art enhances and saturates colours to create vivid, high-impact pictures that evoke the Pop Art style of the 1960s; Pin Hole reduces the peripheral brightness of an image as though it were shot through a pin hole; Fish-Eye emulates the wide-angle of a fish-eye lens by taking extremely wide, hemispherical images and magnifying the centre of the frame; and Drawing, which turns the image into a sketch outline which the kids can colour.

Dual Image Stabilization combines two technologies – mechanical Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization and Digital Image Stabilization.

Olympus notes shooting outdoors in bright daylight can be tricky because of the extreme contrast between dark shadowed areas and bright sunlit areas. While the human eye is capable of detecting the nuances between dark  and light and all the details in between, image sensors traditionally have not been quite as sensitive. The 7030 addresses this with Shadow Adjustment Technology which compensates for extreme contrast where the shadow areas are underexposed and lack visible detail.

In-Camera Panorama mode captures three images and stitches them together to create one panoramic picture.
The lightweight metal body of the Stylus-7030 comes in titanium, blue and purple colours. The camera is scheduled for availability next month for an estimated street price of about $250.

The Olympus FE series has been expanded with two models, the FE-4020 and FE-47. Both are 14-megapixel cameras.

They’ve got AF Tracking, including “Pet Mode” for animal lovers, and Advanced Face Detection, tracking up to 16 faces.

The 4020’s lens is 4x (26-105 mm equivalent), and the 47’s a 5x (36-180 mm equivalent).

The same Magic Filter capabilities as noted above are in these two models, and Intelligent Auto Mode automatically identifies what you are shooting (Portrait, Landscape, Night + Portrait, Macro or Sports) and adjusts settings to capture the best quality results depending on the situation.

Enhanced Help Guides are built right into the cameras.

Video? Yes.

The FE-4020 is available in warm gray, pearl white, light pink and light blue, while the FE-47 comes in silver, black, red and blue. The FE-47 should be available now, with the FE-4020 next month. The 4020 has an estimated street price of about $180, and the FE-47 about $140.

Olympus has made quite a name for itself with its rugged models. Here comes the Stylus Tough-3000. This is a shockproof, waterproof and freezeproof compact camera, the first Tough model with HD video (720p), plus Magic Filter.

It also offers a new graphical user interface (GUI); new Olympus software for rapid downloading and enhanced photo organization with geotagging and face recognition; and AF Tracking, including that “Pet Mode.”

Tough?  It can withstand a 1.5 m drop, can be submerged up to 3 m underwater (it has four preset underwater scene modes and can also capture HD movies underwater); and can handle -10C temps.

The camera offers a 3.6x optical zoom (28-102 mm equivalent) and 12-megapixel image sensor, Dual Image Stabilization and the intriguing Tap Control. This latter feature lets you control functions with a simple tap on the camera’s top, back or sides, with a 3D accelerometer detecting the direction of the force on the camera’s body. This is helpful if you are wearing gloves.

Face Detection detects up to 16 faces within the frame and automatically focuses and optimizes exposure. Intelligent Auto Mode automatically identifies what you are shooting (i.e., Portrait, Night + Portrait, Landscape, Macro and Sports) and adjusts the camera’s settings. In-Camera Panorama mode captures three images and stitches them together to create a panoramic picture.

The Tough-3000 comes with the instruction manual saved on the camera’s new internal memory.

Decked out in “sporty red,” pink, blue or green, the Tough-3000 is scheduled for February availability at an estimated street price of about $250.


Three Pentax Optios

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The Pentax Optio E90 is an entry-level digital compact camera.  It features Auto Picture mode that automatically selects the most appropriate shooting mode for a given subject or scene, and Automatic Face Detection with Smile Capture. This latter function automatically detects the subject’s face, then optimizes the focus and exposure settings, and then Smile Capture automatically releases the shutter the moment the camera detects the subject’s smile. Auto Picture mode automatically selects one of eight shooting modes (Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Flower, Sport, Standard, and Candlelight) for a given subject or scene.

The camera also offers double anti-shake protection. When the E90 detects low-lighting conditions in still-image shooting, it automatically raises the sensitivity to as high as ISO 1600, for a higher shutter speed. During movie recording (640 x 480 pixels), the E90 prevents blurry images by digitally minimizing camera shake by using exclusive software.

The camera has six digital filters, and you can appply multiple filters to a single image. Digital Panorama mode automatically creates a single panoramic picture from as many as three images.

The E90 has a 3x zoom lens (31.5-94.5 mm equivalent) delivering light to a sensor with 10.1 effective megapixels.

Interestingly, the camera has an image recovery function to retrieve accidentally erased images. Thank you, Pentax.

The Optio H90 has a 5x optical zoom lens (approximately 28-140 mm equivalent), approximately 12.1 effective megapixel CCD, a 2.7-inch LCD, 1280 x 720 pixel video, Movie SR (Shake Reduction) mode, Face Detection AF & AE function handling up to 32 faces in the image field, Smile Capture mode, and a Blink Detection function which warns the user when the subject’s eyes are closed when the picture is taken.

Pixel Track SR (Shake Reduction) mode compensates for camera shake during still-image capture; Auto Picture mode automatically selects one of eight shooting modes; digital filters include Toy Camera and Retro; D-Range setting prevents washed out highlights and blocked up shadows; Auto-tracking AF mode keeps constant focus on a moving subject; Digital Panorama mode creates a single panoramic picture from as many as three images; Digital
Wide mode creates a panoramic, ultra-wide-angle picture from two images; Frame Composite function has 90 frames stored in the camera.

This camera has the Image Recovery function, too.

Pentax may have taken a page from its own book with the Optio I-10, with a design reminiscent of its 110 film SLR. No interchangeable lenses, however, but a 5x optical zoom lens (28-140 mm equivalent) pushing light to a 12.1 effective megapixel imager.

Its new-generation Face Detection AF & AE function, which detects up to 32 faces in the image field, will also work on the faces of up to three dogs and cats. Pet lovers, take note.

The I-10 incorporates a CCD-shift-type SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which shifts the camera’s image sensor (CCD). When the camera detects low-lighting conditions in still-image shooting, the camera automatically raises the sensitivity to as high as ISO 6400, for higher shutter speeds. During movie recording, the I-10 prevents blurry images using exclusive software.

As for movies, clips at 16:9 (1280 x 720 pixels) at a rate of 30 frames per second.

There are 11 digital filters, adding Starburst to the ones mentioned above.

Other features: Auto Picture mode, D-Range setting, Frame function, Digital Panorama, and Digital Wide mode.

All the new Optios will be available mid-February.

Got pictures?

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Tamron – you know, the lens company – has announced a way for anyone to showcase his/her prized images, share them with like-minded enthusiasts, tell the fascinating stories of how they were created, and get valuable feedback that will help participants take their photography to the next level. It’s an interactive, blog-style, sharing site: There you can answer regularly posted questions with a blog comment that includes relevant photos and the stories behind them.

The site is linked to the Tamron photo home page at. Posted questions can be answered in the Comment section, and participants are encouraged to respond by posting one or more photos and any length story about the photo, tip on how it was created, hotel recommendations for the place where it was shot and more.

The rules are simple: All content (words and photos) must be appropriate. Tamron reserves the right to delete inappropriate content and users can report any inappropriate content. You’ll be able to subscribe to the blog’s feed by going to the blog site and clicking the RSS button. Or you can become a Tamron fan on Facebook and receive updates about the latest questions posted.

Five Samsung cameras

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Samsung has been merrily toiling away, producing some interesting cameras. The company has announced five new models.


Probably the most interesting for anyone who does landscapes or cityscapes are the 12-megapixel HZ35W and HZ30W. These two have the same wide-angle base (24 mm) in their Schneider Kreuznach zooms as their predecessors, but extend the telephoto capability of the range from a 10x optical zoom to 15x. The HZ35W adds a 3-inch AMOLED display and built-in GPS technology for automatic geo-tagging of images.

The cameras offer Dual Image Stabilization (optical and digital), and the back screen is said to deliver a much brighter and sharper display, improved battery life, a higher contrast ratio, more vibrant colors, and the ability to display images that can be viewed at any angle, while fully maintaining the same color gamut. The HZ30W has a 3-inch TFT LCD.

The HZ35W and the HZ30W both record video at 720p (30fps). Samsung also incorporates H.264 compression and offers true HDMI connectivity. The cameras offer advanced scene recognition technology, Smart Auto (analyzes key elements of the image – color, brightness, motion, subject – and selects the appropriate scene mode). This has been upgraded from the previous models and can now be used with video as well as with stills.


The 14.2-megapixel TL110 and 12.2-megapixel TL105 are each equipped with a 2.7-inch LCD and feature a 5x and 4x optical zoom respectively. They’re both skinny, at 0.65 inches.

The TL110’s 5x optical zoom begins at 27 mm and is paired with Dual Image Stabilization. The TL105’s 4x optical zoom begins at 27.5 mm and also features Digital Image Stabilization.

Both cameras produce new image effects, such as Fisheye and Lomo, as well as selectable Photo Styles including Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom RGB and two new options: Sketch and DeFog Clear/Fog Lifting, which cuts through the haze to take clear photos.

HD video recording is at 720p and 30fps, using H.264 compression. The cameras offer advanced scene recognition technology, Smart Auto, for both stills and movies.

Program mode allows the user to manually set options including ISO, white balance, metering mode, AF, and exposure compensation. Available scene modes include Beauty Shot, Night, Frame Guide, Portrait, Children, Landscape, Close-up, Text, Sunset, Dawn Backlight, Beach & Snow, and Fireworks.


The SL630, a 12.2-megapixel point-and-shoot model, offers a 5x optical zoom lens (28-140mm equivalent), Dual Image Stabilization, and a number of smart features, including Smart Auto. The SL630 also features autofocusing options such as object tracking.  The Perfect Portrait System – includes Face Detection, Smile Shot and Blink Detection, RedEye Fix mode, and Beauty Shot. The camera also offers standard definition video recording at 640×480 at 30 fps.

Panasonic 64GB, 48GB SDXC cards

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The new SDXC memory cards – 64GB and 48GB – are Panasonic’s largest-sized Gold cards with Class 10 speed specification. The company says they are ideal for recording AVCHD High Definition video, high-resolution, or even RAW still photos. A new advanced Super Intelligent Controller helps improve the reliability of the card and extend its lifetime.

Both cards will be available in February with suggested retail prices of $699.99 and $499.99 respectively.

Panasonic Lumix cameras

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Panasonic Canada has announced new additions to its Lumix digital camera line-up: the DMC-FP, DMC-FH and DMC-F series.

Lumix FP-series cameras, says the company, are perfect for users looking for high-performance and high-style. All have a 4x optical zoom; an Intelligent LCD which detects lighting conditions and adjusts the LCD’s brightness level; Intelligent Auto mode (iA); record in High Definition (HD) 720p motion jpeg video in addition to WVGA (848 x 480) and normal VGA (640 x 480). The 14.1-megapixel FP3 features a 3.0-inch touch-screen LCD for ease of use operation while shooting and reviewing images. The FP2 has a 14.1-megapixel image sensor, the FP1 12.1-megapixels. Both have a 2.7-inch LCD.

In the Lumix FH-series camera line, the 14.1-megapixel FH20 is for those who want a longer zoom, while the 12.1-megapixel FH1 is aimed at first-time buyers who may not be as concerned with a long zoom, but who still demand high performance and ease-of-use. Both cameras pack a 28 mm wide-angle lens and can record High Definition (HD) 720p motion jpeg video. The FH20 has an 8x optical zoom and the FH1 a 5x optical zoom. Both offer Intelligent Auto mode (iA) and a 2.7-inch Intelligent LCD. The FH20 will be available in silver, black and red models, while the FH1 will be available in black and blue.

The entry-level digital F-Series cameras are designed with simplicity in mind. The 12.1-megapixel F3 and 10.1-megapixel F2 have a 4x optical zoom. The F3 records in High Definition (HD) 720p motion jpeg video in addition to WVGA (848 x 480) and normal VGA (640 x 480); is equipped with a 28 mm wide-angle lens, includes a Digital Image Stabilizer; has a 2.7-inch LCD. The Lumix F2 records in WVGA (848 x 480) and normal VGA (640 x 480) video, is equipped with a 33-132 mm lens and has a 2.5-inch LCD.

Tamron free online videos

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There’s a free new learning program that’s specifically targeted at first-time Digital SLR owners, but also likely to appeal to a broad spectrum of shooters including experienced enthusiasts, and those who simply want to get a better handle on all the exciting features built into their new DSLR. Starting on January 18, and every Monday for 12 weeks, Tamron will release an entertaining and informative one-minute episode of “DSLR Know How with Tamron” on YouTube that’s designed to bring picture-takers up to speed in getting the most out of their equipment.

The lighthearted, fact-filled video episodes, presented by professional photographer and instructor Andre Costantini, cover essential topics, such as Intro to DSLRs, White Balance, Autofocus, Using Scene Modes, RAW vs. JPEG, and much more. All contain a wealth of solid, useful information, compiled by leading experts and presented in straightforward, easy-to-understand language. The goal is to expand the viewers’ knowledge base as quickly as possible while providing a fun learning experience.

Once the  ‘DSLR 101’ series is posted, it will be followed by a ‘202’ and ‘303’ series covering more sophisticated techniques. The release schedule of weekly introductions, says Tamron, allows viewers to try out the techniques and build a base of knowledge that creates a foundation for success.

The Tamron YouTube videos can be found on the TamronVids Channel here.

Canon Selphy ES40

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The Selphy ES40 from Canon is a compact photo printer with a new voice guidance system providings step-by-step instructions for printing and adding graphics to images without having to rely on a manual. (Hey, it’s a guy’s printer; we don’t need/use manuals.)

Canon says the voice guidance system, 8.9 cm (3.5-inch) LCD screen and Easy Scroll Wheel allow printing and navigating through menus and images to be more intuitive than in previous models. There also are new frames and clip art available under the Creative Print function as well.

The estimated retail price of the ES40 is a penny less than $200.

The sky is falling!

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We’re running out of Internet Protocol addresses.

This year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will help launch hundreds, if not thousands, of new products that connect to the Internet. Each of those devices requires its own, unique IP address. When the Internet was originally built, an addressing system was used that allows for just over four billion unique IP addresses. While this number at one time seemed huge, the Internet community is on pace to run out very soon.

According to the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), a nonprofit that manages the distribution of Internet number resources, slightly more than 10 percent of IPv4 addresses remain.

ARIN says the industry must therefore adopt a new protocol, IPv6, which will allow an effectively unlimited number of unique addresses.

Do not panic. Crew members will hand out life jackets and guide you to the lifeboats.

Lady Gaga!

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Oh man, this is not the Polaroid I remember.

Lady Gaga has been named Creative Director for a specialty line of Polaroid imaging products

“The Haus of Gaga has been developing prototypes in the vein of fashion/technology/photography innovation – blending the iconic history of Polaroid and instant film with the digital era – and we are excited to collaborate on these ventures with the Polaroid brand. Lifestyle, music, art, fashion: I am so excited to extend myself behind the scenes as a designer, and to, as my father puts it – finally, have a real job.”

New products by Polaroid and Lady Gaga are to hit retail shelves starting in late 2010.