Latest Event Updates

Pentax-D FA Macro 100 mm WR

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The smc Pentax-D FA Macro 100 mm f/2.8 WR lens is designed for use with Pentax SLRs, digital or film, combining a high-quality exterior finish with weather-resistant construction, for shooting macro in damp, inclement conditions.

The exterior design of the lens has been refined from that of the existing D FA-series lenses and features a high-grade knurled-aluminum barrel. In addition, the entire focus ring mechanism has been upgraded for improved manual-focus operation.

This macro lens features weather-resistant construction to minimize the intrusion of water and moisture into the lens barrel when taking pictures in rain or mist. The SP (Super Protect) coating on its front surface repels dust, water and grease and minimizes fingerprints.

It’s the first Pentax interchangeable macro lens to feature a completely rounded diaphragm blade. This creates a natural, beautiful bokeh, while minimizing the streaking effect of point light sources.

When mounted on a Pentax DSLR, this lens offers a focal length equivalent to 153 mm in the 35mm format. It delivers high-quality, true-to-life images, while minimizing flare and ghost images.

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Sigma 17-70 mm lens

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Sigma has upgraded its 17-70 mm lens. The 17-70 mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM lens now has Sigma’s own optical stabilization, anti-shake technology. The company says this offers the use of shutter speeds approximately four stops slower than would otherwise be possible. If you own a Pentax or Sony camera, you get to use an anti-shake system in either the lens or the camera body.

This lens’ predecessor, without the OS, was deemed a “Best Buy” recommendation for photographers wishing to purchase a standard zoom lens as part of the Canadian Association for Photographic Art’s (CAPA) “Best Lens of the Year” awards.

The 4x zoom range is equivalent to 24-105 mm in full-frame format, making it a very nice standard lens. Macro delivers down to 8.7 inches with a max magnification of 1:2.7. The lens’ Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) also ensures a quiet and high speed auto focus, while its rounded, seven-blade diaphragm creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas. The internal focusing eliminates front lens rotation, making the lens particularly suitable for using the supplied petal-type lens hood and circular polarizing filters.

Three aspherical lenses and one extraordinary low dispersion (ELD) glass element provide excellent correction for all types of aberrations, and the Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting to produce high-contrast images.

The 17-70mm lens is available in Sigma, Canon, Nikon (D), Sony (D) and Pentax mounts.

VisibleDust sensor cleaning kits

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VisibleDust has a new line of EZ sensor cleaning kits for DSLRs. The kits contain four Vswabs, and a 1 ml travel-safe bottle of VisibleDust Sensor Cleaning Liquid. There are three sizes of Vswabs: 1.6X (16 mm), 1.3X (20 mm), and 1.0X (24 mm), for different makes and models of cameras. VisibleDust says the cleaning solutions are safe on all coated sensors, including Nikon and Canon.

Kata CB-100 bag

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cb100The Kata CB mid-sized line of bags is a new addition to its Pro Video collection. CB-100 is a compact camcorder bag designed for cameras such as the Sony A1 up to the Panasonic DVC-30, Canon GL2/XM2 and similar. The design features two large accessory pockets along the inside of the top of the bag, which unfurl when you open the top flap. The protected camcorder compartment is located beneath. These bags have multiple pockets for organized and high-capacity storage.cb100 2

This series is made with water-resistant fabric, and water-protective zippers. They have a sturdy, click together handle, and a well-padded shoulder strap.

Ricoh GXR

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gxr frontUnique. There’s no other word to describe it.

The Ricoh GXR, which, at this point, will not be available in Canada, is an interchangeable lens digital camera with a difference. It’s not just the lens which is removable; the lens, image sensor and image processor are all one unit, and the three component assembly slides in and out of the camera body.

In fact, Ricoh doesn’t call it a lens. Instead, it’s a “camera unit.”

I’m not going to go into a major discussion of its features. Let’s just say it’s got lots of ‘em, including video and a maximum ISO rating of 3200. Instead, I want to look at the concept itself.gxr

Because there’s no image sensor in the body, it’s never exposed to the air when lenses are changed. Bravo to that.

If the sensor and lens are inextricably joined, the lens can be matched to the sensor. In fact, there’s a different sensor used for the two lenses initially available.

The 50 mm (full format equivalent) f/2.5 Macro has a 23.6 x 15.7 mm (APS-C size) CMOS sensor of approximately 12.3-megapixels, and image processing engine GR Engine III. The 24-72 mm (full format equivalent) f/2.5-4.4 VC lens has a 10-megapixel, 1/1.7-inch CCD sensor and advanced image processing engine Smooth Imaging Engine IV. Each sensor, says Ricoh, is “of optimum type and size” for the lens.

Lenses are changed via a slide-in mount system which attaches the “camera unit” to the body.po1_img2

gxr 34Ricoh says eliminating the lens mount means the back focal length can be freely defined for the GXR, enabling the new system to use the most optically efficient lens designs and giving it excellent potential for future expansion.

What you end up with, says Ricoh, is the world’s smallest and lightest digital camera with the ability to change lenses.

There’s been no word as to pricing, but it seems to me “lenses” would be more expensive since you’re also buying the sensor and image processor.

Long-life DVD?

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This is one claim I’m not going to be around to prove wrong, or right. The Cranberry DiamonDisc lays claim to being a 1,000-year DVD.

If you’ve read the early entries of my blog (back when it was on Blogger/Blogspot), I wrote how the life of a DVD really wasn’t all that good, and that saving images onto a DVD wasn’t necessarily a smart move. The materials in a standard DVD do not lend themselves to a long life – perhaps as little as a couple of years. So if this DVD will last 1,000 years . . .

The Cranberry DiamonDisc, invented by professors at BYU (Brigham Young University), have gone on sale in the U.S. for US$30 a pop. The promise is the high-tech, diamond-hard material they’re made from will preserve images “for the ages.” The company selling the discs, Millenniata, out of Springville, Utah, says the new disc “is the only permanent storage solution available on the market for digital files including photos, videos and electronic documents.”

Unlike conventional recordable DVDs and CDs, says the company, the Cranberry DiamonDisc has no adhesive layers, dye layer or reflective layer to deteriorate, thereby avoiding the “data rot” that quickly corrodes all recordable DVDs. The transparent Cranberry DiamonDisc is environmentally stable, they say, and “remains unaffected by UV and changes in temperature and humidity.”

The Cranberry DiamonDisc is playable “on most regular DVD drives” and “will last as far into the future as we can imagine.”

Cranberry is the exclusive licensee of the Millenniata M-Arc disc. Cranberry is a Ferndale, Washington, company.

Addendum: (Mind you, my eldest son was right when he said, on learning of this technology: “The disk only has to last until the next generation of storage media is invented.”)

Olympus PEN E-P2

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E-P2This is a surprise. Olympus has delivered the PEN E-P2 less than six months after the arrival of the E-P1, its Micro Four Thirds, interchangeable lens, non-DSLR camera. Olympus says the new camera has more power and performance.

Olympus bills the E-P2 as the world’s smallest 12.3-megapixel interchangeable lens system with In-body image stabilization. Along with high-quality stills, it also delivers High Definition (HD) video, stereo Linear PCM audio recording and a number of new features, all inside a small body.

So what do we have?

A retro black metal body reminiscent of a traditional PEN camera (from back in the film days).

An accessory port to accommodate the included detachable VF-2 electronic viewfinder (EVF) or optional external microphone adapter EMA-1. I’m on the fence with this viewfinder. I like cameras with viewfinders, but I’m not so sure I like one that looks like an add-on (which it is). Mind you, it has the retro look to it, hearkening back to the days of the wide-angle viewfinder of the old Leicas. The finder slides onto the camera’s accessory port and hot shoe,
providing 1.15x magnification, a 100 percent field of view, and what Olympus terms “amazing” resolution, brightness and contrast. The viewfinder is said to refresh quickly to minimize image ghosting on fast-moving subjects. The VF-2 rotates up to 90 degrees so you can look down into it, and the built-in diopter adjustment and high magnification offer easy viewing with and without glasses. If you don’t want to spring for the accessory viewfinder, remember the camera has a 3-inch full colour HyperCrystal LCD.

A newly-developed continuous autofocus (C-AF) tracking system which tracks the subject across or back-and-forward through the frame.

Two new art filters: Diorama and Cross Process for both still and video.

iEnhance to automatically adjust colour and contrast for a more dramatic effect. iEnhance analyzes colours and brightness. The new mode mimics what the naked eye sees. For example, a sunset looks awesome in person and generally seems to fade when captured in an image. With iEnhance, the warm yellow and orange colours are heightened to be brilliant and closer to the actual scene. The result is exceptionally clear imaging with a dramatically lifelike colour, says Olympus. iEnhance can be used in any shooting mode – from program to manual – and automatically engages when in iAuto.

Full manual control of shutter/aperture in Movie Mode.

HDMI Control of camera playback functions using the TV remote when the camera is connected to an HDTV.

The E-P2 comes with either the 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6 (28-84mm equivalent) lens or 17 mm f/2.8 (34 mm equivalent) lens.

E-P2 BackOlympus says the E-P2 provides the same image quality as current Four Thirds format E-System cameras because it has the same image sensor size as the E-30 and E-620 DSLRs. This 12.3-megapixel Live MOS image sensor delivers excellent dynamic range, accurate colour fidelity, and a state-of-the-art amplifier circuit to reduce noise and capture fine image details in both highlight and shadow areas.

The E-P2’s Live MOS image sensor is complemented by Olympus’ TruePic V Image Processor, noted for accurate natural colour, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal expression; it also lowers image noise in photos shot at higher ISO settings (ISO 100 to ISO 6400), for low light situations.

The camera has 19 scene-select modes, including standard scene modes like Night-Scene, Portrait and Landscape, as well as ePortrait Mode. The latter lets you smooth your subject’s skin, in-camera, and before capture. Additional edits can be made post-capture using the ePortrait mode.

Shadow Adjustment Technology adjusts for extreme light variations and maintains visible detail in both the shadow and highlight areas of the scene.

The E-P2’s Face Detection system recognizes up to eight people’s faces and the background, tracking the faces within the image area, even if people are moving, and automatically focusing and optimizing exposure.

Intelligent Auto Mode automatically identifies what you are shooting (Portrait, Landscape, Night + Portrait, Macro, Sports) and adjusts settings to capture the best result depending on the situation.

The Olympus E-P2 will be available in December. E-P2 Body with ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko lens and electronic viewfinder has an estimated street price of $1,099.99.

 

Olympus zoom lenses coming
We’re a little ahead of the game here. Olympus will be releasing two new Micro Four Thirds System lenses in the first half of 2010. The M. Zuiko Digital ED 9-18 mm f/4.0-5.6 lens (18-36 mm equivalent) and M. Zuiko Digital ED 14-150 mm f/4.0-5.6 lens (28-300 mm equivalent) are going to offer “amazing optical performance in an extraordinarily compact and lightweight design,” says the company. Note these lenses are designed for the smaller PEN cameras (E-P1 and E-P2). That means a much smaller design than the Four Thirds System standard, accomplished by reducing the outer diameter of the lens mount by 6 mm, and the distance from the lens mount to the focal plane (the flange back distance) by approximately half.

The 9-18 mm lens will be about 50 mm long (less than two inches), while the 14-150 will have a lens barrel diameter of about 65 mm (2.5 inches). As Olympus notes, that latter lens could just be left on one of the E-P cameras; it covers almost all the bases.

And if that 9-18 is anything like the one designed for the Four Thirds system, then it will be a hands down winner.

Both lenses will use ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements to suppress the colour aberration that can degrade image quality, and will work on any Micro Four Thirds camera.

Carl Zeiss lenses

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Carl Zeiss has been making optics for more than 160 years, today ranging from planetarium optics to eye glass lenses. There’s a very long history of camera lens manufacturing, and an enviable reputation to go with them.

There’s a new Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZE for the Canon EF mount. This is a new mount for this lens, and like the other Zeiss ZE lenses, it incorporates a CPU and data contacts for communication with the camera body.

The lens is ideal for still photographers looking for a fast, general purpose wide angle lens, says the company. It is also said to be well suited for photographers and videographers using DSLRs for film-making and need a lens with superior manual focusing control and minimal ‘breathing.’

Its classic focal length is particularly well-suited for advertising, travel and nature photography, says Zeiss, as it captures dynamic perspectives with high depth of focus and few distortions.

The lens weighs 570 g, has all-metal barrel construction and nine lens elements in seven groups.

This is Zeiss’ fourth wide-angle lens with an EF bayonet (ZE mount). It follows the recent introduction of the two ultra-wide-angle Distagon T* 18 mm f/3.5 ZE and Distagon T* 21 mm f/2.8 ZE lenses, as well as the moderate wide-angle Distagon T* 28 mm f/2 ZE.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV DSLR

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mark4Make no mistake, this is a pro camera.

Canon Canada calls it “a high-speed multimedia performance monster.” It has a 16-megapixel Canon CMOS sensor, dual Digic 4 imaging processors, and 14-bit A/D data conversion, all at 10 frames-per-second (fps), with the widest ISO range Canon has produced to date. This new camera also features 1080p full HD video capture at selectable frame rates, all combined in what the company calls its most rugged and durable professional camera body.

There’s a new autofocus system, starting with 45 AF points including 39 high-precision cross-type focusing points capable of tracking fast moving athletes or wildlife accurately at speeds up to 10 fps. With greater subject detection capability than ever before plus a newly redesigned AI Servo II AF predictive focusing algorithm, the Mark IV sets new standards for autofocus performance among professional digital SLRs, says Canon.

What makes the camera different from its predecessors, in addition to numerous focusing system and image quality improvements, is its exceptional full HD video capture capability. So there’s appeal to not only pro still photographers but also to a diverse market of professional videographers and filmmakers.

With more than twice as many cross-type focusing points as the EOS-1D Mark III and a new AF sensor construction that improves performance in low light and with low contrast subjects, the Mark IV has greater subject detection capabilities than any previous EOS model. To complete the range of AF improvements, Canon has developed a new AI Servo II AF predictive focusing algorithm that significantly improves responsiveness and stability by making better decisions on focus tracking in a variety of shooting conditions.

Photographers shooting in low light without the benefit of a flash can take advantage of Canon’s widest ISO range and highest performance ever. The camera’s ISO speed settings range from 100 up to 12,800 in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments with ISO expansion settings of L: 50 for bright light or H1: 25,600, H2: 51,200, and H3: 102,400 for even the most dimly lit situations. High ISO, low light still images are further enhanced by Canon’s adjustable High ISO Noise Reduction feature, now a default setting in the camera.

The Mark IV, along with Full HD capture, offers full manual exposure control, plus selectable frame rates on an all-new APS-H-sized image sensor that’s similar in size to a Super 35mm motion picture film frame. Note: the large sensor allows filmmakers to achieve shallow depth-of-field just as cinematographers have traditionally done using much higher-cost motion picture equipment.

The Mark IV allows for three video recording resolutions: 1080p Full HD and 720p HD in a 16:9 aspect ratio and Standard Definition (SD) in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The camera will record Full HD at 1920 x 1080 in selectable frame rates of 24p (23.976), 25p, or 30p (29.97); and 720p HD or SD video recording at either 50p or 60p (59.94). SD video can be recorded in either NTSC or PAL standards. Sound is recorded either through the internal monaural microphone or via optional external microphones connected to the stereo microphone input. The camera also provides an in-camera video editing function allowing users to remove the start or ending of a video clip directly in the camera to eliminate unwanted footage and speed up post-production.

The newly developed 16.1-Megapixel CMOS sensor features Canon’s latest and most advanced proprietary technologies. These technologies include improved photodiode construction to enhance dynamic range and gapless microlenses that are positioned closer to the photodiodes for improved light gathering efficiency. The transmissive quality of the colour filter array has been enhanced to improve sensitivity. Canon has also upgraded the sensor
circuitry to improve noise reduction before the image data is exported from the CMOS sensor to the rest of the image processing chain.

mark4bWith 60 percent more pixels than the Mark III, the Mark IV has dual Digic 4 image processors with approximately six times the processing power of Digic III for full 14-bit A/D conversion at 10 fps. High-speed continuous shooting up to 121 Large JPEGs is possible using a UDMA CF card. This camera also features three RAW shooting modes for versatility with Full RAW (approx. 16 million pixels), M-RAW (approx. nine million pixels), and S-RAW (approx. four million pixels). Three additional JPEG recording formats (M1, M2 and Small) are also available.

The 14-bit per channel conversion facilitated by the dual processors provides smoother tonalities in final images capturing all 16,384 distinct tones in each channel (red, green and blue) at the full 10 fps frame rate. RAW images shot on the Mark IV use the entire 14-bit space when converted to 16-bit TIFF files in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software, which is supplied with the camera. The 14-bit A/D conversion is also the foundation for Canon’s Highlight Tone Priority feature that takes maximum advantage of the camera’s extensive dynamic range to preserve detail in highlight areas of the image. The camera also features an improved white balance algorithm making colours more accurate when shooting under low colour temperature light sources such as household tungsten lamps.

The new DSLR features Canon’s Peripheral Illumination Correction function which corrects darkening that can occur in the corners of images with most lenses when used at their largest apertures. When activated, it is automatically applied to JPEG images and video clips as they are shot. For RAW images, it can be applied in DPP software.

Other new features include a 3-inch LCD screen with 920,000 dot/VGA resolution and 160-degree viewing angle. The new in-camera copyright information feature helps professionals secure control over images by setting copyright data directly into the camera and appending that information to each image file in the Exif metadata. Additional features include a fluorine coating on the Low Pass Filter to further repel dust and enhance the EOS
Integrated Cleaning System.

The Mark IV helps reduce post-production work with a powerful new Auto Lighting Optimizer (ALO) system. When enabled, Canon’s ALO automatically adjusts the image for optimal brightness and contrast on the fly during in-camera image processing, reducing clipped highlights while keeping shadowed areas as clear and detailed as they actually appear. By optimizing brightness and contrast in-camera, Canon’s ALO system significantly reduces the need for post-production image optimization, and gives photographers image quality they can take directly to press.

Demanding professional photographers who tested ALO clearly stated that this one feature will reduce their post-production image optimization process by more than 75 percent. Canon’s ALO works with both RAW and JPEG images as well as video recording.

The camera incorporates a wide range of design features that enhance its durability and reliability for professional assignments. For example, the body, chassis and lens mount are completely weather-resistant and 76 gaskets and seals surround all buttons and seams. The body covers and internal chassis, including the mirror box, are constructed with magnesium-alloy. For added strength, the lens mount is constructed with stainless steel. In fact, when used with Canon’s Speedlite 580EX II and/or most current L-series lenses, the entire camera system remains fully weather resistant.

The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV will be sold in a body-only configuration at an estimated retail price of $5499.99. Final pricing will be available later this year.

Nikon D3s DSLR

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D3SIf this wasn’t more camera than I really need, and if I didn’t need a car, I think I might be tempted to sell the car and buy the camera. Except the car’s leased. Drat.

All I can do is go to the Henry’s Photo Show at the International Centre out by the airport, and look and perhaps touch, because the FX-format Nikon D3s DSLR will makes its Canadian debut there.

The D3s builds upon the success of the D3, a pro digital SLR, and utilizes a newly-designed, Nikon 12.1-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor that also utilizes its low-light ability with High Definition (HD) video.

The base sensitivity of the D3s is ISO 200 to 12,800. But . . . and oh what an amazing “but” it is . . . photographers can select expanded ISO settings of 25,600 (Hi 1), 51,200 (Hi 2) and an incredible 102,400 (Hi 3), revealing detail in extreme low-light conditions that challenge even the human eye’s ability to discern subject content. Additionally, a setting of ISO 100 (Lo 1) is available.

Photojournalists using long lenses, sports photographers, this buts for you. (Okay, okay, really bad Dad humour.)

Nikon says this low-light ability, as well as astounding image quality, is attributable, in large part, to the engineering in CMOS sensor. While the pixel size and count that served the D3 maintained dynamic range, tonal gradation and outstanding colour, other aspects were engineered in. Individual pixels measure a large 8.45 microns, which support enhanced sensitivity to light and other qualities leading to superior image fidelity. The D3s captures light
and renders images with a higher signal-to-noise ratio and an unmatched dynamic range for both stills and HD video throughout its broadened ISO range, says Nikon.

The D3s adds an image sensor cleaning function. The optical low pass filter oscillates at four specific frequencies, and sensor cleaning can be set by the user to cycle automatically when the camera is powered on, turned off or on demand.

The newly refined D-Movie mode for the FX-format offers smooth 1280 x 720 video at a cinematic 24fps, with a new algorithm that severely reduces the phenomenon of “rolling shutter” typical to DSLRs while panning. The motion JPEG codec makes it easy to extract single frames from a video clip and save it as a JPEG file, while the 720p HD format eases storage, provides faster wireless transfers and offers video files that are generally easier to use in the field. Photographers can also trim movie clips on the fly by revising the start and end points, and save the edited clip as a copy while maintaining the original.

There’s a built-in monoaural microphone; a stereo microphone input lets you use your own mic.

High Sensitivity Movie Mode allows the utilization of the entire ISO range. While recording, users also have the ability to control exposure, and will enjoy the added benefits of improved contrast-detect type AF while in Tripod Live View mode.

Photographers are able to capture images at 9 frames per second (fps) in the FX-format or at up to 11 fps in the DX crop mode, while data is transferred through a 16-bit pipeline for optimal processing speed. Additionally, the buffer has been increased, enabling continuous bursts approximately twice that of the D3 in the JPEG, TIFF or NEF (RAW) formats. Files also can be captured in either 12- or 14-bit compressed or uncompressed formats to maintain image data integrity.D3S back

The D3s also features two UDMA compatible CompactFlash card slots that can be used for consecutive recording (overflow), simultaneous recording (backup), separating recording of RAW and JPEG files or even copying pictures between the two cards. One or both can also be designated for data-heavy D-Movie recording. Images can be displayed directly from the camera to a high-definition monitor using the camera’s High-Definition Multi-Media Interface (HDMI) port and an optional cable.

The D3s employs Nikon’s Multi-CAM 3500FX focus module, with 51 AF points, 15 cross type sensors and 36 horizontal sensors that easily track and lock onto moving subjects, delivering the same fast and accurate AF performance of the D3. Users can select any of the AF points. Three AF-area modes – Single point, Dynamic-area AF and Auto-area AF – are available to maximize the use of the 51 focus points by selecting the most suitable one to match subject conditions. AF is also available in one of two Live View modes optimized for the studio, including a phase detection handheld mode and a tripod mode.

While in Live View, the graphic indication of a virtual horizon is also available.

The D3s has a Quiet Shutter Mode to substantially reduces the sound of the camera’s mirror-down cycle, which is perfect for shooting in sensitive environments such as movie sets, meetings, ceremonies, or while photographing wildlife.

The latest generation of the EXPEED advanced digital image processing system technologies has found its way into the D3s. The latest iteration of this system is specially designed to keep pace with the D3s’ performance, providing superior image quality, faster processing speeds and lower power consumption. This advanced system is able to achieve extremely precise colour reproduction for a broad spectrum of hues, in addition to vivid saturation and smooth gradation. Nikon’s advanced noise processing function is engineered to minimize noise at all sensitivities and operate seamlessly without interfering with other image colour parameters.

The D3s’ accelerated Scene Recognition System analyzes information from the 1,005-pixel RGB light sensor for use in auto exposure, auto white balance detection and autofocus calculations. The Scene Recognition System also assists autofocus by tracking subject position and automatically shifts the AF points used to match the subject’s movement within the frame.

Nikon’s exclusive 3D Colour Matrix Metering II assists in ensuring accurate exposures, even in the most challenging lighting conditions. Instantly evaluating each scene before capture, input data from the system’s sensor is automatically referenced against an internal database of more than 30,000 images derived from actual photographs to calculate correct exposure values. Active D-Lighting (ADL), used in combination with 3D Matrix Metering II, helps to determine proper exposure, and creates realistic contrast while compensating for lost shadows and highlights. Photographers can also use ADL bracketing for up to five frames of ADL compensation.

Nikon’s Picture Control System allows selection of settings including Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome. Additionally, adjustment can be made to image sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation, hue and more. Photographers then have the flexibility to save up to nine personalized Picture Controls in camera and 99 additional controls externally.

Moisture, dust and shock resistance, a self-diagnostic shutter system tested to 300,000 cycles, rigid magnesium alloy construction – they’re all there.

A bright and accurate viewfinder provides 100 per cent coverage with 0.7x magnification. There’s also a 920,000 dot, 3.0-inch LCD monitor, viewable up to 170 degrees, safeguarded by a tempered glass cover.

Thanks to what Nikon calls “incredibly efficient” internal circuitry, the D3s can capture up to 4200 shots per single charge of the camera’s Lithium-ion battery.

While Nikon Canada has said the camera will be available in stores in late November (I must reinforce my Christmas stocking), no pricing has been announced yet. I’m guessing more than $6,000 for the body.

Nikon has added a new lens to its repertoire, the AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 85 mm f/3.5G ED VR lens. While the new lens is designed specifically for extreme close-up photography, it is also can be used for portrait, nature and general imaging. Focusing as close as 27 mm, the new lens allows photographers to capture close-up images with life-size reproduction ratios up to 1:1. Used on a Nikon DX format DSLR, the lens is the equivalent of 127.5 mm (on a full-frame camera).

The lens incorporates Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology, Extra Low Dispersion (ED) glass and an Internal Focusing (IF) design, and incorporates Vibration Reduction (VR II) Image Stabilization technology.

Optical construction consists of 14 elements in 10 groups, while the addition of an ED glass element minimizes chromatic aberration, enhancing the lens’ ability to deliver stunning, high-contrast images with accurate and well-saturated colours. A rounded nine-blade diaphragm opening allows out-of-focus background or foreground scene information to appear more naturally blurred.