Points in Focus Photography

Photokina Wrapup, Late but not Lost

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Photokina wrapped up last week, and I have been trying to following along on the news as best I can. The big news to me was that there wasn’t an awful lot of news, outside of the cameras and lenses I’ve posted about previously. There were a lot of rumors about a new 70-200 VR from Nikon and a new 100-400 IS from Canon, neither materialized. Sigma announced a new revision of their SLR, the DP15; and a new point and shoot, the DP2. The DP2 is similar to their DP1 but complementary with a faster (f/2.8) more normal (41mm equivalent) lens.

Probably the biggest news on the camera front was the announcement of a couple of Micro 4/3rds cameras. If you’ve not seen Olympus’s announcement on what it is, Micro 4/3rds is an adaptation of their 4/3rds system to a thinner mirror-less design. The new system is compatible with 4/3rds lenses—through an adapter—but supports a new smaller lighter series of lenses designed specifically to be as compact and portable as possible.

The most interesting new camera, at least form an SLR user’s perspective, is probably the Panasonic Lumix G1. Not much bigger than more traditional super zoom point and shoots, it supports interchangeable lenses and a SLR sized (2x crop factor) sensor, giving it more flexible lens choices and potentially better low light capabilities. That coupled with the forth coming 20mm f/1.7 (40mm equivalent) micro-4/3rds lens would make quite a powerful yet unobtrusive camera for street photography.

Some things that did catch my eye include the announcement of Adobe Photoshop CS4, which brings 64-bit support to windows machines and support for using your video card to accelerate calculations among other things. I could write about it, but most of the cool features are demonstrated in this podcast (creativesuitepodcast.com), and it’s far more fun to watch than it is to read about.

On the storage front, SanDisk announced Extreme III and Extreme IV flash cards, including 32 GB Extreme III cards. Speaking of which, while it’s been trumpeted all over the web as of late, but SanDisk has been running a rebate on their compact flash media for the last few weeks (ends the 11th of October), on their flash media. 16GB Extreme three cards are going for as little as $7 to $25 a card in some places, if you can find them in stock. Most of the online camera stores are participating, so if you’re in the media market right now that may be a place to look.

The other announcement in storage was by a company I’ve never heard of, Pretec (pretec.com), of two new compact flash flashcards, a 64GB and 100GB 233x (35MB/s transfer) flashcards. Something that’s sure to come in handy with the today’s high resolution and video producing cameras. I’ve never used them, and I can’t seem to find them listed any ecommerce sites I’ve used for ordering media, so I have no idea if they work well or even at all.

On the lens front, Tokina has added motors to their Nikon mount lenses. I’m not sure if this is good or bad yet though. On the up side, they will focus on the D40, D40x and D60 bodies; on the down side, Tokina doesn’t have an Ultrasonic lens motor design, so they will likely be louder than they otherwise would be when driven by the in body motor. One thing that is for sure, this gives entry level Nikon users access to fast f/2.8 zooms of decent optical quality in focal lengths of 11-16mm, 16-50mm and 50-125mm. All told, it’s not a bad for set of pretty close to pro grade lenses and can be had for less than $1900 for the three.

Also completely unrelated to Photokina, there is currently an update for Adobe Lightroom 2 in the final stages of testing. According to the Adobe Labs page, it fixes several stability issues and makes some performance improvements. As a Lightroom user, I’m keeping on top of this, and I can only hope it fixes a couple of the issues that I’ve experienced with Lightroom on Windows XP.

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