Canon EOS 450D – Review – 24

Canon 450D 001

Fraser Kitt was the first person in the country to get his hands on Canon’s new EOS 450D. He’s still beaming.

Canon has made some major improvements with its latest entry-level digital SLR, the EOS 450D, including shrinking the card slot for SD cards and ballooning the LCD screen to a gigantic three inches. The frame rate has taken a bump up to 3.5fps and the buffer can now withstand a massive 56 images in one hit. But is this the camera for you?

Big love

Boosting the screen size to three inches is a good thing as the information generated is so easy to read, even for aging eyes. Each box of information on the screen is clear and a quick look around the camera back will give you the corresponding button to push to make changes.

When using shutter or aperture priority the camera even prompts you to turn the wheel to make exposure adjustments. It means making adjustments using the screen is fast and allows you to tweak without raising the camera to your ...full story

Paul Gummer is Photographer of the Year 2009


A photography teacher from Palmerston North has been named New Zealand’s best photographer at the Epson/NZIPP Iris Professional Photography Awards. Paul Gummer, a lecturer at the Universal College of Learning, picked up the New Zealand Photographer of the Year award in recognition of his exceptional ability across a diverse range of styles. Gummer was also named the 2009 Landscape Photographer of the Year, and across numerous categories his prints ranked as amongst the best in their fields.

“I photograph what I’m passionate about and believe an award winning image is mysterious in that it is up to the viewer’s imagination to complete the story,” said Gummer. “It should draw the viewer in, and trigger a response whether it is positive or negative or even what the photographer intended.”

A lecturer at the Photography, Art and Design School at UCOL, Gummer ...full story

Sony DSC-W120 – Review – 24

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Sony’s new W120 comes in black, blue, silver or pink and is packed with 7.2 million pixels and a 4x optical zoom ” but it is its facial recognition and smile shutter that will make shooting your mates a barrel of fun.

Smile, You’re on Candid Camera

Facial recognition has taken photography to new heights; it makes shooting people so easy. Sony has given you three options so that you can precisely target your audience. The auto option is the simplest, putting little boxes around each head in the scene and altering the exposure so it is perfect for skin tones. Because a lot of us shoot children the W120 has a child priority setting that targets the little heads in your picture, or you can select adult priority to capture the adults in the picture ahead of the tiny tots.
If you want to ensure your subjects are smiling when the shutter fires, just switch the dial to smile shutter ” which automatically snaps a shot when your subject smiles. You don’t even have to press ...full story

Canon Powershot A580 – Review – 24

Canon Powershot A580 001

Canon has as usual constructed an entry-level camera that performs as if it is at the top of the class. The new eight million-pixel Powershot A580 has a 4x optical zoom and a bunch of useful scene modes, as well as facial recognition.

Retro Styling

The body shape is all smoothed corners, with a bulging battery housing that acts as a comfortable grip. The flowing lines give it an almost retro look, with rounded edges on the flash like the eyes of a ’50s robot. It is comfortable to hold with one hand when viewing the 2.5-inch screen, or when clutching it with both hands and viewing through the optical viewfinder.


Unlike your car’s economy, the last thing you will have to worry about with the A580 is how hungry it is on batteries. Like all the A series cameras it operates using AA batteries. Alkaline batteries are supplied, but it is wise to invest in rechargeable NiMh batteries for the most images, and it is so much greener too. Part of this camera’s success is ...full story

Panasonic DMC LZ8 – Review – 24

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The latest Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ8 may only be an entry-level compact, but it comes with a big 8.1 million-pixel sensor as well as a 5x optical zoom that covers from 32mm wide-angle to 160mm telephoto. Mix this up with an intelligent auto setting that knows what you are shooting, as well as face detection, and you have a wonderful start to your image making.

Fizzy from the start

It’s not often I open a box and get overwhelmed with the contents, but this little Lumix is wonderful to hold and use. As a first camera this wee minx will do all the work in the intelligent auto setting, and when your confidence and curiosity grow it has aperture and shutter priority as well as full manual control so you can take over.

Intelligence beyond its years

Scene modes are cool. They let you look at what you are shooting and choose the right scene from a list that will suit the situation. There are 19 separate modes to choose from, but for someone who doesn’t know a portrait ...full story

Olympus FE 340 – Review – 24

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When Olympus announced it would up the standard zoom on its entry-level models from 3x to 5x I got excited¦ then it built the FE-340 with the bigger zoom, as well as face detect and a huge 2.7-inch screen. Now I’m delirious.

Bigger everything

Olympus’s jump in zoom range gives you the bonus of a whopping 180mm telephoto as well as the moderate wide angle of 36mm. The big telephoto sucks in subjects from further away and makes shooting sport or taking candid shots of the kids much easier. The screen has also been inflated in size, that 2.7-incher bulging with a credible 230,000 pixels for a very impressive image. The refresh rate is phenomenal, making flipping through reviewed images like watching a slide show.

Increased ISO

I am generally unimpressed with huge hikes in ISO sensitivity, but with the FE-340 the 3200 setting actually makes images that are almost useable. Usually the noise associated with high ISO is disastrous, but Olympus has finally figured out a logarithm that offers smoother rendering of the image without ...full story

Pentax adds P80 to Optio Range.


Pentax has introduced a new addition to its Optio range in the P80, a slim, lightweight 12.1 effective megapixel camera with upgraded face recognition AF and AE capabilities and a new ˜small face’ feature which makes subjects appear more attractively proportioned.

Designed with a high-grade aluminium alloy housing, the thinnest part of the body measures 16.5mm in depth. It features a 4X zoom and a 2.7inch monitor. It also includes 16:9 video capabilities shooting at 30 frames a second, shake reduction technology and ISO sensitivity up to ISO 6400.

Local availability and pricing is yet to be confirmed.

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