Exclusive: Canon Releases Powershot S95

Following the success of its high-end compact camera, the Powershot S90 (one of D-Photo’s favourites from last year) it’s no great surprise to hear that Canon’s updating the range with the release of the S95.
Using the same 10-megapixel CCD sensor seen in the eariler pocket model (as well the G11) and its f/2.0 28mm lens, the S95′s chief improvements stem from a redesigned image stabilisation technique, reducing the amount of camera shake, which occurs when the camera moves horizontally in relation to the subject. Canon assured D-Photo in a recent briefing that its improved IS technology translates to an improved performance in low light of a couple of stops.
The PowerShot S95 also features a ‘High Dynamic Range’ mode which reduces highlight blowout and loss of details in shadows, by simultaneously capturing three images with different exposures and combining them using in-camera photo editing software.
Also included in the S95 is high-definition video recording capabilitiies at 1280×720, replete with stereo sound.
Retailing at $849.95, the S95 is slated for a September New Zealand release. Read the rest of this entry »

Study Finds Panasonic Most Reliable

For those people in the market for a new digital camera, a recent study by an American warranty provider found that Panasonic point-and-shoots were in fact the most reliable.

According to the New York Times, SquareTrade, a warranty provider for tech products, found in a study of 60,000 warranties that among sub-$US300 cameras, Panasonic had the least broken cameras with fail rate of 5.3 per cent.

Fujifilm, Olympus, Sony and Canon were all around 6 per cent, Kodak, Nikon and Pentax failed slightly more often, and Polaroid and Casio had the highest rates of failure at 11.9 and 13 per cent respectively.

SquareTrade found that regardless of the price of a camera, 5.9 per cent of all cameras broke in the first year, and 10.7 per cent by the end of the second.

GPS, HD Video in New Leica V-Lux

Leica recently unveiled its latest object of desire, the V-Lux 20, a compact camera with GPS tagging, a 12.1 megapixels sensor and an enormous focal range of 25-300mm.

The camera provides full manual control over aperture and shutter speed, while offering a range of automated settings as well.

Along with the optional GPS tagging capability, which allows photographers to pin-point their position to their EXIF data while they shoot, the V-Lux 20 also automatically displays nearby points of interest in the neighbourhood. Five hundred thousand sights in 73 countries are currently included in the system.

And, in keeping with the trend of the day, the V-Lux 20 integrates 720p HD video functions.

The 12x zoom lens is a Leica DC-Vario-Elmar 1:3.3 – 4.9 / 4.1 – 49.2 mm ASPH, which is designed to be used for both macro and telephoto shooting, and includes in-built image stabilisation.

We’ll bring you local pricing and availability as it comes to hand, along with a comprehensive review!

Stylish Pentax Range Released

Retro-styling is all the rage, particularly at Pentax, who’ve just released two new ranges borrowing from the schmick designs of days gone by.

The H90 series features a simple design in a two-tone trim, but despite the antique look, sports a 12.1-megapixel sensor and 720p video capabilities. It’s also got a 28-140mm equivalent lens, ISO up to 6400 and all the face-detection gadgets we’ve come to expect in the modern compact.

Also due for release is the rather sharp Optio I-10, a 12.1-megapixel compact in the mould of a little SLR. Available in pearl white and classic black, the I-10 features a focal range of between 28-140mm. There’s built-in ˜triple anti-shake’ and wireless remote shooting capabilities. Apparently, its face detection technology will recognise grinning cats and dogs, too.

Sony Reveals 2010 Strategy

While most camera manufacturers like to play their cards close to their chest, Sony recently gave the game away, revealing its digital imaging strategy at PMA.

The company plans to take burgeoning ˜Micro Four Thirds’ market head on, with Sony’s own iteration of a compact camera with

interchangeable lenses already in production. Using a newly developed Exmor APS-C HD CMOS sensor, which at 24mm x 16mm is larger than the Micro Four Thirds format, Sony exhibited a mock-up model at the show. Along with a range of dedicated lenses, the new compact would shoot HD video using AVCHD format.

Less surprisingly, Sony plans to continue rolling out its range of Alpha dSLRs, integrating the new Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and HD video. A follow-up to the mid-range a700 is also in the works.

New lenses are also on the cards, with a Distagon T* 24mm f/2 ZA SSM Carl Zeiss wide angle lens and a Super Telephoto 500mm f/4 G on show at PMA.

Samsung Launches Fast Flagship Compact

Samsung have thrown its hat in the ring with a new high-end compact camera, the TL500, a 10 megapixel camera capable of shooting RAW.

Its real drawcard is that the new shooter’s 24-70mm equivalent Schneider KREUZNACH lens has an aperture of f/1.8 to f/2.4 when fully extended, which actually makes it faster than Canon’s closest competitor, the G11.

Sporting a 10 megapixel 1/1.7” CCD sensor, ISO sensitivity runs to 3200.

The TL500 also features more advanced camera features such as a hot-shoe, dual image stabilisation and an articulated 3-inch AMOLED LCD screen.  Details regarding the camera’s shooting modes are scarce as yet, although on initial inspection it appears as though full manual modes are available.

While the new compact shoots video, its capabilities are limited to 640 x 480 — read: no HD.

“With the TL500, Samsung further differentiates its lineup from the competition and achieves yet another milestone in the industry,” said Mr. SJ Park, CEO of Samsung Digital Imaging Company. “With ultra-wide angle capability and unparalleled speed, the TL500’s lens offers a new level of versatility allowing the user to be more creative and take better pictures.”

Dropping in April this year, the TL500 looks set to give the big guys a run for their money.

Nikon Slims S-Series Compacts

Two slim new compacts from Nikon will be available from next month, with the Coolpix S4000 and S3000 models landing in March.

Successors to the Coolpix S230 and S220 models, the new compact digitals utilise a touch-screen panel, a 12-megapixel sensor, and a 27mm 4X zoom lens. The S4000 model also throws in HD video recording capabilities.

The touchscreen features a redesigned graphical user interface, which includes a touch shutter and slider adjustment for white balance. They’re also pretty compact for a compact, with the S3000 only 19mm deep.

Avaialable in eight colours, there’s still no word on local pricing and availability, but keep reading D-Photo for more details.

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