Another slow-ish news week, though as the time ticks down to the 2012 CES (Consumer Electronics Show), I would anticipate that we’ll see a slow leak of rumored gear and specs start to show up on various sites around the Web. As usual, links go to sources’ full articles.
4/3 Rumors reports that still more Olympus executives have jumped ship. Life goes on at the company, evidenced by the fact that they’re likely to announce a new Micro 4/3 lens (perhaps in the 12-60mm range) before the year is out. In unrelated news, 4/3 Rumors’ Facebook page is back, and can be found here.
Canon appears to have discontinued the EF 15mm f/2.8 fisheye, according to Canon Rumors.
Leica’s promising an M10, a new mirrorless interchangeable lens system, and a “suprise” for next year, says Leica Rumors.
Mirrorless Rumors has a bit more on Fuji’s new organic sensor, including speculation that the aforementioned Leica “surprise” may be related to a partnership with Fuji; it’s plausible, given that Leica will no longer be able to rely on Kodak for sensors.
Samyang (a.k.a. Vivitar, a.k.a. Rokinon, among others) is about to debut a Nikon-mount 8mm f/3.5 fisheye. Yes, they’re aftermarket, and lack AF motors (or much of anything else with which to autofocus, come to think of it), but the last few years have seen a spate of inexpensive Samyang lenses with very good image quality. Also, November 30 should see the announcement of the recently discontinued SB-900’s successor (SB-910?) and a new DX or FX lens (Nikon Rumors)
Sony confirms that they’ve started production on the A77 and NEX-7; also, the 2012 Photokina may see the introduction of a full-frame Sony camera with an as-yet-unspecified “hybrid mount.” (Sony Alpha Rumors)
I think it’s safe to say we’re back. Here’s the week’s photo news. As usual, links go to the original sources’ full articles.
Olympus’s fortunes seemed to have been revived considerably by the introduction of the 4/3 and Micro 4/3 systems. Cameras haven’t been the backbone of the company’s operations for a while now (that distinction belongs to their medical imaging division), but the brisk sales of the system — especially in Asia — seemed to make it clear that the company could still be a force to reckoned with. Well, until recently. The November 9 New York Times reported that there’ve been some financial shenanigans going on at Olympus that’d do Wall Street proud; apparently, the company had been sweeping massive losses under the carpet through a slick accounting practice called “tobashi”: In tobashi, translated loosely as “to blow away,” a company hides losses on bad assets by selling those assets to other companies, often dummies, only to buy them back later.
In a further twist, quoted in 4/3 Rumors, today’s Times reports that Japan’s equivalent of the SEC is investigating possible ties between Olympus and the Yakuza. And of course, since no story of financial malfeasance would be complete without involvement by Goldman Sachs, the same piece goes on to note that GS sold just shy of a million shares of Olympus just before CEO Michael Woodford was sacked.
After announcing a veritable truckload of new gear early in November, Canon’s gone relatively quiet, aside from a firmware update for the 5D Mark II. Rumors are beginning to percolate that the next round of announcements probably won’t take place ’til the end of Q1 2012. (Canon Rumors)
LeicaRumors reports that Leica’s already pricey optics will get that much more pricey on January 1, 2012.
Reports are cropping up in several places about the upcoming Fuji mirrorless interchangeable compact. This as-yet unnamed entry in the X series will, according to Fuji, feature full-frame image quality and ISO performance on a smaller sensor; given that the body design is very similar to the X100, this suggests an APS-C sensor. How, you ask, will they accomplish this? A CMOS sensor with an organic photoelectric conversion layer (details here, courtesy of Mirrorless Rumors, and further details on the camera here on Photo Rumors). The camera will, it’s said, feature not only a similar design to the X100, but also the same all-metal construction, plus a proprietary lens mount. We’ll find out for sure, at any rate, when the camera’s finally unveiled at the next CES, in January, 2012.
Finally, as police have moved to crack down on several of the Occupy Wall Street protests across the country, reporters and press photographers are feeling the pinch. Besides the arrests of a handful of “civilian” photographers, the raids — which some have speculated were coordinated — also snared photojournalists from The Daily Caller, Vanity Fair, AP and the New York Daily News* (NYC), Creative Loafing (Atlanta), the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, RVA Magazine (Richmond). New York mayor Michael Bloomberg insisted without a trace of irony that the journalists were detained for their own protection (and if history teaches you anything, it’s to be wary of anyone who starts detaining people “for their own protection.”) Wired, in the meantime, notes the “Kafkaesque” requirements for getting an NYPD press pass in NYC, not the least of which is that you have to have covered six events on the ground in NYC… which, naturally, you can’t technically do without a press pass.
My take (if I may editorialize for a moment): even if the arrests had “only” been of journalists, and not a single photographer had been taken into custody, this is still cause for concern. We’ve already seen the police in the UK practically criminalize both recreational and professional photography, and we’ve seen steps in that direction in this country recently as well (as with the arrest of a videographer by the NYPD). Whether you love OWS, hate them, or have never given the whole thing as much as a second thought, we rely on the press — at both ends of the spectrum — for the informed function of civil society. The chilling effect that comes from the arrest of journalists and photographers under the flimsiest possible pretext (the same pretext used to detain foreign and domestic journalists covering unrest in Lybia, Tunisia and Egypt not too long ago, don’t forget) is detriment enough to the press; if we hope to be informed and responsible citizens, it’s also a clear detriment to the function of a free and democratic society.
*”Snared” is too kind a word here, at least as regards the Daily Caller journalists, who were badly beaten by the NYPD.
Still feeling the pinch from the devastating earthquake and power plant meltdowns in Japan, Nikon and Sony now have further issues to deal with. The massive rainfall in Thailand — which has plagued the country since July and killed at least 250 people thus far — has now caused catastrophic flooding to an industrial complex that houses manufacturing for those companies and a multitude of others. (Adorama)
The UK treating its photographers like terrorists is nothing new, but this one’s a new high in low: a man was questioned by police for taking photos in a Glasgow shopping mall. The apparent “security risk”? He was taking snaps of his own four-year-old daughter. (BBC)
CanonRumors reports major announcements coming on October 18, with events scheduled in the Netherlands and Singapore. Their sources indicate an amalgamation of the 1D and 1Ds lines, resulting in an 18mp, 12fps full-frame camera.
LeicaRumors has news of the just-opened “You Are Here” street photography exhibit in LA, and also says that Leica will be releasing a firmware update that remedies the memory card issue that’s plagued the M9.
Speaking of Leica, MirrorlessRumors raises an interesting point: if Kodak goes under, Leica needs to find someone else to fabricate their sensors (the M9 uses a Kodak sensor).
A new game called “Warco” (that’s short for War Correspondent) puts a whole new spin on “first person shooter,” as the person playing the game does so from the POV of a videographer. (Nathaniel Chadwick)
Nikon has two more-or-less concurrent press events coming up, one in Morocco from October 24-26, and the other in Australia from October 23-26. The D800 is expected to be announced at some point during that time, but no word yet on whether the replacement for the just-discontinued SB-900 speedlight will also be replaced at that point. In unrelated news, Nikon is justifying its price increases on the grounds that it will cut unauthorized dealers out of the picture (nope, didn’t make sense to me, either). (NikonRumors)
Sigma releases a limited-edition SD-1 camera that’s encased in some rare hardwood or other; it reminds me of how everything made by Radio Shack ’til about 2004 had that simulated wood grain finish… Amazon shows the Fuji X-10 with a November 7 street date. Pentax, on the other hand, rather sheepishly admits that they won’t be releasing anything else this year, and that any indications to the contrary were typographical errors. (PhotoRumors)
Users of the Sony A65 and A77 may have noticed some AF issues if they’re using Sigma lenses. Sigma’s apparently noticed as well, and to their credit, they’ve moved quickly to address the issue (Leica, take note); they’re offering to retrofit users’ lenses, free of charge, to work with the newer cameras, and will rectify the problem going forward. (Sony Alpha Rumors)
Yahoo informs everyone that they haven’t forgotten… what was the name of their photo sharing site? Oh, yeah. Flickr. There’s a real-time “Photo Session” feature now, and an Android app has also been introduced. Adobe introduces Lightroom 3.5 and ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) 6.5. And Nikon refreshes its Capture NX software with version 2.2.8, which includes support for the new V1, J1 P7100 (dpreview.com)
Nikon V1 and J1 tested head-to-head against a number of other cameras, including the NEX-5, X100, G3 and G12. It fares poorly at high ISO’s (no surprise given the smaller sensor), but also isn’t much to write home about at base ISO either (EOSHD)
Test lab/photo geeks DxO Mark have declared the sensors in the Nikon 1 series to be as good as Micro 4/3. As my training is not in gear geekery and I’m going with naked eye comparisons of image samples I’ve seen thus far, all I can say is that maybe they’re seeing something I’m not. As a side note, it’s possible that a firmware update could solve some of the noise issues at higher ISO’s, but it would likely come with a loss of detail. (Mirrorless Rumors)
Nikon updates its ViewNX image management software. And as if they didn’t have enough trouble with the tepid response to the 1 system, someone in their marketing department stepped in it big time with an ill-timed and poorly worded Facebook post: “A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses, and a good lens is essential to taking good pictures! Do any of our facebook fans use any of the NIKKOR lenses? Which is your favorite and what types of situations do you use it for?” After getting verbally spanked on their Facebook page, they issued an apology the next day: “We know some of you took offense to the last post, and we apologize, as it was not our aim to insult any of our friends. Our statement was meant to be interpreted that the right equipment can help you capture amazing images. We appreciate the passion you have for photography and your gear, and know that a great picture is possible anytime and anywhere.” (NikonRumors)
Kodak tries to defend its still-slumping stock prices and market share, saying, “Our cameras are innovative. We even have the “share” button.” Look, I loved my Kodak camera, and would still be using it if it was still working, but telling me your cameras are great because of the “share” button is about as reassuring as walking into a hospital and having them tell you you’re in good hands because they have the machine that goes “Ping!” In other developments: Good news: You can get a free poster-sized print. Bad news: You’ll have to go to Wal-Mart to get it (PetaPixel)
Sony and Fuji release firmware updates (the former, for their A65 and A77 SLRs; the latter for their X100). I’ve lost count of the X100 firmware updates, and hope that Fuji puts a bit more thought into getting the firmware right the first time out with the upcoming X10. Sigma’s 50-150mm f/2.8, announced nearly eight months ago, is finally due to start shipping. (PhotoRumors)
This week’s photo news. As usual, the links go to the original sources’ full articles.
Adobe announces Photoshop Elements 10, just in time for the program’s tenth anniversary. Elements 10 adds Guided Edits, which take you through several photo effects one step at a time. Adobe also states the software will have enhanced photo organization, and integration with Facebook… which, at the rate Facebook has been changing lately, will render that particular option obsolete as soon as the software comes out of the box. (Adorama)
Two interesting pieces recently in the British Journal of Photography about the iPad and photography. One concerns Mack Books’ Michael Mack, who’s skipping the bookshelf in favor of the App Store for high-end photography books. The other is an interview with Michael Nichols(no, the other one) about his decision to trade his website for an iPad app.
Photojournalist Sethu Zeya gets ten years tacked to his eight year sentence for “damag[ing] tranquillity and unity in the government” in Yangon, Myanmar (that’s Rangoon, Burma, for those of you with older atlases). His crime? Taking photos in the aftermath of a grenade attack. (DigitalRev)
The upcoming high-end Panasonic will likely be called the GFX1 and not GX1, as previously reported. Some specs starting to leak; this is apparently targeted at the same segment as Fuji’s X-100 and the Sony NEX-7. (EOSHD)
Leica press release: That memory card issue some of you were having? We can’t figure it out either. We’ll get back to you on that. (Leica USA, h/t LeicaRumors)
The American Folk Art Museum narrowly escapes closing, and will continue in a much smaller space in Lincoln Center. Not quite photography news, but it’s no less welcome for that, since the AFAM has been stubbornly committed to preserving and promoting folk and outsider art. Its closing would’ve left a noticeable void in the New York art scene. (New York Times)
With the announcement of the J1 and V1 compact system cameras, Nikon belatedly enters the mirrorless camera fray. Four new lenses, plus accessories, have also been announced. (Nikon USA)
NikonRumors reports that there will be one more announcement from Nikon in mid-October.
Not long after buying Pentax for the equivalent of 25,000 Skee Ball tickets and a handful of bellybutton lint, Ricoh may be producing a new, Pentax-developed, mirrorless camera. No word yet on which company’s name will grace the nameplate, but it might be an early clue about whether Ricoh intends to re-badge Pentax gear under the Ricoh name, much as Sony did shortly after buying Minolta. Canon won’t be the only ones making a big announcement on November 3. High-end video camera maker RED has an event slated for that day as well (to announce the RED Scarlet), and has already bragged that they’ll be stealing Canon’s thunder. (PhotoRumors)
Y’know the Canon announcement that was being talked about last week (including here)? Did you hear anything? Me either. The announcement for November 3, however, is a definite, even if nobody seems to have a clue yet what’s being announced.
That’s all the news that’s fit to print (for now).
The ACLUhas released a guide to photographers’ rights. I would suggest that anyone reading this in the United States who photographs in public to read this, keep a printout in your camera bag, and pass it along to any friends who are photographers (even if they’re just casual shooters). I know the ACLU can be a pretty broad target, but in the decade since 9/11, photographers have also increasingly become targets in the name of security. It helps to know your rights, and it also helps that someone out there is trying to safeguard ’em.
Panasonic is said to have a “GX” camera in the works, according to 4/3 Rumors. It’s the same Micro 4/3 mount, with the design supposedly optimized for video, which would go some way toward explaining the just-announced X series lenses. If you look at the photos, you have to wonder at what point “micro” 4/3 isn’t so micro anymore; the Panasonics already had a somewhat larger and more SLR-like form factor than the Olympus m4/3, but this one makes them seem positively tiny. Using the hotshoe in the photo as a point of reference, the dimensions don’t look that far from your average entry-level SLR.
Bloombergnotes the slow shift in the camera market, as companies that have moved toward mirrorless technology (Sony, Samsung, Panasonic) are gaining market share at the expense of the Big Two, Canon and Nikon. Canon, at least publically, insists this is a passing phase, while Nikon should soon be releasing its first mirrorless compact; however, you can’t help but wonder if they’ve already missed the boat.
The Economist, bless their souls, just discovered this HDR thing. Actually, the linked article discusses the increased processing power in current digital cameras and some of the innovations made possible by it (like the upcoming Lytro).
EOS HD has the first test images I’ve seen anywhere from the Fuji X10. They’re enthusiastic about it, going so far as to say that it’s a serious rival to Canon’s G12… no small claim to make, since the G series has been regarded as the benchmark for compacts for quite a while now.
Swedish English-language website The Local says that award-winning photographer Terje Hellesö has been reported to Swedish authorities for fraud after doctoring wildlife photos. Apparently, Mr. Hellesö had taken a bit of artistic license, pasting additional lynx into his pictures. This would just be one more guy overusing Photoshop if not for the fact that the photographer in question was the recipient of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s Nature Photographer of the Year award — which, incidentally, he’s thus far been allowed to keep. Additional coverage is available on Fotosidan (via Google Translate) here.
The web’s all abuzz over an Apple product. Nothing new there. What’s different this time is that the buzz is building on the basis of a leaked photo taken with an iPhone 4, but whose EXIF data not only doesn’t match the iPhone 4, but suggests the iPhone 5 could seriously up the ante for cameraphones. (Mac Rumors)
Facepalm department: A terse, testy, and altogether perplexing press release from Nikon, which deserves to be quoted in its entirety:
Comments on Media Reports about Nikon’s imaging product September 9, 2011
Nikon understands that some article appeared in the media regarding Nikon’s imaging product. Please note that Nikon has made no announcement in this regards.
Nobody seems quite sure what to make of this; perhaps they’re miffed at the innumerable leaks over their upcoming mirrorless camera? Or maybe they’re unhappy that word about their red D3100 slipped out in advance of the official announcement? Odd, no matter how you look at it.
PDN reports that Adobe is releasing a client-side photo app for Apple devices soon, with a Windows-based version expected to follow in early 2012.
Per Photo Business News & Forum, Gannett, the newspaper behemoth that owns the Asbury Park Press, USA Today, and scads of other properties, has bought out US Presswire. The terms of the deal, detailed in PBN&F’s original post, show that Gannett apparently holds photographers in the same low regard that US Presswire did, which is hardly encouraging news.
First Fuji hit unexpected pay dirt with the X100; now Samsung may be targeting the same demographic with a rangefinder-styled interchangeable lens camera, possibly called the R1. (Photo Rumors)
Photography Bay reports that Ritz Interactive (which handles the e-commerce for Ritz, Wolf, and Camera World brands, among others) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a scarce two years after its brick-and-mortar counterpart did the same. No word yet on whether David Ritz will set up another holding company to buy back his own company for pennies on the dollar.
Reviews are coming in from all quarters on the new Sony gear, and the feedback thus far is very positive. Sony Alpha Rumors has the skinny on the lot of it.
TechRadar reports that Nikon has admitted, and tried to rectify, some of the mistakes it made with the P7000 with the release of the upcoming P7100. Many who bought the P7000 would be perfectly happy if they’d just fixed the stuck lens cover issue that plagues those cameras, but a few of the other bugaboos (shutter lag and a sluggish processor) are also promised fixes. Time will tell.
Another week, another heaping scoop of photography-related news from around the web. Click on site links for the full articles referenced.
Nikon’s scheduled August 24 product announcement may include a mirrorless camera. Yasuhara’s interesting Nanoha macro lens is due to ship any day now, though the company anticipates product shortages in the early going. Panasonic “GF Pro” announcement expected toward end of 2011. (4/3 Rumors)
54th World Press Photo Contest winners announced. (Boston Globe)
Photojournalist João Silva, who lost both legs and suffered severe internal injuries after stepping on a land mine in Afghanistan, returned to active duty; a photo he took at Wednesday’s closing ceremonies at Walter Reed Army Hospital, where he’s receiving treatment, appeared on the front page of the next day’s Times. (New York Times’ Lens blog, which has been chronicling Silva’s recovery)
Leica UK hints that their mirrorless system, if it comes, will be priced between the X1 and the M9, which is rather like saying it will be somewhere between terribly and horribly overpriced. Meanwhile, the Pentax Q, the company’s foray into mirrorless, should begin shipping at the end of August. (Mirrorless Rumors)
Not long after the P7000 (supposedly Nikon’s answer to Canon’s G12), Nikon is rumored to be announcing a P7100 with tilt LCD and improved HDR and panoramic capabilities. Meanwhile, the upcoming ruggedized Nikon Coolpix marks the return of GPS to their compacts (no word on whether this will mean anything for their SLRs going forward). (Nikon Rumors)
The sad state of photographers’ rights in the UK (PetaPixel)
A few weeks ago in this space, I linked an article that lays out reasons photographers should think twice before using Google+ (Google Plus). This week, Scott Kelby weighs in with “I’m Kind of Digging Google+”, a different point of view.
Looks like someone may have gotten their hands on some upcoming Sony equipment, including the A77, NEX7, and new 16-50 lens. (Sony Alpha Rumors)
Remember the monkeys who got hold of a professional photographer’s kit and started taking photos? Somewhat belatedly, here’s an interesting take on the copyright issues surrounding that, along with the best self-portrait of a monkey you will ever see. (TechDirt)
Bonus bit (Not Necessarily the News): Steve Coleman asks “What Makes a Photograph Great?” then proceeds to give an answer that’s both thoughtful and worth reading.