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All posts tagged "olympus"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Olympus: The Rest

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:40 AM

Here is an update to the SP-600UZ, the SP-610UZ. There's a slight bump in the resolution, now at 14 megapixels, a longer lens that goes from 28mm to 616mm equivalent at f/2.8-5.6, and a slightly bigger LCD at 3". Oh and there's the "Magic Filters" (not called "Art Filters" for some reason) too. The 720p movie mode still remains the same. Coming in February for about US$230.

Olympus SP-610UZ

The TG-610 and TG-310 cameras are up next. They're rugged waterproof cameras, with the TG-610 going down to 16 feet, and the the TG-310 going down to 10 feet. Both offer shockproof capabilities from a height of 5 feet, and ability to operate at -10C. As for the camera bits, the TG-610 has a 5x 28-140mm eqivalent f/3.9-5.9 zoom lens with a 3" VGA screen, 720p video and Olympus's Art Filters. The former will cost US$300, and the latter US$200, with both available in February.

Olympus TG-610/TG310

Finally... a maker who introduces just one budget compact for CES. The VG-120 is pretty standard fare. US$140 gets you a 14 megapixel shooter with a 5x 26-130mm equivalent f/2.8-6.5 lens, 720p videos, and of course, "Magic Filters". Available this month.

Olympus VG-120

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things I Want to See in 2011

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 08:00 AM

Welcome to 2011! The last decade was a breath-taking one for digital photography, and the last few years have brought about a torrent of changes and improvements, along with the digital revolution settling down somewhat. Still, a new year brings new possibilities, and here is what I would like to see for 2011:

1. Open Platform Camera

One reason for the popularity of cameras in smartphones is the software you can add to it. Want different effects? Download an app to process them on the phone. Want to see said effects in real-time? Download an app to replace the default camera app. Want an intervalometer? Download an app for that too!

Having an open platform for developers to add functionality to the camera would be an amazing selling point. This would go beyond consumer-level gee-whiz; there is plenty for for enthusiasts too. Change button assignments, tone curves (this has existed but not always the easiest to do), even autofocus and auto exposure behaviour for the adventerous. There is also something to be said for spending less time in image editors...

Of course this would kill some manufacturers' unique selling points. Olympus and their Art Filters will probably be the first casualty. Coupled with most camera companies being conservative in nature, this is unlikely to happen from a traditional manufacturer. Anyone out there willing to take a chance on this?

2. Truly Connected Cameras

Tying in with the above point on open platforms, connectivity is the next big thing. Most of us share our photos digitally nowadays, and the Internet is the main way to do this. Standalone cameras still rely heavily on having a computer to do this. Smartphone cameras are showing the way this should be done, so where are the connected cameras? The Olympus E-PL2's bluetooth dongle (a leaked piece of news at this time of writing) is a step forward, and hopefully will set the tone for the rest of the year.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Olympus to Release LX5/S95 Challenger in XZ-1; E-PL2 Leaked As Well

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:54 PM

Rumour times are abound with CES 2011 just next week, so here's something fairly concrete from Olympus. First up is their premium compact entry, coming in to the party really late. It is quite an impressive one though, with a Zuiko-branded lens that is a 28-112mm equivalent f/1.8-2.5 which is mated. That's a nice fast lens. Other rumoured niceties include a 3" OLED screen and HD video. It better support RAW image output!

The other rumour is the E-PL2, the follow-up to the budget E-PL1. The most interesting tidbit is the dongle for Bluetooth (which slots into the hotshoe and uses the connector below it) that allows the camera to send images to your phone. I have been very impressed with what one can do with photos on smartphones, and I think this is a good step towards merging the best of both worlds; the quality of a proper camera and the software on the smartphone. I wish it was integrated though. Photo of the E-PL2 after the break.

Olympus XZ-1 compact camera with a fast f/1.8 Zuiko zoom lens

Olympus E-PL2 Surfaces


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gizmodo's List of "Budget" Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:38 AM

"If you're shopping for a new lens of some sort, you've come to just the right place. Here's ThePhoblographer's list of the best lenses you can get your hands on without breaking the bank."

Defnitely a budget lens: Nikkor DX AF-S 35mm f/1.8G

Alright, I know it's hard to write articles (else I'd do some more myself), but I wish some writers would write more for their target audience than for themselves. While some of the lenses in the list are indeed budget (normal lenses are usually not expensive), they're all prime lenses. I'm thinking a general techblog on this topic should include some budget but quality zooms in the list (Tamron's 17-50 comes to mind). Also, when going through the list, note that there's no distinction between the use of the lens on APS-C-sized and 35mm-sized sensors for Nikon and Canon systems. There's no mention of other systems, but hey, I guess they don't count in today's market.

And really, the Nikkor AF 28mm f/2.8D? The neutered version from the manual focus version that drops two elements and CRC (Close Range Correction System) is hardly what I call legendary. Budget certainly, but not my favourite wide angle Nikkor, which is hardly wide once you mount it on a DX camera; see my point on not making distinctions on sensor sizes when discussing lenses.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Four-way Mirrorless Camera Shootout

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

"In this review, I'm going to stick to one camera from each maker. I'm ignoring the more DSLR-like cameras with optical (EVF) viewfinders, such as the G and GH series from Panasonic and the NX5 and NX10 from Samsung. What I'm looking to cover here is the cameras most likely to act as a competent compact replacement for a typical DSLR user. To that end I've narrowed things down to these four:"

Continuing from his earlier compact camera review, Thom Hogan looks at four mirrorless cameras (I can't quite call them EVIL, can I?) and not surprisingly finds them all capable of producing good photos; just a matter of what one's preferences are. Personally, I can't give up a viewfinder, so all of them are out for me. If you're looking for such a camera though, check out the article for a experienced photographer's viewpoint.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Olympus Releases E-5, Previewed by Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:23 AM

"Olympus today rolled out the long-awaited replacement to their professional E-3 digital SLR. Not surprisingly, this camera is known as the E-5. The E-5 is more of an evolution of the E-3 than something totally new, so don't expect anything radically different here."

An update it is; the main changes are a new 12 megapixel Live MOS sensor (Live MOS sounds dated now that just about every DSLR does live view), a new processing engine dubbed TruPic V+, the now ubiquitous 3" LCD screen on a swivel arm, 720P video at 30 FPS (limited to 7 minutes though), and a SDXC slot dumping the xD slot (finally!). The rest of the camera is pretty much similar to the E3, including the 11 point AF system, sensor shift stabilisation, and oh, Olympus's Art Filters for those of you who can't be bothered with an image editor for special effects. Priced at US$1700 and will be out in stores next month. Photos of the back and top of the camera after the break. Read more...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Olympus Announced "Black" E-P2 Kit and Two Micro Four Thirds Telephoto Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:30 AM

"Olympus has announced a special "all black" kit for their E-P2 Micro Four Thirds camera, and also released two new lenses while they were at it."

So Olympus has announced what essentially is a vanity kit for their E-P2 camera, and more interestingly, two new lenses. The new all-black kit doesn't come with the detacheable EVF, which I find more important than having all black accessories, but hey, I guess vanity has a price, and in this case it is a grand.

The two new lenses are telephoto zooms; there's the US$300 40-150/4-5.6 (to mimick the now very standard consumer 70-300mm zoom) and the US$900 (!) 75-300/4.8-6.7. While Olympus touts the latter as the smallest "600mm" lens, I can't help but think that for the price and the slow aperture, Olympus has made one too many compromise in making it smaller, but not small; compare Nikon's new 55-300/4-5.6 at 3.1" by 4.84" against the Olympus at 2.76" by 4.57". The Nikkor needs to make space for the VR motors as well as cover a larger imaging circle, and costs less than half the price. This is probably why all manufacturers are scrambling towards mirrorless I guess; potentially cheaper construction yet higher sale prices! Photos of the lenses after the break. Read more...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cosina Joins Micro Four Thirds Standard; Announces Nokton 25mm f/0.95 Lens

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

"Announced jointly by Olympus Imaging Corporation (President Masaharu Okubo) and Panasonic Corporation in 2008, the Micro Four Thirds System standard has rapidly grown in popularity. Now, support for the standard is expanding with the decision of COSINA CO., Ltd to join the Micro Four Thirds System standard. To coincide with this announcement, the company is releasing interchangeable lenses compliant with Micro Four Thirds System standard."

This is a nice announcement. Cosina has been on both scales of the lens manufacturing business, making some absolute cheapies that most photographers will never touch, but have also created great high quality lenses in their Voigtlander line, whom they purchased the rights to the name sometime in 1999. I have their 125mm f/2.5 APO Macro lens in F-mount, and it has been absolutely great to use. Having Cosina onboard the Micro Four Thirds system is great as it means there will be proper wide prime lenses for Micro Four Thirds users; current adaptations means most lenses end up with a 35mm focal length equivalent of 30 to 60mm - hardly wide at all! This Nokton will never have been available at the focal length of 25mm if not for Cosina making the lens dedicated for Micro Four Thirds. DPReview has the links to the official press release of the Cosina announcement and the lens.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mirrorless Cameras Round Up

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:30 AM

"Having compared the size of several different mirrorless interchangeable lens systems, we'll now take a look at how much detail relative to noise is captured at any given ISO by each of these systems. "

Serious Compacts has done a really nice comparison of the various mirrorless cameras on the market, comparing them based on their size, as well as doing an ISO test. The comparison is split into two parts, so be sure to check them out.

Part 1: Mirrorless Camera Size Comparison: NEX5, NX10, E-P2, E-PL1, GF1, G2

Part 2: Mirrorless Camera ISO Signal/Noise Shootout: NEX5, NX10, E-P2, E-PL1, GF1, G2, GH1

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nikon Ranked First in Japan Sales for Interchangeable Lens Cameras for 1H 2010

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home News" @ 12:00 AM

BCNRanking, which ranks Japanese product sales, has published their January to June 2010 results for interchangeable lens cameras. Nikon ranks as number 1.

In addition, just about every other company has managed to increase their share of sales volume at Canon's expense except for Sony. No wonder they were in a hurry to bring out the NEX cameras.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Budget Camera Shootout - Eight Cameras Tested at Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:43 AM

"For many years now, the trend on this website has been to review the more expensive, cutting-edge cameras. Not only do those cameras capture my interest -- they are what the majority of DCRP readers are curious about, as well. Recently, I was reminded by a reader that I wasn't giving enough attention to entry-level cameras. These cameras may be boring to tech enthusiasts, but let's face it, millions of them are sold every year to regular folks who want something easy-to-use that takes decent photos."

Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page has done a nice roundup of eight budget digital cameras. As digital cameras becomes more commoditised, reviews tend to become fewer and fewer, especially in the budget section, where unfortunately it is an area where it's likely to be a big segment of consumers who will likely need some help in making their choices. So if you know of anyone who's just looking for a cheap, no-frills camera that won't let them down, send them over to this roundup.

Monday, June 7, 2010

dpreview reviews the Olympus E-PL1

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:32 PM

"Stepping in to fill this void is the Olympus E-PL1, a camera that brings a stripped-down body and simplified interface to the Micro Four Thirds format. This means no control dials (and therefore an awful lot of button-pressing the further away from the automated exposure modes you venture), but it also brings a simple results-orientated 'Live Guide' interface to allow you take control of the i-Auto for people happier to point-and-shoot (sorry Mr Spacey)."

So DPReview takes a look at one of the cheapest Micro Four Thirds camera available (until the Panasonic G10 is released), and puts it through the the dpreview testing bench, and gives an overall favourable review. Still, I've tried the E-PL1 before, and the lack of any command dials makes it a little harder to use. If you're a point-and-shoot user looking for something with a bit better image quality, the E-PL1 might be worth a look.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Olympus Cameras: Two Super Zoom and Two Rugged

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:30 PM

"Olympus is kicking out a foursome of new shooters: The SP-800UZ megazoom... boasts an almost mind-melting 30x optical zoomer.... [While] the SP-600UZ sports a stepped-down list of features.... Moving on, there's the 'shockproof, waterproof, crushproof and freezeproof' Stylus Tough 8010 and 6020.... The Stylus Tough point and shoots continue to feel really solid, and the SP-800UZ felt surprisingly light in our hands."

Engadget has a "hands-on" preview of four new Olympus cameras - including a number of photos and a link to the official press release - and their initial impression seems positive. The Stylus Tough series actually features three new models: ST8010 (shown immediately above), ST6020 (slightly less rugged) and the entry level ST3000, and these seem like a good choice for outdoor activities. However, I find the new SP Series models somewhat disappointing: although both add 720P Movie Mode, neither the SP-800UZ (shown in the top two photos above) nor the SP-600UZ feature a viewfinder, and both have significantly simplified controls, with no apparent Manual Exposure options. Thus the new SP models seem to be aimed more at the casual photographer than the earlier SP models, such as the (still available) SP-590UZ - but the SP-800UZ also switches away from the AA battery standard I prefer for a "casual zoom" camera, and has a tiny hand grip. Image stabilization or not, a steady two-handed close-to-the-body grip makes for the best photos, and this is all but impossible without a viewfinder. Do these new models appeal to your photographic nature? And, if not, what features would you like to see added?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Olympus PEN E-P1 Makes DSLR Quality Portable

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"The camera features a 12 megapixel live view anti-shake sensor, a 3" screen, 16:9 Aspect Ratio: 1280 × 720 HD 30fps video recording with stereo sound, art filters, multiple exposures, shadow adjustment, a metal body and is available with a 14-42mm kit lens or 17mm pancake lens. The Olympus PEN E-P1 is available for around £699 with the 14-42mm kit lens as tested here. The camera is enclosed in a metal body and is available in silver or white. The camera measures approx. 120.5 x 70 x 35 mm (excluding protrusions), and weighs approx. 335g. excluding lens, battery and memory card."

DigiCam Review has decided to take the curious EP-1 and see if its new and "innovative" design could really stand up against proper DLSRs. After putting the quasi-DSLR through the gauntlet, the EP-1 emerges victorious, meeting all the hopes and dreams of photographers everywhere! Well, maybe it isn't groundbreaking, but the EP-1 definitely is a step forward since DSLRs have traditionally been large, bulky affairs. Granted, the smaller camera body is only slightly helpful, since since over time, you will find you have a collection of lenses and other toys that just had to be bought, but a lighter load, especially while taking pictures, is appreciated, especially when you do not have to sacrifice image quality or features. The EP-1 is likely going to be one of those cameras that marks a shift in the industry. It probably will never completely replace the DSLR with its design, but it will definitely make the market more accessible and palatable to photo bugs!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Olympus Announces the E-450 Compact DSLR

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:30 AM

"Olympus has announced the E-450, an upgraded version of the E-420 compact DSLR. The new E-450 is essentially identical to the E-420 apart from the addition of 3 Art Filters, a new processor and an improved LCD display. Priced at £450 for the standard lens kit, it will start shipping from May 2009.It's perhaps a testament to how well specified the E-420 is that Olympus has clearly struggled for ways to improve it. For fear of treading on the toes of the recently announced E-620 (which itself stands uncomfortably close to the more expensive E-30), Olympus has engineered a model with the fewest changes over the existing version we've ever seen."

I don't follow Olympus cameras very closely, but it's certainly a bit of a head scratcher that they'd release a camera so close in features to the previous version. I think Olympus is falling prey to the mentality that every camera maker has when it comes to point and shoot cameras: release new versions as quickly as you can, even if they only offer incremental improvements, because maybe it might win you market share.

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