Nikon D80 firmware update released
Firmware version 1.10 for Nikon's D80 SLR is now available. Upgrades include Windows Vista certification for the camera, support for the new USB Media Transfer Protocol, and improvements in noise reduction processing for bulb exposures of 1 to 8 seconds.
To download the latest firmware version, follow the link here.
Sanyo to produce a stunning 60 percent more cameras in 2008
If anyone really needed any proof, independent of a trip to the electronics department of your local discount store, that the number of compact cameras on the market continues to proliferate, here it is in hard numbers. According to a report filed on PMA Newsline this week, Sanyo – a company that struggles for camera brand recognition in this country against the likes of Canon, Nikon, and Sony – plans to more than double its digital camera production in FY 2008 versus the previous year.
Sanyo may not be the first name most in the US think of when they think of digital camera manufacturers, but the company enjoys a reasonably strong presence in the budget sector. Likewise, the report notes that Sanyo was, until the last few years, the largest supplier of digicams in Japan, and its Xacti camcorder line continues to do well.
With an anticipated fiscal-year production of 500,000 units set to begin in April, and plans to grow production numbers all the way to 1.5 million items by 2010, we don't know if this means a wider range of offerings from Sanyo and/or plans to enter higher-cost device segments in the future. Either way, though, assuming demand for compacts continues to drive production numbers upward, we'll probably be seeing a lot more cameras from big names and start-up players out and about.
Check out the complete story here.
GE to show off 9 new cameras, including built-in GPS model, at PMA
Speaking of seeing more cameras from a wider range of manufacturers, manufacturing conglomerate GE (yes, the light bulb/refrigerator/aircraft engine people) decided to dive head-first into digital cameras at PMA last year, unveiling 8 devices ranging from budget compact models to a full-featured ultra-zoom.
Though it looks like detailed specs will not be available until PMA rolls around in a few days, GE released some information about what we should expect in a pre-PMA announcement last week. Amid 9 new camera releases covering three of the four lines GE currently supports, the biggest news seems to be the company's new E series intermediate point-and-shoot, the E1050. The 10 megapixel, 5x wide-angle zoom E1050 promises a long list of popular features, including a touch screen interface and HD recording and playback functionality. Most interesting to us, however, is the E1050's built-in GPS system, allowing users to "geotag" photos – adding geographic data about where a photo was taken that can then be read by programs like Google Earth – without a separate piece of hardware. According to the announcement, all of this should set you back about $250 when the E1050 hits stores later this spring.
Not much else is known at this point about what form updates to the rest of the lines will take, though information gleaned from the press release suggests pretty straightforward spec-ing up and slimming down across the board for GE's offerings. With replacements and additions, GE's post-PMA lineup total should be 15 models. Sadly, it looks like we won't be getting anything new for the company's ultra-zoom X series. Last year's 8 megapixel, 12x zoom X1, pictured above, was by far the most promising model among GE's initial foray into digicams.
GE claims it's in the digital camera market to stay, but nationwide distribution in the US seems to have been in starts and fits. Whether this new offerings will have enough "oomph" to build the interest GE's looking for waits to be seen.
Canon announces two new pro-grade L telephoto lenses
Canon's L-series professional lenses control a large share of the long-lens market in particular. Two new top glass announcements from the company aim to continue this dominance.
The Canon EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM is billed by the manufacturer as the world's longest lens featuring optical image stabilization. Built within a magnesium alloy barrel, the new 11.8-pound 800 features two fluorite elements as well as Super UD and UD glass elements on the optical side.
In case it wasn't obvious, sports and nature photographers and paparazzi are the target markets here. Have your $12,000 check ready when the lens goes on sale late this spring.
At under 6 pounds, the Canon EF200mm f/2L IS USM is comparatively diminutive. With a close-focusing distance of just over 6 feet, the 200 is equally at home in journalistic and portraiture applications.
The weather-resistant lens features Canon's Optical Image Stabilization as well. Be prepared to shell out around $6,000 for the privilege.