Sunday, January 28, 2007

Fuji S5 Nikon Mount DSLR to Hit Stores in February

Fujifilm’s Finepix S5 Pro, the latest in the company’s line of professional-level digital SLRs based on Nikon bodies, should start hitting stores in February.

The S5 is based on the Nikon D200, but Fuji says its electronics give the Fuji version better color quality and less digital noise at high ISO settings among other advantages. It’s also 12.3 megapixels under Fuji’s dual pixel system – 6.17 million S-pixels for high sensitivity plus 6.17 million R-pixels for wider dynamic range – rather than the D200’s 10.2 megapixels. The camera lists for $1,999 but the street price is $1,899.95. The D200 – driven down in price since the arrival of the 10.2 megapixel D80 last summer – is currently selling for $1,424.95.

“Confirming Fujifilm’s commitment to professional photographers, the Finepix S5 Pro carries a number of features that appeal to wedding, portrait and studio photographers,” Fuji said in announcing the camera.

The new Fuji has two particularly interesting features not seen elsewhere. In the first, “Film Simulation Mode” gives the photographer the choice of an F1 setting that simulates the look of Fuji’s professional color negative films, touted as “ideal for studio and portrait photography.” In the F2 mode, the camera simulates Fuji slide films for “highly saturated, high-contrast images,” a sort of electronic Velvia.

The other unique feature is “Face Detection” technology available during playback mode. This zooms in instantly and automatically on the face in a portrait shot, allowing the photographer to check facial detail, focus and other factors more easily than before.

The S5 accepts Nikon mount lenses with generally the same functionality as the D200: recent lenses offer all autofocus and metering functions while functions for older lenses depend on their age, but virtually all Nikon lenses can still be mounted and used. It has the same 1.5 magnification ratio as Nikon bodies.

The number of recorded pixels is 4,256x2,848, which are stored on compact flash cards as RAW, jpg or RAW plus jpg. Shutter speeds are 30 seconds to 1/8000 with flash sync up to 1/250. ISO is 100-3200. The LCD is 2.5 inches.

Click here to see the Fuji press release.

Copyright 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Nikon Updates Capture Software for Intel-based Macs

Nikon has updated its Capture NX software to work with Intel-based Mac computers using the OS X operating system and says the updated version is faster and easier to use for all users.

Nikon unveiled a Beta version of the update at the January 9-12 MacWorld Conference in San Francisco.

The original version of Capture NX that shipped last August worked with both Windows and Mac computers, but not Intel-based Mac machines.

In addition to Intel Mac compatibility, Nikon says it has made several usability updates based on software testing and customer feedback. The user interface has been improved and updated to enable users to work faster, more effectively and more easily. Additional improvements include enhanced speed for faster and more effective workflow, resizable histograms and enhancements to the curves and levels palettes.

A detailed online demonstration of how Capture NX works is available at or

The Capture NX update lists for $149.95. Nikon says it will be available for download “as soon as it is ready for release” but did not specify how soon that might be. A 30-day trial version will be available for new users, and can be downloaded at, in the Software Download section.

Current users of Capture NX will be able to download an upgrade at no additional cost. A special limited-time upgrade price of $89.95 will be offered to current owners of Nikon Capture 4 software in the U.S. market. This upgrade will only be available online at for registered Nikon Capture 4 owners and will be limited to one upgrade per legitimate Nikon Capture 4 product key.

Copyright 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Zeiss to Ship Two New Nikon-Only Macro Lenses in 2007

Nikon users will soon have two new manual-focus, fixed focal-length macro lenses to choose from.

Carl Zeiss says its plans to ship the Makro-Planar T* 2/50 ZF and the Makro-Planar T* 2/100 ZF during the first quarter of 2007. As implied by their names, the first is an f/2 50mm while the second is an f/2 100mm. Available only in Nikon mount, the lenses will list for $1,124 and $1,749 respectively.

Zeiss describes the pair as the fastest macro lenses available for 35mm-format full-frame photography, either film or digital. (Nikon doesn’t offer a full-frame sensor digital body, so the two new lenses will translate into 75mm and 150mm on Nikon digital bodies.) Both focus manually from infinity to one-half life-size, capture a full-frame field of view of about two inches by three inches at their closest focusing distances.

Zeiss says a floating element optical system enables the 2/50 to deliver very high image quality over its entire focusing range. It features eight elements in six groups, focusing down to 9.4 inches. Overall, the lens measures 2.8 inches in diameter, 2.6 inches long, and weighs 1.2 pounds. Like the 2/100, it stops down to f/22 in half-stops and takes 67mm filters.

The 2/100 goes several steps further by employing an optical design originally developed for the Arri/Zeiss Master Prime T* 1.2/100 – an ultra-high performance lens used by cinematographers in Hollywood filmmaking. The design gives the lens optical performance never before available in a still-camera lens, especially at wide apertures and in macro applications, according to Zeiss. The high wide-open sharpness is touted as being an advantage when using selective-focus effects. The lens features nine elements in eight groups, focusing down to 17.3 inches. Overall, the lens measures three inches in diameter, 3.5 inches long, and weighs 1.5 pounds.

Both lenses come in Nikon AI-S mount, complete with meter coupling prong to make them usable on older Nikon film bodies. There do not appear to be CPU electrical contacts in the lens mount, so higher-end Nikon digital bodies will be able to meter with the lenses but lower-end bodies will have limited metering ability.

The two new macros were announced in September at Photokina along with two wide-angles – the Distagon T* 2.8/25 ZF and the Distagon T* 2/35 ZF. Both were supposed to ship during 2006 but U.S. major retailers say they are not yet in stock. Altogether, Zeiss is offering six Nikon-mount manual focus lenses, including a 50mm f/1.4 and an 85mm f/1.4 introduced earlier and already available.

Click here for the Zeiss web page on its lineup of lenses.

Copyright 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007

Nikon Beats Canon 9-5 in January Photo Mag Contests

Nikon beat Canon 9-5 in January’s reader photo contests in the two largest U.S. photography magazines, but temporary changes in the contest formats made it the second month in a row in which it was difficult to make the normal comparisons.

Six of the winning photos in Shutterbug’s “Picture This!” feature were made with Nikon and only one with Canon as Shutterbug returned to its normal contest format. In December, Shutterbug temporarily abandoned the usual contest and had readers send in old family album photos, most shot with Kodak Brownies.

January is the month that Popular Photography and Imaging runs its “Annual Readers Picture Contest” rather than its “Your Best Shot” monthly contest. The annual contest is usually a wealth of statistics for Nikon-Canon comparison with close to 20 shots each to be counted. But the magazine this year gave camera credit only on the grand prize winner and the first prize winners in each of nine categories, and gave no camera credits on the half-dozen or so runners-up in each category. The bottom line was four shots credited to Canon and three to Nikon, with two photos made by other brands. Some shots specified that the photo was made by a Nikon or Canon, while others only indicated the brand of camera used by the photographer.

The combined 9-5 score in favor of Nikon was Nikon's third winning month in a row and gets Nikon off to a good start for the year. Canon beat Nikon 89-83 for all of 2006. Together, Nikon/Canon photos outnumbered all other brands combined seven-to-one in January, though the ratio usually averages out to four-to-one over the year.

Popular Photography and Imaging and Shutterbug run photo contests for readers each month. The majority of winning photos are shot with either Nikon or Canon cameras, and tracks the winners as a means of keeping score in the perennial argument among photographers of which brand is better.

The analysis by is not intended to take sides or to indicate that either magazine favors either camera brand. In fact, the winning brand fluctuates frequently from month to month in both magazines.

Copyright 2007