New tools for the outdoor Photographer

At CES/PMA 2012 in Las Vegas, we have got some very exciting announcements, especially for travel and nature-photographers among others.


The highlight for a Nikon-fan-boy like me was of course the new flagship named D4, a dream camera for a nature-photographer. I covered it on the announcement day and made a post:
First Thoughts on Nikon's Big Announcement.


Canon PowerShot G1X
I've been a Canon Powershot G user for many years and almost all of my family and documentation photos has been made with high-end Canon compacts, I have used these cameras like a diary, documenting almost everything. I own a G10 now, so what is there to be exhited about in the new G1X?.

The form factor is very close to the small-sensor G12 compact, but no more tiny digicam sensor, the sensor used in G1X is much bigger  -  6.3 times larger than what's in the G12 and slightly larger than a m4/3 sensor (18.7x14mm), but still smaller than a APS-C sensor found in many Canon EOS models. The lens is a 28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 equivalent, and it has the swivel LCD screen seen on many other Canon cameras. The G1X looks like a digital dinosaur, its big and ugly, but so are my G10! All controls and buttons on the camera are glove-friendly.

At $799 the price is a big step up in price from the current G12, but I’m sure if you want the best, you got to pay for it. So they say. I think this camera will be a companion to many photographers already owning a DSLR, that wants to have a high quality walk-around camera, "this is for them" - I’m pretty sure I will not be picking one up, especially when I’m super happy with my ageing G10. 


Fuji X-Pro 1
X is apparently the new Alpha male in the pack, Nikon has used it for years, but now everybody is using the letter X in the Japanese camera industry. OK Fuji has done a nice job with their X100, X10 and now X1, for many years people has been wanting a digital version of the old Nikon FM camera and this one is as close as it gets!. Leica M9 has now got an serious opponent, Cool, or what? We are really spoiled for choice with small cameras these days.

The mouth-watering interchangeable lens range-finder inspired by the X100 comes with new lenses as well, there are an 18mm ƒ/2, 35mm ƒ/1.4, and a 60mm ƒ/2.4 Macro, roughly equivalent in 35mm terms to a 28mm, 50mm, and 90mm. 

The most enticing is the radical new Fujifilm-designed 16MP APS-C 'X-Trans CMOS' chip 15.6x23.6mm APS-C sensor. Fujifilm claims, it is a practical immunity to colour moiré, which means that an optical low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter is no longer required. This suggests that in terms of detail resolution the X-Pro 1 should punch above its weight based on pixel count alone—indeed Fujifilm is claiming it will out-resolve the full frame 21MP Canon EOS 5D Mark II." It appears that the X-Pro 1 goes beyond all the other mirrorless offerings so far, and might even reach for the heights of M9-killer status although it has no image stabilization.

I have owned a Konica Hexar Titanium with a fixed 35/2 lens, similar in size and design - one of the best cameras I have owned, I have also owned a Hasselblad X-Pan with lenses made by Fuji, so I know the lenses are good!. I think the new lenses will outperform or equal high quality DSLR lenses, and they will be 1/4 to 1/6 the price of Leica M lenses, so an entire X-Pro1 kit should cost about as much as a Leica M9 camera body. I will seriously consider this camera for light travel in the mountains or on travel, where I want the best quality, but don't want to travel with my heavy DSLR. 


Sigma APO Macro 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens
Sigma introduced an interesting combination of fast telephoto and 1:1 macro with a complex optical design as a result (19 elements in 14 groups).

This is the world’s first 180mm macro lens incorporating a magnification ratio of 1:1 and a large maximum aperture of f/2.8. It benefits from Sigma’s OS Optical Stabilizer function and the wide f/2.8 aperture allows faster shutter speeds. This lens has a rounded 9 blade diaphragm creating an attractive blur to the out of focus areas of the image. At 1:1 magnification, it has a focusing distance of 47cm., which is a greater working distance than shorter focal length macro lenses.

If it has the bokeh of an Nikon or Zeiss macro lens, this most be the perfect lens for insects, plants and other stuff found in nature, that require a narrow DOF (depth of field). I still hope that Nikon will come with a similar lens in near future!, I sometimes miss the tele-effect of my replaced 200/4 micro Nikkor.

The size and weight of the new lens and the huge 86mm filter thread is the only Bad news!. 


Samsung Series 9 900X3B - The thinnest Notebook in the World
My dream travel-companion has finally been announced and it might replace my 6 year old 2,5 kg laptop. In the flesh, it's clear this is a seriously premium laptop, and indeed that's why Samsung hasn't dubbed it an ultrabook - it's too good and too expensive. It's just 12.9mm thick, it certainly fits the ultrabook spec's thinness credentials and at 1.16Kg, it's ridiculously light. By comparison the 13in MacBook Air is 1.32Kg.

Samsung has also squeezed a 14in into the '13in' chassis. It also feature a matte finish SuperBright Plus display, claiming to be 180 per cent brighter than the previous generation, with a 160 degree viewing angle and will sport a resolution of 1,600x900. What's more is that the firm claims up to 10 hours of battery life, despite the light weight and small form factor of the notebook. According to Samsung, the device boot in mere 9.8 seconds and wake from sleep in just 1.4 seconds. So, ultrabook it may not be but nevertheless, I'm ultra impressed.


* 14in display in 13in chassis
* 1,600 x 900 pixel resolution
* Sandblasted metal unibody chassis
* Backlit keyboard
* Super slim design (12.9mm thick)
* Weight of just 1.16Kg
* Up to 256GB SSD storage.
* Two USB 3.0 ports

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