25 September 2012

Solution for the D800 “left focussing issue”

Since the introduction of the new D800 some users complained about the so-called “Left Focussing Issue” where the the left side Auto Focus points would be slightly off, especially with wide angle lenses.

After seemingly ignoring the issue for some time, Nikon must have been working on a fix, however. In an interview of blogger Falk Lumo with Nikon Germany at Photokina 2012, Nikon acknowledges the issue and told him there is a fix for it as well.

Some points from the interview:
  • Nikon has acknowledged, found and understood the root cause of the issue. It has been eliminated in the current production (however, I guess we'll never know when and from which serial numbers on).
  • The root cause is a misalignment of the AF module when mounted, outside of Nikon's own production tolerances. But be asserted we are still talking micro meters here…
  • The issue for affected D800 can be solved in selected Nikon service centers; such as Düsseldorf, Germany.
  • The procedure is currently rolled out to more Nikon service centers.
  • The fixing procedure for Nikon is a tedious one. It includes writing individual calibration values into the firmware. For larger deviations, the AF module will first mechanically be re-aligned. This may actually include the AF auxiliary mirror in some cases.
  • This method is believed to deliver an autofocus precision which is at least as good as of cameras from a fresh batch. I could not clarify if there is a chance for both methods being non-equivalent in some way. However, Nikon Germany does not think so. They rather wholeheartedly believe that the in-service calibration procedure resolves the issue as good as current production does, if not better.
For the full report, see Falk Lumo's own Blog.

21 September 2012

New memory card format: CFast

Although Sandisk was one of the co-developers of the new XQD memory card (as used in the Nikon D4 camera and currently only available from Sony and, soon, from Lexar), Sandisk has never indicated they were going to actually develop a memory card for this format. It now becomes clear why: Sandisk chose to adopt a different memory card format altogether: CFast.

CFast is an upgrade of the current Compact Flash memory card and uses a new interface, promising speeds of up to 600MB/s. This will be great news for both the action/sports shooter as well as videographers. Although no actual cards or cameras that support this new format are yet available on the market, Phase One has already indicated they will likely adopt the CFast format in the near future.

I wonder what this new format will bring us and which of the two fast memory card formats will eventually survive: XQD or CFast?

17 September 2012

Canon announces EOS 6D Full Frame camera

Canon just announced their new 20 Mega Pixel EOS 6D Full Frame camera with built in Wifi and GPS.

Some more specs of the new camera which should be available at ±$2099 before the end of the year:
  • Full frame 20.2 Mega Pixel CMOS sensor
  • ISO: 100 – 25600 (extendible 50 – 102400
  • 11 point Auto Focus
  • 3.2″, 102,400 dots LCD touch screen
  • 97% viewfinder coverage
  • No built-in flash
  • Up to 4.5 frames per second continuous shooting
  • Full HD video: 1920x1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280x720 (60, 50 fps), 640x480 (25, 30 fps)
  • Built-in mono microphone and speaker
  • SD card storage
  • USB 2.0 and HDMI
  • Built-in Wifi
  • Splash and dust resistant
  • 770g, 145x111x71mm (5.71x4.37x 2.8″)
  • Built-in GPS

13 September 2012

Nikon announces D600 Full Frame camera

Today Nikon announced the D600, a 24.3 Mega Pixel Full Frame camera. The D600 is the smallest and lightest Nikon FX-body but still offers advanced camera performance. Equipped with a new 24.3 MP FX-format CMOS image sensor and the same EXPEED 3 image-processing engine as used in the high-end D4 and D800/D800E cameras, the D600 ensures superior definition and image quality.

Some key product specifications:
  • 24.3-megapixel FX-Format CMOS sensor (35.9 x 24mm)
  • EXPEED 3 image processing engine
  • ISO range from 100-6400 (expandable to 50-25,600)
  • New MultiCAM 4800FX, 39 point AF system
  • Nikon Scene Recognition System with 2,016 pixel RGB sensor for more accurate autofocus, automatic exposure, i-TTL balanced fill-flash, and white balance control
  • Quick to respond: Power-up time of only 0.13s, and a shutter-release time lag of just 0.052s
  • High speed continuous shooting at ±5.5 fps at full resolution with full AF
  • 100% frame coverage through the optical viewfinder
  • Built-in High Dynamic (HDR) mode and time lapse shooting
  • Virtual horizon for both axis
  • 3.2", 921K dot LCD screen
  • Built-in flash
  • Full HD 1080p video
  • Uncompressed video via HDMI
  • Same good dust- and water-resistance as the D800 and D800E
  • Two SD card slots
  • Durable shutter mechanism tested for 150,000 cycles
  • Small and light: only 141x113x82mm and 760 gram
  • Compatible with NIKKOR lenses, Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS) and WU-1b Wireless Adapter
The D600 will be available next week already for a suggested retail price of $2,099.95 (body only) or $2,699.95 (kit with an AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens).

12 September 2012

Firmware update 2.0.3 for Canon EOS 7D

Today, Canon released a firmware update for their EOS 7D camera.

Firmware version 2.0.3 incorporates the following fixes:
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera stops working when the auto power off setting takes effect.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the maximum number of images that can be captured in a burst may be less than the actual number displayed in the viewfinder.
  • Corrects some errors in the message displayed on the LCD screen when saving RAW images developed in the camera (these errors do not appear in the Japanese and Korean language displays).
You can download the firmware update from the Canon USA website.

9 September 2012

New Zeiss lenses announced

Carl Zeiss, maker of quality lenses, recently announced a couple of new lenses.

Cinema Lenses

Two new lenses in the cinema lens line-up: the Compact Zoom CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 (remember, cinema lenses usually use T stops instead of F stops) and the Compact Prime CP.2 25/T2.1. Both lenses come with 5 (interchangeable) mounts (PL, EF, F, MFT and E) and will thus fit on a range of cameras including the popular Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

As always Zeiss quality comes with a price: the CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 has a suggested retail price of €14,900/US$19,900 and the CP.2 25/T2.1 of €3,300/US$ 4,500 (all excluding VAT!).

The 25mm prime will become available next month but for the 28-80 zoom, you'll have to wait until the second quarter of 2013.

Prime Lenses

Two new manual focus prime lenses have been announced also. A 55mm f/1.4 and an 135mm f/2.

The Distagon T* 55mm f/1.4 is to ship in the second half of 2013 (!), the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 on the other hand should be available in December this year already with a suggested retail price of €1600/$2000.

Both lenses will be available with a Canon (ZE) or a Nikon (ZF.2) mount.

5 September 2012

Nikon software updates

Nikon has recently released software updates for its Capture NX2, ViewNX2, and Camera Control Pro software.

The new software versions contain the following fixes and enhancements:

Nikon Capture NX2 2.3.4

  • Support for RAW images captured with the Nikon 1 J2 (now shipping) and Coolpix P7700 has been added.
  • When RAW images captured with a camera’s Auto distortion control function enabled were opened or edited, Capture NX 2 sometimes quit unexpectedly. This issue has been resolved.
Nikon Capture NX2 2.3.4 can be download from the Nikon EU website.
Note that this update requires a previous version of Nikon Capture NX2 already installed.

Nikon ViewNX 2.5.1 (Windows)

  • An issue that caused horizontal lines to appear in images printed at paper sizes of A3+ (329 x 483 mm) or larger without margins has been resolved.
Nikon ViewNX 2.5.1 for Windows can be download from the Nikon EU website.

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.11.1 (Mac)

  • An issue that prevented Camera Control Pro 2 recognising the D4 on Macintosh computers equipped with a PowerPC processor has been resolved.
Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.11.1 for Mac OS X can be download from the Nikon EU website.