Photokina roundup

The world’s biggest trade fair for the photographic and imaging industry has just finished in Cologne. So what’s some of the big news to come out of it?

Samsung-NX100

One of the surprises was Fujifilm’s concept high-quality compact camera – the X100. No news about it had been leaked beforehand, so there was a lot of interest – despite the fact it was still missing many of its vital parts! A retro design, analogue controls and a hybrid opto-electronic viewfinder (translation: it offers the best of both worlds by allowing users to instantly switch between a bright, high-quality optical viewfinder and an electronic viewfinder with full shooting data) were tempting, even considering the fact that it has a fixed mount, fixed focal length lens (the 23mm f/2 lens has been optimised with the 12.3MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor for high-quality images) and comes with a hefty price tag of £900.
More over here.

Compact interchangeable-lens cameras only came onto the scene two years ago with the Panasonic G1, but are making great strides. Witness the Panasonic GH2, which has taken AF performance up a gear to compete with the best SLRs. This Micro Four Thirds camera shoots at 16 megapixels with a wider sensitivity range of ISO 160 to 12,800 and a faster, 23-point autofocusing system. You’ll also get 5FPS burst shooting and 1080i video at 60 frames per second instead of 30.
Read more here.

Samsung, meanwhile, showed off its Samsung NX100 with its intuitive i-Function kit lens. What’s that, you ask? Well so did I. Apparently, the i-Function button on the lens allows you to control the lens; scrolling through manual settings, such as shutter speed, aperture, EV, WB, and ISO. You can then use the focus ring to change parameters for each setting. The NX100 also boasts the same 14.6 megapixel sensor and 3-inch AMOLED screen as the NX10. The Samsung NX100 will come in black, white and brown and will cost £449.99 with the 20-50mm kit lens. You will also be able to buy a compact zoom 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 lens and an Electronic Viewfinder Flash and GPS tracker, while a 20mm f/2.8 wide angle Pancake lens, Macro lens and 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Super Zoom lens will be available next year.

The camera companies also recognise that photographers want tougher, more weather-resistant cameras for their shots. Step forward the Pentax K-5, the Nikon D7000 and the Olympus E-5, all magnesium-alloy cameras that have environmental seals that allow their owners to use them in bad weather (so that means August in the UK).

Casio chose a different tack, meanwhile, with its Casio EX-H20G, which offers a geo-photography facility. This means that as well as offering 14-megapixel images, the Casio compact is able to geo-tag your images – even if you’re underground or indoors. The locations of your pictures are captured on the Casio’s mapping software and shown on its 3inch LED screen. It also has a database of 10,000 tourist attractions, which the camera can recognise and tag – it will even alert you when you’re near one of them. You can then share your picture with family and friends on Picasa.

Okay, that’s the fun stuff for holiday snappers, but your more serious, medium-format fans have not been left out. Hasselblad’s 60-megapixel H4D-60 camera not good enough for you? Never fear, a 20-megapixel model is due out in the early part of next year. Mind you, it’s not all good news – each image will take 30 seconds to capture, so is hardly going to be any good for anything that moves (or breathes). But professional photographers who take glossy shots of watches, cars and the like will no doubt be intrigued.

Speaking of pricey cameras, Pentax debuted its interchangeable lens, medium-format digital SLR camera, the 645D. With its huge image sensor (44x33mm), the 645D takes shots at up to 40 megapixels, but it’s also pretty hefty, as its price tag – a whopping £9,999.99 with a 55mm SDM 645 lens.

Of course. It’s not just all about cameras. People who take great pictures, need great printers too, which is why Epson chose Photokina to launch its Stylus Pro 4900. Designed for the small office or studio producing photographic and fine art prints, the compact, 17inch production printer can produce 98 per cent of all PANTONE colours on a wide range of media up to 1.5mm thick. It can switch automatically between photo and matte black inks
Available from November at £2,295

More details here

TWIG: Lecci Headphone Splitter, Artificial Moving Ski Slope and iPad USB charger

The Week in Gadgets

Camera makers were unveiling new models at a dizzying rate during this week’s Photokina and we’ll be taking a look at some of these in the coming week. We’ve also got a chance to play with some of the “hot” new Christmas gadgets coming your way – including the Samsung Galaxy Tab, though we still can’t tell you what it costs.

Y-headphone-splitter

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best and I fell in love with the Lecci Headphone Splitter. Sometimes one of the best thing about new music is sharing the experience with a friend – it’s at the core of Apple’s new Ping social network or Last.fm. For those of you with more conventional friends, that you actually meet in the flesh, it’s easier to share music with but also loaded with it’s own challenges. How well do you have to know someone before you share earphones? Especially a nice deep pair of inner ears? Instead of choosing between that and menacing everyone else on the bus with your tinny built in speakers, Lecci have made a little Headphone Splitter with a keyring attachment. Simply plug it into your PMP and … well you’ve seen the picture you can work out how it works. Yours for £5.95 from Gizoo.

Sometimes simple ideas get complicated. Ideas like “I want a ski slope in my living room.” We’ve all thought about, sure. But Skiplex Ltd went a little further and made the Artificial Moving Ski Slope – a continous moving ski slope that can mimic baby slopes or black runs. You will of course need a spare room the size of a squash court. And £176,250. You can probably pop it next to your F1 Simulator. Yours from thepresentfinder.

LINDY-iPad-USB

Love your iPad, hate the way it refuses to charge on certain USB ports? LINDY electronics would like you to part with £9.99 to solve that problem. The LINDY USB charging adaptor (which works with all Apple devices) does what it says on the tin. Whilst you can adapt some motherboards to charge iPads you probably can’t be bothered and £9.99 isn’t a great deal for restoring “charge anywhere” convience.