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December 2009 news and reviews

December 30
Bibble Labs launches Bibble 5 Pro
Bibble Labs has announced that Bibble 5 Pro is now available. The latest version of its RAW workflow and conversion software has been in development since September 2006 and was originally slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2008. The company says its software is up to 88 times as fast as 'similar applications.' Customers who have purchased Bibble 4 after September 1st 2006 can get a free upgrade to the latest version by logging-in to their accounts on the Bibble Labs site and clicking on the 'Upgrade' link.
December 25
Happy holidays from dpreview
The entire team at dpreview would like to wish all our readers a very Happy Holidays (whichever you're observing). As we celebrate our 11th anniversary we're looking forward to another exciting year here at dpreview, with more new features in the pipeline and of course even more of the high quality content that made this site what it is today. Whatever you're doing today, enjoy yourselves and thank you for being a part of dpreview.com!
December 23
Just posted - Our Pentax K-x in-depth review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Pentax K-x. Despite its compact size and inconspicuous exterior the K-x boasts an impressive feature set that is, in parts, not that far off the semi-pro K-7. In the entry-level segment of the market the new model will be facing fierce competition from the likes of Canon's EOS 500D and the Nikon D5000. Can the Pentax K-x make its mark amongst such well established rivals? Click through to find out.
December 18
Just posted - Our Leica X1 in-depth review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Leica X1. Back in September Leica surprised everyone with the announcement of its entirely home-grown large-sensor compact, which combines a fixed 35mm-equivalent lens with an APS-C sensor. Featuring a pared-down design with traditional analogue-style control dials on its top plate for shutter speed and aperture, the X1 certainly looks desirable on paper, but at an asking price around $2000, can it live up to the inevitable high expectations? We've had our hands on a production X1 for the past couple of months - click through to find out what we thought of it.
dpreview.com launches Challenge of Challenges 2009
It's almost a year since we launched the Challenges system on dpreview.com and we've been constantly impressed with the quality of submissions and the imagination of the challenge hosts. To showcase this talent and imagination, we're running a 'Challenge of Challenges,' to find the dpreview.com Picture of the Year. All previous challenge-winning images have been automatically entered and voting starts immediately so, if you've been as impressed as we have, make sure you show it by helping to choose 2009's best challenge-winning image.
Adobe launches Lightroom 2.6 and ACR 5.6
Adobe has launched Photoshop Camera Raw 5.6, Lightroom 2.6 and DNG Converter 5.6 for immediate download. Release candidates of all three had already been available from the Adobe's Labs site. The updates fix minor issues and provide additional Raw support for 20 more DSLRs, including the Canon EOS 7D and Nikon D3S, with additional DNG support for the Leica M9 and Ricoh GXR.
December 17
Canon 1D series and 5D II get WFT firmware updates
Canon has issued firmware updates for its EOS-1D Mark III, 1Ds Mark III and 5D Mark II cameras to provide compatibility with the wireless file transfer units. The 1D series cameras gain compatibility with the WFT-E2 II unit while the 5D Mark II gains WFT-E4 II support and lower noise when shooting Bulb exposures. Meanwhile the WFT-E2 and E2A firmware is also updated to allow use with the 1D Mark IV.
123di updates 'The 123 of digital imaging' to V6.2
123di.com has updated its interactive learning application: 'The 123 of digital imaging'. Version 6.2 adds coverage for Mac and Windows versions both of Adobe's Photoshop Elements 8 and the Public Beta of Photoshop Lightroom 3. It also gains an additional tutorial on the use of clipping masks alongside revisions to keep it up-to-date with the latest changes in technology and post-processing. 123di V6.2 is free to owners of version 6.0 or can be downloaded as a free trial.
December 16
Just posted - Canon PowerShot G11 review
Just posted! Our review of the Canon PowerShot G11. The G11 is the company's flagship compact camera, offering a flexible zoom range, solid build and classic styling. This latest incarnation of the G-series regains the much lamented flip-out screen lost from its recent predecessors, it also uses a 'high sensitivity' CCD that could put right the G10's disappointing low-light performance. So, after extensive testing, how did the G11 fare?
December 11
Just posted - Nikon D3000 review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of the Nikon D3000, which replaces the popular D60 as Nikon's latest entry-level DSLR. A new guide mode and revamped AF system make the D3000 a compelling upgrade for D60 and D40X users, but the lack of a Live View function will not go unnoticed in the feature-hungry entry-level sector. Does the D3000 have what it takes to become king of the beginners' DSLRs? Click to read our in-depth 27 page review.
The picture is mightier? Kevin Spacey ponders the PEN
Olympus UK has been doing something we found quite interesting. How do you promote a new class of camera to a mainstream audience without confusing them with talk of mirrors and sensor sizes? Its solution appears to be to not talk about cameras at all - instead it's got Kevin Spacey to talk about pictures and memories.
December 10
European offer: free flash with Olympus E-P1
Olympus is offering European customers a free FL-14 flashgun if you buy one of its E-P1 mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras before the end of January 2010. The offer is valid for both body-only and kit purchases and starts on December 12th in the UK and 15th in mainland Europe. We've added this offer to our list of holiday season promotions.
Carl Zeiss adapts 50mm and 100mm Makro lenses for Canon
Carl Zeiss has announced it will make its 50mm and 100mm macro lenses in the Canon-compatible ZE mount. The Makro-Planar T* 2/50 and T* 2/100 ZE are both manual focus only and offer maximum magnification ratios of 1:2. The 50mm lens will be available this month, while the 100mm will follow in early 2010.
Nikon releases TC-20E III 2x teleconverter
Nikon has released a new 2x AF-S teleconverter, the world's first to include an aspherical lens element. The AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III is a completely new optical design designed to minimise its impact on image quality. When used with the 300mm F2.8 VR II lens launched today it would offer an effective 600mm reach at up to F5.6.
Nikon launches revised 300mm F/2.8 VR lens
Nikon has launched a new 300mm F2.8 VR lens featuring the company's latest image stabilization system. The AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED VR II is designed to be small and light enough to hand-hold while the company says the VR II system can offer 'four or more' stops of compensation for lens shake. It also includes nano-crystal coating and is dust and moisture sealed. Recommended retail prices will be $ 5899 / €6050 / £5099.99.
December 9
Pentax releases weather-resistant 100mm F2.8 Macro
Pentax has launched a weather resistant 100mm F2.8 Macro lens. The lens, which is designed to work with both digital and film SLRs, features weather-resistant construction to match the company's environmentally-sealed K-7 mid-level DSLR. It also features an aluminium body in the style of the company's 'Limited' prime lenses and offers full-time manual focus override.
Just posted - Sony Alpha 550 review
Just posted! Our in-depth review of Sony's mid-range SLR, the Alpha DSLR-A550. The A550 is part of a new range that sits between the A200/A300 and the high end A700, and offers an interesting combination of features (including in-camera automatic HDR, 7 fps continuous shooting and Sony's excellent live view system) whilst retaining the Alpha line's emphasis on friendly ease of use. Find out how we got on with the Alpha 550 after the link...
DxO Labs launches DxO Optics v6.1 for Windows
DxO Labs has updated its DxO Optics Pro raw converter to version 6.1 for Windows. New features include support for the Nikon D3000 and Canon Powershot G11 and EOS 7D, plus a full screen display mode. The software is available for immediate download from the company's website.
December 4
Sigma stabilizes 17-70mm fast normal zoom
Sigma has added its Optical Stabilization system to its popular 17-70mm fast standard zoom lens. The 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM will be available in Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Sigma mounts. The latest version offers a slightly wider aperture at the long end of the zoom though gains weight and length and has a slightly reduced maximum magnification ratio. Adding image stabilization to a lens that already combines a comparatively fast maximum aperture range is likely to make it an even more tempting replacement for the kit lenses supplied with most DSLRs.
December 3
Pentax releases K-x firmware v1.01
Pentax has issued updated firmware for its entry-level DSLR, the K-x. Firmware V1.01 adds to the camera's 'cross-processing' feature and allows it to be assigned to the camera's 'green' button. It also promises to improve the accuracy of the battery meter as well as 'improved stability and performance'. K-x owners can download the latest firmware from the Pentax website. (Link now added)
December 2
DxO Labs launches DxO Optics v5.3.6 for Mac
DxO Labs has issued a Mac update for its DxO Optics raw converter with a Windows version to follow. The latest Mac version, V5.3.6, includes support for fifteen new cameras and provides support for the Snow Leopard operating system (OS 10.6). The update is based around the inclusion of the cameras covered in DxO Optics 6 for Windows, but without the version 6 interface, a Mac version of which will be introduced in early 2010. A Windows update including support for the Canon G11, EOS 7D and Nikon D3000 will follow by 'mid December.'
Capture One gains Panasonic G-series support
Phase One's Capture One software now offers support for Panasonic G Micro series cameras as well as the Olympus E-P2. In addition to support for the G1, GH1 and GF1, version 5.0.1 offers a series of bug fixes and promises image quality improvements for a series of digital backs and the Olympus E-P1. The update can be accessed via Capture One's update feature for existing users or is available as a free 30 day trial.
December 1
Beginners Guide to HD Video in digital cameras
Just posted! A beginners guide to HD video in digital cameras. One of our many side projects here at dpreview.com is an expansion of our 'Learn' section, and this is the first in a series of technology and technique articles we're hoping to make a regular feature on the site during 2010. This one is designed to give absolute beginners a quick overview of the video modes on digital stills cameras (and more specifically on the HD shooting capabilities of the latest SLRs and hybrid cameras). Check it out after the link or visit the Learn section using the menu on the left.