The Tech News Blog

March 4, 2012

Kodak Sells Off Certain Gallery Online Photo Services Business Assets to Shutterfly

Eastman Kodak Company has struck a deal with Shutterfly to sell off specific assets of the KODAK Gallery online photo services business.

Shutterfly, an Internet-based personal publishing service, has agreed to purchase certain assets of the KODAK Gallery online photo services business for $23.8 million. Shutterfly will provide the stalking horse bid in a court-supervised auction process.

The agreement states that Gallery customer accounts and images are to be transferred to Shutterfly in the U.S. and Canada. However, if Kodak customers do not want to have their photos transferred to Shutterfly, they have the option to obtain their photos via free downloads or by purchasing DVDs from the KODAK Gallery.

“This sale is consistent with our objective of focusing Kodak on a core set of businesses in which we can most profitably leverage our technology and brand strengths, and provides a well-proven mechanism for ensuring that Kodak receives maximum value from these assets," said Pradeep Jotwani, President, Consumer Businesses and Chief Marketing Officer. “KODAK Gallery is a unique property, with more than 75 million users, and an ability to attract new members through innovative customer offerings such as its category-leading popular mobile apps.

March 2, 2012

Canon Announces EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR

Canon EOS 5D Mark IIITo mark the 25th anniversary of the EOS system, Canon has announced the succssor to its EOS 5D Mark II. Aptly named the EOS 5D Mark III, it is an evolutionary upgrade rather than a revolutionary one—but that's not a bad thing. It is packed with a 22-megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor that supports ISO 100 through ISO 25600 in standard mode, and can also be set to ISO 50, ISO 51200, and ISO 102400 if needed. Its Digic 5+ imaging processor can process images with 17 times the speed of the previous Digic 4 version for high-speed JPG and Raw image capture. Event photographers will also appreciate the ability to capture Raw images at 10.5-megapixel and 5.5-megapixel resolutions if desired—perfect for shots that aren't going to be made into large prints. Of course, the camera also supports Raw capture at the full 22-megapixel resolution.

The camera's 61-point autofocus system promises to lock into focus quickly in order to capture action, which can be done at up to 6 frames per second in continuous drive mode. Both are big improvements over the 5D Mark II—it only has 9 autofocus points and is limited to shooting at 3.9 frames per second. The camera's video recording capabilities are also improved—it now supports a slew of HD formats, all with H.264 compression for easy editing. You can use the camera to shoot 1080p24, 1080p25, 1080p30, 720p60, and 720p50 HD video. It can also capture standard definition footage at 25 or 30 frames per second. Video files are limited to just under 30 minutes in length per clip, but the camera is able to automatically break clips up on the fly, so you won't notice the limitation while recording. The camera has a built in microphone for audio, and also sports a stereo mic input as well as a headphone jack for in-field audio monitoring.

February 28, 2012

Sony’s New Cyber-shot Cameras Feature High-Resolution Exmor R Sensors

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V Sony announced several new Cyber-shot point-and-shoot camera models today, most of which use an 18-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor.

That includes the DSC-HX200V, which features a 30x (27-810mm equivalent) zoom lens, a 3-inch 921k dot rear LCD, and 1080p60 video capture support. The camera's autofocus system is rated to lock onto a subject in as little as 0.1 seconds in good light and 0.2 seconds in low light. If, for some reason, 810mm telephoto isn't good enough, the camera uses the Sony Clear Image Zoom system to grab photos at up to 1620mm using an interpolation algorithm that promises to deliver better results than traditional digital zoom. The ability to grab 13.5-megapixel stills while simultaneously recording video and an integrated GPS round out the camera's features. It ships in March for $480.

The DSC-HX30V and DSC-HX20V are nearly identical models—the only difference being that the HX30V has built-in Wi-Fi so you can transfer photos to your phone, computer, tablet, or other wireless device. Both cameras feature the 18-megapixel Exmor sensor, a 20x (24-480mm) zoom lens, and the same autofocus system, rear LCD, GPS integration, and 1080p60 video capability as the HX-200V. Both cameras will be available this May, with the HX30V priced at $420 and the HX20V at $400.

The DSC-HX10V, which is set to ship in March for $330, shares all of the HX20V's features, but uses a different lens. Its 16x zoom covers a 24-384mm zoom range.

The final new long zoom camera is the entry-level Cyber-shot DSC-H90. It features a 16-megapixel CCD image sensor, a 24-384mm zoom range, and 3-inch 460k dot LCD. It supports 720p video capture with active optical image stabilization.

February 9, 2012

Kodak to Cease Digital Camera Production

Kodak Booth at CES

Eastman Kodak announced today that it is phasing out production of digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and digital picture frames.

This doesn't spell the end for Kodak-branded devices—the company plans on licensing its logo to third-party manufacturers of these products. Kodak expects to save $100 million annually by making this move, although it expects to pay out approximately $30 million in severance and other separation benefits to facilitate this exit.

Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Jan. 19th, plans to concentrate its production efforts on more profitable aspects of its business. This move is not entirely surprising. Some industry analysts identified Kodak's ho-hum digital lineup as a necessary casuality in the fight for the company's survival. Despite having invented the digital camera in 1975, competitors like Nikon, Canon, and Sony have been better at implementing the technology in finished products than the Rochester-based institution.

February 7, 2012

Canon’s Latest PowerShot Cameras Feature Wi-Fi Connectivity

Canon PowerShot Elph 320 HS Canon's latest batch of PowerShot point-and-shoot cameras are designed to go toe-to-toe with a major competitor—the smartphone camera. Oddly enough, they do so by working along with your phone or tablet to share photos online with the same ease as the photos that your often capable, but rarely impressive, phone camera can manage. The Elph 530 HS and Elph 320 HS both have built-in Wi-Fi radios that can connect to your home network, a hotspot, and an app on your iOS or Android device. You'll be able to wirelessly transmit photos and videos from the cameras to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the Canon Image Gateway online service. The iOS app should be available in April, with the Android version following in May.

The Elph 530 HS is a 10-megapixel camera with a CMOS sensor, 12x optical zoom lens, and a 3.2-inch LCD touch screen. It will be available in black and white finishes and is set to hit the streets in April for $349.99. The second Wi-Fi camera, the Elph 320 HS, is a 16-megapixel CMOS shooter with a 5x (24-120mm) zoom lens and a 3.2-inch touch screen LCD. Available in black, silver, red, and blue, you'll be able to buy it in March for $279.99.

The other new cameras lack Wi-Fi connectivity. The PowerShot SX260 HS is a 20x (25-500mm) superzoom with a 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor, 1080p video recording, and a built-in GPS. It can capture a burst of 10 shots at 10.3 frames per second to capture fast action. It will be available in March in black, green, and red finishes for $349.99.

January 30, 2012

Sony Announces New Cyber-shot Digital Cameras

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX50

Sony has announced three new Cyber-shot point-and-shoot camera models, bringing the total number of new cameras in 2012 to six. The DSC-WX50, DSC-WX70, and DSC-TX200V, all of which will be available for purchase in March, all feature 5x zoom lenses and Exmor R CMOS sensors. They will be available in March, a month after the DSC-W610, DSC-W620, and DSC-W650 cameras that were announced at CES.

The WX50 and WX70 are almost identical in form and function. Both slim shooters feature a 25-125mm f/2.6-6.3 (35mm equivalent) Carl Zeiss zoom lens, a 16-megapixel image sensor, 1080i60 video capture, and optical image stabilization. The WX50 features a 2.7-inch, 460k dot screen, while the WX70 has a larger, sharper 3-inch, 921k dot touch-screen LCD. The WX50 will sell for $199.99 and the WX70 for $229.99.

January 11, 2012

General Electric Launches New Cameras

General Electric X600

LAS VEGAS—General Electric has used CES as a launch pad for its newest batch of digital cameras. The company, better known for its light bulbs and washing machines, has been marketing digital cameras for the past five years. The latest batch includes a superzoom with an advanced Aptina A-Pix CMOS sensor as well as an entry-level shooter that can be yours for only $70.

The company's top end superzoom lineup, the Power Pro series, is bolstered by the addition of two new cameras. The X550, the successor to the X500, is a 16-megapixel camera with a 15x (27-405mm f/3-5.2 equivalent) zoom lens. The camera, available in black and white finishes, sports an eye-level electronic viewfinder and optical image stabilization, features that aren't often found in a camera priced at $149.99.

January 10, 2012

Olympus Rolls Out New Cameras

Olympus VR-340 Olympus has used CES to launch a few new point-and-shoot digital cameras.

The entry-level VG-160 is a 14-megapixel shooter with a 5x (26-130mm equivalent) zoom lens. The camera is about three quarters of an inch thick and features a large, 3-inch LCD for image framing and review. It is capable of 720p video capture and supports digital image stabilization. A number of artistic filters are built into the camera, making it possible to add a bit of flair to your photos. The VG-160 will be available in silver, black, red, and orange. It will hit the street in February for $99.99.

The mid-range VR-340 compact features a 10x (24-240mm) zoom lens, a 3-inch LCD, and a slim metal body. Its 16-megapixel sensor gives your photos plenty of resolution, and it supports high ISO shooting for use in lower light. The camera has a number of art filters, including a Beauty Make-up mode that will let you add eyeliner, eye shadow, and rouge effects to portraits. The camera will ship in a number of fun colors, including white, silver, black, purple, and red. You can get it in March for $149.99.

Olympus has always been know for its tough cameras, and the new TG-320 simply continues that tradition. The 14-megapixel camera is waterproof to 10 feet, rated to survive a five-foot drop, and can be used in temperatures as low as 14°F. Its 3.6x (28-102mm) lens can handle most shooting siuations, and the camera can record HD video. Available in red and blue, the camera is set to ship in February for $179.99.

January 9, 2012

PowerShot G1 X Headlines Canon Camera, Camcorder Announcements

Canon G1 X

Canon has unveiled several new cameras and camcorders, including its PowerShot G1 X, a $799 enthusiast model that will be sold side-by-side with the G12, the company's previous top-end point-and-shoot.

Also announced were the PowerShot Elph 110 HS, which replaces the 300 HS, and the PowerShot Elph 520 HS, which takes the place of the 500 HS. On the video side of things, the company also unveiled new Wi-Fi-enabled Vixia HD camcorders. Two different designs, the M series and R series, were detailed, each available in three different models.

The G1 X is very similar in design to the G12, giving you a slew of manual controls to take charge of your photography. Rather than using a 1/1.7" imaging sensor, the camera uses a 1.5" class sensor, which measures 18.7 by 14mm—a little bit larger than those found in Micro Four Thirds cameras. The camera records photos at 14.3 megapixels and offers full support for 14-bit Raw image acquisition and 1080p24 video recording. Its 28-112mm f/2.8-5.8 (35mm equivalent) fixed lens can be stopped down to a minimum aperture of f/16 for landscape shooting and features a standard 58mm filter thread. The sensor supports shooting at ISO 100 through 12800, making it equally useable on bright days and in dim light. The G1 X has an articulating rear 3-inch LCD with a 922k-dot resolution, and also offers a zooming optical finder with 77 percent coverage for eye-level shooting. It is set to retail for $799.