The annual PhotoPlus trade show and conference was held in the Javits Convention Center in New York City this past weekend. We have already reported on the surprise presence of Pentax and on the K-3, but we still owe you an overview of the show, as there were many other interesting exhibitors and products on display. In this post we'll take a look at many of the interesting things that the show had to offer!
The show occupied but a small corner of this huge convention center and was therefore easy to navigate.
There's no doubt that in the past couple of years, Sony has been one of the biggest innovators within the photo industry. In late 2012, Sony released the RX-1, the world's first compact digital camera to feature a full-frame sensor. Last month, its QX-10 and QX-100 cameras were an attempt to revolutionize cell phone photography. And today, Sony has announced two competitively-priced mirrorless cameras with full frame sensors: the Sony Alpha 7 (A7) and Alpha 7R (A7R). The 24-megapixel A7 will retail or $1699 in the US, while its 36-megapixel big brother, the A7r, starts at $2299.
The Sony A7 is the world's first mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera with a full-frame sensor and autofocus support (the Leica M was the first without AF). It employs the Sony E-mount, the same mount used on the VG-900 full-frame camcorder. The great thing about the E-mount is that when paired with the appropriate adapter, it can support Pentax K-mount DSLR lenses without the need for any corrective optics. This makes the A7 a viable choice for users of legacy Pentax lenses that have been waiting for a full-frame camera. And hence this news has made it to our homepage!
One of the key selling points of the Sony A7 its compactness. Weighing in at just over 400 grams, it is lighter than any current Pentax DSLRs (not to mention Canon and Nikon full-frame DSLRs), yet it continues to have weather sealing. And while it isn't as bulky as a DSLR, the A7 is still plenty wide and it has a large grip, making it easy to hold. Let's take a look at the full specifications:
No low-pass filter
|Max. Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||7360 x 4912 pixels|
|ISO Range||50 - 25600|
|Shutter||Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane shutter
1/8000 - 30s, Bulb
|Lens Mount||Sony E-Mount (full-frame)|
|Rear Monitor||Tiltable 3.0" LCD with 921,600 dots|
|Electronic Viewfinder||XGA OLED screen with 2.4 million dots|
|Max. Burst||5.0 FPS||4.0 FPS|
(474g w/ battery and card)
(465g w/ battery and card)
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2 mm|
|Battery Life||340 shots with rear LCD on|
|Media Slot||Single slot:
Memory Stick PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo/XC-HG Duo
SD/SDHC/SDXC (USH-I compliant)
Wi-Fi, NFC, Multi Interface shoe, Multi Terminal Interface, headphone jack, microphone input, DC in, HDMI type D, USB2
PC tethering support
|Retail Price (USA)||$1699||$2299|
As the table above indicates, the A7 is a state-of-the-art camera, featuring a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, tilting LCD monitor, built-in Wi-Fi, and even NFC (Near Field Communications). Its button layout also looks promising: the presence of dual control wheels, customizable buttons, and a dedicated exposure compensation button will likely satisfy just about any enthusiast photographer. The new 24- and 36-megapixel sensors found in the A7 and A7r seem promising, and if their image quality can match that of the Nikon D600/D800, then Sony will surely see a lot of success with this camera.
As Pentax enthusiasts, we'd like to spend the remainder of this article discussing what this camera might mean to the Pentax community as a whole, rather than scrutinizing its every specification and feature.
Ricoh Imaging has just announced the Ricoh Theta 360, a new type of camera that will soon be joining the ranks in the Pentax and Ricoh lineup.
The Theta, which is designed to capture spherical images with a 360-degree field of view, is in no way a traditional camera. Thanks to its dual-lens design, this device is capable of literally capturing everything around, above, and below you. In addition, rather than being fully standalone, the Theta transmits photos to smartphones for viewing, editing, and sharing using a wi-fi connection. At launch, the Theta will be compatible with iPhone and iPad devices running iOS 6 or higher; Android support is expected by the end of the year.
The unprecedented type of imaging that the Theta delivers will no doubt open up new possibilities for photographers to choose to try out this intriguing camera. However, Ricoh is also venturing into unexplored territory with this launch. The Theta's introductory price tag of $399 may be too much for most consumers to handle— especially considering the fact that you're probably not going to be in the mood to capture everything around you very often. Below are some examples of "flattened" files from the Theta (from the official press release):
While we were fortunate enough to receive a Ricoh GR for our review back in May shortly after it was first released, this camera has hardly been in stock at all since its release (due to high demand and low supply). But now, finally, it is "fully" in stock at B&H. So, if you're looking to get the great Ricoh GR, here's your chance!
The pocketable Ricoh GR has a 16 MP APS-C sized sensor and a fast F2.8 18.3 mm lens. The image quality is outstanding. It has a wide range of shutter speeds (300s to 1/4000s), a wide ISO range (100 - 25,600), and a lot of customizable options. The GR shoots full HD video (1080p) at 30, 25 and 24 fps.
For more on this excellent enthusiast compact read our in-depth GR review here: Ricoh GR vs. Nikon Coolpix A Review.
Topaz Labs, makers of several excellent image post-processing plugins, have just announced "Topaz Clarity", a new plugin for image contrast and color enhancement. Given the excellent performance of other Topaz plugins, we expect Clarity to end up being a great product!
Clarity can be used with popular photo editing software such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture, just to name a few.
We are already in the process of reviewing clarity; below are links to our in-depth reviews of existing Topaz software:
Through 5/31 only, you can save $20 on Clarity and get it for just $29.99 via the Topaz Store. Use the code "claritynew" at checkout.
We are looking forward to hearing your opinions about Clarity while we work on the in-depth review! To learn more about Clarity, visit its product information page.
- 24.1 megapixel APS-C sensor
- ISO 100-6400 (expandable to 25,600)
- 51-point autofocus with 15 cross-type points
- 6FPS burst mode with up to 100 frames
- Full-HD video at up to 60FPS
- Dual SD card slots
- 3.2" LCD with 1,229,000 dots
- 100% viewfinder with OLED data readout
- In-camera HDR and wireless connectivity support
- Fully weather-sealed
- MSRP: $1199 (body-only)
This surprisingly-low price may say something about way in which the APS-C camera industry is headed. With the Pentax K-5 available for just $739 and the Nikon D7000 for $899, and current high-end APS-C cameras selling in the low $1000's, the advanced APS-C DSLR may well be fully replaced by cameras employing 24x36mm full-frame sensors in the near future, with mirrorless offerings gaining an increasing presence among enthusiasts uninterested in shooting in a larger format. Just over two years ago, the Pentax K-5 launched at a MSRP of $1749, and the Canon 7D was $1899, which is much much higher than anyone would be willing to pay today for such a camera.
While Nikon announcements are normally outside of our homepage coverage, we are sharing this news because we feel it's a fairly good prediction of what Pentax's upcoming APS-C flagship may bring to the table. Recent rumors suggest that Pentax will be launching a 24-megapixel DSLR called the K-3 later this year to replace the K-5. Given the success of the 24-megapixel sensor found in the Nikon D5200, and now the introduction of the 24-megapixel D7100, it's possible that Pentax will follow suit and employ the same sensor in their new DSLR. As many of you know, the Pentax K-5 uses the same sensor as the D7000 but still managed to squeeze a little bit more out of it once the image test results came in, thanks to better in-camera signal processing!
Adobe has just announced its latest series of photo processing and graphics programs: Creative Suite 6, which includes upgrades to all major products previously found in the CS5 collection. In addition, today only, you can save 50% on the latest Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Premiere Elements 10: get one for $49.95, or both for $69.95!
Adobe CS6 will differ from previous releases in that Adobe will be offering the suite as a cloud-based subscription service, which will give you access to the entire suite for a fixed monthly fee (starting at $50). You will also be able to upgrade from previous versions, and purchase individual desktop applications as before.
Continue reading to learn more about the suite!
PentaxForums.com has recently partnered up with Topaz Labs, maker of some of the most popular Photoshop & Lightroom photo editing plugins, to bring you an exclusive 15% discount on all Topaz products!
In order to get the discount, it is enough to apply a coupon code at check out:
- Navigate to the Topaz store
- Select the plug-ins you are interested in
- Check out with this coupon code (be sure to log in)
Whenever you get a new Topaz plugin, you may also be eligible for a free premium account on PentaxForums.com- see the details here. Topaz plugins are affordable: the prices range from $30-$80 per plugin, and the bundle containing all 11 of their plug-ins is only $299.
We hope to see you take advantage of these exclusive savings! Note that from time to time, Topaz also posts even higher discounts on some of their products, so stay tuned to our homepage for the latest deals.
Read on for more information about what Topaz Labs develops.