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Felix Esser

Canon Rebel SL1 white edition

After the recent sensor debacle–as a reminder, two Canon cameras in a row scored poorly in DxOMark’s sensor tests–it appears that the brilliant marketing geniuses over at Canon World Headquarters decided that it was time for a new approach at winning new customers. Looking into the history books, they must’ve found a reference on Leica somewhere, more precisely on how Leica effectively re-launched one and the same camera over and over again for decades by making one special edition after the other.

Something like this must’ve happened for sure, as we have no other explanation for what Canon has just done: they launched a white edition EOS Rebel SL1 / EOS 100D + 18-55mm kit lens. Yes, both camera and lens are clad in exclusive Canon Polar White, which is just a little bit whiter than the white Nikon uses in their 1-series cameras. We’re joking of course. About the white, that is. Not about the white camera. That one’s real. And the lens.

If we’ve got you all excited now, better calm down and put that credit card back where it belongs: it appears the super special white Rebel SL1 will only be available on European markets. That’s too bad, because let’s face it, who wouldn’t fancy a white Rebel! Owning one of these would surely make you stand out from the crowd of DSLR users. That is, until some Japanese bloke comes along with his multi-colored Pentax

Via Canon Watch

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The Panasonic/Leica DG Summilux 15mm f1.7 lens for Micro Four Thirds was only announced very recently, but DxOMark has apparently already gotten their hands on a copy of the lens. According to the tests that the company announced today, the sharpness of this lens beats the pants off of Olympus’s 17mm f1.8 and Sigma’s 19mm f2.8 Art lens. Additionally, it shows less chromatic aberration than the Sigma lens but not the Olympus lens. Overall though, the 17mm f1.8 is scoring slightly better than Panasonic’s option.

If you haven’t purchased either lens yet, know that both of them have retroness built into their designs. The Panasonic lens has a working aperture ring while the Olympus lens has a snap back manual focus with a working depth of field scale. Street photographers would value either one, but they’d probably lean more towards the Oly.

While these tests are interesting, we don’t think that they’ll mean that much of a difference in real life shooting situations given that modern software is just so good at fixing these problems. And even if you’re a JPEG shooter, the cameras have a way of correcting any issues. Additionally, when you post the images online we highly doubt that everyone you know will try to go in and pixel peep.

Still though, this is interesting to note about how the technology is advancing. We got to try out the 15mm f1.7 and we reviewed the 17mm f1.8 a while back as well as a comparison to the 20mm f1.7. Be sure to check out both of those reviews.

Canon_G1_X_II_DxO_comparison

DxOMark continues to rate the sensors in current camera models, and their latest victim was the Canon G1 X Mk II. The successor to the original G1 X again comes with a fixed lens and a sensor larger than the (Micro) Four Thirds format, but still smaller than the APS-C format. Sporting a resolution of 15 megapixels, one is bound to assume that it would outperform the Micro Four Thirds crowd at least by a small margin–but actually, the opposite seems to be the case.

With an overall score of 58 points, the PowerShot G1 X Mk II is ranked even lower than its predecessor, wich managed to score 60 points. Compared to current Micro Four Thirds models, however, the G1 X Mk II is way behind: the Olympus OM-D E-M10′s sensor has received 72 points in DxOMark’s test, and even the tiny Panasonic GM1 scores a solid 64 points. But here’s the most interesting part: even Canon’s own PowerShot S120 with its tiny 1/1.7″ sensor scores almost as high as the G1 X Mk II, though of course it doesn’t hold up when it comes to dynamic range and high ISO noise.

This isn’t the first time that we see Canon sensors receiving bad ratings by DxOMark, though. Just recently, their lab tested the EOS Rebel T5, and it, too, was rated way lower than its immediate competition. But despite the mediocre ratings, Canon DSLRs still enjoy a huge popularity especially on western markets, and even the EOS M mirrorless system is very popular over in Japan. When it comes to pure image quality, though, it seems that you’re better of with almost any other brand.

Google smart contact lenses

Google Glass caused a lot of buzz when it was originally announced, and continues to do so on a regular basis when reports of users being beaten up or doing silly things with it come in. The wearable device, which is basically an Android smartphone packed into a glasses-like piece of eyewear, not only lets you percieve (and record) the world in a totally new way, it also makes you look a bit like a cyborg. But that might just be about to change.

Even though Google Glass has just been made available to the public today, at a retail price of $1,500, it seems Google is already working on the next generation of augmented reality computing devices. Just like regular glasses were at some point replaced by contact lenses, Google Glass could soon be replaced by Google Contacts. Yup, that’s right. The company that so many of us have already sold our souls to has recently filed a patent for a teeny tiny camera that can be fitted into a contact lens.

Google has previously announced that it’s working on smart contact lenses that can, for example, measure blood glucose levels, so these contact lens cameras might be an addition to these health measuring contacts. They could also prove useful for the visually impaired, for example by tracking their surrounding and warning them of obstancles ahead. As to whether it’ll be possible to take actual photos and videos with these, we honestly have no idea.

But the patent makes us wonder whether it might also be possible to integrate a tiny projector into a contact lens that would display a live image directly onto your retina in much the same way that Google Glass provides your sight with an information overlay. This is just daydreaming, though, and as of yet there’s no guarantee that even the contact lens cameras will make it into an actual project. But the idea is definitely worth geeking out over.

Via TechCrunch

Pentax 645Z front angled view

Going the same route as Phase One and Hasselblad in their latest medium format camera models, Pentax today announces the new 645Z medium format SLR camera featuring a large 33x44mm CMOS sensor. As a successor to the 645D, the 645Z continues the company’s medium format tradition, while at the same time bringing it up to par with the competition. Thanks to the new sensor, the 645Z now boasts a wopping 51.4 megapixels, ISO as high as 204,800, Full-HD video as well as a live-view mode. It seems that medium format cameras have finally arrived in the 21st century.

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Canon EF-M 22-46mm patent

Canon has recently patented a new lens for its EOS M mirrorless system, and it’s a rather unspectacular 22-46mm f3.5-5.6 zoom lens. With a focal length equivalent of 35-74mm and a short zoom factor of only 2.1x, it makes us wonder if Canon might be working on a small power-zoom lens with a pancake size factor. We’ve already seen such lenses for other mirrorless systems in the past: Micro Four Thirds has two lenses of this kind, one from Panasonic and one from Olympus, while there is also one for Sony E-mount and one for Nikon’s 1 system each.

A small, pancake-sized power-zoom lens makes the most sens on a small camera, together with which it makes for a truly pocketable setup. Seeing that the current EOS M cameras though relatively small for an APS-C system aren’t really pocketable, this furthermore makes us wonder if Canon could also be working on a smaller EOS M camera with a slimmer profile? In order to make its EOS M system more competitive, Canon will eventually have to diversify no only the lenses available but also the cameras.

An even smaller EOS M model might actually work with the entry-level crowd, and could make the system more popular. As to whether we’ll ever see more advanced EOS M cameras and lenses, we have our doubts as these would surely eat into Canon’s DSLR sales. But on the other hand, other mirrorless system are already doing that, anyway. So it would only logical for Canon to claim a piece of that cake. Only time will tell whether we’re ever going to see any of this.

Via Canon Watch