Nikon Unveil D90 DSLR

Nikon have unveiled their new D90 DSLR. The D90 features a new 12.3 megapixel Nikon DX-format CMOS image sensor with an Integrated Dust Reduction System. The DSLR has a Low-noise capability which ranges from ISO 200 to 3200, it also has support for ISO 6400. The camera can also record video using their D-Movie mode, which records in AVI format at 320 x 216, 640 x 424 or 1,280 x 720.
Other features include:
Scene Recognition System based on 420 pixel RGB sensor for improved autofocus, autofocus and auto white balance, in addition to Face Detection.
Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus with 11 AF points.
3-inch, VGA Live View LCD.
4.5 fps continuous shooting
0.15 second startup
65ms shutter release lag.
SD / SDHC storage.
HDMI output
The Nikon should be available in kit form for around $1,299. For more info visit

Canon Eos 50D Announced

Canon EOS 50D

Canon have officially unveiled the EOS 50D. The 15.1 megapixel DSLR features an APS-C sized CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 image processor, up to ISO 12800 support, a 3.0-inch LCD with Live View, face detection, HDMI output, 6.3fps burst mode. It also uses the same AF system found in Canon’s 40D but with a new Microadjustment feature. This Prosumer centric model should have an SRP of $1,599 with Canon’s EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens — $1,399 for the body only.

How People Kill Their Cameras

Amateur Photographer have released an article detailing some of the ways in which the public destroy their cameras. The details come from data which has been released by insurance group Domestic & General in the UK. It seems that around a sixth of us blame children or dog, 3% of claims run over their camera with a car, about three quarters drop their cameras, either onto a “hard surface”, into water, or other wise damage the camera by falling onto it and using it to cushion their fall. The article is worth a read.

Xara Xtreme Pro 4 Review

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, August 2008
Published by: Xara Group Limited
Requires: Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Pentium processor or better, 128MB RAM, 100MB available hard drive space
MSRP: US$249.00, £125.00 GBP
Xara has long been one of the “other” programs artists can use for creating designs and illustrations. It also has one very attractive capability in that it is much faster at rendering than comparable programs, in some cases it is much faster than Adobe Illustrator at rendering the same illustrations. Xara Xtreme Pro can be used very effectively to create logos, brochures, websites and photographic panoramas. It is very fast at all these tasks and comes with an array of professional level controls. Version 4 is an improvement over earlier versions in that it not only features new capabilities but also includes support for multicore processors.

Added to this new version are 3D capabilities and bitmap editing features which help make it a hybrid creative solution. The editing of bitmaps is in itself different from software like Photoshop in that Xara Xtreme Pro isn’t a pixel editor but uses non-destructive kind of element editing which lets you re-edit and modify at a later date.

There were some problems with some of the bitmap handling in that when I used filters and plug-ins, Xara had a tendency to get bogged down. Some other problem areas include compatibility with newer Adobe Illustrator and PDF formats, an issue which can be bypassed by exporting the problem file in an earlier revision from the native application. The import of RAW files is also supported, though I haven’t tested all available formats.

Xara Xtreme Pro provides a comprehensive environment for vector editing, animation and web design all without changing applications. The layer capabilities are well designed and allow you to layer elements for easy editing and tracing. The software features an excellent array of vector editing and creation capabilities including Bevel, Contour, Drop Shadow, Extrude, Fill, Polygon, Transparency and many others.

The handling of text is really easy — simplified but powerful. Things like text flow and styling can be done in a flash. Text can be resized, skewed, rotated and more, and it is even possible to apply effects like bevelling, drop shadows, and make the entire text block transparent. Xara Xtreme Pro supports Unicode making it easy to create documents in multiple languages. The Text extrusion tool is used to create and edit extruded text with textures in real time by simply placing and dragging the text. You’ll also find controls and settings for creating multipage documents, along with desktop publishing features which include text flow around graphics and the kerning and editing of text.

Xara Xtreme Pro 4.0’s web capabilities can export documents to HTML for use on a web site. CSS styles are used format your page elements and text and while the code isn’t the cleanest, it does the job. One thing for Xara to focus on for the next version of Xara Xtreme Pro would be to offer an option to clean up the HTML code on export.

The files generated by Xara are pretty compact and suffer little of the bloat I’ve come to expect from other software in the same class. The PDF export capabilities include support for high resolution PDFs which support Pantone PMS colors and font embedding.

Cons: File import could be more versatile. Xara Xtreme Pro is not available for Mac OS X. No pixel editing.

Pros: Very fast rendering. Inexpensive in comparison to other competing software. Flexible and powerful. Unlike dedicated software, Xara has a great many features which are useful for the non-designer. Xara Xtreme Pro facilitates the easy creation and editing of documents which can be used by the business user who want to make quick work of their creative business documents (promotions, presentations, marketing, etc.). Using Xara Xtreme Pro you will soon come to appreciate its speed and flexibility. You can add photos, vectors and apply all sort of effects to your documents without having to learn five different programs. Highly recommended.

HP Launches New Laptops & Displays

HP launched a few new products at SIGGRAPH today. Firstly a few new laptops in the form of the 17″ EliteBook 8730w and 15.4″ EliteBook 8530w and 8530p. The 8730 features a 17-inch DreamColor display, a quad-core Intel CPU, 8GB of RAM and NVIDIA’s 1GB Quadro FX graphics card. The EliteBook 8530w and 8530p, feature 8GB of RAM, a Core 2 Duo chip (the 8530w supports an optional quad-core chip) and HP’s brushed anodized aluminum DuraCase.

HP also announced 22 and 24 inch displays. The 22-inch LP2275w lights up 92 percent of the NTSC color gamut across its 1680 x 1050 pixels, whilst the new 24-inch LP2475w puts 102 percent across its 1920 x 1200 pixels. Both displays feature 1000:1 contrast ratios, extra-bright panels and adjustable stands. The LP2275w will be avaialble immediately, while the LP247w will come next month. Retail pricing will be between $459 and $649 respectively.

Lowepro Announce Slingshot 350 AW

The SlingShot 350 AW

Lowepro, announced the launch of their SlingShot 350 AW. The 350 has larger carrying capacity that other sligshot models and includes a protective space for a widescreen notebook.
The SlingShot 350 AW features a main compartment that comfortably fits a professional DSLR fitted with a 70-200. It also accommodates 5-6 extra lenses or accessories.
The padded notebook compartment will fit a 15.4” widescreen notebook, it also features a fully adjustable, padded waistbelt; a built-in microfiber cloth to protect LCD screen; Hypalon SlipLock attachment loops for adding accessories; and Lowepro’s patented All Weather Cover. For more information about 350 AW or other Lowepro products, visit