Fuji X-Pro1 prices

The prices are official for the X-Pro1. In both US and Canadian dollars (pre-tax):

  • Body: $1699.95
  • 18mm lens: $599.95
  • 35mm lens: $599.95
  • 60mm lens: $649.95

This make it around $2300, not counting the memory card and other accessories you might want. Shipping end of February.

Sources: DCresource, DPReview

Kodak filing for bankruptcy

Kodak just filed for bankruptcy in the US. This was almost expected as business has been declining over the years, being unable to make a come back from the decline of film.

The film division, still profitable after a reduction of costs, simplification of the product line like abandoning Kodachrome development isn’t big enough to sustain the rest. After deciding in November 2011 to sell their image sensor division to an equity firm, it sounded obvious that Kodak management didn’t know where to go.

Now several concerns:

First, what will happen to the film division? I’m sure that this is part of what they will try to offload for cheap. It is not growing anymore, quite the opposite, but they still have good film products and it would be a great loss to lose them.

Second, their patent pool is like a nuclear warhead that they are gonna sell to the highest bidder who will use it for patent warfare. Kodak has been known to litigate in the past to try to bring in some cash, unsuccessfully.

We’ll see how the reorganization goes.

Nikon 1

Nikon 1 is the just unveiled Nikon mirror less system. It seems to be a trend. First, m4/3, then Samsung NX, Sony Nex, Pentax Q and now Nikon 1.

2 cameras:

  • Nikon J1: 10.1 megapixel “CX-sized” sensor (x2.7 crop), electronic shutter, pop out flash, 1080p HD video, lot of colors. $649 with the 10-30mm.
  • Nikon V1: more advanced that the J1. No flash, accessory port, built-in EVF, higher resolution LCD, mechanical shutter, stereo microphone input, fewer colors. $899 with the 10-30mm.

The camera feature interchangeable lenses, SD card (high capacity), PSAM exposure modes, autofocus, etc. And NEF raw files.

4 lenses, 1 prime, 3 zooms:

  • Nikkor 10mm F2.8 pancake
  • Nikkor VR 10-30mm F3.5-5.6
  • Nikkor VR 30-110mm F3.8-5.6
  • Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6

Two accessories for the V1: a flash and a GPS unit for $149 each. According to DPReview there will be a F-mount lens adapter coming as well. The availability in the US will be 20th of October 2011.

More at Nikon USA.

(Price are US list prices in USD)

My opinion, without having seen it. The new mount and the small sensor are two things that could hinder the camera success. The sensor, “CX size”, smaller than the one of m4/3, but still bigger than the one of the Pentax Q, make it more difficult to contain the noise at high ISO. I haven’t see samples yet to make myself an opinion. Also the new mount means that the lens will be specific to the system. I do believe Nikon could have benefited from joining the m4/3 gang instead and could have introduced Nikon lenses to the mix for the variety. It is one of the reason m4/3 cameras are popular.

On the other hand, the GPS accessory, while a bit overpriced, seems to be a welcome addition that virtually no other maker has. It is not Nikon’s first attempt.

New Olympus Pens

Olympus announced new Olympus Pens and lenses in the micro Four-Third format. Three models and four lenses:

  • E-P3: the successor of the E-P1 and E-P2. Gain a flash.
  • E-PL3: the successor of the E-PL2, with a slimmer design and flip out screen. But it lost the flash. DPReview has a preview.
  • E-PM1: an even smaller Pen camera, even more simplified.

All three cameras feature a new UI, a new sensor, a new engine that should solve most of the slowness criticism, better noise management, 1080p video in AVCHD with Dolby Digitalâ„¢ sound, etc. Not much changes in the number of pixels and this is actually good news for the image quality.

  • M. Zuiko Digital 12mm f2: a wide angle prime lens.
  • M. Zuiko Digital 45mm f1.8: a short telephoto.
  • M. Zuiko Digital 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II R: A slight restyling of the second version of the kit zoom.
  • M. Zuiko Digital 40-150 II R f4.0-5.6.

All the lenses come as MSC “Movie & Stills Compatible” (ie very smooth and silent autofocus).

Pentax Q

Pentax just announced the Pentax Q, a mirror-less camera with interchangeable lenses and a small sensor of 1/2.3″. There will be 5 lenses available.

As usual, DPReview has a preview.

Just a few comments after reading the specs and the preview:

  • Small sensor. I already find the m4/3 to be noisy due to its size. 1/2.3″ is significantly smaller and the quality will likely converge to a compact: lot of noise at higher ISO.
  • Barely smaller than the Sony NEX (or a micro 4/3), according to the picture on DPReview, despite a much smaller sensor.

Also the lenses will include a “standard” prime (kit) 48mm equivalent, “standard” zoom ($300), a fisheye with manual focus and fixed aperture f5.6 ($129) and for less than $100, two “toy” lenses, one wide (28mm equiv.), one (100mm equiv.) telephoto whose image look will remind of the Diana or Lomo.

At $800 with the prime lens, I don’t really see where the Pentax Q fits in the market. That reminds me of the Pentax Auto 110 film SLR.

Losses in Libya

Today, in Misrata, Libya, two photographers were killed and two other were wounded. This should remind us how these men and women put their life at risk to bring us images of what is happening around the world, to show us how people fight for their freedom or for other’s. They’ll be missed and may they not be forgotten.

From the Denver Post :

British-born Tim Hetherington, co-director of the documentary “Restrepo” about U.S. soldiers on an outpost in Afghanistan, was killed inside the only rebel-held city in western Libya, said his U.S.-based publicist, Johanna Ramos Boyer. The city has come under weeks of relentless shelling by government troops.

Hetherington tweeted Tuesday: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

Chris Hondros, a New York-based photographer for Getty Images, was seriously injured and was on a respirator at Hikma Hospital. Doctors told The Associated Press that his condition was critical.

The two other photographers — Guy Martin, a Briton working affiliated with the Panos photo agency, and Michael Christopher Brown — were treated for shrapnel wounds, doctors said.

and from the New York Times

BENGHAZI, Libya — Tim Hetherington, a conflict photographer who was a director and producer of the Afghan war documentary “Restrepo”, was killed in the besieged city of Misurata, Libya, on Wednesday, and three photographers working beside him were wounded, one fatally, when they came under fire at the city’s front lines.

Chris Hondros of the Getty Images photo agency died later of devastating brain trauma.

Goodbye Kodachrome

Kodachrome is dead, long live to Kodachrome.

Yesterday, December 30th 2010, was the last day to have Kodachrome processed at the last lab operating in the world, Dwayne’s Photo, in Parsons Kansas. Rolls had to reach them by noon that day to be processed, after 75 years.

Steve McCurry, the legendary photographer from the National Geographic got given by Kodak the last roll they produced in 2009. You can see shots from his last roll.

It is sad to see this happening, but ever falling sales of film made the enterprise even less viable. I just wish there was a company that was able to manufacture and process a Kodachrome-like film in the future, as it was the best color slide film, with unbelievable archival quality, unrivaled by the E-6 chemistry based slide films.

I just regret to not have shot enough of it, none of them in America.