No camera on Apple iPad

Apple have launched their ‘revolutionary’ new tablet computer the iPad – surprisingly though, it doesn’t have any inbuilt cameras.

Described by Apple’s chief executive, Steve Jobs, as ‘magical’ and ‘extraordinary’, the iPad tablet-style computer plans to fill a perceived gap in the market between a smartphone and a laptop.

Apple say the iPad’s 9.7-inch colour touch-screen is ideal for surfing the internet, watching movies, reading ebooks and viewing photographs.

But there will be no camera incorporated into the device to take pictures or hold video calls via a webcam – unlike most netbooks.

The lack of camera has come as a shock to many technology fans who had hoped Apple’s much anticipated tablet-style computer would contain two digital cameras.

One on the front for video conferencing and another in the back like the iPhone and iPod Nano.

An iPad Camera Connection Kit will be available for the iPad though, which will give users two ways to import photographs and videos from a digital camera.

Either via the camera’s normal USB cable or by a special SD card reader.

>> Read the full technical specifications for the Apple iPad

Want to take better pictures with your iPhone? Philip Dunn shows photographers of all levels how to take great photographs – no matter what camera they use.
Find out more about a
photography course with professional photographer Philip Dunn

Sigma Lens Price Cuts

Sigma UK cuts the prices of several of its specialist, professional lenses.
All these Sigma lenses are available from PhotoActive affiliate Jacobs Digital. Just follow the links to find out more.
The new suggested retail prices are effective immediately on the following lenses:

Better Photography DVDs

What Digital Camera holds Haiti charity auction

What Digital Camera magazine is holding a charity auction in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Haiti Earthquake Appeal.

All the items have been donated by What Digital Camera’s contacts in the photography industry and are up for auction on eBay.

Some of the cameras on offer include a Nikon D3000, a Canon IXUS 870 IS, a Olympus mju Tough 6010 and a Fujifilm Finepix F60.

To bid for an item visit the What Digital Camera’s website and follow the links to the relevant eBay page.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is a collaboration of 13 major UK aid agencies, led by the Red Cross.

A list of the camera and equipment currently on What Digital Cameras’ Haiti Earthquake Appeal include:

Leica D-Lux 4 with leather case (RRP: £720)
Samsung ST500 (RRP: £250)
Nikon D3000 with 18-55mm kit lens (RRP: £499)
Canon IXUS 870 IS (RRP: £299)
Sigma DP1 (RRP: £499)
Casio Exilim EX-H10 (RRP: £250)
Olympus mju Tough 6010 (RRP: £299)
Fujifilm Finepix F60 (RRP: £160)
Epson PX650 (RRP: £129.99)
Manfrotto 7322YB plus MYPACK (RRP:£129.99)
Tiffen Bundle (RRP: £340)
Lexar Media Bundle (RRP: £130)
Blubox software (RRP: £20 each)

2009 Army Photographic Competition winners announced

Winners of the Army Photographic Competition 2009 have been awarded their prizes by General Sir David Richards, Head of the British Army.

The competition showcases the best of army photography and is open to all army and territorial personnel and Ministry of Defence civilians.

Photographers entered pictures into five categories, including best operational image, army equipment and best creative digital image.

Alongside these were awards given to professional photographer of the year, amateur photographer of the year and best overall image.

Sergeant Ian Forsyth, based at HQ Land Forces in Wiltshire, scooped the top accolade for professional photographer of the year for his portfolio of eight photographs featuring images from the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, Normandy and training in Kenya.

Talking about his award and the competition Sgt Forsyth said: “I feel very honoured to be recognised for the work that army photographers undertake.

“On a personal level, it’s good to have your pictures recognised by your peers.

“On a professional level, it raises the profile of the kind of work army photographers produce.”

The army has 45 photographers working wherever the army is operating.

See the winning pictures from the army photography competition

Winners of the 2009 Army Photographic Competition:

Best Sporting Image
Professional – Cpl Frere
Amateur – LCpl Chapman
Best Army Equipment Photograph
Professional – WO2 Dawson
Amateur – Lt Granell
Best Operational Image
Professional – Sgt Harmer
Amateur – Capt Mazzei
Best Creative Digital Image
Professional – Cpl Moreno
Amateur – LCpl Chapman
Best Portrait Image
Professional – Cpl Frere
Amateur – O/Cdt Gladwell
Professional Photographer of the Year
Sgt Forsyth
Amateur Photographer of the Year
Rfn Hubbard
Best Overall Image
Cpl O’Neil

Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition disqualify ‘winning’ wolf picture

Organisers of the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition have stripped the 2009 winner of his title.

Co-owners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, have disqualified the winning entry of Spanish photographer, José Luis Rodríguez.

Mr Rodrigues’ ‘Storybook Wolf’ photograph showed a wolf jumping over a rustic wooden gate.

It was claimed the picture was of a wild Iberian wolf captured by a movement sensor operated camera.

But judges of the prestigious wildlife photographic competition were forced to reconsider their original decision after experts queried the possibility of capturing such a photograph.

Following an extensive investigation organisers concluded that Mr Rodrigues staged the picture using a tame wolf – breaching the rules of the competition.

In a statement the Natural History Museum said they were ‘saddened’ at having to disqualify the photographer.

“Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the world’s most prestigious photography competition of its kind,” they said.

“Any transgression of the competition rules is taken very seriously and if entries are suspected of breaching the rules they are disqualified.”

“José Luis Rodríguez’s image will be removed from the exhibition and tour,” the Natural History Museum added.

Mr Rodriguez strongly denies that the wolf in the image is a ‘model’ wolf.

2009 Hasselblad Masters Award winners announced

Hasselblad have announced the ten winners of its prestigious 2009 Masters Awards.

Given in recognition of their contribution to the art of photography, Hasselblad Masters Awards are judged on photographic ability in the areas of creativity, composition, conceptual strength and technical skill.

With submissions from nearly 3,000 photographers, almost double the number from 2008, Hasselblad said this year’s contest had been one of the most successful since its inception in 2001.

An internal jury performed the first round of eliminations and an elite panel of industry professionals, including leading art directors, editors and photographers such as Steve McCurry (USA), Anton Corbijn (Netherlands) and Tim Flach (UK) made the winning selections from a group of 100 finalists.

For the first time a public poll counted as one vote for each category.

In addition to being granted the distinguished title of Master, the 10 winners will each have access to Hasselblad’s flagship camera system, the H4D, a movie camera and a script.

Hasselblad will also produce a special commemorative Masters book and a series of exhibitions are planned for later on in the year.

Hasselblad Masters Awards 2009 - Up and Coming: Lyle Owerko

Hasselblad Masters Awards 2009 - Up and Coming: Lyle Owerko

The 2009 Hasselblad Masters Awards winners are:

Up-and-Coming: Lyle Owerko, NYC, USA
Wedding: Joao Carlos, NYC, USA
Portrait: Claudio Napolitano, Miami, USA / Caracas, Venezuela
Fashion: Dirk Rees, London, England
Product: Mark Holthusen, San Francisco, USA
Fine Art: Quentin Shih, Beijing, China
Architecture: Stephan Zirwes, Stuttgart, Germany
Landscape: Bang Peng, Hong Kong
Editorial: Nina Berman, NYC, USA
General: Mark Zibert, Toronto, Canada

Samsung cameras to see through fog

Samsung have launched two ultra-compact cameras which they claim are able to take pictures through fog.

Part of Samsung’s ST range, the new ST70 and ST60 include a DeFog Clear/Fog Lifting feature, which the company says will ‘cut through the haze to take clear photos’.

Other features include fisheye and lomo functions, plus a host of style settings including; normal, soft, vivid, forest, retro, cool, calm, classic and negative.

They come with a 27mm wide-angle lens on the 14.2 megapixel ST70 and a 27.5mm wide-angle lens on the 12.2 megapixel ST60.

As you’d probably expect both cameras are equipped with HD video recording to record video at a resolution of 720p / 30fps, using H.264 compression.

For photographers who like to be more in control there is also a manual mode which allows some control over the ISO, white balance and exposure.

A spokesman from Samsung said: “Consumers want portability from their point and shoot cameras, and we think our ultra-slim ST70 and ST60 address that desire.”

“Both the ST70 and ST60 are feature-packed and ideal for every type of photographer who wants a well-equipped, easy-to-use, compact camera,” he added.

Canon launch new L-series telephoto zoom lens

Canon is set to launch a successor to its popular EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM telephoto zoom lens – a favourite of many professional photographers.

Part of the acclaimed L-series, the new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM promises ‘improved performance in every area’ thanks to a complete revamp.

Canon L-series telephoto zoom lens: EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II USM FSLCanon say the optical system has been improved and now consists of 23 elements in 19 groups and a ‘high-performance’ fluorite element coupled with five ultra-low dispersion (UD) elements.

It is claimed this will drastically reduce chromatic aberration throughout the zoom range and produce high contrast images with edge-to-edge definition.

The Auto Focus (AF) system is said to match the abilities of the EOS-1D Mark IV and EOS 7D Digital SLR (DSLR) cameras, while the ring-type USM AF motor combines with a new high-speed CPU and an optimised AF algorithm to make auto focusing ‘both faster and quieter’.

The new lens has a reduced minimum focusing distance of 1.2 metres (3.9 ft), an improved 0.21x magnification and an updated image stabiliser mechanism.

As well as an update to the internal construction, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM features an enhanced external appearance to improve lens operation, say Canon.

The thickness of protruding exterior parts and switches have been reduced and the rubber focusing grip has been redesigned and widened.

Being an L-series lens Canon also promise the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM – which will be available from the end of February – is fully weatherproof.

“The lens has been designed to stand up to the daily wear and tear of professional usage, making it a highly durable, reliable lens for use day-to-day by professional photographers,” Canon told

Giving his support to the product, Reuters production editor, Kevin Coombs, said: “Reuters photographers have used the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM for a number of years and it allows photographers a great level of flexibility.

“The focal length, fast aperture and image stabiliser all contribute to it being a workhorse lens and you’ll find it in many professional photographers’ camera bags.”

“I’m very much looking forward to seeing the improvements offered by the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,” Mr Coombs added.

Follow the link for more information on the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 ED VRII Review

Philip Dunn reviews the new version of the ever-popular Nikon 70-200mm f 2.8 lens. The new Mk II version has new optics and an improved VR system.

The best rarely comes cheaply, and at a hefty street price of around £1800, that’s certainly true of the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 ED VRII. But there are some things in life that are worth the extra investment  – even if you have to cut down on other things and save up until you can afford them. This lens is lens is worth waiting for.
The f2.8 70-200mm Nikon lens has been a firm favourite with professional photographers for many years. I think it has just got even better with this new version.
VR and AF controls
The optics have been redesigned to give even better performance and to meet the demands of full-frame sensors. There is an improved Vibration Reduction (VR) system which enables the photographer to shoot with shutter speeds up to for steps slower than might otherwise be necessary.
Two pairs of switches to control both VR and Auto Focus (AF) are positioned on the side of the lens and are easy to get at and positive to use.

nikon-70-200-f2.8-controls for VR & AF

The upper set of switches selects Manual or Auto Focus and also enables a limit on the focusing range. By toggling this focusing range switch, it is possible to select either the full range or limit the range from infinity down to 5 metres. This reduces any tendency the auto focusing might have to ‘hunt’.
The bottom pair of switches control the VR – On/Off and also Normal/Active. The Normal function is, as you might guess, for general subjects when you want to reduce camera shake. The  Active function is intended for fast moving subjects – panning, for instance, or shooting from fast-moving vehicles. Both these modes work very effectively.
The lens has seven ED elements designed to minimise chromatic aberration. Certainly my lens produces images that are noticeable free of colour ‘fringing’ along the boundaries that separate dark and bright parts of the image.
The Nano Crystal lens coating also seems highly effective in reducing ghosting and flare when pointing directly into strong sunlight.
Although the lens now has 21 elements it is in fact physically shorter than its predecessor. The moving parts of the zoom are all housed internally, so the focusing ring does not rotate the front element. This makes it much simpler to use polarising filters (77mm).
The optical performance of this lens is outstandingly good when used on my Nikon D700 which has the FX sensor.
Weather proofing
The lens mount has a rubber seal which really does help keep the camera and lens weatherproof – I have already put the camera to work in heavy snow and rain without and problems.
The lens comes complete with removable tripod bracket and lens hood.
I cannot fault the handling of the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 lens. It is superb – positive and silky smooth. It is however, quite a handful because it is a heavy piece of kit.
All in all I reckon this lens is absolutely excellent in just about every aspect.
More information
If you would like a fuller review of the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 ED VRII, Ken Rockwell has gone into a lot more detail.
The Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 ED VRII is available from these reliable sources

Jessops Photography Gear Offer Codes

Jessops have sent me a new set of Winter Voucher Codes offering discounts on camera gear for PhotoActive. These offers should help bring a warm glow after all that freezing weather we’ve endured.

If you go to Jessops by using the Jessops logo below, all you have to do is use the codes when you are checking out and paying for your goods.

Simple – I hope you find the photographic equipment you are looking for.