Pentax rolls out silver-edition K-5 DSLR, WG cameras and 645 lens

Pentax K-5 limited edition silver model

Pentax Imaging Co., Golden, Colo., announced the K-5 digital SLR will be available soon in Limited Edition Silver. Available

K-5 Limited Silver edition, body only view

K-5 Limited Silver edition, body only view

in the U.S. in limited quantities this special-edition model of the PENTAX K-5 digital SLR camera will feature an exclusive design with an original exterior color scheme and a uniquely shaped grip. Priced at $1699.95 (body kit), the K-5 Limited Edition Silver will be available in April 2011.

Along with the silver K-5, PENTAX announced three popular PENTAX DA Limited Edition Silver lens models designed for use with PENTAX digital SLR cameras also which will ship in the near future. Each limited edition lens will feature a high-quality, silver finish applied to the high precision machine shaped lens barrel, hood and cap.

The three prime lenses that will be available in silver include smc PENTAX-DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited Silver, smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited Silver, and smc PENTAX-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited Silver

The special edition, silver finish K-5 will match existing PENTAX FA-Limited series lenses and the new DA Limited Silver series lenses. The camera’s mode dial, control buttons and levers all feature the silver color. To improve handling, this special-edition model comes with a new, thicker grip than standard K-5 model. Shock-resistant, scratchproof reinforced glass has been used to protect the LCD monitor on the camera’s back panel and the status panel on the top panel.

The K-5 DSLR features 16.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, 7 FPS to capture fast action shots, a high-sensitivity 80-12800 ISO range, expandable to 51200, with improved noise performance overall, and widescreen 1080p HD video at 25 FPS with sound via built-in microphone or external 3.5mm stereo microphone jack.

Pentax also announced two new WG-series adventure cameras.  The Pentax Optio WG-1 includes 14 megapixel sensor, waterproof to 33 feet, shockproof, ruggedized design to withstand falls up to 5 feet, new crushproof construction to withstand weight force up to 220 pounds (100kgf kilogram-force), enhanced Digital Microscope mode offering five macro LEDs for excellent macro lighting plus a detachable macro stand for steadier capture. They  also feature fast face detection technology, smile capture, and blink detection for portraits including a handy new self-portrait assist mode. The WG-1 is available with or without GPS, which tracks and records positional data recording with images for geo-tagging applications. The camera is compatible with the waterproof Remote Control WP, as well as other Pentax infrared remotes.

Designed with the look of mountaineering equipment, the new Optios includes a woven web fabric strap in complementary color accents complete with a carabiner to attach the camera to a backpack and other outdoor gear.

Priced at $349.95, Optio WG-1 will be available in a choice of Black or Purple, while the Optio WG-1 GPS will be priced at $399.95 and available in Black or Yellow Green. Both cameras will ship in April 2011.

Pentax also announced the addition of a second lens for the 645D Medium Format digital camera. As the second model of the 645D lens series, the $4,999.95 smc Pentax D FA 645 25mm F4 AL [IF] SDM AW is designed as an ultra-wide-angle lens featuring PENTAX-original optics optimized for high-quality digital photography to assure exceptional image- performance as well as dependable dustproof, weather-resistant construction for active outdoor photographers.

Offering a focal length of approximately 19.5mm in the 35mm format (or approximately 15.5mm when mounted on a PENTAX 645-format film SLR camera body), this lens provides the widest perspective of all PENTAX 645 lenses. Creating visual effects unique to ultra-wide-angle lenses — such as exaggerated perspective and enhanced depth of field — this lens may be used for a wide range of subjects including spectacular landscapes and indoor shooting in confined spaces, the company said.

In memoriam: Lis Kleider

Lis Kleider

Lis Kleider

Elisabeth R. (Lis) Kleider, founder of Kleider Inc., a Dallas, Texas-based photo distributor, died unexpectedly Jan. 31, 2011.

Kleider was born in Aussig, Germany on Sept. 22, 1932 to Franz Roubal and Annemarie Prokop. After moving to America, she wound up on the doorstep of Bob Dorinson, western division manager of Lenco products, whom she had met while employed as an interpreter at Photokina. Kleider married Hans Joachim (Joe) Kleider in 1957 and together they purchased a Dallas distributor, Dickens Sales Co., a subsidiary of Coast Manufacturing. After selling her interest to parent company Coast, she subsequently founded photo distributor, Kleider Inc., in March of 1988. She retired from the photo industry in 2006.

Kleider is preceded in death by her husband Joe, sister Maria Kleist and brother Johannes Franz Roubal.

She is survived by her sisters-in-law, nephew and niece, five grand-nieces & nephews and a host of loving friends.

Visitation will be held Feb. 11 from 2:00 to 3:00 at Restland Wildwood Chapel, 13005 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75243, with funeral service following at 3:00 PM.

Carl Zeiss joins Micro Four Thirds group

Hot on the heels of the announcement by Schneider Kreuznach that it was joining the Micro Four Thirds System standard group, Germany’s Carl Zeiss AG is now also a member, and will be releasing lenses compliant with the standard.

According to an announcement by Olympus Imaging Corp., one of the founders of the standard, Zeiss HD Video lenses will be available to users of Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Chris’ Camera Center wins photo book promotion contest

The Aiken Standard reports Chris’ Camera Center, Aiken, S.C., won the grand prize of $2,500 in Fujifilm‘s “Best Photo Book Promotion Ideas Ever” contest. The contest was open to owners of independent photo stores across the United States. Store owner Chris Lydle said his idea to promote coffee table photo books was simple: As customers came in to work on pictures at one of the center’s kiosks, the employees would put together a 12-by-12-page book with that individual’s photographs, just to show the customers what a book of their images would look like.

Samsung launches PL20 and ES80 compact value cameras

Samsung ES80

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Seoul, Korea, announced two compact cameras, the PL20 and ES80, for value-conscious photographers. The $199.99 PL20 packs a 14-megapixel sensor, a 27mm wide angle and a 5x optical zoom, plus HD movie recording, into a simple to use and stylish device, and is powered by a Li-ion rechargeable battery. The $99 ES80 is a 12-megapixel camera with 5X optical zoom and internal charging system.

Both the PL20 and the ES80 come in four vibrant colors — Silver, Tomato Red, Pink and Black — and include Samsung’s Smart Auto feature, with multiple modes for automatically selecting the best setting for the photographer’s chosen theme, and automatically adjusting that mode to match with the surroundings.

“The PL20 and ES80 are fantastic point-and-shoot cameras, designed to create a fun and easy photography experience which can be enjoyed by everyone,” says Hyunho Chung, executive vice president and head of the Digital Imaging Business, Samsung Electronics. “Together they make taking great pictures simple and fun for any photographer, and are driven by our desire to add value for users while retaining an affordable price. The PL20 and ES80 are further evidence of Samsung’s commitment to meeting the needs of each and every photographer out there, regardless of their level of expertise or their budget.”

Best Buy offers “future proof” Buy Back Program at no cost this week

During the Super Bowl, Best Buy, Minneapolis, Minn., launched a multi-media campaign to promote its new Buy Back Program and a special week-long offer to “future proof” technology purchases for free. Beginning with a Super Bowl commercial featuring star appearances from Justin Bieber and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, the campaign encourages customers to take advantage of a special offer to receive the Buy Back Program at no cost when purchasing gear at Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile through Feb. 12.

Best Buy launched Buy Back in January as a solution for customers who want to keep up with the greatest gadgets but are concerned that their gear will become obsolete. Best Buy customers may purchase the Buy Back Program when buying a new product at Best Buy and redeem it at a later time, for up to 50 percent of the original purchase price paid in the form of a Best Buy gift card, as long as the device is in good working condition and includes all original parts.

Best Buy is waiving its upfront Buy Back Program price until Feb. 12 on the complete range of consumer electronics covered by the Buy Back Program, including post-paid mobile phones, laptops, netbooks, tablets and televisions. Ordinarily, the cost of the Buy Back Program varies by product category, with protection for any laptop, netbook or tablet, for example, being $69.99.

Canon launches new cameras and lenses, reaches milestone

The new ECO T3i from Canon

The new EOS T3i from Canon

Canon U.S.A. Inc., Lake Success, N.Y., announced an array of new products. Among them are the  EOS Rebel T3i and EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR Cameras. Complementing the EOS Rebel T2i DSLR, the EOS Rebel T3i, Canon’s new flagship Rebel, offers features for beginning photographers, and the EOS Rebel T3 provides a more attractively priced option for DSLR consumers.

For the young enthusiast learning photography or the adult looking to learn more, Canon’s new Feature Guide instruction will walk Rebel T3i users through functions and provide recommendations for various settings. Point-and-Shoot users looking to step-up to a DSLR will enjoy the T3i camera’s Scene Intelligent Auto mode, the most intuitive automatic camera mode available in a Canon Rebel camera to date, providing complete scene analysis and optimized settings. The EOS Rebel T3i features Canon’s three-inch Vari-Angle Clear View LCD screen, ideal for properly composing those difficult overhead shots.

Canon’s new EOS Rebel T3 DSLR camera offers users a small, lightweight interchangeable lens camera with fun options. The Rebel T3 features HD movie capture, 12-megapixel resolution and Canon Feature Guide.

Both new Rebel models are compatible with Canon’s complete line of more than 60 Canon EF and EF-S lenses.

Canon also announced four new PowerShot Digital cameras: the PowerShot SX230 HS, ELPH 500 HS, ELPH 300 HS and ELPH 100 HS models. With these new introductions, Canon debuts the 24mm wide angle, 5X Optical zoom model, the PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, along with the GPS-equipped PowerShot SX230 HS. In addition, all four cameras come equipped with Canon’s HS SYSTEM for exceptional shooting in low-light, Full 1080p HD video, new Movie Digest Mode and 32 Smart AUTO scenes.

The new PowerShot ELPH models have now instituted a “HS” suffix to represent the inclusion of the HS SYSTEM in each model. Introduced last year, the HS SYSTEM is a technology used to enhance image quality in low-light situations without the need for a flash.

The Canon PowerShot SX230 HS, ELPH 500 HS, ELPH 300 HS and ELPH 100 HS now feature Full 1080p HD video with Dynamic Image Stabilizer. A new feature called Movie Digest mode can also be found in all the new PowerShot models, allowing consumers to shoot a short video before capturing a still image and then combine a full day’s worth of videos into one clip.

The PowerShot SX230 HS will be available at the end of March for an estimated selling price of US$349.99. The PowerShot ELPH 500 HS is scheduled to be available at the end of March for the estimated retail price of $299.99, while PowerShot ELPH 300 HS and PowerShot ELPH 100 HS Digital cameras are scheduled to be available in mid-March for an estimated selling price of $249.99 and $199.99 respectively.

Canon's new EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM super-telephoto lens

Also new from Canon are two versions of its Image Stabilizer (IS) super-telephoto lenses. The EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM and EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM super-telephoto lenses are designed for professional photographers and filmmakers. Replacing the current EF 500mm f/4L and EF 600mm f/4L IS lenses, both the new EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM and new EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM are lighter and more durable than their predecessors. Both lenses also achieve a higher level of image quality through the incorporation of two fluorite optical lens elements which help to minimize chromatic aberration and eliminate color blurring around the edges of the subject.

The Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens is expected to be available in May for an approximate retail price of $9,499.00. The Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens is expected to be available in June for an approximate retail price of $11,999.00.

Canon is also developing a new super-telephoto lens, the EF 200‐400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER l.4x, being developed as an L-series super-telephoto lens with an integrated 1.4x extender and high‐performance Image Stabilizer technology. The new lens will offer exceptional flexibility by incorporating a built-in 1.4x extender that increases the maximum focal length to 560mm for sports and wildlife photography. High-quality images with high levels of resolution and contrast will be possible through the use of advanced optical materials such as fluorite crystal. The new lens will also include dust- and water-resistant construction designed for extended usage under harsh conditions.

Canon also announced it has produced its 60-millionth lens, an EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM.

GreetingCardsDirect launches photo cards site

PhotoCardsDirect

GreetingCardsDirect.com, an online greeting card company based in Ridgefield Park, N.J., has launched PhotoCardsDirect.com, offering more than 500 designs. The site features a new order process offering personalized control over the written greeting, more than 100 different card fonts, and the ability to upload multiple pictures to a card. PhotoCardsDirect.com also offers free envelope personalization and free ground shipping on all digital photo card orders.

“We’re extremely excited to launch our newest venture, PhotoCardsDirect.com,” says Laura Ahern, marketing director, GreetingCardsDirect.com. “By offering high quality, stylish photo cards at low prices, we believe we’ve found the sweet spot between trendy and affordable. Now anyone can send beautifully designed custom photo cards to their friends and loved ones without breaking the bank.”

In addition to PhotoCardsDirect.com, GreetingCardsDirect.com also operates the ChristmasCardsDirect.com, and SympathyCardsDirect.com brand names.

On the DIMAcast: The value of knowing what you don’t know

How do you go from zero to $5 million in sales in 8 short years, and own your own building in the meantime? It’s been a wild and crazy ride for Fort Worth Camera, but owner Jeff Masure reveals how his future will be “much more organized, and we’ll be that much more of a ferocious team.” On the new episode of the DIMAcast, you’ll hear how learning through trial and error didn’t work for Masure. Discover what enabled Fort Worth Camera to grow and prosper while similar businesses stagnated and withered during the same time period. Listen in (or read the transcript, which includes pictures) and be inspired — and find ideas to make your business grow and prosper.

The internet is dead! Long live the internet

eWeek Europe reports the internet, as we know, is coming to an end. The Internet authority IANA assigned the last remaining batches of IPv4 addresses to the regional Internet registry of the Asia Pacific.

As eWeek Europe explains, IP addresses are unique online identifiers made up of four number groups, allowing computers to communicate with each other around the world. The Internet is built around version four of the IP addressing scheme (IPv4) which can accommodate around 4.3 billion addresses — an amount that will soon be completely deleted, perhaps as early as this year.

This development hasn’t taken anyone by surprise, of course. In the early 1990s, when it was first predicted the IPv4 addresses would eventually run out, the IPv6 standard was developed. The new version allows trillions of new IP address combinations, because it uses 128 bits of address data, giving it much greater capacity to accommodate the growth of the Internet than IPv4 addresses, which contain only 32 bits.

Unfortunately, IPv6 has no direct commonality with IPv4 — meaning a single-stack IPv6 machine cannot talk to an IPv4 machine. The two protocols will therefore have to run in parallel – or dual stack – for some time, despite their inability to intercommunicate, until IPv4 can be retired.