All sorts of things that happened lately

I'm back from vacation, a terrible cold, and working on several other great things (to be announced soon). How much newsworthy stuff can possibly come together in three weeks?
Apparently, a lot!

Spheron strikes back with an HDR Video Camera

Spheron reclaims the pole position in HDR high-tech equipment by premiering a full blown HDR video camera at Siggraph.

Here are the main specs:

- HDR video capture
- 20 f-stops of dynamic range
- full HD resolution 1920 x1080
- 24 and 30 fps, possibly up to 60 fps
- saves to fiber coupled storage server
- records 5 hours of EXR frame sequences

Well, they almost premiered it - read the full story at fxguide! It's still a work-in-progress, according an eyewitness it still has the size and weight of a small refrigerator. Nevertheless a huge leap forward, redirecting the industry into a most appreciated direction.

If my recent post about the Civetta sounded slightly disapproving of Spheron, that was unintentional. After all, that's like comparing BMW and Mercedes... In all fairness, it shouldn't go unmentioned that Spheron has also updated their core product:

The infamous SpheroCam HDR.

Hardware-wise the SpheroCam HDR comes now tethered to a Panasonic Toughbook with touchscreen interface, mounted right on the tripod. But the most R&D went into the software that runs the system: It now comes in an Easy and a Pro variant. Easy is the One-Touch solution for all those police investigators out there, Pro for everyone who know what their doing. And that Pro version really does sound awesome:
  • EXR-capable panorama viewer, hardware accelerated
  • Marker-based set measurements from two EXR panos
  • Export of 3d marker data as locators for AutoDesk Maya
Read all about Spheron's new software here.

Try the 360 Precision Adjuste MKII panorama head for free

360 Precision launched a demo program, that's as unique as ingenious.
You just put your name on a waiting list, and after a while you get their latest top-of-the-line Adjuste MKII panohead in the mail. Keep it for 10 days, shoot panos until your shutter rings, and then you send it off to the next guy on the list. That is, if their Adjuste head is just half as good as all the reviews report (here and here), you will most certainly want to keep it...

If you're ready to get spoiled by a $1000 panorama head, sign up here.

New cameras: Ricoh GR Digital III and Canon PowerShot G11

I find it interesting how Dynamic Range has become an important feature for camera makers, even in the compact class. Dare to say I told you so. They're finally focussing on making snapshots better, not just bigger!

Ricoh keeps throwing in the DR Double Shot mode, first seen in the Ricoh CX1 (blogged about it in March). According to specs it extends the range to 12 EVs, which is what you could previously only expect from a RAW shot on a DSLR. There's a good review of the new Ricoh GR Digital III on the Photography Blog, and some great test shots on Couldn't find any review mentioning if the DR Double Shot mode is still limited to JPEG output... so they might also do it in RAW by now??

Canon even went a further in their dedication to Dynamic Range. Updating the hugely successful PowerShot G10 to G11, they even sacrificed 4 MP of resolution in favor of a 2 stop DR increase. No reviewer could confirm this yet, for now we only have Canon's announcement talking about putting image quality first. Sure sounds great to me...

New HDR software: HDR Darkroom

We also have a new player entering the game: HDR Darkroom. It claims have a superior tonemapper: faster, better, more user friendly. You know, the usual claims. How much of that is true you can find out yourself. Get the first public Beta version.

Sorry for the long post, thanks to everyone sending me emails or posting hints in the forum. I'll try to react faster next time and chop news up in more bite-sized pieces.

Until then,
Happy Shooting!
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