Adobe releases Lightroom 3.4 and Camera Raw 6.4

Adobe this week released Lightroom 3.4 and Camera Raw 6.4. The updates add compatibility for a multitude of new cameras and lens profiles, add tethering support for three popular DSLRs, and fix a number of minor bugs.

The new updates make Lightroom and Camera Raw compatible with raw files from 13 new camera models. There is now raw processing support for the Canon Rebel T3i, Canon Rebel T3, and Nikon D5100 DSLRs. The three new compact interchange-lens cameras on the list are the Samsung NX11, Olympus E-PL1s, and Olympus E-PL2. Adobe has also added compatibility for a handful of new point-and-shoot cameras, including the Fujifilm FinePix Z100, the Kodak EasyShare Z990, and the Olympus XZ-1.

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How to make a photo journal in iPhoto

Personalized photo journals make for wonderful holiday gifts! Make sure to order yours by Apple's December 18th shipping deadline to ensure delivery before December 24th.

With iPhoto’s book-creation tools, you can easily combine the best elements of photo albums, written diaries, and scrapbooks to create compelling and personal photo journals. Unlike a regular photo book or album, a photo journal takes your photographs and uses them to tell a story. The images are typically organized chronologically and combined with large amounts of text to create an extensive and coherent narrative.

These journals can be a history of a period of time in your life, or they can get creative. You can document all your meals for a month, take a snapshot every day for a year, or create a record of your child’s first months in the world.

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iPhoto update adds new card themes, fixes bugs

On Tuesday, Apple released the latest update to iPhoto 9—aka iPhoto ’11. iPhoto 9.1.2 adds new card themes to the app, as well as provides the obligatory improvements in “overall stability” and addresses a number of other minor issues.

Areas of improvement include fixes for Toolbars that didn’t auto-hide; formatting problems with book, card, and calendar themes; iPhoto 5 libraries that wouldn’t upgrade correctly; and photo backgrounds vanishing when changing book types.

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Olympus XZ-1

When you compare the Olympus XZ-1's features with those of the vast majority of point-and-shoot cameras, it absolutely blows them out of the water. We're talking about things like an F1.8 lens, full manual controls and manual focus, raw shooting, a click-control ring around its lens to adjust in-camera settings quickly, exposure- and white-balance bracketing modes, a built-in neutral density filter, a 10-megapixel CCD sensor that's bigger than most, a hot shoe for various accessories, and a 3-inch OLED screen. Great things, all of those.

But the problem with premium compact cameras is that, despite outclassing the lion's share of point-and-shoots, they ultimately have to compete with one another. The Olympus XZ-1 ($500) is certainly a versatile camera with a great range of features, but it falls short of similar high-end cameras in one way or another, and novices might have a hard time getting the most out of it. This camera leaves quite a bit to be desired in Auto mode, and accessing most of its features requires a fair bit of menu-diving. Some of its more-enticing features—the control ring around its lens and its manual focus controls, in particular—are better implemented in some of its direct competitors.

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Review: Nikon Coolpix S9100 point-and-shoot

The Nikon Coolpix S9100 is a camera that seemingly achieves the impossible on several fronts. First on that list of surprises is its 18X zoom lens, which matches the optical reach of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 at the top end of the pocket-megazoom market. It also serves up stunning image quality for its reasonable $330 price: In our subjective tests, the S9100's photos were on a par with those of much higher-priced cameras such as its sibling, the Nikon Coolpix P7000 ($450), and the Canon PowerShot G12 ($500). And despite that sophisticated firepower, it's also one of the easiest cameras to use right out of the box, thanks to its simple button layout, straightforward menus, and array of automated modes.

But here's the most mind-boggling thing about the Coolpix S9100: Despite having no manual controls and no raw shooting mode, it's the rare camera that's bound to please both novices and experienced shooters alike. It has a great blend of creative automated controls and overall versatility that will make you forget about manual controls very quickly—you probably won't even miss them. If you're looking for a long-zoom camera that can fit in your pocket, is very easy to use, rarely ever takes a bad photo, and never gets boring, the Coolpix S9100 is among the best options we've ever tested.

Hardware and optics

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Samsung announces Multi-Proof W200 Pocket Cam

Hot on the heels of Cisco’s murder of the Flip, Samsung has announced a new impressively rugged portable video camera of its own: The Multi-Proof W200 Pocket Cam.

The “Multi-Proof,” in this case, refers to the W200’s durability: It’s shock-proof and dust-proof, works underwater, and sports various coatings to weather the effects of fog and condensation. And thanks to the W200’s Aqua Mode, underwater video should look bright and clear.

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Sony delays launch of 3D camcorder due to parts shortage

Sony is delaying the launch of its 3D Handycam video camera by roughly a month due to difficulty securing parts following the March 11 earthquake in Japan.

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami halted factories and disrupted the distribution networks and supply chains on which Japanese electronics makers rely. For Sony, the knock-on effect of this disruption has been a shortage of at least one component for the new camcorders.

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