Review: Olympus E-PL2 camera

Olympus is putting a lot of energy into its Micro Four Thirds product line, and the PEN E-PL2 digital SLR demonstrates that the company has no plans to rest on its laurels. Even though it has stayed with the 12.3-megapixel Live CMOS image sensor that we see in other PEN cameras, Olympus has redesigned the body of the E-PL2, improved the LCD, upgraded the accessory port, retooled the kit lens, and introduced a handful of creative accessories. The result? A camera that is fun to use and also takes great pictures.

Features overview

The E-PL2 features a 3-inch LCD with 460,000 pixels, 720p HD movie capture, the latest-generation TruePic V Image Processor, an SDHC- and SDXC-compatible memory card slot, and four color choices for the body: red, silver, white, or black. Additionally, the new Zuiko 14-42mm 3.5-5.6 II MSC kit lens has improved autofocusing.

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A photographer's workflows for the MacBook Air

First we looked at how the MacBook Air performs as a laptop for photographers on the go. Now I'd like to share some of my recommended workflows for shooters who add a MacBook Air to their camera bag.

Even with a MacBook Air, most photographers will continue to use their home-base computer to serve as a primary workstation—something with a larger screen for viewing and editing, and more storage and back-up drives. The MacBook Air works best as a satellite laptop—one that occasionally offloads cargo, namely photographs and video, to the mothership.

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Field testing the MacBook Air for photographers

On paper, the MacBook Air appears to be the answer to many roving photographers’ dreams. It’s small enough to travel in a camera bag yet fast enough to run major photography software.

The MacBook Air’s maximum thickness is a mere 0.68 inch. You can comfortably hold while open it in one hand, and the wedge-shaped design makes the laptop easy to slip into the pocket of a camera backpack. Despite the MacBook Air’s portability, specs for it indicate that it’s no lightweight on performance. With the MacBook Air you can run iPhoto ’11, Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 3, or Aperture 3 anywhere.

But how does it hold up in the field? Over the course of six weeks I traveled by plane, cab, bus, and on foot with a 13-inch 2.13GHz MacBook Air in my camera backpack. I used it to edit photos, write articles, upload video, and manage my sites. The Air endured the same rigors of the road as my DSLR and backpack. And when the dust settled, I liked the Air more than ever.

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Online backup options for photographers

When I worked for Kodak two decades ago at a creative teaching outpost in Maine, I heard many stories about losing pictures. The worst was from a teacher in his 40s: as a young man, he had moved to Manhattan, only to have his apartment building catch fire his first night in town. All his equipment and original photographic work was destroyed. He had to start over.

While the advent of digital cameras has made it easier for photographers to protect and back up their images, you still need a plan. By augmenting your photo collection's physical backup with one or several of the following online systems, you can keep your memories intact.

Back up on the go with an Eye-Fi card

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Apple updates Digital Camera RAW to support 6 new cameras


Apple has released an update to Digital Camera RAW that adds support for six new cameras. This compatibility update, version 3.6, affects iPhoto and Aperture users.

Five of the cameras are DSLRs, including Canon's just-released additions to its Rebel line, the T3i and the T3. The Olympus E-5 is now supported, as are two Pentax DSLR cameras, the K-r and K-5. The Olympus and Pentax cameras were all released in September 2010. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100, a megazoom point-and-shoot camera with raw shooting capabilities, rounds out the list.

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IRISPhoto 4 scanner

The IRISPhoto 4 scanner from IRIS scans 3.5-by-5-inch and 4-by-6-inch photos, at either 300 or 600 dots per inch (dpi) with 24-bit color depth. It’s a small device, with a built-in rechargeable battery and 512MB of internal memory. Unfortunately, the photo scans from the IRISPhoto 4 tend to be a bit under saturated and contained visible image noise, though scans have good detail.

The white scanner stands at 2 inches tall, 6 inches long, and 2.5 inches wide. Its small size, along with its built-in software utilities, makes it easily portable.

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Sony previews new translucent mirror DSLR camera

Sony released two of the most inventive cameras of 2010: The NEX-5, a powerful compact interchangeable lens camera (CILC), and the SLT-A55, a DSLR with a translucent mirror. This week at the CP+ imaging trade show in Yokohama, Japan, Sony gave attendees a sneak peek into the future of its camera line.

The big draw was a revealing prototype of the next Sony SLT (single-lens translucent) camera, the A77. The upper mid-range camera will replace the three-year-old A700 in Sony's line-up. Sony decided to stick with the translucent theme and created a clear plastic mock-up of the camera that showed-off its key features:

The A77 will use the same translucent mirror technology that made its debut in the A55, feature an APS HD CMOS sensor, and shoot AVCHD video. As with the A55, the translucent mirror will allow the camera to have continuous phase detection autofocus in Live View mode and while shooting video. A look at the prototype reveals a few other details, including an articulating LCD screen and a smaller LCD screen on the top of the camera. While official tech specs have not been released for the camera, it is rumored to have a resolution around 20 megapixels. Sony plans on releasing the camera later this year.

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