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So far, here are the top three announcements in my mind…

Canon has announced the 1D MK IV. This new camera has a brand new 45-point autofocus system, 10FPS and a 1.3 crop sensor that offers 16.1 megapixels. They’ve also added pro-level 1080p, 24 FPS video to the camera. What’s most interesting is that Canon is claiming to match Nikon’s new DS3 with a top ISO of 102,400!!!

I haven’t tested this new camera yet and yes, I do have one on the way. But given Canon’s VERY difficult road with the previous sports camera, the 1D MK III, I’m taking a real wait and see approach. The autofocus will receive a great deal of scrutiny since Canon had so much trouble on the III. But to Canon’s credit, they seemed to have made significant improvements in their AF technology with the 7D. So I am hopeful.

This new $5000 body will in effect be a top-dog camera for Canon, meant to compete with the D3S. But here’s the rub. The D3S has a 12.1 megapixel sensor and the 1D MK IV has a 16.1 megapixel sensor. Canon claims to be able to achieve super low-light performance with this larger sensor due to some back-end processing in their Digic 4 processors. Sorry folks, but the math doesn’t add up. We’ve covered scenarios like this before. When you cram four million more pixels onto an even SMALLER sensor than the one used in the Nikon D3/D3S, there’s just no way the high-ISO performance can match up. I predict that Nikon will still lead the way in low-light performance offering a full-frame sensor to go with it, and Canon will continue to expand it’s already significant lead over Nikon when it comes to 1080p, high-quality video. Tests are coming from me on both cameras when available.

Lensbaby has expanded its line of optics with the new Fisheye Optic and Soft Focus Optic. Each is available for use with the Lensbaby Composer® and Muse®*. In addition, the Soft Focus Optic is compatible with the Lensbaby Control Freak™.

The new Lensbaby Fisheye Optic allows photographers to turn their Lensbaby Composer or Muse into a fisheye lens by swapping out the installed optic and dropping the new Fisheye Optic into the lens. This optic’s six element multi-coated optical design features an ultra-wide 12mm F/4 focal length capable of capturing a 160 degree fisheye angle of view from infinity all the way down to one-inch from the front of the lens.

Due to the extremely wide angle field of view, photographers who use a full-frame camera will generally see a black circle around almost the entire image, and smaller APS-sized sensor shooters will see black at the corners of their images. This black edge is typical for standard fisheye lenses. However, the Lensbaby Fisheye Optic features a creative lens flare effect that causes the edge areas that would ordinarily be black to glow with color whenever there are bright light sources in the image. The Fisheye Optic lens flare effect is particularly apparent when shooting with a full frame camera.

The images created by the Fisheye Optic are sharp throughout the image at darker apertures. While the Fisheye Optic creates some edge blur at brighter apertures, it does not feature the Sweet Spot of sharp focus and dramatic blur that are trademarks of the Double Glass, Single Glass, and Plastic Optics. Instead of bending the lens, photographers typically will point their Lensbaby straight ahead to achieve a classic fisheye look.

The Lensbaby Fisheye Optic is available immediately for $149.95.

The Lensbaby Soft Focus Optic works with Lensbaby’s Creative Effects SLR camera lenses, the Composer, Muse and Control Freak. Images created with the 50mm focal length f/2 Soft Focus Optic feature a soft and diffused appearance. The Soft Focus Optic’s multi-coated optical glass doublet creates a much flatter field of focus than previous Lensbaby optics, making this optic well-suited for a variety of soft focus applications. This new optic does not have the Sweet Spot of sharp focus and dramatic blur outside of that spot created by the Double Glass, Single Glass, and Plastic Optics.

The Lensbaby Soft Focus Optic is available immediately for $89.95.

I already have both products sitting on my desk and when I return home I’ll put them through their paces and offer a review here on Photofocus.

Lexar Media announced it will offer the Lexar® Professional 600x CompactFlash® (CF) card, a new memory card that provides enhanced speed and performance. The Lexar Professional 600x CF memory card will offer increased speed and performance, with a guaranteed minimum sustained write speed capability of 600x (90MB/s) when paired with a UDMA 6 enabled device.

In addition, the Lexar Professional 600x CF memory card increases workflow with minimum sustained read speeds of 533x (80MB/s), or faster when paired with a UDMA 6-enabled reader such as the new Lexar Professional ExpressCard™ CompactFlash Reader. Available in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities.

The 16GB and 8GB versions of the new card and the reader will be available at the end of this month for US $299.99 and $199 respectively. The 32GB version will be able in November 2009. All capacities will include a free downloadable copy of the newest version of Image Rescue, Version 4.

Again, I have product on the way for testing and will report back as soon as I can.

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This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store