Casio’s EX-P505 is the first offering from the digital photography pioneer that’s caused my blood to stir in a while. Despite its compact size, it feels great in the hands — very comfortable. It has a 5-megapixel sensor, 5X optical zoom, great macro capability, pop-up flash, long battery life, and excellent responsiveness.
But what truly thrills me is its outstanding MPEG-4 capability. The 640×480 at 30fps playback is gorgeous and very natural looking. Casio has incorporated lots of innovative movie features into this camera to make it equally adept at video recording as it is for taking still pictures. The website says that movie playback is not supported on a Mac, but iPhoto 5 should be able to grab the video and QuickTime should be able to play it. (Apple, please look at this camera now and make sure iPhoto/QT is compatible with it — it’s a winner!) Even before you upload the data, the swivel-out 2″ LCD is beautiful and an enjoyable way to watch your movies. You can also plug the camera into a TV, VCR, or digital camcorder. Casio says that the EX-P505 will be out in March for around $400.
If color management of your pictures has been driving you crazy, you might like the solutions from Xrite, especially their MonacoOPTIX colorimeter and the MonacoEZcolor software for printer profiles. This system works on both Mac and Windows, CRT and LCD monitors. For about $500 you can easily calibrate and match color among devices, without having to be a color scientist to do so.
I discovered one of my favorite gizmos of the day at the LensPen booth. I was already familiar with their handy cleaning pens for digital camera and camera phone optics and LCDs. But their new product, the Panamatic, is a low-cost solution for creating 360-degree VRs or panoramas with a digital camera. You simply mount the Panamatic on the tripod, attach the camera, use the bubble level to get things straight, then take a picture and rotate your camera one click-stop on the Panamatic. The result is a series of pictures with very little difference in height alignment — perfect for stitching things together later on the computer. And the best part? You can buy it right there on their website for $25.
Now, if I only had that Casio EX-P505 to mount on the Panamatic…