B&H Gear News Roundup: August 22, 2014

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THIS week in the news:  Sony announced the a5100 mirrorless camera, while Leica unveiled the M-P digital rangefinder camera. Kodak has rung the death knell of BW400CN film. Hasselblad announced the new 200-Megapixel H5D-200c Multi-Shot medium format camera. Barnes & Noble and Samsung released the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook.

The New Sony a5100 Mirrorless Camera

Sony added to its digital camera lineup with the APS-C format, 24.3MP sensor Alpha a5100 Mirrorless Digital Camera―the replacement for the popular and successful NEX-5T.

Before we get into the numbers, say goodbye to the "NEX" designation for Sony digital cameras. Today, if the Sony has interchangeable lenses, it will be receive the "Alpha" nomenclature.

Here are the details.

  • Compact and portable: the camera weighs only 8 ounces and is 4" long.
  • High resolution: APS-C CMOS 24.3MP sensor with ISO up to 25600.
  • Fast pictures: 179 phase-detection autofocus points with an AF speed of 0.07 seconds and a shooting speed of 6 fps.
  • Fast processing: The BIONZ X image processor is borrowed from the larger Sony a7 camera family.
  • Movie making: Full HD 1080p at 60, 30, and 24 fps with 4K stills output.
  • Mega Metering: 1200-zone evaluative exposure metering sensor with 3 modes.
  • Versatile: Like other members of the Alpha digital lineup, the a5100 features Sony's E-mount, giving it compatibility with the ever-expanding line of Sony and Sony Zeiss lenses.

In summary, the a5100 is a highly capable, powerful, compact addition to the impressive Sony Alpha line. For more information, click here.

The New Leica M-P Digital Rangefinder Camera

The last Leica to have the "MP" designation was an unobtrusive, limited run, film rangefinder that made a splash because it was 1) a film camera born in 2003 into a digital-photography world and, 2) like many of the company’s early cameras, did not feature the famous Leica red dot logo on the front. The newest M-P, the latest digital iteration of the Leica rangefinder, has been unveiled and, just like its film-loading cousin, this M-P is red-dotless as well.

Available in Silver or Black, this camera is an evolution of the Leica M digital camera. The digital M-P features a 2GB memory buffer―twice the size of the M240; a 24MP CMOS sensor; and a new sapphire crystal rear LCD that is unbreakable and virtually scratch-proof. Leica is the only camera manufacturer to use sapphire LCD protection.

Inside, with the exception of the double-sized buffer, much of the 24MP rangefinder remains the same. Processing is handled by the Leica Maestro image processor, full HD 1080p video is available, 6400 ISO maximum, 3 fps shooting speed, and a 0.68x optical viewfinder magnification.

And, like the other Leica film and digital M-series rangefinders, the new digital M-P accepts the entire line of Leica M lenses. However, the new design of the traditional "frame selector" on the M-P is necessitating a change in design for the current line of protectors and cases. Leica will be releasing M-P-compatible accessories in a few short weeks.

Kodak Poised to Discontinue BW400CN Film

They already took your Kodachrome away, but now, in what may be the latest victim of the digital revolution, Kodak Alaris has announced that it will soon be discontinuing the common Kodak BW400CN film. The company cites a steady decline in sales and customer usage in what is termed as "the world's finest-grained chromogenic film," but says that the current stock should last for approximately six months. Kodak adds, "We empathize with the Pro photographers and consumers who use and love this film, but given the significant minimum order quantity necessary to coat more product combined with the very small customer demand, it is a decision we have to make."

BW400CN film can be developed using standard C-41 color processing. You can still replenish your stock at B&H until the supplies run out.

The New 200-Megapixel Hasselblad H5D-200c Multi-Shot

Yesterday, Hasselblad either had its Instagram account hacked or the company wants photographers to start making prints the size of small island nations as it announced a 200MP [yes, the extra zero was intentional] CMOS version of the CCD medium-format digital camera, the H5D-200c MS.

Well, it's officially time to throw away your trusty 512MB memory cards, because each image coming out of this camera is a 600MB 8 bit TIFF. The new Hasselblad creates these enormous files by combining up to six images into one. You can choose one, four, or six image options while shooting exposures up to 12 minutes long at a maximum of 6400 ISO. Hassleblad claims that this new camera provides "the most accurate colour [sic] rendering and resolution available on the market today in the medium format."

Barnes & Noble and Samsung Release the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook

From Batman and Robin to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, everyone loves a good team-up. That's why Barnes & Noble decided to rely on one of the biggest tablet manufacturers, Samsung, to produce the hardware while Barnes & Noble focused on providing digital content. The new Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, announced this week, is essentially the entry-level Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 tablet with Barnes & Noble widgets and features. The home screen has a widget that shows both recommended and recently read titles and the Barnes & Noble Nook Store is the primary source for content.

Measuring 0.35" thin, the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is slim and portable. The 7" touchscreen provides a 1280 x 800 native resolution for 216 pixels per inch so you can watch 720p HD content. Access the Internet with 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi to download media and save it to the internal 8GB flash storage. If you're running low on space, you can pop a media card into the microSD slot. With $200 free content included, such as digital copies of bestselling books, popular magazines, and streaming TV shows, the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook allows you to start utilizing your tablet right out of the box.

More news:

Sony introduced three upgraded XDCAM and NX CAM video cameras. The full report is available in this B&H Explora post.

Focusrite announced the new Scarlett Solo USB audio interface. Read more about it in this B&H Explora post.

... and that's your news for the week of August 18th, 2014.

Editor's note: William Min contributed to this post.

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The news of Kodak Alaris discontinuing BW400CN is depressing.

I rediscovered the classic look of B&W in 2011 when I bought a 3-pack of BW400CN for the final Space Shuttle landing. For the year 2012, I decided to shoot the entire year exclusively in B&W; 2012 was a year of experimenting with B&W contrast filters and also of growth. It was about March before I started to visualize in B&W. Kodak BW400CN was my general purpose film because of its ISO 400 and the convenience of getting it developed locally instead of sending traditional B&W films out of state for developing. Of the 62 rolls of B&W film that I shot in 2012, probably 75% was Kodak BW400CN. I've bought many rolls of film from B&H and will continue as long as there is film.

Hi Ralph! Our condolences on the pending loss of the BW400CN!

There are a lot of film shooters at B&H that share your sentiments. There is something aesthetic about film that, I believe, digital cameras will struggle to replicate.

Keep on shooting and thanks for reading!