B&H Gear News Roundup: January 3, 2014

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Recent news: Samsung announced the new NX30 Mirrorless Camera and the Galaxy Camera 2, as well as two new lenses; DJI released a version of their Assistant software for Mac computers; the Sony F5 and F55 were updated with a Center Crop Mode for 16mm lenses; and planet Jupiter got ready to pose for Astrophotographers. 

This is your B&H Gear News Roundup for January 3, 2014. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest news as it breaks.

The New Samsung NX30 Mirrorless Camera and Lenses

Samsung announced a number of new products as part of the buildup to CES 2014, which takes place in Las Vegas on January 6. The new NX30 camera is among them, and it features a 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, an electronic viewfinder that can be tilted upward at an 80º angle, a touchscreen LCD and an improved processor. Its NX AF System II promises fast and accurate auto focusing, and the camera provides shutter speeds of up to 1/8000, and its continuous shooting mode pumps out up to 9 frames per second. A 3.5mm stereo microphone input is built-in, which video shooters will appreciate. Samsung also released two new lenses, both of which feature a 16-50mm focal length. One of the lenses, an "S" series, features an aperture range of f/2-2.8, and the other is f/3.5-5.6.

The New Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

Last year, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Camera, which was the Korean manufacturer's first attempt at making a smart point-and-shoot camera. Just ahead of CES 2014, they unveiled their follow-up, the new Galaxy Camera 2. While the new model isn't terribly different from the original, it does feature a new image processor that Samsung claims will positively impact the overall quality of the images it captures. If the above image looks like a hybrid of a smartphone and a camera to you, that's the whole point of this camera. It's controlled primarily through its 4.8" touchscreen. It runs Android 4.3, which means you can fully utilize the bounty of photo-related apps in Google's mobile ecosystem, such as Instagram and VSCO Cam, and take advantage of its 21x zoom and 16-megapixel sensor. Pricing and other key specs have not been released as of yet, but there's a chance we will learn more about it when CES kicks off early next week.

The DJI Phantom 2 and Phantom 2 Vision are now Mac Compatible

This week, DJI released a version of their Assistant software for Mac computers. What this means is that the Phantom 2 and Phantom 2 Vision are now Mac compatible. The layout and operation of the graphic user interface is the same as the PC version of this software, so if you used the old version, you can seamlessly switch right over. The look, however, is more consistent with Apple's clean and modern aesthetic. Just in case you're unfamiliar with what this software does, it's a pretty important piece of the quadcopter puzzle. DJI Assistant Software enables the user to update the firmware of their aircraft, as well as make key system tweaks, such as adjusting the motor speed, pitch, roll, yaw and other advanced settings. The new software is available to download here. It requires OS X 10.6 Lion or above, and the Phantom 2 Vision, Phantom 2 and A2 are the only supported products.

Sony Released a Major Firmware Update for the F5 and F55

There was great news for users of the Sony F5 and F55 cinema cameras this week. A new firmware update, which is available for both cameras, enables filmmakers to properly utilize Super 16mm lenses by taking the center crop from their 4K Super35 sensors. Firmware version 3.0 also brings a host of other features and improvements, such as user LUTs, look profiles, and S-Log3 as well as S-Gamut3 gamma curves. You can download the firmware here, or read the complete details in this B&H blog post about the update, and why it's exciting news.

The Planet Jupiter is Careening Straight Toward Earth!

Oh, the simple joy of a sensationalist headline! Anyhow, an impressive astronomical event is set to take place on Sunday, January 5th. Jupiter, our solar system's largest celestial body outside of the sun, will be shining its brightest and be at its most visible point of the entire calendar year of 2014. The full details are explained in this B&H blog post, but it's important to note that this will be a prime opportunity for telescope enthusiasts and astrophotographers to gaze into the heavens.

More news:

  • The 110" Ultra HD TV that Samsung promised in January of 2013 is set to ship to China, the Middle East and parts of Europe. The price, however, is unknown. Read more about the TV that's larger than a king-sized bed at Engadget.
  • Samsung also announced a few new products in their Shape series of smart home speaker systems, including a soundbar with a wireless sub. Get the details at The Verge.

    And that's your news for January 3, 2014.