**** 2008 NEWS ****

NEWS 2009

NEWS 2007

NEWS 2006


what's the news from 'BIOFOS' since your last visit?


DECEMBER 2008:

There was an (as yet unexplained) website service outage from December 26th - 30th. I apologise to those visitors who could not access the site during the period. Unfortunately this sort of thing happens from time to time.

E-30 and Mk II ZD 14-54 ON TEST

31st December 2008: My review of the E-30 is more or less complete. I have added many test images for download and will continue to add more as I have the camera for just a few more days. There will also be minor additions as I continue to explore the camera and new lens. Unfortunately, the conditions in North Yorkshire, UK, at the moment don't encourage photography - it's minus 4 and foggy and set to remain this way for some time.

18th December 2008: I have completed the first half of my review of the E-30. Image section to follow. Read it here .

3rd December: I have received the post-production E-30 today at 2.00pm. It will take me a few days to complete my review and post the results. First impressions? Heavier than anticipated, lovely feel, well built, ergonomics seem pretty good at first try, nice VF, fast AF, very responsive - but is it too expensive?

Please drop back in about 4 days for my preliminary review.


NOVEMBER 2008:

I have been promised a pre-production E-30 in the next 10 days (as at 21st November). Though I will not be able to comment on the images because the firmware is yet to be finalised, I can promise you a good look at the other areas of interest such as handling and the new features the E-30 offers. Please keep looking back - the report will be posted as soon as possible.


OCTOBER 2008:

ZD 9-18mm UWA ZOOM on TEST

We've been waiting a long time for a mid-way alternative to the ZD7-14mm and ZD11-22mm lenses; and now it's here, the new, 'budget' ZD9-18mm zoom. I was pleased to get an early example from Olympus UK; read my findings here.

Chris Smolewski's Underwater Gallery lll

Another and dare I say, the best gallery so far from Chris Smolewski's underwater escapades with his E-420 and new ZD11-22mm lens. Simply stunning - do not miss this.


SEPTEMBER 2008:

ZD 25mm PANCAKE on TEST

At last I've found the time to complete my test of the diminutive Zuiko Digital 25mm x 2.8 Pancake lens and write up the review. My apologies for the delay. Read my findings and opinion here.

I'VE BEEN QUIET!

Thanks for all your emails. Yes, I'm still alive. I have been sooooo... busy with pressing personal matters I'm afraid the website had to take a back seat for a few weeks. However, very soon I'll be back on track. I have been working on some nice stuff for you all:

I've got the ZD25mm on test at the moment and I'm half way through my review.

I'm about to start officially reviewing the Olympus SP570 UZ bridge camera which has already impressed me.

AND I've been promised a ZD9-18mm lens as soon as Olympus UK has a spare.

Please bear with me for a few more days and I'll be back up to speed.

OLYMPUS Mju 1040 compact REVIEW:

Olympus UK asked me to have a look at their new generation of compact camera with the Mju 1040. I don't normally review compacts but I was happy to have a look. See my findings here .

4GB SANDISK C/F CARDS (30 MBs) at a SUPER PRICE:

Here's a 'heads-up' for all biofos users; www.picstop.co.uk, a UK & Jersey based company are currently offering the brand new fast Sandisk Extreme III C/F 30MB/s cards for a very attractive price of 17.99 each plus 1.65 UK postage if you accept the Jersey office dispatch option (recommended). By keeping the price below 18.00 the Jersey office of the company legally avoids VAT for UK imports. In any case their current price is way below any other websites offering the same or the older Extreme III C/F card.

I ordered two on Monday 1st September and they arrived Wednesday 3rd. Excellent service. Cards come in fully sealed factory packaging with Rescue Pro version 3, C/F card clear keeper and special carry case. They are the genuine article.

In the E-3, which has UDMA support, these cards are marginally faster than the Extreme IV cards (by my crude testing).

For E-cameras other than E-3 there will be no speed advantage as these camera do not support fast card writing.

Go straight to the Picstop page here .


AUGUST 2008:

MICRO FOUR-THIRDS ANNOUNCEMENT:

For all the folks waiting for a new generation of camera, somewhere between DSLR and compact comes this promise from Olympus and Panasonic - a new mini-DSLR. This is the much anticipated 'EVIL - Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangeable Lens' camera. A new series of micro lenses will be designed to use the new micro-4/3rds mount and this alongside a body that does not require a mirror promises some exciting technological advances.

* There's further explanation of the proposals at DCResource including some diagramatic representations of the differece in size between the traditional DSLR and the Micro 4/3rds type camera. Please press here .

* There's more information at the official 4/3rds site run by Olympus here .

* And there's a thoughtful analysis by Dave Etchells of Imaging-Resource here .

* For more technical details you can read the official White Paper here .

* Translation of DCWatch interview with Ogawa Harou; Olympus Imaging, Japan by kind permission of 'Hokutu' here .

* There is now a detailed look at te G1 at Imaging Resource here . When you scroll down the page there's a good side by side comparison with the Olympus E-420. Yes, the Panny G1 is slightly smaller.

4/3rds 50mm Shoot-out:

For all of you who have wondered 'what is the difference between various lenses at around 50mm' well here's the answer. Jens Birch, an Olympus user of much experience and a scientist, has put together this beautifully documented study of 11 lens' performance at ~50mm focal length. This really is well worth the read here .


JULY 2008:



Second Underwater Gallery by Chris Smolewski from Canada:

Enjoy Chris's second gallery with these great shots here .


JUNE 2008:

UK Photo Safari Group Whitby Weekend Report:

Another great event was organised for members of UKPSG, this time a weekend at Whitby, North Yorkshire, UK. To make matters more interesting a photo 'challenge' also took place between the attendees for first prize of an Olympus E-420 plus pancake lens. You can read all about the event and much more here .

ZD 25mm x f=2.8 Pancake Samples:

I have uploaded two zip files from Chris Brown in which he compares the new ZD25mm Pancake against the ZD14-42mm standard zoom at 25mm across the apertures against the same scene. Please download them to study. This is Chris's explanation of his method: "The zip files have the layers split from a .psd file. The background is f22, layer 1 f16 etc., in one stop decrements and I have included the pancake f22 file so you can see the whole view. Benbo mk 2 tripod, 'cable' release and set to manual focus and did a single auto focus on the roof at the beginning of each run. Set to SHQ, natural, sharpening etc set to 0".

Pancake sample crops here.

ZD14-42 sample crops here.

Pancake f=22 overview image.

Thanks to Chris for taking the time to do these test shots and for sharing them. Sorry it took a while to get them posted.


MAY 2008:

E-520 Review:

I have completed the major part of my report on the new E-520. I need to undertake further work obtaining more challenging images for both sensor and lens as well as completing examinations of how the camera behaves at higher ISO's, with Noise Reduction on and off and the full effects of Shadow Enhancement Technology. These will be done first week in June. For now please read my thoughts so far.

E-520: Review Sample.

Olympus UK have kindly provided an E-520 for me to sample and provide a 'first impressions' type review. I do not have the camera for long so the review will be brief. I need about 5 days to complete this so please keep looking back. It should be on-line no later than 30th May 2008.

UK Photo Safari Group go to Chatsworth.

Another UKPSG outing was orgainsed by Brian Mosley, this time to Chatsworth Horse Trials, the world famous equestrian event. Many of the group members were able to attend and you can read what they thought of the event and how their Olympus equipment performed on the day.

E-420:

Though I requested an E-420 and pancake lens from Olympus UK on announcement, it has not arrived. I'm assuming this is due to the pancake being in short supply. As the E-420 seems to be now commercially available in the UK (I saw two for sale in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Thursday 22nd May) it may well be too late to review the camera. However, even if Olympus do not provide me with a pancake lens for review I'll probably be buying one anyway for my own use. That being so I will review the ZD25mm x f=2.8 as soon as I obtain one. In the mean time Chris Brown, an Olympus DSLR fan has offered me sample images from his pancake lens. I'll be posting these shortly.

Update on SWD50-200:

On 27th May 2008 I heard from Olympus R&D in Japan. There are a few small but bothersome issues arising from the tests I submitted. In short they have asked me to repeat the tests. It may be a while before I can report the results.

Review of ZD50-200mm SWD Lens:

I am still trying to complete a detailed review of the new SWD lens for readers. Not everything has gone quite smoothly and I am in discussion with OlympusEuropa and Olympus Japan R&D to address a small issue. We hope this will be resolved soon, so please bear with us; sorry for the delay.


APRIL 2008:

Tunisian Desert with E-3 by Roel Hendrickx:

Photographer Roel Hendrickx takes his E-3 on a safari across the deserts of Tunisia. Enjoy some of the spectacular images he brought back in his report of the safari and his slide show.

Special offer on 1GB xD cards:

xD cards - 1GB at special offer price 7.00 incl P&P in UK: SOLD OUT!!

I have just obtained a small batch of genuine Olympus xD cards at a special rate for my website visitors. The cards are Type M, 1GB, Made in Japan by Toshiba. They are un-boxed and brand new. Be quick before they all go! More details posted in the Cornucopia section (scroll down to 'On Offer') here.


MARCH 2008:

biofos moves server:

At the end of March I moved my hosting package to a state of the art server based in UK. I hope you did not experience too much downtime on the switch over - I kept both sites running during switch over. My new package will provide an improved service and I apologise for the intermittent periods of downtime that occurred between January and March 2008. NetPivotal, my previous host, became totally unreliable.

Using OM Macro and Ring flashes on E-system cameras.

I'm often asked if it's possible to use OM flashes on the new DSLR's. The older T8, T10 & T28 ring and macro flashes can be used to great effect with a little study and some minor alterations. After some study I'm happy to share my findings.

E-3 does Namibia

UK photographer David Baron takes his E-3 on a motorcycle safari across the challenging country of Namibia. Enjoy some of the spectacular images he brought back in the slide show.

What a surprise - E420 and a Pancake!

5th March brought a surprise announcement from Olympus. A new highly specified small profile DSLR with an equally small and new Zuiko Digital 25mm x 2.8 pancake lens. Read all about it by clicking the link.


FEBRUARY 2008:

Comparing the standard & exotic zooms at 14mm.

While I still had the ZD12-60mm SWD (on loan from Olympus) it occurred to me that looking at all the standard zooms performance at the popular 14mm focal length might prove revealing. As it happens the results are in line with past experience though, all things considered, the tiny ZD14-42mm excels.

ZD300mm SuperTelephoto lens on test.

In a joint venture Ken Rowe and I have put together an article that compares the ZD300mm on both the E-1 & E-3. In addition there's a comparison of the ZD50-200mm + EC14 to see if it stacks up against the ZD300mm. Well worth the read.

biofos.com receives International recognition!

In the February edition of Digital Photographer Issue 66 (a UK based magazine with International circulation) this website receives recognition for the support it gives Olympus and to initiatives such as the UK PhotoSafari Group that in turn sponsor and encourage the use of Olympus products.

Also featured is one of my surreal 'Light Tube' images.


JANUARY 2008:

E-3 plus SWD12-60mm REVIEW

The E-3 review is now complete. If you have not read it in the last 48 hours please look back.

E-3 REVIEW DELAYED:

UPDATE ON E-3 REVIEW:

I received the SWD12-60mm lens on Tuesday 15th January. Our horrendous UK weather is wreaking havoc at the moment and this week I have had only one short session with the new lens. It is so frustrating. When (if ever) the weather takes up a little I will complete my testing sessions. Until then I can only aplogise. With luck I'll post my review next week.

As at 11th January: Still awaiting the ZD12-60mm SWD lens. I have been promised the lens will be here Monday 14th January 2008. This means the E-3 review is going to be later than I thought - my apologies. I hope to have it completed by 21st January. Please be patient.


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Posted February 2009 Copyright © 2004/5/6/7/8/9 John Foster