Friday, January 25, 2008

Samsung Launches Whopping 14.6 Megapixel SLR

The Samsung GX-20, aimed at the top end of the amateur market, is expected to be launched in March.

Samsung announces the launch of a new digital SLR camera aimed at the top end of the amateur market. The GX-20, to be released in March, boasts an impressive 14.6 megapixels and is priced at $1,400 when bundled with an 18-55mm lens.

Robert King, Commercial Director of Samsung Cameras says, "With the launch of the GX-20 digital SLR, Samsung has a full digital camera line-up ranging from convergent compact digital cameras through to high-end fully-featured digital SLRs. This product is the start of an exciting DSLR range for Samsung as it is our first DSLR with our own manufactured CMOS sensor. This is a very important step for Samsung which is set to support our expansion in this competitive product sector. The new GX-20 offers cutting-edge functions as well as outstanding picture quality to satisfy users of all abilities."

The GX-20 has a 2.7" LCD screen, and live view through either the optical viewfinder or the LCD display; it's capable of continuous shooting at speeds of 3fps for nine-frame bursts. Additional features include an Enhanced Digital Filter, which allows for a greater range of exposures and can be used to add effects or compensate for missing pixels after taking a photo, a shake-reducing system, a water- and dust-resistant body and the Dual Dust Removal System, which removes particles from the sensor. There is a one-touch RAW button; the GX-20 is also capable of converting RAW files to JPEG format.

Samsung has also announced the launch of two new lenses, 18-55mm II F3.5~F5.6 and 18-250mm F3.5~F6.3. The lenses, which are also released in March, are compatible with both the GX-20 and the already-released GX-10.,141753-c,digitalcameras/article.html

Philips 42PFP5532D Review

42in Plasma
Surprisingly good all round plasma for a knock down price.
HD Ready: yes
Resolution: 1024 x 768
Rating: 89%


The first thing that strikes us about the PFP5532D is the quality of finish, which comes as a pleasant surprise on a budget screen. It also looks good, comparing favourably with the somewhat plastic look and feel of many of its rivals.


Picture processing on the 42PFP5532D comes in the shape of 'Pixel Plus HD' technology, which is not the latest incarnation of this technology, but has built a solid reputation for its image enhancement abilities. It has been designed to enhance picture sharpness with Standard Definition (SD) sources as well as High Definition (HD) material, improve natural detail and colour performance.

Screen: 42in 16:9
Sound System: Nicam
Resolution: 1024 x 768
Contrast Ratio: 15,000:1
Other Features: Pixel Plus HD, 3D Combfilter , Digital Noise Reduction , Jagged Line Suppression.
Sockets: 2 HDMI, 2 SCART, Component Video, Composite Video, S-Video, PC input.

Connectivity on the 42PFP5532 is adequate rather than outstanding with 2 HDMI and 2 Scarts along with the usual Component, Composite and S-video inputs. There is also a useful PC input.

The 3D comb filter has been designed to separate brightness and colour signals more effectively to eliminate cross-colour, cross-luminance and dot-crawl distortion. By separating the colour from the black-and-white information, the technology aims to remove both horizontally and vertically hanging dots, as well as dot crawl.

Philips' 'Incredible Surround' is an audio technology designed to magnify the sound field to create a more immersive audio experience. The technology mixes sounds from left and right expanding the virtual distance between the two speakers. The aim is to enhance the stereo effect, creating a more natural sound.


Black levels on the 42PFP5532 are excellent, not to the extent that they will trouble the benchmark 'Kuro' range from Pioneer, but good enough to compare favourably with more expensive units from the likes of Panasonic and Samsung. Graduation (and resulting shadow detailing) across darker scenes belies the status of the 42PFP5532 as a budget screen.

High Definition sources benefit considerably from the optimizing Pixel Plus HD engine. Pictures are clean and sharp while displaying incredible amounts of detail.

Inevitably, Standard Definition (SD) performance, especially from Freeview, displays the tell tale signs of trying to adapt a lower quality input for an HD ready screen. Although there is a certain amount of on-screen noise, it is never present to the degree that viewing pleasure is compromised.

Colour reproduction on the 42PFP5532D is another highlight. Displaying none of the over-saturation of some flat panels, colour is never less than wholly natural and convincing, especially with tricky skin tones.

With fast action scenes, we can at last recognize that the technology on the Philips 42PFP5532 is a little short of cutting edge. Fast panning can create a juddering effect, and fast moving images can lose a little clarity. Nevertheless, we still consider the 42PFP5532 a competent performer in this respect, with problems we have described being relatively minor.

For all the audio wizardry, sound on the 42PFP5532 is competent rather than outstanding, seeming to benefit little from the 'incredible sound' technology.


An all too often overlooked choice, the Philips 42PFP5532D offers a compelling price/performance combination.

Sharp Unveils Slimmest LCD TVs Yet

Sharp announced its new X-series line, LCD TVs that are only 1.5 inches thick.

Sharp will shortly begin selling a new line of LCD televisions in Japan that are substantially thinner than competing sets currently on the market.

The sets are just 3.44 centimeters at their thinnest point and fatten slightly to 3.85 cm at the thickest point. That's less than half the thickness of sets in two other product lines that Sharp also introduced Thursday.

After pursuing ever-larger screens for several years LCD TV makers are turning their attention to making TVs thinner. They are doing this by designing thinner backlights -- the light source that sits behind the LCD panel in the set. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Sharp and competitors including JVC, Hitachi and Panasonic, showed prototype thin TV sets.

Sharp has also separated the tuner unit into a VCR-sized box thus furthering helping keep the TV thin.

Sharp's new X-series models come in 37-, 42- and 46-inch screen sizes and go on sale in Japan on March 1. The largest set, the 46-inch model, will cost ¥480,000 (US$4,520), the mid-size set will be ¥430,000 and the 37-inch model will have a ¥350,000 price tag. Sharp will be putting thin sets on sale overseas but it doesn't have a concrete plan at present, it said.

The thin TVs are being targeted at design-conscious consumers that want a wall-hanging TV. Most "thin" TVs on the market today are 10 centimeters thick or more, so while it's possible to hang them on a wall the result isn't always stylish. The new sets should look much better than current sets when mounted on the wall.

Appearances will be further improved with the use of an optional wireless video transmitter. The unit replaces the HDMI cable that would otherwise link the tuner unit with the set and means that nothing but a power cable needs to be provided to the set.

The wireless system is based on a proprietary technology developed by Sharp that operates in the 5GHz band. It can send an uncompressed HDMI signal over a distance of up to 20 meters but won't work through walls. The wireless kit, which includes a transmitter and received, will also go on sale in March and will cost ¥90,000.

Over the next few months other flat-panel TV makers are expected to launch similar sets and consumers will likely see a battle for the title of thinnest set on the market -- a victory that will surely be measured by tenths of millimeters.

However while LCD and PDP makers are slimming down they still have a long way to go to match an 11-inch TV recently launched in Japan and the U.S. by Sony. The XEL-1 is based on an emerging display technology called OLED (organic light emitting diode) in which the pixels themselves emit light so no backlight unit is required. This enables the set to be slimmed down to just 3 millimeters in the case of the Sony television.

But OLED is still difficult and expensive to make. The XEL-1 costs US$2,000 and to date only a couple of larger prototype screens have been shown. So large size OLED TVs remain some way off.

Sharp was the first major TV maker to back LCD technology in a big way. Earlier this month, as it enters its eighth year in the market, the company sold its 10 millionth [m] LCD TV, it said on Thursday. This year it hopes sales will be buoyed by the thin sets and better than normal mid-year sales ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games.,141758-c,lcd/article.html