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GoPro struggles over holiday period…Panasonic phone from smart phone…Nikon’s ‘holy grail’ lens just 33k…Manfrotto unveils high-end LED panels 

GoPro added a screen - but maybe that's not enough?
GoPro added a screen to its latest model – but maybe that’s not enough?

GoPro struggles over holiday period
GoPro has released a press release outlining ‘a reduction in its workforce of approximately 7 percent’ due to poor sales over the holiday period.

The company’s analysts estimated that in the fourth quarter of 2015 revenue would be around US$512 million, but GoPro projects the number is significantly lower, sitting around the US$435 million mark.

‘Fourth quarter revenue reflects lower than anticipated sales of its capture devices due to slower than expected sell through at retailers, particularly in the first half of the quarter,’ the press release states. ‘Fourth quarter revenue includes a $21 million reduction for price protection related charges resulting from the HERO4 Session repricing in December.’

It will release the final Q4 financial numbers on Febuary 3, with these estimates only being preliminary and unaudited meaning there could be ‘final adjustments and other material developments’ that could change this number.

However the company will go forward with the restructure which will affect 7 percent of the 1500 employed by GoPro at the end of 2015.

It looks like the microphone may have been removed, but this isn't specified in the Japanese press release.
It looks like the microphone may have been removed, but this isn’t specified in the Japanese press release.

Panasonic drops phone from flagship cameraphone
Panasonic Japan has announced it will remove a crucial feature in the follow-up to its ground-breaking DMC-CM1 cameraphone – the actual phone!

Available only in Japan for now, the CM10 will have the same lens, sensor, body and features as the DMC-CM1, including running Android 5.0, but will not be equipped to make calls.

It has 4G wireless communication, however, which will allow it to send text messages and communicate online through telephone networks and a SIM card.

Panasonic will also provide a network for users as part of its own service. With Wi-Fi and data access widely available – even in Australia – smartphone manufacturers must be curious if the future consists of calls being made through third party apps like Skype, rather than the traditional infrastructure of telecommunication companies.

This only appears to be a trial – only 500 will be made per month and the camera/tablet thingy is priced steeply at 100,000 yen, or around US$850.

That's what US$33k worth of glass looks like.
This is what US$33k worth of glass looks like.

Nikon’s ‘holy grail’ lens just 33k
An ‘extremely rare’ Nikkor 13mm f5.6 AIS lens has appeared on eBay, with the seller asking for a mere US$33,000.

The lens is second hand, but the glass is in ‘excellent condition’ and has no dust, haze, fungus, scratches or dirt. However it is missing a rubber grip band that sits on the focusing ring.

Nikon fanboys in Australia thinking about buying the lens will either need to pick it up from the US or consider forking out another US$2000 for shipping.

The Nikon ultra wide ‘holy grail’ lens is priced as high as it is because were so few produced, despite being manufactured from 1976 until 1998.

The lens was only produced when ordered and at a high cost – US$8229 is 1979 – hence there’s only about 350 floating about.

With 16 elements in 12 groups, the heavy rectilinear design produces very little distortion compared to other similar wide-angle lenses. It also comes with four filters.

And don’t think the eBay seller, CameraBroker, is being overly greedy – one of these lenses sold for US$24,500 after an eBay bidding war broke out in October 2014.

Croma2 on the left, Micropro2 of the right.
Croma2 on the left, Micropro2 of the right.

Manfrotto unveils high-end LED panels
Manfrotto has announced three new on-camera LED panels – the Croma2, Micropro2, and Spectra 2 – designed for professionals and serious enthusiasts.

The Croma2 and Micropro2 are much the same – a point of difference being the Croma2 offers different colour temperatures, from 3100k to 5600k. Whereas the other stays at 5600k.

The Spectra2 is more compact, with a colour temperature of 5600k and capable of emitting 650lux. The Croma2 can go up to 900lux and Micropro2 up to 940lux.

The panels have surface mounted LEDs, are portable and fit into the hot shoe of a camera. All panels require six AA batteries.

Available now, the US pricing has the Croma2 at US$418, the Micropro2 at US$349, and the Spectra2 at US$219. No word on local pricing or availability as yet.

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