Leica D-Lux 6 Camera First Impression Review



Here are a few pics taken on the Leica D-Lux 6. The Leica D-Lux 6 is set to hit the market later this fall. We got a sneak peak at Photokina in Germany and recently spent more time with the D-Lux 6. It's a great little camera with excellent low light capabilities but we'd like better battery life. It's basically the D-Lux 5 with all the improvements we were hoping for. This includes a faster lens, a new 1.7" CMOS image sensor, ND filter, a new aperture setting feature on the lens barrel and improved HD video codec.

The Leica D-Lux 6 is fast. Very fast. It still requires the addition of the bottom hand grip to give it that little extra heft and make shooting more comfortable. The D-Lux 5 had some banding issues we experienced while shooting video. The D-Lux 6 solves this problem and should offer even better overall results with the combination of the new lens and sensor.

If you've been looking for the perfect point and shoot camera in a compact format that offers brilliant image quality be sure to have a very close look at the Leica D-Lux 6. It's easy and fun to use, the Panasonic build quality is first rate and it's absolutely packed with performance to make it a true pocket sized wonder.

Based on our experience with the D-Lux 5, we imagine the D-Lux 6 will become the preferred camera for travel and casual use among the professional set as well as consumers that seek pro results in a point and shoot.

Visit Leica for all the specs and more on the new D-Lux 6.

TechSmith Camtasia Studio 8 Review






















Camtasia Studio 8 really impressed us. It now includes full editing capabilities, unlimited tracks, a very nice UI, intuitive workflow and the ability to render 720p H.264 HTML5 videos that look pretty darn good. This means you can create a tutorial for nearly any screen from laptops and PCs to smart phones and tablets.

Prior to the Studio 8 release we would only use Camtasia for screen capture and use one of our favorite NLEs for the final edit. TechSmith has really improved the integration from capture to edit and made it seamless to the point where using another program to edit the screen capture is no longer necessary.

The capture codec is improved and provides a full 30 frames/second at 720p. This makes all the difference in the world and provides for very clean renders for YouTube or other platforms.

Here's a list of the formats available in Camtasia Studio 8 when rendering your finished project.


















We instantly put Camtasia Studio 8 to use by capturing a few screens for a SSD firmware upgrade video we produced recently for SanDisk.

Using Camtasia Studio 8 is dead simple for experienced content creators and anyone with the willingness to play and experiment should quickly catch on. TechSmith makes very good use of the right-mouse-click which presents intuitive options in Camtasia Studio 8. This is a mature product that's hitting its stride and it shows in both the feature set and overall usability.

It's now possible to add interactivity in the form of a quiz in Camtasia Studio 8. Again, just a couple of clicks and you're adding questions and gates to your content. Even without using the interactive features the visual callouts and a plethora of transitions help to keep the content interesting and engaging.

TechSmith has already established Camtasia as the leading screen capture software. Now with the Studio 8 version it's on its way to becoming a very good editing program as well. The improvements in quality, workflow and interactivity all add up to a compelling release for both new and experienced Camtasia users.

Visit TechSmith for more information about Camtasia and to download a free trial.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 Review






















Adobe's Creative Suite 6 Production Premium includes a wealth of updates to Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, Audition and the rest of the suite. This review will focus on the updates to Premiere Pro CS6, our main area of interest.

Premiere Pro CS6 has enough power under the hood to attract the Final Cut community that feels abandoned by Apple and perhaps a few AVID editors that are curious about what's on the other side of the wall. Long time Premiere users should be very happy with this new release.

For starters we love the new "adjustment layer". Basically you throw an adjustment layer of any length on top of your timeline, tweak the settings and effects and all layers underneath the adjustment layer will respond to the changes as if they were made individually to each layer in the timeline. This is extremely useful and a real time saver. We will use this a lot.

Next up is "Hover Scrub". It works just like it sounds. Move the mouse right and left over the thumbnails in the media browser and you can quickly find what you're looking for without formally dropping the media in the trimmer or timeline. Again, handy and practical. We also like the project view which adds small icons to media thumbnails so you know if a particular asset is already being used in the project. These little touches show that Adobe is paying attention to how editors really work.

Other nice features of Premiere Pro CS6 include the "Warp Stabilizer", "Rolling Shutter Repair" (handy for cameras like the HPX250), an improved effects paradigm, better color correction, multi-cam support and a customizable GUI which we like for a cleaner layout and elimination of buttons we rarely use.

Adobe also went crazy with the render presets in Premiere Pro CS6. The full gamut is included from smart phones and tablets to large screens and everything in between. All the right codec support and a huge selection of starting points for your renders. Setting up watch folders to encode multiple formats is real easy too. The folks at Sorenson should be a little nervous. 

We primarily worked with AVC-Intra 100 files in our test of Premiere Pro CS6. Our favorite P2 format is one of the best on the planet but it's processor intensive.  On our HP, Dell and Supermicro SSD equipped test systems with NVIDIA Quadro, 2000 and 4000 cards the experience was real time. Content loaded fast. We could easily jump around the timeline and the software felt connected to the media.  The GPU support and mercury playback engine makes for improved real-time performance and renders.  Again, when software starts feeling more like hardware that's a good thing.  

Solid, predictable performance is important for us.  CS6 is really the first version of Premiere Pro we've truly enjoyed using. Sure it was functional before but now it feels better. The tweaks to the GUI make it easier to find content and start editing right away without arbitrary steps that seemed to get in the way in previous versions of Premiere. The same can be said for adding effects and overall workflow.  In other words, the software is now getting out of the way of the work.

Audio is still a weak link for us in Premiere Pro. We liked Audition back in the Cool Edit Pro days but have since moved on to other audio editors that we simply like better.

This year could be a very pivotal one for Adobe, especially as it relates to Premiere Pro CS6. For years the post community has embraced AVID and Final Cut as the leading platforms for editing with Premiere, Vegas and Edius providing a supporting role.  That's changing.  We felt it at NAB and we feel it even more now.  Adobe is playin' for keeps. 

So what's Adobe been doing to whip CS6 into shape? Well it seems the product team is listening to its users.  Crazy, we know.  Maybe there really is something to this whole social enterprise thing that Marc Benioff touts every year at Dreamforce. But really, this is the version of Premiere Pro we think a lot of editors have been waiting for and longtime Premiere users will greet with an exultant, "Finally!"

Visit Adobe for more information about Premiere Pro and the entire CS6 lineup.

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