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All posts tagged "digital camera"

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nikon Announces D800 and D800E FX DSLR Cameras

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:27 PM

Alright, here we go! Nikon has just announced not one, but two cameras. The D800 and its sibling, the D800E. Both D800s feature a number of changes from the D700, the main difference being that 36 megapixel FX sensor. I am not sure if that many people need all those megapixels, but I guess Nikon is trying to woo the affluent amateur in addition to the thrifty professional with this camera. The sensor has a base ISO range of 100-6400, and an extended range of 50-25,600. No super high numbers like the D4 here. Still, a number of changes do carry over from the D4, including the new 91,000 RGB matrix sensor for determining exposures, the improved CAM-3500 AF module, and the 3.2" VGA LCD screen. There is an ambient light sensor for the LCD screen to boost its brightness levels, just like a smartphone, which is a nice touch.

The D800 also inherits the D4's video capabilities. That means the D800 does 1080p videos at 30, 25 and 24 FPS, with B frame compression in h.264 codec, HDMI pass through with uncompressed video data, a microphone jack, fine control of audio levels with visual indicators, a headphone jack to monitor said audio levels, and built-in time lapse recording. Each video clip is limited to 29m 59s (in other words, a second shy of 30 minutes, presumably for tax reasons in certain countries).

Back to the stills side, the camera has a maximum frame rate for 4 FPS at FX, and 5 FPS in crop mode. With the MB-D12 battery pack using other batteries than the default EN-EL15 (which replaced the EN-EL3e), the camera can do 6 FPS in crop mode. Shifting all those megapixels has made the D800 slower than the D700 in that aspect. Improved over the D700 however, is the viewfinder. It is now a 100% affair, unlike the D700 slighty cropped 95% coverage. Other improvements include faster contrast detect autofocus for live view, faster shutter response times, the addition of a SD card slot alongside the CF card slot, dual-axis virtual horizon (great for eliminating converging vertical lines), built-in two shot HDR, and overall changes to the UI. I particularly like the new frame advance setting dial on the left side of the camera. Finally one no longer has to peer at the top of the camera to confirm that self-timer mode has not been engaged. A dedicated bracketing button also means that the right function button next to the lens mount is no longer the only way to access bracketing. I hate it when camera manufacturers make features only accessible to custom function buttons, forcing you to pretty much set the custom function button to that feature anyway. It really doesn't leave much choice in setting the custom function!

Now, on to the D800E. It is essentially the D800, but with the anti-aliasing filter removed. Sounds pretty tasty. To compensate for potential moire, Nikon has added a moire removal feature in an upcoming version of Capture NX2.

The Nikon D800 will go on sale in late March for US$3000. The D800E will go on sale in mid-April for US$3300. That is right. Take away a part, promise higher image quality, charge US$300 more. More coverage at the link. Coverage of the D800 seems a bit sparse this time; DPReview even got the battery information wrong!

Update: DPReview has a preview up! Loads more information, especially on the new features.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Test Dropbox's Newest Photo and Video Import Feature, Get Up to 4.5GB Space Free

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Software" @ 06:30 AM

"You can never have too much Dropbox space, and now for a special beta period you can grab some additional free space while Dropbox is testing their automatic photo and video uploading feature. In exchange for trying their experimental build, you can get up to 4.5GB of extra space for free."

Free extra space, new features to try on Dropbox, what is there to not like? I just tried it, and the feature works very well. A bit too well for me, given I wanted it to sync the edited files folder on the phone, and not the original camera folder. There is no way to change the sync folder, so I guess the feature is not really for power users.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pentax Announces K-01 Mirrorless Camera and Confirms They Cannot Do Mirrorless Right

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:30 AM

Continuing with this weeks camera announcements is Pentax with their second attempt at a mirrorless camera. I am not sure if Pentax really knows what it is doing here. After the too-small-in-everything Pentax Q, Pentax has revealed the K-01. The specifications read pretty much like a Pentax DSLR, with a 16 megapixel APS-sized sensor, sensor-shift stabilisation, a 6 FPS continuous shooting mode, a 3" VGA LCD display, top ISO of 12,800, 1080p video mode at 24, 25 or 30 FPS with manual controls, even more manual controls for still photography, and being Pentax, also includes native Adobe DNG support for its RAW files. The problem with this camera is that is basically uses the venerable K-mount, which is a SLR lens mount. This means that there is a large gaping space between the sensor and the lens meant for the non-existent mirror, and just makes the camera big, which DPReview kindly shows at the read link below. Maybe that is why Pentax debuted a 40mm f/2.8 lens that is really thin. Mount a standard 50mm f/1.4 lens and this is just about as big as any modern SLR. There is also the issue that contrast-detection autofocus is just not good with lenses originally designed for phase-detection autofocus systems. Oh, and did I mention the camera this big is missing a viewfinder of any kind? The Pentax K-01 ships in March for US$750 for the body alone and US$900 with the 40mm f/2.8. The lens itself will cost US$250. More details and photos (including a comparison in size with Pentax's flagship DSLR, the K-5) at the read link.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nikon Announces New Coolpix P-series Cameras; 42x Zoom Lens for Maximum Compensation

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:56 AM

"For those whom 24X, 30X, and even 36X zooms aren't enough, the Coolpix P510 has a whopping *42X* optical zoom lens. And no, it doesn't come with its own tripod."

24-1000mm equivalent zoom lens. That's right. 1000mm equivalent. That is what the P510 packs. The lens is not too slow at a f/3.0-5.6 maximum aperture, and it comes with Nikon's VR optical stabilisation to help stabilise that really long focal length. I still recommend a tripod, and a bright sunny day to make use of that range! The rest of the camera is pretty much a current superzoom (or should it be ultra-mega-superzoom now?). It is equipped with a 16 megapixel backlit sensor, a tilting (as opposed to fully articulated) 3" VGA LCD, 1080p videos at 30 FPS, and includes a GPS sensor. The camera's UI means serious business: Two command dials grace the camera to accommodate the camera's manual controls, along with two zoom controllers to handle that monster zoom range. Ships in February for US$430.

Next up is the P310, an update of the P300. Like the P300, it is not quite a Canon Powershot S100 (or similar) challenger. While it offers a bright (at the wide end at least) 4x 24-100mm f/1.8-4.9 zoom lens, the 16 megapixel backlit sensor is the same 1/2.3" affair as the P510, which is almost half the area of the S100's 1/1.7" sensor. It also lacks the S100's RAW file recording capability. The rest of the camera is almost tantalising, which makes me wonder what Nikon is trying to do here. Like the P510, there is Nikon's VR optical image stabilisation, a 1080p video mode at 30 FPS, a 3" VGA LCD (but fixed here), and a number of nice touches to the UI (like a full rear command dial and a customisable function button on the front, like Nikon's DSLRs). Ships in February for US$330, which is cheaper than the Canon S100, but I really would rather have the bigger sensor and RAW capability for US$100 more. More details and photos at the read link.

Nikon Introduces Four S-series Coolpixes

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:55 AM

After the excitement (or disappointment) of the P-series cameras, here are the more standard releases. Let us start with the S9300 travelzoom camera. It has an 18x optically stabilised 25-450mm equivalent f/3.5-5.9 zoom lens, a 16 megapixel backlit sensor, 1080p video at 30 FPS, a 3" VGA LCD, and built-in GPS. Ships in March for US$350.

Next up is the S9300's little brother, the S6300. It has the same 16 megapixel backlit sensor, but a shorter 10x optically stabilised 25-250mm equivalent f/3.2-5.8 zoom lens. The LCD is a smaller one, at 2.7" with just QVGA resolution. GPS is also not present, but at least the same 1080p 30 FPS video is still present. Ships in March for US$200.

After that are a pair of budget compacts, the S4300 and S3300. Both use a standard 16 megapixel CCD, a 6x optically stabilised 26-156mm equivalent f/3.5-6.5(!) zoom lens and 720p video. The main difference between the two is that the S4300 uses a 3" HVGA touchscreen, while the S3300 uses a 2.7" QVGA screen. The S4300 will ship in March for US$170, while the S3300 will go for US$140. More details and images at the read link.

Nikon Announces Three Budget Coolpix Cameras; One is Actually Interesting

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:53 AM

It is not every day a US$120 camera is interesting, but I think Nikon has done it. The S30 is a camera with unremarkable, even mediocre, specifications: A tiny 1/3" 10 megapixel CCD with a 3x 29-87mm equivalent f/3.3-5.9 zoom lens, a 2.7" QVGA LCD screen, and 720p video mode. What makes it interesting is that the camera has been given a slightly rugged shell that is waterproof to 9.8 feet (3 metres), shockproof to 2.6 feet (0.8 metres) and dustproof. It also takes common AA batteries. Together with the price, I think this might be a great camera for the children, or for slightly more adventurous activities where a cheaper camera is good enough for to capture the fun. Ships in February for, as mentioned, US$120.

Next up are the L budget cameras. The L810 is a budget superzoom, packing a 26x optically stabilised 22.5-585mm equivalent f/3.1-5.9 zoom lens, a 16 megapixel CCD, 3" VGA LCD and 720p video mode. The camera uses four AA batteries to power it. The specs are pretty decent for a budget zoom. One can hope the photos match the specs. Ships in February for US$280.

Finally there is the L26. This budget shooter has 5x 26-130mm equivalent f/3.2-6.5 lens, 720p video mode, and a 3" QVGA LCD screen. The camera will ship in February for US$120. More details and photos at the link.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Panasonic Introduces Four Lumix Compact Cameras

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

Panasonic today announced four Lumix cameras: Two travelzooms, and two rugged compacts. First up are the DMC-ZS20 (TZ30) and the DMC-ZS15 (TZ25). The ZS15 comes with a 14 megapixel sensor, a 16x optically stabilised 24-384mm equivalent f/3.3-5.9 lens, a 3" HVGA LCD, 1080i videos in 60 FPS in AVCHD. The ZS20 gets a 14 megapixel sensor, a 20x optically stabilised 24-480mm equivalent f/3.3-6.4 zoom lens, a 3" HVGA touchscreen LCD, 1080p videos at 60 FPS with a high speed 220FPS option at reduced resolution, and a GPS with a database of landmarks and maps that can be loaded from the included DVD. Both cameras bunch of special effects and in-camera software features (including a take on Sony's Sweep Panorama), burst mode of 10 frames a second, and full manual controls. The ZS20 will be priced at US$350, while the ZS15 will be priced at US$280. Both will ship in March. More photos and details at the link.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 and DMC-ZS15

Next up are the rugged cameras, the DMC-TS4 (FT4) and the DMC-TS20 (FT20). The TS4 replaces the TS3, and now has a 12 megapixel sensor, an optically stabilised 4.6x 28-128mm equivalent f/3.3-5.9 zoom lens, a 2.7" QVGA LCD, 1080i video at 60 FPS, and a rugged shell that is waterproof to 40 feet (12m), shockproof to 6.6 feet (2m) and freezeproof to 14F (-10C). There is also a GPS sensor, and has the same landmarks and maps capability as the ZS20 above. The lower-end TS20 has a 16 megapixel sensor, a slow optically stabilised 4x 25-100mm equivalent f/3.9-5.7 zoom lens, a 2.7" QVGA LCD, 720p video at 30 FPS, and a less-rugged shell that is waterproof to 16 feet (4.8m), shockproof to 5 feet (1.5m) and freezeproof to 14F (-10C). The TS4 will ship in March for US$400, while the TS20 will ship in February for US$180 (quite the price difference there). Photos and details at the link.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 and DMC-TS20

Sony Launches a Trio of Cameras; Thinks We Need 18 Megapixels

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

This always happens. A company produces a minor design innovation that might allow for compacts to be less awful to the point where I might consider getting one again, then same company ruins it by increasing the megapixel count, thus negating (and maybe even worsening) any advantages said innovation might have brought otherwise. Sony's latest, the DSC-TX200V, is clearly intended to be Sony's flagship compact camera, but 18 megapixels? It packs the otherwise promising Exmor R CMOS sensor, which Sony touts it will be great in low-light situations (and I have a bridge to sell you folks), a slow-ish 5x optically stabilised folded optics zoom lens at 26-130mm equivalent with maximum apertures of f/3.5-4.8, a tasty 3.3" WVGA OLED touchscreen (which unfortunately also means most physical controls have been obliterated), 1080p video in AVCHD, crammed with a ton of software features, like Sony's famous Sweep Panorama mode, all in a slightly waterproof, freezeproof and dustproof body that is also pretty stylish. It is the second compact that will make use of micro SD cards, and will sell for a princely sum of US$500 in March. More photos and full details at the link below.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX200V

The other two cameras, The DSC-WX70 and DSC-WX50, are more conventional affairs. They are still slim cameras, but pack a more standard retracting lens. Both offer 16 megapixel Exmor R sensors, 5x optically stabilised 25-125mm equivalent f/2.6-6.3 zoom lens, 1080p video in AVCHD, and similar inter software to the TX200V. The difference between the two cameras are in their screens. The WX50 offers a 2.7" HVGA LCD, while the WX70 offers a 3" VGA touchscreen LCD. Both cameras will ship in March, with the WX70 going for US$230, and the WX50 going for US$200. More photos and full details at the link below.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX70/WX50

Friday, January 27, 2012

Corel's Re-introduces Bibble as AfterShot Pro

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Software" @ 02:00 PM

"The crew in Ottawa is now taking square aim at Aperture, Lightroom and other similarly situated products with its new product called AfterShot Pro. Available for Linux, Macintosh and Windows, the software retails for $99 and promises to deliver a complete workflow for RAW files, including file management, batch processing and non-destructive editing capabilities."

Remember Bibble? One of the earliest after-market RAW software, Bibble has been around for a long time, and was bought by Corel a year or so back. Now the software is back as Corel AfterShot Pro. Since I have not used Bibble, I am not sure what the differences are present, but long time Bibble users can check it out. Like Bibble, Corel has maintained a Linux version, so those of you on Linux will be happy for an alternative to Lightroom.

Pentax Announces Optio VS20 with Vertical Controls

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

Pentax, recently acquired by Ricoh, is now trying to be a little crazier than the competition by offering this travel zoom camera with vertical shooting controls, along with a tripod socket for mounting the camera vertically on a tripod. Almost like a SLR with a vertical grip. I am not sure how well it will handle in portrait orientation, but I certainly can see that it probably is not the most pressing concern for most buyers of such digital cameras. The specifications are not much to shout about as well. The most interesting thing is probably the lens, a 20x optical affair at 28-570mm equivalent f/3.1-4.8 lens, with a sensor-shift stabilised 16 megapixel sensor, a 3" HVGA LCD, and 720p video mode. The camera will go on sale in February for US$250.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Adobe's Lightroom 4 Beta Previewed

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Software" @ 10:00 AM

"The Lightroom 4 beta introduces quite a list of features, including a completely new book-creation module, expanded support for video, soft proofing capability, and geo-tagging of still and video images via a Google Maps-powered module. Image editing tools have also been significantly updated, with a new process version (PV2012) that includes a reworking of the Basic panel controls and new localized editing options."

Adobe has announced a beta for Lightroom 4, and DPReview takes a look at the changes. While they look interesting, I am plenty invested in my current workflow to not start using a Lightroom-based one. I guess there are a lot more people who are excited though, so take a look at the comprehensive preview.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Digital Photography Review Reviews the Nikon 1 V1 and J1

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

"Nikon's entry into the mirrorless interchangeable lens market late last year was widely anticipated, but the products that were finally announced took a lot of people by surprise. Nikon has created an entirely new system based around a relatively small sensor, that's about 30% of the size of those used in the company's DX-format SLRs. The system is spearheaded by two cameras - the Nikon 1 J1 and 1 V1."

DPReview's verdict is not the highest praise, and I still think they are a bit lenient there. When I tried both cameras, I found their UI to be absymal. Fixed function button that controls a useless feature? Check. Lots of menu scrolling? Check. Using a rocker instead of the more intuitive command dial to control manual functions? Check. It is not better for casual users either. Lack of contextual information for newcomers and casual shooters? Check. No clear indication what is the full auto mode? Check. Overall, for enthusiasts, it is a pain to use, and for casual shooters, there are other cameras which are easier to use. Then there is the price, which is more expensive than many of the Micro Four Thirds cameras. I will be waiting for version 2.0 of the product. Sorry Nikon, you need to do better than this.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Manfrotto Unica VII Messenger Bag ~ Near Perfect Camera Bag

Posted by Stacie Huckeba in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:17 PM

Product Category: Camera Bag
Manufacturer: Manfrotto
Where to Buy: Best Buy, Amazon
Price: $50 - $99 USD
Holds: DSLR with lens attached as well as 1 to 2 other lenses, 17" Macbook (15.4" laptop) and personal effects.
Specifications: Product Height 12.2", Product Width 7.5", Product Depth18.9",Product Weight 2.2 lbs.


  • Lightweight;
  • Cost Effective;
  • Lots of Storage Space.


  • Shoulder Pad is not Comfortable;
  • No Regular Tripod Attachment;
  • No Easy Access Side Pockets.

Summary: The Manfrotto Unica VII Messenger Bag is a great camera bag for photographers on the go or who travel frequently. It is stylish and has an easy access top zipper that lets you get to all your gear in a hurry. That same zipper makes it easy to grab your laptop out for airport security checkpoints and, yes, the whole bag is carry-on friendly for both domestic and international flights.

The ability to carry a pro body with a battery pack attached and a 17 inch laptop along with other lenses and equipment without weighing a ton or requiring you to stop and find a place to sit your bag down in order to access your equipment is a lifesaver. The messenger bag style makes it easy to carry around all day and doesn't scream "I have an expensive camera in here!". The price point on this can't be beat - at $50 - $100, it easily compares to bags twice the price. Read more...

Friday, January 13, 2012

CES/PMA 2012 Round-up: Fujifilm Announces X-Pro1; DPReview Previews

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:00 PM

"Our preview of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujifilm's X system lenses. The X-Pro1 is, in many respects, the camera that many people hoped the X100 was foreshadowing: interchangeable lenses and a cutting-edge sensor combined in a classically-styled body and retaining the excellent hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder."

When I first tried the X100, I was impressed with the JPEGs I got from it. Since then I have had more exposure to it with a friend who bought it, and I have to say it produces exceptional images. The lens is good, and the sensor, if I may say, is the best APS-sized sensor currently on the market. What turned me off was the lens; I just have no affinity for the field of view provided by the 35mm focal length.

Well, this week, Fujifilm has announced the X-Pro1, which is a slightly larger X100 with an interchangeable lens mount. While still a 16 megapixel APS-sized sensor, this new sensor uses a new layout: Instead of the traditional GRGB 2x2 colour array (which, in case you forget, GRGB means Green Red Green Blue; these designate the colour each photosite collects), the sensor features arrays of 6x6 arranged in a different way (more like GBGRGR and GRGBGB arrays which alternate throughout the sensor). The upshot of this strange new complicated arrangement is the removal of the anti-aliasing filter, which is applied to prevent moire. Moire commonly shows up as squiggly lines when very fine lines are photographed. While the anti-aliasing filter prevents that, it also decreases the sharpness of the final image. Removing this, Fujifilm claims, will allow the X-Pro1 to compete with the 24 megapixel Sony NEX7. Impressive indeed.

The rest of the camera is pretty much the same as the X100. It features the unique hybrid viewfinder, which now can switch between two magnifications to accommodate lenses of different focal lengths and the same retro design (but now in black). Fujifilm however seems to have improved on the UI for the camera's digital side, which was something that bugged me for the original X100. As with most interchangeable lens systems, there is now a noisier focal plane shutter, so gone is the near-silent operation of the X100. As for lenses, Fujifilm is shipping three lenses at the start, which are essentially 28/2, 50/1.4, and 90/2.4 in 35mm equivalent terms. There are more lenses on the road map, with a zoom, and a 21mm equivalent coming this year.

Downside of this? The camera is not going to be cheap. The price is US$1,700 for just the body alone, and with the three debut lenses going for US$650 each. Ouch. More details and a very through preview at the read link.

CES/PMA 2012 Round-up: Compact Cameras

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

A large number of compacts have been announced over the past few days, so here is a brief round up of the various cameras announced:Panasonic - (News Article One, News Article Two, News Article Three)Pansonic, as usual, have announced their cameras, but with no pricing and availability. In an increasing commoditised market, I am not sure if it is a good idea. In any case, Panasonic has five cameras, with two belonging to a new line, the SZ superzoom compact. It does leave me a little confused: So it is smaller than a travel zoom, which in turn is smaller than a superzoom bridge camera, but still bigger than a not-so-super-but-still-generous-zoom compact (you know it is trouble when companies start finely dividing markets in this manner). The DMC-SZ1 and DMC-SZ7 both come with 10x 27-270mm equivalent f/3.1-5.9 stabilised lenses, with the former packing a 16 megapixel sensor, a 3" QVGA LCD, and 720p videos at 30FPS. The latter has a 14 megapixel sensor (strange considering consumer cameras tend to have more pixels further up the range), but boasts a 3" HVGA LCD, and 1080p video at 30FPS in AVCHD.Next up are a couple of budget compacts in the FH line, the DMC-FH6 and DMC-FH8. Both possess a 5x optically stabilised 24-120mm equivalent f/2.5-6.4 zoom lens and 720p video mode. The former has a 14 megapixel sensor with a 2.7" QVGA LCD, and the latter has 16 megapixel sensor with 3" QVGA LCD. With differences so minor, I wonder why they bother.Last for Panasonic, is the DMC-S2, which is an update of the S1 budget camera. The specs are now almost that of the S3, so I suppose given the right pricing, the S2 is the one to go for if you are truly looking at the cheapest of the cheap. The camera has a 14 megapixel sensor, a 4x optically stabilised 28-112mm equivalent f/3.1-6.5 zoom lens, a 2.7" QVGA screen, 720p video mode, and a curvy plastic body instead of the metal ones in the FH line.More cameras after the break! Read more...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Canon Announces Powershot ELPH 520HS and 110 HS Cameras

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:18 AM

Phew. Compared to Fuji's product diarrhoea, Canon has released just two more cameras from its popular ELPH/IXUS line. The one above, is the Powershot ELPH 520 HS, or IXUS 500 HS in Europe and parts of Asia. The camera boasts a 10 megapixel CMOS sensor, an optically stabilised lens with a huge (for a compact) 12x 28-336mm equivalent f/3.4-5.6 zoom lens, a 3" HVGA LCD, and 1080p videos at 24 FPS. Like all HS cameras, it is capable of some high speed stuff, which in this case results in a 6.8 FPS frame rate in continuous shooting mode at a reduced resolution, and the requisite 240 FPS videos at QVGA resolution. The camera is really tiny; it is a fraction larger than the very small Pentax Optio S5n I had in 2005, and that only had a 3x zoom lens. Something had to give, and the result is a compact camera that uses microSDHC cards instead of the usual SDHC cards. The camera will ship in March 2012 at US$300.

The Powershot ELPH 110 HS, or IXUS 125 HS, has a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor. an optically stabilised 5x 24-120mm equivalent f/2.7-5.8 zoom lens, a 3" HVGA LCD, and 1080p vidoes at 24 FPS. Similar to its sibling, it offers a continuous mode of 5.8 frames per second at a reduced resolution, and the same 240 FPS videos at QVGA resolution. The camera will ship in February for US$250. Both cameras have some new automated features for casual shooters, so check out the source link for more, along with more photos of both cameras!

Canon Announces Powershot G1X Large Sensor Camera

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:18 AM

Today, it is Canon's turn in the limelight. Unfortunately for you all EOS lovers, there is no new DSLR, but there is something fairly interesting (which would have been more so if not for all the leaks) in the new Powershot G1X, which is like the G12 compact, but boasting a sensor that is slightly larger in size than a Micro Four Thirds sensor.

As an aside, who comes up with these names? Between Panasonic's GX1, this Canon G1X, all the other G and X cameras, as well as the current D cameras, there is going to be some mighty fine confusion in the near future. Hint: The current Latin alphabet has 26 alphabets. Can we use some of the others?

On to the G1X proper, the heart of the camera is an 18.7mm by 14mm CMOS sensor with 14 megapixels. That's about 1mm longer on each end than a Micro Four Thirds sensor. Then sensor itself goes from ISO 100 to ISO 12,800, and is mated to an optically stabilised 4x 28-112mm equivalent f/2.8-5.8 zoom lens. Given the size of the camera, the dimmer telephoto end of the zoom is a trade-off Canon had to make. The LCF is a 3" VGA affair mounted on an articulated arm, but unfortunately the optical viewfinder is the same useless optical tunnel similar to those on all Canon G series cameras. Personally I would have liked a high resolution EVF even if it meant a hump in the camera. The camera also does 1080p videos at 24 FPS. A big minus in my eye is the loss of the ISO dial; it has gone back to being a function on the directional pad instead. The Powershot G1X will ship in February for US$800.

All-in-all, while the camera looks competent, I cannot help but feel this is a feeble attempt to counter the mirrorless march. For US$600 it is possible to get the Panasonic G3 with the 14-42 kit lens, which loses a couple of dials and buttons and a slightly slower and shorter lens, but adds a high quality EVF and the ability to change lenses. Both the giants are behind in this race, first Nikon with its Jekyll and Hyde One system, and now Canon with this. One hopes Canon has more up its sleeve. What do you Canon die-hards think? In any case, check out DPReview's comprehensive preview for the details.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Nikon Announces D4 Flagship DSLR Camera and AF-S 85mm F/1.8G Lens

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:30 AM

So here it is. I hope the rumours have not totally spoilt it for you. The Nikon D4 is the latest flagship, and will replace the D3S. The specs look good, but most of the upgrades seem geared towards video. Let us take a look!

On the photo side of things, there is a new 16 megapixel FX sensor that does ISO 100 to ISO 12k, with ISO 50 on the low end and ISO 200k on the high with boost (I feel silly saying ISO 204,800; does this kind of precision really matter?), an upgraded CAM 3500 module that boasts fifteen cross points out of the 51 AF points, and nine that will work with the Nikon 1.4x and 1.7x teleconverters, and one (just the one?) point that will work at f/8 with 2x teleconverters. I distinctly remember my F100's AF working with a third party lens and a third party teleconverter at f/8, so this does not feel totally new, but I could be mistaken. The camera boasts a frame rate of 10 FPS, with 11 FPS if the AF tracking is disabled. The 1005 pixel RGB Matrix meter is now a 91000 pixel sensor, and is also used for other tasks like face detection and dynamic range manipulation (what Nikon calls Active D-Lighting).

There is a new bigger VGA LCD at 3.2", along with a few upgraded controls. The buttons are now backlit, which is a very nice touch, coming a few years after Olympus did that with the E-620 (a consumer DSLR, no less!). The AE-L/AF-L button is gone however, replaced by a joystick nub that looks suspiciously like Canon's one, which is also replicated in the vertical grip. Also, get ready for a new battery: the new EN-EL18 is rated for 2600 shots. Err, that does seem lower than the D3S's 4200 shots. Change in methodology? XQD support is now added, with one slot for it, and the other for the old standby CompactFlash. There is also an Ethernet port, along with a new WiFi transmitter for connectivity, which also allows remote access via the Internet. Yes that's right, the D4 can be controlled from a tablet!

Most of the big upgrades however, are in the video portion. In fact, Nikon bills this as a "multimedia SLR". See that little record button behind the shutter release? The D4 does 1080p video at 24/30 FPS at 24 Mbps bitrate, but also allows uncompressed video to be streamed out of the HDMI port. This allows a monitor with a recording device daisy-chained to it if maximum quality is desired. B frame compression is now supported, along with microphone and headphone jacks. No word if gain on the microphone jack can be controlled. Both AF and exposure can be controlled while recording, and there is a neat trick to use the FX, DX or CX (that's 1x, 1.5x and 2.7x respectively) crop for videos.

It is a nice upgrade in all, but I am not sure if current D3S owners who use their cameras for stills will be upgrading. I think most might still stick with the D3S. The D4 will be released in February 2012 with a price of US$6000. More photos and press release after the break.

There is also a new lens, the AF-S 85mm f/1.8G lens. It is, depending if it is mounted on a FX or DX camera, a nice short or medium telephoto, and an AF-S update to the older AF 85mm f/1.8D lens. Good for those using cameras like the D5100, which lack the internal AF motor. If this is like most of the AF-S primes released so far, expect the AF-S motor to be more on the slower side of fast. The lens will be available for US$500 in March 2012. Photo and press release after the break.

Nikon D4 Overview - DPReview

Nikon D4 and AF-S 85mm f/1.8G - DCResource


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fujifilm Announces Nineteen Cameras For CES 2012

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:00 AM

Are you paying attention? Because I'm not. Today Fujifilm announced nineteen (19) cameras. (well, eighteen plus bringing an existing one to the USA). Count that. Nineteen. Is anyone hearing anything over the noise?

I'll start off with the highlight, and that is the X-S1, which is a high-end bridge camera. Fujifilm's really taken to the X moniker lately. The camera features an optically stabilised 26x 24-624mm equivalent f/2.8-5.6 lens (which is pretty fast), a 2/3" 12 megapixel EXR CMOS sensor (which I hope will not have the X10's issues), HVGA 3" LCD with a SVGA resolution EVF (1.44m dots), fast frame rate at 7 FPS at the full 12 megapixel resolution, and 1080p video at 30 FPS. Ships in late January for US$800(!).

Fuji X-S1 US Launch - Engadget

For the rest, I'm going to use a bullet-point list to quickly show the specs; else we'll all be here till the end of the day!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Samsung Announces the DV300F DualView Camera

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

The first camera announcement of 2012 comes from Samsung, which is an addition to their unique DualView line. I'm not sure how popular the dual LCDs are, but Samsung think its a recipe for consumer success. The DV300F comes with a 16 megapixel CCD (yay, "only" 16), with a 25-125mm equivalent f/2.5-6.3 lens, and a 3" HVGA LCD at the rear, and a 1.5" low-resolution LCD with 61k dots in the front. There is also 720p video taking capability. The big addition is that of WiFi; in addition to sharing photos on common social networks, with the right app the camera can be controlled by a smartphone. In fact, the camera pretty much reads like a DualView update of the SH100, which we reviewed several months back. Like the SH100, it'll cost US$200, and the camera will ship in March.

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