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All posts tagged "digital camera"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nikon's New DX Standard: The 35mm F1.8

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:49 PM

"The majority of lens systems have offered 50mm lenses as the most accessible way for new DSLR users to experiment with fast prime lenses (a legacy from 35mm film cameras on which they acted as 'standard' lenses). Yet Nikon has decided that its new offering should be a 50mm equivalent. Ludovic Drean explains why: "The concept was to give a 50mm equivalent lens on the DX format. A lot of people have bought the 50 1.8 because it was all that was available. It may seem rather late for the APS-C system, but we believed that entry-level users wanted a standard lens."

The release of a 35mm f1.8 lens is is a smart move by Nikon. It does give the entry-level Nikon DSLRs a standard lens to shoot with. I bought the Canon 35mm f2 just for this reason. I bet they sell a ton of these. Shooting at f1.8 with this lens at close distances can be tricky because very little is in focus. The flip side to that is great bokeh (blur).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nikon Releases the Coolpix P90

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:17 PM

"The new COOLPIX P90, part of the flagship Performance Series of cameras, is the ideal camera for photo enthusiasts, travel photographers and consumers interested in more advanced photography. Featuring a 24x Optical Zoom-NIKKOR lens with a broad focal range of 26mm wide-angle through 624mm super-telephoto (35mm format equivalent), 12.1 megapixels of sharp resolution and Nikon's EXPEEDTM advanced digital image processing system technologies, the P90 faithfully reproduces fine details with subtle tones for exceptional image quality."

If you're looking for a camera with a lot of zoom power, the P90 delivers in spades, offering an impressive 24x optical zoom - the equivalent of 624mm in the 35mm lens world that us DSLR shooters have been trained to think in. 15fps shooting, even at 1920 x 1080, is also pretty slick. What I find unacceptable is the apparent lack of HD video options - the specs mention "five movie modes", but I suspect they're all just VGA resolution. It's incredibly disappointing that Nikon is lagging so far behind other companies when it comes to delivering 720p vide on their cameras.

Full press release after the break.

Create Giant Panoramas With The GigaPan Epic

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 PM

"The GigaPan Epic capture detailed panoramas with almost any point-and-shoot digital camera. The Epic is a small robotic mount that automates the picture taking process, includes fully integrated software and works seamlessly with The GigaPan Epic, complete with the GigaPan Stitcher software, is available now for $379. The GigaPan Epic 100, available soon for $449, is a second model designed for larger point-and-shoot digital camera models."

This device creates giant panoramic images automatically. It uses your digital camera and takes multiple shots and then converts them with the included software to create one giant image. It will definitely create very large images. But at $379, in my opinion it is for the pros. Most digital cameras today come with software that will stitch 4 or 5 shots together very easily.

Hack Your DSLR to Shoot Video

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:00 PM

"Canon Rumors has linked to a downloadable Russian program that apparently enables video on any Canon DSLR that has Live View, whilst Olivier Giroux has captured video using the Nikon D700."

Some programmers have created a hack that lets Canon DSLRs with live view and the Nikon D700 to shoot videos. The problem is you must have the camera connected to a computer. This sounds similar to the CHDK hacked firmware that enables features on certain Canon digital cameras. This is for the daring because if you mess up your firmware, it can void your warranty.

Attaching a Camera to a Rifle Stock

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 09:51 AM

"We speculated that using a gun stock for shooting a camera seemed like a good way for a photographer to get shot. And we wondered how common these stocks could be. Duran wrote back with a short, informed response, but I was able to twist his arm into telling us a bit more."

This is an interesting story on a soldier who has attached his camera to a rifle stock. It gives him a steady and easy to use platform to shoot from. Check out his story and some of his pictures.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Lowdown on the Current Crop of DSLRS

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 11:00 AM

The link goes to a good writeup of the various advantages of the newest DSLR's, including the Canon 5D Mark II, Nikno D3X, Panasonic Lumix G1, Sony A900 amd the Pentax K20. THe price tag for the Nikon ($8000) is shocking in this economy and will be reserved for only the most well-heeled pros. As a non-purist, I love that they are adding video capability to many DSLR's now. Check out the link for more information!

New Cameras Announced at 2009 CES

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:15 AM

"Casio, Polaroid, Panasonic, and Sony are putting camcorders and cameras into focus here at CES. We spotted a bevy of new models that do everything from go under water, print photos, and one tiny burst-mode Casio camera that can shoot at 30 frames-per-second."

Here is a good roundup of some new cameras and camcorders that were unveiled at CES 2009. The Casio EX-FS1 will do 30 frames a second; the Sony DSC-G3 has 4GB memory and WiFi built in; and the Panasonic SDR-SW21 camcorder is waterproof to 6.5 feet and can be dropped up to 4 feet without damage. The small size and 4 foot shockproof design are excellent. And I love underwater photos, but 6 and a half feet doesn't give you much room for error. Most swimming pools are 10 feet deep and I would be afraid to swim around with this in my hand. A 12 foot range would have been much better. Check out the article for more on these new cameras.

Monday, January 26, 2009

High Dynamic Range Photos with Dynamic Photo HDR

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Software" @ 07:00 PM

"Our eyes are very adaptive and they are also more sensitive to intensity than color. It is estimated that our eye can see over a dynamic range of nearly 24 f-stops while a digital camera can capture a dynamic range around 6 to 9 f-stops. The High Dynamic Range Imaging is a set of techniques that has been developed nearly 20 years ago to overcome the limitations of electronic devices by combining multiple exposures into one great looking image. Using HDR technique we can combine the different exposures to create a single image that shows details in both sky and the land. A HDR photography can be created by taking few photos with different exposure, then combining them in the software into a high dynamic file."

High Dynamic Range Photos can be really great in that they bring out the best of both bright areas and dark, shadowy areas and can really make images pop. The only drawback is overdoing it - if you do, your photos would like plastic and Disney-esque. I have used a competitor's HDR demo (Photomatix) to enhance a landscape photo I took near downtown Dallas and I can tell you HDR does make a difference. This software has many controls to get the best out of your photos. And, it has won several awards, including of Pop Photo's 2008 Outstanding Product Awards. Check it out!

Ten Tips for Night Photography

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 03:00 PM

"Night photography has become a huge hobby of mine, and I enjoy all of its facets, from taking photos of city lights, abandoned eerie and spooky places bathed in moonlight, and even remote desert and mountain landscapes where there is a complete lack of light pollution during the hours of darkness."

Here is a very good tutorial with 10 tips to make you a better night photographer. To get the most out of it, you must have a tripod and you really need a higher end camera that will let you take very long exposures. Night Photography can be really fun!

Digital Cameras: New Lens Numbers Needed

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 09:00 AM

"You know what's driving me crazy? This inevitable parenthetical: "The Nikon D60 comes with an 18-55 mm lens (27-82.5 film equivalent)." ... So when we talk about the "film equivalent" of lens focal lengths, who, exactly, is supposed to benefit from this information? The audience of people who have a clue what that means is shrinking daily. To make matters worse, there's no standard multiplier. A 24 mm lens on a Nikon digital camera does not give you the same wide angle as a 24 mm Canon lens. (You'd multiply the Nikon by 1.5 to get the "film equivalent," the Canon by 1.6.) ... But my point is that the "film equivalent" number is no longer a good measurement. Fewer and fewer people know or care what that means. ... It seems, then, that what we really need is a completely new measurement system that's consistent across all lenses, all cameras. Not even millimeters; something more useful, more recognizable."

The New York Times' David Pogue makes a good point that lens sizes don't give the casual photographer the information he or she needs. Most snapshot takers concentrate more on zoom factors than where the zoom begins and don't realize that some cameras like the 2.5X zoom Panasonic LX3 (24MM) starts at a wider angle then others like the 5X zoom Canon G10 (28MM). The obvious solution for non-DSLRs would be to switch over to field-of-view measurements and away from millimeters. However, for DSLR's, this doesn't work, since the same lens has different field of views on different cameras due to the crop factor. For that reason, I think we are stuck with the old terminology, kind of like QWERTY keyboards.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Frame That Photo With Auto FX Photo/Graphic Edges 7.0

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Software" @ 03:00 AM

"Auto FX is pleased to announce the release of Photo/Graphic Edges 7.0 Platinum Edition The new Platinum Edition version includes 32 photo effects such as Film Frames, Natural Media, Storyboards, Grunge Edges and much, much more! There are thousands of new frames, darkroom edges, compositions and artistic adornments to add a creative touch to your photos."

Auto FX released Version 7 of their framing software and it is available both as a standalone version and a Photoshop plugin. I love frames! I think they do wonders to photos as they help define the mood, tone and focal point of the image. I used to spent hours perfecting rudimentary frames with Photoshop Elements, but this is a complete collection. Check out their site for some good examples of pictures with and without frames. Now if they could just make it cheaper than the $249 USD they want for the full version...

Dealing With DSLR Sensor Dust

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:00 AM

"Digital SLR sensors are magnets for dust. Cleaning a digital sensor is nerve-wracking and risky, with enough methods, products, and gimmicks on the market to flummox a rocket scientist. And that, dear friends, is why you have Photojojo. We're breaking it down right now: what works, what doesn't, and whether the annoyance of having dust spots is worth the trouble of cleaning them"

Sensor dust is a real problem for landscape and travel photographers. Even though most new cameras come equipped with anti-dust shake mechanisms, dust still accumulates on the sensor. This site has the best and most informative post I have seen on the methods you can use to get rid of dust. It does a great job of outlining the steps you can use to combat dust accumulation, from the easiest to the most effective. I have used blowers before, but I have never had the intestinal fortitude to clean my sensors with the swabs. A mistake can cost you dearly!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150: Tiny Camera that Packs a Punch!

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:00 AM

"The Panasonic Lumix FX150 is one of Panasonic's top of the range ultra compact digital cameras, and features an impressive 14.7 megapixel sensor, a 28mm wide angle lens with a 3.6x optical zoom, a 2.7" screen that works in the sun, 720p HD (high-definition) video recording, optical image stabilisation and a pocketable metal body."

Even though this impressive camera is tiny, it still has 14.7 megapixels, image stabilization and 720p high definition video capability. It also boasts a 28mm wide angle lens for wider shots (most small cameras only go to 38mm). The camera's automatic controls get rave reviews plus you have manual controls which most small cameras skimp on. The only complaint I have is that the pictures are noisy - even at the lowest ISO setting (100). Over 400 ISO, noise becomes a real problem. For prints up to 8x10 and web pictures, you won't notice it. But Panasonic would have been better served cutting down the pixels thereby decreasing the noise. All in all, a very solid camera.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nikon USA's Black Friday Sale

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 09:00 AM

Nikon has published their Black Friday Savings page, and there are some nice discounts, especially if you go for a DSLR + lens combo. Worth a look!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The "Super-Secret Spy Lens" for DSLRs

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 PM

"Remember that very first time you went out with your shiny new SLR, determined to shoot some Pulitzer-worthy people shots? You know, real stuff. Candid shots of people just living their lives and doing real things completely unaware that they were on camera. It's hard. People have a sixth sense for knowing when someone's taking their photo. Especially so when you've got an SLR and a big lens pointed right at 'em. Our Super-Secret Spy Lens is the answer."

I'm not entirely sure on the ethics of something like this - taking photos of people without their permission - but I have to admire the cleverness of it. I've heard of devices like this before, but haven't purchased one. I'm somewhat tempted to buy one, because I really like candid photography, but suffer from SPS (Shy Photographer Syndrome) and can count the number of times I've asked strangers if I could take their picture (here's one example). I also wonder what it does to the quality of the image captured. Anyone used something like this before?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Canon's "Girly" PowerShot E1 Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 04:23 PM

"The Canon PowerShot E1 is the newest addition to the company's popular PowerShot line, within which it represents the starting point of an entirely new sub-range, allegedly "designed by women for women". The main point of differentiation is a curvaceous design complemented by hip colours - the E1 is available in an eye-catching pink, cyan and white. The Canon E1 also features a 10 megapixel sensor, a 4x zoom lens with optical image stabilisation, a 2.5" LCD screen, an optical viewfinder, Face Detection, 17 shooting modes including VGA video capture at 30fps, an Infinity Focus mode for enhanced responsiveness and a Macro mode that lets you focus on subjects that are just 3cms away from the front lens element. Retailing for $199.99 / £159.99 on launch, Zoltan Arva-Toth found out if the Canon PowerShot E1 also appeals to the male photographer..."

Designed by women for women? Well, these definitely do look different from any other camera I've seen - but will they appeal to woman? I think so - I could see my wife liking the design, though I think for any woman the ease of use and ease of carrying matter more than the colour. The buttons look like they're a reasonable size, which might be a result of feedback - I know some of the buttons on my point and shoot cameras are so small it would be hard for anyone with nails to manipulate them. Of course, not all woman have long nails, so not every woman would care about that. Gee, it's hard to generalize about a gender isn't it?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 High-Speed Digital Camera Review

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 02:00 PM

"We've all marveled at super slow-motion footage on shows like MythBusters or on sites like CSU's slow-motion archive, and longed to shoot slow-motion footage of our own. Until earlier this year, however, the equipment to do so was horrendously expensive. Fortunately, Casio announced a revolutionary new consumer camera at the 2008 CES in January called the Exilim Pro EX-F1. It boasts video capture of up to 1200 frames per second (where normal video is around 30 frames per second) and at resolutions up to 1080i HD (though not at the same time). We recently got our hands on an EX-F1 and we must say, we are impressed. Read on for the full in-depth review, including sample pictures and videos."

We've talked about this camera before, and one now-retired team member sure got excited about it; this camera has a lot to offer in terms of video capture. The video samples in this GearLive review are particularly cool - the 600 fps sample is small, but damn is that cool to watch!

New Camera From Leica S2 with 56% Larger Sensor Than Full Frame

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:14 AM

"Leica has today unveiled a brand new autofocus DSLR system designed for professional users, which is configured around a 30x45mm sensor (i.e. 56% larger than 35mm full-frame). The S-system will utilize an advanced new dual shutter, with both an in-body focal plane shutter for fast lenses, and in-lens leaf shutters for high flash sync speeds. The first camera, the S-2, will feature a 37.5 megapixel CCD sensor in a weatherproof body which is similar in size and handling to conventional 35mm-type DSLRs. The new ‘Maestro' image processing system provides twice the operating speed of current medium-format backs, significantly reduced power consumption, and allows production of in-camera JPEGs. The company has also developed a range of nine new lenses, including macro, ultra-wideangle, and tilt-and-shift designs."

That's some serious hardware - I can't wait to see what kind of images it will be able to capture. With a sensor that big, it should have exceedingly low noise at a broad range of ISOs. 37.5 megapixels? Wow!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Samsung HZ1 Digital Camera

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:30 AM

"Samsung will roll out its HZ1 digital camera that touts to be the first 10x zoom and Ultra Wide 24mm compact in the world. With such capabilities, it is able to shoot sharper and wider images from a distance, marking Samsung's entry into the Compact High-Zoom market."
I've got to hand it to Samsung: they keep trying and trying, but I've never read a review of any of their cameras that amounted to more than "Ho-hum, there are better cameras out there". This one looks like it might break that trend though: a 10.2 megapixel CCD sensor, 10x optical zoom, 720p movie recording (no mention of format), dual image stabilzation (optical and digital - interesting!), face detection, and a "digital content management system". I wonder what that last bit is? And dual image stabilization? If that works really well, it could be a serious competative advantage for Samsung. Of course, what really matters is the pictures - the quality of the image sensor - and that tends to be where Samsung has fallen down. Time will tell...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nikon D90 Reviewed by Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 03:00 AM

"The Nikon D90 ($999, body only) is the long-awaited replacement to the popular D80 digital SLR. The D90 sits between the D60 and D300 in Nikon's D-SLR lineup, though many of its features come from its more expensive sibling. While it may look a lot like its predecessor, the D90 is essentially an all-new camera on the inside. The D90's most talked-about feature isn't its sensor, continuous shooting performance, or anything like that. Rather, it's the fact that it's the first D-SLR with a movie mode -- and in HD, no less."

The Nikon D90 is perhaps one of the best bang for your buck cameras under $1000 USD - it packs a lot of great features into a reasonably-sized frame, and offers 720p video capture as well. This review is very detailed and well worth the read if you're interested in this camera.

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