Posts Tagged ‘Cameras’

Canon Announces EOS 7D D-SLR

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Canon has announced the new EOS 7D ($1,699.00 body only), a mid-range D-SLR, geared toward pros and advanced amateurs. The 18MP camera shoots 24p full High Definition video and offers a wide ISO range from 100-6400 (expandable to 12,800). Find more information on the EOS 7D from Canon after the jump…

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Sony Announces Two New Alpha Series D-SLRs

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Sony has announced two new a (alpha) D-SLRs: the a550 (14.2MP) and the a500 (12.3MP). Both cameras feature the new generation of Sony’s Exmor CMOS sensors and are Sony’s first D-SLRs to offer an in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature. Find more information on the new cameras from Sony after the jump…

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HASSELBLAD H3DII-39 Review

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by Larry Lytle

Published Winter ’09

Studio Testing Medium-Format

Here in the beginning of 2009, some camera manufacturers are in the unenviable position of having to provide platforms for two media—film and digital. When you think about it, this occurrence is unprecedented in the history of photography. There have been changes—from Daguerreotypes to glass plate, from glass plate to roll film (for brevities sake I left out a few in between). Whatever the substrate, the “capture device” was always silver or dye-based and the means for printing either through contact or projection. So, except for the development of new bells and whistles to improve the camera, the technology remained essentially the same.

Hasselblad, along with many other camera manufacturers, are in a similar position. They have to offer two camera bodies, one for film and one for digital. Or, in the case of medium-format, they have a camera body that, by switching the back, accomplishes the change from digital to film. In the olden days with film, one could use the same body and change out the back to shoot either transparency or various print films. And, although the Hasselblad HD3II-39 accommodates either a film or digital back, I tested this camera using only the digital back.

Getting Acquainted

When I opened the case, I was impressed by its size. I had been used to a smaller medium-format camera. The weight of this camera comes in at just under five lbs. with the 80mm lens. A bit heavy for constant hand held shooting, but fine when mounted on a tripod or studio stand.

I turned on my computer and popped in the tutorial on Phocus, the new capture and conversion software that ships with the kit. It appears to be a great program for tethered shooting, and/or for browsing and converting downloaded files. After viewing the tutorial, in happy anticipation, I attempted to load the program and found that I couldn’t. With a brief phone call I found out that you must run system 10.5 for the Mac and have at least 4 gigs of ram. So I used FlexColor, the precursor to Phocus, and although the interface isn’t nearly as slick, it works adequately.

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Nikon D90 Review

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by Tony Gomez

Published Spring ’09

A Big Improvement Over The D80

hen Nikon announced the D90 DX-format (non full frame) D-SLR a few months back, they trumpeted the fact that it was the first D-SLR capable of recording High Definition video (720P). Since then many other D-SLR manufacturers have also added this HD recording feature to their equipment (see my Digital Insider column for more information). But HD recording isn’t the only big improvement in the D90 from its predecessor, the D80, to make it a standout camera.

Improvements Over The D80

The D90 has a larger, 12-megapixel CMOS sensor (4288×2848), which is an improvement over the D80’s 10MP CCD sensor. And more resolution means better captured detail, especially when making large sized prints. You can also capture stills at two lower resolutions—7MP (3216×2136) and 3MP (2144×1424) if you are short on memory. The D90 also has a larger and brighter 3-inch LCD screen, up from 2.5-inches in the D80, as well as a faster Auto Focus system, a faster continuous shooting mode, Automatic Sensor cleaning, and the previously mentioned HD Video Capture—720P at 24 frames per second.

Live View Monitoring

As if these big improvements weren’t enough to excite you, the larger LCD screen also incorporates the latest Live View monitor technology, which has been one of the most discussed features in D-SLRs for the past two years. This is the technology that lets you preview your scene before you actually shoot it. Pioneered by Olympus a few years ago, it’s all but commonplace in most of the leading D-SLRs today. Many professional photographers scoff at it, preferring to use their viewfinders instead, but if you are coming from a point-and-shoot camera, Live View is what you’ve been used to all the time. So Live View monitoring should make you feel right at home with the new D90.

Ergonomics

The D90’s all black body exudes an air of professionalism. The body only weighs in at about 1lb 6oz., but when you include the optional 18-105mm zoom that I tested it with, it’s about 2.5 lbs overall. That combined weight, while much lighter than the more professional Nikon D-SLRs, should be tolerable for the hand-held shooter, although, the D90 is definitely a two-handed camera. The optional 18mm – 105mm VR (Vibration Reduction) zoom lens provides a very good degree of image stabilization when the D90 is hand held. However, some enthusiasts might want to use a monopod or tripod.

The menu controls and mechanical buttons on the D90 are laid out very logically. The Menu button opens up a variety of sub menus, displayed in large letters on the large LCD screen, including ISO, Image Quality and Size, Movie Quality and many more. All menu adjustments are made with the easy to use 4-way controller. The Live View button is conveniently located just to the right of the LCD screen. The Info button shows the various conditions the camera uses for image or video capture, and it also displays a convenient cross-hatch pattern to help you keep horizons or objects straight. A manual exposure compensation button allows images to be under or over exposed depending on user needs. These compensation effects are visually displayed on the Live View monitor.

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CANON SX110IS Review

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by Ron Eggers

Published Summer ’09

Serious Capabilities In A Small Package

Each new generation of consumer digital cameras includes significant advancements over previous models. Higher resolutions, less electronic noise in captured images, larger and more viewable screens, faster response times and broader zoom ranges are making it increasingly attractive to use relatively inexpensive consumer cameras for serious photography.

One of Canon’s newest consumer digital cameras, the PowerShot SX110 IS, is a compact 9-Megapixel camera with a 10X optical zoom lens. While, at $249.99,it’s priced closer to entry-level consumer models, it’s closer in resolution, capabilities, responsiveness and image quality to the company’s high-end G-series cameras that have become very popular with professional photographers as a take-along camera for those quick shots when professional gear isn’t available.

Compact & Full-Featured

The SX110 IS has a lot going for it. The 10X optical zoom extends from 6mm wide angle to 60mm telephoto, which is the equivalent of 36mm to 360mm on a 35mm camera. That telephoto range is extended through a 4X digital zoom. There are consumer cameras on the market with longer telephoto capabilities. Several companies are marketing so called “ultra-zoom” digital cameras with 18X -20X zoom lenses, but they’re considerably larger, heavier and bulkier than the SX110 IS. The SX is extremely compact for its capabilities. It weighs less than 8.7 oz., and extends only 1-3/4-inches when the lens is closed. It easily fits into a shirt pocket, and most ultra-zooms can’t do this. Even with the lens extended, the camera is still only 3-inches deep. It’s possible to take the Canon along just about anywhere when you want to capture high-quality images with a lightweight camera.

Having a 10X optical zoom is great because it enables you to capture close-up images of subjects that may be too far away to shoot with a zoom-challenged conventional pocket camera. And, unlike some ultra-zoom cameras, where images taken at the high end of the optical zoom range are marginal because they’re a little too soft or not focused quite correctly, the quality of the images taken with the SX100 IS is excellent throughout the entire zoom range, including the maximum optical zoom focal length.

The 4X digital zoom makes it possible to move in considerably closer to your subject. But the image quality is degraded when the optical and digital zooms are extended to the maximum, so I tend to shoot with the digital zoom set to “off.” It is possible to limit the digital zoom to 1.3X or 2.2X to reduce the degradation of image quality and still go slightly beyond the 10X range. Like all digicams that have a variable aperture rating depending on their zoom setting, the f/2.8-f/4.3 lens is relatively fast for a consumer model. This is especially true at f/2.8, when shooting wide angle images. With normal focusing, it’s possible to focus down to 1.6 feet. There’s also a macro focusing mode that allows you to focus from about a half of an inch to the normal focusing range.

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