Posts Tagged ‘D-SLR’

Nikon D700 Review

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by Tony Gomez

Published Winter ’09

“Full-Frame” FX Format D-SLR

One of the key features that distinguish a “professional” D-SLR from the more common variety is the ability to capture images with a larger sensor, often called a “full-frame sensor.” With a full-frame sensor, you can capture every bit of imagery the lens sees. With a non-full-frame sensor (the vast majority of D-SLR cameras are non-full-frame), you are capturing on a smaller-sized sensor. This results in a magnification factor, multiplying the effective focal length of your lens- ranging anywhere from 1.5X to 2X. So, for example, a 30mm lens on a non-full frame sensor D-SLR with a magnification factor of 1.5X is in reality a 45mm lens (30mm x 1.5 = 45mm). For many D-SLR shooters, this magnification factor is acceptable, but to most professionals and advanced users, it’s unacceptable. They want every millimeter of focal length they paid for to shoot with. That’s why they cough up more money for a “full-frame” D-SLR body. These are much more expensive D-SLRs. Even Nikon’s D3 full frame D-SLR costs $5,000, body only. By comparison, Canon’s two full frame D-SLRs, the 1Ds Mark III and 5D Mark II are about $8,000 and $2,700 respectively. So we’re talking about a big investment on the camera body alone.

But D-SLRs also evolve, become more compact, retain many of the best features of their more expensive brothers, and become more affordable too. Nikon has recently introduced their 2nd generation full-frame D-SLR (they refer to it as the FX format)—the D700 (www.nikonusa.com). It’s much lighter in weight than the D3 (1.8 lbs as compared to 3 lbs), but has the same great 12MP (12 megapixel) CMOS sensor, yet is more affordable at $3,000— body only.

Important Features

So what features can you expect from the D700? First and foremost is the FX format, which allows you to use every bit of the focal length of the lenses you get for the camera. It’s only the second full-frame format ever offered from Nikon, the D3 being the first. The pixel resolution is 12.1 megapixels, so that definitely qualifies as pro quality. But more importantly, the size of the individual pixels in the CMOS sensor is relatively large (8.45 micrometers), which allows for greater light gathering power and a better dynamic range of captured images, all contributing to an improved signal-to-noise-ratio. This means that even in the lowest light situations, bumping the ISO all the way up to 6400 will still give you images that are relatively clean from the noise artifacts that continue to plague captured images in other D-SLRs, based on smaller sized pixels used in their sensors.

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Sony A900 Review

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by Theano Nikitas

Published Winter ’09

Sony Goes For The Gold With A 24 Megapixel Full-Frame Digital SLR

“Thin is in” for compact cameras, but not for digital SLRs—especially the new Sony A900— a full-frame camera that features a record-breaking 24.6 megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor. In the same vein, the megapixel war may be over for most digital cameras, but it appears to be alive and well in the full-frame D-SLR arena, and once you see the detail captured by the A900, you’ll understand why.

But the A900 is not just about megapixels. The camera is equipped with a solid feature set and a lot of tweaking ability— more than enough to satisfy serious photographers, but with a low learning curve. Sony’s SteadyShot technology is in the camera body and provides built-in image stabilization. Also, an on-board sensor cleaning mechanism helps keep the sensor dust-free. The A900 doesn’t have Live View technology (the ability to see your image in the LCD right up through capture), which may or may not make a difference to you. I certainly didn’t miss it.

Compared to other full-frame D-SLRs recently introduced, the A900 is competitively priced with the Nikon D700, but about $300 more than the Canon 5D Mark II. However the A900 is less than half the price of the new Nikon D3X. The A900 is available in a body-only package. Bundled with the camera is a Lithium-Ion battery and charger, video and USB cables, a remote commander and software, a shoulder strap with eyepiece cap, and a remote commander clip so you don’t lose them. The bundle also includes a body cap, accessory shoe and a printed manual. Additional software includes an Image Data Converter, Image Data Lightbox, and Picture Motion Browser (PMB is Windows only). You might also want to pick up a MiniHDMI to HDMI cable to connect the camera to your HDTV for playing slideshows.

Sony offers a wide array of lenses, but since the camera is equipped with a Sony/Minolta A-type bayonet mount, anyone with a stash of Minolta glass should take a very serious look at the A900. I tested the camera with Sony’s 24mm-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens—a pricey $1,750, but a great lens.

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Olympus E-30

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by Tony Gomez

Published Spring ’09

A New Creative And Fun 12MP D-SLR

Olympus’ E-series D-SLRs have a long history, continued with their flagship E-3 D-SLR, but with point-and-shoot digital cameras, there is relentless pressure to introduce ever more affordable D-SLR models, so Olympus has recently introduced the E-30. The E-30 can be thought of as a “scaled down E-3”, with many of the same features— but at a more affordable $1,100, body only price point. The most appropriate word I can use to describe the new E-30 is FUN. It’s got many professional features, inherited from its E-3 big brother, but there are also many cool creative features like Art Filters and Scene Modes.

Art Filters

One of the most interesting creative controls available in the new Olympus E-30 is the Art Filter setting. The Mode Control dial easily puts you into Art Filter/Scene Mode setting, and once you’re there a colorful menu screen offers you six Art Filter types: Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, and Pin Hole. Choosing any particular Art Filter is as simple as scanning down the menu list and selecting which Art Filter you wish to apply to an image. My personal favorites are Pop Art, Grainy Film, and Pin Hole because these three particular filter effects are the most dramatic. The creation of these Filter effects occurs within the camera right after you capture the image. There is no further need to download the original image into Photoshop, or some other image processing program, and laboriously alter it until you get the final effect.

With the Pop Art Filter, the image captured is boosted in contrast and made more vivid in color saturation. It’s almost like looking at a painting of what was captured. Grainy Film is akin to applying a high contrast, grainy black-and-white film effect to your captured image. Pin Hole adds an old-school antiquated look to your captured image by adding vignetted edges. This is characteristic of what typical pin-hole cameras of bygone days produced when photography was in its infancy.

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Check out the DP Summer ’09 Issue!

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The brand new Summer ’09 issue of Digital Photographer includes profiles on renown nature photographer William Neill (whose photo is on our beautiful cover) and globe-trotting surf-photographer Mark Dimalanta, who is also a “Pentaxian” shooter. The issue also features comprehensive reviews of the awesome full-frame Canon 5D Mark II D-SLR, the Nikon D5000 D-SLR and the Olympus E-620 D-SLR with art filters. On the point-and-shoot side, we tested the Canon SX10 IS “megazoom” and the Nikon P6000 “prosumer” digicam. We also reviewed the Canon VIXIA HF S100 High Definition camcorder and compiled an overview of the latest flash-based camcorders, like the Flip, with tips on how to upload your videos the the Web. Also, look out for our story on “Extreme” cameras that photograph underwater and our software reviews, roundups of brand new products to the market and our ever popular “Inside the Image” column, in which Editor Lynne Eodice takes a look at DP reader Kim Corona‘s breathtaking shot of Yosemite. Happy reading! Feel free to let us know what you want to see more of in DP in the comments section below or on Twitter at twitter.com/digiphotomag.

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Midweek Photo News Roundup- 6/17

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photo by erix! (creative commons)

It’s Wednesday afternoon and all that most people can think about is how many days, hours, minutes remain until the weekend. But not you, you’re a photographer! You’re never bored, but are always plotting your next photo shoot or researching the new D-SLR you’ve had your eye on. We’re right there with you, friend. To keep the wild world of photography on your mind midweek, here’s our roundup of what’s been happening in it lately.

-Fantasea announced two new underwater camera housings just in time for summer: the FL-19/20 for Nikon Coolpix L19 & L20 cameras and the FA-480 for the Canon PowerShot A480.

-onOne Software announced its first ever iPhone application. The new DSLR Camera Remote for iPhone allows photographers using a supported Canon EOS DSLR that is connected to a WiFi enabled computer to remotely control the settings of the camera, fire the shutter, review images, and even get a live viewfinder preview.

-Think Take Photo collaborated on a stunning concept video for their soon to be released addition to the Multimedia Wired Up Collection of bags, specifically designed for those shooting still, audio, and video in the field.

-Getty Images launched a new Flickr photo clouds feature to The Flickr Collection, which lets users visually group images that catch their eye.

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