Nikon has just announced the COOLPIX P300—a 12.2-megapixel back-lit CMOS sensor compact camera that features a wide-angle 4.2x NIKKOR glass lens (24mm-100mm, 35mm equivalent) with a maximum aperture of f/1.8—the widest aperture NIKKOR lens ever seen in a Nikon COOLPIX camera. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at this camera at CES last month, and was very intrigued by its professional look and feel and impressed with results of test shots, particularly when taking advantage of that wide aperture. The camera features full manual controls, ISO sensitivity up to 3200, shoots full HD (1080p) video, and has a high resolution 921,000-dot 3-inch LCD screen—the same featured on Nikon’s flagship D3x DSLR. The P300 will be available for $329.95 in March. See the full press release below.
Canon EOS 60D
Text and Images by Lynne Eodice
Video by Dennis Eodice
The EOS 60D is Canon’s most recent digital SLR aimed at the enthusiast/serious shooter market, and is the next generation of the EOS 50D. This camera is a good upgrade for photographers seeking to move into more professional territory, beyond, say, the entry-level Canon EOS Rebel T2i. But it’s so user-friendly right out of the box that photo hobbyists can easily go from a point-and-shoot camera to shooting with the 60D.
Overview of Features
The 60D features an APS-C sized 18-megapixel CMOS sensor (as compared to the 50D’s 15MP), and a new DIGIC 4 Image Processor. I was impressed with the quality and color rendition of the images I captured, especially compared to those taken with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel from several years back. The 60D also offers an ISO range from 100 to 6400. This can even be expanded to ISO 12800 to shoot under extremely dimly lit conditions. But for most low-light situations that you’re likely to encounter, ISO 6400 is more than adequate, and ISO 12800 is bound to reveal digital noise.
Canon EOS 60D
click thumbnails to enlarge
The 60D’s mode dial offers the typical standard basic scene zone (including Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports and Night Portrait modes), as well as a basic zone (Full Auto, Flash Off, and Creative Auto), and a creative zone (P, Tv, Av, M and B) for more advanced shooting. What I really appreciated was the addition of the more conveniently located on/off switch right under the mode dial (with my other Canon EOS cameras, this switch is located on the bottom right side on the back of the camera). There’s also a lock button in the center of the dial to prevent accidental operation.
ISO 100, 400, 3200, 6400
click thumbnails to enlarge
Canon has switched from a AF-point-selecting joystick in the EOS 50D to a multi-control dial on the back of the 60D. With this dial, I found it very easy to scroll through images that I had previously photographed and to change the auto-focusing points. You can also correct white balance, move the AF frame or the magnifying frame during Live View shooting.
The 60D is also the first EOS DSLR to include a 3-inch Vari-Angle LCD monitor, which flips out from the back of the camera body. It allows you to set menu functions, do Live View shooting, shoot video, and play back images and video. You can also rotate the angle of the LCD monitor, which is a great tool for times when you want to shoot a subject that’s positioned low to the ground (but when you don’t want to get down low yourself), or when you want to shoot over the heads of a crowd and actually see what you’re shooting. I set several menu selections and really enjoyed playing back my images on this screen. The only issue I had was with shooting still images with the Live View screen. I found that auto-focusing operated slower when using Live View than when I used the viewfinder.
The Ambience option in the basic scene modes is a new feature in the 60D. For example, you can choose from vivid, soft, warm, intense, cool and brighter settings. Each ambience is a modification of the respective shooting mode’s image characteristics. You can also select the “Lighting or Scene Type,” which is very similar to a list of white balance presets.
Also new are the Creative Filters, which enables you to apply Grainy black-and-white (seen above), Soft Focus, Toy Camera, or Miniature filter effects to an image in-camera and save it as a new file. I had fun with several of these (particularly Grainy BW). The 60D offers a RAW conversion mode too, which allows for a range of camera settings like Auto Light Optimizer, Noise Reduction, White Balance and Picture Style to be applied to a RAW file.
This camera also offers the ability to tag your images, which makes it easy to find and filter your photos, or as a way to organize slide shows. These tags are also accessible through the supplied software or even third-party packages like Adobe Lightroom and Bridge.
One of the ways you can purchase the 60D is in a kit with an EFS 18–135mm f/3.5-f.6 IS (image stabilizing) lens. I put the camera and this lens through its paces at several local scenic areas. To begin with, I found the camera easy to handle and on the lightweight side (especially compared to my sturdier EOS 5D Mark II). I used some of the basic scene modes (Landscape, Action, and Close-up), as well as the Av and Tv modes. I found that the image stabilizer enabled me to get sharp images without using my tripod, and several times I was shooting indoors in rather low light. I also enjoyed experimenting with a few of the Creative Filters after the shoot.
The D60 is capable of shooting full High Definition (1920×1080) and (1280×720), as well as Standard Definition (640×480) and (Crop 640×480) movies. My videographer husband shot video with this camera, and was impressed by the sharpness he got, even with moving subjects. The camera has several manual controls—shutter, aperture, ISO speed and audio recording—which allow you to customize your videos. Another plus is the camera’s capability to use an external microphone for greater audio quality. The only limitations are the lack of true AF and automatic zoom. The maximum recording time for one movie clip is 29 minutes and 59 seconds.
Overall, I found the Canon EOS 60D to be a great and highly user-friendly camera. The image quality is wonderful, it has great ergonomics, and an awesome feature set.
ISO 100-6400, expand to 12,800 with a custom function
Auto pop-up E-TTL II auto flash, Live View, Creative Filters
Canon EF mount; Compatible lenses: Canon EF lenses (including EF-S lenses)
(35mm-equivalent focal length is approx. 1.6x the lens focal length)
EOS 60D Body, Eyecup Eb, Wide Strap EW-EOS 60D, USB Interface Cable IFC-130U, Stereo AV cable AVC-DC400ST, Battery Pack LP-E6, Battery Charger LC-E6, EOS Digital Solution Disc and Instruction Manuals “Great Photography is Easy” Booklet and “Do More with Macro” Booklet
Rechargeable Lithium-Ion LP-E6 battery; Built in battery (date/time backup); Optional AC adapter
CES, Las Vegas:Casio has just announced a new and innovative digital camera—the TRYX. Available in April for $249.99, the TRYX catches your attention first because of its distinctive design, which is unlike anything the digital camera sphere has seen before (it looks more like a smart phone at first glance), and of which Casio says, “Thanks to its super thin (.59-inches thick), variable frame design, TRYX can adapt to fit the user’s preferred shooting style or to help them capture an image from just about any angle or in any environment. Users can hold the camera horizontally, in a traditional point-and-shoot style to capture still images or flip out the rotating, three-inch, touch-screen LCD and swivel the body to experience countless other positions. The frame rotates 360-degrees and can be adjusted so that the body can act as a tripod, allowing TRYX to stand on its own, or the LCD screen can be rotated up to 270-degrees so that users can perfect their own self portrait and see themselves in the frame.”
But what of the image making capabilities, Casio? “In addition to its good looks, the Casio TRYX also boasts an equally impressive feature set.” I see. The camera has a 12.1-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, full-HD 1080 video (30fps), Slide Panorama mode to capture 360-degree panoramic images and slow-motion video, and a 21mm ultra-wide-angle lens. Read Casio’s full press release below.
Nikon COOLPIX P100
Text and Images by Allison Gibson
The Nikon COOLPIX P100 may just be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re in the market for a fun, high-end, compact superzoom with impressive image quality, the ability to shoot high-speed full resolution stills at 10 frames per second (fps) and full High Definition (1080p) movie recording. The 10-Megapixel P100 has a back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a 26x optical wide-angle zoom lens—and its sturdy body feels professional in-hand yet much lighter than any entry-level D-SLR. With a host of specialty shooting modes as well as full manual control, the P100 is aimed at the amateur enthusiast crowd, and could be a good option even as a back-up camera for a pro.
Nikon COOLPIX P100
click the thumbnails to see full-size images
UI & Design
The COOLPIX P100 has a solid, professional-looking body, which like most cameras in its class imitates the design and feel of a small D-SLR. The handgrip is deep and coated with a rubberized texture for maximum comfort and one-handed shooting control. Your finger naturally hits the shutter release up front and the thumb rests on another small textured pad in the back, within reach of surrounding controls. The electronic viewfinder juts out far enough from the back of the camera that you’re not forced to smash your cheek against the display screen below it, and is encased in smooth plastic for comfort.
The 3-inch high resolution (460,000-dot) vari-angle LCD pulls out from the back of the camera and tilts up and down, allowing you to more easily get shots in unique shooting situations. This comes in handy at a place like a concert, when you would normally just hold the camera up above the crowd and blindly snap away, hoping you were aimed at the stage rather than the ceiling or the tops of the audience’s heads. It worked great for me when shooting ornate cathedral ceilings in Italy, and also for capturing the carpet of pigeons that lined the ground in Venice’s Saint Mark’s Square. Although the vari-angle LCD offered me this extra freedom when shooting, I would have preferred if it hinged sideways as well—like, say, the Canon G11’s LCD—because that allows for so many more options, such as taking self portraits and shooting around corners.
The P100 was an ideal travel camera because of its superzoom capabilities and compact size. With the wide-angle (26mm) lens I was able to capture sweeping views of ancient cities, and with the telephoto range (678mm) I could close in on far-away objects from the same location. F/4.6 is not that wide an aperture, but I was able to capture vivid, selective focus photos of exotic foods and wares in markets.
Nikon COOLPIX P100: wide-angle, telephoto, Auto WB, Active D-Lighting
click the thumbnails to see full-size images
Under normal daylight conditions, the P100 did pretty well. I could capture sharp and accurately-colored (in Auto White Balance mode) images that make for crisp prints at modest sizes—which typical travelers would probably choose to print at. In high contrast conditions, there was a loss of initial detail, however. This is where Nikon’s Active D-Lighting function came in handy, darkening blown-out highlights and lightening up dark shadowed areas a bit.
Under indoor incandescent lighting, the Auto and Incandescent WB settings tended toward the warm side , so it was best to kick into Manual there. At ISO 160-400 detail held up impressively, but then noise began to sneak in going past that range, and definitely past 800. This isn’t all that shocking—or frustrating—for a compact of this class though.
The COOLPIX P100 was a fun travel companion and satisfied the needs of a traveler who was constantly moving from place to place, and who did not want to be weighed down by heavy equipment, nor the need to constantly swap out lenses. With this compact superzoom, I was able to capture a much wider diversity of shots than those of my travel companions who used smaller point-and-shoots. And yet, just like them, I could also slip the P100 into my small shoulder bag and keep it concealed in crowded subway cars or in sparsely populated neighborhoods at night. The handling of the camera was really nice and intuitive and the overall image quality was good for the scale of printing output that most enthusiast photographers would probably need. The standout feature of the P100, for my travel purposes, was its ultrazoom capability and the creative freedom that it offered. It is a diverse and portable compact camera that has more than a few impressive tricks up its sleeve.
Nikon COOLPIX P100
4.5”W x 3.3”H x 3.9”D; 12.5 oz.
SD/SDHC Memory Card, 43MB internal
3-inch (460,000 pixels) Vari-angle TFT-LCD with anti-reflection coating
Video Recording Mode:
Full HD: 1920 x 1080p / 30fps; HD: 1280 x 720p / 30fps; Standard TV: 640 x 480 / 30fps; Small Size: 320 x 240 / 30fps; HS movie: (slow motion) 320 x 240 / 240 fps, 640 x 480 / 120fps, 1280 x 720 / 60 fps ; HS movie: (fast motion) 1920 x 1080 / 15fps; in MPEG-4 AVC H.264
Canon has just announced the brand new EOS 60D—an 18MP D-SLR with in-camera RAW processing and full HD video. The 60D comes with a 3-inch vari-angle LCD screen; a new multi-control dial, which streamlines the layout and navigation of controls; and “for the first time ever in an EOS camera, the EOS 60D features in-camera processing of RAW image files, new reduced resolution image copies, and post-processing creative image filters for exceptional flexibility in digital image rendering.” The new 60D also comes with creative image filters, which they’ve pulled over from the PoweserShot line, to make the bridge D-SLR more attractive to photographers who maybe haven’t made the foray into the digital SLR world before. The EOS 60D will be available for $1,099.00 (or in a kit version with Canon’s EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens for $1,399.00) toward the end of September. More info and images from Canon below.