Posts Tagged ‘Nikon’

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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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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Midweek Photo News Roundup- 8/26

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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.

- The Nikon D-Movie Screening Room presents its latest short film, by Director of Photography Ellen Kuras– of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame. (Still from video above.)

- Tamron presents a timely “Back to School” photo story by photographer Wendy Saunders, who used the Tamron 18-270mm lens to capture one little boy’s big day. Saunders’ photos encourage parents to get creative on this day beyond the ubiquitous lunch pale in the doorway shot.

- Exposure Manager announced their new Pro Lab Direct Printing System for sports and event photographers.

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Midweek Photo News Roundup- 8/12

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photo © tokyo camera style

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.

- Nikon announced their much anticipated D300s and D3000 D-SLRs.

- I came across John Sypal’s blog, tokyo camera style, which I quite like.

- Verbatim announced their new “penny thin” TUFF-’N'-TINY 8GB USB Drive.

- Nikon also announced the winners of their highly regarded International Photo Contest.

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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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