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All posts tagged "dslr"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nikon D3100 Gets Official: An Impressive Intro-Level DSLR

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:02 PM

"Mississauga, ON, August 19, 2010 - Nikon Canada Inc. today announced the D3100 as the newest addition to its family of quality DX-format digital SLRs. It's the world's first digital SLR to introduce full-time auto-focus (AF) in Live View and D-Movie Mode, allowing users to effortlessly achieve the critical focus needed when shooting in full HD 1080p video. The 14.2 megapixel D3100 also makes it easier than ever to step-up to digital SLR photography with its enhanced in-camera Guide Mode."

[click the image above for a high-res image of the Nikon D3100]

Readers of Digital Home Thoughts, I give you the Nikon D3100. For the first time, I've been invited to be under Nikon Canada's press embargo, which means I was given access to images and the press release early. This has allowed me to pour over the information Nikon has provided, and give it some thought.

The D3100, released about a year after the D3000, represents an significant jump forward in intro-level DSLR technology. If you watched my video review of the Nikon D5000, you'll know that my video experience with video on a DSLR was pretty much a complete failure - the lack of auto-focus made the video on the D5000 extremely hard to use. In a controlled environment - say, an interview subject that doesn't move much - it works great. But try any sort of scene with motion, and the whole thing falls apart. The D3100 is the first DSLR to introduce full-time auto-focus while shooting video. When combined with Nikon's 3D tracking, this should be a quantum leap forward in the ease-of-use department. Nikon's 3D tracking system allows you to lock onto a colour or pattern, and the focus system will track that subject as it moves through the frame as long as you keep the shutter release pressed halfway.

The 3D tracking system works pretty well most of the time - and the D3100 also brings face detection technology into the mix, allowing it to recognize and focus on up to 35 faces at once. Those three things combined should make the D3100 the first DSLR where video can be shot reasonably easily. That's a very big deal in my book - prior to the release of the D3100, I've openly told friends and family to avoid buying a DSLR for the video function because it's so hard to use. Looks like I finally have something to recommend to them! Read more...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Canon 60D DSLR Coming with Swivel LCD Screen?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 PM

There you have it. Is that a 60D with a swivel screen? I've looked at the original under a high zoom and enhanced the shadows a bit...and I think this is legitimate. I didn't see any tell-tale signs of pixel manipulation, so to my eyes, this is the real deal. And as the owner of a D5000, I have to say that I think Canon got this one right - the D5000 flips down, and this flips out - I think flipping out gives you more versatility. What say you Digital Home Thoughts readers? Is this a real image of a forthcoming Canon camera, or clever Photoshopping?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Canon 5D Mark II vs Canon 7D Field Test Hands-on Review

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 04:00 PM

"In this video, we take a look at two Canon DSLRs - the 7D and the 5D Mark II. If you've got either one of the triple digit-D or double digit-D DSLRs from Canon, which of the two makes the ideal body to upgrade to? We take them out to compare some of the best bits of each camera...but the weather takes a turn for the worst. Find out to see if these cameras survive the Hong Kong Typhoons."

The Canon 7D is an impressive piece of technology, and offers significant value for the dollar. If I were a Canon shooter instead of a Nikon shooter, I guarantee I'd have the 7D. This video offers some interesting comparisons between the two models. Well worth watching!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nikon D90 Replacement Imminent?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 11:32 AM

I follow Nikon Rumors on Twitter, and enjoy watching the crazy - and sometimes not so crazy - rumours about Nikon cameras and lenses get bandied about. They've definitely seemed more solid lately though, because it seems like Nikon is gearing up to release some new DSLRs. Today's rumour is focused on the D90 replacement DSLR. It's rumoured to have a 16 MP DX sensor (cropped), noise performance similar to the D700, full HD 1080p video, and feature the continual auto-focus system that was hinted at earlier. Noise performance similar to a D700? Sounds almost too good to be true, especially given the bump up to 16 megapixels, but Nikon has certain achieved a knack for superb noise performance in their cameras, so it's not unreasonable to think that some of that technology would trickle down to lower-end cameras. The rumour also says 8 frames per second, which I find quite hard to believe - Nikon uses FPS limitations to separate their cameras, and the D90 has 4.5 fps now. I'd say 5fps or 6fps would be reasonable; not eight.

Of course, what I'm really waiting for is the successor to the D300/D300s. I still love my D300, but I'd found myself tempted lately by the D700 to get the lower sensor noise - yet I'd hate to give up the 50% extra zoom reach I get with all my lenses on the DX body now. I have a whack of cash saved up for my next DSLR...I'm just waiting for Nikon to release it!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Adobe Releases Lightroom 3

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 10:43 PM

"Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the immediate availability of Adobe(r) Photoshop(r) Lightroom(r) 3 software for Windows(r) and Macintosh, the essential digital photography workflow solution that allows photographers to quickly organize, enhance and showcase their images from one application. First released as a public beta in October 2009, the final version of Lightroom 3 introduces a completely redesigned performance architecture that better handles growing image libraries and provides an unrivaled raw processing engine with noise reduction and sharpening tools to achieve the highest image quality. The 64-bit capable Lightroom 3 includes new features that optimize workflows and allow images to be shared in creative ways, including support for DSLR video files and tethered shooting on select cameras."

After public betas for eight months, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 is ready to go. I've played with the public beta, but only here and there, and on an HP dv2, a woefully underpowered laptop for raw photo editing. Overall, I liked what I saw - did you have a chance to check out the beta? What did you think of it, and what are your favourite new features?

The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

David Pogue's Plea for Honesty in Photo Specs

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 03:30 PM

"Anyway, the caption always gives the specs for the photo: "Taken with a Nikon D90 at 1/200th second, aperture f/2.8, exposure +1, using Sigma 18-200mm lens" or whatever. It's always bothered me that often, the camera came up with these settings. Plenty of shutterbugs use Auto mode or Program mode, where the camera computes the shutter speed and aperture size."

I'm with Pogue on this one - and I'm not ashamed to admit that quite often I shoot with my camera in full auto or in partially-auto mode (typically aperture-priority or shutter-priority mode). It's very rare for me to go 100% manual mode - and even if I do, I leave the ISO set to auto, so I'm never really 100% manual. Here's how I see it: there are things that I'm good at (framing, knowing when and where to point the camera, when to take the picture, etc.) and there are things the camera is good at (selecting an ISO based on available light, etc.). So I let the camera do what it's good at, and I do what I'm good at.

I feel the same way about transmissions in cars; I only drive automatic transmission cars, because there are things that I as a driver need to focus on...shifting gears is not one of them. I know someone's going to post that driving an automatic takes all the "fun" out of driving, but I still love driving...just like I love taking pictures, even if it's not in full manual mode.

Where do you stand on this issue?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another Cool but Completed Fictitious Nikon Camera: the D4x

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 10:28 AM

This is a camera we'll never see - it was created by Industrial Designer Marc Levinson. It's a beautiful design, though I'm not entirely sure how functional it would be; the shutter release is at the back instead of the front. However, the viewfinder is angled upward, so maybe by looking through the viewfinder at a different angle, you can comfortably shoot from a different angle. I'm not convinced though - the diagrams show the user holding the camera with the fingertips...which doesn't sound conducive for long photo shoots.

I'll tell you what this does make me hunger for though: Nikon's entry into the DILC/EVIL realm...I really want to see Nikon leverage some of their awesome DSLR technology into a smaller form factor!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nikon Underwater DSLR: In 1998?

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

"This is an interesting story because when I tried to research this underwater digital camera (Nikon DCS 425) I could hardly find any info online. It seems that this model was produced for the US military/intelligence organizations and initially even its existence was denied...."

If you enjoy reading about rumors, even if they deal with equipment that is over a decade old, this article from should be worth a look. I thought the branding and orange colored bits on the camera betrayed any "stealth" usage, but if it was still under development and being used only in training, perhaps they are not as strange as they seem at first glance. Be certain to follow the links provided in the article, especially the one to, for additional information and photographs.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nikon D300s DSLR Body Reviewed

Posted by Matthew Shanks in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Product Category: Digital SLR (Single-lens Reflex) Camera Body
Manufacturer: Nikon
Where to Buy: Amazon [USA, Affiliate], The Camera Store [Canada]
Price: $1649 USD (Amazon), $1598 CAD (The Camera Store)
System Requirements: Nikon F mount lenses required
Specifications: 12.3MP, 3.0" LCD Monitor, 7fps, dual memory card slots, ISO 100-6400; details from Nikon site.


  • Great ergonomics, buttons and dials well placed and easy to operate;
  • Excellent low light capability with large ISO range;
  • Fast 7-8fps continuous shooting speed;
  • Extremely customizable.


  • Continuous autofocus not available during movie recording;
  • Movie recording clips limited to 5 minute duration with 720p resolution;
  • Autofocus groups not visible in viewfinder at all times;
  • Exposure meter and histogram not available on LCD monitor during Live View.

Summary: The impressive Nikon D300s is an update of the well-regarded D300 DX format digital SLR body, and is a recommended upgrade for existing Nikon users, or as a new body for photographers looking for a powerful and versatile camera.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Eight Reasons Not To Buy a DSLR for Video

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 10:00 AM

"DSLR's, the game-changing family of hybrid cameras are the darlings of the media world. Cheap and capable of eye-catching imagery, they've captured the imagination of thousands of would-be (and real life) cinematographers and directors. It seems everyone has a feature in production using the neat little cams which are going to take over Hollywood. But this picture isn't perfect. Here are 8 reasons not to buy a DSLR for video."

This article brings up some excellent points about the limitations of using a DSLR for video - the biggest of which is the ergonomics. DSLRs were designed to take pictures; video is just an afterthought. I love the way DSLR video looks, but this article raises some very valid points that should make anyone re-think a DSLR video project if they assumed it would be easy. Not that it can't be done - Vincent Laforet has proven amazing things can be achieved - but it's not something you should go into blindly. I wonder what kind of challenges they had on this episode of House shot with a DSLR?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Canon EOS 550D: A Better Rebel?

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 PM

"The Canon EOS 550D is a difficult product to categorize. Ostensibly designed to appeal to first-time DSLR buyers and enthusiasts, it offers a lot more technology, and at a higher price, than we might expect.... [T]he 'entry-level' DSLR... sector of the marketplace is pretty crowded. Canon, like all manufacturers, faces a stiff battle to make its products stand out amongst their numerous peers. ... To this end, Canon has pulled out all the stops with the EOS 550D and produced the most highly-specced Rebel we've ever seen."

The Canon EOS 550D is known as the "Rebel T2i" in the USA and Canada (and the "EOS Kiss Digital X4" in Japan!). The excellent write up that Digital Photography Review provides suggests that the "Rebel" designation may indeed be appropriate: while not inexpensive, it not only exceeds expectations for a mid range DSLR, but with an 18MP "gapless micro lens" sensor, full HD movie recording, and a metering system borrowed from the EOS 7D, it challenges higher end units in many ways. The principle caveat with the EOS 550D appears to be that the kit lens is not of high enough quality to take full advantage of the body! Still, this looks like a very attractive DSLR, and perhaps especially so for those who already have an investment in Canon EF lenses.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Adobe Releases Lightroom 3 Beta 2

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 12:50 AM

"New features in this release include tethered shooting support for select Nikon and Canon cameras, the ability to import and manage video files from DSLR cameras for a streamlined workflow and additional behind-the-scenes architecture enhancements for faster importing and loading of images. The addition of luminance noise reduction to the color noise reduction options already available in the beta helps photographers achieve overall exceptional image quality from high ISO images. The import experience and watermarking functionality have also been modified to reflect feedback received from the Lightroom community during the first beta period."

Anyone using the Lightroom 3 beta? I'm toying around with it on one of my laptops, but it's a sadly underpowered 1.6 Ghz AMD Neo processor that is pretty awful at keeping up with Lightroom - I'm still using Lightroom 2.0 on my main media editing computer. Lightroom 3.0 brings some pretty cool things to the table - I like that it's able to import and manage video files now. It's a hassle to insert a memory card, import the photos using Lightroom, then have to manually dig to get the video files. I don't expect Lightroom to help me edit the video files, but I do expect it to at least import them for me. Looks like Lightroom 3.0 is shaping up to be a winner!

Monday, March 15, 2010

What Nikon Product is Hiding in the Funky Box?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 01:30 PM

The original post over on Nikon Rumors was focused on what kind of lens is on this camera body, but I think the more interesting question is what kind of camera body is under that box? If it was just about protecting the identity of a lens, some black tape would largely do the trick. There must be a new Nikon camera body under there...any guesses as to what it is? I've heard D700x and D800 bandied about lately - but where's my highly-anticipated D400 at?

Nikon's D5000 DSLR: Small and Feature-Packed

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

This is my review video of the Nikon D5000 DSLR. The D5000 has a 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, can record 720p videos at 24fps (MJPEG format). The 2.7 inch screen flips down and rotates around to face the front. It also has 19 auto-exposure scene modes, up to 4fps shooting, one-button Live View, ISO sensitivity from 200 to 3200, built-in image sensor cleaning, 11-point autofocus system with 3D focus tracking, auto active D-Lighting, in-camera image retouching with special effects, and more. Read more...

Friday, March 5, 2010

DXO Labs Camera Comparison System

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:00 PM

DXO Labs is known for some of the most scientific camera tests in the world; their software is used by many top magazines and Web sites for analyzing camera and lens performance. I stumbled across their comparison page last week and plugged in my three main camera bodies: a Panasonic GF1, Nikon D5000, and Nikon D300. The results were pretty interesting - I wasn't expecting the D5000 to rate higher than the much more expensive D300 in the areas of low-light performance and the overall sensor score. I don't know enough about the data points they're using to generate these scores...what I do know is that I find my D300 infinitely nicer to shoot with than my D5000. Not that there's anything wrong with the D5000 of course, but the D300 is a much more satisfying overall camera experience. Plug in your DSLR (or Micro Four-Thirds) camera and see what DXO Labs has to say about it!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nikon About to Go Head to Head With Canon's G11?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 AM

"Nikon's UK Senior Product Manager Kevin Egan told AP that Nikon planned to release a Canon G11 competitor with the last batch of Coolpix cameras, but the camera was not ready. The model in question will contain DLSR technology in a "high-end Coolpix compact camera" body. No release date was mentioned. The full article can be found here."

Interesting stuff! Canon has had a real hit on their hands with the G9/G10/G11 series - it's a point and shoot-sized camera that produces much better images than your average point and shoot. The G11 in particular came out with a lower-resolution sensor than the G10, yet because of that it can produce higher-quality images. Nikon has always had that gap in their product line up: you go from their point and shoot line, which takes pictures like you'd expect from a P&S camera, and jump up to the D3000. There's nothing in between, and it seems like Nikon might be filling that gap with a new model shortly. I adore Nikon DSLRs, but their point and shoot cameras have always left me feeling ho-hum. That might change if these rumours prove to be true!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

dpreview Looks at the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 PM

"However, more than previous 1D series cameras, the 1D Mark IV has a lot to prove. Whereas, in the past, Canon's flagship models have been a fairly safe bet, autofocus problems with the 1D Mark III have cast a shadow over the range. Those problems, which appear to have come from a combination of manufacturing error, increased complexity of AF customization and the AF sensor occasionally being overwhelmed in bright conditions, have become notorious."

If you're a serious Canon shooter, the EOS-1D Mark IV has been on your "want" list since it was announced - this camera has a lot to offer, namely a 16 megapixel sensor with 10 fps shooting, 1080p video, and a huge jump from 19 to 39 cross-type autofocus spots (with an f/2.8 or faster lens mind you). dpreview's exhaustive review is worth a read if you're considering this camera.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Nikon D3S Reviewed by

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"When the Nikon D3 was launched in August 2007, it had an immediate impact on the DSLR market, and not only in the professional sector.... A little over two years later, and Nikon is trying to build on the foundations laid by the D3's runaway success. Enter the D3S. Ergonomically, very little has changed. ... [B]ut the D3S does offer some significant improvements, not least a new 720x1280p video capture mode, and several minor tweaks designed to make the new camera more competitive."

Barnaby Britton, of, has published an extensive review of the new Nikon D3S, as befits a fairly expensive ($5,199 MSRP, US, body only) professional level DSLR. In addition to the new video mode, the D3S adds an even broader ISO range (all the way out to ISO 102,400!), and a larger memory buffer, to go along with dual CF slots, a Virtual Horizon Graphic Indicator, and batteries capable of approximately 4,200 images per charge. This is a large camera - note the relative size of the 3-inch LCD monitor in the photo above - and also apparently a complex one, "that rewards a careful reading of the bible-thick instruction manual, even if you are a habitual Nikon shooter." Nikon made several marketing decisions in the design and feature content of the D3S: read the full review to learn the details - and then let us know where you stand on the "Higher ISO vs. Higher Resolution" debate!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Preciousssss Has Arrived: The Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 12:00 PM

After saving my pennies for many months, and re-directing incoming birthday and Christmas presents into the "Lens Fund", I'm thrilled to have finally purchased a lens I've had on my want list for two years: the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR II. It's a beast of a lens, a full 209mm (8.2 inches) long, and weighs in at a hefty 1504 grams (3.4 pounds). I adore my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and shoot with it 90% of the time, but the occasions when I need more reach mean I have to grab my 18-200 Nikkor lens or my Tamron 28-300mm. In the case of the Tamron, a lens I used earlier this week at an indoor pool where the light was awful, at maximum zoom it's an awful f/6.3. The Nikkor isn't much better at f/5.6. Read more...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Loving My Panasonic Lumix GF1 So Far...

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:54 PM

My Panasonic Lumix GF1 [affiliate] showed up yesterday - courtesy of a friend in the USA who shipped it to me - and I'm really enjoying experimenting with it. Everything I read in review about this product is true: with the 20mm f/1.7 lens on it, the GF1 is much smaller than even the smallest DSLR - and I have a Nikon D5000, which is tiny for a DSLR. Because of the size, you feel inspired to use the GF1 in different ways, and take pictures you'd typically use a point and shoot camera for. My initial impressions of the GF1 are very positive - I've shot an unboxing video that I'll be producing and uploading within the next week. It's too early for me to tell if this camera is as good as I was hoping it would be, but thus far I'm having a lot of fun with this camera - more so than any other camera in recent memory. Another photo after the break. Read more...

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