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All posts tagged "nikon"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nikon's D3100 Reviewed: A Great Entry-Level DSLR

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

The D3100, announced back in August of 2010, is an entry-level DSLR from Nikon, but the list of features and specs might surprise you: the 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor is at the heart of this camera, giving it ISO 100 to 3200 (with a high ISO 12,800 option), 3 frames per second continual shooting, 1080p 24fps MPEG/h.264 video with continual auto focus, an 11-point autofocus system with 3D tracking, 420-segment RGB II metering, automatic image sensor cleaning, in-camera retouch options (including trimming of video clips), and a built-in pop-up flash. It's a very capable camera for under the $700 mark. Be sure to check out my two-part unboxing and first impressions video if you haven't already seen it. My full review video is after the break. Read more...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Glass for Less: A Simple Guide to Inexpensive Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

As more people get into photography as a hobby, a common refrain heard is that it is an expensive hobby. It is not without some truth, as hobbies by their nature can involve spending large outlays of money since it is human nature to delve deeper into our interests, and hobbies that involve any kind of gear will have many opportunities for the hobbyist to spend their hard-earned money on. Not helping is today's world of marketing departments' promises of being better at what you do if you buy their companies' products or services.

Even if you ignore the messages from marketing, you still need some basic gear to take a photo, like a lens, and lenses can be very very expensive. Lenses can range from the popular f/2.8 zooms (as much as US$2,000+) to the super telephoto lenses (too much). Thankfully, there are cheap options out there, some good, some downright awful. So what does a budget (and budding) photographer buy? Well, here's a short roundup of some lenses that can be considered to be not too expensive.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things I Want to See in 2011

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 08:00 AM

Welcome to 2011! The last decade was a breath-taking one for digital photography, and the last few years have brought about a torrent of changes and improvements, along with the digital revolution settling down somewhat. Still, a new year brings new possibilities, and here is what I would like to see for 2011:

1. Open Platform Camera

One reason for the popularity of cameras in smartphones is the software you can add to it. Want different effects? Download an app to process them on the phone. Want to see said effects in real-time? Download an app to replace the default camera app. Want an intervalometer? Download an app for that too!

Having an open platform for developers to add functionality to the camera would be an amazing selling point. This would go beyond consumer-level gee-whiz; there is plenty for for enthusiasts too. Change button assignments, tone curves (this has existed but not always the easiest to do), even autofocus and auto exposure behaviour for the adventerous. There is also something to be said for spending less time in image editors...

Of course this would kill some manufacturers' unique selling points. Olympus and their Art Filters will probably be the first casualty. Coupled with most camera companies being conservative in nature, this is unlikely to happen from a traditional manufacturer. Anyone out there willing to take a chance on this?

2. Truly Connected Cameras

Tying in with the above point on open platforms, connectivity is the next big thing. Most of us share our photos digitally nowadays, and the Internet is the main way to do this. Standalone cameras still rely heavily on having a computer to do this. Smartphone cameras are showing the way this should be done, so where are the connected cameras? The Olympus E-PL2's bluetooth dongle (a leaked piece of news at this time of writing) is a step forward, and hopefully will set the tone for the rest of the year.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Nikon D3100 Reviewed by Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:37 AM

"The D3100 is Nikon's entry-level digital SLR, priced from just $699 with an 18 - 55 mm lens. The D3100 is a very user-friendly camera, with help screens and a unique "guide mode" that literally spells out what you need to do in order to get the shot you want. It also has plenty of features to excite camera enthusiasts, including a 14.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor, 11-point AF system, a 3-inch LCD with live view, plenty of manual controls, and a Full HD movie mode."

Nikon's D3100 is actually a fairly large upgrade for this line. It features a new 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor which should give better image quality overall, and adds HD video as well. The high ISO images are turning out pretty well, and to me even ISO 6400 can be used in a pinch (with some post processing). It looks like a great camera for those wanting to get a budget DSLR, the question now is, is the camera still as cheap as some of the D3000 deals I've been seeing in North America previously?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gizmodo's List of "Budget" Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:38 AM

"If you're shopping for a new lens of some sort, you've come to just the right place. Here's ThePhoblographer's list of the best lenses you can get your hands on without breaking the bank."

Defnitely a budget lens: Nikkor DX AF-S 35mm f/1.8G

Alright, I know it's hard to write articles (else I'd do some more myself), but I wish some writers would write more for their target audience than for themselves. While some of the lenses in the list are indeed budget (normal lenses are usually not expensive), they're all prime lenses. I'm thinking a general techblog on this topic should include some budget but quality zooms in the list (Tamron's 17-50 comes to mind). Also, when going through the list, note that there's no distinction between the use of the lens on APS-C-sized and 35mm-sized sensors for Nikon and Canon systems. There's no mention of other systems, but hey, I guess they don't count in today's market.

And really, the Nikkor AF 28mm f/2.8D? The neutered version from the manual focus version that drops two elements and CRC (Close Range Correction System) is hardly what I call legendary. Budget certainly, but not my favourite wide angle Nikkor, which is hardly wide once you mount it on a DX camera; see my point on not making distinctions on sensor sizes when discussing lenses.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nikon D7000 Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:11 AM

"When it was announced in September the D7000 took a lot of people by surprise. Although a D90 successor had been on the horizon for some time, what wasn't expected was how close in specification terms the new camera would turn out to be to the D300S. In some respects, in fact, the D7000 actually outguns its (supposedly) semi-pro cousin, and offers a compelling upgrade option to both D90 and D300S owners, whilst nominally sitting between the two in Nikon's current lineup."

Alright, here's the DPReview review of the Nikon D7000, and the verdict is well, good. Basically if you're looking for something more advanced but not professional grade, the D7000 is pretty much it. Stills are very good (though the noise does not look much better than my D300), and the video has a lot less rolling shutter issues than the D90. I just played with one at Nikon today and was quite impressed. However I don't agree with it as an upgrade for D300s owners!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Memory Card Standard Upgrades: CompactFlash's Turn This Time

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home News" @ 09:00 AM

"Today SanDisk, Sony and Nikon 'announced the joint development of a set of specifications that address the future requirements of professional photography and video markets.'"

CompactFlash still has plenty of life left in it as a professional medium for photographers; its durability and physical size (SD is a bit fiddly to work with in the field) are great plus points. What Nikon, Sandisk and Sony should do next after making them go faster (500 MB/s is the target), larger (2TB cards anyone?) and tougher, is to make a portable and fast CF card reader solution. I have had enough of dangling card readers and fiddly cables I keep on losing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Digital Photography Review's Premium Compact Roundup

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:54 PM

"It wasn't so long ago that DSLRs were out of financial reach for most enthusiast photographers. Back before DSLRs fell below the magic sub-$1000 mark, the only way for most people to 'go digital' was to invest in a high-quality compact, offering SLR-like control, but without the expensive extras - the large sensor and interchangeable lens mount."

Well, here is another look at a trio of compact cameras; this time the Canon S95 is present instead of the G12; I wonder where is the Samsung EX-1 though? It pretty much has the same conclusion as the last one I posted: Image quality is not an issue with modern compacts, and one should choose based on their needs and wants instead. Want something wider? Pick the LX5. Want something small? Pick the S95. Want something fast and works like a professional-grade camera? Don't pick the P7000. Hit the link for the full article.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Premium Compact Shootout: Nikon vs Canon vs Panasonic

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"We're now almost two decades into the competent digital compact camera era, but many things remain the same. The big issue has been and remains the small size of the image sensor in these cameras. While there has been a strong increase in image quality over the years, the small sensor sized used just doesn't allow the high-end compact camera to produce DSLR-like results in dynamic range or high ISO shooting."

Thom Hogan has compared three premium compacts, the Nikon P7000, the Canon G12, and the Panasonic LX5. While I am certain they all are decent (Nikon surprises me somewhat), I still like the Panasonic's combination of size, focal length, and looks. It is a very charming camera, the LX5. On another note: The Nikon looks way too much like a Canon; Thom Hogan even notes that the operation is more Canon than Nikon-like. If so, what is the appeal of buying a P7000 when there is a G12? Nikon really should have worked harder on differentiating the product (plus a compact that works like a Nikon DSLR is worth extra points in my book).

Friday, November 5, 2010

PocketWizard Announces FlexTT5 and MiniTT1 for Nikon Cameras

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

"PocketWizard, the industry leader in wireless control and synchronization of cameras, flash and light meters, demonstrates its MiniTT1 Transmitter and FlexTT5 Transceiver for the Nikon DSLR camera system. Sales are expected to start in fourth Quarter 2010."

PocketWizards have been used by many pros to trigger their flashes wireless, but the downside is that you lose TTL flash metering; you'll need to manually calculate the flash and camera settings. PocketWizards released a new series of transmitters to allow TTL flash metering to be used, but they were only available for the Canon system, with Nikon compatible transcievers "coming soon". Well, looks like "soon" is now. I'm curious to find out if the TTL system works better than the crappy CLS system...

Nikon Compacts Reviewed: Coolpix S1100pj and S5100

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:00 AM

After yesterday's Nikon DSLR review round-up, here's one for the Coolpixes, or, Nikon's compacts. First up is the Coolpix S1100pj, the newest in a line (of 2) cameras sporting a built-in projector. The nifty thing is that the projector can now be hooked up to a computer. Not so nifty is the 14 lumens rating, up from 10, which is more or less meaningless. You are going to need a really really dark room for this to work adequately. On the camera side of things, it gets a lukewarm reception. It's alright, but nothing special.

Nikon Coolpix S1100pj Review

The Coolpix S5100 is a cheap camera that offers the usual standard fare. I can't be enthused enough to describe it much, but the 12 megapixel 5x zoom compact garners a recommendation. At least the lens starts at 28mm equivalent, where many budget compacts still don't.

Nikon Coolpix S5100 Review

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nikon's Latest DSLR Reviews: D7000 and D3100

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:30 AM

As both the D7000 and D3100 get shipped out in quantity, we're starting to see the reviews for both come in. First up is the D3100 review. How does it fair? Pretty good, actually, thought if you are not looking for video, you should take a look at the D3000 as well, as it is much cheaper. I do expect the D3100's price to go down after a few manufacturing cycles though. The D3000 is after all, based on the tried-and-tested (aka old-and-outdated in techspeak).

Nikon D3100 Review

Next up is the big hit of the season, the Nikon D7000. Nikon traditionally has been better at doing the more expensive cameras (market segmentation is not a strong suite of theirs, see F301, F401, F50, F70 as examples). I don't think I really need to tell you all how it fares in the review!

Nikon D7000 Review

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nikon Announces My PictureTown 3D and 3D Digital Photo Frame

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:30 AM

"2D to 3D conversion techniques -- whether cinematic or otherwise -- don't have us jumping for joy, but Nikon's new NF-300i display sounds like a concept we could get behind. It's a 7.2-inch digital photo frame running Android 2.1 on an autostereoscopic (glasses-less) screen, which sports a special double-density lenticular lens to display images at full WSVGA resolution (800 x 600) whether in 2D or 3D modes."

Well, a few days back I was saying that the Fujifilm W3 lacked options to display 3D images beyond 3D TVs, and now Nikon (who do not have a 3D camera in their lineup) comes out with this. Can someone please tell them to get their act together if they want to see 3D take off? Oh, and the photo frame runs Android too. Nikon DSLR with Android in the future, anyone? If you want the frame, you're out of luck; it's only available in Japan, and needs a subscription to My PictureTown 3D.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nikon Coolpix S80 Reviewed

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

"The Nikon Coolpix S80 is a new 14 megapixel touchscreen compact camera. Featuring a large 3.5 inch OLED screen with 819k-dots and a 720p HD movie mode with stereo sound and an HDMI port, the Nikon S80 allows you to focus and take a picture or video simply by touching the relevant area on the screen."

Nikon's never been one to take the compact market that seriously, having subcontracted manufacture (if not design) to other companies, and the S80 feels like such a product, with some odd design decisions, like the 5x optical zoom lens that starts at a 35mm equivalent rather than 28mm equivalent, which is what its predecessor had. The OLED screen might be a good selling point, but ultimately image quality is a bit on a so-so side. If a consumer electronics company like Panasonic can do good compacts, there is no reason for Nikon not to. I suspect its mostly a strategic decision on their part not to divert too many resources to the compact division.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nikon D7000 Early Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

"This review not to go over the specs, movies, AI metering, FPS of the Nikon D7000; instead we will talk about the camera handling, auto focus, image quality, etc. I am not here to bash or stop you from getting the Nikon D7000. In fact you can order the kit here and the body only here.My reason for getting a D7000 was for me to have a backup to my D700; in case of an emergency or just for casual use."

As the Nikon D7000 trickles out to the stores, the reviews are starting to pop up. Here's one by a working professional; I do have a little concern in using the term sharpness in reviewing output quality; there's resolution, and there's edge contrast, the latter which many people use to describe "sharpness". It's too easy to mislead apparent resolution by using some smart sharpening techniques (by smart I don't mean dialling up the sharpness to 11 either). Still, the high ISO looks impressive, and I now can't wait for the release of the D400, or whatever the D300s successor is going to be called.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nikon D7000 Shipments Delayed, Hitler is Pissed [NSFW]

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

I don't normally post NSFW (not safe for work) content on any of my sites, but I laughed my head off when I was watching this video - it's yet another Hiltler rant clip used from the movie Downfall. The movie was anything but funny of course because it deals with such brutal subject matter, but creative people have made some extremely funny videos by adding their own subtitles to the impressive performance from the actors. It's NSFW because of the language used in the subtitles. This clip is in response to some delays in the Nikon D7000 shipping from - I literally LOL'd when the line about the Panasonic Four Thirds camera came up...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nikon Launches Revamped My Picturetown

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home News" @ 11:30 AM

"Among the new features is the PhotoMovie function that allows my Picturetown members to create a dynamic slide show of photos that can be combined with text, music, and special effects. This service allows users to include their favorite memories in a PhotoMovie that can be easily shared with friends and family through email or popular social networks. The tool is a unique alternative to posting single pictures and adds the ability to tell a story and share memorable moments through multiple photos, captions, and royalty-free music available on the site."

So uh, not sure why Nikon didn't just partner with say, Flickr or Smugmug and be done with it, and concentrate on making cameras. After struggling with Capture NX1 (NX2 is better but still not great), Nikon's clearly not a software giant. I've clean forgotten about Picturetown until this came up. Anyone uses it, and has anything to say about it? Press release after the break.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nikon Coolpix P7000 Reviewed by PhotographyBLOG

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:30 PM

"The Nikon Coolpix P7000 is a the new flagship model in Nikon’s extensive range of Coolpix compact digital cameras. The Coolpix P7000 is the successor to the one-year-old P6000, but it offers a new design and extra features that make it a completely different proposition."

PhotographyBLOG has reviewed the Nikon Coolpix P7000 and has come away impressed by it. Me? I'm not so. After years of Canon bringing out a number of G cameras, Nikon's response is a near-copy that betters the Canon in a few areas (mostly in the lens' extra reach). I suppose Nikon sees that compact cameras don't have the lock-in a DSLR system has, so there is no need for a vastly more compelling camera to entice buyers. Personally the signal I get from Nikon is that they are still not that interested in this segment; contrast this with the D3 and D300 launch three years back. I certainly am not getting this camera!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nikon D7000 vs D300s Spec Sheet comparison

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:30 PM

"It's been a long while since Nikon announced anything before the D3100. So with the Nikon D90 finally being replaced, we are seeing something much more robust in the upcoming Nikon D7000. Nikon has tried to be much more careful with their product segmentations without treading on the toes of its other models unlike Canon."

Nikon has come up with the D7000, an upscale replacement of the D90, which comes close in many ways to the D300s. For most photo enthusiasts, the newer D7000 is a better choice; the D300s is based on a two-year old camera that now will serve mostly professionals who need certain features for their work but can't wait for the D300s follow-up. If you still have a D300 or D300s, the D7000 is not likely to be an upgrade unless you need video on a DSLR, so fret not. Anyone eagerly waiting for the D7000?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

DigitalRev Looks at the Nikon D3100

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 PM

The ever-friendly Kai looks at the Nikon D3100, considered by some - including me - to be one of the top entry-level DSLRs on the market today. I discovered a rude surprise today though: Nikon changed their raw format with this camera, so Adobe Lightroom 3.2 can't import the raw files. I sure hope Adobe releases an update for Lightroom soon!

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