Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 07:00 AM
I was helping a friend of mine buy her first DSLR - she had no brand preference, but instead had a budget of $500. It had been a while since I'd looked at Canon DSLRs in the entry-level segment, but I was sure they'd have something to compete price-wise with the Nikon D3000. I was planning on pointing her toward whatever Canon model was around the same price as the D3000, and encourage her to go check them out in person. She wasn't looking for video, and didn't want to pursue photography as a hobby...she just wanted a simple and small DSLR to bypass the sluggish nature of her point and shoot camera. Read more...
"Nikon Corp. plans to introduce a new type of single-lens reflex camera as early as this fiscal year, President Makoto Kimura said. The "new concept" model will probably have an enhanced function for video recording and may adopt the so-called mirrorless structure, Kimura said in an interview today in Tokyo. "It could be any time this fiscal year or the following year, as new models are starting to sell," he said, declining to specify when the product will be available."
Alright, so it "may" adopt a mirrorless structure (which means it's not a SLR anyway), but regardless, I wonder what will it be like? Like I've said, if it is not using the F-mount, it is a new camera system on its own, with all the drawbacks (limited lenses, support, accessories, third-party items).
"First, the patent applications from Japan (no direct links possible) – the first set of patents appears to be for the upcoming EVIL system: Patent application 2010-054660 – “To provide a camera for reliably closing a mount opening upon detaching an accessory for the camera”:"
Nikon Rumors has posted a bunch of patent applications from Nikon, and most of them deal with Nikon's plans for an EVIL camera, like Micro Four Thirds. It does make me wonder if there will be any advantages that Nikon can bring to the table in a field mostly dominated by Micro Four Thirds, as this will be virtually an entire new system, with a new mount and new lenses.
Other interesting things include a patent aimed at video, which is an area Nikon needs to catch up after being the first with the D90, and an improvement on the S1000pj projector camera. Do remember that patent applications do not always translate into shipping products.
"It's now more than a year since we published our last superzoom group test and despite the hype surrounding mirrorless system cameras such as Micro Four Thirds or the Sony NEX, and the fact that entry level DSLRs are becoming more and more affordable, superzoom cameras are as popular with consumers as ever. It is easy to see why. The combination of a large zoom range from wideangle to super telephoto, DSLR-like ergonomics and an attractive price point guarantee that these cameras appeal to a very broad audience."
Following up on their travel zoom roundup, Digital Photography Review has released one on the travel zoom's big brothers; the super zoom cameras. As mentioned, despite mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras being the new must-have for manufacturers, the appeal of such "bridge" cameras still lies in their versatility at a low cost. This time round, the winners are not so surprising. Still, I can't imagine going back to using thumbnail-sized sensors in my cameras!
"For many years now, the trend on this website has been to review the more expensive, cutting-edge cameras. Not only do those cameras capture my interest -- they are what the majority of DCRP readers are curious about, as well. Recently, I was reminded by a reader that I wasn't giving enough attention to entry-level cameras. These cameras may be boring to tech enthusiasts, but let's face it, millions of them are sold every year to regular folks who want something easy-to-use that takes decent photos."
Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page has done a nice roundup of eight budget digital cameras. As digital cameras becomes more commoditised, reviews tend to become fewer and fewer, especially in the budget section, where unfortunately it is an area where it's likely to be a big segment of consumers who will likely need some help in making their choices. So if you know of anyone who's just looking for a cheap, no-frills camera that won't let them down, send them over to this roundup.
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?
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...
"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!
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 03:00 PM
"Nikon introduced the 70-200mm f2.8 VR back in 2003 and for 6 years it was known as one of those "must-have" medium zoom lenses. Now, with the release of the VRII, can Nikon improve on an already great formula? Watch the world's first field test of the 70-200mm f2.8 VRII to find out."
I haven't had much time to test my 70-200 yet (hoping to go to the local zoo this weekend for some good shooting), so I enjoyed this video overview of this very nice, but very expensive, lens.
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...
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:10 PM
"Mississauga, ON, February 2, 2010 - Nikon Canada today introduced eight new COOLPIX cameras to its popular line-up of compact digital cameras, including one Performance-series, four Style-series and three Life-series cameras. Nikon continues to lead innovation in the ever-evolving categories of compact digital cameras as demonstrated with the introduction of a CMOS sensor and 26x optical zoom lens into its flagship Performance-series COOLPIX P100. Nikon has also equipped five of its new COOLPIX cameras across all three series with HD movie capabilities, making creating and sharing memories fun and easy. Elegantly designed compact cameras in vibrant must-have colours to suit personal style are a hallmark of the COOLPIX line, including the new COOLPIX S8000, COOLPIX S6000, COOLPIX S4000, COOLPIX S3000, COOLPIX L22 and COOLPIX L21. Additionally, the new COOLPIX L110 offers 15x super zoom and HD video recording with stereo sound and easy shooting versatility."
Nikon has kicked out a boatload of new cameras, and they've done it at 11pm Eastern Time. It's time for me to head to bed you see, so rather than giving you analysis of what Nikon has released, I'm going to say that the most noteworthy thing I see here is that Nikon is finally offering point and shoot cameras with 720p video - meaning they've caught up to what Panasonic and others were doing in 2008. I'm a huge fan of Nikon DSLRs, but when it comes to their point and shoot cameras, historically they haven't been on the cutting edge. This group of new cameras looks like it's competitive with what's out there now. What do you think? Am I missing anything? Do any of these cameras stand out to you?
The remainder of the press release is after the break, along with a couple of other images. Read more...
"There are two major brands of 35mm camera in the pro and prosumer camera market - Canon and Nikon. Yes, Pentax, Sony, Olympus and a couple of others have their niches, but Nikon and Canon between them share the majority of the marketplace. Both companies have loaner and rapid repair programs for pros, and rental houses around the world typically carry bodies and lenses of both brands, while rental facilities for the other brands are almost nonexistent. Economics being what it is, few photographers own both systems at the same time. A couple of bodies and a selection of pro-grade lenses runs between $10-$20,000, and once a decision and investment has been made few bother to switch, or if they do so it isn't more often than every decade or two. Also, brand loyalty comes into play because no one likes admitting that they may have made an inappropriate buying decision. We see this carried to its extreme with the adolescent fanboy attitudes displayed on some web forums and camera clubs in defense of one brand over another."
The choice of camera body - especially the choice between Nikon and Canon - is an almost religious-level decision for some photographers, but as always the delightful Luminous Landscape has a thought-provoking article on the subject. As someone who switched from Canon to Nikon myself, I found myself agreeing with many of his points - though to be fair I had fairly limited experience with DSLRs at that point, switching to Nikon after owning only one Canon DSLR. This article was written in January of 2008, so the landscape has changed somewhat since then, but it's a great read for anyone in either the Canon or Nikon camp. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the article after you've read it!
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM
This is an unboxing and first impressions 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...
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:09 AM
"Nikon Canada today introduced the FX-format D3s digital SLR, providing professional photographers with a powerful tool that redefines the boundaries of digital SLR versatility, while maintaining the strength of superior image quality and high speed performance inherited from its groundbreaking D3. The D3s enables new opportunities in low-light photography, providing photographers with an added shutter speed and aperture choice with a base ISO sensitivity range from ISO 200 to a remarkable 12,800; and features an incredible Hi3 setting of 102,400, enabling photographers to create images previously thought impossible. The Nikon D3s builds upon the success of the Nikon D3 -- the camera that set new standards for professional digital SLR performance -- and utilizes a newly designed, Nikon original 12.1-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor that also integrates its amazing low-light ability to High Definition (HD) video, creating a uniquely capable multi-media tool to meet the needs of the ever-changing imaging industry"
The big deal with the Nikon D3s seems to be the ISO sensitivity - it uses a newly-designed sensor that works from ISO 200 to ISO 12,800...or ISO 100 (Lo 1) up to ISO 102,400 (Hi 3). No, that's not a typo - Hi 1 is ISO 25,600, Hi 2 is 51,200, and Hi 3 is a staggering ISO 102,400. Somewhat curiously, this new sensor is only 12.1 megapixels. I'm not a proponent for more megapixels "just because", but as anyone who's had to crop the heck out of a short-lens shot will tell you, more megapixels do come in handy - as long as the quality doesn't suffer. It might simply be that in order to reach those insanely high ISO values while still maintaining quality, the resolution had to be kept at 12 megapixels.
I'm really curious to see what kind of noise an image would have at ISOs that high - or, conversely, how clean the images are at ISO 3200, a value that I consider to be high when I have to shoot at it. Worth noting is that this sensor is touted as a "Nikon Original FX-format CMOS sensor" - Sony has designed many of the sensors in Nikon cameras. Is this the start of something new for Nikon? I think the D3 sensor might have been Nikon-designed as well - can anyone confirm that?
[The video above wasn't uploaded in HD, so someone fell off the cluetrain, but you can see the hella-good ISO performance. Another video here.]
Other features on the D3s include 720p 24fps HD video, which apparently includes a new algorithm that "severely reduces" the rolling shutter effect. No mention of what's needed most for shooting videos though: auto-focus with subject tracking and in-body image stabilization. I recently purchased a Nikon D5000 to get my first taste of DSLR HD video, which I'll write more about later, but the lack of in-body image stabilization when I'm shooting with my f/1.8 35mm prime makes for some nausea-inducing videos unless I'm extremely careful.
The remainder of the press release is after the break, along with a shot of the back of the camera. Read more...
"Not all of the changes made to create the D300S will be immediately apparent from looking at the specification sheets. Thankfully Nikon has loaned us a D300S which we've pored over and peered into, in an attempt to get to the bottom of the less obvious changes that have been made to its APS-C flagship."
dpreview.com was lucky enough to get their hands on the new D300s prior to the official announcement, and they've written a small article with some of the changes. I'll be interested in seeing if the video on the D300s is noticeably better than the video from the D90 - it should be given the superior sensor on the D300s, but one never knows...
"Mississauga, ON, July 30, 2009 - Nikon Canada today announced the D3000 as the newest addition to its family of quality DX-format digital SLRs. The 10.2 megapixel D3000 makes it easier than ever to step-up to digital SLR photography and achieve great pictures with the new Guide Mode, which aids new users with step-by-step assistance when needed.
Through its intuitive user-friendly interface, the Guide mode assists users in choosing shooting modes for a variety of situations and, if they choose, exploring advanced photographic techniques. The Guide mode is easily accessed by the program dial on the top of the camera and displays a variety of shooting situations via the LCD screen, indicating the most appropriate setting for a particular scenario. There are also sample photos, which illustrate the effects of different photo-taking techniques."
At a quick glance, the D3000 looks like a slightly less powerful D5000, but in looking deeper at the specs I see it lacks both the 720p video capture of the D5000 and the rotating LCD screen - so the D3000 is more like a slightly upstream D60. There's no pricing information about the D3000, but considering it has 10.2 megapixel image capture, the same as the D60 (which has an MSRP of $449 CAD), I expect the D3000 to slot in between the D60 and the D5000, likely coming in at $649 CAD. The full press release is after the break, along with a bunch of images.
"Mississauga, ON, July 30, 2009 - Nikon Canada today announced the D300S digital SLR, combining professional-level performance with agility and enhanced D-Movie capabilities to deliver a new benchmark for creative versatility. Engineered to leverage proven Nikon technologies, including a 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor and the 51-point autofocus system; the addition of HD video capture; dual memory card slots; and a faster 7 frames-per-second (fps), the Nikon D300S balances form factor, performance, versatility and reliability for serious photo enthusiasts and professionals.
The D300S retains the photographer-friendly features of the critically acclaimed D300, while enhancing the speed, versatility and agility of the DX-format for a wide variety of photographers, including advanced enthusiasts, wedding photographers and photojournalists. The D300S can record HD video clips and high-fidelity audio with an external stereo microphone input, offering users a digital SLR with full multimedia capabilities. Dual card slots afford users the ability to seamlessly record stills and video to one CompactFlashTM (CF) and one Secure DigitalTM(SD) card separately, while one-button Live View, a new Quiet Shutter Release mode and Active-D Lighting bracketing help users capture stunning images like never before."
Nikon Canada has this habit of releasing new products right around the time I'm trying to call it a night, so I'm not going to do much analysis here - I'm just posting the press release and all the images I can find. Also coming tonight is the Nikon D3000, and two new lenses from Nikon.
As a D300 owner myself, I'm intrigued by the D300s, but the 720p video doesn't impress me. My $400 Panasonic ZS3 can do 720p - if I'm going to drop $2000 on a new DSLR, it should do 1080p. I was expecting Nikon to announce the D400 and have it support 1080p video capture, but that doesn't seem to be happening tonight. The remainder of the press release is after the break, along with a whack of images. Read more...
"While Nikon takes great measures to assure high quality in its imaging products, it has come to our attention that an electronic component related to power control in some Nikon D5000 digital SLR cameras does not meet factory specifications and may, in certain circumstances, prevent the camera from turning on, thus preventing operation of the camera thereafter."
If you're a Nikon D5000 owner, take note: there may be something a little wonky with the power control on your D5000. If you've had trouble turning on your D5000, this would be why. Starting July 23rd, Nikon will be addressing this issue and covering shipping to and from the Nikon repair center. The Read link for this post goes to Nikon Canada, but you should be able to find something similar in your own country if Nikon has a local presence there. It's not great when a new product has problems, but it is great when a company steps up, admits the problem, and goes the extra mile to fix it. Nicely done Nikon!
"The Nikon D5000 aims to be a lot of things to a lot of people - stepping in above the D60 as an offering designed to attract upgraders from older entry-level DSLRs, as well as lending a welcoming hand-up to DSLR ownership for compact camera users looking to get more involved in their hobby. And, on the whole, it performs both tasks pretty well. The features and technologies passed down from the D90 make it a very capable camera but the difference in feature set - low-res LCD, smaller viewfinder, single control dial, fewer direct-access buttons, smaller battery and more limited lens compatibility - should mean it doesn't tread on its big-brother's toes too much."
One of the biggest advantages that the D5000 offers in terms of pure photography is the move from three focal points on the D60 up to 11 focal points. I have a D60 and that's one thing that I always have to adjust do - going from the 51 focal points on my D300 down to three...it makes a big difference with how I take pictures. dpreview does the exhaustively deep dive I've come to expect from them - their JPEG comparisons in particular are great in terms of helping you compare the D5000 to other cameras. The D5000 comes out with a "Highly Recommended" rating, and coming from dpreview.com, that means quite a bit. You can buy the Nikon D5000 from our Amazon.com affiliate store.