From the monthly archives: "January 2009"

Nikon Coolpix S560Cameras.co.uk have reviewed the new Nikon Coolpix S560 – the camera is the world’s most compact 10 megapixel, 5x optical zoom camera with optical vibration reduction – it features a 2.7″ screen, ISO3200 (at 3mp), face, smile and blink detection. The camera is available for £155

“The Nikon Coolpix S560 is a 10 megapixel, pocket digital camera. It has one or two extra features such as being able to take square photos and record time lapse movies. It has a 5x optical zoom lens. Other features include image stabilisation and a 2.7 inch LCD screen.”

Read more Nikon Coolpix S560 Reviews: Trusted Reviews

Panasonic LX3DPInterface have reviewed the new Panasonic Lumic DMC-LX3 – the camera features a F2.0 24mm Ultra Wide Angle lens (24 – 60mm), optical image stabilisation, a larger 10 megapixel sensor with higher sensitivity, ISO3200 at Full Resolution, Full Manual Operation, HD Motion Images and HD Output, and a 3.0-inch screen. The Panasonic LX3 is available for £399

“The Panasonic Lumix LX3 is a capable prosumer camera that’s got very good image quality traits in almost all respects (Except for some noise and detail issues); thumbs up to Panasonic for tackling the issue of image quality which used to exist a few years back.”

Read more Panasonic Lumic LX3 Reviews: DPExpert, Ryan Brenizer, Trusted Reviews, DPReview, Imaging Resource, Luminous Landscape, DCResource, Laurence Kim, CameraLabs, LX3 at Photokina 2008, PhotoReview, Digital Camera Info, Lawrence Ripsher, Photography BLOG, TestFreaks.co.uk

Nikon Coolpix P6000DCResource have reviewed the new 13.5 megapixel Nikon Coolpix P6000 – it features a wide angle 4x optical zoom lens with image stabilisation, a 2.7″ screen, RAW support, manual controls, external flash support, manual focus, GPS support, and an optical viewfinder. The camera is available for £343

“Trying to come up with a conclusion for the Nikon Coolpix P6000 has proven a bit challenging. On the one hand, it’s a compact, easy to use camera with a wide-angle lens, good-sized LCD, full manual controls, customizable buttons and menus, and a hot shoe. It also offers two very unique features: a slow, but useful GPS receiver, and an Ethernet port that most people will probably never use. That said, as the flagship camera in Nikon’s compact lineup, the P6000 has quite a few negatives.”

Read more Nikon Coolpix P6000 Reviews: DPExpert, Cameras.co.uk, Photoxels, Trusted Reviews, Photography BLOG, Previews: Nikon Coolpix P6000 at Photokina

Panasonic G1DPReview have reviewed the new Panasonic G1 Micro Digital SLR – based on the micro four thirds system – It features Full-time Live View both for LCD and LVF, 12-megapixel Live MOS sensor, new smaller LUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm MEGA O.I.S. lens, Dust reduction system and tilting 3″ screen. It will also be available in three colours for £499

“In use the G1 does indeed offer the ease of use of a compact camera – especially if you stick it on fully automatic and ignore the wealth of options and pages of menus. If you’ve been using a Panasonic FZ series – or any advanced compact camera – you’ll feel right at home with the G1.”

Read more Panasonic Lumix G1 Reviews: Trusted Reviews, Luminous Landscape, Photography BLOG, Gizmodo, Digital Camera Info, Imaging Resource, DCResource, Previews: Panasonic Lumix G1 at Photokina

Olympus FE-35Amazon.co.uk have details of another new Olympus, the budget FE-35 – a 10 megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom lens, 2.5″ screen, face detection and digital image stabilisation – it appears to be virtually identical to the FE-45. The camera is available in black or silver for £85:

“The ideal option for those seeking an easy to use point-and-shoot digital compact, the 10 megapixel, 3x optical zoom FE-35 runs on readily available standard AA batteries so you’ll never be left feeling powerless. With the FE-35, functions including Intelligent Auto Mode and Advanced Face Detection Technology for up to 16 faces in a scene make it easy for beginners to get the perfect shot the first time in just about any surroundings. And with Digital Image Stabilisation, the FE-35 boosts image sensor sensitivity (up to ISO1600) to combat camera shake and help prevent blurred images.”

Canon Powershot SX10 ISDPReview have reviewed several ultra zoom cameras including the Canon Powershot SX10 IS, it has a wide angle 20x optical zoom lens, optical image stabilisation, ISO1600, a 10 megapixel CCD sensor, VGA video recording, and a swivel 2.5″ screen. The camera is available for £344

“Other than that, the Canon PowerShot is a strong candidate to be the overall winner of the current Megazoom cameras. For now, the choice is up to the end user. And fair is fair; the technical lab tests merciless show the weak spots of a camera. It doesn’t always have to be like that in practice, since shooting conditions do differ vastly. The overall picture quality is of a high level and the Canon SX10 IS offers excellent users ease, as well as a swift response and is an ideal all-round camera.”

Read more Canon Powershot SX10 IS Reviews: LetsGoDigital, Cameras.co.uk, DCResource, Cameralabs, Photography BLOG, Previews: SX10 IS at Photokina

Nikon D90Digital Photography School have reviewed the new 12.3 megapixel Nikon D90 Digital SLR – the camera features a 3″ screen, live view, 720p High Definition video recording, ISO upto 6400, 11 point AF, and 4.5fps shooting. The D90 is available for £760 with kit lens.

“The Nikon D90 packs a lot into a well balanced, attractive package. While I have noted some quirks of the camera, I’d use one in a heartbeat if I had more Nikon lenses. It’s a great combination building on Nikon’s excellent photo quality with the addition of High Definition video and some very well thought out photographic features.”

Nikon D90 Reviews: Trusted Reviews, LetsGoDigital, Imaging Resource, Digital Camera Info, Photography BLOG, DPReview, PopPhoto, Cameralabs, DPExpert, Luminous Landscape, D90 Preview at Photokina, PhotoReview, Think Camera, DCResource, Previews: DPReview, Nikon Sample Videos, Photos, Brochure

Panasonic FX150Photography BLOG have reviewed the new Panasonic Lumix FX150 – a 14.7 megapixel digital camera – it features a 28mm Wide Angle 3.6x optical zoom lens with image stabilisation, Intelligent Auto Mode with AF Tracking, Simple Manual Operation, up to ISO1600 at Full Resolution, and a 2.7″ screen. It is available in silver or black for £215.

“A well built (with the exception of the plastic buttons at the rear), competitively priced high-resolution model, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 pulls off the trick of being at once a snapshot camera suitable for all the family to use, and one that also won’t have the enthusiast frowning with derision after five minutes. We’d even go so far as to suggest this has to be one of the best options for the more discerning photographer who doesn’t want to kart around a DSLR or a more compact bridge camera on nights out or the occasional day trip.”

Read our Panasonic Lumix FX150 Review
View our Panasonic Lumix FX150 Sample Photo Gallery

Read more Panasonic Lumix FX150 Reviews: DPInterface, Steves Digicams, Cameras.co.uk, Previews: Panasonic FX150 at Photokina.

Panasonic G1Trusted Reviews have reviewed the new Panasonic G1 Micro Digital SLR – based on the micro four thirds system – It features Full-time Live View both for LCD and LVF, 12-megapixel Live MOS sensor, new smaller LUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm MEGA O.I.S. lens, Dust reduction system and tilting 3″ screen. It will also be available in three colours for £499

“The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 is a revolutionary camera that delivers on its promise of SLR-like quality in a compact body. Build quality and design are up to Panasonic’s usual exemplary standard, and despite its small size the camera handles well. In terms of performance and especially image quality it matches other Four-Thirds system DLSRs.”

Read more Panasonic Lumix G1 Reviews: Luminous Landscape, Photography BLOG, Gizmodo, Digital Camera Info, Imaging Resource, DCResource, Previews: Panasonic Lumix G1 at Photokina

Spyder 3 ProThe Spyder 3 Pro, available for £102 from Amazon UK, provides quick and easy monitor calibration as well as an ambient light meter, and is designed for photographers.

“Serious photographers and creative pros require a high degree of color accuracy; from capturing images, to digital editing and printing, Spyder3Pro™ delivers. This third generation colorimeter comes equipped with new state-of-the-art optical design and photo-centric user interface providing accurate, reliable and consistent color. Spyder3PRO™ gives you more precise control over white point and gamma, new ReCAL option cuts re-calibration time in half and SpyderProof™ function brings you a new level of color control to help you save time, money and achieve color excellence.”

Click here to read the full Spyder 3 Pro review.

Installation: This was surprisingly easy, just insert the disk, install the program, connect the Spyder using a free USB socket, then start the program up. This took around 5 to 10 minutes.

What’s in the box? Free screen cleaner! Software CD (and serial key), 4 step quick start guide, 2 year warranty, Spyder3 calibration tool, and a stand for using the ambient light monitor built into the Spyder3.

Spyder 3 Pro

Calibrating the screen: The program asks you several questions such as screen type (LCD, CRT, Laptop, Projector), what options are available on your screen, and then recommends resetting to factory defaults. It also checks what options you have with your screen, one problem is that the wizard doesn’t allow you to select RGB, these are only available in the advanced mode – using this mode can extend the length of time it takes to calibrate the screen – and the software suggests that you may get better results by not using this feature (once switched on it seemed impossible to switch this feature off). Calibration takes roughly 10 – 15 minutes, and shows a before and after view at the end of calibration.

Spyder 3 Pro Before

Results: My monitor on default settings was overly bright and yellow and didn’t show bright gradients very well, as shown above. My own attempts at setting the contrast and brightness manually had made photos appear somewhat harsh and overly cold. The calibration from Spyder 3 appears to have worked well. It’s now possible to view the individual blocks in the grayscale chart used on a lot of websites (eg at the bottom of DPReview) and as shown in the example photos shown. Previously the whites were too bright and the dark shades weren’t dark enough – the results shown below show better contrast as well.

Spyder 3 Pro After

Using the program: The program installs an icon in the taskbar, from this you can launch the main program. In preferences you can select whether you have a reminder about recalibrating your screen, and can switch on auto updates, and advanced options. On the SpyderProof section you can view a number of photos as thumbs or zoom in to view the photos individually and the program will show you before and after results.

Spyder 3 Pro

Overall: The Spyder 3 is probably one of the default choices when looking for a monitor calibration tool, and it’s easy to see why, as the system is easy and quick to use with some good results. Getting into the advanced options can complicate calibration and it may be best to leave all the settings to the software. The system is priced in the middle compared to the competition, however I can’t help feeling that the Pantone Huey offers almost identical features for a much lower price, and for that reason I find it hard to recommend the Spyder 3.

Pros:
+ Easy and quick to use
+ Sits on the top of your computer as an ambient light meter with glowing blue light
+ Alerts you if you need to recalibrate the monitor
+ Results look good

Cons:
– Suction cup small and device prone to falling off the screen half way through calibration.
– Software recommends you reset brigtness / contrast and everything else to defaults leaving the software to choose the “optimum” settings for you, however, you may find white overly bright if you’re sensitive to screens being too bright.
– Expensive compared to competition? – same features available in the Pantone Huey for £40 less.

Available for £102 from Amazon UK