From the monthly archives: "October 2009"

Nikon D300sKen Rockwell has reviewed the new Nikon D300s – an update to the D300 – it features a 12.3 megapixel sensor, 7fps shooting, 3″ LCD, CF and SD support, live view, HD Video recording, and ISO 200-3200. The D300s is available from Amazon

“The D300s adds the new quiet mode originally introduced in the D5000. Set it simply on the top dial. In Quiet Mode, the D300s is much quieter than usual, but not as quiet as the D5000 or the LEICA M7. In Quiet mode, the D300s is as quiet as the LEICA M9.”

Read Nikon D300s Reviews: Photography BLOG, Gizmodo, Cameralabs, Pocket Lint, Previews: DPReview

Nikon Coolpix S570

CNet has reviewed the new Nikon Coolpix S570 – the 12 megapixel camera features a wide angle 5x optical zoom lens (28mm – 140mm), HD video, 3cm macro mode, a 2.7″ screen, and ISO3200. It is available in five different colours: black, blue, silver, pink, red, for £172.

“Overall, the S570 produces very good photo quality. Many cameras in its class suffer a significant dip in quality when they use any sensitivity above ISO 200. The S570 is actually good to ISO 400 and to some extent ISO 800. The camera lets you limit the auto ISO range to either 80-400 or 80-800. If you’re in daylight or bright conditions, I recommend locking it down to 80-400.”

Ricoh GR Digital III

We’ve just uploaded some sample photos from the new Ricoh GR Digital III, an update to the GR Digital II, it features a new wide angle f1.9 28mm lens, a 10 megapixel sensor, 1cm macro mode, ISO1600, 3″ VGA screen, and 370 shot battery life, double range double shot, RAW support, 1:1 aspect ratio photos, electronic level, exposure bracketing, 30fps VGA video recording. It also has a new “pixel output interpolation algorithm” to prevent overexposed areas, and a full press snap shutter release that takes the photo instantly at a set focal distance. The new GR Digital III is available for £479

View our Ricoh GR Digital III Sample Photos

Read more Ricoh GR Digital III Reviews: DPExpert, Trusted Reviews, RegHardware, SeriousCompacts, AlphaMountWorld, Pocket-Lint, PhotographyBLOG, AlphaMountWorld (via 1001noisycameras)

Nikon Coolpix P90

We have reviewed the new Nikon Coolpix P90 – an ultra zoom camera with a 26mm wide angle 24x optical zoom lens, 12 megapixel sensor, 3″ swivel screen, sensor shift VR, and manual mode. The Nikon Coolpix P90 is available for £284, here’s what Nikon have to say about the camera:

“Outstanding 12.1 megapixel camera with super-zoom. The NIKKOR 24x zoom lens with 26 mm wide-angle capability lets you capture impressive wide-angle and super-telephoto shots, and you can focus from infinity to as close as 1cm in Macro mode. Advanced exposure modes offer greater control over your photography and you can enhance the vibrancy of images taken under difficult conditions with the powerful Quick Retouch function. The large 3-inch vari-angle LCD monitor can be tilted through 90 degrees upward and 45 degrees downward to allow for easy viewing from the hip or from above. The COOLPIX P90 – unbeatable compositional freedom. This camera is available in black.” – Nikon UK.

Read our Review of the Nikon Coolpix P90.
View our Nikon Coolpix P90 Sample Photo Gallery.
Click for our preview of the Nikon P90 at Focus.

The Camera: a visual tour. (Pics taken with the Olympus E-500)

Nikon Coolpix P90

Zoom extended – Pop-up flash and manual release button.

Nikon Coolpix P90

DSLR styling – dwarfs the Pentax 35mm camera.

Nikon Coolpix P90

Wide angle lens – speaker on the side.

Nikon Coolpix P90

Mode dial, zoom control, shutter release, on/off, and USB / AV out.

Specifications / Features:

* Sensor: 12 million pixel CCD Sensor
* Lens: Wide angle 24x NIKKOR zoom lens ED VR, f2.8 – f5, Equivalent to 26 –
624mm
* Screen: 3.0-inch Tilt LCD screen, 230,000 pixels
* Face detection: Yes – 12 faces
* Colour options: Normal, Softer, Vivid, More vivid, Portrait, Custom (Contrast,
Sharpening, Saturation), Black and White (with Contrast options, Sharpening,
Filter, and ability to save both colour and black and white images)
* Additions modes / features: Quick Retouch, D-lighting, Blink Detection, Smile
mode
* Video Recording: VGA, 30fps Video with Sound
* Continuous Shooting: up to 45 continuous shots at 15 fps at 3mp
* HD Output : No
* Red-Eye Reduction: Yes
* Macro: 1cm Macro mode
* ISO : ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (3mp), 6400 (3mp)
* IS (Image Stabilisation): Yes – Sensor-shift, High ISO,
* Scenes: Mode dial: Programmed Auto (P), Shutter-Priority Auto (S), Aperture-Priority
Auto (A), Manual (M), Auto, Scenes: Portrait, Night Portrait, Sports, Landscape,
Party, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night Landscape, Museum, Fireworks, Show,
Close Up, Copy, Back Light, Panorama Assist, Food
* Histogram available: Playback only?
* Exposure bracketing: Yes
* Optical viewfinder: Electronic Viewfinder
* Manual WB: Yes
* Dimensions: 114 x 83 x 99 mm
* Weight: 460 g

Box Contents: Digital Camera, Li-ion Rechargeable Battery EN-EL5, Battery Charge MH-61, USB Cable UC-E6, Audio/Video Cable EG-CP14, Strap AN-CP18, Lens Cap LC-CP19, Software Suite for COOLPIX CD-ROM

Menu system: The menu system is neatly divided into three main sections, shooting menu, playback menu, and the setup menu, and the options are easy to read thanks to the large 3″ screen. There are a large number of options including the option to create a black border around photos you’ve taken. All options are clearly labelled so reference to the manual shouldn’t be needed.

Picture Size / Options: 4000 x 3000 (12M), 3264 x 2448 (8M), 2592 x 1944 (5M), 2048 x 1536 (3M), 1600 x 1200 (2M), 1280 x 960 (1M), 1024×768 (PC), 640 x 480 (TV), 3984 x 2656 (3:2), 3968 x 2232 (16:9), 2992 x 2992 (1:1), Fine, Normal, Basic.

Nikon Coolpix P90

Battery usage: 230 shots (CIPA rating).

Memory cards: A large memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at a bare minimum a 1gb memory card, if you intend to take fine JPEG images, and preferably a 2gb memory card, or larger. The larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in, as you don’t always know when you will next be at a computer. You can use SD or SDHC memory cards. Have a look at our guide to digital camera memory cards or our article what size memory card should I buy?

Speed: The camera switches on and takes photos in 2.6 seconds. Focusing was a little slow taking 0.5 – 0.7 seconds to focus at the wide angle end of the lens. The shutter response was instant. Shot to shot time was a little slow taking 2.5 seconds between shots. Continuous shooting was a little slow taking a shot every 0.7 seconds.

Nikon Coolpix P90

Ease of use: The camera is easy to use thanks to clearly labelled buttons, easy to understand menu items, and the large clear screen. The vibration reduction can help get sharper shots however you do need excellent shooting conditions when using the telephoto end of the camera, alternatively a tripod may be needed.

Nikon Coolpix P90

Ergonomics and Buttons: The camera feels quite light, perhaps a little too light and doesn’t really feel expensive. It has a good sized handgrip that is comfortable to hold. The handgrip is rubberised, and there is a small rubber grip on the back. The buttons are clearly labelled and fall underneath the hands quite neatly. The screen can be moved quite easily, although it’s a shame it doesn’t tilt down further.

Image Quality: Here are some real world sample photos taken in various settings, such as Inside, Outside, Macro, to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the Nikon Coolpix P90 Sample Photo Gallery!

Nikon Coolpix P90

Inside: Colour is bright and highly saturated, although I wasn’t very impressed by the auto white balance, it seemed to give images an overly golden look with flash or without. The screen didn’t particularly help as it tends to exaggerate the effect, and it’s not until you look at the photos on the computer, that you can properly view image quality and colour. Focusing also struggled in low light despite the focus assist lamp.

Nikon Coolpix P90

Noise: The Nikon P90 features manual ISO settings from ISO64 to ISO1600 at full resolution, and then ISO3200 and ISO6400 are available at 3 megapixels. Shown below are example images taken in low indoor light without flash – Auto white balance was used.

Nikon Coolpix P90

Noise is visible at the lowest ISO settings, and it’s quite clear that the camera is performing a lot of noise reduction as details are blurred. As the ISO setting increases to ISO400, specks of colour start appearing, as the ISO setting increases noise increases, detail becomes even more smeared, and at ISO1600 colour is lost. ISO3200 and above produce colourful images and may produces acceptable results if resized for web use. Results aren’t too bad for a 12 megapixel camera, but they aren’t impressive either. NB. For ISO Noise Comparisons: View the Nikon Coolpix P90 compared to other 12 megapixel cameras.

IS: The Nikon features Sensor-shift VR (Vibration Reduction) – this can help reduce blur when using the camera in low light, with slower shutter speeds or when using the camera’s telephoto end of the zoom. However, the camera still needs good light when using the telephoto end of the zoom.

D-Lighting: “Creates pleasing results by correcting strong shadows to rescue underexposed images, or shots taken with excessive backlight.”

Nikon Coolpix P90

Outside: When conditions for photography were ideal – for example on very bright sunny days – results were quite good, with colourful saturated images. However in any other conditions focusing seemed to struggle especially when using the full telephoto zoom, and images often seemed overexposed (but mostly at the telephoto end). Photo quality often seemed quite poor with overexposed areas and blown highlights, and photos almost looked like they were screenshots from video.

Nikon Coolpix P90

Zoom: There are around 21 steps between wide and telephoto – the zoom control is a little over sensitive, and tends to zoom too quickly which can make framing your subject a little difficult. Shown below is the camera at wide-angle and full 24x optical zoom.

Nikon Coolpix P90

Macro: the macro mode is impressive, allowing you to take photos as close as 1cm away from the front of the lens.

Video: VGA 640×480 at 30fps with electronic vibration reduction. It’s not possible to use the optical while recording, only digital zoom is available.

AverageConclusion: I wanted to like this camera, on paper it seemed to offer a lot, and offers a large swivel screen, which is quite rare, and a large 24x optical zoom lens. However the screen quality appears pixelated, and does not seem to have accurate colour. Using the full optical zoom was problematic, with images overexposed, out of focus, and blurry unless you are shooting in perfect conditions.

There are quite a lot of positives, such as manual controls, lots of options, exposure bracketing, image stabilisation, 1cm macro mode etc, but all of this seems to be heavily outweighed by the poor image quality, inconsistent results, and poor screen quality. I think anyone used to the high quality of Nikon Digital SLRs would most likely be unimpressed by the quality of this camera.

The Nikon Coolpix P90 appears to be more expensive than a number of competitors, priced at £284. If this camera appeals to you I would highly recommend trying the camera in person, and ideally having a look at other ultra zoom cameras available such as the Panasonic Lumix FZ38 (£259), Canon Powershot SX20 IS (£315), Sony Cybershot HX1 (£329), Olympus SP590UZ (£269) or Kodak Easyshare Z980 (£259).

Nikon Coolpix P90 Rating: Average 6.5/10.

What I like:
+ 3″ tilting screen
+ 24x optical zoom lens
+ Ability to save both colour and black and white images
+ Manual controls
+ 1cm macro mode

What I don’t like:
– Unimpressive image quality (overexposed etc)
– Optical zoom not available while recording videos
– Screen tilts 90 degrees up, but only 45 down (Sony HX1 tilts more)
– Auto white balance seems a little off, especially indoors, even with flash
– Screen looks pixelated and colour appears overly yellow
– Struggled to focus indoors, and also when using full optical zoom

The Nikon Coolpix P90 is available for £284.
Click for our preview of the Nikon Coolpix P90 at Focus.
View more photos in the Nikon Coolpix P90 Sample Photo Gallery.

Read more Nikon Coolpix P90 Reviews: Digital Photography School, DCI, DCResource, LetsGoDigital, Photography BLOG.

Canon EOS 7D

Photography BLOG has reviewed the new Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR, it features an 18 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, 8fps shooting, HD video mode with 24, 25, 30fps shooting and manual mode, Dual Digic 4 processors, 3″ screen, weather protected magnesium alloy body, ISO upto 12800, 100% viewfinder, and 19 point AF. The camera is available for pre-order from Amazon UK

“The Canon EOS 7D is an 18 megapixel digital SLR camera incorporating a new APS-C CMOS sensor designed and manufactured by Canon. Featuring a revised photodiode and microlens construction, the 7D’s sensor offers a versatile ISO range of 100-12,800. Other new additions include dual DIGIC 4 processors offering continuous shooting at 8fps, improved 19-point cross-type auto-focus system including Zone and Spot AF, Focus Colour Luminance metering system which measures from 63 zones, and an Intelligent Viewfinder with 100% frame coverage and 1.0x magnification.”

Read more Canon EOS 7D Reviews: DigitalRev, Luminous Landscape First Look, Previews: DPReview, BobAtkins, Full Canon EOS 7D Press Release.

Panasonic Lumix GF1

The Online Photographer has reviewed the new Panasonic Lumix GF1 Micro Four Thirds DSLR – the camera features a 12.1 megapixel live view sensor, HD 720p Video at 30fps, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1 aspect ratio, AF assist lamp, ISO100 – 3200, 3fps shooting, 3.0″ 3:2 aspect 460k pixel screen, dust reduction, and built in flash. Compared to the Olympus E-P1 – It lacks the in body image stablisation, and instead relies on optical IS in the lens. The camera is available in Black, Silver, Red and White, for £729 with kit lens, or £499 body only.

“The GF1 is “pocketable” the way the Canon G10 or Olympus E-P1 is—you have to have big pockets like maybe those in a sport jacket. Better yet, a purse works well—even if, for husbands, it isn’t your own purse, but is usually nearby. The GF1 isn’t much bigger (with the pancake lens) than the Canon G10, and is the smallest camera made with interchangeable lenses and a built in flash.”

Read Panasonic Lumix GF1 Reviews: DPReview, DCResource, Luminous Landscape, HardwareZone, Which43.com, Previews: Davids Simple Photography Hands On, Pocket Lint, DPNow, Links: Read the full GF1 Press Release, Related: Why I love Micro FourThirds (TOP).

Sony WX1

Imaging Resource has reviewed the new Sony Cybershot WX1 – with a f2.4 wide angle 5x optical zoom lens (24mm – 120mm), it offers “Extraordinary pictures even in low-light”, and features a back-illuminated 10 megapixel CMOS sensor, optical image stabilisation, HD 720p movie recording, 2.7″ screen, and 10fps shooting. The Sony Cybershot WX1 is available for £269

“Along with the company’s TX1 model, the Sony WX1 is one of the first two Sony Cyber-shot digital still cameras to feature a back-illuminated ‘Exmor R’ CMOS image sensor. Most sensors are front-illuminated, meaning that light must pass through a metal wiring layer before reaching the light-sensitive pixels. Some of the light is blocked by this wiring layer, reducing the sensor’s ability to gather light. Back-illuminated sensors have the wiring layer below the pixels, so they collect more light.”

Read more Sony Cybershot WX1 Reviews: David Pogue

Sony A550

Photocrati has reviewed the new Sony Alpha A500 and A550. The A500 features a 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, the A550 features a 14.2 megapixel sensor, and both cameras feature a 3″ tilting screen (921k pixels on the A550, 230k on the A500), and 5fps shooting (upto 7fps on the A550), live view, steadyshot inside (anti-shake sensor), Auto HDR, and HDMI out. The A500 is available for £586

“Although the menu does not include nearly as many items as you’ll find in some competing DSLRs, the A500 and A550 are well-equipped, missing only reflex mirror pre-lock and depth of field preview. They provide many other advanced features including Wireless Off-Camera TTL flash capability. Both are also suitable for sports photography at 5 fps.”

More Sony A550, A500 Information: DPReview Preview, Luminous Landscapes, More pictures.

Polaroid One FilmThe Impossible Project has inspired Polaroid to bring back Instant Film cameras. It seemed like, just when they were coming back into fashion, Polaroid killed them off, only to release an expensive and dissappointing digital version (the Polaroid Two), now Polaroid will release new instant film cameras due out in 2010:

“The Impossible Project inspires Polaroid to re-launch Instant Cameras – We are pleased to herewith announce a history making cooperation between Polaroid and The Impossible Project: As we have created quite some buzz about Analog Instant Photography over the past 12 months, the Polaroid licensee – The Summit Global Group – now can’t resist any longer and announced at a press conference on October 13th in Hongkong that they will re-launch some of the most famous Polaroid Instant Cameras.”

Nikon D3s

Nikon has announced the new Nikon D3s Digital SLR – and already several people have published “reviews” and previews, the first comes from Techradar with a hands-on review, and previews come from DPReview, DPNow, and LetsGoDigital. The camera features a 12 megapixel FX-format CMOS Sensor, ISO 200 to 12,800, 9fps, HD Video, live view, 3-Inch 921,000-dot VGA LCD Monitor, dust reduction, 100% Viewfinder Coverage, and 4200 shot battery life:

“Rugged construction houses barrier-breaking technologies, delivering low-noise 12,800 ISO still shooting at up to 9-fps, with 24-fps cinema-quality HD video.”

More Nikon D3s Reviews, Previews, and Sample Photos: Nikon Sample Photos,