The Leica X1 ($1,995) is a fixed focal length, non-interchangeable lens compact with a fast f/2.8 lens and 12.9MP CMOS APS-C sensor. Introduced over a year ago in silver and recently in black, it keeps apace with firmware upgrades, the most recent of which is claimed improvement of JPEG quality and enhanced AF speed in low light.
On-board image processors have become more powerful and diverse in their functions, and cameras like the Ricoh GR Digital IV ($649) offer more than just point and shoot still and video recording. Indeed, the Ricoh seems designed to appeal to those who would rather have their special effects in hand than take the time to apply them later. But the camera offers more than just tricks, though there are plenty of those, and its portability, ease of use and flexibility might appeal to those who want to go beyond cell phone snapshots and effects. Its fast, fixed focus lens, aperture- and shutter-priority exposure modes and a host of Scene modes that go beyond the norm make it a fascinating study in the state of photography today.
The new Nikon P7100 offers many function buttons and dials along with a large mode dial on the top to choose standard exposure modes like P, S, A and M. The camera offers a full automatic mode, scene modes and special effect modes (like B&W, sepia tone effect, “High Key” effect and more). In addition, the P7100 offers three user modes that can be saved as U1-U3 and accessed directly on the mode dial.
The Olympus E-P3 is the follower of the E-P2 and E-P1, the first Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras that were offered as “retro style cameras”. The E-P3 offers the same image sensor as the E-P2, with a nominal resolution of 12MP, but the E-P3 uses a newly developed image processor unit called “TruePic VI” plus offers some enhancements in the AF-speed. The automatic focusing system is really fast and showed a very good performance during our tests. In addition it has some special modes like “AF tracking mode”, which will help both photographers and videographers.
This is a test report on the new Panasonic FZ48 integral lens camera. The camera looks like a compact SLR. It has a big grip on the right hand side of the body, which allows for comfortable handling for shooting, important for a long-range zoom such as this.
The SD1 is Sigma’s new flagship SLR system. It uses a brand new sensor with Foveon technology and a nominal resolution of 14.8 MP. This means that the camera is able to record RGB information for every single pixel. Standard digital cameras use sensors with the “classic” Bayer pattern, which means that every single pixel detects only one color information (red, green or blue) and then must undergo color interpolation.
The A-35 is based on the Sony SLT system, which means the camera uses a translucent mirror system. The mirror is fixed and therefore the camera doesn’t offer an optical SLR viewfinder; instead, it uses a high resolution electronic viewfinder and an LCD monitor – just like a CSC (compact system camera).The ELV of the Sony A35 has a resolution of 1.15 million RGB dots and shows a very crisp and clear image.
The Sony NEX-C3 is an ultra compact CSC (compact system cameras) system with an APS-C sized sensor. The camera offers a resolution of 16 MP (megapixels), which is similar to some Sony SLT cameras like the SLT-A35. The main difference in the concept of the NEX cameras is the very compact body and the fact that the camera doesn’t work with an optical or electronic viewfinder, but only with the LCD screen on the back as viewfinder and control monitor.
The Panasonic GF3 is the successor of the GF2. The new camera is 17 percent smaller and 16 percent lighter than the GF2, making it an extremely compact camera. Due to the reduction of body dimensions there are some elements missing which were part of the GF2--no accessory shoe for external flash light systems and no interface for the optional ELV that could be mounted on the GF2.
Having owned a (used) Leica M3 since the late 1970’s I can attest to the charms of working with a Leica camera. There is a certain heft and solidity of construction that speaks to its obvious longevity, which is juxtaposed with a deftness of operation, characteristics on display in the M3 in the stroke of the film advance lever and the sound and feel of the shutter release. For those who have experienced a Leica, that “aha that’s why” moment is quite unmatched by other cameras and it spoils you, in a way. Yet, working with a Leica for me has always had a certain awkwardness—witness the film loading in the M3, at least when compared with a sleek Nikon or Canon of the day, and the rangefinder focusing system, almost arcane in the world of autofocusing speed and accuracy. Yet, that awkwardness is not a true impediment and almost becomes part of the charm.
The Fujifilm Finepix X100 is designed like a classic viewfinder camera yet it offers state-of-the-art digital technology and some brand new and innovative systems. The Hybrid viewfinder, for example, is an example of a sophisticated enhancement of a classic concept. First of all, there’s a very bright and large optical viewfinder onto which the camera will overlay exposure information (aperture, shutter speed) and a parallax marker. Instead of using an optical system to create these overlay elements, as done in classic viewfinders of analog cameras, it uses a high resolution LCD. This results in detailed information and a very crisp look.
With the recent announcement of the third PEN in this series from Olympus, which is now in Shutterbug test, the not yet discontinued E-PL2 has dropped in price to $599 (from Olympus, with 14-42mm kit lens), about $200 less than when it was first introduced and to me a good deal for what you get while you can get it. The 12MP (effective pixels) Live CMOS sensor Olympus E-PL2 adds to the charms of the first in the “PEN” digital series, the P1. (See Joe Farace’s excellent review of that camera at http://www.shutterbug.com/content/olympus-e-p1in our Jan, 2010 issue) The PL2 adds a larger and higher resolution viewing screen, expanded accessories using the special plug-in adapter, an enhanced control setup and expanded Scene and Art filter modes.
Perhaps the most versatile of all moderate tele zoom focal lengths, the 70-200mm or thereabouts range is a hallmark and standard-bearer for many optical companies. Being a constant aperture (fast) zoom, this lens opens up numerous focusing, depth of field and perhaps as important low light shooting possibilities that make it a lens most Canon photographers aspire to own. Introduced last year, we got a chance to work with one and were so impressed we thought we’d revisit it with a quick review.
The Samsung NX11 is the follower of the NX10. Like the NX10 it is a compact system camera with an APS-C-sized sensor and a nominal resolution of 14.6 MP. The most important difference to the NX11 is the “i-Function” technology, which allows the user to set up image parameters very quickly and intuitively. The NX11 offers this technology right out of the box; the NX10 now offers “i-Function” via a firmware update.
For the past few months I have been slowly cataloging prints I’ve made over the past years. This entails signing, dating and numbering the prints and then making an Index. I decided the easiest way to maintain and expand the list as I continued cataloging would be a blog. That was only the beginning of the project, it turns out.