Digital SLRs; 4/3rds & New Players In D-SLRs Page 2

At long last, Canon improved folder management on these semi-pro cameras, providing manual folder creation and raising the number of images in each folder from 100 to 999. My favorite addition is the availability of the Picture Style found on the EOS-1D Mark II N and EOS 5D. Picture Style is similar to selecting the film type in order to achieve a desired result. The EOS 30D offers six built-in choices (Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, and Monochrome)--with three more currently available by download (www.canon.co.jp/Imaging/picturestyle/index.html). Oh yeah, the body costs $1399, which is $100 less than the EOS 20D digital camera at its introduction.

Shown under glass at PMA 2006 but expected for photokina launch were two new digital SLRs from Pentax. The company confirmed it would unveil a yet-to-be named 10-megapixel digital SLR camera body, tentatively scheduled for launch in autumn. Hey Pentax, lets name it something cool, OK? Certainly the sleek Porsche-like design deserves it.

Pentax also previewed the 645 medium format digital SLR camera. Offering a professional-quality, 18.6-megapixel Kodak-developed CCD image sensor, the camera uses the Pentax 645AF lens mount to maintain compatibility with existing SMC interchangeable lenses.

Pentax 645 medium format digital SLR camera

Sony's highly anticipated digital SLR was a no-show, even under glass. Sony's camera is expected to be available in Japan this summer, before rolling out into other markets. The camera was originally developed with Konica Minolta who transferred all of its digital SLR-related technologies to Sony as part of the their departure from the photo business. Sources close to the company report that the Sony SLR is being announced in the "June time frame" and I was told to "expect availability around that time, as well..."

Pentax (not yet named)

Expect the Leica Digital M at photokina, too. Although long rumored in the press and the source of much speculation on the Internet, Leica officials would only confirm that the long-rumored camera should be at this year's show.

PMA Buzzwords
Everybody knows what CMOS is but what about its siblings? The 7.5-megapixel imaging chip Olympus installed in the EVOLT E-330 uses NMOS (Negative-channel Metal Oxide Semiconductor), which is a type of semiconductor that is negatively charged so its transistors are turned on or off by the movement of electrons. By contrast, PMOS (Positive-channel Metal Oxide Semiconductor) works by moving electron vacancies. NMOS is faster than PMOS, but is more expensive to produce, not that you would notice in the E-330's under-$1000 price tag.

Olympus EVOLT E-330 NMOS

Upgrade Your Fuji S3
Want to improve your FinePix S3 Pro's performance? Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. (www.Fujifilm.com/FinePixS3Pro) is offering a hardware upgrade that will improve the camera's continuous shooting capabilities, as well as other performance enhancements. The hardware upgrade doubles the camera's internal buffer capacity (from 128MB to 256MB), increasing its continuous frame shooting capabilities. When shooting in raw format at the widest dynamic range setting, the FinePix S3 Pro's continuous shooting frame rate increases from three frames to eight frames. The upgrade, which costs $379.95, includes a "wake-up" feature for the camera's vertical shutter release.

photokina Preview?
Just after PMA 2006 in Florida, Mamiya launched the ZD digital SLR at the Focus On Imaging show in Birmingham, England. As I reported in the 2005 Shutterbug Photography Buyer's Guide, the 22-megapixel Mamiya ZD has a 36x48mm sensor and is compatible with the full range of the Mamiya 645AF interchangeable lenses. The camera has a 1.8" preview screen and stores 12-bit color images onto either CompactFlash or Secure Digital cards.

Mamiya ZD

Face The Music
At PMA 2006 NuCORE Technology (www.nucoretech.com) showed their SIP-2290 digital image processor that offers in camera redeye elimination; anti-blur image capture at high (greater than IS0 400) ISO sensitivity, enabling OEMs to deliver double or quadruple the usable ISO settings on a camera; and video frame rate face detection permitting detection of up to six faces, allowing optimal focusing and exposure whether capturing video or still pictures, thus eliminating the lag typical with software-only face detection solutions.

Nikon announced seven new Coolpix cameras with an "Exclusive Feature System" that includes Face-Priority AF that automatically finds and focuses on a person's face within the frame, wherever the subject is positioned in the frame. Maybe these capabilities will be built into your next digital SLR?

Manufacturers/Distributors' addresses can be found on page 174.

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