This camera was released to the market in December 2003. We own a Sony
F828 and have mixed feelings about it. On the plus side it handles excellently,
is well designed, and offers a very sharp Zeiss zoom lens in equivalent
focal length range of 28-200mm. It has a very useful live histogram and
color, white balance, and resolution are excellent. On the other hand,
the electronic viewfinder could use some work, the noise is slightly elevated
above ISO 200 and we did notice purple fringing in some cases. And, as
mentioned, the raw files take quite long to write.
Canon PowerShot Pro1
We only had a sample in our hands for a few minutes. But Canon digicams
have a good reputation. This time Canon added an lens that could limit
any possible optics-related problems. Canon had the advantage to check
out the F828 and tune their camera. We are sure that this camera will
be a hot seller.
Konica Minolta DiMAGE
This camera shows many unique innovations. The Anti-Shake sensor will
be especially helpful when using longer focal length lenses. The electronic
viewfinder is an improvement over most we've seen, with a state
of the art 900,000 pixels. This is more than 3x resolution over the competition.
The swivel viewfinder seems quite handy, and there's an automatic
switch to the viewfinder when you look into it. Happily, there's
fast processing of raw files, and the camera can buffer multiple raw files
while you shoot. This should be one of the more interesting of the 8-megapixel
Nikon Coolpix 8700
This is another camera we only had a brief time with at PMA. Nikon is
known for their glass, and they seem to have spent a lot of effort in
optimizing the integral 8x zoom. Nikon's ED glass should solve any
potential optical problems. We expect the Coolpix 8700 to offer solid
NEF (Nikon's raw file) support.
Olympus C-8080 Wide
The Olympus C-8080 will be a strong player in this field. The zoom range
is 5x (28-140mm in 35mm equivalent). This is a smaller range than the
other cameras, but also means that the optical quality could be high.
Olympus has a long tradition creating this type of digicam, and their
efforts resulted in the camera winning the DIMA Prosumer/Professional
camera shootout at this year's PMA.
The 8-megapixel class opens up new possibilities, and creates new challenges
for digital photographers. The question remains whether or not they will
overcome certain technical matters to mount an effective challenge to
the established line of quality 5- and 6-megapixel cameras. While we still
believe that 5 or 6 megapixels is more apt for these small sensor sizes,
we have seen how digital technology and innovation have overcome, and
often surpassed our expectations. As these cameras become available watch
Shutterbug for comprehensive reports.