Nikon 1 V2 Camera
The Nikon 1 V2 camera is powerful and highly versatile. Features include a 14.2-megapixel CX-format CMOS sensor, an EXPEED 3A image-processing engine, a traditional grip with a new Command dial, a 73-point AF array, and a high-resolution 3” LCD display. The 1 V2 has full Auto/Manual controls and the modes include Enhanced Motion Snapshot, Best Moment Capture, and Advanced Movie. It is compatible with all 1 Nikkor lenses and the WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter. The suggested retail price is $899.95 with a 10-30mm kit lens.
The Pentax K-01 belongs to a class of cameras generally known as “mirrorless”—Pentax calls it a hybrid—that combine large LCD screens with interchangeable lenses and more often than not a retro look. Marc Newson, the Australian industrial designer who crafted the Pentax K-01, works in a style called biomorphism that uses smooth flowing lines, translucency, and an absence of sharp edges. The camera is available in black, white, or Newson’s signature yellow with the designer’s logo on the bottom.
It wasn’t too long ago when the use of a CMOS chip in a digicam was a sign of a cheapie camera. Well, the tide has changed, with CMOS today reflecting the highest level of capture in our newest digital point-and-shoots. Yes, there continue to be CCD holdouts even in innovative designs, but the writing is on the wall, spelling an eventual fade-out of the Charge-Coupled Device. And today, the Backside Illuminated (BSI, or simply “backlit”) CMOS sensor is slowly but surely moving into center stage—at least among small-sensor point-and-shoots, for improved light reception at the sensor, hence clearer, tonally fuller, and more detailed images. We’re also seeing quite a few long-zoom models and more GPS-enabled cameras, with a digital compass to boot, mostly in travel/outdoors-oriented designs. The “rugged” category continues to grow, as well as features such as sweep panorama mode (just swing around with your finger continually on the button) and touchscreen displays. But perhaps the new feature that stands out most is Wi-Fi capability. One camera is even Android-powered. The latter may not be smartphones, but they certainly appear to be the smart way to go for the wireless generation. With those trends in mind here’s our roundup of the digicam class of 2012. (Please note that this report contains both cameras on the market as of spring 2012 and those announced to be available when this article goes to press. Check with the various manufacturers for current availability.—Editor)
The diminutive Nikon 1 series of cameras, including the J1 reviewed here and the coming V1, introduces the new CX-format CMOS sensor to the interchangeable lens, mirrorless camera field, which we dub Compact System Cameras. The sensor is smaller than APS-C and Micro Four Thirds sensors, coming in at a 2.7x multiplication factor using standard 35mm focal length designations. The 10.1-megapixel sensor has a native speed of ISO 100, with speeds up to 3200, and 6400 with a 1 EV push.
The new Nikon D5100 D-SLR is a compact and lightweight DX-format camera. The body is about two-thirds the size of a D300, recording on SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. The similarly compact kit lens, an 18-55mm VR, provides good balance, and, along with my Nikon SB-900 Speedlight, all fits neatly into a compact camera bag. The grip on the D5100 was a little smaller than what I was used to, but I soon grew accustomed to it.
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.
The Pentax WG-1 GPS is a compact camera with a 5x zoom lens (28-140mm) and a robust body, which is water proved to 33 ft, shock proof (5 ft drop down) and an integrated GPS system. The camera offers 14 MP resolution and some extraordinary features like “Digital Microscope” mode.
We all need a second camera, one that travels with us when the heavy artillery stays at home. There are many premium models to choose from, and most yield results on par with their larger brethren—under certain circumstances.
The new Casio Exilim EX-HG20G (list price, about $350) is a pocket size camera that is a traveling companion for those who like to see where they’ve been. Some examples: during my test with the camera we turned down a dirt road and “got lost” in the back areas of Arroyo Hondo, NM. We saw various side roads going this way and that, roads that weren’t on any map we had in the car. We shot a few pictures with the H20G and later plugged the images into Aperture 3.1 in our MacBook Pro, used the Places feature and voila, we saw exactly where we had been and where those back roads led.
The pocket-size Casio H20G sports maps, a memory for places and a GPS tracker that even records locales indoors.
Panasonic has a very clear and distinct mission and priority for its LUMIX digital cameras: superior image quality. Without image quality, what use is the digital camera? With its newest introductions of LUMIX point-and-shoot digital camera models, Panasonic continues to strive for premium image quality—both in capturing still and moving images, and with the addition of some big and...
Touted as being shock-resistant, dustproof, freezeproof, and waterproof, the Casio EXILIM EX-G1 camera would seem to be ideal for those who want to take their camera through such extreme conditions without concern.
“Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.”—Roy Rogers & Dale Evans
A growing trend in the world of compact digicams is “rugged” cameras that are capable of taking a modest beating as well as splashing in the surf or playing in the snow. Many of these cameras are festooned in bright colors and lest you think that’s just a fashion statement...
Some of the most interesting new cameras are extended zoom models, lightweight units that have extremely long-range zoom lenses that make it possible to use a small camera to capture a distant subject. Extended zooms fall into two broad categories: compact models with 10- to 12-megapixel sensors and zoom ranges around 10-12x, which can fit into a pocket or purse, and slightly larger cameras...