What's New on other sites?|
(Monday, August 26, 2002 - 19:31 EDT)
One of the nicer points about being a part of the online digital imaging community is the friendly relationship we have with our colleagues at the other main digital imaging sites.
We've had the pleasure of meeting most of the people behind these excellent resources in person at trade shows, and we wish there were more hours in the day so we could mention their latest reviews as they were published. If you're considering laying down a sizeable chunk of cash on a new digicam, it really makes sense to do as much reading as possible beforehand - reviews from different sources make a great counterpoint to each other, and ensure you see the full picture on any given product.
Recently, though, the steady flow of work and reader emails has led to our not having time to point you to these reviews so as frequently as we'd like - so now we offer you a chance to catch up on the latest from around the web:
Digital Photography Review
- Nikon D100: "Ergonomics, balance and control layout are excellent ... [build] and finish quality are second to none, you really are getting $2000 worth of camera. Performance is also very good, power up times are instant ... [continuous] shooting performance is good if not quite as good as the EOS-D60's double buffer (but we're really splitting hairs here). Image quality is also excellent, good colour and metering, nice tonal balance. I found the camera's internal sharpening to be too much on the soft side, this left some images looking soft at 100% view, a quick check against an equivalent RAW shot shows what the camera is capable of. This may be the only weakness in what is otherwise an excellent camera, very well built and offering superb value for money."
- Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro: "The S2 Pro delivers great results from the word go ... [in] the 6.1 mp mode the S2 Pro delivers crisp, clean and detailed images which look great at 100%, anything that looks good at 100% will print well. Fujifilm's progressive noise reduction system keeps noise low even at higher sensitivities. Color is of course very good, although it's disappointing not to be able to get Adobe RGB color space JPEG's straight out of the camera. I was also disappointed with the bundled RAW Converter LE and thought that the additional cost RAW Converter EX wasn't worth the money (although without it you'll be hunting for third party solutions). Other annoyances include 1/2 EV steps for exposure compensation or shutter speed / aperture selection and the fact that the camera is still electrically 'two halves' requiring two different types of battery. The S2 Pro has pluses and minuses, but I'm glad to report that the major plus is its image quality, and after all that's what matters at the end of the day."
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P71: "As a budget or first time camera the DSC-P71 certainly fits the bill, everything is easy to understand and you'll get everything in the box you need to go out and start shooting. Image quality was good with a neutral colour balance and good resolution performance. It's testament to how far digital photography has come when you can get a brand new compact three megapixel, three times optical zoom digital camera for around US$399 which can perform so well."
- Hewlett-Packard PhotoSmart 812: "Having now updated this review with the results of a camera with the new improved firmware I can report that image sharpness has been improved. That said the camera still doesn't produce the kind of sharp, clean and detailed images we would expect of its four megapixel label."
- Nikon Coolpix 4500: "The Coolpix 4500 does take great pictures, metering, tonal balance and colour are all excellent. Resolution is slightly off the best in the league but we can excuse that to a slightly more conservative sharpening algorithm. Noise levels are good although you can still expect to see some red channel noise in blue skies (there are very few prosumer digital cameras which don't). Great news also on the purple fringing front, Nikon appear to have solved that issue. Lens distortion is higher than I would have liked but I would say that is the price you pay for a compact internal focusing, internal zoom lens. There were a couple of other issues, I was surprised to see the relatively slow shutter lag and the camera does still exhibit clipping of highlights, something we've come to expect from Coolpix digital cameras. None of these though should detract from the fact that the Coolpix 4500 is an excellent package which offers quality build, excellent features, flexibility and image quality. If you're serious about your digital photography then the Coolpix 4500 should be on your list. The best split-bodied Coolpix to date."
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-U10: "We've just received a pre-production DSC-U10 from Sony, while we can't yet publish sample images from this ultra-tiny digital camera I have prepared a short preview article."
- Nikon Coolpix 5700: "Image quality is excellent, with that great matrix metering, good tonal balance and colour (accurate and vivid without blowing out colours) plus above average resolution. Purple fringing is down but the overall look of the image is still very 'Coolpix'. Noise levels are good, especially when compared to other five megapixel digital cameras. The few image quality details we picked up on; barrel distortion, highlight clipping and Bayer artifacts aren't the kinds of problems which affect every day shooting and won't spoil your overall enjoyment of the 5700's image quality. Camera design and control layout is also good, if a little overbearing at first. The new lens barrel control buttons may take a bit of getting used to, but as soon as you do they become second nature. Just like other prosumer Coolpix digital cameras another of the 5700's strengths is in its excellent flexibility and manual control. The lens turned out to be better than I'd expected, sharp even up to its maximum telephoto. Price could be an issue, especially with the six megapixel D-SLR's at around $2000. However, consider that the 5700 has a high quality ultra-compact 8x optical zoom lens built into the camera and you'll soon see that you'd have to spend quite a bit more on top of the price of a D-SLR to get that zoom range and probably a bag to carry it all in."
Digital Camera Resource Page
- Nikon Coolpix 4500: "As with all cameras -- image quality is the thing and the Coolpix 4500 will not let you down in that respect. The camera can be operated like an automatic point and shoot or you can dabble with its multitude of drive, exposure, focus and capture features. This is a camera that you can grow into and offers enough options to keep everyone satisfied. The four megapixel images are perfect for making photo-quality prints from 4x6" all the way up to 13x19" enlargements that are virtually indistinguishable from conventionally-processed photos. With a street price of just $699, I'm sure that we'll see a lot of these cameras out and about this summer."
- Nikon Coolpix 5700: "Image quality is always the bottom line and the Coolpix 5700 delivers that in spades. This is a "prosumer" digital camera and it's a bit pricey at $1199.95 (as of July, 2002.) The camera can be operated like an automatic point and shoot or you can get as creative as needed with its array of drive, exposure, focus and capture features. This is a camera that you can grow into and offers enough options to satisfy everyone from the newbie to the semi-pro. The five megapixel images make perfect, photo-quality prints all the way up to 13x19" size that are virtually indistinguishable from film-generated photos. If the Nikon D100 SLR is out of your budget then the Coolpix 5700 may be just the advanced digicam that you're looking for."
- Casio Exilim EX-S1: "You couldn't ask for a more "pocketable" digicam if you tried, the EX-S1 is as small as they come -- at least as of the time of this review. It's stylish and built like a tank so don't hesitate to take this silver beauty anywhere that you go short of getting it wet. If other camera have fustrated you because of excessive shutter delay then this camera may be what you're looking for to capture that special moment. The only thing you ever have to wait for with the EX-S1 is the battery to charge, other than that it's one of the fastest little cameras that we've ever used. There's almost a zero learning curve to use it, just turn it on, point it at the subject and press the shutter button - that's it. If you want all the features of the EX-S1 plus the ability to record sound and play your MP3 music files then look at Casio's EX-M1. These are both great little entry-level digicams and with retail prices of just $299 and $349 they're sure to please."
- Sony Mavica MVC-FD100 and MVC-FD200: "The FD100 and FD200 [are good cameras that are] easy to use. As with all of the Mavica cameras, [they have] a huge 2.5-inch color LCD that is used as both the viewfinder and the playback screen. Indoors these big color LCD displays are marvelous but they suffer when used outdoors in the bright sunlight. To help overcome this problem it's equipped with a solar-assisted LCD screen. The FD Mavica cameras are big compared to other digicams, you just can't make them any smaller because of the physical requirements of the 3-1/2 inch floppy diskette drive."
- Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro: "The bottom line - the S2 Pro is a very capable digital SLR that can use about 90% of the Nikon F-mount lenses out there. When used in the 12-Megapixel mode to generate raw files it produces images with more resolution than the competing dSLRs. And I don't mean that it simply creates larger files, the 12mp images when properly post- processed in Photoshop yield more, real image resolution. The S2 is based on the popular Nikon N80 body and brings it into the digital world in a very good way. The S2 is fairly compact and lightweight with a good ergonomic design. The only thing it lacks physically is an optional portrait mode grip and vertical shutter release. As of August 2002 the Fuji S2 Pro, Nikon D100 and Canon D60 are all available for purchase. I would advise you to see and handle them in person before buying one over the other. They all offer pretty much the same in the way of image resolution and performance so make sure that you like the way it "feels" in your hand, it's going to be spending a lot of time there."
- Nixvue Vista Visual Storage Album: "The Nixvue Vista is the updated version of the Digital Album and now includes a built-in 1.8-inch color LCD display for viewing your images without need of a computer or television set. The original Digital Album was great but a lot of us asked for the ability to view our stored images so the new Vista with its built-in color LCD was the result. You can view images fullscreen with up to 8x magnification, examine the Exif data and even check the luminosity histogram of any image you want--right in the palm of your hand. The Vista can be used as a handheld image gallery to display your pictures, anytime, anywhere."
- Nikon D100: "The D100 is the answer for "the rest of us" who are tired of the limitations of lesser digicams and want the power and creativity that comes with using a SLR. Just remember that the process of capturing great images begins with the lens. Many buyers might be a little financially strapped after buying the D100 body--but don't scrimp on the lens. You don't have to buy the best Nikon glass but the better the lens, the better the image captured. The newer technology AF-S lenses will yield the most robust auto focus performance and you must use a D- or G-type lens to make use of the metering system. It's hard to believe that only three years ago you needed to spend $10K or more to get a dSLR with the features of the D100 and only half of its image resolution! If you have the money to spend, then stop waiting -- the D100 is here now and it really puts the fun back in the picture taking process."
- Nikon Coolpix 2000: "With a suggested retail price of just $249, the Coolpix 2000 is going to find its way into the hands of many first timers. The only things you really need to buy is a larger CF card and NiMh batteries, everything else including a suite of software is provided in the base package. If you're looking for a small digital camera with good image quality and a price attractive to everyone, then give the Nikon Coolpix 2000 a serious look-see, you won't be sorry."
- Toshiba Sora PDR-T20: "The PDR-T20 could do well against other two megapixel 2x zoom digicams because of its picture quality. If the street pricing gets under the $399 MSRP mark it could then be true competition. Size, weight and photo quality are major considerations in choosing this camera. It's the kind of camera that you don't mind taking along on all-day outings as it's easy to carry in your hand or pocket, it's always with you. In automatic mode it's very easy to operate and qualifies as a point-n-shoot digicam that anyone can use successfully."
- Konica Digital Revio KD-400Z: "I give the KD-400Z high marks in styling, durability and overall image quality. Whether you need to print big enlargements, post some pictures on your web site or attach to your email, this camera can handle it. This is a small camera and even with my large hands it wasn't at all awkward or uncomfortable to use. Some of these ultra- compact cameras look great but they're a nightmare to use, especially the miniature buttons and 4-way controllers. The buttons and 4-way controller on the KD-400Z were very easy to operate so it is possible to make them small -and- ergonomic. The KD-400Z is a good choice for the active digi-photographer, it will handle anything short of being dunked in the stream or used in the rain. Many digicams are great picture takers but you're always afraid that they'll break if handled roughly, not so with this camera. It has a very solid feeling to it thanks to the stainess steel case and the "fit-n-finish" is excellent."
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P7: "The DSC-P7 is a good choice for anyone that wants a camera that can be easily carried in their pocket or purse and be able to make up to 11x14-inch prints. Its rugged alloy body and built in lens protector means that it will take a a fair amount of abuse and still function properly We feel it will make a great camera for those going on vacation, just be sure to purchase a larger Memory Stick and a second battery."
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P7: "With their DSC-P7, Sony has again created a digital camera that's easy to use, fairly loaded with features, and capable of taking great pictures. The P7 is a very small camera that has a decent amount of controls -- though none of them what I'd call manual -- that are easy to work with. Their movie mode is top-notch, thanks to the ability to record until the memory card is full. And to my surprise, the P7 even supports an external flash. Some other similarly priced cameras (e.g. Toshiba PDR-3300) offer a lot more manual controls, but not in body this size. The P7 is definitely a camera you'll want to check out."
- Nikon Coolpix 5700 / Minolta DiMAGE 7i Shootout: "When I realized that I had both the Coolpix 5700 and the DiMAGE 7i in my possession at the same time, I wanted to try another head-to-head shootout, similar to the one I did with the Coolpix 5000 and Olympus E-10 last year. [The end result - ] photos ... taken in a variety of lighting conditions, at Mission Dolores and Crissy Field here in San Francisco."
- Nikon Coolpix 5700: "Featuring a spectacular 8X optical zoom lens, more manual controls that you'll ever need, a hot shoe, and Microdrive support, the CP5700 is one of the nicest cameras that I've used in some time. Oh, and the picture quality is great too. Things aren't totally perfect, though. The controls, most notably the power switch and those buttons on the left side, aren't well-placed. The LCD is way too small for a camera with this price, and the viewing angle is limited too. The camera can be quite confusing as well. But overall, the 5700 is a great choice for someone needing a lot of resolution and a big lens."
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P9: "Just like the other recent P-series models, Sony's DSC-P9 is an excellent small camera. It's a bit limited in the manual control department (no manual white balance or shutter speed control), but as a point-and-shoot camera, it works very well. The camera is very responsive and easy to use, and best of all, the pictures come out looking great. The movie mode is also one of the best out there. For those who need lots of pixels and don't mind not having any manual controls, the Cyber-shot DSC-P9 is a fine choice."
- Casio Exilim EX-S1: "[People] won't buy the Exilim EX-S1 (or the MP3 cable EX-M1 model) for their picture quality. They buy it for its size -- this thing is as close to a "spycam" as I've seen. The picture quality is pretty average, but is fine for small prints and webpages. Despite being a point-and-shoot camera, the Exilim has a good number of features, including manual white balance. The fixed focal length lens means fast startup and shooting speeds. On the downside, there's no macro mode or tripod mount. It's also expensive for a 1.2 Megapixel camera. For those who want a small camera to carry with you, the Exilim should definitely be on your list. If it's going to be your primary camera, I'd look carefully at other cameras in this price range!"
- Konica Digital Revio KD-400Z: "The Konica KD-400Z is a very small, point-and-shoot camera with a nice metal body. Since it's point-and-shoot, manual controls are very limited, though I did appreciate the slow shutter speed mode. The KD-400Z is the only camera in the world that supports SD/MMC cards and Memory Stick, so you can buy whichever card is cheaper and/or larger. Photo quality is fair (but not best in class), with a few images having a noticeable brownish cast to them. The 400Z is very fast in terms of startup and operation (except for shot-to-shot speed, which is average), and its easy to use. The flashing blue light on the front is cool, but I'd rather have a real AF illuminator instead. Also, the movie mode left much to be desired (especially compared to Sony). Overall, the KD-400Z is worth a look, but be sure to check out the competition carefully."
- HiTi PhotoPrinter 630PS vs. Canon CP-100: "Both of these printers were a pleasure to use and the prints were impressive. The HiTi PhotoPrinter 630PS was a little more impressive, in my eyes. With the built-in LCD, you don't need to connect to a computer or a camera, though you can do the former if you want, as long as it's running Windows. The prints came out slower than the Canon CP-100's, but they were a bit nicer. The cost per print is substantially less than the Canon and other dye-sub printers. The Canon CP-100 currently supports only Canon cameras. You will be able to hook up to a Mac or PC this fall through an optional kit. So if you want a stand-alone printer and don't have a Canon camera, the CP-100 is not for you. But if you do, it's well worth looking at it."
- Kyocera Finecam S4: "By reading the spec sheet, the Kyocera Finecam S4 sounds like a great, 4 Megapixel micro camera. Unfortunately, in real life the S4 turned out to be disappointing. Generally it took good pictures, though the noise levels were higher than average. What bothered me the most was its very slow autofocus, shutter lag, and poor battery life. Those first two items really make a big difference when you're trying to take a picture of the kids, who just can't stand still. The movie mode was very basic as well. Two bright spots were the amount of manual controls (for a point-and-shoot camera) and a nice playback mode. The S4 isn't a bad camera by any means, but I don't think it's the best choice for your money."
- Nikon Coolpix 4500: "After producing some just so-so digital cameras (Coolpix 2500 and 5000), Nikon has once again returned to making top notch cameras with the Coolpix 4500 (not to mention the 5700). The CP4500 produces excellent photos, has a full suite of manual controls, uses a nice 4X Nikkor zoom lens, and has the body style that made the Coolpix famous. And lets not forget the amazing macro ability, either. On the downside, the camera is a bit slow in the focus and shutter lag department, images sometimes have the highlights blown out, and the LCD is too small for my taste. Even with the negatives, the CP4500 is one of the best 4 Megapixel cameras out there."
- FujiFilm FinePix S2 Pro
- Nikon Coolpix 4500
- Olympus C-720 UltraZoom
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P7 and DSC-P9