Canon PowerShot S60 review updated to full production status.
This has got to be some of the most eagerly-awaited news on the site in recent memory, judging by all the emails I've been getting about it: I've finally gotten my review of Canon's PowerShot S60 updated to full production status, with all test images and performance numbers collected with a production model of the camera. What's the bottom line? - It's a great camera! It has a number of significant improvements over last year's S50 model, not the least of which is that its lens goes all the way out to 28mm equivalent for true wide-angle photos, quite unusual in a digicam as compact as the S60. (Another consequence of the new lens design seems to be significantly improved macro capability as well.) The one minor negative I found relative to the S50 is that the S60's image noise levels are slightly higher. (But not to the point that I think most users will find anything objectionable, or for that matter visible, at ISO levels of 200 and below.) You'll have to read the updated review for all the detailed results, but this looks like another real winner from Canon, a great "all around" digicam, with good ease of use for the non-photographer, but all the manual control a true enthusiast could want. Definitely a Dave's Pick, check it out!
Review posted for Olympus D-580 Zoom!
The D-580 Zoom is the next generation of Olympus' user-friendly "D" series digicams. This is a four-megapixel, 3x zoom camera with a basic feature set, packaged in a "clamshell" case with a sliding lens cover that doubles as a power switch. Following on from last year's D-560 (and a _long_ line of previous models in the same line), my testing showed the D-580 to be a capable performer, with good image quality and a decent feature set, all at a very attractive price. With an official "street price" of $299, but actual street prices well below that, the D-580 Zoom is one example of how far the digicam field has come, in offering very capable cameras at very low prices. A Dave's Pick, and a great choice if you're looking for an inexpensive, all-around camera that will snap good-looking pictures. Check it out!
Review posted for Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z2!
Last year's DiMAGE Z1 was clearly one of the best bargains in the long-zoom market, a fact that no doubt contributed to its being one of the most popular cameras on the entire IR site since its announcement. The Z2 carries on in that tradition, adding a higher-resolution CCD chip, some expanded continuous shooting and movie mode options, and a few other more minor enhancements, while still selling at about the same price as the Z1 did last year. This time around, I think there's a little more competition in the market, but still nothing that's within $50 of the Z2, and more likely within $100, when you consider all the features Konica Minolta has managed to pack into it. The lens still has the low distortion and consistent sharpness from corner to corner that I liked so much in the Z1, although the Z2's images tend to look a little soft overall, perhaps due to more restrained in-camera sharpening. Once again, I'm impressed with the way the Z2 combines a novice-friendly design with a surprising array of advanced features to satisfy more expert users. The price point, battery life, and shutter lag/cycle time performance are also quite impressive. Read the review for a full analysis of its resolution, color accuracy, image noise, etc, but all in all, there's very little to fault about the Z2, apart from the somewhat "Buck Rogers"-styled case, which I (still) don't personally care for, but have to admit that many others find it appealing. Definitely recommended for those in the long-zoom market, and definitely a "Dave's Pick."
Full review posted for Olympus C-765 Ultra Zoom!
This is one of Olympus near-twin long-zoom models for 2004, a nice 4-megapixel camera with a 10x optical zoom lens. Thanks to a compact LiIon rechargeable battery, this year's long zoom models from Olympus are more compact than previous versions, which relied on a set of four AA cells. The result is somewhat shorter battery life than with last year's C-740 and C-750, but a surprisingly compact body design for long-zoom models. The C-765 is a very full-featured digicam, about the only "enthusiast" feature it's lacking is an external flash sync connector. (That's one of the main differences between this model and the more expensive C-770, the others being an internal speaker on the C-770, as well as a unique dual-range flash head on the C-770 as well.) Good image quality, plenty of features, and a good price, all in all the C-765 is a strong contender in the long-zoom category. Read the review for all the details!
Full review posted for Olympus C-60 Zoom!
Olympus found a winning formula in last year's C-50 Zoom model, and repeats it with some additional refinements this year, in the form of the subcompact C-60 Zoom. Usually, going with a compact digicam means having to give up lots of features, or settling for low resolution and/or poor image quality. The Olympus C-60 Zoom avoids these pitfalls, delivering great color and resolution and really excellent shutter response and cycle times, all in a very compact case. It also offers dead-easy operation in its fully automatic modes, while at the same time providing the "enthusiast" user with a full range of exposure controls (save only a manual white balance option). Macro capability is also excellent, thanks to a "Super Macro" mode. My one reservation about the C-60 is that its images are quite noisy at ISO 400, and the camera's auto ISO option tends to jack the ISO up to that level whenever the lighting gets even slightly dim. This trait has to be balanced against the sheer size of the C-60's images though: Unless you're printing at sizes larger than 8x10 inches, chances are that the noise won't be all that noticeable. Still, I'd really like to see less image noise at high ISO, so my recommendation of the C-60 as a Dave's Pick is somewhat qualified by that factor. If you're looking for a great compact camera with a really fast shutter response though, and particularly one that'll please enthusiast and novice alike, the C-60 will make a great choice. Check it out!
Review posted for Sony DSC-W1!
A near twin to the DSC-P100 in many respects, Sony's DSC-W1 is another good and surprisingly capable subcompact point-and-shoot digicam. Housed in its tiny, all-metal shell are a 5.0-megapixel CCD, a sharp, high-quality 3x optical zoom lens, six preset Scene modes and a host of other options. Its pictures show excellent color and sharpness, and unusually low levels of image noise for its combination of a five-megapixel sensor and compact camera design. On the down side though, the low noise is achieved at some cost to subtle subject detail, caused by its very aggressive anti-noise processing. While its tone curve is as contrasty as many of its consumer-grade competitors, it has a very effective contrast adjustment control that does a good job of taming the high contrast for times when you're faced with harsh lighting. It has a very good macro mode as well, and is much better than average at shooting under low light conditions. Add to this its very good battery life and surprisingly fast shutter response, and I think Sony is going to have another winner on their hands. If you're looking for a great "take anywhere" camera with great versatility and excellent color and tonality, the Sony DSC-W1 would be an excellent choice. A "Dave's Pick," but I'd be happier if its noise-suppression processing were a little less aggressive. Check it out!
Printer Review: Epson R800 Printer!
When some desperate soul grabs our lapels as we're trying to cross the street and demands to know which photo printer to buy, we shrug our shoulders and confide, "You really can't go wrong these days." But there's a lot of ways you can go right with the Epson R800. Pros will like the roll-fed panoramas, printable CD/DVD discs, a range of color and black and white papers that recall darkroom debates over Seagull, Ilford and Kodak sheets. And all printed with archival pigment inks. But the excellent plain paper printing (including envelopes) and convenient batch printing with PIM and Exif Print enhancements will be applauded by the average Joe and Jane, too. Read our review for the details.
Review posted for Sony DSC-P100!
With its small size and well-rounded feature set, the Sony P100 is a good and unusually capable subcompact point-and-shoot digicam. Housed in a very small package is a 5.0-megapixel CCD, a sharp, high-quality 3x optical zoom lens, nine preset Scene modes and a host of other creative options. Its pictures show excellent color and sharpness (although I'd like to see better handling of household incandescent lighting), and surprisingly low noise levels for its combination of a five-megapixel sensor and compact camera design. On the down side though, the low noise is achieved at the expense of subtle subject detail, caused by overly-aggressive anti-noise processing. Its tone curve is as contrasty as many of its consumer-grade competitors, but a very effective contrast adjustment control tames the high contrast for times when you have to deal with harsh lighting. It has a very good macro mode, and is unusually capable when it comes to low light shooting. Add to this really excellent battery life and a surprisingly fast shutter response, and you've got a real winner of a compact digicam, one with amazingly few tradeoffs associated with its diminutive body size. (Other than the aforementioned mushiness caused by its anti-noise system.) If you're looking for a great "take anywhere" camera with great versatility and excellent color and tonality, the Sony DSC-P100 should be an easy choice. A "Dave's Pick," although I'd be a lot happier with it if its noise-suppression processing were a bit less aggressive. Check it out!
Review posted for Kyocera FineCam L4v
Kyocera's L4v is one of several models brought to market toward the end of last year. (And another on my "catch-up" list of camera reviews, now put to bed.) It's a fairly basic four-megapixel, 3x-zoom-equipped digicam, most distinguished by its large, 2.5" LCD screen. Although it carries a high list price, the L4v is generally available at low enough "street" prices that it can amount to a pretty good deal for a four-megapixel, 3x zoom-equipped digicam. In my testing, it showed good color, producing pleasing-looking images under a wide range of shooting conditions. On the down side, I found its resolution not quite up to the best of its four-megapixel bretheren, its shutter lag and cycle time on the slow side, its battery life rather short, and its image noise higher than average. Despite these limitations though, the FineCam L4v generally produces good-looking images, so it could still make an attractive purchase, particularly if you find one at the lower end of its price range. Check it out!
Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420