Review posted for the Canon PowerShot SD630!
While the Canon PowerShot SD630 still features a lot of the same classic Digital ELPH design elements, Canon jazzed things up a bit with the two-toned black and silver body and sleeker overall design. Along with providing solid image quality in regular lighting conditions with good color and accurate skin tones, the Canon SD630 incorporates many of Canon's technological advances for shooting with high ISOs. Boasting very usable ISO 800 setting is one thing. Many shots I took without a flash and the ISO set to 800 on the SD630 were leaps and bounds better than images I captured with competing cameras set at ISO 400. Canon's DIGIC II processors continue to produce great results in a number of areas, particularly by nearly eliminating shutter lag when you pre-focus. As with the Canon SD630's slightly plainer cousin, the SD600, this camera is one to consider closely if looking for a pocket camera. Read on for our full review on the Canon SD630.
Pentax K100D Hands-On Preview posted!
Pentax invokes a familiar name to replace the old brand for their sixth digital SLR, and the K100D seems to be worthy of borrowing the legendary Pentax K1000 moniker. The Pentax K100D's small build and 6 megapixel sensor are enhanced by a large LCD and an impressive stabilization feature for clearer images from lower shutter speeds. White balance and AF speed could use some improvement, but overall the Pentax K100D impressed our Senior Editor, especially when paired with Pentax's short, fast prime lenses and Pentax's hot-shoe-mounted bounce flash. We're still working on the full review, but come see our Hands-on Preview of the Pentax K100D.
Test results for two Canon lenses posted on SLRgear.com!
Uber-tester Jim has cranked out test results for a number of lenses, but Dave and Shawn have been too crazed dealing with the SLR announcements (and all the other review backlog) this month to get the results posted...
Test tech extraordinaire Jim has been busy in the lab this last month, and has generated test results for a fair number of lenses. The hold-up this time has been that Dave and Shawn were kept pretty frantic, trying to get full reports up ASAP on the new Nikon D80 and Canon Rebel XTi, over on Imaging Resource. That overload has passed now, but Dave's getting ready to leave for a long-overdue vacation. He *promises* though, that he'll get test results posted for at least another 4 or 5 lenses before he takes off.
Today, we have results on two superb Canon lenses, the Canon 85mm f/1.2L II, and Canon 135mm f/2L. Both are easily in the "exceptional" category, and the 135mm is even in the sub-$1,000 price bracket.
Stay tuned, we should have more lens test results going up over the next few days. Jim himself will be on vacation for 10 days starting this Wednesday, but once he and Dave both get back and reconnected, there should be a fairly steady stream of new lens tests through the end of the year.
Canon Digital Rebel XTi Preview posted!
(UPDATE, 8/25: Product photos, screenshots, display callouts added!)
A long night for Shawn, Mike T. and Dave resulted in a fairly complete preview of the new Canon Digital Rebel XTi. Some people may focus on the relatively minor increase in resolution over the previous Rebel XT (a move from 8.0 to 10.1 megapixels), but the big news with this new camera is the host of features it's carried over from the EOS-30D, as well as a very comprehensive systems approach to dust avoidance, removal, and mitigation (via software). After the anti-dust system, the second most significant upgrade in the Canon Rebel XTi is the much more capable autofocus system it's borrowed from the 30D. We have pretty detailed coverage of its many features up already, but stay tuned for more tasty tidbits, and a User Report from Shawn in another day or two. (We got to fondle and shoot with a prototype sample earlier today, and can report that Canon Rebel XTi is a very nice-handling and -feeling camera; much more pleasant in the hand than the Rebel XT, and the AF system did feel more responsive as well. Final judgement will have to wait until we can test a production sample of the Canon Digital Rebel XTi in our lab, but all indications are that this is going to be a very nice little camera, with more than enough increase in capabilities to entice current XT owners into an upgrade. As noted, we'll be adding little tidbits to the preview over the next few days, so keep checking back. In the meantime, see our Canon Rebel XTi preview for all the (current) details.
Review posted for the Nikon Coolpix L3!
Much like the previously reviewed L2, the Nikon Coolpix L3 has a lot going for it, including a 5.1 megapixel CCD sensor, a 3x Nikkor optical zoom and a handsome exterior, making it the slimmest and best looking digital camera I've seen that takes AA batteries. Good for the novice shooter, the Nikon L3 has several handy features, including Nikon's D-Lighting, In-Camera Red-Eye Fix, Face Priority AF, Best Shot Selector, and 15 scene modes. As a basic snapshooter, the Nikon L3 performed well, capturing sharp images with a good dynamic range and punchy color. The camera is a bit on the slow side, however, lagging behind some of its competitors in shot-to-shot speed and overall shutter response. The Nikon L3's lens is also slow and noisy when zooming out to the full 3x. While automatic controls were impressive, there's very little manual override on the Nikon Coolpix L3, particularly relating to ISO light sensitivity adjustment. Anyone who likes killing the flash and cranking up the ISO so they can take pictures in low light will be disappointed with the Nikon L3 which has its default ISO set to 50. In poor lighting when flash is turned off, the camera will auto gain up -- there is no manual adjustment -- to a maximum of ISO 200, which is less than adequate for shooting in most low light situations. Overall, just like the L2, the Nikon Coolpix L3 is a mixed bag, but with enough good qualities that we think it's still a good choice for the price. See the full review for more on the Nikon Coolpix L3.
Review posted for the Fujifilm Finepix F30!
As if to prove that there's more to a camera than pixel count, you have to look closely on the Fujifilm Finepix F30's all-metal body to find its resolution. Instead of splashing its megapixel power all over the chassis, the F30's 6.3MP imaging capability is discreetly etched along the front fingergrip. Rather than hitting the usual chords, Fujifilm plays up the F30's extraordinary ISO range of 100-3200 instead, along with its new anti-blur Picture Stabilization feature, and extended battery life of 580 shots per charge. We were impressed with even the Fuji F30's highest ISO images, which held detail better than any small digicam on the market. An innovative "Natural Light & Flash" mode further helps indoor portrait tasks, capturing two styles of photo so the user can choose which works better. Though it's not the most exciting design, the excitement is in the camera's improved abilities in low light. Add the 2.5 inch screen, clean interface, and excellent battery life, and the Fuji F30 is worth a look.
Printer Review: HP Photosmart D7160
The HP Photosmart D7160, based on what HP calls its "scalable printing technology," is a $149 six-color inkjet that prints high quality photos that "last for generations." Unlike HP printers of the past, this generation of Photosmart printers packs each ink in an individual high-capacity ink cartridge. Solidly built, the D7160 is capable of high-volume printing of 4x6-inch photos in about 14 seconds each.
Full review posted for Panasonic Lumix LZ3!
The Panasonic Lumix LZ3 is a nice little camera at a very affordable price, particularly considering that it sports a 6x, optically stabilized zoom lens. Panasonic is justifiably proud that they've managed to bring optical image stabilization to their entire product line, from top to bottom. The Panasonic LZ3 did quite well overall in our testing, delivering good bright color, good resolution, and only moderate lens distortion. The big 2.0-inch LCD screen is great for sharing your photos with friends, and makes the menus easier to see, but the difficulty of seeing the screen clearly under bright lighting often left us wishing for an optical viewfinder as well. But the Panasonic LZ3 delivers really excellent value and good picture quality at a surprisingly low price. While not a first choice for sports or other fast-paced action, the Panasonic LZ3 is a great little all-around camera with a nice long zoom lens, all in a compact, inexpensive package.
Full review posted for Canon PowerShot A530!
With a 5.0-megapixel CCD a 4x lens and a full range of exposure control, the Canon PowerShot A530 is another fine addition to Canon's A-series of digital cameras. Built on the same long-tested design as many A-series predecessors, the Canon A530 offers a lot in its compact package. Its combination of automatic and manual features make the Canon A530 very approachable for novices, but still interesting for experienced users. It's a camera that will satisfy a broad range of interests and provide a good path for novice users to expand their photographic horizons as their experience grows. You can even put it in a waterproof case. One of the more popular features of the A-series is their use of AA batteries, something we also like. Movie mode is present, but somewhat lacking in terms of frame rate. Still, the Canon A530 is a camera that will meet the needs of the average consumer very well and deliver great images. What more can you ask? See the full Canon A530 review for more.
In-Depth Hands-On Preview of Nikon D80 posted!
We've only looked at a prototype sample thus far, so can't comment yet on image quality, but man, this is a camera! Given that it uses a close variant of the CCD sensor employed in the D200 though, it seems safe to assume that it's basic imaging characteristics will be at least roughly comparable. Taking that as a given, we're confident in predicting that the Nikon D80 will be an enormous hit. It delivers a huge step up in virtually every parameter relative to the earlier D70/D70S, and even the D100 owner on a budget may want to consider it over the the higher-priced D200. In our limited time with it thus far, it impressed us with its solid feel and responsive handling, as well as for just how much of the D200's capabilities it incorporates. The D200 was an enormously impressive camera, making it arguably more impressive that Nikon managed to cram so many of its advanced features into a body selling for $700 less. In the back-and-forth battle between the two giants, Nikon has once again thrown down the gauntlet to Canon, with an exceptionally capable camera (sporting an unusually capable kit lens as well), at a very aggressive price. We'll have a complete set of test photos and performance details as soon as we can get our hands on a full production sample, but it seems safe to say that the Nikon D80 is going to be one of the more significant camera announcements of 2006. Read our in-depth hands-on preview of the Nikon D80 for all the details!
Full review posted for Nikon D200!
This one is certainly long overdue: We've finally posted a full review of the Nikon D200, including a full specs comparison with other Nikon and Canon models, and a very detailed examination of its image quality, including tonality and dynamic range, color handling, and image noise levels. This is one impressive camera! - We actually own a D200, that we bought for our lens testing for SLRgear.com, and can say that day-in and day-out use have only increased our admiration for it. There's no question that this is the most powerful and capable dSLR currently on the market for less than $2,000. Given its full environmental sealing and exceptionally rugged construction, it's arguably the only true professional dSLR under $2,000. Read our Nikon D200 review for all the details!
Canon 24-105mm f/4L lens test posted on SLRgear.com!
This has been one of the most-requested lenses for us to test, so it's with great pleasure that we use it to mark our return to active test-posting. While expensive lenses don't always justify their prices, the Canon 24-105mm f/4L is one that clearly does. - At least, on cameras with APS-C size sensors like the EOS-30D (we tested on an EOS-20D). When we tried it on our full-frame EOS-5D body, we discovered that it struggled a bit along the edges and in the corners, with a little softness, more chromatic aberration, and a lot more distortion and light falloff (vignetting). The good news though, is that this otherwise excellent optic is supported on most recent Canon bodies by the superb DxO Optics Pro software, so its few foibles can be fairly easily dealt with. Check it out, this is one sweet lens, just the ticket for a "walk-around" lens to use in a wide variety of shooting situations!
Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420