Initial Test Results posted for Canon EOS 5D Mark II!
We've reviewed the performance data and test shots we captured with the Canon 5D Mark II, and have updated our Canon 5D Mark II review accordingly. Stay tuned for a full review, with details on user interface and user experience, but in the meantime, enjoy the test samples and analysis: The Canon 5D Mark II is one really impressive camera!
Flash! First Nikon D3X test images now online!
We just got our hands on a production sample of Nikon's new flagship D3X DSLR. Lead tech Luke came in Saturday just to shoot with it, and we have the first fruits of his labors available now. (Basically, our MULTI and Still Life targets.) More Nikon D3X shots will follow by Monday evening, but what's there now will give you something to look at and compare with other full-frame cameras over the weekend. (Oh, our aching bandwidth! ;-)
One note: We noticed that there was a slight but consistent variation in the Nikon D3X's NEF file sizes at high ISOs that tracked the high-ISO noise reduction setting: Files shot with high-ISO turned off were larger than those shot with it turned on, and the higher the NR setting, the (very slightly) smaller the file size. The difference is very slight, only about 3% of file size from NR Off to NR High at ISO 6,400, but it strongly suggests that there's at least a little NR being applied to high-ISO NEF files. On a cursory examination, we couldn't see any differences in Nikon D3X images rendered from these files (dcraw can open them), but you might be able to. We've thus uploaded NEF files for all four NR options (off, low, normal, high) at ISO 1,600 (highest "standard" ISO) and 6,400 (highest overall ISO, in HI2 mode). Other ISOs have only a single NEF for each posted, shot with the NR set to "Normal."
For those who thought Canon would walk away with the ballgame with their EOS 5D Mark II, these initial shots from the D3X show that Nikon is still in the game. These shots also lend credence to the sensor in the Nikon D3X being different from the one in the Sony Alpha A900: It's hard to imagine that the differences in image quality between these two cameras are all the result of differences in image processing.
Stay tuned for image analysis of the Nikon D3X and the Canon EOS-5D Mark II, hopefully both coming before Christmas. (5DmkII is almost done, but we'll be scrambling to put the story together on the D3X next week.)
Meanwhile, view, download, and enjoy!
Update 12/23/08: We've added more Nikon D3X test images, including our Indoor Portrait, "Sunlit" Portrait and Low-light series.
Express Review posted for Canon PowerShot A2000 IS!
The Canon A2000 IS generally does a good job upholding the strong tradition of Canon's A-series cameras. Its 6x zoom lens shows very good optical quality, and its 10-megapixel sensor delivers plenty of detail at low ISOs. It does pretty well at high ISOs as well, as you can make 8x10 inch prints from its output up to about ISO 800, and ISO 1,600 images are usable at 4x6 inches. Important for family photography, the Canon A2000 IS also handles household incandescent lighting unusually well, producing very nice-looking images. The A2000 uses AA batteries, something many users look for in a camera, figuring they'll never be far from finding replacements when needed. Really, the Canon A2000IS has only a single defect, a slow flash recycle time. Still, there's no arguing with the high image quality, and the Canon A2000's ISO 800 setting ought to allow you to get good shots without a flash, making the Canon A2000 a Dave's Pick.
Review posted for Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77!
Slim and easy to use, the Sony Cyber-shot T77 is also easy on the eyes. Its small body is nonetheless sturdy and solid, and its 3-inch wide-screen LCD offers a unique experience. Like most T-series cameras, the Sony T77 powers on with the sliding front cover, making capture of quick snapshots as fast as a flick of your fingers. The opposite motion closes the camera up, ready for stowing. The Sony T77 has a 4x zoom and a 10-megapixel sensor, and its image processor makes short work of difficult lighting situations. The Cyber-shot T77 is a sweet little camera. Click here for our review of the Sony Cybershot T77.
Review posted for Nikon Coolpix P80!
With 18x optical zoom and available full manual exposure control, the 10-megapixel Nikon Coolpix P80 is among the most compact long-zoom consumer digital cameras available. The Coolpix P80 features the full range of exposure control modes, a good selection of preset Scene modes and Nikon's Face-Priority AF, D-Lighting, and creative shooting tools such as color and metering modes. The Coolpix P80 produces good color and overall exposure, but has some problems with noise and chromatic aberration. Click to see our review of the Nikon Coolpix P80.
First Shots posted for Olympus E-30!
We've posted First Shots for the Olympus E-30 digital SLR camera, a new prosumer model positioned between the E-520 and E-3. The Olympus E-30 features a 12.3-megapixel sensor, in-body image stabilization, ISO range from 100-3200, 11-point AF system, and an articulating 2.7-inch LCD with Live View. Looking to differentiate the Olympus E30 from other prosumer DSLRs, Olympus has included some interesting in-body features that will appeal to artistic types. Perhaps the most unusual is a selection of "art filters" which are performed in-camera and considered when calculating exposure. Click here for our Olympus E-30 preview page, and then click on the Samples tab for all the images we've shot so far, including a few Still Life shots with artistic effects, as well as links to select RAW files. Stay tuned for more Olympus E-30 test images in the coming days!
Full Review posted for Canon Rebel XS!
The Canon Rebel XS is a bargain 10-megapixel, image-stabilized digital SLR kit with impressive low-light performance and great optical quality. Though it's not made for enthusiasts, the Canon Rebel XS offers a lot to the consumer photographer, with a 2.5-inch LCD, a 7-point AF sensor, and a very good quality 18-55mm zoom lens with optical image stabilization. The Rebel XS is light, with a good grip and an interface that is easy to learn and use. Image quality is tuned for printing crisp images straight from the camera, and you can print even without a computer thanks to the Canon XS's built-in Print/Share button. While Canon left a lot of high-end features in the Rebel XS, like Live View and AutoLighting Optimizer, the frame rate isn't quite as fast as its sibling the Rebel XSi. Autofocus, though, is very fast, and the Canon XS's high ISO performance combines with the sharp, image-stabilized zoom lens to make a great camera for both indoor and outdoor photography. The Canon Rebel XS is a quality consumer digital SLR camera worth a closer look. Click here for our full Canon Rebel XS review!
Accessory Review: LensAlign Pro
Michael Tapes has been at it again. The inventor of camera aids like the WhiBal white balance card has devised a clever way to take advantage of the microfocusing feature of some Canon, Nikon and Sony digital SLRs. He calls it the LensAlign Pro. We call it pretty sharp. See our LensAlign Pro review for the whole story.
Update to Sony Alpha A900 Review!
We've finally had the chance to reshoot some Sony A900 RAW files with noise reduction turned off. (Sony is unique among SLR manufacturers in that they apply noise reduction to RAW files, unless High ISO NR is turned off.) See our Sony A900 High ISO NR page for additional crops of converted RAW files with no high ISO noise reduction applied. You can also download the ISO 1600-6400 Still Life RAW files with NR turned off from the Sony A900 thumbnails page. Stay tuned for our Canon 5D Mark II review, to see how the Sony A900's image quality compares to Canon's latest full-frame SLR.
First Test Shots posted for Canon EOS 5D Mark II!
We've finally received and immediately started testing the long-awaited Canon 5D Mark II full-frame digital SLR camera. Resolution and high ISO performance look amazing, so we wanted to let you see the first lab shots from this highly anticipated model without delay. Click on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II Samples tab and you'll see our full suite of Still Life and Multi Target shots, including the full range of ISOs up to 25,600, as well as links to select .CR2 raw files. We'll have more Canon 5D Mark II lab shots to post over the coming days, so stay tuned!
Update 12/06/08: We've added our Indoor Portrait, Outdoor Portrait, Low Light and Viewfinder test shots today. Click on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II Samples tab to see all our test shots so far.
Review posted for Pentax K200D digital SLR!
The Pentax K200D is a good starter digital SLR camera, one with a lot of history built into its body. Its lens mount, for starters, is compatible with K-mount lenses made as long as 33 years ago, giving the K200D a huge selection of lenses. What's more, all lenses attached to the Pentax K200D get the benefit of the K200D's body-based, sensor-shift Shake Reduction technology, allowing sharper pictures in low light. The 10-megapixel Pentax K200D has a good feel, great speed, features a 2.7-inch LCD, and has a stack of Scene modes to help those new to digital SLR cameras make the transition easily. Extremely fast autofocus means low shutter lag in bright light, and though AF slows indoors, the Pentax K200D keeps working until it gets the focus right, an admirable trait. The Pentax K200D's printed out put stands up to 13x19-inch print sizes, too, with decent 8x10 quality even at its highest ISO setting. Overall the Pentax K200D makes a great consumer digital SLR. Click here to see our review of the Pentax K200D for more!
Canon PIXMA MP620 Printer Review!
What were we thinking? A huge review (one of our longest) for an inexpensive multifunction device? Well, there was a lot to talk about! All-in-one printers are fast replacing everything but 13x19 printers. And as they do, they're offering WiFi connectivity so every computer in the house can use them. WiFi licensing can add $100 to the cost of a product but Canon's MP620 can be had for as little as $50 if you're buying it with a Mac at the Apple Store or $114 at Amazon. And the PIXMA MP620 not only prints wirelessly but scans wirelessly, too. It makes excellent copies of your old photos and includes a card reader as well. Read our extended Canon MP620 review for the details.
Initial Test summary posted for Panasonic Lumix FZ28!
True to the line, the Panasonic Lumix FZ28 is a good quality digital camera with a long, 18x zoom. Image quality is excellent at wide angle, and only suffers a bit in the corners at telephoto. Most impressive is the Panasonic FZ28's low chromatic aberration at wide angle, as well as the sharp corners, something most long zoom digital cameras cannot achieve. Barrel distortion is minimal at wide angle and non-existent at telephoto (no doubt due to some clever processing). The Lumix FZ28's color is closer to reality than some will like, but it's really better to have saturation under control in your JPEG images so that you can choose to enhance them later if you like, as oversaturation is impossible to reverse, as it obliterates detail. The Panasonic FZ28 take the right tack for its enthusiastic enthusiast audience. Luminance noise is a little high for our taste at low ISO, a long-time shortcoming for Panasonic cameras, but printed performance from ISO 100 to 1,600 is quite good, so most users will be happy. A fast flash recycle time and fast shutter lag numbers make the little Panasonic FZ28 a great all-around digital camera, great for indoor shooting thanks to the sharp wide-angle lens and powerful flash, as well as outdoor, long-range photography.
Initial Test update for Canon A2000 IS!
As part of our pre-holiday push to provide test results summaries for cameras we see as being important in the marketplace, we've now posted test results for the Canon A2000 IS. Overall, we felt that the Canon A2000 IS does a good job of upholding the strong tradition of Canon's A-series models, with a good-quality image-stabilized 6x optical zoom lens and 10 megapixel sensor delivering sharp images to sensitivity levels as high as ISO 800. The one fly in the ointment is its rather slow flash recycling, which can take as long as 11 seconds after a full-power discharge, longer if your batteries are running low. Apart from that single limitation, though, we felt that it was a strong camera, worthy of a Dave's Pick, albeit with a caution about flash recycle times. Read the test synopsis on our Canon A2000 IS page for all the details!
Initial Test update for Canon SD880 IS!
Canon's PowerShot SD880IS fulfills the promise of the wide-angle pocket digital camera, pulling it off with style. The Canon SD880IS has larger buttons that are easier to read and operate, but not so easy that you'll accidentally activate them. And the camera's front flares out into a nice grip. The Canon SD880's rear LCD has Canon's new coating, which reduces glare and increases contrast, making for easier operation and more enjoyable playback. Optical quality is noteworthy for its overall sharpness, and the built-in image stabilization helps in low light. Chromatic aberration is an issue at wide-angle, though it's quite common in pocket camera lenses. What's impressive is the PowerShot SD880's corner sharpness and relatively low distortion. Color meets the needs of the average consumer, offering punchy images, and incandescent performance is nothing short of admirable. The flash is weak at telephoto, but does okay at wide-angle. Most impressive is the Canon SD880 IS's low noise and excellent noise suppression. Chroma noise is nearly nonexistent in shadows, with only luminance noise that looks rather film-like. The Canon SD880 IS is an excellent pocket digital camera, and worth a closer look.
Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420