Initial Test updated to Full Review for Sony A33!
"Second-fastest" might sound like Sony missed a step -- until you consider that the Sony SLT-A33 is second only to its big brother, the Sony A55. Apart from this sibling rivalry, the Sony A33 bests every other consumer SLR on the market on the basis of continuous shooting speed, with a host of special Sony features added to the bargain. Using Sony's unique translucent-mirror technology, the Sony A33 delivers up to 7 frames/second, with live autofocus tracking. You'll also get true live autofocus during video recording, something few other SLRs do, or do well. Sporting the same excellent sensor we first saw in the NEX-3 and NEX-5 cameras, the Sony A33's only concession in image quality is a bit more noise at high ISO and under dim lighting conditions, due to light lost to its mirror. Besides its slightly slower shooting speed and 14 vs 16 megapixel resolution, the only other feature the Sony A33 gives up over the A55 is the A55's built-in GPS. A very compact yet ergonomically designed body and arguably the best electronic viewfinder we've seen to date round out the Sony A33. Unique features like Sweep Panorama and multi-shot modes for handheld low-light shooting likewise expand the range of capabilities relative to competing SLR models. If you're looking for a fast-shooting compact SLR, with live-focus video recording, unique multishot low-light modes, and a surprisingly affordable price (a street price at this writing upwards of $200 cheaper than that of the A55), the Sony A33 should be at the very top of your list. See our Sony SLT-A33 review for all the details.
Express Review posted for Samsung HZ35W!
While SLR shooters talk about "vacation lenses," the one lens that they bring on vacation to do everything, now there's a new category of "vacation digital camera." The Samsung HZ35W is like that, and it does a lot more than the average SLR. It slips into a pocket, has a 24mm wide-angle lens and an impressive 360mm telephoto range. It even sports a GPS receiver for mapping your photos after your trip. The Samsung HZ35W goes a step further, allowing you to copy maps onto the camera so you can see your locations right on the 3-inch AMOLED screen. Impressive. With a full suite of auto, semi-auto, and manual exposure modes, the Samsung HZ35W is aimed at the serious traveling photographer, but of course this digital camera also has easy modes to keep the less-technically inclined happy as well. We ran the Samsung HZ35W through its paces, and prepared an Express Review with all the details. Click here for our Samsung HZ35W review!
First test shots posted for Nikon D7000!
We've just posted our first set of test shots for the Nikon D7000 digital SLR camera, straight from the lab! The heart of the Nikon D7000 is a newly developed, DX-format CMOS image sensor with 16.2 effective megapixel resolution, coupled to Nikon's latest-generation EXPEED 2 image processor. The pairing allows the Nikon D7000 digital SLR camera to provide ISO-equivalent sensitivities from 100 to 6,400, expandable as high as ISO 25,600. The D7000 also sports a newly developed 39-point autofocus system with nine cross-type points, and a new 2,016 pixel RGB metering sensor. The Nikon D7000 offers Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) movie recording with external stereo microphone connectivity, and a viewfinder said to provide ~100% coverage. Power for the Nikon D7000 is supplied by a newly specified EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery pack, and the D7000 is also compatible with an optional MB-D11 portrait / battery grip. Images in RAW and JPEG formats, and movies in .MOV containers, are stored on dual Secure Digital card slots compatible with the latest SDHC and SDXC types. For more details read our Nikon D7000 Hands-on Preview, and visit the Nikon D7000 Samples page for all the test shots we've taken so far, including links to select RAW files. Stay tuned for more test shots in the coming days!
Express Review posted for Olympus Stylus Tough-8010!
Easily their most rugged looking digital camera, the Olympus Stylus Tough-8010 feels like a chunk of steel. Equipped with a 28-140mm equivalent zoom lens, the Olympus 8010 is better able to capture your outdoor adventures, and its 14-megapixel sensor promises a lot of resolution. True mechanical image stabilization graces the Olympus 8010, in addition to digital image stabilization, which raises ISO when the camera deems it necessary. If you're feeling creative, Olympus added a few Magic Filters for interesting photo effects, and they even included a digital copy of the manual right in the camera's 2GB of internal memory. Of course the Olympus 8010 is also shockproof, waterproof, freezeproof, and crushproof as well, so it's ready when you are. Click here for more on the Olympus Stylus Tough-8010 digital camera!
Full Review posted for Canon EOS-1D Mark IV!
When speed and quality are of the essence, the Canon 1D Mark IV digital SLR camera has what the pro photographer needs. Its 16-megapixel sensor gives the Canon 1D Mark IV considerably more pixels than its predecessor, and the dual DIGIC 4 processors allow the camera to retain the 10 frame-per-second capture speed as well as employ better anti-noise processing for greater image quality at higher ISOs. Ranging from 50 to 102,400, the ISO sensitivity of the 1D Mark IV covers an impressive range. Given the trouble many had with the 1D Mark III, perhaps the most important upgrades are to the Autofocus system, which does indeed seem to be improved according to our tests. While the 1D Mark IV is still housed in the same rugged magnesium alloy body, the LCD cover glass is more durable, sporting scratch-resistant tempered glass. There's a lot to recommend this stout shooter, including Full HD movie capture, so click here for our review of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV digital SLR camera.
Lens Review: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G
Nikon announced the new Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.4G last August, as a replacement to the venerable 85mm f/1.4D, in existence since 1995. The new lens adds an AF-S focusing motor (and thus compatibility with all of Nikon's camera bodies), rounded diaphragm blades, weather sealing, and nano-crystal coating. The results when used wide open at f/1.4 are a bit surprising: to find out what we mean, you'll have to click here to read our full review of the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G lens.
First test shots posted for Canon 60D!
We've just obtained a production-level Canon EOS 60D digital SLR camera, and have posted our first set of test shots, straight from the lab! The Canon 60D is a replacement for the 2008-model Canon 50D, and incorporates a range of the company's latest SLR technology from models including the EOS 7D and Rebel T2i, as well as providing the debut for a few features unique among EOS digital SLRs. For the first time in an EOS camera, the 60D includes a tilt-swivel LCD display, known in Canon parlance as a Vari-Angle type. The EOS 60D's LCD has a three inch diagonal, 3:2 aspect ratio, and 1.04 million dot resolution. The Canon 60D adopts the company's current 63-zone iFCL metering system, and increases the exposure compensation range to +/- 5EV. The EOS 60D also has an expanded standard ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 6,400 equivalents, while retaining the same expanded upper limit of ISO 12,800 from the EOS 50D. The EOS 60D's movie mode basically mirrors that of the consumer-grade Rebel T2i, but with the addition of 64-level audio gain control as well as a switchable wind cut filter. For more details, read our Hands-on Canon EOS 60D Preview, and visit the Canon 60D Samples page for the test shots we've taken so far, including links to select RAW files. Check back often, as we'll be posting more test shots from the Canon 60D as soon as we can!
First test shots posted for Sony A290!
We've just posted our first set of test shots for the Sony A290 digital SLR camera, straight from the lab! Compared to its predecessor, the A230, the Sony Alpha A290 features a redesigned handgrip, which is more traditionally styled and should prove more comfortable in use. The change in grip adds around six grams to the body-only weight of the A230, and around 12mm to the depth. But there's a couple of other differences from the A230 beyond just the grip. The Sony A290 has a higher resolution 14.2 effective megapixel CCD image sensor -- the same chip that featured in the A380 and A390. Its battery life is also rated as just a few shots less than the A230, perhaps due to the increased processing required for the slightly higher-res images. In other respects, the Sony A290 digital SLR camera is similar to the A230. Read our Sony A290 Preview for more, and visit the Sony A290 Samples page for all the test shots we've taken so far, including links to select RAW files. Stay tuned for more test shots in the coming days! (Also visit the Sony A390 Samples page to see test shots from the A290's more fully-featured sibling.)
Express Review posted for Pentax X90!
The Pentax X90 digital camera takes over the reins from last year's X70 model, and stakes the company's claim for a share of the hard-fought megazoom digital camera market. Its 26x optical zoom lens might not be the most powerful in its class, but it matches up closely to the range provided by most of its competitors. The Pentax X90 digital camera includes some important capabilities that let you control the look of your images, including the ability to control focus and exposure manually, and to limit the range of its Auto ISO function. Going a step further, the Pentax X90 offers several functions that are absent in many competing megazoom digital cameras, such as an interval timer, and the ability to automatically correct for lens distortion in-camera. The picture's not entirely rosy, however: we did note some user interface quirks, and the Pentax X90's image quality didn't always meet with our expectations. Can the Pentax X90's strengths overcome its weaknesses? Read our Express Review of the Pentax X90 digital camera, and you'll find our verdict.
Express Review posted for Olympus SP-800UZ!
Things have really gotten competitive in the megazoom digital camera market this year, with almost all the big names in imaging competing for a slice of one very hot pie. The Olympus SP-800UZ has one of the most powerful lenses of the bunch, offering an incredible 30x zoom range that reaches all the way out to a jaw-dropping 840mm-equivalent telephoto. Beyond this attention grabbing optic, Olympus has clearly tried to differentiate its flagship megazoom from the competition. To achieve this, it's gifted the Olympus SP-800UZ digital camera with a sturdy metal body, rather than the more commonplace plastic. Unlike competing megazoom digital cameras, the Olympus SP-800UZ also forgoes an electronic viewfinder, in the interests of reducing body size. A 14-megapixel imager and 3-inch LCD panel ensure the Olympus SP-800UZ doesn't lag its competitors on these frequently-compared specs, either. All things considered, the Olympus SP-800UZ offers an interesting package that manages to set itself apart in a hard-fought market, but how does it perform? Read our Express Review of the Olympus SP-800UZ digital camera to find out.
First test shots posted for Nikon D3100!
We've just posted our first set of test shots from the Nikon D3100, straight from the lab! The D3100 slots into Nikon's product line between the D3000 and D5000 models, and is based around a brand new Nikon-designed, DX-format, 14.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor, whose output is passed to Nikon's latest generation EXPEED 2 image processor. Compared to the D3000, this combination allows the Nikon D3100 both a 20% increase in linear resolution, and a much wider range of ISO sensitivities -- 100 to 3,200 equivalents, which can be extended to 12,800 using the Hi settings. It also provides for a live view function with full-time autofocus, even during 1080p movie capture at 24 frames per second. The D3100's still image burst rate is three frames per second, the same as that of the D3000, and it also retains the same eleven-point Multi-Cam 1000 AF system, 420 pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix II metering sensor, Dust Reduction, and Picture Control systems. Read our Nikon D3100 Hands-on Preview for more, and visit the Nikon D3100 Samples page for all the test shots we've taken so far. Check back for more test shots in the coming days!
UPDATE 10/22/2010: Posted initial test results. Stay tuned for the full review!
Review posted for Canon PowerShot S95!
The quest to build the better high-quality pocket digital camera continues with the Canon PowerShot S95, with its 10-megapixel sensor and fast, f/2.0 lens. Among its premium-quality competitors, the Canon S95 is the smallest digital camera with such a fast lens. Its understated, stealthy appearance will be popular with street photographers and the Canon S95's easy customization will gain the admiration of all photographers, period. The Canon S95's hold on users becomes complete with the gorgeous, 420K-pixel, 3-inch LCD screen. Anyone serious about having a quality camera with them at all times will love the optical and final image quality of the Canon S95. It's worth a closer look. Click here for more on the Canon PowerShot S95!
First test shots posted for Canon PowerShot G12!
We've just posted our first set of test shots for the Canon PowerShot G12 digital camera, with more test images to come over the next few days. The Canon PowerShot G12 is a replacement for last year's PowerShot G11. Like that camera, the PowerShot G12 offers the combination of a ten megapixel CCD sensor and a DIGIC 4 image processor. The G12 also retains its predecessor's 5x optical zoom lens, with 35mm-equivalent focal lengths from 28 to 140mm -- a useful wide angle to a moderate telephoto. Enhancements to the Canon G12 include a new 720p24 HD movie mode with stereo sound, mini HDMI connector, front control dial and support for SDXC cards. See our Canon G12 Preview for more details, and visit the Canon PowerShot G12 samples page for the test shots we've taken so far, including links to select RAW files.
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