For Nikon DX shooters looking to expand their horizons beyond the kit lens, the 18-105mm DX ED VR f3.5-5.6 lens is an attractive and reasonably priced addition to your collection. Introduced in August 2008 as a kit lens option for the D90, you can find it for well under $400. It delivers a 27-158mm 35mm-equivalent focal length in a compact and lightweight package, combined with Nikon's Vibration Reduction (VR) image-stabilization technology, and that makes this a good choice for travel and general pictorial photography
Compact-camera manufacturers have begun testing the waters with a wealth of high-end features as they search for new ways to gain revenue, market share, and recognition.
In earlier digital photography days, a camera with an extra megapixel of resolution, face recognition, or image stabilization could stand apart from the herd. But now that herd has grown larger, most folks who'll buy a digital camera already have done so, the economy has put consumer spending on ice--and camera makers are making some bolder bets with high-end features.
Among them: Nikon's built-in GPS support to record where a photo was taken, Casio's high-speed video, and the Micro Four Thirds camera system from Panasonic and Olympus.
Premium features aren't an easy sell. They tend to appeal to market niches rather than the mainstream. Early implementations are often rough around the edges. And it's hard enough to convince people to buy a new camera, much less one with the higher price of premium features.
But winning those customers can have a good payoff with better profit margins. And that's critical in this day and age. Market research firm IDC expects that after years of growth, the shipments of digital cameras will decline in 2009.
"It's crowded, and it's getting crowdeder," IDC analyst Ron Glaz said of the digital camera market. "We're anticipating that with the slowdown in economy and disposable income, we'll start seeing consolidation of the vendors." In other words, even though something in the neighborhood of 38 million digital cameras are sold annually, some companies will throw in the towel. … Read more
Today Nikon announced the AF-S DX 35mm f1.8 G lens, a "fast-fifty" for DX shooters. It's a fast aperture prime lens with a DX-equivalent focal length of 52mm, replicating the classic 50mm focal length, long a standard in photography for having a field of vision similar to the human eye.
The fast f1.8 aperture is great for low-light shooting, and it has a narrow depth of field for portraits for intentionally blurring the background. The lens has a closest-focusing distance of 11.7 inches and features Nikon's Silent Wave Motor for fast and quiet … Read more
The Nikon Coolpix S710 wants to be the camera you take with you while your digital SLR stays home. It offers a robust set of manual controls, a high-resolution 14.5-megapixel sensor, a 28mm wide-angle lens, and sensitivity that goes up to ISO 3,200 at full resolution and ISO 12,800 at 3 megapixels.
However, the S710 lacks the speed dSLR users--and even many snapshooters--are used to. If you're used to shooting fast, the S710's performance comes up short. Otherwise, it's a respectable high-end point-and-shoot that's a good option for those looking for lots of … Read more
Nikon joins the ranks of manufacturers ramping up their top-of-the-line megazoom models to 24X. The replacement for the P80, the Nikon Coolpix P90, outzooms its 18X predecessor with an f2.8-5 26-624mm-equivalent lens, and outpixels it by upping the resolution from 10 megapixels to 12. More useful, Nikon incorporates a tilting 3-inch LCD into the camera, bringing it into parity with competing megazooms from Canon, Sony, and others.
With its spring cameras, Nikon introduces its "4-Way Vibration Reduction (VR) Image Stabilization," which consists of optical IS, auto-shutter speed/ISO determination to compensate for moving subjects, and a Best … Read more
Nikon's ultracompact S series look like the typical refreshers, with bumps in lenses and resolution across the board. The touch-screen S60 must be working out for the company, because it's added a second model for spring: the Coolpix S230, which has a cheaper touch-free sibling, the S220. Unlike with the S60, however, Nikon included a mechanical zoom switch rather than relying on the touch screen for zooming. Both cameras have 3x zoom lenses, 10-megapixel sensors, and 2.5-inch LCDs.
Both S600 series models are 12 megapixels and use 2.7-inch LCDs, but the S630 has a 7x zoom … Read more
Nikon plays catch-up to the competition by introducing a budget megazoom model, the Coolpix L100. Characteristically, budget megazooms offer shorter lenses than their more expensive siblings and eschew the electronic viewfinder; the 10-megapixel L100 follows the pattern with its 15x f3.5-5.4 28-420mm lens, which is slower and shorter than its sister the P90's. Though it uses a 3-inch LCD, the L100's doesn't tilt like the P90's does.
Like the more expensive models, though, Nikon adds its "4-Way Vibration Reduction (VR) Image Stabilization" which consists of optical IS, auto shutter speed/ISO determination … Read more
Adobe Systems on Friday issued near-final release candidate versions of Lightroom 2.3 and the Camera Raw 5.3 Photoshop plug-in, software that can support Nikon's new top-end, $8,000, 24.5-megapixel D3X camera and Olympus' mid-range, $1,299, 12.3-megapixel E-30.
According to the release notes, the new Lightroom version also fixes a few bugs: a memory leak that could crash the software while people were making local editing adjustments to photos, a processing error handling smaller sRAW photos from the Canon 5D Mark II, a slideshow glitch, and problems uploading and burning files to discs.
Lightroom is designed for editing, labeling, and cataloging photos--in particular, the flexible but non-standard raw files from higher-end cameras. Adobe Camera Raw is used to handle raw files in the more general-purpose Photoshop software, letting people convert them into JPEG, TIF, or other more portable formats. … Read more
The top two SLR makers have released relatively minor firmware revisions for three cameras, Nikon's higher-end full-frame D3 and D700 and Canon's prosumer-grade EOS 40D.
The fixes generally address rare and unusual problems. One notable fix for the D3 and D700 is for a problem which, as Nikon describes it, "in extremely rare cases, resulted in noticeable black dots in images captured with Long exp. NR (long exposure noise reduction) in the shooting menu set to On." Canon fixed a black-dot issue of its own with the EOS 5D Mark II earlier this month, but Nikon's issue sounds rarer.
Forthwith, the release notes: … Read more