The category of interchangeable-lens cameras subsumes a variety of capabilities and designs. You have the familiar dSLRs, large-bodied models that use a reflex mirror to enable the use of a through-the-lens optical viewfinder. Then there are Sony's SLT (Single-Lens Translucent) models, which incorporate the same phase-detection autofocus system as dSLRs, but with a fixed mirror that requires the use of an electronic viewfinder (EVF) rather than an optical one. And then there are the mirrorless models, which generally use contrast-detection autofocus and, if they have a viewfinder, it's an EVF. Though they're sometimes referred to as "compact system cameras," they're not all compact; in fact, only a handful could really be classified as such.… Read more
The X-cap lens accessory can be mounted on interchangeable lens cameras that use retractable zoom lenses, such as Panasonic's 14-42mm pancake zoom, that require lens caps. Unlike conventional lens caps, the X-cap has a tiny mechanism below that activates the X-cap's lens opening when it's extended, and closes when it's retracted.
We think this is a very handy accessory as it means not having to remove (or lose) your lens cap ever again during a photo shoot. No details have been released yet on price or availability, but you can see the X-cap in action below. … Read more
Japanese business publication Nikkei has reported that Nikon will launch its first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (ILC) later this year. It will go for between $900 and $1,300, a typical price range for this class of product.
We've heard rumors of Nikon entering this market, with even a picture of a concept product emerging last year. Given how well Panasonic and Olympus are doing, observers have been expecting the two dSLR market leaders to join in, too. It looks like the big N may have beaten its keen rival Canon to the punch. We'll bring you more information as details emerge.
If you are or someone you know is upgrading from a point-and-shoot to a digital SLR or an interchangeable lens compact camera, you might want to look at or share this video series from Vimeo. The series, called "Behind the Glass," is an introduction to lenses and terminology.
Though they're geared for beginners, the videos are entertaining enough that even people who understand how and when to use a particular lens might want to check them out. The videos are targeted at those shooting movies with their cameras, Vimeo being a video-sharing site after all, but much of what's said applies to still photos, too.
Mirrorless interchangeable lens camera systems such as Micro Four Thirds, Sony NEX, and Samsung NX were designed to cater to users who find dSLRs too heavy and bulky to operate. Well, these formats now have a new competitor--sort of.
The Chobi Cam One is a miniaturized dSLR that comes with different lens attachments users can deploy for varying picture results. However, don't expect this to dethrone dSLRs or mirrorless system cameras anytime soon. The pictures from the Cam One measure 1,600x1,200 pixels, and it captures video in VGA resolution only.
The mini shooter has a microSHDC slot … Read more
The good folks over at rumor blog 43rumors are quite certain that come April, Nikon will unveil a professional mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (ILC). The article has been stamped "FT5," a label the site uses to indicate that its sources are almost certainly correct.
While there have been plenty of rumors about Nikon entering the mirrorless ILC segment to compete with Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, and Samsung, it seems those speculations have so far remained, well, speculations.
43rumors has a good track record when it comes to accuracy. Rumors deemed FT5 on the blog site always turn out to … Read more
Update, 10:51 a.m. PT: Per Nikon Rumors, the above photo is actually a picture of a concept from at least as far back as 2009 that's displayed in the Nikon Sapporo showroom, where photography is banned--hence the lack of a previous viewing.
Rumors of Nikon's mirrorless system shooter have been circulating on the Web for a while, but this time there are pictures to prove the Japanese firm may be introducing such a camera soon.
Sitting somewhere between point-and-shoot bridge cameras and digital SLRs are mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras (ILC). Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, and Olympus are the manufacturers leading the way, while Canon and Nikon are seemingly waiting it out. However, according to Taiwan's DigiTimes, Nikon is ready to move forward.
Of course, there are no specifics about the cameras, but a comment sourced to Nikon says its new mirrorless camera will help expand its ILC market share in Asia Pacific to 40 percent in 2011 and 50 percent in 2012.
Not that Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, and Olympus aren't big names, but it's … Read more
Eagerly anticipated ever since Sony floated its wood-block concept designs at the PMA show in February, Sony's Alpha NEX-5 and NEX-3 have finally arrived. Its debut models are the smallest entrants to date, and are pretty aggressively priced given their features.
The cameras are nearly identical, differing only in two ways. They have slightly different body designs, with the higher-end NEX-5 composed of magnesium alloy, and the NEX-5 offers full HD AVCHD video recording. For those perks you pay about $100 more. Both cameras come in kits with either an 18-55mm ($299.99 standalone) or 16mm pancake prime lens ($249.99 standalone). We received a production-level NEX-5 just before launch, which gave us time to test it and get some shooting done before the announcement--you'll be able to get yours in July. The full review with more testing experience and ratings for that model should follow relatively soon. (Read about the NEX-3.)
Overall, the photo quality is really good, and the camera has a very nice noise profile and dynamic range for its price class. But there are caveats. For one, it has the same unfortunate issues with Sony's Creative Styles that all the company's dSLRs do: the default renders inaccurate colors, which isn't helped by the overly cool automatic white balance, and there's no natural Creative Style option. Not even in the bundled raw software. Also, though the 18-55 kit lens is pretty sharp, it has some of the worst distortion I've seen on a non-point-and-shoot camera of late. That includes barrel distortion at the 18mm end and pincushion at the 55mm end. As a result, not only are lines curved, but there's some fringing around the edges of the scene.
Video is sharp and the lenses are really quiet, both for zooming and focusing, but you have practically no controls beyond a background defocus scroll. For instance, it wouldn't let me spot meter a backlit subject; instead, I had to crank the exposure compensation all the way up, guessing based on a hard-to-gauge display. While it has built-in stereo mics that are reasonably separated physically, the audio sounds a bit tinny. And the camera really needs a wind filter. … Read more
The entry-level model in Sony's duo of interchangeable-lens debuts ranks as the smallest model in its class to date. Nearly identical to its slightly more expensive sibling, they have two primary differences: slightly different body designs, with the higher-end NEX-5 composed of magnesium alloy compared to the NEX-3's polycarbonate, and the NEX-5 offers full HD AVCHD video recording. For those perks you pay about $100 more. Both cameras are slated to ship in July and will come in kits with either an 18-55mm or 16mm pancake prime lens. (Read my hands-on with the NEX-5 for a description of the features, lens and menu system.)
As an aside, Sony also indicated that it's working an interchangeable lens camcorder with APS-C HD CMOS sensor that will use the same lens mount on a more traditional camcorder design. There are no real details as yet.
At its lower price, these are the models against which the NEX-3 will compete and how its specs stack up:… Read more