This is a great time to be a photography enthusiast. With waning sales at the low end, manufacturers are picking up the pace in the upper reaches of the compact camera market, and the result is a great selection of compacts for more serious (and, unfortunately, wealthier) photographers. The latest manufacturer to deliver is Nikon, with its new Coolpix A, a fixed-focal-length lens model with an APS-C sensor along the lines of Fujifilm's popular X100 and X100s. At $1,099, however, this camera isn't for everyone, and at first glance has at least a couple of competitive weaknesses.… Read more
When Nikon announced in 2011 its "enthusiast compact," the Coolpix P300, groans were heard 'round the Web when the company unveiled the 1/2.3-inch sensor -- smaller than that found in most cameras considered serious compacts. Two generations later, Nikon seems to have finally rethought that decision; the Coolpix P330 incorporates a bigger 1/1.7-inch sensor, though now it's of the backside-illuminated type that I find doesn't generally deliver top-notch photo quality. Nikon also added raw support to the line, another essential for advanced shooters.
Now the P330 seems like a stripped-down version of … Read more
Editors' note, February 28, 2013: This is an expanded version of my First Take of February 25, 2013, based on a brief experience shooting with the camera.
As sad as it sounds, the most notable thing about Sony's new Alpha NEX-3N is the price: list of $500 for the kit with a power zoom lens. That's about $100 less than the list price of the camera it's replacing, the NEX-F3, and while it's not as low as I'd like for a model designed to appeal to potential point-and-shoot upgraders, it's certainly a step in … Read more
That was the response I got when I relayed my experience with the Will.i.am foto.sosho V.4 iPhone camera case at CES to a friend in the camera industry. Ridiculous name (and equally ridiculous price) aside, it is basically a showcase for how much you can do with a smartphone camera and how little a basic point-and-shoot offers.
With the V.4, you get a shutter release, built-in flash, and a lens mount for three interchangeable lenses. There's also a sliding QWERTY keyboard built in, so you can shoot and … Read more
As sad as it sounds, the most notable thing about Sony's new Alpha NEX-3N is the price: list of $500 for the kit with a power zoom lens. That's about $100 less than the list price of the camera it's replacing, the NEX-F3, and while it's not as low as I'd like for a model designed to appeal to potential point-and-shoot upgraders, it's certainly a step in the right direction in a generally overpriced field. And hopefully it means the street price will hit $399, which is the most a lot of snapshot-camera upgraders … Read more
If you like big specs and little bodies, Sony's got some cameras to sell you.
The Cyber-shot HX300 features a 50x f2.8-6.3 24-1200mm lens and a 1/2.3-inch 20-megapixel Exmor R backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. The zoom range is the same as those found on the Canon SX50 HS and Fujifilm SL1000, but its apertures are wider at both ends (though just marginally compared with the SL1000).
The new lens also features improved autofocus for better performance in telephoto (which should give it an advantage over Canon and Nikon megazooms) and enhanced optical image stabilization made possible … Read more
With the new Sony Alpha SLT-A58, Sony consolidates its entry-level dSLR models into one camera that sounds like a mixed bag for the money; debuting at the same list price as the higher-end A57, it actually seems to take a couple steps back from that model in what it delivers, even compared with the cheaper A37, which it also replaces.
On the upside, the A58 incorporates a new sensor and updated image processor with area-specific noise reduction, and which Sony says delivers better dynamic range, which in theory should deliver better image quality. It also introduces an expanded implementation of … Read more
Like all its competitors, Olympus continues to bulk up on higher-end compacts, going after consumers who are willing to pay for better features to get better photos. Enter the Stylus XZ-10, a $400 point-and-shoot with a bright lens.
The XZ-10's lens will actually be better for some than the one on Olympus' $600 enthusiast compact, the XZ-2. It starts at a bright f1.8 26mm and zooms in to f2.7 130mm -- a 5x zoom that's tough to beat in this class of camera. By comparison, the XZ-2 has a 4x f1.8-2.5 28-112mm lens, so … Read more
While there are plenty of rugged digital cameras to go around these days, Pentax and Olympus have been making them the longest. The new WG-3 is Pentax's 15th-generation ruggedized camera and it's going directly after Olympus' top models, the Stylus Tough TG-1 iHS and TG-2 iHS.
The key features of the Olympus are its 4x f2.0-4.9 25-100mm lens and the option to attach a lens adapter for add-on conversion lenses. And that's exactly what you get with the WG-3; the exact same lens specs, and you can put on a lens adapter and wide-angle conversion … Read more