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The Newest Camera Features

Monday, June 27, 2011

One of the most recent features in digital cameras is a move towards compact cameras that also have interchangeable lens (much like an SLR camera). However, these are mirrorless cameras and are a new type of camera that offer the consumer similar features to those on a DSLR while maintaining the size of a compact camera.

Another increasingly common feature is the inclusion of high-def video recording facilities. Cameras are no longer simply for taking still images, the definition and length of video clip are helping users to take just one gadget when they're out and about, rather than both stills and video cameras. Even some lower-priced cameras can shoot up to half an hour of video.

Digital cameras are also featuring more and more preset modes. Many now automatically detect faces and smiles, ensuring you get the best picture of friends and family, however awkward they are to photograph! And there are some quite advanced features on cameras, such as panoramic modes; just hold down the shutter and pan the camera to produce a wide-screen panoramic view, along with ‘miniaturisation' modes. In the past, you had to do some clever technical stuff to take photos that make the subjects look like models – think railway stations and the Houses of Parliament – but now it can be achieved just by a twist of a dial or push of a button.

Some of the best digital cameras for anyone who enjoys sports and getting out in the great outdoors now feature ruggedized cases, which can endure being dropped and bashed about – there is also a good choice of waterproof cameras, whether they're to use on the beach, in the snow or for some serious underwater photography. It was not long ago that these were features reserved for professionals.

The best digital cameras also now offer the option to save images in RAW photo modes. This is a photo format beloved of the professional photographer, because it allows for a better degree of manipulation and is a move towards offering amateurs a professional photography experience.

Zoom is improving all the time and on some cameras you'll find that you can achieve up to 35x zoom, which is ideal if you enjoy taking photos of birds, wildlife and sports. Action photography is also enhanced by multiple frame features that when the shoot button is held down deliver up to 11 frames per second.

Operation-wise, the latest cameras now also have the advantage of touch-screen operation, reflecting the trend in smartphones, tablet and all-in-one PCs.
source: EliteZoom

24% Off On Nikon Coolpix L24 14MP Digital Camera (Red) $89.95

Normally priced at $119, the Nikon Coolpix L24 14MP digital camera (Red) is currently on sale at Amazon for only $89.95, meaning you could save up to 24% ($29.05). This compact camera sports a 14-megapixel image sensor, a 3.6x Optical Zoom-NIKKOR Glass Lens, a bright 3.0-inch LCD screen and 480p video recording capabilities (30fps).
source: TechFresh

Olympus E-P3 Specs Unveiled

Olympus today unveiled the specification of the E-P3 Micro Four Thirds camera. It has a similar design to the E-P2 but should bring much improved image quality. The upcoming Olympus E-P3 features a new 12-megapixel sensor with a higher ISO 12,800 sensitivity limit, the rumored faster autofocus, and a built-in flash. We will keep you posted. [Electronista]

[Review] Sony CX700V Camcorder

Let me first start this review by stating that my background mostly lies in photography and that the usage I have of video cameras is limited to the Canon 5D mark 2. While it provides remarkable performance, one has to admit that it is far from compact and for that reason I wanted to give a camcorder a try, namely the Sony CX700V. What first attracted me in the Sony CX700V is the build quality: when comparing it with its main competitors from Canon, JVC and Sanyo it was the only one in that price range that did not feel like a cheap toy. Thanks to Sony and Akihabara News, I was able to play with one for a few days and here is what I think of it.

1920 x 1080 Full HD 60p/60i/24p recording, 12MP still images, wide angle G lens (26.3mm in the lower range), back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor (which increases low-light sensitivity), optical SteadyShot image stabilization with Active Mode, enhanced manual controls, CinemaTone presets, advanced controls with touch screen (3.0x921k), GPS receiver, 5.1ch Surround mic, 96GB embedded Flash Memory for up to 40 hours of recording, built-in USB cable and flash.

No fancy packaging - say like Apple - and the cardboard box serves no other purpose but to securely store the different components: camcorder, AV and USB cables, charger, battery, lens hood, remote control, CDs and manual. I was pleased to see that a lens hood was included by default as I thought it would be an optional item. Oh and if you first think like me that a USB cable is missing to connect the Sony CX700V to your computer, check the handle: that's where the cable is stored !

As said in the introduction, what first attracted me in the Sony CX700V is the build quality. Unlike most of its competitors from Canon, JVC and Sanyo in the same price range, it does not feel like a cheap toy. The plastic feels like something between rubber and leather, and as a result, the camera is very comfortable to hold, even in the hot and humid conditions we can experience in Tokyo. Another plus is that all connectors are hidden behind panels that can be slid open at the touch of a finger instead of using rubber covers which are often cumbersome to manipulate.

The touch screen is clear, bright and easy to use. The menus are well laid out and even with my limited Japanese skills I was able to find and adjust all the settings I wanted. Note that you can customise the function of the dial next to the lens at the front of the camera: exposure, speed, focus... something very useful in theory (more on that later).

The GPS receiver works well and I was able to spot on a map where I was (even though none of the software I have make use of the GPS tagging feature).

In full automatic mode, the Sony CX700V is fast, responsive and does exactly what is supposed to do. The image stabilisation works nicely except perhaps at the longer end of the focal (when zooming most). Unfortunately, as it is often the case with Sony products, as soon as you want to gain a bit more control over what you're doing (another typical example would be the NEX digital cameras), things often get quite complicated and you find yourself having to navigate through multiple menus to adjust what you want. Yes, there is a dial at the front that be customised to adjust various settings (e.g. exposure) but because it spins freely and is too sensitive, accurate changes are hard to perform when using it.

A bit of a mix feeling on the quality of the videos produced by the Sony CX700V. In low light situations, the result is good: the noise level is low, the colours are close to accurate and the overall contrast satisfying. In broad day light however, the contrast is in my opinion too low and the colours dull. Since I have the very same problems with my digital compact cameras (Canon S95), I would be tempted to say that this is the price to pay for having something compact.

Also please be aware that the sensitivity and maximum aperture does not really allow shooting in 24p without an ND filter. Indeed for an ideal filmic look, your shutter angle should be of 180 degree i.e. when shooting at 24p your shutter speed should to 1x48 but this was impossible to achieve in day light with the Sony CX700V. No problem at dusk or at night but during the day, it was difficult to go below 1x200 with shutter speeds often oscillating around 1x2000, which get you the harsh style used in Saving Private Ryan.

Here you are a few screenshot taken from our test video that will give you a descent idea of the CX700V Video quality and how Good/Bad the camera handle colors.

In conclusion, the Sony CX700V is a good camcorder but a not-so-good video camera. It is nicely built, contains useful features is easy to use in automatic mode and produces reasonably good quality videos. Unfortunately, operating it manually is cumbersome and an ND filter is required for an 180 degreee shutter angle in broad day light.
source: Akihabara News







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