Tag Archives: FPS

March 02, 2012 at 12:12PM


New Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The long-awaited follow-up to one of Canon‘s most popular DSLRs ever

When Nikon recently announced its D800 multimedia-machine DSLR, the internet was already abuzz with folks wondering how Canon would fire back. That follow up comes today in the form of the full-frame Canon 5D Mark III.On the photography front, the most notable improvement is the completely redesigned autofocus system. The Mark III offers 61 AF points, 41 of which are crosstype. That’s a huge upgrade from the nine total points offered by the 5D Mark II for which AF performance may have been its biggest detractor. That also bests Nikon’s D800, which has 51 total AF points, 15 of which are crosstype, and five which are double crosstype. The final number of points you have access to with either of those cameras when shooting ultimately depends on the maximum aperture of the lens attached. It also offers six different autofocusing modes, compared to 2 on the Mark II and the AF modes have been made much more prominent in the menus to make navigating them much faster.The Mark III checks in at 22.3-megapixels which is only a modest hop from the Mark II’s 21.1, but the sensor has received a complete overhaul. Gapless micro lenses, similar to those found on the sensor of the Canon 1D X, channel light into the photo diodes much more efficiently. As a result, the new sensor, according to Canon, offers nearly two additional stops of noise reduction in JPEG shooting at higher ISO’s compared to the Mark II. To compound the effect, Canon also incorporated “on chip noise reduction,” into its sensors, killing off potential noise before information even hits the Digic 5+ processor.Canon employs their latest, greatest Digic 5+ chip to handle the Mark III’s image processing, which they claim to be 17x faster than the Digic 4 processor found in the Mark II, and 30% faster than the ordinary Digic 5 processor. This helps bring the Mark III’s burst capabilities up to 6 fps, compared to 3.9 fps on the Mark II. That’s also two better than the 4 FPS max (without the battery grip) offered by Nikon’s D800.Metering is handled by a 63-zone (up from 35 in the Mark II), dual-layer metering system they’ve dubbed iFCL. It stands for Focus, Color, Luminance, and it uses information from the AF points to help provide more accurate and consistent exposures. Canon also shrunk the size of its spotmeter point, which now comprises just 1.5% of the sensor, compared to the 3% meter on the Mark II.The Mark III’s native ISO range of 100 to 25600 is expandable, when shooting stills, all the way up to 102,400 (two stops higher than the D800) and down to 50. When switched over to video mode there’s a hard-stop at 25,600, same as its predecessor.Expanding on the video capabilities, some folks will no doubt be slightly disappointed to see that 1080p capture is still capped at 30 fps rather than the smoother 60 fps frame rate. There are some notable video upgrades though, including an external microphone jack and a headphone jack, which film makers have been craving for years. Maximum clip time has been jacked up to about 30 minutes (up from 12 in the Mark II) and you can now manually control audio levels during video recording.While the video upgrades aren’t exactly monumental, Canon already has a rather large segment of the HDSLR market, so fixing a few long-standing gripes from users might be enough to keep users firmly entrenched in the Canon camp.From a design standpoint, the Mark III takes more than a few pages out of the 7D’s book. In fact, the top of the camera is exactly identical, with the exception of a locking mode dial (first made standard on the 60D). Mark II upgraders will have to get used to the on/off switch moving to directly below the mode dial. The backside of the camera also looks strikingly similar to the 7D. The Liveview button has moved to the top right portion on the back of the camera. Canon also incorporated a “Creative Photo Button,” and a “Photo Rating Button,” which saves on-the-fly star ratings in an image’s metadata. You’ll likely use the latter much more often than the former.Other physical upgrades include a slightly larger 3.2” 1.4 million dot LCD (compared to the 3” LCD found on the Mark II). It’s nice, but we were a bit surprised not to see a Vari-Angle screen on a machine with so much video firepower. Viewfinder coverage has also been nudged up to 100% as it is in the 7D. Canon placed great emphasis on improving weather seals on the Mark III body, and while its not quite as water and dust resistant as the 1D X, its ability to survive the elements definitely surpasses the Mark II.One simple, but crucial inclusion is that of a secondary card slot, giving it one CF and one SD. While most cameras with two slots allow users to split RAW and JPEG files on individual cards, Mark III users can take it even further, splitting two different size JPEG’s or two different size RAW files. Speaking of which, the Mark III offers three different RAW file sizes including RAW (which is 22.1 MP), M-RAW (10.5 MP) and S-RAW (5.5 MP).A newly redesigned shutter cuts lag time down to 59 milliseconds, compared to 75-millisecond lag time on the Mark II. Other new features include a “Silent Continuous Shooting Mode,” which we witnessed in person, and are pretty impressed with. When in this mode, the burst rate is cut down to 3 seconds, however the decrease in shutter noise is very noticeable.Set to ship late March, the 5D Mark III will run you 500 for body only, or 300 for the body and a 24-105 F4L IS lens. That makes it a full 00 more expensive than than the D800, which might make a significant difference. Needless to say, we’re excited to get the new camera in the lab and see just how much improvement Canon has made.

Canon has also released a few new accessories for the 5D Mark III. Here’s a quick rundown:

Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7A 49.99

Plug it into the camera’s USB port and it’ll hop onto a WiFi network. From there, you can use it to transfer files and syncrhonize multiples cameras shooting at the same time. It also has built-in Bluetooth connectivity.

GP-E2 GPS Receiver 90

A pretty standard GPS tagging dongle tracks capture locations as well as universal time code. It also tracks camera movement and uses a compass to record the direction the camera is pointing when the shutter is fired.

BG-E11 Battery Grip 90

The 5D Mark III’s battery grip accepts two LP-E6 batteries and has a new multicontroller and M. Fn button in addition to a full set of grip controls. Like the camera body, it’s made from magnesium alloy and shares the same burly weatherproofing.

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March 01, 2012 at 02:42AM


Camera Awesome Is an iPhone Photo App From SmugMug

Despite the silly name, this photo app packs a few unique and interesting features

The photosharing site SmugMug have branched out into making a camera app for the iPhone. Dubbed Camera Awesome, it’s a free download on the app store, and while some of the features are what you’d find just about anywhere, there are some that are surprisingly powerful.

So, like just about every other photo app on the planet, there are the obligatory photo filters, and an auto-edit function that has been dubbed “Awesomize”, which touches things up with a single button press. Where it stands out from the crowd is through abilities like separate focus and exposure points. Additionally, instead of just the standard rule-of-thirds composition overlay, it also has golden mean, trisec, and a level. If you’re recording video, the app also continually buffers a recording, so as soon as you hit the record button, the previous five seconds are saved, too. It even has a setting that bumps the maximum FPS up to nine.

As you’d expect, the app can share images to just about every service on the planet: SmugMug, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Picasa, Photobucket, and more. What’s nice is that it can also automate the process to a certain degree — including automatically applying certain filters, and sending them to your favorite site. Like we mentioned, the app is free, but is supported through in-app purchases of filters, which run sh.99 a pop.

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February 08, 2012 at 09:48AM


New Gear: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds Camera

Olympus takes their line of interchangeable-lens compacts one step beyond

The Olympus OM series cameras have been around for roughly 4 decades, but, much like almost everything else, it has now gone digital.

The boxy body plays well into the current trend of retro-styled cameras with fancy new-fangled features. Inside is a 16.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor that shifts in five directions in order to provide image stabilization. It’s paired with the TruePic VI image processing engine. That gives it what Olympus is calling an expanded dynamic range and a maximum ISO of 25,600.

Olympus claims that the new AF system is the “world’s fastest.” It uses the Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology (for which the adorable acronym is, of course, FAST) that debuted in the PEN E-P3. They’ve turned up the volume on it, though, pulling data from the chip at 240 fps. In single shot AF mode, it’s capable of pulling down 9 FPS at full resolution. The 3D AF tracking system is also equipped for moving subjects.

One of the big draws for this DSLR-type camera over its other PEN ILC siblings is the presence of the built-in electronic viewfinder. It refreshes at 120 FPS, so it should be very responsive. It offers 100-percent field of view (which is to be expected) and has a 1.15x magnification to help reduce fatigue.

The main display is a 3-inch OLED touch screen that tilts up and down, that also allows for touch shooting.

For video capture, the 5-way vibration reduction will be very welcomed, but the footage resolution falls short of the 1080p mark, opting instead for 1080i. However, you can get 60 fps out of it at maximum resolution, which should be nice for fast action or slow-motion.

Like many Olympus cameras at this level, the E-M5 is built with a fair bit of resilience. It uses a magnesium alloy frame and has internal seals to keep out damaging sand and moisture.

To complement the new camera, Olympus is also announcing a new lens in the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm F/3.5-6.3 EZ, which is similarly dust and moisture resistant.

Other coming accessories include the HLD-6 Battery Grip, the FL-600R Flash, which also works as a video light, and the MMF-3 adapter, which allows standard Four Thirds compliant lenses to work on Micro Four Thirds compliant cameras.

When it comes to market, there will be three different package options for this camera. 99 will get you the body only in black or silver. ,099 will get you the body in black with the M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II R lens. ,299 will earn the black or silver body with the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm F/3.5-6.3 EZ lens.

Going forward, Olympus has said that they’ll be releasing two more new lenses this year, including a 75mm F/1.8 and a 60mm F/2.8 macro. Pricing and specific availability on those are not yet available.

We’ll share our findings as soon as we can get our hands on an official production model.

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February 07, 2012 at 12:01PM


New Gear: Nikon D800 36.3-Megapixel Full-Frame DSLR

There will also be a D800E Model Without the optical lowpass filter

When Nikon announced the D4 DSLR a while back, they made it very clear that they wanted it to be a full-fledge multi-media machine. That sentiment has been carried down a level with the D800, which boasts many of the same video capture features in addition to that massive megapixel count.

Nikon has tweaked just about everything that could be tweaked in the D700. At the heart of it is a 36.3-megapixel full-frame (FX format) sensor. That’s coupled with the Expeed 3 image processor. As a result, it has a maximum resolution of 7360 x 4912. That’s roughly 150% the pixel count of Nikon’s flagship D3X DSLR.

But, the revamp doesn’t stop at the sensor and processor. It has a new 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering III system with an added emphasis on facial detection, so they claim it will perform better, even in tricky lighting situations like strong backlight.

It has a 51-pount AF system, 15 of which are cross-type on a 3500FX autofocus center module. That promises to provide an improvement over the D700, but likely won’t be quite as snappy as its big brother, the D4. Nikon does promise that it will be able to focus in situations as dark as -2 EV, which we’ll gladly check out in our test lab.

The native ISO range goes from 100 up to 6400, but it’s expandable down to 50 and up to 25,600. Again, it falls short of the D4, but we’re still expecting very solid high ISO performance out of the D800.

The built-in flash works with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System, which means it can be used to control other Nikon speedlights wirelessly.

But, in addition to all of the still photography stuff, there’s also the video capture. You can get 1920 x 1080 at 30p, 25p, and 24p. Drop down to 1280 x 720 and you can add 60p and 50p to the equation. It has full, uncompressed digital output via HDMI, which means serious film makers can use it with a capture device instead of going to a card and it even has the headphone jack film makers were so happy to hear about on the D4.

Because it has so much resolution and a full-frame sensor, the D800 also offers several crop modes, including a 1.2x setting and a 1.5x DX setting, which still maintains a 15.4-megapixel resolution. It may not get a ton of use from the photo side, but with HD video not requiring the full sensor, it could come in very handy for motion picture shooting.

In the end, the D800 really does seem to keep the focus on maximizing image quality. The new AF system should prove quick, but with a burst rate that caps off at 4 FPS, it still leaves plenty of room to remember why the D4 is the top dog.

The D800 will start shipping in late march for ,999. That’s slightly more expensive than the D700′s ,700 price, but you get a lot more resolution and the multimedia comparison isn’t even close.

As a note, there’s also another version known as the D800E, which is the exact same camera, only the lowpass filter has been removed. While the filter does combat aliasing, which is a distracting effect found in areas of repeating detail, it also slightly reduces the camera’s maximum fidelity. This is primarily something requested by studio or landscape shooters, but it also works to the benefit of some video shooters. The D800E will cost ,299 and will ship in mid April.

So, what do you think? Is it everything you wanted out of the D800?

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February 02, 2012 at 08:28PM


New Gear: Retro-Styled Pentax K-01 Interchangeable-Lens Compact Has an APC-C Sensor, K-Mount

Don’t worry, it also comes in black and white

When it comes to making interesting — and sometimes downright wacky — looking cameras, Pentax has been at the forefront for some time now. But, their new ILC gets its looks from the brain of renowned designer and artist, Marc Newsom. The result is something pretty unique, especially if you opt for the day-glo yellow colorway. Don’t worry, it also comes in black and white.

Inside its machined aluminum frame is a 16.3-megapxiel CMOS sensor with sensor-shift shake reduction, similar to what was in the excellent K-5 DSLR. It also works with all K-mount lenses, so if you’re already in the Pentax system, you can move to the K-01 pretty seamlessly.

The display is a 3-inch, 920K dot LCD and the pop-up flash has a guide number of 12m (ISO 100). ISO range is expandable to 25,600 and it can hit 6 FPS if you’re shooting in high-speed JPEG mode. Video capture isn’t too shabby either. It can do 1080p at 30 fps, but if you’re willing to drop to 720p, you can get 60 fps, which is noticeably superior for shooting action or if you want slow-motion.

Now, to the price. When the K-01 arrives in March, it’ll command 49 for the body, or 99 when coupled with the new 40mm XS pancake lens (more on that below). That’s actually pretty competitive, especially when you consider that it will work with the 25 million+ K-mount Pentax lenses that are already out there without an adapter, which is definitely a bit of an advantage over the Sony NEX line and even the Nikon 1 series.

What will be interesting is to see how a camera like this competes against the seemingly growing segment of super-advanced compacts with integrated lenses like the Fujifilm X-series and Canon‘s upcoming G1 X. With the kit lens, the K-01 is only 00 more expensive than the latter and it gets you a full-on camera system with an APS-C sensor.

Of course, that price also means that you’ll give up certain desirable features. For instance, the K-01 is completely devoid of an integrated viewfinder, so eye-level composition is out, which will likely be a deal-breaker for some.

As for the new lens, it’s the Pentax-DA 40mm F/2.8 XS pancake. Pentax is claiming that it’s the world’s thinnest, measuring just .36-inches thick. That’s actually probably thinner than some actual pancakes, depending on what diner you frequent. It focuses as close as 16-inches, has a Super Protect coating, and has an effective focal length of 61mm on an APS-C sensor. And, because it’s plain old K-mount, it’ll work on your current Pentax DSLRs as well.

Look for a hands-on when we get one to play with and then a full test report as soon as we get it in the lab.

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February 02, 2012 at 07:37PM


Pentax Ricoh Imaging Corporation introduces Pentax K-01 designed by Marc Newson

DENVER, CO February 2, 2012…When is a camera more than a photographer’s tool? The answer is when it’s an object designed by Marc Newson, one of the most acclaimed and influential contemporary designers.

PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION introduces the Marc Newson designed PENTAX K-01* interchangeable lens camera (ILC). The new PENTAX K-01 is another bold effort from the manufacturer that is known for pushing camera size, color, durability, and now, design, to the limit. Widely known for designing a wide range of objects from furniture and household products to bicycles, cars, aircraft and yachts, Marc Newson has had collected works displayed in The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City and many other major museums.

The contemporary, timeless K-01 houses a full array of advanced functions and user-friendly features in a camera body with remarkable form and function. The elimination of an optical viewfinder and quick-return mirror gave Newson more freedom in designing the camera body, and the K-01 showcases Newson originality in every detail. Available in black, white and Newson’s signature yellow colors, the K-01 features the designer’s autograph logo stamp on the bottom of each camera.

The famed designer’s touch also is evident in a new smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 XS interchangeable lens. As the world’s thinnest interchangeable lens,* the new 40mm combines with the PENTAX K-01 camera body to deliver a unique ILC system that is perfect for photographers who are as keen on design as they are on performance. Together, the K-01 and 40mm lens system mark the intersection where high technology and high design meet.

Key features of the PENTAX K-01 include:
• Durable machined aluminum frame under a stylish black, white, or yellow exterior.
PENTAX mirrorless body design is compatible with 25+ million PENTAX K-mount lenses spanning decades.
• Large 16 megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor with low noise image capture and multiple aspect ratios.
• Bright, high resolution 3 inch LCD with 920,000 dots.
• Full HD 1080p video capture at 30 FPS with h.264 compression (60 FPS at 720p) features outstanding video capture flexibility.
• Sensor-shift PENTAX Shake and Dust Reduction system is compatible with every mounted PENTAX lens.
• Fast 6 FPS burst mode is ideal for fast-action photography.
• Flexible ISO range of 100-25600 ensures gorgeous noise-free imaging in any lighting condition.
• Focus peaking mode provides fast and accurate manual focusing for critical focus applications.
* The world’s thinnest interchangeable lens for lens-interchangeable digital SLR cameras, as of February 1, 2012 (based on PENTAX’s research).

The K-01 will be available in yellow, black and white in March 2012 for 49.95USD (body only) and 99.95USD (lens kit including new DA 40mm XS) in Marc Newson designed packaging and with the Marc Newson designed strap. The smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 XS unifocal interchangeable standard lens will ship at the same time for 49.95 USD.

Additional information is available here: www.pentaximaging.com/news and a video interview with Mark Newson regarding the K-01design may be viewed here: www.youtube.com/pentaxian1 Images of other Marc Newson creations are available here.

PENTAX is a leader in the production of a variety of adventure ready digital cameras including weather-resistant digital SLRs and stylish, compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For more than 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of adventurous consumers and businesses. With new headquarters in Denver, Colorado, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION is a subsidiary of PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. effective October 1, 2011. Additional details may be found here: www.pentaximaging.com/news

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February 02, 2012 at 02:47PM


Pentax K-01 almost announced

I have been reporting rumors about a second Pentax APS-C sensor mirrorless camera for almost a year now and today the K-01 is finally official. I am pretty sure that this camera was initially scheduled for a 2011 announcement, but Ricoh’s acquisition of Pentax delayed the release.

Here is the B&H press release for the K-01, they already have listed the Pentax DA 40mm f/2.8 XS Lens on their website:

NYC, NY (PRWEB) February 02, 2012

B&H Photo Video is excited to announce the launch of the new and much anticipated Pentax K01 Camera.

The new Pentax K01 camera is a marvel of cutting edge technology with robust features and specifications, packaged in a gorgeous and durable aluminum frame styled by renowned designer Marc Newson.

One of the immediate highlights and benefits of this cameras mirrorless body design is its compatibility with all PENTAX K-mount lenses spanning decades. You won’t have to worry and wonder whether an investment in a camera of this magnitude will force you to abandon some of your favored lenses. The fact is this camera was built to be compatible with your existing equipment.

The technical achievements of this camera are quite numerous and impressive.
In short; nothing was left to the imagination in the creation of the new PENTAX K01 camera. With its exceptional technical details and aesthetic appeal, this camera is sure to appeal to enthusiasts and professionals alike.

KEY FEATURES:

Contemporary styling by world renowned designer Marc Newson

Durable aluminum frame with stylish exterior in a selection of colors

Mirorrless body design is compatible with PENTAX K-mount lenses.

Exceptional 16 Megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor with low noise image capture and multiple aspect ratios.

Bright high resolution 3 inch LCD with 920,000 dots

Full HD 1080p video capture at 30 FPS with h.264 compression (60 FPS at 720p) features outstanding video capture flexibility.

Sensor-shift PENTAX Shake and Dust Reduction system is compatible with every mounted PENTAX lens.

Fast 6 FPS burst mode is ideal for fast-action photography.

Shutter speeds from 1/4000 to 30 seconds and bulb with a silent shutter action.

Flexible ISO range of 100-25,600 ensures gorgeous noise-free imaging in any lighting environment.

Shooting modes include P, Av,Tv, and M, as well as powerful automatic modes, creative filters and finishing options.

Focus peaking mode provides fast and accurate manual focusing for critical focus applications.

In-Camera HDR mode combines bracketed user-specified exposures into a single, perfectly blended still image.

Built-in popup flash and external hotshoe compatible with modern PENTAX digital flash units.

Captures JPG still images as well as open standard DNG RAW.

In addition and as a perfect complement to the PENTAX K01, is the new smc PENTAX DA 40mm Lens, dubbed the “World’s thinnest interchangeable lens” at the time of its production!

This superb lens was styled by world famous designer Marc Newson and features an ultra low profile of only 0.36 inches in overall thickness and is only 1.8 oz in weight!

The maximum F2.8 aperture on this lens makes it ideal for creative depth of field applications and existing light photography. Furthermore, its nine rounded aperture blades produce extraordinarily smooth, natural bokeh.

ADDITIONAL KEY FEATURES:

Fixed focal length 40mm prime lens is equivalent to 61mm in the 35mm format.

Short 16 inch minimum focus distance

PENTAX SP (Super Protect) coating on lens surface helps repel elements and aids in cleaning.

PENTAX K mount is compatible with current and past K-mount compatible cameras.

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