Thursday, January 25, 2007

Digital Camera: Nikon

Nikon D80 Review

Two and a half years ago Nikon announced the six megapixel D70, their first affordable enthusiasts digital SLR, it proved to be a very popular camera and strong competitor to the Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel). Just fifteen months later Nikon revealed the D70s which was essentially the same camera with a some subtle tweaks (improved AF, wider flash coverage, higher capacity battery, larger LCD monitor). And so just over fifteen months on from the D70s Nikon present the latest incarnation of their 'enthusiasts' digital SLR line, the ten megapixel D80.

The D80 slots nicely between the entry-level D50 and the semi-professional / professional D200, clearly based on the D70 design but also different enough to be seen as a completely new model. It features a ten megapixel DX format CCD (the same we presume as used by Sony in the DSLR-A100), the metering sensor from the D50 and numerous other items taken or modified from the D200.

UPDATE 18/Dec/06: In our original review a mistake was made in the measurement of the ISO sensitivity of the Canon EOS 400D as used for comparison, this has now been corrected and the releveant pages of this review updated.

Key features

  • 10.2 megapixel DX format CCD (1.5x FOV crop)
  • Image processing engine (similar to D200 / D2X)
  • 3D Color Matrix Metering II, 420 pixel sensor (same as D50)
  • 11-area AF system (new version of Multi-CAM 1000, similar to D200)
  • Custom Auto ISO (selectable maximum ISO, minimum shutter speed)
  • Configurable high ISO and long exposure noise reduction
  • Mechanical only shutter (maximum 1/4000 sec, flash sync to 1/200 sec)
  • Quoted 80 ms shutter lag (short viewfinder blackout; 160 ms)
  • Larger, brighter pentaprism viewfinder (x0.94 magnification)
  • Support for SD-HC (SD cards over 2 GB in capacity)
  • In-camera retouching
    • D-Lighting (shadow / highlight enhancement)
    • Red-eye reduction
    • Trimming
    • Monochrome
    • Filter effects
    • Small picture
    • Image overlay
  • Multiple-exposures
  • Compact body (smaller, lighter than D70/D70s)
  • Improved menu user interface (same as D200)
  • Higher capacity EN-EL3e battery (provides detailed information, same as D200)
  • Wireless flash integration (same as D200)

Compared to the Nikon D70s, major feature and specification differences

As you can see from the table below the D80 carries some quite significant improvements compared to the D70s, the only slight negative point being slightly slower maximum shutter speed and flash sync (this due to a lack of an electronic shutter).

Nikon D80

Nikon D70s
Sensor • 10.2 million effective pixels
• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD (DX format)
• 6.1 million effective pixel
• 23.7 x 15.6 mm CCD (DX format)
Image sizes • 3872 x 2592 (10.0 MP)
• 2896 x 1944
• 1936 x 1296
• 3008 x 2000 (6.0 MP)
• 2240 x 1488
• 1504 x 1000
Autofocus • 11 area TTL
• Nikon Multi-CAM1000
• 5 area TTL
• Nikon Multi-CAM900
Lens servo • Single-servo AF (AF-S)
• Continuous-servo AF (AF-C)
• Automatic AF-S/AF-C (AF-A)
• Manual focus (M)
• Single-servo AF (AF-S)
• Continuous-servo AF (AF-C)
• Manual focus (M)
Metering • 420 pixel RGB sensor
• 3D color matrix metering II
• 1005 pixel RGB sensor
• 3D color matrix metering
Metering range • EV 0 to 20 (3D color matrix / CW)
• EV 2 to 20 (Spot)
• EV 0 to 20 (3D color matrix / CW)
• EV 3 to 20 (Spot)

• ISO 100 - 1600
• Up to ISO 3200 with boost

ISO 200 - 1600
Auto ISO • Selectable maximum ISO
• Selectable minimum shutter speed
Shutter Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal plane shutter Combined mechanical and CCD electronic shutter
Shutter speed • 30 to 1/4000 sec
• Bulb
• 30 to 1/8000 sec
• Bulb
Flash sync 1/200 sec 1/500 sec
Built-in flash Guide number 13 (ISO 100) Guide number 11 (ISO 100)
Continuous • 3 fps
• 23 / 6 frames (JPEG / RAW)
• 3 fps
• 12 / 4 frames (JPEG / RAW)
White balance • Auto
• 6 presets
• Kelvin color temperature
• Manual preset (immediate or from photo)
• Auto
• 6 presets
• Manual preset (immediate)
Image presets Normal, Softer, Vivid, More Vivid, Portrait, B&W Normal, Vivid, Sharper, Softer, Direct Print, Portrait, Landscape
High ISO NR • Normal
• Low
• High
• Off
Multiple exposures Yes No
Exposure delay Yes, optional, 0.4 sec (mirror lock-up) No
Viewfinder • Eyepoint: 19.5 mm (at -1.0 m-1)
• Frame coverage 95% (approx.)
• Magnification approx. 0.94x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte II
• Eyepoint: 18.0 mm (at -1.0 m-1)
• Frame coverage 95% (approx.)
• Magnification approx. 0.75x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte II
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixel TFT
• 170 degree viewing angle
• Removable protective cover
• 2.0" TFT LCD
• 130,000 pixel TFT
Histogram Luminance & RGB histogram Luminance histogram
USB USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (480 Mbps max.) USB 2.0 Full-Speed (12 Mbps max.)
Storage SD / SD-HC card Compact Flash Type I or II
Battery Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e (7.4 V, 1500 mAh)
Lithium-Ion EN-EL3a (7.4 V, 1400 mAh)
Battery status • Remaining charge (%)
• No. of shots taken since last charge
• Battery life (5 stage)
3 level on LCD panel
Vertical grip MB-D80 (optional) None (third party only)
Dimensions 132 x 103 x 77 mm (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in) 140 x 111 x 78 mm (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
Weight • No battery: 585 g (1.3 lb)
• With battery: 668 g (1.5 lb)
• No battery: 595 g (1.3 lb)
• With battery: 679 g (1.5 lb)
Image processing engine • New for D80
• Based on D200 / D2X
• 12-bit algorithms, 2-channel
Programmable FUNC button Yes No
In-camera retouching

• D-Lighting
• Red-eye reduction
• Trimming
• Overlay
• Monochrome and Filter
• Small picture
• Image overlay

Top panel controls • Metering mode
• Exposure compensation
• Shooting mode
• AF mode
• Metering mode
• Exposure compensation
World time Yes No

Two new AF-S lenses

In addition to the D80 Nikon has also announced two new lenses, the big zoom AF-S DX 18-135 mm (7.5x) is set to become the 'Kit Lens' (for another $300) of choice and features ED glass and a fast, quiet SWM (Silent Wave Motor), it should be available in September with the D80. The AF-S 70-300 mm VR (4.3x) offers long telephoto reach with optical Vibration Reduction and a SWM (Silent Wave Motor), it should retail for $699 and be available in October.

AF-S DX 18 - 135 mm F3.5 - F5.6G ED
(27 - 202.5 mm equiv. FOV, 7.5x zoom)

AF-S 70 - 300 mm F4.5 - F5.6G VR
(105 - 450 mm equiv. FOV, 4.3x zoom)

Digital camera: Short intro

Olympus SP-550 UZ: 18x ultra zoom
Click for: Olympus SP-550 UZ: 18x ultra zoomToday is Olympus day with the announcement of eight new cameras in the FE, Stylus (Mju) and SP ranges. Most interesting is the SP-550 UZ ultrazoom, boasting the world's first 18x (yes 18x) zoom capability. Covering an astounding 28-504mm (equiv.) range it is sure to appeal to travellers seeking a compact camera for all occasions. Also featuring CCD-shift Image Stabilization, a 15fps burst mode (1.2MP) and a 7.1 megapixel sensor, the SP-550 continues a legacy of innovative large-zoom cameras from Olympus. (00:00 GMT)

Olympus Stylus 760
Click for: Olympus Stylus 760Next up is latest in Olympus's trend-setting Stylus (Mju) range of compact cameras. The Stylus 760 (Mju 760) combines a 3x zoom and 7.1 megapixel resolution with 'Dual Image Stabilization' (CCD shift and ISO boost) and wraps it all up in a slimline weatherproofed metal casing. (00:00 GMT)

Olympus Stylus 770 SW
Click for: Olympus Stylus 770 SWToday also sees the announcement of the addition to Olympus's range of 'tough' cameras; the Stylus 770 SW (Mju 700 SW). Built to carry on after most photographers have run for shelter, the 770 is waterproof to 10m (33ft), shockproof* enough to withstand a fall of 1.5m (4.9ft) and happy in temperatures as low as -10ºC (14ºF). If you are in the habit of dropping cinderblocks on your cameras, the news that the 770 will withstand loads of up to 100kg (220lb) will come as a relief.(00:00 GMT)

Olympus FE-250 - boasts ISO 10,000
Click for: Olympus FE-250 - boasts ISO 10,000Next up is a new top-of-the-range addition to the entry-level FE range. The FE-250 boasts an 8MP sensor, 3x zoom and slim metal casing. It's also the first FE model to feature the company's 'Bright Capture' technology (nice name for an old idea; pixel binning to increase ISO). What makes the FE-250 stand out for us though, is that it scales new heights in sensitivity, offering an ISO 10,000 (yes, that's ten thousand) option (at 3MP). Now we may be jumping the gun here, but we suspect there may be some sacrifice in quality involved. Either that or Olympus has - in a £200 compact - re-written the laws of physics. (00:00 GMT)

Olympus FE-240

Click for: Olympus FE-240Just in case you didn't think Olympus already offered you enough choice in the affordable, slim, 7MP category here's another one. The FE-240 is actually pretty nice; 17.6mm thick and boasting a 5x zoom and 2.5-inch LCD for around £180. Thanks to its 1/2.5 inch sensor this one 'only' manages ISO 1000. (00:00 GMT)

Olympus FE-230

Click for: Olympus FE-2307 megapixel compacts seem to be flavour of the month and this little Olympus is no exception. As well as a 3x zoom (38-114mm equivalent) there's ISO 1250 and a simplified operating system packed into the bargain-priced FE-230's 16.5mm thick stainless steel shell. (00:00 GMT)

Olympus FE-210
Click for: Olympus FE-210And finally, yet another 3x zoom, 7.1 megapixel compact from Olympus. This model, the FE-210, places the emphasis on economy and ease of use rather than headline-grabbing features. The 'one button, one function' places commonly used features within easy reach of novice photographers whilst 15 scene modes tune the camera's settings to particular shooting conditions. (00:00 GMT)

Just Posted! Samsung NV7 OPS review
Click for: Just Posted! Samsung NV7 OPS reviewJust Posted! Our in depth review of the Samsung NV7 OPS - which has taken a lot longer than expected due to faulty cameras and some fairly extensive re-testing to double-check some of our findings. The NV7 OPS is - on paper at least - an exciting product from the increasingly innovative Korean manufacturer, offering 7MP, 7x zoom, image stabilization and a feature list as long as your arm in a surprisingly compact body. And it's very aggressively priced to boot. Find out if the NV7 OPS lives up to its promise after the link... (14:35 GMT)

Microsoft Photo Info tool
Click for: Microsoft Photo Info toolMicrosoft has today released a new 'Photo Info' tool designed specifically for digital photographers. After installation this tool provides a new option of 'Photo Info' on the Explorer context menu. The Photo Info dialog enables you to edit both EXIF and IPTC information in compatible image formats as either a single image or a collection. The Photo Info tool works on either Windows XP or Vista and is a free download. (15:50 GMT)
Pentax Optio T30
Click for: Pentax Optio T30Pentax introduces a couple of new cameras today, starting here with the T30, successor to the T20. The T30 ups resolution to 7.1 million pixels, ISO sensitivity to 3200 and is 0.5mm slimmer than its predecessor at just 19mm. Still sporting a 3.0-inch screen with touch display control and a 3x zoom but theT30 also throws Face Recognition AF and AE into the mix. (07:45 GMT)

Pentax Optio M30
Click for: Pentax Optio M30Next up is the new Optio M30, the replacement for the M20, announced last August. The M30 also ups resolution to 7.1 million pixels and sensitivity to ISO 3200 but is now packed into an ultra-slim 18mm body. (07:45 GMT)

Pentax update K10D firmware to v1.10
Click for: Pentax update K10D firmware to v1.10Pentax has today released firmware update V 1.10 for their K10D DSLR. Features added and upgraded by this update include wireless flash control, refinements to the ISO and exposure control systems and improvements to long-exposure image quality. (07:45 GMT)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Casoi announed two new Digital cameras

Casio announced today that three of its products, two digital cameras and one data projector, have been recognised with the iF product design award 2007, one of the world's leading industrial design honours.

The iF product design award is sponsored by the International Forum Design of Hannover, Germany and is recognised around the world as one of the premier industrial design competitions. The entries are judged not only on their design, but also on criteria such as quality, price and environmental considerations.

The iF product design award 2007 attracted 2,293 entries from 35 countries with 756 entries receiving awards. The three Casio products earning honours were the EXILIM Zoom EX-Z1000, EXILIM Card EX-S770, and the Super Slim Projector XJ-S35.

EXILIM Zoom EX-Z1000
With a stylish, compact body, the EX-Z1000 digital camera was one of the first 10 megapixel cameras to hit the market in 2006. It's design is described as conveying 'a sense of revolutionary new technology, advanced functionality and premium quality.' With the EX-Z1000, Casio improved all around usability by enhancing both software and hardware.

This stylish, credit card size digital camera can shoot 7.2 megapixel still images as well as MPEG4 movies. The molding of the three piece central case features an edge line that creates a more dynamic feel. The design is described as a 'slim, high quality design that delivers a sharp yet sturdy feel.'

PENTAX has announced two new compact digital cameras.

The Pentax M30 which includes features such as 3X optical zoom lens, World time function for 75 cities, 15 shooting modes and 13 playback modes, 21.9 MB of built-in memory and much more. It is the perfect camera for the casual photographer. The Pentax M30 should see a March release and would retail for US $199.95.

PENTAX also announced the new Pentax T30 with features a touch display, 7.1 megapixels, a three inch LCD monitor, face Recognition AF and AE function which is known to detect and the focus on the face regardless of where people appear in the photo frame. The Pentax T30 should see a March release and would retail for US $349.95.