The Latest in
Digital Camera Offerings
By John Rettie
We’ve seen an unusually large number of new cameras released since the beginning of the year—most likely because of last year’s earth- quake in Japan and floods in Thailand, which caused launches to be delayed until this year.
While some cameras were first publicly shown at CES in
January, the lion’s share of new cameras were all announced to
coincide with the CP+ 2012 Camera & Photo Imaging Show
in Yokohama, Japan in February. The majority were compact
cameras aimed at consumers, but there were also some new
technologies and features of intrigue to pro photographers. Of
course the most exciting camera release was the Nikon D800
with the largest resolution of any DSLR on the market, at least
at the time I wrote this column. For those of you haven’t al-
ready digested the information, here’s a quick run down of the
latest in digital cameras.
Nikon’s new D800
DSLR sports a full
Nikon’s much anticipated, much-rumored D800 has, as expected,
a 36.3-megapixel FX (full frame) CMOS sensor that produces a
7360 x 4912 image. It’s a pretty amazing jump up in the number of
pixels from the 12.1-megapixel sensor in the D700 it replaces. It
costs $3,000, the same price that the D700 sold for when it was
first introduced back in 2008.
Nikon is positioning the D800 as a pro level camera with many
technologies inherited from the flagship D4, like the same 91,000-
color RGB metering system, the same focusing system and the
same 921,000-dot rear LCD monitor, which is still, sadly, nonrotating. The camera body is weather- and dust-resistant, but not
quite as tough as the D4, according to Nikon.
It has an ISO range of 100-6400 with extension down to ISO 50
and up to ISO 25,600, can shoot at 4fps in FX mode or 5fps in DX
mode and uses the same battery as the D7000. The battery pack
can take the new D4 battery if needed. The camera also has dual
card slots—one CF and one SD.
Nikon has taken a dramatically different approach with the D800,
aiming it at an entirely different market segment. It should prove to
be an ideal camera for studio, wedding, portrait, fashion and landscape photographers who like to have as many pixels as possible.
Olympus retro-look OM-D E-M5
is a mirrorless
camera with a
Olympus OM-D E-M5
Rangefinder readers will also be interested in the Olympus E-M5, the
first model in a new line of mirrorless cameras called the OM-D (OM
Digital) line. It is the digital reincarnation of the line of 35mm OM
cameras that were introduced 40 years ago.
Like the PEN line of digital compact cameras, this new line uses
the same micro Four-Thirds lenses and the same size Four-Thirds
sensors. However it is more along the shape and functions of a DSLR
as it has an electronic eye-level viewfinder as well as a 3-inch touch
screen OLED monitor on the back. The EVF however is an LCD with
a high refresh rate of 120fps. An eye sensor switches seamlessly
between the rear screen and the EVF.
The E-M5 has a 16.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor that is rated for
a maximum ISO of 25,600. The camera features the same art filters
found on the PEN cameras and E- 5 DSLR. A new function is the One
Shot Echo for adding a semi-transparent frame while shooting and
Multi Echo for producing a motion trail effect.
The camera has 3D tracking, allowing the shooting of moving
objects at up to 9fps. It also has the first 5-axis image stabilizing
system built in to the body for five different kinds of camera movement: horizontal shift, vertical shift, rotary motion, as well as yaw and
pitch. It works for stills and movie shooting.
I see the E-M5 as precursor to smaller, lighter high-end cameras
that will likely be introduced by other manufacturers now that it’s
possible to remove the clunky mirror mechanism from a camera.