Lenses Product Announcements

Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens

Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Superzooms are typically average optical performers, but consumers love them. For lensmakers, they can be a huge bulk of overall sales, likely the reason why the Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS generates a huge amount of traffic for this site. It all started with the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX, the excellent superzoom that’s only available for Nikon DX–sensor cameras. Sigma was quick to capitalize by offering an equivalent for other mounts with no counterpart for the Nikon 18-200.

Now enter the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens that seems to be a match to its Nikon counterpart. If this lens proves to be even just an average performer, a lot of EOS shooter will be sporting them in their bags simply because of the fact that it simplifies a lot of things. More specifically, this can easily be the favorite travel and everyday lens. Paired with an entry–level body like the 1000D or the 450D, or even the older 400D, you’ve got a camera/lens combo that should be enough for 95% of shots we usually take.

Now I’m just wondering if $699 USD is cheap; it doesn’t have USM after all.

Bodies Product Announcements

New Nikon D90 with HD Movie recording

Nikon D90

Here’s a world first: A digital SLR camera that shoots high definition (HD) video. Welcome the Nikon D90.

What its manufacturer may have intended to be just a simple replacement for the dated Nikon D80 may just be the dSLR to change it all. Armed with a 12.3–megapixel CMOS sensor, the D90 is capable of doing most things every digital SLR could do, but adds HD movie recording. Capable of capturing 720p (1280×720px) video, this camera enables video enthusiast to shoot footage utilizing SLR lenses that provide better depth of field control as a result of its larger sensor compared to typical camcorders. This may just revolutionize how videos are captured.

Here’s a rundown of other things on the Nikon D90:

  • 12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS imaging sensor: Coupled with Nikon’s EXPEED image processing technologies and NIKKOR optics, breathtaking image fidelity is assured.
  • Continuous shooting as fast as 4.5 frames-per-second: Combined with fast 0.15ms power-up and split-second 65ms shooting lag, dramatic action and decisive moments are captured easily.
  • D-Movie Mode—Cinematic 24fps HD with sound: Record cinematic-quality movie clips at up to 720p HD (1280 x 720 pixels) in Motion JPEG format, enhanced by NIKKOR interchangeable lens quality and versatility.
  • Low noise ISO sensitivity from 200 to 3200: High signal-to-noise components and design deliver exceptional performance, even at high ISO setting.
  • 3-inch super-density 920,000-dot color LCD monitor: High resolution, 170-degree wide-angle viewing guarantees confident image review and movie playback.
  • Built-in image sensor cleaning: Effective 4-frequency, ultrasonic sensor cleaning frees image degrading dust particles from the sensor’s optical low pass filter.
  • 11-point AF system with Face Priority: Consistently fast and accurate autofocus, reinforced by the Nikon Scene Recognition System, delivers razor sharpness in a wide variety of conditions.
  • One-button Live View: Easy to use Live View activates access to 3 contrast detection focus modes including Face Priority AF.
  • Nikon 3D Color Matrix Metering II with Scene Recognition System: Nikon’s renowned 420-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II, teamed with the exclusive Scene Recognition System, evaluates images, referencing an on-board database of over 30,000 photographic scenes, for unmatched exposure accuracy.
  • Comprehensive exposure control: Five advanced scene modes plus Program Auto, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and Manual.
  • Auto Active D-Lighting: Selectable and Automatic, Active D-Lighting optimizes details within shadows and highlights, taming high-contrast situations in real time.
  • Durable, high precision shutter: Testing to over 100,000 cycles assures shutter life and accuracy.
  • In-Camera Image Editing: Creative freedom stems from exclusive in-camera image editing, featuring Fisheye effect, Straighten and Distortion Control as well as D-Lighting, Red-eye Reduction, Image Overlay, Monochrome and more.
  • GPS geo-tagging: GP-1 GPS unit (optional) provides automatic real-time geo-tagging.

The announcement of Canon’s 50D made some heads turn as Canon delivers a new camera sooner than the market expected, however Nikon’s D90 clearly has the spotlight right now. As it stands, Nikon seems to have the more complete and diverse lineup compared to Canon’s digital SLR bodies, especially in the middle to the topmost range. If only Nikon had a more reputable service here in the Philippines, they’d easily leave Canon in their dust.

Bodies Product Announcements

Canon EOS-50D officially announced

Canon EOS-50D

Not too long ago, the rumored successor to the 40D just seemed too unreal with the 40D just more than a year old. But with the recent announcement of the Canon EOS-50D, we have now confirmed that Canon has finally picked up the pace to go head–to–head with its competitors.

Here’s the official spec of the 50D:

  • 15.1 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 6.3fps continuous shooting, max. burst 90 JPEGs with UDMA card
  • DIGIC 4 processor
  • ISO 100-3200, expandable to 12800
  • 9-point wide area AF
  • 3.0-inch Clear View VGA LCD with Live View mode & Face Detection Live AF
  • Magnesium alloy body, with environmental protection
  • EOS Integrated Cleaning System
  • HDMI connection for high quality viewing and playback on a High Definition TV
  • Full compatibility with Canon EF and EF-S lenses and EX-series Speedlites

Certainly, the Canon EOS-50D is a solid camera just like the 40D it replaces. Worthy of note is the new 15–megapixel CMOS sensor that supposedly produces smooth images with less noise compared to its predecessor. Canon adopted a new manufacturing process and utilized redesigned photo diodes and microlenses, allowing for better light–gathering properties while fitting more pixels in the same sensor size.

Personally, I am not a fan of the megapixel race and stopped caring once it reached 10–megapixel. Photographers wouldn’t know mind though if all these changes result in the most important improvement — better image quality. Now, ISO goes up to 3200 with expanded options that give ISO 6400 and 12800. Now we’re talking really tangible improvements.

Everything seems promising if all promised improvements are indeed true. Pegged at $1399 USD, the Canon EOS–50D provides a viable upgrade path for EOS shooters looking to improve their arsenal.

For more information, here’s Rob Galbraith’s breakdown of the camera while DPReview has a hands–on of the 50D.

News P&S Digitals Product Announcements

Ricoh Caplio GX-200

Ricoh Caplio GX-200

This is the serious enthusiast’s everyday camera. Heck, this could even be the pro’s walkaround camera. The Ricoh Caplio GX–200 is the updated version of the well–received GX–100, a camera that has received positive reviews from discerning photographers.

The GX–200 is mostly the same as the model it replaces, retaining its great features while sporting some new updates:

  • 12 megapixel high-performance 1/1.7-inch CCD
  • New image processing engine Smooth Imaging Engine III allows for better noise control
  • 24 to 72 mm equivalent wide-angle zoom lens with aperture ofv F2.5 (wide) to F4.4 (tele-photo).
  • Large, high-resolution 2.7-inch, 460,000-dots HVGA LCD
  • Electronic leveling through an acceleration sensor
  • Expanded buffer memory allows continuous shooting of up to ?ve images in RAW mode
  • Comprehensive flash functions on the GX200 with light intensity adjustment function (-2.0 EV to +2.0 EV), a manual ?ash output control, and a ?ash synchro setting where ?ash timing can be set as 1st or 2nd curtain
  • An auto rotate function for image review
  • Auto level correction function for controlled shadows and highlights
  • Distortion correction function
  • Enhanced in–camera image editing functions

Ricoh’s recent models have been known to perform well when used as a black & white camera; the GX–200 is no exception and continues the trend. And the good thing about the GX–200 is that it’s very pocketable thus making it very friendly for casual shooting.

If reviews turn out favorable, I just might get a Ricoh Caplio GX–200 soon. ;)

Bodies News Product Announcements Site News

Full-frame Nikon D700 Launched

Nikon D700

The recent release of the full–frame Nikon D700 has got the DSLR market talking again. Just like how proshooters responded when Nikon surprised us with their top–of–the–line D3, the D700 appears to raise even more interest and should sell more once it starts shipping.

The Nikon D700 is positioned to sell for 3000 USD, right in the range of the aging Canon EOS–5D. Though the camera is not a direct competitor to Canon’s offerings, it sends a strong message to the market that Nikon is back in the game indeed. With two full–frame FX–sensor cameras in just a year, it makes Canon and other digital SLR manufacturers appear lagging behind in terms of product development.

Here are the main features of the Nikon D700:

  • 12.1 megapixel full-frame sensor (8.45µm pixel pitch)
  • Image Sensor Cleaning (vibration)
  • ISO 200 – 6400 (with boost up to ISO 25600 and down to ISO 100)
  • Also supports DX lenses, viewfinder automatically masks (5.1 megapixels with DX lens)
  • 14-bit A/D conversion, 12 channel readout
  • Same ultra-fast startup and shutter lag as D3
  • Nikon EXPEED image processor (Capture NX processing and NR algorithms, lower power)
  • New Kevlar / carbon fibre composite shutter with 150,000 exposure durability *
  • Multi-CAM3500FX Auto Focus sensor (51-point, 15 cross-type, more vertical coverage)
  • Auto-focus tracking by color (using information from 1005-pixel AE sensor)
  • 95% coverage, 0.72x magnification viewfinder
  • Auto-focus calibration (fine-tuning), fixed body or up to 20 separate lens settings
  • Scene Recognition System (uses AE sensor, AF sensor)
  • Picture Control image parameter presets
  • 5 frames per second continuous with auto-focus tracking
  • Optional MB-D10 Battery Pack (same as D300), increases burst rate to 8 fps
  • UDMA compatible single CF card slot
  • 3.0″ 922,000 pixel LCD monitor
  • Live View with either phase detect (mirror up/down) or contrast detect Auto Focus
  • Virtual horizon indicates if camera is level (like an aircraft cockpit display)
  • HDMI HD video output
  • ‘Active D-Lighting’ (adjusts metering as well as applying D-Lighting curve)
  • Detailed ‘Control Panel’ type display on LCD monitor, changes color in darkness
  • Magnesium alloy body with connections and buttons sealed against moisture
  • Improved Info display on main screen

With the look of things, I think we have a market–changing camera in the Nikon D700. This should get Canon evaluating their product development plans as the market clamors for more value in their cameras. I truly believe the Nikon D700 will be one of the most used cameras in recent times.

Here’s more coverage on the Nikon D700 from Michael Reichmann and Rob Galbraith.

Bodies News Product Announcements

Canon EOS-1000D Announced

Canon EOS-1000D

This is rather late news since every other photography site actually tried to scoop everyone else, but it’s still worth mentioning that Canon has just announced their entry level Canon EOS–1000D which will also be known as the Digital Rebel XS. Quite obviously, this camera is a response to Nikon’s three–headed entry–level team composed of the D40, the D40X, and the D60.

Anyone who’s familiar with Canon’s digital SLR lineup would surely notice that the EOS–1000D is a cross–breed of the older 400D and the current 450D. It carries a 10–megapixel CMOS sensor, 3 FPS continuous shooting, and a 2.5–inch LCD, features that were upgraded when Canon released the 450D. The body and button layout are inherited from the 450D, including the image–stabilized kit lens, but some features are clearly limited to make it a lower camera compared to the 450D. A blatant non–existent feature is the sensor found just under the optical viewfinder of the 400D and the 450D; this means that the rear LCD will most likely behave similar to Nikon’s models — you have to manually turn them off when you take them to eye level.

The introduction of this model is an interesting twist in Canon’s lineup, raising the doubts on the market value of the 450D since it is just marginally better than the 1000D. For less money, you get a camera of almost the same usability and value. If I were looking for a backup camera on a limited budget, I won’t hesitate picking the 1000D over the 450D. For first–time digital SLR owners though, it is too close to call and would largely depend on your budget and deals offered. Either way, you still get a perfectly usable camera. I think Canon just introduced another great seller in the EOS–1000D, I just hope it isn’t at the expense of the 450D.

Bodies News Product Announcements

The new Nikon D60

Nikon D60

Seriously big new: Nikon announces the new Nikon D60.

Much to the disappointment of Canon fans thinking the Canon EOS–450D/XSi will reclaim the entry–level dSLR market, Nikon continues to milk profits from its best–selling D40 by morphing it into another better product just like the D40x.

From the outside, the Nikon D60 is the same as the D40 but with some key changes, like:

  • 10.2–megapixel CCD sensor (up from 6 on the D40)
  • Active D-lighting (same as that on the Nikon D300)
  • EXPEED, Nikon’s digital image processing technology, a response to Canon’s DIGIC
  • 3x zoom AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens
  • Stop-Motion Movie mode, allowing users to produce stop–motion movies that have been fairly popular these days
  • Image Sensor Cleaning function + Airflow Control System, a 2–step approach to keeping dust and dirt away from your sensor

The Nikon D60 adds a lot of consumer–aimed features, it being marketed to the beginner types just like the D40. Instead of using a 3–inch LCD, Nikon has decided to stick with the same 2.5–inch display and focus on adding relevant features instead. Compared to the new offerings from Pentax and Samsung, the D60 holds its own and should be a strong contender in this market segment.

Buying a digital SLR? The Nikon D60 should be just as good an option as those recently announced and soon available. There’s no reason not to get one soon!

Bodies News Product Announcements

The digital SLR bunch

Almost released at the same time as the Canon EOS-450D/XSi, the Pentax K20D, Pentax K200D, and the Samsung GX-20 are three new digital SLR models aiming to grab a portion of the entry–level DSLR market that has rapidly been growing the past few years.

Pentax K20D

The Pentax K20D is an upgrade to their successful K10D, adding a 14.6–megapixel CMOS sensor now capable of live view functionality and an expanded dynamic range.

Samsung GX-20

The Samsung GX-20 is reportedly the same as the Pentax K20D, though Samsung claims that its model uses its own JPG processing algorithm.

Pentax K200D

Lastly, the Pentax K200D is an upgrade to the beginner–level k100D, now with a 10.2–megapixel anti–shake CCD inside a weather–sealed body.

With all these new digital SLR models crowding the market, prices should go further down — pleasant news to all consumers. So if you’re looking to buy your first digital SLR, there’s no better time than now!

Bodies News Product Announcements

The new Canon EOS-450D/XSi

Canon EOS-450D/XSi

Just in case you haven’t heard about it, Canon has released their latest consumer digital SLR, the Canon EOS-450D/XSi.

Not simply an updated 400D, this model is a completely new creation that looks far more professional than previous entry–level Canon SLRs. Listed in it’s special site as highlighted features are:

  • 12.2–megapixel CMOS Sensor and DIGIC III
  • Image Stabilizer (IS) Lens Support
  • EOS Integrated Cleaning System
  • Continuous 3.5fps Shooting
  • Live View Shooting
  • Precise 9–point Auto Focus
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer
  • 3.0–inch LCD Monitor
  • Lightweight Body, SD Card Compatibility
  • Viewfinder with 0.87x Magnification
  • Comfortable, Easy Operation
  • Comprehensive System Enhancements

With all the other announcements in the entry–level SLR market, Canon is pressed to deliver a better camera that can compare well against other offerings, especially those from Nikon like the  D40 and the D40x which has handily captured a significant slice of the pie. The way it looks, the 450D appears to be a good contender, but is it going to be enough to reclaim their share of the market?

Lenses Product Announcements

Sigma 10mm F2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM

Sigma 10mm F2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM

The Sigma 10mm F2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM is another new lens announced by Sigma that should get other lens makers quickly making their own equivalent. Just like the probably more interesting Sigma 4.5mm F2.8 EX DC Circular Fisheye HSM, this is another prime fisheye that should fill the void for APS–C digital SLR shooters who have long been yearning for a fisheye lens for dSLR bodies. Unlike the other fisheye lens, the image produced is not labeled “circular fisheye” which means it will have exaggerated perspective and distortion.

The produced image will have a diagonal angle of view of 180 degrees for Nikon APS–C (1.5x crop), while 154 and 167 degrees for Sigma and Canon respectively. Other details worthy of note:

  • Fisheye lens designed specifically for APS-C digital SLR cameras
  • 13.5cm minimum focusing distance and 1:3.3 maximum magnification allows close up photography
  • Equipped with HSM allowing full-time manual focus override
  • Equisolid angle projection system is possible for art and scientific use

With two fisheyes coming from Sigma really soon, can we expect other manufacturers to compete with this segment of the market?

Lenses Product Announcements

Sigma 4.5mm F2.8 EX DC Circular Fisheye HSM

Sigma 4.5mm F2.8 EX DC Circular Fisheye HSM

Sigma has just announced the first circular fisheye lens for APS–C digital SLR cameras in the Sigma 4.5mm F2.8 EX DC Circular Fisheye HSM. When used in a 1.5x crop SLR body like the new Nikon D300 as well as those before it, this new lens will produce an image with a 180 degree angle of view. Worthy of note are:

  • The first 180 degree circular fisheye lens designed specifically for APS-C size digital SLR cameras
  • Fast F2.8 maximum aperture making it ideal for low light photography
  • Minimum focusing distance of 13.5cm and a maximum magnification of 1:6
  • SLD glass minimizes color aberration
  • Equipped with HSM with full-time manual focus override
  • Equisolid angle projection method is possible for art and scientific use

Since this will be the very first lens of this type for APS–C cameras, this should sell relatively well until other lens manufacturers follow suit. Hopefully, this lens will be relatively affordable and good enough for the demands of today’s high–resolution cameras.

Product Announcements

Eye-Fi: WiFi for all digital cameras

Eye-fi Wireless SD Card.

Digital cameras these days sport a feature we used to think isn’t too useful — WiFi. Nikon was one of the first few to actually include it in their compact models. But think about this, shooting an assignment on location, wouldn’t it be nice to directly preview your photos in a notebook for instantaneous review?

Now here comes the Eye-Fi, an SD memory card that adds WiFi connectivity to your camera. Yes, your old camera can still have WiFi just by using this card! Setup is fairly easy, though it works with your router only, and doesn’t connect to just any hotspot. But at $100 USD, it’s not really a bad value considering the capabilities it offers. What we wish for though is a CompactFlash version, since devices like this might be more useful to digital SLR shooters.

Lenses News Product Announcements

Nikon 600mm f/4G ED VR AF-S NIKKOR

Nikon 600mm f/4G ED VR AF-S NIKKOR

Among Nikon’s recently announced super–telephotos, the Nikon 600mm f/4G ED VR AF-S NIKKOR has the highest reach and is expected to command the highest price. Designed mostly for sports, news, and wildlife use, this is expected to be present in the arsenal of the most sought–after porfessionals.

  • Ultra-fast aperture, super telephoto lens.
  • VR II (Vibration Reduction) offers effects equivalent to using a shutter speed 4 stops faster.
  • Nano Crystal coat reduces ghost and flare.
  • Closest focusing distance: 5m.
  • Excellent dust and water resistance.
  • Meniscus protective glass element.
  • A/M mode prevents accidental switching when using autofocus mode.
  • Focus preset possible.
  • Tough aluminum Trunk case CT-604.

Expected for European release in November 2007.

Lenses News Product Announcements

Nikon 500mm f/4G ED VR AF-S NIKKOR

Nikon 500mm f/4G ED VR AF-S NIKKOR

A super–telephoto lens, the Nikon 500mm f/4G ED VR AF-S NIKKOR should be well suited for sports and news photography as well as those into wildlife, allowing for great reach at excellent quality. Featuring Nikon’s VR (Vibration Reduction) technology, this is expected to cost a premium but quality should be well worth the price, for those who can actually afford it.

  • Fast aperture, easy-to-handle, super telephoto lens.
  • VR II (Vibration Reduction) offers effects equivalent to using a shutter speed 4 stops faster.
  • Nano Crystal coat reduces ghost and flare.
  • Closest focusing distance: 4m.
  • Excellent dust and water resistance.
  • Meniscus protective glass element.
  • A/M mode prevents accidental switching when using autofocus mode.
  • Focus preset possible.
  • Tough aluminum Trunk case CT-504 included.

Availability is expected in November 2007 for Europe.

Lenses News Product Announcements

Nikon 400mm f/2.8G ED VR AF-S NIKKOR

Nikon 400mm f/2.8G ED VR AF-S NIKKOR

The Nikon 400mm f/2.8G ED VR AF-S NIKKOR is an similar to a previous model, but adding Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, an image stabilization system not unlike Canon’s IS.

  • Ultra-fast aperture, super telephoto lens.
  • VR II (Vibration Reduction) offers effects equivalent to using a shutter speed 4 stops faster.
  • Nano Crystal coat reduces ghost and flare.
  • Closest focusing distance: 2.9m.
  • Excellent resistance to dust and water.
  • Meniscus protective glass element.
  • A/M mode prevents accidental switching when using autofocus mode.
  • Focus preset possible.
  • Tough aluminum Trunk case CT-404 included.

More on this product soon.

Lenses News Product Announcements

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR

The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR is a new ultra–wideangle zoom lens from Nikon that is designed to work with full–frame bodies like the new Nikon D3, with f/2.8 constant aperture to boot! This should rival the Tokina 12-24mm which is one of the ultra–wide favorites for current DX/APS–C and full–frame shooters.

The key features:

  • Professional, extreme wideangle zoom NIKKOR lens.
  • 14-24mm zoom range (DX equivalent: 36-105mm).
  • Nano Crystal coat reduces ghost and flare.
  • SWM (Silent Wave Motor) for whisper quiet and fast autofocus.
  • ED glass to minimize chromatic aberration.
  • Rubber mount seal.
  • Instant manual focus override (M/A or M switching).
  • Integrated hood.
  • Soft pouch CL-M3 included.

The Nikon 14-24 should be an excellent lens based on Nikon’s history of producing great lenses, but we’ll see for sure once it starts shipping.

Lenses News Product Announcements

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR

The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR is a new standard zoom lens that should replace its 28-70 f/2.8 sibling, similar to Canon’s 24-70 L. Compact construction reminds us of the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and the Tamron 17-50 f2/.8.

Features are listed as:

  • 24-70mm zoom range (DX equivalent: 36-105mm).
  • Nano Crystal coat reduces ghost and flare.
  • Slim, durable and lightweight barrel.
  • SWM (Silent Wave Motor) for whisper quiet and fast autofocus.
  • ED glass to minimize chromatic aberration.
  • Closest focusing distance: 0.38 m (at 50 mm).
  • Rubber mount seal.
  • Instant manual focus override (M/A).
  • Detachable hood and soft pouch CL-M3 included.

With this new Nikkor offering, Nikon shooters now have a 24-70 standard zoom, an advantage that only Canon used to have.

Lenses Product Announcements

New Canon Lenses for September 2007

Canon EF 14mm F/2.8 L II USM

The Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM is a revision of an older model, likely made available to take advantage of the 22 megapixel sensor on the just announced Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III. The product page at Canon USA’s site has these details:

Ultra-wide angle lenses have always been in demand by architectural, corporate, and other top pro photographers. This new lens features completely redesigned optics including 2 high-precision Aspherical elements and two totally new UD-glass elements. The result is superior image quality: better contrast and sharpness at the outer edges, and a reduction in chromatic aberrations that can sometimes be seen with high-resolution digital SLRs. Its diagonal angle of view is an impressive 114°-anything larger would be a Fisheye lens. It has a built-in lens hood, and has been dust- and moisture- proofed. The lens uses a rear focusing system, high-speed CPU, and a powerful ring-type USM with revised electronics for faster, more responsive AF. This lens continues the proud tradition of superior clarity optics found in L-series Canon lenses.

Canon EF-S 55-250mm F/4-5.6 IS

A unique addition to Canon’s lens lineup is the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS, almost an all–around zoom for APS–C bodies like the Nikon 18-200 VR and Sigma 18-200 OS. DPReview’s coverage states:

Compact and lightweight, the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS offers the longest zoom range in the EF-S series to date. The 88-400mm equivalent focal length opens up new framing possibilities for owners of EF-S mount cameras shooting wildlife, sports and travel photography. Optical quality is assured through a UD element, which minimises chromatic aberrations that could otherwise cause reduced contrast and colour fringing.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 IS

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is the same lens as that offered as the standard kit lens for the 300D, 350D, and the 400D, but with the addition of an image stabilization system.

In response to demands of photographers, this standard zoom lens is designed with Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer technology while retaining the compactness and lightness of previous models. Its stabilization allows sharp hand-held shots at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than otherwise possible. It consists of 11 elements in 9 groups and uses an Aspherical lens element to correct aberration for excellent image quality throughout the zoom range and a circular aperture for exquisite rendering of out-of-focus backgrounds. Without a lot of size, weight or cost, this lens expands picture-taking possibilities any time slow shutter speeds are needed.

Bodies News Product Announcements

Full-frame Nikon D3 released!

Nikon D3

If the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, Canon EOS-40D, or the Nikon D300 didn’t get you all excited, the Nikon D3 should. Being the first ever full–frame digital SLR from Nikon, the Nikon D3 stands proud with features than can easily equal or beat its rivals now, even if those are already in their third generation.

The Nikon D3 uses a full–frame CMOS sensor designated as the “FX Format,” as opposed to the DX format used in their 1.5x crop cameras like the D40 and and the D200. Here’s a breakdown of this model, as mentioned in their product page:

  • 12.2 megapixel FX CMOS sensor with high signal-to-noise ratio, wide dynamic range and 12-channel readout.
  • ISO 200 – 6400: extendable up to 25600 (equivalent) and down to ISO 100 (equivalent).
  • 9fps consecutive shooting (11fps in DX Crop mode)
  • EXPEED image processing engine with 14-bit A/D conversion and 16-bit image processing for superb tonal gradation.
  • Advanced Scene Recognition System combines the camera’s metering and AF sensors for precise exposures and sharply defined images.
  • Multi-CAM3500FX 51-point AF system. Individually selectable or configurable in 9-point, 21-point and 51-point coverage settings.
  • Picture Controls streamline in-camera image processing by enabling customization of image parameters before capture and offer complete control over sharpening, contrast, brightness, hue and saturation in various color modes.
  • 920,000 dot 3-inch VGA LCD monitor with wide, 170-degree viewing angle.
  • Live View with Autofocus enables composition of images using the LCD monitor. Two modes are supported: Handheld or Tripod.
  • Two Crop Modes: DX format and 5:4 ratio. The DX crop mode can be automatically enabled when a DX lens is attached.
  • Quick response: approx. 37 ms shutter-lag and 55 ms viewfinder black-out.
  • Highly accurate, durable Kevlar/carbon fiber-composite shutter unit: Standard rating of 300, 000 cycles, with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000 sec and flash synchronization at up to 1/250 sec.
  • Active D-Lighting enables superior high-contrast images by automatically applying tone compensation at the moment of capture.
  • Dual CF card slots: configurable for parallel (simultaneous) or serial (consecutive) recording.
  • HDMI video output interface enables connection to high-definition video systems.
  • Intuitive ergonomics with optimized button placement for fast and comfortable handling.
  • Durable Magnesium alloy body built to withstand the rigors of the harshest of environments.
  • Wireless LAN and Ethernet support via optional Wireless Transmitter WT-4.

Considering most of the features on the Nikon D3, especially the full–frame sensor capable of 9 frames per second continuous shooting, with an ISO range up to 6400 and expandable to 25600, it seems Nikon has clear winner compared to the Canon’s top end EOS-1Ds Mark III. This is the camera that Nikon digital shooters haven’t been expecting this soon — this is what full–frame Canon shooters always wanted their next camera to be. And Nikon produced it.

At a price 5,000 dollars, the Nikon D3 is inexpensive when compared to the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III. If all feature advantages or disadvantages were to be ignored, the Nikon still comes out as the better camera at a better value. I’m sure Canon engineers are now busy trying to outdo Nikon. Times are good, cameras are getting better at lower prices.

Bodies News Product Announcements

The new Nikon D300

Nikon D300

Nikon UK has just announced the newest addition to its family of digital SLRs, the Nikon D300. Surprisingly, the news came just right after Canon announced the EOS-40D and the EOS-1Ds Mark III, perhaps its own way of “stealing the limelight” considering the technical advantages it has over Canon’s offerings.

The simultaneous announcements from both camera makers surprisingly puts Nikon at an advantage, its model now capable of going head–to–head in the features department. Here are the notables for the Nikon D300, as compared to the 40D:

  • 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, much higher than the 40D’s 10.1 MP.
  • 6 frames per second continuous shooting, almost as good as the 40D’s 6.5 fps, but can go up to 8 fps with the optional Multi Power Battery Pack. A little strange though that it can achieve its maximum burst rate with added power only.
  • ISO 200–3200 sensitivity range, with ISO 100 and 6400 as expanded options. Better than ISO 100-3200 on the 40D.
  • 51–point autofocus system shames the new 9–point all–cross–type on the 40D, though we’d have to test this in the real world for any advantages.
  • 150,000–cycle shutter durability is 1.5 times better than the 40D, bested only by top–level models.

Considering how much Nikon has evolved technologically with the D300, it wouldn’t be too surprising if it significantly dominates the DSLR field in the next few months, as more are now upgrading to digital SLRs and some are switching from other mounts/systems. The Nikon D300 has got thinking of switching, if only I could afford it. How about you?