Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Big-Time DSLRs Under $1,000
Packed with power, advanced features and high performance, the latest sub-$1,000 HD SLRs are outstanding options for serious nature photographers
IN-CAMERA PHOTO AND VIDEO EDITING: Why wait until you get back to your computer to crop or adjust image quality on your still photos, or fill up your memory card with unwanted video content? Thanks to its EXPEED 2 image processor, the Nikon D5100 can trim video clips, resize and apply creative effects to RAW files, and correct lens distortion on still photos. The Canon EOS T3i's Video Snapshot feature, powered by its DIGIC 4 processor, can record several video clips (in 2-, 4- or 8-second lengths) and combine them into one clip, while its Movie Digital Zoom function can be set to magnify the center of a scene by 3-10x while producing full HD 1080p video.
SWEEP PANORAMA MODE: The Sony A580 takes advantage of its fast burst capabilities and BIONZ image processor in its Sweep Panorama and Sweep Panorama 3D modes. Just point the camera at the scene and hold down the shutter button while sweeping the camera from side to side (either horizontally or vertically). Then, the camera automatically stitches the sequence into a single, 23-megapixel panoramic JPEG image. Sure, you can create higher-res panoramic images by capturing a sequence of 16.2-megapixel images and stitching them together in a number of programs, but that takes much more time and effort. On the other hand, it's nearly impossible to create a 3D panoramic image, which the Sony does by offsetting frames and combining them into a file that can be shown in 3D on compatible TVs and devices.
CREATIVE MODES AND SPECIAL-EFFECTS FILTERS: Thanks to increased processing power, these cameras can apply a wide variety of sophisticated special effects and styles to images and movies you capture. The Nikon D5100 lets you modify or remove selective colors in a scene, create high-key or low-key images, or produce a "miniature effect" that makes a subject appear as a miniature-scale model. You also can turn a picture into a color sketch, and with movies this effect creates a series of drawings that play back as an animation. The Canon EOS T3i includes five in-camera Creative Filters—Soft Focus, Grainy Black and White, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera (mimicking a plastic lens) and a Fish Eye Effect. Faster processors also enable more advanced slideshow transitions and the ability to output full HD slideshows and movies via each camera's mini-HDMI port.
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