Tuesday, July 6, 2010
DSLR Performance In A Point-And-Shoot Size?
The new class of cameras—mirrorless, interchangeable-lens models—gives serious nature photographers some interesting options
Samsung’s mirrorless, interchangeable-lens model is the NX10, which has the familiar look and feel of a DSLR, but is much smaller despite its APS-C-format, 14.6-megapixel Samsung CMOS image sensor. That’s largely thanks to replacing the bulky SLR mirror box and pentaprism finder with a high-resolution, eye-level electronic viewfinder. The NX10 also features a 3.0-inch, 614,000-dot AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) monitor, which uses much less power than conventional LCD monitors, has a faster refresh rate and higher contrast, and provides easy viewing in all light. The NX10 can do 1280x720/30p HD video and 640x480/30p and 320x240/30p SD video, all in MPEG-4 (H.264) format, with mono sound. Features include a built-in flash unit, built-in sensor-dust remover, shooting up to 3 fps and ISO settings from 100 to 3200. The NX10 takes NX-mount lenses, of which there are currently three, but more are on the way. Dimensions: 4.8x3.4x1.6 inches. Weight: 12.4 ounces. List Price: $699 (with 18-55mm zoom).
The NEX-5 “kid brother,” the NEX-3 offers just about all the same fine features (including the 14.2-megapixel, APS-C-format CMOS image sensor, 7 fps shooting, ISO settings to 12,800, 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot tilting LCD monitor, Sweep Panorama mode, Auto HDR mode, Dynamic Range Optimizer, simple operation and more). The main differences are the NEX-3 doesn’t provide the NEX-5’s 1920x1080/60i AVCHD video format or the NEX-5’s magnesium-alloy front fascia. Both models lack a built-in flash unit, but come with a detachable flash; neither has an eye-level EVF (nor is one available as an accessory). Both cameras feature a new electronic E lens mount and can take new Sony E-mount lenses. Lenses for Sony’s Alpha DSLRs also can be used via adapter, but with manual focusing only. Dimensions: 4.4x2.4x1.5 inches. Weight: 8.1 ounces. List Price: $599 (with 18-55mm zoom).
The tiny and stylish NEX-5 has lots going for it, including a new 14.2-megapixel Sony APS-C CMOS sensor, a 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot LCD monitor that tilts for easy high- and low-angle shooting, the ability to shoot full-res images at 7 fps (with focus and exposure locked), ISO settings from 200 to 12,800, and slots for both Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC media. It can shoot 1920x1080/60i AVCHD video, 1440x1080/30p HD video and 640x480/30p SD video. A turn-and-click wheel and two soft keys make design and operation simple. There also are such outdoor-oriented features as Sweep Panorama (press the shutter button and sweep the camera horizontally or vertically to produce in-camera stitched panoramas), Dynamic Range Optimizer (to tame high-contrast scenes), Handheld Twilight mode (combines data from six shots made in rapid succession to minimize blur) and Auto HDR. Dimensions: 4.4x2.4x1.5 inches. Weight: 8.1 ounces. List Price: $699 (with 18-55mm zoom and clip-on flash unit).
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