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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The New Generation Of D-SLRs


Cameras keep getting better, and the latest models to come out this fall are among the very best yet for nature photographers

This Article Features Photo Zoom

It’s fall, and besides the annual leaf change and wildlife migrations, this is a time of year when manufacturers unveil their new D-SLR lineups. Some of these cameras are ready and available right now, some are coming soon, and others are only concepts, but all of them represent new leaps forward in technology that will help you make better photographs.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II
The long-anticipated successor to Canon’s popular 12.8-megapixel, full-frame EOS 5D has finally arrived. The new EOS 5D Mark II remains the lowest-priced, full-frame D-SLR (except for its now-discontinued predecessor), yet offers 21.1-megapixel resolution, new HD video capability and more. The EOS 5D Mark II can use all Canon EF lenses (but not EF-S lenses), which range from 14mm super-wide-angle and 15mm full-frame fisheye to 800mm super-telephoto, so it’s suitable for subjects from grand landscapes to shy wildlife.

Full HD Movie Capability You can record the motion and the sound of the outdoors, as well as still images. The first Canon D-SLR to incorporate HD video capability, the EOS 5D Mark II can record clips (up to 4 GB worth, or 29 minutes 59 seconds, whichever occurs first) at 30 fps, in full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution, with the same AF capabilities as still live-view shooting. And you’re doing it with a big sensor and the full range of Canon EF interchangeable lenses. If you wish, you can add CD-quality audio via a built-in mono microphone or connect an external stereo mic.

Quick Performance While it’s a great landscape and macro camera, the EOS 5D Mark II can handle wildlife action, too. It starts up in about 0.1 seconds and can shoot full-resolution image files at 3.9 per second. If you use a UDMA-compliant CompactFlash card, you can shoot Large/Fine JPEGs at that rate until the card is full, or up to 14 RAW images in a burst. With standard CF cards, you can shoot up to 13 RAW or 78 highest-quality JPEGs in a burst.

21.1-Megapixel Canon CMOS Sensor
Canon claims the new EOS 5D Mark II produces the highest level of image quality of any EOS camera. That’s due, in part, to an improved version of the flagship EOS-1Ds Mark III’s Canon-produced, 21.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor and, in part, to the new onboard DIGIC 4 image processor.

ISOs Up To 25,600 Thanks mainly to the new DIGIC 4 processor, the EOS 5D Mark II dwarfs its predecessor’s ISO range, going three stops higher. You can set ISO 100-6400 in 1/3-stop increments, plus L (ISO 50), H1 (ISO 12,800) and H2 (ISO 25,600).

EOS Integrated Cleaning System Bigger sensors tend to attract more dust, so Canon has endowed the EOS 5D Mark II with its latest-generation EOS Integrated Cleaning System. A fluorine coating on the low-pass filter discourages dust from sticking to the sensor in the first place, and ultrasonic vibrations remove any dust that does settle there each time you switch the camera on or off. The camera also can record the locations of dust specks on the sensor, save the resulting Dust Delete Data and use that data to remove the spots automatically via the provided Digital Photo Professional software in your computer.

Lineage The EOS 5D Mark II replaces the 12.8-megapixel EOS 5D model, which was introduced in 2005 as by far the lowest-priced, full-frame D-SLR. While Nikon and Sony have recently introduced low-priced D-SLRs, the Mark II costs $300 less.

High-Res LCD With Live View Improving on the original EOS 5D’s LCD monitor in both size (3 inches vs. 2.5 inches) and resolution (920,000 dots vs. 230,000), the EOS 5D Mark II also adds Live-View capability. There are three Live-View AF modes: Quick, using the camera’s normal phase-detection AF system (good for wildlife action); Live, using compact-camera-style contrast-detection AF (ideal for tripod-mounted landscapes); and Face Detection. You also can focus manually in Live-View.

Cool Factor Take your pick—HD movies, a 21.1-megapixel, full-frame sensor for $2,699, ISOs to 25,600…

Specifications
Image Sensor: 21.1-megapixel (effective) CMOS
Resolution: 5616 x 3744 pixels
Sensor Size: 36x24mm (full-frame)
AF System: 9-point, plus 6 assist points
Shutter Speeds: 1/8000 to 30 sec., X-sync up to 1⁄200 sec.
ISO Settings: 100-6400 (1/3 increments), plus 50, 12,800 and 25,600
Continuous Firing Mode: 3.9 fps
Recording Format: JPEG, RAW, sRAW (small RAW), sRAW 2
Metering: 35-zone evaluative, 8.0% partial, 3.5% spot, CW
Storage Media: CompactFlash (UDMA-compliant)
Dimensions: 6.0x4.5x2.9 inches
Weight: 28.5 ounces
Power Source: Rechargeable LP-E6 lithium-ion battery
Estimated Street Price: $2,699
Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com
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