It’s been a great year for cameras, with some interesting technologies appearing. In 2009, the mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera debuted—a compact-sized camera with a DSLR-sized image sensor and image quality, and the ability to use interchangeable lenses. In 2010, the type matured, with some 10 models currently in production, the pioneering Micro Four Thirds models proliferating and being joined by models from Samsung and Sony that provide even larger APS-C image sensors. In fact, Sony’s NEX-5 and NEX-3 are the smallest mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras yet, despite having DSLR-sized APS-C sensors. Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-G2 brings touch-screen control to the mirrorless camera—you can even trip the shutter by touching the appropriate icon on the LCD.
Sony has introduced the SLT, an SLR (two, actually) with a fixed pellicle mirror that permits use of quick phase-detection AF during Live View (16.2 MP images at up to 10 fps for the SLT-a55V model) and video shooting. Nikon’s new D3100 and D7000 provide continuous contrast-based AF during video recording, a feature that Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GH1 mirrorless model introduced to the serious still camera in 2009.
Meanwhile, image quality keeps getting better and better. We now have 18-megapixel models from entry-level on up. Not that pixel count is the sole—or even main—arbiter of image quality, but noise control, image processing and AF performance also have contributed to the improvement in image quality.
Nikon D700 Sensor: 12.1 MP CMOS Format: Full-frame (1.0x) LCD: 3.0-in., 920K-dot Video: None AF: 11-point Metering: 1005-pixel, CW, spot ISO Range: 200-6400 (expandable to 25,600) Max. Drive Rate: 5 fps Media: CF Power Source: Rechargeable Li-ion Dimensions: 5.8x4.8x3.0 in. Weight: 33 oz.
Canon EOS 7 Sensor: 18.0 MP CMOS Format: APS-C (1.6x) LCD: 3.0-in., 920K-dot Video: 1920x1080/30p, 24p & 25p; 1280x720/60p & 50p, 640x480/60p & 50p AF: 19-point Metering: 63-zone, CW, spot ISO Range: 100-6400 (expandable to 12,800) Max. Drive Rate: 8 fps Media: CF (UDMA) Power Source: Rechargeable Li-ion Dimensions: 5.8x4.4x2.9 in. Weight: 28.9 oz.
Pentax K-r Sensor: 12.4 MP CMOS Format: APS-C (1.5x) LCD: 3.0-in., 921K-dot Video: 1280x720/25p, 640x480/25p AF: 11-point Metering: 16-segment, CW, spot ISO Range: 200-12,800 (expandable to 25,600) Max. Drive Rate: 6 fps Media: SD/SDHC/SDXC Power Source: Rechargeable Li-ion Dimensions: 4.9x3.8x2.7 in. Weight: 19.2 oz.