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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Focus: November 2010


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This Article Features Photo Zoom
CAMERAS  
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.
Sigma SD15
Sensor: 4.7x3 MP Foveon CMOS
Format: APS-C (1.7x)
LCD: 3.0-in., 460K-dot
Video: None
AF: 5-point
Metering: 77-segment, CW, spot
ISO Range: 100-3200
Max. Drive Rate: 3 fps
Media: SD/SDHC
Power Source: Rechargeable Li-ion
Dimensions: 5.7x4.2x3.2 in.
Weight: 24 oz.
Sony ALPHA NEX-3
Sensor: 14.2 MP CMOS
Format: APS-C (1.5x)
LCD: 3.0-in., 921K-dot
Video: 1440x1080/30p, 640x480/30p
AF: 25-point
Metering: 49-segment, CW, spot
ISO Range: 200-12,800
Max. Drive Rate: 2.3/7 fps
Media: Memory Stick PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo/PRO-HD HX Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC
Power Source: Rechargeable Li-ion
Dimensions: 4.6x2.5x1.3 in.
Weight: 8.4 oz.

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