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2016.04.21

Panasonic originally invented the travel-zoom category with their TZ1, the first compact camera with a long zoom With a standard 10X optical zoom. In 2006, this was considered a pocket-size ultra-zoom! Real ultra-zooms are now much larger and often sport lenses that reach beyond 1000mm. Many travel-zooms followed, including Canon’s high-successful SX100 which was gradually replaced by a series of digital cameras which pushed the zoom further and diminished features over-time, losing precious manual-control along the way.

At CES 2006 earlier this year, Panasonic returned to the travel-zoom mold by delivering yet another compact camera with a 10X optical zoom and dull manual-controls They also took their new Panasonic ZS100 to the next level with a first-in-class 20 megapixels 1″ CMOS sensor and built-in EVF with Eye-Start Sensor, while simultaneously launching a standard-sensor sibling, the Panasonic ZS60 with an 18 megapixels 1/2.3″ CMOS and a 30X optical zoom lens which pretty much balances out the compromise.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100

Pansonic Lumx DMC-ZS100 Review

Given its level of efficient controls, including dual control-dials, a traditional mode dial and 4 highly-customizable buttons, plus the image-quality previously seen from recent premium compacts, the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 is truly the first premium travel-zoom. It is a highly versatile camera with a long zoom in a compact body.

Read the detailed Neocamera Panasonic ZS100 Review to find out how its image-quality, speed, ergonomics, usability perform.As always, there is full gallery straight from the ZS100 at every supported ISO sensitivity, so that readers can make out their mind on image-quality from real-world samples.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2016.04.06

Earlier today, Panasonic unveiled the third member of their premium GX-series of Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless. The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85called GX80 in some markets – slots itself between the original GX7 reviewed here which introduced image-stabilization to Panasonic mirrorless digital cameras and the flagship GX8 reviewed here that reached professional-grade with its study weather-sealed body.

The Panasonic Lumix GX85 supersedes the GX7 with a new 16 megapixels LiveMOS sensor without anti-alias filter to delivers 10% more details while maintaining the same resolution and pixel-size. It offers an all-new 5-axis in-body image-stabilization system that exceeds even the flagship GX8. This mechanism pairs with lens-based stabilization to deliver an unprecedented level of stabilization when combined with a compatible optically-stabilized lens.

A newly developed hybrid shutter allows mechanical shutter-speeds of 1/4000 to 60s or electronic ones of 1/16000 to 1s. The GX85 can capture full-resolution images at 8 FPS with focus locked on the first frame or 6 FPS with continuous AF. It has a shallow buffer for 13 RAW files but write throughput which allows up to 100 JPEG images per burst with a sufficiently fast SDXC UHS-I memory card.

This mirrorless features the same class-leading 2.8 megapixels EVF as on the GX7. While it keeps the useful Eye-Start Sensor of its predecessor, the new viewfinder has a fixed position which trades flexibility for durability. The rear 3″ touchscreen LCD though has one megapixel and does tilt. The body of the GX85 offers a similar layout yet is noticeably smaller than the GX8. It still fits dual control-dials but it not weather-sealed.

4K for video and stills are major features of the GX85 with Ultra-HD video capture and 30 FPS burst shooting at 4K resolution with optional pre-buffering. Full 1080p HD video at 60 FPS is also supported. There is a built-in stereo microphone but no provision for an external one.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 is scheduled to be available next month for $799 USD or $999 CDN. Adorama and B&H Photo are already accepting pre-orders at these links.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2016.02.24

Nikon took their fixed-lens digital cameras to the next level by unveiling an entirely new series. The Nikon DL-series starts with 3 members based on a 20 megapixels 1″ high-speed CMOS sensor like the one found in the Nikon 1 J5 mirrorless reviewed here. This sensor offers 171 Phase-Detect points built-in and an electronic-shutter capable of 1/16000s speeds.

All these cameras can capture full-resolution images at a whopping 60 FPS or a speedy 20 FPS with continuous autofocus. The 20 megapixels sensor can also capture 4K Ultra-HD video at 30 FPS as well as high-speed videos up to a class-leading 1200 FPS. They all feature premium cameras ergonomics with dual control-dials and plenty of physical controls.

Nikon DL18-50

The Nikon DL18-50 is entirely unique thanks to an extremely wide 18-50mm lens with a bright F/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture. This model features a hot-shoe but no built-in flash since it would be unable to provide sufficient coverage for such an extreme angle-of-view. The hot-shoe though supports an optional 0.39″ EVF with 2.4 megapixels, 100% coverage and a built-in Eye-Start sensor. Speaking of coverage, the 3″ LCD at the back covers 100% of the frame too. The lens unusually supports 46mm filters.

Nikon DL24-85

The Nikon DL24-85 offers a versatile 24-85mm lens with a bright F/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture. This lens offers two features not found among its siblings. One is a 1:1 magnification macro mode. The other is a built-in 3-stop ND-filter. The lens also supports 40.5mm filters.

Given its more typical focal-range, the DL24-85 offers a popup flash. It also has a hot-shoe which supports the same optional EVF as the DL18-50. In one of the greatest mysteries of digital cameras this year, the DL24-85 only shows 97% coverage on its rear LCD. It is unclear whether the accessory EVF would show 100% instead.

Nikon DL24-500

The Nikon DL24-500 is an ultra-zoom with an extremely impressive lens for one which projects a 2.7X-crop image circle. This 20.8X optical zoom lens features active image-stabilization and covers 24 to 500mm with a respectable F/2.8-5.6 maximum aperture.

As the largest model in the group, the DL24-500 includes a 0.39″ EVF with 2.4 megapixels and an Eye-Start sensor built-in, plus a popup flash and hot-shoe. It offers a fly-by-wire focus-ring and dual control-dials. Instead of tilting like the others, its rear 3″ LCD rotates. Unfortunately, both the EVF and LCD only show 97% coverage.

The DL-series of Nikon fixed-lens digital cameras is expected to be available early this summer. They carry the following suggested retail price and are already available for preorder at the links below:

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2016.02.24

Nikon keeps delivering new and interesting cameras this year. Today, their first press release shows 3 new ultra-zooms part of 2 new Coolpix series of compact digital cameras. These models are all based on a standard-size 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor which lets them pack incredibly long zooms relative to their size.

Nikon Coolpix A900

The Nikon Coolpix A900 is a travel-zoom with an unprecedented reach of 35X for a compact digital camera. At only 4cm thick, the A900 manages to fit a lens covering 24-840mm. This advanced travel-zoom offers full manual-controls and dual control-dials for efficiency.

The A900 is based around a high-speed 20 megapixels sensor which can record 4K Ultra-HD video at 30 FPS. It can also shoot continuously at 7 FPS for up to 7 frames. There is a 3″ LCD with 920K pixels on the back which oddly only shows 98% coverage. Built-in WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth is included for remote-control and enhanced sharing.

An entry-level ultra-zoom appears as the Nikon Coolpix B500. This model offers a 40X optical zoom combined with a 16 megapixels CMOS sensor capable of full 1080p HD video. The lens has an incredibly wide 22.5-900mm coverage.

Its comfortable body offers no control-dials but dual zoom-controllers. There is also built-in WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity. This model is powered by AA batteries which give it an incredible battery-life of 1240 shots-per-charge when using Lithium batteries.

Nikon Coolpix B700

The new prosumer ultra-zoom is Nikon Coolpix B700. This digital camera pairs a 20 megapixels CMOS sensor with 4K Ultra-HD capability and an extremely long 60X optical zoom lens, equivalent to 24-1440. The sensor in this camera can capture full-resolution images at 5 FPS for up to 5 frames.

While it looks much like the entry-level B500 from the front, the B700 is clearly an advanced offering. Its body includes a 0.2″ EVF with 920K pixels and a built-in Eye-Start Sensor, plus dual control-dials. This one returns to using a proprietary Lithium-Ion battery which lasts 350 shots-per-charge.

These models will be available sometime in the spring of this year. The A900 carries a suggested price of $399 USD or $499 CDN. The B500 should go for $299 USD or $339 CDN. The B700 for $499 USD or $579 CDN. Check the links above for offers and pre-ordering options.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

2016.02.17

After two public prototypes and a change of brand, Ricoh finally unveiled a full-frame DSLR. The newly designed Pentax K-1 clearly inherits the Pentax DNA while delivering a truly unique product even when compared to well-established full-frame manufacturers.

Pentax K-1

The K-1 is built around a 36 megapixels full-frame CMOS sensor with native ISO 100-204800 sensitivity range. Its KAF2 mount supports the full legacy of Pentax K-mount lenses, including ones designed for APS-C sensors with a 1.5X crop factor which gives a 15 MP image, available as JPEG, RAW or DNG, just like full-frame output. The sensor can shoot at up to 4.4 FPS at 36 MP or 6.5 FPS at 15 MP. The mechanical shutter offers a 1/8000s-30s range of shutter-speeds which is typical of high-end DSLRs.

The Pentax K-1 offers an extremely versatile sensor-shift mechanism which is unique among full-frame cameras:

  • Built-in image stabilization around 5 axis: X, Y, Roll, Pitch or Yaw.
  • Astro Tracer function to avoid star-trails when doing long exposures.
  • Super-Resolution which captures full-color information at each pixel.
  • Anti-Alias Filter simulation.
  • Sensor-Cleaning.

Pentax K-1

Pentax users will instantly recognize most controls which are packed in a camera very similar in size to their high-end APS-C offerings such as the Pentax K-3 II. Like it, the K-1 features a built-in GPS and Electronic Compass instead of a built-in flash, while it supports external lighting via a standard hot-shoe and sync-port. The new body introduces genuinely useful and unique controls:

  • Triple Control-Dials: A first on a DSLR. All dials are customizable with two configurable independently for each mode.
  • Extensive Illumination: The lens mount, some ports, memory card slot and the back of the camera can all be illuminated via user-configurable LEDs.
  • Tilting rear 3.2″ LCD along 2 axis. Although this seems questionable for durability, the remainder of the K-1 is extremely solid, fully weather-sealed and is the first freezeproof full-frame digital camera body. Given that this DSLR offers built-in WiFi, it is a wonder why they simply did not rely on smartphones for odd-angle shooting.

Pentax K-1

The Pentax K-1 has a large 100% coverage optical viewfinder with 0.7X magnification, dual SDXC memory-card slots, a top monochrome status LCD, ports for stereo input and output, a wired remote connector, infrared remote receivers and a lockable mode-dial with Pentax’s uniquely clever exposure modes. Nicely, video is a completely separate mode on the K-1 which hopefully lets this camera be ready to record full 1080p HD video at 30 FPS. Time-Lapse Video though is possible up to 4K.

This DSLR uses the same proprietary Lithium-Ion battery as its predecessors which give it 760 shots-per-charge. As a step back which probably no one will care about, the USB port on the K-1 is version 2.0 rather than 3.0. This should have no impact on the target audience which is most likely to use a fast UHS-I memory-card reader. For slow transfers, there is always WiFi.

Interestingly, Pentax is pricing the K-1 at $1799 USD which make it one of the most affordable full-frame camera so the market, despite exceeding competitors’ feature-sets in many areas. Adorama and B&H Photo are ready to accept pre-orders. The camera is expected to ship in the second half of May.

Neocamera Blog Neocamera.com © Cybernium

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