September 8th, 2015

Canon Pumps the Pixels in Product Prototypes


A 250-megapixel prototype with EF mount.

If you thought Canon’s 50-megapixel 5DS and 5DS R were the company’s last word on pixel-packed sensors, think again. The company announced that it has built a 250-megapixel APS-H-sized sensor that can read the letters off an airplane up to 18Km away. It’s also built a 120-megapixel DSLR with an EF mount. Oh, and an 8K video camera.

The announcements were technology previews–Canon won’t be shipping a 120-megapixel DSLR or 8K video camera just yet. Still, they are a glimpse of where the company is headed. Here’s what we know:

* A 120-megapixel DSLR with EF mount: Canon says that the “high-resolution images that the camera will be capable of producing will recreate the three-dimensional texture, feel and presence of subjects, making them appear as if they are really before one’s eyes.” RAW files will measure in at 232MB. Memory card company stocks will skyrocket.

*An 8K video camera: According to Canon, this Super 35 mm-equivalent CMOS sensor will record 8,192 x 4,320 resolution video, or 35-megapixels. It will deliver frame rates up to 60 fps with 13 stops of dynamic range. The camera body will have an EF mount and Canon says that 78 out of 96 EF lenses in its current lineup will be compatible with the 8K camera.

* A 250-megapixel APS-H-sized sensor: This one is really aimed at commercial applications like surveillance cameras. Despite the plentiful pixels, Canon said it’s still capable of shooting at 5 fps. The video off the sensor would deliver resolution that’s 30x that of a 4K camera. Canon said it aimed this beast of a sensor at a plane in flight 18Km away and was still able to distinguish the lettering.


February 10th, 2015

Ricoh Releases Weather-Resistant Pentax K-S2 DSLR


Ricoh will ship the new Pentax K-S2 DSLR to stores in March. Hailing it as the world’s smallest dust proof and weather-resistant DSLR body, the K-S2 boasts 100 seals to protect its innards from inclement weather.

The K-S2 uses a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor with an anti-aliasing filter simulator which lets users adjust the degree to which anti-aliasing filtration takes place. It offers Wi-Fi, NFC and a rotating LCD 3-inch display with a second shutter button for snapping–what else–selfies.

The camera employs a SAFOX X AF sensor module with  11 sensors, including nine cross-type sensors in the middle. It’s capable of achieving focus in a minimum brightness level of –3 EV.

A new Clarity Enhancement feature is debuting in this DLSR to automatically add more realistic texture impression to photos when shooting in Advanced HDR mode. It can also be set manually when shooting in other modes.

Video is recorded at 1920×1080 resolution with a choice of 24, 25 and 30 fps frame rates. There’s also a 4K interval movie mode that automatically merges a series of still photos taken at pre-selected intervals into a single movie.

Additional features include an optical viewfinder with a 100 percent field of view, in-camera image stabilization, continuous shooting at 5.5 frames per second and a top shutter speed of 1/6000 sec. There are 11 custom image modes, 19 scene modes and 9 digital filters.

The K-S2 is available for pre-order now for $699 (body) or for $799 with a retractable 18-55mm lens which shrinks down to just 1.5-inches when fully retracted. You’ll have your choice of seven colors:  forest green, desert beige, stone gray, white and lime, black and pink, white with a racing stripe, and black with a racing stripe.

Joining the K-S2 will be a new, all-weather flash. The AF201FG flash unit has a guide number of 20 at ISO 100/m and an assignable mode button. It has  five modes: off, P-TTL (leading curtain sync), P-TTL (trailing curtain sync), manual (full), and manual (1/4). The flash accepts two AA batteries is available for pre-order now for $150. It arrives in March.

February 10th, 2015

Nikon D810A Captures the Heavens in a New Light

D810A_14_24_front34r.lowNikon will release a special version of its D810 DSLR, the D810A, that has been modified for astro-photography applications.

The D810A incorporates a modified infrared cut filter that lets the camera capture the red hydrogen alpha gas emissions from stars and nebulae. According to Nikon, the camera is four times as sensitive to light on the 656 nanometer wavelength, enabling it to capture celestial details that would otherwise be missed by conventional digital cameras.

The D810A will also feature a new long exposure manual mode that will deliver exposures as long as 15 minutes. For exposures longer than 30 seconds in live view mode, the camera also offers a Virtual Exposure Preview Mode, which generates a preview of the image on the camera’s display.

To enjoy the full benefits of the D810A, the camera will need to be mounted to a telescope and Nikon cautions that the camera is not recommended for Earth-bound subjects. The D810A is due in May though a price has not been finalized.

In other Nikon DSLR news, the company will release a “filmmaker’s kit” for its D750 DSLR. The kit will combine the camera body, the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens, the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G lens and the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens. You’ll also find two additional EN-EL15 batteries, an ME-1 Stereo Microphone, one Atomos Ninja-2 External Recorder, and Tiffen 67mm and 58mm Variable Neutral Density Filters (8-Stops). 

The filmmaker’s kit ships at the end of this month for $4,000.


February 5th, 2015

Canon Rebel T6s and T6i Take Their Place at Top of Rebel Lineup

HR_T6s_EFS18-135_IS_STM_3QFLASH_CLThe Canon Rebel T6s and T6i will join the compay’s three Rebels currently in the lineup as the new top-of-the-line enthusiast models in April.

The new T6s and T6i will share a number of features, including a new APS-C-sized 24.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor and a Digic 6 processor. The cameras will use an updated Hybrid CMOS AF III technology for speedy autofocus in still and video modes that is similar to the Dual Pixel CMOS AF found on its higher-end cameras (such as the revamped Cinema EOS C100 Mark II).

Additional shared features include:

  • A native ISO range of 100-12,800 with an expansion to 25,600
  • An upgraded 7,650 pixel exposure metering sensor
  • A 3-inch, 1.04 million dot, vari-angle touch screen display
  • Faster live view for stills and movies
  • Continuous shooting at 5 fps
  • 1080p video recording at up to 60 fps with clean HDMI output
  • Wi-Fi with NFC
  • Flicker detection to compensate for sodium and mercury vapor light sources
  • Distortion correction for stills and videos
  • Miniature effect now available when shooting movies
  • An Intelligent Viewfinder that overlays camera data on top of the optical viewfinder.
  • A new Color Tone Detection AF mode that scans 19 AF points and identifies objects with skin tones to focus on instead of simply the nearest available object.

The T6s will add a few additional features to its bill of goods, including servo AF during burst mode in live view, an electronic level, and an HDR movie effect. The T6s body will set you back $850 or $1,200 with an 18-135mm lens.

The T6i will retail for $750 for the body, $899 with an 18-55mm lens or $1,100 with  an 18-135mm lens.


January 5th, 2015

Nikon Adds D5500 DSLR, Telephoto Lens at CES

D5500_BK_55_200_frttopAfter a year spent filling out its advanced full-frame DSLR lineup, Nikon came to CES 2015 ready to entice advanced amateurs with the new D5500.

The camera sports a 24.2-megapixel DX format (APS-C-sized) sensor with no optical low pass filter and a native ISO range of 100 to 25600. It was built using the same monocoque design approach responsible for the D750’s relatively light-but-tough build.

It’s capable of burst speeds up to 5 frames per second in JPEG and RAW and sports a 3.2-inch, vari-angle touch screen display. Video can be recorded at 1920×1080 at up to 60 fps and Nikon has carried over the flat picture control setting, stereo microphone and audio inputs from the D750.

The D5500’s autofocus system features 39 points with nine cross-type sensors.


Rounding out the feature set is Wi-Fi and a battery rated for 820 shots by CIPA.

The D5500 will sell body-only for $900 beginning in February. Throw in an 18-55mm kit lens and you’ll pay $1,000. Nikon will also sell a kit that bundles an 18-140mm lens for $1,200.

Joining the D5500 will be a new 3.6x zoom lens. The AF-S DX 50-200mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR II ($350, February) offers three stops of Vibration Reduction and a silent wave motor.

Nikon will also replace its 300mm f/4 lens in February with the new AF-S Nikkor 300mm F/4 E PF ED VR lens. It uses a phase fresnel design that helps to shed a full pound and a half of weight and 30 percent of size vs. the earlier generation lens. It has an electro-magnetically controlled diaphragm which delivers more consistently when shooting at faster frame rates, Nikon said.

The lens’ Vibration Reduction technology offers up to 4.5 stops of correction with a sports mode and tripod detection.

The telephoto lens will retail for $2,000.


September 15th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Canon Fires Out the 7D Mark II, G7X and New Lenses




Canon has introduced several new cameras at Photokina 2014, including the EOS 7D Mark II, as well as three new lenses.

The 7D Mark II brings several firsts to the EOS line largely focused, if you will, around the camera’s autofocus system. It will be the first to run dual DIGIC 6 processors with a 10 frames per second (fps) burst mode that has an expanded buffer of up to 31 RAW images or 1,900 JPEGs (the older 7D topped out at 130 JPEGs).  It employs a new 65 cross-type AF system for better low light focusing as well as an improved version of Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF that uses sensors on the CMOS display for phase detection autofocus, improving accuracy during video recording. More firsts for the EOS line include a bulb timer and intervalometer for time lapse and long exposure photography as well as distortion correction for EF and EF-S lenses.

The 20-megapixel 7D Mark II uses a newly developed APS-C-sized sensor with an ISO range of 100-16000 (expandable to 51600). It will feature a new AF Area Selection lever around the multi-controller on the back of the camera to toggle between the camera’s seven AF selection modes without taking your eye off the scene. The AI Servo AF III algorithm on the 7D  Mark II will be similar to the one found on the 1D-Xand will allow tracking parameters such as tracking sensitivity and AF auto point switching can be customized.

Canon also improved the scene detection sensor, giving it a 150,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor with 252 zones. Enhancements to the auto exposure were also incorporated to help the 7D Mark II photograph under flickering light sources like sodium vapor lamps.

New Video Tricks

The 7D Mark II incorporates several changes to Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology  to improve video performance. First, the 7D Mark II will offer adjustable movie servo AF speeds in five stop adjustments as well as the ability to adjust AF tracking sensitivity on a sliding scale. The area of coverage is unchanged from the 7D at 80 percent of the frame.

You won’t find 4K recording on the 7D Mark II however. Canon stuck with 1080/60p. You can output an uncompressed HD signal via HDMI to an external recorder. On the audio front, there is a stereo mic jack and a headphone jack with a silent control feature for adjusting audio levels during recording.

Canon also said that overall focusing speed, face detection performance and low light performance with low contrast subjects has also been improved.

You’ll find a 3-inch display plus a viewfinder with 100 percent field of view that can overlay data such as an electronic level display or grid. Built-in GPS is also on hand for geotagging images.

The 7D Mark II’s magnesium alloy body offers four times the moisture and dust resistance of the original 7D.

You can pick up the 7D Mark II in November for $1,799 (body) or in a kit with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens for $2,149.


Canon also trotted out a new advanced compact camera. The Powershot G7X will offer a 1-inch 20-megapixel CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 6 processor. Canon tweaked the image processing algorithms for this compact to mimic the highlight and shadow detail rendering in its more advanced EOS line.

The G7X, which is situated just beneath Canon’s G1x Mark II, offers an ISO range of 125 to 12800, Wi-Fi for wireless image transfers and NFC. There’s also a 3-inch, 1-million dot touch screen LCD display which can be tilted out from the camera body.

For fast action, the G7X can burst at 6.5fps at full resolution and records 1920 x 1080 video at 60fps.

A control ring on the lens offers the ability to change exposure settings (shutter speed, aperture and ISO) and a manual focus ring can be turned even during AF. The lens itself offers a focal length of 24-100mm with an aperture range of f/1.8-2.8 and a curved diaphragm for creating bokeh.

The G7X ships in October for $699.


New Glass

Last, but by no means least, Canon has three new lenses in the EF family.

First up is the new EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM, which Canon is styling as a portable telephoto, weighing in at 4.6 pounds or about half the weight of the f/2.8 version of the lens. The lens will feature a new gapless dual-layered diffractive optical element to reduce flare around backlit subjects. There are aspherical and UD elements on hand to combat optical aberrations and the front and back of the lens are coated with flourine to repel dust.

The 400mm will offer optical image stabilization good for up to four shutter speed steps of correction. Image stabilization can be used in three modes: standard, panning and exposure only. There are four programmable buttons on the lens and the lens can be manually focused in AF mode.

The EF 400mm f/4 lens ships in November for $6,899.

HR_EFS24_28_STM_3Q_CLAlso due in November is the new EF- S 24mm f/2.8 STM, the slimmest and lightest EF-S lens ever to roll out of Canon’s factory. This pancake lens features a seven bladed aperture and an electromagnetic drive aperture mechanism for quieter adjustment during video shooting.  The EF-S 24mm will sell for $149.

Finally, Canon announced the EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, its first for the EF series to use a screw-type stepping motor for quiet AF during video filming.

It offers optical image stabilization good for up to four shutter speed steps of correction. The seven optical elements are arranged in a new grouping and use a new AF algorithm for faster focusing, Canon said. The 24-150mm features a seven bladed aperture, two aspheric elements and a UD lens element.

Look for the 24-105mm in December. It will retail for $599.



September 12th, 2014

Nikon’s New D750 Brings Several Firsts to the FX Line


Nikon rolled out the pre-Photokina red carpet for its newest full frame digital SLR: the D750.

Situated between the D610 and D810, the D750 will have several firsts for Nikon’s full frame lineup including a new 24.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, Wi-Fi capability, a vari-angle LCD and a new build that makes it the thinnest DSLR in the company’s lineup.

According to Nikon, the slender build is due to its monocoque design. The body features magnesium alloy parts integrated with carbon fiber in the front and grip assembly to make a light yet weather-resistant package. The vari-angle LCD screen will be 3.2-inches in size and feature 1,229K dots for high-resolution viewing.

The D750 features a native ISO range of 100-12800 and can extend as high as 51200 or to a low of 50. It uses the same EXPEED 4 processing engine found on the D810 as well as its 91,000 pixel 3D Color Matrix Matrix III metering sensor. There’s also a highlight weighted metering option for shooting spot-lit details against black backgrounds. D750_24_120_top_2

The AF system features 51 points including 15 cross type sensors, 11 of which are compatible with teleconverter lenses shooting at f/8 or faster. The camera’s Advanced Multi-Cam 3500-FX II AF system can track objects in continuous shooting mode at the camera’s maximum burst speed of 6.5fps in either RAW or JPEG. A first for any Nikon DSLR, the D750 can lock focus on subjects in as little as -3 EV illumination.

It features a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000, shy of the D810’s 1/8000 and it’s rated for 150,000 cycles.

Nikon also added a new clarity parameter to its picture controls to adjust mid tone contrast. Like the D810, there’s also a flat picture control to deliver more dynamic range during video shoots (ideal for color grading in post-processing). All the picture controls are adjustable in .25 increments.

As noted above, the D750 is Nikon’s first FX-series camera to offer built-in Wi-Fi. Using the company’s Wireless Mobile Utility App you can  transfer images to smartphones or use mobile devices as real-time viewfinders and/or remote triggers. With the UT1 communications unit and the WT-5a wireless transceiver, you can enable wireless FTP transfers or trigger and operate the camera in HTTP mode through a web browser (where you’ll see a real-time live view preview as well as have the ability to start and stop recording).


Video Features

When it comes to video, the D750 borrows heavily from the D810’s feature set. It offers 1920 x 1080 HD video recording with a choice of 60, 30 or 24fps with full manual control over exposure settings. The Power Aperture function gives shooters the ability to seamlessly and steplessly open and close the aperture during recording, another goodie derived from the D810.

Video is recorded to the D750’s two SD card slots and can also be simultaneously output to external recorders and monitors via HDMI.

On the audio front, there’s a built-in stereo mic, external mic input, and a headphone jack for audio monitoring.

The D750 will ship this month for $2,295, body only. A kit including the 24-120mm lens will ship in October, though pricing wasn’t announced.

More Gear


In addition to the the D750, Nikon added  the AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED wide angle full frame lens to its lineup. It’s the company’s first wide angle lens with an f/1.8 aperture. It features a seven blade diaphragm, two ED elements, two aspheric elements and a 77mm filter size. It will ship in September for $799.

Finally, there will also be a new speed light in the Nikon lineup. The SB-500 has a guide number of 24 at ISO 100 and covers a 16mm angle for full frame cameras (24mm for DX sensors) with a head that swivels vertically at a 90 degree angle and rotates at 180 degrees. It incorporates a 100lux LED for video lighting and accepts a pair of AA batteries. It will also ship in September for $249 with a small stand so you can mount it to a tripod or on a table top for off-camera use.


February 24th, 2014

Nikon Announces Details for New 16.2MP D4S Flagship Full-Frame Digital SLR

Nikon-D4s_58_1.4_front-1Nikon unveiled its new D4S flagship digital SLR tonight, which seems, on paper, to be a minor upgrade to the previous model. (PDN was pre-briefed on the Nikon D4S, under NDA, prior to tonight’s launch but we were not given any hands-on time with the camera.) Like the D4, which was introduced in 2012, the new D4S uses a 16.2-megapixel, FX-format (full-frame) sensor, which Nikon describes as “newly designed.”

The revamped imaging chip in the D4S has an expanded ISO range, going all the way up to ISO 409,600 (Hi-4), which should be able to let it capture visible subject matter in near total darkness for forensic photography and other scientific applications. That extremely high ISO range could also, potentially, have photojournalistic applications such as war photography when flash is not permitted or advisable.

The Nikon D4S also has a new EXPEED 4 image processing engine designed to cut down on image noise when shooting at high ISOs in low light, and for better HD video quality and improved overall performance speed. The Nikon D4S can shoot at 11 frames per second with full autofocus (AF) and auto exposure (AE). (The previous camera could shoot at 11fps but AF and AE were locked on the first frame.) Nikon says the D4S has an “overall 30% increase in processing power.”

The Nikon D4S first premiered, under glass, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, but details about the camera were not officially announced until tonight.

Read the rest of this story and see more photos of the new Nikon D4S here.

October 17th, 2013

Nikon Announces 24.2MP D5300 DSLR and Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G Lens

Nikon-D5300_BK_18_140_frontNikon has just announced two new products for photographers: the prosumer-friendly 24.2MP, APS-C sensor-based D5300 digital SLR, and the pro-worthy AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G portrait lens.

The Nikon D5300 will go on sale this month as a kit with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens for $1,399. It will come in black, red, and gray color options, if you like your DSLR to have a little pizzazz.

The NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G, which is the higher end product of the two and designed for both full-frame (FX-format) and APS-C (DX-format) cameras, goes on sale this month for $1,699.

Read the rest of the story about this Nikon news here.

July 2nd, 2013

Canon Announces 70D DSLR

HR_70D_EFS18-135_IS_STM_3Q_CLCanon today announced the successor to their 60D DSLR, named the Canon 70D. Featuring a very interesting new Dual Pixel CMOS AF system that promises “instant and precise focusing of video as well as still images,” the EOS 70D also has a completely new 20.2 megapixel APS-C Canon CMOS sensor and uses Canon’s  DIGIC 5+ Image Processor. The 70D is wi-fi connected, has a 19-point AF sensor (including a high-precision f/2.8 dual cross-type AF center point), , a 63-zone Dual Layer IFCL (Intelligent Focus, Color & Luminance) AE metering system, an ISO range of 100 to 12800 (expandable to 25,600), and a vari-angle touchscreen LCD (allowing a “touch to focus” feature).

While the improved low-light performance, wi-fi and touchscreen LCD will grab some attention, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system is the crowning feature of the 70D. Essentially, Canon has figured out how to have each pixel on the sensor perform both imaging and phase-detection AF simultaneously. This is achieved by each pixel on the CMOS sensor having two independent photodiodes sending independant signals that can be used for both imaging and AF. It also allows continuous phase detection AF during movie recording. Eliminating slow or jumpy AF due to contrast detection or hybrid systems will be a big deal for a lot of photographers who shoot video with their DSLRs.

For more on the EOS 70D, including availability, pricing and more, see our full news story on PDNOnline.