The Nikon D7000 is a new prosumer DSLR camera with a 16.2-megapixel DX-format image sensor. The new Nikon D7000 slots in between the existing D90 and D300s models, not only in terms of feature set and functionality, but also in terms of size and weight. The shutter release action on the Nikon D7000 is surprisingly quiet, with an exemplarily dampened mirror slap that makes this DSLR actually quieter than some rangefinder cameras, and it's tested for 150,000 cycles. The overall control layout and 'philosophy' of the Nikon D7000 is very similar to the D90, with two control wheels and dedicated buttons for controlling ISO sensitivity, white balance, metering and AF mode. The D7000 uses a new EN-EL15 battery, MH-25 recharger and MB-D11 battery grip, which improves the handling but doesn't speed up the camera in any way. The Nikon D7000 follows conventional DSLR design in having a shooting mode dial on the top of the camera, which allows you to select either one of the advanced modes like Manual, Aperture- or Shutter-priority, or 19 different scene modes. If you select dynamic-area AF, you can also specify an AF point, but the camera 'will focus based on information from surrounding focus points if subject briefly leaves selected point', as the user guide puts it. One area of photography that the D7000 is particularly well suited to is flash photography.
As with most recent DSLR cameras from both Nikon and the other manufacturers, the D7000 offers Live View off the main sensor. The amount of overlaid information is user selectable, and can include a shooting grid similar to what you can see in the optical viewfinder and also the new virtual horizon which helps to keep your images straight.
For the images already captured, the Nikon D7000 offers a broad range of retouching tools, including post-capture D-lighting (useful if you forgot to turn on Active D-lighting before capture), red-eye correction, trimming, monochrome conversion, different filter effects, colour adjustments, image resizing, image overlay, in-camera raw processing, quick auto retouching, straightening of crooked pictures, lens distortion correction, perspective control (reduction of keystoning), and new fisheye, miniature, colour outline and colour sketch effects. The Fujifilm FinePix S2500HD is a new super-zoom digital compact camera that looks and feels like a DSLR.
The Fujifilm FinePix S2500HD bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor, the S1500 model.
Given the enormous lens reach of 504mm, image stabilisation is included, here the 'belt and braces' arrangement of CCD shift anti shake plus high ISO speed (up to ISO 6400, albeit with a drop to 3 megapixels if straying above ISO 1600). Also worth a mention up front is the S2500HD's high speed-capture capability - up to 20 pictures sequentially at 8 frames per second - albeit with, as perhaps expected, resolution dropping to three megapixels to achieve its headline-grabbing numbers.
As its name suggests, the S2500HD introduces high-definition video for the first time to the Fujifilm S-series, capturing 1280 x 720 pixel footage at 30fps with mono sound, full use of the 18x zoom and a maximum recording time of 15 minutes per clip. Given its beginner market the Fujifilm FinePix S2500HD's buttons and controls are for the most part large, particularly the familiar mode dial on top.
Over at the other side of the lens is a portal housing the AF assist light, to the left of which is the comfortably moulded grip, with some leather-effect padding to help prevent your fingers slipping.
The Fujifilm FinePix S2500HD's L-shaped top plate looks at once familiar and approachable, the largest control being a ridged mode wheel featuring 10 settings.
Continuing clockwise around the dial we come to another of the Fujifilm's user-friendly features, its panorama mode, which allows the user to shoot a sequence of three images that the S2500HD automatically stitches together in-camera - no additional software or technical skills required. Next around the dial is a setting for the already mentioned video capture - note that there's no one-touch video-record button on this camera. The button to the right is for accessing the various burst mode settings, as mentioned above.
Forward again of these buttons is the shutter release button, surrounded by a lever for operating the zoom.
Directly below this button there's an identically sized one for playback, and, to its right, one for Fujifilm's 'F' (for 'Foto') mode. Press the Fujifilm FinePix S2500HD's central 'menu' button in anything but auto mode and you're presented with two clearly read screens of shooting options when in capture mode or review mode (if shooting using one of the auto settings, options are abbreviated to turning self timer or high speed shooting on or off, plus access to the set up menu). The right hand flank of the S2500HD (when viewed from the back) features a plastic flap covering a combined AV out and USB port, above which is an eyelet for attaching the provided shoulder strap. The S1 has a a side lever that allows you to smoothly operate the zoom with your left hand, leaving your right hand free to operate the shutter button. Looking down on top of the Fujifilm FinePix S1 when viewed from the rear, there's a clearly labeled and logically laid out control set. The S1 has a chunky, ridged shooting mode dial which is reminiscent of those found on, yes you've guessed it, DSLR cameras. Next is the rather misleadingly named Advanced mode, which actually has four options that are well suited to all experience levels. The final shooting mode on the top dial is the Panorama option, clearly inspired by Sony's popular Sweep Panorama function. Below the shooting mode dial is a smaller command dial with a positive clicking action which is used for scrolling through features and captured images, and will feel immediately intuitive to anyone who has handled a DSLR before. Next to the EV button is the rather innocent-looking Continuous Shooting button, which accesses another of the S1's mouth-watering features. Manual focusing is activated by setting the Focus Mode menu option to Manual and using the rear command dial to set the distance, with the LCD display automatically zooming in on the subject to help you judge the sharpness. Moving to the rear of the Fujifilm FinePix S1, your attention is immediately drawn to the large 3-inch monitor, which offers 100% scene coverage and a respectable resolution of 920K dots. Above the LCD screen is a small button for swapping the display between monitor and the 920k-dot resolution electronic viewfinder, complete with 100% scene coverage and surrounding eyecup. To the right of the Fujifilm FinePix S1's LCD screen again is the one-touch movie record button.
Press the Menu button in the shooting mode and you get a comprehensive choice of options from two main folders, Shooting and Set-Up, with up to 6 screens containing 6 icons per screen. We’ve added a new Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 [QuickPrice Check] Review to our Reviews Matrix. The Sony A330 is a new 10.2 megapixel DSLR camera featuring a restyled external design and enhanced user interface, both intended to make it easier to use for people new to SLR photography. Announced in May 2009, the Sony A330 is the successor to the Sony A300 digital SLR, which we reviewed at the end of last year.
The first thing you notice when picking up the Sony A330 is that it feels cheaper built than its predecessor. For starters, the number of external controls has been reduced, making the camera less intuitive to use. This effectively means that most people will only use the central AF sensor for focusing, and recompose if needed. The AEL (autoexposure lock) button is also gone, as is the highly useful Manual Exposure Shift function I liked so much in the A300 (which allowed you to quickly change the aperture-shutter speed combination without changing the EV in manual exposure mode).
The controls that do remain are rather haphazardly placed, with almost nothing falling readily under your thumb or fingers. One button that inexplicably escaped the axing of so many external controls is the nearly useless 'Smart Teleconverter'. The optical viewfinder (OVF) of the Sony A330 appears to be identical to that of its predecessor, delivering 0.74x magnification and 95% frame coverage. As with its forebear, one of the main highlights of the Sony A330 is its Live View implementation. The LCD on which Live View is delivered is a 2.7-inch, 230,400-dot affair that tilts up and down, just like the one in the A300, albeit it feels considerably less robust. The pop-up flash can also act as a TTL controller for wirelessly slaved external flash units. As far as the anti shake system goes, it works very well for providing camera stabilisation at relatively slow shutter speeds - see a demonstration in the Image Quality section of this review - but it's less effective at the other function Sony has tasked it with; namely, shaking off any dust particles that may have settled on the sensor during a lens change.
New to the Alpha A330 - and to its bigger brother the Alpha A380 - is a so-called help guide display, which teaches beginners about the effects of aperture and shutter speed, both by way of a text guide and via icons such as stick figures. In use, the Sony Alpha A330 proved to be fairly quick, putting aside the operational glitches and design flaws described above. To round it off the Sony DSLR Alpha A330 has a few features that put it ahead of its immediate competitors (such as fast AF in Live View, an Eye-start AF option for when shooting with the optical finder and eye proximity sensors that automatically shut down the LCD when lifting the camera up to one's eye), but it has a few comparative disadvantages too (no Live View magnification for accurate manual focusing, no video mode etc.), and is actually a step back from its predecessor the A300 in terms of ergonomics and handling, which ultimately leads to a less pleasant shooting experience. But handling, features and performance are only one side of the coin - the other one is image quality.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 is the world’s first bridge camera to feature 4K video recording.
Providing the hands-on feel for those who want it, the FZ1000’s zoom can be controlled via the regular zoom lever surrounding the shutter release button, as on any point and shoot compact. To help with the ability to hold the camera nice and steady at maximum zoom, the FZ1000’s manufacturer has thoughtfully provided us with a comfortably moulded handgrip around which we were able to wrap three fingers, leaving our forefinger to hover expectantly over the shutter release button. On the FZ1000 the selectable shooting modes include the expected intelligent Auto setting and palette-like icon indicating creative controls. Moving our attention to the backplate, this is obviously dominated not only by the tilt, swivel and flip LCD screen, but also by the aforementioned EVF that juts out above it. In terms of composing our shots when leaving the camera on its automatic default, the eye-level electronic viewfinder provides the obvious benefit of a built-in eye sensor immediately below, thus automatically activating and by turn deactivating the larger LCD when it senses the proximity of an eyeball. All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16.3 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb. The Samsung Galaxy Camera produced images of average quality during the review period.
Chromatic aberrations were fairly well controlled, with some purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. Macro performance is OK, allowing you to focus as close as 10cms away from the subject. The anti-shake system works well when hand-holding the Galaxy Camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range, while the maximum shutter speed of 16 seconds allows the camera to capture enough light for most after-dark situations. The Samsung Galaxy Camera's 21x zoom lens provides a very versatile focal range of 23-483mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera has 3 different image quality settings available, with SuperFine being the highest quality option. Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The Samsung Galaxy Camera handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below. The Samsung Galaxy Camera offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 10cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The Samsung Galaxy Camera's maximum shutter speed is 16 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The Samsung Galaxy Camera has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. The Coolpix P530 is Nikon’s latest super-zoom bridge camera addition to its Performance range of feature-packed Coolpix cameras. The Nikon Coolpix P530 follows the bridge camera mould, meaning you get the feel and much of the control of a DSLR, combined with plenty of effects modes and compact-camera toys.
It’s great to see a proper mode dial on the P530, as this makes it far easier to switch modes than the menu-based system used on most Coolpix models.
If you do fancy getting a bit creative and experimenting with manual photography, the control wheel at the top right of the rear is well placed to alter shutter speed, whilst the multi selector ring dial below cycles up and down the aperture range. Both cameras will record Full HD 1080p video with stereo sound, and the P530 does this to good effect.
Back to the business of cut features and we find an oddly positioned plastic panel on the left side of the lens, which was once home to the secondary zoom control on the P520.
The FinePix SL1000 is a very interesting bridge camera from Fujifilm that not only sports a 16 megapixel resolution, but also has a 3-inch tilting screen, 920K dot EVF, Full HD video, RAW format support and a teeth-aching 50x optical zoom. Around a month ago, we published our review of the Fujifilm FinePix SL240 which we found to be an interesting camera because of the features it has for the price. Look on top of the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 at the flash that sits over the lens and you'll see the hot-shoe just behind it. To switch the SL1000 on, you need to slide the spring loaded power switch that's situated on the top plate just behind the grip. The main issue we have with an EVF (and this isn't singularly Fujifilm) is that the menus are brought up in it too. The playback button is situated on the back of the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 between the dedicated video record button and the navigation pad. In the box, the camera comes with a lithium ion battery and charger, lens cap and neck strap. Key highlights of the D7000 include Full 1080p HD video with full-time autofocus and manual exposure control, an ISO range of 100-25600, the widest of any Nikon DX camera, a new 2,016-pixel 3D Colour Matrix metering system, new EXPEED 2 image-processing engine, new 39-point Auto-focus system with 3D tracking, 14-bit analogue-to-digital conversion, 6fps continuous shooting, dust- and moisture-sealed magnesium alloy body, 921k dot 3-inch LCD screen, and dual memory card slots. It isn't as compact and lightweight as the D90 but neither is it quite as bulky and heavy as the D300s. Furthermore, there is also a Quiet mode, in which the mirror is raised fairly slowly to further reduce the sound it makes.
Only the combined Live View switch and Movie Mode button and lockable drive mode dial are completely new, with the former being an improvement on the D90 but the latter being somewhat awkward, requiring the use of both fore- and middle fingers. The screen is used not only to navigate menus and to review pictures, but can also act as a secondary status display, facilitating the transition for upgraders from entry-level DSLR owners who are not used to having a top-mounted status LCD on their cameras.
The key difference between the D90's and the D7000's finders is the frame coverage, with the former at 96% and the latter at an impressive 100%. The other 30 are of the line variety, consequently being only sensitive to either vertical or horizontal detail, but not both.
This feature can also be turned on and off via the reprogrammable Fn button, which can be assigned to a range of different functions, and also appears in the optical viewfinder status bar via the exposure compensation scale.
After moving the Lv switch to the left and optionally presetting the aperture, shutter speed and focus, you can start recording video by pressing the Movie button with the red dot sitting within the Lv switch. Out of the box the D7000 can only record monaural sound via its built-in microphone with three different levels of sensitivity on offer, but stereo recording can be recorded using an optional external microphone. Featuring an 18x zoom lens with a 28-504mm focal range, 12 megapixels and a 3 inch LCD screen, the Fujifilm S2500HD offers full manual photographic control for the more experienced user and an Automatic Scene Recognition mode for beginners.
This is a bridge or 'super zoom' camera that, despite resembling a digital SLR that's been shrunk in the wash, shouldn't scare off those more used to operating pocket-sized point and shoots - which happens to be exactly the main audience that Fujifilm are targeting. In practice therefore with the Fujifilm FinePix S2500HD it's mostly a case of a half press of the shutter release button and the camera does the rest, particularly with Fujifilm here including an 'auto everything' scene recognition (SR) auto mode. A compromise would be 10 sequential photographs at 3.3fps at a reduced resolution of 6 megapixels - at least that way a level of quality might be achieved that you would actually want to produce a print from.
Alternatively there are also 640 x 480 pixels and 320 x 240 pixels modes, also at 30 fps. They're also sufficiently self-explanatory that the manual - a full version here on CD only - doesn't need to be digested before you're up and shooting. For anyone with average sized hands there's just enough room to squeeze three fingers around the grip, leaving your forefinger automatically hovering over the shutter release button situated at the front of its slope, and your thumb pressed against the slightly indented pad at the rear. Starting with full auto mode and moving clockwise we come to one of the camera's main selling points, the aforementioned SR (Scene Recognition) auto, and, continuing in the same direction next alight on SP (Scene Position). A narrow portion of the previous frame is displayed as the user pans from left to right taking shots, so you can line up the joins with a reasonable level of accuracy. What's more of a surprise is that with a successive turn of the dial we come to a user-attributable custom setting, a feature more commonly found on a DSLR proper.
Slide this to the right and the S2500HD powers up in just over a second - pretty quick for this class of camera - the rear LCD displaying a Fujifilm logo initially before blossoming into life. To the left is a dedicated control for activating face detection which biases the focus and exposure toward any faces in the frame. This replaces the S1500's Image Stabilisation button, which is now found in the main menu system. Happily the former has a definite halfway point so that a premature capture is avoided, the camera giving an affirmative 'beep' when focus and exposure have been determined and the AF point highlighted in green dancing around the screen if either your camera or subject is moving. As with the rest of the manufacturer's compact range, one press of this provides access to an abbreviated menu containing just the essentials: resolution and compression level, ISO setting and, arguably less essential, three different colour effects.
The set up menu itself is divided into three folders allowing the adjustment of operational volumes, screen brightness, and the ability to format the inserted memory card or internal memory. On the left hand flank there's another eyelet at the top plus a built-in speaker near the base. Looking and handling very much like a DSLR, the Fujifilm S1 can safely be used in wet weather or dusty conditions thanks to sealing on approximately 70 areas of the camera. Designed as a do-it-all, all-in-one solution for the enthusiast, the Fujifilm FinePix S1 is more than weighty and well built enough to withstand a few glancing knocks in the heat of the action. This incredibly versatile lens offers a focal range starting at an ultra-wide 24mm and finishing at an ultra-telephoto 1200mm, which, as Fujifilm cannily point out, would take at least two super-zoom DSLR lenses to offer similar reach.
Activated via the IS Mode menu option, you can set the system to Continuous, Shooting Only, either mode with the addition of digital stabilisation, or Off. The large optically stabilised zoom lens dominates proceedings, with a push-on lens cap, retaining strap and petal-shaped lens hood provided in the box.
Ranged around the dial, which turns with just the right amount of resistance for it to lock firmly into place at each setting, are the expected shooting options, such as full auto, program, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual modes, along with a customizable mode via which favoured shooting settings can be saved for rapid access, plus a scene position mode that's pre-optimised for common subjects. The first shooting mode is the Advanced Filter, which as the name suggests houses a range of artistic filters that can be applied to your photos as you take them. This lets you capture a 120, 180 or 360 degree panoramic image very easily without the use of a tripod. The final panorama is of relatively low resolution, and if you do the sweeping too slowly, or you let go of the shutter release button too early, the panorama will be truncated.


The same dial is also used to change the aperture and shutter speed when using the more advanced shooting modes. Pressing this button brings up six options - Off, Continuous H, Continuous M, Continuous L, Best Frame Capture and AE bracketing. There's a handy distance scale along the bottom of the LCD screen with a white bar indicating the the focusing distance. The S1's LCD screen is a vari-angle model that can be flipped-out to the side and tilted through 270 degrees, giving you a lot of flexibility in composing your shots, and well-suited to shooting video.
The EVF also has its own dioptric correction wheel to its immediate left, which is far less stiff and physically larger than found on competing models, meaning that for the myopic adjustment can be made in a fraction of a second. The S1's full 50x zoom range be accessed in the Motion JPEG format movie mode, with the S1 offering full 1920x1080 pixel footage at up to 60 frames per second with constantly adjusting auto exposure and auto-focus with stereo sound.
There are three different speeds on offer - 480, 240 and 120fps, with the file size varying from 320x112 to 640x480 pixels. Most of the options are the "set once and forget" kind, so you won't have to dip into the menu system too often.
Install the FUJIFILM Camera Remote App and you can transfer your pictures immediately to a smartphone or tablet PC and then edit and share them as you wish, transfer stills and video onto the camera, and embed GPS information in your shots from your smartphone.
The core specifications of the new model are remarkably similar to those of its immediate forebear, but it has undergone a complete design overhaul, which has resulted in a smaller and considerably lighter camera aimed squarely at compact camera owners wishing to trade up to a DSLR. Upon reviewing the A300, we wrote that the body was "unashamedly plastic", but noted that it did "not feel cheap or low quality at all". It is so uncomfortable it makes you wonder if the camera would do better without it (grip-less SLRs were the order of the day for decades, and nobody complained about that). The A300's separate Drive Mode, ISO and Display buttons are gone, and these functions are now mapped unto the four-way controller.
This age-old focus-recompose technique is much faster than selecting an off-centre focus point on the Sony A330, and works every time except when dealing with extremely shallow depth of field.
Of probably less importance is the omission of the SteadyShot switch - the A330 retains the sensor-shift image stabilisation feature of its predecessor, but now you need to enter the main shooting menu to activate or deactivate it.
The new power switch is in a place where you would expect the control wheel to be - in the dark, or with the camera up to my eye, I sometimes switched the camera off accidentally, when my actual intention was to change the aperture setting. The nine autofocus points are permanently marked on the focusing screen, and are therefore always visible in the viewfinder. A tilting LCD is always a better choice for a Live View capable DSLR than a fixed one, though some competing models from Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic go even further by offering full LCD articulation. This is a small step back from the one built into the A300, which had a guide number of 12.
These include the sensor-shift image stabilisation system we already touched upon (and which Sony now calls SteadyShot Inside), an orientation sensor that rotates the status display so it remains readable even if the camera is in portrait orientation, a pair of eye proximity sensors beneath the viewfinder that automatically shut down the LCD when raising the camera to your eye (provided you are not in Live View mode), and Minolta's legacy Eye-start AF technology. Apparently the anti shake system was simply not designed to move the sensor fast enough to shake off the dust - this will be evident if you look at some of our samples that clearly exhibit a few dust spots. This approach is certainly better than simply throwing in an auto mode and a host of scene modes (which is not to say the A330 lacks any of these, but the inclusion of the help guide does mean it goes a step further).
Dual card slots are always welcome, though the A330 unfortunately has one of the least useful implementations of the concept I have seen to date. Start-up was nearly instant, autofocus with the kit lens was fairly speedy if not quite as quiet as with an SSM lens. It’s clearly pretty excited to have the first compact camera to not only feature 4K video capture, but which also allows photographers to extract a still image from a 4K sequence, to end up with the equivalent of an 8 megapixel photo. Aiming to make this camera truly a jack-of-all-trades, Panasonic’s picture control mode now offers up 22 filter effects on the FZ1000, which feels like an almost exhaustive amount as you scroll though the various options.
The mottled finish and leather effect padding will cause most observers to suspect you’re wielding a DSLR from a distance. This, and probably not purely the fact that the camera shoots 4K video, is what the majority of users will be buying it for – though the latter feature is certainly a bonus in terms of future proofing your footage, providing you have the storage capacity to deal with the resultant huge 4K file sizes. The latter sits atop the handgrip, tilting forward at an ergonomic angle, encircled by a zoom lever. Here the default factory setting is to enable the camera to establish a Wi-Fi connection – seen as a must on any digital device these days.
Give this a flick with the thumb, and, as soon as said thumb comes to rest, the camera is powered up; which is as quick as anyone could hope for. The Panasonic has eight screens’ worth of digital effects on board selectable in this mode. Moving around the shooting mode wheel we find two customisable settings, followed by a dedicated mode for video. Here we get access to the camera’s drive modes, which range from single shot capture through high speed burst, to exposure bracketing and further self timer and interval shooting modes.
Over time, such little touches add up to a big benefit in terms of the unit’s intuitiveness. Noise already becomes obvious at the relatively slow setting of ISO 200, along with a softening of fine detail, and this only becomes progressively worse at the still modest settings of ISO 400 and 800. The 16 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets. The Fill-in mode didn't cause any amount of red-eye, a good thing as there is no red-eye reduction mode.
The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 10 seconds at ISO 100.
Replacing the Coolpix P520, the new camera boasts a 16.1MP high-sensitivity CMOS sensor with a sensitivity range of ISO 100-6400 and Full HD 1080p video recording. It’s the best of both worlds for enthusiastic photographers wanting something more serious than a basic point and shoot, plus you get that huge 42x zoom lens to really sweeten the deal. Up top is the usual shutter release and zoom-ring combo, just ahead of a customisable function button. It enables you to instantly move between the aperture and shutter priority options, full manual control, programmed auto and fully automatic modes. This also doubles as a useful way to quickly cycle through menu lists, or you can press it up, down, left or right when shooting to change the flash mode, macro mode, self-timer and exposure compensation.
The results show plenty of detail and although sound quality is less impressive, it’s perfectly adequate for this level of camera. Consequently you can no longer zoom with your left hand and keep your right hand free to adjust settings or snap the shutter. Autofocussing is almost instant in most lighting conditions, though when the going gets dim the camera can require a frustrating few seconds to find its mark. Likewise the camera’s exposure metering invariably struck the correct balance of highlight and shadow detail during our testing.
Other highlights include a 1cm Super Macro mode, a 3-level zoom switch, a flash hot-shoe, and a customisable Function button. The brand new SL1000 also has interesting features, but has a £200 price increase on its little brother. Don't take that the wrong way, it certainly has functions for the novice, but this is a camera that will be favoured by someone looking to increase their knowledge in photography.
They stand for Program (camera controls shutter speed and aperture), Shutter priority (you control shutter speed, camera controls aperture), Aperture priority (as with Shutter priority, but reversed) and Manual (you control both Aperture and Shutter speed). If you're unfamiliar with a hot-shoe, it's designed to attach external flash units to the camera.
To use the menu effectively, it's best to switch to LCD first, which is kind of annoying if you're in a rush. We managed 1.6 seconds which included turning on the camera, focusing and taking a picture. Images will be played full screen unless you use the zoom switch to either zoom in on details of the picture or, if you go wider, the images will tile so you can see more than one at a time.
The right-hand grip bears more resemblance to that of the D300s, with a chunkier rubberised coating than on the D90. Nikon bodies don't offer any form of in-camera image stabilisation, unlike similar models from Sony, Pentax and Olympus, so the relatively affordable and versatile 18-105mm VR lens is a good starting point if you don't already have any Nikon lenses. This, however, introduces some shutter lag, which usually isn't worth the few decibels of difference versus what is already an impressively quiet shutter (Nikon actually recommends using the Quiet mode for taking pictures of sleeping babies, a situation in which a bit of shutter delay obviously isn't a problem). In addition the Playback button has moved to the left of the viewfinder in line with models higher up the range. This allows you to use two cards in tandem, with the ability to overflow images onto the second card, backup images from the first to the second, or save RAW to slot 1 and JPEG to slot 2. Hold down this button with your right forefinger and spin the control wheel on the top-rear of the camera with your thumb to adjust its settings - simple and intuitive. The sensor can clean itself by way of high-frequency vibrations that will, at least in theory, shake off any non-adhesive dust particles that may have settled on the low-pass filter during a lens change.
The auto-focus system has also been significantly upgraded, with the centre point permanently marked on the focusing screen the other 38 points lighting up as red boxes, and compositional grid lines that can be called up via a menu option. In practice, this did not turn out to be a problem, with the camera typically locking focus on the subject easily, no matter which AF point was selected. Cycling through these modes is done by holding down the dedicated AF button on the left-side of the camera, and turning a control wheel. In auto mode, this flash will pop-up automatically if the camera thinks it's necessary, but in most other exposure modes, it is left to the photographer to decide whether to use it or not. Move it to the left and the mirror flips up, the shutter opens and the rear screen displays the scene as seen through the lens. Both employ a contrast-detect method of focusing, with AF-A locking onto the subject when you half-press the shutter button, and AF-F (full-time-servo AF) automatically tracking the subject continuously even if it moves. But there's still no live histogram, as on the D90, which is a glaring omission that makes Live View much less usable than it could be, and again puts Nikon behind the competition in this area. The camera records full high-definition, wide-screen video in 1920x1280 pixel resolution, at a frame rate of 24fps, in AVI format using the motion JPEG codec. For movie makers the S2500HD has the must-have feature of 2010, high-definition 720p video recording at 30fps, with a mini HDMI Port for quick and easy connection to a HDTV. Although far from infallible - if you're not paying close attention and it's presented with a busy scene it'll call up landscape when macro is needed and vice versa - it adds to the beginner friendly feel. As for the remainder of the box contents, you'll need to supply your own SD, SDHC or SDHX card for image storage, though thankfully the four AA batteries required for power are included. A dedicated button for activating this spring-loaded mechanism sits to its right, three pin prick-sized holes for the built-in microphone just below. While you certainly wouldn't want the grip to be any smaller, it feels just about right given the overall size of the camera. This mode features standard pre-optimised settings for 15 familiar scenes and subjects, accessed by pressing the 'menu' button at the camera's rear, and includes portraits, landscapes, sunsets, fireworks plus a natural light and museum mode amongst its selection. Though not essential, it's another fun extra that should appeal to the family target market, and will surely come into its own as an aide memoir for holiday vistas. Compounding the indication that the S2500HD perhaps has something to offer the photo enthusiast after all, there follows the creative quartet of manual, aperture priority, shutter priority and program modes, allowing full access to manually selectable ISO speeds, quality settings and of course colour effects. There's also the option of an electronic viewfinder for shot composition - more on which later. Press it once to couple this with automatic red eye removal (if using flash obviously), or again to shoot without the red eye removal option. Like every other such system in existence, the one employed by the Fujifilm FinePix S2500HD isn't infallible - it's tricky, if not impossible, to get a perfectly sharp image when shooting handheld at maximum telephoto even in seemingly ideal light conditions. With a nudge of the zoom lever, the camera takes just under four seconds to move through the range from maximum wideangle to telephoto. Thankfully here Fujifilm has indeed gone with the more widely available SD than retaining historical loyalty to the now outgunned (in terms of available capacity) xD-Picture Card, a slot for which is provided at the base of the camera where it's shared with the four regular AAs required for power. The base of the Fujifilm FinePix S2500HD meanwhile features a plastic screw thread for a tripod next to the large compartment housing the memory card and batteries. The S1 boasts a 50x zoom lens which covers a 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-1200mm and features 3-stop lens-shift image stabilisation and manual zoom controls.
The moulded curves of the body and rubberized matt black finish deliver a purposeful look that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is practical, with nice chunky controls, an ergonomic control layout that allows both quick and easy access to functions, and a deep hand-grip with a well-thought-out indentation into which a middle finger slots comfortably.
Note that the camera will only automatically adjust the ISO speed when using the Auto shooting mode - in the other modes the ISO speed that you select will always be used, so only the mechanical sensor-shift part of the system is used. Above the lens and extending out across the lens barrel, which boasts a textured surround allowing you to get a good firm grip, is a sloping ridge that conceals the pop-up flash (when not in use), which is activated via a dedicated button positioned on the right. Above the size zoom lever is a button which zooms back out slightly to allow you to see more of your subject, useful if you're trying to track a moving object that has left the frame. The Fujifilm FinePix S1 is quick to determine focus and exposure with a half press of the shutter button, only taking 0.16 seconds to lock onto the subject in ideal lighting conditions.
All you need to decide is whether you would like to start from left or right, top or bottom, then press and hold down the shutter release while doing a "sweep" with the camera in hand.
If the exposure varies throughout the scene, then some areas will be over or under exposed, depending upon the exposure value that was chosen as the panorama was started.
In the Manual mode, you hold the Exposure Compensation button down with your forefinger and give the dial a flick with your thumb to change the aperture, not as intuitive as having two separate command dials but perhaps understandable given the S1's target audience. The S1 also offers a Focus Peak Highlight function with High and Low settings, which displays a white line around the subject when it's in focus.
The viewfinder display is large, bright and clear, though the temptation to predominantly utilise the more flexible LCD below is almost overwhelming. This slow-motion effect is initially very appealing and sure to impress your friends, but there are some drawbacks to be aware of. Ranged at north, south, east and west around this control are variously, the customisable Function button which can be set to one of 10 key options (also doubling up as a file deletion button when in playback mode), the various flash modes, the self timer options, and shifting focus from infinity to either macro or super macro.
You can also control the camera remotely, with the list of available functions including the shutter release for stills and movies and operating the zoom lens.
At around 350 shots battery life is respectable enough thanks to the use of a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. That alone would not be objectionable at all - we have seen similar solutions that worked quite well - but unfortunately Sony's implementation has caused the four-way pad to cease functioning as a quick AF point selector.
To choose the central AF point, enter Fn --> AF area, select 'Spot', exit and don't ever change it again. Given that about the only time you will want to deactivate it is when you mount the camera on a tripod, the omission of an external switch for this particular function seems a logical decision. The control wheel itself is located further down, and the best thing you can do is try to train yourself to use your middle finger to spin it. The active AF point lights up in red when in use, and if focus is acquired, a green focus confirmation dot appears on the left side of the in-finder LCD; similarly to other manufacturers' models. So they either have to temporarily lower their mirror for auto-focusing, which is loud and interrupts the live view, or resort to contrast-detect AF, which their lenses are not optimised for.
Given that no other manufacturer - not even Olympus - offers this in any of its current models, it was logical of Sony to continue using it in the A330.
The brightness of the screen can be set manually, but it can also adapt to ambient light levels automatically. Be reminded that it is not of the standard variety - non-dedicated flashguns and other hotshoe-mounted accessories such as PocketWizards physically cannot be mounted without a separately sold hot shoe adapter. In the field, I found the eye-start autofocus system to be somewhat useful, though not necessarily faster than the more traditional solutions.
The camera cannot record simultaneously on both cards, cannot copy images from one to the other, and cannot even switch automatically to the secoond card when the first one fills up. Thanks to the secondary-sensor approach, there was no noticeable AF speed penalty when shooting in Live View.
Other key features include RAW format support, an ISO range of 125-12800, manual shooting modes, Intelligent Resolution technology, a 3.5mm port for an optional stereo microphone, and an accessory shoe for an external flash. The latter provides a focal length the equivalent of an ultra wide angle 24-100mm in 35mm terms, translating as a 16x optical zoom. Naturally there’s the ability to capture Raw files or Raw files and JPEGs in combination.
Via this mode we can also set up remote shooting and viewing with the aid of a smartphone, plus Panasonic’s free downloadable app, transmit images whilst recording or send those already captured and stored by the camera to a suitably enabled TV set for shared viewing.
This responsiveness extends to the use of the lens, which travels through its optical zoom range from wide-angle to maximum telephoto setting in 4-5 seconds when in stills shooting mode. In other words all the essentials are easily within reach of forefinger and thumb, and, despite the camera’s relative bulk, without too much of a stretch. It’s worth saying that we were very impressed with the clarity of screen, which comes into its own when focusing manually. A top-of-screen toolbar further provides access to flash modes, which include forced flash, forced flash with red eye reduction, slow sync and slow sync with red eye. Clearly this is a camera with ideas and ambitions beyond what is already on board, out of the box. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure.


The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop.
I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.
Up front is a whopping 42x optical zoom lens giving an extremely versatile focal length range of 24-1000mm in 35mm camera terms.
The camera does feel rather plasticky as a result of its crash diet, but the fit and finish is still very good.
By default this is set to switch between single or continuous shooting modes, though it can be reprogrammed to control settings like ISO sensitivity or white balance.
A separate user-customisable setting means you can store your own shooting mode for quick recall, or you can turn the dial a stage further and reveal the P530’s 9 special effect filters.
A dedicated video record button is also present, and alongside this is a control to switch between the LCD monitor and electronic viewfinder. That may be a bit of a marketing faux pas, but there are gains to be had from a pixel purge.
If you’d rather capture a series of stills rather than video, the P530 will record at 7fps, albeit only for a 7-shot burst. The problem is compounded if you shoot in low light at the upper end of the camera’s zoom range, whereby autofocussing occasionally fails altogether. Typical modes that the SL1000 has to offer for the learning photographer include manual controls on the command dial that sits on top of the body, an external flash hot-shoe and RAW recording. The camera also controls the Aperture and Shutter speed in Auto mode, but in Program, the Main menu has more options open such as ISO and white-balance. The centre metal point fires an electrical current that tells the flash that the camera is taking a picture and that it should make a bright light. If you choose the latter, the camera is held firmer making pictures steadier at slower speeds. This all means that upgrading from the D90 to the D7000 is a near seamless experience from a handling point of view. It also obviously greatly expands the overall memory capacity, useful if you shoot a lot of images in a short space of time. You can specify, via an option in the Setup menu, whether you want sensor cleaning to take place at shutdown, startup, both or neither, with the default being 'both'. For this reason, we were a little disappointed that the monitor was fixed, lacking articulation of any kind, something that one of the D7000's key rivals, the Canon EOS 60D, does offer. Be aware though that the default AF area mode is 'auto-area' in most of the scene and exposure modes, including P, A, S and M as well. Basically this lets you specify the focus point that is right on your subject, then the camera will attempt to track this subject as it moves across the frame, using whichever AF point it deems appropriate in any given moment.
Note that some of the AF area modes, namely dynamic area and 3D focus tracking, will only work the way described above if you are either in AF-A or AF-C. This little flash can not only be used as an emergency light source or a fill light, but also as a commander for up to two groups of wireless flash units.
The D7000's Live View auto-focusing isn't very fast, typically taking between 1 and 2 seconds to lock focus on a subject in good light, and eben longer in low-light conditions. As with Live View, contrast-detect AF is possible whilst shooting movies, although as with still images there's an audible whine as the camera refocuses and it's still too slow to focus on any fast-moving subject, so much so that we suspect most serious users will use manual focusing instead. Check out our article on time-lapse photography in our Techniques section to get an idea of what you can use this feature for.
Dual Image Stabilization, an electronic viewfinder, ISO 64 up to ISO 1600 at full resolution, high-speed shooting of up to 20 frames at 8 fps (at 3 megapixels), Tracking Auto Focus and Panorama Shooting mode complete the S2500HD’s main specifications. Size and pricing aside, this 12-megapixel camera is as much about user friendliness as creative flexibility. You could use Fujifilm’s optional HD Player Kit instead, which includes an HD card reader that connects the camera to your HDTV, and even a wireless remote control. After a little practice, surprisingly successful results can be achieved, although the overall resolution of the resulting picture is limited to 4880x1296 pixels. Joining face detection are blink detection, which warns you if any of your subjects have blinked, and Smile Detection, which automatically takes the picture when your subject bares their pearly whites. Full resolution JPEG images are saved almost instantaneously when shooting in single shot mode, so no complaints there.
This means that if you're shooting with the camera on a tripod, you have to first remove the camera to remove the card, which is a bit of a pain but far from uncommon. The S1 is the first weather-proof super-zoom camera in the world, with 70 points of weather sealing offering dust-resistance and water-resistance. Still viewing the S1 from the front, the stereo sound speakers are positioned just behind the pop-up flash.
In the HDR advanced mode the Fujifilm FinePix S1 can combine three seperate images into one with greater dynamic range. Exposure compensation is available before you start the sweep, with the exposure fixed once you depress the shutter button.
Finally, people and indeed anything that moves in the frame are recorded as several ghost outlines, which means that you can really only record static, empty scenes, something that Sony have solved in the latest iteration of their Sweep Panorama feature.
Otherwise the exposure compensation button works largely as you'd expect, with a visual slider graph on screen accompanied by a live histogram.
Once the burst is completed, it takes just over four seconds for the camera to clear the buffer, during which you cannot take another picture. It can record video clips up to 29 minutes long for the 1920x1080 and 1280x720 pixel formats, with longer times available for VGA and SVGA modes. Sound isn't recorded at all, horizontal bands can appear as the lighting fluctuates, and the actual sizes of the recorded movies are pretty small.
There are metal eyelets on either side of the body for attaching the provided shoulder strap. There is little doubt that at least some of the afore-mentioned weight loss comes from the use of less robust materials (which probably helps Sony's bottom line too). The new, smaller body apparently forced the engineers to re-think the control layout and philosophy of the camera, and this has resulted in a number of questionable design decisions.
Now you need to enter the Function menu via the Fn button, navigate to 'AF area', enter, select 'Local', then repeatedly press the left or right arrow button until the desired AF point is highlighted, and finally exit the Function menu. Alternatively, you can use the AF button in the centre of the four-way navigation pad to focus on whatever is in the centre of the frame, and hold it down not only while recomposing but also while releasing the shutter too (so that pressing the shutter button does not cause the camera to refocus).
Thankfully, pushing this button in these cases no longer prompts the camera to display the arrogant "Invalid operation" message I criticised the A300 for.
The benefit of secondary-sensor Live View is that autofocus is just as fast, and shutter lag is just as short as when using the OVF, unlike in the case of competing models that offer main-sensor Live View. Outdoors visibility is average - we've seen much worse (more reflective) LCDs on some competitors, but would still like to see some improvement to the antiglare coating. There is no mechanical button to raise the flash, and neither are you advised to raise it by hand. To do that, you need to open the sliding cover that hides the memory card compartment and manually move a small mechanical switch to the desired position.
The camera's burst mode was an unimpressive 2.5 frames per second (fps) with the OVF, and 2fps in Live View. There is also the point to be made that the FZ1000 weighs around a third what a DSLR kit with equivalent lens might – so portability here is still key. And the large-ish, bright and clear electronic viewfinder with a prominent eye relief means that we just about get away with avoiding our nose smearing up against the main monitor screen, though the larger and more flexible screen is what we most naturally found ourselves using when setting up or reviewing shots. Since the latter option barely affected writing speed in the slightest, we chose it as our own personal default setting for the Panasonic.
In fact, on this model there are 11 screens’ worth of user-attributable options, with four options presented on each, so the customization of said controls certainly feels almost limitless.
Even at maximum telephoto setting a squeeze of the shutter release button and the camera determines focus in a blink of an eye. Select this option and a central portion of the image is magnified, making matters even easier, and bringing even the scribbles on our notepad into sharp relief.
Image size and picture quality can also be adjusted in this manner, along with, again, AF modes. With anti shake turned on, the images are noticeably sharper than with anti-shake turned off. Lens-shift Vibration Reduction should help keep shots sharp and you’ll be able to compose photos on a crisp 3.0”, 921k-dot monitor or through the electronic viewfinder. That chunky design also makes the P530 very comfortable to use and it feels secure in the hand, helped by the rubberised grips at both ends. The power button sits a few millimetres behind the function button, so the two can often be confused when attempting to turn on the camera without looking. Strangely Nikon has ditched the tilting monitor mechanism present on the P520 and fixed the new camera’s screen. Both cameras use sensors of the same physical size, hence the P530’s pixels can be slightly larger, making them more light-sensitive and less prone to generating unwanted image noise.
Reduce the shooting rate to 1fps and you can capture up to 200 consecutive shots, or drop the image resolution to Full HD 1920x1080 and the camera will chug away at 60fps. If you record in JPEG, the images are adjusted for colour saturation, contrast and sharpness then compressed to make them smaller by removing unnecessary data from the image.
A zoom switch is located on the lens barrel to aid with zooming while using the EVF (Electronic View Finder). It's interesting that Fujifilm have left their menus relatively untouched over the last few years.
You can create up to six books, which is pretty cool, especially if you're holidaying as you'll be able to designate images as you go.
The D7000 has a similar monochromatic status LCD to the D90, a pro-level feature that indicates who this camera is primarily targeted at. The cleaning process pleasingly has no practical impact on startup times, which were near instant. Below the finder is a traditional monochromatic status bar that is the same as the one seen in the D90.
In auto-area mode it is the camera, rather than the photographer, that chooses which AF point(s) to use, which is usually not desirable.
Apparently, the camera does this using colour information from the new 2,016-segment RGB metering sensor to identify the subject. In such a setup, you can specify if you want the on-board flash to give only a signal to fire off the wireless slaves or also to provide some fill light. There are selectable AF-area modes according to the subject; face-priority AF, wide-area AF, normal-area AF and subject-tracking AF. For those with kids or subjects that don't stay put its auto focus tracking ability will doubtless come in handy, as will its most prominent feature, the immensely versatile 18x optical zoom, which has been both widened and lengthened in comparison to the S1500's mere 12x lens. Press this in any of the auto modes and a live histogram displaying the areas of brightness across the image is revealed. In addition there’s an ISO range of 100-12800, built-in wi-fi connectivity, continuous shooting at 10fps, interval shooting function, High Speed movie capture at 480fps, Focus Peak Highlight function, a customisable Function button, full manual controls and support for the RAW file format. There's a familiar dual purpose AF-assist illuminator and self-timer lamp to the left of the lens, and located on the right are two clever controls that make zooming with the massive 50x lens more intuitive.
After you are done with the sweeping, the camera does all the processing required, and presents you with a finished panoramic image. Forward of these two controls is the main shutter release button encircled by a responsive zoom lever.
The dedicated Movie button on the rear makes it quick and easy to shoot a movie without missing the start of the action, and there's a mini-HDMI port for connection to a HDTV (cable not supplied).
That's about half a dozen button presses (sometimes more) required for something as simple as changing the active AF point!
The downside of Sony's solution is a much lower Live View frame coverage (90%) and the inability to magnify into the live image for accurate manual focussing. Switching between Live View and the optical viewfinder is done by way of a mechanical switch to the right of the pentamirror housing - a simple and elegant solution, though once again the quality of the switch appears to be lower than that of the A300. Instead, if you would like to use it, you need to enter the Flash menu by pressing the right arrow key on the four-way pad, choose the required flash mode (Fill, Slow or Rear) and exit the Flash menu. The same compartment that houses the memory cards gives shelter to the USB and HDMI OUT ports too.
The latter value, though lower than the former, is actually much better than anything the competition's DSLRs can produce in Live View. Continuing around the dial, the final four shooting setting options are for the regular creative quartet of manual, shutter priority, aperture priority and program modes. The P530 is focussed at the keen photographer and gets a DSLR-like mode dial to easily select dedicated aperture and shutter priority modes, as well as a full manual option.
A rubber rear thumb pad would have been a nice addition, but the embossed plastic alternative still gives your thumb something to grip on to. A separate setting accesses the 21 available scene modes, whilst the landscape, night landscape and night portrait presets get their own individual place on the mode dial. This does contribute to the P530’s slimmed-down dimensions and lighter weight, though we suspect it may also be to keep the P530 from snapping at the heels of the pricier P600 in the features stakes.
Alternatively if you can live with a titchy 640x480 image size, high-speed 120fps shooting is possible. There's an option to search for images by specifying certain parameters such as date, face, favourites, type of data or upload mark. On cheaper cameras, the LCD on the rear usually has to do both jobs, but on this model most of the key settings are visible from above on the smaller panel. The new image sensor is complemented by the more powerful EXPEED 2 processing engine and a larger buffer as well. It is also possible to chose the mode of operation (TTL, Auto or Manual) for one or both of the slaved flash groups, and even to regulate their output from the camera.
Above the pop-up flash is another DSLR-like touch - a hotshoe for additional illumination via an optional external flashgun. You can select one of the Film Simulation or Advanced Filter modes to give your footage a more creative look, and there's the option to take a still photo at any time during movie recording. We suspect that the properties of the secondary sensor might also be behind the fact that the Sony A330 does not offer a video mode.
At least the new camera does extract more life out its 1100MAh rechargeable Li-ion battery. For example, the camera will tell the flash if the zoom is out and that it should increase power output. If you use the screen, placing your eye to the EVF will switch the screen off and operate the EVF automatically.
They record a different amount of photographs within a similar time-frame (referred to as frames per second, or fps). This latter option refers to the capability of allocating images to be uploaded to Facebook and videos to YouTube. This can make the Nikon D7000 quicker to use and it may also extend the battery life, depending on how extensively you use the rear LCD screen. Single-point AF is what you will want to use most of the time, as it gives you the opportunity to specify which of the 39 auto-focus sensors should be engaged. If you don't want to use it any more, it is not enough to push it back - you need to re-enter the Flash menu and select the Flash Off option. But this doesn’t make it a confusing camera to use or difficult to get to grips with.
Add a 50x optical zoom to that and you're going to be taking pictures of your favourite pop artists from seven rows back. These messages are certainly more civilised than the old one, but the real solution would be to make this button reprogrammable to do something more useful than its current function. Maximum image magnification is 12x, but there is little point in going beyond the default 6.1x setting as the image progressively falls apart at higher values.
All will stop recording after 9 frames have been shot and they all record at full image size, which is great. Selecting the active AF point is done by holding down the Af mode button and using the four-way pad, unless the focus selector lock is in the L (=Locked) position.
As with the AF point selection procedure described above, I found this solution to be unnecessarily complicated and in conflict with the A330's billing as an easy-to-use SLR.
Along with those, there's also a Best Frame Capture which will take a sequence of shots and the best result will be chosen from them and AE bracket. To be fair though, some shooting modes allow the user to choose an Auto Flash option, which will probably please novice users - but it's no substitute for a well thought-out user interface. You can set which function you'd like that to be such as ISO, Image size or quality, white-balance, FinePix colour, metering (photometry) and AF modes among others.



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Comments to «Camera review photographyblog blog 01»

  1. 050_475_55_05 on 17.05.2016 at 15:29:31
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  3. mfka on 17.05.2016 at 10:51:53
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  4. BERLIN on 17.05.2016 at 14:45:21
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  5. sex on 17.05.2016 at 21:58:11
    Rotate the mode dial, which is normally at the top.