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Tag Archives: Digital Cameras

Rotor Digital Camera Concept Is All About The Dials

Rotor Digital Camera Concept (Image courtesy Charlie Nghiem)
By Andrew Liszewski

Part of the appeal of Fujifilm’s FinePix X100—for me at least— is that settings like shutter speed have been made accessible via a dedicated physical dial. And I like dials. Particularly compared to having to change a setting by navigating a convoluted menu system in a cluttered UI. And that’s why I really like Charlie Nghiem’s Rotor digital camera concept.

Instead of a collection of buttons seemingly randomly located all over the camera’s housing, the various functions are controlled using a stack of dials on the back of the camera. It’s certainly an ambitious design, but with a bit of practice and a dash of muscle memory, I can see myself being able to easily change the settings on the camera without ever having to look at the dials. The cylindrical stack also has the added bonus of providing a physical bulge on the side of the camera, making it easier to grip and hold with one hand.

[ designboom – charlie nghiem: rotor digital camera ]

Nikon’s New ‘1’ Mirrorless Camera System Says Cheese

Nikon J1 & V1 (Images courtesy Nikon)
By Andrew Liszewski

For better or for worse, last night Nikon introduced their long rumored Nikon 1 system, officially throwing their hat into the brave new world of compact digital cameras with bigger sensors and interchangeable lenses. Interestingly enough, of all the camera manufacturers to enter this market, Nikon and Canon have long been the holdouts. So while the world still strokes their beards, pondering what Canon has in store, let’s take a look at what Nikon’s brought to the party.

The cameras in the Nikon 1 line currently come in two flavors. The lower-end, $649.95 (including a kit lens) Nikon 1 J1 and the higher-end, $899.95 Nikon 1 V1 which is probably what most photography enthusiasts will be after. Both cameras include a 10.1 MP CX format sensor, which is larger than the one found in your average compact P&S. But, still smaller than a Micro Four Thirds sensor which is more common in these types of cameras.

Both cameras pack a dual core EXPEED 3 image processor which lets them do nifty tricks like shooting video at 1080P while capturing stills at the same time. In fact, Nikon uses it for their ‘Motion Snapshot’ feature which combines slow motion video intercut with stills, and a cheesy soundtrack. Slightly more useful are the cameras’ ability to fire off a bunch of shots in rapid succession, saving only the best of the best based on sharpness and contrast. Nikon even claims their 1 system has the world’s fastest autofocus, with a hybrid system using both phase detection AF for speed and moving subjects, and contrast-detect AF for low-light situations.

As for the price difference between the two models? As you can see in the product shot above, the V1 adds a 1,440,000 dot SVGA electronic viewfinder and an i-TTL hot shoe allowing you to use Nikon’s new—and adorable—1 SB-N5 Speedlight flash.

The cameras also feature Nikon’s new Nikon 1 lens mount, and when they’re available come October 20, you’ll have your choice of 4 different lenses. A 10-30mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 (kit lens), a 30-110mm ƒ/3.8-5.6 ($249.95), a 10mm ƒ/2.8 pancake ($249.95), and a 10-100mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 powered zoom ($749.95). None of them are particularly fast, and while Nikon promises an F-mount adapter for its traditional lenses is enroute, as Charlie Sorrel over at Wired points out, “…with a crop factor of 2.7x, that nifty 50mm ƒ1.4 lens you own will turn into an almost useless 135mm ƒ1.4”

Admittedly, neither model is really going to shake up the compact, interchangeable lens camera market. At least not as much as Sony’s NEX cameras did with their big APS-C format sensors. But as someone who’s been a Nikon DSLR user for years now, and who’s never been a fan of their smaller P&S cameras, it’s nice to have a more compact option when I feel like lightening my photography load.

[ Nikon 1 Camera System ]

Casio Exilim EX-ZR15 Doesn’t Keep You Waiting

Casio Exilim EX-ZR15 (Image courtesy Casio Japan)
By Andrew Liszewski

Two of the things I love about using a digital SLR are that as fast as I can turn it on I can start taking pictures, and I’m rarely left waiting for the autofocus to do its thing. I can’t say the same for my backup P&S. So maybe it’s time to give Casio some consideration since they’ve seemed to prioritize speed over megapixel count these days.

I mean their new Exilim EX-ZR15 still packs 16MP which is really far more than most consumers need, and a 7X zoom lens, which is hopefully backed with some image stabilization. But what might pique your curiosity the most is that the camera starts up and is ready to take a photo in just 0.99 seconds. Still slower than a DSLR, but they don’t feature retractable lenses that have to be extended. It’s also no slouch in the autofocus department, promising that focus beep in just 0.13 seconds. And in-between shots you’ll only have to wait about 0.29 seconds. They say the best camera is the one you have on you, but not if it’s so slow you miss the shot. The Exilim EX-ZR15 will be available in gold on September 22 in Japan for ~$520 (¥40,000) and in red, black or white come October.

[ PR – Casio Exilim EX-ZR15 ] VIA [ Newlaunches ]

Samsung MV800 Features A Multi-functional Flip-up LCD Touchscreen Display

Samsung MV800 (Image courtesy Samsung)
By Andrew Liszewski

When it comes to compact P&S digital cameras it’s not easy to innovate. Sure, you can make it smarter, cram a bigger sensor in there and generally improve the specs year after year. But improving the form factor isn’t as easy when your goal is to make something compact and easy to pocket. Samsung, however, has come up with a simple but very useful improvement on their new MV800 P&S. The massive 3-inch capacitive touchscreen display on the back can be flipped up 180 degrees making it easier to take photos from low-angles as well as self-shots. It also serves as a handy support or makeshift tripod if you want to prop the camera up somewhere.

The 16.1MP snapper also features 5X optical zoom, dual image stabilization and a host of software based features like filters, easy panoramas, photo touch-ups and effects, faux 3D and in-camera cropping. Oddly enough it seems to use microSD/SDHC cards instead of the far more common SD/SDHC, most likely to help shrink the camera’s body. So keep that in mind if you were hoping to use the mountain of SD cards you’ve collected over the years. Available soonish, most likely well before the holiday shopping season, for $279.99.

[ Samsung MV800 ]

Olympus Makes A Case For Their Compact Digital Cameras With 36x Zoom

Olympus SP-810UZ (Image courtesy Olympus)
By Andrew Liszewski

I don’t like to think I’m a snob when it comes to digital cameras. But after many years of buying and upgrading equipment I guess I’ve developed some loyalties. Specifically, Canon when it comes to compact point and shoots, and Nikon when it comes to DSLRs. So normally I don’t pay too much attention to digicams from other manufacturers, except when they bring something particularly unique or impressive to the table. Like Olympus’ new SP-810UZ which features a whopping 36x zoom lens. Ensuring it will be at the top of stalkers’ Christmas wish lists this year.

If you’re having trouble crunching the numbers, that’s a 35mm equivalent range of 24-864mm. And on top of that you get 4x digital zoom too, but that’s like adding speed holes to a Bugatti Veyron. Of course a camera with that much zoom is only usable with good stabilization, so the SP-810UZ includes sensor-shift IS and an ƒ-stop range of 2.9 to 5.7. On the back you’ll find a 3-inch LCD display, though limited to 230,000 pixels, and like any digital camera these days it’s 720P ‘HD’ video capable. It’s also got a smattering of software based features like image effects, easy panoramas, beauty mode, auto-focus tracking, face detection and processed 3D. All for $329.99 come September.

[ Olympus SP-810UZ ] VIA [ DPReview ]

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX55 Does Single Lens 3D, Might Even Have Usable Digital Zoom

 Sony DSC-TX55 Cyber-shot (Image courtesy Sony)
By Andrew Liszewski

Usually when a digital camera includes a line about digital zoom in its feature list I glaze right over it, because quite frankly, it’s useless. All they’re really doing is zooming in on the center of the image, which is going to result in a softer, possibly pixelated result depending on the quality of the resizing algorithm it uses. But Sony’s new DSC-TX55 Cyber-shot could be a different story. Besides being just 12.2mm ‘slim’ (thinner than a AA battery) the DSC-TX55 has something Sony is calling “By Pixel Super Resolution” technology which adds an extra 5X digital zoom to the camera’s sliding 5X optical zoom mechanism, without losing quality at the camera’s max resolution of 16.2 million pixels. I’ve no idea how it really works, or if it’s just marketing talk covering up the same old thing.

‘Round back it sports a large 3.3-inch touchscreen OLED display, which is also great for reviewing pics or videos since the DSC-TX55 shoots full HD video as well. And, it can even grab 12MP photos while you’re recording in HD. Available this September, the camera will come with a ~$350 price tag which also gets you electronic image stabilization, 0.1 second autofocus times, a new in-camera ‘Picture Effect’ mode, panoramic photos which can be easily captured by just sweeping your camera from side to side and even single lens 3D.

[ PR – Sony’s Newest Cyber-shot Camera Expands Range Of Creative Options ] VIA [ Tech Digest ]

Takara Tomy’s Now Got A Digital Camera For Toddlers That Makes It Easy To Frame Their Shots

Takara Tomy Digital Camera for Toddlers (Images courtesy Japan Trends)
By Andrew Liszewski

Takara Tomy is hoping to get kids hooked on digital photography at an even younger age than anyone thought was possible with this new toddler-friendly digital camera they unveiled at the Tokyo Toy Show last month. I’m assuming it’s durable enough to be frequently dropped, and sports the usual bright colors, cartoony characters and oversized buttons we’ve come to expect on kid-friendly electronics. But what makes it unique is that instead of an oversized viewfinder or a large LCD display on the back, the camera simply features a photo-sized hole that littles ones can hold up in front of them to frame their shots. Now I’m sure the photos it snaps won’t perfectly match what kids are seeing in the frame, but I doubt they’ll be as anal about it as a professional photographer would be.

I have no idea when the camera will be available, how much it will cost or if you’ll ever be able to find one outside of Japan. But according to Japan Trends it does include a self-timer and has enough storage to hold 99 x 3MP shots.

[ Japan Trends – Digital Camera for Toddlers ]

Stylish Pixbag SLR Camera Wraps

Pixbags (Images courtesy DaWanda)
By Andrew Liszewski

Occasionally an SLR manufacturer like Pentax will come out with a colorful camera option for those who like to stand out in the crowd. But otherwise black, slightly less black, and really dark gray are pretty much your only color options when shopping for an SLR or DSLR these days. Unfortunately for the most part it’s the same situation when shopping for a case, though there are standouts.

These Pixbag bags by DaWanda (kind of like a European version of Etsy) seller Chocmuf are made from a large assortment of bright colors, patterns and prints. And while they’re not going to provide a heck of a lot of protection for your gear when traveling, they are padded and seem perfect for safely stashing your camera in a backpack, or for just carrying it around all day. The handmade bags, which come in 3 different sizes for different cameras, range in price from ~$72 (€49.90) up to ~$79 (€54.90), presumably depending on the fabric used. And additional options like a wrist strap or extra room for a battery grip add to the overall price.

[ Pixbag SLR Camera Wraps ]

DXG-018O 3D Camera Is Just $70 – But You Get What You Pay For

DXG-018O 3D Camera (Images courtesy DXG)
By Andrew Liszewski

Finding a half-decent digital camera for under $100 these days is not impossible. But finding a 3D capable digital camera for just $70? Well there’s bound to be some trade-offs. And in the case of the DXG-018O, there are certainly a few. If I’m reading the tech specs correctly the camera uses a set of 0.3MP sensors, which isn’t even VGA quality. But because there’s 2 of them, and the fact that the camera does internal interpolation, you end up with a combined resolution of about 1.3MP in your 3D images.

Unfortunately it’s impossible to actually view the 3D images it captures on the camera because there’s only a tiny 1.44-inch TFT LCD display on the back which isn’t 3D capable. If you want to see your images in the 3rd dimension you’ll have to actually print them out and use the DXG’s included 3D viewer, which in reality is nothing more than a fold out cardboard tube with a couple of lenses in it. At the least it probably produces better 3D results than a red/cyan anaglyph system, but not by much.

[ DXG-018O 3D Camera ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]