Nikon offers new compact interchangeable lens camera

Nikon has released a new model in its line of compact mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras: the Nikon 1 system J2 has a new metallic body, and a higher-resolution LCD than its predecessor which debuted almost a year ago.

The Nikon 1 System “is engineered from the ground up to give users the freedom to capture and connect with others to share life experiences,” the company says. The new model’s 3-inch LCD has a 921,000 dot resolution. A new Creative Mode provides fast access to full manual exposure controls (P,S,A,M) and automatic modes. The metallic body is available in white, black, silver, pink, deep red, and orange.

The camera has a 10-megapixel CX-format CMOS sensor, 73 point AF array, and also captures 1080p HD video.

“The J2 is the camera designed to empower users to capture their world like never before with stunning and sharp image and HD video quality,” Nikon says. The J2 with 10-30mm kit lens will be available in September for $550.

Also new is a 2.5x zoom, the 1 Nikkor 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 lens that Nikon says is a new “super-compact addition” to the line of lens. It’s smaller and lighter than current 10-30mm kit lens, and well sell for $190.
Nikon will also offer the WP-N1, an underwater case for the ILC cameras, for $750.

Nikon also introduced the Coolpix L610, an affordable compact camera featuring a 14x optical zoom lens with image stabilization, 1080p video, and a 16-megapixel backside illuminated sensor. It is $250.



Canon launches mirrorless ILC camera

Using the same sensor as its latest consumer  SLR, Canon will soon ship a compact interchangeable lens camera, which the company says combines “the perfect blend of advanced video features and excellent still image quality in a convenient size.”

The largest camera company is all but the last of the major players to enter the newest market: camera bodies that work with multiple interchangeable lenses, but which do without the moving mirror that gives SLRs both their namesake acronym — and their size.

The EOS M has an 18-megapixel APS-C-sized CMOS sensor, which Canon says “provides a shallow depth of field, incredible low-light image quality and a wide dynamic range to capture rich gradation and detail.” The ISO is 100–6400 for video recording, and 100–12800 for still images.

The EOS M’s “unique feature set” make it “an ideal movie-making tool,” Canon adds. It captures Full HD video with Movie Servo AF for continuous focus tracking of moving subjects, as well as manual exposure control, multiple resolution frame rates, and a built-in stereo microphone.

In addition to being smaller and lighter than the Rebel T4i with which it shares many imaging electronics, the new camera of course lacks many SLR features, including many buttons and dials, and an optical viewfinder. Unlike many compact ILCs, it also lacks an electronic viewfinder: photos must be framed on the 3-inch touchscreen.

Two new lenses are designed specifically for the new format:  the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM kit lens, and the optional EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens. Also, the compact camera can use the full line of Canon’s full-size EF and EF-S lenses with an optional mount adapter.

The EOS M with 22mm f/2 kit lens will be available in October for of $800.

Meanwhile, Canon cut its full-year profit forecast, Bloomberg reports, and its compact camera sales expectations.

The company cites a stronger yen, and expectations for weaker growth in the U.S., Europe and China.

Net income for 2012 is projected at $3.2 billion. Canon cut its sales target for compact cameras this year to 21 million units from 22 million forecast earlier. It also reduced sales targets for office equipment such as laser printers.

Canon still expects to sell 9.2 million SLRs.


Wider, brighter lens in Panasonic LX7

Panasonic  says its Lumix LX7’s “fully re-designed lens, image sensor and image processing engine deliver superior performance and stunning image quality.”

The camera has a 24mm wide-angle lens that zooms 3.8x with an F1.4 – F2.3 brightness range — and F1.4 is approximately 400 percent as bright as an F2.8 , Panasonic notes. “The extraordinarily rich amount of light allows for the use of higher shutter speed to capture stunningly clear, sharp, blur-free images in low light situations,” the company says, “and also provides impressive expression to images by reproducing exquisite gradation and mellow defocus to elevate photography.” Also, the 24mm lens provides an approximately 136 percent larger viewing space compared to a 28mm lens.

The new 1/1.7-inch 10-megapixel sensor features an improved S/N ratio by 1.5 dB compared with its predecessor, Panasonic says. It can captures 11 frames per second in full resolution with a mechanical shutter, and 5 fps with continuous auto focus. It also takes  1080 /60p HD video.

The Lumix DMC-G5 is the latest Micro Four Thirds “single lens mirrorless” camera; with its “compact, lightweight body with built-in flash,” Panasonic says, “the Lumix G5 boasts ultra-high mobility while offering users powerful camera performance which achieves spectacular image quality, realizing true-to-life photo details through excellent resolution, image rendering and color production.”

The camera has a 16-megapixel sensor. Its full-area Touch AF sets the focus on any point in the field of view, and combined with “high-speed burst shooting at six frames per second in 16.05-megapixel full resolution, it has never been easier to capture fast-moving objects clearly,” the company says.” It also captures 1080 /60p HD video.


The DMC-FZ60 has a 24x optical zoom lens starts at the 35mm equivalent of 25mm. Its 16-megapixel sensor shoots 10 frames per second in full resolution with a mechanical shutter, and 5 fps with continuous AF. It takes 1080 /60i video.

The FZ200 also has a 24x optical zoom lens that starts at the 35mm equivalent of 25mm — and it “achieves full range F2.8 aperture,” the company adds. It’s “the first digital compact camera to offer full range F2.8 aperture at 600mm, making it possible to capture moving subjects clearly with fast shutter speed, even from a distance.”
The 12-megapixel sensor captures a burst at 12 frames per second in full resolution — or 120 fps at HD resolution, and 240 fps at VGA res. The camera has a 0.2-inch electronic view finder and a 3-inch LCD.

The DMC-SZ5 compact features a 10x optical zoom and WiFi connectivity, which “fulfills the needs of consumers who are looking for high-quality photos that can be uploaded easily onto their social networking sites and shared with friends quickly and seamlessly,” Panasonic says. The SZ5 can connect directly to a smartphone by using it as a wireless router, which eliminates the need to search for a Wi-Fi hotspot, the company adds.

Lastly, the Lumix LZ20 compact camera has a 21x optical zoom lens starts at the 35mm equivalent of 25mm, and a 16-megapixel CCD.

Pricing and availability were not announced for any of the new models.
More information is here.



Nikon to zoom 800mm

Nikon announced an 800mm telephoto lens — the longest autofocus lens the company has offered.

The super-telephoto Nikkor lens will have a fixed focal length and f/5.6 maximum aperture. The lens “will be best suited to capture of a wide variety of decisive outdoor scenes, from sporting events to wildlife,” Nikon says. “In addition to its superior optical performance, the lens will offer dust and water resistance.”

It will fit Nikon’s FX-format full-frame SLR cameras, including the D4, D800, and D800E. Pricing and availability are unannounced.



Schneider-Kreuznach developing Micro Four Thirds lens

Schneider Kreuznach plans to market new optics for compact system camera lenses. “We are placing a strong focus on the innovative market for mirrorless system cameras with their interchangeable lenses and have appropriate developments in the pipeline,” the company says.

The first Micro Four Thirds-mount lens will have an f/2.0 maximum aperture and 14mm focal length, as well as, reportedly, autofocus and diaphragm control via the camera body. Below is an artist’s rendition.


Big and small interchangeable lens cameras from Sony

The new NEX-F3 compact system camera “adds a whole new perspective to self-portraits,” Sony says, with a 180-degree tiltable LCD: “By simply holding the camera at arm’s length and flipping the LCD screen vertically, users can adjust the on-screen preview image and properly frame photos.”

The newest model in its mirror-free NEX series has a 16-megapixel sensor “identical in size to sensors found in traditional SLR cameras,” Sony says, yielding ISO sensitivity up to 16,000. The camera is $600 with an 18-55mm lens.

Sony also debuted its newest translucent mirror model, the SLT-A37. It has the same sensor as the above F3, and captures seven frames per second in the tele-zoom high speed shooting mode, where the central portion of the sensor’s image is magnified by approximately 1.4x.

The translucent mirror technology in the standard-sized SLR body delivers “a potent combination of fast shooting, non-stop phase detection autofocus and continuous live image preview during still and full HD video (60i/24p) shooting,” Sony says.

The camera has a 2.6-inch tilting LCD, and is $600 with an 18-55mm lens.


More information is here.


Pentax intros weather-resistant K-30 SLR

A new weather- and dust-resistant SLR is “ideal for photographers with active outdoor lifestyles,” says Pentax Ricoh Imaging.

The K-30 “combines a compact, lightweight body with many advanced features found only in higher-end models. Every seam, every button, every hinge has been weather sealed for adventure-proof creative photography,” Pentax says.

The K-30 has a burst shooting maximum speed of six images per second, a top shutter speed of 1/6000 second, and dual dials for “fingertip access to exposure control and several auto picture and scene modes,” the company adds.

The camera has a 16-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor, top ISO of 12800, 1080p video capture, and a 3-inch LCD. It’s priced at $850 body-only, and $900 with an 18-55mm zoom lens.

Pentax also introduced a compact, lightweight autofocus medium-telephoto lens with an f/1.8 aperture. The smc DA has 50mm fixed focal-length, and is priced at $250.


InfoTrends analyzes ILCs, projects growth

Marker researcher InfoTrends expects interchangeable lens cameras to account for more than 50 percent of total U.S. digital camera market revenue by 2016.

The firm’s latest study explores “what drives photo activity among owners of DILCs, and which services and products they use and anticipate using in the future.”

More information on the 2012 U.S. Interchangeable Lens Camera Market is here.



Panasonic updates compact Lumix

The latest Lumix interchangeable lens system camera from Panasonic updates the sensor and image processor for a maximum ISO sensitivity of 12800.

The DMC -GF5 has a new 12-megapixel sensor, and captures 1080 video at 60i in AVCHD format.

The Micro Four Thirds camera’s 3-inch touchscreen can control focus, shutter release, and even zoom (when combined  with certain lenses).

The camera is $599 body only.



New Nikon packs pixels

Nikon says its new D800 SLR is a “multimedia HD” camera that “shatters conventional resolution barriers for maximum fidelity.

What is that barrier? The D800’s “unrivaled resolution” clocks in at 36 megapixels, for a camera “with an unmatched balance of accuracy, functionality and image quality,” Nikon claims.

The new CMOS sensor has 7360 by 4912 pixels across its 35.9 by 24mm area. The sensor design has an enhanced optical low pass filter, Nikon adds, and 14 bit A/D conversion with a high signal to noise ratio, for a sensor “capable of excellent low light ability despite the extreme resolution.” The camera has an ISO range of 100-6400, and shoots up to 4 frames per second at full resolution.

The D800 also has a 91,000-pixel 3D color matrix metering III and improved 51-point AF system “for images with amazing sharpness, color and clarity.” A new RGB sensor analyzes the scene, recognizes factors such as color and brightness, and detects human faces “with startling accuracy,” the company says.

Nikon promotes the camera’s “extensive video feature set,” saying the D800’s 1080p HD resolution “allows photographers to transition to multimedia to create an immersive story. Professional videographers will appreciate practical features …such as full manual control, uncompressed HDMI output, and incredible low-light video capability.”

The D800E model eliminates the standard anti-aliasing filter, and so “light is delivered directly to the photodiodes, yielding an image resulting from the raw light gathering properties of the camera,” Nikon says.

The D800 is $3,000. The D800E version is $3,300.



New Pentax ILC highlights design

Pentax-Ricoh calls Marc Newson “one of the most acclaimed and influential contemporary designers” — and worked with him to develop its newest compact system camera, the K-01.

The company says the new camera is “another bold effort from the manufacturer that is known for pushing camera size, color, durability, and now, design, to the limit.”

Newson has designed furniture, bicycles, cars, aircraft, and yachts, Pentax adds. “The elimination of an optical viewfinder and SLR-style mirror gave Newson more freedom in designing the camera body.” He also worked on the 40mm F2.8 lens for the camera, which the company says is “the world’s thinnest interchangeable lens.”

The camera has a 16-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor, 3-inch LCD, 1080p video capture, sensor-shift shake and dust reduction, and a burst rate of six frames per second.

It will sell for $750 body only, and $900 with the lens.


Olympus combines 40-year SLR legacy with Micro Four Thirds

With the E-M5, Olympus says it “builds upon the 40-year legacy of the OM SLR film camera series” with the Micro Four Thirds mirrorless compact interchangeable lens camera, for “blazing fast speed and total creative control in a classic, rugged body ready for sand, sun, sleet or snow.”

The new model is compact and ready-for-action, the company says, with a lightweight magnesium alloy body “evoking the classic design of the original OM Series” to “meet the requirements of discerning photographers who demand more performance and portability from their interchangeable-lens cameras.”

The E-M5’s 16-megapixel sensor allows for a maximum ISO of 25,600, and the dynamic range has been expanded for more faithful color reproduction.

The camera’s “unprecedented” 5-axis image stabilization compensates for multi-directional camera shake during both still photography and HD moviemaking — the world’s first such system, Olympus asserts. It is capable of reducing the effects of camera motion and image blur from five directions on stills and video, even including motion blur caused by the photographer walking or running: horizontal shift, vertical shift, rotary motion, as well as the yaw and pitch. All lenses mounted on the body can take advantage of the technology.

The E-M5 also has the fastest autofocusing system, Olympus says, reading image data off the sensor at 240 frames per second. The new 3D AF tracking improves performance following moving subjects at up to 9 frames per second.

The camera has a tilting 3-inch OLED touchscreen, and measures 4.8 by 3.5 by 1.7 inches. The E-M5 will ship in April for $1,000 body only, and $1,300 with a 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 lens.
More information is here.



More MFT support

Olympus announced three companies declared support for the Micro Four Thirds System standard, and will be introducing compliant products.

Astrodesign develops advanced imaging equipment such as a 4K camera system; Kenko Tokina and Tamron each manufacture interchangeable lenses.

“With the addition of exciting new products from these companies, the Micro Four Thirds lineup will become much more diverse,” Olympus adds, “further increasing the potential of this advanced digital imaging system.”

Olympus and Panasonic jointly announced the Micro Four Thirds System standard for compact mirror-free interchangeable lens cameras in 2008.



Fujifilm adds mirrorless ILC to X premium line

The X-Pro1 has a magnesium alloy chassis. The “Made in Japan” moniker “confirms that every part of the construction has had to meet Fujifilm’s highest standards,” the company says.

The X-Pro1 “is poised to deliver superlative image quality that will rival currently available mid- and high-end SLR models,” Fujifilm says. It’s “another decisive step into the premium camera market,” the company adds, a move started with its X-Series camera line.

“Each element is the product of Fujifilm’s commitment to uncompromising quality,” the company says. “…The X-Pro1 is poised to become the new standard for photographers.”

The X-Pro1 interchangeable lens digital camera system features a custom 16 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor. The chip delivers resolution “superior to other APS-C sensors, and equal to even some full-frame sensors,” Fujifilm claims. The new color filter array “is inspired by the random arrangement of fine film grain,” Fuji adds, and removes the need for an optical low-pass filter to solve moiré and false color issues — and so the sensor does not suffer from degraded resolution caused by the optical low-pass filter in conventional sensors. In the array, RGB pixels are arranged in 6×6 pixel sets with high aperiodicity (randomness). Increasing the degree of randomness eliminates the fundamental cause of moiré and false colors — a problem that occurs in conventional arrays when shooting stripes and other repeating patterns, Fujifilm adds. The presence of an R, G and B pixel in every vertical and horizontal pixel series minimizes the generation of false colors and delivers higher color reproduction.

The camera also features a new hybrid multi viewfinder, and three compact fast aperture prime lenses are available: a 27mm equivalent, a 53mm equivalent at f/1.4, and F2.4 macro that is a 90mm equivalent. The new lenses are specifically designed to maximize the new mirrorless design in the body, with the X-Mount short flange back distance measuring 17.7mm, Fuji adds. “This means the rear lens elements are as close as possible to the sensor.”

The X-Pro1 will be available in February, and the price will be announced later this month.

Complete camera specifications are here.




Panasonic improves compact ILC focus

The new Lumix DMC-GX1 compact system camera from Panasonic is “an extremely flexible and capable camera with fast AF speeds and outstanding image quality,” the company says.

The Micro Four Thirds mirrorless interchangeable lens camera has a 16-megapixel sensor in its compact body: it measures 4.6 by 2.7 by 1.6 inches.

It provides speedier focus than previous and competing models, Panasonic says: its Contrast AF focus system, as compared with Phase difference AF, yields higher accuracy especially when shooting with a bright lens with small F value. “For instance, the accuracy of Contrast AF is approximately 90% while Phase difference AF is approximately 60% at F1.4,” the company says.

Also, by reducing the detection time for focusing by the synchronizing the lens and sensor at 120 frames per second, auto focus locks in approximately 0.09 second, according to Panasonic.

The camera has a new level gauge that detects the horizontal/vertical angle of view. Also, there is a 3-inch touchscreen with touch-to-focus control, maximum 12,800 ISO sensitivity, and 1920 by 1080 HD video capture at 60i.

It’s priced body-only at $700,


More information is here.


Fujifilm plans mirrorless cameras for 2012

Fujifilm plans to enter the mirrorless camera market, say reports from a press conference in Japan.

Its first mirrorless camera should debut in Spring 2012 —with high resolution and low noise rivaling full-frame sensors, the company claims.

Fujifilm also announced the price for its X10 fixed-lens camera will be about $900.

The complete story at the Imaging Resource is here.


Nikon introduces its own mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras — at last

Nikon calls its new mirror-free camera “revolutionary.”
It’s not. But it is an important milestone in digital photography.

Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras — ILCs, or CSCs for compact system cameras — have been out for three years.

It was way back in August 2008 that Olympus and Panasonic announced their Micro Four Thirds system, which eliminated the mirror box from the SLR mechanism, yielding an approximately 50 percent shorter distance from lens mount to sensor as compared to their own original Four Thirds systems — which were already smaller than competing SLR designs. Panasonic announced the Lumix DMC-G1, the first MFT camera, the next month.

In the intervening three years, the two companies have come out with ever-smaller models. They’ve been joined in mirror-free designs by Sony, Pentax, and Samsung.

But while there was plenty of competition in this new field, the two biggest competitors in SLRs stood on the sidelines: Canon and Nikon refrained from entering the fray, and did not even publicly proclaim they had such models in development.

[Read more...]

CSCs taking ILC market share from SLRs

Canon and Nikon’s combined share of the Japanese market for interchangeable lens cameras has fallen by 35 percent, while Sony’s share has doubled, according to estimates at research firm BCN.

Why? The two leading camera makers still use mirrors in their SLRs, while Panasonic, Samsung, and Olympus are offering compact system cameras — smaller, lighter cameras that work with interchangeable lenses, but don’t use the reflex mirror.

The real winner has proven to be Sony, which offers both SLRs and CSC-style ILCs, and has seen a jump in its market share. All told, mirrorless cameras account for 40.5 percent of ILC sales in Japan in July, BCN reports.

There is no doubt Canon and Nikon have at least been researching their own mirror-free designs — and rumors and reports continue to service that they will announce new models soon.

However, they might see no reason to hurry: worldwide, Canon still retains an estimated 45 percent of the global market for ILCs of all styles, and Nikon has 30 percent, according to researcher IDC.

More information is in this Bloomberg news article.


Pentax claims smallest interchangeable-lens camera

Pentax says its new interchangeable-lens camera is “significantly smaller than every other digital ILC body available on the market today.”
The camera measures 3.9 by 2.3 by 1.2 inches, and weighs 8.3 ounces.

The new compact system camera, the “Q” [for Queen] has a backside-illuminated 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that is even smaller than those used in the Micro Four Thirds cameras that launched the mirror-free ILC format. [Whereas Sony’s and Samsung’s ILC designs have larger sensors.]

The Q has a new lens mount design as well, and five lenses will be available at launch, including a prime and a fish-eye.

The 12 megapixel camera features in-body image stabilization, five frames per second photo capture, 1080p video capture, and a 3-inch LCD. Its many shooting modes include manual options, and 21 scene modes include new Forest and Stage Lighting options, as well as in-camera HDR.

The Q’s new “bokeh control” will automatically judge the focused subject as well as relative distance of each object from the camera in the field of view to apply optimal defocus effect to each object to make the main subject stand out, the company says.

The camera has a “durable and lightweight magnesium alloy body,” and will be available in the fall for about $800.





Panasonic speeds and shrinks latest Lumix

With its new Lumix DMC-GF3, Panasonic is again laying claim to the title of the smallest interchangeable lens camera with a built-in flash.

The camera’s size is “comparable to that of a smartphone,” Panasonic says,  and its weight “less than a standard 8oz cup of coffee.” The mirror-free camera measures 4.2 by 2.6 by 1.3 inches, and weighs 7.83 ounces (body only) — about 16 percent smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the Lumix GF2.

The 12-megapixel Lumix is also faster than its predecessor, with a burst rate of 3.8 frames per second. However, the GF3 lacks the stereo microphone, hot shoe, and accessory port of the GF2.

The camera has a 3-inch touchscreen, on which menus can be customized using simple drag-and-drop actions similar to those on some touch-enabled smartphones, Panasonic says. Users can also release the shutter using the touch-screen.

The GF3 also captures 1920 by 1080 HD video, with a dedicated video record button on the top, and Touch AF  that enable “professional-like features, such as rack focusing,” the company says, when touching a subject on the screen shifts focus.

With a 14mm f/2.5 lens, the camera is $700; with a 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 lens, $600.

More information is here.