This year is shaping up as the Year of the Digital SLR, with the announcement of five exciting new digital SLRs by different manufacturers in February.
February 2002: This year is shaping up as the Year of the Digital SLR, with the announcement of five exciting new digital SLRs by different manufacturers in February.
Canon’s EOS D-60 is the second model to feature a CMOS sensor, in this case with 6.29 megapixel effective resolution. The sensor area is the same as that on the D-30, so the lens focal length multiplier remains at 1.6x. Individual pixels are obviously smaller, which probably accounts for the cut back in maximum sensitivity from ISO 1600 to ISO 1000.
The new model uses the same basic body as the D-30 and offers most of the same functions. However it comes with an improved software driver that provides faster RAW file conversion and a wider range of image controls plus an extended range of image size options (six plus RAW capture), faster start-up time and retention of the 3 fps burst mode (a significant achievement when you consider the larger file sizes involved).
A welcome addition is the superimposed AF points in the viewfinder, which makes selective focusing easier. And the viewfinder now includes information on flash compensation and remaining frames. An additional parameter setting (colour tone) has been added to the Parameters menu, which is now accessible directly from the menu screen (instead of having to be downloaded to the camera).
Noise reduction is now automatic, reducing the number of Custom Functions to 14. The top LCD panel has now been fitted with an LED illuminator, which is turned on by pressing the Set button.
The D-60 will be available in April and is expected to retail for around $6000 for the body only. Like the D-30, it accepts a wide range of Canon EF lenses. Details can be found at www.canon.com.au.
Contax has developed a digital SLR camera that shares all basic functions of the Contax N1 but is fitted with the full 35mm frame (36 x 24 mm) Philips 6.29 megapixel CCD sensor. This maintains an angle of view that is the same as a mm film camera and supports a full range of Carl Zeiss T* lenses.
The N Digital records images to Compact Flash type I and II cards and is IBM Type II Microdrive compatible. Files can be saved in several formats, including JPEG (3 compression ratios) RGB-TIFF and RAW. High-speed digital image processing (DSP) supports a burst capture speed of 3 frames/second and the N Digital comes with a Firewire (IEEE1394) interface. A full range of imaging functions is provided plus a 2.0-inch, low-temperature, polysilicon, TFT color LCD monitor with a Graphic User Interface (GUI).
This camera has yet to be released and no information is currently available on possible local release dates or pricing. Contax cameras are distributed in Australia by Tasco Sales Australia, phone (02) 9938 3244.
FujiFilm’s lastest digital SLR, the FinePix S2 Pro, also boasts a 6-megapixel sensor, but in this case it’s a third generation Super CCD with 6.17 million effective pixels. With a body based on the popular Nikon F-80 film camera, the FinePix S2 Pro weighs around 760 g and is compatible with a wide range of Nikon lenses and other accessories.
The FinePix S2 Pro supports JPEG, RAW and TIFF file capture and produces a maximum image file of 4256 x 2848 pixels. Continuous shooting is provided at speeds up to 2 frames/second for seven shots. It offers all of the F-80’s focusing and metering settings plus a built-in flash, accessory shoe and X-type flash synch socket is provided for use with accessory flash units.
Like its predecessor, the FinePix S2 Pro comes with a dual-media option that accepts both SmartMedia and CompactFlash Type II cards and microdrives and includes a dual IEEE 1394 (FireWire) and USB 1.1 interface. Sensitivity has been extended to ISO 1600, thanks to new noise reduction technology. Four shooting modes (single frame, continuous, preview and multiple exposure) are provided, along with four exposure modes. In addition, there are nine modes for white balance (auto, fine, shade, incandescent light, two custom settings and three for fluorescent light).
For details of pricing and release dates, go to www.hanimex.com.au.
Nikon’s D-100 was developed in response to worldwide demand for a value priced, high-quality compact and lightweight (around 700 g) digital SLR. With a body reminiscent of the popular F-100 (plus some features of the F-80), the D-100 boasts a 6.1 million effective pixel low-noise CCD sensor, improved image-processing algorithms and an enhanced Auto White Balance system. Five-Area Autofocus and 3D Matrix Metering are provided plus a built-in Speedlight with D-TTL flash control capability.
Other features include high-speed image processing (provided by new one-chip system LSI) and a top shutter speed of 1/4,000 sec. and flash sync speed up to 1/180 sec. The D-100 also features the F-80’s On-Demand Grid Lines and supports an array of Custom Settings, selectable via the LCD monitor.
Three colour modes – including the popular sRGB and Adobe RGB – are provided, allowing photographers to fine-tune image capture parameters to the working space on their PCs. In addition, 3D Digital Matrix Image Control includes a new image-processing algorithm that delivers faithful colour reproduction with smooth tonal gradations.
The D-100 body weighs only 700 g and comes with a plug-and-play USB 1.1 interface for quick computer connection and is uses Type I and II CompactFlash memory cards plus microdrive storage.
The Nikon D-100 is expected to go on sale mid-year. Pricing had not been determined when we went to press. Visit www.maxwell.com.au for further information.
The Sigma SD9 is the first digital camera to feature the Foveon X3 3.43 megapixel image sensor (see pages 16 and 17 for details) and offers a maximum image file size of 2268 x 1512 pixels. The camera body weighs just over 800 g (without batteries) and accepts Sigma SA mount lenses. The lens multiplier is 1.7x.
Features include P/A/S/M shooting modes plus three metering options: 8-Segment evaluative, center-weighted average metering and centered. Shutter speeds range from 30 to 1/6000 second with flash synch at 1/180 sec.
Image data is stored on a Compact Flash Type II card. Microdrive support is also provided. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to ISO 400 and exposure compensation ranges from +3 EV to – 3 EV in 0.5 EV steps. Auto-bracketing is available over the same exposure range.
Five white balance pre-sets are provided, along with auto and manual settings. No image parameter adjustments are available. The SD9 is fitted with both Firewire (IEEE 1394) and USB 1.1 interfaces to facilitate downloading images to a PC.
For information on pricing and availability, go to www.crkennedy.com.au.