Nikon D7000: Digital Photography Review

D7000- not a bad camera at all. If I was going to buy a DX replacement for my aging D200. It would be this. I liked the d90 back in the day and I recommended it to some friends because it was just a good as my d200 (if not better) at an affordable price point. Today this camera on paper is better than the D300s (although I prefer a larger body like the D200, D700, D3/4). I wonder if the rumors will end up being true that the Next “D90” will replace the D300s at the top of the DX food chain and the update to the “D300s” will be an entry level FX camera. (around 24 Mp) with HD video.

I want a FX camera- I want it bad, and I’ve got it bad for the D4 (funny how the 4 and the $ share the same key- seems apt here). I also really really don’t have $6k for a body knowing I’ll spend another $3k on glass. So my options are… the D800. It’s a great camera –I wont get in to the details now– but basically I’ve talked myself into the D800 simply because what I’m lacking in my D200 is image clarity/quality and ISO range. Nearly any camera built in the last few years will blow my D200 out of the water so that’s obviously going to be a great camera that will keep me happy for years to come. Would a D4 rock my world, yes – yes but a D800 will rock it just a bit less for half the price. BUUUUTTTT here’s the thing. the D800 also was meant to appease the D3X crowd –I guess it was meant to because why else would they cram 36.3 -Thirty SIX- Megapixels into the thing. I mean it’s great and all- super detailed, the noise is still super clean despite all those photo-sites where things can go wrong and if there is noise the image is so stupid large you’ll never see it… why it matters to me is if I shoot RAW I’ll be dealing with files sizes around 50-70 Mb a piece (30 Mb for jpeg). I won’t get into it too much but it’s way more pixels than I need and more file than my computer can handle. (or sd/cf cards for that matter). This is why I’m seriously considering buying a D700 before they are all gone (Nikon is still selling new ones from the website- are they still making them?) and if so, they probably know the D800 isn’t the one size fits all entry level FX camera the D700 was. The D700 was like the slightly younger brother to the D3. The D800 is it’s own thing. And while yes by now the D700 is slightly behind the times, and the IQ isn’t as great as the D800 in terms of color and dynamic range… it’s still a great camera (at a value price of ~$2300) that STILL knocks my D200 out of the water. SO if the next camera out of Nikon isn’t the D600 (FX) I’m looking to buy a D700 because I think I’m ready to move out of the DX zone… hopefully -If I can put together the funds to buy glass to make it all worth while. If not then $1200 for a D7000 that would be a very nice jump in IQ and ISO from my D200– where I can still make full use of my DX glass is not a bad way to go. (side note- I’ve seen another blog post somewhere about using DX glass on FX- it’s actually still very useable with a nice vignette all around which has a nice touch to it so maybe buy an FX camera and the glass will come :)

Nikon D7000: Digital Photography Review.

Nikon Coolpix P7700 preview – 12MP CMOS-based enthusiast superzoom

I think the Nikon P7000 series is finally at a point of refinement that I would have bought this over a g11/g12. Although I still love the dedicated ISO dial on the g series (traveling around europe going from indoor to outdoor back to indoor, the ISO is what I changed constantly). I sold my g11 because in the end I thought it was too bulky for what it is- even though I loved the articulating screen and all the easy access dials. Doing it again I would have either gotten an s100 (then s95) or an x100 (if I could have afforded it)). Also if I had know about the g11s (or perhaps all canon’s p&s’) tendency over expose IMHO I might have stayed away from canon all together- g11 or s95. Today there are much better options for large(r) sensor compacts in about the same form factor as this camera. The G1 X for example. The G1 X is aimed at those who usually have a 5D or D700 around their necks who need more features, iso range, and controls than most compacts. The senor is nearly APS-C sized, has an ISO range up to 12800, and an articulating screen etc.Other options such as the Canon EOS M and Sony RX100 are aimed at P&S up-graders, you can find iso controls in the menu…in fact I see the RX100 as a s100 killer.

In summary the P7700 is a mighty fine camera but if I was carrying a black plastic box to make pictures that was that size (i.e. not actually “pocketable”- or at least easy to slide into a side pouch of a man purse (or girlfriends purse) like an s100 or rx100). I’d rather have a mirror-less APS-C thing like the EOS M or a NEX7, or a camera that has a larger sensor than what can be found in an s100 and go for a G1 X or Fuji X100 (also APS-C) and deal with a slightly larger picture making box than a g12 or p7700. Especially since (except for the Fuji and NEX7) all these camera’s (g12, s100, G1 X, RX100, EOS M) are sub $1k.  If you had a bunch of canon glass it’s a no brainer to go for the EOS M because you can use those lenses with an adapter (I think you can do something similar for the NEX7). I don’t even know if you can use the Nikon 1 series with std Nikon glass…yes you can the FT1 adapter for F mount glass… anyway at this point you may be better off carrying a d7000 or d5000/3000. Anyway the point is that you could- when you buy a camera like this you want to be a little (lot) more portable but still pack a punch right.

The g12 and the p7700 are in about the same boat, a boat that has it’s sails flapping. If you want a p7700 (and aren’t totally brand crazy– it’s ok to be a loyalist when you have heaps of nikon glass and are dealing with camera kit in the 5k-30K range. But when it comes to ‘enthusiast’ gear (adding to that nikon kit) you can try things like a canon—  If you want a p7700 you’re probably looking at/thinking of a g12 as well… forget them both and go for a G1X or something slightly bigger and more powerful or something smaller… and more powerful.

Nikon Coolpix P7700 preview – 12MP CMOS-based enthusiast superzoom: Digital Photography Review.

Canon EOS-M

18 mpxl APS-C sensor – ISO 25600…. Not bad for $800. Not sure if the lens sticking out makes it worth the hassle over a S100. The Sony RX100 still looks like a very nice middle ground with a much larger sensor than the S100 (but smaller than a 4/3 but much smaller than the APC in this new canon shooter or a FujiX100) but the benefit of the RX100 is that it’s much more pocketable than a lens system camera (this EOS-M or Nikon 1). For me the only allure to buying a camera that isn’t an DSLR (D800/D4/1DX) is that it fits inside a small pocket on a man-purse and takes better shots than my iPhone 4…. But this looks like it might be a good alternative to a X100 at this price (like $400 cheaper) but the lack of a viewfinder kills me. I feel lost without one if I’m doing anything more than vacation pictures. Would still kill for a Lecia M9 though.

Canon EOS-M | Gear Patrol.

Olympus launches Tough TG-1 iHS higher-spec rugged, waterproof camera:

Olympus launches Tough TG-1 iHS higher-spec rugged, waterproof camera: Digital Photography Review.

Once the image quality can match a s100 I will probably upgrade my TS3 and never buy a s100 either. It would be nice to have a no compromise, worry free, vacation camera (when I don’t want to bring my DSLR). I just hope that it has a manual override for exposure control. Also no word yet iso range but the f2 lens is very promising. And the lens starts at 25mm unlike the 28 on my TS3.

Fuji X100 hands on

So I was at the Nat Cam store today… Completely disapointed and dreams dashed..

The thing doesn’t focus. I don’t want to be told that I’m using it wrong or I was in the wrong setting or I need to use a different technique. I held the camera stationary in space and focused on an object and it focused the background. I have used many a camera for 10 years and never have I had a this large of a problem. I’ve had cameras that have trouble finding focus, soft focus– but this, a camera that “tells me” that my foreground subject is in focus and it’s not… I was so confused as to how that can happen – but It would appear that I would need to learn 4 different ways to focus depending on what I’m shooting to get it right. Frame a subject with the eye-peice (OVF) OR use the screen on the back (EVF) BECAUSE the results will be different, and perhaps choose a manual setting and hit the AE-L / AF-L button OR use the marco more for a non macro shot… no, NO.

So here’s what happened. I look through the eyepiece and focus on something- I get the little green box and I trigger the shutter (horribly blurry). I pull my greasy face away– hold the camera in the same exact spot– and it switches to the screen — I push the shutter again and THAT photo IS in focus. I put my face back to the eyepiece and try it again without moving the camera and again it’s OUT of focus. WTF. This is completely unacceptable. It’s the year 2012- I want a camera that will focus the same way no matter if I’m looking through the eyepiece or with the screen. On top of that I hardly get it to focus on subjects around 3 feet unless I use macro mode. This post illustrates the same problem I faced- very frustrating to say the least. It will focus so long as your face is not near the camera.

You know, in a way I still love the camera, I WANT to love it (for all sorts of reasons– maybe I’m in denial) But if I listen to my inner voice of logic I can not in sound mind pay $1200 for an otherwise great performing, low-light / high ISO, pocketable, f/2 35 mm camera that DOESN’T focus. It’s just that I have a reasonable expectation to be able to focus well (esp that it be consistent between the EVF and the OVF) and I shouldn’t try to convince myself otherwise…

If I want a compact camera that still packs a punch, the sony NEX-7 with a pancake 16mm lens it looking like a better alternative– or for more than half the price a canon s100 is looking like a better option. At least both of those cameras will focus on what you point it at…

–Update–

It seems that the parallax error for “close-up” photos can be corrected by using a setting in camera… I shouldn’t have to go into menus and figure out how to outsmart the camera and have it be useable only after setting things up properly. Also the slow start up time is “solved” by using a high speed card and formatting in camera… See here and here and here and here.

“Just got my x100 yesterday, and have noticed the dreaded AF mis-focus in OVF mode, focussing close – like a half body portrait. A few times the background has been in focus rather than the subject, due to the parallax error in the AF spot close up.

I’ve found the solution though – in the setup menu, go down to the very last menu time – ‘corrected AF frame’ and mark it as ‘on’. Now, there will be 2 visible white AF spots in the viewfinder – one indicating where the spot is at infinity and one indicating where the spot will be at close focus. Use them accordingly and you shouldn’t have the problem of mis-focus anymore.

*as an added bonus, when you line up and half press for focus, you’ll see the green ‘AF confirm’ box will appear overlaid on or between the white near & far AF indicators – its position in relation to the 2 white boxes relays to you where it’s found focus. For example – If you’re focusing on a half body subject close up and the green ‘AF confirm box’ pops up on the infinity ‘AF box’, you know you’ve missed focus.”

— still not buying this camera anytime soon —