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Showing posts with label the camera. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the camera. Show all posts

8/14/2014

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000 NEW REVIEWS


The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is the first bridge camera to deliver the new ultra HD 4K video format thanks to the inclusion of an impressive 1in, 20.1MP CMOS sensor.

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PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000
Panasonic has a long history of delivering high quality video performance across its digital camera line up. Its G-series of CSCs has seen some impressive video innovations, most recently in the form of the GH4 which took the crown of being the first CSC to boast 4K video capture.

The new PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000 benefits from this heritage and sees Panasonic break new ground once again, with the model being the first bridge camera to feature 4K video capture thanks to the utilisation of a larger than average 1in, 20.1MP CMOS sensor.

The FZ1000 also features a host of typical bridge camera characteristics, including a reasonable zoom lens and DSLR-esque controls.

The Question is: The LUMIX FZ1000 solely the preserve of video shooters, or does it deliver a complete shooting experience?

Features

As you might imagine. the real headline feature of the PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000 is the camera's capacity to shoot 4K video if you're unfamiliar with 4K, it's the new ultra high resolution image video capture that's four times the resolution of full HD video capture.

The high resolution video capture is made capable by the inclusion of a new quad core Venus IV processor.

If you're not taken by the video potential of the FZ1000, then consider this when shooting 4K video it's possible to grab 8MP 3849 x 2160 still images from slow motion review, presenting a new way to capture individual frames.

All of this high resolution work is made possible by the larger than average 1in, 20.1MP sensor. This sensor also allows for an extensive ISO range which covers 125-12.00 in its conventional setting and extends to ISO 80 to 25.600.

The new sensor and processor combination also allows for some impressive operational speeds. Panasonic claims that the FZ1000 will shoot 12fps in its burst mode, while also featuring improved AF performance that the manufacturer claims is some 275% faster than its FZ1000 stable-mate.

in terms of the camera's optics the FZ1000 is not quite as impressive as the aforementioned FZ1000, although is still has a zoom to compete with a range of bridge cameras. The model sport a 16x optical zoom covering a focal range of 25-400mm in equivalent terms and one which is comprised of Leica glass.

Other eye catching features including the model's EVF. The FZ1000 inherits the impressive 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder seen in Panasonic's flagship CSC, the GH4. The LCD screen measures 3in and features a resolution of 921k dots, as well as being of the vari-angle variety.

As you might expect for a new camera from Panasonic, the FZ1000 features full WI-fi functionality, while one welcome feature is the ability to edit raw files in camera and output to JPEGs, dispensing of the need to do so on a computer.

Design

As is traditional for a bridge camera, the FZ1000 features design that's more akin to a DSLR than a compact.

It measures 137 x 99 x 131mm and weight 831g, making it slightly larger than some competing models such as the RX10 (although it still manages to feature an optical zoom twice as extensive as this rival).

The FZ1000 is made from a tough polycarbonate plastic and carries its bulk and weight well thanks to pleasing ergonomics and a substantial hand-grip, meaning that in the hand it feels comfortable and not overly large.

It would have been a positive to see weather sealing included in the body of the FZ1000, but the build quality is of a good enough standard for shooting on beaches or in light rain, for example.

One surprising omission from the camera's specification is a touch-screen. That being said, the body does cater well for shooting adjustment on the camera's body via a host of physical controls.

These include some five customisable Fn buttons along side a host of dedicated controls offering quick access to key shooting functionality such as exposure modes, exposure compensations an ISO control.

The models also benefits from the presence of a lens ring. this feature can be adjusted to control either the camera's zoom or manual focus, although it;s somewhat disappointing that it doesn't cater for further adjustment to control other key functionality such as exposure compensation of aperture control.

All in all, the range of physical controls and their clever placement, along with the ergonomic design, means that the FZ1000 is a pleasure to use and is relatively simple to do so, Anyone picking this camera up for the first time will certainly have a earning curve to overcome, but before long, even a new amateur will be confidently capturing strong imagery using this camera.

Raw V JPEGs

Full resolution 12 frames per second images can be captured in Raw+JPEG mode using the Panasonic FZ1000. a great benefit to photographers wherever speed their subjects are moving at. The in camera JPEG processing does a good job of sharpening lines and boosting colour saturation. However it noise reduction is a LIttle harsh so for low light images especially, we'd recommend using the Raw file and processing in post.

Performance

Panasonic makes some pretty bold claims with regards to the FZ1000's AF performance in comparison to some of its stable-mates, with the manufacturer stating that it focuses 275% faster than the FZ1000.

Such claims are made possible thanks to the implementation of a new defocusing contrast deception method and a 49 area AF system.

In practice the FZ1000 delivers impressive focusing results, and during testing there was rarely an occasion where the camera didn't deliver prompt, accurate focusing.

There are a host of focusing modes available, including a macro setting which allows for focusing as a close as 3cm, while te manual focusing mode is helped by the lens ring adjustment option.

Unfortunately the lens ring doesn't cater especially well for the second of its functions, namely controlling the camera's zoom. it seems to zoom faster the slower you turn it, somewhat counter intuitively, and as such it's often preferable to use the dedicated zoom slider by the shutter release.

The model's Wi-fi functionality also performs well, while on the whole the FZ1000 meets its claims with regards to continuous shooting rates, Capturing full resolution Jpeg + Raw images at 12 frames per second. That is fast enough to capture anything from action sports to wildlife.

If all of the operating noises and sound notifications are switched off, it is possible to take pictures with the FZ1000 in total silence. This is perhaps on eof the most significant performance features of the FZ1000 and will appeal to photographers who want to take pictures discreetly in sound sensitive environments.

The fact that the FZ1000 inherits the same viewfinder as found on the GH4 is certainly a benefit as it's one of the best units on the market. The EVF delivers bright and clear image reproduction as well as offering advanced functionality including manual focus magnification and exposure preview.

The EVF also benefits from a rubberised eye cup, making it comfortable to use for long periods of time.

Image Quality

Colour and White Balance

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Subjecting each camera to our colour chart test reveals any variation and differences in colour between Raw and JPEG file formats.


As well as having a range of white balance presets, the FZ1000 features a custom white balance setting in which you can store four presets. There are also a range of different shooting modes should you wish to add a more creative colour finish on your images.

In terms of colour, the FZ1000 produces a good balance between the various hues, while colours also appear pleasingly natural if you wish to add a bit more punch or saturation then the Photo Style Menu allows for fine tweaking.

Exposure

There are several different metering modes present on the FZ1000, with the main "Intelligent Multiple Area" metering setting delivering a pleasing balance between highlights and shadows. Even in difficult conditions the FZ1000 works hard to retain detail in shadows, and the presence of an "i,Dynamic" shooting mode ensures that you can get more detail the shadows and highlights should you require it.

The FZ1000 also delivers a pleasing dynamic range at its base ISO setting it manages a level comparable to many APS-C DSLRs, and it maintains this higher up the range.

Resolution

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Our resolution chart reveals exactly how much detail a sensor can resolve and it;s measured in lines/millimetre, abbreviated to lpmm

As you might expect for a bridge camera with a large sensor and a high mega-pixel count, the FZ1000 resolves and impressive amount of detail. At the base ISO setting the camera resolves around 30 lines/mm [lpmm], and even when the ISO setting is higher, at around 1600, the model still manages to resolve around 24 lpmm.


The diorama is used to ascertain how image noise is handled through an ISO range. Some cameras produce cleaner results than others.

Noise FZ1000 handles noise well, capturing clean and good quality images in both Raw and JPEG formats up to ISO 1600. Above this setting. JPEG files begin to deteriorate due to noise reduction, while luminace noise remains present.

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000 Pros and Cons

Pros

- Silent shooting
- 4k video capture is a bonus
- Excellent build quality
- Good zoom range

Cons

- Lack of touch-screen
- Proliferation of button may intimidate inexperienced photographers

Final Verdict

The bridge camera market has long been one of the most competitive going, and therefore for a model to stand out from the crowd it needs to see a reasonable amount of innovation. Panasonic has managed this trick before with the FZ200's fixed maximum aperture lens, and with the introduction of 4k video capture the FZ1000 also impresses by setting new ground.

As mentioned in the design section, we would have liked to see weather sealing included in this camera body, but for the sake of keeping costs down, we can appreciate it being challenging conditions all weather enclosures are available at affordable pries for peace of mind, so we won't count that against it. Although it's not perfect, with the 4k video features in need of some tweaking, the FZ1000 can shoot in near total silence, has a good quality zoom lens and is a pleasure to use, rightly taking its place alongside some of the very best bridge cameras currently on the market.


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The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is the first bridge camera to deliver the new ultra HD 4K video format thanks to the inclusion of an impressive 1in, 20.1MP CMOS sensor. PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000
4.5 / 5

8/06/2014

Nikon Coolpix A VS Sigma Dp1 Merrill

Nikon Coolpix A Previews

With the same sensor as the acclaimed D7000 DSLR, the Coolpix A certainly promises great things

The Coolpix A borrows the Graphic user interface from NIkon's DSLR line. as well as the sensor from the D7000 DSLR, and fits them into a slender, pocket-able body.

Nikon has developed a new 18,5mm optic for the model, with a 28mm-equivalent focal length and a respectable maximum aperture of f/2.8 while the inclusion of a hot-shoe on the top plate ensures compatibility with the company's family of Speed-light flashguns in addition to a handful of other accessories.

The camera goes on to list many other features commonly found in its DSLRs, Including Raw shooting in Nikon's NEF format, a 3in LCD screen with a 921k-dot resolution, and the Virtual Horizon levelling feature. Full HD videos can also be REcorded. With control over exposure on hand.

As is common among such cameras the Coolpix A offers a moderate level of customisation, which includes two user-specific settings on the mode dial and function buttons on the camera's front and rear plates. Those wanting to manually focus may do so with the ring which encircles the lens, while anyone with a keen interest in time-lapse photography will be pleased to learn of a built in interval-meter.


Performance

Anyone familiar with Nikon's DSLR line will be able to start shooting with the coolpix A with little bother, thanks to the adoption of the same interface. what they, or anyone else may find more difficult to uncover is the way of accessing the movie setting, which is bizarrely buried within the camera's Release mode settings (the closest you can get to convenience is to assign the Release mode to a Function button).

Although the buttons on the left side of the LCD necessitate two handed operation with the command dial, this soon becomes second nature. There's much to like elsewhere too, the camera powers up promptly with a gentle nudge of the collar around the shutter release button. and there's Virtually no delay before the camera's ready to shoot. The LCD screen is crisp and high in Contrast, and it shows plenty of detail which makes checking focus easy.

The autofocus system does tend to slow things down, however, bouncing back and forth more than expected before any confirmation. although in good light it's unlikely to be deemed "too" slow in poor light, meanwhile, the AF assist lamp does at least help to keep speeds reasonable.

Nikon has combined an aluminium alloy body with a magnesium top plate for the Coolpix A, and fashioned most of the dials out of metal too, At just shy of 300g when loaded with a battery and card the camera is certainly lighter than expected. and it's difficult to find any weaknesses around the body. Some may take umbrage at the lack of a more substantial grip, although the slim leatherette strip does at least help to keep size and weight down. One could argue the buttons on the rear don't protrude far away from the back plate, although all press positively into the camera.

Sigma DP1 Merrill Previews

With a totally different sensor from almost any other camera, does the DP1 Merrill offer anything special?


As with Sigma's other cameras, the DP1 Merrill uses a sensor based on the Foveon X3 Direct IMage technology, where by the extent to which wavelengths of light penetrate its silicon layers determine the colour. This differs from the more conventional method of capturing a single colour at each photo-site and interpolating the other two primary colours from neighbouring values.

Because of this. Sigma claims the camera has a 46MP sensor, by which it means there are there 15.3MP layers. although opening up such an image in an image editing program shows images to measure 14.75MP.

The rest of the camera's specs adhere to the more traditional enthusiast compact template. The 19mm f/2.8 prime lens equates to 28mm in 35mm term. while the 3in LCD screen bears a 920k-dot resolution. The body shares its magnesium alloy construction with many other enthusiast compacts, while full manual exposure control. Raw shooting and hot-shoe all feature too, although videos can only be recorded to a maximum VGA resolution (640 x 480) which is disappointing for a camera of the DP1 merrill's billing.

Performance

The camera turn on in around a second but it's only ready to focus and shoot after a further slight delay. the fact that it also doesn't sport a convenient built in lens cover (as on many other models) mean that the lens cap also needs to be removed before shooting, which makes start up a two stage process.

although the camera's 920k-dot LCD screen is capable of resolving fine detail, this is only realised when using the menus and playing back image, When composing-images, the feed shows significantly less detail, which is further compromised by artefacts, and colours are relatively desaturated when composing images too. ALl of this is disappointing when you consider the discerning user at which the camera is targeted, and makes checking accurate focus more difficult than it should be.

The menu system is difficult to fault though, its construction logical and descriptions clear and unabbreviated. The ease with which the command dial can be accessed by the forefinger also makes its navigation easy. while the QS button allows you to jump to and change eight commonly-used settings without entering the main menu, which speeds things up.

While a bulky body can sometimes benefit the way a camera handles, the portly DP1 Merrill's delivers a less than satisfactory handling experience. This is largely thanks to the lack of a proper grip of thumb rest, which makes the smooth body feel less secure in the hand than desired. this being said, the command dial is far easier to operate than on similar models given both its size and positioning, while the broad rear plate allows enough room for a well spaced set of controls There's also no doubting the camera's solidity, with its magnesium alloy body unyielding to any pressure.

How They Compare

Each Camera has its plus and minus points on its own, but how do they fare against each other?
These three cameras share many commonalities. Each has an APS-C sensor without an anti aliasing filter - the only notable difference here is Sigma's non standard Foveon X3 sensor architecture - as well as a lens with an effective focal length of 28mm and a maximum aperture of f/2.8 Each also has a 3in LCD screen. The DPI1 merrill is notable for being the only camera not to have an HD video mode, with its VGA video option an underwhelming substitute (although to many this won't be a deal breaker) it's also the only camera not to have a built in flash, which is particularly disappointing considering its dreadful high sensitivity performance.


Nikon Coolpix A Pros And Cons

Pros

- Noise Control
- very good LCD
- Great shot to shoot times
- Best video quality on test

Cons

- No dedicated movie button
- Focus can be slow at times
- Far too expensive

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Sigma DP1 Merrill Pros And Cons

Pros

- Capuable of great detail
- Superb GUI
- OVersized mode dial makes changing certain settings easy

Cons

- Bulky body
- NO proper grip
- VGA videos
- Unsightly noise at higher ISOs

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4.5 / 5