Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Camera Tech You Need To Know About
These days, a lot of innovation in photography is starting out in lower-end cameras. Some of these features are going to change the way you work as a pro.
Swiveling LCDs may seem flimsy, but it’s only a matter of time before they’re up to pro standards.
The ability to tilt and/or swivel the LCD monitor during live-view or video operation is a real asset, allowing for easier high-, low- and odd-angle shooting, and more comfortable hand-held video operation. While Live View mode has become a standard feature in almost every DSLR produced today, only a handful have articulated monitors, and only the Olympus E-3 and new E-5 provide one on a pro model. If you want to use live view for handheld work, or do videos with your DSLR, you’ll appreciate a tilting/swiveling LCD monitor, and we may well see them in more higher-end DSLRs in the future. Canon put a vari-angle monitor in its most recent DSLR, the mid-range EOS 60D—the first on an EOS camera. We expect to see the trend continue in higher-end DSLRs.
Electronic viewfinders have had their faults—unusable in dim light or for fast action, low resolution—and even the very latest ones aren’t perfect. But the EVF has come a long way, and replacing the DSLR’s bulky pentaprism, focusing screen and mirror box with one has led to a whole new class of compact interchangeable-lens cameras with DSLR image quality and performance, exemplified by DSLR look-alike mirrorless models that are hitting the consumer market.
While the best EVFs still don’t match the image quality of an SLR’s optical finder, as EVF resolution and frame rate improve, these finders become more and more appealing. In theory, cameras with high-performance EVFs could give pros faster autofocus and higher shooting speeds. An example of the direction we’re talking about is found in the new Sony SLT-A55 and SLT-A33 cameras. These models use the fixed, pellicle mirror that allows light to reach the image sensor and the phase-detection AF sensor simultaneously for quicker performance (the A55 can shoot and focus at 10 fps, the A33 at 7 fps).
Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-G2 mirrorless camera features a touch-screen LCD monitor—basically, you can control many features and functions merely by touching the appropriate icon. With the new DMC-GH2, you even can use Touch AF during video recording—just touch the subject and the camera will focus there.
Pro photographers are well-practiced in using their cameras’ features, of course, but touch-screen capability can speed things up—always a good thing, especially in fast-breaking situations. And it can simplify less familiar features like HD video recording. Plus, touch-screens are just cool to use.
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