Tuesday, December 23, 2008
D-SLRs For The Professional
2008 was a big year for D-SLRs, and there are now more choices than ever for pros seeking a primary or backup camera. Check out some of the key innovations and the latest models.
The Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro packs a lot of features into its package, and of most interest to pros is how ideal the camera is for portraiture. Featuring five Film Simulation Modes, presets include a variety of styles for mimicking the film-esque organic appeal of standard portraiture, including selections for warm natural skin tones with higher saturation of blue, vivid blue (ideal for saturated skies) with silky skin tones, a standard studio photography setting, and a highly modulated mode for heightening contrast while maintaining natural skin tones. A Fujichrome preset also is included for replicating the feel of color-reversal film, and the Face Zoom function is useful as well, automatically zeroing in on and enlarging facial details on the LCD monitor for checking focus and shadow detail.
The twofold photodiode matrix of the Super CCD SR Pro sensor is unique. With 6.17 million diodes each, the sensor is comprised of equal amounts (6.17 million) of S- and R-pixels. The S-pixels feature a large light-reception area for high sensitivity; the design of the R-pixels provides a wider dynamic range by filling in the gaps between the S-pixels. The combined effective pixel count produces a 12.3-megapixel sensor with a very wide dynamic range of 400%, near that of negative film. Thanks to this design, extended dynamic range settings can be set to match conditions in a selection of six steps: 100% (STD), 130%, 170%, 230% (W1), 300% and 400% (W2).
Other features include an optical low-pass filter to minimize moiré while maintaining a high signal-to-noise ratio, further noise reduction from the Double Noise Reduction of the RP (Real Photo) Processor Pro, and 3D Color Matrix Metering, which uses the 1005-pixel RGB sensor to detect highlight area size for calculating optimum exposure.
Featuring the same 12.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor as the D3 in a more compact, lighter and much lower-priced body, the D700 also shares much of its “big brother’s” technology, including the EXPEED processing and wide range of ISO settings. The metering and AF systems are the same as the D3’s, as are the Active D-Lighting and 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitor with Handheld and Tripod Live View modes. As with the D3, the live image can be sent to a computer, and the camera operated from there, using optional Nikon Camera Control 2 software.
Nikon’s second full-frame D-SLR even includes a couple of features the D3 doesn’t have: a built-in Speedlight flash unit and a dust-reduction system that uses four different resonance frequencies to remove dust from the sensor assembly. While not quite as rugged as the D3, the D700 is nonetheless of pro quality, including a body made completely of magnesium alloy and well sealed against weather and dust, and a shutter tested to 150,000 cycles. The D700 also has a top burst rate of 5 fps vs. the D3’s 9 fps at full resolution.
Like the D3, the D700 has very little noise introduced in images when using ISO 200-6400 because of the larger photosites utilized on its image sensor, making the D700 a professional camera that rivals Nikon’s D3, but at a smaller price.
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