Monday, October 8, 2007
New Tools Of The Trade
Canon and Nikon made major D-SLR news, releasing top-notch professional cameras with premium features. Most notably, Canon introduced the EOS-1Ds Mark III, the second successor to its full-frame D-SLR, the EOS-1Ds. Nikon announced the D3, the company's first D-SLR to support the full-frame “FX” format.
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III takes over as the company's latest-generation full-frame professional D-SLR, offering 21.1-megapixel resolution in a 36x24mm CMOS image sensor. The jump in resolution translates to a 26-percent increase over its predecessor, the EOS-1Ds Mark II. The Mark III can shoot large images at five frames per second, in bursts of up to 56 Large/Fine JPEGs or 12 RAW, partly because of dual parallel-processing DIGIC III image engines. The processors work to ensure that fine details and natural colors are recorded at an optimum level along with producing faster signal processing and more efficient energy consumption. Adding to the Mark III's improved image quality is a 14-bit A/D conversion process that recognizes four times as many colors as the Mark II's 12-bit capability. A 3-inch LCD incorporates Live View, which can be used to manually focus and compose when desired. The camera's tough magnesium-alloy body resists weather and dust. Other notable features include an integrated sensor-cleaning system, an improved pentaprism viewfinder and a 45-point autofocus system with 19 cross-type AF points and 26 assist points. Estimated Street Price: $7,999.
As a backup to the Mark III, the midrange Canon EOS 40D offers a comprehensive upgrade from its predecessor, the 30D. New features include a 10.1-megapixel sensor, 6.5 fps shooting, 3-inch LCD with Live View, sensor dust removal and a more rugged body with better weatherproofing. The 40D uses the DIGIC III image processor, resulting in higher-quality images, faster operation and more effective energy consumption. Like the Mark III, the 40D uses a 14-bit A/D conversion process, recognizing four times as many colors as the 30D. Autofocus is faster and more precise, thanks to a completely redesigned nine-point AF sensor. A sharper, brighter viewfinder, improved noise reduction and support for the sRAW recording format round out the list of improvements. Estimated Street Price: $1,299. Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.usa.canon.com.
Nikon moves into full-frame mode with the D3, a pro D-SLR featuring a 12.1-megapixel FX-format (36x23.9mm) CMOS sensor. Along with Nikon's new EXPEED digital image-processing technology, the sensor delivers full-resolution images at up to 9 fps when used with conventional AF Nikkor lenses. When used with DX Nikkor lenses, the D3 automatically switches to DX-format mode using a cropped portion of the sensor to capture 5.1-megapixel images at up to 11 fps. A wide ISO range extends from 200 to 6400, allowing for the capture of low-noise exposures in a variety of conditions. Custom Lo-1 and Hi-2 settings broaden that range to an equivalent ISO of 100 and ISO 25,600, respectively. The new Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module has 51 AF points, consisting of 15 cross-type and 36 horizontal sensors. The AF system works with the Scene Recognition System for setting accurate auto exposure, auto white-balance detection and autofocus in the camera. Rounding out the key features are a high-definition 3-inch LCD with two Live-View modes, a high-speed shutter rated for 300,000 cycles and a viewfinder covering nearly 100 percent of the sensor's view at 0.7x magnification in FX mode. Estimated Street Price: $5,000.
For excellent backup support, the midrange Nikon D300 shares many of the same features found in the D3, including the new EXPEED image processing system for high-speed performance. The 12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor has an integrated A/D converter with 14-bit conversion. Full-resolution images can be captured at up to 6 fps with sustained continuous high-speed shooting for bursts of up to 100 shots at full resolution. The ISO range, 51-point autofocus system, 3-inch LCD with two Live-View modes and Scene Recognition are all shared features with the D3. The D300 also has a new advanced dust-reduction system. A 45-millisecond shutter release lag and 0.13-second startup time make the D300 lightning quick. Estimated Street Price: $1,800. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.