Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Hi-Tech Studio: Daily Drivers
Big on style and capability, these cameras are the ideal off-duty tools when you don’t want to carry the big DSLR
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Featuring the latest incarnation of the 16.2-megapixel Sony sensor that captured several top places among APS-C sensors in the DxOMark.com RAW image-sensor ratings, the tiny NEX-C3 is the smallest of the cameras described here. Because the relatively large sensor requires larger-diameter lenses than smaller-sensor cameras, the NEX-C3’s lenses seem disproportionately large on the body, but the whole package actually feels great in the hands.
While aimed mainly at “consumers,” the NEX-C3 has a solid feel that pros will appreciate, and it turns out excellent image quality. The control layout consists of three buttons and a dial next to the 3.0-inch, 921,600-dot LCD monitor on the camera back. It takes a little getting used to, but this arrangement actually works quite well, and the buttons are now programmable, making it easier to call up desired features. The NEX-C3 is the only one of the cameras featured here to provide a tilting monitor.
The NEX-C3 offers a number of useful features. Auto HDR combines the best data from three bracketed images to expand dynamic range. Anti-Motion Blur mode combines data from six quickly taken images, using separate algorithms for still and moving parts of the scene, to produce an image with minimized blur, while Handheld Twilight mode uses a similar technique to minimize blur due to camera shake in images of stationary subjects. And Sony’s Sweep Panorama mode makes it simple to create in-camera stitched panoramic images in horizontal or vertical format.
Sony offers a series of E-mount lenses for the NEX cameras, and an adapter lets you mount Sony A-mount DSLR lenses. The NEX cameras don’t provide in-camera sensor-shift stabilization like Sony’s DSLRs, but a number of the E-mount lenses have built-in Optical SteadyShot stabilizers.
“DAILY DRIVER” CAMERAS
|FUJIFILM X100||LEICA X1||OLYMPUS E-P3||SAMSUNG NX100||SIGMA DP2x||SONY NEX-C3|
|Sensor||12.3 MP APS-C||12.2 MP APS-C||12.3 MP 4/3||14.6 MP APS-C||4.7x3 MP APS-C||16.2 MP APS-C|
|Lens||Lens 23mm ƒ/2||24mm ƒ/2.8||nterchangeable||Interchangeable||24.2mm ƒ/2.8||Interchangeable|
|Viewfinder||Hybrid opt./EVF||Optional optical||Optional EVF||Optional EVF||Optional optical||Optional optical|
|LCD Monitor||2.8/460K||2.7/230K||3.0/614K OLED||3.0 AMOLED||2.5/230K||3.0/921K tilt|
|Normal ISO Range||200-6400||100-3200||200-12,800||100-3200||100-800||200-12,800|
|Max. Drive Rate||5 fps||3 fps||3 fps||3 fps||3 fps||2.5 fps*|
|Top Video Mode||720/24p||No Video||1080/60i||720p||320x240/30p||720/30p|
|*5.5 fps with focus and exposure locked ** With 20-50mm kit lens *** With 18-55mm kit lens
1Operating in Live View all the time, and using smaller batteries to keep camera size down, none of these cameras approaches the shots-per-charge figures you’re used to with DSLRs; you’ll want to carry a spare battery (which easily fits in a pocket).
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