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DPR: Best compact cameras for enthusiasts

Posted by Teresa Hanafin December 6, 2013 02:29 PM
Fujifilm X100S
Fujifilm X100S

DPReview has picked its 5 best compact cameras for advanced amateurs. It writes:

"There's a long tradition of high-quality compact cameras going back more than a hundred years, and even now, in the days of digital, there are some incredibly capable compact cameras on the market.

"Shop carefully and you can get excellent image quality, full manual control and plenty of other bells and whistles, provided you don't mind paying a little more than you might for the average point and shoot.

"Top-notch lenses, great sensors and plenty of control are the hallmarks of every one of our top five recommended compact cameras for enthusiasts."

Their picks: The Fujifilm X100S (pictured above), the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, the Olympus Stylus 1, the Canon G16, and the Fujifilm X20.

Click on any camera link above to see DPR's complete specs, sample images, user reviews, and more. And tell us in the comments below what compact cameras you like.


Gizmodo picks the best smartphone camera

Posted by Teresa Hanafin February 18, 2013 07:51 PM

By Mario Aguilar and Nick Stango

A zillion new smartphones are going to be announced soon at Mobile World Congress, each promising camera advancements that may or may not live up to the hype. Before we get there, though, we wanted to take stock of how good the cameras are in the smartphones you can buy now. Here's how the flagships measure up.


Camera advice from Consumer Reports

Posted by Teresa Hanafin September 23, 2012 06:00 AM

By Consumer Reports magazine

Unless all you ever do with photographs is text them or upload them to Facebook, you need a real camera. Even models that are barely larger than a phone offer optical zoom (some as high as 10x), along with a wider variety of controls than a phone. Advanced models let you shoot more types of subjects under more varied conditions, including very low light.



Photography apps for your phone

Posted by Teresa Hanafin July 20, 2012 02:20 PM

Thinking of ditching your separate camera and moving to just using your phone for all your photos? What apps should you go for?

Instagram made headlines recently after being bought by Facebook for $1 billion. What does it include, and what else is out there?

Check out this gallery of photo apps.


dpreview on the Nikon D800 and D800e

Posted by Teresa Hanafin June 12, 2012 01:30 PM


From dpreview.com

With the D800 arriving in camera shops alongside its chief competitor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, we have two well-built photographic tools that are capable of outstanding images.

While the 36MP D800 has the resolution advantage over its 22MP rival, it's wise to take note of other differences, like maximum frame rate; here the 5D Mark III takes the edge at 6fps vs 4fps (FX mode). Canon has also managed to take a very complex AF system and ease the learning curve with a well-presented series of presets.

The D800 counters with the ability to output uncompressed HD video and a range of useful crop modes, including the APS-C sized DX format. Most notably though, Nikon has provided a high end offering that comes in at a street price that is US$500 less than the 5D Mark III, representing very strong value for the consumer.

dpreview significantly expanded its review recently to include detailed analysis of the performance of the D800 alongside its closely-related stablemate the D800E. They also added samples and analysis of the D800/E's uncompressed video feature.

Read the complete and thorough review of the D800 here.

By the way, a real estate photography site posted photos that an agent took of some houses for sale using the D800E's in-camera, three-frame HDR capability. He used just ambient light, and the photos are really nice. See them here.


Olympus 16.1MP E-M5 rugged mirrorless camera

Posted by Teresa Hanafin June 12, 2012 01:18 PM


Luminous Landscape writes:

It doesn't take a genius to figure out which are the hot cameras at any one time. Last year it was the Fuji X100 and Sony NEX-7. So far this year been it's the Nikon D800/e, the Fuji X-Pro 1, and the subject of this review, the Olympus OM-D E-M5. How to know if a camera is hot? Just try and buy one during the first six months or so.

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 has quickly found itself in the uber-desirable category.

The bottom line on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 (other than its convoluted name) is that it's the best Micro Four Thirds cameras yet, and highly competitive with the current mirrorless segment market leader, the Sony NEX-7.

Panasonic will undoubtedly have a strong response product later this year, but they'll have to really up their game if they're going to compete with Olympus in terms of features and functions. No doubt the next Pany will have killer video capability (which is not the O-MD's strong suit), but right now when it comes to fit, finish, features, ruggedness, and all-around camera goodness, the O-MD will be a tough act to follow.

Simply put, the Olympus O-MD E-M5 is a winner, and has now become my preferred camera for travel and urban walk-around shooting. The Nikon D800/e is still my main squeeze Ė an awesome camera in almost every respect Ė but, for its price ($1,000 for the body) and size it's hard to top the new O-MD.

Read the very through and detailed review here.


Popular waterproof cameras for summer

Posted by Teresa Hanafin June 12, 2012 01:17 PM


Thinking of picking up a waterproof point-and-shoot for those summer days at the beach and pool?

Amazon.com tracks the 100 best-selling digital cameras, and DSLRphoto.com picked out the 9 bestselling waterproof cameras from the past week. The top three are:

  • Nikon COOLPIX AW100 16 MP CMOS Waterproof with GPS and Full HD 1080p Video ($239.95 - pictured above)
  • Canon PowerShot D10 12.1 MP Waterproof with 3x Optical IS and 2.5-Inch LCD ($244)
  • Canon PowerShot D20 12.1 MP CMOS Waterproof with 5x IS 28mm Wide-Angle Lens ($309)

Read the complete list here with links to more details about each camera.


Photo Review looks at the Sony SLT-A57

Posted by Teresa Hanafin June 12, 2012 01:15 PM


Photo Review says to buy the entry-level Sony SLT-A57 DSLR if:

  • Youíre looking for a capable, high-resolution DSLR that is exciting to use and can shoot stills and Full HD video clips.
  • You want relatively noise-free high ISO settings.
  • Youíre prepared to shoot and edit both JPEG and ARW.RAW images.
  • You could utilize some of the multi-frame and high-speed shooting modes.
  • You want body-integrated image stabilization that works with all lenses.

They advise you not to this camera if:

  • You need an integrated GPS receiver.
  • You donít like electronic viewfinders.

The body retails for $799, but Sony has it on its website for $749 with an 18-55mm lens. Read the full review here.


A look at the Ricoh GR Digital IV

Posted by Teresa Hanafin December 27, 2011 05:08 PM

Ricoh GR4

Although Paul Giguere at SeriousCompacts.com says his examination of the compact Ricoh GR Digital IV isn't a full review, his first impression may provide enough insight to help you decide whether this is the camera for you.

He looks at the camera's size, focusing speed, snap focus, image quality, dynamic range, and LCD quality. As a GRD3 owner, he was interested in discovering whether it was worth the extra money to upgrade (a GRD3 is about $380, a GRD4 about $600), and he concluded that it was - for him, anyway.

First impression of the Ricoh GR Digital IV


Consumer Reports reviews
compacts and subcompacts

Posted by Teresa Hanafin December 7, 2011 06:00 AM

Even though most of you use full-featured DSLRs, many also carry around a compact camera that's more convenient for weddings or other events, easily slipped in your pocket or purse. Some Globe photographers carry a Canon PowerShot G10, G11, or G12; I recently bought a Nikon Coolpix P7100 to go along with my D300.

Or perhaps you're looking for a camera for a relative or friend. This Consumer Reports piece, which ran in the November issue, should help.

By Consumer Reports

If you look closely at the cameras in recent weekend retail circulars, you might be surprised. A lot boast 14 or even 16 megapixels. Camera makers appear to have injected new life into an old marketing scheme: More megapixels mean a better camera.

Consumer Reportsí latest ratings include 58 recommended cameras, from basic to SLR. CRís camera tests have shown for years that cameras with more megapixels donít necessarily produce better images than those with fewer. Under the best of circumstances, models with more megapixels can produce images with greater detail, but thatís not very important unless you need giant enlargements.



Samsung NX200 reviews

Posted by Teresa Hanafin December 5, 2011 03:20 PM


If you're interested in a new compact DSLR, check out the Samsung NX200. Ilse JurriŽn reviews the 20.3-megapixel camera at LetsGoDigital, and says it's an improvement over the Samsung NX100 and delivers strong image quality. The camera retails for about $900 and comes with an 18mm-55mm zoom kit lens and on-camera flash. She writes:

"Two months ago, Samsung introduced the successor to the compact Samsung NX100 system camera. The new Samsung NX200 is even more compact than its predecessor, which makes the NX200 system camera very easy to carry around. The lightweight metallic Samsung NX200 is equipped with a new APS-C CMOS sensor with a large ISO range of 100 to 12800. The large sensor can catch more light, so that the amount of noise is reduced and more details are captured. The resolution is increased to 20.3 megapixels. The revolutionary i-Function lens, that was implemented for the first time in the NX100, is also found in the Samsung NX200."

Read the complete review here.

Other Samsung NX200 reviews:

Photography Blog: "A serious investment ... an enticing new entry"

Pocket-lint: Four out of five stars

dpreview: "A significant step up"

ePHOTOzine: "Highly recommended!"

c|net video review: "Promising but pricey"


Comparing tiny mirrorless cameras

Posted by Teresa Hanafin June 6, 2011 03:19 PM

Photographer Peter K. Burian recently posted another comprehensive review on pixiq.com, this time of two Micro Four Thirds cameras: He compares the Olympus E-PL2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2.



He writes:

"Digital SLR cameras are very popular because they accept interchangeable lenses for great versatility and are loaded with features. But a DSLR with a lens is somewhat bulky and heavy.

"That's why Panasonic and Olympus developed the Micro Four Thirds system of smaller cameras in 2008. The downsizing was achieved by removing the reflex mirror and the pentaprism; this also shed quite a bit of weight. (Since then, Sony and Samsung have also introduced non-reflex or "mirrorless" cameras.)

"Recently I tested the latest Micro Four-Thirds models, the Olympus E-PL2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2."

Peter looks at the cameras' large sensors, their features and operation, movie mode, performance, ISOs, and more.

You can read his complete review here.

Also, dpreview.com reviewed the Olympus E-PL2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 earlier this year.


Nikon and Canon lenses better than Zeiss?

Posted by Teresa Hanafin February 23, 2011 12:15 PM

Pixiq says that recently published tests suggest that even the cheap Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, which costs $100, can be better than a Carl Zeiss Planar T50 f/1.4 that costs $725.


Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II


Carl Zeiss Planar T 50 f/1.4

DxO, the company that tests lenses and cameras, published tests that, looking at the numbers, "places most of the Carl Zeiss line of lenses behind, sometimes far behind, its Canon and Nikon siblings," according to Pixiq.

Read the entire entry and judge for yourself.

I've always been jealous of anyone with a Zeiss lens. Anybody here own one? Do you like it?


ePHOTOzine reviews Lowepro Versapak 200AW

Posted by Teresa Hanafin January 1, 2011 10:30 AM


ePHOTOzine says that although the half-and-half design of camera bags (a padded half for camera gear and an unpadded section for odds and ends) isn't a new idea, the Lowepro Versapak 200AW is ideal for those looking for a bag with a decent amount of space for a small selection of camera gear and lenses for day trips out, or other circumstances that you may need space for other non-photographic items, such as sandwiches.

The Versapak retails for about $130.

Read ePhotozine's complete review here.

What brand of photo bag do you use?


Fstoppers tests Nikon Pocket Wizard triggers

Posted by Teresa Hanafin January 1, 2011 09:30 AM

Fstoppers says Nikon's new Pocket Wizard FlexTT5, MiniTT1, and AC3 flash remote controls have the ability to sync strobes above your camera's highest sync speed, and worked reliably 95% of the time at 200 feet.

They used the units while shooting a model in bright sunlight with a fast shutter speed and wide open aperture that created nice bokeh, using the remotes to trigger fill flash to eliminate shadows. In another test, they photographed a basketball player soaring through the air to dunk with a lot of flashes going off in the background.

Read Fstoppers' review here.

What are the circumstances under which you use remote flash triggers?


Pixiq review: Olympus E-5

Posted by Teresa Hanafin January 1, 2011 09:00 AM

Targeting professionals and serious enthusiasts, the new Olympus E-5 has upgrades such as better sensors and processors, greater speed, superior quality, and extra features, according to Pixiq's Peter K. Burian.

Burian says the E-5 replaces the E-3 and boasts higher (12 vs. 10 MP) resolution, superior image quality plus amenities originally developed for the mirrorless E-PL series of cameras. This splash-proof magnesium alloy camera has a shutter tested for 150,000 cycles, 5 fps burst speed, and a very large, high magnification viewfinder.

The E-5 body is equipped with the latest E-System features, including the Supersonic sensor cleaner, Live View and Olympus' three mode image stabilizer. Pro-oriented amenities include an autofocus fine-tuning function, slots for SD and CF memory cards, a 2-axis electronic level gauge in both the viewfinder and the LCD display, and copyright data input, Burian writes.

It retails for $1,700.

Read Peter Burian's in-depth review here.

Tell us about your experiences with Olympus DSLRs.


LetsGoDigital review: Canon PowerShot S95

Posted by Teresa Hanafin December 22, 2010 08:00 PM


LetsGoDigital says, "The Canon PowerShot S95 is not much different from its predecessor (the S90).

"The bright, 3.8x zoom lens has remained and the 3-inch format display with 460.000 dots resolution is also back.

"The Canon S95's compact format makes it appear as an automatic, but the camera also offers the possibility of shooting with full manual settings.

"In short, it is a camera for the beginner photographer, but it also sparks the interest of serious photographers that are looking for a handy little camera on the side."

Full review of the Canon PowerShot S95 from LetsGoDigital

PhotoInduced also weighed in on the S95.

Own this camera? Upload a sample photo you've taken and write your own review.

More camera, lens, and equipment reviews.


DP Review: Nikon D3100

Posted by Teresa Hanafin December 22, 2010 06:00 PM


Digital Photography Review just posted its examination of the $700 Nikon D3100:

"The latest in Nikon's popular line of entry-level DSLRs addresses the most obvious criticisms aimed at its predecessors - the lack of live view and video modes. There are also a series of tweaks and upgrades, including a 14Mp sensor, aimed at keeping the camera near the top of the sales charts. However, this beginner-friendly offering faces more competition than ever from the burgeoning mirrorless camera sector, so how does the little Nikon stack up?"

DP Review: Nikon D3100.

Mashable: Nikon D3100 Quick-Start Guide


Review: Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds lenses

Posted by Teresa Hanafin May 28, 2010 12:19 PM


Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f4 (Four Thirds mount) vs.
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f4 (Micro Four Thirds mount)

Review by the Staff of Head2Head Reviews

(Ed. Note from Wikipedia: The Four Thirds system is a standard created by Olympus and Kodak for DSLRs; the Micro Four Thirds system is a standard created by Olympus and Panasonic for compact digital cameras and camcorders. Both systems provide a standard that allows for the interchange of lenses and bodies from different manufacturers. Micro Four Thirds shares the image sensor size and specification with the earlier established Four Thirds system. Unlike Four Thirds, Micro Four Thirds does not provide space for a mirror and a pentaprism, allowing smaller camera bodies to be designed. But it also has a smaller lens mount that is incompatible with Four Thirds. Four Thirds lenses can be used on Micro Four Thirds camera bodies with an adapter, but Micro Four Thirds lenses cannot be used on Four Thirds bodies. Read more here.)

Introduction: The Matchup
Olympus and Panasonic engineer quality lenses for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds formats that match or surpass those available for APS and full-frame DSLRs. Both companies offer 7-14mm zooms that correspond to a 14-28mm lens on the 35mm format with an angle of view of 114 degrees. The fundamental difference between the Olympus 7-14mm and the Panasonic 7-14mm is that the Olympus has a standard Four Thirds mount and the Panasonic has a Micro Four Thirds mount.



H2H Review: Adobe Camera RAW (CS4)
vs. Phase One Capture One Pro (v5)

Posted by Angela Nelson, Boston.com Staff May 7, 2010 06:00 AM

Adobe Camera RAW (CS4) vs. Phase One Capture One Pro (v5)

By Head2Head Reviews

Introduction: The Matchup

Most digital cameras that shoot RAW files also include some form of software to convert the files into more common image formats. Unfortunately, the majority of these programs are basic, ineffective, and slow. We looked at two popular alternatives: Adobe Camera RAW and Phase One Capture One Pro. Adobe Camera RAW is widely utilized, since it powers conversions in Photoshop. Phase One Capture One Pro is less familiar to snapshooters, though it holds a steady following among photo professionals and enthusiasts.

The RAW file is often described as the "digital negative" or the basic digital information that has to be processed to become a photograph. Much like the different chemicals and washes in the darkroom and their organization, the interface and processing quality of RAW processing programs are important to photographers who want to reprocess the information.

In this review, we compare Adobe Camera RAW from CS4 with Phase One Capture One Pro's version 5. The latter program retails for $400 for the complete package, while Adobe Camera RAW comes bundled with Bridge and Photoshop for $700 or with Lightroom for $300.



H2H Review: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
vs. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Posted by Angela Nelson, Boston.com Staff April 30, 2010 06:00 AM

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM vs. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

By Head2Head Reviews

Introduction: The Matchup

These two lenses represent a fairly classic ''battle for speed'' between two optics from a single manufacturer. The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens sells for an MSRP of $419.95, and is a standard, short-telephoto Canon workhorse. Canon's more exotic 85mm prime, the EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, buys you an additional stop of exposure latitude, superior build quality, extremely high resolution, and what is described as a "silky-smooth" bokeh effect. Sporting an MSRP of $2199.95, and nearly twice the size and weight of the EF f/1.8, we evaluate whether Canon's "L-Series" glass warrants the near $1,800 upgrade.



H2H Review: Two similar Olympus cameras

Posted by Angela Nelson, Boston.com Staff April 12, 2010 01:06 PM

Olympus PEN E-P1 vs. Olympus E-620

By Emily Raymond
Head2Head Reviews

For this Head-2-Head, we pitted two Olympus interchangeable lens cameras together that have the same image sensor but very different formats and philosophies.

On one side is the Olympus PEN E-P1, a Micro Four Thirds camera with a retro styling that omits a viewfinder, flash, and mirror box to fit into a pocket.

On the other side is the Olympus E-620, a traditional DSLR with an articulated LCD screen, optical viewfinder, and a Four Thirds lens mount.

These two Olympus digital cameras share the same 12.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor and many of the same manual controls, but the E-620 is marketed to hobbyists, while the E-P1 is presented as an ultra-compact interchangeable lens alternative. The question is, beyond size, where are the key distinctions between formats?



H2H Review: Canon Ultra-Wide Zoom Lenses

Posted by Teresa Hanafin April 2, 2010 08:11 AM


Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM vs. Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

By Head2Head Reviews

We pitted two Canon ultra-wide zoom lenses against each other to see which produced the clearest, least distorted images.

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM goes for $1,699, while its dimmer cousin, the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, retails for $839. The focal lengths are very nearly the same, but one lens is twice the price of the other. The aperture on the pricey lens opens wider to let more light hit the image sensor. We wanted to know if the larger aperture translated to $1,699 of better performance, so we analyzed the two lenses head-to-head.



H2H Review: Nikon D5000 vs. Canon EOS T1i

Posted by Teresa Hanafin January 22, 2010 08:31 AM

Matchup Graphic

By Ted Dillard and Emily Raymond
Head2Head Reviews

The Canon EOS Rebel T1i and the Nikon D5000 are formidable foes in the entry-level DSLR market. Both retail for less than $1,000 with a lens included, and come with an interesting balance of features and performance. Both cameras are well designed, but they show differences in philosophy and priority.



Head2Head Review:
Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD vs. Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS

Posted by Teresa Hanafin October 14, 2009 04:25 PM
Kodak-Fujifilm Matchup

By Emily Raymond
Head2Head Reviews Staff

Introduction: The Matchup

Sign of the times? The Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS and Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD merge enthusiast and budget concerns, adding economy to the popular ultra-zoom class.



Head2Head Review:
Nikon D3X vs. Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

Posted by Teresa Hanafin September 9, 2009 04:30 PM
D3X vs MarkIII

By Patrick Singleton
Head2Head Reviews

Introduction: The Matchup

The two most expensive DSLRs from Canon and Nikon are notable mainly for their pixel counts.

The Canon 1Ds Mark III and the Nikon D3X record 21.1 and 24.5 megapixels, respectively. The file sizes may seem enormous to most photographers; they strain the limits of the cameras' processors and data arteries. The cameras' large files make 2GB memory cards look puny, and clog hard drives. DVD backup schemes begin to look clumsy.



Head-2-Head Reviews:
Olympus EVOLT E-30 vs. Canon EOS 50D

Posted by Teresa Hanafin August 20, 2009 02:53 PM
Matchup Graphic

By Alex Burack
Editor-in-chief, Head-2-Head Reviews

Introduction: The Matchup
Canon and Olympus are both major players in the DSLR space, stocking a range of interchangeable lens cameras for photographers of all levels. The 15.1-megapixel Canon EOS 50D and the 12.3-megapixel Olympus EVOLT E-30 occupy similar positions in their respective lines, balancing automation and versatility at a low four-digit price point. Both cameras integrate a familiar collection of point-and-shoot support, though not at the expense of performance or control. Priced just beyond the $1,000 mark, these feature-laden DSLRs arguably offer the best values within their established product lines.



Introducing Head-2-Head Reviews

Posted by Teresa Hanafin August 6, 2009 09:21 PM

I'm very happy to announce that we're introducing a cool new feature on RAW in this, our anniversary month: Reviews of cameras, lenses, and accessories by a local group of experienced photographers and product reviewers who have started a new website, Head-2-Head Reviews.



Head-2-Head Review: Underwater cameras

Posted by Teresa Hanafin August 6, 2009 05:20 PM

This is the first of regular reviews of cameras, lenses, and accessories by Head-2-Head Reviews that will be featured on RAW in the coming months. Find out more here.

H2H Underwater Cameras

By Emily Raymond

Introduction: The Matchup
The Olympus Stylus 1050 SW and Pentax Optio W60 are among a handful of waterproof and freezeproof digital cameras on the market. An ideal accessory for vacationers and outdoor adventurists, these amphibious cameras offer typical imaging specifications for a point-and-shoot model, including 10 megapixels and ISO sensitivity up to 1600, and convenient automated modes such as Face & Smile Detection, Panoramic stitch, and Underwater capture. Both cameras, priced at about $300, are relatively affordable.



CR's best new point-and-shoots

Posted by Teresa Hanafin February 7, 2009 11:52 PM

Most of you own DSLRs, but some of you use high-quality point-and-shoots. Others carry a point-and-shoot when your bigger camera is too much to lug with you to an event. In any case, you may want to supplement your DSLR with a convenient point-and-shoot, or upgrade your current model. Perhaps you want to buy a camera for a friend who is just getting started in photography or a relative who needs a new camera.

In its March issue, Consumer Reports (subscription required) rates 15 point-and-shoot digitals, ranking them according to category: Subcompact (for those who need a camera that fits into a purse or pocket), Compact (for those who want the basics at a low price or advanced features), and Superzoom (for people who need an extremely versatile zoom lens).




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