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First Hands-On Impressions of the Sony RX10 IV, the All-In-One Bridge Camera With 24 fps Stills Shooting

Last week Sony announced the latest updates to their lineup of RX cameras which utilize a small but powerful one-inch sensor. I had the opportunity to use the new RX10 IV for an afternoon of photographing action and a musical performance. Here are my initial thoughts from the experience.

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Author: Ryan Mense
Posted: September 22, 2017, 12:40 am

New 'Tomb Raider' Film Poster Ridiculed for Photoshop Neck Fail

The first trailer for the latest "Tomb Raider" film has been released along with an official poster, which is drawing all the wrong kinds of attention due to a Photoshop fail.

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Author: Jack Alexander
Posted: September 21, 2017, 9:00 pm

Using Reflectors to Take Better Portraits

There are several different ways to light up your subject for portraits, sometimes we can get caught up in needing more lights for our sets while forgetting there are other tools that can help. Reflectors can very beneficial in bouncing additional light in a cost-effective way. Whether it’s the sun, available light, or your own artificial light, reflectors can help you control the light. Aaron Nace over at Phlearn shows several ways to use a reflector, or a few, on-set to improve your portraits.

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Author: Alex Ventura
Posted: September 21, 2017, 8:00 pm

Top 10 WeeklyFstops: Leading Lines

Well, we did it. We have successfully started the weekly Fstoppers photo theme. It was not only great to see so many submissions, but the response from people hearing about the idea has been excellent. There are so many photographers out there looking to explore new techniques and grow their photography skills we are excited to see all the different ways to portray a theme prompt. Let us take a look at how the entries for leading lines went. Also, make sure you check out the new theme revealed at the bottom of this article.

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Author: Michael B. Stuart
Posted: September 21, 2017, 7:00 pm

Chris Burkard Shares the Story of How a Trip to Norway Changed His Career

Chris Burkard has made an impressive career out of photographing adventure in some of the most beautiful places in the world. With over 2.8 million followers on Instagram, it's safe to say he is one of the most successful outdoor adventure photographers shooting right now. However, this wasn't always the case and like a lot of photographers, Burkard once found himself dissatisfied with where he was in his career. That's when a trip to Norway's Lofoten Islands changed everything.

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Author: Michael DeStefano
Posted: September 21, 2017, 6:00 pm

Tenba Air Gear Cases Handle 400 Pounds of Stacked Weight With Less Burden of Other Plastic Hard Cases

For traveling photographers and videographers, the hard plastic case is an essential piece of kit in order to get equipment from point A to point B safely. Tenba is looking to improve upon this experience with the Air Case Attaché collection.

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Author: Ryan Mense
Posted: September 21, 2017, 5:50 pm
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Techradar Photography and Video Capture

TechRadar - Photography & video capture news

TechRadar UK latest feeds

Amazon and Flipkart have officially kicked off its their festive season sale yesterday. This is not the first time that both the e-commerce giants are coming face to face with each other, in fact, we have seen similar events in recent past as well. We have been constantly covering the best deals around multiples categories on both the platforms but we still aren't done with all of it. 

Flipkart is offering various deals on a number of products like power banks, storage devices, wearables etc. But if you are looking for a DSLR to level-up your photography game, this is the first post where we have tried to cover the best deals on DSLRs. 

Canon EOS 1300D DSLR Camera Body with Single Lens: EF-S 18-55 IS II (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 19,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 10,005)

Canon EOS 1300D DSLR Camera Body with Dual Lens: EF-S 18-55 mm IS II + EF-S 55-250 mm F4 5.6 IS II (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 30,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 10,705)

Canon EOS 1300D DSLR Camera Body with Dual Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55 IS II + Tamron AF 70-300 mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Lens (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 30,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 12,005)

The Canon EOS 1300D is an entry-level camera that comes with a 18-megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor giving sharp images to the users. Its DIGIC 4+ image processor allows users to take quality images even in low light conditions. 

Though it comes with a fixed display, the camera was in news because of its in-built Wifi and NFC technology which was something that the company didn't offered in its predecessor.

Flipkart is also offering a discount of Rs 10,705 on the camera kit which includes an additional zoom lens- EF-S 55-250mm. Also, there is Rs 12,005 discount on the camera kit that includes a prime lens along with a Tamron AF 70-300 mm F/4-5.6 Di LD macro lens.

Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera Body with Dual Lens: AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55 mm f/3.5 - 5.6G VR + AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300 mm f/4.5 - 6.3G ED VR (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 35,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 11,460)

Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera Body with Single Lens: AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Kit (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 25,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 11,000)

The camera features a 24.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor and EXPEED 4 processor that promises to deliver good quality images at all lighting conditions. Its light weight body makes it handy and easy to use. With its long lasting battery you can capture as much images as you want. You can also shoot HD videos on it.

Canon EOS 700D DSLR Camera Body with Dual Lens: EF S18 - 55 mm IS II and EF S55 - 250 mm IS II (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 38,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 6,005)

The Canon EOS 700D has a 18-megapixel CMOS Optical Sensor and is equipped with a 9-point auto focus system. The highlight of the camera is that being an entry-level DSLR, it offers a wide ISO range of 100-12800 which is further expandable to 25600 in H mode. The camera also has additional offers on the lens.

Nikon D5300 DSLR Camera Body with Dual Lens: AF-P DX NIKKOR 18 - 55 mm f/3.5 - 5.6G VR + AF-P DX NIKKOR 70 - 300 mm f/4.5 - 6.3G ED VR (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 44,490 @ Flipkart (save Rs 11,460)

Nikon D5300 DSLR Camera Body with Single Lens: AF S18-55mm (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 34,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 10,460)

The D5300 has a great performing CMOS APS-C sensor of 24.2-megapixel which works magically with the EXPEED 4 processor to give you high quality images. It has 3.2-inch display that has a 170 degree viewing angle. The camera also offers a nine effects mode, 16 scene modes and other picture modes as well. we can say that the camera is made for creative photographers. It also has in-built wifi connectivity to easily transfer your files directly to your PC's.

Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera Body with Dual Lens: AF-P 18-55mm VR + AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Kit (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 31,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 10,960)

The D3300 is the predecessor of D3400 that features a 24.4-megapixel CMOS APS-C sensor and EXPEED 4 image processor. Though the sensor and the processor is similar in both the cameras, the D3300 got replaced by the latter because of its weight, less battery life and numerous other features. 

Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera Body with Single Lens: AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55 MM F/3.5-5.6G VR (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 49,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 8,960)

Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera Body with Dual Lens: AF-P DX Nikkor 18 - 55 MM F/3.5-5.6G VR and 70-300 MM F/4.5-6.3G ED VR (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 60, 990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 8,460)

The D5600 is again an entry-level DSLR that offers decent image quality with its 24.2-megapixel sensor. Its an upgraded version of D5500 offering a 39-point AF system and touchscreen interface. Flipkart is retailing the camera with single lens as well as dual lens kit.

Canon EOS 200D DSLR Camera Body with Single Lens: EF-S18-55 IS STM (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 36,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 36,990)

The camera comes with the latest DIGIC 7 image processor that is able to capture more details of the subject. Though it has a polished touch screen interface but offers 9-point AF system which is quite basic. It also does not support 4K videos which could be disappointing to some users. 

Canon EOS 800D DSLR Camera Body with Single Lens: EF S18-55 IS STM (16 GB SD Card + Camera Bag) at Rs 50,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 15,005)

Adding to the offers list is the Canon EOS 800D. The camera offers an excellent live view AF and touchscreen controls. The 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor along with the DIGIC 7 processor produces high quality images highlighting the details even in low lighting conditions. But, just like the above mentioned camera, this also lacks the 4K video quality.

Nikon D 810 DSLR Camera Body with Single Lens: 24-120mm VR Lens at Rs 2,14,990 @ Flipkart (save Rs 29,960)

The Nikon D810 is a full-frame DSLR camera that comes with 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor coupled with EXPEED 4 image processor. It also offers a continuous shooting speed of 5fps at full resolution. Apart from having, such good features, the camera can not shoot a 4K video. 

Flipkart is selling the camera at a discount of 12% with additional offers on camera lens and accessories.

Posted: September 21, 2017, 3:06 pm

You only have to go into a high-street retail store or look online to get an idea of the sheer number of digital cameras on the market. There are so many brands, types and technologies now available, with each one claiming to be the best (of course!), that it can be really difficult to make sense of it all.

But it's possible to break all these competing cameras down into a few basic types, and once you do that it becomes much easier to figure out the kind of camera that's right for you. 

That's what we've done with our expert guide, and you can follow the links at the bottom of the pages to find which is the best camera currently available in each category.

So we'll start with the basics and work up through the more advanced cameras to the types the professionals use. But you don't have to stay with us all the way. Treat this guide like sightseeing tour – when you've got to where you want to go, just step off the bus!

Is a smartphone as a good as a regular point-and-shoot compact camera? Apart from not having a zoom, it almost certainly is.

There's nothing wrong with the cameras in smartphones. The best smartphones have really good cameras built onto, even if they don't have quite the same impressive amount megapixels as dedicated digital cameras. 

The thing to remember though is that it's not all about the amount of megapixels you have – a smartphone with a 8MP camera or above is all you need to produce sharp, detailed shots for Facebook and Twitter, while you can even produce moderately-sized, decent quality prints to hang on your wall if you get a shot you really love.

Take the iPhone 7, for example, with its 12MP camera and easy to use controls, it can produce shots every bit as good (better, often) as a regular point and shoot compact camera.

This is also the camera you'll probably have with you all the time, and the one you'll rely on for capturing your life as it happens, with these photos often ending up as the pictures you will value most in the years to come.

Apple iPhone 6S

Your smartphone is the camera that you'll always have with you

Pros: It's the camera you always have to hand, the results can match those from a regular point-and-shoot compact camera, you can share instantly to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you can get apps with amazing effects and additional tools and they can be easy to use.

Cons: In most cases you get a fixed focal length lens – you can't zoom in on distant subjects; the fixed lens is often a wide-angle - great for selfies and getting loads in the frame, but not for flattering portraits; smartphones aren't so easy to hold; limited control over shooting settings.

If you want to capture your life's adventures, maybe you need an action cam, not a regular point-and-shoot camera.

You can overcome the limitations of your smartphone's camera easily enough with a 'proper' camera, but just before we look at these in detail, there's another option to consider – action cams. If capturing your life's adventures is your thing, why not do it with video, not stills? 

Action cams are tough and simple to use, and come with a whole range of different mounts so that you can attach them to handlebars, skateboards, helmets, the dashboard of your car… even your pet!

They've been popularised by the GoPro Hero range, but there are now dozens to choose from, including bullet-style cameras to fit to the side of a helmet, say.

Action cams shoot good-quality Full HD footage (some, like the Hero5 Black can even shoot 4K) through fixed focal length wide-angle lenses. Some are completely waterproof, while others come bundled with waterproof housings.

Action cams are the complete antithesis of traditional camcorders – they're so cheap that you don't mind giving them a battering, they're small enough and light enough not to get in the way, and they're so simple that all you need to know is how to press a button.

Pros: Cheap, tough and simple, surprisingly good Full HD movie quality (in some cases 4K), you can mount them on practically anything.

Cons: Fixed wide-angle lenses mean there's no zoom capability,  while there's little control over exposure. Stills are snapshot quality only.

Our pick... GoPro Hero5 Black

GoPro really had to step up its game if it wanted to remain at the top of the action cam pile, and the Hero5 Black is a great reminder of why the name is so revered and why it's our top pick. Simple to use, the addition of a rear touchscreen, voice control and GPS make it one of the most feature-packed cams currently available. Video footage is now smoother than ever too, while the ability to shoot stills in raw, and the Wide Dynamic Range feature, make the Hero5 Black more versatile than ever.

Read our in-depth GoPro Hero5 Black review

Cheap point and shoot cameras might look like an easy upgrade from a smartphone, but they have limitations of their own.

So assuming your smartphone doesn't offer the versatility you need, and that you're into decent quality stills rather than immersive action video, then a regular digital camera is the way to go.

Point and shoot compact cameras are cheap, and they come with zoom lenses and more control over exposure, white balance, focus and other settings than you'll get with a smartphone.

The zoom lens is the killer feature. Smartphones offer 'digital' zooms, but that's not the same at all, because these simply crop in on a smaller area of the picture, so you're losing resolution. Typically, a cheap point-and-shoot compact will have a 5x zoom which goes wider than a smartphone lens – handy for cramped interiors and tall buildings – and much longer, so that you can fill the frame with people and subjects when they're further away.

But the picture quality isn't necessarily better. Cheap cameras have cheap lenses, which can produce mushy definition at the edges of the frame or at full zoom, and the sensors are not much larger. Sensor size is a key factor in picture quality, as we'll see later on. Point-and-shoot cameras typically have 1/2.3 inch sensors, which are about half the size of your little fingernail, and scarcely larger than those in a decent smartphone. Forget about megapixels – the sensor size is what limits the image quality.

Pros: Versatility of a zoom lens; much more control over exposure, color and focus; easier to hold.

Cons: Quality often no better than a smartphone, sometimes worse.

Our pick... Sony Cyber-shot WX220

Sony W800

If you're wanting a compact camera that can do a better job than your smartphone the Cyber-shot WX220 ticks a lot of boxes, especially when you consider the extra flexibility offered by the 10x optical zoom, running from 25-250mm. Images are bright and punchy, with decent detail – ideal for sharing online or printing at typical sizes – while it's nice to see Wi-Fi connectivity included as well. The 2.7-inch screen is a little on the small side, but that does help to keep the dimensions of the camera to a pocket-friendly size. The WX220 may not have lots of bells and whistles, but what it does do, it does well.

Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot WX220 review

Travel compacts, or 'long zoom' compacts, give you point and shoot simplicity but a much longer zoom to capture a wider range of subjects.

A cheap point-and-shoot compact is a relatively small step up from the camera in a smartphone, but long-zoom 'travel' compacts take their main advantage – the zoom lens – a whole lot further. A 'travel compact' is essentially a point-and-shoot camera but with a much, much longer zoom range, typically 30x.

The idea is that you have a camera that still fits in your pocket, but has such a colossal zoom range that you can photograph practically anything, from beautiful landscapes to far-off landmarks.

After all, when you go on vacation you want a camera small enough to go in a pocket so that it doesn't get in the way when you're doing other things, but versatile enough that you won't miss any once-in-a-lifetime photos.

Travel compacts have the same size sensors as point-and-shoot compacts, but this is changing, with models like the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 (known as the Lumix TZ100 outside the US) getting larger 1-inch sized sensors, while the lenses are generally better quality, quite apart from their increased zoom range. Some have more advanced exposure modes for controlling the shutter speed and lens aperture independently, and may even capture RAW files for higher-quality processing back on the computer. Some, like the Lumix TZ100 / ZS100 again, even have built-in electronic viewfinders.

If your budget can stretch to it, a long-zoom travel compact is almost certainly a better bet than a cheaper point-and-shoot model. You gain a lot and sacrifice nothing.

Pros: Massive zoom range that copes with almost any kind of subject; quality generally slightly higher than a point-and-shoot compact; may have more advanced controls.

Cons: More expensive; still uses a small sensor (with some exceptions) which limits the ultimate picture quality, especially in low-light conditions.

Our pick... Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100

Panasonic TZ100

It might not have the longest zoom range for a travel compact camera, but Panasonic's Lumix ZS100 / TZ100 is still our pick of the travel compacts. Panasonic has managed to squeeze a much larger sensor into the ZS100 (TZ100 outside the US) that enables the pixels to be about 2.4x bigger than they are in models like the Lumix ZS70 / TZ90 and this helps the ZS100 produce much higher quality images. The 10x zoom ranging from 25-250mm might look limited compared to some rivals, but the optics are decent and for general photography, you shouldn't need anything more. You also get an electronic viewfinder that makes it easier to compose images in bright sunny conditions and 4K video recording. It all adds up to be a powerful, if pricey option.

Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100 review

Bridge cameras have DSLR-style controls and massive zooms, but image quality isn't a strong point unless you want to pay a premium.

If the size of the camera isn't important but you like the idea of a do-it-all camera with a super-long zoom lens, then a 'bridge' camera is the next logical step.

The name 'bridge camera' comes from the way these cameras are designed to bridge the gap between a regular compact camera and a DSLR. In fact, bridge cameras often look like DSLRs, with a characteristic 'fat' body, a chunky grip on the right hand side, an exposure mode dial on the top and the program AE, aperture-priority, shutter-priority and manual (PASM) modes of DSLRs. Many models now shoot raws as well, but check the specification to make sure.

But while bridge cameras offer monumental zoom ranges, such as the amazing 83x zoom on the Nikon Coolpix P900, there are limitations. In order to achieve these zoom ranges at a manageable size and cost, the makers use the same-sized 1/2.3-inch sensors as you find in smaller compact cameras. You get the look and feel of a DSLR, but you don't get the image quality.

There are exceptions, though. In the past couple of years the likes of Sony and Panasonic have launched bridge cameras with much larger 1-inch sensors, notably the Sony RX10 III and Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 (known as the Lumix FZ2000 outside the US). This comes at the expense of zoom range (though still very impressive and more than adequate for most shooting situations) and, well, expense generally, but most keen photographers would swap a little zoom range for a big step up in quality.

Pros: Massive zoom range; DSLR-style controls and features; versatility and value for money.

Cons: Small sensor size limits the quality (with some key exceptions); detail often quite soft at full zoom; autofocus systems rarely match DSLRs for responsiveness.

Our pick... Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500

Sony RX10 III

The new Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 / FZ2000 uses a 1-inch sensor, and while the zoom tops out at 480mm equivalent, which is relatively short for a bridge camera, that's still plenty for all but the most extreme everyday use. We'd certainly sacrifice a little for of zoom range for better and faster optics. We love the FZ2000 because it delivers both image quality and zoom range, but if you're looking for something a bit cheaper, the older Lumix FZ1000 is also worth a look.

Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 review

A high-end compact is perfect for quality-conscious enthusiasts who want a 'proper' camera small enough to fit in a coat pocket.

Where bridge cameras deliver the most bang for your buck, a high-end compact camera offers a different route towards better pictures. Here, you're not paying for a huge zoom range, but for a larger sensor, a better lens, DSLR-style controls and features and (sometimes) DSLR picture quality.

High-end compact cameras are designed for enthusiasts and experts who want a camera small enough to carry round when a regular DSLR would just be too intrusive or impractical.

The zoom range is nothing special – it's about the same as you'd get in a regular point-and-shoot model, with some opting for a fixed focal length - but combined with a bigger sensor, better lens and more advanced controls, you can expect image quality to be on a completely different level from your smartphone or point-and-shoot compact.

At one time, most high-end compacts had 1/1.7-inch sensors just a little larger than those in point-and-shoot cameras, but now there are models with larger 1-inch sensors (see the Canon G7 X II, Panasonic Lumix LX10 / LX15 and Sony RX100 V) and even Micro Four Thirds (Panasonic Lumix LX100) and APS-C sensors (Fujifilm's X100F) - the same size as those in some compact system cameras and DSLRs.

Pros: DSLR features and DSLR-approaching quality in a pocket-sized camera.

Cons: Even the cheapest aren't cheap, and the most expensive really are expensive; you can't change lenses.

Our pick... Fujifilm X100F

It may be one of the more expensive options and it's not a compact for everyone, but if you're after a high-quality camera, you're not going to be disappointed with the X100F. Everything about it oozes class. It has a fixed 35mm equivalent f/2.0 prime lens that's paired with a DSLR-sized 24.3MP APS-C sensor that delivers cracking results. There's also the tactile external controls and clever hybrid viewfinder - you have the option of electronic and optical views make it a joy to shoot with. You'll need some photo knowledge to get the best from it, but  the X100F is an exquisite camera.

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X100F review

Digital SLRs offer big sensors and interchangeable lenses, and they mark the first step into 'serious' photography.

DSLRs are still considered the number one choice for 'serious' photographers, and they make great cameras for students too because they teach all the basic principles of photography without costing a fortune.

A DSLR is fundamentally different to the cameras covered so far because you can swap lenses. This is where digital cameras split into two main types.

So far we've been looking at so-called 'compact' cameras, though it would be more accurate to call them 'fixed lens' cameras, since they're often far from compact! This includes point-and-shoot cameras, action cameras, travel zooms, bridge cameras and high-end compacts.

But the second type is 'interchangeable lens' cameras, which is where you get into DSLR territory (and compact system cameras – more on these shortly).

Being able to change lenses really opens up a whole new world of photography. DSLRs often come with 'standard' zooms, or 'kit' lenses, which cover an everyday range of focal lengths, but you can also get telephotos, super-wide-angle lenses, macro lenses for extreme close-ups, fisheye lenses and fast (wide aperture) prime lenses for atmospheric defocused backgrounds.

DSLRs are perfect for anyone who wants to take their photography more seriously, not just because you can change lenses, but because they have large APS-C sensors that deliver much better quality than the smaller sensors in most compact cameras. You also get full manual controls, the ability to shoot raw files and an optical viewfinder that gives you a bright, clear view of the scene in front of the camera.

Pros: Interchangeable lenses; full manual controls; raw files; APS-C sensor for a big step up in quality.

Cons: Big and bulky compared to most compact cameras; focusing in 'live view' on the rear screen is comparatively sluggish on most models.

Our pick... Nikon D3400

Nikon's D3400 builds on the brilliant D3300, which was until recently our top pick. Sharing pretty much the same design and specification as its predecessor, the D3400 adds Nikon's SnapBridge bluetooth connectivity to transfer images directly to your smart device to make it that much easier to share images. The 24.2MP sensor resolves bags of detail, while the D3400 is also a very easy camera to live with. Its clever Guide Mode is a useful learning tool that gives real-time explanations of important features. There's no touchscreen, but otherwise this is our favorite entry-level DSLR right now. 

Read our in-depth Nikon D3400 review

Mirrorless 'compact system cameras' also take interchangeable lenses and they're a new and fascinating alternative to DSLRs.

Until recently, the DSLR design was the only choice for photographers who wanted interchangeable lenses – but it has its drawbacks. The optical viewfinder on a DSLR is great, but if you want to use the LCD display to compose your shots, just like you would on a compact camera, they're much less effective. That's because to do this a DSLR has to flip up its mirror and swap to a slower, more laborious autofocus system.

So camera makers have introduced a new breed of 'mirrorless' cameras, also known as 'compact system cameras (CSCs). These are just like supersized compact cameras, but with bigger sensors and interchangeable lenses, just like DSLRs. The absence of a mirror means that the cameras can be made both smaller and lighter, and the latest models use new and more sophisticated autofocus systems that put them on a par with DSLRs.

A lot of mirrorless cameras are very similar in their handling to a DSLR

All mirrorless cameras let you compose images on the rear screen with no loss of autofocus performance. Indeed, on many mirrorless cameras this is the only way to take pictures, because cheaper models don't have viewfinders.

It's worth paying the extra for a camera with a viewfinder, though, because these can be invaluable in bright light, where the glare can easily swamp the screen on the back. On a mirrorless camera, though, the viewfinder is electronic rather than optical. Electronic viewfinders can show you the image exactly as the sensor will capture it, but many still prefer the optical clarity of a DSLR viewfinder.

For the time being it looks as if DSLRs and mirrorless cameras will co-exist. Neither type is better than they other – they're really on a parallel path – so it really comes down to which type you prefer.

Fuji X-T10

Some mirrorless come without a viewfinder - more compact, but can be an issue in bright light

Pros: Small and light; mechanically simpler than DSLRs; full time 'live view' with fast autofocus.

Cons: Some models don't have viewfinders; electronic viewfinders lack the clarity of a DSLR's optical system; so far, the range of lenses available is more limited, but is growing.

Our pick... Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

We loved the original E-M10 for its size, versatility and value for money, but the E-M10 II adds features that take it to another level. The old camera's 3-axis image stabilization system has been uprated to the 5-axis system in Olympus's more advanced OM-D cameras, the viewfinder resolution has been practically doubled and the continuous shooting speed, already impressive at 8fps, creeps up to 8.5fps. Some will criticise the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor format (roughly half the area of APS-C) but the effect on image quality is minor and it means that the lenses are as compact and lightweight as the camera itself. It's small, but it's no toy – the E-M10 II is a properly powerful camera.

Read our in-depth Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II review

Moving up to a full-frame camera brings a modest increase in quality and a big increase in price, so make sure it's worth it.

Most 'amateur' DSLRs and compact system cameras use APS-C size sensors. These are many times larger than the sensors in the average compact camera and deliver the kind of quality needed by professional photographers – or very nearly.

Although many professionals are perfectly happy with the quality they get from an APS-C format camera, it's more likely they'll go for a 'full-frame' camera (the frame is the same size as old 35mm film). These have sensors twice as large again as APS-C and deliver a further improvement in image quality. The differences are not always obvious, but at this level any improvement is useful.

Full-frame DSLRs are the next set-up for most users

You'll also need a full-frame camera if you want the very highest resolutions currently available – the latest holder of this record is the 50-megapixel Canon EOS 5DS.

Most full-frame cameras are DSLRs. Canon and Nikon make full-frame DSLRs aimed at serious professional users and cheaper full-frame models for advanced amateurs – so the full-frame format is not exclusively for pros.

Sony is following a different path with its full-frame A7-series compact system cameras, like the excellent Alpha 7R II. These look like regular DSLRs but they're more compact and have electronic rather than optical viewfinders. The mirrorless design and full-time live view makes them perfect for shooting video, too, and this is growing in importance as more and more pros find themselves asked to shoot video as well as stills.

Nikon D810

If you want a mirrorless full-frame camera, take a look at Sony's Alpha A7 range of cameras

Pros: Maximum quality thanks to the full-frame sensor; often designed for tough, daily use; high resolution or high continuous shooting speeds a speciality

Cons: Expensive to buy and that goes for full frame lenses, too; pro models are bulky and heavy

Our pick... Nikon D850

It may be expensive, but if you're looking for the best camera money can buy right now, then Nikon's fabulous D850 DSLR pretty much ticks every box. Packing in a brilliant 45.4MP full-frame sensor, image quality is stunning. But that's just half the story. Thanks to a sophisticated 153-point AF system and 9fps burst shooting speed, the D850 is just a home shooting action and wildlife as it is landscapes and portraits. The Nikon D850 is perhaps the most well-rounded camera we've ever tested.

Read our in-depth Nikon D850 review

Video-enabled DSLRs have replaced pro camcorders for many videographers, but it's mirrorless cameras which are now driving the technology forward.

Photography isn't just about still images any more. Traditionally, video has been seen as a completely separate subject with a different set of skills, but that's changing – and fast. It's as easy to shoot a video on your smartphone as it is to take a still, and almost all compact system cameras and DSLRs are capable of professional quality video that makes a dedicated camcorder unnecessary.

It all depends on what you want to shoot and what you want to do with it afterwards. If you want to share movies with your friends, a smartphone is ideal and can deliver surprising quality.

Phones aren't built to survive the rough and tumble of extreme sports, of course, but action cams are, and many TV companies use regular GoPro-style cameras to capture footage they could never have recorded with a conventional camera.

If you need to shoot commercial-quality video for your own projects or paying clients, both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras can do the job. DSLRs were the first to bring pro-quality movie modes and are still the favorites amongst pros, but mirrorless cameras are catching up and have key advantages; notably full-time live view with fast and smooth autofocus.

Panasonic GH4

Some models offer a wealth of features to help you capture commercial quality video

And it's mirrorless cameras which are at the forefront of 4K video. Panasonic is pushing the idea of stills-from-movies with the likes of the GH4, and the ability to capture high-quality 8-megapixel stills at 30 frames per second as a by-product of the 4K video capability in its latest mirrorless cameras.

If you're choosing a camera for video, the normal rules about sensor size don't apply because even 4K video is at a lower resolution that still images. The key for video is processing power and camera design.

Right now, DSLRs are a good, conservative choice for movie makers shooting full HD, but mirrorless compact system cameras are the ones pushing back the boundaries of video, including 4K.

Our pick... Panasonic Lumix GH5

It’s hard to know where to start with the GH5. Rather than using a cropped area of the sensor when shooting 4K as was the case with the GH4, the GH5 uses the entire width of the chip and then downsamples the footage in-camera. This also means that framing won’t be cropped, and you’ll be able to use your lenses as if you’re shooting stills. Currently the Lumix GH5 allows you to shoot Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) at 60p with a bit rate of 150Mbps, while Full HD video is obviously also possible, up to a very impressive 180p. That's not all, as the GH5 offers color subsampling at 4:2:2 and a color depth of 10-bit, delivering greater color information and richer graduations. The GH5 also offers live output to external recorders such as Apple ProRes via HDMI, as well as simultaneous internal recording. That's certainly a comprehensive video spec, but Panasonic is also planning to introduce a number of firmware updates over the coming months to bolster the GH5's recording capabilities even further. 

Read the full review: Panasonic Lumix GH5

Posted: September 20, 2017, 8:00 am

Most entry-level and mid-price DSLRs sport an APS-C sized sensor, with the physical dimensions of the chip measuring 23.6 x 15.7mm (22.2 x 14.8mm on Canon DSLRs). 

A full-frame sensor on the other hand has larger dimensions of 36 x 24mm - the same size as a frame of 35mm film, hence the name 'full-frame', and offering a surface area 2.5x larger than an APS-C sized sensor. 

This allows for larger photosites (pixels to you and I) on the sensor, delivering better light gathering capabilities, which in turn means better image quality - especially at higher sensitivities.

Full-frame DSLRs used to be the preserve of professional photographers, but as the costs have dropped and lower-cost models have started to appear, many serious amateurs and enthusiasts can now enjoy the benefits of full-frame photography. 

We should also mention full-frame mirrorless cameras. These aren't DSLRs strictly, but the Sony A7 series cameras like the brilliant Alpha A7R II and now the Leica SL are muscling in on the full-frame DSLR market, and are particularly interesting for those who also need to shoot video.

To find out more, read this: Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences. Or to get an idea of what kind of DSLR you can get at different price points, try this: Best DSLR

In the meantime, here are the best full-frame DSLRs you can buy right now:

The latest addition to this list is the newly launched Nikon D850 full-frame camera. It comes with 45.7 MP BSI CMOS sensor that promises to keep a balance of high-speed and impressive resolution when combined with up to 9-fps continuous shooting mode. Nikon’s EXPEED 5 image processor sits at the heart of the camera, which promises to offer uncompromised performance across still and video shooting.

The camera aims at photographers involved in nature, events, fashion and wedding photography and its wide ISO range of 64 to 25600 allows them to shoot continuously in different lighting conditions. In the video section, it supports both FX-based and DX-based movie formats and can shoot 4K UHD videos, full HD slow motion videos and 8K time-lapse movies.

The other features of the camera include silent interval timer, negative digitizer, HDMI port, three types of Raw format and WT-7/A/B/C Wireless Transmitter.

Read the full review: Nikon D850

Canon recently added Canon EOS 6D Mark II to its full-frame DSLR lineup in India. The camera comes with 26.2MP full frame CMOS sensor which works well in low-light conditions. One thing that might disappoint some users is the absence of 4K capability. But, to cover this up, the camera has 4K Time-Lapse function which fuses the images to create a 4K video.

The EOS 6D Mark II also features Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology which gives more precise focus tracking while using either ‘Live View’ or ‘Video’ mode.

Read the full review: Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Canon's EOS 5D series of cameras has a rich heritage – the original EOS 5D bought full-frame photography to the masses, while the Mark II unleashed Full HD video capture for the first time on a DSLR, starting a whole new genre of DSLR movie-making. That's not forgetting the Mark III, which while not as groundbreaking perhaps as the two models before it, became a firm favourite amongst photographers. The 5D Mark IV pretty much tweaks and improves on everything the Mark III offered. This includes a brilliant new 30.4MP sensor that delivers pin-sharp results, an advanced 61-point AF system that's incredibly sophisticated, a pro-spec performance, 4K video and some very polished handling. Put this all together, along with a host of other features and it all combines to make the EOS 5D Mark IV one of the best DSLRs we've seen. 

Read the full review: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Nikon D810

It might be getting on a bit now (it was launched back in the summer of 2014), but the Nikon D810 is still one of the best DSLRs around, and still gives the EOS 5D Mark IV a good run for its money to boot. Images from Nikon's 36.3 megapixel monster are bursting with detail, while its 1200-shot battery life puts the 50.6MP EOS 5DS in the shade. We're also fans of the D810's clarity micro-contrast adjustment with its video-friendly Flat mode for maximum dynamic range. The 51-point AF system copes well with tricky focussing situations, mainly because both the AF and metering systems are taken from the now ex-range-topping Nikon D4S. Excellent handling and relatively modest dimensions further ensure that the D810 doesn't disappoint. 

Read the full review: Nikon D810

EOS 5DS R

With 50.6 million effective pixels, the Canon EOS 5DS is by far the highest resolution full-frame DSLR on the market today. The same goes for the 5DS R, which is identical to the 5DS, but features an anti-aliasing cancelation filter over the sensor to help resolve a little more detail should you need it. Pixel-packed sensors can be compromised, but not here. Image quality is superb, with as you'd expect fantastic detail, well controlled noise and good dynamic range, making it the ideal choice for the landscape or studio photographer. The EOS 5DS is now the benchmark for full-frame image quality, but it's not quite perfect. There's no Wi-Fi or 4K video recording, and huge image file sizes necessitate decent memory cards and a fast computer.

Read the full review: Canon EOS 5DS

Nikon D750

Can't quite stretch to one of our top three options? Then the Nikon D750 should be at the top of your list. The D750 still packs a cracking 24.3MP sensor and is as weatherproof as the D810, yet it's roughly 25% cheaper. Compared to its baby brother, the D610, the D750 has a superior 51-point AF system, as well as more advanced metering and video capabilities. That's not forgetting the wider sensitivity range, useful tilting screen and Wi-Fi connectivity. Its continuous shooting speed of 6.5fps isn't quite as fast as some may have hoped for, but on the whole the Nikon D750 is a well-rounded, well-priced choice for enthusiast photographers.

Read the full review: Nikon D750

Nikon d5

The D5 is Nikon's latest flagship DSLR, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. 20.8 megapixels might seem a bit stingy, but it means the D5 can shoot at 12fps continuous shooting, while the extended ISO range of ISO 3,280,000 has never been seen before in a camera. That's even before we get to the autofocus system - with a coverage of 173 AF points (99 of which are cross-type), the sophistication and speed of the AF is staggering. The ability to shoot 4K video is restricted to three minutes however, but that aside the D5 is a phenomenal camera that's used by professionals the world over.

Read the full review: Nikon D5

EOS-1D X Mark II

Choosing between the EOS-1D X Mark II and Nikon D5 will most likely depend on which manufacturer you're already tied to with your lens system, but the two cameras are otherwise pretty closely matched. With the EOS-1D X Mark II, Canon has created a very powerful and versatile camera that's a great choice for professional sport and news photographers thanks to a blistering 14fps burst shooting. It doesn't have the outrageous sensitivity range of the Nikon D5, but it's very capable in low light, delivering excellent images within its standard sensitivity range.

Read the full review: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

Sony has made some significant changes from the original A99 for this latest iteration, and the result is a camera that should satisfy a broad range of users. The high-resolution 42.2MP sensor at the camera’s heart is the A99 II’s greatest asset, while 4K video quality is also very good. At the same time the camera maintains much of what we loved about the A99, with excellent handing and the benefits of the SLT system presenting very real advantages over more traditional DSLRs. The arrival of the mirrorless Alpha A9 though takes the shine off a little. 

Read the full review: Sony Alpha A99 II

Canon EOS 6D

It may have been replaced by the Mark IV, but the Mark III is still a great choice for those after a feature-packed full-frame DSLR. If you don't need the extra pixels, then the 22.3MP sensor won't disappoint, delivering excellent results through the ISO range. Just make sure you shoot raw to get the best results. The AF performance is very good too, with the 61-point AF system at home shooting a range of subjects. This is backed-up with a decent all-round performance and polished handling, while it's also incredibly well made, with a durable metal finish. The arrival of the Mark IV means it's the most competitively priced it's ever been.  

Read the full review: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Pentax k-1

The K-1 from Pentax offers a rugged build and a full-frame sensor at a relatively affordable price. It's not cheap, but it compares favourably with the likes of the Nikon D810, Canon 5D Mark III and Sony Alpha 7R II. Pentax's Pixel Shift Technology is clever, and it's great that the company has managed to produce a mode that can be used when the camera is hand-held, although the impact is subtle. Less of an all-rounder than the 5D Mark III, the K-1 makes an excellent camera for landscape, still life and portrait photography, or any genre that doesn't require fast autofocus and which benefits from a high pixel count for detail resolution.

Read the full review: Pentax K-1

Nikon D610

The D750 is good value, but the D610 gets you into the world of full-frame photography for even less. Much less in fact than some of Nikon's APS-C DSLRS. It's only an incremental upgrade over the preceding D600, but it addresses that camera's issues and boasts top-notch image and build quality. Although its pixel count is the same as the cheaper APS-C D7200, the increased sensor size results in greater dynamic range and less image noise. Full-frame is the name of the game, so extra features like Wi-Fi or a tilting screen are absent, but the 39-point AF system is reliable and the 6fps continuous shooting speed respectable. The D610 is slightly overshadowed by the newer D750, but it's still an decent camera. It's getting on a little bit though and due for upgrade.

Read the full review: Nikon D610

Posted: September 19, 2017, 12:05 pm

Okay, we admit it – it's an impossible question. The best camera for a pro photographer is a million miles from the best camera for an adventure sports nut. So what we've done is pick out what we think are the standout cameras in their fields. This may be because they have the most amazing features and specifications, because they're amazing value for what they offer or because they are just brilliant at the job they've been designed for.

Along the way we'll explain some of the jargon and the differences between cameras, though if you need a bit more help deciding what kind of camera you need, you can get a lot more information from our special step-by-step guide: What camera should I buy?

On the other hand, you may already have a clear idea of the kind of camera you want, in which case you could go straight to one of our more specific camera buying guides:

Last year we saw some stunning cameras launched - many of them making it onto our list below, but if you want to know what else might be coming along later this year, take a look at our in-depth Camera Rumors 2017 article.

But if you just want to know what we think are the top ten standout cameras you can buy right now – regardless of user level or price point – then keep on reading.

All these are cameras have been extensively tried and tested by ourselves, so if you want to know any more about any of them as well as check out sample images, just click the link to the full review.

It may be expensive, but if you're looking for the best camera money can buy right now, then Nikon's fabulous D850 DSLR pretty much ticks every box. Packing in a brilliant 45.4MP full-frame sensor, image quality is stunning. But that's just half the story. Thanks to a sophisticated 153-point AF system and 9fps burst shooting speed, the D850 is just a home shooting action and wildlife as it is landscapes and portraits. The Nikon D850 is perhaps the most well-rounded camera we've ever tested.

Read our in-depth Nikon D850 review

The update to the X-T1 may look similar at first glance, but there have been some huge improvements made to Fujifilm's follow-up flagship mirrorless camera. Perhaps the biggest update though is the autofocus. A huge leap forward compared with the system found in the X-T1, AF tracking of moving subjects is very snappy, while the level of sophistication and customisation is impressive. Add in 8 frames per second burst shooting, a clever double-hinged rear display, bright EVF, Fujifilm's excellent 24.3MP X Trans III CMOS sensor and plenty of body mounted controls and you're left with one of the best cameras available today.

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X-T2 review

Sony A7R II

Once, if you wanted a professional quality full frame camera it had to be a Nikon or Canon DSLR. Sony's growing range of mirrorless full-frame cameras offer a great alternative and the Alpha A9 sits at the top of the range. The AF system Sony has blessed this camera with is not only incredibly quick, the tracking performance needs to be seen to be believed. Partner that with incredibly fast 20fps burst shooting, and a large and bright EVF that doesn't blackout when you're shooting, and you've got a camera that can mix it with the best that Canon and Nikon have to offer when it comes to shooting action. The Alpha A9 doesn't fail to impress.

Read our in-depth Sony Alpha A9 review

Nikon's D3400 builds on the brilliant D3300 and is our top pick when it comes to entry-level DSLRs. Sharing pretty much the same design and specification as its predecessor, the D3400 adds Nikon's SnapBridge bluetooth connectivity to transfer images directly to your smart device to make it that much easier to share images. The 24.2MP sensor resolves bags of detail, while the D3400 is also a very easy camera to live with. Its clever Guide Mode is a useful learning tool that gives real-time explanations of important features. There's no touchscreen, but otherwise, this is our favorite entry-level DSLR right now.

Read our in-depth Nikon D3400 review

Panasonic LX100

The X100F is a thing of beauty both to look and and to use, but it's not for everyone. It's a relatively large, retro-styled compact camera with a fixed focal length 35mm equivalent f/2.0 lens, and designed for photographers who hanker after the weighty feel and manual external controls of traditional 35mm film rangefinder cameras. It's a relatively specialised camera and most owners are likely to have other cameras too. It may be a touch pricey, but there's nothing quite like it – it's an exquisite camera to look at and to shoot with.

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X100F review

Sony RX100 III

We loved the original E-M10 for its size, versatility and value for money, but the E-M10 II adds features that take it to another level. The old camera's 3-axis image stabilization system has been uprated to the 5-axis system in Olympus's more advanced OM-D cameras, the viewfinder resolution has been practically doubled and the continuous shooting speed, already impressive at 8fps, creeps up to 8.5fps. Some will criticise the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor format (roughly half the area of APS-C) but the effect on image quality is minor and it means that the lenses are as compact and lightweight as the camera itself. It's small, but it's no toy – the E-M10 II is a properly powerful camera.

Read our in-depth Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II review

Panasonic TZ70/ZS50

Similar in size to earlier ZS/TZ-series cameras, Panasonic however has managed to squeeze a much larger sensor into the ZS100 (TZ100 outside the US). This enables the pixels to be about 2.4x bigger than they are in models like the Lumix ZS70 / TZ90, and this helps the ZS100 produce much higher quality images. The zoom lens isn't quite so extensive though, but you still get an electronic viewfinder that makes it easier to compose images in bright sunny conditions and in addition to 4K video recording, there's Panasonic's 4K Photo mode to help capture 8MP images of fleeting moments. It all adds up to be a powerful compact camera.

Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix ZS100 review / Panasonic Lumix TZ100 review

Canon EOS 760D

One of the best entry-level DSLRs out there, the EOS Rebel T7i (known as the EOS 800D outside) is an update to the EOS Rebel T6i / 750D. The resolution stays the same, but it's a new design with an improved high ISO performance. The autofocus also gets a boost over the older model, now with a 45-point arrangement that's backed up by excellent live view AF system that's as quick as mirrorless rivals, while the newly designed graphical interface will certainly make this camera even more appealing to new users. The absence of 4K video and the quality of the exterior materials disappoint, but despite this the EOS Rebel T7i / 800D is a great entry into the world of DSLR photography.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS Rebel T7i review / Canon EOS 800D review

Panasonic FZ1000

Our final camera is a 'bridge' camera, a type of camera that we don't normally like very much because the ultra-zoom design forces the makers to use titchy 1/2.3-inch sensors the same size as those in point-and-shoot cameras. You get the look and feel of a DSLR, but you certainly don't get the image quality. But the Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 (known as the FZ2500 in the US) is different. It sacrifices a huge zoom range in favour of a much larger 1.0-inch sensor - a compromise most serious photographers will applaud. While the zoom tops out at 480mm equivalent, which is relatively short for a bridge camera, that's still plenty for all but the most extreme everyday use. We'd certainly sacrifice a little for of zoom range for better and faster optics. We love the FZ2000 because it delivers both image quality and zoom range, while also offering full manual and semi-manual controls, the ability to shoot raw files and 4K video.

Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 review / Panasonic Lumix Z2500 review

GoPro really had to step up its game if it wanted to remain at the top of the action cam pile, and the Hero5 Black is a great reminder of why the name is so revered. Simple to use, the addition of a rear touchscreen, voice control and GPS make it one of the most feature-packed action cams currently available. Video footage is now smoother than ever too, while the ability to shoot stills in raw, and the Wide Dynamic Range feature, make the Hero5 Black more versatile than ever. Factor in the updated app with QuikStories that automatically transfers and edits your footage for you, and you're on to a winner.

Read our in-depth GoPro Hero5 Black review

Posted: September 18, 2017, 10:30 am

We're used to seeing plenty of leaks in advance of major smartphone launches, but it seems even action cameras are getting in on the act now - a few days ago we heard a few details about the upcoming GoPro Hero6 range and now some extra information has spilled out on the web.

According to a source in Canada reporting to The Verge, the Hero6 Black will indeed feature 4K recording at 60 fps (double the rate of its predecessor). The new packaging shots also suggest moviemakers can look forward to slow motion 1080p footage at 240 frames-per-second, or 10 times slower than real life.

What's more, it sounds like GoPro will be switching to a custom processor for the new model, the GP1, which may give its engineers the chance to boost battery life or image quality. A new version of the Karma stabilizer grip is also apparently on the way.

Credit: The Verge

Based on some website digging done by developer Konrad Iturbe, the Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session will remain on sale, as will the Fusion 360-degree camera - the only new model will be the Hero6 Black, becoming the new flagship GoPro camera for 2017.

Most rumors point to an announcement happening on September 28 and the new model could well go on sale the same day, so mark your calendars accordingly if you want to pick up the new model. The Verge is quoting a CA$649 price in Canada, which lines up with around US$499 before tax (roughly £365 or AU$625).

There hasn't been much in the way of official statements from GoPro as yet, though back in February the company did confirm that a new Hero6 model would appear this year. As the Hero5 range launched in September 2016, the rumored September 2017 for the new camera would make sense.

Posted: September 17, 2017, 9:30 am

Camera rumors for 2017 are, inevitably, in the news every day, even with CES 2018 just a few months away and Photokina 2018 a year away. But, with a finger on the pulse of the latest industry rumors and trends, and with a bit of our own tech acumen, we’ll look at what the biggest companies in the camera industry may be cooking up.

We’ve culled through all of the latest camera rumors, from wild speculation to the most convincing leaks, and brought you the biggest and the best. With these rumors, we can start to get a picture of what major camera manufacturers might be aiming to release, and what thirsty photographers will be able to get their hands on in the near future.

Let’s look at all of the rumors circling around for each of the major camera manufacturers, from Canon to Olympus.

Canon rumors: We have already seen the EOS-1D X Mark II, EOS 5D Mark IV and EOS 6D Mark II, what else are we possibly going to get? Canon's recently released the EOS M5, but will we see a full-frame mirrorless device from Canon?

Nikon rumors: The Nikon D850 is finally here, but could we also see an update to the underappreciated retro-inspired Df? The Nikon D750 could do with an update, too. 

Sony rumors: We've just had the release of the Alpha A9, so we could possibly see a 70MP+ sensor in an Alpha A7R III next. 

Fujifilm rumors: Fuji's been very busy recently – we've had the GFX 50S, X-T20and X100F, while last year saw the fantastic X-T2 and X-Pro2, but we could see the 24MP sensor make its way into updates for the X70 and X-E2S?

Olympus rumors: There are rumors we could maybe see a replacement to the brand's fantastic OM-D E-M10 II

Panasonic rumors: With a slew of announcements at Photokina including the long awaited Lumix GH5, things are a little quiet at the moment. 

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

Canon's premium PowerShot compact camera could get an overhaul

Predicted specs: New APS-C size sensor | 24-120mm zoom lens | Dual Pixel CMOS AF

CanonRumors has uncovered some hints that there could be a new PowerShot G1 X Mark III on the way. With the Mark II now being well over three and a half years old, it does seem very feasible. If the rumors are, in fact, true, the spec will take a huge leap ahead as well. Instead of the weirdly-sized 1.5-inch sensor, the Mark III is probably going to get the same 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor that's found in cameras like the EOS Rebel T7i (EOS 800D), while it'll also get the most recent DIGIC 7 image processor and Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Zoom range is anticipated to remain the same at 24-120mm, but the jury's still out on whether we'll see a built-in EVF or not.  

Canon full-frame mirrorless camera

If the rumors are true, Canon is working on a full-frame mirrorless camera

Predicted specs: The sensor from the 1D X Mark II or 5D Mark IV | Existing lens mount

CanonRumors is also reporting rumors that Canon is developing a mirrorless full-frame camera, and the good news is that it's likely to use an existing lens mount, which is in all likelihood causing the engineers at Canon some major headaches. 

Nikon D760

A gentle upgrade over the ageing D750 would strengthen Nikon’s FX offerings

Predicted specs: Full-frame 36.3MP sensor | 4K video recording | Tilting touchscreen

The D750 has grown into becoming a well-loved and affordable full-frame choice in Nikon’s lineup, but now that it's over two years old and could really use a boost to compete against a handful of more recent full-frame arrivals. Nikon Rumors has reported that a Honduran newspaper – of all places – has reported that a D760 is imminent, so what could this mean? If the D820 is released with even more pixels, could we be seeing the D760 take advantage of the 36.3MP sensor to supplant the current 24MP chip? A high shutter speed of 1/8,000sec could be in the cards, which is likely because the D750’s maximum 1/4,000sec shutter speed is an understandable compromise to help it to be more affordably priced, but a compromise regardless. 

It would be surprising to have such a camera release without 4K video recording, especially after the 4K-enabled D500 and D5. It’s also possible that it will have a tilting display like the D750, but Nikon would doubtlessly want this to match its D500 sibling in implementing touch sensitivity, too.

Nikon Df II

Nikon Df II

Perhaps Nikon will turn its retro-styled FX SLR into a retro-styled FX CSC?

Predicted specs: Mirrorless design | Class-leading electronic viewfinder | Nikon F-mount

Everyone got very excited about the DF when it was announced, but its high price and relatively low pixel count in comparison to the D810 made it more of a luxury item. The traditional controls also aren't quite as well executed as on Fuji's X-T1, which was released at about the same time.

It's feasible that the Df II will only correct the handling issues of the Df and have a higher resolution sensor – maybe even using the D5's 20MP sensor. However, it's no secret that Nikon has lost some of its market share to Sony and its Alpha 7-series of full-frame retro-styled compact system cameras, and the company needs to have a comeback.

Rumors have been floating around for a while that Nikon has a full-frame mirrorless model coming soon, and the Df design has the potential to be an ideal starting point – albeit with a few major changes, like the removal of the mirror and the implementation of an electronic viewfinder.

With 2017 being Nikon's centenary year, we could see Nikon releasing the DF II this year.

Nikon 1 J%

Nikon 1 system

Will we ever see another Nikon 1 mirrorless camera again?

The last Nikon 1 system camera was the 1 J5, announced back at the beginning of April 2015, and we haven't seen sight or sound of a new model since.

The arrival of Nikon's new range of DL compact cameras at the beginning of last year, all featuring 1.0-inch, 21MP sensors, with specifications that seemed to cast a shadow of the current 1 system offerings, with many people questioning the need for Nikon's current mirrorless offering now these compacts had arrived.

These models though, after over a year of delays have been cancelled, but there hasn't been a whiff of a 1 system rumor in ages either. Could Nikon be quietly admitting defeat?

Sony Alpha

Sony Alpha A9R

Could Sony launch a high-end pro-spec mirrorless flagship camera?

Predicted specs: Full-frame 70-80MP sensor | Same body as Alpha A9 

With the arrival of the fabulous looking 24MP, 20fps Alpha 9, what can we expect next from Sony? 

While the full-frame 42MP Alpha 7R II is clearly still has one of the best sensors available, we can't help but speculate that Sony are going to try and get even more pixels on a full-frame sensor, potentially almost doubling the resolution offered by the A7R II and pitting it against medium format cameras. 

Put this sensor in the Alpha A9's body with its more polished control layout and the Alpha A9R could be a monster of a camera.

Sony Alpha A7 III

Rumors are growing that we could see an update to Sony's enthusiast full-frame mirrorless camera

Predicted specs: Full-frame 24MP sensor | Joystick AF control | Advanced AF system

Rumors are starting to pick-up that we'll see an update to the Alpha A7 II, and one that'll benefit from the trickle-down of technology from the Alpha 9

That means we could see the 24MP sensor make its way into a more affordable body, and while we don't expect to see it capable of rattling off 20fps to rival the A9, we should see a serious speed increase too. 

We'd also be surprised if the A7 III gets the same awesome 693-point AF system as the A9, but again, we'd expect to see a big leap over the AF system in the A7 II. To quickly toggle between AF points, expect Sony to give the A7 III the same mini joystick that's on the A9.

Fuji X200

Fujifilm X70F

A new sensor and processing engine, plus an improved AF system look on the cards for Fujifilm's pocket premium compact camera

Predicted specs: 24MP APS-C format sensor | 28mm equivalent lens | Improved AF system

We've just had the X100F announced with a number of new improvements, so we can expect Fujifilm to turn its attention to the X70 update next.

We'd be incredibly surprised if it doesn't get a resolution upgrade, increasing the pixel count from 16 million to 24 million as we've seen with Fuji's other recent announcements.

We reckon Fujifilm will stick with the 28mm equivalent prime lens, but it might be tempted to up the ante a little by increasing the maximum aperture from f/2.8 to f/2 for even better low light performance and depth of field control, but it may 'just' use a new optical design or coatings to boost performance.

Or perhaps we'll see multiple versions - maybe one with a fast 50mm f/1.8 equivalent optic. 

Fujifilm has been working hard on improving the autofocus systems in its cameras, and this seems likely to continue, so we can expect the X70F to focus more quickly than the X70, with better low-light responses.

Fujifilm X-E3

A moderate update to Fujifilm affordable rangefinder-style mirrorless camera

Predicted specs: 24MP APS-C format sensor | Touchscreen | 4K video capture

The current rangefinder-styled X-E2S sits alongside the popular X-T10 in the Fujifilm mirrorless range. While one of the newer models, it's the odd-one-out when it comes to its sensor, utilising the ageing 16MP chip, so we'd expect a X-E3 with a 24MP sensor to fall into line with the rest of the range.

AF is likely to be tweaked for snappier performance, while we could see a touchscreen and 4K video capture.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 III

It's still one of our favorite mirrorless cameras, but the E-M10 II is almost two years old now. Will we see a refreshed model soon?

Predicted specs: 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor | Core features to remain the same | 4K video

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 II is one of our favorite mirrorless cameras - it's a compact powerhouse of a camera with great handling and spec, but it's now almost two years old now and with the likes of Fujifilm's X-T20 giving it some stiff competition, we would be surprized to see a Mark III model.

43rumors.com is reporting that we'll see one very soon, and has even got hold of what it believes to be the specification. From the looks of it, the core specification will remain the same, with the E-M10 III featuring the same 16MP resolution and excellent 5-axis image stabilization, though we're likely to see 4K video capture. Focusing could also get a bump up to 121 points.

Posted: September 15, 2017, 9:40 pm
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Techradar Camera and Camcorder reviews

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The Canon EOS Rebel T7i (EOS 800D outside the US) is the latest in a long line of entry-level Canon DSLRs that can chart their heritage back to the original EOS Digital Rebel (EOS 300D) that arrived back in 2003.

Since then, the various iterations and updates that have come and gone have been firm favorites with both new and more experienced users alike.

Canon's current EOS Rebel T6i / EOS 750D has established itself as one of our favourite entry-level DSLRs. It's packed with a range of features perfect for the new user, while the polished handling makes it a pleasure to use.

But that camera is now two years old and beginning to show its age, and with Nikon updating its entry-level range with the likes of the D3400 and D5600, and with a slew of new mirrorless rivals from various manufacturers being thrown into the mix, an update from Canon was always on the cards.

The EOS Rebel T7i / 800D offers a number of improvements over its predecessor, although not all of them are obvious from a glance at the spec sheet,so let's take a closer look at the Rebel T7i / 800D…

Features

  • APS-C CMOS Sensor, 24.2MP
  • 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
  • 1080p video capture

While the EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D sports the same 24.2MP resolution as the Rebel T6i / EOS 750D it replaces, the sensor has been overhauled we’re told, and uses the same technology we've seen in the EOS 80D.

Canon wouldn't elaborate on what exactly has changed, but we can speculate that it uses the same on-chip digital-to-analogue conversion technology that we've seen in the EOS 5D Mark IV to handle noise better. 

The new sensor is partnered with a new DIGIC 7 image processor. We've seen a DIGIC 7 chip already in the likes of Canon's PowerShot G7 X II compact camera, but this is quite a different proposition. Canon claims it can handle 14 times more information than the DIGIC 6 processor that was in the T6i / 750D, which again should help deliver a better high-ISO noise performance, as well as an improved autofocus performance too.

We'll look at the autofocus in more detail a little later, but sensitivity-wise the Rebel T7i / 800D offers a range of ISO100-25,600 – that's an extra stop over the T6i’s expanded 12,800 ISO ceiling, while there’s a Hi setting equivalent to ISO51,200 also available. You’ll just have to select this in the custom setting.

Canon has opted to stick with the same 3.0-inch, vari-angle touchscreen display with a resolution of 1,040,000 dots. A slight boost in resolution, or increase in size to 3.2-inches (matching the Nikon D5600), would have been welcome here, but perhaps Canon may have felt improvements were unnecessary here, as it’s already one of the most polished touch interfaces out there.

It's perhaps a little underwhelming to see only Full HD capture

With 4K video capture becoming more of a standard feature on cameras, especially the mirrorless rivals which the Rebel T7i / 800D will be going up against, it's perhaps a little underwhelming to see only Full HD capture offered.

Footage can be captured at up to 60p though, up from the T6i / 750D’s 30p, while Canon has equipped the Rebel T7i / 800D with a 5-axis image stabilization system for shooting hand-held footage. Designed to work with video but not stills, the system is designed to counter unwanted camera movement, while IS-equipped lenses will also work in conjunction with the system.

There’s also a 3.5mm stereo microphone jack port, but no headphone port to monitor audio – something that’s pretty standard on cameras at this price point. 

The T6i / 750D supported Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, and the T7i / 800D builds on this. There's now the option to set up a low-energy Bluetooth connection so that you can always be connected to the camera. We’ve seen something similar with Nikon’s SnapBridge connectivity, enabling you to remotely transfer images from your camera to a compatible smart device.

Canon's Camera Connect app also lets you wake the camera from its slumber (provided you haven't turned the camera fully off), as well as browse photos and operate the camera remotely. The Camera Connect app itself has also been updated to make it more user-friendly, and to help guide you through the controls.

New 18-55mm lens

The arrival of the EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D also heralds a new 18-55mm kit lens that’ll be offered as a starter kit with the camera. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM is 20% smaller than its predecessor, and a little slower (the older lens had a variable maximum aperture of f/3.5-5.6) thanks to its collapsible design, but offers up to four stops of image stabilization. As we’ve got our hands on one of the first T7i / 800D’s available we’re using the older lens for this review, but we'll update once the new optic becomes available.

Build and handling

  • Aluminum alloy and polycarbonate construction
  • Design little changed from previous models
  • Weighs 532g

Like the Rebel T6i, the T7i features a aluminum alloy and polycarbonate construction, but has managed to shave about 20g from the weight of the camera, which tips the scales at 532g with a battery and card.

However, while we don’t doubt that the quality of the construction of this camera is very good, the predominantly matt plastic exterior finish of the camera just doesn’t feel that nice to the touch. If we’re being harsh, it feels quite cheap, especially when compared to mirrorless rivals like the Panasonic Lumix G80/G85 and Fujifilm X-T20

While it's not going to trouble most mirrorless rivals when it comes to size, the T7i / 800D is still pretty compact, while the textured hand grip is pleasingly deep, allowing you to get a firm grasp on the camera.

Design-wise, little has changed from its predecessor, with minor tweaks to the rear of the camera. The indent to release the rear vari-angle display is now next to the viewfinder, rather than to the right-hand side, while the left-hand side of the viewfinder has a slightly gentler slope to it. Otherwise the design is almost identical, with the same control layout as the T6i / 750D. This is no bad thing though, as the T6i / 750D is a nice camera to use.

There’s a decent (but not overwhelming) amount of body-mounted controls dotted around the camera. On the top plate are a single command dial and dedicated controls for ISO, autofocus and display, while there’s a host of regularly used settings on the rear.

There’s also a Quick menu that's accessed by pressing the Q button. This gives you rapid access to some key features that can either be adjusted using the camera’s physical buttons and dials, or by touching the screen to toggle between settings. We reckon that even if you’re not used to using a touchscreen on a camera, it’ll soon become second-nature to you – the EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D’s touchscreen interface is very intuitive, and integrated seamlessly with the camera’s menu system. 

The vari-angle display offers a useful range of movement to assist in a range of shooting situations

The T7i / 800D uses a cheaper pentamirror design (rather than the pentaprism that’s used in more advanced DSLRs) that shows approximately 95% of the scene as on the D5600. The display is nice and bright (if a little cramped), but you'll need to take care when composing shots to avoid unwanted elements encroaching on the edges of the frame – we found on a couple of occasions when reviewing shots on the rear display that annoying stray elements had crept in.

If you're going to be relying on the rear touchscreen more when composing shots, the good news is that you get 100% coverage here. Clarity and sharpness are good, while the vari-angle display offers a useful range of movement to assist in a range of shooting situations.

Autofocus

  • 45-point AF, all cross-type
  • Sensitive down to -3EV
  • Dual Pixel AF for Live View

The EOS Rebel T6i / EOS 750D employed Canon's tried and tested 19-point phase-detect AF system, which was starting to look a little dated even when it was launched a couple of years back. Canon has overhauled this for the Rebel T7i / 800D, upping the coverage to 45 points – and that's not the whole story, as Canon has also made all 45 points cross-type for more accurate AF.

(Cross-type sensors are sensitive in both the horizontal and vertical planes, so when the camera's focusing it's more likely to lock onto its target than a sensor that's sensitive to one plane, which can mean you have to rotate the camera to achieve focus.)

As well as this, focusing is sensitive down to -3EV, so even in poor light you shouldn't have any issues. We test the AF under poor artificial light and it performed well, only struggling when presented with some almost pitch-black conditions. Finally, 27 of the AF points are sensitive even at wider apertures down to f/8 – perfect if you're planning to use a moderately slow lens and teleconverter together.

The T7i / 800D's focusing system delivers solid performance

The T7i / 800D’s phase-detect system works very well – focusing speed was pretty snappy even with the 18-55mm lens we used, while subject-tracking performance is noticeably better than the T6i / 750D, thanks to the 7560-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor that helps the AF system track subjects. 

As there’s no dedicated joystick for AF point selection, this is done via the four-way button arrangement on the rear of the camera, which works pretty quickly, while there are four AF modes to choose from: selectable single point, Zone AF (uses 9 AF points in a selectable block), Large Zone AF (can select the central 15 AF points, or the 15 points either side) or Auto Selection AF (uses the entire coverage, with the camera selecting the AF points).

The Dual Pixel AF system impresses

The Rebel T7i / 800D also gets Canon's Dual Pixel AF for Live View photography and video capture. It's certainly a welcome improvement over Canon's rather clunky Hybrid CMOS AF III system, which was used in the older model and wasn’t a patch on its mirrorless rivals for speed and operability. 

With 49 AF points arranged in a 7 x 7 grid, this new system is much improved and delivers smooth and fast focusing, especially when used in tandem with the touchscreen when selecting your desired point of focus. It’s so much better than the older system, and better than the system used by the Nikon D5600 – and good enough to trouble some mirrorless systems.

Performance

  • 6fps burst shooting
  • User guide on camera
  • 600-shot battery life

Thanks in part to the DIGIC 7 image processor, Canon has managed to boost the continuous shooting speed to 6fps in the T7i, up from the T6i's 5fps. It's a modest jump, though, and with mirrorless rivals offering faster burst shooting this is another area where it's a shame that Canon hasn't been tempted to try and squeeze out even more performance from the new camera.

Battery life has seen a big improvement though, and many mirrorless rivals would struggle to match the T7i / 800D's 600 shot capacity – up from the T6i's 440. There is a caveat though, as solely using the rear display, if that’s how you like to shoot, will see battery life drop to 270 shots, while it lags behind its closest rival, the Nikon D5600, which can take an extra 220 shots (820 in total) before the battery will need recharging.

Getting to grips with creative photography can be daunting for new users, which is where Nikon's graphical Guide Mode on the likes of the D3300 has done really well in the past, so it's welcome to see Canon introduce something similar on the T7i / 800D.

The T7i / 800D sports a new guide mode

Canon has introduced a clean-looking graphical interface that helps users by explaining settings, and offering advice on what effects each will have on the final shot. For instance, if you’re in Aperture Priority mode the display will illustrate what settings are needed for a blurred or sharp background, with additional info being displayed to help you further understand what’s going. For new users this will certainly be of benefit, while more more experienced users can disable this feature in the menu if they wish, and stick with Canon's more traditional menu system.

Metering is weighted to the AF point, so it can trick the metering on occasion, as here

The T7i / 800D uses the same 7560-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor as the T6i / 750D, with 63-zone Evaluative, Partial, Centre-weighted and Spot metering options. The evaluative system does a good job most of the time, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the weighting applied to the active AF point can mean you need to use exposure compensation in high-contrast situations; we experienced a couple of occasions where the same shot threw up two different exposures simply because we shifted the AF point slightly.

The white balance system performs very well, while the option of an Ambient Auto White Balance mode has its uses, delivering slightly warmer results that can be welcome, while White Priority can deliver clean, neutral results even in artificial lighting.

Image quality

  • ISO100-51,200
  • Noise performance much improved
  • Pleasing color rendition

The EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D's new 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor performs very well. While there's probably not much to choose between this new sensor and the one in the T6i / 750D in terms of out-and-out resolution, with both performing very well, it's improvements elsewhere that make the difference.

The 24MP sensor is capable of delivering a decent amount of detail

Perhaps the biggest improvement is in the way the camera handles noise. Images appeared very clean at low sensitivities and displayed good saturation, but it's further up the sensitivity range where the big improvements are evident.

Processed raw file at ISO1600

Raw files edited in Adobe Camera Raw looked very good, with images looking very clean even at ISO6400. While there's some luminance (grain-like) noise, it's very fine in structure, and there's hardly any noticeable chroma (color) noise present. Saturation has suffered a touch however, although it's still very good.

As you'd expect, image noise is much more pronounced at ISO25,600, with saturation and detail suffering on top of more noticeable noise. Despite this though, results are still pretty sound all things considered. We'd avoid using this setting where possible, but it does provide that bit of flexibility if you really need to get a shot in poor light.

As we've come to expect, colors are pleasing when it comes to JPEG output, although images arguably lack the 'bite' and clarity of some those from some rival cameras, so we'd suggest tweaking one of the Picture Styles or shooting raw.

Dynamic range is also that bit better, but still not quite a match for rivals – there's just not the same latitude in raw files to recover highlight and shadow detail as with, say, the D5600 or X-T20.

Dynamic range is improved, but still not quite a match for the best

This isn't unique to the EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D by any stretch, but to make the most of this camera you'll want to ditch the 18-55mm kit lens as soon as you can – there's some pretty pronounced distortion present, while sharpness could be better. Fortunately, there are a wealth of optics out there that will do the well-performing sensor justice.

Verdict

Canon is hardly rocking the DSLR boat with the new EOS Rebel T7i / 800D – although with the T6i / 750D proving such as success it would have been daft to start from scratch.

That said, there have been a number of welcome improvements. The new sensor impresses, with great performance at high ISOs, and delivers detail-rich images (though to get the best from the camera you'll want some decent glass).

The autofocus too is a decent improvement over the T6i / 750D, with a solid 45-point AF system that's backed up by excellent live view AF. 

The newly designed graphical interface will certainly make the camera even more appealing to new users – combined with the logical control layout and polished touchscreen it makes for a hassle-free shooting experience.

It's disappointing not to see 4K video capture here though, especially as mirrorless rivals are now offering it, while perhaps the biggest disappointment is the camera's finish. While it's similar to previous models, the onslaught of mirrorless models that feel that much nicer in the hand, and the relatively high launch price, exacerbate this shortcoming.

If you can get over these issues though, and if you're looking for a well-rounded and easy to use camera with which to take your first steps in the world of DSLR photography, the EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D is certainly worth a look.

Competition

Posted: September 20, 2017, 3:48 pm

The D3300 may have been replaced by the D3400, but that's no reason to discount this entry-level DSLR. In fact, while the D3400 costs a little bit more (though prices are continuing to fall), the D3300 is the better buy right now.

Despite the growing popularity of mirrorless cameras, the entry-level DSLR market is still incredibly popular for those looking to take the next step in their photography journey.

Nikon's range of D3xxx models has proved incredibly popular over the years for new users looking to expand their creativity thanks to their blend of easy handling and solid performance, backed-up by an impressive range of lenses and accessories.

Features

  • APS-C CMOS sensor, 24.2MP
  • 3.0-inch screen, 921,000 dots
  • 1080p video capture

The Nikon D3300 features a high resolution 24.2MP APS-C sensor, which is pretty impressive when you consider the enthusiast-focused (and much higher priced) D7200 shares the an almost identical sensor with it. Like the rest of the Nikon range, the D3300's sensor does away with a low-pass filter on the sensor as well, which means even more detail can be captured.

In addition to this, the native sensitivity range runs from ISO100 to 12,800, and there's an expansion setting that takes it to the equivalent of ISO25,600, that should provide plenty of flexibility for a range of lighting situations.

Like the Nikon D5300, the D3300 sports Nikon's now second-generation processing engine, the EXPEED 4, allowing the D3300 to shoot continuously at a maximum rate of 5fps, while it can sustain this burst rate for up to 100 fine quality JPEGs. Not probably quite a match for some mirrorless rivals, but more than enough for most people's needs.

The EXPEED 4 processing engine is also responsible for allowing the D3300 to record Full HD movie footage at frame rates up to 50p/60p and with continuous autofocus. Helpfully, there's a microphone port as well as a built-in stereo mic for better sound recording during movie shooting. If you want 4K, you'll either have to look further up the Nikon line-up or at some mirrorless competition like the Panasonic Lumix G7.

Unlike some (pricier) rivals sporting articulating screens, the 3.0-inch display on the rear of the D3300 sits flush to the body. The absence of a touchscreen interface is also a little disappointing, especially when you consider how many of the camera's controls are changed via the screen itself. If these are deal-breakers, then you might want to look further up the Nikon range to the D5600 or rivals from Canon. 

Like pretty much every DSLR at this price point, the D3300's optical viewfinder only offers a 95% field of view. While it is bright and clear, not being 100% does mean that there is a chance of something appearing in the final image that you didn't notice when framing up your shot.

There are a host of Special Effects on tap, allowing you to jazz-up JPEG files and videos with a collection of styles. Nikon has boosted the list of effects to 13 for the D3300, and it now includes Pop, which increases colour saturation, Toy Camera, which creates a retro effect, and Easy Panorama. These effects can be previewed in real time on the LCD screen, so you can see exactly what you'll get once you trigger the shutter.

Connectivity options are pretty limited, so if you want to wirelessly transfer images you'll have to invest in the optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter to make it so. If you want a connected entry-level Nikon DSLR, you'll want to get the D3400. Featuring Nikon's SnapBridge technology, this functionality allows the D3400 to be connected wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet. 

Build and handling

  • Polycarbonate construction
  • Small and lightweight body
  • Weighs 460g

The D3300 is the second DSLR from Nikon to use a monocoque construction - this means that the chassis is made from a single piece of material. Lighter than the D3200 it replaced, the D3300 is actually a bit heavier than the D3400, with Nikon managing to shave a very modest 15g off the 410g body-only weight of the D3300. 

The grip is still deep and comfortable to hold, with the textured surface making it feel particularly secure in the hand.

The new 18-55mm kit lens that the D3300 will probably most likely be purchased with is now collapsible. While by no means small in comparison to compact system camera lenses of the same equivalent zoom range, when collapsed the lens is quite a bit shorter than its predecessor, making it easier to fit into a small bag when not in use.

When you want to use the camera (with this kit lens attached), you'll first need to press a button on the lens barrel to expand it back into normal proportions. This does mean that start-up time from packed away is a little slower than other cameras, but you can of course leave it extended if you need a quicker start.

There isn't a huge number of buttons on the D3300, which is to be expected of an entry-level camera. On the top plate you'll find a mode dial for switching between exposure modes, such as fully automatic, aperture priority and the newly incorporated Effects mode. Also on the top plate you'll find the exposure compensation button (for use in automatic and semi-automatic modes) and an info button, which helpfully turns off the rear display, preventing it from being a distraction while using the viewfinder.

A sort of quick menu is accessed on the D3300 by pressing a button labelled 'i' on the back of the camera. After you've pressed this, use the directional keys to pick a setting you want to change – such as white balance – and then press OK to bring up the different options available to you. Unfortunately, this menu isn't customisable, so if there's something on this menu you rarely use, you're stuck with it.

There is also a function button near the lens mount. By default holding this down will allow you to quickly change the ISO, but you can change this to control JPEG quality, white balance or Active D-Lighting. ISO seems like a sensible choice since it's something you'll probably need to change the most often out of the options available.

Autofocus

  • 11-point AF, 1 cross-type AF point
  • AF-assist illuminator
  • 3D-tracking AF

Meanwhile, there's an 11-point AF system that we've seen on a host of previous models, which has a central cross-type AF point for extra sensitivity.

It's a little unremarkable, especially when compared to some mirrorless rivals, but its a tried and test system that does a solid job.

Autofocusing speeds are pretty high, especially in daylight or well-lit conditions. It's rare for the kit lens to hunt around to acquire focus, and rarer still for it to present a false confirmation of focus. Speeds do drop a little in lower light conditions, but it's only when it gets very dark that the lens struggles to focus at all.

It performs very well, allowing you to track a subject across the D3300's 11 AF points

The D3300 also sports Nikon 3D-Tracking technology and while it's not as advanced as that found on more sophisticated models, it performs very well, allowing you to track a subject across the D3300's 11 AF points.

Changing the AF point is very simple. All you'll need to do is press the directional arrow keys to move around to the point you need. As the central AF point is cross-type, it is more sensitive than the others, so you may find it beneficial to focus and recompose in certain situations, or, if you're just aiming for speed.

It's worth bearing in mind, though, that focusing speeds drop significantly when using Live View, so it's only really recommended you use that if you're shooting something stationery, or you're shooting from an awkward angle and can't compose using the viewfinder. This is where mirrorless rivals definitely have the edge.

Performance

  • 5fps burst shooting
  • Helpful Guide mode
  • 700-shot battery life

The D3300's interface has a pleasingly modern appearance, with the high resolution giving the display beautifully rounded edges and displaying the interface's colors well.

When shooting, the camera displays three circles which represent shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity (ISO). These displays change as you alter settings using the scrolling dials, most obvious being the aperture circle which closes and opens to represent the opening and closing of the aperture blades. If you're new to creative photography, this is a great way to get to grips with the basics.

The D3300 has a dedicated 420-pixel RGB sensor to gather exposure, white balance and focus information to inform the Automatic Scene Recognition system. 

In the majority of everyday shooting conditions, the D3300's general-purpose matrix metering system does a good job of producing accurate exposures, while the camera's automatic white balance also performs well. It manages to produce faithful colors even while shooting indoors, where under artificial lights produces images which are hard to fault, hardly erring towards warm tones at all, which is excellent to see in an entry-level DSLR.

Battery life is very good too, lasting for around 700 shots - better than similarly priced mirrorless rivals, though not quite as impressive as the D3400's 1200 shot battery life. 

Image quality

  • ISO100-12,800, expandable to 100-25,600
  • No low-pass filter
  • Punchy colors

As expected, the D3300 has excellent resolving power. Even when zoomed in to images at 100% reveals that very fine details can be seen. 

With such a high pixel count (24 million pixels), there comes the increased chance of noise appearing in images. The D3300 handles low light, high sensitivity situations very well. Noise only really starts to become particularly apparent when shooting at ISO 3200 above, and even then it's acceptable, or certainly preferable to a blurred or missed shot.

Image smoothing is something that can be seen right the way through the sensitivity run, but at the lower end of the spectrum it's not particularly noticeable, only when examining images very closely at 100% does it become apparent. When printing at normal sizes, such as A4, or sharing online, it doesn't present a problem.

One of the benefits of having a large pixel count is the ability to crop images and still retain a decent resolution, but this is something to bear in mind if you've been shooting at a high sensitivity and want to crop an image. Any image smoothing or noise may become more apparent the more you crop the image.

Verdict

With the Nikon D3300, you get a lot of seriously good kit for your money. For starters, the 24MP sensor is capable of producing excellent levels of detail. Then there's the interface. The crisp and clean look off the D3300's Guide Mode continues to be something which makes this camera appealing to novice users, helping you get to grips and understand the basics of photography as you shoot, whilst the collapsible 18-55mm kit lens is great when you're on the go. 

While the autofocus system might not be overflowing with AF points, the 11-point AF system works very, with a decent 3D-Tracking mode for moving subjects. Autofocus could be snappier in Live View however, while it's a shame you don't get an articulated touchscreen display (you'll want the D5600 if that's what you're after) or Wi-Fi connectivity, but Nikon does make a cheap plug-in Wi-Fi adaptor if that's a deal-breaker for you.

These niggles aside and when you factor in the excellent battery life and the wealth of lenses and accessories available, not forgetting the excellent value it is right now, and the D3300 is hard to beat if you're looking for your first DSLR.

The arrival though of the D3400 with a virtually identical spec and built-in connectivity for roughly the same price means the newer camera just edges it. 

Competition

Posted: September 20, 2017, 8:40 am

If the GoPro Hero5 Black is the current undisputed heavyweight champion of the 4K action camera world, the scores of cheaper rivals that are currently coming through the ranks are the young and feisty contenders for its crown.

But so far none of them has managed to topple GoPro's relatively expensive offering, even if cheaper rivals claim to boast similar spec-for-spec attributes, proven sensors and comparable technology.

Cameras from Yi Technology (notably the YI 4K Action Camera), Olfi and Veho have come close in terms of design and performance, but have typically buckled in the final round.

Despite the scores of battered and bruised challengers before it, however, Chinese manufacturer SJCAM thinks it has what it takes to trouble the champ, and its latest SJ7 Star model boasts the sort of features that, on paper, appear to make it a contender.

Features

  • 4K video capture at 30fps
  • 12MP stills (up to 16MP via interpolation)
  • 166-degree wide angle lens

Like its GoPro rival, the SJCAM SJ7 Star offers an interactive rear touchscreen via which you can control most of the functionality. At two inches wide, it's easy to view and to navigate.

There's also the option to download the free SJCAM app, which is available for iOS and Android and connects via the smartphone's Wi-Fi, for previewing shots and rapidly editing settings.

Expect plenty of video resolution options, with 720p and 920p at 120fps catering for the extreme slow-motion moments, 1080p at 120fps bumping up the resolution somewhat, and 2.7k at 60fps or 30fps and 4K at 30fps offering the sharpest footage.

The camera also packs gyro stabilisation, which aims to digitally smooth out bumps in video recording

The SJ7 Star matches the aforementioned GoPro pound for pound, and even records 4K natively (rather than via interpolation), meaning image quality and clarity are superior to the previous SJ6 model.

However, the twice-the-price GoPro Hero 5 still manages to keep the upper hand in a number of areas, including its built-in waterproof casing (there's no need for a separate case any more), ProTune video options (the dream for anyone wanting greater control in post-production), HDR images and voice control.

The camera also packs gyro stabilization, which aims to digitally smooth out bumps in video recording, although this is only available in 1080p at 30fps or lower resolutions.

That means full 4K and 2.7K can feel bumpy, while super-smooth, super-slow-motion clips could be out of the question.

Design and accessories

  • Three color options (black, grey and rose gold)
  • Plenty of basic mounts in the box
  • Waterproof casing included

There's not too much to write home about in terms of design. The SJCAM SJ7 Star is a matchbox-sized action camera with all the glamor of, well, a matchbox.

It comes finished in all-over grey, or with a black (as seen here) or rose gold facade, but essentially it's a small rectangular box with a tiny lens at the front, two rubber buttons (settings and power), a shutter button on the top and a touchscreen at the rear.

On the bottom there's a small hinged door that houses the 1000mAh lithium ion battery pack, which isn't as powerful as those found in the aforementioned rivals, including the Yi 4K and GoPro offerings.

The SJCAM SJ7 Star is fashioned from hard plastics and rubber, and feels fairly substantial as it is but the packaging contains numerous cases, including a waterproof case that allows the camera to be taken to depths of 30m.

SJCAM also includes a touchscreen hinged back door that can be used at depths up to 3m, but its plastic is far too tough and inflexible to allow proper use of the rear screen.

The casings and accessories use a GoPro mounting system, with many featuring 3M adhesive pads, but the plastics used feel cheap and brittle.

The waterproof casing, for example, uses a small latch and hinge mechanism for opening and closing. That tiny plastic hinge requires some pretty sturdy nails to open it the first few times, and the process can actually prove painful if your hands are cold or wet.

Build and handling

  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Accessories feel cheap

Charging the SJCAM SJ7 Star, and transfer of files, is taken care of via a standard mini-USB cable, which is good news if, like us, you have loads of cables hanging around.

We found that GoPro's use of the newer USB-C cables meant we had to keep the provided wire under lock and key through fear of losing it and not being able to charge the camera. Not so with SJCAM.

There's no visual indicator to show that the unit is charging when it's switched off, meaning the screen has to be activated if you'd like to check status; an indicator on the front of the camera wouldn't go amiss.

Once fully charged, the SJ7 Star starts up quickly, and there's very little delay between start-up and recording or shooting, although the one-button shutter means it's a little more fiddly to switch between stills and video.

To do so, you have to swipe left or right on the rear touchscreen, or swipe up to access the various modes, including self-timer, video lapse and burst photo options.

Accessing this menu is quick and easy, with the touchscreen proving responsive, but exiting menus and clicking on the smaller icons can be fiddly, and often takes multiple attempts.

The various mounts are simple and intuitive to use, while the thumb screws tighten and loosen without a struggle – an issue that typically blights cheaper cameras.

There's also a handy universal mount that screws into most tripod systems, for those who fancy getting creative with timelapse photos or who simply want steady video footage, although the SJ7 Star will have to be placed inside one of the provided cases first.

Performance

  • f/2.5 lens
  • Sony IMX117 sensor and Ambarella A12S75 chipset
  • Gyro stabilisation only at 1080p at 30fps and below

For this particular test, we took the SJCAM SJ7 Star out cycling, attached it to a car during some high-speed tyre testing, and packed it in a rucksack for a sunny hike along the beach.

Cycling is always a good workout for any built-in image stabilization, and in this case it's very easy to see the results with the technology activated, as it resulted in smooth footage when attached to some shaky handlebars.

The SJ7 Star also supports a quick capture mode, which sees video begin recording when the camera is switched on, although annoyingly this isn't the case when the camera goes into standby mode.

Here, the shutter must be depressed once to wake the camera up, and then again to take an image or start recording.

A recent firmware update has improved a number of handling issues, such as the slow-reacting touchscreen menus and some crashing, while app functionality is greatly improved.

On that note, the app is a nice addition to the overall package; it borrows many elements from the GoPro stable, including the design and layout, and it works well and proves easy to navigate.

The SJ7 Star creates its own Wi-Fi network, which you can easily connect your smartphone to in a matter of seconds. Once connected, the app then allows all of the settings to be adjusted, video resolutions changed and files browsed and downloaded to the device.

It feels a lot more intuitive to adjust settings via the app, as the small touchscreen on the back of the camera can be fiddly to use, and it's irksome to constantly have to remove it from one of the protective housings.

Expect battery time to be depleted much quicker when Wi-Fi is activated, though.

Image quality

  • Sharp and colorful video
  • Plenty of resolution options
  • Stills suffer from barrel distortion

Video quality from the SJCAM SJ7 Star is pretty good. Bright blue skies appear vibrant and image detail is good, even at 1080p and 30fps; there is some grain, and edges aren't particularly sharp, at this resolution, but that's to be expected.

There's an almost bamboozling number of resolution, frame rate and view angle options to chose from, but we found that 1080p at 60fps seemed to offer the best trade-off between image quality and file size, while it offers good flexibility in post-production.

Unfortunately, there isn't an option to shoot the video flat (to allow for greater flexibility in post), nor is it possible to capture stills in raw. That said, only minor tweaking in Lightroom was needed to create some nice imagery, even at 12MP resolution, although barrel distortion in stills is a big issue.

Still files look pretty good as long as you don't mind serious barrel distortion

The latest GoPro features a dual microphone set-up, which does a great job of cutting out wind noise for an improved soundtrack. The SJ7 Star's lack of such technology is noticeable, and the audio captured on a blustery ride was pretty much unusable.

You'll only get around 50 minutes of footage when shooting in 4K resolution, but this produces by far the best picture quality of all the settings.

We rode around with the camera mounted the back of our fixed-gear bicycle on a sunny day, and were impressed by the vivid colours and sharp detail. In the clip below t's possible to make out the tiniest patterns in the tarmac, even when travelling at speed.

But the lack of image stabilization at this resolution is a big drawback, as the 4K footage would have been far more pleasant if the annoying scuttle and shake produced by an uneven road surface was digitally reduced.

Editing and apps

  • Basic app functionality
  • Doesn't allow in-app editing
  • No video preview option

Unfortunately, neither the SJCAM SJ7 Star nor the app allows for any editing, with the app serving only as a tool to download clips and stills to a smartphone and correctly line up a shot.

That said, the app is extremely simple to use, and we found that our iPhone 7 had no problems connecting to its built-in Wi-Fi, although it would occasionally drop signal, forcing us to re-connect.

It is possible to review still imagery and video, as well as download selected files to a device, although the app requires video to be downloaded before it can be previewed, which is a pain.

The lack of in-app editing could prove a stumbling block for some potential buyers, as the likes of GoPro and YI Technology understand that not everyone has the time to sit down and put a slick edit together, and so offer easy solutions for creating neat clips that can be instantly shared via social media.

Verdict

Native 4K is impressive in a camera at this price point, as is the rear touchscreen and the liberal spread of cutting-edge features, but there are a couple of things that let the SJCAM SJ7 Star down.

The lack of image stabilization when shooting in 4K will likely disappoint anyone looking to capture professional-quality imagery, while GoPro's ProTune settings are naturally a big draw for those looking to get creative in the edit.

It's also not possible to shoot still imagery in raw, and the rear touchscreen can be slow, and irritating to use on a regular basis. However, we experienced a similar sensation with the far pricier GoPro Hero5 Black, and a firmware update did make it more responsive.

We were impressed with the overall video quality, especially when stabilized at 1080p, while the still imagery was sharp and perfectly acceptable for lower-resolution use cases after a few minor tweaks.

Granted, the SJCAM SJ7 Star lacks some of the cool features of the GoPro, such as voice activation, GPS and the ability to make quick and easy video clips via a smartphone app, but it delivers strong footage at a fraction of the price.

Competition

Posted: September 15, 2017, 4:35 pm

The Nikon D850 is finally here. After months of speculation, and Nikon itself teasing us back in July that the camera actually existed and was in development, the D850 has been officially announced – and boy, does it look like it's been worth the wait.

Superseding the brilliant 36.3MP D810 that's loved by both pros and enthusiasts alike, the D850 certainly has big shoes to fill. That said, while the D810 ticked a lot of boxes for photographers, its modest burst shooting speed of 5fps meant it wasn't the perfect all-round DSLR.

Nikon doesn't appear to be holding back with the D850, though, boosting numerous areas of the camera's performance to make it appear (on paper at least), the most well-rounded DSLRs we've seen. Is the D850, then, the ultimate DSLR?

Features

  • Full-frame CMOS sensor, 45.4MP
  • 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 2,359,000 dots
  • 4K video capture

While the D810 retained the same 36.3MP resolution as the groundbreaking Nikon D800/D800e, it's been eclipsed by both the 50.6MP Canon EOS 5DS and 42.2MP Sony Alpha A7R II. The D850, though, gets an all-new 45.4MP full-frame back-illuminated sensor (BSI), which is a hefty increase in pixels over the D810, and only marginally behind the 5DS.

Thanks to the light-collecting elements being closer to the surface of the sensor, the BSI design should deliver better low-light performance than previous sensors. Just as we've seen with the D810 (and D800e), the D850 forgoes an anti-aliasing filter, which means even more detail can be eked out of the sensor, although there is the added risk of moiré patterning. 

On the occasions where you don't want (or need) to shoot at the D850's full resolution, there are two reduced size options, 25.6MP and 11.4MP, recording either raw or JPEG files. We can certainly see this feature appealing to news and sports shooters who'll want to transmit images as quickly a possible to picture desks, and might have otherwise passed up the D850 in favor of the 20.8MP Nikon D5

Another trick up the D850's sleeve is the camera's DX Crop mode, in which the perimeter of the viewfinder is masked to provide a view equivalent to that of an APS-C-format DSLR. The resolution drops, as you're only using a portion of the sensor, but thanks to the D850's huge resolution you'll still be able to capture 19.4MP files – that's impressive stuff, and not far off the 20.9MP resolution of both the D500 or D7500. There's also a new 1:1 aspect ratio at 30.2MP.

Compared to the D500 (and, for that matter, the D5), the Nikon D850 has quite a modest ISO ceiling of 25,600, with a native base sensitivity of ISO64. This is no surprise really when you consider how densely populated the sensor is, but there is an extended sensitivity range up to an ISO equivalent of 108,400 (Hi2), while landscape photographers will be happy to learn that the D850 also has a Lo1 setting equivalent to ISO32.

The D850 sports a new 0.75x optical viewfinder – that's the largest magnification factor ever on an FX Nikon DSLR, and also a touch bigger than the 0.71x viewfinder on the 5DS. Unlike the D810, the D850 also features a tilt-angle, 3.2-inch 2,359,000-dot touchscreen. It's similar in spec to the one on the D500, but offers greater touch control, enabling you to navigate the menus as well as touch to focus, trigger the shutter and review images. 

The D850 can shoot 4K UHD video in FX format with no sensor cropping at up to 30p, allowing you to take full advantage of the field of view of your lenses. Lower-resolution video modes are also available, including Full HD footage in 60p, while 4K UHD timelapse movies can be created in-camera.

If 4K timelapse footage isn't quite enough for you, the D850 can also create a full resolution time-lapse videos in third-party software thanks to the camera's built-in intervalometer – you can now create a new folder and reset the file numbering for each timelapse sequence, and avoid the rigmarole of stripping out the desired files yourself.

The D850 drops the CompactFlash card slot that was on the D810 in favor of an XQD slot

There's also an electronic Vibration Reduction system to reduce the impact of camera shake when shooting movies handheld, and there are ports for an external microphone and audio monitoring.

The D850 drops the CompactFlash card slot that was on the D810 in favor of an XQD slot and the performance advantages that brings (although at the moment Nikon is the only manufacturer to take up this storage format on its cameras), while the SD card slot supports cards up to UHS-II. 

The D850 gets Nikon's SnapBridge connectivity for wireless transfer of images, which establishes a low-energy Bluetooth connection between the camera and your smart device. Images can then be transferred from camera to device via as you shoot at either 2MP or full resolution (though we'd avoid this with 45.4MP files), or individually if you select images on the camera. For speedier Wi-Fi transfers you can use the app to browse and select the images you desire.

Build and handling

  • Magnesium alloy body
  • Comprehensive weather-sealing
  • Weighs 1005g

The Nikon D850 may share similar proportions to the D810, but quite a bit has changed. 

Pick up the camera, and if you're coming from a D810 or D800, the first thing that strikes you is the re-worked grip. It's now that bit deeper, and much more comfortable to hold than its predecessor, especially for longer periods. 

As on the D500, Nikon has omitted the pop-up flash in an effort to make the camera even sturdier. Some may be sorry to see this feature disappear – we've found it useful in the past for triggering remote Speedlights – but it's always felt like a bit of a weak link on a pro-spec DSLR.

And with no pop-up flash, a tough magnesium alloy body, and weather seals to protect it from the elements, the D850 feels every bit the pro DSLR you'd expect it to be. It's incredibly well made, and there's no question this camera's up for the rigors of professional use.

Compared to the D810, the controls have also been tweaked on the D850 – in fact, if you've been shooting with the D500 or D5, it should be pretty much home from home for you, and if you're planning on using different bodies side by side it should making switching between them pretty seamless.

If you're coming from a D810 though, you'll notice that the top plate arrangement has changed for a start, and it's much better for it. The ISO button now sits just behind the shutter button, which makes it easier to adjust single-handed; it's an improvement on the slightly awkward positioning on the D810, where it sat in the cluster of four buttons above the drive mode selector.

The D850 offers a refined shooting experience

Round the back, and along with the tilt-angle display the other notable addition is a small AF joystick, like the one we've seen on both the D500 and D5. This enables you to quickly select your desired focus point, although you can still use the eight-way controller on the back of the camera if you prefer. Its positioning means it falls under the thumb easily; if we're being super-picky it would be nice to be able to assign this as the back-button focus control as well, but the AF-On button is positioned just above the joystick.

As on the D500, you can set the majority of the controls on the Nikon D850 to light up (along with the top-plate LCD) by rotating the on/off switch beyond the 'on' position – it's a really useful feature that makes it much easier to quickly change settings in poor light.

All in all, the D850 offers very refined shooting experience. You'll be able to happily shoot and tweak core shooting settings without taking your eye away from the viewfinder.

Autofocus

  • 153-point AF, 99 cross-type AF points
  • User-selected array limited to 55 points
  • Impressive coverage across the frame

The 51-point autofocus system in the D810 is still one of the best performers out there, but Nikon has equipped the D850 with the same Multi-CAM 20K AF module as its flagship D5. 

In our book this is one of the best, if not the best, autofocus systems we've seen on any camera to date. It features an impressive 153 AF points, of which 55 are user-selectable, while 99 are the more sensitive cross-type points for even greater precision. That's not all – AF sensitivity goes all the way down to -4EV for the central AF point (with the remainder focusing down to -3EV), which should enable the D850 to focus pretty much in almost complete darkness. 

As we've experienced with the D5, the system is excellent, with sports and action photographers unlikely to be disappointed by the D850's autofocus performance. 

If you're coming from the 51-point AF system in the D810 you'll notice the difference, particularly in poor light – even in these tricky conditions the D850's ultra-sensitive AF snapped into focus incredibly quickly. 

We tested the D850 in a range of conditions, with its toughest challenge coming when we shot the Tour of Britain's Time Trial stage. With cyclists going flat-out, the D850 didn't let us down; focusing speed was incredibly quick, even letting us grab shots when cyclists appeared in the frame without warning, while it would happily track fast-moving subjects as they moved towards and across the frame. 

As with the D5 (and the D500), Nikon has included its clever automated procedure for fine-tuning lenses on the D850. It's an incredibly useful tool for tweaking the performance of prime lenses for critical focusing, and the system on the D850 has been improved to make it even easier to set up and calibrate your lenses.

Something the D850 can't quite match Canon's latest DSLRs for is Live View performance. While the Dual Pixel CMOS technology used in the likes of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV can rival that of mirrorless cameras, Live View focusing with the D850 is still a little clunky; it's better than previous models, but still not as swift as it could be. 

Performance

  • 7fps burst shooting (9fps with battery grip)
  • 51 shot raw file buffer
  • 1,840-shot battery life

Despite the decent increase in pixels over the D810, the Nikon D850 features an increased burst shooting speed, up from 5fps to 7fps, making it an even more versatile piece of kit.

Furthermore, attach the optional MB-D18 battery grip to the D850 with a large EN-EL18B battery (as used in the D5) inserted, and that rate will increase to 9fps. This certainly compares favorably with the 5fps shooting speed of both the Canon EOS 5DS and Sony Alpha A7R II, and considering the size of the files the D850 has to process, the 51-shot buffer (at 14-Bit raws) is also very impressive.

The D850's standard battery is the EN-EL15 – it's the same power pack used by the D810, but Nikon has managed to squeeze even more life out of the battery here to deliver a staggering 1,840-shot life. To put that in perspective, you'd need seven NP-FW50 batteries with the Alpha A7R II to reach anything like the D850's battery capacity, or two LP-E6N batteries with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Something that's bound to appeal to wedding and social photographers is the D850's ability to utilize an electronic shutter to shoot silently at 6fps in Live View mode. Need more speed? Select the DX crop mode and you can shoot 8.6MP pictures at an impressive 30fps.

The D850's Matrix metering system performs well in a range of lighting conditions

The D850 employs a 180K-pixel RGB sensor (the same as the D5's), offering metering down to -3EV. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you're shooting long exposures with ND filters you can now rely fully on the D850’s AE and AF without needing to detach the filter. In our tests, the D850's multi-zone Matrix metering system performed very well under a range of lighting conditions, while the breadth of the camera's dynamic range (more on that in a bit) means you've got a fair bit of leeway should the camera get it wrong.

The D850 features three types of auto white balance to cover you for most scenarios. Auto 0 should faithfully render whites under any light sources, Auto 1 maintains a balance of the original subject color and ambient lighting, while Auto 2 renders colors with a natural sense of warmth, retaining the color of incandescent lighting.

The optical viewfinder is stunning; it's incredibly large and bright, while the clarity of the rear touchscreen display doesn't disappoint.

Image quality

  • ISO64-25,600 (expandable to ISO32-108,400)
  • Additional 25.6MP Medium and 11.4MP Small raw file sizes
  • Built-in focus stacking

As you'd expect from a sensor packing 45.4 million pixels, the level of detail the Nikon D850 is capable of resolving is impressive. You'll be able to produce large prints rich in detail, although it goes without saying that to make the most of the sensor you'll need the best glass.

When it comes to high-ISO noise performance, again the D850 doesn't disappoint. Images up to ISO3200 display excellent levels of detail, with minimal noise, while at ISO3200 there's barely any luminance (grain-like) noise in images, and no hint of chroma (color) noise.

Push above that to ISO6400, and while luminance noise is slightly more pronounced, it's still very good – we'd be more than happy to shoot at this sensitivity. Even at ISO12,800 and ISO25,600, while noise is more noticeable it's still well controlled, and results are more than acceptable. Above that we'd try to avoid the two extended settings, which see saturation dropping off a tad; however, with some tweaking in Lightroom or similar it might be possible to get a satisfactory result at ISO51,200.

The D810 has always impressed with its dynamic range performance, and the good news is that despite the extra pixels populating the D850's sensor it appears to be a similar story here. It's possible to severely underexpose a shot and be able to happily recover shadow detail without unwanted noise encroaching on the shot. 

Manually shooting focus-stacked images can be a chore, but the D850 introduces a focus shift photography function, which enables it to shoot a sequence of up to 300 frames, while gradually and automatically shifting focus position from the start point to infinity. The shutter release interval can be set from 0-30 seconds, while the focus step width can be selected from 10 levels. 

You'll need an image-editing program like Photoshop to then combine the pictures in post-production, but this looks like a great way to quickly shoot highly detailed macro images

Verdict

It's felt like a long time coming, but the Nikon D850 has definitely been worth the wait. To say the specification is comprehensive is an understatement; the D850 is packed with desirable photographic features, while it backs these up with impressive performance and stunning image quality. 

Live View focusing speeds could still be better, while the rather rudimentary SnapBridge connectivity offered is disappointing; but those issues aside, whether you're shooting weddings, landscapes, portraits, action or wildlife, the D850 won't leave you wanting.

A much more versatile proposition than the D810 (and its closest rivals), the D850 is a brilliant DSLR, and perhaps the most well-rounded camera we've ever tested.

Competition

Posted: September 8, 2017, 3:50 pm

The Alpha A6500 is Sony's flagship APS-C mirrorless camera, and boy does it pack a lot of tech. 

Sony left it just six months before updating the Alpha A6300 with the A6500, but while this might sound like a premature update, the Alpha 6500 gains a number of key features, including in-body image stabilization to further blur the line between Sony’s APS-C lineup and its Alpha 7 full-frame range of mirrorless cameras.

Sony has also equipped its new camera with a greatly enhanced buffer to make it a tempting proposition for shooting action, while there's also the welcome addition of a touchscreen interface. The inclusion of these new features makes the A6500 one of the most fully featured crop-sensor cameras on the market right now.

Features

  • APS-C CMOS sensor, 24.2MP
  • 3.0-inch, vari-angle touchscreen, 921,000 dots
  • 4K video capture

While the Sony A6500 sticks with the Alpha 6300’s 24.2MP APS-C sensor and 4D focus system (with 425 phase detect AF points), there are welcome improvements elsewhere.

It’s notably the first Sony APS-C camera to come with 5-axis in-body image stabilization, just as we've seen with Sony's second-generation Alpha 7 series of cameras like the Alpha A7R II. And the great news is that this not only works with Sony's non-stabilized optics, but can be used in conjunction with Sony's OSS stabilized lenses.

Sony has also overhauled the buffer of the A6500, delivering a considerable boost in performance that sees the camera capable of capturing 307 full-size JPEG files or 107 raws, all at a quick 11fps burst rate – quite an improvement from the A6300's 44 JPEG and 22 raw limit.

That's still a far cry from the Nikon D500's bottomless 200-raw buffer, but it beats out most cameras – including absolutely crushing the Canon EOS 7D Mark II's buffer capacity of 31 raw files.

A faster large-scale integration (LSI) chip and image processing algorithm improve texture reproduction while reducing noise. With this new chipset and code, the A6500 specifically produces less noise in the mid-to-high portions of the camera’s ISO100-25,600 (expandable up to ISO51,200) sensitivity range.

The Alpha 6500 also gains a touchscreen (though resolution remains at the same 921k-dots), allowing you to change your focus point on the fly, which can be really useful when shooting video. 

Likewise, there's the same XGA OLED Tru-Finder, with a 2.36-million dots resolution and 120hz maximum refresh rate, as on the A6300, although the eye cup is a little softer.

While the Sony Alpha A6500 gains no additional video capabilities over its predecessor, it basically comes with everything the videographer could want. 

You have 4K (3840 x 2160) at 25p and 30p recording in a Super 35mm format. In this mode, the camera uses its entire sensor to capture 6K source to avoid cropping. The oversampled video data is then crunched down to a final 4K output with enhanced depth and detail. 

Full HD recording is also available if you want to deal with smaller files, and the option to go up to 120p means you can capture slow motion video. 

Video professionals will also be glad to hear that the Sony A6500 samples 4K footage at 4.2.0 internally and 4.2.2 externally over HDMI. Plus it has all the flat picture profiles you would want for grading footage later.

Despite the wealth of video features, we're disappointed to see that, as on the A6300, there's no headphone jack on this camera. In order to monitor your audio you'll need to keep a close eye on levels on-screen, or plug in an external monitor with an audio-out.

Build and handling

  • Magnesium alloy construction
  • Practically identical to the Sony A6300
  • Weighs 453g (1lb)

Outwardly, the Sony A6500 is largely identical to its predecessor. It’s still a half-metal, half-plastic construction built around a magnesium frame, while components such as the power switch, battery hatch and controls are plastic. 

The A6500 is a smidge thicker than the A6300, at 53mm compared with 49mm, to accommodate the in-body image stabilization system; both cameras are 120mm wide and 67mm tall. The extra components also add 49 grams to the weight, bringing the A6500 in at 453g (1lb).

A deeper grip is one notable change that we actually appreciate, as it allows us to get a better hold of the camera. Where the A6300 had a single custom function button to the right of the shutter button, the A6500 has two, both located between the shutter button and the mode dial.

Because of relatively clean design on the top of the camera, the A6500 is able to offer both a built-in flash and a multi-interface shoe in addition to the electronic viewfinder, together with two large dials – a command dial and another for changing the shooting mode.

As we've seen with the A6300, the back of the A6500 follows a tried-and-tested formula, with a handful of well-marked controls and the loosely moving control wheel enabling you to navigate menus and scrutinize images with ease.

The 3.0-inch display pulls away easily from the back of the camera, while it's stiff enough to remain in the position to which it's adjusted. That limited versatility of the touchscreen control is disappointing though - it’s only useful for changing the focus point while taking photos and video, although you can also use it as a touchpad to change your focusing point while looking through the viewfinder – a feature we’ve seen on the Fujifilm X-T20 and Olympus Pen-F. If you're wanting to swipe through photos, pinch to zoom and have more interaction with on-screen controls, forget it.

The menu system is comprehensive, with 35 separate screens, but thankfully this time Sony's decided to color-code them - something missing from the A6300, making it a bit easier to find what you need. 

Autofocus

  • 425 phase-detect AF points
  • 169 contrast-detect AF points
  • 0.05 sec AF speed

The Sony Alpha A6500 inherits one of the densest AF system going, coming equipped with the same 4D Focus system we loved so much on the A6300. 425 phase-detect AF points combined with 169 additional contrast-detect points enable the camera to find focus incredibly quickly.

We tested the AF on a variety of subjects, from ice hockey to fast and erratic moving drones, and the A6500's AF system did a spectacular job of finding focus and staying locked on. It's an impressive system that you can really rely on. 

Performance

  • 11fps burst shooting
  • 107 shot raw file buffer
  • 350-shot battery life

As we’ve mentioned, the Sony A6500 is a veritable speed demon, thanks to processing speeds being comprehensively boosted over the A6300.

The A6500 has been treated to the Alpha A99 II’s potent processing engine. This gives the A6500 a burst shooting buffer of up to 307 JPEGs when shooting at 8fps, giving you 35 seconds of firepower. Alternatively, at 11fps the camera can capture 200 JPEGs in a single bout or 107 raws.

The A6500's multi-zone metering system didn't get thrown by tricky lighting either, metering perfectly on the dot without any overexposure or underexposure. 

Battery life on the Sony A6500 is average at best

As with most Sony cameras we've tested recently, the A6500's auto white balance can be a little sticky and doesn't change instantaneously, although it does adapt faster than previous models. There are about a dozen white balance modes, including three custom settings which you can meticulously tweak to the right color temperature and tint.

Battery life on the Sony A6500 is average at best. Although it's rated for 350 shots, we only got through about half an evening of shooting images and a few minutes of 4K footage. You'll need to pick up a few spare batteries, especially if you plan to shoot Ultra HD movies, which drains the camera at a rate of 1% per minute of video.

Image quality

  • ISO100-25,600, expandable to 51,200
  • Good quality JPEGs straight from camera
  • 6,000 x 4,000 image size

Sony’s 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor delivers outstanding performance in the A6300, so it’s no surprise that it’s been carried over to the A6500. In terms of image quality, the Sony A6500 is an amazing camera for stills. 

The quality of JPEGs straight out of the camera is very good, with images displaying good levels of sharpness and contrast, while the A6500's DRO system does well to slightly bring up shadow areas, to make images more suitable for immediate use.

As we've seen with the A6300, image noise is generally very well controlled across the sensitivity range when shooting JPEGs, and images are perfectly usable even at higher settings such as ISO6400. We suggest though using the A6500's Low noise reduction setting as the camera's Normal noise reduction setting appears somewhat heavy handed in its approach to high-ISO images.

We used the A6500 with Sony's excellent Sony E 16-70mm f/4 Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* ZA OSS zoom lens and found the level of detail in raw files to be very impressive, while the camera's dynamic range doesn't disappoint either. It's possible to brighten the image a good amount to recover shadow detail without unwanted noise ruining the shot. 

Verdict

We might be able to count the Sony A6500's five new features on one hand, but they add up to a much faster and robust camera than was the A6300. Of course, it would've been nice if these features had debuted in the A6300; however, if you’ve been waiting for an APS-C Sony with nearly the same capabilities as the company’s full-frame A7 Mark II, this is it.

Despite our reservations about the fiddly controls and dense menu system, no other camera does as much as the Sony A6500 does, and while being more affordable to boot. It keeps up surprisingly well with many higher-end DSLRs and mirrorless cameras for sports – and if you’re looking to get serious with video, you won’t find a much better option.

Competition

Posted: September 5, 2017, 9:51 am

The outgoing OM-D E-M10 Mark II embodied everything a mirrorless camera should be – a high-quality camera that feels great in the hand, offers an extensive feature set with bags of control and produces great images, yet doesn't take up much space in your bag. 

The new OM-D E-M10 Mark III looks to build on that success, and make itself your indispensable traveling companion. 

Price and availability

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III will be available in body-only and kit options. The former is set go on sale at £629.99/US$650/AU$999, while a kit with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R lens is priced at £649.99 in the UK. 

Potential purchasers looking for something more compact will also have the option of a second kit, which includes the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 pancake optic and is priced at £699.99/US$800.

Features

  • Micro Four Thirds Live MOS sensor, 16MP
  • 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots
  • 4K video capture

Like the E-M10 Mark II (and the original E-M10 Mark I for that matter), the OM-D E-M10 Mark III sticks with a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, but gets Olympus' latest TruePic VII image processing engine (used in the brilliant E-M1 Mark II), which Olympus believes will deliver improved low-light shooting performance.

A boost in resolution to 20MP would have been welcome here too, but perhaps Olympus was concerned that it might cannibalize sales further up the OM-D range.

The E-M10 Mark III sports the same highly effective five-axis in-body image stabilization system as the Mark II, which delivers a claimed four stops of compensation to reduce blur and shake in both stills and video. 

The new camera also retains the same 2,360,000-dot OLED electronic viewfinder that impressed us in the Mark II, along with the same 3.0-inch 1,037,000-dot LCD touchscreen on the back of the camera. 

One notable update is to the E-M10 Mark III's video capabilities, with the new camera able to shoot 4K video footage at up to 30fps, while it's also possible to shoot Full HD footage at 60fps.

Olympus has also overhauled the E-M10 Mark III's camera assist shooting modes. iAuto mode becomes simply Auto, and promises to deliver better blur-free images, while the Scene (SCN) mode has been upgraded.

There's also now a Advanced Photo (AP) mode, allowing photographers to fine-tune images, as well as use the likes of Live Composite and Multiple Exposure without the need to dive into the camera's main menu.

Finally, the E-M10 Mark III's Art Filter (ART) collection grows to 15 with the arrival of a new Bleach Bypass effect. 

Build and handling

  • Revised design and grip
  • Magnesium alloy construction
  • Weighs 362g

We've always been impressed with the build and finish of the E-M10 range, and the Mark III is no different. Constructed from magnesium alloy, the E-M10 Mark III and has a solid, durable feel that certainly feels much more premium than DSLR rivals like the Canon EOS Rebel T7i (EOS 800D).

The shallow but effective grip on the Mark II has been beefed up, with the enlarged front grip offering a more satisfying hold without sacrificing the E-M10 Mark III's diminutive proportions. 

The E-M10 Mark III maintains the pleasing retro design of the Mark II, but with a few revisions once you look a little closer, most notably to the dials on the top plate. 

The retro-styled power switch carries over from the Mark II – pushing this beyond the power-up position pops up the flash – but the design of the three dials has been refined, with the main mode dial more pronounced.

As before, the shutter release is at the centre of the front-most dial and within easy reach of your index finger, while the rear and mode dials are easy to operate with your thumb. The mode dial doesn't have a lock, but as we've found with the Mark II, it isn't easily knocked out of position in use.

Autofocus

  • 121-point AF
  • Coverage across most of the frame
  • Face Priority AF and Eye Detection AF

The AF performance of the outgoing E-M10 Mark II really impressed us as well, and the system in the E-M10 Mark III appears to be even better.

There's a boost in contrast-detect AF points, from 81 to 121, which combined with the addition of the latest TruePic III image processor should deliver even snappier focusing speeds.

In the brief time we had with the camera we were impressed with the focusing speed, even with relatively poorly-lit subjects. We'll be able to report back in more detail once we've shot for a longer period with the OM-D E-M10 Mark III, in particular on how the AF Tracking performs.

Performance

  • 8.6fps burst shooting
  • Mechanical shutter up to 1/4000 sec
  • Electronic shutter up to 1/16,000 sec

As far as burst shooting is concerned, the OM-D E-M10 Mark III gets a very modest speed boost over the Mark II, from 8.5fps to 8.6fps. While that's only a marginal improvement, it's still quicker than the likes of Fujifilm's X-T20 (8fps), and noticeably quicker than either the Canon EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D (6fps) or Nikon D5600 (5fps). 

Image quality

  • ISO100-25,600
  • +/-3 EV exposure compensation in 1/3 or 1/2-stop increments
  • 15 Art filters

We had the chance to take a few test shots with the OM-D E-M10 Mark III, and its JPEG files look pretty good. 

We'll have to shoot more with the camera to get better idea of how it performs, but JPEG images at ISO400 hold up well. There's perhaps a hint of luminance (grain-like) noise visible at 100%, but nothing untoward, while there's a good level of detail visible in low-to-mid-sensitivity range shots. Noise is controlled well up to around ISO6400, when some areas in JPEGs start to take on a slightly painterly appearance when viewed at 100%.

JPEG image captured at ISO400

JPEG image captured at ISO6400

Early verdict

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III might not be a massive leap forward over the Mark II, with much of the camera's specification remaining the same, but Olympus has refined and tweaked one of our favorite mirrorless cameras.

A boost in resolution would have been welcome, but despite this the OM-D E-M10 Mark III should still become a popular choice amongst enthusiasts and new users alike.

Posted: August 31, 2017, 8:00 am
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Major Camera Manufacturer’s News

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By: Anita Sadowska

Originally published on Sep 16, 2017

For your reference, some of my favourite female creators 🙂

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About Me: My name is Anita Sadowska, Im a 24 year old professional fashion photographer based in Dublin, Ireland. On my channel I will be uploading regular photography tips & tricks, Fashion shoot behind the scenes and loads of photoshop and lightroom retouching and editing tutorials.

Note by Camaras.net: Another excellent article on the same theme published in Petapixel by Susan Stripling “An Open Letter About Sexism, Feminism, and the Industry That I Love So Much”

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