Whether you're a sports photographer looking for the fastest shooting rate, a wedding pro searching for the ultimate in face-detection technology, or a commercial photographer in need of the highest quality possible, today's DSLRs don't disappoint. Read on to see the latest offerings from the major manufacturers...
Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Autumn presented an early holiday gift to photographers in the form of the EOS 40D, which built on the success of Canon's prosumer EOS 20D and 30D models. The EOS 40D boasts an enhanced 10.1-megapixel CMOS imaging sensor and its proprietary and super-efficient DIGIC III image processor, as well as a completely redesigned autofocus, and fast 6.5-frames-per-second continuous shooting capability (sports and nature photographers, take note).
To make sure you can more easily “see” what's in your mind's eye, Canon has implemented a host of upgrades in the EOS 40D. The most easily visible upgrade is the camera's larger 3-inch LCD, which can make it possible to select a larger font size for viewing setting and menu options. Other highlights include a more durable magnesium-alloy exterior (for those of you toiling out in the field); improved exposure control; improved software; and new accessories, including the redesigned Battery Grip BG-E2N and the new Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E3A, which permits wireless transfer and back-up, as well as remote control of the camera in Live View mode.
Also from Canon: the new 21.1-megapixel EOS-1Ds Mark III, which features a 5-fps shooting rate for bursts of up to 56 Large/Fine (21-megapixel) JPEGS or 12 RAW images. Dual DIGIC III image processors ensure that the details and natural colors are recorded accurately. The autofocus system incorporated into the camera features 45 AF points, including 19 high-precision cross-type points and 26 assist AF points. Sports and wildlife photographers will appreciate the new micro-adjustment feature, which allows for very fine changes in the AF point of focus for each lens type being used.
The Live View shooting mode offers more shooting options beyond the conventional through-the-lens viewing. Canon's EOS Integrated Cleaning System is another first for a DSLR of this caliber, which helps keep dust from landing on the sensor (and gets rid of remaining dust during post-processing using Digital Photo Professional software).
Fujifilm U.S.A., Inc.
The FinePix S5 Pro hosts a number of features that will appeal to wedding, portrait, and studio photographers. First, the expanded dynamic range from the double pixel technology (6.17 million S-pixels and 6.17 million R-pixels) of the camera's Super CCD SR Pro sensor is approximately 400 percent wider than that of a CCD working on a single-pixel design. This DSLR also couples the new Super CCD SR Pro sensor with Fujifilm's new RP Processor Pro for smoother tonality. Then there's the proprietary Face Detection Technology, a post-capture function that detects up to 10 faces in a scene at the push of a button.
An update to the FinePix S5 Pro is its unique Pro Barcode Reader capability, which enables photographers to keep image databases organized and connected directly to the camera to scan data pre-capture so that images can be linked to a school or portrait image database. The Barcode Reader wand can be attached directly to the FinePix S5 Pro via the 10-pin serial port on the camera.
Hasselblad introduced the H3D-II, the fourth generation to join the company's high-end DSLR family. While retaining its full digital lens line and the choice of 22-, 31-, or 39-megapixel capture units using CCD image sensors up to 48x36mm, the H3D-II now has a large, bright 3-inch display that offers improved viewing of captured images and lower power consumption. All of the key functions of the camera are adjusted via digital menus, which can now be controlled via a single thumbwheel control on the handle of the H3D-II, making the operation of the camera easier and more efficient. Image noise in the H3D-II has been significantly reduced by improving the cooling of the sensor, achieved by attaching to the CCD a physical heatsink, which dissipates the heat generated to the entire camera body and considerably lowers the temperature of the system.
The camera also features Hasselblad's Global Image Locator (GIL), an integrated GPS product that automatically records the camera's exact geographic coordinates at the precise moment of image capture-all the image files shot or stored in a specific location can be easily identified and found. And since a direct link to Google Earth has also been built into Hasselblad's Phocus software, it is also possible to establish via the internet what image files were captured at any particular location.
The platform for the Mamiya 645ZD Digital Camera System is the Mamiya 645AFD II autofocus medium-format camera. Mamiya's camera interface technology optimizes two-way communication between the 645AFD II and the ZD Digital Back.
From the icon-based white-balance settings to the ability to shoot at 1.2-fps to the option of controlling the camera through a computer, the Mamiya ZD Digital Back provides the features and tools pros need. Other features of the digital back include: the ability to save files as RAW, JPEG, or both at the same time; the ability to use CompactFlash and SD card storage media; and free Adobe Lightroom software included.
Late this summer, Nikon introduced the D3, a 12.1-effective-megapixel DSLR that features Nikon's new FX-format (full frame 35mm) CMOS sensor. With the fastest startup time, shortest viewfinder blackout time, and shortest shutter lag of any digital SLR camera, as well as the capability to shoot up to 9-fps at full FX-format resolution, the D3 has been billed as the world's fastest DSLR camera in its class. Designed with sports photographers and photojournalists in mind, the Nikon D3 also incorporates Nikon's new EXPEED Image Processing System and a new 51-point autofocus system with Nikon's 3D Focus Tracking feature and two new LiveView shooting modes. The D3 uses the world's first Scene Recognition System to greatly enhance the accuracy of autofocus, autoexposure, and auto white-balance detection in the camera by recognizing the subject or scene being photographed and applying this info to the calculations for the three functions.
Also from Nikon: the 12.3-effective-MP D300, featuring the same EXPEED Image Processing System, 51-point autofocus system, new LiveView shooting modes, and Scene Recognition System of the D3. The camera powers up in just 0.13 seconds and shoots with a 45-millisecond shutter release lag time. The camera is capable of shooting at a rapid 6-fps and can go as fast as 8-fps when using the optional MB-D10 Multi-Power Battery Pack.
Olympus showcased its new E-3 DSLR at this year's PhotoPlus East show. When coupled with three new ZUIKO DIGITAL Supersonic Wave Drive Lenses (SWD), the E-3 offers unmatched AF speeds. It uses a newly developed high-speed 11-point biaxial cross-type AF system, 5-fps continuous shooting, and 1/8000 second top shutter speed for the quickness required in any shooting situation. A swivel-view LCD covers all viewing angles, and real-time image monitoring of white balance and exposure enables greater creative control of settings. Olympus' proven Dust Reduction System produces spot-free photos with the exclusive Supersonic Wave Filter, which physically vibrates to remove dust and other particles from the front of the image sensor.
Panasonic has introduced the LUMIX DMC-L10, Panasonic's first digital SLR with Face Detection, which will focus, set autoexposure, and detect up to 15 human faces simultaneously. Combining Face Detection with Panasonic's Intelligent ISO Control settings, which measures the movement of the subject and sets the ISO level accordingly, helping to capture crisp images. The DMC-L10 also offers a 2.5-inch Live View LCD that can rotate 270 degrees, enabling versatile shooting options and making it easy to shoot from high or low angles. The DMC-L10 includes an advanced, Supersonic Wave Filter system that prevents dust from collecting on the sensor and degrading photo quality.
Pentax Imaging Company
The 10.2MP Pentax K10D digital SLR camera features the Shake Reduction (SR) system, designed to minimize camera shake by oscillating the CCD image sensor at high speed (the system does not require anti-shake lenses). The Pentax Real IMage Engine (PRIME) designed exclusively for Pentax DSLR cameras produces well-balanced images. The Dust Removal (DR) system incorporates the Pentax-original Special Protect (SP) coating to help keep the CCD surface dust-free, and a shift mechanism to shake dust off the CCD.
Unveiled at this year's PhotoPlus East: the Hy6, features a unique open system for high-end digital backs, but also 6x4.5 and 6x6 format film. The Hy6 is an evolutionary extension of the 6008 AF, but with features such as a new focus detector, and a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged without memory loss, leaf shutters with full flash sync, up to 1/1000 sec, a 90-degree viewfinder, a built-in quick release, mirror-blocked multi-exposure, and a large LCD on the hand grip.
Samsung's 10.2MP GX-10 offers such features as Optical Picture Stabilization (OPS) and a dust-resistant CCD sensor. The OPS stabilization feature minimizes blur in low-light conditions. Samsung has also incorporated an advanced dust-removal system that automatically vibrates the CCD sensor when the GX-10 is powered on.
The camera's one-touch RAW shooting button enables users to capture images in RAW format, which can then be quickly viewed on the 2.5-inch LCD and converted to JPEG right on the camera. Plus, the camera's body has been designed for durability: with vulnerable areas on the camera's body has been fortified with special seals and silicone to stand up to the elements.
Sony recently introduced the A700, which incorporates Super SteadyShot Inside image stabilization in the camera body. The camera's new 12.2-MP Exmor CMOS sensor conducts analog-to-digital (A/D) signal conversion and dual noise reduction right on the sensor itself. A new AF system features 11 wide-area sensors, including a center dual cross sensor comprised of two horizontal and two vertical line sensors for exceptional AF precision. The new camera features 14 creative styles; these effects can then be fine-tuned by customizing contrast, sharpness, and other parameters while shooting. Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) function has been updated so users can choose the desired level of detail recovered in areas of shadow. The A700 model features an HDMI output for connection to HDTV sets. The camera utilizes the Minolta Maxxum lens mount and accepts most Minolta lenses as well as Sony branded lenses.