Magazine Article


The DSLR Domain
Autumn's here, and this year's camera crop proves to be a high performance harvest

Whether they were looking for the latest products and trends or just wanted to be within striking distance of an Oktoberfest beer stein, thousands converged upon Cologne Germany's messe halls to bear witness to the latest and greatest photographic innovations. Always eagerly anticipated are the new camera launches, and this year's DSLR debuts didn't disappoint. For more on the DSLR roster, and new medium format digital camera introductions as well, read on...

Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon's newest entry, the EOS 5D Mark II, is an update to the full-frame EOS 5D. The revamped DSLR features a 21.1MP full-frame CMOS sensor with a DIGIC 4 Image Processor, which ensures superfast processing of fine detail and color reproduction (and simultaneously cuts down on image noise). The enhanced ISO range (100-6400) is sure to satisfy even the fastest shooters. For shooters who also want to shoot high-def video, there's full HD video capture at 1920x1080 resolution for up to 4GB per clip (HDMI output allows viewers to see all the stills and video).

High performance continues with 3.9 fps continuous shooting, a new shutter with a 150,000-cycle durability, and an improved weather-resistant body. The 3-inch Clear View LCD features anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings for better viewing and to fend off annoying smudges. The updated EOS Integrated Cleaning System is designed specifically to work with the full-frame sensor. Other features include Live View and compatibility with more than 60 Canon EF lenses and most EOS system accessories.

Leica S2
Professionals will revel in the S2 autofocus DSLR from Leica, configured around a 30x45mm sensor (a full 56% larger than 35mm full frame). The S2 features a 37.5-megapixel CCD sensor in a weatherproof body that's similar in size and handling to conventional 35mm DSLRs.

The new "Maestro" image-processing system provides twice the operating speed of current medium-format backs, as well as significantly reduced power consumption, and allows production of in-camera JPEGs and DNG files. The 3-inch display lets you view your images without a computer.

The S2's features a dual shutter: a focal plane shutter in the camera body and each of the new lenses will incorporate a leaf shutter for fast flash syncronization.

Nikon D90
Engineers called upon a host of core Nikon technologies to develop the D90, inspired by the company's flagship D300 and the popular D80. The D90's CMOS image sensor and 12.3 effective megapixels team up with Nikon's EXPEED image-processing system to deliver images with fine details, smooth tones, brilliant colors, and low noise.

View your images on the 3-inch LCD. An 11-point autofocus system utilizes Nikon's exclusive Scene Recognition System and Face Detection. The wide sensitivity range (ISO 200 to 3200, expandable to Lo 1 ISO 100 and Hi 1 ISO 6400) deliver incredibly low-noise images. The camera also employs an Image Sensor Cleaning function that works to free image-degrading dust particles from the sensor's optical low-pass filter.

The D90 companion lens, the AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, provides a versatile focal length, plus the benefits of Nikon Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization technology.

Sigma SD15
The new SD15 is the latest model in Sigma's DSLR SD series, powered by the 14-megapixel Foveon X3 direct-image-sensor (meaning the camera can capture all primary RGB colors at each and every pixel location arranged in three layers). The Sigma SD15 incorporates the "TRUE II" new image processing engine, reproducing high-definition images rich in gradation and three-dimensional detail. Incorporation of the large 3.0-inch LCD monitor and improved processing speed provide ease of operation.

Before you know it, 2009 will be upon us--and so will the new interchangeable-lens, Four Thirds E-system DSLR Olympus announced at photokina. A prototype of the camera, designed to be positioned between the E-520 and the E-3, was displayed at the show. E-3-similar features include a high-speed AF system using an 11-point full twin-cross sensor and built-in image stabilization with a correction effect of up to 5 EV steps. Other highlights will include a new and updated feature to replace the current splash and dustproof function of the E-3.

Sony Alpha 900
The Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 is designed to deliver ultra-fine picture quality with the camera's 24.6-megapixel, 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor, as well as fast image processing with new dual BIONZ processing engines. Additionally, this dual BIONZ processing system applies advanced noise-reduction algorithms, producing images of exceptional quality and detail, especially at high ISO sensitivities.

The camera is also the first to have a body-integrated image-stabilization system for a full-frame sensor with Sony's SteadyShot Inside anti-shake system, which achieves an anti-shake effect equivalent to shutter speeds faster by 2.5 to 4 stops. This new unit provides stabilization for Sony, Minolta, and Konica-Minolta wide-angle, large-aperture lenses, which is difficult for lens-integrated systems.

The camera's newly developed AF system consists of nine wide-area sensors with 10 assist points for improved tracking of moving subjects. A center dual cross-sensor comprised of two horizontal and two vertical line sensors, as well as a dedicated f/2.8 sensor, ensure greater precision, especially when using fast-aperture lenses.

Don't fret about not getting the desired effect right away. After pressing the depth-of-field preview button, the camera "grabs" a RAW preview image, which is processed and displayed on the LCD screen. You can then fine-tune white balance, determine the best level and effect of dynamic range optimization, adjust exposure compensation, and check histogram data, all before you even take the picture. Preview images are not recorded on the camera's memory card, thus saving capacity.

Leaf America
Leaf announced a new family of medium format cameras and camera backs that enhance flexibility and usability for the photographer. In addition to offering unequalled image quality with up to 56 megapixel resolution, the new line-up delivers many new features. These include a 56mm 'True Wide Frame' sensor, Leaf Verto internal sensor rotation for easily changing orientation and Leaf SensorFlex technology which lets photographers pre-select image size and capture speed.

The lineup includes the Leaf AFi-II 6, 7, and 10 digital camera systems and Leaf Aptus-II 6, 7, and 10 digital backs. The Leaf AFi-II 7 and 10 also sport a 90 tilting touch screen LCD. For the ultimate in flexibility, the Leaf Capture Remote for iPhone app turns wireless devices, such as the iPhone or iPod Touch, into remote image viewers. While you are shooting tethered using Leaf Capture software, a client or creative director can quickly and conveniently view selected medium-resolution files of your images from any Wi-Fi network. Other features include a 12 stop dynamic range and ISO from 50-800.

Hasselblad H3DII-50
With a new Kodak 50MP sensor (twice the size of the largest 35mm DSLR sensors), the newly introduced Hasselblad H3DII-50 follows on the heels of the H3DII-39, designed for photographers who require the absolute highest image quality. The new sensor will reside in the same-size housing as the H3DII-39 and is designed to work with Hasselblad's new HTS 1.5 tilt/shift adapter (which enlarges the image circle by 50%).

What else does the new sensor have in store for Hasselblad's newest DSLR debut? Expect richer colors, thanks to the sensor's new dyes and color-rendering technology. The sensor also features quick flush technology that enables faster capture and lower power consumption (your batteries will thank you).

Basic ISO rating ranges from 50 to 400, but using Hasselblad's Phocus software photographers can drive the ISO up to 800. High-speed capture architecture lets photographers capture full-size, compressed 70MB images at a rate of 1.1 sec. per frame, whether the unit is mobile or tethered to a computer.

Phase One
Phase One announced the P 65+ camera system and P 65+ digital back, based on Sensor + CCD technology which means photographers are offered upgreadeable CCD functions, for a longer lifespan. Phase One's P 65+ camera system offers a full-frame 645 sensor, offering 60.5MP resolution, for 180MB 8 bit RGB files. Other features include an ISO range of 50-1600 and 12.5 stop dynamic range.