Times certainly have changed as Sony has pushed the boundaries of digital single lens reflex (dSLR) technology to the point where you have to wonder just what's next. For example, one of the criticisms of all digital photography has been collecting the light needed not only for quick reaction time but also for the best imagery possible.
The reason has to do with analog-to-digital light collection. Light collection for truly low-light, non-flash technology has been governed by the number of analog-to-digital collectors available. Sony has done a great deal of experimentation and development in this area and has pushed its Exmor light capture and display system farther than other camera manufacturers by packing about 4,000 rows of parallel light sensors into a square that is just on the focal plane and at the mirror so that whatever ambient light collected is used by the "Exmor HD" image processing system.
Also the manufacturer has also increased the size of the analog-to-digital capture grid pixels so that you can shoot at light levels that were unimaginable even six months ago. An F-stop of more than 16000 (ISO16000) is easily possible so that you can use your digital camera to photograph a concert without bothering the participants or the people around you with your camera's strobe.
Driving this system is Sony's proprietary BIONZ processor. The BIONZ processor works with the Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor system to enable not only great low light response photography, but also another interesting development that Sony calls its "Translucent Mirror Technology". Normally, in a dSLR the mirror takes itself offline when you are using autofocus (AF) because extra light bouncing off the mirror through the lens increases the number of variables that have too be screened by the processor and light-processing system. Instead, the AF system is used, in this situation, as it puts a small beam of light out that is returned to the mirror and then to the image processor and the sharpness of the image is set.
With the "Translucent Mirror System," a number of improvements to the Exmor HD CMOS image sensor plus the BIONZ engine mean that you can actually focus the dSLR as you focus any viewfinder camera. You just put it to your eye, push the button down about half-way and your photo is automatically set. You just take the image.
With the electronics and coding changes the light coming through the lens and onto the mirror is sampled, along with other light sources so that you can not only take a super-sharp initial image, you can also auto shoot up to 7 fps as the Digital Range Finding firmware has also been upgraded.
The SLT A37, successor to last year's A35, also has had major improvements in its stabilization arrange (Steady Shot Inside Image) as well as its Dynamic Range Optimization circuitry so that you obtain clear, crisp images across the range of your shot. Indeed, the AF system now measures 15 points automatically so that images that were clear are now crystal clear. A lot of that, though, has to do with its 16.1 MP photo resolution.
Sony has gone to a lot of expensive to increase the effectiveness of its varied systems from Facial Recognition to landscape mode to even its smile mode, all of which have worked out well.
When it is all tied together in its neat 4.9 by 3.3 by 3.6 inch package that weighs in at 1.9 pounds and uses a proprietary battery that is good for 500 shots, you can see they have gone to a lot of time and expense to make this camera as flexible as possible by making not only compatible with its older autostabilized lenses but by giving full AVCHD compatibility while it shoots at 1080/60ii/24 p or full HD compatibility at 1080/30 p for MP 4 movie mode.
It also includes a high-resolution 3 inch LCD in the that is turnable through about 230 degrees so you can literally shoot in back of you while you ostensibly are looking to the front.
Available with either a standard 18 to 135 mm basic lens or a 18 to 55 mm zoom, the A37 is ready to go whether you are taking closeups or zoom shots. It is ready to handle anything you can throw at it and more.
While the name Kodak was associated with film and early photography and Leica was associated with early serious photography, real 35mm photography received its biggest boost from the Nikon camera line as journalists and other professionals made great use of the line's fine optics and multiple single lens reflex bodies and now with image world turned digital Nikon still leads the way.
When Nikon announced that it would be upgrading its D3000 line of digital single lens reflex cameras (dSLRs), many photographers waited with baited breath to see if the upgraded D3100 was better than the D3000.
The easy answer is yes, it is better in many ways. For example, while the D3000 offered high resolution, the D3100 offered not only a 3X 18-55mm zoom lens as standard, the lens was part of the Nikkor line. Nikkor lenses have been among the best-rated lenses for the past 30 years in chroma, spherical aberration and internal reflection (chroma is color rendition, spherical aberration is whether you see distortion at wide angles and short range and internal reflection is just the way the internal mirror handles light bouncing around the back end of the lens). Since the days of the old film models D1 and D2 and Nikormat cameras, Nikkor lenses have been the lenses of choice among Nikon photographers and that continues with the D3100.
The D3100 features not only a 14MP high-resolution CMOS DX sensor, but the electronics built into the camera incorporate Nikon's VR image stabilization feature so that when you use the 3X feature and zoom, you can handhold images that are rock steady.
The D3100 is also high-definition ready as it shoots at the native high-resolution mode of 1080 p so that you can shoot not only moving imagery but also still imagery or, if you are creative, you can use the best of both worlds to use a longish lens, for example, sit in a tough corner of a motor race and using a little slower setting have a blurred image of a car entering the corner, hitting an exact image when you need it and blurring it on the way out. It's a nice effect that does require a 300mm or longer zoom lens and a good tripod (plus good photographic reflexes, but you develop those when you've used a system long enough). Since the D3100 is also made for moving digital imagery, you can just start the sequence of cars coming into the corner and slowly pan across the spot you want to highlight and then finish the pan as they exit. It is a nice feature that shows just how far auto focus has come.
The D3100 uses 11-point auto focusing for sharp imagery and when it is combined with the EXPEED 2 camera engine, you have a wide range of control over the imagery you are shooting. For example, the EXPEED 2 lets you manage not only the overall image, but also the color, contrast, exposure, noise and speed adjustments so you can have just the image you want. This is the D3100s "Live View" mode.
Or, you can use one of six built-in scene exposure modes. The built-in modes include: Portrait; Landscape; Child; Sports; Close-up; Night; Portrait.
Interestingly, the D3100 offers you not only the ability to use the camera as a standard SLR where you frame the image through the pentaprism with just the area you want, but you can also do the same thing with the three-inch rear viewer -- much like a more standard point-and-shoot camera.
We were also favorably impressed with the D-3100's "Active D-Lighting" which helps to enhance shadows and highlights. When this is combined with the Nikon's Picture Control feature that offers the following modes: Standard; Neutral; Vivid; Monochrome; Portrait and Landscape, then you have a camera that is fully rounded.
For those times when you need a little fill flash or a small strobe -- and don't want to invest in a full-sized, hot-shoe-based strobe, the D-3100 has a small strobe that does a good job in high-lighting conditions where fill flash is needed and in situations where the background lighting is tough and you need just a little more light. The ISO ratings have also been expanded so you can shoot in some incredibly low-light conditions without any strobe at all. However, it's still nice to have the little strobe available.
All around, the D-3100 is a worthy successor to the D-3000 and those who may have been worried about the whether the improvements are real or just superficial can relax because the D-3100 is an improved model.
All digital cameras come in many different varieties. The cameras come with so many different features that when someone for the first time is getting a good digital camera they might become excited even without all the sales and rebates going on with the digital cameras.
There are two things you will want to ask yourself before you just go out and buy a digital camera. Do you really need a digital camera? Are you ready to spend the money it takes to get the digital camera you need? Those are the two main things you will need to ask yourself when getting a digital camera.
- What kind of pictures are you going to be shooting with your new camera? You will need to know what you are going to be shooting before you buy. If you are a photographer then you are going to need something with zoom and good storage so you can take a lot of pictures at once without having to delete some or mess with the camera.
- How far are you willing to go to get the camera you need? You will need to come into the store with a pre set spending limit because if you don't then you are going to walk out of there with some heavy charges. That is why it is so important to know how much you can spend on a digital camera.
- How will you be using this camera? If you are going to be using it for uploading pictures and editing then you need to look for the computer that comes with software for the computer. Put aside all the ink and paper you are going to need what kind of memory stick do you need? How much do you need? Those are the kind of things that you need to take into consideration.
After looking at the past three statements you need to really listen to them because you don't like I said want to just go out and buy any camera.
- Resolution. This is probably the biggest factor when buying a good digital camera. You need to check out the resolution and make sure that it can take good quality pictures at far or short distances. Remember the more mega pixels the better the picture is going to come out.
- Built-in memory. Most of all digital cameras when bought will either come with a small storage stick or you will have to buy the memory up to your standards. When you are looking at or are interested in buying a digital camera you need to look at the storage for the pictures you need to have something that will allow you to store a lot of photos without having to delete them too.