Released in April 2013, the Ricoh GR goes by the tagline of “Everything is big, except the size”. It points clearly to the raison d’être of this camera – to be a compact model with a large sensor with the aim of offering DSLR-like performance without the size and weight associated with them. As with several models in this niche, it seems to hark back to days gone by with a retro style. While this impacts the versatility of the camera, it’s much easier to make a high quality prime lens that can extract the most from the large, 16megapixel APS-C sensor tucked away inside. Within this sector we’ve seen some very good cameras through the labs in recent months, so the GR has got stiff competition.
Nikon’s new Coolpix P330 is a classy ‘compact camera’. It’s very average when it comes to mundane things like size and weight but it performs better than many much more expensive cameras and has a list of features that covers pretty much everything you might need.
With a quad-core processor at its heart the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4 boasts an incredible 1080p 5-inch AMOLED display and has upped the camera sensor to 13M-Pix. Does any of this make a real difference to the stills and video performance? Read on to find out how well it performed in our lab.
Following on from our series of selecting the best lenses for the Nikon D800 with its potential for massively detailed images from the 36Mpix sensor, we’ve now turned our attention to that camera’s younger sibling, the 24Mpix D600.
It seems that every passing month brings a new compact camera to the market, featuring a large sensor and the promise of higher image quality than its peers. However, while the sensor is often the star of the show, the lens is just as important and can make or break the performance of the camera. The Nikon Coolpix A is one of this new breed of large sensor compact cameras, and just a few years ago it would have seemed a most unlikely proposition. However, as technology has improved, costs have come down and it is now possible to fit large sensors in small cameras at a reasonable cost, but this does mean the lenses have to improve in tandem or they risk damaging the great work done by the sensor engineers.
Announced only in February this year alongside the Sony made Zeiss branded 50mm f/1.4 ZA SSM, the 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II lens is an upgrade to the original silver finish model introduced in 2009. This new lens is said to boast up to 4x increase in AF operation and an improved optical performance (not to mention a new white exterior). Read on to see how well it performs in our labs.
When zoom lenses were first beginning to be viable alternatives to a bagful of prime lenses back in the 1980’s there were two focal length ranges that were dominant, 35-70 and 70-200: the ‘standard zoom’ and the ‘tele zoom’. Well this ‘old’ approach seems to be back, Panasonic’s 35-100 for their Lumix range exactly matches the 70-200 range while their 12-35 that we reviewed recently fills the ‘standard’ slot.
Launched in February 2011, the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC APO OS HSM is a trans-standard zoom lens aimed at APS-C camera users. On these APS-C models, the crop factor of the sensor (1.5x on Nikon and 1.6x on Canon) makes it comparable to the 70-200mm focal length on a full frame camera, but arguably with an even more versatile length as they reach a little longer (225mm on Nikon and 240mm on Canon). Featuring a raft of specification acronyms, it promises high performance in a well-priced package, but does the reality live up to the billing?
Replacing the 650D the 700D becomes the new flagship DSLR in their ‘EOS for Beginners’ range. Continuing to feature a 18-megapixel APS-C ‘Hybrid CMOS’ sensor, 100 - 25,600 ISO range, 5fps burst shooting and 9-point AF the new model is almost identical however. Costing $1099 it’s up against stiff competition, with rivals such as the Nikon D5200 and Sony Alpha 58 packing more resolution for less money.
Most manufacturers have a lens that gets bundled with their cameras to make a ‘Kit’, and Nikon is no exception, but when its full frame cameras are beginning to be accessible to the consumer market, the kit lens needs both coverage and quality to be an appropriate partner to the likes of a Nikon D600.
Sony seems to have a liking for doing things differently to other makers: hybrid cameras with bigger sensors, compact cameras with serious, professional attitude and single lens reflex cameras with fixed, translucent mirrors. Its new SLT Alpha 58 camera shows just how good a strategy this is, close to the quality of their Alpha 77 at half the price!
Launched in July 2012, the Fujifilm FinePix F800EXR is the latest in a line of cameras from Fuji, featuring an EXRCMOS sensor. Aimed at the upper end of the compact camera market, it offers features suitable for more advanced users and a lens focal range that is the equivalent of a 25-500mm lens in 35mm camera terms. So is this camera all things to all people?