This discussion outlines the available lenses for the Sony NEX-7, a very popular MILC camera system from Sony. The NEX-7 comes with an E-mount 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 lens. This lens has a focal length range of 27mm-82.5mm on a 35mm format equivalent. The camera system is complimented by two Alpha NEX camera mount adapters which are marked at $200 and $400 respectively and allows the NEX-7 to be used with a large variety of third party compatible lenses.
The Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN Sony-e mount lens is yet another great lens to have and is compatible with the NEX-7 meaning auto-focusing is available for the lens. This is s f/2.8 prime lens, fast with good auto-focusing abilities. Prime lenses are often considered by photography enthusiasts as a way to ensure that they can capture moments as they happen. As they are prime lenses, there are less moving parts inside and the lens can quickly focus on a single focal length. Being an APS-C- camera the NEX-7 converts the 19mm prime to 29mm which is pretty wide in terms of the angle of view. At f/2.8 it is very bright and very fast offering quick capture of the moments. The lens is also very light weight and at 139 grams, is complimentary to the lightweight APS-C sensor based camera.
Another prime lens and at 30mm the f/2.8 EX DN Sony-e mount Sigma lens is a great tool to have if someone is looking for a standard prime for the NEX-7. The APS-C sensor gives it a crop factor of 1.5x and converts the focal length to 46mm, just about the same of that of a standard prime. This is a non intimidating lens and makes for the ideal partner for the NEX-7 and can be used effectively for doing street photography. Wide angle lenses are never too great for the purpose of shooting portraits and the 30mm can actually make features such as the nose appear larger than the rest of the face. So a bit of fine calculation is needed for using it for portrait shooting purposes.
Using a non compatible lens on the NEX-7 means losing out on AF abilities. Yet some photographers can use an adapter ring and then use other lenses, even Nikon or Canon ones as well. The Nikkor AF 50mm F/1.8 D is a great lens. It gives a slightly bigger focal length of 75mm for the NEX-7 and offers bright wide f-stop. But AF is not available on the NEX-7.
Even if this discussion is about only compatible Sigma, Canon and Nikon lenses, one lens cannot be ignored and that is the Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3. The Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di III VC Sony e-mount lens is one such lens that is ideal as a mid-sized zoom for the NEX-7. This lens is compatible and offers Auto-focusing and has a decent wide aperture throughout the focal length. However this is not as fast a lens as most sports or action photographers would prefer it to be. This lens is suitable for everyday shooting requirements and gives a very good performance with its image stabilization system built-in.
Small sensor digital cameras always have a perennial problem and that is their low light performance. The fact that they have an evidently smaller sensor makes them unsuitable for shooting pictures in lowlight. Increased noise and reduced details are the two major problems that plague small sensor Compact Point & Shoot cameras. To counter this, the backlit illumination technology was introduced which ensures that the sensor can collect more light during low light conditions and then properly expose for the shot. Sony’s models including the DSC-TX66 and the DSC-TX55 have this technology.
The DSC-TX55 which was launched around the middle of 2011 came with the backlit illumination technology that ensured that the camera can shoot sharp photos even when there is less light to go around. The Exmor R™ CMOS sensor can churn out a maximum of 16.2 megapixels. The camera has a 5x optical zoom range giving it a range of 26-130mm on a 35mm format equivalent. It is also packed with the By Pixel Super Resolution technology that allows the camera to shoot at an incredible digital zoom of 10x without losing the quality of the final images.
At only 12.2mm thickness the DSC-TX55 was the thinnest digital camera at the time of its launch with image stabilization system built-in. Yet in spite of its thinness the DSC-TX55 is a compact yet powerful camera that also shoots HD videos in 1080p. The camera also has a number in camera effects that allow the photographer to make everyday moments special without the need for additional software.
The DSC-TX66 is the new kid on the block which replaces the DSC-TX55 launched last year. Compared to the older model this one has 18 megapixels. The camera is very quick to focus and shooting is also very hassle free. But there is a definite room for improvement in the controls area. The camera functions are a bit cumbersome to say the least. In keeping with the reputation of the older model the DSC-TX55, the new DSC-TX66 also is a very slim one. In fact it is just about the same thickness as a standard AA battery.
There is not much to choose from the two cameras though, even though Sony is trying to push this one through. The old 5x f3.5-4.8 lens has been retained. This means the optical range has not gone further than the 26-130mm. the aperture range is also the same meaning photographers looking for something even brighter than the older lens will be disappointed.
There does not seem to be a justification to move up to the DSC-TX66 from the older DSC-TX55. The DSC-TX66 has the same 3.3” OLED monitor as the older model. Performance wise the extra number of megapixels that the new model has won’t be something that would make the DSC-TX66 much superior. Low light performance is about the same as the old model. For any photographer there is no justification for dropping the TX55 and upgrading to the TX66. The two extra megapixels is not something that is justifying that move.
Sony NEX-VG30 is the successor to the much acclaimed Sony NEX-VG20. This one comes with an APS-C sensor. Launched along with the NEX-VG900, the first consumer full frame camcorder, the NEX-VG30 is a camcorder that is ideal for consumers who prefer to shoot great quality videos with a larger sensor but not necessarily wishes to move up to a full frame sensor. Let’s delve a bit further into some of the features of the NEX-VG30.
The NEX-VG30 comes with a 16.1 megapixels sensor. It retains much of the features that the NEX-VG20 had while refining some of them to make it a better working model compared to the older model that it replaces. Just like the older model the NEX-VG30 can shoot still images using its 16.1 megapixels APS-C sensor to good use. It can shoot both JPEG and RAW without any issues and gives photographers who prefer not to depend on the camcorder’s built-in image processing system to shoot images and then process them on his PC.
The TruBlack LCD swivels a functional 270 degrees with 921,000 dots resolution that allows for a better composing window. The electronic viewfinder comes with XGA OLED technology for bright and functional viewing and composing ease. Additionally a new zoom control features allows the camcorder to adjust the zooming function which allows for the zooming to be more precise and more importantly smoother. Sony has introduced the new Multi Interface Shoe which allows the user to plug in a XLR microphone for better audio input. Anyways the camcorder can record 5.1 channel surround recordings for fantastic cinematic experience.
Full HD videos does not come any better on a APS-C sensor than the NEX-VG30 and the fact that this camera can shoot at variable frame rates using the provided 18-200m lens makes it a formidable competitor in the market. With the launch of the NEX-VG30 and the VG900 Sony is trying to stamp out the market with two excellent products. The only thing at this time that can create an issue is the lack of proprietary lenses. However there are many A mount Sony lenses and other compatible A mount lenses from third party lens manufacturers. These can be easily used with the NEX-VG30 with the help of a LA-EA3 mount adapter which has been provided with the camcorder. Probably Sony thought this is the best way to negate the issue of available lenses.
The NEX-VG30 comes with a digital functionality which further extends the reach of the camcorder. This functionality is also introduced into the full frame camcorder, the VG900 which was lunched with this. The digital zoom functionality is better served for the VG900 where the larger sensor size allows for more extraction of this feature.
Pricing-wise the NEX-VG30 will be sold at a price of $ 1,800 for the body only. If one is interested in the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS power zoom lens then he would have to shell out an additional $900. However even at that price he would save $300 considering that the lens alone retails at $1200 separately.
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The bower 800mm telephoto lens is available in three different mounts, the 500mm f/8 Telephoto Lens for Canon EOS Digital Cameras, the 500mm f/6.3 Telephoto Mirror T-Mount Lens and the 500mm f/8 Telephoto Lens for Nikon Digital Cameras. The Nikon version is a manual focus lens which comes with multi-coating for reduced glares and flares. It is a T-mount lens that goes with any Nikon model. The lens has a huge mass and hand holding is a big issue. For any lens of this focal length reach it is important that one must have a decent amount of stabilization to ensure that the images are shake free when shot at full range. It is thus highly recommended that one uses the lens with a tripod or a monopod.
The minimum focusing distance is 33 feet. Needless to say that the lens is meant to catch long distance subjects. It has only a 5˚ angle of view. The lens filter thread specification reads 67mm. that means if you’re looking for a filter for this behemoth, you will need it to be 67mm. this is not entirely the largest as there are lenses with even higher thread specification, but still it is quite big. There is also a tripod mount provided with the lens. All 500mm bower telephoto lenses for Nikon comes with a t-mount for mounting it on to a Nikon DSLR.
At f/8 the maximum aperture of the lens is practical. It means this lens is going to be used for the purpose of shooting distant objects only and that is why the lens is primarily meant for keeping the subject in focus even at a great distance. This lens is not meant for shooting subjects within less than 33 feet as such the makers have not tried to give a maximum aperture of more than f/8. However if you refer to stop it down, the minimum aperture available is f/32. Lens diffraction will be present at very low f-stop and that will degrade the sharpness of the images.
Fitting the lens to a compatible (Nikon, Canon or any other make of camera) one must know that the auto-focusing of the lens will not be available and one has to turn the focusing ring manually in order to focus properly.
The lens is a sturdy build, made of aluminum alloy and comes in a black color. Aluminum alloy gives it strength while also making it considerably lighter. Dimension wise the lens length is 11.70 inches when the focusing is closed in. the lens weighs a hefty 22.6oz. There are four elements in four groups as far as internal constriction is concerned.
Buying the lens online there are a few things to consider. First is the lens is available with a one year warranty from the manufacturer. Ensure that all the accessories are also offered by the e-retailer. This includes the soft case and the front & rear Caps. The lens will also come with the mount adapter ring as per your preference.
When taking about the best Compact Point & Shoot cameras under 200 dollars one cannot but ignore three models from Canon. They are the PowerShot ELPH 100 HS, the PowerShot A4000 IS and the PowerShot A3400 IS. Canon has recently launched a plethora of Compact Point & Shoot cameras at different price points and with different prices and these is the point of our discussion in this review.
First up is the PowerShot ELPH 100 HS. This camera has Canon’s proprietary HS system. The HS system allows for low noise even when shooting at very low lights. Smaller sensor cameras often have a problem of noise when shooting in low light conditions. Canon’s HS technology was devised to correct this issue. The ELPH 100 HS has a 12.1 megapixels resolution CMOS sensor. It features a DIGIC 4 image processing engine. An interesting feature of the ELPH 100 HS is its 8.2 fps continuous shooting speeds, that allows even an amateur photographer to capture stunning fast action shots using a Compact Point & Shoot camera. Dynamic IS (image stabilization) system is another powerful feature of the camera. The camera can shoot full HD videos as well.
The PowerShot A4000 IS a great camera for a price of under $200. It is powered by a 16 megapixels 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor. The 1/2.3 CCD sensor is actually a bit better compared to CMOS sensors of the same dimension. CCD sensors have a better low light performance. It has an 8x optical zoom ranging from 28mm – 224mm on a 35mm format equivalent. The digital zoom further adds a 4x multiplier to it. There are no optical viewfinders, which is standard with all Compact Point & Shoot cameras. There is however a 3” TFT LCD monitor of 230,000 dots resolution. The viewfinder has 100% coverage. The camera is sensitive on an ISO range of 100 to 1600. However the maximum of 1600 is available at only P mode. It offers a shutter speed range of 15 seconds to 1/2000 of a second. Maximum aperture is of f/3.0 to f/5.9 across the tele range.
The PowerShot A3400 IS is yet another excellent point and shoot camera within a budget of $200. It has a 16 megapixels 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor. In a small frame (the dimensions of the camera is only 3.72 x 2.22 x 0.84 inches) it offers a zoom range of 28-140mm on a 35mm format. The camera is ideal for photographers who don’t usually leave home without a camera and is perfect for tucking in the waist pouch or inside the jacket pocket. The 3” TFT LCD screen offers a 230,000 dots resolution and offers a completely touch screen interface. The monitor offers a 100% FOV converge. Sensitive across an ISO range of 100 to 1600, the camera comes Canon’s IS system for rock steady shots when hand holding the camera. Needless to say the IS system is extremely welcome as most of the times the camera will be used to shoot hand held only.
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Before buying a Compact Point & Shoot camera one needs to consider a few things. A Compact Point & Shoot camera normally comes with a sensor the size of 1/2.3”. Whether it is a CMOS (complimentary metal oxide semiconductor) sensor or it is a CCD (charge coupled device), there difference is only minor when it comes to low light performance. Just for the curious, the CCD theoretically should perform a bit better because of the technology. However they being evidently very small the difference often is too negligible to notice. To counter this manufacturers have developed several technology that allows the sensor to collect more light. Canon’s HS technology and the back illuminated technology allows for more light to be collected during dark conditions.
The Canon PowerShot G1X is a camera that immediately comes to the mind when thinking about the low light performance of compact cameras. The G1X is built around a sensor that is a new 1.5” 14.3 megapixels CMOS design from Canon. With this camera Canon has upped the game for the compact market and also taken the fight again Nikon’s 1 series cameras. In fact selling at $800 the G1X is certainly not cheap. It is even pricier than some of the entry level DSLR cameras currently available. The larger sensor is a major factor for the extremely high quality of the images. It allows for the camera to collect more light compared to the other compact cameras in the market. It also has Canon’s DIGIC 5 image processing system a built in HDR image mode that captures more than 2 shots with different exposures and then combines them together to create a single properly exposed image.
The FinePix X100 is a great camera from Fujifilm. It features a fast f/2 lens that can capture a lot of light evening dark conditions and allows the camera to capture stunning moments in low light conditions. The camera features a single focal length 23mm lens (equivalent to a 35mm lens on a 35mm format). It prime lens with a wide aperture on a compact body plus a sensor that is 23.6mm x 15.8mm (APS-C) is a fantastic combination and one that allows the camera to master the darkness with relative ease. The 12.3 megapixels sensor can capture great pictures of 4288 x 2848 pixels at 3:2 ratio and 4288 x 2416 pixels at 16:9 ratio. One can set the sensor to a sensitivity of 200 to 6400 or jack it up even higher to 100 and 12800 for very wide range of ISO. Due to the large sensor size, the images captured at high ISO range are also usable. The camera can shoot both RAW and JPEG and has a decent continuous shooting speed. The JPEG mode offers a 10 fps and the RAW/ RAW+JPEG mode offers 8 fps. The only thing that is not up to the standard is the LCD screen which is somewhat smaller at 2.8” and offers 460,000 dots resolution. There is also a hybrid viewfinder for better composing of images.
The first camera that comes to the find when we are discussing the best compact cameras under 300 dollars is the PowerShot SX260 HS Black. Built around the very popular and widely used 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor it churns out a meaty 12.1 effective megapixels. The PowerShot SX260 HS Black is a very powerful camera with 20x optical zoom combined with a 4x digital zoom that extends its reach to 80x. The optical zoom is 25-500mm on a 35mm format equivalent. It has a 3” TFT LCD screen that offers 100% coverage but a slightly less bright image at only 461,000 dots resolution. It also offers a maximum aperture of f/3.5 to f/6.8 across its focal length. The PowerShot SX260 HS Black is sensitive across ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (on P mode). It features the latest DIGIC 5 image processing system from Canon. A built in GPS system which can automatically tag the geo-location data on to the EXIF data of the image, this camera is the right choice if you prefer to use it frequently during your travels. It also captures full HD (1080p) movies at 24 fps. It can capture 720p movies at 30 fps.
The PowerShot SX230 HS Black is yet another compact Point & Shoot model from Canon which offers 14x optical zoom and the ability to capture excellent images using the 12.1 megapixels high sensitivity CMOS sensor. Compared to the PowerShot SX260 HS Black the PowerShot SX230 HS Black has the older DIGIC 4 image processing system. Its 14x optical zoom range gives it the effective reach of 28 – 392mm on a 35mm format. Needless to say the camera is a small but very capable one with a lot of features for the right photographer to exploit. The 28mm wide angle allows the camera to capture breathtaking panorama shots. The tele photo reach is perfect for capturing wild life when traveling. It also captures full HD (1080p) movies at 24 fps and at 720p it captures movies at 30 fps. Both the camera does not come with any optical viewfinders. The PowerShot SX230 HS Black has a 3” TFT LCD screen that offers 461,000 dots resolution.
The Nikon Coolpix L810 is a stunning camera for telephoto enthusiasts. The 26x optical zoom offers a 22.5-585mm focal length range on a 35mm format equivalent. It has a maximum aperture of f/3.1 to f/5.9 across its focal length and offers a 3” TFT LCD screen that has a bright 921,000 dots resolution. Built around a 16 megapixels, 1/2.3” CCD sensor the camera offers an ISO performance of 80-1600. Needless to say for compact cameras which has a small sensor size, having very high ISO sensitivity is a detrimental factor more than a beneficial one. Smaller the light and more megapixels there are cramped into; the worse is the performance in low light conditions. However the main selling point of the Nikon Coolpix L810 is its astounding zoom which allows the photographer to shoot distant objects without much hassle.
This comparative analysis between the Nikon P7700 and the Fuji x10 is a interesting match up between two high profile Compact Point & Shoot cameras. In a market that is currently flooded with 1/2.3” sensors, the 1/1.7″ powered P7700 and the 2/3” powered Fuji x10 are two very powerful competitors. However in terms of sensor sizes, the Fuji x10 is the more powerful of the two with its bigger sensor and as such more light gathering area.
Bot the cameras have a maximum image resolution of 4000 x 3000 pixels. However the Fuji x10 should have a less amount of noise owing to its larger sensor. The Fuji x10 is also better built with a magnesium alloy body that is light and yet sturdy. Megapixels wise there is not much of a difference. The Fuji x10 has an effective 12 megapixels and the Nikon P7700 has 12.2 megapixels. But again owing to the smaller size of the sensor and that more megapixels have been crammed into that smaller size; the Nikon expectedly has a bit of noise issue.
Image formats wise the Nikon P7700 can shoot not only JPEG and RAW but also 3D pictures in MPO formats. The Fujifilm can only shoot in RAW and JPEG. The P7700 has a slightly better zoom range at 28 – 200 mm compared to the Fuji x10 which has an effective range of 28 – 112 mm on a 35mm equivalent format.
The Nikon P7700 has a fully articulated LCD TFT 3” screen which offers a resolution of 921,000 dots. The display is bright and comes with live view features. The screen of the Fuji x10 is comparatively smaller at 2.8” only. There are only 460,000 dots which is also less bright compared to the Nikon P7700. However the P7700 does not have any viewfinder built-in, which the Fuji x10 has and offers a slightly dark tunnel view and offering only 85% coverage. For a user who usually shoots using a DSLR or even a MILC, or a rangefinder, the viewfinder of the Fuji x10 is going to give a lot of displeasure. Even composing the image is going to be a problem.
While both the cameras have a maximum aperture of f/2 at the wide angle end, at the tele end the P7700 has a maximum aperture of f/4 where as the Fuji x10 has a much better f/2.8. The Fuji x10 is throughout has the fastest lens. The Nikon P7700 offers a slightly longer shutter speed at 60 seconds to 1/4000th of a second comparative to the Fuji x10 which offers 30 seconds – 1/4000th of a second.
Apart from that both the cameras CMS with a lot of scene modes and special effects which allows a user to capture everyday scenes in a more interesting fashion. The P7700 has the option to capture 3D images with a special 3D mode. This is one of the few cameras currently available in the market that can capture 3D images and thus create an amazing moment.
The world’s first interchangeable lens full frame camcorder has been unveiled by Sony. The NEX-VG900 is built around a 24MP sensor. This is the same sensor that has been placed at the heart of the SLT A99 also released at the Photokina 2012 by Sony. There was a speculation whether the E-mount of Sony can actually handle a full frame sensor, and the release of the NEX-VG900 puts to rest all doubts and speculations for good. The 18-200mm powerzoom SELP-18200 E PZ lens has also been released with the camera and it actually boosts the existing slim line of NEX lenses.
Comparing the size of the sensor of the NEX-VG900 with standard camcorders is like comparing a cruise ship with a small speedboat. The camcorder’s Exmor® CMOS sensor is more than 40 times the size of traditional sensors in Sony’s current consumer model camcorders.
The Sony NEX-VG900 shoots in both 24 fps using CinemaTone Gamma and CinemaTone Color presets for cinematic experience. The audio is recorded in AVCHD formats for better clarity. Sony has also introduced an innovative new design in the Quad Capsule Spatial Array Microphone. This allows sound to be picked u from all directions and then recorded in 5.1 channel surround effect. The camcorder has a built in audio level indicator and controls for adjusting them while shooting. The bright LCD display gives convenient readouts of what’s happening. An external headphone jack can be plugged and the audio recording can be monitored. Additionally there are a lot of built in effects inside the camera which allows the user to capture and then do in-camera editing.
The Sony NEX-VG900 comes with a lot of built in features including aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual exposure to give the user a plethora of features to use. While balancing allows using the camcorder in almost any type of lighting conditions with minimum fuss.
Shooting great quality videos is not everything that the Sony NEX-VG900 does. Using its full frame sensor to good effect the camcorder captures great quality still as well. It shoots in both RAW and JPEG formats allowing serious photographers to use the large sensor to good effect. At close-ups the camera can also create nice soft blurring of the background for defocusing objects other than the subject. The camcorder seamlessly shifts from shooting in full frame to APS-C (crop) formats when the user has mounted an A mount or an E mount lens. Additionally Sony ships the camcorder with an LA-EA3 adapter ring that allows the use of most A mount lenses on it.
Sony has made the NEX-VG900 compatible with their Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX series along with all the SD memory cards that Sony makes.
To be retailed around $3,300 along with an A-mount adapter, this camcorder is going to make it possible for serious video enthusiasts to make sunning full frame videos at a price that is not going to dent their banks seriously. If you’re looking for the body only, then the price is going to be $1,800.
Image stabilization is the key for getting rock steady shots when using a very long focal length. A number of factors can work and render the shot useless, camera shake can come both internally and externally. Factors such as an unsteady pair of hands are one of the primary factors here. If one is using a long focal length, it is imperative that one uses a tripod or a monopod. If there is none and or one is definitely looking to hand hold a shot at 200mm then it is imperative that the lens has a image stabilization system built-in.
Another factor that can ruin a shot at 200mm or beyond is the wind. The camera can be rocked by the wind and that means even if the deflection is 1mm it can make a massive effect on a longer focal length. Camera shakes can happen internally as well. When the shutter release button is pressed, the camera mirror moves out of the way (swivels up) and makes room for the light to hit the sensor. This movement can affect the shot as well. This is critically important when you’re shooting a faster shutter speed shot as the camera shake lasts for the entire duration of the exposure. For longer exposures however, the camera shake can be absorbed by the shot.
Image stabilization is an important factor to be considered when shooting with a medium telephoto lens. Image stabilization uses a compensating motion which detects horizontal and or vertical motion when the shot is being taken so that the ultimate pictures are sharp. Even in low light conditions and or situations where normally one would should with a tripod (longer exposures) the use or Image Stabilization can help to get clear sharp photos.
Without image stabilization the shots will become blurry and or have unintended motion blur. Photography enthusiasts, especially those who love taking wild life photos prefer to use a tripod no matter what. It helps them to counter the camera shake, the wind shake and also the shake induced because of the finger pressing the shutter release button.
There are many lenses available which do not mage stabilization built-into them. It becomes that much difficult to use them hand holding. A standard hand held shot could be having a least exposure time of around 1/30 seconds. Anything less than that is very tough to capture, no matter how steady your hands may be.
Again image stabilization when turned on and when the camera is mounted on a tripod can actually be a detrimental thing. It would try to compensate for non-existent camera shake. Even when shooting videos, using the image stabilization system turned on can cause the movements to be jittery as the camera will try to compensate for the movement.
To conclude, one would definitely need image stabilization system for any telephoto lens. It is required for a 70-200mm lens as well. Even when using a standard lens, image stabilization is necessary when hand holding and if the user is looking for sharp photos.