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  • Showing posts with label CAMERAS. Show all posts
    Showing posts with label CAMERAS. Show all posts

    Monday, 2 July 2012


    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    A luxury 14MP travel compact with a 20x Leica lens and GPS

    Panasonic's flagship TZ camera series has always been about squeezing a big zoom into a small body. And the Panasonic TZ30 pushes the boat out.

    Last year's Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 featured a 16x zoom and a four step increase over the 12x zoom in thePanasonic Lumix TZ10.
    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 follows suit, delivering a 20x optical zoom. This gives a 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-480mm, a 25 per cent increase at the telephoto end.
    Not that you can tell from the camera's comparatively slim proportions, of 104.9 x 58.9 x 28.2mm.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The substantial lens only barrels in and out of the body once the camera's switched on and off, thanks to some fancy folded optics. The rest of the time, you're left with a sleek-looking metal shell, the design of which has remained fairly consistent since the launch of the TZ-1 in 2006.
    Over the years, each update to the TZ superzoom has delivered incremental improvements to the big zoom formula. However, the Panasonic TZ20 was a significant upgrade over the TZ10, introducing an exhaustive feature set that included touchscreen controls, 1080i recording and integrated GPS.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    In terms of specifications, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is less of an upgrade over its predecessor. It shares many of the same features as the TZ20, including the aforementioned touchscreen LCD display, Full HD video capture and GPS.
    Naturally, Panasonic has fine-tuned many of these functions for the new Lumix. HD video can be shot in 1080p at 50 frames per second rather than the TZ20's 1080 interlaced. The GPS has been updated to include an on-board map, too, and the camera now features a 3D shooting mode.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The sensor size remains unchanged at 1/2.33-inch, as does the resolution of 14 megapixels.
    However, the new MOS sensor has been engineered to deliver an improved signal-to-noise ratio, promising cleaner images at all ISOs.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30's standard sensitivity range is increased by one full stop, peaking at ISO 3200 compared to the TZ20's ISO 1600.
    Last of the Panasonic Lumix TZ30's big additions is the overhauled autofocus system, borrowed from the Lumix G series of compact system cameras (CSCs) such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Impressions during the test were good: it made light, precise work throughout the focal length range. To compensate for camera shake with the monster zoom, the image stabilisation system has been upgraded, too.
    But these upgrades don't come for free. Priced at £350 in the UK or $350 in the US - where it's called the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 - the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is more expensive than it's older brother. It sits in the same price bracket as the Samsung EX1 (TL500), Nikon Coolpix S1200pj and even the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review: Performance

    Pictures produced by the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 have a bright, dynamic look. Contrast levels are decent and saturation is strong, without detail being sacrificed for vividness.

    Where detail is lost, however, it's invariably down to noise and the smudging effects of noise reduction. Luminance noise is visible throughout the ISO range. Viewing images at actual size (or 100%), some mottling is noticeable in blue skies shot at ISO 100.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Edges also start to look choppy from ISO 400, and at ISO 800, artefacts and colour noise become obvious.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    In other words, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 puts in a typical performance for a 1/2.33-inch sensor that boasts a resolution of 14 million pixels.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Despite there being some slight purple fringing around high-contrast subjects such as telegraph poles and trees against bright skies, the zoom delivered acceptable sharpness through the range.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    There's some drop-off towards the edges, and there's always the nagging feeling that the image processing is masking some of the potential of the Leica lens.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The metering system produces generally well balanced exposures. It tended to bias readings towards mid-tone and shadow detail during the course of our test, meaning that delicate details in bright skies, pale flower petals and other highlights were sometimes lost to overexposure.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30's HD video recording is more than capable. A one-touch movie button enables you to start shooting instantly, and full-time zoom and autofocus are available while you record.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The continuous autofocus can take a while to catch up, particularly at full zoom, but this function can be switched off.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Video shot in low light is a little noisy, and the stereo mics mounted just above the lens pick up the grind of the zoom motors in quiet situations (our test camera was particularly creaky as it approached the tele end).

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The optical image stabilisation system is active when filming, though, which certainly helps when using the zoom at its maximum extension. Ultimately, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is an excellent compact camera for HD capture.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review: Sample images

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is a fun camera to use. The GPS map feature is entertaining and works reasonably quickly. Pressing the DISP button while on the map screen enables you to view a stream of thumbnails that have been tagged with a certain location's data.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30's Creative Control exposure mode features 10 preset effects, including High Key, Retro and Miniature, as shown here. Creative Retouch can be used to apply six similar treatments to previously captured images.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The success of any superzoom rests in the strength of the lens. The versatility of the 24-480mm equivalent on offer here is impressive. In macro mode, it can even get you within 3cm of a subject at the wide setting.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Quick Menu button enables you to change key camera settings quickly on the LCD using the four-way pad, without having to dive into the main menu. This can help you react faster to picture opportunities.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The autofocus worked exceptionally well outdoors in good light during our test. When the camera was held at arm's length above the crowds at this spot, the AF system reacted quickly and enabled us to capture action that we couldn't see. There are four main AF modes on offer: Spot, 1-Area, 23-Area and Face Detection.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 features a dedicated 3D mode. This is more suited to static subjects such as this scene, where the camera takes a series of frames once you press the shutter release, and combines the images that will produce the most pronounced effect.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 at 4.3mm (24mm equivalent)

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 review

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 at 86mm (480mm equivalent)
    Overall, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 leaves a good impression. The extensive zoom, excellent optical image stabilisation and spritely autofocus mean it's a responsive and easy to use camera.

    We liked
    The touchscreen won't be to everyone's taste, though, and the fact that you have to flick a small switch to shift from playback to record mode, rather than simply dabbing the shutter release, means that there can be a frustrating lag between reviewing shots and taking them.
    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 offers a flexible zoom range and extensive range of creative options in a compact body.

    We disliked

    When it comes to dealing with noise, the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is still left a little wanting. Weak battery life and lack of raw capture are disappointing, too.

    The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is quite an expensive camera, although when you take into account the raft of functions it starts to appear good value.
    Final verdict

    Features are one thing, though - image quality is quite another. Although the Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is capable of capturing good pictures, we don't feel the camera's images match the high levels of performance it delivers elsewhere.
    That said, it's a great all-rounder that gives you a versatile optical zoom, 1080p HD video capture and GPS in a robust body. Few compacts include such an efficient autofocus system, too. While it's a step up from the TZ20 in terms of performance and picture quality, it's possibly not a significant enough one to rush into upgrading.

    Thursday, 21 June 2012




    -->NIKON COOLPIX S9300

    Price: £260/$330
    Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 18x zoom with optical VR, 1080p video, GPS


    Nikon has managed to squeeze an impressive 18x zoom lens with optical Vibration Reduction into a slim camera body that is only 30.6mm thick. The Vibration Reduction system will help increase the chance of taking sharp images, especially at the telephoto end of the zoom range, and it will also help steady the image on the 3-inch LCD screen, for easier composition.
    A 16MP rear-illuminated CMOS sensor coupled with the latest Expeed C2 image processing chip should provide better quality images at high sensitivities and smoother video than previous processor generations.
    Nikon's usual comprehensive array of automatic scene modes and a wide range of special effects will help beginners to be creative. GPS technology can be used to track your location and share where images were taken when uploaded to many popular image sharing websites.


    Price: £330/$350
    Specs: 12MP CMOS sensor, 20x image stabilized optical zoom, 1080p video, GPS


    Sporting a 20x zoom lens offering an angle of view equivalent to a 25-500mm lens on a 35mm camera, the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS should be very well equipped for those who wish to travel light.
    A 12MP rear-illuminated CMOS sensor, coupled with the latest DIGIC 5 image processor, enables this camera to take great quality images, even in low light. The image stabilizer system will also help with taming camera shake when shooting at low shutter speeds.
    Full HD video can be recorded and output via the built-in HDMI interface and global positioning information can be recorded for sharing on image and video sharing websites. Advanced photographers will also appreciate the inclusion of manual exposure options, whereas a wide range of automatic shooting options are also included for those who are less technically inclined.


    Price: £400/$400
    Specs: 18MP CMOS Sensor, 20x optical zoom, 1080p video at 50fps, GPS


    An 18MP Exmor R sensor promises excellent quality low light images, despite the relatively high resolution. A 20x optical zoom lens providing an angle of view equivalent to a 35-500mm lens on a 35mm camera should cover most photographic situations when traveling.
    High quality Full HD 50p videos can be recorded, and a GPS function is included for tagging images with your position. Plenty of artistic picture effects and easy creative options are also included to get your creativity flowing.

    -->OLYMPUS SH-25MR

    Price: £190/$350
    Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 12.5x zoom, take still images while recording HD video, dual Image Stabilization


    Although a 12.5x zoom range may seem quite modest when compared to other travel compacts on offer, the 24mm wide angle will certainly be handy for shots in cramped conditions, or large buildings you may encounter on your travels.
    Just like many other travel-orientated compact cameras, GPS tracking is included and a rear-illuminated 16MP CMOS sensor should provide decent quality in low light conditions.
    Unique to this camera is the ability to take still images at the same time as recording video clips, enabling you to capture high quality stills to complement your high definition video.


    Price: £279/$290
    Specs: 14.1MP CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom, 1080p HD video, touchscreen interface, 3D still images


    The TZ30 (or ZS20 in the US) replaces the TZ20 (ZS10) as Panasonic's flagship TZ camera and pushes the zoom range from 16x to 20x, with a focal length equivalence of 24-480mm.
    In other respects the TZ30 is very like the TZ20 having the same touchscreen LCD display, GPS technology and a raft of automated shooting modes as well as more advanced options for experienced photographers.
    However, HD video can be shot in 1080p at 50 frames per second rather than the TZ20's 1080 interlaced. And, although the sensor is still a 14MP 1/2.33-inch device, it has been redesigned to produce cleaner images across the sensitivity range.
    There's a lot packed into this relatively small camera.


    Price: £300/$345
    Specs: 16MP EXR CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom, ISO 12,800, 1080p video, 8fps high speed continuous shooting


    If you've ever struggled to capture the perfect shot of Minky the Whale jumping through a hoop at Sea World, then the Fuji F770 EXR has the solution. It is capable of taking full resolution shots at a blistering pace of eight frames per second, and if you wish to share where the image was taken via popular image sharing services, GPS information can be recorded too.
    The rear-illuminated 16MP EXR CMOS sensor has a few tracks up its sleeve too. It can be optimized to take high resolution 16MP images or images with improved dynamic range at reduced resolution.
    By combining neighboring pixels, sensitivities of up to ISO12,800 are also possible, making this camera ideal for shooting with in adverse conditions.



    Price: £335/$420
    Specs 12.1MP CMOS sensor, 35x image stabilized optical zoom lens, 1080p HD video, swivel LCD screen


    An impressive 35x zoom lens equivalent to 24-800mm on a 35mm camera adorns the Canon Powershot SX40 HS. Unlike its predecessor, the SX30 IS, this camera uses Canon's HS system, which combines a high sensitivity sensor with the latest DIGIC 5 image processor to provide, clean and sharp images, even in low light conditions.
    Both casual snappers and experienced photographers are catered for a comprehensive range of scene program modes, Smart Auto and full manual control. 1080P HD video clips can also be recorded using either the electronic viewfinder of Vari-Angle LCD screen for composition.


    Price: £199 (about $320)
    Specs: 14MP CCD sensor, 21x stabilized optical zoom, 720p video, smart portrait system


    This budget offering from Nikon aims to make picture taking as easy as possible, while providing a raft of impressive features, for not a lot of money.
    For starters the 21x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 25-525mm lens on a 35mm camera, and features Nikon's Vibration Reduction technology to tame camera shake. For close up images, the macro facility enables focusing as close as 1cm from the front element of the lens.
    The Smart Portrait system uses Smile Detection, Red Eye Fix, Skin Softening and a warning if the camera detects that your subject may have blinked in the picture. This system should make taking pictures of family and friends a foolproof affair.

    -->OLYMPUS SZ-31MR

    Price: £280/$400
    Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 24x optical zoom, take still images while recording HD video, dual Image Stabilization


    As well as including a 24x zoom lens covering a range equivalent to a 26-600mm lens on a 35mm camera, the Olympus SZ-31MR has a few other tricks up its sleeve.
    1080p videos can also be recorded, and if you spot an opportunity for a still image, one can be captured while recording video. Standard definition video at frame rates up to 240fps can be recorded for creating slow motion effects.
    The dual image stabilization system should tame camera shake in images taken in low light, or at high telephoto settings. Still images can also be taken in 3D, which is a fun addition.


    Price: £470/$480
    Specs: 18MP CMOS Sensor, 30x optical zoom, 1080p video at 50fps, GPS


    Not to be outdone by anyone else, Sony's HX200V can take an impressive 10 frames per second in burst mode, and its 30x optical zoom should provide plenty of flexibility for many a shooting scenario. The 18MP CMOS sensor provides an improvement in resolution over its predecessor, too.
    Panoramic images can be taken by sweeping the camera across the scene, with the camera automatically stitching a sequence of shots together for you, and 3D images can also be taken. GPS information can be recorded for adding to popular image sharing websites.

    -->PANASONIC FZ48/FZ47

    Price: £270 (about $435)
    Specs 12.1MP CCD sensor, 24x optical zoom (25-600mm equivalent), Optical Image Stabilization, manual exposure control


    Known as the FZ47 in the US, this mini SLR style camera provides for casual snappers and experienced photographers alike with a wealth of exposure modes - though raw file recording is not possible.
    Autofocus speed is faster than the average superzoom camera's, which makes it a good option for sport and action photography - especially coupled with the 3.7fps burst mode.
    The pixel count may only be 12.1 million, but this benefits the camera because the low sensitivity images have a decent level of detail. This combines with great exposure and good color reproduction to make the FZ48 a well rounded performer.



    Best compact camera 2012: 

     Get the best digital camera for your needs

    Best compact camera 2012: 27 reviewed

    The Fuji X100 and its hybrid viewfinder is king of all compact cameras.

    Finding the best compact camera for your needs is never going to be easy, because the compact camera market is a very crowded place.
    There are hundreds of digital compact cameras out there, waiting for you to ogle them, to scratch your heads over them, and eventually hand over your hard-earned cash for them.
    Once the transaction is complete and you're unboxing your newest purchase, a nagging doubt enters your mind: did I make the right choice?

    Whichever compact digital camera you might be looking for, we've pulled together a selection of what we believe are the best compact digital cameras on the market now.The right choice, of course, depends on what you want from your digital camera. Maybe you're looking for a high-end compact camera or perhaps you want something more basic to help someone else get started in photography.

    Best compact cameras 2012: 

    Fujifilm Finepix X100

    Price: £695/$1,200
    Specs: 12.3MP APS-C format CMOS sensor, 23mm f/2 lens, hybrid viewfinder

    Best compact cameras

    Fuji created a stir when it announced this retro-styled compact with an 12.3 megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor. The fixed 23mm f/2 lens provides a bright aperture for low light shooting and an angle of view roughly equivalent to a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera.
    Its design is aimed to appeal to experienced photographers and enthusiasts, who like direct exposure control with an aperture ring, shutter-speed dial . It also sports a raw image mode and has a unique hybrid viewfinder that combines an electronic and optical finder in the same view.

    Fujifilm Finepix X10

    Price: £390/$600
    Specs 12MP CMOS sensor, 4x f/2-2.8 optical zoom, Manual zoom ring, 1080p HD video

    Best compact cameras

    Manual controls are easily accessible and pictures can be recorded in a raw image format. Even the zoom ring is operated manually, which is unusual for a compact camera and a large bright optical viewfinder is provided for those who prefer this to using the screen for composing images.Another retro-styled camera from Fujifilm, although this one is quite different to the X100. A 4x zoom lens with a bright maximum aperture of f/2-2.8 is fitted to a metal camera body containing a 1 /2.3î EXR CMOS sensor.
    Add in 1080p HD video recording and you have a highly specified camera that justifies the high price tag.

    Canon Powershot G1 X

    Price: £700/$800
    Specs: Large 14.3MP CMOS sensor, 4x optical zoom, 1080p HD video, swivel LCD screen

    Best compact cameras

    Although the zoom range is limited when compared to other Canon G-series cameras, the trump card of the Canon G1 X is its unusually large sensor. A larger sensor has more surface area to receive light, improving image quality at high sensitivities and boosting dynamic range. Interestingly, Canon has opted to stick with the 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than 3:2 as most APS-C sensors are, even though the sensor in the G1 X is roughly the same height as APS-C format.
    In order to make the most of what the sensor can offer, Canon has equipped the G1 X with the latest DIGIC 5 processor, which promises better control over noise at high ISO sensitivities, faster operation and smoother 1080p video recording.
    The 4x zoom lens provides an angle of view equivalent to a 28-122mm lens on a 35mm camera, and the usual array of direct controls found on G-series cameras should make manual operation a pleasure.

    Canon PowerShot G12

    Price: £400/$420
    Specs: 10MP CMOS sensor, 5x stabilised optical zoom lens, 720p HD video, swivel screen

    Best compact cameras

    Canon's G-series cameras have been the benchmark by which other high-end compacts are judged ever since the G1 released at the turn of the century. The G12 continues this tradition with it's strong magnesium body, highly sensitive 10MP CMOS sensor, 720p video, 5x Image Stabilised zoom lens and DIGIC 4 image processor.
    Experienced photographers will enjoy the direct exposure controls, HDR capability and raw image recording, whereas more casual photographers are catered for by a wide range of automatic scene programs and face detection.
    Add to this multi-aspect shooting, and you can see why this compact camera gives interchangeable lens cameras a run for their money.

    Ricoh GR Digital IV

    Price: £435/$600
    Specs: 10MP CCD sensor, 28mm (equiv) f/1.9 lens, 1,230,000 dot 3-inch LCD screen

    Best compact cameras

    A pocketable camera with a high quality lens, equivalent to a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera, and a fast f/1.9 maximum aperture. The GR Digital IV follows in Ricoh's tradition of producing high quality compact cameras that are ideal for street photography.
    Despite the compact dimensions, manual controls are easily accessible and a 3-inch LCD screen with an extremely high resolution of 1,230,000 dots has been squeezed onto the rear. Images can be shot in raw formats too.
    Strangely Ricoh hasn't followed the trend of including HD video capability, the GRD IV will record video, but only at VGA resolution.

    Nikon Coolpix P310

    Price: £235/$315
    Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 4.2x zoom with a fast f/1.8 aperture, Full HD video, Optical VR

    Best compact cameras

    The Nikon Coolpix P310 builds on the features its popular predecessor sported with a higher resolution 16MP rear-illuminated CMOS sensor, which should enhance the camera's ability to take images in low light. Couple this with a bright f/1.8 lens and you have a formidable, pocketable camera for taking pictures in a wide range of conditions.
    If tinkering with raw image files is a feature you desire, this camera may not be for you, since images can only be recorded in JPEG format. But given the bargain basement price, it still represents excellent value.

    Olympus XZ-1

    Price: £310/$500
    Specs: 10MP CCD sensor, 4x optical zoom lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, 720p HD video

    Best compact cameras

    As well as being one of the most stylish high-end compact cameras on the market, the Olympus XZ-1 sports a larger than normal CCD sensor and a 4x zoom Zuiko lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, which both enable this camera to take excellent pictures in low light conditions.
    Full manual control is possible, but also a comprehensive range of automatic exposure programs and fun art effects that can be applied to images. Add in the 720p HD video mode and the Olympus XZ-1 is well worthy of consideration.

    Canon PowerShot S100

    Price: £360/$390
    Specs: 12.1MP CMOS sensor, 5x image stabilised zoom lens with 24mm wide angle and f/2 maximum aperture, 1080p HD video

    Best compact cameras

    Canon's latest advanced compact raises the bar set by the S95 by including a 12.1MP high sensitivity CMOS sensor, manual control, and Full HD video.
    The combination of a large 1/1.7-inch sensor with Canon's latest DIGIC 5 image processing chip and the bright f/2 lens delivers excellent quality at high sensitivities. The compact body also provides full manual control, with adjustments applied directly via the bezel around the lens and the ability to record raw images.
    A strip of rubber on the front of the S100 gives it extra grip over the S95.

    Nikon Coolpix P7100

    Price: £349/$449.95Specs: 10.1MP 1/1.7-inch CCD sensor, 3-inch 921,000 dot LCD, 7.1x zoom

    Best compact camera 2012

    Nikon's P7100 is a close match for the Canon G12 in terms of specification, having the same size sensor with 10.1-million effective pixels and a f/2.8-5.6 7.1x zoom lens with a focal length equivalence of 35-200mm and Vibration Reduction (VR). The 3-inch 921,000 dot screen however, is a tilting unit rather than being fully articulated.
    The solid-feeling body is liberally covered with buttons and dials, that give the user plenty of direct control over the most important shooting parameters.
    Image quality is generally good, especially from raw files, but colours can be a little on the vivid-side.

    Sony RX100

    Price: £579/$648
    Specs: 20.2MP 1 inch Exmoor CMOS sensor, 3.6x zoom, 1080p video, Bionz processor, f/1.8-4.9 lens

    Best Compact camera 2012: 26 reviewed

    Though it's a relative small compact camera, the Sony RX100 has a larger than average sensor. In fact its 20.2MP 1-inch CMOS device is the same physical size as the one in the Nikon 1 V1 and Nikon 1 J1, which arecompact system cameras.
    We love the build quality of the RX100 and it provides all the controls that demanding enthusiasts expect, plus the ability to record raw files. We especially like the control ring around the 28-100mm (equivalent) f/1.8-4.9 lens that can be used to adjust a selection of features including aperture.
    Our tests reveal that the RX100 performs well across the sensitivity range (ISO 125-6400) and it produces, bright punchy images that aren't excessively vibrant.
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