SNAP SHOTS

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 The cameras are breeding like one-eyed rabbits. Their megapixels are multiplying at an equally alarming pace. Dean Cornish tells us what to drool over in hardcore photography.

DSLR DESIRES

There are two very exciting new DSLRs on the market-from the two big players in the market. For the uninitiated, DSLR stands for single-lens reflex’and refers to the type of camera that employs a mirror system to allow direct optical monitoring through the lens. The single-lens reflex camera has traditionally been at the chunky/professional end of the camera spectrum, and its digital offspring is no different.

In 2009, Canon produced a truly disruptive product-the EOS 5D Mark II. It was a full-frame DSLR that recorded cinematic-looking high-definition video; and it changed the landscape of amateur and professional video-making almost overnight.

The EOS 5D Mark II was recently updated with the EOS 5D Mark III. This new model boasts a 22.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, full HD video recording, and six frames per second continuous shooting. Italso more water and dust resistant: an incredibly robust and intelligent beast indeed.

While the Mark II had HD video as an extra function (video was never used as a selling-point for the camera), the Mark III has a number of new, video-specific functions around audio acquisition and monitoring-as well as better video processing.

For still photography, the Mark III is as exciting as is its nicely appointed little brother, with the impressive 61-point autofocus system being inherited from its even bigger brother,

 Fuji Finepix

the EOS-1 DX.

Like the 5D Mark III, the Nikon D800 has a full-frame 35mm sensor (we wonquibble with the 0.1mm height difference between the Nikon and Canon specifications offrame’).

A large sensor allows the user to achieve a more shallow depth of field (fuzzy background) and therefore brings a more ’look to shots. Many of the cheaper DSLRs on the market still use a cropped chip of some sort, so the full frames on both these models are worth banging on about as we are doing here.

The Nikon D800sensor delivers a whopping 36.3 megapixels, meaning a lot more detail in still photographs. Video-wise, this is Nikonfirst video-capable, full-frame DSLR

-and theyhad time to think about it. The video options are many and varied and, while both models are now featuring auto-focus in video mode (another new development), playing with both it feels as though the D800 has the edge in this area. Nevertheless, both are exciting toys which, coupled with the right lenses, will allow almost limitless creative opportunities.

RETRO RANG ETTN D E R j The new Leica M Monochrom also has a full-frame 35mm sensor and its performance ’is also its selling-point

 Fuji Finepix

-no colour.

Leica is touting the M Monochrom as the worldfirst digital camera dedicated to black-and-white photography.

With no colour filter array in front of its 18-megapixel sensor, the M Monochrom records only the luminance of a scene, thus creating a ’black-and-white image. By relieving the sensor from the duties of colour recognition, this Leica promises more sharpness and detail in its black-and-white images.

The M Monochrom continues the family lineage of the Leica M rangefinder series so this unique and gorgeous model is likely to be as sturdily built as it is pricey.

Like the Leica, the Fuji Finepix x100 also sports a rangefinder-based rather than a single-lens viewfinder system. With its square, black, leather-textured body, the x100 also has similar retro-style compact looks.

Ita fraction of the price and the sensor is a fraction of the size. However, the 12.3 megapixel APS-C-sized sensor in the x100 is comparable to that used in smaller DSLRs, so itstill more-than-okay for a compact. Some would even call it generous.

 

The x100 has been lauded and awarded since its release and seems to surf the line between size, style and quality rather nicely indeed. It also shoots colour.

Leica M Monochrom —NZ$11,270.00 —leica.co.nz Fuji Finepix x100 —NZ$1,520.00 (approx.) —fujifilm.co.nz

TOUGH COOKIE

Finally, a bit of photographic fun. The Pentax Optio WG-2 can be drowned, frozen and dropped like none of the cameras mentioned previously.

What we also like about this camera is the six LEDs surrounding the lens. They allow you to light subjects up close, whether itflashing a flattering eye-light into your diving partner, or illuminating your latest adventurous discovery.

The minimum focal distance of 1cm is also rather impressive.

The Optio WG-2 has a GPS-enabled sibling (the WG-2 GPS, unsurprisingly), which adds location-based data to your shots. Lovely.

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