Nikon announce the Coolpix 7700 High End Compact

Nikon have announced the latest update to their top of the range Coolpix “P” range of high end compacts, the Nikon P7700. Notable changes / upgrades includes a revised x7 stabilised high quality zoom lens that’s “faster / brighter” ” (F2 – 4  28mm -200mm) than the previous lens and an articulated 3″ 921K dot rear screen. The P7700 still houses a 12Mp 1/1.7″ CMOS sensor but now boasts vastly superior processing speed. A while back I tested a Nikon P7000 and found it to be a highly capable camera. No doubt the new P7700 will build on core “P” series strengths and continue to be a viable alternative to Canon’s “G” series of high end compacts.

(August 2012)

Firmware V2 available for the Canon EOS 7D

Canon have made available the extensive V2 firmware upgrade for its top of range APS-C DSLR the  Canon EOS 7D (See the official Canon website). Usually firmware updates for cameras are relatively minor tweaks but this upgrade is truly extensive adding a number of highly useful additional features. Now as a 7D owner naturally I’ll install the upgrade but what I find curious is the effort being made to bring the 3 year old camera so up to date. A 3 year cycle is a long time in the camera world and the 7D would ordinarily be over due a replacement. Does this mean no immediate 7D replacement, does this reinforce the rumour that the 7D may  be replaced by a wallet friendly (in the broadest sense) full frame 5D3 / 7D clone, to be announced at the up and coming Cologne Photokina trade show?

Mark Baynham (August 2012)

Some new releases are on their way

Its been a busy few weeks recently with Panasonic announcing the Panasonic  G5 (G3 replacement), a LX5 replacement, the Panasonic LX7 and finally Canon joining the mirrorless market with the EOS M.

The Panasonic G5

The Panasonic G5  is a natural development of the hugely popular G3. Whilst no major surprises were announced the G5 builds on the core G3 qualities. Photography blog Uk have posted a  review and concludes that the G5 is “one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market” so that’s good news.

The Panasonic LX7

This update to the LX5 has caused a bit of a stir and being fair not all positive. Many had hoped this high end premium compact follow up to the LX5 would feature a 2/3″ CMOS sensor (like the Fuji X10) or even a 1″ sensor like the Sony Rx100. Rumours have been rift indicating this would be so and only added to the anticipation. Curiously this new Panasonic LX model actually has a slightly smaller sensor than its predecessor, a 1/1.7″ CMOS (same size as the one in the Canon G12 and Canon S100). Now whether this will be seen as backward moves waits to be seen because the Leica lens (24mm – 90mm equivilent) is VERY impressive being F1.4 wide and F2.3 telephoto. Additionally shooting speed is vastly improved thanks to the CMOS sensor and the rear screen see’s a welcomed boast in resolution. My gut feeling is this camera will continue to have a loyal LX following and for LX3 owners (like me) the LX7 will represent a significant upgrade but its certainly isn’t the Sony RX100 killer many had hoped for.

Canon EOS “M” 

It’s been a long time coming but Canon have finally entered the mirrorless market with the EOS M. Whilst many had hoped for a kind of Fuji X Pro 1 camera or even a Sony NEX7 equivilent, the EOS M appears to be  pitched to do battlel with the Sony NEX5 . The new 18mp CMOS sensor from the EOS 650D twinned with a Digic 5 processor should deliver the goods but I don’t see too many current Panasonic or Olympus  m4/3rd owners switching over brand.Will there be a higher end “M” model in the future?

My Take:

The Panasonic G5 is a sensible upgrade. The Panasonic LX7 is an intriguing camera that possibly risks allienating loyal LX owners and could push them into the arms of the Sony RX100. On the other hand it could just be the perfect high end compact camera? As for the Canon EOS M, well I’ll confess to being just a little disappointied (I am an EOS 7D owner after all, and loved my time testing the G1X), but the EOS M is sure to find an enthusiastic market. As ever time will tell and I am eager to try all of them out in the future.

Mark Baynham (July 2012)

Why such an expensive m4/3rd Lens: The Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8

Some questions have been raised in cyber space as to the logic of the new m4/3rd 12-35mm F2.8 lens from Panasonic. Why so expensive and what would you twin with it?

Well you can have several pints that the soon to be announced GH3 will sport a weather sealed body to match this new high quality optic. You can also be confident that if twinned with the new Olympus OMD EM5 that the end results will be top notch (I hope so as I’ve just bought a EM5 to repace my old EP1).

The m4/3rd family of cameras have really matured into viable and serious photographic tools. Some of the prime m4/3rd lenses produced by Panasonic and Olympus are seriously good (ie Panasonic 25mm F1.4, 14mm F2.5, 20mm F1.7 & Olympus 12mm F2 and 45mm F1.8).

This new high quality zoom from Panasonic will be the perfect complement to the current GH2, future GH3, the new Panasonic GX1, or even the soon to be announced G5 (replacement/update to the current G3). Its production shows Panasonic is serious about the m4/3rd system and that can be no bad thing. Fingers crossed Olympus produced a similar lens (maybe even “faster”). Just imagine something like a Zuiko m4/3rd 10mm – 30mm F2 10mm on front of an EM5?

So for now this Panasonic is as good as it gets for m4/3rd zooms but am confident it means there are plenty of m4/3rd surprises in the pipeline and some not that far away

Sony announce a high end compact with a large sensor: The Sony RX100

In a surprise move Sony have announced a new high end compact that contains an impressive 20Mp 1″ CMOS sensor like the Nikon 1 series.

The RX100 is petite to say the least (it will fit  into a shirt / coat pocket) but boasts a “fast” F1.8 – 4.9 (28mm – 100mm equivilent) lens.

What is sure to stir up the high end compact market is the inclusion of the 1″ CMOS sensor one that is almost twice as large as the main rivals (ie Panasonic LX5, Canon G12 and Olympus ZX1). This does promises much improved image quality although 20Mp does seem a tad ambitious to my mind for such a sensor. even if it is bigger than most.

What is certain is that the RX100 won’t be cheap. If its suggested retail price is correct it is in danger of coming close to Canon G1X which has an even larger sensor and is a terrific camera, not to mention several compact camera systems.

What adavantage the Sony RX100 does have is its size, its TINY.

Rumours  are hinting that the Panasonic LX5 replacement may also house a similar 1″ sensor, although one would hope that if true this sensor will have a more sensible pixel density (ie 12-14Mp?).

Either way this new tiny Sony compact that not much bigger than the excellent Canon S100 (but promising superior image quality?) is an interesting development.