Sony has announced a new flagship compact camera with a large 1-inch CMOS sensor and fast F1.8 lens. This 1-inch CMOS sensor is the same size as what you'll find in Nikon's 1 System cameras, which makes it nearly four times larger than what you'll find in a typical compact camera. If this thing performs as well as it sounds, I may have to put the old PowerShot S100 on the market.
Canon today introduced their latest entry-level digital SLR, the EOS Rebel T4i (EOS-650D in some countries). The big deal here is the camera's new CMOS sensor, which supports both phase and contrast detect autofocus. This allows for continuous autofocus and subject tracking in both live view and movie modes. The AF system isn't as fast as what you'll find on a mirrorless camera, but it's a step up from other Canon D-SLRs, especially when equipped with one of the new STM lenses.
New Hybrid CMOS AF system combines on-sensor phase detection with traditional contrast detect autofocus; this reduces "hunting" for focus in live view / movie recording modes
Camera uses phase detect when subject is near the center of the frame, and switches to contrast detect as they move away from it
DIGIC 5 image processor
Supports all EF and EF-S lenses with a 1.6X crop factor
9-point, all cross-type AF system (from the EOS-60D)
Flip-out, rotating 3-inch capacitive touchscreen LCD display with 1.04 million pixels
Touchscreen allows for touch focus / shutter, pinch-to-zoom to enlarge an image, and flipping through images by "swiping" your finger
Optical viewfinder has a magnification of 0.85X and 95% coverage
Full manual controls, with three RAW sizes to choose from
ISO range of 100 - 12800, expandable to 25600
Shutter speed range of 30 - 1/4000 sec, with a 1/200 sec x-sync speed
Lots of point-and-shoot options, including a Scene Intelligent Auto Mode
New features include hand-held night scene, HDR backlight, and multi-shot noise reduction features, plus more Creative Filters
Continuous shooting at five frames/second
Built-in wireless flash control
Full HD video recording (1920 x 1080 at 24p, 25p, or 30p) with stereo sound, continuous autofocus, and manual controls
SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot (UHS-I cards supported)
Uses LP-E8 lithium-ion battery, 440 shots per charge
Ships in late June for $849 body only, $949 with the standard 18 - 55 mm kit lens, and $1199 with the new 18 - 135 mm STM lens
So let's talk about these new STM lenses. STM stands for stepping motor, and it allows the lens to focus smoothly and quietly. The T4i's sensor was designed to take advantage of these lenses, which will focus faster and quieter than their non-STM counterparts. The first lens an an F3.5-5.6, 18 - 135 IS model, which is similar to the regular 18-135, but with the STM motor and a new Dynamic IS mode for extra shake reduction when recording movies. The second STM lens is Canon's first pancake lens -- an F2.8, 40 mm model that's less than in inch thick. These lenses will also be available in late June, for $549 and $199, respectively.
Nikon today rolled out a pair of new lenses: one FX-format, the other DX-format. They also announced that they've now shipped over 70 million Nikkor lenses -- pretty impressive.
Anyhow, the first lens is the DX-format F3.5-5.6, 18 - 300 mm VR lens, which should cover just about every shooting situation possible. This lens is equivalent to 27 - 450 mm when attached to a DX-format SLR, which is close to ultra zoom territory! The lens is pretty compact given its large focal range, and has a lock switch to prevent "lens creep". It'll set you back $1000 when it ships later this month.
Lens number two is an FX-format F3.5-4.5, 24 - 85 mm VR for everyday use on full-frame cameras. Like the 18-300, this lens has Nikon's Vibration Reduction image stabilization technology. Unlike that lens, the 24-85's VR system has automatic tripod detection, so it won't blur your photos. This lens will also arrive this month, for $600.
Craving some sample photos from one of the most highly anticipated travel zoom cameras of the year? Then check out our new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V gallery right now! The review should be up in the next couple of days.
It's been a while since I posted two reviews in a week, so I hope you'll enjoy my look at the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V. This is Sony's midrange travel zoom camera, packing an 18MP sensor, 20X zoom, GPS receiver, and 1080/60p movie mode. Read the review to see what I thought about it!
I've made a few enhancements to the search functionality on the Reviews & Info page. I finally separated mirrorless cameras from D-SLRs, allowing you to search for one or the other. Since LCD size has sort of leveled out, I've changed that pull-down to handle LCD resolution. Finally, I've brought the zoom and resolution pull-downs into the 21st century (sorry, fans of 3 Megapixel cameras). If you notice anything funny, please let me know.
Fujifilm has released a road map for their new X-mount system, which is only used by the X-Pro1 at this time. Lenses coming later this year include an F2.8, 14mm pancake lens as well as a faster-than-normal 18 - 55 mm zoom. Next year sees a bunch of primes, as well as 10-24 and 55-200 zooms.