A thumbs up for the Nikon Coolpix S9900 and P7000

nikon-S9900-front

Increasing the Coolpix range further, two new high zoom cameras have been announced by Nikon – The slim line S7000 and the vari-angle S9900. Latest Gadgets looks at the initial reaction to Coolpix additions.

Coolpix S9900

According to Digital Photography Review’s assessment the 16-megapixel S9900 is the “ideal long zoom camera for the light-packing jetsetter.”

Resoundingly impressed it seems by the new Nikon camera, the DP Review is quick to point out that blurred images are effectively minimised by the camera’s Hybrid VR Technology for videos and the 30x optical zoom lens shift VR for stills.

You can’t get much better than a camera that delivers images of “superb quality” and “precise detail”, qualities attributed to the S9900 by the DP Review.

A retro design

In its hands-on review of the S9900, Pocket Lint is compelled to excitedly flaunt the camera’s retro design. In fact the word ‘retro’ is repeated four times by Pocket Lint by the time we reach the sixth paragraph of the review.

Asides its stylish retro look, Pocket Lint is impressed by the Coolpix S9900 3-inch vari-angle display on the rear, which has a resolution of 921k-dots but is a TFT LCD display rather than an OLED.

By all intents and purposes, it looks like the S9900 will compete against the likes of the Panasonic Lumix TZ70 and the Canon’s PowerShot SX710, both of which, according to Pocket Lint, are “excellent cameras in their own right.”

Retailing at £279.99, it seems the new Coolpix S9900 has got the thumbs up by the tech reviewers, but what about its considerably cheaper sibling, the CoolPix P7000?

Coolpix P7000

CNET award the P7000 a less favourable 3.5 stars, deeming the camera’s plus points to be its ‘nice’ – hardly the most engulfing of adjectives – set of shooting-focused features. Other pros, according to CNET, is the P7000’s optical viewfinder and built-in density filter, “very good” photo quality for its class, and comfortable and “relatively” streamlined shooting design.

And on the negative side, the Coolpix P7000 brags “relatively slow raw shooting.”

Overall though CNET tends to be in favour of the new Coolpix citing it as a “fine camera that lots of enthusiasts will appreciate for its smart shooting design, interesting feature set, and worthy photo quality.”

Also to Nikon’s credit, state CNET, is the fact that the Coolpix P7000 is a complete rework of its predecessor the P6000, rather than a mere update.

Trusted Reviews give the P7000 an impressive 9 out of 10.

The review site is eager to cite the camera’s key features that include a 1/1.7-inch 10-megapixel CCD sensor, a 7.1x f/2.8- 5.6 Nikkor zoom lens, a 7.5cm LCD monitor and being 114.2 x 77 x 44.8mm in size and 360g in weight.

Excellent autofocus

The pros of the P7000 are, according to Trusted Reviews, its excellent autofocus, superb lens, and good build quality. On the downside is the camera’s disappointing video recording mode and the fact it’s slightly sluggish.

nikon-S7000

The slim line P7000 retails at £169.99.

Coming in a hugely diverse range of styles, colours, quality, features and capabilities, which are easy to transport and don’t cost the earth, it’s easy to understand why Nikon’s Coolpix range has proven so popular.

And it seems, by most accounts, Nikon’s two latest Coolpix additions won’t let consumers down.

Initial reactions to the forthcoming Nikon D4S

nikon-d4s-camera

Apparently CES 2014 wasn’t the premier showcase for groundbreaking digital imaging products it has been in other years. Instead a huge array of 4K + televisions took centre stage. That wasn’t to say cameras were entirely void of the world’s biggest annual consumer technology event. Typically Nikon’s unmissable bold black letters against a yellow background swung conspicuously in the air, enticing photographers and enthusiasts to check out Nikon’s latest wares.

Right on the eve of this year’s CES, Nikon announced it was preparing for the release of it next-generation flagship model, the Nikon D4S DSLR. The camera is designed for the world’s top photographers. According to Nikon’s press release the new flagship model offers advances over the Nikon D4, such as better image quality, advanced autofocusing performance and a new image-processing engine.

But how has the D4S been perceived by the scrutinising eye of the tech press?

In its round up of cameras and digital imaging at CES 2014, Engadget gave the D4S a mention. Avoiding talking about its capabilities and guts, Engadget fleetingly touched upon the fact Nikon was the only manufacturer to “albeit quietly” launch a flagship. Although it did refer to Nikon’s new model as the “latest and greatest DSLR”.

“The D4S isn’t shipping to photographers any time soon, but it will début on the sidelines at the 2014 Winter Olympics next month, as select pros cover the Games with the latest and greatest DSLR.”

Photography Life also picked up on “thin” description of the its professional flagship D-SLR. According to Photography Life, Nikon had announced the D4S is “currently in development”, and this could mean the final specs are subject to change. Admitting any report of the D4S is “speculation”, Photography Life’s write up talked of how the D4S’s advanced autofocus could mean a brand new AF system model with more cross-type focus sensors for improved AF performance. The improved processing engine might lead to an additional frame(s) per second to go with the purported improved image quality, states Photography Life.

Pocket-Lint also noted that since nobody has had a hands-on, details are scarce about the Nikon D4S. Pocket-Lint admitted that its summary of the D4S stemmed from the pictures taken by Engadget in Hong Kong.

“We can deduce that Nikon is sticking with its usual control layout,” writes Pocket-Lint. “On the inside Nikon promises to pack in a new image engine with faster autofocus. The sensor hasn’t been mentioned but we’d hope for an uprated one since the D4 is now two years old.”

Pocket-Lint even speculated about the price, expecting the D4S to cost around the same as its predecessor at £5,289 for the body only.

Tech Radar also revealed its disappointment of Nikon’s “thin” D4S specifications. But admits that professional photographers are likely to be excited by the prospect of the new camera.

So Nikon’s somewhat teasing snapshot of its new flagship professional D-SLR has taunted the tech press somewhat. As for a more in-depth analysis, we’ll have to wait until Nikon let us get our hands on the D4 sibling. One thing is more concrete, with the Winter Olympics, World Cup and Commonwealth Games all taking place in 2014, Nikon has picked the right year to launch its new pro model.

The cameras of CES

Snapshot of the latest launches from digital camera makers

Despite the sad demise of Jessops, there are still plenty of us who are looking for more than just a camera phone to capture our memories and grab some spectacular shots. And there’s plenty on offer, as the camera makers have just launched their latest products at the massive CES show in Las Vegas.

Nikon-1

Camera giants Nikon have thrown four new snappers into the mix, along with a couple of zoom lenses for up-close shots There are two new introductions to the Nikon 1 range, both boasting the fastest time lag and continuous shooting, according to Nikon. The Nikon 1 J3 has the world’s smallest body for a camera of its type, says Nikon, and a stylish aluminium exterior, with prices starting at £579.99. The Nikon 1 S1 is the first of the new S-series of fast, stylish, straightforward camera bodies promising great results with even less effort. (£479.99) Both out Feb 7.

The Nikon COOLPIX S2700 comes in a range of bright colours, is designed to fit in the hand and has a 6x zoom lens for getting close to the action. It has a 16MP CCD image sensor, and grabs 720p HD video too. Great for taking pictures of people, with Smart Portrait mode, Smile Timer and Blink Proof modes.
Out now exclusively at Argos.

The Nikon COOLPIX S6500, meanwhile, is a 16mp CMOS sensor compact camera with built-in Wi-Fi, so that you can upload photos and video to a smart device ready to share on social media – you can even use your smart device as a remote control for the snapper – useful if you want to take self portraits. The two lenses are from the 1 NIKKOR range: the 1 NIKKOR VR 6.7–13mm f/3.5–5.6 ultra wide-angle zoom lens (£459.99 March 7) and the 1 NIKKOR VR 10–100mm f/4.0–5.6 powerful 10x zoom lens (£479.99 Feb 7). Both lenses feature Nikon’s Vibration Reduction system that corrects image blur so that images and video remain steady. Both feature a retractable lens mechanism for greater portability

You can’t mention Nikon without Canon, and the other camera giant has also expanded on its range of compact cameras. All feature Canon’s DIGIC 4 processor technology and high-res 16-megapixel sensors for detailed and colour-rich images. The new PowerShot models have a 5x optical zoom, while the new IXUS 140’s powerful 8x optical zoom gets even closer to the subject. The ZoomPlus technology digitally extends each zoom’s reach to up to double that of the optical zoom. The IXUS 140 and PowerShot A3500 IS also feature Canon’s optical Image Stabilizer technology, which detects the style of camera shake and chooses the most suitable camera settings from six different modes to avoid it. Digital IS mode on the PowerShot A2600 and PowerShot A1400 automatically detects any camera or subject motion, and alters the camera’s ISO, shutter speed, or even shoots multiple images, to ensure sharp, clear photos.

Wi-Fi is the big news for the IXUS 140 and the PowerShot A3500 IS. You can use the free Canon CameraWindow application to connect and transfer pictures or movies to both iOS and Android smartphones or tablets or upload directly to social networks. Plus Wi-Fi connectivity combined with Canon Image gateway lets you share or back up images directly from the camera to the cloud.Locations can also be tagged on the IXUS 140 and PowerShot A3500 IS using the GPS via mobile function. The IXUS 140 Grey is £159 from late Feb; the PowerShot A3500 IS costs £129 from early March; the PowerShot A2600 is £109 and available from late Feb, and the PowerShot A1400 is £99 from Late Feb.

Samsung is also making much of sharing files this year with the launch of its Smart Camera 2.0 technology, aimed at smartphone users. New functionalities let you shoot and share photography. Samsung’s ‘One Click, Simplify’ concept means connected devices can seamlessly connect so images can be shared in one motion. The Samsung Smart Camera App lets smartphone users connect with the pre-installed Smart Camera capabilities via a Wi-Fi connection to manipulate, share and back-up shots from Samsung snappers.

Samsung’s new flagship camera in the WB long-zoom series is the WB250F, with 18x optical zoom, a 14.2 Megapixel BSI CMOS (WB250F) or CCD (WB200F) sensor and 24mm lens. Navigation comes via a hybrid touch interface with touch LCD screen and five-way navigational keys. Full manual mode offers total control over settings. Group shots are made easy with Best Face, which automatically selects the best facial expressions from a burst shot, while SMART Mode and Motion Photo features, let you achieve pro-standard quality and creativity under any conditions, says Samsung. With Wi-Fi capabilities, users can share snaps quickly and easily. The WB250F also has a pop-up flash and comes in white, cobalt black, gun metal and red.

Sharing may be the message from Canon and Samsung, but Olympus is building on its reputation for producing cameras that can stand up to anything with three new releases in its TOUGH range.

OLYMPUS STYLUS TOUGH TG-2 – £349.99
Available in red and black from early February, this is a compact camera offering full HD-movies and stills in the harshest conditions; from low light 15 metres underwater to fast action winter sports and close-ups of the natural world. It is also crushproof to a force of 100kg, shockproof for drops of up to 2.1 metres and freezeproof* to -10°C. Should be all right for a night out in Newcastle, then.

OLYMPUS STYLUS TOUGH TG-830 – £249.99
Available in red, black, blue or silver from mid-March, the new Olympus TOUGH TG-830 has the same tough specs of the TG-2 and lets you record fast-moving subjects in Full HD 1080/30p format or in 1080/60i. Use Multi Recording to grab Full HD movies and 16MP stills at the same time – or record in 120fps (HD) or 240fps high-speed movie mode for dramatic slow-motion playback of action scenes. Also features e.compass and GPS.

OLYMPUS STYLUS TOUGH TG-630 – £169.99
Available in red, black, blue or white from early February, the new Olympus TOUGH TG-630 is waterproof to a depth of 5 metres, shockproof to a height of 1.5 metres and freezeproof to -10°C. Like the others it has iHS sensor and image processing technologies for capturing the shots you want irrespective of shooting conditions, Full HD and high frame rate movie recording along with a choice of 11 creative filters. FlashAir wireless compatibility lets you transfer images to your cloud or social networks.

Panasonic is also getting tough, and says its new compact, the LUMIX DMC-FT5, is its toughest photo and video compact device to date, whether you’re grabbing shots whether underwater, on a mountain or in the desert. A new red colour reproduction has been introduced especially to grab the real colours seen underwater. Waterproof to a depth of 13 metres, shockproof from a height of 2 metres, freeze proof to a temperature of -10 degrees Celsius and pressure resistant to 100kg, the LUMIX FT5 has a great set of tough credentials. It grabs full HD, 1920×1080 movie recording and audio capture with Dolby Digital Creator. It also features a 16.1 megapixel high sensitivity sensor, new Venus engine, time lapse recording and 10 frames per second burst shooting. You can connect to WiFi using NFC, for remote picture capture. The LUMIX FT5 boasts one-touch easy connection to Wi-Fi with NFC, tag location using the built-in GPS functionality, you get 1GB cloud storage, connectivity to your TV and easy transfer to wireless printers. The FT5 will be in available in the stores and online from April, and its ‘little brother’, the FT25, will appear in March.

Small wonder from Nikon: the D600

Nikon has just announced its smallest and lightest full-frame D-SLR with a massive megapixel count.

The D600 has a 24.3-megapixel sensor and the body measures up at a wee 141x113x82mm, which makes it far more appealing to anyone who wants to carry their camera around with them all the time. (In comparison, the Nikon D800 weighs a kilo, a considerable difference if you’re lugging it around all day).

Nikon-D600

The FX-format CMOS sensor is a new development, and Nikon claims it delivers ‘outstanding’ levels of detail and tonal range, even when used in low-light conditions. Native ISO range sits between 10-640 (which can be extended up to the equivalent of 25,600 and down to 50, offering excellent capability in low light.

As always, when cameras get smaller, you need to consider the grip on them – if you have bigger hands, this may well be an issue for you, so you’ll definitely want to get your hands on the D600 before you splash out.

Battery life is always an issue – and Nikon claims a total of 900 shots before you’ll need to recharge (or around an hour of viewing live movies). Should you want it, there is Full HD video capture on offer – and you can grab just under 30 minutes at a go.

Anyone who wants to capture fast action shots should be pleased with the 5.5fps capability – there are more pricier cameras with a better fps, but this should be good enough for most people.

The camera also features a number of in-camera tools such as filter effects and HDR, plus there are 19 scene modes that automatically set shutter speed, aperture and ISO to help you get the right shot each time. In-camera editing includes D-lighting, RAW processing, red-eye removal and filters such as Skylight, Miniature and Colour outline, plus there’s an edit movie feature.

The price for this small wonder? The body only is £1955.99, and with a 24-85mm lens it comes in at £2,443.99, although it’s likely that some deals will be available once it has launched. On sale September 18 2012.

The best cameras at CES

Wi-Fi, zoom lenses on compact cameras, and powerful full-frame DSLRs with impressive specs and big price tags were all on the menu for photography fans at CES 2012. Fuji announced the X-Pro1 – its new 16-megapixel camera with APS-C X-Trans sensor. This is a mirrorless camera, but Fujifilm claims its sensor can rival that of some of the full-frame DSLRs. It’s a retro-looking camera – rather like its older brothers the X100and the X10.

Fujifilm

Three new XF Fujinon lenses were also unveiled at CES, to go with the new X Mount on the X-Pro1. This new mount is really thin, which should reduce shutter lag, and the lenses have some outstanding apertures: The lenses include an f/2.0 pancake, a 90mm f/2.4 macro lens and a 53mm f/1.4mm lens.

The X-Pro1 is expected to appear in March and the price has yet to be announced.

The Nikon N4, meanwhile, has an intriguing wireless network feature. Connect the D4 to a network using either Wi-Fi or Ethernet and you can use your browser to operate the camera – take photos, change your settings, focus shoot video. You can also see a live feed, although of course how well this works depends on the quality of your connection. One of the most useful features is that you can take photos on your camera and view them on your computer immediately, without having to connect it via USB or place the card in a card reader.

The Nikon D4 is a professional DSLR featuring a 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, allowing the shooting of Full HD 1080p and 720p video. Pictures can be saved onto Compact Flash or the new XQD memory card format.

The D4 will be available in February and comes at the professional price of £4799.99

Canon-and-Nikon

Other cameras that focus heavily on connectivity are Samsung’s range, including the 21X-opticazoom WB850F, the 10X optical zoom ST200F and the 18X optical zoom WB150F, which all offer direct uploads and the ability to sync with Android smartphones for sharing and offloading pictures.

Kodak’s EasyShare M750 also allows for direct uploading to sharing sites and can be paired with BlackBerry, Android and iOS handsets.

Camcorders that also offer Wi-Fi include Canon’s Vixia range and Samsung’s QF20 HD camcorder.

Getting rave reviews at CES was the Canon Powershot G1 X, which is a compact camera but still has a 1.5in, 14.3 megapixel sensor  – that’s up there with many DSLRs. So it should give great picture quality (even in low light conditions) without you having to carry around a large camera. It also offers full manual control, 1080p video, and a 14-bit RAW mode

Available in February for around £700.

Lens giant Sigma also announced its new 180mm f/2.8 macro lens for digital SLRS, which features Sigma’s own Optical Stabilizer technology and a wide aperture to offer narrow depth of field and faster shutter speeds.

Sigma also debuted a new range of Micro Four thirds (for Panasonic and Olympus cameras) and E-Mount lenses (for Sony NEX-series cameras) for mirrorless interchangeable lens compact snappers at CES. There are two new lenses – the 30mm f/2.8 EX DN and the 19mm f/2.8 EX DN. Prices and availability to be announced.

Great Gifts For Travellers and Backpackers

If your friends are heading off on a round-the-world adventure, or you just know someone who loves their holidays, here are some ideas for the perfect present.

AW100-camo

Nikon AW100 rugged camera

Climbers, divers and skiers, can grab all the best shots with the Nikon AW100 – a ‘rugged’ camera that is shockproof, waterproof and freezeproof.  It has a 16-megapixel back illuminated CMOS image sensor; Action Control to allow one-handed operation and built-in Global Positioning System (GPS), electronic compass and world map.

Price: £279

From: High street stores

HD Hero2 wearable/mountable cameras

Active travellers can capture and share their high-definition videos while in action on the slopes, surfing or cycling with the HD hero2 camera, which has a high-performance 11-megapixel sensor, a totally redesigned wide-angle lens, plus Wi-Fi BacPac and Wi-Fi Remote products are slated for release this winter, so the HD Hero2 will enable video remote control. The removable polycarbonate housing means the camera is waterproof to 180ft/60m and protected from rocks and other hazards. Accessories include straps to attach the camera to your chest, a wrist strap and the option to attach the camera to a helmet.

Price £299.99

From: www.gopro.com

AirCurvePlay

AirCurve Play loudspeaker

Take your sounds with you with the AirCurve Play designed for the iPhone 4. Using the phone’s onboard loudspeaker and a clever coil design, the sound is amplified to 10 decibels, without the need for any battery power. The AirCurve Play sits in the rubber dock and can be propped up in landscape or portrait. It also leaves the Apple dock connector port free, allowing you to charge and sync while using the speaker.

Price: £14.99

From: www.firebox.com

Travel Scratch Map

Make a note of where you’ve been and what you’ve done with the Travel Scratch Map. The map has a gold foil layer over the top of it, so whenever you frequent a certain place anywhere in the world, scratch it off to reveal the underlying world in colour. Flip the map over and you’ll find the travel log feature, where you can plot your route, stick down photos, and note what music you listened to and friends you met and so on. The map comes in a sturdy tube that you can stick in your rucksack.

Price: £11.95

From: www.gizoo.co.uk

Bladefish

Bladefish Underwater Video Camera

Perfect for daredevils and intrepid explorers, this camera captures sporting successes and underwater finds  – and it’s small enough to tuck in your Speedos (without its waterproof case it measures a diddy 2 cm x 5.5 cm x 2 cm)! Waterproof to a depth of ten metres, it allows up to 2 hours of recording time whether you’re snowboarding or snorkelling. With its own special waterproof casing, it has loads of different adaptors to mount your waterproof digital camera – clip, strap or screw your camera wherever you want.

Price: £44.49
From: www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk

Nikon D3100: Everything an SLR should be if you’ve never had one.

I used to hold good photographers in the same high esteem as airline pilots. They, like pilots, had a kind of mystique about them, an aura that made them different to most of us. The sheer ability to create a visual masterpiece in a second, capturing a moment in time for ever, seemed to me to be the work of pure genius.

NikonD3100

Don’t get me wrong, I have a creative brain, and there have been many times when I’ve sensed an opportunity to grab the moment and create digital history, it’s just I’ve never had the right type of equipment to do it justice. I’ve gazed enviously at many a photographer, crouching down and aiming the SLR two handed like a pistol at yet another potential masterpiece and wishing it was me. But of course it would never be me; the sheer plethora of dials, buttons and lenses, aperture time, sensor sensitivity, and all round complexity would have me twiddling for hours instead of snapping my money shot.

It seems that those lovely people at Nikon, clearly hearing of my plight, took pity on me and created the perfect solution, the D3100.

Not only does it look the part with a two handed grip body, a choice of high quality lenses and Nikon’s legendary image making prowess, it also has a whole set of options for first time DSLR users who up to now, have just been content using a compact camera. It is in short, the perfect bridge into the SLR world.

There’s a range of automatic settings for example. Live View with Scene Auto Selector selects the mode that matches your shooting situation; Scene Recognition analyzes the scene and optimizing the camera settings immediately before the shutter is released; and the brilliant Guide Mode will take you step-by-step through the process of just how to capture that perfect picture.  Wonderful, but it gets even better.

The D3100 carries a 14.2 megapixel DX format CMOS image sensor, whilst Nikon’s EXPEED 2 processing engine effectively boosts the ISO (100-3200) capability significantly. So there’s a much lower risk of blurred images when you take pictures of your kids running around the room or poor image quality when you’re outside with the family having an evening get together. And talking of family, it’s also got full HD quality video built in too.

You can view your scenes either through Nikon’s viewfinder which now incorporates an 11 point autofocus system, or via the built in 3 inch LCD colour screen.

Now, show me a sunflower and I’ll show you an award winning image. Bring it on.

Nikon 3100  from £430  www.nikon.com

Make someone snap-happy this Christmas

Whatever your budget, you should be able to pick up some great gifts this Christmas for everyone from the keen amateur photographer to the kids.
Shop around online for some excellent prices.

Canon-EOS60D

Compact cameras

For a point-and-shoot camera, you can’t go wrong with the Canon Powershot A300 IS. It delivers clear images (it has 12.1MP onboard) and will also be a good choice for anyone who is already familiar with Canon’s DSLRs. It doesn’t have loads of bells and whistles, but if you want a camera that is easy to use and delivers on results you can’t go far wrong. And you should be able to pick one up for less than £80.

High-end compact

If you’ve got more cash to spend, the higher price compacts boast more in the way of functionality and video facilities. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC W390 has a 14.1MP processor, a 24-90mm zoom, and its Sweep Panorama mode, which allows you to produce extra-wide panoramic pictures just by pressing the shutter and sweeping the camera across the scene. Great fun if you’re going to use it. Around £189.99.

Creative compacts

There are lots of keen photographers who love their DSLRs, but just find them too bulky to carry around al the time. The answer is a creative compact – they don’t come cheap, but they offer the kind of control previously only found on big cameras.

The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is what’s called a superzoom camera – it offers a massive 30x zoom, which makes it ideal for wildlife and sports photography, and in many respects is just like a DSLR. So it could replace your DSLR, and with 1080p video recording, could also mean you don’t need to carry a video camera either. It was £375 on release, but a few months later, you can easily knock a hundred pounds off the price if you search online. Good luck!

For a smaller model, check out the Panasonic Lumix LX3. With raw capture, a Leica 24-60mm lens and HD video for around £380, as well as excellent image quality and good autofocus, along with a good build quality.

DSLR

Prices for DSLRs range from around £400 right up to the near-£2,000 mark.

If your budget’s tight and you can’t stretch to a Canon or Nikon (which we’ll get to in a minute), you could consider the Pentax K-r. Pentax has always been runner-up to the big names, but actually produces some decent cameras, and the K-r offers good image quality, and 720 HD video recording, although this has had some mixed reviews. Bear in mind that you won’t get the wide range of lenses on offer for Canons and Nikons, but it’s a decent entry-level camera all the same – for around £440.

If you love your loved one very much, splash out rather more on the Canon 60D (pictured), with 18Mp processor, Full HD video and a flip-out LCD screen. It remains quite compact and lightweight for a DSLR, and it comes in at around £800 for body only.

If you’ve got a couple of hundred quid more to splash out (and if so, can I give you my address?) you could go for a Nikon D300s, which has been praised both for image quality and the speed with which it an be adjusted to take the next shot. Excellent build quality as we’ve come to expect from Nikon, and 720p video recording also thrown in.