BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Posts Tagged ‘equipment profiles

Panasonic Announces Pricing for Lumix GH1

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

Panasonic recently announced pricing for the highly-anticipated LUMIX DMC-GH1, the new Micro Four Thirds digital camera with Full-High Definition (HD) video recording ability, which will be available in early June for a suggested retail price of $1499.95. The LUMIX DMC-GH1 includes the LUMIX G VARIO 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. lens as part of the kit. The new lens, designed to support HD movie recording, features a silent motor and continuous auto focusing (AF) capability – a differentiator from traditional DSLRs.

In the U.S., the LUMIX GH1 will be available in black and has advanced photography features, such as the ability to record AVCHD 1080p/24p High Definition video, yet is easy enough for entry-level users to understand and take beautiful photos and videos. With Panasonic’s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode – a user-friendly setting made popular in the LUMIX line of digital point-and-shoot camera products, both entry-level and more experienced DSLR users can enjoy a complete suite of technologies that allow beautiful photo-taking and engage automatically – no setting adjustments needed.

For those looking for more creative control in their digital camera, the LUMIX GH1 can adjust shutter speed during motion recording, giving the videos a special look, particularly suitable for shooting fast-moving subjects. Also, the LUMIX GH1 allows users to control the aperture, which is convenient when there are several subjects at varying distances.  By adjusting the aperture, the user can focus on the foreground and blur the background – or vice versa – even during video recording.

“Since redefining the traditional DSLR category last year with the LUMIX G1 – which eliminated the internal mirror and thus dramatically reduced size of the camera body and lenses – Panasonic has been working to expand its award-winning LUMIX G Micro Four Thirds System line.  Panasonic wants to offer increasingly innovative products and features that make photography fun and easy,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “The introduction of the LUMIX GH1, allows photographers of all levels to take superior quality photos and shoot HD video with a more compact, easy-to-use camera that provides increased creative capabilities.”

The LUMIX GH1 provides cutting-edge video recording features, including the ability to record high-resolution full HD (1920 x1080) video at 24 fps or smooth HD video (1280 x 720) at 60 fps using an AVCHD format (MPEG-4/H.264), which provides the important benefit of doubling the HD quality recording time compared with Motion JPEG. The LUMIX GH1 features a dedicated video record button on the back of the camera which lets users instantly start recording videos, even while shooting still photos – removing the fear of potentially missing a must-see video moment.
For more information about the Panasonic LUMIX G Micro Four Thirds System, including the award-winning LUMIX G1, and to place a pre-order for the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH1, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

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Photo Gear: Tripods

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manfrottohead

The Manfrotto geared head model 405.

Tripods are too often an overlooked accessory in photography. Most hobbyists, if they even own a tripod, too often settle for a model that is cheaply made and doesn’t offer the range of benefits a good tripod can offer. Plus, if you’re going to put your $1000+ gear on something, shouldn’t it be the best?

First, let’s discuss the basics: a tripod is composed of two parts, the legs and the head. The legs are, as you may already guess, the base of the tripod. It’s important, then, to get the best support possible.

I think the heavier the legs, the better. My favorite manufacturer in Manfrotto because I think this company offers the best product at the best price. I particularly like model 161MK2B (kinda boring name) AKA the “Super Pro Tripod Mark 2 Black (kinda long and still boring name). Despite the rather boring name, this tripod is fantastic. It’s very sturdy and has a high load capacity. This is a great base in which to begin.

As for tripod heads, I prefer what’s called “geared heads” because they are highly precise and easy to operate. In the Manfrotto line, I like the model 405 (now I think Manfrotto REALLY needs to working on product names) because its gearing system is needle-sharp. It allows for 360-degree panning and front and lateral tilt. This is very important for macro photography and landscape work.

I’ll warn you: This whole setup isn’t cheap. The tripod itself will set you back almost $500 and the head is about $400. Yeah, I know. Most hobbyists don’t want to set back nearly $900 for a tripod but, unlike most other photography gear, tripods don’t really go out of style. A good tripod now will last you probably your entire photographic career.

There are less expensive alternatives that are good but don’t offer the same quality as this gear. Be sure to look for these qualities when purchasing your next tripod:

  • Heavy-Duty Design: The heavier the legs the more stable the tripod. Try to pick gear that “feels” like it’s well made. If in doubt, move on.
  • Head Interchangeability: Can you change the head? If not, this probably isn’t the best tripod for your money.
  • Well-Known Names: Sometimes I’m not a fan of “brand names” because there’s some gear that may not be well known, but are great pieces of equipment. In tripods, I say go with the names you know. Manfrotto, Bogen, Slik – but only the “pro” rated gear and Swarovski Optik.

Trip Through the Canon Store: Wide-Angle Lenses

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A lens is a tool. Most people forget that for some reason but simply enough, a lens is a tool that we use to make an image. Like all tools, at the risk of overextending the analogy, the better the tool, the better the finished project.

In our last installment, we discussed the basic facts related to lenses and then looked at Canon’s ultra-wide zoom lenses. If you didn’t read that article, you really should because it explains the basic mechanics of how a lens works.

Today, we’re going to look at the company’s fixed focal length, wide-angle lenses. I have always been a fan of prime lenses. Prime lenses are defined as lenses with a fixed focal length versus zoom lenses which have a range of focal lengths. I like prime lenses because they are generally very well made and typically cost less than zoom lenses. I also like prime lenses because they typically have a larger maximum aperture than zooms and often weigh less than zoom lenses.

There are, however, advantages to using zoom lenses. Zooms obviously cover a broader focal range, thus eliminating the need to carry multiple lenses. If you purchase a zoom, I highly suggest buying one that has a fixed maximum aperture throughout the entire zoom range. Although more costly, they are worth the investment.

Canon’s Wide-Angle Lens Selection
Canon currently manufactures nine prime wide-angle lenses. Of the nine, one lens is a fisheye and three of the lenses are L-series.

EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM: This pro-series lens has an amazing 114-degree angle of view and is a perfect lens for architectural applications. The lens also features better optical elements that reduce problems in edge-to-edge sharpness. It is dust- and moisture-proof and the ultrasonic motor (that’s the USM designation) means you’ll get faster and more responsive autofocus. This lens isn’t cheap, though. Expect to pay between $2000-$2200 US for this pro-series lens.

EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM: This pro-series lens has an amazing 114-degree angle of view and is a perfect lens for architectural applications. The lens also features better optical elements that reduce problems in edge-to-edge sharpness. It is dust- and moisture-proof and the ultrasonic motor (that’s the USM designation) means you’ll get faster and more responsive autofocus. This lens isn’t cheap, though. Expect to pay between $2000-$2200 US for this pro-series lens.

Canon's EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens: If you’ve never seen images made with a fisheye lens, you’ve missed out. The fisheye lens has a 180-degree angle of view and barrel distortion giving the image a curved look. With its f/2.8 maximum aperture, this lens works well for photographing fast-action subjects and with its 8 inch minimum focus distance, you can get really close and really wide. This is a specialized lens and you probably won’t use it everyday. But when you need to give your images a different look, this is a go-to lens to have in your camera bag. The lens isn’t priced too bad, either. You can expect to find this lens for about $625-$725 US.

Canon's EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens: If you’ve never seen images made with a fisheye lens, you’ve missed out. The fisheye lens has a 180-degree angle of view and barrel distortion giving the image a curved look. With its f/2.8 maximum aperture, this lens works well for photographing fast-action subjects and with its 8 inch minimum focus distance, you can get really close and really wide. This is a specialized lens and you probably won’t use it everyday. But when you need to give your images a different look, this is a go-to lens to have in your camera bag. The lens isn’t priced too bad, either. You can expect to find this lens for about $625-$725 US.

EF 20mm f/2.8 USM: This is a nice lens to have if you need to get wide and maintain a big maximum aperture. Plus, this lens is fairly well priced. You can expect to pick one up for about $450 US.

EF 20mm f/2.8 USM: This is a nice lens to have if you need to get wide and maintain a big maximum aperture. Plus, this lens is fairly well priced. You can expect to pick one up for about $450 US.

EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM: This is one of my favorite wide-angle lenses. First of all, it produces needle-sharp images from corner-to-corner. Second, its ultra-fast f/1.4 maximum aperture is ideal for photojournalists who may be shooting in tight spaces with less-than-ideal lighting. Also, this lens offers extremely pleasing bokeh (the out-of-focus, soft blur when using a shallow depth of field). The ultrasonic motor allows for highly responsive and quiet autofocus. Again, being a pro-series lens, the EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM isn’t cheap. Expect to pay between $1700-$1800 US.

EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM: This is one of my favorite wide-angle lenses. First of all, it produces needle-sharp images from corner-to-corner. Second, its ultra-fast f/1.4 maximum aperture is ideal for photojournalists who may be shooting in tight spaces with less-than-ideal lighting. Also, this lens offers extremely pleasing bokeh (the out-of-focus, soft blur when using a shallow depth of field). The ultrasonic motor allows for highly responsive and quiet autofocus. Again, being a pro-series lens, the EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM isn’t cheap. Expect to pay between $1700-$1800 US.

EF 24mm f/2.8: This lens is really ideal for students interested in photography but not ready - or able - to make a huge financial investment. The lens has a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 and a great focal length to get into wide-angle photography. It has a minimum focus distance of 10 inches, which lets you get fairly close to your subject. You can pick this lens up for about $310 US.

EF 24mm f/2.8: This lens is really ideal for students interested in photography but not ready - or able - to make a huge financial investment. The lens has a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 and a great focal length to get into wide-angle photography. It has a minimum focus distance of 10 inches, which lets you get fairly close to your subject. You can pick this lens up for about $310 US.

EF 28mm f/2.8: This lens is considered a good standard wide-angle lens. It’s a nice walk around lens because its both lightweight (185g) and offers a nice focal length for general photographic work. Again, this isn’t an expensive lens. You can find one for about $200 US.

EF 28mm f/2.8: This lens is considered a good standard wide-angle lens. It’s a nice walk around lens because its both lightweight (185g) and offers a nice focal length for general photographic work. Again, this isn’t an expensive lens. You can find one for about $200 US.

EF 35mm f/1.4L USM: This is another great lens I enjoy using. It has a super fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 and is a really well-made lens. For those of you who don’t own a full frame camera, which many Canon digital cameras have a 1.6x magnification ratio, this lens is a really nice portrait lens because it gives you an actual focal length of 56mm. The bokeh effect of this lens is also aesthetically pleasing. Like most pro, L-series lenses, this one isn’t too cheap. Expect to part with $1200-$1400 US for this lens.

EF 35mm f/1.4L USM: This is another great lens I enjoy using. It has a super fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 and is a really well-made lens. For those of you who don’t own a full frame camera, which many Canon digital cameras have a 1.6x magnification ratio, this lens is a really nice portrait lens because it gives you an actual focal length of 56mm. The bokeh effect of this lens is also aesthetically pleasing. Like most pro, L-series lenses, this one isn’t too cheap. Expect to part with $1200-$1400 US for this lens.

EF 35mm f/2: This is a less-priced lens that still offers the 35mm focal length and a fast aperture. Although it’s not as solidly built as the EF 35 f/1.4L USM lens, it still offers the photographer a compact, lightweight and relatively low-cost lens. You can purchase this lens for about $300 US.

EF 35mm f/2: This is a less-priced lens that still offers the 35mm focal length and a fast aperture. Although it’s not as solidly built as the EF 35 f/1.4L USM lens, it still offers the photographer a compact, lightweight and relatively low-cost lens. You can purchase this lens for about $300 US.

EF 28mm f/1.8 USM: A nice all-around lens, this model offers a super fast maximum aperture and sharp edge-to-edge images across the aperture range. A good student lens, you can purchase this model for about $450 US.

EF 28mm f/1.8 USM: A nice all-around lens, this model offers a super fast maximum aperture and sharp edge-to-edge images across the aperture range. A good student lens, you can purchase this model for about $450 US.

Sample image from the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM lens. (Photo Credit: Image from Canon)

Sample image from the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM lens. (Photo Credit: Image from Canon)

For our next installment, we’ll discuss Canon’s standard and medium telephoto prime lenses. Good luck and keep shooting!

Sample image from the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens. (Photo Credit: Image from Canon)

Sample image from the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens. (Photo Credit: Image from Canon)

Sample image from the Canon's EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens. (Photo Credit: Image from Canon)

Sample image from the Canon's EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens. (Photo Credit: Image from Canon)

Trip Through the Canon Store: Ultra-Wide Zoom Lenses

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A lens is a tool. Most people forget that for some reason but simply enough, a lens is a tool that we use to make an image. Like all tools, at the risk of overextending the analogy, the better the tool, the better the finished project. I hear from people asking about lenses and I spend some time trying to explain them. I will go into great detail about lenses in future posts but for the sake of time, let’s make a few things clear:

  • Lenses are Measured in Focal Length: The focal length is the definition of how strongly an optic system focuses (converges) or diffuses (diverges) light. The focal length is measured, as a rule, in millimeters and it is the measurement from the optical center of the lens to the focal point on the image sensor (or film).
  • Focal Lengths Based on 35mm Film Standards: With the popularity of 35mm cameras, the focal length is based on that measurement. IF you have a camera that has a image sensor smaller than a 35mm camera’s film surface, which most digital camera image sensors ARE smaller than film, there is a multiplier you must use. For instance, the image sensor on a Canon EOS Rebel XS is 22.2mm x 14.8mm. The dimensions of 35mm film is 35mm wide (actually, it’s 36mm wide but you have to take in consideration spacing between the frames and room for the perforations). So, the EOS Rebel XS in our scenario has a magnification rate of about 1.6x.
  • Do the Math: So if you purchase a 20mm lens, it would be at 20mm on a film camera or 20mm x 1.6 or 32mm – in case you don’t want to do the math – on a digital camera.
  • This is Photography, Not Math. Why is it Important?: Well, simply put, if your camera has a magnification ratio, then you’re not getting as wide of an angle as you want. Let’s say you really want a 14mm lens because you’re shooting wide landscapes or large groups. OK, but your camera has a 1.5x magnification factor. So, you’re really getting a 21mm lens.
  • What are the Alternatives: Camera and lens manufacturers have settled the problem for the most part. They have made “full-frame” sensors that are close enough to the size of 35mm film that the magnification ratio has little impact. Secondly, these companies have also made “digital specific” lenses that already calculate the magnification ratio into the millimeter measurement. For instance, the Canon 5D Mark II is full frame, so if you buy a lens, you’re going to get the focal length as measured for film. Also, Nikon makes full-frame cameras (called FX format), which includes the D3 and D700 plus they make DX format (digital specific) lenses, which already account for the magnification.

Enough with the math, right? Just remember, unless you’re buying a digital-specific lens or your camera is full frame, the focal length of you lens is multiplied by the magnification factor.

Aperture Settings
Professional grade cameras, for the most part, have a fixed aperture value versus a variable aperture. Fixed aperture lenses have a constant maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. A variable aperture lens changes its maximum aperture in regards to the zoom. For instance, a 28-70mm f/4-f/5.6 lens means at 28mms, the maximum aperture is f/4 whereas at the high-end of the zoom range (70mm) the maximum aperture has reduced to f/5.6.

Variable aperture lenses are not normally as well constructed as the fixed aperture counterparts. The advantages, however, tend to be less weight and lower cost. Remember, the aperture value effects the depth-of-field you can achieve.

Canon’s Ultra-Wide Lenses
Canon makes three ultra-wide lenses: the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM; the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM; and the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM.

16to35

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

10to22

The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

17to40

The Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
This pro-level lens (Canon’s professional lenses typically have the “L” designation) is perfect for those who need wide angle capabilities and a big maximum aperture. On any Canon digital that does not have full frame, this lens will give you the focal length equivalent of a 26-56mm lens while still retaining the f/2.8 aperture value. This lens is ideal for photojournalists, landscape photographers and wedding photographers who shoot big groups in often poorly lit churches. It’s a relatively heavy lens (640 grams) mainly because it needs big glass for the fast shutter. The ultrasonic motor (that’s the USM designation) delivers fast and silent autofocusing. This isn’t a cheap lens, either. Expect to pay nearly $1500-$1900 US for this piece of glass. Is it worth it? Depends. If you’re interested in photojournalism or documentary photography or have a goal of becoming a wedding photographer, then yes. This piece of glass will be around to stay.

EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
This consumer-grade lens is designed specifically for Canon digital cameras that LACK full frame sensors, so basically most Canon cameras (You can tell by the EF-S designation that it’s for digital specific cameras). This lens is the equivalent to a 16-35mm zoom lens. This is also a variable aperture lens, meaning the biggest aperture setting is f/3.5 at 10mm and at 22mm it’s f/4.5. It’s a little more than half the weight of the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM (385 grams). This lens will not, however, cost as much. You can find this lens for about $750-$850 US.

EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
The last lens on our ultra-wide zoom lens list is the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM. Think of this lens as the compromise lens between the high-priced EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM and the consumer-grade EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. This is still a pro series (L series) lens and still offers a great wide angle zoom range. For cameras that are not full framed, this is the focal length equivalent of a 27-64mm lens while still retaining the fast (but not real fast) f/4 maximum aperture. I like this lens and use it often. I find it to be a high-quality lens for a relatively low price. You can purchase this lens for about $700-$850 US. While not as wide as the 10-22mm lens mentioned above, I’ve never found myself too limited by its focal length. I highly recommend this lens as a good “walking around lens” because its range is going to work for a variety of assignments.

In the next installment, we’ll discuss Canon’s wide angle prime lenses.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Nikon Introduces Versatile Ultra Wide-Angle 10-24mm DX-Format Nikkor Lens

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

Nikon Inc. today announced the next addition to the expansive NIKKOR lineup with the new AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens, giving photographers the opportunity to capture a unique perspective in a variety of shooting environments. Compact and lightweight, the new 2.4x zoom DX-NIKKOR lens offers a focal length of 10 to 24mm, creating a picture angle ranging from 109-degrees to 61-degrees
(FX-format equivalent of 15-36mm) making it ideal for a variety of applications including restrictive interiors, architecture and sweeping landscapes.
af-s_dx_nikkor_10-24mm_f-3_5-4_5g_ed_01
“The development and release of the 10-24mm f/ 3.5-4.5 DX-NIKKOR lens continues Nikon’s tradition of providing expertly engineered tools for photographers to realize their unique creative vision,” said Edward Fasano, General Manager for marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “The ultra wide-angle 10-24mm lens offers DX-format digital SLR shooters the outstanding performance for which NIKKOR optics are well-known and the opportunity to capture dramatic perspectives that only wide-angle lenses can achieve.”

The AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens offers an array of versatile Nikon technologies, including Nikon’s compact Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology for quiet, fast and accurate autofocus performance. An advanced optical formula, featuring two extra-low dispersion (ED) glass and three aspherical lens elements renders stunning images while minimizing distortion, a common problem with ultra wide-angle lenses.

A rounded diaphragm opening, combined with the seven-blade aperture, contributes to the 10-24mm lens’ ability to capture images with soft background effects, referred to by experienced photographers as the “bokeh.” Additionally, the new DX-NIKKOR lens offers the user two focus modes; manual and automatic and features an M/A mode that allows the photographer to quickly switch between the two modes. Both use an internal focusing (IF) design that enhances AF speed and eliminates lens barrel rotation and changes to lens barrel length during focusing.

Fully compatible with Nikon’s complete line of DX-format digital SLR cameras – including the D300, D90, D60, D40 and the newly announced D5000 – the AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens enables photographers to broaden their view in new and interesting ways. FX-format shooters can also benefit from the AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED, as Nikon’s FX-format cameras – the D3X, D3, and D700 – will automatically apply the DX-Crop Mode when shooting.

The AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED will be available at Nikon authorized dealers beginning May 2009 at an estimated selling price of $899.95. For more information, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

Nikon’s D5000 Digital SLR Camera Expands Possibilities for Photo and HD Video Creativity with D-Movie Mode, Vari-Angle LCD Monitor and 19 Automatic Scene Modes

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

Nikon Inc. today introduced the new D5000, a digital SLR camera with a host of features and capabilities that deliver superior performance and image quality along with amazing versatility for photo enthusiasts and those new to digital SLR photography. Leveraging Nikon’s expertise and innovative technologies found in its pro-level D-SLRs, the 12.3-megapixel D5000 enables users to capture exceptionally stunning images and High Definition video with remarkable ease.

d5000_ambience_1Whether consumers are progressing from a point-and-shoot digital camera or looking to upgrade their current digital SLR and elevate their photographic expression, the D5000 serves as an ideal solution. First time D-SLR photographers will appreciate logical and easy-to-use controls, while creative enthusiasts will appreciate the D5000’s robust combination of features, technologies and performance. The D5000 boasts a versatile 2.7-inch Vari-angle LCD monitor that encourages shooting with a fresh perspective, Nikon’s revolutionary D-Movie Mode and expanded automatic Scene Modes, delivering superior Nikon innovation in a compact, user-friendly design.

“The Nikon D5000 represents a cornerstone in Nikon’s D-SLR line, marrying simplicity and instructive features with superior technology and HD video, allowing the user’s ability and creativity to grow—with the camera,” said Edward Fasano, General Manager for marketing, SLR System Products at Nikon Inc. “While its easy-to-use design will attract first-time D-SLR photographers, the D5000’s rich feature set and high performance will also appeal immediately to more experienced enthusiasts. The D5000 is sure to inspire creativity and originality.”

Broadened Creativity and Adaptability
Photographers can easily compose stunning images on the Vari-angle LCD monitor that they can view in a normal position fitting securely within the camera back, or swung out to be rotated or tilted. The monitor can also be stowed with the LCD panel tucked against the camera back to protect the screen when not in use. This tremendous freedom of movement, along with four Live View autofocus shooting modes, affords users the opportunity to shoot from a multitude of imaginative angles. Easy one-button Live View activation now features Subject Tracking autofocus (AF), which automatically locks onto a moving subject. Even if the subject leaves the frame and returns, Subject Tracking AF maintains focus, making the D5000 ideal for capturing fast moving children and pets. In addition to Subject Tracking AF in Live View, the D5000 features Face Priority AF, which automatically detects up to five faces in a scene and focuses on the closest subject; Wide Area AF, which offers a large AF area for optimal hand-held shooting; and Normal Area AF, which provides pinpoint accuracy when shooting with a tripod.

The D5000’s D-Movie Mode allows users the exciting ability to record HD movie clips (1280 x 720) at a cinematic 24 frames per second with sound. Photographers will appreciate the quality produced whether creating vacation clips or intertwining still photographs and movies in a post-production creative montage. Additionally, the D5000 is compatible with a comprehensive assortment of AF-S NIKKOR interchangeable lenses to provide users with the ability to capture perspectives not possible with typical consumer video recording devices. When using any NIKKOR VR lens, D-Movie clips benefit from Nikon VR image stabilization, which automatically activates during recording to deliver added sharpness and image stability. VR image stabilization also extends the D5000’s performance in low-light situations. D-Movie clips are recorded onto an inserted SD or SDHC memory card and saved as Motion JPEG AVI files for easy editing with widely available video editing software.

d5000_ambience_4

Further bridging the gap between point-and-shoot cameras and more advanced D-SLRs are the D5000’s 19 automatic Scene Modes, which free users to capture beautiful images without having to manually adjust camera settings. With the broad range of automatic Scene Modes, including Sports, Portrait, Candlelight, Silhouette, Autumn Colors and more, D5000 is the perfect camera for anyone looking to make inspiring images in challenging photographic conditions.

The D5000 also incorporates a comprehensive set of in-camera editing features to make the most of captured images without the need of a computer. The D5000 also introduces several new Retouch features, including a Soft Filter effect, which applies a smooth appearance to faces or the entire image; Perspective Control, which helps correct distortions in perspective often encountered in photographs of architecture; and Color Outline, which creates monochrome outlines of objects in images by eliminating color and tonal gradations. The D5000 saves each of these edited images as a separate JPEG file, ensuring the original image is left unmodified. With Nikon’s exclusive Picture Control Settings, photographers can quickly select various image appearance profiles that include Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape settings. In addition, Picture Control provides the ability to create and store up to nine user-defined custom profiles to reflect each user’s personal preferences for hue, color saturation and image sharpening.

Extensive playback options allow users to review their photos in groups of four, nine, or 72 thumbnail images. Alternatively, users can select the Calendar View to easily group and select images by date. These playback features can be viewed either on the Vari-angle LCD or an HDTV with HDMI connectivity available via a dedicated HDMI port on the camera.

Proven Image Excellence
Consumers will immediately appreciate the benefits of the D5000’s 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor coupled with Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED image processing system, which delivers highly detailed images with vibrant color reproduction and low noise across a broad ISO range. The D5000’s normal ISO range extends from ISO 200 to 3200, allowing for superior shooting in low-light conditions. Additionally, the D5000’s ISO range can be expanded to a Lo 1 setting of ISO 100 or a Hi 1 setting of ISO 6400, furthering the opportunities for previously impossible shots.

Nikon’s exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II, in conjunction with the EXPEED image processing system, contributes to the D5000’s ability to capture breathtaking images by instantly evaluating the exposure elements of each scene and comparing it to an onboard database of information from more than 30,000 images. These split-second calculations allow the D5000 to ensure the right exposure—even when conditions are extreme. To push creative boundaries even further, the D5000 allows picture-takers to also use Center-Weighted and Spot Metering for added personal control.

Smooth, Swift and Quiet Operation
The D5000’s 11-point auto focus system utilizes Nikon’s exclusive Scene Recognition System with Face Detection to help create the best possible images in a variety of shooting environments. Nikon’s 11-point AF offers best-in-class speed and accuracy, helping to ensure sharp focus, shot-after-shot. Single-point AF is suggested for static subjects, Dynamic-area AF for moving subjects, Auto-area AF for spontaneous shooting and 3D-tracking with 11 AF points for maintaining accurate focus on a subject moving throughout the frame.

Paired with Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR image stabilization lens and the ability to shoot at four frames per second, the D5000 easily captures moments other cameras miss. Nikon’s VR image stabilization lenses reduce the blurring in images due to camera shake, allowing photographers to shoot hand-held at as many as three full stops slower than would otherwise be possible.*

The new D5000 also features the innovative Integrated Dust Reduction System, which offers both an electronic sensor cleaning when the camera is powered on and/or off and the Airflow Control System, which directs dust away from the sensor with every snap of the shutter. These functions work to clear image-degrading dust from the sensor’s optical low-pass filter, helping to ensure spot-free images. In addition, the D5000 features a Quiet Release Mode that reduces the mirror cycling noise for discreet shooting in sensitive situations, such as weddings and other ceremonies.

System Expandability
Photographers and enthusiasts alike can also appreciate the D5000’s system expandability, as the camera can work in conjunction with a variety of Nikon accessories including a broad assortment of NIKKOR AF-S interchangeable lenses. While the D5000 offers a versatile built-in flash, the camera is also compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System and capable of Advanced Wireless Lighting when using the SB-900 Speedlight or the SU-800 Wireless Commander. For those looking to document their photo excursions with geo-tagging, the D5000 is compatible with the optional GP-1 GPS Unit, which automatically records latitude, longitude, altitude and time information when a picture is taken.

The D5000 also works seamlessly with Nikon’s powerful Capture NX 2 image editing software (available for purchase separately), for more advanced photographers seeking greater control over their post-capture images. Capture NX 2 simplifies the path to beautiful images with easy-to-learn editing tools and a highly versatile and elegantly simple interface, which streamline editing procedures.

Price and Availability
The D5000 outfit, which includes the AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens, will be available at Nikon Authorized dealers beginning in late April 2009 at an estimated selling price of $849.95. For consumers who want to configure their D5000 system or for photographers who need an additional D-SLR body for an existing system, the D5000 will also be offered as a body only for an estimated selling price of $729.95. For more information, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

Gear to Own: Litepanels Micro

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Good lighting equipment is fundamental to photography and there’s a variety of gear to choose from. One of the nicest pieces of equipment I’ve seen is the Litepanels Micro light.
Suited for both video and still photography – especially handy if you have a Nikon D90 or a Canon 5D Mark II – the Micro light is a constant output light source that can be mounted on the camera’s hot shoe or on a stand. It’s small, weighing in just under 4 ounces, and is perfect for filling in shadows and adding light to eyes. This is a perfect setup for portrait work.

The Micro has a dimmer switch that allows the user to dim the light from 100% down to 0, and is flicker- and heat free. The Micro operates on 4 AA batteries and can produce an estimated 1.5 hours of continual output on one set of regular alkaline batteries. Power can also be supplied through a 5-12V input jack.

The unit has won PC Photo magazine’s Editors’ Choice award and Digital Content Producer’s Pick Hit 08.

The street value is around $300 US, which is a little less than you would pay for a shoe mount flash.