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Friday, 6 January 2012

Review Nikon D4 DSLR Camera.

The Brand New Nikon D4 Full Frame DSLR.
Available for £4799.00 from WEX Photographic (Warehouse Express). On Track for 16th Feb 2012.
Yahoo! It's finally arrived. The brand new Nikon D4, an upgrade to Nikon's Flagship D3 professional DSLR (Full Frame) camera.

I must admit to feeling slightly underwhelmed by the new D4 at first sight, it seemed to me like just a few tweaks had been made to the D3, but if we delve a little deeper into the specifications it can be seen that those amazing guys at Nikon have truly been hard at work (and listening to professional photographers) and have produced an awesome photo taking machine. I'm sure that just like me many of you just can't wait to get my hands on one to give it a try. When I do, I'll let you know more about what I think.

I'll be posting videos here when they become available.
Review Videos from Youtube.
Updated 1st Feb 2012.

What's NEW in the D4?
  • A newly developed sensor that promises to deliver clean images at high ISOs.
  • Movie Modes.
  • Advanced scene recognition systems.
  • New type of card slot QXD.
  • HDR.
High Speed Dual Card Slots:
Nikon says that these card slots are fast and reliable and card reading and recording are crucial to a smooth and productive workflow. The D4 is equipped with two card slots, one for a CF card compatible with UDMA 7 and another for the XQD memory card, the next-generation recording media. Several recording options are possible: record two full cards of data, record the same data onto two cards for backup, record RAW and JPEG simultaneously onto separate cards, or transfer data from one card to another.

Who's going to use a camera like this?
Well it's going to cost quite a bit to own one of these beauties so my guess is that it's going to be mainly professionals, top end enthusiasts and those who love gadgets with lots of cash to spare.
Nikon D4 Product Tour:

More Movies will follow soon.

Nikon D4 Camera Images:

Nikon's Specifications Blurb:

 Further improved high-speed, multifunctional, high-performance image-processing engine EXPEED 3. [NEW] ...more

51-point AF system with enhanced performance in subject acquisition and focusing in low-light situations. ...more

Superior quick response with approx. 0.12 s* startup time and approx. 0.042 s* shutter-release time lag. ...more

* Based on CIPA Guidelines.

Dual card slots for CF card compatible with UDMA 7 and the next-generation recording media, the XQD memory card. ...more

High-speed continuous shooting at approx. 11 fps* in FX format (without AE/AF) and approx. 10 fps* (with AE/AF) [NEW]. ...more

* Based on CIPA Guidelines.

New Wireless Transmitter WT-5A/B/C/D that realizes high-speed workflow. ...more

HDR (High Dynamic Range) that combines images to produce a single image with a wider dynamic range.

White balance that enables finer setting in 10-kelvin steps.

High-performance, glass pentaprism viewfinder with approx. 100% frame coverage (FX format) and approx. 0.7x magnification. ...more

Approx. 921k-dot, wide-viewing angle, 8-cm (3.2-in.) LCD monitor with reinforced glass.

"Sub-selector" for horizontal shooting and "Multi selector for vertical shooting" are newly employed for efficient operation. ...more

Button illumination that ensures better visibility of the operational system in dark situations. [NEW] ...more

Virtual horizon that detects both "pitching" and "rolling" directions.

Newly developed shutter unit tested for 400,000 cycles; shutter speed up to 1/8,000 s and flash synchronization up to 1/250 s.

Highly efficient energy-saving design that achieves approx. 2,600 shots (with EN-EL18, based on CIPA Standard*1) and approx. 5,500 shots (based on Nikon standard*2).

*1 Measured at 23°C/73.4°F (±2°C/3.6°F) with an AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens under the following test conditions: lens cycled from infinity to minimum range and one photograph taken at default settings once every 30 s. Live view not used.
  • *2 Measured at 20°C/68°F with an AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED lens under the following test conditions: vibration reduction off, image quality set to JPEG normal, image size set to L (large), shutter speed 1/250 s, shutter-release button pressed halfway for three seconds and focus cycled from infinity to minimum range three times; six shots are then taken in succession and monitor turned on for five seconds and then turned off; cycle repeated once standby timer has expired.  

Parts and Controls:

Sub-command dial
Pv button
Meter coupling lever
Microphone (for movies)
Self-timer lamp
Flash sync terminal (under cover)
Ten-pin remote terminal (under cover)
Mounting index
Lens release button
AF-mode button
Focus-mode selector
Fn button (vertical)
Shutter-release button for vertical shooting
Vertical shooting shutter-release button lock
Sub-command dial for vertical shooting
Fn button
Tripod socket
Playback button
Deletion button/Formatting memory cards button
Eyepiece shutter lever
Viewfinder eyepiece
AF-ON button
Main command dial
Eyelet for camera strap
Multi selector
Memory card slot cover
Ambient brightness sensor for automatic monitor brightness control
Focus selector lock
Card slot cover release button (under cover)
Memory card access lamp
AF-ON button for vertical shooting
Main command dial (vertical)/Speaker
Rear control panel
ISO sensitivity button/Auto ISO sensitivity control button/Two-button reset button
Image quality button/Image size button
White balance button/Two-button reset button
Microphone button
Live view button
Live view selector
Microphone (for voice memos)
Multi selector (vertical)
Menu button
Protection button/Picture Control button/Help button
Playback zoom in button
Thumbnail button/Playback zoom out button
OK button
Info button
Bracketing button
Exposure mode button/Formatting memory cards button
Movie-record button
Power switch
Shutter-release button
Exposure compensation button
Flash mode button/Flash compensation button
Metering button
Release mode dial
Accessory shoe (for optional flash unit)
Focal plane mark
Diopter adjustment control
Top control panel
Peripheral connector
Headphone connector
Ethernet connector
USB connector
Connector for external microphone
HDMI mini-pin connector
Battery-chamber cover latch
Battery chamber (under cover)

Visit Nikon's Website for more detailed specifications here.

What I'm waiting for?
Personally, I'm waiting now with baited breath for the long overdue update to the 2008 model of the Nikon D700. I've just learnt that Nikon have stopped production of the D700, but you'll still be able to get one in the shops and on line for a long while yet. I just love this camera and will continue to use it as long as it lasts. In the new D700 / D800 I'd like to see an articulated rear screen and some of the impressive improvements we've seen in the Nikon D4.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Review Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR

The New Kid on the Block.
The Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR

It's been only a short time since Fuji introduced us to the Fujifilm FinePix HS20 and here we are again with another new model in the HS - EXR series.

Although I'm mainly a Nikon man now with two cameras and a slew of lenses, I like to follow developments with Fujifilm because I had a very early Digital FinePix in way back in 2005.
I wonder if they've addressed some of the concerns reviewers had with the HS20EXR? Check out my Hands On Review Page of the HS20EXR.
Most notably the sticky and unstable zoom when in movie mode. We'll just have to wait and see, but I'll post as soon as possible.
Whenever I find a video review I'll post it here so that you'll have a full review of the Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR all in one place.

For now please look below at the key features, images and charts from Fujifilm.

Key Features.
Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR key features

  • 16 mega-pixel EXR-CMOS sensor (Get inside the EXR CMOS Seonsor here at FujiFilm Lab)
  • 30x Fujinon Optical zoom lens (24-720mm equivalent to a 35mm camera) (Check out the Lense Lab here at FujiFilm)
  • Up to 60x Intelligent Digital Zoom
  • 3-inch LCD screen with Sunny Day mode
  • EVF with 920,000 dots
  • 1080p Full HD movie capture
  • Hot shoe for TTL flash
  • RAW file format
  • Lithium-ion rechargeable battery – 600 shots
  • Programmes AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual exposure modes
  • Macro focusing down to 1cm

Images of the New Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Camera.

The Rear View Screen: (I wish I had one of these on my Nikon D700)

Scene Modes & Sensor EXR Chart (Click to view Larger).

The Specifications & News from Fujifilm.
Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR - Long zoom versatility and exceptional image quality

Fujifilm is delighted to announce the launch of the FinePix HS30EXR, the latest in a long line of market-leading bridge cameras loved by photo enthusiasts all over the world.

The HS range has become synonymous with versatility and optical quality among those photographers who don't want the lens-changing capability of a DSLR, but still want total control over their images.
The HS30EXR includes a number of key specification improvements over the HS20EXR model it replaces. The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) has been greatly improved while a switch in power supply to a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery delivers up to 600 pictures per charge. These are just some of the changes that will ensure the HS30EXR keeps the Fujifilm name at the forefront of the bridge camera market in 2012.
New sensor, even better pictures
The FinePix HS30EXR features an improved EXR-CMOS sensor, which gives the user even more versatility, most notably in low light conditions. By redesigning the shape of the photo diodes used in the EXR-CMOS sensor, the images display 30% less digital noise at higher ISO settings, which results in smoother tones and better low light images.
The EXR-CMOS sensor offers three different user-selectable options: High Resolution (HR) delivers the best results in bright lighting conditions or when fine detail in an image is of paramount importance. Wide Dynamic Range (DR) Priority is ideal for capturing images in high contrast light situations, when the user wants detail in both shadow and highlight areas, while High Sensitivity and Low Noise (SN) Priority is the one to choose in low-light. All of these modes can be selected, or it can be left to the HS30EXR to choose through the EXR AUTO function.
Never miss a shot
Composing images on these HS-series can be done using either the 3-inch tilting LCD or the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), both of which have been substantially improved over the HS20EXR. The LCD uses 460,000 dots to display menus and images with great clarity and now benefits from a brighter screen that ensures it's easy to view, even in direct sunlight.
Meanwhile, the FinePix HS30EXR’s EVF is also larger at 0.26-inches and features 920,000 dots, compared to only 200,000 dots on the HS20EXR, making for a far clearer viewing image.
Viewing comfort has also been boosted thanks to a 22 degree viewing angle (16 degrees on the HS20EXR) and the whole picture taking experience has been improved through a substantial reduction in starting up period compared to the HS20EXR. The starting up period is now just around a half compared with that of HS20EXR. The writing period after continuous shooting has also been dramatically cut to approximately 2 seconds (compared to 20 seconds on the HS20EXR).
A lens for every occasion
Sitting at the heart of the HS-series is a Fujinon 30x optical zoom lens offering a huge focal range from 24-720mm (equivalent to a 35mm camera). This enables photographers to tackle almost any type of subject matter from sweeping landscapes to fine details on wild animals.
But there may be occasions when users require even more telephoto power to pull in really distant details and, thanks to the Intelligent Digital Zoom function, this is now possible. This doubles the focal range, delivering a massive 60x zoom with a maximum telephoto setting of 1440mm. What's more, the Intelligent Digital Zoom function doesn't suffer from the problems typically associated with digital zoom capabilities. This is achieved through intelligent image processing where the HS30EXR boosts sharpness in selected areas without increasing digital noise.
Movie making and picture taking made easier
Like the HS20EXR, the HS30EXR also captures 1080p Full HD movies at 30 frames per second, but this hasn't stopped Fujifilm's designers making some key improvements to ensure movie capture is even easier.
Now, it's possible to manually focus during movie shooting for more creative focusing effects, while those preferring to auto focus will benefit in a reduction in focus hunting, so they can keep up with the action. When it comes to still images, the technologies used for Face Detection and Tracking AF have been combined to create Face Tracking Auto Focus. Ideal for capturing all the sporting action and active children, this unique feature allows users to follow the action, ensuring that the faces of friends and loved ones are kept sharp and perfectly exposed.
Finally, the FinePix HS30EXR has also been improved with the addition of a customisable Function (Fn) key on the rear of it. This enables fast access to regularly used functions without needing to go into the full menu each time.
Key differences between HS20EXR and HS30EXR

FujiFilm FinePix HS30EXR
Number of effective pixels 16.0million pixels
Image sensor 1/ 2-inch EXR-CMOS with primary colour filter
Storage media Internal memory (approx.25MB)
SD/SDHC/SDXC(UHS-I) memory card
File format (still image) JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3 ), RAW (RAF format), RAW+JPEG
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
(movie) H.264(MOV)
Number of recorded pixels L: <4:3>4608 x 3456  <3:2>4608 x3072 <16:9>4608x2592   
M:<4:3>3264 x 2448 <3:2>3264 x 2176 <16:9>3264x1840
S:<4:3>2304x 1728 <3:2>2304 x 1536 <16:9>1920x1080
Motion Panorama
360° Vertical 11520 x 1624 Horizontal 11520 x 1080
180° Vertical 5760 x 1624 Horizontal 5760 x 1080
120° Vertical 3840 x 1624 Horizontal 3840 x 1080
Lens Fujinon 30x optical zoom lens
focal length f=4.2 - 126mm, equivalent to 24-720mm on a 35mm camera
full-aperture F2.8(Wide) - F5.6 (Telephoto)
constitution 11 groups 15 lenses
Digital zoom Intelligent Digital Zoom approx. 2.0x (up to approx. 60x, with 30x optical zoom )
Aperture F2.8-F11.(Wide)
F5.6-F11(Telephoto) 1/3EV step
Focus distance
(from lens surface)
Normal :
Wide: Approx. 45cm to infinity/ 1.4ft. to infinity
Telephoto: Approx. 3.0m to infinity / 9.8ft. to infinity
Wide: Approx. 7cm - 3.0m / 2.7in. - 9.8ft.
Telephoto: Approx. 2.0m - 5.0m / 6.5ft. - 16.4ft.
Super Macro: Approx. 1.0cm - 1.0m / 0.4in. - 3.2ft.
Sensitivity Auto, Equivalent to ISO 100/200/400/800/1600/3200/6400*/12800* (Standard Output Sensitivity) 
*6400:M mode or lower、ISO12800:S mode
Exposure control TTL 256-zones metering, Multi, Spot, Average
Exposure mode Programmed AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual
Shooting modes SP: Natural Light, Natural Light & Flash, Portrait, Portrait Enhancer, Dog, Cat, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text,
Image stabiliser CMOS shift type
Face detection Yes
Exposure compensation -2.0EV-+2.0EV  1/3EV step                           
Shutter speed (Auto mode) 1/4 sec. to 1/4000 sec. , (All other modes) 30 sec. to 1/4000 sec. (combined mechanical and electronic shutter)
Continuous shooting (TOP) Super High:approx. 11fps (Size M,S)
High:approx. 8fps (Size L,M,S)
Middle:approx. 5fps (Size L,M,S)
Low:approx. 3fps (Size L,M,S)
* SD memory card with a class 4 write speed (4 MB/sec.) or better is recommended.
* The frame rate varies depending on the shooting conditions or numbers of frames in continuous shooting.
(LAST) -
(others) Best Frame capture:
Super High:approx. 11fps 8/16 frames (Size M,S)
High:approx. 8fps 8frames (Size L,M,S)/16 frames (Size M,S)
Middle:approx. 5fps 8frames (Size L,M,S)/16 frames (Size M,S)
Low:approx. 3fps 8frames (Size L,M,S)/16 frames (Size ,M,S)
Auto bracketing AE Bracketing ±1/3EV,±2/3EV,±1EV
Film Simulation Bracketing PROVIA/STANDARD, Velvia/VIVID, ASTIA/SOFT
Dynamic Rang Bracketing 100%/200%/400%
Focus (mode) Single AF/Continuous AF (EXR AUTO, Movie),
Manual AF (One-push AF mode included)
(type) TTL contrast AF, AF assist illuminator available
(AF frame selection) centre, Multi, Area, Tracking
White balance Automatic scene recognition
Preset: Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Custom
Self-timer 10 sec./2 sec. delay/Auto release/Auto shutter(Dog,Cat)
Flash Auto flash (super i-flash)
Effective range: (ISO AUTO):
Wide: Approx. 30cm - 7.1m / 1ft. - 23.2ft.
Telephoto: Approx. 2.0m - 3.8m / 6.5ft. - 12.4ft.
Flash modes Red-eye removal OFF: Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro.
Red-eye removal ON: Red-eye Reduction Auto, Red-eye Reduction & Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Red-eye Reduction & Slow Synchro.
Hot shoe YES
Electronic Viewfinder 0.26-inch., approx. 920,000 dots, colour LCD viewfinder approx. 100% coverage
LCD monitor 3.0-inch, approx. 460,000 dots, TFT colour LCD monitor, approx. 100% coverage
Movie recording 1920 x 1080 pixels / 1280 x 720 pixels/ 640 x 480 pixels (30 frames /sec.) with stereo sound
Optical zoom function (manual)can be used.
Photography functions EXR mode, High Speed Movie (80/160/320 frames/sec), Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Face recognition, Advanced mode (Pro focus, Pro low light, Multiple exposure, Individual shutter 3D), Motion Panorama360, Film simulation, Electronic level, Histogram display, Framing guideline, Frame No. memory, Best frame capture, Advanced Anti Blur, Date stamp
Playback functions Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Multi-frame playback (with micro thumbnail), Protect,
Crop, Resize, Slide show, Image rotate, voice memo, histogram display, exposure warning
Photobook assist, image search, favourites, Mark for upload, Panorama, Erase selected frames
Other functions PictBridge, Exif Print,
35 Languages, Time difference, Silent mode
Terminal { Video output) NTSC/PAL selectable
with Monaural sound
(Digital interface) USB 2.0 High-Speed
( HDMI output) HDMI Mini connector
Power supply Li-ion battery NP-W126  (included)
Dimensions 130.6 (W) x 96.6 (H) x 126.0 (D) mm /5.1(W) x 3.8(H) x 4.9(D)in.
Weight Approx. 687g / 24.2oz. (including battery and memory card)
Approx. 637g / 22.4 oz. (excluding battery and memory card)
Operating Temperature 0℃-40℃
Operating Humidity 10%-80% (no condensation)
Battery life Approx. 600 frames (AUTO mode)
Accessories included Li-ion battery NP-W126
Battery charger BC-W126
Shoulder strap
USB cable
A/V cable (excluding Japan)
Lens cap and Lens cap cord
Owner's manual
Lens hood (excluding China, Japan)
Optional accessories Lens hood LH-HS10
Remote release RR-80
Shoe Mount Flash EF-42/EF-20
Protector Filter PRF-58

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