Rumors have been flying about a medium format mirrorless camera, purportedly being developed by such manufacturers as Sony and Fujifilm. Such rumors might seem wild, but more than possible given both companies histories.
Medium Format Mirrorless: Probably Pretty Possible
While I’m hesitant to jump on top of just any rumor that appears on dubious camera news sites, the likelihood of Fujifilm or Sony releasing a medium format mirrorless camera actually seems fairly positive. Sony’s the innovator at the forefront of the industry, quick to follow up on the success of the Sony A7 and A7r cameras, and the point and shoot RX series.
Given the success of the company’s full frame mirrorless cameras, the impact they’ve had on the photographic community, and the niche they dominate, is it strange to believe Sony could be considering an even larger sensor niche, with greater profit margin?
One thing that might stand in Sony’s way: that relative dearth of lenses many photographers keep joking about. Lacking much of a lineup for their existing cameras, this new medium format mirrorless camera might need to sport a mount to accommodate an already-existing roadmap from some other manufacturer. Bronica Strikes Back, anyone?
Of course, Fujifilm seems even likelier to churn out a medium format mirrorless, especially when one considers the company’s long-running successes in medium format film cameras. In addition to this history, recent success with fixed-lens digital range finders like the X100 and X20 mean the biggest hurdle for Fujifilm would simply be a larger sensor and (maybe) a larger body.
While it might be preferable to see interchangeable lenses for a medium format mirrorless Fujifilm camera, it seems doubtful as the vast majority of Fuji’s rangefinders (especially those in medium format) tend to sport a fixed lens.
While all of this is pure speculation, it doesn’t seem too far out there, given the facts, and way the industry seems to be headed, with every manufacturer (except Nikon and Canon) attempting to find their niche.
Announced earlier this year at CES, and following the innovative design of its predecessor the PowerShot N, the Canon N100 is nice enough camera with a few quirks that might need working around…or just plain understanding.
Shooting with the Canon N100
Controls and Handling
The Canon N100 looks and feels mostly like a real camera. Not that square monstrosity that predated it (the Powershot N). Gone is the weird shutter-release-on-the-lens design. Gone is the…well, not much else. But just be thankful they got rid of that lens design, sheesh.
You still get built in WiFi, but now you also have a rear-facing camera. Taking these features into account, along with creative filters (and even a film-simulation mode), one can tell this camera is meant to be fun, even if that comes at the price of performance.
Despite this relative emphasis on ease-of-use over performance, we can’t write the Canon N100 off completely: a 1/1.7” sensor puts it just a smidgen above some of the competition out there, and with some nice IS and a decent f/1.8 aperture when the lens is at its widest (a 24mm equivalent).
In other areas, the performance seems a little handicapped, with a relatively low ISO range (80-6400), no outward controls for rapidly changing shooting modes, and that weird screen that only flips up 90 degrees (Why Canon? WHY?).
The lens on this camera is does not offer a lot of zooming power. Aimed predominantly at people who want to take portraits of their friends and family, this camera doesn’t really need the zoom range that other manufacturers are putting into their products. However, if you’re looking for some zoom, the Canon N100 has 5x optical and a little digital left over (though I didn’t use it, ’cause who wants to see that eyesore?). If you’re looking to shoot distant birds, or photograph people from half a block away, there are other cameras out there that might suit you better.
ISO performance on the N100 isn’t terrible, with decent results up to ISO 800. For dimmer situations necessitating higher sensitivity, I would still try to stay at 3200 or under, as ISO 6400 does show a fair amount of grain.
Like most Canon point and shoots with built in WiFi, the N100 is easy to sync to a smartphone using the Canon Camera Window app, which allows transfer to smartphones and tablets, as well as remote shooting and geotagging. The remote shooting functions were fairly bare-bones with the N100, and silent mode is co-opted by some weird beeping that goes on with the camera when the shutter is triggered. So, the WiFi isn’t ideally suited for any sort of candid captures, but works great if you just want a basic remote or wish to share photos with smart devices.
The Canon N100 has a rear-facing camera, so you, the photographer, can still have pictures of yourself when you’re presumably photographing your friends. I don’t have any friends, but I do love Zeikos camera gear, so I shot that with me making ducklips in the corner of the frame. CLASSIC.
Like almost every point and shoot or compact camera out there these days, the Canon N100 also comes with a plethora of artsy filters. Now, normally these filters suck on small sensors. Something just seems off, whether it’s the way the image processor handles them, or some curse that befell all smaller sensors by some sort of full-frame warlock. At any rate, the 1/1.7” sensor and the Digic 6 Processor seem to work in tandem to deliver moderate results, even when using the Toy Camera filter. (These images were also shot using the camera’s macro focusing mode, which is quite nice, but not as good as some of the competition.)
Image quality on the N100 is surprising to say the least. Even though I was working with JPEGs, there was still a little room for tweaking, and I even managed to save one slightly under-exposed photograph. In general, the automated performance seems intelligent enough to do it’s job, while the hardware (and software) give you images with a teeny bit of leeway. Colors are very nice, and you won’t find a real need for the Vivid Effect unless that’s really your thing.
The Canon N100 is a decent little camera with enough features, gizmos, and doohickeys to keep younger photographers on top of their passion. Canon has pushed this camera as a “story camera” and there’s a lot going for it in that niche. The social inclination of the N100, from the rear-facing camera to the built-in WiFi, speaks to the denizens of Twitter and Facebook. However, a lack of prosumer features, and the half-implementation of some decent ideas (again, a 90 degree articulating LCD…) means this puppy isn’t going to see the audience that the SX700 will, even though both cameras sit at around the same price.
If you’re in the mood to try something new and fun, or you want to be connected while you shoot with your compact, this camera might just be the One.
The first impression you might have pulling the Olympus SH-1 out of the box is how much this camera looks like a Pen Camera. For better or for worse, it isn’t. Instead, the SH-1 is decidedly a point and shoot camera with a large zoom range and excellent video. But what else does the Olympus SH-1 boast? And is the camera’s price tag a fair indicator of image quality?
Shooting with the Olympus SH-1
So it isn’t a digital Pen, but is it still worth buying? For some, the Olympus SH-1 will make a big difference in terms of what can be captured, and when it can be captured. The biggest feature on this small camera is, without a doubt, the 5-axis image stabilization, which is being implemented in compact FULL HD video for the first time (so Olympus says, at least).
At any rate, that IS is really helping out video and Image Quality and long ranges, so it’s safe to say that those looking for a compact megazoom – or a pocketable camera that also delivers excellent video – will find this little runt appealing.
Like most compacts, especially Olympus compacts, the controls and their layout are minimalist but functional. Missing are any dials for shutter and aperture, and between the mode dial on top and the concise menu layout, it’s plain to see that the Olympus SH-1 is an easy-to-use camera streamlined for a more automatic shooting experience.
Built in WiFi is easy enough to sync to your smartphone or tablet, and the relative ease with which one can change shooting modes (set the mode dial, then press the “ok” button to select different options), gives this camera a certain appeal not readily found in other brands.
What can I say, the reach on this sucker is fantastic. From a 25mm equivalent at it’s widest, to a whopping 600mm equivalent at it’s furthest in, the lens is great. That 5-axis image stabilization only bolsters the performance.
Manual Mode on the Olympus SH-1 is a bit of a pain. Like most compacts, here you’re working with a D-Pad to adjust your settings – from Shutter Speed and Aperture, to ISO. If you’re working in a location with constantly-changing lighting, it may not be the easiest way to use this camera, but if you can set it and run with it, you won’t be disappointed.
As usual, Olympus throws in some nifty art filters for certain effects. While most might seem gimmicky, I personally like the Grainy Black And White effect, which tends to offer extreme contrast for a love-it-or-hate-it feel.
Panorama mode allows wider images with decent stitching. It works best with still subjects, and if you wanted a panoramic shot of architecture or landscapes, this feature would prove itself useful. If you’re looking to capture busy scenes with lots of movement, you may want to look elsewhere, as the stitching software still seems to mar some difficult, moving subjects.
Image quality is the big bust on the SH-1, and while it might not be perfect, it certainly isn’t abysmal. As with most small-sensor cameras, the big point one should keep in mind when considering this camera is that you’ll want to get the image right while in-camera. TRYING TO SAVE A SHOT IN POST IS VERY DIFFICULT.
That being said, I’m still surprised at how this little puppy held up. I especially enjoyed setting up the WiFi and using my old iPhone as a remote LCD while I held the camera nonchalantly, taking some pretty nice candid shots of people walking by.
It’s no RX-100ii, but the Olympus SH-1 may be the compact to look at. Generally, it strikes you on paper as being a go to workhorse for stable handheld video, and long-distance lens performance. With the added WiFi and some minimalist design, however, it could lend itself to almost anyone who wants a basic camera with some decent output. In general, I would say it performs about as well as – if not better than – Fuji’s X20. You might lose a viewfinder and a lot of manual controls, but a more portable design will have many right in the Olympus Brand pocket.
New to the scene in March, the Canon PowerShot SX700 HS may seem a little pricey at $349, but the overall performance of this compact superzoom is worth every penny.
CanonPowerShot SX700 HS: Superzoom Superstar
These days, it isn’t hard to find cameras that give you a lot of zoom. However, hunt around for a point and shoot camera offering a range of 25-750mm, and you may not have very many options. One of those options, though, will be the Canon PowerShot SX700 HS, which not only delivers the range in focal length, but does so with stunning results.
Of course, there are other features at play here, and not all of them are aimed at the novice. For seasoned pros, one of the coolest pros to this little camera is a mode dial not unlike those found on DSLRs, with Manual and Auto exposure modes, as well as Aperture- and Shutter-Priority modes. There’s also a nice video recording mode (with FULL HD), and built-in WiFi (with a dedicated button for syncing to tablets and smartphones).
For newbies (and even for seasoned enthusiasts like myself), there is is a fairly entertaining “creative shot” feature that makes variations of a single shot, experimenting with filters and crops in the process.
ISO performance is tolerable, and the macro features on this camera are also worthy of note. To be fair, there are lower-priced options on the market for better macro shots, but the SX700’s big draw is that nifty zoom lens.
So who is the SX700 HS for? It’s not a beginners camera (too many manual options), and it’s not a professional’s camera (not enough pro features). Instead, the SX700 is a mid-range compact camera designed at those who don’t need the most serious of camera bodies, but would still like something to learn and grow with (without purchasing any lenses).
Because of the camera’s overall versatility, this can be accomplished pretty well, and some folks may want to consider this camera as a lightweight option for day trips or casual photography.
Conclusion: if you need a camera with a great lens and some a full range of manual overrides, seriously consider this camera. If you’re looking for something casual to grow with and learn through, again this is a prime camera. Only those looking for the most rudimentary or most professional cameras should dismiss the Canon PowerShot SX700 HS.
Recently out in stores (since early March), the Fuji 10-24 f/4 R OIS is a lens of great construction with pretty awesome performance. Is it worth the $999 price tag, though? Here are some sample images and some personal input on a lens I became addicted to the moment I used it.
Fuji 10-24 f/4: Classy Camera Companion
This review’s setup: the Fuji 10-24 f/4 on the X-T1.
When it comes to wide-angle lenses, I’ve almost always used primes. I’ve handled some nice Tokina wide angle zooms, and I’ve personally owned the Sigma 10-20, and I’ve sometimes been impressed by the performance I’ve experienced or the samples I’ve seen. Well, Fuji’s new lens has its hooks in me. It’s truly a great lens. It may not be worth the money, though, depending on who you are and what you shoot.
I found the easiest way to use this lens to be setting the camera to aperture priority mode. On the X-T1, this simply meant setting shutter speed and ISO to auto, and trying desperately not to fudge the aperture ring too much.
The Aperture Ring
This is the only negative thing I really have to say about the lens: the aperture ring sucks. Okay, maybe not sucks. But it’s just too easy to move inadvertently. Some basic prep time spent memorizing the position of the three rings – aperture, zoom, and focus, probably would have helped, but I’ve got too short of an attention span for that so I hit the streets and cursed at the camera in my head every time I scrambled to get a shot. In summation, it’s not so much a deal-breaking flaw as it is something you can learn to work around, or work with. Just be prepared to drop one or two mental f-bombs.
Astounding glass can be found in this lens. Maybe it’s the quality of the glass itself, or the coating they’ve put on the glass, or a spell cast by wizard from another dimension, but the performance here is fantastic. There is some drop in sharpness at the extreme corners of the lens, but when you shoot at f/8 and up, you can kiss that hiccup goodbye. And given that this lens is primarily aimed at landscape and architecture photographers, I don’t image many people would be shooting at f/4 to begin with.
Probably having just as much to do with the fact that I’m using the X-T1 as it does the lens, the colors and image quality are still impeccable with this camera. Given the choice of pairing the Fuji 10-24 with the X-T1, or sticking with the kit lens, I would pick the 10-24. Mostly because I love shooting wide, and photographing on the street, but also because I personally feel the images that I am getting with the 10-24 maybe be just a little better.
Again, the Fuji 10-24 has some great construction, with a mostly metal exterior and interior (although there is still a little plastic on the front and rear inside barreling). The heft of the lens is nice, with what I would say is just the right amount of weight. It may put off some prospective buyers, especially those looking for a lightweight mirrorless setup. Luckily, most of those people tend to go for Olympus and Panasonic, so this lens shouldn’t be disappointing to them.
Who It’s For
Generally, I’d recommend this lens to people who love the wide-angle look. Duh, right? But that price tag ($999) can be a bit steep for some, and it really is a specialty lens. Couple this with the fact that you still get a keystone effect in shots of architecture, and it may not be everything Fuji has claimed it to be. Definitely a high quality beast, but more suiting to people who can live with distortion than those who can’t or just outright abhor it. Also, as I mentioned above, it isn’t very light, so weight may throw some people off. I would say this is ideal for street photography and landscapes, but I would definitely suggest you try before you buy.
I’m addicted to this lens. I love the 15mm focal length, I love the weight (it doesn’t feel like it’s another plastic lens with an over-inflated price tag), and I love the image quality. I still detest the aperture ring, but maybe I’m just becoming a crotchety old man. Who knows.
Just for fun, here’s a Toynbee tile I found while testing the lens.
SNYPEX, LLC, a company based in Long Island, New York, specializing in the production of premium grade performance sports optics products for the industrial, military and consumer markets, is pleased to announce the release of its Knight ED (extra-low dispersion glass) binocular series, designed for all outdoor activities: from birding to biking, hunting to safaris, and a multitude of activities in virtually any environment. The Knight ED binocular series feature six models of the full-mid to compact prism sizes.
SNYPEX Knight ED Series Binoculars are offered at an average price point of $439.00. Its products include the compact Knight ED 8×32 and 10×32 binoculars, as well as the larger 10×42, 10×50, 8×42 and 8×50
SNYPEX Knight Optics Bak-4 prisms use precision-crafted ED glass with a higher degree of color correcting and image-lacking chromatic aberration, resulting in true-to-life images with startling clarity and color accuracy. Fully multi-coated optics and phase correction coatings enable a wide field of view, unusually close focus distance varying from 6.56 to 4.92 ft., generous eye relief, and a comfortable, functional open bridge body design that is both fog and waterproof, nitrogen-filled, lightweight, and strong because of its magnesium/alloy body.
All SNYPEX LLC Knight ED Binoculars are protected with a durable rubber housing to absorb shocks and are backed by a five year warranty.
“It is our pleasure to bring high definition precision ED binoculars with competitive pricing to sportsmen, distributors, and dealers worldwide,” says Sam Shaheen, founder and president of SNYPEX, LLC.
- Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass produces outstanding color fidelity and high quality images
- Bak-4, Phase Coated Roof Prisms
- 100% fully multi-coated optics, green-coated on four sides of the prism
- Large aperture apochromatic lens with water-repellant coatings
- Exceptional image quality in all lighting environments
- Rubber-armored, shockproof, anti-slip body
- Long eye relief and twist up eye-cups, compatible for eyeglass wearers
- Minimum focus distance of 4.92 f on 50mm and 40mm models, 6.56 ft on 42mm model
- Magnesium alloy for maximum durability and lightweight body
- Fully waterproof, fogproof, nitrogen-filled allowing submersion to 1 meter for 15 minutes
- Wide field of view
- Ergonomic open hinge design
- Extra-low image aberration even at the edge of the field of view
About SNYPEX, LLC
SNYPEX, LLC is a sports optics company based in Long Island, New York, offering an extensive line of products, including ED binoculars, ED spotting scopes, ED digiscopes, military laser range finders, and more. The powerful instruments are ideal for all outdoor activities, from birding to biking, hunting to safaris, and a multitude of other activities in any environment.
SNYPEX has set a new standard for high-performance optics, raising the bar to a level of quality rarely achieved in the field.
Perhaps somewhat overshadowed by the news of a point-and-shoot Pen, the Olympus TG-3 appears no less impressive, effectively announced as a replacement to the WG-2 and sporting some welcome improvements.
Olympus TG-3: Competition-Proof Compact?
Tough cameras may induce wonder from some, but they rarely pique my interest. I say rarely because the TG-3 has been announced and my interest has finally been piqued.
Here are some pictures of a pre-production model.
|Model||Stylus TOUGH TG-3|
|Waterproof||Submersible down to 50ft/15m|
|Crushproof||Withstands up to 220lbf/100kgf of pressure|
|Shockproof||Resists drops up to 7ft/2.1m high|
|Freezeproof||Puts up with freezing weather down to 14°F/-10°C|
|Wi-Fi Connectivity||The built-in Wireless LAN and free Olympus Image Share (OI.Share) app enable you to:1) Easily share files (JPEG/MOV) to iOS and Android mobile devices,2) Geotag photos with GPS location information from iOS and Android mobile devices,3) Remotely operate the zoom, activate the self-timer, adjust white balance and exposure (ISO, shutter speed, aperture), select the shooting and drive modes, select the AF area, and trip the shutter, all from an iOS and Android mobile device.
4) Apply custom signatures and Art Filters to photos taken and stamps to Photo Story photos.
|GPS & Electronic Compass||GPS: Quickly locates position within 10 seconds and is more accurate than ever.Location and landmark information can be viewed and geotagged to photos.Electronic Compass: Displays information such as 1) Latitude and longitude, 2) Atmospheric and water pressure, 3) Altitude and water depth, and 4) Date and time.|
|Zoom||4x Optical Zoom + 2x Super Resolution Zoom + 4x Digital Zoom|
|Focal Length||4.5 – 18.0mm (35mm equivalent: 25 – 100mm)|
|Aperture Range||Wide: f2.0, f2.8, f8.0Tele: f4.9, f6.3, f18.0|
|Focus Range/Working Distance||Wide/Tele: 3.9in/10cm to infinity;Super Macro Mode: 0.4in/1cm to infinity, focal length fixed to 25mm (equiv)|
|Image Sensor||16 Megapixel – BSI CMOS 1/2.3”|
|Image Processor||TruePic VII|
|ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, AUTO, HIGH|
|White Balance||Auto, One-touch, Cloudy, Sunny, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Underwater|
|Shutter Speed||1/2 – 1/2000 (Night Scene: Longest 4 sec)|
|Continuous Shooting||5fps / 100 images (16M); 15fps / 100 images (3M); 60fps / 100 images (3M)|
|Self-Timer||2 sec, 12 sec, Custom Self-Timer (1-30 sec start timer, 1-10 pictures, 1-3 sec interval)|
|Interval Shooting||1 sec – 24 hrs interval, Max 99 frames, 1sec-24hrs start timer|
|AF Illuminator||Built-in AF Illuminator|
|Flash Modes||Auto, Red Eye Reduction, Fill-in, Off, LED|
|Focus Mode||Face Detection AF, AF Tracking, AF Lock|
|Shooting Modes||Mode Dial: Intelligent Auto (iAUTO), Program Auto (P), Aperture Priority (A), Microscope, Scene Modes (22), Art Filters (11), Photo Story, Custom (C)Microscope Modes: 1. Microscope, 2. Focus Stacking, 3. Focus Bracketing, 4. Microscope ControlScene Modes: 1. Portrait, 2. ePortrait, 3. Landscape, 4. Interval Shooting, 5. Hand-held Starlight,6. Night Scene, 7. Night + Portrait, 8. Sport, 9. Indoor, 10. Self Portrait, 11. Sunset, 12. Fireworks, 13. Cuisine, 14. Documents, 15. Beach & Snow, 16. Under Water Snapshot,
17. Under Water Wide1, 18. Under Water Wide2, 19. Under Water Macro, 20. Snow,
21. Panorama, 22. Backlight HDR
Art Filters: 1. Pop Art, 2. Soft Focus, 3. Pale & Light Color, 4. Grainy Film, 5. Pin Hole, 6. Diorama, 7. Dramatic Tone, 8. Fish Eye, 9. Sparkle, 10. Reflection, 11. Fragmented
Picture Modes: Vivid, Natural, Muted
|Panorama||Allows you to intuitively pan the camera across the scene; standard and full 360° views available.|
|Still Image Playback Edit Effects||1. Resize, 2. Crop, 3. Audio Clip (Record 4 sec audio to image file), 4. Red Eye Fix, 5. Shadow Adjustment, 7. Rotate Image, 8. e-Portrait (smoothes skin tone to view on HDTV)|
|Still Image File Format||JPEG|
|Video Mode, Resolution and Recording Speeds||1080p, 720p, VGA, Time-Lapse Movie (720p),High-Speed 120fps (640×480), High-Speed 240fps (432×324)*When shooting 1080 60p/1080p/720p movies, use SDHC class6 (speed class)/SDXC class6 or higher for best results.|
|Time-Lapse Movie||Images obtained with the Interval Shooting mode can be compiled automatically in the camera into a Time Lapse Movie lasting up to 10 sec. Movie is recorded in 720p size at 10 fps.|
|Audio Recording||Linear PCM|
|Video File Format||MOV/H.264, AVI/Motion JPEG (High-Speed Movie, Time-Lapse Movie)|
|Rear Monitor Size (Aspect Ratio)||3.0″ (3:2)|
|Rear Monitor Resolution and Type||460K Dots LCD|
|Removable Media Card||SD, SDHC, SDXC, Internal Memory|
|Outer Connectors||Multi-terminal (USB Connector, DC Jack, Audio/Video Output), HDMI Type D|
|Auto-Connect USB||USB 2.0 High-Speed (USB Mass Storage)|
|Language||English, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, German, Italian, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Greek, Slovak, Turkish, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Korean, Simple Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Bulgarian, Romanian, Persian, Indonesian, Hebrew, Malay, Vietnamese, Japanese|
|Battery||Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery (LI-92B)|
|380 shots; 120 minutes continuous video shooting|
|Dimension||4.4″ W x 2.6″ H x 1.2″ D (111.5mm W x 65.9mm H x 31.2mm D)|
|Box Contents||TG-3 Digital CameraWaterproof InstructionsWrist StrapLI-92B Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
USB Cable (CB-USB8)
AC Adapter (F-2AC)
Quick Start Guide
CD-ROM with Instruction Manual and Olympus Viewer 3 Software
Worldwide Warranty Card
The biggest highlight here? Built-in WiFi and interval shooting give users that ability to turn the Olympus TG-3 into an action camera with a remote, as well as send of pictures and video to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. Having used the free Olympus app, OI.Share, I can safely say that it feels fairly easy to use, and once you get used to setting up a connection with between the camera and your phone, it is pretty close to hassle-free.
For those who disdain the ever-increasing social aspect of digital photography can still fall in love with this camera, thanks in no small part to improved macro capabilities, including a claim from the manufacturer that the Olympus TG-3 can focus as close as 1 cm (!!!) – probably made possible with some crazy zoom feature in the camera menu, or the optional LG-1 LED ring light ($59.99).
At any rate, the TG-3 has been announced, and will retail for around $349. While you might rejoice at that price, you’ll have to wait until June for the camera to become available. It will be available in red and black.
Say what you want about Olympus, they never seem to stop cranking out cameras, and pushing as much technology into those new bodies as possible. Nowhere is this more true than in the case of the Olympus Stylus SH-1, just announced and packing some nifty features.
Olympus Stylus SH-1, the Pocket-able Pen-inspired Point-and-Shoot
Olympus’s top tier Stylus cameras mostly rock the black, angular svelte of the E-M1, but the SH-1 is a slight departure from that trend, coming in black, silver, or white. The overall appearance of the camera is easily comparable to the Pen cameras, but with a fixed lens equivalent to 25-600 mm. Aperture ranges from f/3 to f/6.9. The big improvement in this camera is the inclusion of 5-axis image stabilization, but that doesn’t mean the camera lacks in other features. Full HD Video, built-in WiFi, a 3″ touchscreen LCD, and built in stereo mics only increase the appeal. Even some degree of manual control has been pledged by Olympus.
Here are some pictures of the new Olympus Stylus SH-1:
The back LCD has a decent resolution of 460,000 dots, but there is no ability to attach an electronic viewfinder or a flash via hot shoe. There is a nifty, Pen-looking flash that sits on the left side of the top plate, but I haven’t been able to narrow down a range for it.
Other specifications of note would include a 12 fps continuous drive (!), an auto focus assist lamp, and the TruePic VII image processor.
Admittedly, I’m a little curious about what that small bump under the left side of the lens does. A seemingly-paltry 3 cm minimum focusing distance has me a little miffed, as the just-announced, brand-spankin’-new TG-3 (also from Olympus) features a minimum focusing distance of just 10 mm. Yeah, that’s right: 10 freaking millimeters. However this is about my only qualm, and all in all, 3 cm ain’t too shabby for a minimum focusing distance. But if I had to pick one down side to a camera based on specs made available on the same day it was released, that would be the down side that I choose.
The Olympus Stylus SH-1 comes out in May, with a recommended street price of $399 – a truly affordable price point if you’re given to buying cameras on the street.
I’ve always loved street photography. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it has a colorful history. But if you want better street photography, what do you do? Here are five tips I’ve found to be most useful when it comes to taking better street photos.
Five Tips for Better Street Photography
Forget the Rules
When you research street photography, you’ll find a lot of opinions on the subject. Some people even label these opinions as rules. Truth is, no one has really codified what street photography is or isn’t, in any concrete terms. Or if they have, I call BS and say you should forget about it. If you want a working definition, consider it “capturing the essence of humanity – directly or indirectly – in an urban environment”. Use whatever gear you want (DSLR, point and shoot, iPhone), and take whatever approach you want.
Experiment (…with lenses)
Okay, you should just experiment in general, but for DSLR users out there, try different lens setups. Better street photography is arrived at by not only finding your voice or style, but by finding your tools as well. A lot of people will vehemently oppose any lens with a focal length outside the 24-28 mm range, while others may extend that to 24-50. Some even recommend longer lenses. Each one has its pros and cons, but suffice to say that if you don’t have brass cajones, and shy away from getting up close and personal with your subjects, you may want to work at 50 mm or longer in terms of lenses.
That being said, my personal favorite would the be 35, 42, or 50 mm focal lengths. Why? The 35 mm mark is a great place to start if you like getting lots of stuff into your frame. Street photography is as much about the environment as the people in it. One shapes the other, and vice versa. Around 40 or 42mm, you begin to see images that mimic scenes as they are perceived by the human eye, which can be a very powerful effect. Of course, the 50 mm focal length gives you a little more distance, but may help in grabbing subjects you don’t necessarily feel right in approaching.
Take Your Time
When you’re trying walking all over town trying to get interesting shots of people in an urban environment, you can easily feel out of place and unwelcome. Everyone else is doing their thing – hurrying to jobs or hurrying home, working or engaging in recreation. I find myself hurrying to take photos and move along as quickly as possible, caught up in the flow of my environment. But that isn’t always good. If you want better street photography, go against the flow and take your time. Don’t rush, taking in the sights and sounds and be aware of everyone around you.
Sometimes, in sketchy neighborhoods, time can be of the essence. When safety is an issue (and it may be depending on time of day and location), you can always double back or walk around the block to get back to your shot.
Candid Shots Rule
This instance of the word “rule” is a verb, not a noun. It’s an opinion of mine – and there are other people out there who might agree – that candid shots are better than non-candid ones. This doesn’t mean you have to be a creep about it, but you should never be afraid or feel bad about taking a photo of someone unawares, so long as it is lawful. Most people would rather see someone doing what they do with a natural look on their face, than someone posing with an awkward grin or smile.
Are there certain pieces of photo gear that can lead to better street photography? Perhaps, but what that gear is, largely depends on your preferences. Choose bags and cameras and lenses that work with you. Eschew a backpack for a messenger bag or a holster-style camera bag. Consider using a smaller, more discrete camera body. And use a lens you feel comfortable using, or have the most fun using.
There’s never been a better time to turn your photos into art with alternative prints. With the boom of mobile photography, and dropping DSLR prices – as well as the constantly-improving technology of cheap point and shoot cameras – just about any device can land you with a photo worthy of printing. Of course you could go the easy route and order some 4×6 prints from Walgreens, or break out an all-in-one photo printer for some super 8×10 prints. But what if you want something a little different? Check out these options for turning photos into art.
Turning Photos into Art: 3 Ideas for Alternative Prints
There are now many ways to share your photos. I won’t recommend you put photos on tee shirts or coffee mugs, but you can definitely go that route if you don’t think it’s tacky.
Where to find them: http://www.staticpixels.com/
At the time of this article, the website is down for maintenance, but Static Pixels allows photographs to be printed onto corrugated cardboard. Color accuracy is decent, and the texture of the cardboard gives the photos a grainy appearance. Sizes range from 5x to 20×20 inches, and prices from $25 to $89, respectively. Sound steep? That $25 lands you four prints, so you can save a little money if you go the small route.
Instant Film Prints
Where to find them: Fuji/Impossible Project/Photojojo.com
There are several options available for those looking to do instant photo prints from digital files. All of the options are essentially the same, but with their own little quirks.
On the smallest end of the spectrum, you have the Fuji Instax Share SP-1, which uses Fuji Instax Mini instant film (the cheapest and the most readily-available of all instant films). You can buy it on Amazon for as little as $230.
If you want slightly larger prints, you can check out the Instant Photo Lab from the Impossible Project – the dudes from NYC who make film that works in old Polaroid cameras. Turning your photos into art this way, you’ll get prints larger than the Fuji Instax Mini, but at about twice the cost (for the prints). Head over to Photojojo.com to snag one of these for yourself, at about $300 a pop.
Where to find them: a mercurial place known only as “the internet”
Here’s how this works. You buy the paper and print photos on it (or order transparent stickers from a photo-printing site) and then you slap it on whatever you want. This can be pretty cool when turning photos into art gets boring, and you want to turn everyday objects into art. Need ideas? Ceramic dinner plates, skateboard decks, wood surfaces…just about anything flat might work. Two things to keep in mind here: if you print stickers yourself, some will only work with Laser Printers. Research this before you try it. Also, don’t eat food off of plates you’ve adhered stickers to. It just isn’t safe.
So…go ahead and give them a whirl. Taking the photo and simply saving it for later – or uploading it to an image-sharing website like Flickr, Facebook, or 500px – doesn’t have to be the final step. Turning photos into art doesn’t have to be curtailed to these three methods, either. Go wild! Experiment! There’s always room to expand and improve.