D-SLRs Vs. Advanced Compacts
Both digital camera types offer real advantages—which one is right for you?
As photographers, we've always faced choices—automatic exposure vs. manual, slides vs. negatives, large format vs. 35mm. It's no surprise, then, that digital photography has created another one—digital SLR (D-SLR) vs. advanced compact. Both camera types offer their own advantages and disadvantages; which one is best for you depends on the kind of images you like to shoot and the trade-offs you're willing to make.
Today's camera manufacturers are thinking about more than pixels
The recent history of digital photography could be described as a megapixel war. With technological advancements that often come every six months, new cameras with higher pixel counts are available almost constantly. It isn't uncommon for photographers to find themselves buying a digital camera to replace the model they purchased only the year before in the endless arms race to garner the most megapixels.
Short Report: Nikon D2x
The top-of-the-line D-SLR from Nikon features 12 megapixels, blistering speed and a bigger, brighter LCD
For discriminating photographers, the Holy Grail in digital cameras in recent years has been the so-called full-frame image sensor. Such a sensor is the same physical size as a frame of 35mm film, and as a result, has no lens magnification factor. Nikon's newest high-end digital SLR, the D2x, isn't full frame, but with an extremely high-res sensor and professional-caliber features, it calls into question whether there's a real need for a full-frame sensor, especially in light of new wide-angle lenses designed just for digital.
Short Report: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT
A small camera combines with high-quality imaging in Canon's new D-SLR
I took the EOS Digital Rebel XT to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park earlier this year and was able to fit the camera with three lenses (a Canon EF 70-300mm DO zoom, a Canon EF-S 60mm macro and a Tamron 11-18mm wide-angle zoom) into a small waistpack.
Buyer's Guide 2006: Cutting-Edge Compact Cameras
Big features find their way into the smallest of pocket-sized cameras
With digital SLRs now widely available at advanced compact prices, you might be wondering if the ultra-compact cameras are destined to devolve into an amateur-only plaything. Those of us who have been photographing for many years remember that 35mm compact cameras were feature-anemic compared to 35mm SLRs and usually warranted the "point-and-shoot" moniker.
Buyer's Guide 2006: Today's Digital SLRs
Features and resolution distinguish the latest cameras
There's a definite visceral reaction when taking pictures with an SLR. The look of the camera and the way it seems to be an extension of my hand often evokes a sense that something wonderful is only a fraction of a second away. Although I've taken great photographs with a compact digital camera, a digital SLR provides the features and controls I often need to ensure I come away with the photograph I expect.
Short Report: Pentax K100D
Shake reduction with every lens—at a very low price
Several camera manufacturers offer lenses featuring built-in image-stabilizing mechanisms that counteract camera shake, and these work extremely well. But you enjoy those stabilizing benefits only when using those particular lenses. More recently, other manufacturers have introduced D-SLRs with in-camera anti-shake mechanisms, which provide shake reduction with all lenses. The lowest priced of these is the new K100D from Pentax.
Hot New D-SLRs
How seven recently introduced models stack up
With the biennial fall Photokina show in Germany always come many interesting product introductions. This year's batch included seven new feature-packed digital SLRs. All are scheduled to be on sale in the United States by the time you read this, except the Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro (which will be available in early 2007) and the Sigma SD14 (no release date as of this writing).
Cool Gear: Palm-Sized HD Video
Sanyo’s Xacti VPC-HD1 is a glimpse into the future of Hi-Def video capture for consumers
With high-definition television finding its way into more and more living rooms, it's natural that consumer-level video cameras are beginning to follow suit. Consumer HD camcorders, though still somewhat rare at this point, aren't exactly new, but they tend to be pricey.
Is the “one-device-does-it-all” camera here yet?
Consumer digital still cameras have long offered limited movie-shooting capability, and some digital camcorders have provided the ability to shoot decent-quality still images. But of late, those capabilities have improved immensely, and today you can make good videos with many digital still cameras, and good stills with a number of digital camcorders.
Choose and use simple camcorders to create Hollywood-style results
If I had any doubt of what could be achieved with an affordable camcorder and a bit of imagination, it was swept away while attending a high-school film festival. As I watched, kids from San Fernando High School in Southern California shared short live-action and animated films they had created with cameras, computers and software.