Monday, February 4, 2008
Sweet Spot D-SLRs
Between the pro and entry-level models lies a paradise of high-performance features, ease of use and excellent value
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10
The 10.1-megapixel Lumix DMC-L10 is Panasonic's second D-SLR, featuring a 2.5-inch Live View LCD that can rotate 180 degrees left and right and 270 degrees front and back for easier odd-angle shooting. Both SLR-style phase-difference AF and (in Live View mode) contrast AF are provided. Face Detection can detect up to 15 human faces simultaneously, enhancing focusing and exposure performance when shooting portraits.
As a Four Thirds System camera (others include Panasonic's DMC-L1, Leica's Digilux 3 and the entire Olympus D-SLR lineup), the DMC-L10 can use all Four Thirds System lenses, regardless of manufacturer. The camera is sold with a Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm ƒ/3.8-5.6 zoom lens that features a Panasonic-developed MEGA O.I.S. optical image stabilization system to counter handheld camera shake.
Like all Four Thirds System cameras, the DMC-L10 features a Supersonic Wave Filter that vibrates dust off the image sensor. Film mode lets you select different "film" looks: Standard, Dynamic, Nature, Smooth, Nostalgic, Vibrant, Standard B/W, Dynamic B/W and Smooth B/W. With each, you can fine-tune contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction.
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10
Image Sensor: 10.1-megapixel (effective) Live MOS
Resolution: 3648 x 2736 pixels
Sensor Size: 17.3x13mm, 2.0x focal-length factor
LCD Monitor: 2.5-inch Live View
AF System: 3-point (9-point contrast in Live View)
Shutter Speeds: 1⁄4000 to 60 sec., X-sync up to 1⁄180 sec.
ISO Settings: 100-1600
Continuous Firing Mode: 3 fps, 2 fps
Recording Format: JPEG, RAW
Metering: 49-zone, spot, center-weighted
Storage Media: SD, SDHC
Dimensions: 5.3x3.8x3.1 inches
Weight: 16.9 ounces
Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Estimated Street Price: $1,299
The 10.2-megapixel K10D features pro specs at an affordable price, including rugged weather- and dustproof construction (which we successfully put to the test) and a full range of features. Built-in sensor-shift shake reduction works with all lenses and a built-in CCD dust-removal system keeps the sensor clean. The Pentax PRIME imaging engine and 22-bit A/D conversion provide excellent image quality, and the camera can use virtually all Pentax K-mount lenses (older ones with some limitations). New DA* lenses feature weather- and dustproofing to match the camera body, plus new SDM focusing motors that provide smoother, quieter autofocusing and allow you to fine-tune focus manually without leaving AF mode.
A convenient feature is that you can shoot RAW images in either Pentax's PEF format or Adobe's "universal" DNG format, as well as switch from JPEG to RAW+JPEG recording at the touch of a button. A simple switch on the camera body lets you directly choose single-shot AF, continuous AF or manual focusing—it's always nice to have direct access to feature controls rather than hunting through menus. A unique feature of the K10D is a Shutter & Aperture-Priority mode, which sets the most appropriate ISO for the shutter speed and aperture combination you select.
Camera: Pentax K10D
Image Sensor: 10.2-megapixel (effective) CCD
Resolution: 3872 x 2592 pixels
Sensor Size: 23.5x15.7mm, 1.5x focal-length factor
LCD Monitor: 2.5-inch
AF System: SAFOX VIII
Shutter Speeds: 1⁄4000 to 30 sec., X-sync up to 1⁄180 sec.
ISO Settings: 100-1600 (1⁄3-stop increments)
Continuous Firing Mode: 3 fps
Recording Format: JPEG, RAW (PEF or DNG)
Metering: 16-segment multi, spot, center-weighted
Storage Media: SD, SDHC
Dimensions: 5.6x4.0x2.8 inches
Weight: 25.0 ounces
Power Source: D-L150 rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Estimated Street Price: $799
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