A huge week in photography

In the days leading up to the industry-stopping Photokina event, the major players have lifted the lid on all-new and exciting camera bodies that are sure to command the attention of conference attendees when it finally kicks off. Here are some of our picks for the hot items to keep an eye out for…

Nikon D7000: In the face of competitor brands that have higher megapixel counts and superior movie-recording abilities, this is the camera that Nikon-using enthusiasts have been crying out for. And boy, looking at the spec sheets alone, it looks like Nikon has really delivered. This APS-C (with 1.5x FOV crop) camera delivers 16.2-megapixel photographs and records Full HD 1080p/24fps videos in AVCHD format (easily burned to Blu-ray). Recordings can be up to 20 minutes long (a far cry from the 5-minute clips of old) and edited in-camera. Frames can also be extracted from videos to print as photographs; and it’ll be easy to manage photo and video files with the dual SD card slots. With a magnesium alloy body (normally reserved for pro-level cameras such as the D300s, D700 and D3s) and a native ISO range of 100-6400 (extendable to 25600), this camera will sit somewhere between the D90 and the D300s for quality and performance. Pricing, however, is going to have to wait until October, when it’s expected to hit the market. Price not set

Samsung NX100: Companies such as Olympus and Panasonic might be leading the field with the highly fashionable Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens (EVIL) cameras, but Samsung’s 14.6-megapixel NX100 is the first in the market to deliver such a camera with an APS-C-sized image sensor. What’s the significance of this? Well, as a general rule, cameras with bigger sensors produce photos with better picture quality. The Micro Four Thirds format favoured by Olympus and Panasonic uses sensors that are 18×13.5mm in size. This is as compared to APS-C sensors used in cameras such as the Canon 7D or the Nikon D90, which range in size from 20.7×13.8 mm to 28.7×19.1mm (full frame cameras are 36×24mm and are generally the most expensive). With the NX100, Samsung is also touting a new ‘i-Function’ feature, which lets users intuitively make minute changes to the manual settings on the camera lens rather than the body. It’ll be interesting to see how this new approach to ergonomic design works - at a minimum, it’ll probably push the price of lenses up. Price: $899 with choice of 20mm pancake lens or 20-50mm zoom lens

Canon Powershot G12: The successor to Canon’s formidable high-performance G11 compact, the G12 delivers 10-megapixel photos and 720p video from its tiny frame. Favoured by prosumers and hardcore enthusiasts as a great alternative to lugging around a large DSLR (and the unwanted attention they attract), the G12 offers a more subtle means of taking photos while retaining many of the manual options that enthusiasts want for maintaining control of the exposure. The camera offers 5x zoom, with the widest focal length being the equivalent of 28mm. It’ll reach a maximum ISO of 3200 and it can take macro photography from a distance of only 1cm. All of these options can be quickly accessed with the dedicated exposure and ISO dials. And, if you really need to hand it to someone else less savvy to use, it comes with the standard swag of face detection, timer, red-eye correction and blink detection options. It’ll be interesting to see how the G12 performs against other compact alternatives such as the EVIL cameras and Nikon’s P7000. Price not set.

Olympus E-5: Olympus’ new DSLR flagship boasts a new LiveMOS sensor and a TruePic V+ image processor to produce more naturally vibrant colours in its 12.3-megapixel photos. The company boasts that it’s the first camera in its class to offer a 3-inch, dual-axis swivel VGA monitor, which will be great for shooting while using Live View. However, the optical viewfinder is something special - 100% field of view with 1.1x magnification. There’s added versatility with its SD and CF card inputs, as well as its compatibility with Olympus’ standard line of Zuiko lenses and any Micro Four Thirds lens. With 10 built-in art filters, a fastest shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second, 720p video recording and a shutter durability rating of 150,000 actuations, the E-5 makes a compelling case for Olympus owners or anyone looking to step up to DSLR to upgrade to this model. Price not set

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