Four groundbreaking cameras were announced recently: full-frame digital SLR models and a mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera. All offer pro-level performance and innovative technologies.
Nikon Unleashes FX-Format Flagship Nikon D5 Pro DSLR
The D5 professional DSLR boasts new Nikon imaging innovations, such as a full-frame, 20.8 megapixel CMOS sensor, a 153-point autofocus system, 4K UHD video capture and an Expeed 5 processor.
Engineered to provide a balance of resolution, low-light ability, speed and processing power, it introduces Nikon firsts—including enhanced low-light performance with native ISOs of 100–102,400. For “near-night vision,” the ISO range is expandable from 50 to 3,280,000. And advancements in noise reduction and processing help capture low-noise images said to be previously impossible. The D5 also affords the ability to use higher shutter speeds with minimal illumination, while its AF system performs in near darkness, acquiring focus in as little as EV -4 illumination.
Additionally, the Expeed 5 is built for the speed and power needed for 4K (3,840×2,160 at 30p) video. Specs state the D5 captures images at 12 frames per second with full autoexposure and autofocus, or 14 fps with fixed focus and exposure. And an extended buffer lets photogs shoot 200 frames of 14-bit RAW/NEF files + JPG fine.
The AF system incorporates Nikon’s first dedicated AF processor. The Multi-CAM 20K AF sensor module has 153 AF points, including 99 cross-type sensors. Of these, 55 AF points/35 cross-type points are selectable. Fifteen are functional up to f/8, aiding extreme telephoto capabilities. The system is coupled with a 180K-pixel RGB metering system and an advanced scene recognition system.
The first Nikon DSLR to record 4K UHD video, the D5 also creates 4K time-lapse videos in-camera. And it can produce 8MP stills from frame grabs. Other video features include Full HD 1080p recording, uncompressed HDMI out, simultaneous live view and headphone/mic connections.
Other features include: a 3.2-inch, 2,359K-dot, touch-screen LCD; illuminated buttons and dials; two additional function buttons for increased customization; a 400K-actuation-tested shutter; the capability to shoot smaller RAW Size S or M files (12-bit, uncompressed); and rugged construction with weather sealing.
The Nikon D5 will come in two versions, with either dual XQD card slots or dual CF slots. It ships in March for $6,499.95. nikonusa.com
Canon Breaks Out EOS-1D X Mark II Pro DSLR
Canon’s EOS-1D X Mark II features a 20.2MP, full-frame CMOS sensor, dual Digic 6+ processors and Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus technology. They combine to capture high-res photos at up to 14 fps and record 4K video.
The flagship boasts several firsts for EOS DSLRs, including 14-fps continuous shooting with autoexposure and predictive autofocus (viewfinder shooting). Its processors are said to transfer data of 170 consecutive RAW images at 14 fps, and JPEGs are only limited by the memory card capacity.
Canon added a digital lens optimizer to help correct aberrations in-camera and an improved 61-point High-Density Reticular AF II system. All AF points are selectable by the user. The system includes expanded coverage that supports autofocus at maximum apertures of f/8 with all 61 points. The AF points in the viewfinder can be illuminated in red for improved visibility, and AF sensitivity in low light was doubled from EV -2 to EV -3 at the center point in one-shot AF.
The DSLR has an ISO 100–51,200 range as well as settings of 50, 102,400, 204,800 and 409,600. Another EOS-1D series first is a 360,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor with improved facial recognition and tracking. The AE system also compensates for flickering light sources, such as sodium vapor lamps.
The camera records 4K video to a CFast 2.0 card. An additional card slot supports CF cards up to UDMA 7. Other video features include: a built-in headphone jack; 4K frame grab mode that creates an 8.8MP JPEG; and 120p Full HD recording. The touch-screen LCD permits videographers to select AF points before and during recording with Dual Pixel CMOS AF, lending camcorder-like autofocus.
Other features include: a GPS receiver with compass; a weather-resistant magnesium alloy body; and enhanced wireless functionality (with the optional WFT-E8 wireless file transmitter) that supports the IEEE 802.11ac standard.
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II ships in April for $5,999 body only or $6,299 with a 64GB CFast card and card reader. usa.canon.com
Sony Unveils α6300 Mirrorless Camera
Sony’s mirrorless α6300 boasts a 4D Focus system said to lock on a subject in 0.05 sec. Its 425 phase-detection AF points are densely positioned over the entire image area, and it shoots at 11 fps with continuous autofocus and exposure tracking.
The interchangeable-lens camera also supports 8-fps, live-view continuous shooting on its 2.4M-dot Tru-finder or LCD, to combine “the benefits of an electronic viewfinder with the immediacy of a through-the-lens optical viewfinder.”
A 24.2MP, APS-C-size Exmor CMOS sensor works with a Bionz X processor to provide low-noise, high-res images across an ISO 100–51,200 sensitivity range.
Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF system combines high-speed phase-detection AF with accurate contrast AF. In addition, the α6300 debuts a High-density Tracking AF technology developed to improve subject detection and tracking performance. It’s claimed to quickly activate a large number of AF points surrounding a subject and adjust them with the subject’s motion.
As this is the first Sony E-mount camera with an APS-C-size sensor, it’s notable that all phase-detection AF points, enhanced tracking and focus accuracy are available when using A-mount lenses (with adapter).
The α6300 provides 4K movie recording in Super 35mm format. When shooting 4K, it uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 20 megapixels of information—approximately as many as 4K UHD. It oversamples the information to aid in producing high-quality, detailed footage.
Other video functions include: XAVC S codec; Full HD 120-fps recording to create 4x/5x slow motion video; S-Log gamma for wide dynamic range; S-Gamut for a wider color space; an external microphone input; gamma display assist, which lets users monitor images or check focus when recording S-Log movies; zebra functionality; picture profile settings; and time code/user bit functions.
Additional features are: a moisture-resistant magnesium alloy design; customizable buttons; a digital level gauge; a shutter release button and mode dial with improved operability; and Wi-Fi/NFC compatibility with Sony’s PlayMemories apps.
Sony’s α6300 ships in March for $1,000 body only or $1,150 with a kit lens. sony.com
Ricoh Imaging Takes Wraps Off Pentax K-1 Full-Frame DSLR
At the core of the Pentax K-1 is a full-frame 36.4MP, AA-filterless CMOS sensor engineered for super-high-resolution images and high sensitivity up to ISO 204,800. A AA (antialiasing) filter simulator applies microscopic vibrations to the sensor, to provide the same moiré reduction as an optical AA filter.
The K-1’s Prime IV engine is capable of 14-bit RAW-format images. It can continuously record 17 RAW images (70 JPEGs) in a sequence, at 4.4 fps. And its SR II (shake reduction II) five-axis mechanism aids in accurate control of the sensor with compatible Pentax lenses. With a five-exposure-step compensation range, the system counteracts shake caused by pitch and yaw, horizontal and vertical shift, and roll. Notable, the SR II unit’s flexible design tilts the sensor module in all directions. This makes several handy functions possible: auto-level compensation; image-composition fine adjustment; and AstroTracer for astronomical photography using built-in GPS.
Additionally, a pixel-shift resolution system captures four images of a scene by shifting the sensor a single pixel for each image, and then synthesizes them into one composite. The system obtains all color data within each pixel.
A DSLR first, a flexible-tilt, 3.2-inch LCD monitor moves horizontally, vertically or diagonally with one action, without deviating from the lens’s optical axis. It achieves 35º of horizontal and 44º of vertical adjustment, and can lay flat. Its air-gapless construction reduces reflection, and users can choose brightness levels. There’s also an optical Pentaprism viewfinder. It has a nearly 100% field of view, 0.7x magnification and a natural bright matt III focusing screen for easier focusing and a true rendition of defocused areas in the viewfinder image.
The K-1 records Full HD 1,080p movies in the H.264 format. Wi-Fi operation allows remote control and image/video transfer to a smartphone. Another innovation is an assist-light function that uses LED lights positioned above the lens mount, behind the LCD, at the dual SD card slots and at the cable switch terminal.
Other features include: the SAFOX 12 AF sensor module with 33 sensors (25 cross-type sensors positioned in the middle); the Pentax Real-Time Scene Analysis system for near-instant analysis of exposure, color and movement; crop mode with a choice of auto, FF (full frame) and APS-C image areas to accommodate different lenses; and HDR shooting.
The magnesium alloy K-1 boasts a weather- and cold-resistant body. It ships in April. $1,799.95. ricohimaging.com