Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nikon D3

kon D3 Key Features

  • First ever Nikon DSLR with a Full-Frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor (dubbed the 'FX' format)
  • 12.1 megapixel full-frame sensor (8.45┬Ám pixel pitch)
  • ISO 200 - 6400 (with boost up to ISO 25600)
  • Also supports DX lenses, viewfinder automatically masks (5.1 megapixels with DX lens)
  • 5:4 ratio crop mode (10 megapixels, up to 9 fps, viewfinder masked)
  • 14-bit A/D conversion, 12 channel readout
  • Nikon EXPEED image processor (Capture NX processing and NR algorithms, lower power)
  • Super fast operation (power-up 12 ms, shutter lag 41 ms, black-out 74 ms)
  • New Kevlar / carbon fibre composite shutter with 300,000 exposure durability
  • New Multi-CAM3500FX Auto Focus sensor (51-point, 15 cross-type, more vertical coverage)
  • Auto-focus tracking by color (using information from 1005-pixel AE sensor)
  • Auto-focus calibration (fine-tuning) now available (fixed body or up to 20 separate lens settings)
  • Scene Recognition System (uses AE sensor, AF sensor)
  • Picture Control image parameter presets (replace Color Modes I, II and III)
  • Custom image parameters now support brightness as well as contrast
  • Nine frames per second continuous with auto-focus tracking
  • Eleven frames per second continuous without auto-focus tracking
  • Ten / eleven frames per second continuous in DX-crop mode (AF / no-AF)
  • Dual Compact Flash card slots (overflow, back-up, RAW on 1 / JPEG on 2, copy)
  • Compact Flash UDMA support
  • 3.0" 922,000 pixel LCD monitor
  • Live View with either phase detect (mirror up/down) or contrast detect Auto Focus
  • Virtual horizon indicates if camera is level (like an aircraft cockpit display)
  • HDMI HD video output
  • 'Active D-Lighting' (adjusts metering as well as applying D-Lighting curve)
  • Detailed 'Control Panel' type display on LCD monitor, changes color in darkness
  • Buttons sealed against moisture
  • Dual battery charger as standard

Dell 3400MP DLP Micro Portable Projector

Technology: DLP front projector, 2X color wheel
Native Resolution: XGA 1024x768
Brightness: 1500 lumens
Contrast: 2100:1
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.5:1
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 3000 hours at full power, 4000 hours in Eco-mode
Weight: 2.4 lbs.

Dell 3400MP DLP Projector: Pros

  • Very bright in Presentation mode, good brightness in Film and Video mode
  • Physical size and weight - this projector provides a lot of punch in a tiny package
  • Very sharp image
  • Good warranty, with lots of options, including accident coverage
  • Lamp life, a most impressive 3000/4000 hour (eco-mode/full power) rating
  • Very good color accuracy in Movie mode, suitable for color accurate presentations
  • Some documentation is good, specifically the quick Setup Guide
  • Compression technology for handling widescreen resolutions is very good
  • Very g ood remote control, buttons are laid out logically, well spaced
  • Very good menus, despite requiring hitting an exit item to move back up levels
  • Physically cute, and yet impressive
  • Functional, small and attractive semi-hard shoulder case
  • Excellent - Remote allows control of presentations, and full remote mouse control
  • Audio output
  • Price performance - considering that you do pay a premium for such a small projector, this projector is an excellent value among the smallest and lightest competition
  • And of course, mobility

Dell 3400MP DLP Projector: Cons

  • Color performance in Presentation preset - Reds and Yellows are weak(although typical of most DLP portable projectors)
  • Documentation sometimes thin, weak index, for example couldn't find info about remote mousing in manual (fortunately they indicate it in the setup card)
  • Menu control system, despite four arrow system, relies on Exit key to move back up levels, requiring extra keystrokes (no big deal)
  • Limited inputs, only one computer in (accepts analog or digital), no monitor out (that means primarily for laptop users), you can't have component video and a computer hooked up at hte same time.
  • Very limited zoom range (1.15:1), although typical for such a small projector at least a couple do a bit better (InFocus 70+, for example has a slightly better 1.25:1)

Dell 3400MP DLP Projector: Typical Capabilities

  • Ease of Use
  • Audible noise levels (for a projector this small)
  • Build quality

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Canon Vixia HF11 Camcorder

Still Features (9.25)
Canon stocks its camcorders with ample still features, and the HF11 received the same set found on the HF10. While the Panasonic HDC-SD9 only offers 1920 x 1080 still image capturing, the HF11 can capture stills in the following sizes: (Photo Mode) 2048 x 1536, 1920 x 1080, 1440 x 1080, and 640 x 480; (Video Mode) 1920 x 1080 and 848 x 480. Images can be captured in Super Fine, Fine, or Normal quality and saved to either the 32GB of internal flash memory or an SDHC card.

We experienced a significant bug with the HF10—when capturing images to the internal flash memory, it would take an exceedingly long time to actually save each file. Up to 20 seconds per image could be spent waiting for the darn thing to save. Well, the HF11 has solved this glitch—to an extent. Now, there is minimal wait time after capturing an image, let's say roughly three seconds. However, we still experienced a random occurrences of huge lag times—up to 45 seconds to process. This is a finicky system, and Canon needs to fix it.

All Manual Controls that are available in Video mode are also available in Photo mode—Exposure, Focus, White Balance, etc. You can also set Scene Priority modes, though Cine color is not available in Photo mode. Image Effects can be applied in Photo mode, but they are limited to Black & White and Sepia Tone. A Self Timer can be set to 10 seconds and images can be played back in 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10-second intervals. The HF11's flash has three settings: Auto, Manual, and On.

Like all high-end Canons, the HF11 can meter an image in three different modes: Evaluative, Center Weight Average, and Spot. In Evaluative mode, the screen is divided into multiple sections to obtain an average exposure for the entire image, which is applicable for most shooting environments. The Center Weight Average mode hones in on the subject in the middle of the frame and adjusts the exposure according to the subject's information. In Spot Meter mode, a certain portion of the screen is matched to the subject in the center of the frame.

There are also four speed modes that images can be captured in: Single, Continuous Shooting, Hi-speed Continuous Shooting, and Auto Exposure Bracketing. In Single mode, only one image is snapped per press of the Photo button. About five images are captured per Photo button press in Continuous mode. In Hi-speed Continuous Shooting mode, five images are recorded at once but at twice the speed of Continuous Shooting. Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) will capture three images—one at Auto exposure, one at an EV notch up (+0.25EV), and one at an EV notch down (-0.25EV) for a selection of different Exposure levels.

The Photo menu can be accessed by pressing the Function button located on the LCD panel. All options are arranged vertically like the Video Function menu. The Photo menu contains the following items:

Photo Function Menu
Shooting Modes Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE, Portrait
Shot Metering Evaluative, Center Weight Average, Spot
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Manual
Image Effects Vivid, Neutral, Low Sharpening, Soft Skin Detail, Custom
Digital Effects Black & White, Sepia
Capture Speed Mode Single, Continuous Shooting, Hispeed Continuous Shooting, AEB
Image Quality LW (1920 x 1080), L (2048 x 1536), M (1440 x 1080), S (640 x 480)

The Photo Administrative menu contains the following options:

Photo Administrative Menu
Camera Setup Self Timer, Zoom Speed, AF Mode, Focus Assist, AF Assist Lamp, Focus Priority, Image Stabilization, Auto Slow Shutter, Review
Memory Operations Memory Info, Card Info, Media: Movies, Media: Images, Initialize
System Setup Battery Info, Wireless Remote, Beep, Power Save, Quick Start, Image Numbers, Component Out, HDMI Status
Date/Time Setup Time Zone/District, Date/Time, Date Format
Close Close

The HF11 is close to a low grade digital camera in terms of features, so you will get a lot out of still image capture on this camcorder.

Still Performance (5.5)
The still performance of the Canon HF11 was tested shooting an X-Rite Color Checker chart, then running the stills through Imatest imaging software to determine color accuracy, noise, and saturation. At best, the Canon HF11 produced a color error of 10.9.

This color error was identical to the Canon HF10. The HF11 scored more poorly than everything else in its class, sadly—the Panasonic HDC-HS100 (and HDC-SD100, presumably), the JVC GZ-HD40, Sony HDR-SR12 (and Sony HDR-CX12, presumably), and Samsung SC-HMX20 all offer more accurate color in their still photos.

The noise measures 1.4825%. This score, fortunately, is closer to the average. Only the Samsung SC-HMX20 and Panasonic HDC-HS100 were better—though both were better by far. Finally, the saturation measured 114.6%.

Out of the lab, the Canon HF11's stills produce a very noticeable amount of noise. The manual control set, described in the previous section, is quite good, but this is no replacement for your still camera.

Still Resolution (23.98)
The still resolution of the Canon HF11 was tested by shooting an Applied Image ISO 12233 resolution chart at an even, bright light. The photos are then run through Imatest imaging software to determine the resolution, measured in line widths per picture height (lw/ph). At best, the HF11 produced a horizontal resolution of 1341 lw/ph —with a 0.97% clipping and a 3.02% oversharpening. The vertical resolution measured 1312 lw/ph—with a 2.07% clipping and a 7.55% oversharpening. These scores were a little lower than the Canon HF10, inexplicably so, but was otherwise average for a camcorder in this class. We're planning on re-running these tests immediately, so stay tuned for an updated set of results soon.

Step Forward with Nikon’s New D90 Finally a mid-class D-SLR with movie function

ikon D90 Other Features

  • Gives you quick response, with 0.15-second start-up, 65 ms shutter release time lag and 4.5 fps continuous shooting.
  • 3-in., approx. 920-k dot high-resolution LCD monitor with wide viewing angle that lets you change composition of the frame during shooting from various angles and easily confirm your image during playback.
  • Built-in flash with 18mm lens coverage, Guide Number of approx. 18/59 (ISO 200, m/ft., 20°C/68°F) and Nikon’s original i-TTL flash control; works as a commander; controlling up to two groups of remote Speedlights.
  • Highly efficient energy-saving design allows approx. 850 images on a single charge of the Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e. (CIPA standard, with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, with 50% of pictures taken with flash)
  • Extensive playback functions offer ample options for viewing and selecting the right shot, including 72-frame playback, calendar playback and histogram display for magnified portion of the image. ? Versatile Pictmotion menu creates slideshows combining five choices of both background music and image effects.
  • Compatible with HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output.
  • Supports the Nikon Creative Lighting System when using the SB-900, SB-800, SB-600 Speedlight, or Wireless Close-up Speedlight System R1C1; ensures accurate exposures via i-TTL flash control.
  • Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D80 (Optional, in common with the D80) gives you the choice of using one or two Rechargeable Li-ion Batteries EN-EL3e or six R6/AA-size batteries to extend battery life.
  • New optional Remote Cord MC-DC2 enables shutter release and long time exposures (bulb) remotely.
  • With the new optional GPS Unit GP-1, location information such as latitude, longitude, altitude and time is automatically recorded to each image’s EXIF data.
  • Included Nikon ViewNX image browsing and editing software lets you organize, label and select images as well as perform RAW image editing adjustments and conversions.
  • Optional Capture NX 2 photo-editing software features patented U-Point® technology and powerful tools for quick and easy photo editing including enhanced RAW (NEF) Editing.

Sony VPL-VW60 Home Theater Projector

* 1080p native resolution home theater projector
* Almost identical to previous model - Sony Pearl VW50, including very flexible placement
* Very film-likeThe Sony VPL-VW60 projector.
* Average lamp life
* Out of the box color is not good, needs serious adjustment
* Average brightness in "best" movie mode, below average brightness overall
* Flexible in terms of placement with 1.8:1 zoom and lens shift
* Black levels and shadow detail improve only slightly vs VW50, however they are better than any other sub-$5000 1080p projector tested so far
* An excellent projector value for those primarily seeking best movie viewing or for general use on small to medium sized screens