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  CAMERAS USED IN THIS GALLERY   

*ist DL

PENTAX Corporation is pleased to announce the marketing of the PENTAX *istDL digital SLR camera. With a compact, lightweight body, simplified operations and outstanding cost performance, the *istDL is designed to extend the advantages of high-quality digital SLR photography, including lens interchangeability, to photographers of all levels, even those who are unfamiliar with digital and SLR photography.

The new *istDL was designed as an affordable starter camera by further advancing PENTAX’s digital camera development concepts of “user-friendliness” and “a harmony between ease of use and portability.”

Despite its compact, lightweight design, the *istDL features 6.1 effective megapixels, an extra-large 2.5-inch color LCD monitor, and compatibility with most interchangeable PENTAX lenses. Combining high-quality image reproduction with simple, user-friendly operations, the *istDL is the ideal digital SLR for a variety of users, including digital photography beginners, families and those who plan to step up from digital compact cameras to digital SLRs.

Major Features

1. User-friendly automatic operations
The *istDL is equipped with the innovative Auto Picture Mode, which automatically and instantly selects the most appropriate Picture mode from Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro or Action for a given subject or situation to assure the optimum combination of aperture, shutter speed, white balance, saturation, contrast, and intensity of edges. In addition, the built-in auto flash automatically pops up in dimly lit or backlit situations. As a result, even first-time digital SLR users can immediately produce high-quality digital images with minimal effort.

2. Simple, accessible operation system
From the multi-function four-way controller to the responsive electronic Av/Tv dials and the large, easy-to-use mode dial, all switches and dials are efficiently and functionally laid out on the *istDL’s compact body for flawless fingertip control. The ergonomically designed grip assures firm, comfortable hold of the camera.

3. Extra-large 2.5-inch color LCD monitor
The *istDL’s high-precision 2.5-inch color LCD monitor, with approximately 210,000 pixels, displays recorded images clearly and beautifully, even when the original image is magnified by 12 times using the digital zoom capability. It also facilitates image confirmation after shooting and menu selection during shooting and editing operations. The menu screen also provides an optimum color scheme between menu descriptions and background to assure easy reading under all types of lighting conditions.

4. Compact, go-anywhere design
The *istDL features a compact, high-rigidity stainless-steel chassis and a compact, bright viewfinder combining the PENTAX-original penta-mirror and a newly developed focusing screen. Combining other advanced downsizing technologies, such as 10-layer electronic circuit boards and high-density packaging technology, it offers the outstanding portability — as one of the world’s smallest lens-interchangeable digital SLR cameras — to accompany the user anywhere.

5. High-definition, maximum-gradation images with 6.1 effective megapixels
Thanks to its large, high-performance CCD image sensor (23.5mm by 15.7mm), the *istDL offers 6.1 effective megapixels. Coupled with PENTAX’s original image processing technology using a high-performance engine, it produces high-definition images rich in gradation and saturation. It also offers a choice of finishing touches between “bright” and “natural” to satisfy user preferences.

6. User-friendly guide screen
The *istDL features a user-friendly, multi-data guide screen, which offers detailed description of shooting modes, displays drive, flash and white balance settings using text and sample photos, and presents a comprehensive list of all camera settings on the large 2.5-inch monitor.

7. High-precision 16-segment multi-pattern metering
The *istDL incorporates a sophisticated 16-segment metering system to assure high-precision light measurement, even under complicated lighting conditions. It also offers center-weighted metering and spot metering for specialized applications.

8. High‐accuracy AF sensors
Featuring the advanced SAFOX VIII AF system incorporating three cross-type wide-area AF sensors, the *istDL automatically selects the most appropriate sensor for a given subject. It also lets the user fix the sensor point on the middle sensor for specific applications. Using the menu screen, the user can select the preferred focus mode between Single AF, which locks the focus when the shutter release button is half-depressed, and Continuous AF,* which adjusts the focus to the subject’s movement.
* This focus mode is available in the Auto Picture and Picture modes, only when the Action mode is selected.

9. 1/4000‐second high-speed shutter
The *istDL incorporates a high-speed shutter unit, with a top speed of 1/4000 second and a top synchronization speed of 1/180 second, to assure greater visual creativity. The bulb setting is also available to accommodate extended exposures at night.

10. High-speed 2.8-frame consecutive shooting
The *istDL records up to five images (at “best” image quality in JPEG format) consecutively at a speed of approximately 2.8 frames per second, allowing the user to capture a series of photos of the subject’s motion.

11. Compatibility with PENTAX interchangeable lenses
The *istDL offers the outstanding benefit of lens interchangeability, letting the user take advantage of the wide selection of PENTAX interchangeable lenses for use with diversified subjects and applications.**

** PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF- and KAF2-mount 35mm-format lenses can be used without an adapter or modification. PENTAX screw-mount 35mm-format lenses and PENTAX 645- and 67-system lenses can be used with an adapter. Some functions may not be available with certain lenses.

12. SD memory card compatibility
The *istDL uses the widely available SD memory card as its storage media, not only assuring high-speed recording and readout of image data, but also helping to reduce the camera body size.

13. Others

Eighteen user-programmable custom functions to personalize camera operations to user preferences
Noise-reduction system to minimize annoying digital noise during extended exposures
Dual power source, with a choice of two CR-V3 lithium batteries or four AA-size batteries
Effortless PC data upload via USB 2.0 (HIGH-SPEED) connection
Functional playback functions, including 12X zoom display and nine-image thumbnail display
A choice of image format between JPEG (good, better or best) or RAW
Four digital filters (black-and-white, sepia, slim, and soft-focus in three patterns) for easy post-shooting image processing
PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory 2.1 RAW-data processing software and PENTAX
PHOTO Browser 2.1 browser software included
PictBridge compatibility


Coolpix 2500

The Nikon Coolpix 2500 was announced on 21st February 2002 as a part of Nikon's new offerings at the PMA 2002 show. The 2500 marks a stylish design departure from the 775 and 885 but also brings familiar echoes of the split & twist bodied Coolpix 900, 950, 990 and 995. The 2500 is clearly targetted at a relatively young 'trendy' market, those who are looking for quick easy to use (and stylishly designed) digital cameras but cameras which can also deliver a certain level of image quality.

The 2500 features a 2 megapixel CCD sensor and a 3x optical zoom lens, because of its clever 'internal twist' design the lens and flash unit are protected when rotated to the vertical position. This makes the 2500 an ideal coat pocket or handbag camera, there's little need for a separate case and there is certainly no lens cap. Thanks to the double swivel (lens portion is connected to the main body on both the left and right side) there's also no flex or potential to damage the swivel mechanism.

Because of the 2500's internal zoom / internal focusing lens there's no extending lens mechanism to get damaged (unlike many other compact digital cameras). About the worst thing that could happen to this camera if it were knocked would be that the rotating portion is flipped back into its protective vertical position.


EOS 5D

Canon's EOS-5D is the first 'affordable' digital SLR with a full-frame sensor. Launched in October 2005, it represented a new product category for Canon, delivering 12.8 Megapixel resolution and the full-frame benefits of the high-end EOS-1Ds Mark II, while enjoying a price much closer to the consumer range.

It's a unique proposition which got many photographers very excited, while causing others to question its relevance in today's fast-maturing digital SLR market. Whichever category you personally fall into, at Cameralabs we believe it's a very important product which deserved an extended review period.

So over the last six months we've been thoroughly putting the 5D through its paces in our first long-term test, trying it out in a wide variety of environments from hiking through the sunny Canyons of Southwest USA to capturing the Aurora Borealis in the sub-zero temperatures of Northern Norway.

We've had a chance to try the 5D with a number of lenses ranging in focal length from 17 to 400mm, and have also spoken to numerous existing owners to learn about their own experiences. Our extended review period has additionally allowed us to compare the 5D against Canon's latest EOS-30D along with what's probably its closest rival, the Nikon D200.

But before kicking off, what exactly's the fuss about? Well it's all down to the sensor, which by measuring the same shape and area as a frame of 35mm film, allows lenses to deliver exactly the same field-of-view as they would when used with a 35mm SLR. In contrast, traditional digital SLRs with physically smaller APS-sized sensors crop the field of view, effectively multiplying the focal length of all lenses by 1.5 or 1.6 times.

This is a big deal for many photographers, but especially those raised on 35mm SLRs. They often have existing lens collections and understandably want them to perform the same on a digital body. The prospect of effectively multiplying all their lens focal lengths by 1.6 times (in the case of Canon cropped models) has put many of them off digital SLRs so far.

Full-frame sensors deliver the solution, but unfortunately their cost of manufacture is very high and until the 5D came along you were looking at spending a considerable sum on one of Canon's top-of-the-range 1Ds models. So while the 5D body at a UK RRP of £2539 can hardly be described as cheap, it's considerably more attainable than the whopping £5000 or so for a 1Ds Mark II. Additionally the 5D's 12.8 Megapixel resolution matches the theoretical detail of a 3000 dpi 35mm film scan which, coupled with the full-frame coverage, makes it a viable replacement for die-hard 35mm owners.

But while the 5D represents the holy grail for some photographers, other have questioned the relevance of full-frame sensors in today's market. Full-frame bodies may have been necessary for extreme wide angle coverage a few years ago, but now ultra-short focal length lenses designed specifically for digital SLRs have effectively counteracted the problem of smaller sensors cropping the field-of-view. In this case, why pay through the nose for an unnecessarily large sensor when a cropped body and ultra wide lens can deliver the same field-of-view at a lower price?

It's certainly a compelling argument and one we'll fully address in our review. So read on to discover if the 5D's the holy grail of digital SLRs or the solution to a problem which no longer exists. Note: the body tested was running firmware version 1.0.1.


EOS 5D Mark2

Movie recording full HD at 1920x1080 and SDTV at 640x480 resolution.
Monaural microphone for audio during video recording, speaker for playback and microphone jack for external stereo microphone
Live preview with ExpSim LV 'exposure simulation' live preview (full exposure preview control utilizing ExpSim LV, a first for video in a DSLR)
Live preview with contrast-detect autofocus
HDMI video output for live preview or playing clips and images on an external monitor via Type C MiniHDMI port
Dust reduction system to perform automatic sensor cleaning
Battery management software


EOS 6D Mark 2




  LENSES USED IN THIS GALLERY   

Pentax 18-55

PENTAX Imaging Company has introduced the smc PENTAX-DA Zoom 18mm-55mm F3.5-F5.6 AL lens. Exclusively designed for PENTAX digital SLR cameras including the newly announced *ist DS SLR, the PENTAX-DA Zoom 18-55 lens is portable and affordable to ensure comfortable, well-balanced operations. This compact, lightweight standard zoom lens features an image circle to match the camera's large 23.5mm x 15.7mm image sensor.

PENTAX will unveil the lens and other new and exciting digital products on September 20 at the PEPCOM Holiday Spectacular in New York City.

The PENTAX-DA Zoom 18-55mm lens will ship to major camera retailers in November 2004.

PENTAX Imaging Company is an innovative leader in the production of digital and film cameras, binoculars, spotting scopes, eyepieces, lenses, mobile printers, scanners and internet cameras. For more than 80 years, PENTAX technology has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses. PENTAX Imaging Company is a division of PENTAX of America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PENTAX Corporation of Japan.

Major features of the PENTAX –DA Zoom 18-55 lens include:
Ideal zoom range for a standard lens
Mounted on the PENTAX *ist DS, this zoom lens provides an angle-of-view equivalent to a 27.5mm-84mm lens in the 35mm format that covers the most frequently used ranges from wide angle to moderate telephoto.

Compact dimensions with minimal aberrations
The aspherical optical elements in this new lens contribute to a reduction in size and weight of the lens and to more effective compensation of unwanted aberrations.

Functional and fashionable design
The aperture ring has been eliminated from this lens to simplify camera operations and improve appearance while aperture-setting operation is performed from the camera body.

Quick-Shift Focus System
Once subjects are captured by the camera's autofocus system, this PENTAX-original system allows photographers to shift the focusing mode instantly to manual without any switching operations.

Specifications
Lens mount
PENTAX K AF mount

A few random photos (from gallery 'v a n t a a' Taken with this lens (click thumbs for bigger versions):

Tokina 28-80

The best tests after all are your own ... so here are mine of a few standard zooms incl. my new Tokina AF 28-80/2.8 AT-X Pro in Minolta mount.

I restarted my (95% slide film including AGFA scala) photography in 1995 with a Minolta 700si and a Sigma AF 28-70/3.5-4.5 UC after a long break in photography. The results looked nice compared to my 1978 Yashica FR with Yashica 50/1.9 and Tokina 28/2.8 which I heavily used until mid 80s. Learning about Photozone I found that Sigma seems to be wrong choice and upgraded to Minolta AF 28-105/3.5-4.5. Loved the results A significant improvement!

In the meantime I upgraded my body to the Minolta 800 si (much more user friendly, reliable results) and recently the Dynax 9 (could not resist). Added lenses learning lessons with Sigma AF 70-210/4-5.6 UC APO and Tamron 200-400/5.6LD, both traded for the Tokina 80-400/4.5-5.6 SD (much better than both) and lately for the Tokina AF 80-200/2.8 AT-X Pro (best so far).
I also got the Minolta AF 85/1.4 G (love it) and the Tokina AF 17/3.5 AT-X. Looking for the matching standard zoom ever since Tokina announced their new Tokina AF 28-80/2.8 AT-X Pro in January or so, I finally test-ordered it at a local dealer together with the old Tokina AF 28-70/2.6-2.8 AT-X Pro II. I shot several series of Ulm (my local German town) street motives on overcast and sunny (this summer? no kidding!) days on Kodak EBX, trying all three lenses at 28/45/70 mm wide open, at f5.6 and f8.

Results:

at 28 mm, wide open: Minolta was the softest with neutral colours and the lowest flare! The 28-70 ATX showed more fine details with a cool color balance, therefore very "contrasty" but with heavy flare. The 28-80 AT-X matched the 28-70 AT-X, warm colours that fooled me first in thinking it is softer than 28-70 AT-X, heavy flare as well. All three lenses showed significant vignetting and acceptable distortions. At f5.6 and f8: vignetting was gone at f5.6 and there's an overall quality improvement. In a ranking the 28-80 AT-X comes first here with the 28-70 AT-X second and the Minolta 28-105 last (still O.k. but once I saw resolution of AT-X it was already clear that I would upgrade).

at 45 mm: I expected to see 28-80 AT-X to be lousy following the Foto Magazine test, but the situation remainded basically the same though the gap between the Minolta and the Tokinas was closing. Wide open the Minolta was softest but better than at 28, neutral colours, lowest flare. The 28-70 AT-X showed more fine details again, cool, therfore "contrasty", heavy flare. The 28-80 AT-X matched the 28-70 AT-X, warm colours, heavy flare. All three showed significant vignetting and less distortion than at 28mm. At f5.6 and f8: vignetting gone at 5.6, overall quality improvement. So the 28-80 AT-X comes first again, the 28-70 AT-X second and the Minolta 28-105 last (but much closer than at 28!)

at 70 mm: I skip the detailed review, the significant things are that vignetting wide open was much better with all lenses and that the Minolta outperformed the 28-70 AT-X in sharpness(!) and matched the 28-80 AT-X, which I call the test winner.
In addition, both Tokinas have outstanding mechanics.In further use I noted that the 28-80 can be switched from AF mode (focus ring disengaged) to MF (focus ring engaged) and back completely independend from the actual focus setting of the lens, an improvement compared to my 2.8/80-200 ATX Pro.I did not check this with the 28-70 AT-X.
After using the lens for 9 months with a therefore matured opinion of this lens I would like to add the following impressions:

The Pros:
The lense performance is so satisfying that it allows to leave all other lenses at home, this is based on 99% slide photography (includes B&W Scala by Agfa) and projecting
with a serious Rollei on a 2x2m screen.

The Cons:

Distortions
Compared to my two fix focal length lenses (Tokina 17/3.5 ATX and Minolta 85/1.4 G) they are too noticeable to be ignored when it comes to a serious portrait or architectural shot. The "neutral" focal length is approx. 35 mm. BTW, the good thing about this is that I rediscovered the 35 mmm as a serious tool for photography.
Counterlight Flare
Tokina has done a great job on the "glass" in this lense - yet the flare is caused by reflexions inside the lenses "body". So Tokina: add absorbing finish inside and let us users know if that is an upgradeable feature for the lenses already sold!
All in all this lense allows to save money in two ways:
Do not waste money on a cheap standard zoom - as I did before.
Do not waste money on a genuine f/2.8 standard zoom - this lense does it for half the price!

A few random photos (from gallery 'v a n t a a' Taken with this lens (click thumbs for bigger versions):

2500 Inbult Lens


SPECIFICATIONS: 3x optical zoom
37 - 111mm F2.7 - 4.8
7 elements in 6 groups
Normal: 30 cm - Infinity
Macro: 4 cm - Infinity

A few random photos (from gallery 'v a n t a a' Taken with this lens (click thumbs for bigger versions):

EF 50mm 1.8 II

The EF 50mm f/1.8 II replaced the EF 50mm f/1.8 in 1991. Because of its low price but relatively high optical quality, this lens has excellent value. It is constructed with a plastic body and mount and has a very simple design.

Changes compared to the mk I model are the plastic mount, the absence of a distance window, and a micro motor instead of an arc-form drive. Optically, this lens is almost identical to the first version.

The focus ring on this lens is even smaller than the one on the mk I model and is placed on the front of the outer barrel.

A few random photos (from gallery 'v a n t a a' Taken with this lens (click thumbs for bigger versions):

Tamron 19-35

Tamron's AF19-35mm F/3.5-4.5 is a new affordable super wide-angle zoom ideal for travel, landscape, group portrait, adventure photography and more. Offering an authentic super wide-angle range with an angle of view of 97°- 63° and a close M.O.D. of 19.68 inches, this 19-35mm provides dramatic and fun image making. The lens is easy to carry
anywhere as it weighs just 10.5 ounces and is only 2.66 inches long. It also features a fixed front element group and filter mount, facilitating the use of polarizing filters.

A few random photos (from gallery 'v a n t a a' Taken with this lens (click thumbs for bigger versions):

Canon EF 50mm f1.4

Standard lens featuring superb quality and portability. Two high-refraction lens elements and new Gaussian optics eliminate astigmatism and suppress astigmatic difference. Crisp images with little flare are obtained even at the maximum aperture.

A few random photos (from gallery 'v a n t a a' Taken with this lens (click thumbs for bigger versions):



  ACCESSORIES USED IN THIS GALLERY   


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