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  • Sony Alpha A65 and A77 Feature Comparison

    We recently reported on Sony's introduction of the Alpha SLT-A65 and Alpha SLT-A77. That post has received a lot of interest and we have already started to receive a lot of questions. A question that we are hearing again and again is "What are the main differences between the A65 and the A77?"  We decided there has been enough interest and enough people asking this question that we should just post the main differences here.

    Sony Alpha A65 and A77 Feature ComparisonOne big factor that differentiates the two cameras is the pre-packaged kit lens. The A65 is available as body only or with the Sony 18-55mm lens as a kit. The A77 is also offered as body only, but is also offered with the new 16-50mm f/2.8 lens as a kit. That difference alone may be appealing for some customers to decide one way or the other, and there is a big difference in price to support that decision. The A65 body is $900, and the kit is $1000. The A77 body is $1400 and the kit is $2000. Customers who already have a strong investment in Sony and Minolta glass may not care too much, and will opt for the body only approach. If you are interested in the A77 and acquiring the new 16-50mm f/2.8, the kit is $100 less than buying the lens and body separately (the lens as a standalone purchase is $700).

    Certainly there are more differences than just that:

    A65 A77
    Strong Polycarbonate Body Magnesium Alloy Body with Moisture & Dust Resistance
    Up to 10 FPS with AF In Speed Priority AE Up to 12 FPS with AF In Speed Priority AE
    2-Way Tilt TruBlack LCD 3-Way Tilt TruBlack LCD
    15-point AF; 3-cross type 19-point AF;11-cross Type
    Single Front Dial & Function Button Front & Rear Dials, top LCD Panel, Multi-direction Control Stick & Function Button
    1/4000th Sec. Top Shutter Speed
    1/160th Sec. Flash Sync Speed
    1/8000th Sec. Top Shutter Speed
    1/250th Sec. Flash Sync Speed
    + / - 3.0 EV + / - 5.0 EV
    Optional Vertical Grip
    DMF Direct Manual Focus Function
    Programmable 3 Memory Recall Function
    PC Flash Sync Post
  • Demystifying SD Memory Cards...Some More

    A while ago we posted information we had received from SanDisk about memory cards, called Memory Card Myths Demystified. We continue to get many questions regarding memory cards, especially Secure Digital (SD) cards. The greatest confusing factors are the designations we all see on the retail packaging and printed on the individual memory cards themselves.

    Secure Digital (SD) Memory Cards

    What is the difference between SD, SDHC, and, now, what the heck is SDXC? A standard SD card has a memory capacity up to 2GB (2,048 MB). SDHC memory cards begin with a memory capacity above 2GB and end at 32GB. SDXC is a more recent designation that simply indicates cards with a capacity over 32GB and up to 2TB (2,048GB, 2,097,152MB). These designations simply indicate the potential memory capacity of the card. That's it.

    But it gets more confusing because why even worry about these designations in the first place? Why care if SDHC cards could potentially be 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or even 32GB? The short answer is compatibility. SDHC cards are not compatible with older cameras that were manufactured when standard SD cards were the norm. If you were to try to use a SDHC card in a non-compatible camera, the camera would not work. You would be provided with an error of something like "card read error", and the camera would be locked up. So, it is important to know if your camera can handle, say, a 4GB memory card. And, the same is true with SDXC memory cards. If you have a camera that is not compatible with this capacity card, it will not work. So, before you go out to purchase the latest 64GB card for your digital camera or camcorder, you should first reference the manual to see if the device is compatible. Now, newer cameras are backwards compatible. That means you can use a 2GB memory card with a camera that is SDHC, or even SDXC compatible.

    The frustration a lot of consumers are currently experiencing involves availability of some smaller capacity SD cards. Not too long ago, it used to be difficult to find 1GB memory cards, and now you almost see them nowhere. That is not so much a problem considering you can just purchase a 2GB memory card, and the only downside (or upside depending on who you are and how you look at it) is that you will have more capacity for storing your images and/or video. Now, like the 1GB cards, it is starting to be difficult to find 2GB memory cards. But why, you may ask? It is starting to cost more to manufacture 2GB memory cards than it is to make 4GB memory cards. With higher megapixel cameras and HD video becoming the norm, consumers are purchasing larger cards. There is no longer a large enough market to support the lower prices of the 2GB cards, so we slowly see them being phased out. The big problem that is occurring that did not happen when 1GB memory cards were being phased out is that a 4GB SD card is an SDHC card, and is therefore not backwards compatible with older cameras. If you have an older camera and you need a memory card, you are starting to run into trouble. We still carry 2GB memory cards, and hope to carry them for a while. They are starting to cost us more than 4GB memory cards, but we have yet to raise the price.

    The other designation we see customers having a difficult time with are speed classes. Like the capacity designations mentioned above where SDHC indicates a capacity range, speed classes just indicate the speed (read and/or write) of the memory card. Speed classes for still photography, and shooting still photographs, is not as critical a point as it is for video. Most cards will indicate the max burst speed of the memory card in either MB/s (megabytes per second) or an "x" factor. Although these cards can achieve these speeds in bursts, like in saving a smaller still picture from a camera to the memory card, these indications do not tell the whole story, especially when thinking about video and larger transfers.

    In order to understand the sustained speed of a card, you need to look at how the "class" is designated. The speed classes are very easy because they are self-explanatory. A card labeled "Class 2" has a sustained write speed of at least 2MB/s, a "Class 4" card is at least 4MB/S, "Class 6" 6MB/s, and so on. This is important for video because, although it is OK in most situations for a card's speed to fluctuate while still images are being written, it is not OK for a card's speed to dip below a minimum while recording video. If you are shooting video and a memory card dips below the necessary sustained write speed for that device, the camera will "drop" frames and the video will suddenly appear choppy. On the other hand, with still photography, the still image has already been written and is simply being sent to the card from the camera's buffer. If it takes a little more time, so be it, the image is not jeopardized.

    Note how we italicized "at least" above. A memory card that is Class 2, may be much faster in bursts, or could be even faster in terms of sustained speeds, but at a minimum it is 2MB/s. How do you know how fast the card must be for your device? Simply check the manufacturer's specifications in the manual or elsewhere. The manufacturer will designate the minimum class that will be required for smooth video and operation. Also, keep in mind that high speed cards can be very useful for every day use beyond shooting video. If you are like most people, you probably wait to transfer your images until after you fill up an entire card. If you have a 16GB card, transferring all of that data can take a long time. To save yourself time and frustration, you may want to consider a faster speed card to save yourself having to wait around while your images transfer from your card to your backup device, like your computer.

    Now that you feel more confident with speed classes, some of the latest cards use UHS (Ultra High Speed) bus interface technology. As high-definition video digital SLRs and larger resolution digital video devices start to become the norm, this technology with faster transfer speeds will be more widely used and expected. UHS cards are currently either designated with UHS-I and UHS-II, and the transfer rates go up to 312 MB/s. Before you rush out to get these ultra-fast cards, keep in mind that only a couple of cameras are currently compatible, like the Nikon D7000, and your card reader may not be able to take full advantage of the speed. But, these cards are backwards compatible and can offer faster transfer rates than other cards, even with non-UHS compatible devices. If you are interested in a UHS SD memory card, our most popular selling card is currently this one made by SanDisk. In addition, a great resource for information on SD memory cards is the SD Association website.

    What prompted this post in the first place was actually a thread in a forum regarding the Hoodman RAW Steel SD memory cards. All of the Hoodman promotional images of these cards show them without a write-protect tab. Someone in a forum wanted to know if they do have one, and we got in on the conversation to confirm that they do. Shortly thereafter someone wanted to know the speed of these cards. Hoodman has not been good about publishing significant speed information like some other manufacturers do, but they do indicate them as Class 10 cards. We were therefore curious how the Hoodmans stacked up against some other cards in terms of speed, and decided to put them through a simple test.

    We gathered a handful of memory cards lying around our retail store. We have dozens of display cameras, and always have some extra SD cards lying around, so we took those for testing. We also grabbed a Hoodman RAW Steel SD memory card to see how it fared. We could have simply tested the Hoodman by itself, but we were curious to see how cards compare to how they are advertised. See below for the data. Please know that we only tested sustained speeds. We were surprised to see that the two memory cards we tested that indicated being Class 4, were actually much faster. The other cards were pretty much as advertised. The old 128MB Fujifilm card we had was less than a tenth as fast as the fastest card we tried, which turned out to be a Class 4 SanDisk. Although this was only 128MB in capacity, it seemed to take forever to test.

    Also, we want to mention that if you haven't already, you may want to check out this post we made on the Hoodman RAW Steel SD memory cards earlier on this blog.

    Delkin Devices 2GB SD Memory CardDelkin Devices "Standard" 17MB/s 115x 2GB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 5.25 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 15.7 MB/s 

    Delkin Devices 4GB SD Memory Card

    Delkin Devices "Pro" Class 6 22MB/s 150x 4GB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 7.70 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 18.6 MB/s 

    Delkin Devices 4GB SD Memory Card

    Delkin Devices Class 4 4GB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 8.92 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 16.1 MB/s

    Fujifilm 128MB SD Memory Card

    Fujifilm 128MB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 1.47 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 6.83 MB/s

     

    Hoodman RAW Steel SD Memory Card

    Hoodman RAW Steel 4GB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 10.3 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 18.5 MB/s

     

    Sandisk Ultra SD Memory Card

    SanDisk Ultra Class 4 15MB/s 2GB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 10.6 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 18.7 MB/s

  • Zeiss Camera Lens News Issue No. 40 - Macro Photography

    More than 3 months ago Zeiss transformed their Camera Lens Newsletter into a blog. The previous newsletter was a series of articles assembled in an easy to download, print and/or view PDF file. The new blog format has the advantage of being more current and up-to-date by providing instant publishing of current topics. The Zeiss Camera Lens Newsletter is now simply a collection of blog posts for the last quarter (3 months), usually on a given subject or topic. This CLN is on macro photography, and the articles can be found here.

    Our favorite articles are Mozart in Miniature, and the ongoing series of articles about Zeiss lens names with this one highlighting Planar. Mozart in Miniature helps to highlight the detail and artistic bokeh of the 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar, a customer favorite for our store.

    Also, although this is not exactly on-topic in regards to Camera Lens News, it does involve Zeiss lenses. The Zeiss M-mount lenses continue to be tight in supply. Luckily, we have started to see more and more come through the pipeline. More recently we have received the Biogon T* 35mm f/2, which can be found here.

  • Nikon Support Article: "Why is 'in-lens' VR superior to 'in-camera' VR?"

    Diagram of lens shift correction VR systems

    Lens Shift Correction (from Nikon article mentioned in this post)

    Let's face it, the draw for many photographers to camera systems made by manufacturer's like Sony and Pentax is the in-camera anti-shake technology. Take any lens, including older lenses being used with adapters, and you have VR. Nikon obviously recognizes this draw because they recently found it necessary to point out the benefits of an in-lens vibration reduction system over an in-camera system. See the support article here:

    Why is 'in-lens' VR superior to 'in-camera' VR?

    Nikon highlights four points in this article, which we will include here for quick reading:

    1. Corrected finder image makes photo composition easy.
    2. Each lens is optimally tuned to achieve reliable correction.
    3. Image information captured by the AF and metering sensors is corrected with in-lens VR.
    4. Patterns of image blur are not the same with all lenses.

    We think point number 2 is probably the most important for arguing the in-lens anti-shake system over an in-camera system. It has now been widely accepted that in-lens anti-shake systems are more effective at reducing blur than in-camera systems, for the exact reason that point number 2 mentions.

    One thing that Nikon does not mention, and it is no surprise that they don't, is what benefit is the in-lens system if the lens does not have VR? Does Nikon manufacture a 50mm f/1.4 with vibration reduction? The answer is no. But mount a 50mm f/1.4 to a camera with an in-camera shake reduction system and you will see at least some benefit.

  • Inside the making of a Leica lens: A brief video

    We recently ran across a brief video highlighting some of the processes involved in the manufacturing and assembly of Leica lenses. Many people ask: "Why are Leica lenses (and products in general) more expensive than many other camera equipment manufacturers?" After this video you'll certainly get a better idea. Notice all of the people who are part of the manufacturing process. A lot of human hands go into making one lens.

    Here's the video:

  • Order Prints From Our Website, Pick Them Up In Our Store

    Did you know you can order prints directly from our website and pick them up at a later time in our store? That's right, you can! And, all from the comfort of your underwear. No need to lug around big, heavy memory cards, or no need to wait ages for CDs to burn. Just upload files directly from your own computer.

    Here's how you get started. At the bottom of our website is an area that looks like this:

    Click on the link highlighted by the red circle.

    You will be directed to a new page that looks like the picture below. You may encounter a pop-up or a dialogue at the top of your web browser asking if it is OK for Java to run. Make sure you say that it's fine. If you don't have Java installed, you will need it. You can find Java here for download.
    Go ahead and click on the "Add Photos..." button. You will get this pop-up window that allows you to select a source for finding the photos you will want printed:

    You can choose pictures from Facebook, but we almost never recommend that you do. Why not? Well, when pictures are uploaded to Facebook, Facebook automatically compresses the files for quick viewing. The decrease in file size is great for viewing on the computer because it allows for quick web browsing, but there is a caveat. Smaller file sizes mean poorer image quality when printed. Unless you want blurry, pixelated prints, we suggest you stick with choosing pictures from your computer.

    Clicking on "My Computer" brings up a window that allows you to browse the file structure of your computer. Simply click to the folder where you store the photographs you want printed, and images will be shown on the right side of the window. Click the check boxes next to the pictures you absolutely want printed, and then hit the "Ok" button after all of your desired photos are selected.

    Your selected images will now show up on the webpage. Hover you mouse icon over an image to get access to print sizes and quantities. Use the plus and minus to add or remove print sizes and quantities. Please note any sizes with a red "x" next to them. These indicate images that will suffer in quality if printed at those sizes. Print at your own risk if you see this icon.

    Hover your mouse icon over another picture to select the desired sizes and quantities for that image. It is important to remember that print sizes and quantities are different for each image. Selecting the desired print size and quantity for one image will not automatically apply those settings to all images. So, feel free to mix and match! In the screen shot above, notice the "Crop/Edit" option. If you would like to alter an image, click this icon to crop, change colors, remove red-eye, etc..

    When the "Crop/Edit" icon is clicked, you will be given the above window. Click the double arrow icon in the lower right-hand corner of the image and drag to alter the transparent box and indicate your desired crop. Any dark area around the transparent box will be cropped out during printing. Please note that the more you crop the more the image quality of your final print will suffer, so please make only minor crops or else your prints may look blurry/pixelated. Click the green arrows in the blue boxes to switch between images.

    If you would like to add more photos for printing, feel free to click the "Add More Photos..." icon. Note the crop of any photos you have altered, and the print sizes and quantities for all photos. If everything looks correct, click the "Next Step" button. If you would like to print a lot of photos at, say, 4x6 and doubles, click the "Express Order" button. This will allow you to apply a specific size and quantity to all of the photos you have selected, so you won't have to go through each one individually.

    On this window, select the desired options you would like including either Matte or Glossy finish. Matte finish is textured. Make sure "Quick Photo Upload" is selected, otherwise you may have to wait a lot longer for the images to be uploaded. Also, make sure you make any comments or special instructions in the box at the bottom of this page.

    Review your order, and please note that any cropping you may have selected will not be previewed on this page. Check quantities, sizes, and the total and then click "Add To Cart".

    This page shows your shopping cart. Continue with the order by clicking "Proceed to secure checkout". Also, here is another chance to review your total to make sure it is correct. This is especially important if you used the Express Order feature in case you selected more photos than you originally wanted. If the total does not look correct click on the "Print Order# ........" on the top-left of the page to alter the order.

    On this final page, make sure to enter your information so we can identify your order. When all of your information is entered, click "Order now". Once this button is clicked, your order and images will be sent to us for printing, and we will start printing your order as soon as possible.

    Most orders are printed within 24-48 hours. If you require faster service, please contact us first to arrange for expedited printing before submitting any orders. All orders are printed in the order they are received. Please allow extra time during holiday/high traffic seasons. Please feel free to call us to check on an order before coming to the store for pick up.

  • Playing with Lens Mount Adapters

    Did you ever play with your food as a child? Ever stick broccoli in mashed potatoes to make them stand like trees? Then created a road of ketchup through the forest of broccoli to lead to a cabin built of toast?

    Playing with food

    Photo: Saxton Freymann, taken from the New York Times website

    Maybe playing with food is not a universal desire for children, but there is something undeniably appealing about mixing and matching that even adults cannot forsake. If you are a photographer, the desire to mix, match, or adapt has reached a golden era. I can think of no other time in photography when one could experiment with so many different lens and camera combinations with efficacious results. A lot of this success can be attributed to the mirrorless interchangeable lens digital camera.

    Leica Lens Adapted to Panasonic Lumix GH1

    Leica Dual-Range Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Lens adapted to a Panasonic Lumix GH1

    Doing away with the mirror box of a traditional SLR has opened up a whole new world for adaptation. And, this can only be done with digital, since digital cameras do not need a viewfinder for composition. The electronic LCD works just fine. Virtually any lens can now be adapted to these cameras because of the short distance from the sensor to the lens mount. Lens mount adapter manufacturers have a lot of play for getting lenses adapted to these cameras without jeopardizing the infinity focus of the lens being mounted.

    We sell a lot of different mount adapters. Most of the ones we sell are inexpensive, generic adapters we import ourselves. The results are generally good, but can be mixed. The overall build quality of the adapters are above average, but the machining is not always consistent. For example, when using adapters with an M42 screw-mount, once the lens is screwed on, it may not always line up as you would want. What is often considered the top of the lens--the focus and aperture markings facing up--may face down. The great benefit of these adapters is the value. None of theses adapters cost more than $50. If you are interested in any of these adapters, please give us a call.

    When it comes to high-quality lens mount adapters, the universal name is Novoflex. The machining of these adapters is right on, and the quality control is consistent. We have yet to experience a Novoflex adapter that does not smoothly and securely latch in to place when being mounted on a camera body, and the same goes when mounting a lens to the front of the adapter. In addition, the tolerances are spot on. Once the lens and adapter are mounted to a camera, there is virtually no play--the mount is solid. The downside of the Novoflex adapters is price. These adapters range from $150 to close to $300, which makes them as expensive as some lenses. If you are making an investment for a lifetime of use, however, the Novoflex adapters are a perfect choice. Many of the Novoflex adapters we sell can be found for sale at our website here.

    We recently took the GH1 pictured above for a photography stroll. The dual-range summicron is an excellent lens in terms of sharpness. The only issue with using a 50mm lens on a micro 4/3rds camera, however, is the 2x focal length multiplier. The 50mm focal length of the Leica on a GH1 has the field-of-view of a 100mm lens on a full-frame camera (you can learn more about this and depth-of-field on a another post we made here). The images featured below have no post processing, besides the cropped images, which were...cropped. In terms of sharpening and other enhancements, there was nothing done in post-processing to these images. I will say that the camera was set to JPG, so the image processor will have added some in-camera sharpening there. As you will see, however, the little 50mm dual-range Leica is a great performer. CameraQuest speaks highly of this lens, and more information can be found at their website here. In fact, you can find this statement from their website: "A 50 DR had the honor of having the highest resolution ever tested by the now sorely missed American photography magazine, Modern Photography, at over 100 lines per mm".

    Picture of flowers taken with a Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Picture of flowers taken with a Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Flower picture cropped to show detail

    Flower picture cropped to show detail

    Picture of walk sign taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Picture of walk sign taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Picture of plant taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Picture of plant taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Plant picture cropped to show detail

    Plant picture cropped to show detail

     

    Picture of Yoda taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Picture of Yoda taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Perhaps the most interesting part of using lens mount adapters is the sheer fun of mixing and matching old lenses with different camera bodies and observing the results. There is so much excitement in taken lenses from the 30's to 60's, or whatever time period, and using them on modern cameras. The results are usually surprisingly good, and often create a look that is not achievable with modern lenses. So go ahead, play with your food.

  • Curious what $30,000 looks like?

    The Leica M9 "Titan" or "Titanium" was made as a special edition set of just 500 pieces. Walter de'Silva "re-interpreted" the M9 design to come up with a pretty unique camera. The set included a 35mm f/1.4 and an "innovative carrying and holding concept" (read: case), plus a couple other non-standard goodies. We ran across an unboxing of this $30,000 behemoth set and thought we would reshare it with you:

    If we've whetted your appetite to learn more, you can check out the full description of the special edition M9 at Leica's website here.

  • Depth-of-Field and Small(er) Sensor Digital Cameras

    The image sensor housed in a traditional compact point-and-shoot digital camera is very small.

    Digital Image Sensor SizesIn the image above, most compact digital cameras have image sensors that range in size from the yellow to light-blue boxes, or smaller. The full-sized, gray box is "full-frame" and is considered so because it represents the full-frame of a traditional 35mm negative. Although there are not many digital cameras that currently use a full-frame image sensor, many of the more expensive, and higher image quality digital cameras like the Canon 1Ds series, Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D3 series, Nikon D700, and Leica M9, to name a few, have full-frame digital image sensors.

    When using a camera with a smaller image sensor the lens has to have a shorter focal length to achieve the same field-of-view as a lens mounted in front of a full-frame image sensor. For example, the popular Olympus micro 4/3rds digital cameras have an image sensor, in the image above, of 4/3" in size, which is 1/2 the area of a full frame. Due to the area being 1/2 that of the full-frame, these cameras have what is called a 2x crop factor. Essentially, in order to achieve the same field-of-view as full-frame, a lens with 1/2 shorter focal length is required. Or, when using the micro 4/3rds, or the 4/3rds, Olympus, you can calculate the focal length field-of-view equivalent for full-frame by doubling the lens's focal length that is mounted to the camera. If a 14mm lens is being used, it's effective field-of-view in terms of a 35mm full-frame focal length is equivalent to 28mm. Taking this a step further, due to the very small size of many compact digital point-and-shoot cameras, in order to achieve a a 24-28mm equivalent field-of-view with a full-frame camera, the lenses on the smaller-sensor cameras start at around 4-5mm in focal length.

    This is very important in thinking about depth-of-field because shorter focal length lenses produce images with a greater perceived depth-of-field at an equivalent aperture and distance to subject. Using a 100mm lens set to an aperture of f/4 on a full-frame camera with a subject distance at 10 meters, the depth-of-field with acceptable sharpness starts at approximately 8.9 meters and ends at 11.5 meters. Whereas, the same setup using a 28mm lens set to an aperture of f/4 has acceptable sharpness from approximately 3.8 meters to infinity. If you are using a micro 4/3rds camera with a 14mm lens, although the perceived field-of-view is 28mm, the depth-of-field is guided by the absolute focal length, in this case 14mm. The depth-of-field will, therefore, be greater with the micro 4/3rds camera using a 14mm lens than a full-frame camera using a 28mm lens, even though the overall perspective (field-of-view) of the images will look the same. When thinking about compact point-and-shoot cameras, this becomes even more dramatic considering the short 4-5mm lenses currently beings used.

    Take a look at the images below. These were quickly taken to illustrate the differences in depth-of-field noted above.

    Nikon D700 (full-frame) with 70mm lens, set to 1/10 of a second, f/5.6 and 400 ISO

    Nikon D700 (full-frame) with 70mm lens, set to 1/10 of a second, f/5.6 and 400 ISO

    Olympus E-PL2 (micro 4/3rds) with 36mm lens, set to 1/10 of a second, f/5.6 and 400 ISO

    Olympus E-PL2 (micro 4/3rds) with 36mm lens, set to 1/10 of a second, f/5.6 and 400 ISO

    The first image was a D700, which is a full-frame sensor camera, mounted on a tripod with a 70mm lens attached. White balance was auto, but doesn't matter anyway as we are only looking at the depth-of-field. The second image was an Olympus E-PL2, which is a micro 4/3rds camera and therefore has a smaller image sensor than the D700, with a 14-42mm lens that I set to what I thought was 35mm on the focal length scale, but the EXIF data told me was actually 36mm. Everything else was set the same on both cameras. As you can see the auto white balance of both cameras yields very different results. In any case, what is important, however, are the differences in depth-of-field. The perspectives of both images are slightly off, but the D700 does sit higher than the E-PL2 on a tripod, and the E-PL2 has a different aspect ratio (hence why the left and right edges are cut-off by the E-PL2). But, you do get the idea that you are looking at the same scene without any real major differences in the composition. For both images, the autofocus point for the cameras was set to the center dot, and it was pointed on the PE of the Pentax box in the center of the frame. Lets take a close up look at the images:

    Nikon D700 Crop

    Nikon D700 Crop

    Olympus E-PL2 Crop

    Olympus E-PL2 Crop

    Nikon D700 Crop

    Nikon D700 Crop

    Olympus E-PL2 Crop

    Olympus E-PL2 Crop

    As you can see in the cropped images, the E-PL2 overall shows a greater area of sharpness even though the apertures were set to same f/5.6. Due to the differences in the sensor sizes the overall composition remains the same, even though the focal lengths of the lenses were different, 70mm and 36mm. When thinking about or trying to decide on a digital camera, it is important to keep in mind the differences in sensor sizes as the size will effect the lens choices you make and how the images are ultimately rendered.

  • Does my camera require a special charger to travel overseas?

    Almost every day we hear this question from customers, and the most common answer is no. Although not necessarily true in all cases, most chargers are auto voltage sensing. The voltage in the United States is 110. The voltage throughout Europe is 220. If the charger that came with your digital camera or camcorder was set to 110V, you would be out of luck when travelling through Europe. Luckily, must chargers have a voltage range of 100V-240V (see image below for what to look for on a charger to ensure it has the proper voltage sensing range):

    Voltage Sensing Charger DetailNow that you know your charger is compatible for international travel, you can pack it up and go, right? Well not so fast. The physical outlets in foreign countries are different than here in the United States. The consequence is that if you take your charger and try to plug it in the electrical outlet in some foreign country, most likely it isn't going to fit. Luckily, there is an easy solution. All you require is a plug adapter. Now, with plug adapter and auto voltage sensing charger in hand, enjoy exploring the world and make sure to send us some of your wonderful, albeit jealousy-inducing, photographs!

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