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  • Current Instant Savings on Select Nikon Digital Cameras, Including Lens Add-Ons

    Nikon Coolpix S3100
    Nikon Coolpix S4100
    Nikon Coolpix S80
    Nikon Coolpix P7000
    Nikon Coolpix S6100
    Nikon Coolpix L120
    Nikon Coolpix P500
    Nikon Coolpix P7000
    Nikon D5100 18-55mm VR Kit
    Nikon D5100 18-55mm VR Outfit
    Nikon D3100 18-55mm VR Kit
  • 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.

  • Carl Dunn: World Published Rock Photographer

    Mick Jagger Color Photograph by Carl Dunn

    Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones) - Fort Worth, Texas

    Stop in to any record or CD store anywhere in the world and you can find examples of Carl Dunn's work. Carl Dunn has been photographing musicians for over 40 years. His scope of work includes 10s of thousands of photographs of some of the biggest names in music. Carl has photographed David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, James Marshall Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Elvis, Jeff Beck, and The Who, just to name a few. His album and book credits include Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Moody Blues and many lessor known artist from the 70's, as well as having credits in many documentary films. Early on, Carl was able to form unique relationships that allowed him full access to the biggest names in music. He's shot musicians in varied environments from concerts, to bars, in studios, backstage and in candid situations.

    Robert Plant B&W Photography by Carl Dunn

    Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) - Dallas, Texas

    Many of his images are iconic in nature. Carl's ability to capture a musician in a single moment and to tell a story about their artistry through a single image is remarkable. Yet, speaking with Carl you do not get the sense that his photographs are really that big of a deal. In fact, for Carl, you get the sense that photographing musicians is a second nature to ordinary life: "I shoot the same photograph over and over." He likes to consider his photography as a "curiosity driven by some underlying passion."

    Pete Townshend B&W Photograph by Carl Dunn

    Pete Townshend (The Who) - Dallas, Texas

    Carl is a Nikon shooter, and he always has been. Carl's choice in a camera system was based on the quality of Nikon lenses at the time of his start in photography. In considering lens sharpness, Carl thinks that "Nikon [lenses] compared to other 35mm manufacturers of the day were by far the best with the possible exception of Leica." His early photographs were shot with a Nikon F and the Nikon 300mm f/4, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, and 180mm f/2.8. The 300mm f/4 was stolen, however, so the majority of his early photographs were taken with the remaining three lenses.

    David Bowie B&W Photograph by Carl Dunn

    David Bowie - Memphis, Tennessee

    Carl has recently been working on scanning many of his older negatives into digital files. He acquired a Nikon Coolscan 9000 from us a little while ago (unfortunately these great scanners are discontinued and no longer available), and is impressed with the quality. The scans require a little bit of work, and Carl makes sure to use the multi-sampling functionality to get the highest quality results. One issue that plagues his work is getting the negatives clean. Years of storage, even in archival negative sleeves, have not been kind to the scanning process. Carl tries to get the negatives as clean as possible with PEC-12 emulsion cleaner by Photographic Solutions. Scratches and stubborn spots cannot be resolved in this way, however, so Carl resorts to post-processing. He spends a lot of time with each photograph, viewing the digital image at 100% and correcting any artifacts at their size scale.

    Photograph by Carl Dunn

    Paul Rodgers and Brian May (Queen) - MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada

    Carl lives in Texas, but has been our customer for several years now. He first contacted us when he was interested in a Nikon D3 and saw that we had some. Lucky for us, Carl has been a customer ever since, and he calls us up whenever he needs something, or to just talk about life. Carl's transition into digital photography has been a satisfying one. Carl is especially impressed with the low-light advantage of the Nikon D3. He says, "With Nikon's ability to capture at low light I find the biggest advantage  is to get the shutter speed up and the aperture squeezed down." Carl has often told me that he likes to shoot stopped down to at least f/5.6 because that is when he gets a more 3-dimensional feel to the image. And, being able to use a camera with a very clean high-iso allows him to do this and still be able to maintain a useful shutter speed. A tip he suggests, "The main thing is to avoid over exposure, which is especially critical with digital cameras and concert lighting."

    Concert Hall Panorama by Carl Dunn

    Jeff Beck Group - Palace Theater, Louisville, Kentucky

    One of the more recent excitements in digital photography for Carl is the panorama. In his earlier days of photography he tried capturing concert venues with a wide-angle lens. Unfortunately, the wide-angle never captured the entire feel and moment of the concert. With digital photography Carl is able to capture multiple images and stitch them together to get a perspective that would not otherwise be possible with a single shot using a wide-angle lens.

    Concert Venue Panorma by Carl Dunn

    Jeff Beck Group - Eastman Theater, Rochester Jazz Festival, Rochester, New York

    In addition to the changes seen by digital photography, Carl is amazed by the quality of modern lenses. He notes that the sharpness of his current images are far better than anything he has before produced. His most used lenses are the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. The first instinct many photographers might have is that these lenses are too slow for the low-light situations of concert venues, wanting to grab for a f/1.8 or faster lens. Again, the unparalleled high-ISO performance of the D3 allows for Carl to use smaller apertures and still maintain a fast enough shutter speed for sharp images.

    James Marshall Hendrix B&W Photograph by Carl Dunn

    James Marshall Hendrix (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) - Dallas, Texas

    Carl is still photographing musicians, and recently followed Jeff Beck. He is a contributor to the UK Cancer Research charity and auction held annually at Abbey Road Studio in London and hosted by Sir George Martin. Carl has published a book of his work and the book can be seen at http://www.thisisrockandroll.com/. He has prints available for sale at http://rockandrollgallery.com/. Prints and books are also available directly through Carl.

  • On Sale Now! Instant Savings on Select Canon PowerShot Digital Cameras

    Canon makes some of the most popular digital point and shoot cameras in the world, which are also known as PowerShots. And, now through July 9th many of Canon's most sought-after PowerShots are on sale. See below for more information on pricing for each model. Click through the provided links to see more details, and to be able to purchase the cameras online.

    Canon PowerShot SX30 IS:

    Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Digital Camera

    Originally $429, now on sale for $399 after a $30 INSTANT savings.

    Canon PowerShot SX230 IS:

    Canon PowerShot SX230 IS Digital CameraOriginally $349, now on sale for $329 after a $20 INSTANT savings

    Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS:

    Canon PowerShot 500 HS Digital CameraOriginally $299, now on sale for $279 after a $20 INSTANT savings.

    Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS:

    Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS Digital CameraOriginally $249, now on sale for $229 after a $20 INSTANT savings.

    Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS:

    Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS Digital CameraOriginally $199, now on sale for $179 after $20 INSTANT savings.

    Canon PowerShot A2200:

    Canon PowerShot A2200 Digital CameraOriginally $139, now on sale for $129 after a $10 INSTANT savings.

    With the July 4th weekend just around the corner any of these cameras would make a great addition for capturing every moment at your big party. Plus, all of these cameras offer a "fireworks" scene mode that allows for longer exposures to capture the entire trail of exploding fireworks. Keep in mind that a tripod will be required as any movement of the camera during a long exposure will render the image blurry.

  • 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!

  • Memory Card Myths Demystefied

    The good people at SanDisk recently sent us some information about memory cards. There are a lot of myths surrounding memory cards, and certainly a lot of confusion when it comes to SD cards and differences in speeds, and those speeds when thinking of taking stills vs. video.

    We've copied the document SanDisk provided to us for you here. We hope it helps in demystifying any confusion you may currently have about memory cards.

    Memory Myths – Clear the Clutter
    The basic concept

    Think about a memory card as if it is a sponge. The data from your camera is a glass of water. Three basic principles govern the relationship between the sponge (card) and the water (data).

    Card capacity – how much water (data) can the sponge absorb
    Write speed of the card – how quickly can the sponge (card) absorb the water (data), expressed in MBS (MegaBytes per Second)
    Read speed of the card – how quickly can I wring out the sponge (card) once it’s full of water (data), also expressed in MBS (MegaBytes per Second)

    1. All cards are created equal
    False.

    SanDisk is one only of six prime manufacturers of flash memory wafers in the world, and we are the leader in flash memory cards. In addition to manufacturing our own flash, we also manufacture our own controllers (the “traffic cop” under the hood that determines where data gets written on the flash). Our controller technology reduces the likelihood that any one sector wears out prematurely, so the life of the card is maximized, and bottom line – you come home with your pictures and/ or video content.

    We also write the code that allows all the components to communicate and we do our own assembly and rigorous quality control testing. This is not the case with some other brands of flash cards on the market.

    2. Class is relevant to all performance in all types of memory cards – both for still and video.
    False.

    There are a few measurements of speed for flash cards, just like you can measure the speed of a car in both miles per hour and kilometers per hour.

    There are two measures of speed for CompactFlash cards – MBS (megabytes per second) and the “X” factor.

    Example: our Extreme CompactFlash cards are both 60MBS and 400X. These numbers represent the rate at which data can be transferred from/ to the card and host device (camera/ camcorder). If you know the MBS number (in this case 60MBS), you simply divide that number by .15, so in this case:
    60MBS/ .15 = 400X
    Conversely, if you know the “X factor, you can easily calculate the MBS:
    400X x .15 = 60MBS

    It’s a little more complicated with SDHC cards where there are three measures of speed. Let’s take an Extreme 30MBS, 200X, Class 6 card as an example. The same relationship between MBS (megabytes per second) and the “X” factor applies to SDHC as to CompactFlash:
    30MBS/ .15 = 200X

    In addition to the MBS and “X” factor, SDHC cards are also designated with a Class rating (typically Class 4, 6, or 10). The Class rating system is ONLY relevant when shooting full 1080P HD video onto SDHC cards. It is not applicable to CompactFlash cards and is NOT relevant to still photography when using SDHC cards. By definition, Class is the MINIMUM sustained read/ write speed of an SDHC card expressed in MegaBytes per Second (or MBS). The Class system was developed when flash based video came into vogue a few years ago, as a means to ensure the end result would be a drop-out free
    video when viewed on your television or PC. For example:
    -your camera manual specs a Class 6 card for shooting 1080P video
    This means you need a card with a minimum sustained write speed of 6MBS (megabytes per second) to ensure proper video quality from your camera/ camcorder.

    In addition, the Class rating is the MINIMUM video recording speed of the card, not the maximum performance (speed) of the card. SanDisk Extreme SDHC cards (ideal for video and still photography) run at a MINIMUM of 6MBS for video recording, and a MAXIMUM of 20MBS for burst shooting. Bottom line – not all Class 6 cards are created equal and the Class rating is only relevant to SDHC cards and only applicable to shooting 1080P HD video.

    3. The speed of a card is more important when shooting video vs. still photography.
    False.

    When recording video, you are shooting a small, but sustained stream of data onto a card (a garden hose). When you are shooting RAW files (still photography) at a burst rate of 5 or 6FPS, you are sending a 10 – 20 megabyte file (based on your particular camera brand/ model) onto a card 5 or 6 times per second (like aiming a fire hose at your memory card).

    4. CompactFlash cards are “professional” and more durable than SD cards.
    False.

    CompactFlash was the first form factor to the market and was the mainstay in digital
    photography for about 5 years. SD cards were developed to allow more compact camera designs, but they are actually more durable than CompactFlash cards because:
    -they are truly waterproof, shockproof, magnet and x-ray proof*

    5. SDXC cards are faster than SDHC cards.
    False.

    By definition:
    0 – 2 gigabytes = SD Card
    2+ - 32 gigabytes = SDHC Card
    32+ gigabytes = SDXC Card
    SDXC is simply a measure of a cards’s CAPACITY, not speed.

    *Up to 32GB capacity (refer to http://www.sandisk.com/about-sandisk/proof)

    If you are looking to purchase new memory, or upgrade the memory you have, please visit our website here:

    Green Mountain Camera : Photo Accessories : Memory Cards

  • Nikon Coolpix P7000 Real World First Impressions

    We've had the Nikon Coolpix P7000 in the store now since September, but we've been so busy we haven't had time to really try the camera out. Yes, there are always the moments in the store when we have a few minutes between customers and we sneak a chance to play with the latest and greatest, but it wasn't until this weekend that we really got to try out the new P7000.

    Nikon Coolpix P7000 High-End Digital Point & Shoot

    For those who are not aware, the Nikon Coolpix P7000 is Nikon's high-end digital point and shoot. This relatively compact digital camera has a lot of advanced features, and many external buttons for the advanced user who wants quick manual control over their picture taking experience.

    The P7000 features a 1/1.7" 10.1 megapixel CCD image sensor. It also features a very useful 28-200mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens with a maximum aperture range of 2.8-5.6. Some of the advanced features include a 1/4000 sec. maximum shutter speed and the ability to shoot in RAW. Unfortunately the RAW file type is not the same as Nikon's D-SLRs (NRW instead of NEF), so Nikon D-SLR users won't find it a seamless process editing the P7000, and their D-SLR RAW, files. For a full list of specifications, please feel free to visit Nikon's website, www.nikonusa.com.

    This weekend we took a few pictures of a barn being built in Milton, VT, and a couple other shots during a short walk in the woods in Williston, VT. First, we will show you the images, and then we will talk about real world first impressions.

    Overall we found the P7000 to be a great, relatively compact digital camera. The image quality is impressive for a point and shoot, and we found the lens to be very sharp. As you can see, we really enjoyed the in-camera black and whites. The camera is extremely light, and especially for how rugged it feels, so carrying it around was a breeze.

    The P7000 offers a lot of external buttons, and at first we found this to be a drawback. The number of buttons, and the overall button layout seemed to slow us down during our picture taking. Of course, and as with anything, once we got familiar with the button configuration, handling the camera was a lot more fun. We did find the exposure compensation dial to be one of the most useful external controls, and the camera seemed to react quickly once the exposure compensation was adjusted, and the LCD instantly displayed a preview of what we could expect. The dial on top of the camera that controls ISO and other functions was unlike the exposure compensation. Using this dial felt "laggy", and changing the ISO seemed to take longer than it really should.

    As mentioned above, we found the lens to be impressively sharp. In addition, the zoom range is very useful. We never really found ourselves wanting more, be it wider angle or more telephoto. For a compact, the 28-200mm zoom range seems to hit a sweet, useful spot for us. We did find the autofocus to overall be very quick for a compact camera, but when we were taking a picture of a darker scene, or something without a lot of contrast, the autofocus had a difficult time. In low light or low contrast we often had the camera hunt for focus, stop, and then give us a blank screen with a message that the lens was initializing. We can see how this could be extremely frustrating, especially if something important was waiting to be captured.

    When taking digital photographs we usually like to take advantage of the instant feedback at our fingertips. So, we often review our photographs, checking for sharp focus. With the P7000 we did find this to be a slower process. Zooming in during playback was "laggy", and then zooming back out just doubled that effort. What we saw when we did zoom in made us happy, however; because there we saw accurate, sharp focus.

    Overall we really enjoyed the P7000. We really liked its light, rugged feel. Carrying it on us wasn't a chore, at all. We thought the bulkier size for a point and shoot would be noticeable, but the light weight kept it from being a drag. Our only qualms with it didn't really have to do with image quality. For a point and shoot, it is definitely at the high-end. We did notice reduced color saturation in dimmer lighting, but this is to be expected. The combination of a longer zoom lens that is also very sharp helped with our creativity. As you can see, we really enjoyed the in-camera black and white functionality of this camera, and thought it made some really dramatic black and whites, which, for us, is the joy of black and white photographs. Many photographers looking for a high-end point and shoot will want this camera to function like an SLR. The reality is that this camera is still a point and shoot, and, therefore, very portable, so it should not be expected to handle like an SLR. For those not expecting it to handle like an SLR, but are still looking for a very high quality, portable camera, we definitely recommend the P7000.

    Interested in purchasing the Nikon Coolpix P7000? Find it by clicking here.

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