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  • Spectacular July 4th Savings on Select Canon Cameras!

    Spectacular July 4th Savings on Select Canon Cameras

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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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