Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 is a comprehensive set of tools to manage, develop and publish digital images. The new version can bring out details from shadows and highlights to an extent never seen before, and can apply sophisticated adjustments either globally or locally. The new Map module will organize pictures by location, based on the GPS data captured by the camera. Digital cameras are increasingly being used to capture moving images, and Lightroom 4 can manage and process those video clips as well as it does still images. Photoshop Lightroom 4 allows the photographer to share pictures via social networks and photo sharing websites, but also to design and order professional-looking photo books.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is an extremely versatile still camera as well as being an easy-to-use, professional quality, DSLR movie camera. While the specification seems similar to its predecessor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is a substantial improvement in real life photography as well as in performance. Its 22-million-pixel CMOS sensor yields great results under normal and low light conditions, and the camera gets its advanced 61-point AF system from Canon’s new professional models. Additionally, this new EOS 5D generation has significantly improved weather resistance and 6fps continuous shooting speeds.
With 12 high-capacity pigment-ink cartridges the PIXMA PRO-1 is the perfect choice for making long-lasting prints of outstanding quality. This is a printer aimed at serious amateurs as well as professional photographers. Not only is the colour rendering excellent and consistent, but also, with five dedicated monochrome inks, black-and-white prints are highly detailed and really stand out. In colour, skin tones appear natural and are reproduced with a high level of accuracy.
The printer supports media of up to A3+ and works quickly, taking less than three minutes to print an A3 photograph, and a second paper feeder adds extra flexibility for those using extra thick media. The PIXMA PRO-1 is full of modern technology that delivers excellent quality with relatively low running costs.
The image quality produced by the Canon PowerShot G1 X is at a level that can compete with many DSLR’s. This is quite amazing for a camera with such a compact body. Using an sensor size that is between the APS-C and micro four thirds formats helps this PowerShot to keep noise well under control even at ISO settings as high as 12800. The powerful Digic 5 processor also plays a major role in reducing image noise and also helps to process the camera’s 14.3-million-pixel, 14 bit, images at top speed. Serious amateurs and professionals alike will appreciate the camera’s ability to save files in raw and in jpeg formats.
The 4x zoom, according to EISA magazine tests, offers good image quality for such a compact design, and the built-in stabilizer, that uses the same hybrid IS technology as some professional Canon lenses, is very efficient.
It is a combination of exceptional lens quality, great build and a revolutionary new sensor design that makes the Fujifilm X-Pro1 such a successful camera. The X-Trans sensor, with its more film-like colour filter layout over the pixels, really makes the most of the resolution delivered by the camera’s Fujinon optics to produce images with far more detail than most 16-million-pixel models can manage.
The hybrid viewfinder offers the photographer the best of both digital and traditional optical worlds, and the straightforward layout of controls on the body makes the X-Pro1 simple and pleasurable to use, even if the AF system is not the fastest on the market. Although it isn’t the smallest compact system camera on the market, its size is more than compensated for by the quality of the images it produces and the enjoyment it brings to the user.
The best professional camera of the year is Nikon’s full frame 16-million-pixel D4, for its ability to deliver the highest image quality even in extremely difficult conditions. Tests performed by EISA magazines found the camera has an exceptional combination of high resolution, wide dynamic range, very low noise levels even at ISO 12800, super- fast autofocus, short response time and high frame rates that can be maintained for very long sequences. The body is rugged and well protected against dust and moisture. The viewfinder delivers a sharp, comfortable and very precise view of what will be recorded. Almost perfect handling makes the D4 very easy and pleasant to use and we especially like the new joystick control that’s available whether the camera is in the horizontal or vertical position. The D4 also delivers very high video quality thanks to its uncompressed output.
This year’s best camera is the Nikon D800. Its 36-million-pixel full frame sensor offers exceptionally high resolution capture and, according to EISA magazine tests, no compromises have been made to the extent of the camera’s dynamic range or noise levels at high ISO settings. In a compact and reasonably priced, strong and sturdy body, it offers first-rate metering and a 51-point autofocus system developed from the professional D4. The camera has a clear and bright 100% viewfinder that is very precise and comfortable to use even for glasses wearers. The tiny flash can command additional Nikon flash units and delivers just the right amount of fill-in illumination even in complex lighting conditions. The D800 E-version delivers even higher resolution images without needing any post-processing sharpening: the image quality comes close to that of a medium format camera, but with the benefits and versatility of a lightweight 35mm reflex camera.
The Olympus OM-D EM-5 is a successful remake of the exceptional OM cameras from times gone by. The camera features a compact, yet sturdy and weather-resistant, body that is extremely comfortable to hold, especially when the battery grip is attached. The super-fast single-shot autofocus and the exceptional 1.4-million-dot electronic viewfinder will make you believe you’re shooting with an SLR. There are more advantages, such as the flip-out OLED screen with touch functionality, advanced 5-axis image stabilization, the attractive effects filters and, of course, the excellent picture quality.
The Olympus TOUGH TG-1 is an outstanding outdoor camera that has been designed to be stylish as well as practical. It is guaranteed to be shock-proof (to 2m), waterproof (to 12m), crush-proof (to 100kg) and freeze-proof (down to -10°C). At the heart of the camera is a 12-million-pixel BSI CMOS 1/2.3-inch sensor, which, together with the TruePic VI processor and fast 25-100 mm F2-4.9 zoom lens, delivered excellent quality pictures and low levels of noise in tests conducted by EISA’s photo magazines. The Olympus TOUGH TG-1 has an anti-reflective coating on its 3-inch OLED display, GPS, Full HD 1080p video and an electronic compass so you can see where you are as well as where you’ve been. With the optional waterproof fisheye and telephoto converter lenses, which attach via an adapter, the Tough becomes not just a camera but a camera system.
Panasonic’s LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH POWER O.I.S. (24-70mm for 35mm) is a very fast standard lens with conventional rotary zoom ring from Panasonic’s premium X range of lenses. The metal-barrelled construction contains 14 elements in 9 groups with Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion (UED) and Ultra High Refractive (UHR) glass to minimise chromatic aberrations and to retain high image quality right across the image area. Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating reduces internal reflections while the 7-bladed circular diaphragm helps to produce attractive out-of-focus highlights. Being a Micro Four Thirds lens it is compatible with Panasonic LUMIX G models as well as with cameras manufactured by Olympus. At 305g, this lens weighs less than half of similar full frame lenses.
The Samsung NX20 has a compact and lightweight SLR shaped body that houses a 20.3-million-pixel Samsung-built APS-C format CMOS sensor with a maximum sensitivity of ISO 12800. Other distinguishing features include a continuous shooting rate of 8 frames per second, and the customisable i-Function 2.0 that makes it possible to access up to nine of the camera’s features via a button on the lens. A bright flip-out 3-inch AMOLED screen helps users to get creative with all sorts of shooting angle. The star feature is the built-in Wi-Fi that allows the photographer to email images or post them to social media sites directly from the camera. Wireless connection also makes it possible to control the camera remotely while the camera’s live view feed is streamed to your smart phone’s display.
The Sigma APO Macro 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM is one of the best performing macro lenses available on the market. The combination of a long focal length, and thereby good working distance between lens and subject, high sharpness even at full aperture and optical image stabilisation makes it perfect for catching dragonflies, butterflies and other elusive insects handheld. But the lens is also excellent for photographing plants or portraits when you want to achieve a really soft and pleasant blurry background. If you also consider how solidly this lens is made, its price makes it a real bargain!
What makes the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V interesting is that it is a small and portable compact camera that has a 25-500mm 20x optical zoom lens. Its 18.2-million-pixel sensor delivers large printable files while the metering system consistently produces well exposed images. The ISO range, the 10fps burst mode and the fine tuning feature, that provides custom control of brightness and colour saturation, allow the user freedom under a wide range of lighting conditions and when shooting moving subjects. A variety of options through the “artistic” menu as well as the background defocus function and the Full HD 50p video function, allow for freedom, creativity and imagination to take the lead of any project.
Sony’s Cyber-shot RX100 is a high quality and solidly built compact camera designed for advanced amateur photographers. Its unusually large 1-inch CMOS sensor and the bright 28-100mm F1.8-4.9 Carl Zeiss lens provides very good image quality even in low light. In addition to JPEG format, the RX100 also offers users the chance to save images in raw format, allowing extra flexibility and quality for the serious photographer. The high resolution 1.2-million-dot 3-inch-LCD has proven to be excellent in tests performed by EISA magazines.
The Sony α SLT-A57 is a 16-million-pixel translucent mirror camera with remarkably impressive specification, especially for a model in this price range. The benefits of translucent mirror technology are now beginning to have an impact on entry-level cameras, allowing high speed AF in movie mode, 12-frames-per-second shooting rates as well as Sony’s powerful combination of high quality imaging sensor and processor. The Sony α SLT-A57 is an excellent tool for the new photography enthusiastic, and is built on a platform from which both the consumer and the manufacturer can develop even more. Features such as the new automatic portrait-framing mode make this a user-friendly camera for the beginner as much as for the more experienced user. Sony’s picture quality continues to be very good, and the SLT-A57 can compete easily with much more expensive cameras.
With the 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Tamron has managed to come up with a seriously attractive lens for anyone using a full frame SLR camera. This is a large-aperture standard zoom featuring image stabilisation, silent autofocus and sharpness that easily matches the demands of today’s high-resolution cameras. Tamron’s 24-70mm F2.8 is also a sturdy and well-built lens with rubber seals protecting it in moist or dusty conditions. It truly feels like a professional lens and also performs like one when autofocus, image stabilisation and image quality is concerned. A lens to rely on, whether you are photographing for a living or simply for pleasure.