Panasonic’s New FX90 Goes Wireless

Panasonic FX90
The Panasonic FX90 incorporates 802.11b/g/n wireless capabilities

Panasonic has introduced an upgraded feature set for its Lumix line with the introduction of the FX90.

Aimed primarily at users who want to share their photos online but want better quality images that a smartphone can produce.  The most prominent feature of the FX90 is WiFi capability in conjunction with a new service called Lumix Club, a cloud-based service accessible via smartphone and your PC, as well as posting pictures directly to Facebook, Picasa, or Flickr and movies directly to YouTube.

The built-in Wifi capabilities of the FX90 allows users to skip buying a Eye-Fi WiFi capable SD card and provide overall better integration of the wireless feature set.  The 802.11b/g/n internal capability of the camera allow it to connect to home networks as well as any WIFI-capable iOS or Android device.

Inside the FX90 boasts a 12.1 MP 1/2.33 inch CCD image sensor with 5x optical zoom and true optical image stabilization.  The effective zoom range is 24mm on the wide end to 120mm on the zoom.  Because the image stabilization is optical, Panasonic included an Active Mode option which provides correction even while shooting video.

Menu options are controlled via the 3 in LCD touch panel on the back, along with physical controls for zoom, shutter and movie recording.

Pricing and availability will be announced in early September.  Panasonic’s Lumix Club is expected to go online the first week of September as well.

Canon Adds Three New Point-and-Shoot Models

SX 150
The Canon SX 150 IS
Canon announced three new additions to their point-and-shoot line of digital cameras.  One difference between Canon and Nikon, when Canon makes an announcement, the cameras are usually already in stores.

The SX150 is an incremental update to the SX130.  Canon bumped up the image resolution to 14 megapixels with a 1/2.3 in sensor.  Backing that up is the newer DIGIC 4 image processor, which brings several improvements to image processing and fixes to the continuous auto-focus.

Video mode is limited to 720 at 30 fps as it looks like Canon put most of the effort into the Smart Auto features on this model.

The SX150 offers RAW image storage and full manual control, not bad for a camera in the $250 range.

PowerShot ELPH 510 HS

510 HS
Canon 510 HS

A smaller frame camera still packing a 12.1 megapixel 1/2.3 in sensor coupled with the DIGIC 4 processor.  The 510HS supports 1080 HD at 24 fps or 720 at 30 fps and runs it all from a 3.2 touch panel LCD on the back.

There some interesting features, such as an option to take a picture by tapping the LCD screen, although I’m not entirely certain why you’d want to do that.

PowerShot ELPH 310 HS

The 310 HS is a slightly scaled back version of the 510.  It’s fitted with the same 12.1 megapixel sensor and the same DIGIC 4 image processor.

With the 310 HS you’re limited to an 8x zoom, a slightly smaller LCD screen and without the touch panel controls.

canon 310 HS
Canon 310 HS

Interestingly the 310 HS also shoots 1080 HD at 24 fps, making the 310 and 510 the pocket cam choice for people using their full-size DSLRs primarily for video.

If you’re like most photographers and don’t understand why 24 fps is better than 30 fps for video, stayed tuned to this site for an extended post on DSLRs for video in the near future.

Nikon Pops New P7100

Nikon has always impressed with me with their competitive nature and the Coolpix P7100 shows that commitment to continuous improvement.  The P7100 fixes a lot of the pain points present in the P7000 and adds some interesting new features.

nikon p7100
The Nikon P7100 fixes a lot of the niggling issues in the P7000

The P7100 is primarily aimed at consumers who don’t want to haul a full size SLR but still want the manual controls.  The camera sports an external hot shoe, a flip-out LCD screen, and retains the ability to store RAW images.

Inside the P7100 sports a 9.98 MP, 1/1.7” CCD sensor with an ISO range of 100 to 6400.  Behind the sensor is the refined EXPEED C2 image processing, meant to deliver better resolution across ISO settings.  The noise reduction as been tweaked to protect fine detail in the pictures and the purple fringing reported by some P7000 users has been reduced.

Everything is faster in the P7100.  The RAW and RAW+JPG is much improved in the newer model, along with faster start up times.  The shutter lag has been trimmed from 300ms to 200ms, and the AF system is faster, as is the transition between playback and shooting.

Another nice feature is the ability to lock exposure in video mode, something video editors trying to set color correction will appreciate.  The only unfortunate development is the switch to 30 fps instead of 24 fps in the P7000.  Anyone who thinks 24fps to 30fps is an improvement probably doesn’t do a lot of video work.

Price point for the P7100 is expected to be around $499, shipping in September.

Sony Launches NEX-7 and NEX-5N

Sony Nex-7
Sony NEX-7 - More proof good things come in small packages

Sony announced two new models to their growing mirrorless, small-frame camera line.

The NEX-7 and NEX-5N both sport APS-C sensors, support interchangeable lenses, and video with the new AVCHD Progressive codec.

The NEX-7 carries the new 23.4 MP APS-C sensor backed up by the Boinz image processor, capable of writing 10 full-resolution images per second in burst mode.

Most of the external controls in the NEX-7 have been migrated to menus in their Tri-Navi menu system, which uses a combination of two unmarked physical dials and scroll wheel on the back to access camera functions.

The ISO rating is an eye-popping 100-16000, making that a significant leap over the NEX-5.

Video mode offers 1080p HD at 60 fps and 24 fps along with full manual control over exposure along with a selection of creative effects.

Also new to the NEX-7 is the built-in viewfinder, which is an add-on for the NEX-5N that also happens to block the port used by the flash, an unfortunate design choice.

The NEX-7 is almost the same size as the NEX-5, maybe a bit taller, and sports a redesigned grip which adds quite a bit to the stability.

Price for the NEX-7 is expected to be around $1,350 with an 18-55 f/3.5 kit lens, delivery in November.

Nex 5N
NEX-5N - Small frame, big features

The NEX-5N is fitted with the new 16.1 MP APS-C CMOS sensor that features the ability to select electronic first curtain to speed up capture times.

The 5N offers the same AVCHD 1080p video modes in 60 fps and 24 fps.

Menu options are similar to the NEX-7, except the 5N adds touch screen capability to the LCD back screen.

The ISO range is rated from 100 to 25,600, which means we should be able to expect some mind-blowing low light performance.

The NEX-5N offers a lot of features for $600.  Add the 18-55mm zoom for another $100.  Not exactly a pocket camera with the interchangeable lenses, but a sweet camera loaded with a lot of attractive features in a small frame.