Canon is the most Popular Camera brand according to Consumers

Back in 1685, a man by the name of Johann Zahn created the first camera that was small and portable enough to be practical for photography. However, it would be another 150 years before technology caught up and it was actually possible for his vision to be built. Today, over 300 years later, not only is a hand-held camera an essential product in most households, but consumers have multiple options of brands and types to choose from. But how do people know what to pick?

In 2010, Sortable, a Waterloo-based startup company, launched, devoted to helping consumers find the right camera for them. Sortable surveyed more than 275,000 people over a six month period and found that: In the ever-growing market for cameras, many brands have joined the war to become the best product. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus are among the many companies vying to come out on top. However, according to consumers, it is Canon that is winning the camera war. The survey shows that 33% of consumers favour Canon to the competition, among the favourite types being the Canon T2i, T3i, 7D, the new 5D Mark III the Powershot S95 and the SX40. Trailing close in second place is Nikon, favoured by 27% of consumers. Nikon has produced many popular brands such as the D5100, D7000 and D3100 DSLRs, the Coolpix P500 and S9100.

Today, not only do consumers have multiple camera brands that they can choose from, but they also have the option of choosing a type of camera that is right for them. During Sortable’s research, they found that consumers’ favourite types of cameras are DSLR’s and Point and Shoots. DSLRs are versatile cameras with interchangeable lenses that are traditionally used by professional photographers, but are becoming increasingly more popular among entry level users. In contrast, Point and Shoots allow the everyday person to quickly and easily capture the photos they want, without having to make many adjustments. It’s not surprising that these two types come out on top. What is really surprising is the surge in popularity of the Mirrorless cameras. A relatively new technology, Mirrorless cameras stuff a DSLR size sensor into a small portable package, with interchangeable lenses for greater flexibility. Canon has yet to enter the Mirrorless market, and Nikon has just entered, with the Nikon V1 and J1. As this type of camera becomes more popular, Canon and Nikon will have to step up their game in order to keep their market share in comparison to Sony, Panasonic and Olympus, who have grabbed the early lead in this Mirrorless market.

So, how do you know which camera is right for you? Well, you can take the advice of other consumers and of your family and friends, but ultimately, the choice is yours. Each brand of camera and each type all have their perks and flaws. It’s up to you to find your camera (and a little help from Snapsort and Sortable might be handy). Here, in 2012, our world has certainly come a long way since Zahn’s initial camera concepts.

Pentax’s new Mirrorless Camera the K-01

pentax K-01
Pentax fields a winner with the stylish K-01 - by Pentax

Pentax finally announced their newest interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera, the Pentax K-01, will be available starting in the middle of March. Judging by the initial specs, it looks like it will be worth the wait, with Pentax avoiding the mistakes made by many of their competitors.

Pentax started with a big chip. At its heart the K-01 sports an APS-C CMOS 16.28 megapixel sensor, avoiding the mistake of some camera makers in hobbling their mirrorless cameras with tiny chips. Backing that up is the new Prime M imaging engine that boasts an ISO rating to ISO 100 to ISO 12800, or to ISO 25600 with the noise reduction features enabled.

pentax k01 top view
Top view of the K-01 showing the hot shoe and mode dial - by Pentax

Then they take the big chip coupled with a fast processor and layer on all the fun mirrorless goodies, like the choice of four image aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1) to accommodate different subjects and it also supports RAW output.

The K-01 boasts a six frame per second burst mode with near silent operation so you can take pictures even at events where noise would be a problem.

pentax k01
The K-01 sports both a hot shoe and pop-up flash - by Pentax

Software features an in-camera, ultra-wide HDR mode, an 81 point contrast detect auto-focus system and it’s one of the few digital cameras to sport a multi-exposure mode.

The video shooters will flip over the K-01’s video specs with the diminutive camera offering 1080p at 30/25/24 fps. Pentax is claiming HDMI full HD output with sound, but it’s not clear if that’s live output or just for exporting video clips. Here’s the claim right from Pentax, decide for yourself:

“The PENTAX K-01 also comes with an HDMI type C terminal, which allows the user to simultaneously output both Full HD movie clips and stereo sound, as well as an external microphone input terminal.”

Pentax included both an intelligent hot shoe and a pop-up flash when some manufacturers mysteriously dropped one or the other.

Anti-shake image stabilization is accomplished by sensor-shift technology and it uses focus peak technology for faster response.

At $749 for the body and $899 for the camera and a 40mm XS pancake lens, Pentax may have a winner on their hands with the K-01.

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JVC Fields Video/Still Hybrid GC-PX10

The JVC GC-PX10 offers powerful hybrid functionality - by JVC

It’s hard to tell if the JVC GC-PX10 is a video camera with more convenient still image capability, or a still camera with video on steroids.

Either way JVC has loaded an interesting blend of features at a camera apparently aimed at the advanced consumer segment of the market.

The GC-PX10 features a 12.75-megapixel 1/2.3 BSI-CMOS sensor behind a Konica Minolta HD 19x dynamic zoom lens with optical image stabilization. The advanced chip technology gives it a stated ISO rating of 6,400.

The video features are impressive. Full 1080 HD at 24/30/60p backed up by JVC’s K2 sound system that allows for manual control. On the back it features a 3 inch touch panel tilt monitor.

Linked to the imaging hardware is JVC’s FALCONBIRD high speed imaging engine which is also found on their full HD 3D camcorder, the GS-TD1. The high-end electronics let the GC-PX10 do a lot of neat tricks like record full HD video while simultaneously shooting 12-megapixel stills without interrupting the video.

The most compelling features of the GC-PX10 may be the hybrid shooting capabilities. It can pump out 8.3-megapixel still at a rate of 60 shots per second in 130 shot bursts or 12-megapixel still at 30 shots per second. Impressive.

In VGA mode the GC-PX10 can shoot 300 frames per second for up to two hours. You could record your kid’s entire soccer game in super slow motion.

Prices at $799 the JVC GC-PX10 is an interesting hybrid video camera.

The Pentax Q: A Pint Size Camera That Is Packed With Features

Pint size but packed with features the Pentax Q - by Pentax

User reviews of the Pentax Q are starting to filter in after being officially launched back in June. Pentax advertises the Q as the smallest interchangeable lens digital camera on the market.

They definitely got the small part right, the camera easily fits in the palm of your hand. Despite its size, it’s packed with features usually found in much larger cameras.

The 3 inch LCD screen takes up almost the entire back of the camera and the Q has a hot shoe attachment that will accept one of the Pentax external flash units, which are, somewhat ironically, bigger than the camera itself, and can also be used to fit an add-on optical viewer.

Inside the Q packs a 12-megapixel BSI-CMOS 1/2.3 inch sensor behind the Pentax Q-mount interchangeable lens mount. The camera comes with a 47mm f/1.9 prime lens, but several other lenses are available.

Surrounding the electronics is a magnesium alloy shell that gives the little camera better protection than you’d normally expect in small frame cameras.

The software provides the usual mirrorless camera tricks like 5 frame per second continuous shooting and an in-camera HDR option that automatically blends bracketed exposures.

On video it sports full 1080 HD video at 30 fps in H.264 format.

My only niggles are the senor size and price point. For less money you can get a Sony NEX-5 with a full APS-C chip. For perspective, the 1/2.3 chip in a Pentax Q is less than a 10th of the size. When it comes to sensors, size does matter and bigger is better.

All in all, when size is important, the Pentax Q definitely fits the bill.

Take a look at how the Pentax Q stands up against its competitors.

Nikon Goes Mirrorless With New J1 and V1

Nikon V1
The Nikon V1 - by Nikon

In seven cities around Europe today, residents may have noticed giant statues of arms, bursting out of the ground holding one of the new Nikon System 1 cameras.

Offered in two flavors, the Nikon J1 and the Nikon V1, with the J1 being the color-coordinated basic model and the black V1 aimed at more advanced shooters. Even though there are promo photos floating around of the V1 in white, only the J1 seems to be offered in different colors. Other differences include an electronic shutter in the J1 and a vertical travel mechanical shutter in the V1, along with an optical viewfinder in the V1, which the J1 lacks.

The V1 also has a wider selection of add-on gadgets than the J1.  See our comparison of the Nikon V1 vs J1.

Under the hood the cameras are very similar, both sporting a 10.1-megapixel CX (13.2mm x 8.8mm), 2.7x crop factor CMOS chip, which is somewhat smaller than a micro 4/3 chip.

The Nikon 1 models have the features you’d expect in a mirrorless camera, including an advanced burst mode that can capture 5 fps at full resolution and continuous autofocus. Both record video at 1080 60i/30p output to H.264 in a MOV wrapper.

The ISO rating is a respectable 100 to 3200 and both have a 3 inch TFT-LCD on the back and enough manual controls to accommodate those who want creative control.

There are some interesting software additions, including something called Motion Snapshot, which combines a series of still images with a brief movie clip into something that resembles a Hogwarts painting, though one hopes they’re less creepy.

One Secure Digital card slot in each model and both accept SD, SDHC, and SDHX cards.

On the shelves in time for the holidays with the J1 starting at $649.95 and the V1 bumping in at $899.95.


Nikon System 1 family
Nikon System 1 family - by Nikon

Nikon J1 specs

Nikon V1 specs

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