Phase One A/S Merges Mamiya, Leaf

mamiya 645DF
Whether Mamiya Leaf is combing for efficiency or clinging together for survival is yet to be seen

Phase One A/S announced today that Mamiya Imaging and Leaf Imaging would be merged into Mamiya Leaf Imaging. The merged company will enter into a licensing agreement with Kodak, which likely means their sensors and image processing will be under the hood of the merged brand.

Whether medium format is merging to optimize service and support as the company claims in their press release, or if the companies are clinging together for survival in the face of rapidly improving DSLR competitors, remains to be seen. Right now it’s all sunshine and lollipops from Phase One. From the press release:

“We’re pleased to be part of this effort. The combination of products brings together the best in medium format photography delivered with service and options to expand the capabilities of professional photographers,” says Henrik Hakonsson, President of Phase One.

The real question is will photographers feel compelled to purchase an 80-megapixel Mamiya Phase One combination which, at over $40,000, is more than the cost of a shiny new BMW sedan. Compare that to Nikon’s new D4, which is just under $6,000.

Megapixels, Shemgapixels

This is where I have to remind people that comparing cameras by their megapixel rating is like my wife picking a new car because she likes the color. The number of megapixels has very little to do with the quality of the final image. Color, tone and sharpness will have far more sway over the quality of the final image, one of the reasons the highest rated cameras are all over the road when it comes to the megapixel rating of the sensor.

The difference in megapixels does effect the resolution of the final image, but even that is a geometric comparison and not a linear scale. In order to really notice a difference in resolution, you have to nearly double the chip size. Doubling the chip size quadruples the number of megapixels.

That’s why comparing the Canon T3i to the Nikon D5100 just on megapixels would be a mistake. While the T3i boasts a 17.9-megapixel chip and the D5100 a 16.1-megapixel chip, the difference is meaningless. Overall the D5100 is generally considered the superior camera.

Which brings us back to megapixels in the digital age and the continued quest of medium format to stay relevant in a camera market where DSLRs are producing incredible quality at a price point that’s a fraction of what you’d pay for a medium format camera.

Another factor impacting the debate is the march of software. In the old days of digital photography, like five or ten years ago, trying to scale low-resolution bitmap images, like JPEGs, was quite hard and most often the blow ups looked like doody.

Today software is much better at scaling JPEG images and you can, for all intents and purposes, scale them indefinitely with little loss in quality.

It should be interesting to see if medium format can find a way to stay relevant in the digital market, or we’ll see the medium format camera go the way of Kodak.

Picking a Beginner Camera

Nikon D7000
Nikon D7000 - by Nikon

The question I get most often is, “What kind of camera should I buy?” That’s a big question and a lot depends on your budget and what kind of photography you’ll be pursuing and at what level.  The word beginner comes in many contexts: are you a beginner to shooting for money or using a camera period. Different options apply.

Professional and Semi-Professional

You’re planning on making money with your camera or plan to do a lot of shooting as a semi-pro or amateur. You have $1,800 to $2,500 in your budget.

Cameras: Nikon D300s , Nikon D7000Nikon D700, Canon 5D MKII, and Canon 7D.

If you’re shooting stills, go with Nikon. If you think you’ll be doing a lot of video go with Canon. Nikons have video recording capability, but most of the video accessories are made for Canons.

Advanced Hobbyist

You are really serious about taking pictures, but you have a day job in another field. Photography is a serious hobby. There’s an outside chance you’ll be taking a paying job, or filling in for friends who can’t afford a professional photographer. You have a budget from $800 to $1,500.

Cameras: Canon 60D, Canon T3i, Nikon D3100, Nikon D5100

It’s pretty much just which ever camera you like in this range.

You Just Want To Take Good Pictures

You want to take great pictures, but mainly of your family and friends. You want something better than a pocket camera and you might want to experiment with manual controls once in a while.

Your budget is $400 to $800.

Cameras: Sony NEX-5N, Canon S100, Nikon P7000, Samsung NX100

Remember you can always use Snapsort to get the latest and best camera recommendations, including beginner DSLRs, semi pro DSLRs and small high quality cameras.  Our system will produce slightly different results from our editorial coverage as it allows you to define your exact personal criteria.

Nikon D5100 leaked by Nikon Romania, ME-1, ISO up to 102,400

We previously summarized some of the rumors around the new Nikon D5100 that will be announced this week.

Today it looks like Nikon Romania accidentally leaked details including:

  • The D5100 will have the 16.2MP sensor from the D7000, awesome!
  • It will support ISO up to 102,400, this has been called night vision 🙂
  • There is some info about a microphone, ME-1, a unidirectional stereo microphone, for around USD $200
  • It will feature a new HDR feature, this will be a first for a Nikon DSLR (some Pentax and Sony DSLRs have built in HDR features already)
  • Stereo mic input
  • Side swivel LCD
  • EN-EL14 battery

We’ll keep you updated!

Here is a picture of the microphone:

Nikon ME-1 microphone for Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100 specs and comparisons

There are a lot of rumors circulating that there will be a new Nikon entry level DSLR released shortly.  Nikon is rumored to be announcing the D5100 on April 5th. The D5100 will be the successor of the Nikon D5000 and is expected to have a similar size and body but with many of the features that has made the Nikon D3100 so popular.

Snapsort has compiled some of the rumors and put together our best guess of the full specs of the Nikon D5100.

  • 14 megapixel APS-C CMOS Sensor – the same sensor that is in the D3100
  • A swivel or flip out LCD screen – unlike the flip out screen on the D5000 this one might flip out to the side instead of down
  • Full 1080p video – similar to the D3100 and D7000
  • Contrast detection autofocus – autofocusing while recording has almost become standard on the latest line of Nikon’s
  • 11 AF focus points

Snapsort’s guesses:

  • 3” LCD screen
  • 4 fps
  • 3,200 ISO
  • 12,800 ISO (boost)
  • Price $850 with a lens and around $730 with body only

You can now compare the D5100 to any camera on Snapsort. Here are some comparisons to get you started:

We will update our specs as soon as we learn more about the D5100. What do you think, is it worth waiting for the D5100 to be released?