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.

Olympus Announces New Mirrorless E-M5

new olympus mirrorless camera
The new Olympus OM-D E-M5, Micro Four-Thirds in an SLR body

Olympus raised the curtain on a new Micro Four-Thirds camera, the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the first new model not part of the Pen series and sporting a new line of interchangeable lenses.

The E-M5 is styled like a smaller version of the old style Olympus SLR cameras, down to the control knob in roughly the same position as the ISO dial on the old OM-1. Yet the E-M5 has at its core a Micro Four-Thirds, 16.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor, backed up by the TruePic VI image processing engine providing a maximum ISO of 25,600. That compares to the 12.3-megapixel sensor in the E-P3 and E-5.

My question for Olympus would be why they stuck with the Micro Four-Thirds sensor on an SLR form factor instead of going with an APS-C chip? I’m guessing it has something to do with the size, weight and ability to stick with the quieter electronic shutter that makes barely a whisper when taking pictures. The slightly larger prism hump actually houses the 1.44 million dot electronic viewfinder.

The E-M5 incorporates a new type of 5-axis image stabilization built to compensate for multi-direction camera shake and Olympus is claiming they have the world’s fastest 3D AF tracking system that can follow moving subjects at up to 9 frames per second.

Top view of Em-5
Top view of the Olympus EM-5 is reminiscent of the old OM-1

For video the E-M5 offers full 1080i video at 60 fps with automatic correction for rolling-shutter, sometimes also called “jello cam”. Somewhat strangely the in-camera video effects include Echo effect that deliberately creates visual trails behind objects in motion.

back of Olympus E-M5
The EM-5 has a tilt screen LCD in back

What you won’t get is a built-in flash. A detachable flash is included with the camera, but that’s something you’ll have to remember to stick in your pocket or do without if the situation arises.

The Olympus E-M5 is due out in April and is slated to have two kit configurations: A 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 for $1,100 and the new 12.50mm F3.5-6.3 lens for $1,300.

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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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Pentax Forums

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Casio Exilim EX-ZR15

Casio EX ZR18
Casio EXILIM EX ZR18 feels the need for speed - by Casio

Casio decided to field a speed demon in its new Exilim EX-ZR15 camera. Some of the specs will raise eyebrows.

From turning it on until it’s ready to shoot, Casio says 0.99 seconds, about the time it takes to lift it into shooting position. To go along with that the auto focus system only needs 0.13 seconds to get a lock and the time between shots is 0.29 seconds.

If you need a point-and-shoot camera that’s fast, it’s going to be hard to beat those specs.

The sporty little speedster packs a 9.7-megapixel 1/2.3 in CMOS sensor (reported as 14-megapixel in some sources) behind a 7x optical zoom. Nothing in the initial specs about image stabilization, one hopes for at least some stabilization for the price point.

As with most point-and-shoots it’s short on manual controls but has some interesting software gadgets that include a depth of field setting that shoots multiple pictures and meshes them together to produce a bokeh-like effect.

It’s also got in-camera software HDR for photos and video as well as a 360 degree panorama mode.

Surprisingly the video is full HD at 30 fps and has a built-in flash.

All that in a camera that weighs in at just 176 grams with the battery and data card installed. Not bad specs if a tad ambitious on the pricing. Casio says look for availability later this month in Japan with prices starting in the $500 range.


Fujifilm’s Hot New Retro Styled X-Pro1

Fujifilms hot new X-Pro1 features a new image sensor combined with sexy retro styling

Fujifilms retro-style XPro-1 with interchangeable lenses looks to be one camera that’s going to live up to the hype which has been swirling since 2010. In a stylistic coup, Fujifilm managed to beat Leica at their own rangefinder game.

Inside the XPro-1 starts with a 16-megapixel APS-CX-Trans CMOS sensor, a brand new sensor type Fujifilm claims will offer better resolution than a Canon 5D MK II. While that remains to be seen, what it does do is eliminate the old Bayer pattern of color filters over the pixel layer and replaces them by 6×6 arrays of RGB filters in a quasi-random pattern that is supposed to mimic film grain. The non-regular pattern eliminates moire and the need for a low pass filter to manage it.

Coupled to the new sensor is the EXR Pro Image Processor behind a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. Keeping with the rangefinder styling, Fujifilm put the emphasis on knobs and dials for controls over soft menus and touch screens.

The series will launch with three XF prime lenses: The XF 18mm f/2, a 35mm f/1.4 and the XF 60mm f/2.4. The lenses feature traditional aperture rings and a long manual focus ring.

The only plain feature on the XPro-1 is the shutter, which clicks in at a max 1/4000th of a second and relatively slow flash sync.

On the back the Fujifilm XPro-1 has a 3 inch 1.23 million dot LCD, featuring the on-screen Q control panel.

Definitely reflected in the build and styling is Fujifilm’s commitment to listening to users and reviewers alike and sports a somewhat larger body style, pushing the boundaries of the word “compact”.

Still, you have to dig deep to find a negative with the Fujifilm XPro-1 and you can expect sales to be brisk with appeal to the admirers of the old Leica M9’s. The only thing that could limit sales is the $1,700 price tag, which seems a little steep compared with other cameras in the same class.

Compare to:

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