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New prosumer cams

I know I’m a little bit slow (but that’s not uncommon for me), but I read today about a new prosumer digital camera of Sony, the DSC-R1. This camera has a 10MPixel CCD (which is not very interesting, because 8MPixels is already an awful lot). The innovative part of this compact camera is the size of the CCD, which is 21,5×14,4mm (the predecesor of this DSC-R1, the DSC-F828 has only 8,8×6,6mm which is the same as my Canon PowerShot Pro1 sensor). Most people now probably think: ‘so what?’. But the size of the sensor is one of the main differences between a digital compact camera and a dSLR (apart from the changable lens and ‘real’ viewfinder which a dSLR has). The cropfactor of the sensors which are used in most digital compact camera is very big. Old anlogue camera’s used 35mm film. The cropfactor is the number of times a CCD-lens in a digital camera is smaller than the 35mm format.
The result of such small sensors is that the Depth of Field is very large in current digital camera’s. For beginning photographers, this is actually a good thing, because it is almost impossible to make a bad photo because the object you want to photograph is unsharp. For more experienced photographers, however, it is almost impossible to take a nice portret picture where the background is a little unsharp while the person you want to photograph remains sharp. A larger CCD-sensor enables more possibilties to make ‘creative’ pictures. Additional, the larger CCD suffer less from color noise. The very small high-resolution (5Mpixel and higher) sensors, suffer from very much noise when used at higher ISO values. Therefore most compact digital camera’s are not usable with an ISO-value of more than 100 ISO. The new sensor in the Sony DSC-R1 is (according to the specifications) usable at ISO values of 1600 and even 3200 which is comparable with most digital SLR camera’s.
The DSC-R1 has a number of more interesting features. The lens is a Carl Zeiss lens with a range of 24-125mm. The 24mm is pretty wide for a compact camera (my PowerShot Pro1 has 28mm, which is already pretty good, because most other camera’s starts at 35mm). The tele range is a little dissapointing, but it is possible to buy teleconvertors, which extends the range to 200mm. Also the LCD and EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) has a resolution of 235.000 pixels, which is not exeptional, but pretty good. The lens has a mechanical zoom-ring which is also a pro. Only the fact that I own my PowerShot Pro1 only a few months, and the DSC-R1 is quite expensive with approximately 1000 dollar keeps me from buying this camera.

Sony DSC-R1

On the other hand, there are rumours that Canon is about to introduce a succesor of the PowerShot Pro1. If that camera also features the very good lens of the Pro1 and has a large CCD (for example from the dSLR 350D) I’m not sure if I’m able to keep myself from buying that camera. I like the possibilities of a dSLR, especially the possibilities to shoot in low-light conditions and the portraits you can shoot with it, which is not possible with my prosumer camera. But the cost and size of the lenses of dSLR made me decide to not buy a dSLR.

One Response to “New prosumer cams”

  1. January 20th, 2006 at 12:52

    Martin Sturm » Blog Archive » Konica-Minolta quits digital photography says:

    […] According to a press-release on DPreview Konica-Minolta stops selling digital camera’s. The company wasn’t already a big player in this market, but their dSLR-camera’s weren’t that bad. Actually, the Dynax 7D and 5D are pretty good camera’s with the unique anti-shake feature which – as far as I know – no other dSLR has. Also, Konica-Minolta ‘invented’ the market for so-called prosumer camera’s with de Dimage 7D and its successors, with the Dimage A2 as ultimate non-dSLR camera. According to the press-release the company will sell its camera business to Sony. Sony was already trying to get a foot on the ground in the high-end photography market with their recently introduced DSC-R1. On the internet, the reactions of the owners Konica-Minolta digital camera’s aren’t very positive (Dutch). I think, that this step isn’t that bad for the market. Sony has a lot more money available to fund marketing and development of new models. The company is working on a dSLR-camera which will be introduced this summer, and based on the reviews of the DSC-R1, the chances are that this will be a very competitive product. In my opinion, the coorporation between Konica-Minolta and Sony is the only way to compete with the two market leaders in the digital camera market, Canon and Nikon. […]