As promised, I have performed some additional dynamic range tests on the mirrorless cameras I am testing (Nikon 1 J2, Canon EOS-M, Sony NEX-F3, Sony NEX-5R, Sony NEX-6, Sony NEX-7 and Olympus OM-D EM-5) and I have the data ready for your viewing pleasure. As expected, the Sony APS-C sensors performed the best, with the Sony NEX-5R and NEX-6 leading the game (although other NEX series are extremely close) followed by the Olympus OM-D EM-5, then Canon EOS M and then finally the Nikon 1 J2. Here is a comparison chart that shows performance of the various mirrorless cameras:
I have spent a considerable amount of time working with 7 different mirrorless cameras from Sony, Canon, Nikon and Olympus. I apologize for not being able to provide periodic updates on these cameras. I have come up with new ways to measure digital camera sensor performance, so it took me a long time to do it in a way that I believe will be more accurate and objective compared to my previous methods. Not only will you be seeing crops of sensor performance in a controlled environment, but I will also provide some numbers to quantify performance in colors and dynamic range. As I have already mentioned before, I will be measuring dynamic range myself going forward without having to rely on other websites for the data. It will be interesting to see how my data compares to other sites like DxOMark. I am not planning to do anything super intensive and I bet my measurements will not be without issues and errors, but I believe it is something worth trying. Hopefully it will give a different perspective to testing sensors.
Here is the first test that shows the low light performance of the following mirrorless cameras: Nikon 1 J2, Canon EOS-M, Sony NEX-F3, Sony NEX-5R/NEX-6, Sony NEX-7 and Olympus OM-D EM-5. Since these cameras all look excellent at ISO levels between 100 and 800, I decided to only show ISO performance at 1600 and above. Take a look!
Nikon 1 J2
Bad product? Bad marketing? Predatory pricing? A simple act of desperation? Or all of the above? Nikon has just slashed the price of the Nikon 1 V1 kit (with the 10-30mm VR lens) again, down to $299. A product that sold for $899 exactly one year ago when I reviewed it. Wait, there is more – the Nikon 1 J1 camera, which has far less impressive specifications sells for $100 more. Doesn’t make sense, does it?
How can a product get 3 times cheaper in less than a year? Usually, you don’t see a 66% discount on an electronics product in a 12 month period after its launch. That just doesn’t happen…typically. And when it does happen, there is usually something wrong with the product, or the product fails to sell due to lack of mass adoption. Like Betamax versus VHS or HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray wars. Or many other similar stories. Nikon came a little late to the mirrorless market with its Nikon 1 system. The Micro 4/3 alliance already matured by then, with excellent lens choices, bigger sensor and lots of built-in features. Sony also gathered a big fanbase around its tiny cameras with big APS-C size sensors. Others were pushing hard with innovative designs, great lens choices and more. While Nikon wanted to capture the hearts and minds of many photographers, the product did not get the stamp of approval from the mirrorless community, mostly due to its high price tag. Many reviewers praised the Nikon 1 V1 camera, but could not justify its high price when compared to the competition. Not when Sony was selling its excellent mirrorless cameras like Sony NEX-5N for several hundred dollars less. And with Canon also adopting APS-C sensor size for its new EOS M mirrorless system, it was getting clear that Nikon would have a hard time competing in the mirrorless market. And now here we are – the Nikon 1 V1 is the cheapest of them all (in the high-end mirrorless category).
It is no secret that the mirrorless camera market has been growing rapidly during the last several years. With all the major camera manufacturers in the game, the competition has been fierce, especially during the last year. Each player wants a reputable position in the market, so they are developing lots of near cameras, lenses and accessories to complement their unique systems. Personally, I have been patiently waiting for a good mirrorless system that I can invest in and stay with. Exactly one year after my first evaluation of mirrorless cameras, I decided to give another try and see if I can find something I really like, something that I can take with me anywhere I go. I am extremely happy with my high-end Nikon DSLR system, but I have been craving for something smaller and lighter that I can take with me everywhere I go. And while waiting for my right hand to recover from a recent carpal tunnel release surgery, I thought that this would be a great time to re-evaluate small cameras.
Here is what I will be playing with for the next few months:
- Olympus OM-D E-M5 with 12-50mm kit lens
- Olympus 45mm f/1.8
- Olympus 12mm f/2
- Panasonic 25mm f/1.4
- Canon EOS M with 22mm f/2 + 90EX Speedlite
- Nikon 1 V2 with 10-30mm & 30-110mm
- Sony NEX-7 with 18-55mm
- Sony NEX-6 with 16-50mm
- Sony NEX-5R
- Sony NEX-F3
- Sony 50mm f/1.8
- Sony 24mm f/1.4
Looks like B&H is already getting ready for the holidays, with some great deals on high-end Canon and Fuji cameras. The Canon 5D Mark II has a huge drop in price while supplies last – it is now $1,699, which makes it the cheapest full-frame DSLR on the market today. The Canon 5D Mark III has also been reduced to $3,199, which finally brings it closer to the Nikon D800 in pricing. On top of that, the Fuji X-100 is now $200 off, bringing it down to $999 (regular price is $1,199). And if you have been buying cameras like D600 and need plenty of storage, you might need some good cheap memory – the Transcend 64GB SDXC memory is selling for $49. If you need faster cards, the Lexar CF and SD cards are also heavily discounted until the end of this month.
And here are the pre-order links for the newly announced Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR and Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless camera + accessories:
- Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR for $1,399
- Nikon 1 V2 Body Only for $799.95 (White Nikon 1 V2)
- Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30mm lens (White Kit)
- Nikon SB-N7 Speedlight for Nikon 1 V1/V2 for $159.95 (White SB-N7)
Both Nikon 1 V2 and Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR will be reviewed in November.
I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the GX1. Although I have owned some compact cameras and occasionally have the chance to experiment with those of others, this is the first mirrorless camera I have used. As Nasim and others have indicated, mirrorless cameras will increasingly play a larger role in the digital camera market, due primarily to their smaller size, lighter weight, reduced mechanical complexity, and faster FPS ( frames per second speed). They provide an impressive range of features in extremely small packages. But mirrorless cameras such as the GX1 still represent a modest investment and thus do not offer any cost reduction relative to entry and midlevel DSLRs. In this Panasonic GX1 Review, I will provide detailed information about the camera, as well as image comparisons to other DSLR cameras.
Some of my questions prior to receiving my GX1 included:
- How well would the GX1′s picture quality compare against that of my D7000?
- How well would the GX1′s pictures compare to my D800?
- Would I find the weight advantage of the GX1 meaningful?
- How would I adjust to the GX1′s controls?
- What would cause me to consider a GX1 over a DSLR or point-and-shoot camera?
In this article, I will show feature differences between the Nikon 1 V1 and the newly announced Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless cameras. Judging by the J2 and V2 updates this year, it seems like Nikon will be refreshing the 1 line fairly often, so I am planning to provide feature comparisons like this to show what has changed between cameras after each announcement. As you may already know, the whole Nikon 1 line has a CX mount with a 2.7x crop factor and the J1/J2 cameras are targeted for photo hobbyists, while the V1/V2 cameras are targeted for more serious shooters. Hence, there is a significant difference in size, feature and performance between the two lines. Please keep in mind that this Nikon 1 V1 vs V2 comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and ISO comparisons will be provided in the upcoming Nikon 1 V2 Review.
Nikon has just announced the Nikon 1 V2, an update to the existing Nikon 1 V1 mirrorless camera that was released last year. Unlike the disappointing J2 release earlier this year that had almost no improvements over the J1 that it replaced, the V2 seems to be a much bigger upgrade. First, the camera body went through a complete rework, with a different ergonomic design of a much more serious camera. The camera grip looks similar to those found on Sony NEX series mirrorless cameras and there is now a dedicated PASM Command Mode Dial on the top of the camera. A small built-in flash is now included in the body, with an additional hot shoe that allows mounting Nikon 1 speedlights, similar to the also newly announced SB-N7 speedlight.
Sony, rather unexpectedly for some, has just announced a Wi-Fi ready NEX-6, which slots in the middle of the recent NEX-5R and the flagship NEX-7 mirrorless camera, combining features of both. Based on the familiar 16 megapixel sensor, the new mirrorless offer hybrid AF system and camera applications. Along with these useful features of the NEX-5R, it also boasts an OLED EVF with 2.36 million dots (same one you can find in many mirrorless cameras, like the new Fujifilm X-E1 and Sony’s own NEX-7). Another interesting move by Sony is to incorporate the standard flash and accessory hotshoe found on almost any other camera – previously, Sony would use their own specific hotshoe.
Curiously, if you take a closer look at the camera body, you will find “APS-C” written at the lower right corner at the front of the camera. Why would Sony specify sensor size on NEX-6, when the whole system consists of APS-C sized sensor cameras only? I’m not familiar with mount design and least of all would want to start a hot debate on this, but it got me curious if Sony is planning a full-frame NEX camera (if it’s even possible).
Continuing to bring improvements to existing products, Fujifilm today announced a v2.0 firmware update, developed for the highly popular X-Pro1. The biggest downside of the X-Pro1 for us when we reviewed it, was its somewhat slow AF speed. However, given how Fuji has been addressing problems in the Fuji X100 with firmware updates, we knew it was a matter of time until we see a major firmware update with autofocus tweaks. With the v2.0 firmware update, Fujifilm is bringing us all the auto focus, manual focus and write speed improvements the newly announced X-E1 has to the X-Pro1. Many X-Pro1 owners will be extremely happy with this firmware. We will update our Fuji X-Pro1 review as soon as we get to test v2.0 firmware.
With the new firmware, Fujifilm promises the X-Pro1 will focus significantly faster (in low-light, where it matters most), while also offering a closer focusing distance before the camera has to be set to macro mode, which is very welcome. Also, manual focus should now be much more usable, for, as Fujifilm states, “the speed of the image coming into focus when turning the focus ring has been vastly improved.” In other words, you should expect a shorter focus throw (more feedback from the focus motor) allowing faster change of focus distance. There are also some changes to how AUTO ISO operates, with maximum value allowed increased to ISO 6400 (as you can find out in our review, the X-Pro1 is very good in low-light, so don’t be afraid to use such a high setting if necessary), and you should expect a significant writing/processing speed boost, making your X-Pro1 more responsive.
Set your reminders! The firmware will be available for download from Fujifilm website, “Support” page, on September 18th at 6AM GMT. Fujifilm urges X-Pro1 users to update their lens firmware at the same time in order to fully take advantage of the improvements.