Wednesday 26 December 2012

Nikon autofocus system

The autofocus system is one of the main features in a DSLR camera. It helps you get a fast and precise focus on the subject that you target. The Nikon DSLR cameras have different autofocus system and some are shared among different models. Learn here which model share the same autofocus system.

The newest engine has so far only been used in one model, but seem to be a variant of the autofocus system used in DX models. It is the Nikon Multi-CAM 4800FX (Introduced in 2012):
Two upper high model uses a variant of the FX autofocus system from above. It is the Nikon Multi-CAM 4800DX (Introduced in 2010):
The current top model in the FX world. Nikon Multi-CAM 3500FX (Introduced in 2007):
In one of the longest living Nikon cameras which as of 2012 still is sold is this autofocus model. Nikon Multi-CAM 3500DX (Introduced in 2007):
This autofocus model has been used in a couple of models in the lower end. It is the Nikon Multi-CAM 530 (Introduced in 2006):
The autofocus module with the longest life is used in many models, where it started in models in the upper range, but are now used in low end models. It is the Nikon Multi-CAM 1000DX (Introduced in 2005):
2nd generation top model autofocus system where used by a couple of top models. It is the Nikon Multi-CAM 2000 (Introduced in 2003):
The autofocus used by some of the early models that were targeting the normal users. It is the Nikon Multi-CAM 900 (Introduced in 2002):
And finally the autofocus model used by the first DSLR from Nikon. It is the Nikon Multi-CAM 1300 (Introduced in 1999):
Within each model there might be some minor differences as Nikon fine tune the models as time goes by and some of the early models might be shared with some film based cameras.

So if you want to know more about your autofocus model you now know which models that you also can look at when you want to learn more about it.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Nikon D5100 vs D5200: What to buy?

These two camera models are the in the same product line, where the Nikon D5200 is expected to replace the D5100 model. So which model should you buy and do you get enough extra from buying the new D5200 model?

So here is why you should buy the Nikon D5200:
  • You get a newer and bigger sensor. Where the sensor megapixel has gone up to 24 MP from 16 MP in the Nikon D5100. The D5200 sensor hasn't been measured by Dxomark yet, but expect it to be better than the D5100, but don't expect much. My guess is it will score a little better in each section
  • The D5200 has gotten the metering engine from the older D7000 model, which is considered to be a higher product line. This is very good news as this is an important factor for getting more pictures that have the right exposure
  • You get a better autofocus engine. Again Nikon has taken a feature from the better D7000 and put it into the D5200. This is also important as this make it easier to take sharp pictures.
So why should you buy the Nikon D5100:
  • The only reason is price. The currently about 40% cheaper and this is money you can spend on better lenses or something else.
If you have the money then buy the Nikon D5200. It is clearly the better camera. It begins to be a hard choice when you take into consideration that you will be able to buy a better lens with the Nikon D5100. My advise would be to buy the Nikon D5100 with better lenses for almost anyone except if you shoot a lot of action pictures where the better autofocus system might come into great use.
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Wednesday 19 December 2012

Nikon D3200 vs D5100: Which to buy?

If you are looking for your fist DSLR camera you choice might come down to the new Nikon D3200 and the Nikon D5100. Both are excellent choice for your first DSLR camera. So which one should you choose?

These are the features that might lead you to choose the Nikon D3200:
- It has a newer and bigger sensor, but if you look closely at the scores the two sensors gets at Dxomark they score almost the same, so performance wise they should be about the same. Things move fast in the digital world, so normaly it would be wise to choose the newer sensor
- It has retouch functions in the camera, where you can do basic things with your photos like at filter effect and more

These are the features that might lead you to choose the Nikon D5100:
- It has a swipe LCD screen as the only model in the Nikon world (the newer brother the Nikon D5200 also has one)
- It has bracketing function. This means that if you have hard light conditions you can take the same picture that are over and under exposed (with more or less light), so you can get the picture with perfect lightning. You can do the same with the Nikon D3200, only here you have to do it manually
- You can push the camera one step higher in ISO, which can be nice in indoor lightning where you don't want to use a flash
- You get 14 bit imageprocessing, which don't really mean much if you just are entering the DSLR world
- You get some more scene selection options. This can be nice if you remember to use them. It preconfigure your camera to a certain situation

The decision is really a draw. You get a couple of more features in the Nikon D5100, but for most people buying their first DSLR this doesn't really mean much. So go out in the store and select the camera you fill are best and with which model that you get the best deal.

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Tuesday 18 December 2012

Nikon D600 vs Canon EOS 6D: What to buy?

Which camera should you choose if you are getting in to DSLR world and you want it to be a full frame camera? From the two major DSLR vendors there are two options. The Canon EOS 6D and the Nikon D600.

So why should you choose the Canon EOS 6D:
- It has build in wifi. You can get it with the Nikon D600, but you have to pay extra for it. I have been waiting for DSLR cameras to get this build into it. If you should a lot of pictures within your home Wifi range this can be a great feature to be able to share your pictures fast, but for me it wouldn't be the killer feature to choose the 6D
- You get a build in GPS. Again you can get it with D600, but it is something you have to pay extra for. This is also a feature I can't understand why it have been included earlier. This is a feature that I really am missing, but I have lived without it for nearly 10 years, so I guess I can live without it a bit longer
- ISO can be pushed to 102400. This is two step higher than on the Nikon. If you are a shooter that takes a lot of pictures inside or it bad light situation this can be a killer feature for you to select this camera, but the Nikon scores higher in low light performance measured by DXOMarks, so at the same ISO you should get a little bit clearer picture with the Nikon

So why should you choose the Nikon D600:
- It has a bigger and better sensor. The scores from Dxomarks is higher in every section, where the overall score is 94 for the Nikon vs 82 for the Canon.
- You get 2 card slots which can be important if you also use the camera for video or if you want to take backup at the moment you shoot the pictues
- You get more features in your autofocus in the Nikon with 39 AF points vs 11 AF points in the 6D
- You get 1 more fps in the D600, but that shouldn't mather very much
- You get 100% viewfinder coverage against 97% in the 6D, which shouldn't mather much either.

So based on this what should you get? Well in my mind it is a draw. You get something with the Canon 6D that you don't get with the Nikon D600 and you get something in the Nikon D600 that you don't get in the Canon 6D. Both are great cameras and should serve you very well. For most of you it is an easy choice as you most likely have gotten stuff from one of these camera makers that might be the deciding factor.

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Thursday 13 December 2012

Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 6D: What to buy?

This year Canon has introduced two new full frame cameras that one might consider if you wanted a new Canon DSLR camera. It is right choice the Canon 5D Mark III or the Canon 6D? Or do you want to go for the older 5D Mark II, which is still available to buy, so which should you buy?

This article will focus on the Canon 5D Mark III vs Canon 6D, but you might also want to check out the articles about the other combinations:
So why would you want to go for the more expensive 5D Mark III:
  • The autofocus is the main reason why you might want to go for the 5D Mark III compared to the 6D. It is the same as in the professional 1D X. So it will give you great performance in getting a lock on your subjects
  • The sensor performance the same when you look at the score from DXOMarks with a little bit of difference
  • You get the 1/8000 shooting option where in the 6D you only get the 1/4000 and you get a little bit better flash sync speed but not much
  • And you get a more professional body, but also one that is a bit heavier
  • You fps is about 1,5 fps higher, but that shouldn't be a big factor
  • You also get 100 viewfinder frame coverage, but you are not missing much in the 6D.
The 6D only really have the price and the lighter body going for it.

The decision between the two really comes down to one thing. It is the autofocus system. Can you live with what you get in the 6D or do you need and want a professional autofocus system. Only you can make that decision. All the other factors is that big of a deal.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II vs 6D: What to buy?

This year Canon has introduced two new full frame cameras that one might consider if you wanted a new Canon DSLR camera. It is right choice the Canon 5D Mark III or the Canon 6D? Or do you want to go for the older 5D Mark II, which is still available to buy, so which should you buy?

This article will focus on the Canon 5D Mark II vs Canon 6D, but you might also want to check out the articles about the other combinations:
So here are the reasons that might want to buy the newer Canon 6D:
  •  A newer and better sensor is in the Canon 6D. It scores better in the DXOMarks test with an overall score of 82 for the Canon 6D vs 79 for the 5D Mark II, where the main difference is in the high iso picture ability. If you are shooting a lot of indoor shoots then the Canon 6D might justify the price difference
  • You get a better metering method. The Canon 6D uses the same engine as in the Canon 5D Mark III
  • Autofocus systems are about the same, but real life testing might tell a difference story.
  • You can go higher in ISO with the Canon 6D with a push ability up to ISO 102400.
  • You get 50 and 60 frame rate option in you video mode.
  • You get a 200g lighter body
So here are the reasons why you might go for the cheaper 5D Mark II:
  • You get a lower price where you at the moments saves about $300
  • You get a professional body with no plastic in it, which means that it can take some more physical 
So based on this the recommendation is as follows. If you already have a Canon 5D Mark II then there isn't that much reason for you to get the new Canon 6D. Yes you get a newer and better sensor, but it isn't a huge step forward, so it is better to wait until next round of upgrades comes along. If you have a need for a full frame I would go for the Canon 6D. Yes it is more expensive, but only about 10% which isn't much considering what you get extra.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 5D Mark II: What to buy?

This year Canon has introduced two new full frame cameras that one might consider if you wanted a new Canon DSLR camera. It is right choice the Canon 5D Mark III or the Canon 6D? Or do you want to go for the older 5D Mark II, which is still available to buy, so which should you buy?

This article will focus on the Canon 5D Mark II vs Canon 5D Mark III, but you might also want to check out the articles about the other combinations:
Here are the reasons that you want to buy a 5D Mark III:
  • Newer and better sensor. It is 81 vs 79 in overall score in DXOMarks with the big difference in high iso performance. So if you do a lot of this kind of shooting then you should go for the 5D Mark III
  • The autofocus system, which one of many drawbacks of the 5D Mark II, has been improved a lot and  is the same in the more expensive professional model. This is a major factor in going for the 5D Mark III
  • The high iso can be maxed out at 102400, which is two step higher than the 5D Mark II
  • You get a 2 fps faster than the 5D Mark II, so that you now can shoot at 6 fps
  • Also you frame rate in video can be set to 50 or 60
The only thing that is going for the 5D Mark II is the price. It is $1200 cheaper, which is a lot. 

If you are on a budget then you should go for the 5D Mark II. It is still a very good camera, but you do get a lot more if you decide to go for the 5D Mark III. Mainly it is better in low light and has a professional autofocus system. 

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Tuesday 4 December 2012

Nikon D3200 vs D3100: What to buy?

With the new D3200 on the market this year anyone going for an entry model DSLR from Nikon might wonder if it is a good idea to go for the $120 dollar (as of December 2012) cheaper D3100, which are only about 1 year older.

Well if you go for the D3200 here is what you get extra:
  • A newer and bigger sensor which in test like Dxomark has the D3200 scoring higher in every category and the overall score is 81 vs 67 in D3200 favor. This is a major difference and a high motivator for getting the newer model
  • You get 4 fps vs 3 fps. This isn't much of a difference
  • You can use higher ISO. This is important as many use their camera indoor as well as outdoor. This is a major advantage for the D3200
  • You get a little bit better video options. Not that big a difference
  • You get some more retouch options. Also not a big difference

The only two things going for the D3100 is that you get some smaller image files from the camera, which might be important if you don't have the largest computer for post work and you do a lot of it. And you get the camera $120 dollar cheaper.

The price difference can be big for some people, but for most people you should go for the D3200. It is a clearly better camera that will last longer.

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Monday 3 December 2012

Nikon D800 vs D600: What to buy?

After the introduction of the Nikon D600 many are wondering if they should get the Nikon D600 or the Nikon D800. As you might have read in some of my previous blog entries. I have been in the same situation. In the end choosing the Nikon D800. Both models have reports of having a bit of early manufacturing problems with autofocus issues in D800 and oil/dust issue in the D600.

So why should you go for the more expensive D800:
  • Larger sensor. The D800 has a larger sensor and this can be both an advantage and disadvantage. You will get a lot of details in your pictures and if you crop in/zoom in it will easier show bad photography shooting style. But you also get a camera with a DX crop mode that is about the same as the D7000. There are some that thinks the big files are a big issue and if you do a lot of post processing it can be an issue, but remember you don't have to use the max setting. If you use the M (5520 x 3680) setting in image size you get something that is pretty close to the size that D600 produce at L setting (6016 x 4016). All in all you get a sensor with more options than in D600. It is up to you if you want to use these options.
  • More advance autofocus. The autofocus model in the D800 is professional and from the D4. I like it more than what I have seen on the D600 as it covers a larger part of the picture.
  • More advance metering. The metering in the D800 is a step above the D600. This means that you should have a greater part of your pictures that are correctly exposed. Especially if you shoot most in hard lightning situations
  • 2 extra format settings (1.2x and 5:4 format). Again this gives you options that you don't have in the D600, but for most people this doesn't really make a difference.
  • Faster max shooting speed. You get the 1/8000 with the D800 compared to the D600. Again more options, but for most it isn't a deciding factor. 
  • Faster flash sync speed. This can be important if you do a lot of indoor shooting, but again for most people it doesn't really make a difference
  • Some of the more minor difference is more frames with different bracketing and you get USB 3 compared to USB2 in the D600. All minor difference that doesn't make a difference for most users.

So why should you go for the less expensive D600:
  • You get two SD card slots compared to the D800 with one SD and one compact flash. 
  • You get U1 and U2 and a lot of predefined settings like landscape, beach/snow. This means it is easier to configure you camera for different camera taking situations, but you have to remember to use them otherwise they don't make a difference
  • You got better remove release options. It is weird that Nikon makes a standard that fits all cameras instead of many different solutions.
  • You get a lighter camera.
All in all I think of the D800 as a camera that is more prepared for the future. It gives you more options and it is more likely to live with you longer than the D600. It does require higher photographer skills. Another big advantage is the autofocus and metering, which are on a higher level than the D600. So what you need to decide if you want to pay the extra money for the more options you get with the D800. My decision was that I was prepared to pay the extra money for those (for me) nice to have features. If you like predefined settings with options to create your own, then the D600 is your choice.

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Sunday 2 December 2012

Nikon D7000 vs Nikon D5200: What to buy?

These two cameras are at the moment almost at the same price, so a good question is which one should you buy? The new D5200 version which has gotten many features from the D7000 or the two year older D7000 with more advance features?

So why would you buy the newer D5200 model:
  • Newer 24 megapixel sensor. No one hasn't measured the sensor yet, but a good idea about the performance is to look at the performance of the D3200 vs the D7000. The D5200 sensor is at least as good as the D3200. Maybe a little bit better. If you look at the D3200 vs D7000 sensor they score almost the same at Dxomark. So I don't see any reason to buy the newer D5200 over the D7000 because of this.
  • Video has higher frame rate option. The video has the option to run 50 or 60 frames/second. For most this doesn't really make as an important advantage. As they don't need this feature.
  • Vari-angle monitor. If you previous have shoot a lot with point-and-shoot camera you might find this a important feature, as the Nikon D5200 is the only DSLR camera with this feature.
So why should you buy the older D7000 model:
  • If you have older (pre AF-S) lenses are you want to buy one of these used. Then you would want to go for the D7000 as this is the only model of these two that can autofocus with the lenses.
  • You have the double card slot option. With video and cheap memory this is a very nice extra feature to have, but you can live without it too.
  • Bigger and better viewfinder. The viewfinder (the one you look through when you take pictures) are better in the D7000. You have complete coverage over the picture you take compared to the D5200 where you loose very little around the edge. Most people wouldn't be able to see the difference. The magnification in the D7000 is closer to normal than in the D5200, so you get a better sense of the picture you take in the D7000.
  • You have some more high speed option. The D7000 you can take picture with 1/8000 second and with flash sync of 1/250. Most people don't need this and if you do you know it.
  • More bracketing options. In the D7000 you have both Active D-Lighting and flash bracketing. These can be an advantage if you take a lot of indoor pictures with flash, but it does require you to remember to switch it on and you can live with take a lot of pictures.
All in all there isn't much difference in the two cameras and you can't really say that one is better than the other. It really depends on what you find important. But in most cases I would advice to go for the D7000, who might be older, but have some really nice features that you someday might find useful. Remember that both models have the same autofocus engine and metering engine, which is some of the important features to consider when you buy a new DSLR camera.

Links to Nikon D5200 articles:

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