1798 – Don’t Kick it Around

If you’re interested in a continuation of Juha’s and my explorations into high-ISO quality and processing of images made with the LX5, Juha has made another post with an image that is an excellent candidate for noise reduction. Colorful, artificial surfaces without texture, straight lines with hard contrasts. I have chimed in and demonstrated one more time the quality of Topaz DeNoise. This time it stuck, because Juha has bought it and now uses it in Apple Aperture.

What else has happened? Of course Nikon has revealed their EVIL strategy, the so-called CX format, two cameras with a 2.7 crop factor, right in the middle between Micro Four Thirds and quality compacts like the LX5, one camera with a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, one without. It’s called the Nikon 1 system.

Due to the relatively small sensor and the high price there was a lot of ridicule around on the net today, but if you just look at the features and the image quality, there is a lot to like. First of all, these cameras seem to be blindingly fast. Not only can you shoot at 10 fps, you can also shoot short “video” bursts, and then choose the best image of it. It’s not just 1080p video, no, it’s a burst with the whole image resolution of the 10.1 megapixel sensor. You may call this an amateur feature, but believe me, in unpredictable action scenarios it is a heaven-sent.

There is also a new hybrid-use sensor, doubling as AF phase-detect sensor. Cool, and the camera even automatically switches to contrast AF when that gives better results. Thus there is obviously a lot of horse power in its “Expeed III” processor, and we will certainly see more of that in the upcoming DSLRs.

As I said, high-ISO image quality is pretty good, I’d say it is certainly better than that of the D200, and what I can see in the official samples and in those from imaging-resource.com, it can’t be much worse than that of the D300. ISO 800 is beautiful, ISO 1600 seems to be usable, and even ISO 3200 seems to be acceptable for web presentation. Not bad for such a small sensor.

But.

There’s always a “but”, huh? Well, in this case at least for me there are some good reasons why I completely disregard these camera.

  • No square aspect ratio. Really, that is a killer for me. They could easily have done it in software. No problem, but they didn’t. Too bad, I love composing with the square and I will never again buy a camera with electronic viewfinder that doesn’t do squares. Sorry Nikon, everybody else has it, this is inexcusable.
  • No sensor stabilization. There is simply no reason for that, especially with an EVIL camera, and of course the available lenses are either long, stabilized and slow, or short and non-stabilized. Basically that’s Olympus vs Panasonic (Micro Four Thirds) over again. In a way I can understand and excuse it, because Nikon has always stabilized lenses, that’s where their know-how is. If I remember correctly, this makes Olympus the only EVIL brand with stabilized sensors. Almost, that is, because the new Sony Alpha cameras with the semi-transparent mirror are EVIL as well. But then, from their size and feature set they certainly play in the DSLR league.
  • No tilt/swivel LCD. Nikon seems to see this as an expensive consumer feature. The only current DSLR that has it is the consumer top-model, the D5100. I doubt that the D400 will get it. On the other hand, Canon and Sony seem to have realized how useful this feature can be.

Did I ever tell you that I contemplate selling my Nikon D300 and its lenses, and buying a Sony A77? Well, it doesn’t shoot squares either, but it has sensor stabilization and the sensor is, well, sweet 🙂

Well, let’s see what the D400 will be, and then, if I’m honest to myself, I don’t really need a new camera at all 😀

The Song of the Day is “Don’t Kick it Around” by Anita O’Day. It’s on CD 4 of the collection “Young Anita”. Hear it on YouTube.

6 thoughts on “1798 – Don’t Kick it Around”

  1. Contemplating the A77, really? Well, I do so, too. The specs are alluring… That they left out the square aspect ratio is something I also do not understand, especially as the remaining 16 MP are still quite impressive.

    1. Well, I most likely won’t do it. As I said, I certainly don’t need another camera. I probably would like it, and of those that I like, the A77 is probably the one I like most. Dang, it’s co complicated 🙂

    2. Well, I most likely won’t do it. As I said, I certainly don’t need another camera. I probably would like it, and of those that I like, the A77 is probably the one I like most. Dang, it’s co complicated 🙂

  2. Thanks for pointing out the missing sensor stabilization, so I won’t get excited all for nothing. And the missing square, that is a show-stopper in itself.

    But the big thing is that Nikon is now in the game in earnest, and that bodes well for the future.

  3. Sure, the square would be useful – but surely one can eyeball a square within the viewfinder and compose accordingly, to crop in pp? More work, can’t shoot off the cuff, so to speak. But hey, if the camera does everything else you want – “don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater”!

    (The above quote dates from the 1400 or 1500s in England. When the weekly bath water was drawn, the head of household got first choice, followed by the rest of the males of the household. Then the women and children got to bathe in the now-dirty water. And finally, the poor babies were dipped into water that was sometimes so dirty you couldn’t see through it. Hence the above saying came into play.)

    I have decided that, due to the bad economy, I’m buying only food, and fuel for my car. No clothing, except to replace shoes that wear out. No eating out – home cooking is healthier anyway. No going to movies, plays or shows – unless they’re free. (There are so many choices on TV and the internet these days, who needs to leave home, except to get fresh air?) Which I plan to do frequently, as there are nice parks and other public places close to home.

    The Fuji X100 was my last electronics purchase for a long long while. I’m mostly happy with it. But it’s not fast, and its macro setting leaves a lot to be desired. The Nikon D300 with all the lenses I have will do everything else I’d want to do, photographically speaking – except no stabilization. These days I’m dealing with back and hip “protests,” so I don’t lug a tripod, nor do I lug more than one lens, if I take the Nikon out. And so I adjust and adapt.

    If the economy had to depend on people like me, it’d fall through completely, lol. But maybe that’d be a good thing, after all?

    Oh yes, your image, lol! I love the point of view from which you shot this. A very nice abstract – and you do abstracts so well. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hmm … I’d love to have the discipline 😀

      On the other hand, as regards cameras and lenses I have been very reluctant this year. Just the LX5, and in this case I’m glad I bought it. One of my best investments ever. 173 Images of the Day with that camera so far.

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