Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Photography Tools Galore

The last 24 hours has been busy, in terms of new photography tools. First Canon releases the Canon T2i (550D), then Nikon releases the 24mm F1.4G and 16-35mm F4 VR, and this morning Apple released Aperture 3! All these new products will give users some new choices, and hopefully continue to make our lives easier as photographers! Okay, now that I have listed all the new stuff, I'll post comments on them all.


Canon T2i / 550D
First up is the Canon T2i, which is going to be a killer for sure. I'm not a Canon users, but I can see amateur landscape photographers jumping all over this camera. For $899 US, that is a cheap high resolution camera. The 18MP sensor is not the same one found  in the Canon 7D, so we'll have to wait and see if any improvements have been made in terms of high ISO noise, which wasn't overly impressive on the 7D. There have been some other improvements, such as 1080p video now capable of capturing at 30FPS, vs 20FPS on the T1i (500D). Another addition is support for SDXC memory cards, which in theory max out at a size 1TB. Right now SDXC cards are expensive, so I'd stick with SDHC cards for the time being, unless you really need 64GB cards, which cost over $200 right now by the way.

One of the most interesting changes to the T2i is the 3inch 3:2 display on the back of the camera. Other than Olympus and other 4/3 SLR cameras, most DSLRs have a screen that does not have the same aspect ratio as the sensor, but now the T2i does. I hope to see other manufactures follow suite with this change. No longer will part of the screen be wasted while you are viewing images, because the aspect ratio is different.

There are some limitations in the T2i, which could turn some users off though. If you shoot a lot of wildlife, or birds, the T2i may not be the best option for you, since the camera can only shoot 3.7FPS in continuous shooting, and the buffer can only hold 6 RAW images, or 34 jpgs. In comparison the Canon T1i's buffer can hold 9 RAW images or 170 jpgs as they come from its 15MP sensor. That being said, the T1i/500D has an even slower continuous frame rate at 3.4FPS. So if you are into action shooting, and you are a Canon user, consider the 50D or 7D. Another downside is the size of the files that come from a 18MP sensor, even jpeg images will be over 10MB each at that resolution, so make sure you have a lot of hard drive space if you are considering this camera. That's about it for the T2i, from me.

Nikon Lenses: 
On to the new Nikon lenses, that were released this morning. There are many amateur and pro users who have been waiting for a fast, wide angel prime from Nikon for some time now, and it has finally been delivered, the Nikon 24mm F1.4G. From a few blog posts from people who tested the lens for Nikon, it looks like a really nice lens to work with. Too bad the price isn't very nice, sitting at $2,300 Cdn (MSRP),  I wont be adding this to my bag any time soon!

Nikon also released a second lens, the 16-35mm F4G VR, which I guess is meant to replace the 17-35mm F2.8D, as a low cost wide angel zoom for FX cameras. This looks like it will be a great lens for D700 users who find it hard to justify paying nearly $2000 for the 14-24mm F2.8G. Another advantage of the 16-35mm F4 VR is that it can take filters, while the 14-24mm F2.8G cannot. To be honest the price on it may seem a little steep at $1200 Cdn, but then again, the DX wide angel zooms, which have the same or similar apertures, cost about $1000 Cdn, so if they priced it any lower it would cut in the sale of the DX wide angel lenses!  I cannot see this lens being in my bag, at least not in the foreseeable future. The price is more than I'd be willing to pay, and I'm rather satisfied with my Tokina 12-24mm F4, which is wider on a DX body anyway.

Aperture 3
Finally an update to Aperture, after a few long years. Some may say this update came too late, but for me it came right on time. If there had not been an update this year I likely would have switched to Capture One, next year simple due to the lack of any visible support for Aperture. Thankfully, Aperture is not dead, and some of the new features look nice. I'll post more once I get a chance to play around with it, which shouldn't be too long, and with an upgrade price of $109 Cdn, I'll be updating for sure, unless their are some terrible bugs in the initial release.