Today we are met with a slew of announcements from the two big camera giants: Nikon with a bunch of new lenses, and Canon with a refresher of a few compact cameras. One party seems to be pushing the envelope and the other seems to be pit-pattering along. And it’s quite clear which is which. Nikon is delivering four lenses which tread into water’s Canon has not yet ventured. Here’s our thoughts on each of them, with Canon compacts to follow.
Nikon is continuing their theme of refreshing old classics with the G designation. Canon has both an affordable 85mm f/1.8 and a not so affordable 85mm f/1.2 – but nothing to satisfy the middle man. Nikon is well known to be lacking in the prime game, but they are making slow but sure steps forward, adding this to a list including the recent 24mm 1.4G. We’ve got high expectations for this one, and we’re especially curious to see it tested against the new Sigma equivalent.
The old 24-120 (not an f/4) was criticized by one popular blogger as one of Nikon’s 10 worst lenses of all time. It’s widely reported to be soft and the build quality leaves something to be desired. This new one is not only faster, but comes equipped with all of Nikon’s latest technology, and goes another 15mm past what Canon offers with it’s 24-105 IS. We’re expecting it to oust the old model on the image quality front. Could this be the new standard walk-around for Nikon FX shooters?
When the Canon 55-250mm IS came out, both users and reviews were full of praise. It extended the normal APS-C telephoto lens another 50mm, and did so with class leading image quality paired with the latest image stabilization system. It even made the Nikon 55-200mm look dated. Now, Nikon is playing the same game, and took it another 50mm, to 300mm total. Whether this means image quality will be compromised, we’re not sure, but it’s good to see Nikon pushing the envelope. This also means the 70-300mm VR could be obsolete, at least for DX users.
At last, a true superzoom for FX users. Sure, you could use your 18-200 VR on DX mode, but you lose a bit of resolution. This new lens gives you the ability to shoot full resolution at an amazing range with the benefits of an FX sensor. 28-300mm is virtually unheard of in the full frame world. Thus far, only Tamron has created such a lens in a compact package, but now Nikon has joined the party. We’re not sure who would want to carry around Canon’s 28-300L IS beast as a walk-around.
There’s nothing truly revolutionary about the successor to the popluar S90, and maybe that’s a good thing. It gains 720p HD video, is fractionally slimmer, and uses the same coating as that on the 7D, among other minor changes. The ability to set your own ISO limits in auto-ISO mode sounds nice too, as does the new HS system which provides extra stabilization while shooting macros. We already think the S90 it’s the best compact camera in the world, so the S95 is bound to be a winner. Unlike most websites, which just regurgitate Canon’s official press release, Imaging Resource has a nice little write-up on the new S95.
It’s interesting to see how the follow-up to the old SD 4000 IS has changed. In many ways, that camera challenged the S90, going punch for punch in image quality (even with a smaller sensor), lens specs, and adding HD video on top (which seems to be standard now). But now, we see an altogether different camera. For one, the zoom is no longer a 3.8x (28-105mm), but is a 10x (36-360mm) and of course the wide end is no longer that wide. But packing this range of zoom in this small a body is surely an impressive feat.
We’re not huge fans of this kind of camera – but we think Canon has made a few good moves with this one. Firstly, the wide end is now 28mm instead of 35mm, and the zoom range is 12x instead of 10x. The megapixel count has increased from 10 to 12, but what can you expect in this market segment? The cartoon-ish looking body is nonetheless user friendly and packed with controls. For the casual shooter who wants a few more controls, this would be a good choice.
Now, looking forward to August 26th when Canon comes out with the rumored 60D and a slew of new lenses…