Picture This: Smaller, Sharper, Faster
Camera companies continue to make strides in photo technology.
By Earl Nottingham
Each year, the National Association of Broadcasters puts together one of the world’s largest trade shows featuring the latest hardware, software and products driving the convergence of media, entertainment and technology. Much of the show revolves around the photographic industry, encompassing still photography, video and filmmaking. With all of the latest and greatest tools and toys for photographers in one location, it is a microcosm of the current state of the industry and a barometer of the trends we can expect to see in the future.
Although it was difficult to wade through more than 100,000 attendees and 1,700-plus exhibits at the 2018 NAB Show, several trends surfaced. The common thread that emerged was that manufacturers are competing ferociously to introduce smaller cameras, lenses and accessories that are able to produce sharper photographs and video via better sensors, processors and stabilization. With increasing expectations to share images quickly, most new cameras include some type of wireless connectivity.
The trend can be summed up in three words — smaller, sharper and faster. Among the thousands of new products at the show, here are three that illustrate the trend.
Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera
The new Sony Alpha a7 III mirrorless digital camera is a good indicator of where the digital camera market is headed. Photographers want a camera that does it all, and this new member of the Alpha family has the perfect combination of features, resolution and speed. Its 24-megapixel sensor combined with a new BIONZ X processor produces a still image with 14-bit color depth, ultra-high-definition 4K video and greater low-light sensitivity with an ISO range of 100-51,200 (which can be expanded to ISO 50-204,800). It offers features such as a filmmaker-friendly 120-frames-per-second filming rate (for slow motion), a greater dynamic range of 14 stops and a variety of customizable S-Log curves for color correction in post-production. Action shooters will appreciate its faster auto-focus, internal five-axis stabilization and 10-frames-per-second shooting speed.
Canon M50 Mirrorless Camera
Although slightly behind the curve in introducing larger-sensor mirrorless cameras, Canon adds to its line of M-series with the EOS M50, considered an entry-level mirrorless camera yet featuring a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, electronic OLED viewfinder and a fully articulating touchscreen. Its latest DIGIC 8 processor, combined with Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus, allows quick capture of stills at up to 10 frames per second and video resolution up to 4K. It also features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity as well as a more robust lens and body-based stabilization system, making it a perfect on-the-move camera for the traveler or vlogger.
DJI Osmo 2
Although not a camera per se, a handheld stabilizer is a useful tool to use with a camera to produce sharper images or smoother video for active photographers, vloggers or filmmakers. While DJI is primarily known for its drones such as the Phantom and Mavic series, it also produces a line of handheld gimbal stabilizers for cameras and smartphones that keep the camera smooth and level, eliminating shake or bounce as the photographer moves. The new Osmo 2 gimbal stabilizer will accept any smartphone up to 3.3 inches wide, and when used with the DJI GO app it can provide a variety of creative shooting modes and functions. It differs from its predecessor because controls have been simplified, battery life extended and cost cut almost in half.
Please send questions and comments to Earl at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more tips on outdoor photography, visit the magazine’s photography page at www.tpwmagazine.com/photography.
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