Camera Roundup: New DSLR's From Sony, Nikon, and Lumix!
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It was a couple of big weeks for cameras! Nikon, Fuji, Lumix and Sony have all released or announced new cameras. Here is a breakdown of some highlights, especially regarding video recordings:

Nikon D5300

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The Nikon D5200 has made a name for itself as one of the best new DSLR cameras for videos. No wonder Nikon wasted no time in launching a new model. The D5200 has the ability to take pictures in very low light conditions, which can even compete with some of the "kings in low light conditions" like the 5D MKIII, and has a really sharp picture. The D5300 is an evolution of the D5200 and uses a new 24.2 medapixel sensor that enables 1080 / 60p video, which is huge! In my opinion, all DSLRs need this feature because it is crucial for slow motion. Some other highlights of the D5300 are WiFi functions (which you can use to control your phone from a smartphone or tablet), a larger 3.2-inch display and integrated GPS. The price should be close to its predecessor and around $ 800 for the body when it is released later this month.

While this may seem like an incremental update in some ways, it is a breeze for D5200 users to upgrade when the image quality / dynamic range of the new sensor outperforms the D5200, especially with the new 1080 / 60p feature.

Technical specifications:

  • CMOS sensor in DX format with 24.1 MP without OLPF
  • EXPEED 4 processing
  • ISO 100-6400 standard, extended up to 25600
  • Continuous shooting at 5 frames per second
  • 39-point AF system, 9 sensors cross type
  • 2016 pixel RGB measurement sensor
  • 1080p60 video recording, built-in stereo microphone
  • 1.04 M point 3.2 "LCD monitor with variable angle

Sony Alpha 7 & 7R

Now these cameras are something to get excited about. They are the first compact mirrorless full-frame cameras with interchangeable lenses. This is a big deal for shooters who love the full-screen look, but need a camera body that is smaller than a traditional DSLR. The cameras are physically identical, but have different sensors, which is the only thing that separates them. The A7 has a 24.3 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor with OLPF and the A7R has a 36.3 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor without OLPF. Time will tell how these different sensors work in real situations, but it is very likely that they will work very accurately in video mode, considering that they both record at 1080p.

Both cameras have microphone / headphone jacks that show that Sony has taken the video shooter with this camera very seriously. I really hope that the video performance of these cameras delivers as this is exactly the camera I have been looking for in many ways. I wish it had a higher bit rate codec (it still only uses AVCHD), but it could very well provide a picture of fantastic quality. Sony has also announced that it will launch new FE lenses for these cameras. The following lenses are immediately available: 24-70 mm f4, 70-200 mm f4, 35 mm f2.8 and 55 mm f1.8. You indicated that by 2015 there will be 15 lenses in the "FE" lineup.

Technical specifications:

  • 24.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with OLPF (A7)
  • 36.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor without OLPF (A7R)
  • E-mount with support for FE, E and A-mount lenses (with adapter)
  • Bionz X image processor
  • Hybrid AF system with 25 contrast detection and 117 phase detection points (A7 only)
  • Weatherproof body made of magnesium alloy
  • 3-inch LCD with 1.23 million dots
  • Electronic XGA viewfinder (2.4 million points)
  • Diffraction correction technology
  • Full HD video recording with 1080 / 60p and 24p; uncompressed HDMI output
  • Wi-Fi with NFC capability and downloadable apps

Sony RX10

rx10

For those of you who are looking for a camera that offers excellent quality and at the same time provides ease of use that is not matched by most other DSLRs, this could be the camera for you. The newly announced RX10 has a fixed 23-200mm F2.8 constant zoom lens that is perfect for users who normally only use a single zoom lens for their cameras. However, this is not interchangeable, so be aware! One of the best features of this camera is the built-in ND filter, which makes it one of the easiest DSLRs to photograph when the light changes. It also has a clicked aperture ring that shows that they seem to have the videographer / photojournalist in mind. It also has 1080 / 60p coming from the 1-inch sensor (which is smaller than Micro Four Thirds by the way, so expect a pretty big harvest!).

At $ 1,300, this camera costs more than I would expect, but may be the best choice for a specific niche of shooters. For me personally, I often have to change my lenses so that this camera wouldn't do it for me. If I were a video journalist, this would be a great option (assuming the video quality meets specifications), since the built-in ND filter alone would make life in difficult shooting situations a lot easier.

Technical specifications:

  • Type 20MP 1 "BSI CMOS sensor (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
  • 24-200mm equivalent stabilized F2.8 lens
  • Built-in 3 EV neutral filter
  • Fold-out LCD with 1.3 m point (VGA resolution) on the back
  • 1.14 m OLED viewfinder
  • ISO 125 – 12,800 (expandable to ISO 80)
  • Continuous shooting at about 10 frames per second in "speed priority" mode
  • Wi-Fi with NFC for easier connection (with compatible devices)

Lumix GM1

panasonic-lumix-gm1-00

This is a cool looking camera recently announced by Lumix and features a 16 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD screen and 1080p video recording. The camera is made of a metal alloy and even has aluminum dials and a brushed steel surface, which not only makes the camera look bold but also feels substantial. The camera will be released with a new 12-32mm F3-5.6 lens that is retractable and specifically designed for the camera body. Like most new digital cameras, it also has WiFi features that are likely to make many users happy, but more importantly for video shooters – it has a focus peaking option.

All in all, it looks like a solid all-round camera with decent video features (though there is no 1080 / 60p option). I don't think this will be a good camera for video shooters, but for someone looking for a good all-round camera in a solid body with above-average video capabilities, this camera may be the right choice.

Technical specifications:

  • 16MP Live MOS sensor
  • Built-in WiFi (no NFC)
  • Touch-sensitive 3.0-inch LCD with 1036K dots
  • 1080 HD video recording at 60i / 30p
  • Built-in popup flash
  • 1 / 16,000 maximum shutter speed (with fully electronic shutter)
  • Focus peaking
  • Picture-in-picture magnification for manual focus
  • Micro HDMI output
  • Magnesium alloy shell with upper and lower aluminum plates

thoughts

Of all the cameras here, the only ones that really inspire me are the Sony A7 and A7R. The rest of the list are solid cameras, most of which have some great features, but they're really nothing new. It's either incremental updates or minor innovations without really adding value. The A7 and A7R offer a completely new format that was not previously available – the mirrorless full-frame camera. I'm sure that Canon and Nikon will follow suit someday, but it's always great to see a company grab the bull by the horns and do something new. If the camera had a higher bitrate codec, it would make the deal much sweeter for me, but I hope Sony can take a hit with the included AVCHD.

What do you think? Are you interested in one of these cameras? If so, let us know in the comments below!

I have to revisit my post on The top 5 DSLRs for video After getting my hands on some of them, I feel like the A7 / A7R could steal a place on the list.

Noam Kroll is an award-winning filmmaker from Los Angeles and founder of the boutique production house Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television and in various publications around the world. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

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