One of the most crippling features in many DSLR cameras (like the Canon Rebel T2i above) is the poor autofocus performance in both live view and video modes. While mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic GH1 and Samsung NX10 do a decent job of using contrast-detection AF methods, DSLR manufacturers like Canon and Nikon have done a poor job in making it work. Sony, to its credit, has implemented an effective live view design with fast autofocus by placing a secondary live view sensor in the viewfinder, which allows the standard phase difference AF sensor to function normally. But, still, it’s not a true “live view” of what the sensor will produce. Plus, Sony’s design won’t work with video.
Of course, most pros and serious amateurs understand the benefit and efficiency of using the fast, phase difference AF method that results from using the viewfinder. However, that doesn’t stop entry-level and enthusiast photographers from complaining about the poor live view and lack of video autofocus in their sub-$1000 DSLRs. Additionally, there are certainly situations where an accurate and quick live view or video autofocus mode are desired among photographers of all skill levels and backgrounds.
Canon may very well have the answer: Put the fast, phase difference AF sensors in pixels on the main image sensor.
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The Samsung NX10 is 14.6-megapixel camera offering an interchangeable lens design. The NX10 follows the Micro Four Thirds system from Olympus and Panasonic as a DSLR-like design without a bulky mirror and optical viewfinder. The NX10 uses a larger APS-C format sensor (with a 1.6x crop factor) as opposed to the Micro Four Thirds cameras (with smaller, 2x crop factor sensors).
The Samsung NX10 does a lot of things right in both form and function. To see how it stacks up against the competition, read on. [click to continue…]
A patent application filed by Canon was recently published by the USPTO (App. No. 12/188,385) that may give us some insight as to how Canon will solve the abysmal autofocus performance of Canon’s Live View mode. If you are unfamiliar about how Canon’s Live View AF system currently works (or doesn’t work), you can read my prior rant in Photography Bay’s Canon Rebel XSi Review. For some insight on how Live View AF should work, see the Sony A350 Review.
Nothing works faster for DSLR autofocus systems than the tried and true phase-difference method. If you don’t know what phase-difference AF means, the you can read about it on Wikipedia; however, it’s not essential to understand all the technical details to get excited about Canon’s new patent.
The fundamental problem with making phase-difference autofocus work in a Live View mode is that the AF sensor receives light from the mirror, which also reflects light up into the pentaprism for the optical viewfinder. When you press the shutter button, the mirror flips up and you get a brief moment of black out in the view finder while the shutter opens and exposes the image sensor to the light from the lens. [click to continue…]
Reports are surfacing that the Sony A700 is destined to be discontinued in April. Most of this info arises out of notations in Best Buy’s inventory system, which indicates a discontinuance date of April 27, 2008 for the Sony A700. Here are a few of the quotes from readers who have posted this news in forums:
I just called my local BB in Maryland. There is a discontinue date of 4/27/08 for this cam. They are selling at origial price until at least after the discontinue date.
The clerk said she had heard of the new replacement coming out but didn’t have much info.
The discontinue is widespread. Something is going on. Many other electronics sellers are dropping the price on the a700.
My BB has a decent amount of Aplpha gear. The A100, A200, A350, A700, 18-200, 11-18 and 75-300. Some filters too. They also have a discontinued date of 4/27. This all happened very quickly as I was in there about a week ago trying to monitor the price of the 36 flash and the A700 was full list price of $1,399. They are not getting rid of all Alpha items, just A700.
Whether this means Sony is discontinuing the A700 or whether it’s just that Best Buy is no longer carrying the A700 remains to be seen. The A700 does, however, seem to be a bit of an odd duck right now, due to the introduction of the A300 and A350. I could certainly see Sony dropping the A700 from the current lineup in order to incorporate the awesome Live View featured on the A300 and A350 into a true prosumer DSLR.