Sony

Sony HDR-AX2000 First Look

The HDR-AX2000, expected to sell for around $3500, is a solid state AVCHD camera that crams a whole lot of professional features into a prosumer camera. Able to record at up to 24 Mbps in the AVCHD format, the HDR-AX2000 can capture 1920x1080/60i HD video as well as progressive scan video at 1080/30p and 1080/24p directly to Memory Stick PRO Duo or SDHC cards (the 24p/30p footage is converted to 60i when recorded to the memory stick/SDHC, and 2-3 pull-down is used when converting the 24p to 60i).

Hot products from CES 2010

PowerShots for Everyone

For the better part of a decade, Canon PowerShot A-Series cameras have offered a respectable set of features at an affordable price. Excellent resolution, sharp Canon optics, and quality handling have made the cameras extremely popular with budget conscious shutterbugs. Though never quite as compact or sleek as the Digital ELPH line, the PowerShot A-Series has always been renowned for capturing high-quality images with ease.

No Tripod, No Flash, No Problem

Not all that long ago, shooting under low-lighting conditions without benefit of a flash or tripod meant pushing your film 1,2, or 3 stops beyond its native ISO rating. When shooting black & white this usually meant rating Tri-X at 800, 1200, or 1600 instead of its usual 400 speed rating, which in practice meant underexposing the film and developing it longer to 'make up' for the loss of exposure time. Pushing film usually did the trick at the cost of additional contrast and graininess.

Staking Their Claim

For anyone who's bought--or considered buying--a video camera in the last couple years, these are certainly interesting times. That's especially true in the consumer camcorder world, where tape has gone the way of the Tyrannosaurus, taking evolutionary wing into a cloud of 1's and 0's. Whether recording to hard drives or memory cards--and whether or not you're ready for it--solid state recording is the method of choice.

A Return to Photography with the Sony Alpha A850

"What type of camera do you use? A studio camera? A sports camera? Pro? Pro-sumer? Entry level?" The discussion of photography has changed dramatically in recent years. Dialogue has shifted from concept and intent to hardware and accessories. This talk is common on the internet, in art departments, even in university classes and photo clubs. But when studying an actual image, something changes. We forget the branding and the specs and the marketing hype. Our consideration of time, value, and life is forever altered. We are reminded in fact, that we are human – not studio human, sports human, professional or entry level. We experience things and, in the click of a shutter, can share those experiences with one another.

The Adventures of Audio Post for Film

A quick recap for anyone who didn't get to read Part One. In the beginning of 2008, my friend, writer/director Tibor Spiegel shared with me the completed production footage of his independent film, "Overnite Shift". The thirty-plus minute movie tells the story of an older, immigrant New York City taxi driver who, on a particular evening, picks up a series of passengers. As he interacts with them, his past hauntingly resurfaces, and in the process changes his future irrevocably.

The Touch Camcorder That Knows Its Place

Though inexpensive flash memory camcorders have been snapped up by consumers in droves in recent years, even casual users recognize their severe limitations. Typically, these devices offer a lackluster lens, provide only digital zoom, and perform poorly in dim light or an unsteady hand. Manual controls, touch screens, and GPS simply aren't included in the equipment. All this helps explain why cameras that record to tape or hard disks continue to be preferred by home video enthusiasts.

Getting Back to Basics

Video cameras seem to be getting more and more complex, which can be a blessing and a curse. Even the basic "record-your-son's-football-game" camera seems to have features today that were unimaginable only a few years ago. Sony now has a camera that can detect whether or not someone is smiling. Sounds more like science fiction to me. While these new features can be useful in a variety of ways, getting the best possible footage is always paramount. The truth is that the most critical settings are always the most universal. They include white balance, shutter speed, and audio levels.

Stepping Up with Sony's HVR-Z5U

But let's review the similarities. In our hands-on look at the HDR-FX1000, we noted all the great new features and improvements Sony brought to its replacement of the prosumer HDR-FX1. Those same upgrades apply to the HVR-Z5U, which we were also lucky enough to spend some face-time with prior to its official December release.

2008 - A Dynamic Year for Digital SLR Design

Continuing our discussion of the year's most interesting lenses, let's revisit those exciting announcements as they pertain to digital SLRs. In 2008 we had PMA, Photokina and PhotoPlus - the trifecta of photographic expositions. These shows brought forth a plethora of delectable tools for both the serious and budding photographer. The following overview is in reverse-alphabetical order (as a change) so we begin with Sony.

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