Photo Link: Nikon D4’s Amazing Low Light Capabilities And Other Features

I’ve been receiving some information about the new flagship Nikon camera, the D4. here’s a link to the manufacturer’s website.  Every once in a while, I’ll link to something that may be of interest, and today, that’s the D4.

King of Low Light
One of the specs I’m most interested in is its low-light capability, with an ISO Range  of100-12,800 (extendable from 50 – 204,800).  I’m going to repeat that again.  204,800.  One can only hope that light sensitivity like this will eventually filter its way down to more affordable cameras for the rest of us.  In my opinion, this is one area where Nikon shines.  I think Canon offers more “bang for the buck”, but when Nikon is offering low light sensitivity like this, it’s difficult to look elsewhere for this price range.

Additionally, the D4 offers HDR, combining multiple images in-camera to produce images with increased dynamic range.  Obviously, other cameras that are considerably cheaper do this too, but something tells me that this’ll do it really darn well.

The D4 also has a giant new higher-resolution 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, but has also added a 91,000 pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix metering sensor that senses brightness and color, and supposedly interprets this with increased accuracy in color reproduction and balanced exposure.  And it adds face recognition, an appealing feature that is on many consumer cameras, but has often been left off cameras designed for professional use.

1080p HD Video
Probably the biggest, most obvious change is that Nikon has no doubt been noticing how well the  5D Mark II has been doing in the professional video market and wants to step it up.  Coupled with its fantastic low-light capabilities, The D4 captures HD 1080p video at various frame rates, easily suitable for broadcast quality video, and is capable of streaming the video out its HDMI port.

Field Monitor and Remote Capable Through iPad
Of some interest as well is that Nikon reports that the D4 is also iPhone/iPad compatible.  But what does this mean?  You can control the D4 via a web browser through your iPhone or iPad.  Nikon uses an HTTP protocol, meaning that with a Wifi or other internet connection, you can control the D4 remotely.  This could be handy for photographers or filmmakers who, say, have the camera attached to the top of a basketball backboard for sporting events, attached to a moving vehicle, or perched on top of a tree or crane.

The Sucky Part
I’ve seen on several reviews that due to the increased functionality of the camera, the battery life is lower.  However, Nikon has said that they are coming out with a new battery that promises better battery life.

Overall, this sure makes me wish I had US$6000.

Equipment:  I currently use a Nikon D90, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens, and a 50mm f/1.4 lens.


Photo Link: Jumping Spiders May Provide Answers to New Camera Technology

A new research paper has shown that jumping spiders use a previously unseen method of gauging distance to their prey, one which could eventually find its way into cameras.

jumping spider

Article by Tim Barribeau.

Thanks to Lee for the link!

Photo Link: Refocusing Photos After You Take Them!

What am I goin’ on about, you might ask?  Lytro has recently introduced a camera with an f/2 lens that they say captures the entire light field, allowing you to focus on parts of the image — AFTER you have taken the photo.

Have a look at some of the Lytro images here, all of which you may continually refocus:

No Auto-Focus.  No delay.  Just point and shoot.

Right now, you can’t do too much editing, although I suspect this will change with subsequent versions.  It’s Mac only, although that too will change, according to Lytro.  Oh, and no, you can’t make *everything* in focus, although the Lytro site indicates they’re workin’ on it.

Lytros camera

It’s a little odd looking for a camera, but the technology is intriguing.

Sharing is not quite pointing and clicking with an iPhone and uploading it to Facebook.  Right now, the camera is not wireless.  But more than that, to share, you must upload photos to the Lytro website and share from there.  There’s a good reason for this. The Lytro camera uses a different photo format, necessary because the camera captures very different data from “traditional” cameras.  Lytro says, “The information is different because, while traditional cameras capture the intensity of the light, the sensor on our light field camera captures both the intensity and the direction of light.”  They further go on to say, ”You aren’t changing the captured light field data, but are instead changing parameters that control projection of those data to the sequence of 2-D images that you see. Thus, light field pictures are ‘living pictures,’ and they make different demands of a picture format than do traditional photographs.”

And yes, I know that Raytrix (Germany) had developed light field camera that does something similar, allowing you to refocus the photo after the fact as well.

Raytrix R11 light field camera

Raytrix R11 light field camera from Germany . According to their website, Raytrix cameras offer you a brand new enabling technology: digital cameras with 4D lightfield image-sensors. Using the new R11-camera you have full control in digital post processing of the perspective and focus setting of your pictures you have already taken. Also a 3D reconstruction of the original scene is possible. The 4D lightfield consists of all lightray intensities passing through our 3D space and not only one flat 2D image-projection. By recording this 4D lightfield with only a single shot, raytrix cameras store more information of the 3D scene compareable by taking many shots at the same time but from different point of views.

Future applications of this technology may someday forever change the way we share and experience photos, as well as have implications for other applications of photography, such as surveillance, security, perceived dimensionality in photographs, and even how we go about taking photos.  Will Lytro or Raytrix license their technology to other manufacturers?  How is this going to impact the kinds of photography we do?  How will it impact 3D cinema, gaming, or scientific research?

I mentioned that every once in a while, I will link to something of interest.  This is the first of many to come.