Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Nikon announce D3S Digital SLR Camera Body

Nikon has announced the launch of the FX-format D3S D-SLR ...providing professional photographers with a powerful tool that redefines the boundaries of digital SLR versatility, while maintaining the strength of superior image quality and high speed performance inherited from the groundbreaking D3.

The D3S enables not only new opportunities in low-light photography, but also provides photographers with added shutterspeed and aperture freedom with a base ISO sensitivity range from ISO 200 to a remarkable 12,800.

Additionally, expanded ISO equivalent settings up to a staggering 102,400 are available, enabling photographers to create images previously thought impossible. The Nikon D3S builds upon the success of the Nikon D3, the professional digital SLR that set new standards for D-SLR performance ...and utilizes a newly designed Nikon original 12.1-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor that also integrates its amazing low-light ability to High Definition (HD) video, creating a uniquely capable multi-media tool to meet the needs of a changing imaging landscape.

Feature Highlights:

ISO performance: ISO 12800 as standard, expandable to ISO equivalent of 102400 (Hi 3).

Large pixel pitch: The D3S’s image sensor has been completely redesigned from the D3 - the inner structure has been further optimised, with the pixel count and large pixel pitch maintained for even greater latitude in high ISO performance. The D3S promises to capture and render light in ways that no other ordinary digital SLR cameras has yet achieved, with a significantly higher signal-to-noise ratio and a wide dynamic range for unmatched image quality for both still images and movies throughout the broadened ISO sensitivity capabilities.

New and improved D-Movie function: From well-lit scenes to extremely low-lit situations, the D3S’s D-Movie mode delivers unique versatility. The newly refined D-Movie offers HD quality (1,280 x 720 pixels) Motion-JPEG movies at 24 fps. By controlling the aperture from the widest f-stop to the smallest, the large FX-format sensor renders low-noise images with beautiful bokeh effects from a large selection of NIKKOR lenses. High-Sensitivity Movie mode allows users to shoot at up to ISO equivalent of 102,400in places too dark to see clearly with their own eyes. D-Movie footage is easy to trim in-camera by simply selecting the starting and ending point. An extra bonus for sports and news photographers is the ability to save selected movie frames as JPEGs for immediate printand web publishing needs. The D3S has both an internal mono-aural microphone and an external stereo microphone input, enabling higher fidelity audio recording.

Image sensor cleaning: Another significant improvement from the D3 is the employment of the Image Sensor Cleaning function, which generates vibrations at four specific frequencies to optimise dust removal. This function can be set to operate automatically when the camera is turned on and off, or manually.

EXPEED: Nikon’s fast, comprehensive, and energy-efficient approach to in-camera image processing maintains the rich initial data’s integrity through 14-bit A/D conversion and 16-bit image-processing, which demonstrates the enormous creative potential of NEF (Nikon Electronic Image Format). Combined with Nikon’s FX-format sensor, the D3S produces an exceptional tonal range and minimized tone jumps. Users can expect more accuracy with difficult colour combinations such as skin tones and strong reds in the same frame without over-saturation and finer tonal gradation in highlights, even with extremely bright subject matter.

Lateral chromatic aberration reduction: The D3S corrects colour fringes caused by chromatic aberrations that, in some instances, can appear at the edges of differing subject elements. Lateral chromatic aberrations are corrected regardless of lens type — whether telephoto, wide-angle, non-CPU and other types of NIKKOR lenses.

Active D-Lighting: Nikon’s Active D-Lighting automatically regulates the dynamic range of high-contrast scenes, pulling out shadow details and preserving highlights while maintaining proper contrast. The D3S allows photographers to choose from six Active D-Lighting settings, including the newly added Auto and Extra High, as well as High, Normal, Low and Off. You can also bracket Active D-Lighting strength levels up to five frames and select the best rendition afterwards.

Picture Control: Helps you define the look and feel of your images by custom-tailoring sharpness, saturation and other parameters to match your creative intentions. The D3S comes with four pre-installed Picture Control profiles, which can be fine-tuned and saved as new custom Picture Control profiles that match your personal shooting style or particular shooting conditions. These profiles can easily be copied to additional cameras.

Speed and readiness throughout the workflow: The D3S optimises workflow speed and fluidity throughout the entire shooting process. Start-up time is approx. 0.12 seconds* and release time lag is minimised to approx. 0.04 seconds*, exactly as fast as the D3, but the D3S’s increased buffer memory is twice as large as that of the D3’s. In addition, the D3S’s autofocusing, image processing, memory card access and recording, USB interface and optional wireless transmitter all work together to keep professional photographers focused. And for sport and news photographers, many of the D3S’s JPEG files are print-ready with little or no post-production: an extra edge when time is short.

9-frames-per-second* shooting rate in FX-format, 11 fps* in DX crop: the D3S’s powerful stepping motor allows for a more steady delivery of fast continuous shooting speeds at a wider range of aperture settings than lesser cameras can claim. Professionals will now have greater control and fewer limitations when making the images they desire. With the DX crop, photographers can also add a 1.5x picture angle and a faster frame rate to their arsenal. Furthermore, the factory-installed buffer memory is twice the capacity of the D3, dramatically increasing the power of continuous shooting.

Scene Recognition System: Nikon’s exclusive 1,005-pixel RGB sensor precisely reads brightness and colour information to raise the overall accuracy of AF, AE, i-TTL flash control and auto white balance to new heights, thanks to the Scene Recognition System. The D3S’s AF delivers superb subject tracking and subject identification performance. Highlight analysis used for AE reproduces brightness faithful to the eye, and light source identification makes auto white balance uniquely precise and reliable.

51-point AF: The D3S’s strategically positioned 51 AF points deliver faster focus, even with quick and/or erratic subject movement. The 15 cross-type sensors in the centre of the frame maintain the same outstanding performance with any AF NIKKOR lens f/5.6 or faster. There are four Dynamic-area AF options, including 51 points (3D-tracking), which accurately follows your subject by shifting focus points using colour and brightness information from the Scene Recognition System. This gives users an extra advantage when composition is important but your subject’s movement is extremely erratic. Single-point and Auto-area AF modes are also available.

Sophisticated AE with highlight analysis: Nikon’s exclusive 3D colour matrix metering II is highly praised for its outstanding performance and faithful exposure results — even in complex, unforgiving lighting conditions. The D3S takes accurate exposure further, using highlight analysis from the Scene Recognition System and then carefully selecting from a database containing information from over 30,000 actual shooting situations.

Informed auto white balance: Nikon’s auto white balance is often noted for its accuracy, achieving remarkable results, even in challenging conditions with mixed light sources ...with the D3S, auto white balance makes even further progress. Professionals can expect white as truly white in a wider variety of settings.

Approx. 100% frame coverage: The D3S’s large prism gives you the FX-format visual advantage when you shoot. The viewfinder image is not only larger and brighter, but the focusing screen is also carefully designed to help you to more intuitively sense sharp focus, be it manual or autofocus.

Superior durability: For the reliability professionals demand, the shutter of the D3S has been tested for up to 300,000 cycles in fully assembled cameras under rigorous conditions. The ruggedly constructed D3S employs a strong yet lightweight magnesium alloy for its body, exterior cover, chassis and mirror box. Furthermore, a comprehensive series of O-rings and other specialised seals, combined with additional Nikon engineering, protect the D3S against invasive moisture, dust and even electromagnetic interference.

Twin CF card slots: The D3S lets you designate each card slot for certain tasks: record two full CF cards of data sequentially for a large amount of storage, record the same data onto two cards (backup), record RAW and JPEG simultaneously onto separate cards, and transfer data from one card to another. You can also designate the slot for data-heavy D-Movie recording.

Long-life battery: The D3S uses the EN-EL4a rechargeable batteries. Power consumption and power management systems have been engineered for greater operating efficiency, so you can expect long battery life, shooting up to 4,200 images* per charge.

Easy-to-access Live View mode: The dedicated Live View button gives you instant access to two Live View modes: Tripod mode for accurate AF operation and Hand-held mode for more versatile shooting angles. The speed for Contrast-detect AF in Tripod mode has also been improved for enhanced practicality.

Quiet Shutter-release mode for non-intrusive shooting: Photographers can select “Q” on the release mode dial to substantially reduce the sound of the camera’s mirror-down during shooting. This is particularly useful when shooting in restrictive conditions such as when photographing theatrical performances or wildlife.

3-in., approx. 921k-dot color, 170ยบ viewing angle LCD monitor: The D3S’s large, high-resolution LCD monitor delivers bright, crisp image playback with up to 27x enlargement for immediate and precise image confirmation. Each LCD is covered with scratch resistant tempered glass and individuallycalibrated and fine-tuned at the factory to deliver consistent performance.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2009

The Nobel Committee of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences proclaimed three men this morning as 'masters of light'.

This year's Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded "for groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication" ...and "for the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit - the CCD sensor".

Half of the 10 million Swedish crowns prize money goes to Charles K. Kao, whose work in the mid-60s enabling light to travel long distances through glass strands made the fiber optic cables we have today possible.

The second half of the prize is divided between Canadian Willard S. Boyle and American George E. Smith, who both worked at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and invented the so-called charge-coupled device semiconductor, better known to anyone that has ever looked at a digital camera spec list as a CCD.

In 1969 Boyle and Smith invented the first successful imaging technology using a digital sensor, a CCD (charge-coupled device).

The two researchers came up with the idea in just an hour of brainstorming, according to Boyle, who spoke during a press conference today. "It is amazing that a [CCD device] was created so quickly," said Joseph Nordgren, the chair of the Nobel Prize committee.

CCD technology makes use of the photoelectric effect, as theorized by Albert Einstein and for which he was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize. By this effect, light is transformed into electric signals. The challenge, when designing an image sensor, was to gather and read out the signals in a large number of image points, i.e. pixels, in a short time.

Often considered as the digital camera's electronic eye, CCD technology has revolutionized how images are collected from spacecraft, by telescopes, and in medical imaging ...effectively replacing the film camera in every aspect of photography.

The Nobel Prize committee concluded that the three scientists have helped shape the foundations of today’s networked society. ‘They have created many practical innovations for everyday life and provided new tools for scientific exploration,’ the committee said in a statement.