Every year, more than one million photographs captured in some of the harshest conditions on the planet arrive at National Geographic magazine. From our trials and tribulations, learn how to conquer your own digital photography challenges.

August 2008

Posted Aug 27,2008


Video capture in a digital SLR camera, it’s about time! YAHOO!!!! Congratulations, Nikon, for being the first manufacturer in the world to add 24 fps 1,280x720 pixel video to a D-SLR. Sure there are some limitations in the D90 compared to even a low-end video camera but just think of the possibilities—like shooting wildlife sequences with a 600mm f 4.0. Those of us who just dabble in video will now be able to repurpose still gear that has taken thousands of dollars and years to acquire for a new hobby.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to camera manufacturers about the need to incorporate video capture into the professional digital SLR. It was during the first phases of the war with Iraq that I realized how important it was to get video capability into the hands of professional still photographers—but not at the cost of burdening the photographer with two completely different camera systems. Video equipment is especially fragile—our video camera lasted three days before succumbing to the brutal Iraqi dust. Sorry, I was having a little flashback to my days at the Dallas Morning News.

My point is that given the number of embedded still photographers and the lack of video photographers, the war with Iraq was the perfect opportunity for still photographers to broaden our understanding of what was happening on the ground—if only they had the proper tools. Given the insatiable appetite for video on the Web, I’m sure the D90 is just a first step in getting the right tools into the hands of professionals.

That said, the D90 is not a professional camera. It’s a CMOS 12.3 megapixel, 4.5 fps, mid-range D-SLR that will sell for under $1,000.

Full tech specs unabashedly copied from the Nikon Web site after the jump; more photos too.

Ken Geiger

Posted by Ken Geiger | Comments (14)
Filed Under: digital cameras, Digital Photography, Hardware
Posted Aug 27,2008


SanDisk has pegged the data transfer meter for SDHC with the announcement today of the Extreme III 30MB/s SD card. The 30MB/s edition (megabytes per second) will come to market in September and will be available in 4GB, 8GB and a whopping 16GB. The 16GB version will have a selling price of $179.99.

The speed of the camera's recording media correlates directly to the number of frames that can be written during a continuous burst—before a memory buffer overrun occurs. Here’s an example from Canon’s 50D literature.

It can shoot up to 6.3 fps, in bursts of up to 90 JPEGs (using an UDMA CF card), 60 JPEGs (using a CF card) consecutively or 16 RAW files, so you'll never, ever miss a shot.

Though the 50D uses only CF (compact flash) cards, Nikon’s newly announced D90 will be able to use the Extreme III 30MB/s cards. According to the press release, Nikon and SanDisk have been working closely to ensure that the D90 will take full advantage of the 30MB/s data transfer rate.

Though the Canon EOS 1D MKIII and EOS1Ds MKIII both have SD recording slots, the DIGIC III processor in these cameras will pump out only 15MB/s. Perhaps the next two Canon pre-Photokina camera announcements will be equipped with DIGIC 4 image processors, able to take advantage of the SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/s edition.

Ken Geiger

Posted by Ken Geiger | Comments (0)
Filed Under: Digital Photography, Photography Tips, technology
Posted Aug 26,2008


Getting a jump on Photokina next month, Canon has added a mid-level digital SLR to its roster. The 50D joins the team with 15.1 megapixels of resolution, a continuous firing rate of 6.3 frames per second, improved noise reduction and an expanded ISO range topping out at 12800.

The EOS 50D will be equipped with a redesigned CMOS APS-C sensor, sporting gapless micro lenses over each pixel, which helps reduce digital noise and expands ISO sensitivity. Nikon has gained ground, if not surpassed Canon in recent months with the success of its expanded ISO range in the D3 and D700.

Estimated price for the 50D body is $1,399.00, with an arrival date set for October—well ahead of the Christmas buying season. For more of a technical overview check out Rob Galbraith’s website.

The Canon press release follows after the jump.

Ken Geiger

Posted by Ken Geiger | Comments (2)
Filed Under: Digital Photography, Hardware
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