In a bid to give Canon’s PowerShot G1 X a run for its money, Nikon is pulling out every stop it knows with the introduction of the Coolpix P7700. It’s a decidedly prosumer model, priced at a buck under $500 and equipped with a 1/1.7-inch 12.2 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, 7.1x zoom lens (with a maximum aperture of f/2), 1080p movie mode, Lens-Shift Vibration Reduction and full manual control for those who abhor automatic captures. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there’s the $179 Coolpix S01 — a bantam P&S camera that’s bound to snake its way into stockings this holiday season. Specs-wise, it’s packing a 2.5-inch touchpanel, electronic VR, a 10 megapixel CCD sensor, built-in flash and a stainless exterior that measures just 3.1- x 2.1- x 0.7-inches. It’ll ship alongside the P7700 this September, but it’s on you to pick between the red, silver, white and pink color options. The full releases are embedded after the break.
Okay, so Nikon kind of spoiled the surprise with this one, but we can now enlighten you with the full details of its upcoming midrange (or “advanced beginner” as Nikon calls it) DSLR refresh. The D5100 takes the spot of the venerable D5000, but follows the previous generation’s recipe for success pretty closely. The D5000 was a stripped-down D90 in a simpler, smaller package that came with an articulating LCD, and the D5100 just so happens to feature the same mighty 16.2 megapixel sensor as the D7000 (Nikon’s current high-end consumer DSLR) augmented with a flipout screen. Having the D7000′s internals helps the new shooter churn out 1080p video at 24fps, 25fps, or 30fps, depending on your preference for up to a maximum of 20 minutes. The D5000 is only capable of five-minute bursts of 720/24p video and isn’t able to continually autofocus, which the D5100 can. The D5100 also betters its predecessor in terms of physical fitness, coming in at a healthy 10 percent lighter and smaller, while a good number of the physical controls have been repositioned in order to allow for a new horizontal opening mechanism. That’ll be a well appreciated tweak for tripod users. The new screen’s also 17 percent thinner, we’re told, and steps up to a 3-inch diagonal with a 920k-dot resolution. Solid stuff. After the break you’ll find a full spec sheet along with some video action with the D5100. Pricing for this camera is set at $800 / €777 / £670 for the body only or $900 / €904 / £780 for the body plus an 18-55mm VR kit lens. The ME-1 external mic introduced alongside it — did we not mention the D5100 has an external mic input — will cost $180 / €139 / £120 and both are expected in stores on April 21st.
In case you’re still wondering if Panasonic’s mirrorless Lumix GH2 is worth your $900, we’ve rounded up a handful of reviews to provide a pointer for your next big purchase. While most reviewers agree that this Micro Four Thirds camera appears to be very similar to its predecessor, they universally praise the subtly improved ergonomics, speedy liveview autofocusing, and refined image quality, especially with its 1080p AVCHD video recording (although Digital Camera Resource Page did notice some artifacting in its clips). Noise is also a non-issue up to about ISO 800 or 1600, though it’s apparent that the 16 megapixel stills are comparatively dull and, like those from many other MFTs, aren’t quite on par with DSLRs — expect plenty of manual processing work here, as demoed by the good folks over at Digital Photography Review. All in all, the GH2 is a great kit for high quality video capturing, bundled with a pretty good still performance that requires some extra TLC afterwards — kinda ironic in a way, but hey, this isn’t a problem for lovers of video bokeh. Head over to the links below for some in-depth analysis and walk-through before you leave a small dent on your bank account.