Photography News 08

Camera review

25

NikonD7100

SonyA77

The EOS 700D has 18 megapixels, matching the current flagship EOS 7D but starting to seem a little stingy since most now have over 20. There are also just nine AF points, and while the diamond arrangement covers a good total area, there are big gaps. All nine AF points use cross-type sensors though, making for fast and reliable focusing, especially impressive in low light. With a step down in capability from the EOS 70D comes a step down in build quality. The EOS 700D feels plasticky, even compared to other entry-level models. Switch frommore advanced Canons, and the control layout will also need getting used to – there’s no control wheel on the back, and the only direct-access button on the top-plate is the ISO button – other direct access is through buttons on the back, but it’s still comprehensive. There’s also a touch screen that flips out and rotates, and this offers a larger display than the tilting Sony screen without compromising on the size of the body or controls. The body is relatively big – similar in size to the full-frame EOS 6D – but also extremely comfortable to hold. The directional selector in the centre of the control wheel is a little small, but otherwise controls are user-friendly, with comprehensive direct access. There’s also a vari-angle touch LCD, helping to make the most of the speed of Dual Pixel AF. The EOS 70D is also Canon’s only APS-C DSLR with in-built Wi-Fi. Although the 70D sits below the 7D in the EOS line-up, it’s arguably Canon’s most advanced APS-C offering. It includes Canon’s highest resolution APS-C sensor, the same processor as Canon’s full-frame DSLRs, and shooting at up to 7fps. The AF system is essentially a stripped-down version of that in the EOS 7D – it has 19 cross-type AF sensors and is designed to deal with action. Unique to the EOS 70D is Dual Pixel on-sensor focusing technology, which transforms Live View focusing and makes it genuinely useable for stills and movies. The body of the D7100 represents a step up in quality from other Nikon APS-C DSLRs. It’s built more like the full-frame models, and feels solid in the hand, but it’s also relatively light. The control layout gives you instant access to every setting you’re likely to want in a hurry – the directional selector is just a little small. The body also features weather and dust sealing equivalent to the D800. The top frame rate of the D7100 is six frames- per-second at full resolution – equal fastest in the Nikon line-up besides the D4 s , but slower than APS-C flagship competitors. You can get extra speed in 1.3x crop mode – resolution is cut to 15.4 megapixels, but the top speed reaches 7fps. While speed struggles a little, the D7100 has advanced focusing with a 51-point system covering much of the frame and with 15 cross-type sensors. Focusing algorithms are from the D4, and sensitivity goes down to -2EV. For moving subjects, there are 3D Tracking and Dynamic Area AF modes.

Although at the bottom of Sony’s DSLT tree, the A58 is still speedy – continuous shooting reaches eight frames-per-second, much faster than most DSLRs of this price. This can be combined with full-time phase-detection and Lock-on AF, which is a more effective tracking mode even than the A77 equivalent. The A58’s viewfinder is electronic with 1440k dots compared to 2359k dots in the A77 – it’s not poor resolution, just obvious you’re looking at a screen. There’s pretty much no noticeable lag though, and movement is smooth. The LCD screen tilts vertically, but the trade-off is a relatively small and low-resolution screen. Some of the control layout is good – such as a thumb-friendly exposure compensation button – but other aspects reflect the entry- level audience, such as a digital zoom on the top-plate. Some key settings are consigned to the D-pad or the Quick Navi menu. Buttons on the A58 are generally nice to use, and only the D-pad lacks a little positivity. Focusing is via a 39-point AF system, meaning extensive AF coverage of the frame, which is great for the dynamic area focus modes. Not so good for action is the continuous shooting speed, which tops out at 5fps – comfortably beaten by the Canon EOS 70D. The D5300’s plastic body is reinforced with carbon fibre, so is sturdy and light. A consumer-friendly design impacts on handling – there’s just one command dial and few direct-access buttons; the menu is the only option for white-balance, ISO, metering and focus modes. Other absent advanced features include support for high-speed sync flash, and there’s no integrated AF motor, so AF is only supported with AF-S lenses. Nevertheless, the 24-megapixel sensor has no optical low-pass filter, and is paired with the new EXPEED 4 processor. It also uses the same 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor as the D7100. The D5300 is also Nikon’s only camera to feature in-built Wi-Fi. A translucent mirror means an electronic viewfinder, and few are better than this one. The magnification ratio of 1.09x is higher than any other APS-C DSLR and equal to some full- frame viewfinders, and there’s minimal lag. Also unique for a camera of this level is the articulated LCD screen – great for awkward compositions, and because the mirror doesn’t flip, you get full-time phase-detection AF even when using the screen to compose. The A77 is light for this level of camera, and dual command dials and top-plate direct access offer advanced control. But responses are a bit slow – the camera takes a couple of seconds to fully boot, and there’s a lag when you change settings with the dial. The technology inside the A77 offers unrivalled speed – its 12fps matches Canon’s flagship EOS-1D X, and no other APS-C DSLR comes close. However, focusing modes are relatively limited, and for moving subjects there’s little more sophisticated than the often erratic Object Tracking.

KEY SPECS

KEY SPECS

PRICE £729 CONTACT www.sony.co.uk SENSOR 24.3 megapixels with BIONZ

ISO RANGE 100-16,000 extended AUTOFOCUS 19 AF points SHOOTING SPEED 12fps

PRICE £839 CONTACT www.nikon.co.uk SENSOR 24.1 megapixels with EXPEED 3

ISO RANGE 100-25,600 extended AUTOFOCUS 51 AF points SHOOTING SPEED 6fps

Canon EOS 70D

NikonD5300

KEY SPECS

KEY SPECS

PRICE £669 CONTACT www.nikon.co.uk SENSOR 24.2 megapixels with EXPEED 4

ISO RANGE 100-25,600 extended AUTOFOCUS 39 AF points SHOOTING SPEED 5fps

PRICE £858 CONTACT www.canon.co.uk SENSOR 20.2 megapixels with DIGIC 5+

ISO RANGE 100-25,600 extended AUTOFOCUS 19 AF points SHOOTING SPEED 7fps

SonyA58

Canon EOS 700D

KEY SPECS

KEY SPECS

PRICE £359 CONTACT www.sony.co.uk SENSOR 20.1 megapixels with BIONZ

ISO RANGE 100-16,000 extended AUTOFOCUS 15 AF points SHOOTING SPEED 8fps

PRICE £485 CONTACT www.canon.co.uk SENSOR 18 megapixels with DIGIC 5

ISO RANGE 100-25,600 extended AUTOFOCUS 9 AF points SHOOTING SPEED 5fps

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Issue 8 | Photography News

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