Nikon just announced three 1″sensored premium compacts: the Nikon DL18-50, DL24-85 and DL-24-500. They have all the bases covered and at a great price. The two smaller cameras promise to produce great images and still fit in a pocket, so a great option for expedition and travel. The big brother is still relatively compact but offers an amazing zoom range. One huge benefit of these types of cameras is no dirty sensors as they never get exposed to the elements. A big bonus when on the road
The electronics of all three models appear to be very similar (sensor, processor, AF system), and what attracts me as a filmmaker is that they all support for 4K video. Add to that, they have a clean HDMI output so I can use an external recorder if I want to up the recording quality even more. I often use a monitor like the SmallHD 502, which will also be great with these cameras, but for unobtrusive street shooting, just stick with the built-in tilting screens.
All have 3″ touchscreen OLED displays, the 18-50 and 24-85 offer just tilting options but the screen on the 24-500 is fully articulating. I am also keen to try the improved capabilities of ‘SnapBridge’. This allows a more robust connection to a smartphone so you can control the camera or instantly share images through social networking.
I am about to test a Nikon D500 and will be pushing the new AF system to the limits as I shoot a wildlife story, it is good to see the DL range also sports an updated system which combines 105 phase-detect points with 171 contrast-detect points. The specifications say this will allow for continuous shooting at 20 fps!
I am most interested in the 18-50 version as it is equipped with a ND filter that will be of great assistance when shooting video, while maintaining suitable shutter speeds in outdoor conditions (1/50-1/60 sec to mirror the look of a film camera). The lens is also fast f1.8-f2.8, so should be good in low light. I can see this being a really useful camera for shooting from the waist when you want to capture street scenes and stay low profile. Also good for us video shooters is the fact that the camera has full manual control. Along side this it also offers Raw support for stills. I would love to see a 42mp sensor as seen in a competing camera, but for the price, this is a great feature set.
The DL24-85 is perhaps more suited to those of us who shoot more stills than video, although the quality fo the images would be great from this or its wider lensed sister. It lacks the ND filter, which makes it less handy for video, but adds macro capabilities. I guess you need one each of these cameras and grab the one most appropriate for the task in hand.
Less pocketable but superbly equipped for travel is the DL 24-500. The 24-500mm equivalent lens offers a great range for travel and anyone interested in wildlife shooting.
These cameras should be available in early summer. For more information go to the Nikon site
- Nikon DL 18-50mm f/1.8-2.8: B&H Amazon Adorama
- Nikon DL 24-85mm f/1.8-2.8: B&H Amazon Adorama
- Nikon DL 24-500mm f/2.8-5.6: B&H Amazon Adorama