Wednesday, February 24, 2016

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts [feedly]

----
CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts
// Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

DPReview is at the CP+ 2016 show in Yokohama, Japan, where Nikon announced three new compact cameras. The 'DL' range is distinct from the established Coolpix and 1-series lineups, and consists of three cameras built around the same 20MP 1"-type sensor. We headed straight to Nikon's booth to get hands-on time with the DL18-50, DL24-85 and DL24-500.

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

The DL24-85 is (we suspect) going to be the most popular of the three cameras, at least for the average DPReview reader. The 24-85 in its name designates a 24-85mm equivalent focal length range. This is a useful everyday focal range for general shooting and the lens is fast enough for low-light work and some control over depth-of-field for portraiture.

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

This is the DL18-50 is ergonomically virtually identical to the DL24-85 but offers a considerably wider and shorter lens which covers an equivalent focal length range of (you guessed it) 18-50mm. The maximum aperture range of both cameras is identical, at F1.8-2.8. This wider range should make it more suitable for landscape and street photography fans, and just personally, I'm really looking forward to taking it hiking.

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

The lenses of the DL18-50 (shown here) and the DL24-85 can be zoomed either in steps, using the ring around the lens barrel, or via a small W-T rocker switch around the shutter release. Having a step zoom is very handy for some situations (it's a real time-saver in the DPReview studio, for one thing).

The frontmost dial is a focus dial, but it is unclear whether it can be customized to perform other functions. We'd fully expect this to be the case, but Nikon has been a little ambiguous on this point (and the cameras we handled for these images were in Japanese). As soon we can, we'll try to get clarity. 

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

The DL18-50's lens offers Nikon's Nano Crystal Coating, which should help when it comes to flare resistance - an important factor with such a wide-angle lens. 

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

Ergonomically the DL18-50 and DL24-85 recall the Nikon Coolpix A, crossed with some of Panasonic's compact zoom cameras, like the LX100. Both feel solid and well-built and the various control points move positively and aren't too small for comfortable use. Nikon is clearly attacking the same market with these new 4K-capable cameras as Sony is with the Cyber-shot RX100-series, and we're very keen to see how they compare in the studio. 

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

Unlike Sony's Cyber-shot RX100-series, the DL18-50 and DL24-85 offer touch-sensitive rear OLED screens. And they tilt outwards, too, as well as upwards to 180 degrees for selfies. Although we're basing our impressions on very brief use of prototype cameras, the screens seem responsive to the touch, and are certainly nice and constrasty. Which is good news because the DL18-50 and DL24-85 lack built-in viewfinders. Instead, you'll need an optional EVF (price still TBC) which adds versatility, and of course, cost. 

The DL24-85 will cost $649 and the wider DL18-50 will set you back $849.

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

The largest and most expensive ($999) of the three new DL cameras is the DL24-500 which offers an equivalent focal length range of 24-500mm. Like the smaller DLs it offers 4K video capture, up to 60fps continuous shooting and enthusiast-focused ergonomics, but inevitably it is much larger to accommodate that longer lens.

The lens is slower, too, offering a maximum aperture range of F2.8-5.6. That's the price you pay for the greater versatility of the longer zoom range. 

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

The other reason why the DL24-500 is physically larger than the DL18-50 and DL24-85 is its built-in EVF, which sits above the lens axis in classic 'bridge' camera style. To the left of the viewfinder hump is a small cap over the DL24-500's microphone jack. This is an unusually prominent position for a mic jack and reflects the importance of video in the camera's feature set. All three DL-series cameras shoot 4K, but ergonomically, the DL24-500 is definitely the better suited to filmmaking. 

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

All three cameras offer Nikon's 'Dual Detect Optical VR' vibration reduction, but this is especially useful in the DL24-500, with its longer, slower lens. We have high hopes, too for its autofocus system which is inherited from the 1-series (and shared with the DL18-50 and DL24-85) which combines 105 phase-detection and 171 contrast-detection AF points in a hybrid system that should be extremely competitive with cameras like Sony's Cyber-shot RX10 II and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000.

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

Hybrid AF has been a major selling point of Nikon's 1-series since its inception and promises fast and accurate subject tracking, certainly compared to pure contrast-detection focusing systems. All three DL-series compacts can shoot at up to 20 fps with autofocus. Impressive stuff, assuming the hit-rate is decent.

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

The screen on the back of the DL24-500 is touch-sensitive, just like its smaller DL cousins, but fully articulating. All three cameras offer plenty of manual control including a physical exposure compensation button which spans an unusually wide +/-5EV (visible on the upper right of the camera's top-plate in this view). 

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

The DL24-500 offers twin control dials, one on the top-plate (to the left of the exposure compensation dial) and one on the rear, around the conventional 4-way controller. This view also shows off the large EVF housing and generous eye-cup. 

CP+ 2016: Hands-on with Nikon DL Compacts

So what do you think? We're pretty impressed, especially by the DL24-85 and DL18-50, and it's nice to see Sony getting some genuine competition in a market segment that has been dominated by RX100-series cameras. All three DL compacts have a lot to offer (the DL24-500 might finally give the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 a run for its money in terms of autofocus performance) and we're really keen to see how all three perform when shipping samples become available. 

----

Shared via my feedly reader

Photography by Gallagher
Robert Gallagher
(916) 412-6446
www.gobigbobby.com