It has been a while since I have posted on here, but that is because there haven’t really been any significant developments worth noting. But there are now a few to summarize before the deluge of NAB announcements.
NVidia has a few new products available. The Quadro K5000 is now joined by the K4000, K2000, and K600. Each step down reduces the number of cores by 50%, so the performance should really scale up throughout the lineup now. In prior generations, the 3800/4000 has been nearly indistinguishable from the the larger 4800/5000 in terms of real world performance.
The new Kepler based Tesla lineup is also available, with the K10 being the equivalent of two K5000 GPUs (GK104) on a single card, and the K20 being based on a whole new GK110 chip, which should be better at floating point calculations. This chip was also released to consumers as the new GeForce Titan. In certain ways NVidia has done a good job of differentiating their professional line over the last few years, but in other ways it is as convoluted as ever. Their new GeForce 600 and Quadro K cards (GK104) have improved integer performance, but decreased floating point power from the previous generation, discouraging upgrades in many applications. The new K20 and Titan bring improvements in floating point at much higher cost, but I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t use the cheaper Titan in place of the K20. And will there be a Quadro version of the GK110 chip? It is hard to know what the best option to buy is right now.
I was also looking forward to the rumored “imminent” release of the Canon 70D. My Rebel T2i has been having issues with the auto-focus recently, and instead of getting that fixed, I am looking to upgrade. Stepping up to the next level would give me more ISO options, since the 160 based ones are better on Canon, and hopefully any new release will have continuous auto-focus during video, like the recent T4i. Instead Canon released the T5i, and the smaller SL1. The T5i has very few improvements over the previous T4i model, with the primary difference being that the kit 18-55mm lens is now an STM silent focusing one, optimized for DSLR video. Canon’s new Rebel SL1 is a smaller option, probably similar to the T3, but without cutting the resolution to 12MegaPixels. At $650, that does seem to be a compelling option for my needs, since it doesn’t seem to compromise any performance, and shoots continuous autofocus video.
I have also been planning to get an 18-200mm lens, but I am waiting to see if a silent STM version will be released. The current one was released with the 60D, so it would be a logical to expect an upgraded version to be released with a new 70D, but it seems we will have to wait and see. If I opt for the SL1, then the smaller 18-135mm STM lens released last year might be a more suitable option, for a more portable package. It is interesting to me that 18 MegaPixels seems to be the standard resolution that Canon has settled on for now, (7D, 60D, T#i, SL1 & EOS M) probably due to its inherent compatibility with their video recording approach. Each 3×3 pixel block on the sensor becomes one 1080p pixel. And 18MegaPixels has been enough for my needs to this point.