The new cameras roundup


The camera manufacturers seem to have been really busy churning out new stuff for Photokina 2008 happening at the end of the month. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for the DSLR area.

First at bat was Canon with the 50D. Now methinks this is in response to the market share that is being captured by Nikon with the release of the D300. For a few hundred American clams more than the 40D, the D300 provided 100% view, an awesome rear LCD screen, and more of a lot more. I definitely don’t blame Canon for quickly going back to the drawing board and delivering on the 50D. The 50D does read really nicely with slightly over 15MP, equivalent LCD to the D300, HDMI (who uses this…?), DIGIC 4, whatever that does, and better FPS shooting, and at a great price too (US$1400). But where’s the 100% viewfinder? That’s too bad. I’m sure it’s a big annoyance to those that bought the 40D in the last 6 months to have it be replaced already, but competition is good for everybody (except the person who just bought the last model 6 months ago). But alas, it’s not here yet, and won’t be available till October.

Soon after, Nikon announced their much anticipated D80 replacement, creatively called the D90. A little over 12MP, the D90 uses the same exposure engine as the D3 and D300, has the awesome LCD on the D300, HDMI as well (who uses this…?), can take 720P video (!!) without AF, and supports geotagging with the appropriate hardware. Oh yes, a little better viewfinder coverage than the Canon 50D (96% vs 95% but who’s counting). All this for $1000 and it’s available NOW. Wow! I’m not taking sides because I’m a Nikon shooter, but the D90 does sound like a possibly better choice than the 50D. But that’s just me.

Then there’s the other Canon waiting in the wing, the full frame 7D. It’s only been introduced as part of a teaser by Canon, but the leaked specs has it at over 20MP, and I read somewhere else about an unreleased Canon being able to shoot 1080P video. This could be the one to beat. The Nikon D700 set a high bar; let’s see how far Canon clears it.

Beyond Canon and Nikon, the other big news is Sony’s new A900. Full frame and nearly 25MP, this is their new flagship. And 100% viewfinder too! Notice how much I like to see everything I’m taking? The unfortunate part is that apparently the imaging isn’t so great. See this field report of the camera. Compared to the Canon 1Ds Mk III, the Sony doesn’t come close to the acuity of the Canon. So maybe the sensor isn’t quite ready yet, but the more interesting question is if Nikon will be using the sensor for a high-resolution version of the D3. No news on that yet though.

So how does this all relate to me? Not much really. I just bought a Nikon D300 and I’m as happy as a pig in sh*t. Sure I could use a D700, but at the expense of less reach (or the same reach with less MPs), and I like reach.

Basically, all this back and forth is great for us, the consumers. The companies constantly leapfrog each other to one-up the other, and we benefit. I don’t understand all the hoopla on some forums arguing over the merits of new cameras from competitors vs. current cameras from fanboys when ultimately it’s all of us that will gain.

I can’t wait to see what Nikon will come up with next the next time I’m in the market for a camera!



2 Responses to “The new cameras roundup”

  1. May just be me, but I think Canon is really falling behind. Even Sony with their A900 has something awesome (equivalent of IS or VR that’s built into the camera) and Nikon seems to have their priorities straight. They’re probably going to perfect that sensor and plop it into a D3-like camera to have a rival of the 1DsIII at thousands of dollars less.

    I don’t see many professionals getting much use out of video in a camera. It’d be a good thing to have in lower end models to draw people into joining the DSLR crowd, but when they find out it costs thousands of dollars I don’t see many takers. At that point why wouldn’t you just buy a HD video camera?

    Canon needs to catch up…I’ve been talking myself out of switching to the darkside lately.

  2. 2 TopL

    Hi Michael,

    I do agree that many pro photographers probably don’t think video in DSLRs are a big deal, but there’s at least one dissenter in Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape fame. Here’s an article he wrong on The Convergence of Still Photography and Video.

    Heck, I’d go for video if it’s available. There are times when shooting a short video would work better than a photo.


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