Feature: I am thinking of replacing my venerable 6MPixel Canon Rebel XT
Idea:Test the market as a high tide of new digital SLRs hit the market
There is nothing really wrong with my Canon XT. Its 6MPixel images are more than big enough for most of my website usage need. Morning, daylight and sunset shots are more than fine too. Its at the margins where the Canon starts to show its age. Shadow ares tend to be speckled noisy as well as nighttime shots. It can barely trip out 4-5 shots at 2fps. The camera sensor seems to attract dust and getting rid of it is no fun at all And the autofocus can some times either be painfully slow or just off the mark. And the LCD ... okay don't go there.
So I started to look around given that I want to start printing some 16 x 24 inch prints or larger which really taxes the Canon XT 6Mpixel capabilities. So I started to define the types of things I would be looking for in my new camera in priority order:
* anti-dust coating on sensor plus some reliable auto-cleaning mechanism
* fast and reliable autofocus - a second or less to beam onto subject
* a lot less noise at ISO800 to IS3200 and in shadow areas
* sharp, sharp, sharp shots all the time
* 12MPixels or better image size with sRGB camera RAW image files
* in camera image stabilization
* tiltable or swivel Live View screen with rapid autofocus
* 2.7 inch++ LiveView/LCD screen with 300Kpixels or better
* 3fps or better continuous shooting
* remote control for not just shooting but adjusting aperture, shutter-speed, focus etc
* NO in camera editing gizmos like cropping, color correction, exposure fixes, etc
* priced at $1000 or less
Hey this wish list is pretty conservative. Note I have given up a beasty flash and full frame sensor and no 20Mpixels. And having seen what was announced and hinted about at CES2008 -Consumer Electronics Show and the PMA-Photo Marketing Association show, I knew there was a veritable flotilla of new mid-range SLRs that met many of my wish list criteria - especially the new Olympus, Pentax, Samsung, and Sony cameras.
So the next few reviews will "expose" not just the cameras and how well they met my desired feature set; but also will examine the picture quality of the cameras in snapshot picture taking situations. By this I mean no tripod, no elaborate manual exposure, no white balancing act nor manual focus settings. But rather, lots of shots taken quickly, especially of dynamic action, and in my preferred shutter speed range of 1/2 to 1/50th of a second. For more of my photos, I want suggestions of motion, in and out of focus - the feel for dynamic, fresh taken impromptu images.
Here is what I have found so far in my Digital SLR testing:
Canon XSi - this is the third upgrade from my Rebel XT and has reputation for noise control...
Casio EX-F1 - this is as much a movie as still camera and at 6Mpixels with wow for shooting...
Nikon D300 - this camera is getting rave reviews at the camera shops, but its price is also...
Pentax K200D - Pentax finally enters the Digital SLR fray in a serious way with a line-up...
Sony A350 - brings tiltable LiveScreen, in-camera image stabilization, dust clearing features, ...
There are lots of mid range SLR cameras that come close to the type of features I am looking for and the prospects are for even more coming this Summer and Fall; so I will updating this list in the coming months until I finally reach a decision on my Fine Art Digital SLR.
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