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Monday, March 06, 2006

Digital Camera Bargains

Olympus E-1

They're giving 'em away. Built as a $2k+ camera and feels like it. Rich color. Olympus and now Leica lenses include some of the best made for digital.

Five megapixels requires post-processing skill to print larger than letter size.

Like driving an older Rolls-Royce.

Sony R1

All-in-one price includes high-quality Zeiss zoom; large DSLR sensor for high ISOs, but live digicam-style LCD preview; very high resolution.

EVF; not as quick as real DSLRs.

Most megapixels for the money.

Canon EOS 5D

Cheapest high-resolution, full-frame camera by far. Conventional size and portability an added bonus. Viewfinder as good as 35mm. In other respects, approaches current SOTA.

Corners of image can be soft with inexpensive lenses. Still a lot of money.

Pro quality for non-pros.

Konica-Minolta 7D

Underpriced; built-in Anti-Shake replaces expensive AS/IS/VR lenses. Viewfinder, other features much better than intro DSLRs.

Uncertain status in changeover from Konica-Minolta to Sony; middle-of-pack responsiveness.

Less of a risk than it might seem.

Nikon D200

Razor sharp responsiveness. Is to the D2X what the EOS 5D is to the 1Ds Mk.II N—85% of performance, and smaller size is a plus for most photogs. Current state of the [affordable] art.

Hard to get; limited VR options.

Nikon's turn to be the "It" camera.


Pentax *ist DL

Price leader ($560 new includes lens); Pentax bayonet mount can use lenses from way back; small size and handy shape.

Image quality might not wow you.

Not great, but good—and cheap.



Blogger Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Good list.
I realize you had to stop somewhere, but if you include the Canon 5D (an excellent camera), I would also consider the Nikon D200. It is in almost all respects the same quality as Nikon D2x, but it is much lighter and half the price. I sold my D2x after getting the D200.

6:29 AM  
Blogger Nic said...

An Olympus E-300 (300!!) sells for $890 here, and that's gray market. The official importer sells it for $1300...

10:05 AM  
Blogger Bojan said...

Well, for Canon 5D you say cheapest full frame high resolution camera - I've just checked the prices and at BHPhoto Canon 5D is 3000USD and Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c is 2500USD (brand new)

Just to make correction.

Yours Bojan

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Kodak DCS line has been discontinued for nearly a year, so the 5D is the cheapest full-frame system currently in production.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
The *istDL2 may not be the best camera for rank amateurs, but like the other D cameras, it can produce stunning images if you know how to work with RAW. When shooting jpegs, Pentax doesn't overprocess in the cameras, the firmware leaves some room for fine tuning.
Paul Stenquist

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Paul Stenquist here, I use the *ist-D (same sensor) and am easily getting stunningly good 11x14 prints from it, even with some cropping. Shoot RAW for the best, but even *** Jpeg's are good. In-camera processing is not as harsh as others, so you may need to spend a little more time post-processing to get the best results.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use the Pentax istDs. Picture quality is very acceptable when shooting Raw. Best part is the use of manual focus lenses for a very compact DSLR system.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Butch Black said...

I agree with the others commenting on the Pentax ist series. They set the camera up expecting the user to do some post processing. If the user just wants to shoot ***JPEGs and drop the card off at their local 1 hour lab they should increase the sharpening and maybe the saturation in the menu. At maybe $100 more then a non interchangable lens ZLR it's a great path up from a compact point and shoot.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all depends on where you're shopping. Here in Hong Kong the KM 5D was THE cheapest DSLR kit I could buy, bar none. And it came with the 18-70 AND a Tamron 28-200 XR IF.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe you didn't include the Canon Rebel XT -- at 8-mega pixels, it can produce stunning 16x20 images (shooting in RAW, of course). Coupled with a good lens, the camera performs at pro level for 1/3rd the cost of the 5D. Pitchertaker

3:44 PM  
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4:48 AM  

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