Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas everyone! Everyone's enjoying their holidays and spending time with friends, family and loved ones, but I'm right here working today. I guess there's a first time for everything.

I feel like talking about cameras today. Lets do so, shall we?

 The Canon 7D which replaced the 50D as the flagship camera for the APS-C series is aimed squarely at the Nikon D300s. It now features an 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor, 8fps continuous shooting, 1080p HD video, 3" 920k LCD, 19 point AF system, 1.0x magnification and 100% viewfinder, wireless flash control and a weathersealed body.

Considering all these features available, the Canon 7D is a very versatile camera for its asking price. It can handle studio jobs effortlessly due to its 18mp sensor, while wildlife and sports shooters will consider this a great camera for use in harsh weather conditions, while the 8fps will ensure all moments are captured as effortlessly as possible. Videographers are also using the 7D for short footages as compared to carrying another dedicated video camera.

If you don't need all the fancy bells and whistles of the 7D, the 550D entry level camera has almost the same image and video quality as the 7D, albeit being in a slower, smaller and lighter package.

Plenty of conventional photography studios still employ the 5D mark 1 as their workhorse. Although it seems like an eternity since it was first released, the level of detail it produces with an L lens (a 24-105L will do fine) at base ISO 100 is astounding indeed. I still marvel at the files that this camera produces. It's also one of the cheapest entry points into full frame photography, at approx 1000 USD for a mint unit.

This camera has since been eclipsed by the 5D markII, offering a 21.1 MP CMOS sensor, ISO expansion to 25,600, AF micro adjustment, 3" 920k LCD, 1080p HD video among others. However compared to the D700, it's continuous AF isn't as reliable, it's default jpeg output is a little soft when viewed at 100%, it's 'only' 3.5 fps (vs 5fps), it's highlight dynamic range 'headroom' isn't as good, and it's weather sealing is average.

 The Nikon D700 can do almost everything that current flagship D3s does, at less than half the price. Despite being 'only' 12 MP, the files produced by this camera is stunning. In some respect, I like this camera because

  • You can boost its continuous frame rate to 8fps with the optional EN EL3A battery. I've seen photojournalists shoot the Melbourne Cup with it. With the D3 battery and the default battery installed in camera, you can get at least 4,000 shots with both batteries fully charged.
  • High ISO performance is improved marginally as compared to the D3.
  • Chimping images is faster, possibly due to an enhanced processor and algorithm
  • It's smaller compared to bringing a large, heavy D3 around. It's based on the D300 body too anyway.

Last but not least, the Olympus E-3. It's not mean to replace the Nikon brute that I currently have, but as a camera that has shaped my photography experience, this has definitely earned a special place in my heart.

Its successor the Olympus E-5 has certainly brought a mouthful to the table in the form of an enhanced detail at high ISOs (when I mean 'high', at least ISO 3200) and high defintion video. The art filters are nifty too, but I prefer the I-Enhance feature more.

But considering the lack of new developments Olympus is putting into the 4/3rds consortium (as compared to Canon and Nikon, or even Pentax for example), I wonder how long will Olympus be committed towards the further development of the 43rds series as compared to Micro 43rds. Is it worth getting on a sinking ship when Sigma and Panasonic-Leica have already abandoned it? Only time will tell, and only you can decide if it's worth investing into this system.

Cheers, and Merry Christmas to all my friends and fellow blog followers.



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