(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 22mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ 6.3. ISO: 1600)
Although I shoot Nikon for work, my personal equipment is Canon and I’ve been thinking about replacing my trusty old 20D for a little while now. The Nikon D300 that I use is newer, about 18 months old, and my 20D, about 5 years old, is old and slow in comparison (which it is). It’s been a good camera but, technologically speaking, it’s getting a bit long in the tooth, having been superceded by three generations of newer models, the 30D, 40D and currently 50D.
The Canon EOS 1Ds Mk III, left, 1D Mk III, 5D MkII and 50D digital SLR cameras (Canon USA).
The top of the line Canon 1D & 1Ds, currently priced at about $3,700 and $6,400 are too rich for my budget. The 5D at about $2,700 is more reasonable, but still a bit pricey, especially considering that it only shoots at 4 fps. At a little more than $1,100, the 50D is not bad. The successors to the 20D have been good cameras but the improvements have been incremental, and they haven’t wowed me enough to spend my hard earned dough.
I think what has really kept my pocketbook closed it that I was looking for a Canon version of Nikon’s D300. I guess I could switch over to Nikon, but the cost of not only changing the camera, but of the lenses, flashes and other Canon accessories is prohibitive.
The Nikon D300 DSLR camera. (Nikon)
The amount of megapixels (MP) a camera produces doesn’t really matter that much to me, with most modern cameras having more than enough resolution. Even the 20D’s 8-MP is plenty for me. The difference between that and the D300′s 12-MP may sound impressive but really it isn’t that big of a gap.
What I look for is how well it does in suppressing noise. Noise is the little flecks of color and grain that appear in pictures when the light sensitivity is boosted to high ISOs. The Nikon D300 can easily handle up to ISO 1600 and will go even higher, though with less satisfying results. The 20D acquits itself decently, but it’s out of date and is using old technology and can’t keep up with newer models. ISO 800 is the most I like to push it.
Another thing I look for is a fast frame rate. To some people it’s not that important, but I shoot a lot of sports and it helps to have a fast camera. At five-frames-per-second (fps), the 20D is faster than a lot of cameras, but the D300, with the optional MB-D10 battery grip (an extra $260), will shoot 8 fps.
One of the things that’s really impressed me with the Nikon is it’s ability to control Nikon flashes wirelessly. It’s a feature that I adore and use often. You can get a separate unit for the Canon to do the same job, but the D300 (and its big brother the D700) has it built into the camera. It’s something that no Canon camera has. Until now.
The new Canon EOS 7D digital SLR camera (Canon USA).
Last week Canon announced a new model and it may be the one for me. The Canon 7D seems to have all the things I want in a camera. At 8-fps, it’s fast (as fast as the D300 and D700 with the extra battery pack). It’s ISO range is from 100 to 12,500 with the Canon claims of “enhanced, low-noise high-sensitivity optimization.” It even has the ability to link with Canon flashes with a built-in wireless controller. The early reviews have been encouraging, but we’ll have to wait and see for more in depth tests.
Added to all that, the 7D sports 18-megapixels, has the ability to shoot HD video and is said to have improved autofocusing, weather sealing. To top it off it’s priced at about $1700, about $100 less than a new Nikon D300.
Years ago Nikon was the dominant force in the camera world. In the late 1980s through the early 2000s Canon overtook Nikon and reigned supreme, seemingly untouchable. But then Nikon has been on a roll these last few years hitting home run after home run. It may be a bit too early to say, but it looks like Canon has finally answered back and hit one out of the park with the new 7D.
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I’ve posted a quick survey to the right just tio see what kind of cameras people use. Give it a go and see how you stack up against others. It’ll be up for about a month.