Sunday, December 13, 2009
Wonder what it looks like in the marketing think-tanks at Nikon and Canon right now. Is anyone getting any sleep? What should we, the camera buying public look for before making our purchase?
If you check the sales in Entry Level Digital SLRs right now, you will find that Nikon is holding a slight edge over Canon at the number one sales spot on Amazon. But right behind is Canon at the second and third spots. Number four and five are... Nikon, again.
Here are the ratings:
1. Nikon D3000
2. Canon EOS Rebel T1i
3. Canon EOS Rebel XSi
4. Nikon D5000
5. Nikon D90
It does appear that the marketing departments are working overtime as we approach the biggest sales period of the year. And there is good reason. There is much at stake here. If you watch prime time TV, it is clear that both manufacturers are investing major $$$ in advertising right now, and it is targeting their top sellers in the Digital SLR market.
So how does that affect us, the consumers? How do we evaluate the cameras?
It's really a crazy situation because the differences are difficult to find. But let's focus on the top 4 sellers.
There are two categories - Inexpensive:hereafter referred to as Cheap and Very Inexpensive: aka Dirt Cheap.
When you are looking to buy in the semi-pro market, cheap equates to something under $1000, and Dirt Cheap is under about $700.
A closer look:
Dirt Cheap - Nikon D3000 vs Canon XSi - similar feature sets, excellent image quality, NO video mode
Cheap - Nikon D5000 vs Canon T1i - slightly better image processor than the Dirt Cheap models, but the major difference is that they include HD video.
Does it matter which brand you choose? Absolutely not, unless you already have lenses for one or the other. If you do have some lenses, it will benefit you to stick with that brand of camera.
The Bottom Line
So the bottom line is that the advertising gets your attention. Buying a Digital SLR based on the advertisement that impresses you will not be a problem. You WILL get an excellent camera and a good deal. No second guessing necessary here.
CLICK - Cheap DSLRs
CLICK - Dirt Cheap DSLRs
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Can you imagine what are your friends and family going to think when they see you with your new Canon 7D?
If you have been waiting for the perfect time to upgrade, wait no longer. The reviews are pouring in and they are all excellent! All you have to do is type "Canon EOS 7D 18-Megapixel Camera Review" into your favorite search engine and start drooling.
Even though this is very high quality DSLR, it is still in the semi-professional category because it is an APC-S model (this means that the image sensor has a 1.6 crop ratio rather than the 1-to-1 pixel ratio of a full-frame sensor). However, the feature set rivals that of its full-frame brothers. Speaking of which, here is a brief list of some of the features that make this an excellent choice for your next DSLR:
- 18 megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor
- 3.0" LCD with 920,000 pixel resolution
- Dual DIGIC 4 processors for faster performance
- ISO speed of 100-6400 with excellent noise control in low light photos
- 100% coverage of the image about to be captured on the LCD or in the viewfinder
- 1080p HD video recording with an external microphone port
- 19 point Auto Focus system
- 8 fps (frames per second) continuous burst speed, even when capturing images in RAW with 14-bit detail
To sweeten the pot, this camera has an excellent build. In your hands, it feels very substantial. It also is weather sealed for protection against intrusion of water and high humidity.
When your new Canon EOS 7D 18-Megapixel Camera arrives at your door, of course, the first thing you will do is shoot a few shots to get the feel of it. However, the next thing you need to do is to read the manual. Yes, it is long at about 250 pages, but it is packed with information and hints about your new toy that you may not even be aware of.
Even though this little gem fits the semi-pro DSLR category, it performs like a pro!
You really need to get this Canon 7D because it is THE best photographic tool to be released in a long time. Go to www.digital-photographic-resources.com for more details.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
When buying your first (second, or third) DSLR camera, you may want to consider getting just the camera body along with a lens other than the recommended kit lens. There are a few reason for this:
- Get a wider focal range than what is offered in the kit lens
- Get better image quality than what is offered in the kit lens
- Save money by not having to purchase more than one lens initially
Sigma has just released a new lens that is excellent for the "walk around" lens category. It is the Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Zoom Lens. It is made specifically for APS-C cameras such as the Canon Rebels and Nikon D3000 or D5000.
I know that is a mouthful of lens, but it has already made an impact on DSLR owners because of its quality and performance.
This is from the B & H Photo Lens Description:
"The Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Zoom Lens utilizes an anti-shake compensation function, with a 13.8 times zoom ratio. This lens's Hybrid Optical Stabilizer provides not only an anti-shake function for the camera body, but also compensates for image shaking in the view finder as the Optical Stabilizer is built in to the lens.
Four special low dispersion glass elements and three aspherical lens elements, results in excellent image quality throughout the entire zoom range. With a minimum focusing distance of 17.7" at all focal lengths and a maximum magnification of 1:3.4 reproduction ratio, this wide-range zoom is great for close-up photography as well as for telephoto shooting.
Note! This lens is only for APS-C / DX sensors (not full frame).
- Optical Stabilizer
- Low Dispersion Glass
- Super Multi-layer Coating Inner Focusing System
- Magnification of 1:3.4 For Close-up Photography
- Petal-type Lens Hood"
And here is just one comment from a happy buyer:
"I recently bought it (Sigma 18-250) to replace my Sigma 17-70mm and Canon 55-250mm IS lenses. This 18-250mm is very much like the 17-70mm in overall quality. It is of high quality! I've used it mostly so far for night photography and also for fast action, and wildlife (crocodiles in Jamaica; can't trust that ear to ear smile of theirs). All the pictures I shot with it were hand held and the OS system performed flawlessly. I DID brace myself against columns, trees, etc... when necessary for some night shots. So I was relatively stable, though not 100%. The OS took care of the rest and my exposures were blurr-free. I use it on my EOS 40D and it complements very well the speed and low light capabilities of the camera. It is fast and quiet. The zoom action is quite precise though smoothness varies over the range... understandable for a 13.9:1 zoom range! It shows virtually no play when fully extended. Also, I've checked its macro ability, and found it to be approx. 1:2.5, far better than Sigma's very conservative spec. Very highly recommended!!!!"
I am waiting for delivery of my new Sigma 18-250 right now. I will post a personal review at www.digital-photographic-resources.com as soon as I have tested it. If you are looking for a great digital camera, please look here.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The Canon Rebel XSi continues to draw lots of traffic and sales. The main competitor to the Rebel has always been the two Nikon entry level DSLRs, the D40 and the D60. The Nikon D40 has been extremely popular right from its original release. Now, Nikon is pulling the manufacturing plug on the D40. The replacement is the Nikon D3000.
I'm guessing that the D3000 is going to take over right where the D40 is leaving off. Nikon has purposely brought their new "cheap" camera in at a price point below the Rebel XSi. The D3000 with the 18-55mm kit lens is being advertised at $599 while the Rebel XSi continues to sell for about $650.
Of course there is still the age old Canon/Nikon debate that will keep many of the proponents of either Nikon or Canon from jumping ship to go over to the "other side", no matter how good the newest release is.
Personally, I struggled with that decision before buying my first Rebel, but I am in no way a naysayer of the Nikon brand. Some of the world's best photographers are using Nikon (Moose Peterson is my very favorite) while others use Canon, and yet others use some of the less popular brands of cameras and still manage to come up with great photos.
Much more info at www.digital-photographic-resources.com/blog.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I know, the title says this is a Canon blog, but if you have read my former posts, you will realize that I am NOT a Canon snob.
In fact, Panasonic makes some great Digital Compact cameras.
Their newest King of the Compact Hill may be the Lumix DMC-ZS3. It is the replacement (after only one year) of the TZ5. Now, the TZ5 is still a great camera, and one that I endorse as a terrific "pocket/all purpose" camera.
But the newest siblings are making a run for the top.
Upgrades from the TZ5?
Glad you asked.
First, the new ZS3 has more "zoom" at 12x. It is wider on the short side, and longer on the long side. Image quality is still first in its class (according to DPReview.com). Also, the video mode has been improved to include AVCHD along with the original Quicktime capture technology. The new technology takes less storage space and renders the movies in a cleaner, smoother playback mode.
But wait, this is supposed to be about the ZS3 vs ZS1.
There is a big difference in the price tag. ZS1 is over 100 smackers less than its snooty cousin. (Can I thow in here that the TZ5 is less than either of the new cameras?)
The ZS1 has the same image quality, zoom (12x), and image sensor.
Video mode on the ZS1 is quite different.. the capture is standard definition video up to 848x480 pixels with mono sound, and does NOT include AVCHD.
The LCD on the ZS1 is only 2.7" vs 3.0 on the ZS3, and LCD image quality is lower at 230,000 pixels vs 460,000 pixels.
Well, which is the best buy? Many folks are going for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3, but those who have purchased the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 have not been disappointed. The users ratings on Amazon and DPReview.com are as high as the TZ5 ratings.
Read more at www.digital-photographic-resources.com.
All 3 cameras are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Prosumer is the highest you can go without actually getting into the DSLR cameras.
You can expect to pay more for a prosumer digital camera than you would for a mid-range compact camera. But you get so much more. Prosumer cameras are for photographers who want to take more control of their shots, rather than letting the camera select the settings.
So, with that said, the Highest Rated Prosumer Compact Camera is... drum roll please... (and, yes, I know this is a blog titled Canon..., but, hey, I calls 'em like I sees 'em)
Here's the formula for determining the highest rating:
- Check DPReview.com Camera Ratings (this could take a while - there are lots)
- Check Imaging-Resource.com Camera Reviews
- Narrow choice down to Canon G10, Nikon P90, Panasonic Lumix LX3 (trust me, I want the Canon to win)
- Check User Ratings at DPReview, Amazon, B&H Photo
- Enter all these numbers into my computer brain for analysis.
(The Canon G10 came in a close second)
I spent lots of time compiling these results, not just for Prosumer Compacts, but for other categories, as well. I posted them on a Squidoo lens and on my website: www.digital-photographic-resources.com.
Monday, June 29, 2009
I'm thinkin' the highest rated mid-range digital camera might be the Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ5.
The ratings I'm referring to are from those who have actually purchased and used the camera on a day-to-day basis.
I value the input of users like me and you. OK, I value the camera geeks' ratings too, but they are not every day users who have trouble figuring out how to change settings away from total camera control to, let's say, a higher Aperture. Don't know what an Aperture is? See, that's what I'm talkin' about.
So, I look at the user ratings at places like Amazon, B&H Photo, and DPReview to see what the real users think of a camera. If there are no ratings, I pretty much steer clear of that product. Or, if there are a bunch of folks who didn't like the way the camera handled, I might think twice about making the purchase.
But the Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ5.. practically everyone who ordered it (and took time to post a review) LOVED it!
And, I'm just gonna throw in my personal favorite here. It's the Canon Powershot SX110 IS.
Research shows that the family that takes pictures of each other while enjoying fun activities stays together. (I just made that up, but it must be true.)
I have been finding out so much about digital cameras of late, that I'm compiling all this information on a new web site: digital-photographic-resources.com. It has a nice ring to it, huh? Hope you stop by.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Which is the absolute best digital camera on the market?
That's kind of like asking which is the best vehicle on the road, isn't it? What do you want the vehicle to do?
Same question for a compact digital camera... what do you want it to do?
"Take pictures, of course," you respond.
I know that, but there are too many people with different requirements to nail down one camera as the best for everyone.
So, I began thinking about the reasons for folks buy a digital camera. Then I sought out the best possible digital camera a person with those requirements could purchase.
My method of research was to find the cameras that are recommended by the most respected digital camera reviewers on the Internet. I looked at sites like www.dpreview.com, www.steves-digicams.com, and www.imaging-resource.com.
Then, armed with that information, I went to the places that sell the cameras and looked at the user reviews on those sites. Users are usually very honest about whether they think they get value for their money. Sometimes is a review mixed in where the buyer either did not get a good camera (it happens), or the buyer's expectations for the camera were not realistic, but for the most part, the users' reviews are quite helpful. These reviews can be found at Amazon.com, dpreview, and B&H photo.
These sources were pretty consistent with each camera I reviewed.
OK, so here are the results (drum roll, please):
- Best Budget Compact Digital Camera: Panasonic DMC LZ8
- Best Mid-Range Camera: Canon SX110 IS and Panasonic DMC FZ5
- Best Pocket Compact Camera: Canon SD 790 IS and Panasonic DMC FX37
- Best Over-All Digital Camera: Panasonic DMC TX3
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Let me start by saying that the Canon Digital Rebel XSi is a great camera as an entry level DSLR.
Did you know that Canon comes out with newer, replacement models every couple of years?
It's true. Most camera manufacturers do it. Especially if the camera has a fantastic track record, as the Digital Rebel certainly does. It was my very first DSLR, and I took many many wonderful photos with it. This woodpecker is one of them.
But I digress.
This year, Canon came out with a replacement for its Rebel series after only 1 year.
They did it to incorporate some features, such as video, so they could keep up with the Joneses (the "Joneses in this case are other camera manufacturers).
OK, so what does that have to do with anything?
It has a lot to do with price. All of a sudden the price of the Rebel 450D (aka Rebel XSi) dropped $200!
Has the feature package been upgraded enough for you to pay an additional $200 to get the latest model?
Only if you must have video. The video package is pretty good on the newer Rebel 500D (aka Rebel T1i).
Now, there are a couple of other upgrades in the newest release, and you can see the comparison at www.squidoo.com/canon-rebel-xsi-x1i. But the features on the Rebel 450D were already awesome, and the camera had only been on the consumer market for a year. When you consider the price difference and the quality of the camera along with its photographic output, I think you may agree that the 450-D is a fabulous deal.
The Canon Digital Rebel SXi really rocks!
More information about the two cameras is available HERE. Do yourself a favor, if you are interested in a truly great entry level DSLR and check it out.
Monday, June 1, 2009
I find this feature extremely impressive. Not only does the Canon Powershot SX200 IS have some fairly common (for newer releases) features, such as 12.1MP resolution, 12x wide-angle optical zoom (28-336mm equiv.), optical image stabilization, 3.0-in. LCD , HD movie (1280×720) @ 30fps, Smart AUTO, Intelligent Contrast Correction, Motion Detection, Blink Detection, and Face-Detection, just to name a few, BUT there is also a feature called Face Detection Self-Timer.
The Face Detection Self-Timer automatically detects an increase in the number of faces and makes the appropriate adjustments. For instance, to include the photographer’s face in a group shot, there’s no need to rush in. Just put the camera on a stand or tripod, specify Face Detection Self-Timer, and the camera will wait for the photographer’s face to get on-camera before it takes the shot. Now is that cool or what?
I continue to be in awe of the Canon advances in technology.
Get your Canon Powershot SX200 IS at Amazon (great price; good service; strong reputation).
For more about this fantastic camera see my review at www.squidoo.com/canon-powershot-sx200-is.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I use Photoshop CS4.
Hey, did you know you can get Photoshop products for 80% below retail at the Adobe Education Store. -- That is if you are an educator or a secondary student? Just thought you might be interested. (That's the only way I could do it.)
Otherwise, I would use Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate
OK, so I came across this new plugin for Photoshop (and it's not just a plugin - there is a stand alone version if you don't have Photoshop.) It's called Green Screen Wizard.
Have your heard of Chroma Key processing? It's been used in video for years. Like when the weather dude is standing in front of the weather map, but he really isn't. Instead, he is in front of a green screen, and they can superimpose his body in front of the weather map.
It's really funny when he wears a green tie, and you can see the weather map where the tie is.
Well, the makers of Green Screen Wizard have taken this chroma key concept and created software that is for photographers.
It is a great product, making the process sooo much better than "cutting" out your model and "pasting" him or her into a new background. I have done this so many times, and it takes quite a bit of skill and time to do it right. Even then, it may look like unnatural.
Here's one I did using the cut and paste method. It's my granddaughter standing in the doorway of a 10" tall Lincoln Log house. Took me probably an hour.
However, now all I need to do is put the subject in front of a green (or blue) screen, shoot the photo and process the image with Green Screen Wizard. The makers have used a formula that actually integrates the two images together so it does not look pasted.
I suggest you give it a try. You can download a free demo of Green Screen Wizard to try it out before committing your hard earned cash.
Of course, you will need a screen. Green Screen Wizard also has a screen you can buy (surprise!), but I have checked prices, and theirs is actually cheaper than any I could find on Amazon or the photo sales sites.
Oh, did I mention that this is NOT just a plugin for Photoshop. You can get the software as a stand alone application, too.
Read my real review HERE. There is much more information and some great sample photos.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
So I thought I would weigh in again on the subject.
First, let me say that once you make your decision, no matter which camera you choose, you will not be disappointed. Both cameras record fantastic images.
If there is one thing that every reviewer agrees upon, it is the image quality of the Rebel matches or exceeds that of other entry level DSLR's.
But let's talk about Creative Auto. What is that?
Check out this nifty animation. I grabbed it from the Canon website. They have added a new setting on the selection wheel called "CA" - you guessed it - Creative Auto.
Here's how Canon describes it: "the Creative Auto mode — as the name suggests — lets the photographer apply the creative effects he or she wants, but in a friendly, automatic way that doesn’t force them to get into aperture numbers, exposure compensation numbers and so on."
Settings that are available to manipulate using Creative Auto include:
- Background: Blurred <--> Sharp
- Exposure: Darker <--> Brighter
- Picture Style - Choose between “Standard”, “Smooth skin tones”, “Vivid blues and greens”, and Monochrome image”.
- Image Quality - nothing new here, just easier to get to on the LCD screen
- Drive Mode - single shot or continuous advance (up to 3.4frames per second), again, not new, just easier access
So, while this is a nifty feature, is it worth the extra money (about $200) you have to pay for the new Rebel T1i over the not-so-old version, the Rebel XSi?
Other upgrades are a newer image processor - the DIGIC 4, and movie mode.
The DIGIC III in the Rebel XSi is still a very fine processor, and movie mode...
You have to decide whether you want to spend the extra money to get these features.
From my experience with the Canon Digital Rebel 300D (that's the original version from a few years back), the images were fantastic. Many photographers will tell you it's not the camera as much as who is holding the camera.
HERE is where I have added some other comparisons of the two Digital Rebels.
May the good photos be yours!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
This comes only a year after a similar version (the Canon Digital Rebel XSi) was released.
So what's up?
Well, this one has video capabilities, as well as, something called Creative Auto.
The pricetag is similar to new Rebel releases - $899 which includes a 18-55mm IS Kit lens.
This is not a bad deal. In fact every Digital Rebel that Canon has released has been a good deal.
It's mainly because of the great product the Digital Rebel has been. This little entry level DSLR produces great photos. And now the sensor size is up to 15.1 megapixels!
But WAIT. Do you really want to take video footage with your DSLR?
Most folks buy a DSLR for the flexibility of lens choice and quality of still photos.
I have seen the video image quality of point and shoot cameras, and I have seen a video produced by the new Rebel T1i. It's OK, but it's definitely not Hollywood quality.
The price of the Digital Rebel XSi (in the $710 neighborhood) will save you almost $200. Image quality is just as good, and you get all the other features and controls you would get for the extra 200 bucks.
But, Oh, I forgot about the Creative Auto!
It turns out that Creative Auto is one of the features from compact point and shoot cameras that is not all that reliable. It's for those who don't want to learn how to use their camera to its fullest.
If you're buying a DSLR, I think you should learn to use it. (just my opinion)
So, I still would go with the Canon Digital Rebel SXi.
At least that's "the way eye see it".
Want more of a comparison? I thought so.
Here it is: Compare the Canon Digital Rebel XSi and T1i.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
This is amazing, because the SX200 was not even on the list the month before.
What does this mean?
I'm only guessing, but I think it's because buyers are realizing the value for money you get with the Powershot SX200 IS.
When you consider 12 megapixels and 12x zoom, AND 30 minutes of HD video recording capability... the list goes on.
Did I mention Image Stabilization?
Let me give you a hint about buying. Amazon has the Canon Powershot SX200 IS for $332.44 with FREE shipping. (Everywhere else I checked, it was selling for $349)
CLICK HERE to jump on this deal.
Monday, April 13, 2009
For those in need of a new digital camera, the Canon Powershot SX200 IS compact digital camera is a fantastic piece of equipment, designed to meet the needs of most photo enthusiasts. Canon has taken a step in the right direction. It has all the bells and whistles you would want in a pocket camera, and then some.
Do you want mexapixels? How about 12.1 of them? You can print wall-sized posters with ease.
Do you want to be able to zoom in for a closer shot? Try 12x digital zoom. That's the equivalent of 28-336mm.
How about video capability? You get 720p HD video.
Need more control of your digital output? Canon has added most features included on the more expensive prosumer and DSLR cameras, such as, Program mode(P), Aperture priority(Av), Shutter Speed priority(Tv), or Manual(M). Plus you can control ISO and white balance, along with all the other normal shooting modes usually included on a point and shoot camera like sports, landscape, portrait, and macro modes.
Canon has left no technology stone unturned in developing the Powershot SX200 IS.
No camera bag or photographic paraphernalia needed when you have this little gem.
For more about the Powershot SX200 IS, including a video review, Click here. Happy Shooting!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
So Canon has taken a pro-active step in point and shoot technology, making the Canon Powershot SX200 IS "smarter". Check out my article on Canon Powershot SX digital cameras.
Here is a blurb from dpreview (http://www.dpreview.com/news/0902/09021804canonsx200is.asp) on the SX200 IS:
Cameras with IQ
From today Canon are making AUTO mode different. The latest range of Digital Still Camera products launched incorporate a new smart system that uses Scene Detection Technology, which along with other advanced Canon technologies, leads to one of the most comprehensive and clever AUTO modes ever seen on a digital camera. Whilst complex in technology, Smart AUTO still delivers the peace of mind and ease of use for point and shooters that has always been expected from selecting the familiar green icon mode.
With intelligent and integrated use of key functions such as focus, exposure, ISO sensitivity, flash, dynamic range adjustments and Intelligent Contrast Correction, Canon Cameras have never been so smart. Added to these Canon Motion Detection and Face Detection Technology plus advanced Noise Reduction, together with pleasing colour rendition all delivered by the DIGIC 4 processor, mean when selecting AUTO mode on these latest models, users can be assured of the best in image quality even in more challenging shooting conditions.
Smart Auto overview:
Using Scene Detection Technology, Smart AUTO can distinguish parameters allowing the camera to carry out optimum processing for a shot by:
* Detecting people
* Evaluating Distances
* Evaluating Subject and camera movement information
* Analysing Scene Brightness
* Analysing Colour
You have to admit that these are some amazing advances in point and shoot technology. I invite you to take a closer look at my review of both of these AWESOME Canon Powershot SX digital cameras by clicking here.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
It is a good idea to purposefully take some pictures when you are not in a "must perform" situation, like at your child's first birthday party. So take your camera and start fiddling with settings and snapping photos. Change the setting and take the exact same picture to see what might happen when, say, you change the aperture setting to a higher number when taking a close-up of a beautiful flower. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. On, and don't forget to read the camera manual.
Want a little more about camera settings? Check out my article on Learning About Digital Photography.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
When I first discovered the digital camera, I spent over $300 for my little Olympus point-and-shoot. Now I can get a 12.2 megapixel Canon Powershot SX200 IS with many features that once were only available on the pro DSLR models for about $399. And if I want to go up another level to the Powershot SX1 IS, it will cost only another $100. I have done a comparison of the two models at squidoo.com. You can check them out for yourself at www.squidoo.com/canon-powershot-sx200-is. And if you are in the market for a new digital photography precision instrument, consider one of these.