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Monday, January 7, 2008

D-SLR Wars: Episode III

Resolution always will be a buzzword for digital cameras, but the current crop of professional-quality D-SLRs is about much more than advances in megapixel counts

canonCanon EOS 5D By far the lowest-priced full-frame D-SLR, the EOS 5D, with its 12.8-megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor, caused a splash when it first debuted. The high image quality, low noise and ease of use make it a favorite of pros and enthusiasts alike.

Fine-art and stock photographer David Julian says, “I love the convenience and handling of the 5D's compact size and weight, fitting my hands well, saving space in my pack and lowering the stress on my wrists. I especially love the 5D's smooth texture of transitions and shadows in my images shot even at high ISO numbers. I have the freedom to shoot in any light pattern without compromising image usability.”

Julian uses the 5D for shooting everything from the elements of his photo compositions to travel and stock concept images to experimental fine-art projects. He's amazed by what this camera can do and how easy it was to learn from day one.


12.8-megapixel CMOS
35.8x23.9mm, full-frame
12-bit A/D conversion
3 fps, full resolution
Bright 2.5-inch LCD
DIGIC II image processor
1⁄8000 to 30 sec. shutter speed
ISO 100-1600, plus 50 and 3200

  • Dimensions: 6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0 inches

  • Weight: 28.6 ounces

  • Estimated Street Price: $2,299

  • fujifilm Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Based on rugged Nikon D200 components, the 12.3-megapixel FinePix S5 Pro has proved to be a favorite of wedding and portrait photographers. The Fujifilm Super CCD SR Pro image sensor contains 6.17 million, high-sensitivity S-pixels and 6.17 million R-pixels for extended dynamic range, which can be expanded manually in six steps.

    Given Fujifilm's strong film heritage, it seems appropriate it has developed a Film Simulation mode that mimics the look of negative and slide films that now can be custom fine-tuned by the photographer. When shooting at high ISOs, the dual-cycle noise-reduction algorithms keep photographs clean, even at ISO 3200. 

    Face Zoom mode zooms in on faces during playback so you can easily check focus and expressions, and Live View mode lets you preview the image for up to 30 seconds on the LCD monitor or a PC monitor when the camera is tethered via the USB port.


    12.3-megapixel Super CCD
    1.5x lens magnification factor
    14-bit A/D conversion
    Real Photo Processor Pro
    3 fps, full resolution
    2.5-inch TFT with Live View
    11-area phase detection AF
    1⁄8000 to 30 sec. shutter speed
    ISO 100-1600 1⁄3-EV steps, plus 3200
    Password-protected feature locking
    Optional studio bar code reader

  • Dimensions: 5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 inches

  • Weight: 29.3 ounces

  • Estimated Street Price: $1,700

  • nikonNikon D300 With the 12.3-megapixel D300, Nikon has taken some significant steps in terms of image quality, features and performance. Instead of only offering 12-bit NEF RAW image compression like its older sibling, the D200, the D300 now offers selectable 12- and 14-bit output, which means a substantially larger RGB color gamut can be recorded.

    After taking the D300 on a trip to Southeast Asia, portrait and landscape photographer Vincent Versace says, “There are three features that absolutely floor me about this camera. Having 51 focus points available to me means that 90% of the time I have a focus point on the aspect of the frame I want in focus. The scene-recognition color system with a 14-bit sensor gives me color and tonality like no other camera I've seen. And the speed at which the camera processes RAW files means I can shoot at the speed of life.”

    With ISO sensitivity from 200 to 3200, Versace was able to capture exposures with minimal or no noise in a wide variety of conditions. This range can be expanded further using the built-in settings of Lo-1 and Hi-2 for the equivalent ISO of 100 and 6400, respectively.


    12.3-megapixel CMOS
    23.6x15.8mm, DX format
    1.5x lens magnification factor
    14-bit or 12-bit A/D conversion
    Expeed image processor
    6 fps, up to 8 fps, full resolution  
    3.0-inch TFT with Live View
    51-point AF system
    1⁄8000 to 30 sec. shutter speed
    ISO 200-3200, up to 6400

  • Dimensions: 5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 inches

  • Weight: 29.12 ounces

  • Estimated Street Price: $1,800


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