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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 40D A major upgrade of the excellent EOS 30D, the new 40D offers 23% more pixels, 14-bit A/D conversion, a DIGIC III image processor, improved long-exposure and high-ISO noise reduction, a 3.0-inch LCD monitor with Live View capability, Canon's EOS Integrated Cleaning System to do away with sensor dust, up to 6.5 fps continuous shooting and more.

All nine AF points are now cross-types with lenses of ƒ/5.6 or faster, while a unique diagonally oriented central sensor features enhanced precision at ƒ/2.8 or faster—actually better than the pro EOS 1-series cameras. Focusing calculation speed is 1.3 times faster than with the 30D, and autofocusing is more accurate and stable.

The 40D's Live View capability betters that of the pro EOS 1-series cameras, too, in that you can focus manually or automatically (by pressing the AF On button). Live View also features silent shooting, plus exposure-simulation and grid-line modes. With the optional WFT-E3A wireless file transmitter, you can view the image on a computer monitor and operate the camera remotely in Live View mode. LCD monitor image display and navigation are also simpler, with more options and larger menu text.


10.1-megapixel CMOS
1.6x lens magnification factor
14-bit A/D conversion
DIGIC III image processor
6.5 fps, full resolution
3.0-inch LCD with Live View
EOS Integrated Cleaning System
9-point cross-type AF
1⁄8000 to 30 sec. shutter speed
ISO 100-1600, plus 3200

  • Dimensions: 5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 inches

  • Weight: 26.1 ounces

  • Estimated Street Price: $1,299

  • nikonNikon D80 Since 2006, the 10.2-megapixel D80 has been impressing photographers with its image quality and wealth of features, some of which you'd only expect to see on a pro-level D-SLR. With a startup time of just 0.16 seconds and a shutter lag of only 80 ms, the D80 is definitely a responsive tool for photojournalism and all types of action photography.

    Incorporating the 11-area AF system found in the pro-level D200, the D80 allows use of AF sensors individually or under a wide-area setting. Its Auto-area AF is a sophisticated feature that measures all 11 areas and automatically detects the primary subject, utilizing only the appropriate sensors. The advanced i-TTL flash system lets you control the output of multiple flash, either individually or in up to three separate groups. Compatible with the SB-800, SB-600 and SB-200 Speedlights, it offers a complete wireless system for creating an advanced lighting setup virtually anywhere.


    10.2-megapixel CCD
    23.6x15.8mm, DX format
    1.5x lens magnification factor
    12-bit A/D conversion
    3 fps, full resolution
    11-area AF system
    2.5-inch TFT LCD
    1⁄4000 to 30 sec. shutter speed
    ISO 100-1600

  • Dimensions: 5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 inches

  • Weight: 19.9 ounces

  • Estimated Street Price: $900

  • panasonicPanasonic LUMIX DMC-L10 Although relatively new to D-SLRs, Panasonic is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Its second D-SLR, the 10.1-megapixel LUMIX DMC-L10 has a 4/3 Live MOS image sensor that harnesses the benefits of both CMOS and CCD sensors. The 4/3 sensor is part of the Four Thirds open-standard developed by Olympus—a standard that matches sensor size with the image circle of Four Thirds lenses and allows you to use Four Thirds lenses from different manufacturers like Sigma.

    The DMC-L10 has a full-time articulating Live View LCD for framing and a face-detection system that can track up to 15 faces simultaneously. Intelligent ISO Control adjusts for blur by changing ISO and shutter speed automatically. The Venus Engine III image processor helps produce superior color and better detail with minimal noise, while a Supersonic Wave Filter keeps the sensor clear of dust and particles.


    10.1-megapixel Live MOS
    17.3x13mm, 4/3
    12-bit A/D conversion
    Venus Engine III image processor
    3 fps, full resolution
    2.5-inch LCD with Live View
    Face Detection
    Intelligent ISO Control
    ISO 100 to 1600

  • Dimensions: 3.8 x 5.3 x 3 inches

  • Weight: 17 ounces

  • Estimated Street Price: $1,299


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