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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

pentaxPentax K10D The camera maker's highest-resolution D-SLR to date, the 10.2-megapixel K10D features a 22-bit A/D converter and a PRIME engine that can process data at 800 MBps. Built-in sensor-shift shake reduction, a built-in CCD dust-removal system, and rugged weather- and dustproof construction all come as standard fair.

“Color and general image quality is paramount for me,” says Kerrick James, an editorial, travel and adventure-sports photographer. “The 22-bit A/D converter helps make the RAW files coming from the K10D a joy to process and deliver to my clients. The tonal scale is superb, and the 12-bit files are easy to interpret and fine-tune individually.”

James says the physical characteristics of the camera also suit him perfectly because he works outside, everywhere. “In a year of working with the K10D in active adventure situations and teaching workshops, I've had nary an issue because of the camera's weather seals,” he says. “I just did a harsh four-day backpack in the Grand Canyon for a new book, and the K10D was such a good combination of light weight and image quality that for the first time ever I left my Pentax 67II at home. And I'm glad I did.”


10.2-megapixel CCD
1.5x lens magnification factor
22-bit A/D conversion
PRIME Engine
2.5-inch LCD monitor
CCD Dust Removal System
ISO 100-1600
1⁄4000 to 30 sec. shutter speed

  • Dimensions: 5.6 x 4.0 x 2.8 inches

  • Weight: 25.0 ounces (without battery)

  • Estimated Street Price: $900

  • samsungSamsung GX-10 The fraternal twin of the Pentax K10D is the 10.2-megapixel GX-10. Filled with many of the same Pentax components, the GX-10 also features a 22-bit A/D converter for capturing a broad range of gradation, colors and textures. The semiconductor image processor can handle full-resolution RAW files at 3 fps. To compensate for any camera shake, an OPS mechanism moves the CCD in the opposite direction of any movement. In case of environmentally demanding assignments, a secure silicone seal has been implemented at 72 different points, including the shutter and all the function buttons.

    The 11-point AF system has a focus-point converting function so you can choose the location of AF within the frame. Other features include a bright 2.5-inch TFT LCD, a 16-segment TTL metering system, ISO sensitivity up to 1600 and a My Settings function so you can customize various AE modes to suit your style of shooting.


    10.2-megapixel CCD
    1.5x lens magnification factor
    22-bit A/D conversion
    Semiconductor image processor
    3 fps, full resolution
    OPS, sensor-shift stabilization
    2.5-inch TFT 
    ISO 100 to 1600
    1⁄4000 to 30 sec. shutter speed
    RAW, Super Fine JPEG, JPEG
    Automatic sensor cleaning

  • Dimensions: 5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches

  • Weight: 25.04 ounces

  • Estimated Street Price: $800

  • sonySony Alpha A700 Veteran Minolta shooters many recognize that the 12.2-megapixel Alpha A700 bears some similarity to the 7D, which is no surprise, since Sony took possession of all Minolta camera technologies as of March 2006. No sense reinventing the wheel, but Sony has definitely remolded the wheel and put its stamp on the A700 in terms of features and controls.

    It has a new Exmor CMOS sensor instead of a CCD because it's faster and uses less power, which means less inherent noise is introduced by the circuitry. Add to that on-chip noise-canceling before and after the on-chip 12-bit A/D conversion, and you get rich tonal reproduction with a high signal-to-noise ratio. Other features include Super Steady Shot, a 3.0-inch LCD, Sony's innovative Eye-Start AF system and a memory function that lets you save and recall up to 28 personalized camera settings.


    12.2-megapixel CMOS
    12-bit A/D conversion
    Bionz Image Processor
    5 fps, full resolution
    11-point phase detection AF
    3.0-inch TFT
    1⁄8000 to 30 sec. shutter speed
    ISO 100-3200, up to 6400

  • Dimensions: 5.6 x 4.3 x 3.3 inches

  • Weight: 24.34 ounces

  • Estimated Street Price: $1,399


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