Thursday, August 21, 2008

New SLR Cameras

The field of entry level SLRs is getting pretty crowded, with my top 3 favorites each having features, but no one having all features. I'm looking to upgrade from the point-and-shoot, to a digital SLR. Even though these are considered entry level, the complexities, and possibilities are pro level compared to what was available a few years ago.

I'm looking at models by Canon, Kodak and Sony. In, the 2008 editors choice in this field is the Canon Rebel XSi, last year the top model was the Nikon D80, and after many years of using point-and-shoot, and considering the shots used for this blog, the Live View and moveable LCD make the Sony A350 is very appealing.

Canon XSi - good color reproduction, uses SDHC cards like my existing Canon (and laptops), has live view, but has a number of limitations.
Nikon D80 - Feels good in the hand, compatible with a wide range of older Kodak lenses, including older auto focus lenses that don't have the motor in the lens. Uses SD cards. No live view. A good friend uses Kodak, and can offer free advice and tips for this model. Nice Kodak 18-200mm lens with optical stabilization.
Sony A350 - Live View, Movable LCD screen for shots over a crowd, second place in 2008 editors choice from Popular Photography. Best price.

Canon XSi - limitations on live view, no Canon 18-200mm lens
Nikon D80 - expensive
Sony A350 - worst performance in low light situations. Uses compact flash, not SD.

I'm leaning toward the Sony, since my purpose for getting the camera doesn't include pro-level enlargements of photos. At best, I'm probably looking at 11x17. Plus with the baby on the way, I have other expenses, and the lower cost makes this camera more appealing. Sony is relatively new, but this camera is born from the Konica-Minolta product lines. However, it will require getting a compact flash to SDHC card adaptor, since popping the SD card in the laptop is the easiest way to download photos.

[UPDATE 8/28] Nikon has announced the new D90, which includes in addition to Live View, some type of movie recording. Will this drive down the price on the D80? If they do Live View in a way that doesn't impact auto focus speed like the Sony A300/350, will that lower the price on the Sonys since there is now added competition? I've been eyeing the Sony A300, after I decided there was no real reason for me to need 14M pixels. I wonder if Sony is trying to think of a way of picking off the live view mode as a movie? Decisions, decisions.

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