Sunday, May 27, 2007

Quick impressions of the Canon 5D vs. the D200

Bottle Art
Originally uploaded by
A lot of people say it's kind of silly to compare these two cameras. I disagree. Even though technically, the 30D is the direct competitor to the D200 it's not really. Mostly from a Nikon shooters perspective, the 5D is the only camera worth switching for.

There are many technical comparisons of the D200 and the 5D on the net. I'm not even going to attempt to be one of these. This is something different. This is just the joy of using a camera that I get from having directly compared these two cameras. I know that the IQ (Image Quality) of the 5D is one of the best (if not the best) in the 35mm DSLR arena. There is no comparison there. I'm talking about the rest of the camera. Now some may argue that IQ is the most and only important thing. This post is not for them.

For those who don't know. Canon and Nikon used to work together. Nikon made the lenses and Canon made the cameras. At some point they split. Strangely, some may argue that Canon still make the better camera, while Nikon the better lens. This all depends on what you consider the "better camera".

Whenever I talk about Canon vs. Nikon. I describe the two like this: Nikon is an optical company, Canon and technology one. Sure enough, looking at todays camera marketplace, Canon has the superior sensor and an army of image stabilized lenses. Nikon on the other hand has beautifully crafted camera bodies and in a lot of ways superior optical designs for their lenses.

And now back to the main point of this post. Holding the 5D for mere minutes you get the sense that it was designed by... well, an engineer. The D200 (or any Nikon Camera) feels like it was crafted by a photographer. Someone who realizes that not only does the camera have to take great photos, but it also has to feel comfortable in the hand for a days worth of shooting. Canons don't. The 5D is not the worst offender from the Canon line, but it's not great when compared to almost every other DSLR body I've tried (which includes Pentax and Olympus as well as Nikon) The hand grip feels awkward and far to boxy. My palm felt as if something was trying to dig into it from the camera.

Then there is the UI (I mean the physical one, not the digital one). Now, admittedly, I've been shooting Nikon cameras for over a decade, so there is a strong biased here from a "what I'm used to" perspective. But I can't help wondering about Canons choice of a single dimensional scroll wheel to move through two dimensions of focus points. Or the completely out of the way power switch.

Ironically, I can use any Nikon F-Mount lens with a simple adaptor on the 5D with great results. With the D200, I can use any AI or newer F-Mount lens on a D200 without having to use stop down metering. But, back to my earlier point, the 5D has better technology, in this case a full 35mm frame sensor. There are those who would argue that FF is a dead issue and Nikon has done a great job convincing a lot of people that this is true. I don't agree. Nikon has done an admirable job with lenses like the 17-55mm f/2.8DX. Their cameras are economical as shown by the 2x price difference between our two bodies here. But there are many other examples where the DX lenses did not compare. Take the 17-35mm f/2.8D (which I adore) compared to it's DX equivalent, the 12-24mm f/4DX. There really isn't much of a comparison. Then one looks at the prime offerings and things become even worse for the DX form factor. Sure, things may change. It's rumoured that Nikon is coming out with a wack of prime lenses this year to fix this, but it's hard to wait.

So yah, the 5D has the best 35mm DSLR sensor on the market. It's low noise at high ISO, and full 35mm frame coverage are great. If only I could have it in the otherwise superior D200 body.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Back to Digital

A picture of a flower...
Originally uploaded by
This photo was taken with my new D200.

I've been shooting Film since the end of December of 2006. I fell in love with film again but not by choice. Even the best 35mm Digital today (which I would say is the Canon 5D for IQ) can't touch a good roll of Fuji Provia 100F in a trusty film camera. But there I'm always learning. Always wanting to experiment. Though this can be done with film, it's so much faster with digital.

I think I will be shooting with film a lot more now then I did when I had my D70 even though the D200 is so much less frustrating to use than the D70. But it's nice to just go in your front yard, take a photo of a flower and post it to flickr.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Megapixel Problem (and High ISO)

I have been working on a draft of this post for some time. It was going to cover how stupid the megapixel race was, especially in tiny compact cameras. How stuffing 10 MP into a tiny little sensor was more than stupid, it was outright bad for the consumer.

However, Digital Photography Review has put together an article about misleading High ISO in compact digital cameras which also covers this issue in much greater detail than I was going to (but I did have a little diagram! :)

Overall this shows how desperate the manufacturers have gotten to sell yet another compact camera. Even in DSLR cameras. I was quite happy with 6MP. Sure, 10 will be nice, but so would 8.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

ICQ Accounts being returned, no word from AOL

ICQ Accounts, like mine seem to be returning. Not everyone who lost theirs has had theirs returned yet. No word from ICQ/AOL team on the subject.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

ICQ Deleting accounts randomly

My, and many others ICQ Accounts have been deleted. The technical forums over at ICQ is "flaming" with posts. Hundreds of users are registering new accounts to post their comments. I'd assume thousands are actually deleted.

The final death of ICQ by AOLs hands? Or a simple technical glitch?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Nikon sees a resurgence in prime sales

Not surprising to me at all, but apparently this took Nikon Canada off guard.
Primes sales are growing at a great pace here in Canada. And it has Nikon a little annoyed.

I went to the Toronto Digital Imaging and Photography show (aka, the Henrys show and sale). I showed up at the show carrying an FM3a w/ MD-12 motor drive and a Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AI mounted on it. It was the starting point of many conversations. Most notably with one of the head Nikon reps. The discussion quickly moved to primes. Or the lack there off. It turns out the popularity of primes is taking Nikon a bit off guard. Apparently they're having a hard time stocking enough 85mm f/1.4s and 50mm f/1.8s to keep up with demand! I lamented the lack of wide angle primes that were of any value and he agreed. It seems Nikon has spent a lot of time investing into making a lot of zoom lenses because that was what the populace wanted a few years ago (gee, you think?). Now the trend is swinging back to primes. (site note: notice how many people are selling off the 18-200mm VR Zoom?).

Being a Nikon rep he didn't have, or more specifically wasn't willing to offer any future product information. As to be expected.

Why not to buy the D40 or D40x

What does this mean? I'm sure the D40 is a hot seller for Nikon. It's a very good SLR in a lot of ways. Most notably it's price and comfort compared to the competition. However, I wonder how many of the people who end up buying this DSLR find themselves pissed off when they find out that the cheap and good prime lenses offered by Nikon won't auto focus? I wonder how many sales of primes Nikon is loosing because of the D40?

A lot of people point out that the D40s target market is not the type of people who would buy primes. And they're probably right for the majority of D40 owners. They get the kit lens, and maybe the 55-200 and they're happy. To those people I recommend one of the many P&S super zoom cameras that are littering the camera landscape and cost a lot less than the D40 + 18-200mm.

To all those who actually care about taking photography, I recommend a used D50/70 or a the D80. (To be fair the Pentax offerings are rather nice as well). Though I'm not one of those people who think all zooms are crap (they're not). For the average person, "good" zooms are a fortune. Inexpensive primes are a great value and really bring out ones photographic capabilities.

So if you are reading this, I assume you have some passing interest in photography. If you care enough to read a post like this, you care enough not to get the Nikon D40.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Apparently this set of hex numbers
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
is worth the MPAAs time to send out a mass of take down notices. Shows you how stupid a bunch of guys in suites can really be.

From slashdot.