Archives for December 25, 2008

Canon 50D vs Nikon D90

Canon 50D and Nikon D90, relatively new announced camera this Fall 2008 is actually fall in different class. Canon 50D is designed more for semi-professional and D90 is more for enthusiasts. But there are many people that ask which one is better for them? This article is trying to explain about their similarities and especially their differences.


On Canon 50D advantages

  • Canon 50D has bigger image resolution 15 megapixel compare to 12 megapixel of Nikon D90.
  • Canon 50D has 14-bit conversion for smooth color tones and gradations.
  • Canon 50D has better continuous shooting speed (6.3 fps vs 4.5 fps).
  • Canon 50D features high end feature such as AF-adjustment and New Lens Peripheral Illumination Correction which help to optimize image quality for individual lenses.
  • New Creative auto is very handy for novice and enthusiasts.
  • Tough magnesium alloy body resistant to dust, moisture and bad weather.

On Nikon D90 advantages

  • Nikon D90 has ability to record video clip with sound to 720p HD (1280 x 720 pixels).
  • Nikon D90 features high iso up to 6400 with a very usable 3200, while 50D has iso up to 12800 but 50D’s iso 3200 is not as clean as D90.
  • Nikon kit lens 18-105mm that come with D90 is better than Canon kit lens (either 18-200 or 28-135mm).

Both cameras has auto sensor cleaning and 3 inch hi-res lcd monitor with live view.

By the time I write the article, Canon 50D is about $250 more expensive than Nikon D90.

Built quality
Canon 50D body is built using magnesium alloy, weather resistant but not water splash. Nikon D90 body is significantly less durable which is rugged/reinforced plastic. Both cameras are very ergonomic and fits most hand well. Nikon d90 is lighter and smaller (Try it at store).

In conclusion
Both camera are exceptional cameras in 2008. Canon 50D is a high end camera but it is very friendly to new users (new creative auto, 3 inch lcd screen with live view). Canon 50D also answers many complaints from professional about the lens AF focus system problems by giving the AF-adjustment feature which could be very helpful if you have a broad range of third party lenses. The body of 50D is also tough, able to withstand harsh weather outdoor and couple accidental knocks. It also has higher image resolution that might be helpful to print oversize poster or cropping later in post processing without losing a lot of details.

But Canon 50D is not perfect, Nikon D90 has some features that you might excited to use such as video recording capability that you can use with many Nikon lenses. The new kit lens is very versatile and sharp. If you shoot a lot in low light situation without flash, Nikon has a cleaner image in high iso (1600-3200). D90 is also cheaper.

In making decision, it comes back to what you really need, do you really need pro features and body that Canon 50D offers? or you are more excited to try out video feature D90 has to offer and save some money in the process.

I will say most of enthusiasts will be satisfied with Nikon D90 and kit lens performance but for professional photographer especially photo journalists, Canon 50D will be a better choice because its durability, higher speed in continuous shooting and some other features that I mentioned above. But to get full advantage of 50D, I recommend users to invest on a higher quality Canon lens instead of average kit lens that Canon offers.

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Canon lenses vs Olympus lenses

Like other big manufacturer of Digital SLR system, Olympus offers full range of lenses for their system. Compared to Canon lens collection, Olympus has a good collection of standard general purpose and telephoto zoom lenses but not so many in low light prime lenses.

Note: The price might change, and if the market price change, it tends to be lower.
BC is build quality, IQ is image quality

As a said before, Olympus does not have many collection of prime lenses. Prime lens is a fixed focal length lenses which are used greatly by photographers in many occasions such as for sports, portraits, social events, etc. For prime and zoom lens differences click here.

In general purpose lens category (wide to telephoto zoom), Olympus offers a good selection of lenses. Some of the lenses are exceptional in image and built quality. One of the star is 12-60mm f/2.8-4 SWD. This lens has a versatile focal length equivalent to 24-120mm or 15-75mm (Canon range). That because Olympus has crop factor multiplier of 2 and Canon has 1.6. This lens has very fast and quiet focusing due to SWD (Supersonic wave drive) technology.

Along with 12-60mm, Olympus also offers other high quality and worth to mention which is 14-35mm f/2 SWD. This lens is very advance because it has a very big aperture and great focusing speed.

Both of the lens come out with a premium price tag of $850 and $2200.

Read More…

In Telephoto zoom lens category, Olympus is also have some lenses that are good for wildlife photography such as high power zoom 70-300mm and 90-250mm. Both focal length are equivalent to 87.5 x 375mm and 112.5 x 312mm (Compared to Canon length) respectively.

This focal length of Olympus telephoto zoom lens is significant because Olympus lenses have longer coverage than Canon famous 70-200mm series and also the 90-250mm has big max aperture of f/2.8 while in the same length, Canon only offer 100-400mm lens which has significantly smaller aperture of f/4.5-5.6. Of course the Olympus 90-250mm comes with hefty price tag of $5400 compare to Canon’s $1400.

In macro lens category, Olympus only offer two macro lens while Canon offers many more. But do not underestimate Olympus macro lens just yet. The 50mm macro for example can go down to f/2 which is great for low light, and both of the lenses have a decent price tag. Unfortunately, Olympus macro lens built quality and focusing mechanism are not as good as the image quality provided.

In conclusion
Olympus offers many lenses which capable to produce high quality images. It seems to me that the Olympus philosophy are less is good. If you love to use general “all you can do” lens and high quality long telephoto zoom lens in the market, then Olympus collection might be appealing.

The other advantage of Olympus lenses is the fact that most of Olympus digital slr cameras have built-in stabilization (Except E4X0 and some older models). So all lenses that you connect to the camera will have the benefit of image stabilization whereas in Canon only certain lenses have image stabilization feature.

But if you fond of prime lenses and macro, Olympus does not have many to offer. There is also a gap from Olympus lenses for example, to upgrade to a better lenses, the price different between the standard and the professional grade lens is very significant. For example, standard lenses costs around $200-500 but professional grade lenses starts from $850 and many costs thousands. This might be big a turn off for enthusiasts that desire more affordable pro grade lenses.

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