Nikon D700 vs Nikon D300

Some of you maybe a little bit confused on what should you get, either Nikon D300 or Nikon D700. Both are high quality top of the line Nikon digital slr camera. Almost similar in size and shape, but they are actually fall into different category.

Nikon D700 is a full frame sensor (FX), which means that it employs larger sensor than D300 which is using 1.5 crop sensor (DX or smaller sensor) .
Because of the differences of the crop factor, there will make a difference in focal length of the lens you attached to each camera. In crop factor camera, you will get a farther reach because you will multiply the lens focal length with the crop factor of 1.5. So if you have 100mm lens, then it will be acting like 150mm (100 X 1.5) in Nikon D300. This feature will be helpful if you shooting wildlife or sports. On the other hand, Nikon D700 will be great in wide landscape shots.

In term of noise handling, The D700 is pretty usable up to 6400, while D300 is very usable at 1600, so it you will gain 1-2 stops advantage if you use D700. This is especially useful if you shooting in low light condition or fast-pace action indoor sports.

The other important different is the viewfinder will be significantly larger.

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Body and Controls
As you can see in the images, D300 is a wider camera. This will help if you have a big hand or fingers. Because it is wider, D300 also has a larger top LCD screen where it display almost everything you need including Nikon’s sophisticated the auto focus mode.

On the other hand, The D700 is more narrower. It has a big viewfinder and pop up flash in the middle. The trade off is you get a narrower top LCD screen. But don’t worry you still get most of the important information handy.

Other than that, most of the controls, button placements and build quality are almost the same as D300.

Lens Compatibility
If you decided on moving from DX format camera such as D300, D70, D80, D60, D40, you will need to let go DX lenses and low quality lenses. Because the full frame sensor is not compromising on low quality lens. It will show the defects on the image.

The good news is you can still use the DX lens on D700, but the resolution will be down to 5 megapixel instead of 12 megapixel.

Some newer lens such as 70-200mm VR f/2.8 also can’t escape from this unforgiving sensor in D700. To get the most fo this camera, you need to invest on lenses that designed for FX. They are quite expensive, for example: Nikon 14-24mm, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8.

In a nutshell, if you choose Nikon D700, prepare to spend more bucks on the lenses. Without good lenses, you can’t get the image quality that you suppose to get from full frame camera.

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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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Best dslr camera for semi pro 2008

Camera in semi-pro class has similar characteristics, they are design for their toughness, reliability and top of the line of crop sensor camera. Even they have bigger price tag, but it is still within reach for many consumers.

The competition in this semi-pro class is quite tight and the pricing is about right (market is working pretty well) and because of that, it is hard to determine the best value camera for 2008 in this class.

But after careful consideration, I pick Canon 50D as the best value.

Canon EOS 50D is an upgrade of the favorite camera Canon 40D. It is a respond for Nikon D300 which has more feature set for pro, more customizable auto focus system and noise handling. So, 50D come with higher resolution (15 megapixel), better buffer for continuous shooting, improved noise handling and some useful feature such as AF adjustment to combat lens front/back focus . 50D also has an attractive price. Looking back one year ago, the price is almost the same as Canon 40D which is a great! Canon 50D has 12 points.

Unfortunately Canon 50D comes with no so good kit lens (18-200mm), while the lens are very flexible due to its massive zoom, but the image quality is not so good. At least not for the price point. I will recommend you to look for other general purpose lens such as 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, 17-85mm or 28-135mm. Related post: 18-200mm vs 17-85mm

There are several cameras that earns 11 points or runner up. But I decided to pick Nikon D300 as a runner-up. This camera is tough, reliable have many features that usable for pro, and also the famous 51 point Nikon Auto focusing system. It also has above average noise handling. As a result, this camera is ideal for sports. The only problem with this camera is the price, currently it is $300 more expensive than equivalent Canon 50D.

The big underdog camera of 2008 is Pentax k20d. Although this camera is an underdog, but it is definitely a camera capable to deliver high image quality. It has 14 megapixel resolution, water splash proof body, good noise handling and super duper attractive price. Priced around $1400 when it first launched, now k20D price has been discounted half ($750). K20d users are also benefited from built-in image stabilization. This feature will definitely save users a lot of money since lenses with Image stabilization are still relatively high.

The downside of this camera is the continuous burst speed is only 3fps, slightly slower auto focus comparing to competitors and not so intuitive menu control and handling. But overall this camera is worth to look for especially you have limited budget but want superior image and built quality.

Olympus E-3 is the next camera, It is the flagship and the best camera that use smaller crop sensor called micro four thirds. This camera is solid, tough, like k20d it features water splash body, very fast auto focus with it “semi-pro grade” kit lens 12-60mm. It has innovative swivel lcd screen, built in stabilization in body. The downside of this camera probably is the fact of using the small sensor, this camera has a slight problem in handling the noise compare to competitors in the same class, applying noise reduction in camera will wash some detail in high iso. The other disadvantage is the high price. It is priced around $1300 which is still a little bit high in my opinion for its features.

Camera to avoid to buy is Sony A700. Although a little bit unfair to compare because the A700 is not 2008 camera, but it is definitely the only Sony camera in this class. This camera has built in stabilization, good dynamic range, shoots 5fps and high resolution lcd screen. The downside are no live view which is already a norm for camera in this class. The body is not weather shield and the price is relatively high ($1000).

In conclusion, Canon 50D, Nikon D300, Pentax k20d and Olympus E-3 are great cameras in this class and you will get a lot of value from that. The only thing that you will need to consider is your budget, and kind of photography that you will do. For example, if you don’t do sport, Pentax k20d will be a very good deal since it is only $750 compared to D300’s $1500. We are also waiting for new upgrade from Sony.

Best dslr camera for enthusiasts end of the year 2008

Enthusiasts class is a step up from entry level, providing better features and control for hobbyist and enthusiasts. Although it is labeled for enthusiasts, some professional use this camera for some of their job.

The winner of this class is Nikon D90 – 12 points
Nikon D90 is an exciting camera that replacing the famous Nikon D80. After three years of waiting, D80 users at last got a very good upgrade. Nikon D90 is the first dslr announced that has capability of video recording. Not only that, Nikon D90 has been improved on many areas including the better noise handling. Now users can enjoy usable iso up to 3200. The continuous burst rate has been better from 3fps to 4.5 fps. Unlike Nikon D60, D90 is compatible with all the Nikon lenses. D90 also shines because of the ergonomic, built quality with top lcd which is usually lacking from cameras in this class.

Pentax k200d surprisingly get the runner-up position earning 11 points. This camera has weather shield body, top lcd screen. It has 11 auto focus system, deals with noise pretty good and built-in stabilizer that helps combat hand shake. The downside of this camera might be AF is not as fast as competitor and slightly slower continuous burst (only 2.8 fps), and also no live view. It is definitely not for sport or fast action photography but it will certainly suitable for many other occasions.

Sony A350 is the next with 9 points, the strong point of A350 is it offers 14 megapixel resolution, and tiltable lcd screen, but it suffers from poor noise handling and lens collection.

Canon XSi also earns 9 points, it is slightly better than Canon XS with bigger screen (2.5 vs 3 inch), dedicated iso button, 12 megapixel and compatible with all Canon EOS lens.

Recently announced Olympus E-30 gets 9 points. It inherit most of the good thing from his big brother E-3 without the weather seal body. The strong point is the swivel lcd screen with live view, fairly fast continuous burst 4fps but it is a little bit pricy relatively to the competitor in the same class.

Olympus E-520
also gets 9 points. Even though it has body image stabilization that work with most lenses, it suffers from noise handling problem and 3 points auto focus system.

So there are no exactly least recommended cameras because Canon XSi, Olympus E-30 and E-520 all share the same points. But subjectively I will recommend to stay away from E-30 due to the price. With the same amount of cash, you can get the Nikon D90 instead.

Best entry level dslr camera end of the year 2008

Almost the end of the year now, and it is time to judge what camera has the best value for your bucks this holiday season, of course, straight to the point Radiant Lite style. I evaluate these cameras based on features, image quality, camera body, auto focus, continuous burst, IS availability and off course, price.

In this class, there are Nikon D60, Olympus E-420, Canon XS, Sony A200 and Pentax k-m/k2000.

Canon XS is the winner of this category with 9 points.
Canon XS is the best amongs the crops in noise handling, has Live View mode, compatible with all Canon EF or EF-S lenses, and priced around right at $550 with image stabilized18-55mm lens. This camera will serve entry level digital slr user well and also provide room to expansion and upgrade through Canon extensive accessories and lens collection.

The runner-up is the newly designed ultra-compact dslr, Pentax k-m. Although it has no Live mode, it is good designed, complement well with Pentax tiny pancake lenses. It performs very well and compatible with Pentax lenses and accessories. It has 3.5 fps burst which is a little bit faster than the average of the group (3fps), and has sensor shift stabilization. Pentax k-m receive 8 points.

Sony A200 has built in stabilization but doing poor in noise handling, the kit lens is not awesome, and upgrade for better lenses and accessories will be expensive.

Olympus E-420, the ultra compact dslr camera, suffers from no image stabilization option either in body or in lens. It handles noise relatively poor and like Nikon D60, it only has 3 point auto focus system. Both Sony A200 and Olympus E-420 get 7 points. The upside of this camera is the size and live view mode.

Nikon D60
wins the least recommended camera to buy in 2008. It suffers from compatibility. Nikon D60 auto focus won’t work unless you fit it with Nikon AF-S or Sigma HSM lens. Because many of Nikon prime (fixed focal lens) are not AF-S, so Nikon D60 it will be a problem. In the future, Nikon will release more AF-S lenses including prime, but it will be more expensive. D60 also lack of AF points (only 3), and there is no live view mode that could help on manual focusing for accurate focus in macro or still life shooting. D60 earns 6 points.

Olympus E-30 highlights

Olympus has announced the new mid-range digital slr camera on 5th November 2008. Compare to camera with the same price range ( Canon 40D, Nikon D90, Pentax k20D ) , Olympus E-30 offers something different.

It inherited many features from Olympus flagship E-3. A tilt-swivel 2.7″ lcd screen, improved image stabilization up to 5 stops and on board post processing features such as art filter and multiple exposures.

Without further due, this is some key differences between this camera with others
based on their specification.

Olympus E-30 vs Canon 40D

  • 40D has slightly bigger lcd screen but can’t swivel.
  • 40D has faster burst rate (6.5fps compared to E-30 around 4-5 fps).
  • E-30 offers 2 extra megapixel resolution.
  • E-30 has tilt-swivel lcd screen with improved live view mode.
  • E-30 offers improved body stabilization (up to 5 stops, 2 extra modes for panning)

Olympus E-30 vs Pentax k20D

  • Pentax k20d has 2 megapixel extra resolution (14 vs 12 megapixels)
  • Pentax k20d has water proof body, while E-30 has not.
  • E-30 has continuous shooting up to 5 fps, k20d only has 3 fps.
  • E-30 also has swivel lcd screen with improved live view mode.

Olympus E-30 vs Nikon D90

  • The size between both camera is almost the same.
  • Nikon’s unique feature is ability to record movie.
  • Nikon D90 has higher iso setting (up to 6400).
  • E-30 has swivel lcd screen with improved live view mode.
  • E-30 offers improved body stabilization (up to 5 stops, 2 extra modes for panning)

Olympus E-30 vs E-520

  • E-30 expand the iso setting up to 3200. Although there is no test yet, but we can expect the E-30 performs better from E-520.
  • E-30 body is bigger and has tilt-swivel lcd screen.
  • E-30 body offers greater control, handle and built.
  • E-30 has faster burst rate (5 fps vs 3 fps)
  • E-520 is way cheaper, it has only half the price of E-30.

Olympus E-30 vs E3

  • Olympus flagship camera E-3, around $100-200 more expensive has a slightly bigger body and view finder and it is water splash proof body, while E-30 is not water proof.

Along with this camera, Olympus also announced a new lens Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-33.5 II that supports the fast contras detect Live View.

In conclusion, this camera is all around camera that designed for enthusiasts or beginner in dslr. Many features are user-friendly and post processing become easier with art filters and multiple exposure on board. .

From the specification, this camera has some advantages over some camera in $1000 range, and that is why this camera will be price slightly higher in the market $1200-1300. But I think $1100-1200 is a great price. I believe most users will be satisfied of the camera’s performance and user friendliness. The camera will be available on January 2009.

Other thing to consider is the lens selection and the fact that Olympus System is a micro four third system which has unique framing 4:3 instead of 3:2 that we find in many others. Also the crop factor is 2 not 1.5 or 1.6 like camera on the other brands.


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