This is my result about which type of dSLR is the best for me. Heee! And the following reviews are all about the dSLRs that match my answers the most.
The Nikon D300S offers among the best overall performance in the category that is sometimes referred to as semi-professional dSLR. More precisely, this camera is of the APS-C dSLR category, essentially meaning that if you want to get any better you have to make the rather major jump to a camera with a full-frame CMOS sensor. But don't be misled by the terminology. This camera would be very appropriate for most pros and certainly will exceed the requirements of the most demanding advanced amateurs. Its high quality construction is evident at first touch and the Nikon dedication to superb ergonomics is evident throughout. Most importantly, the D300S provides exceptional photo quality.
Much of the press regarding the D300S revolves around the fact that the camera's improvements over its predecessor, the Nikon D300 are relatively few and somewhat insignificant. If that's the case, it's only because the D300 set the standard for the class that remains in effect today. Rather than concentrating on the reality that the D300S didn't reinvent the wheel, we prefer to emphasize the device's comprehensive excellence and those advances that it does offer over its category defining predecessor.
- 12.3-megapixel resolution
- Exceptional 51-point Auto-focus
- 3.0-inch LCD Monitor
- HD video recording
Occasionally, the pleasure of handling a product that is simply exceptional in its build quality presents itself. It's not a quantifiable notion, but you know it when it happens. Winding a Rolex watch is one such experience and the precision ergonomics of the Nikon D300S are another. The top quality construction and rugged magnesium alloy frame are to be expected in this high class of camera, but the overall feel and seemingly perfect placement of controls are a testament to the legend that is Nikon.
Combine that with some of the best of modern technology and you've got quite a camera. The Nikon D300S features a 12.3-megapixel, DX-format CMOS image sensor. That number of pixels may seem a bit low in this level of camera but considering that specification alone substantially underrates the image quality produced by the camera. The sensor is coupled with the Nikon EXPEED processor which is the next step in producing highly accurate images with low noise.
One major addition since the D300 is video recording. The D330S will record 720p HD video at 24 frames per second. While some still photo purists don't find video recording on a dSLR to be important, we think that most users will find it a very valuable tool. Coupled with the video recording capability is new contrast detection auto-focus system. The camera has an integrated microphone but, as is common with other dSLRs, its placement seems to make it unusually adept at picking up auto-focus sound from the lens. Fortunately, there is an input for external microphones that will overcome this issue.
Whether used for video or still photography, we found the 3-inch, 921000 dot VGA LCD monitor to be vibrant and easy to use. It's covered with protective tempered glass and has seven brightness levels. Additionally, the through the lens, optical view finder is among the best available.
The auto-focus system of the D300S is one of the most effective available. It uses fifty-one AF points which is several times the number used by most comparable devices. Not only does it use a lot of points, but it's particularly agile and accurate helping to produce exceptionally sharp photos. There's also a 1005-pixel 3D color matrix metering system that evaluates color information when determining exposure requirements. Standard ISO sensitivity ranges from 200 to 3200 with expanded sensitivity of 100 to 6400 available.
Among the handiest new features on the Nikon D300S are the dual memory card slots which accommodate both a CF (Compact Flash) and SD (Secure Digital) card. There are a number of options for using these cards such as one for recording the overflow from the other, recording RAW to one and JPEG to the other, still to one and video to the other and several other possibilities.
For fast action photography, the D300S can shoot as fast as seven frames per second. To ensure clean pictures, there's an integrated dust reduction system which uses ultrasonic vibrations to keep the sensor clean. With the standard battery, you can expect to get about 950 shots from a single charge.
The Nikon D300S is a highly refined dSLR camera that possesses a rich heritage. Despite the fact that a competitor may have a superior spec or two, there are very few cameras in this class that can reach its overall level of performance. We've mentioned that most of the improvements built into this camera are minor compared to its predecessor, but that shouldn't deter anyone from considering it given the landmark standards that were set by that predecessor.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
The long awaited Canon EOS 5D Mark II is the successor to the nearly legendary Canon EOS 5D which has been around, and setting standards, for over three years - a virtual eternity in terms of consumer electronics generally and digital photography in particular. The 5D is credited with being the first full frame digital camera that was affordable and lightweight, though those are admittedly very subjective terms. Weighing in at around two pounds, depending on the lens used, the Canon EOS
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is genuinely a camera that just about any professional photographer or photojournalist could use with confidence and it certainly has its share of features that are specifically aimed at the pros. Still, its comprehensive set of electronic wizardry and full acceptance of digital advances make it a fantastic camera that could nicely be used by very serious amateur photographers.
- Enormous 21.1-megapixel resolution
- 1920 x 1080 Full HD video recording
- DIGIC 4 Image Processor
- Full-Frame CMOS sensor
Much is written these days about the explosion in the number of pixels that make up a digital camera's sensor. Indeed, for many lesser cameras, the actual number of pixels has expanded to the point that it exceeds the other capabilities of the device to the detriment of performance because as the number of pixels increases, the size of each one has to be diminished. Happily, that's not the case with regard to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II which takes best advantage of every one of its massive 21.1 megapixels. That's in great measure a result of the also large single-plate, full-frame CMOS sensor. It measures 36mm x 24mm making it the same size as a frame of 35mm film so light strikes the light sensors, or pixels, at precisely the same angle that they would hit the film. That's the magic of fully utilizing the full value of the 21.1MP.
Processing this much light information requires an equally impressive image processor, the digital brain of the camera. That task is accomplished by the Canon DIGIC 4 processor which has the requisite speed to process all of that optical information from the sensor in a manner that improves color reproduction and photographic detail. The processor's speed also improves functions such as Face Detection Live mode and HD video recording.
The EOS 5D Mark II is Canon's first dSLR to incorporate full HD video recording capability. The combination of the large, sensor, fast processor and 30 frames per second shooting can result in truly stunning footage. The user is able to take individual or continuous still photographs without interrupting the video filming. Audio is recorded by an integrated mono microphone or by stereo external microphones, not included, that can be connected.
Being a dSLR, true through the lens viewing is available for framing the best shots but there's also a 3.0-inch, high resolution LCD screen that Canon calls Clear View. It boasts 920000/VGA resolution for a superior viewing experience. The screen brightness automatically adjusts to ambient lighting conditions which both enhances the photographer's view and saves battery power. There's also a Live View function which switches views to display a real-time image on the screen. Live View also allows for 5x or 10x zooming to aid in composing the photo. Focusing modes include Quick, Live and Face Detection Live.
To provide dust free images, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II includes an advanced cleaning system specifically designed for the full-frame CMOS sensor. The low-pass filter at the front of the sensor automatically shakes off dust with ultrasonic vibrations. Any micro-dust particles that might still remain can be erased with a feature of the Digital Photo Professional software. This programming can even be calibrated creating Dust Delete Data which will subsequently and automatically erase the dust spot from future photos.
ISO speed is manually adjustable from 100 – 6400 or automatically 100 – 3200. Increased sensitivity up to 25600 is available making shooting in near darkness possible. Exposure controls include Program AE, shutter-priority AE, aperture-priority AE, creative auto, full auto and manual. Image processing types include auto, daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten light, white fluorescent light, flash, custom, color temperature settings and automatic white balance.
Frequently, updated products represent little more than minor modifications of the original, especially in the case of a phenomenally successful predecessor. This is not the case with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. As capable and ground-breaking as the initial 5D was, Canon has made notable improvements with this model. Deservedly, the bulk of attention will be given to the enormous sensor and super-fast processor but many other improvements including HD video recording and the outstanding LCD screen warrant praise. This is, without question, a very high end camera that will fill the needs of all but the most specialized professionals but still is a great choice for accomplished amateurs who can stand the price.
So, which one do you think is the best for me? Your comments would be much appreciated. :D I plan to pay at least half of it and my parents pay the other half for me. I wish to get it before the sports day of CH. :) I have to mention that photographing is a serious hobby of mine. This is why I wish to own a dSLR.