July 17th, 2008

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Canon Rebel XSi

'k, so I'm thinking about some specific dSLRs, based on features and recent reviews.

I'm already leaning towards the Canon EOS Rebel XSi did very well in reviews from American Photo and Popular Photography (yes, I know they're the same publishing company).

Pros:
  • Excellent image quality up to ISO1600, in some cases better than more expensive mid-range dSLRs
  • Fast autofocus
  • Fast continuous shooting
  • Good in-lens image stabilization
  • Canon eTTL-2 flash support

Cons:
  • Max ISO1600
  • In-lens image stabilization
  • No eTTL-2 wireless control from built-in flash unit

Costco price: $820
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Olympus E-520

Based on didjiman's experience, I'm also considering the Olympus E-520. It's a real new model, so there's not much in the line of review details.

Pros:
  • Excellent image quality
  • Very compact
  • Excellent Zuiko lens series
  • "Four Thirds" sensor size is 2x cropping factor, easy to convert
  • Good in-body image stabilization
  • Wireless support for FL-50R and FL-36R from built-in flash

Cons:
  • Max ISO1600
  • Few third-party lenses
  • "Four Thirds" sensor is small, could have diffraction issues at tight aperture
  • Viewfinder is reported to have a small image

Costco price: not yet. The E-420 kit is $500. Street for E-520 with kit lens <$700
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Canon EOS 40D

I've got to consider the Canon EOS 40D. It's not the freshest EOS on the market, but it's got some features that the Rebel XSi doesn't.

Pros:
  • Excellent image quality up to ISO1600
  • ISO 3200 support
  • Better autofocus sensors than Rebel XSi
  • Faster continuous shooting
  • Good in-lens image stabilization
  • Sturdy body, good weather-sealing
  • Canon eTTL-2 flash support

Cons:
  • 10mp sensor, less than Rebel XSi
  • In-lens image stabilization
  • No eTTL-2 wireless control from built-in flash unit? (unclear)
  • $300-500 more expensive

Costco price: $1150 sale price
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Nikon D60

The Nikon in this price/feature range is the D60.

Pros:
  • Excellent image quality up to ISO1600
  • ISO3200 sensitivity
  • Fast auto-focus
  • Good in-lens image stabilization
  • Great sensor cleaning
  • Nikon i-TTL flash support

Cons:
  • In-lens image stabilization
  • Slow burst mode
  • Clunky menu system
  • No live view
  • Autofocus only with AF-S and AF-I lenses
  • No wireless flash control with built-in unit

Costco price: $650
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SLR Lens systems...

So whatever camera I decide to get, it's going to lock me into a lens system.

Canon, Nikon and Olympus all have very good reputations.

Canon has an insane lens range, supplemented by a ton of really good third-party lenses.

Nikon has nearly as large a lens range, supplemented by a ton of really good third-party lenses.

Olympus went with a ground-up redesign, and the "Zuiko" lens range is getting great reviews. It's not as broad as either Canon or Nikon (but not all of those lenses work well for digital APS-C photography), and the E-series doesn't have as many third-party manufacturers yet.

Opinions?
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Compact strobe options

Ditto as with the lenses.

Canon has eTTL-2. It's got a great reputation. The Canon cameras don't come with built-in wireless control, though. A transmitter (or master flash) on the hot shoe is required. There are quite a few third-party flashes that work with eTTL wireless control.

Nikon has i-TTL. It's got a great reputation. The Nikon cameras don't come with built-in wireless control, though. A transmitter (or master flash) on the hot shoe is required. There are quite a few third-party flashes that work with i-TTL wireless control.

Olympus doesn't seem to have a name for their TTL metering and wireless control. It's all built-in to the camera, though, and can be controlled from the camera body. There are only 2 Olympus flash unit models that support wireless control. Don't know about third-party flashes.

Opinions and/or resources about the different flash systems?