Lee Sacrey Photography – Lee's Chatter

Mainly Photography but a little of everything at times

The ever changing world of the DSLR!

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Digital Photography is ever-changing. Point and Shoot cameras are becoming more and more powerful, there are the Panasonic type cameras between the point and shoot and the DSLR (Olympus  and Ricoh have those as well). Of course, there is the DSLR which is always continuing to improve. However, as a self-proclaimed gear head I often find the world of the DSLR quite frustrating. I thought I would talk about some of my issues this week.

Let me start with the brand I use, Sony. As a former Minolta film user I was excited when the Konica Minolta 5D and 7D came to market and a year later had mixed feelings when they decided to leave the photography business and let Sony take over it’s camera division. I was sure Sony had the R & D money and resources to build a good product but, I often felt they were more interested in the almighty dollar than having a passion for building great photographic equipment. First came the a100 which was a lot like the 5D with some improvements (I bought one and was pretty happy with it). Then came the a700, a replacement for the KM 7D with quite a few changes. I thought it was a great camera and waited for the price to be right and bought it as well. I truly believed that the a700 could easily compete with it’s competitors from the other brands. The a900 followed and I was almost convinced Sony was serious about the photography business. From there my Sony feelings started to change. The lower end of their line changed quite a bit. The a200, a300 and a350 came. I thought they were great entry-level cameras but they never really interested me as a consumer. Then they were all replaced with the a230, a330 and a380. I didn’t like the styling of those but, like the cameras they replaced they seemed to be good entry-level cameras. Then came the 850 which was a lower a900 version but, it didn’t change things enough to make me jump to full frame. Most recently the a500 and a550 (and a450 in some parts of the globe). They had some cool features but, nothing to make me want to switch from my a700. So, I guess I am still disappointed. Sony came with a bang, the a700 and the a900 I thought were awesome and then Sony seems to have step away from the enthusiast part of the market. I understand that sales drive the market but, serious camera manufactures know what drives the photography world are the mid to high-end users. Maybe I should just be content with my a700 but, as the others manufacturers improve the higher end of their lines I seemed to be stuck with my 3-year-old DSLR. I guess with some new things on the horizon I will see if Sony is serious about the camera business. I hope they are.

Ok, let me move to Olympus. I think they have so many great products. They have cool live view screens and tons of neat features. They don’t seem to be in any mega-pixel races. What I just can’t seem to get my head around is the small sensor – just think, that screen and features on a reasonably priced APS-c or full frame camera. I know the crop factor can get you in nice and close but, I’d rather the bigger sensor and a zoom lens for that. I also hear that there are some marketing issues with Olympus, just today I noticed that some specialty stores like Calgary’s The Camera Store no longer is selling the Olympus brand.

Pentax is making some interesting stuff. I really like the K7. Pentax’s market share is pretty small and the rumor is they thinking of moving the 4/3rds and micro 4/3rds. They do some nice 645 and 6 x 7 things but, nothing that really interests me too much in the world of DSLR cameras.

Canon, one of the big two. Canon makes some of my favorite cameras, the 40D and the 5D Mark II I like and they are amazing cameras. Recently however, Canon is bothering me somewhat. They seem to be in a mega-pixel race but, they are in it by themselves. The 50D replaced the 40D but crammed over 15 mega-pixels on the APS-c sensor (I still like the 40D more). Another model uses that same size sensor. The Canon 7D seem to have big expectations but, crammed even more pixels on the sensor, 18 mega-pixels. I know it is a dangerous thing to criticize Canon just ask Darwin Wiggett who did a review of the 7D. The Canon faithful can quickly turn on you. I think Canon is going down the wrong road. Chasing mega-pixels isn’t where I would go. Just think if the 7D , with all its great features, with the 40D sensor (or something around that size). It would be awesome. I even read an article where a Canon engineer was complaining about where Canon is going. They are doing cool things in other areas however. I think the G11 rules (it might be my next purchase).

Nikon. Nikon seems to just move along, not overly concerned with the others (although, I am sure they watch closely at what their competition is doing). No mega-pixel races, all ranges of their equipment seem to get updates regularly and they seem to turn out great camera after great camera. I hear that the D700 won’t be revised until 2011 but, considering how great a camera it is I am not sure in matters. The D300s is great and now with the tilt shift lens Nikon looks strong to me.

So maybe the DSLR market is settling down, no new cameras every few months, just updates. Hopeful Sony shows it is serious about the middle and higher end of photography. Maybe Canon will get back to concentrating on cameras that make good images and be less concerned with mega-pixels. Maybe Pentax and Olympus will gain some market share and continue to bring interesting things to the playground but, for now (until I switch brands) I will continue to watch for the replacement for my Sony a700. Or maybe just maybe I should just relax and use the gear I have until I “need” to change it. That is what my wife thinks anyway.

So there is this weeks chatter, just think you may have waited two weeks for that, lol. As some of you are aware, I have been a little out of commission these past two weeks. Not much picture-taking has happened. Being inspire by the articles in Outdoor Photography Canada about what equipment their photographers carry and because I wrote about camera gear this week I thought I would show some pictures of what I use. The first is all my camera stuff and the second is what I usually carry. As always thanks for reading and Happy Shooting.

So here it is, all my gear. 3 camera bodies, Sony a100, Sony a700 and Konica Minolta 7D (all with vertical grips). 6 lenses, Sony 11 – 18 mm, Sony 18 – 70 mm, Sony 50 mm, Minolta 70 – 210 mm, Sigma 18 – 50 mm and a Sony 75 – 300 mm. There is a flash Sony 36, 2 Giottos tripods, a monopod, 8 filters, 6 extra batteries, 4 chargers, 5 extra CF memory cards, 2 remotes, 3 cleaning kits, 3 memory card cases, a cd case for the filters, 2 flashlights for fight painting, 2 filter holders, an extra camera strap, 2 extra tripod quick release plates and 4 camera cases and 1 lens case. For the next 6 weeks the Doctor told me I can’t carry all of this.

So here is what I carry most of the time. My Sony a700 (with the vertical grip) with the Sony 11 – 18 mm mounted, a Lowepro Topload 2 holster bag and a small lens case, my Minolta 70 – 210 mm f4 lens, my Sigma 18 – 50 mm f2.8 lens, the cd case with 8 filters inside, a Cokin P-filter holder, a small mag light, a wireless remote and my Giottos MTL3271B Tripod with a Giottos MH7000 Ballhead and a MH658 Arca-Swiss type mount with a MH680 L-bracket. If this is between 10 – 15 lbs the Doctor says I am good to go.

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Written by leesacrey

April 24, 2010 at 1:57 PM

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