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Old Aug 26, 2007, 8:27 AM   #11
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I'm 'P envy' @ the D300 and can volunteer to be a troll anyday: :-):lol::-)

Let's see:

o 12Mpixels
This is 2Mpixels more than Canon and a full 50% more than my 1DMrkII!

o 51 AF points
Ok, that's also more than the MrII/MrkIII. I highly doubt that Nikon can mess this up since it is the same AF system as what go into their top-end D3 which will be an improvement over the excellent D2x (even if they did how different is it from the current MrkIII situation)

o AF micro-adjustments
This clearly leaves the 40D behind and not available on my MrkII either

o 8 frame/s
Canon has a slight lead here with the MrkIII but bear in mind that the MrkIII picture sizes are smaller but that's the same frame rate as what I'm used to on my MrkII

o 922k rear LCD
This is 4x times Canon's. How nice is this to check for focusing accuracy? or now for zooming-in with liveview feature?

o Weather sealed
It'll do the job

o $1800 - This is the killer!
-> You can get the D300 and some really nice lenses (or flashes) for less than the cost of a Canon guy to upgrade to a MrkIII!!!

Canon better react fast. In the film day they had the EOS-3 to fill this gap for the advanced amateurs/pros, otherwise I can see lot of sales going the Nikon way... even if you already have a Canon system!
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Old Aug 29, 2007, 1:37 AM   #12
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Canon better react fast. In the film day they had the EOS-3 to fill this gap for the advanced amateurs/pros, otherwise I can see lot of sales going the Nikon way... even if you already have a Canon system!

@NHL..i guess this is good for canon system users too. May be they will have to wait for another 6-12 months but if canon likes to respond which i guess they would/should they may get a competetive system for a lower price.

As a canon user i findthe newsvery good for us(canon users) coz after a year if i wanna update a system i will definitely find something from canon trying to compete or even overtake the Nikon system then.

Its good news for everyone...i am gonna smile instead of crying :-)
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Old Aug 29, 2007, 9:22 AM   #13
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nymphetamine wrote:
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Its good news for everyone...i am gonna smile instead of crying :-)
I sure hope so

Another thing I've avoided to bring up but we've seen a lot of issues with in the forums is the Canon flash system - If you realize and can overcome its shortcoming it's fine, but IMO the Nikon flash system is much more tolerant to their users

They should also build the Master mode inside the camera!
Minolta(Sony) had it in their bodies for at least 20 years, ditto now with the Nikon remote commander mode. I find it really silly for Canon to require an ST-E2 (@ the cost of another flash) to add this wireless mode to their flashes when it can all be done in firmware in the body (i.e. for free)! :evil:
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Old Aug 29, 2007, 9:54 AM   #14
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NHL wrote:
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Another thing I've avoided to bring up but we've seen a lot of issues with in the forums is the Canon flash system - If you realize and can overcome its shortcoming it's fine, but IMO the Nikon flash system is much more tolerant to their users

They should also build the Master mode inside the camera!
Agreed. This would absolutely be a nice to have. But, the wireless master capability is along the same line as IS in the lens vs. the body - it's a money maker for Canon. Obviously not nearly as much money - but I'm guessing the thought process is something like:

Of the people that use this function, how many are going to actually switch from Canon to Nikon rather than pay for our transmitter.

So, while I'd love to have the feature - I can't see what is going to motivate Canon to give it to us.
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Old Aug 29, 2007, 10:37 AM   #15
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JohnG wrote:
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So, while I'd love to have the feature - I can't see what is going to motivate Canon to give it to us.
Then I'll make sure to bring this defiency up in every flash forum user that I('ve or) going to help... :blah:

It's just not an extra item (BTW I already have it) to buy, but an extra device one has to carry along in (the already full) camera bag. There are several defiencies with this scheme:

1. You lost group C control with the ST-E2, which is the only group where you can apply +/- exposure compensation wirelessly
2. The ST-E2 uses a strange battery which is hard to find when you happen to need it
3. When one use two(or more) bodies (with different lenses), it's a pain and slow you down to switch ST-E2 - Whereas if it's in the camera one just grab a body and shoot and have all the flashes already programmed to sync wirelessly...

-> It costs Canon absolutely nothing to follow what Sony and Nikon already have done in firmware to meet the need of their (albeit a few) customers!

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Old Aug 29, 2007, 10:47 AM   #16
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NHL wrote:
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-> It costs Canon absolutely nothing to follow what Sony and Nikon already have done in firmware to meet the need of their (albeit a few) customers!
actually yes, it costs them future revenue for people buying the extremely overpriced ST-E2.

They're a company - motivated by profit and stakeholders. Making their users happy is a distant second. Providing this feature is a simple cost-benefit:

How many customers are they losing by not having the feature vs. revenue being generated by forcing the subset of users to buy a high profit margin accessory. Until and unless canon can determine they're losing customers because of this deficiency there is no benefit (since it doesn't offer a competitive advantage over Nikon who is the only high end competitor right now. I doubt many entry level DSLR users are getting into wireless flash work - some yes but probably not many)

So it all comes down to money - why give up money? You're a perfect case study. You don't like it but you :

a. Bought the wireless transmitter anyway

b. Haven't switched from canon to Nikon or Sony

Your the perfect example of why they're not doing it. Those that want the feature are willing to pony up the $$$ and while they'll complain about it, it isn't a big enough thorn to make them jump ship. We don't have to like it (and I don't either) but that doesn't mean canon is going to change their strategy.
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Old Aug 29, 2007, 10:58 AM   #17
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JohnG wrote:
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b. Haven't switched from canon to Nikon or Sony
Just watch me...

BTW I already own a Minolta 9xi (and a Nikon F5) film

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Old Aug 29, 2007, 12:42 PM   #18
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NHL wrote:
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BTW I already own a Minolta 9xi
Minolta was way ahead in many areas with their film models during their peak The xi series of cameras is pretty interesting (given the eye start AF, power zoom lenses, feature cards, etc.), even though your 9xi was introduced some 15 years ago. lol

It's my understanding that it's an extremely reliable body from what I've heard people mention, despite the newer technology incorporated.

Is that AF as fast as I've seen reported with the 9xi, or is it only very fast with xi lenses on it)? This reviewer seemed impressed:

"No SLR yet made focuses as swiftly or as accurately as Minolta's top two fitted with xi lenses. Once again, we were amazed by the system's speed and its ability to track not just objects moving in straight lines, but those ducking and weaving."

http://sds.com/mug/9xi_revi.html

The comments about it aren't too shabby for a system with only 4 AF sensors. Do you think we're getting spoiled? lol

From what I understand, the Maxxum 7 was the fastest they ever made (claimed to have the world's fastest Autofocus when it was released in 2000, which was 8 years after the 9xi), and I've seen Maxxum 9 (not 9xi) users clam the 7 was much faster and more accurate, especially with longer lenses.

Unfortunately, even though the AF sensor assembly in the Maxxum 7D appears to be the same basic design as in the film Maxxum 7, users of both models claim it's not as fast (my guess is they didn't modify it enough for the smaller format and/or the processors weren't up to par for the Digital version with everything else going on, and/or the speed of the focus motor wasn't as fast).

Hopefully, the new models Sony plans on releasing will correct that, although I've found my little 5D to be OK for my limited needs. In fact, Pophoto did a shootout of the some entry level models a while back at various light levels, and the Maxxum 5D had the fastest AF of the bunch. It was able to focus faster and in lower light (much lower and much faster in some cases) compared to the Nikon D50, Canon XT, Pentax *ist DS2 and Olympus E-500. The only one that came close was the Nikon.

But, they weren't testing with lenses that had supersonic motors built in either (they use a 50mm f/1.4 for those kinds of tests). Plus Canon upgraded the AF sensor assembly from the XT to the XTi. Pentax and Oly have also made some upgrades that should improve how they compare now. Nikon dumbed down the AF on their newer entry level model. So, I don't know how it compares. I really don't need anything better for my limited needs, and my little 5D focuses in light that's *very* low and works fine for what I shoot.

But, you guys doing birding and sports a lot probably like these new fangled AF systems and shoot with more advanced cameras, versus the entry level models like my Maxxum 5D. :-)

I'd be curious how good the 9xi really is, though. I look for bargains on the used market from time to time to get lenses in camera packages and still use film from time to time (I've still got quite a bit I need to use up eventually and my wife still likes to shoot film). So, it may be one to keep an eye out for (get one with faster AF the next time I find a bargain). As long as I'm getting a camera with a package (and packages are where you usually find the better deals on lenses), I might as well get a better one).

My only Minolta film bodies right now are a couple of Maxxum 7000s, and they are a bit slow in the AF department in less than optimum lighting. Plus I broke the latch on the film cover of our last Nikon body when I got in a hurry changing film with it, and my wife needs new film camera to use (plus I've already sold all of my Nikon lenses except for one).

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Old Aug 29, 2007, 1:03 PM   #19
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JimC wrote:
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But, you guys doing birding and sports a lot probably like these new fangled AF systems
Not necessarily new-fangled, but there ARE a lot of aspects to autofocus that usually aren't covered in reviews. A crucial aspect is the Servo focusing. For a sports shooter, the ability to track and keep focus lock is hugely important. Even if you're not taking a burst but only a single shot you frequently are tracking a subject first. So, just because a camera gets a quick first focus, it doesn't mean it can track well. The problem is, that isn't something that is well tested. So, you usually have to rely on real-world experience from qualified shooters. That last part is tough - an inexperienced shooter can get poor results because of their technique or they can get mediocre results that THEY think are great because they have nothing better to compare it to.

Other aspects of focus are getting a little more attention in forums and spec sheets but don't get driven out as much in the reviews:
  • Your point about focusing iin low light. As NHL will testify, the Canon 10D did a great job of this, it took several generations for Canon to get back to good low light focusing - which may still lag behind what Minolta had.[/*]
  • Quality of the focus points - cross type (whether they can detect phase shifts / contrast along both axis' or just one)[/*]
  • Precision focus points (at least in Canon - not sure if other systems have a similar technology) - where a focus point gains more precision with wider aperture lenses. For instance, the new Canon 40d has 9 cross type points but only the center is high precision. The mk III has 19 that are high precision as well as cross-type.[/*]
  • Customization - being able to decide how many focus points to use: 1, all or 1 with 'helper points'. Being able to set the sensitivity of the focus - how quickly it will switch focus
[/*]
It's a lot tougher to have a scientific test for servo focusing and how all the different points behave and how the servo behaves at different light levels. For instance, a camera might do great when photographing a single easily defined subject in motion (high jumper) but it may switch focus too fast to objects that get in the way (water droplets / splash of a swimmer). Just a lot of variables that are difficult to test scientifically - it needs road tested. And while it's fairly easy to have staff perform a battery of still-shot tests - having a staff capable of sports or wildlife shooting is going to be a lot pricier.

All of this is a reason why the advanced wildlife or sports shooter can't make a purchase decision based on specs and magazine / forum reviews. Heck, just look at the review of the 1dmkIII Steve posted. The camera is aimed squarely at the action/photojournalist market but not a single action shot in the review. None of the testing involved one of the critical features of this camera - it's ability to track and take sharp well focused shots of action. Similarly you would want a test of the new Nikon D3 or Canon 1ds MKIII to have wedding shots as well as wide dynamic range landscape shots - test prints to 20x30 etc.


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Old Aug 29, 2007, 2:30 PM   #20
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Not just low light. Based on controlled conditions tests I've seen (not subjective opinions) the 5D was faster in good light compared to the entry level models tested at the time, too (it was just much faster in low light). lol

Again, that's not using anything but a 50mm f/1.4 to test with though. I think part of the reason people think the Minolta system is slower is because it's louder. Sorry, very few SSM (Supersonic Motor) lenses have been offered so far, which is Minolta's equivalent to Canon's ring USM or Nikon's AF-S.

For the type of shooting I do, I don't have a problem with it, especially with good Minolta lenses on it (my primes are great and can AF in very low light, even using an outside focus point). Heck, even my 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 has pretty good AF in *very* low light. I can autofocus outside by campfire with no problems. With primes, if there is a candle nearby, I can autofocus. I've seen it AF just fine in light so low I'd need 1/8 second at ISO 3200 shooting at f/2. The last time I had to use MF was outside on a dark night getting some snapshots of fireworks. If there is any light around, I can Autofocus with my better Minolta lenses (although third party lenses don't seem to do as well).

If I were going to shoot a lot of sports, I'd probably want the best I could find and want better tracking with more lenses (and some of that is going to be lenses).

For example, I've got a Tamron 35-105mm f/2.8 that struggles a bit with tracking AF in low light (even though it can still lock focus just fine, the tracking doesn't seem to keep up as well as desired). But, my primes work great from what I've seen (the AF system can keep up with moving targets just fine). Some of that is probably because the AF system is better "tuned" for Minolta versus third party lenses. So, I'd blame any AF problems on me, not the camera's ability to track moving subjects and switch focus points between the 9 available in it. Is it a pro quality AF system? No. But, for an entry level model, it does just fine.

As for predictive tracking, Minolta had an outstanding AF system by most accounts with their latest generation film body (Maxxum 7). Heck, I've seen comments from users of the Maxxum 7 that claimed it was better than an equivalent Canon system with USM lenses on it. Of course, that kind of thing is always subjective.

Some of the later xi models even had the ability to do mode switching based on subject recognition with the right program cards in them, long before most other cameras had that kind of ability (and the much newer Maxxum 7 has better AF from what I've seen users say about it, even though it didn't have some of the fancy modes that the xi series had). That's a 7 year old body, too.

The algorithms being used by the DSLR models are not as fast or accurate by virtually all accounts (even though the system can still focus in very low light, which is one reason KM offered an Autofocus Mirror lens that focuses at f/8 when no other manufacturers do). But, the speed and accuracy of the algorithms is lagging behind where they were with the latest film cameras from comments I've seen from users that have both types of systems.

Why? I don't know. I can only guess (slower processors due the need to do a lot more with the data stream from the sensor, AF motor, sensors not tuned as well for the smaller format, algorithms dumbed down to make up for other processing needs, or other).

I think we'll see some dramatic improvements with the newer Sony models so that Sony can attract users that need faster and better AF with predictive tracking. We should find out soon enough. Remember, so far, the models released have not targeted the more advanced market niches (plus, the AF systems have lagged behind the last generation of film bodies Minolta produced from all comments I've seen from users of both systems).

Sony has very deep pockets, and has already announced their intention to capture 25% of the DSLR market. Of course, Canon and Nikon are the current leaders and have their own goals (and not everyone is going to meet them). But, give Sony a few years, and I think they'll start making a pretty big dent with some very advanced technology. Only time will tell.

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