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Old Dec 14, 2004, 3:01 PM   #1
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First a run down of my shooting style.

The majority of my photography can be classified as outdoor landscape, wildlife, adventure sport (backcountry skiing, whitewater, mountaineering) and travel documentary. I often find myself in environments where changing lenses is inadvisable and both wide and long focal lengths are required. Furthermore, I often travel for extended periods in third world countries and remote areas carrying all of my own photo gear, plus tent, stove, sleeping bag, cold weather clothing, first aid and specialty gear in alpine environments at elevations sometimes exceeding 5000 meters (17000 ft), so weight is an important consideration.

I generally must forgo external flash and tripod (my trekking poles convert to a monopod) and mostly shoot hand held and sometimes in low light situations, thus I place a high value on anti shake/image stabilization. Another consideration is the overall level of flashiness, because in some areas, Pakistan or Columbia for example, the extra attention could invite crime or worse.

I am making the switch from film w/old school gear to digital and am not deeply invested in any particular lens line at this time.

The 2 systems I am considering are the Canon 20d w/the an EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM lens or the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7d w/the Tamron 28-300mm XR Di lens. I will eventually add a fast, ultra wide angle zoom/prime for low light & wide shots, but the superzoom will be mounted most of the time. Next I'll slowly begin to flesh out primes in quality glass for times when weight isn't such a consideration. My goal is to sell the body and move up to a full size sensor when the cost becomes more feasible. Selling off the Tamron, if I decide to change systems, at that point, shouldn't be prohibitive. The advantages as I see it are:

Price: $1800+ USD — advantage KM 7d — very important

Quality: advantage Canon 20d (mostly due to the lens) — very important

Weight/size: advantage KM 7d — very important

Flashiness (see above): advantage KM 7d (due to the lens) — important

AS vs. IS: advantage KM 7d (lens cost) — important

ergonomics/handling: advantage KM 7d — important

internal flash & sync speed — advantage Canon 20d??? — important

Res: advantage Canon 20d — somewhat important

Shooting speed: Canon 20d — not very important

View finder: advantage KM 7d — important

Durability: advantage Canon lens — important

Even after this level of analysis, I still can't decide. Any insights you could offer would be much appreciated. It mostly comes down to lens quality vs. price/weight/flashiness. Personally, I like to print as large as possible, but when I sell prints it's usually 8x12 or less and content seems to be a bigger attraction than quality. Any insights you could offer would be much appreciated.
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Old Dec 14, 2004, 10:24 PM   #2
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One camera you have not considered is the Olympus E-1. I mention this because the out of camera pics are impressive and you really don't gain that much between 5 and 6mp, even less when you consider the crop factors.

I appreciate yourresearch for the bestsystem, I went through a very similar process (for months actually)before purchasing into the E system last May. I can say now after 6 months+ that I have zero regrets. Factually, the longer I have it the more impressed I've become.

My decision was ultimately swayed by the following:

* Rugged high quality construction

* Weather sealed body and lenses

* Supersonic wave filter - no dust on sensor (absolutely none so far)

* Awesome Auto W/B, almost never a need to adjust manually

* Dynamic Range and quality of jpgs second to none straight from camera

* 2 lens system (quality glass)gets me 28mm to 400mm (35mm equiv)

I might add that its a great travel set up for compactness and durability. Something with your plans that promted my reply.

Cons----------------------- sure, a few... Some auto-focus hunting in low light, but Ipersonally don'toften I don't shoot in very low light. No built-in flash - that would be handy at times. I'd like more pixels for landscapes, but until we get into the 12 to 16mp arena,2 or 3mp justdoesn't makeenough difference to fret over. Only 4X magnification in review mode, nothing on the horizon to fix that I've seen, and thats probably my biggest gripe.

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Old Dec 15, 2004, 2:28 AM   #3
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Thx for the reply. I've looked at Oly & am impressed (especially by the lens value), but I'm dead set on an IS/AS system because I so often shoot hand held.
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