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Old Aug 11, 2005, 10:15 PM   #1
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Hi all,

I'm planning on buying one of the three cameras listed in my heading. I've done a bit of research on all three, and was starting to lean to the Nikon but I'm still on the fence. I used to own a Nikon 4500 and loved it. I've never had a problem with any Sony product and Canon has a great reputation. Can anyone who may have had experience with all or most of these cameras provide a little advise?


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Old Aug 12, 2005, 6:48 AM   #2
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The Nikon will handle most like a consumer digicam (not necessarily a good thing but it should be very familiar to use), it has an excellent lens (as does the Sony) and the big plus is the vibration reduction feature, biggest minus, it only reaches a 35mm equivalent on the wide end (not an issue if you have been using consumer digicams in the past since they rarely have lenses wider than that anyway) however it does go to 350mm at the tele end.

The Sony will handle more like a DSLR, although the swivel body may take a little getting used to. The use of a real zoom ring and focus ring means that these are much more precise than the buttons of the Nikon, both the Nikon and the Sony have very impressive metal bodies, with the Nikon being much more compact. The Sony loses on the tele end but offers a real wide angle view at 28mm equivalent. Some say the Sony produces a little more chromatic aberration (purple fringing). The Sony lens will also accept filters without needing an adapter tube.

Both of these camera use the same Sony 8MP 2/3" sensor, however sony has used an extra colour in the filter layer (emerald) which they say improves colour accuracy (it doesn't appear to make that much difference). This chip does not produce good results at higher ISO (anything over 100 has noticeable noise, something which may or may not bother you). Also these are both all-in-one cameras which do not have interchangeable lenses but instead have large zoom ratios, this means they do not require any extras to cover most photographic tasks. One light weight package. This also means that they should not require sensor cleaning since they are fairly well sealed (avoid extremely fine dust environments).

Now for the Canon Rebel XT, this is a DSLR, as such its sensor is huge compared to the other two. This does not increase resolution (they are all 8MP) but it does reduce image noise to the point that 1600ISO on the Canon probably looks as good as 200ISO on the others. This is a big advantage if you shoot in low light. The XT kit comes with a lens which does not cover the range of the all-in-ones but it does start at about a 28mm equivalent (the actual focal length is 18mm but it must be multiplied by 1.5 because the sensor is still smaller than 35mm film, thus 18 X 1.5 = 27mm). This camera is also much faster in operation than the all-in-ones so if you shoot a lot of action this is also an advantage. This camera also lets you build a very complete system by adding lenses and flash units. The optical SLR viewfinder is far superior to the EVFs of the other cameras (although this model does have a little tunnel vision), you can see to focus and there is no delay.

Now before you say that I am really pushing the Rebel XT lets look at the negatives. A DSLR and lens is bulkier and heavier than the a-i-o cameras (even this model which is one of the smallest). The Rebel XT has a metal interior frame but a plastic body, unlike the metal construction of the other two cameras, not a big issue but worth at least considering. Noise,I mean actual auditory noise: the mirror of the XT will make a noticeable sound which is much louder than the nearly inaudible click of the digicams, if you need very quiet operation it may pose a problem but not likely to. As a DSLR this camera cannot use the rear LCD as a viewfinder for framing pictures, you can only review them after they are taken. There is also no video mode to capture video clips since the DSLR does not expose the sensor until the point of exposure. The biggest issue for many people is the fact that, since lenses are interchangeable, the camera is open to dust and sensors will need to be cleaned periodically, a somewhat daunting proposition for the technophobic. The alternative is to have it professionally cleaned, could be costly.

I usedonly 35mm SLRs for over 20 years and now I use a Fuji S7000 all-in-one, I miss thefast operation and clear viewfinder but I like the compact dimensions and the fact that one zoom lens now covers all of the focal lengths I used before (which required two or three lenses). I think you should carefully examine your photographic needs, determine what type of images you will want to capture and then decide. The Canon represents a system to grow with but which requires more from you in use and in maintenance. The Nikon and Sony are simpler, lighter cameras which may take care of allyour needs, but they do not offer much in the way of future expansion of capabilities. I think the Sony and Nikon are more fun but the Canon allows for more growth as a photographer (even if you never get another lens for it).


EDIT: After all that I still think that, for most amateurs like myself, the all-in-one camera offers more bang for the buck. I will eventually buy a DSLR (I think) but I am in no rush since the results for my current camera are excellent.
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