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Old Oct 31, 2007, 2:13 PM   #11
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kezs wrote:
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while it's true that the "2nd row" companies - sony, oly, panasonic, pentax, fuji, and so forth - don't offer the same selection nikon does, they do fulfill the requirements of almost any advanced amateur out there. so, while these have been investing time and money in new technology (superCCD, anti-dust, built-in IS, higher res, to name the most important ones, but also larger lcds, even the 4/3s system which with its flaws is still a brilliant initiative...), nikon seems to be comfortable selling "decent" and well built cameras at a considerably higher price. anyway, these are my 2 pennies to a discussion aimed at stimulating competition
Kezs,

now, I tend to disagree somewhat with your assertion. Super CCD, anti-dust and built-in IS may be important to YOU but that doesn't mean they're important to every "advanced amateur out there". That's the danger with taking your needs/desires and projecting them onto everyone else.

For example - lets say a person does a lot of flash work. The Nikon system for years has had a great flash system - still arguaby better than the rest of the field. Some advanced ameteures may do action photography - so the servo focusing systems of Canon / Nikon are still in a different league than Pentax or Oly (although Sony may still be there). And, again, you have to remember the point raised - you need lenses to make a solution work long term. Take Canon for instance - they have a $70 50mm 1.8 lens that autofocuses. How much do you have to spend in Pentax to get a similar product?

If you look at the various forums here you'll see a number of people recently switching brands - some going from Canon to Pentax, others going from Oly to Canon and a number of other variations. The reason being, these individuals found out over time that the given SYSTEM did not support their long term needs.

But people's needs are all different. Take me for instance: I consider myself an advanced ameteur but none of the 3 things you mentioned as being critical are important to me (I prefer the CMOS sensor vs. Super CCD, for my style of photography anti-shake isn't important and since sensor cleaning is infrequent and painless anti-dust isn't a critical feature to me). BUT, as a sports shooter, things like high ISO performance, servo focus ability and availability of proper sporting lenses ARE critical. So, for a sports shooter, none of the things you mention really contribute to the success of the photographer. However, if you don't shoot action you could care less how good the servo performance is on a camera. If you don't shoot at high ISOs you could care less how well a given camera performs at iso 3200. So there are all different types of photography - and I think different camera systems are better at certain types than others. Sometimes Pentax is the best fit, sometimes it's Canon - you get the picture.

The key to look for when getting advice is that people giving the advice should be asking what types of photography you want to accomplish and matching the system to your needs. You'll find the truly helpful people don't always say to buy one system (namely the system they bought). Other's who are less helpful just seem to want you to buy the same camera system they bought. There seems to be a strange sense of competitiion - i.e. if you choose their system it somehow validates their decision.

As to your assertion that Nikon is only providing "decent" cameras - if you could point out a camera from any manufacturer that will give the enthusiast sports/wildlife shooter the capabilities the D300 promises I'll gladly listen. I don't even own Nikon - but that camera outclasss everything else except Canon's 1-series which costs a heck of a lot more. Now, if you're not an action shooter that camera probably doesn't offer you anything to justify it's cost. Nothing wrong with that. My point is: there is no set of standard criteria for what makes a great camera for the 'advanced ameteur' - if there were, everyone would do it. I DO agree, Sony, Pentax and Oly have made some terrific innovations. That's why competition is good. But I disagree that any of the three is by default a better choice for the 'advanced ameteur'. That will very based upon the individual's needs.
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Old Oct 31, 2007, 3:29 PM   #12
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It's slightly beside the point, but also worth remembering that often it is the "advanced amateur" who has plenty of cash to spend on their hobby because they earn a good living doing other things.

You'd be surprised how many digital medium-format and high-end Canon users are amateurs.

Professionals have to use the camera that will bring in the bread and butter day after day. Sometimes that need not be Canon or Nikon. Pentax, Sony and Oly might work just fine for some professional requirements.

John is correct of course, some systems are better for some purposes than others. If you do action (sport/wildlife) then you should probably have been using Canon, with the D300 and D3 and a bunch of new telephoto lenses Nikon are about to be back in the game.

Sony have the financial and technical might to become major players, and indications are that they are fairly serious about that, so we can look forward to some good high-end products coming from them soon.
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Old Oct 31, 2007, 6:05 PM   #13
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JohnG wrote:
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... The Nikon system for years has had a great flash system - still arguaby better than the rest of the field....
Actually, from what I understand, Minolta has the best flash system. See http://www.friedmanarchives.com/flash.htm. It apparently runs rings around anything that Nikon or Canon can do, but Minoltadidn't know how tosell it. And Sony doesn't either.

As you know, I don't use flash. But I ran across that article, and was surprised what a marvel the Minolta Wireless Flash system is. So much so, I was tempted to buy some flashes.

But then I came to my senses. :-)
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Old Nov 1, 2007, 7:08 AM   #14
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TCAv,

Thanks for the link. Always good to know that type of stuff. I'm really hoping Sony will step up and achieve their goals. They've got the money and marketing to do it - it just remains to be seen if they do it RIGHT.
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Old Nov 1, 2007, 7:37 AM   #15
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JohnG wrote:
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Thanks for the link. Always good to know that type of stuff. ...
Actually, I found that link in a post by JimC. [http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=84]

JohnG wrote:
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... I'm really hoping Sony will step up and achieve their goals. They've got the money and marketing to do it - it just remains to be seen if they do it RIGHT.
I agree. But Sony's real strength is in CONSUMER electronics. The difference between the requirements of a professional photographer and an advanced amateur have very little to do with the hardware. And to a great extent, advanced amateurs are going to buy what they see the pros using, and may even shy away from what they see consumers using.

To be sure, the BetaMax was a flop as far as the consumer market was concerned, but a huge success in the broadcast industry, and Sony does make some of the best commercial video cameras available. But that sucess may not translate well into the still photography world.
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