Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Buyer's Guide 2006: Today's Digital SLRs
Features and resolution distinguish the latest cameras
Sensor And Resolution
Since the first digital camera broke the 1-megapixel barrier not so long ago, the question of a camera's resolution always seems to be the measuring stick by which all newcomers are gauged. Although there's more to a quality photograph than a camera's pixel count, resolution still is important to consider.
The 16.7-megapixel Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and 12.4-megapixel Nikon D2x produce large image files whose quality many say rivals that produced on medium-format film. The large files delivered by these cameras translate to quality 16x20-inch and larger prints with retention of detail, even when aggressively cropped.
Even moderately priced D-SLRs deliver enough resolution for excellent 13x19-inch prints. The Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D, Nikon D70s and D50, the Olympus E-1, Pentax *ist D and *ist Ds and the original Canon EOS Digital Rebel offer approximately 6-megapixel resolution, making quality enlargements both possible and affordable.
For a boost in resolution, there are the 8.2-megapixel Canon EOS 20D and 8-megapixel Olympus EVOLT E-300, the latter of which, like the Olympus E-1, includes built-in dust-free technology to reduce the presence of dust and debris on the CCD.
The Sigma SD10 and the Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro use innovative technologies to achieve their maximum resolutions. The Sigma SD10 features Foveon X3 technology, which utilizes three layers of pixel technology for the three primary colors (red, green, blue) to deliver the final color image. With 3.4 megapixels of resolution per color channel, the resulting 10.2-megapixel file provides increased detail and color accuracy.
The Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro uses two sets of hexagonal-shaped pixels (S-pixels and R-pixels), each with 6.17-megapixel resolution, to expand the dynamic range of the camera, ensuring that highlight and shadow details are captured and retained even under high-contrast lighting conditions. The resulting 12.3-megapixel file delivers increased color precision and tonal detail.
Regardless of your preference in resolution, all of these cameras produce enlargements that are comparable to anything created on 35mm film.
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