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Monday, March 23, 2009

D-SLRs: Buy Now!

Why there has never been a better time to upgrade your primary camera


This Article Features Photo Zoom

Sony DSLR-A900
Sony DSLR-A900. The highest-resolution, 35mm-format D-SLR until the recent introduction of Nikon’s D3X (which uses the same basic sensor), Sony’s A900 features a full-frame, 24.6-megapixel Sony Exmor CMOS sensor in a rugged pro body. It’s the only full-frame D-SLR with built-in sensor-shift image stabilization, which works with all lenses; the same mechanism also vibrates dust off the sensor each time you switch the camera on. Dual Bionz high-speed processors enhance image quality and speed operation. The A900 can shoot its huge files at up to 5 per second. Forty-segment honeycomb metering provides excellent exposures in a wide range of shooting situations (there’s also spot metering and center-weighted average), while a new AF system handles action well.

The 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot LCD monitor doesn’t provide Live View shooting, but an Intelligent Preview feature lets you check such things as exposure, white balance and Advanced Dynamic Range Optimizer effects. Slots are provided for both CompactFlash and Sony Memory Stick Duo media.

The A900 will accept all Sony-mount lenses, including Sony, Zeiss and legacy Minolta Maxxum optics; however, those designed for the smaller-sensor cameras (DT lenses) will vignette due to the larger sensor.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
d-slrsIt’s ot really an SLR, lacking the “R part,” but that’s the beauty here. The new Micro Four Thirds System was developed to produce interchangeable-lens digital cameras that really are noticeably smaller than conventional D-SLRs. They do this mainly by eliminating the SLR mirror box, using an eye-level electronic viewfinder in place of the conventional optical SLR finder. That, plus full-time Live View on the tilting/swiveling LCD monitor, provides all the viewing options one needs. Note that “Micro” refers to the size of the cameras and lenses, not the sensor—Micro Four Thirds cameras use the same 17.3x13.0mm image sensor size as standard Four Thirds System cameras.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 is the first of the Micro Four Thirds cameras, and it has a lot going for it. Its iA (Intelligent Auto) mode lets you point-and-shoot great images in a wide variety of situations, from portraits to landscapes, close-ups and even night scenes. There’s also full manual control of everything when you want it. Full-time contrast AF is effective and surprisingly fast. The G1 provides full functionality with Lumix G lenses, but can use all Four Thirds System lenses via the optional DMW-MA1 mount adapter. The two Lumix G lenses introduced with the camera offer optical stabilization. The camera comes as a kit with the 14-45mm Lumix G zoom lens.


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