Home Past Issues November 2009

November 2009

November 2009

Buyer's Guides

  • 2010 Buyer's Guide Resources
  • Advanced Compacts

    Generous zoom ranges and enhanced controls make these cameras a good option when portability is essential

    Interchangeable-lens cameras offer the most options for creative control, but don’t count out the capabilities of the advanced fixed-lens cameras.
  • Bags & Cases

    From backpacks to shoulder bags to rolling cases, there's a perfect option for your photography

    Thanks to advances in D-SLR technology, including this year’s addition of video capabilities, bag manufacturers have taken an introspective look at their lines and have come up with a wide range of interesting new designs.
  • Buyer's Guide Landing Page
  • Buyer's Guide: SLRs
  • Canon EOS 50D The lowest-priced model in the midrange D-SLR category, the EOS 50D nevertheless offers the second-most megapixels, excellent performance and lots of features. It was Canon’s top APS-C-sensor model until the EOS 7D was introduced at press time.
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II With the same resolution as the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III at less than half the price, the full-frame EOS 5D Mark II isn’t Canon’s flagship model, but it may as well be. Featuring a few important new items, like HD video capture and a high-resolution, 21.1-megapixel sensor, the 5D Mark II also offers a variety of improvements over its predecessor, the 5D.
  • Canon EOS 7D The EOS 50D introduced Canon’s powerful DIGIC 4 processor to the EOS family; the new 7D features two DIGIC 4s working together.
  • Canon EOS Rebel T1i Canon’s original Digital Rebel was the first D-SLR to sell for under $1,000, and the latest Rebel T1i continues to push the segment forward. It features Canon’s powerful DIGIC 4 processor to enhance image quality, operating speed and battery life. In terms of speed, the T1i can shoot up to nine RAW or 170 15.1-megapixel JPEG images at 3.4 fps in a single burst.
  • Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III While many of the features of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III have trickled down to the 5D Mark II, the EOS-1Ds Mark III model still offers photographers professional features and functionality that the 5D Mark II does not. The 1Ds Mark III is the flagship D-SLR of the Canon EOS line, and as such, everything about it is designed to offer top-of-the-line performance, speed and image quality.
  • Flash & Lighting

    Choosing the right accessory flash and other useful lighting tools for perfect exposures

    For capturing exciting images and well-balanced exposures, a flash is an indispensable tool that can greatly expand the creative possibilities and quality of your photography.
  • How To Buy A Camera

    Where and how you will use your camera are considerations as important as its features

    "Which camera should I buy?” When you’re an editor of a photo magazine, you get this question a lot. The asker wants you to respond with a specific make and model (as if there’s only one “good” camera that insiders know) and is disappointed when you answer the question with more questions.
  • Leica M8.2 Leica and the little red dot that serves as its logo are synonymous with a certain photographic mystique—and phenomenal optics. As the name implies, the Leica M8.2 is the sequel to the M8, Leica’s initial foray into digital. The M8 itself, released in 2006, continues the traditional aesthetics and minimalist elegance of the analog M Series, which goes back more than 50 years.
  • Lenses

    The best new glass for your D-SLR

    Ask most pros which they’d rather have: an entry-level camera with a top-of-the-line lens or a rudimentary lens on a top-of-the-line camera.
  • Nikon D300S Nikon made a really good thing even better when it created the D300s by adding a number of useful new features to its very popular 12.3-megapixel D300 model.
  • Nikon D3X Replacing the D3 as Nikon’s flagship D-SLR, the full-frame D3x, now almost a year old, was the eagerly anticipated evolution of Nikon’s solid D3. On the exterior, the D3x is identical to the D3. The build, interface and many of the features so familiar to D3 users have been carried over directly to the D3x. Underneath the hood, however, there are a few substantial improvements that make the $3,000 price hike reasonable, including a brand-new sensor and a 16-bit processing pipeline with your choice of image file capture at 14-bit (16,384 tones) or 12-bit (4,096 tones) for incredibly high picture quality and subtle tonality.
  • Nikon D5000 Nikon’s D5000 offers many of the best features of the often-sold-out D90 in a more compact package that sells for around $250 less. For starters, it features the same excellent 12.3-megapixel, DX-format sensor as the D90, the same 720 HD video capability as the D90 and even the same 11-point AF and 420-pixel metering systems.
  • Nikon D700 Positioned directly in between the D300 and the D3 both in price and in functionality, the Nikon D700 brings full-frame to an affordable level for prosumers and advanced amateurs. The 12.1-megapixel, FX-format camera takes the best of the D3 and packages it into a compact D-SLR, with the same CMOS sensor and EXPEED processing.
  • Olympus E-3 This is actually Olympus’ pro D-SLR, but its price puts it squarely in the midrange category. The E-3 combines pro-camera ruggedness, performance and versatility with relatively compact size. It succeeds Olympus’ E-1; there was no E-2 model.
  • Olympus PEN E-P1 No, it’s not technically a D-SLR, and it’s really a whole new category of digital camera. Olympus’ new E-P1—the company’s first Micro Four Thirds System model—offers a size and weight closer to that of a compact digital camera, but with the creative possibilities of interchangeable lenses. It’s a knockout design, and we see a lot of potential in this new format.
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Like the Olympus PEN E-P1, the 12.1-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 is a Micro Four Thirds System camera, eliminating the mirror and pentaprism to reduce size. Unlike the E-P1, the G1 does provide an electronic eye-level finder—especially useful in bright outdoor conditions when using the LCD is more difficult.
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 The newest Micro Four Thirds system camera from Panasonic is similar to the new Olympus E-P1 in its sleek, compact form. These two models are the smallest interchangeable-lens cameras currently available, so if you’re looking for the ultimate in portability, this is it.
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 Okay, we know it’s not a true SLR (as a Micro Four Thirds camera, it lacks the mirror and pentaprism), but it looks and shoots like one, and takes interchangeable lenses. And it brings to fruition the promise of the original Four Thirds System: dramatically smaller cameras. The GH1 is noticeably smaller than the smallest true D-SLR. The GH1’s 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor is the same size as standard Four Thirds System sensors (17.3x13.0mm); it’s the cameras that are “Micro,” not the image sensors.
  • Pentax K-7 Pentax’s newest D-SLR builds on the strong points of the K20D and adds lots of new features. The K20D’s 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor (codeveloped with Samsung) has been revamped to allow Face Detection Live View and HD video recording. A new PRIME II imaging engine works with the sensor to improve image quality, speed operation and enable the new features.
  • Pentax K20D Last year, this excellent model was in the midpriced category. Now, at $699 for the body only, it’s nearly twice as good a deal.
  • Photo Printers

    Make stunning prints that will last for generations with the newest photo inkjet technology

    It never has been easier to get prints at home that meet or exceed traditional lab prints. If you’re replacing an aging model, inkjet technology has made some big strides forward in the last few years, both in terms of ink formulations and the methods by which ink is placed on the page.
  • Photographer’s Toolbox

    Accessories every photographer should know and use

    All that’s really needed to take a solid photograph is a camera and lens. But it’s all of those extra gadgets and tools that really end up boosting your images from good to creative, exciting and dramatic.
  • Pocket Cameras

    When portability is essential, nothing beats these ultracompact models

    There are two types of photographs: the kind we set out with the intention to make and the kind that happen when we’re doing other things.
  • Samsung GX-20 Another camera that’s dropped in price one category since last year’s Buyer’s Guide, the GX-20 is almost identical to the Pentax K20D, featuring the same 14.6-megapixel Samsung/Pentax CMOS image sensor, but with Samsung’s own image processor.
  • Sigma SD14 Most image sensors don’t see color; they see brightnesses. To get color data, conventional sensors used in other D-SLRs place a Bayer filter array over the pixels, such that each pixel is covered by a red, green or blue filter. Data for the other colors is provided for each pixel via interpolation using complex proprietary algorithms.
  • Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 With a brand-new 14.2-megapixel Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor and a brand-new BIONZ processor, not to mention a host of new features previously seen only in top-tier D-SLR models, the recently announced Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 offers pro-level functions, phase-detection focusing and extended live-view benefits.
  • Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 Sony’s Alpha DSLR-A850 is the first camera to bring full-frame digital photography under $2,000. Sony has accomplished this benchmark by paring down the feature set of its flagship A900 model. For $700 less, the A850 offers almost everything that the A900 does, including a 24.6-megapixel Exmor CMOS full-frame sensor, Dual BIONZ image processing, multi-stage noise reduction (including analog noise reduction on the Exmor sensor itself) and SteadyShot image stabilization, with some carefully chosen sacrifices.
  • Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Sony’s DSLR-A900 brought the Alpha series of D-SLRs into full-frame territory, with an industry-leading 24.6-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor and Dual BIONZ processing. For photographers without strong brand loyalty from years of shooting with 35mm SLRs and lenses, the A900 is a strong contender as a full-frame system to buy into, particularly since Sony manufactures the same sensor for the Nikon D3x, which is priced at upwards of $5,000 more.
  • Specialized Software

    Put these programs to work to make your digital photography more effective and fun

    Software plug-ins and specialty software can make your life easier as a digital photographer. Sure, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Aperture and other programs are very powerful and let you do a lot with your digital photos.
  • Tripods & Supports

    When sharpness is essential, there's nothing more important than camera support

    Capturing sharp photos requires sturdy legs. Yes, that means adding more to your load, but few accessories are as essential as a tripod. Lenses and cameras with image stabilization definitely help, but nothing ensures sharpness like a tripod.

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