Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thinking about getting a DSLR?

If you are thinking about getting a DSLR (digital SLR) right now and you have some Pentax lenses, or don't have any lenses, then you might want to look at the new Pentax K10D. It is looking pretty juicy with a very nice price too. I had a chance to play with it at the Pentax showroom in Shinjuku while I was in Tokyo a few weeks ago and it is quite nice. Early reviews that I have seen have also been very favorable. It has a really nice combination of features including in-body image stabilization utilizing a system similar to the one in the Konica Minolta 7D/5D and Sony A100 DSLRs. The advantage to this system over the Canon and Nikon in-lens system is that it works with *any* lens you put on the camera and not just a few, select, expensive lenses that Canon and Nikon have decided to add it too. Naturally, the Canon and Nikon systems have some advantages too, but for me the ability to instantly have all lenses stabilized is a great boon. Also, the Canon/Nikon image stabilized lenses are mostly bigger and heavier. Unfortunately, I don't have any Pentax lenses so I probably won't get the K10D, but I am definitely tempted! :-) Oh, by the way, Pentax also has the K100D which is at an even lower price and also has in-body image stabilization. It is a lower level model with fewer features, but if you have some Pentax lenses and want to put your toe into the DSLR waters then look at it too!

I have Canon lenses and Minolta lenses. I used Minolta film SLRs for many years, but my first DSLR was a Canon in 2003. At that time Minolta didn't have one so I had to choose from what was available. In 2004 Minolta came out with their 7D with in-body stabilization and many other nice features so in 2005 I got one of those. It was a really nice camera and it was great to be able to use my Minolta lenses again! Recently I replaced it with another Canon though. Sony bought the Konica Minolta camera business earlier this year and the first Sony DSLR was the A100 this past summer. It also has in-body stabilization -- a killer feature for Sony and Pentax! I am looking forward to seeing what Sony comes out with next year (there are lots of rumors).

I have found for travel having image stabilization really increases my percentage of keepers. I often spend 8-14 hours a day wondering around with my camera while travelling and, especially, in the early morning, late afternoon, and evening when the light is the most interesting the stabilization helps me to get sharp shots that would otherwise either be blurred because of a too low shutter speed or require a tripod. For the kind of close to the ground travel I do with a backpack a tripod is just totally impractical. Also, for many shots even if I had a tripod it would be useless because the shot would be gone by the time the tripod was set up or there is just no place to put a tripod.

Well, it is a beautiful, warm (77F/25C) sunny day in Austin so I want to get outside for awhile and enjoy it! I plan to post another photo this afternoon so check back in later.

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