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2006.10.21

Having just posted our 10 megapixels DSLR roundup, some readers noticed that a conclusion is missing from the article. In fact, this is not an omission. For this roundup of digital SLR cameras, there really cannot be one conclusion. Readers should follow the article until they reach the point where a conclusion suitable to their needs can be reached.

For some photographers more than one of these cameras would be perfectly suitable. However, there are some models which stand out for various types of photography. Here are some possible conclusions:

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Canon Rebel XTi

Pentax K10D

Sony Alpha A100

Nikon D80

Nikon D200

  • Already owning a set of high-quality lenses? You should strongly lean towards the camera which supports those lenses. Acquiring equivalent lenses is costly. For Nikon, there are two possibilities, the D200 being noticeably more expensive than the D80. The main advantages of the D200 over the D80 are 5 FPS continuous drive and weather-proofing.
  • You enjoy low-light photography but do not like carrying a tripod? A camera with built-in stabilization is probably better for this. Not only is saves money but gives you stabilization for ultra-wide lenses, fish-eye lenses and even bright primes. Put an 50mm F1.4 prime on a stabilized DSLR at ISO 800+ and you get awesome pictures that nearly no one else can. Between the Sony A100 and the Pentax K10D, the dual control dials and larger viewfinder of the K10D are very nice to have, plus there is weather-proofing. Checking the lens lineups from Sony and Pentax can also help decide.
  • Dust and rain get in the way of your photography? The Pentax K10D and Nikon D200 are the only ones easily capable of this. The K10D also has dust reduction which can help those who change lenses on the field. On the other hand, the D200 gives access to Nikon’s huge lens lineup.
  • Like to use bright zoom and prime lenses? Both Canon and Nikon have have the greatest modern lens lineup. The Pentax K10D is compatible with every lens Pentax has for over the last 50 years! Some of these are hard to find you can lose automatic features such as AF or P and S mode. Between Canon and Nikon, Canon has a bigger range of capabilities including several F1.2 primes, tilt-shift lenses and bright ultra-wide angle lenses such as a 16-35 F2.8.
  • The smaller the camera, the more you carry it. The Canon Rebel XTi is the smallest and cheapest camera in this lineup. Not only that, available image samples give it the current lead in image quality. It may not have the fancier features such as stabilization and weather-proofing, but you get access to Canon’s extensive lineup of lens and saved some money to start with better lenses.
  • Fast sports and action photography? Get the Nikon D200. With its 5 FPS continuous drive, subject-tracking and dynamic focusing it what probably designed for that.
  • Want to make HDR imagery? Get a sturdy tripod and the Nikon D200. With its 9-frame bracketing, the D200 practically does HDR by itself.
  • Like to show-off your photo gear? Try the Pentax K10D: it has stabilization, dust-reduction, weather-proofing, lots of external controls, plus you can even put Pentax medium-format lenses on it. You can then make unusual images with the Pentax DA 10-17 fisheye lens, the only fisheye zoom for digital cameras. At its widest, it produces images with a 180-degree field-of-view.

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